This was one of those weeks that The Wolfhound just could not decide who merited his first prestigious “Wolf Droppings” award. Sometimes, there’s just one idiot too many out there for a single winner.
So, Wolfie has had to split the award in half between two half-wits: New York Times employee Paul Krugman, the grand oracle of the U.S. economic scene, who has joined the out-of-tune chorus condemning Ireland to financial ruin; and elderly British outpatient David Starkey, a man who is both history and a historian.
Let’s start with Starkey, as his time is limited.
For some reason, Starkey is a very famous historian in England. Apparently, his pompous egghead style goes down well with some – probably his roomies back at "the applesauce home." His supporters see more than glue beneath his curly white hair, they see – wait for it – a brain.
Starkey got into trouble recently while in front of of BBC TV audience – whose members thought they would be seeing "Championship Wrestling" but actually were treated to a show compellingly named "Questions and Answers." During the borecast, Professor Starkey awoke for a moment to announce that Scotland, Wales and Ireland are "feeble little countries."
He was then asked if St. George's Day, which as you all know was yesterday, should be an English national holiday – as St. George is the patron saint of England and known for ... Right. Nobody knows.
Harrumphing into the overwhelmed microphone as the remaining audience ran down the fire ladders, the Professor replied: "If we decide to go down this route of an English national day, it will mean... (pausing 28 minutes to heighten the drama and to visit the gents' room) ...we have become a feeble little country, just like the Scots and the Welsh and the Irish."
What does he mean, “we will HAVE become a feeble little country?” But I digress.
Starkey, in the great English tradition of being a certified Upper-Class Twit, has so far refused to apologize.
This is by no means that first time that anti-Irish sentiment has been expressed on the BBC, which is an acronym for a civil-service agency. In 1997, a popular English soap (English SOAP? There’s another howler! But I digress…) called “EastEnders,” which had three episodes shot in Dublin.
It featured farm animals roaming the streets, and portrayed the Irish as drunken, dirty, ignorant louts in contrast to their English "betters." To this day, the good people of the U.S. farm town of Dublin, Ohio, are incensed they ever granted a filming permit for this hooey. The BBC will not comment on the city mixup, which it deemed "a feeble little mistake."
But even his own country cannot escape the all-seeing gaze through Starkey’s triple-bifocals.
"Once upon a time,” he drawled, as if reading "Snow White and the Seven Bears" to children, "England was a great country."
Well, he’s on to something there. The place is sure no bargain these days, and there must have been some time it wasn’t stuck in a dung ditch. And when he talks about bygone days, he’s on solid ground. After all, he was probably THERE.
Small wonder English blue bonnets like Starkey hanker back to yesteryear, when their "empire" ruled much of the world – including Ireland – and when they could easily bully smaller nations and oppress millions of people. And I’m not just talking about the way they smell.
Which, naturally, brings us to Krugman, another egghead, and our joint “Wolf Droppings" honoree.
In his Monday column in The New York Times, which, unlike IrishCentral.com, will soon be charging you to read its worthless online content – OUR worthless online content is totally free – Krugman said that the worst thing that could happen to the U.S. would be that it would turn Irish, which he says is the poster boy for the sick world economy.
He cites the property bubble, the tanking tax revenues, the ailing banks and a host of other factors that have indeed turned Ireland into the sick man of Europe.
He jumped on the merry-go-round that every two-bit economist in the world has, in an orgy of Irish-bashing. Krugman even sought out and finally won the support of the Putziler Prize committee, submitting a record 4,985,056 cereal boxtops to take home an award.
Now, I admit to a certain amount of respect for Krugman. As sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison in “The Odd Couple,” Paul “Jack” Krugman brought Wolfie quite a few good laughs. But even this comedic tour de force hardly qualifies him to talk about the world economy.
In fact, Wolfie thinks America would be privileged to turn Irish.
Interesting that nowhere in his column did he talk about the Irish people in ways other than statistics. That could be because he’s never met them, either as a writer or a sitcom star. Roommate Felix Unger was Jewish, and so was Murray the cop, I think. There MAY have been an occasional Irish guest star, like "Otis the drunk," but it was few and far-between.
But at least he should know a few pertinent things about Irish history.
Yup, things are bad right now in Ireland. But they've been a lot worse.
In the 1840s, millions of Irish starved to death in Europe’s worst 19th century genocide as the British stood by – probably watching "Questions and Answers."
But during the commercial break, Ireland recovered and defeated the British.
Not only that, they have endured and overcome more than almost any other nation on earth.
In the 1950s, the country had nothing and huge numbers of people emigrated. In the 1980s, the country was even more broke – and many more emigrated.
The Irish are used to adversity. And used to overcoming it.
A recession? This is a blip compared to some of the great tragedies of the past.
He doesn't mention for instance, Ireland's greatest success story – the creation of peace in the North.
In fact, Ireland was so successful in getting sworn enemies to lay down their weapons and talk to each other that the model is now being used around the world. As IrishCentral.com reported, a new initiative last week brought former fighters from Israel and Palestine to make peace with one another in Ireland.
And so, as poor "Oscar" shut down the comments section of his blog to stifle the legions of average people and above-average experts who resorted to irrelevant facts and figures in an attempt to discredit him, he became a contender in Wolfie's weekly competition.
Just as the truth was not with him when he penned (he cannot use a computer due to an ailment over which he has no control: stupidity) his anti-Ireland drivel, Professor Starkey stunned the morticians and came back to haunt the British airwaves, spewing out more stupidity than British soccer gangs, er, fans.
Sadly for onetime front-runner Krugman, he is now again part of an odd couple, sharing the limelight with the absent-brained Professor.