January 13, 2006

History Series

Video Meliora aims to be a full-service blog but often lacks the gravitas to add to the national conversation. To remedy this I'll begin a series of historical posts, the result of copious research spent in archives previously unexamined due to excessive dust (previous researchers had allergies that are now treatable thanks to modern drugs like Allegra.*)

Here is the first in the series:

A Short History of the Irish Race


After not finishing Seumas MacManus's classic "The Story of the Irish Race" it became obvious there was a need for a shorter history of Ireland. MacManus's opus spans over eight hundred pages, which no one with a life could possibly read. Iff possible, Eire's history should be condensed to a single post, and what follows is that 'umble attempt...


The Irish race began under the cloud of myth, though this would not be the first cloud Ireland would experience. We think that Cuchulain founded the nation at Maynooth on May 12, 2313 B.C., with the help of the Milesians and the Tuatha De Danann.

Pre-Industrial Revolution Ireland

Everything about the Irish can be deduced from the weather on this sainted isle, which consists of winter days of extremely short duration followed by summer days constantly threatened by rain. These facts - augmented by a British nation whose mission was to make Irish life miserable - have produced a national pessimism that has been alleviated only (albeit temporarily) by wars.

During the winters Ireland suffered from a nationwide seasonal affective disorder so severe that even wars were cancelled due to apathy and a craving for starchy foods. In the Time Before Fluorescent Lights the despair was so great that most people slept while it was dark and woke only when it was light. This was before the Industrial Revolution, after which the British outlawed sleep in order to keep the volume of English exports high.

Post-Industrial Revolution Ireland

The Irish coped during this period mostly by bumping serontonin levels, the chemical that makes the brain happy. This was done by upping carbohydrates in the form of alcohol, which was perfected in such a short time that it made the British suspicious. "If they are so good at inventing good beers and whiskeys then why can't they invent other stuff and grow more potatoes?" asked many a British prime minister.

Ireland also dealt with unfavorable conditions by creating great works of art, primarily in the areas of storytelling and poetry. There are few Irish artists on canvas because every time someone set up their easel to paint a landscape it would begin to rain, and the rain mixed with the oil and canvas and ruined it. And so to compensate they imagined in words what they couldn't produce in paint. But far more importantly the fiddle could be played in wet weather, so Ireland became a land of great music, giving the world tunes such as "Finnegan's Wake" and "Risin' of the Moon".

In 1916 the bulk of the British yoke was thrown off and the southern counties became the Republic of Ireland. Yet in the late 1970s a bill was passed by the Irish Parliament declaring that Ireland ought to become just like any other Western nation, and by 2000 this was achieved with the help of the European Union and a growing economy.
* - Full disclosure: I was compensated for this endorsement.


Exhibit from "Hall of Great Irish Inventions"

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