How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss?

6 June 2006


When I came into work this morning there was a bio of Shane MacGowan on the desk. You know yer man from The Pogues and Fairytale of New York. Everyone’s favourite xmas song. So i figured I take a look at it. For the record it is London Irish Punk Life & Music … Shane MacGowan by Jim Merrick[1] But I couldn’t finish the first chapter.

See, being written by a non-Irish person for a non-Irish market there was a lot of explaining about Ireland in the 60’s. And the Famine of 1847[2] but I didn’t really object to that. I mean fair enough. Although calling your first chapter Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe Crack of Hurling Sticks is a little silly. It should’ve been The Clash of the Ash[3] if you were going to mention hurling at all. But never mind. What bothered me was not the “Ireland the green and unspoiled land of farming” type nostalgia[4] but the use of the term Eire. It makes me shudder[5] It isn’t so much the word itself, because after all “The name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland.” And if you are using Irish then I have no objection whatsoever to the term Éire. Or Eire. But if you are speaking English then the name of the state is Ireland.

Plain and simple.

But it is a stupid thing to annoy me. I mean, it’s just a word. And a perfectly valid word. But it bugs me. And will continue to bug me for all eternity[6] but you know what else bugs me?

The fact that I’m far too lazy to reread my posts, or even hit the spell check and so don’t spot stupid mistakes till after the fact. And then I’m often too lazy to hit edit and change them. For instance, today I spotted that I’d used right when I mean write. I mean that is just plain sloppy. Slopply I tells ya. But I didn’t change it. The connection is slow, and I’m lazy[7]

And to be honest it doesn’t really bother me when other people make mistakes in blogs, after all you make mistakes in conversation all the time and can’t go back and erase what someone heard. And to me a blog is more akin to a conversation than a real piece of writing.[8] So it doesn’t bother me. But I do mind seeing there instead of their in my own posts.

Not enough to change them ;) so maybe annoy is too strong a word. Still, from now on, whenever I see an error like that I’ll do my utmost to …. naw, I’ll probably still end up leaving it the way it is.

Linknotes:

  1. Green Man’s Review
  2. being that old might explain Shane’s teeth
  3. GAA.ie
  4. after all, I just said that nostalgia was brilliant, didn’t I?
  5. you know like when a fly lands on a horse and you see the skin twitch. yeah, say Eire to me and that’s what I’ll do. Only obviously not literally, cause I’m not a horse…
  6. I’m guessing. I may change my mind
  7. did I mention that before
  8. Unless you are using your blog to publish *worthy* stuff. Or are very serious

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14 Responses

  1. NineMoons says:

    Ditto on Eire. It makes my skin crawl. Like when an English person says "the Irish". Gargh.

  2. Alan says:

    I always refer to it as "the Republic" because I think of Ireland as being the whole island. When I was growing up the English telly always used to refer to the football team as Eire, but I haven't seen it referred to that way for a long time.

  3. NineMoons says:

    I only use "the Republic" if I'm trying to differentiate between Norn Iron and the rest of the place. As in "no, I don't come from the place with all the bombs, I'm from the Republic." *eye roll*

  4. Fence says:

    I don't mind the Irish. Mostly. Cause you might say the English too. Although generally sticking the The in means you are going to be derogatory I suppose. Otherwise you'd just say Irish people, or English people, or just plain people.

    Alan if I'm asked where I come from I'd say Ireland, Northern Ireland is the other bit. But if I was discussing the whole "situation" I'd use the Republic, NI and Ireland depending on what exactly I was talking about.

    I think I dislike Éire cause it is often used by certain segments to mean "the free state bastards"

  5. Kelly says:

    I have probably been offending you right and left. Gulp. Should I send you money?

  6. Ann says:

    "Hurling sticks" makes my teeth hurt…from the grinding, I imagine. that's pretty bad. I think I'll avoid that book too. Thanks for saving me annoyance.

  7. Fence says:

    Ann; See the rest of the book might be good, I can't tell. It's just the first chapter that made me want to chuck it across the room. and you are right, Hurling Sticks is terrible.

    Why Kelly, do you use Éire? I don't think I've seen you type it. But nevertheless, money is always welcome :)

  8. banzai cat says:

    Hey Fence, I do know what you mean about a simple word bugging you.

    In my country (the Philippines), we call ourselves Filipinos. However, whenever I read someone online trying to come up with a name for us, it's only logical that they base it on our country's name– hence, they call us Philipinos. Which, though admirable for their effort, is atrociously-sounding like nails-on-blackboard kind of thing

    So I think I can sympathize with you on your above point. ;)

  9. Fence says:

    Up until right now I think I'd have wavered between the two. But now and forever more I'll use Filippinos :)

  10. NineMoons says:

    Hey, I gmailed you. It's important. xxx

  11. dermo says:

    The term Eire was used by the Brits to describe "The Free State".We are a Republic since 1949 and one day the island of Ireland will be re-united as a free and independant nation.

  12. Fence says:

    Éire was also used by the Irish Dermo.

    And we may one day be re-united, but we already are a free and independent county.

  13. Harlequin says:

    What do you mean 'we', paleface? :-)

    Have you just signed up to something new that directs people to your old posts only? There's a lot of these random comments on centuries-old posts. I don't mind or owt, more a general kind of wonder…ment.

  14. Fence says:

    We as in me and them across the border.

    We as in everyone in the Republic.

    I've no idea why the older posts are getting comments, but sure tis all part of the fun