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Everything’s Gone Green

       If you’ve got March 17th marked on your calendar with a green shamrock you might be drunk by Noon. I’m not implying there is anything wrong with being drunk by Noon on a Monday. I mean if you’re Irish, I’m sure you have every right to reinforce the negative stereotype of your people.

         St. Patrick’s Day was originally created as a Catholic holiday, and March 17th lands in the middle of Lent. To American Catholics who are self-sacrificing during those 40 days, St. Patrick’s Day is a “spring break-like timeout.” It’s last call and you’ve got 10 minutes to get wasted before Lent resumes.

        The Irish are loved in the U.S., and Americans tend to over-romanticize and exaggerate the roots of their Irish heritage in an effort to connect with something old and stable. The traditional American celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day is to drink a lot, eat boiled cabbage and corned beef, and pinch friends, family, and co-workers if they’re not wearing green.

      I don’t like wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day, or any other day in truth, and have been on the receiving end of a pinch or two in my life here in the Bay Area. Please don’t pinch me. I get angry when you pinch me…and in the words of David Banner, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

       Like many Brits, I barely tolerate Saint Patrick’s Day, and I know I might be inviting those annoying Riverdance folk to do their dance-kick-stepping on my balls, but I’m irritated by the amateurishness which accompanies the day.

      It isn’t anything to do with not letting Irish people have their fun; it is more to do with how Americans are SOLD what it means to be Irish. It’s the simplification and dumbing down of Saint Patrick’s Day that gets me. Stereotypical imagery of leprechauns and shamrocks accompany Guinness posters and fiddle music, as Americans swill domestic beer with green dye in it.

     It’s just all so twee and just reeks of condescension. It’s too “Darby O’Gill And The Little People” and not enough Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.

      Maybe I should lighten up. Perhaps I should try and embrace all the “lah-te-tah-te-tah” of the day. Laugh with it, as opposed to be irritated by it—yeah, why not?

       So to my Irish friends, my Irish-American friends, and “others” who claim to have a sliver of Irish in them, which allows them to wear a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” hat while saying things like: “Well, I was born in America, but my family is originally from County Cork.” I say to you: “Have fun tonight, and if per chance you find yourself in a brief moment of solitude staring at a portrait of James Joyce (inevitably hanging on the wall of the Irish pub you are packed into) in the middle of the drunkenness and the loud jig music, ask yourself this, don’t you think leprechauns would be a hell of a lot cooler if they looked like this?”

Drunken leprechaun seen here marauding through San Francisco at Noon.

© Copyright Matty Stone 2010