Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"But my friend Maolsheachlann is not a parrot, I am glad to say."

An unlikely sentence from a blog post by my friend Roger Buck, which you can read here, where he promotes the Irish Conservatives Forum and describes a recent visit to Dublin:
Evening time in Dublin, I walk and walk the streets – shuddering. I shudder at the crassness, the commercialism I see all around me. And I shudder at the sight of Irish people now utterly submerged in the rhythms of global culture and capitalism (the two are not easily separated!) whereas even a few decades ago the rhythms would have been far, far more referent not to globalism, but to Ireland herself and to the Church.

I shudder at a Dublin that is now, in terms of culture, so little distinguishable from London or Liverpool or Los Angeles. Dublin that was once the outstanding exception to all those other great Anglosphere cities – now apes them.


The Irish Conservatives Forum is doing well-- twenty-three members and quite a few threads going. I hope it continues into the future.


  1. It's ironic that the virtues of cosmopolitanism have rendered cities into sameness.

    This is why I object to making my hometown, Chicago, more like NYC. As many Chicagoans say, "Chicago is Chicago. That's the only city it needs to be." When compared to LA and NYC, Chicago tends to be referred to as "the most American city" - and for good reason.

    Some of the complaints towards Chicago is that it isn't cosmopolitan enough. This basically means it isn't as ethnically diverse as NYC, LA or London. To me this is a strange complaint because it indirectly means that X city must have X amount of [insert ethnicity or nationality] in order to become "cosmopolitan" ... enough.

    I'm always urged to ask those who have this complaint on how many languages they can speak that are self-learned or formally taught due to curiosity. I can respect that more than the globe trekker.

    When I visit LA I want to visit LA. I don't want NYC or Chicago. When I visit NYC I want NYC, not Chicago. When I visit London I want London, not NYC. Yes, there will be similarities but overall I wish to experience a distinct atmosphere. Given how transient and global the world has become one would be very lucky to find a city not entirely affected by multiculturalism. The only thing that might make a city distinct nowadays is the architecture from days gone by. It's a remnant of the past. Once on the street people tend to be the same, the politics the same, and any traditions practiced outside of ancient buildings will be seen as quaint.

    When one becomes an ardent support of multiculturalism in order to rid away small town ignorance it ironically makes everything the same, ever so slowly. It's just a different type of same.

  2. I've heard it argued that different proportions in the ethnic mixture make multicultural places sufficiently different from each other. I don't buy that. Have you seen the Roger Ebert statue?

  3. True, Chicago's immigrant makeup is different than NYC's and therefore the vibe will be different. There are probably more German immigrants in NYC than Chicago as there are more German immigrants in London than NYC. There is a much larger Jamaican demographic in NYC than Chicago as with Filipino communities.

    When the idea that X ethnic group or nationality isn't represented enough, and that there should be a movement to attract whatever group is underrepresented in order to "keep up" with whatever city is held as a standard that's where it becomes the same.

    A city that runs counter to Western cities that have been mentioned is Tokyo. That city has a very distinct feel and culture to it that cannot be found anywhere else. The culture is different. The demographics are different. When we look at Tokyo's represented nationalities it's paltry compared to all the nationalities found in places like London.

    As for the Ebert statue - the one in Champaign, Illinois? If so, I haven't actually. I attend graduate school in the area and I'll be heading down there in July for a class so I'll make sure to stop by and take a look.

    Using Champaign as an example, I don't hold it against the city for being provincial as some people from Chicago and the suburbs who attend university there do. There is talk about making Champaign-Urbana, the twin cities that lie right next to each other, more progressive in order for "the enlightened" (read: liberal leaning students) to not feel oppressed and irritated by the townies (natives of the area).

    We're not talking about alleviating any poverty found within the area or creating business and educational partnerships with the surrounding community - we're talking about politics in a social aspect. Noses are turned up. We drink wine, you drink moonshine type of snobbery.

    1. Well, you won't be surprised to hear that I agree with you completely. For some reason, the Japanese are not expected to submit to cosmopolitanism like Western countries-- for now, anyway.

      I assumed the Ebert statue would be in Chicago!

  4. I thought so too, but it makes sense given the history that Ebert has with the Champaign-Urbana area. He was born and raised in Urbana (attended Urbana High School as well as University of Illinois) where he got his start in film criticism. Also, the funds for the statue were gathered by organizers of the Ebertfest, a film festival named after Ebert, which is annually held in Champaign. The statue sits right outside the theater that houses the festival.

    His partner in crime, Gene Siskel, was born in Chicago and has a theater named after him - the Siskel Theater.

    Each place of birth honored their resident.

  5. In one forum post you mentioned St Teresa church in Dublin. I looked it up, as its one I can't remember ever being in ... It's described as the busiest in Ireland. I don't even remember hearing of it,as such- but reading about it I think I've probably heard mention of it but confused it with the Whitefriar Street church, which I do recall visiting often. It's, no doubt, the equivalent of St Patrick's, Sydney(Marists) and St Francis, Melbourne(Blessed Sacrament Fathers) both of which probably get larger numbers on weekdays than any other churches in their dioceses. We don't have one like that in Perth, in terms of large numbers of masses, confessions etc

    1. It's just off Grafton Street and it has daily evening Mass, that accounts for its popularity. Always a queue for confessions. It's also run by the Discalced Carmelites, like Whitefriar street. I don't particularly like the church, even though it's as "old-fashioned' as you could wish, apart from some modernistic stained glass. It's very "heavy" and I find it a bit overwhelming. I do like the sensation of coming out of Mass into a busy city street.

  6. P.S. Thanks for the photograph and scanned newspaper letter, I'm not able to reply to that email address but I appreciate the effort.

  7. Don't expect an answer, it's from the phone... Although it's surprising nowadays that you can be untraceable! Saw Mr Buck's first talk, strange to say: To my ears he sounds quite Irish

  8. Meant to say.... You mentioned walking ' into a busy city street'etc... By an accident of history, the church with the most prime position in Perth central business district is a Congregational church, officially a ' Uniting Church'(they amalgamated with the Methodists and Presbyterians in Australia decades ago). They open it about lunchtime, and the odd person seems to wander in. Not a huge amount, unless there's a set ceremony on.
    And occasionally use unusual outdoor notices to attract attention: Once they had a poster of stormtroopers to advertise Bible study