I read this set of stories by this Irishman called Michael Scott. quite decent enjoyable stuff with lots of history and mythology chucked in for good measure.
However, it got me thinking.
What is it about those Guiness drinking, potato eating, green wearing, rainbow chasing, English hating, begorrah shouting, St Patty worshiping bunch of leprechaun botherers that make them such smashing good authors??
Some of them are really bloody good. What is even more interesting (well mainly to jobless people like me) is that they are not restricted to any 1 particular field (unlike say the Comrades). The Irish are/were good in almost all fields.
poetry – Yeats
adventure stories to far away lands – Jonathan Swift
horror/supernatural – Bram Stroker
taking the piss – Oscar Wilde (one of the greatest piss takers the world has ever seen)
soul-crushing despair akin to watching paint dry – J M Synge
religious stuff – C S Lewis (though I still have no idea why he was against lip-stick; I mean I am against lipstick ads, esp in the middle of matches; but I just don’t give a damn about the product per se, why he was so indignant about it only he knows)
postmodernism la-di-dah stuff – Beckett (forever destined to be mistaken for that English archbishop)
killer and mutilator of ancient classics – Joyce
the 2nd most mis-quoted playwright/dramatist in English language (after William the Baldy Bard) – Congreve
founder of malapropism – Sheridan
the other play write and perennial late comer – Goldsmith
thrillers – Jack Higgins, Declan Hughes, Bateman, Alex Barclay, Declan Burke, Arlene Hunt et all
and then there is the guy who wrote (in his own words, “Die hard – with fairies”) and created the 3rd richest fictional character in history [http://www.forbes.com/lists/fictional15/2011/forbes-fictional-15.html] and a series 2nd only to Pottermania – Eoin Colfer.
and there is the guy who won both the Noble Prize [back when it meant something, before they completely fucking ruined it by giving Henry Kissinger the Peace Prize (more or less akin to giving me the Don Juan de Casanova award for Services towards Women’s Orgasms) and then by awarding Obama for being black] and the Academy Award – a certain George Bernard Shaw.
See the diversity?
Let’s look at the Comrades.
They have great legendary authors, no doubt. However, those vodka drinking, aristocrat killing, Mongol fearing, Rasputin obsessing, Gulag lovers have successfully and with complete and utter determination and confidence managed to churn out masterpieces with just 1 template –
Ch 1 – The suffering
Ch 2 – Oh the suffering
Ch 3 – Why so much suffering
Ch 4 – Is there no end to this suffering
Ch 5 – The misery
and so on an so forth
Never mind water-boarding or the Iron Maiden or the Brazen Bull or the Rack, get prisoners to read War and Peace or Brothers Karamazov or Doctor Zhivago or Anna Karenina and watch them confess in no time.
The only times the Russians go away from this template, they either end up with pedophilia – Lolita – or go complete bananas with the excitement and end up with cats, choir-masters, Mephistopheles, witches, Pontius Pilate and the world’s biggest masochist – Master and Margarita.
Let’s now look at the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys
The more or less continuous thrashings and subsequent and inevitable surrenders to the Romans, the Goths, The Huns, the Normans (or in other words their own expats), the Germans (repeatedly), the Italians and the Vietcong have given rise to a bunch of authors who more or less can’t see anything positive anywhere. They end up writing stories where everybody dies (exception being Count of Monte Christo where almost everybody dies)
On the other hand, the more or less continuous drinking of fine wine, eating of good food (and snails), keeping of mistresses and basically not working at all (35 hour workweek) have also shaped the psyche of at least one author so much that he (Jules Verne) managed to churn out stories where people travel around the world, or go to the moon or to the centre of the earth (and harass dinosaurs) or go off to fight krakens or solve awesome mysteries.
They have also managed to give rise to without a doubt the world’s most famous village – a small village surrounded by Roman camps.
I am not taking any of the philosophers into account because..well they are philosophers and thus not to be taken seriously at all…and anyway Camus was a goalkeeper, and we all know keepers are a little bit odd.
Let’s look at the Senors.
Those tapas eating, siesta loving, castanet clacking, flamenco dancing, bull-fighting, god fearing, India searching, ole shouting, constantly moaning and whining, Inquisitional, genocidal, perennial whipping boys of just about anybody and everybody (they couldn’t even win a civil war) have never managed to get around to the idea of joy and fun.
Being more or less mightily busy massacring ancient blood thirsty civilizations and getting their own arses handed over to them over and over and over again by the Romans, the Vandals, the Muslims, the British, Bonny etc have had such a profound effect on the collective psyche that they can’t even think beyond
Worries about the passing of time
Loss of confidence
I am not even considering those hemlock drinking, Alexander teaching, robe wearing, eureka shouting, Spartan/Persian hating, democracy (true democracy you know, for only the ones who matter, not for undesirables like slaves, poor people, and women) inventing, perennially fighting, Zeus and Poseidon fearing, “History” creating, theorem sprouting, Academy founding, Colossus building bearded omnisexual baldies.
Any lot who have within them the means of writing both the story of Odysseus as well as the story of that wanker Oedipus while creating western philosophy, history and geometry have to be left well alone….those buggers are dangerous, no ass is safe.
And finally, we come to the Hypochondriac Hypocrites
Compared to some of the other languages, written Bong is awfully wee….it is only about 600-700 hundred years old. And the first 500 hundred years of that time was spent on writing religious stuff. And then came the Britishers and a whole new world. And so came a whole new plethora of writers (Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Manik Bandyopadhyay, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay) and stories based on the template
Boy meets girl
Option A – boy falls in love with girl
they elope/get married
they starve to death
Option B – girl falls in love with boy
they elope/get married
they starve to death
Option C – boy falls in love with girl
girl does not reciprocate
boy goes bananas or drinks himself to death
everyone else starves to death
Option D – girl falls in love with boy
boy does not reciprocate
girl commits suicide or becomes a nun/female sadhu etc
and then everybody starves to death
Thankfully these atrocities were later redeemed.
Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay first moved away from the template and wrote some war stories.
Michael Madhusudhan Dutta wrote an epic poem
Saradindu Bandyopadhyay introduced the Bong people to one of the best detectives ever in any literature anywhere in the world
And then the Roy clan took over. Sukumar decided to take the piss off everybody everywhere, Lila Majumder wrote awesome kiddy stories and Satyajit redefined science-fiction, fantasy and mystery stories forever.
Sunil Gangopadhyay (mystery), Sirshedu Mukhopadhyay (comedy), Bimol Kar (mystery), Moti Nandi (awesome sports stories), Samaresh Basu (mystery) and Majumdar (mystery and adventure), Syed Mujtaba Siraj etc have further redeemed the Bong literature.
Though nowadays, it seems people are only writing about extra-marital affairs for some reason. So, its only a matter of time before the original template is readopted. SIGH.
Based on the fact that a little knowledge is a dangerous thingy and that I have no wish to look a fool in my own fucking blog, I am staying clear of German and Hindi/Urdu literature. I also have absolutely no fucking clue about Chinese, Japanese, Dravidian, Balkan, Portuguese, Scandinavian and Persian literature. And Arabian literature is beyond criticism after that awesome book of porn spanning 1001 nights. And I am not taking South American and African literature coz, well, all the good stuff (ye know the ancient tribal lores etc) is gone forever anyway. Fuck, sadly even their languages are dying. Its all in French, English or Spanish.
So I come back to the original question. What is it that makes the bloody Irish so much fun?