A Wee Identity Problem

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 7, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

On March 6 an article appeared in the NY Times Science section about genetic similarity between the Irish and English. It prompted a number of indignant responses by Irish and Irish-American readers. Here are excerpts of some of the best:

“I suspect that the Oxford University researcher has suddenly discovered that we Irish (Celts) are held in high regard worldwide; that we are economically successful; that we are a happy people; that we were kind and welcoming to their rugby fans when they came to Croke Park, Dublin, even while we walloped their “unbeatable” team; that we are quite civilized despite what their historians tell them, so they want to be part of us. Too late! Too much water under the bridge!”

“The Irish, Scots and Welsh are suspicious that the pronouncement from the University of Oxford that they may be genetically related to the English is a thinly veiled attempt at social climbing by the English.”

“Wes Davis, in his quotations of Victorian English attitudes abut the Irish, might have added some remarks that the German Friedrich Engels made in his 1844 “Condition of the English Working Class.” Engels wrote that Irish poverty was primarily “owing to the character of the people, and to their historical development.” For Engels: “With the Irish, feeling and passion predominate. Their sensuous, excitable nature prevents reflection and quiet, persevering activity.” Of course Engels also described the terrible conditions among the Irish on either island. Still, I could go on quoting him about the “brutal habits” of the Irish…if my excitable nature did not get in the way.”

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