Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Going on holiday y'all. I'll be gone for a few days into the land of sketchy internet connections. Hope to come back with some sweet foothill Fall color to share.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, Americans! And to all y'all non-Americans -- may you also eat, drink, and be thankful and merry as well.

What a good time to reflect on and appreciate all of the wonderful things about life, and also to remember to give generously of ourselves to our fellow human beings.

See you in a few!

NP: Tom Petty, 'American Girl'

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Blogger Mark said...

Every year I'm Thankful that all those puritan weirdoes p*ssed off to the colonies and left the U.K. in the hands of decent, liberal Anglicans.

November 25, 2007 at 2:50:00 PM PST  
Blogger saudade said...

Heehee! 'tis true, I can see y'all being thankful for the generosity of the UK in giving up those righteous bodies to the New World experiment. And so it began!

Yes, and I agree -- thank god you've got those Anglicans to keep the peace over there. ;)

Seriously though, I've always found it odd that the UK's history is so heavily steeped in religion, with so many violent state conflicts (well into the 20th century) amongst different denominations of Christianity, yet it does seem it is Americans who have the most trouble with keeping religion out of modern politics. I guess it really was those damn Puritans.

November 25, 2007 at 4:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

This is why no-one in politics on the mainland UK harps on about Christianity: because for an extended period it was life-or-death stuff, people burnt at the stake and all sorts. So at some point, after things settled down after The Glorious Revolution of 1688 (and yes, I use the phrase with my tongue firmly in cheek) it became seriously not cool to bring it up.

For starters, it still annoys me that The Battle Of The Boyne, the conclusion of T.G.R. (as I'll start calling this period, in the hopes that it catches on), is still seen in such reductive terms by both sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian divide. It was a decisive moment in European and world history, where it became pretty clear that the future was democratic and spoke English, rather than absolutist and spoke French. But over here - nope, it's just seen as Catholics versus Protestants.

Of course, the fall-out of The Glorious Revolution can still make peace here in good ole N.I. touch and go. Every summer I sit here with my fingers crossed, hoping that "The Parade Season" doesn't degenerate again into "the riot season". I hope Ireland can reach a point where we can view the past with the same level of detachment as the Brits some day.

And I can't believe what started as a little joke has turned into a meditation on Irish history. D'Oh!

November 26, 2007 at 11:04:00 AM PST  
Blogger saudade said...

Well I feel right ignorant, because I too fall into the category of labeling much of it "Catholics versus Protestants." Thanks for the mini history lesson, bolstered by my surfing of Wikipedia (grrr). And I love that a joke turned over a richer side.

Sadly, most of my knowledge on this comes from movies and historical fiction -- these events were only glanced on in my American public education, and I haven't taken the time to really grasp it in my free time since. But it's all so fascinating.

That said, I forge ahead with my narrow grasp on the lecture at hand: not giving anyone a crutch, but I still feel for the northernly folk because they were the most adversely affected by William's ascension to the throne. Catholics seem to have gotten it bad after T.G.R. (that is quite catchy!). It makes sense there would be bitterness and fallout. Not saying it's right -- especially now, after 400 years -- just acknowledging the continuous folly of humanity, I suppose.

November 26, 2007 at 11:40:00 AM PST  
Blogger saudade said...

Ummm, it hasn't quite been 400 years, but you get me.

November 26, 2007 at 11:44:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mark said...

Yeah. 400 years on and we're still dredging it up, still using it as an excuse. 400 years ago, the Catholics on the British mainland were getting it as rough as the Catholics in Ireland, and when it came, Catholic Emancipation was brought in on both islands simultaneously 300 years ago (these are bloody big numbers), but we (generally) don't see sectarian bullshit over there. And any there is, is in cities with large amounts of Irish immigrants (Glasgow, Liverpool).

Still, religion is just one factor. Add class struggle (the Protestant working class poor had always been manipulated into a sense of hegemony with the aristocratic landowner class who caused most of the resentment that caused the inevitable schisms, especially after the formation of the Orange Order specifically to quell the uprising of The United Irishmen - in my opinion, the best chance Ireland ever had for a proper shared future until 1998); and ethnic violence (one of the smartest takes on the troubles I ever read was in John Lydon's autobiography, when he correctly noted that the Troubles were largely between two tribes of Celts, the native Irish and the Scottish settlers planted here by Queen Elizabeth the First), and you have a 700 year-old powder-keg.

Or maybe we just have a special power for holding grudges.

November 27, 2007 at 12:29:00 PM PST  

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