Note: This is a collection of wee tales about leprechauns, banshees and other flights of liberal fancy.
Ireland probably thought cultural suicide would bring it peace. But, having shuffled off this mortal coil, the Emerald Isle’s sleep of death is not going to be terribly restful. Eire has opened the Hellmouth of social liberalism. Even as Irish and international progressives are celebrating the newly minted right to snuff out babies in the womb, Broadly tells us that:
“Since 2015, the Gender Recognition Act has allowed Irish trans people to declare their gender freely, but the abortion bill currently specifies the word ‘woman.’ Activists from the Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) have expressed fears that the use of this word may prevent both trans men and non-binary people from accessing abortion.”
So now the government has to make sure dudes can have abortions too? Sure. Work through this with me:
Let’s say you used to be Mary Fitzpatrick, but you’ve decided to become Patrick Fitzmary. You call yourself a lad, but haven’t been O’Tooled yet, so you’re kind of a Fitznothing. Your partner, Bridget O’Neil (formerly Neil O’Bridget) wants to have a baby. Bridget still sports a shillelagh, and you still have your colleen parts, so a baby gets made.
So far, so weird. But then, being a fully woke and intersectional kind of fellow, you decide you want to exorcise your shiny new right to infanticide. You just might become the first Irish man to have an abortion. Take that, Catholic Church!
But there’s the rub – the law is for women, and your driver’s license says male. Your state ID says male. Even your hand towel says His. And what about your non-binary friend, Erin Fitzsomethings? What if ze wanted to be a surrogate for a gay couple, and abort their baby?
Should a word – a simple little word describing an artificial societal construct – stand in the way of your empowerment and self-actualization? No! There will be follow-up legislation, and maybe some lawsuits and, if everything goes right, some street demonstrations with rainbow flags and pasty-skinned Irish guys in leather diapers. And eventually, you Patrick Fitzmary, will have the right to abort the miracle child you’d conceived despite hoping to make it medically impossible to do so.
God preserve the Old Sod.
And now, more faerie stories ...
Quick Take: Story of his life until he found SnapChat. The FBI ignored Anthony Weiner’s laptop. That may have cost Hillary Clinton the election. – Slate.
Meteor to Destroy Earth; Women, Minorities Hardest Hit. Speaking of the Irish, my paternal grandmother, born in Cork to a farm family, came over in the 20s and settled in Brooklyn. Her husband, born on a farm in Mayo, emigrated around the same time, worked numerous jobs throughout the depression, tried his hand at owning a small grocery store, lost it and ended up working for the Post Office. She did clerical work at Kings County Hospital. In the meantime, they saved and sent two sons to college. (It was very much the same for my maternal grandparents – Tipperary and Dublin-born, with a 6th grade education between them.)
As a kid when we’d take my by-then widowed grandmother out to eat, I’d notice her scooping huge handfuls of after-dinner mints into her purse from the bowl on the hostess stand. In fact, that purse gathered things like a shark’s stomach – paper napkins, sugar packets, dinner rolls.
I was mystified by this behavior. She wasn’t poor – she wasn’t wealthy by any definition, but she didn’t lack for basics, at least not sugar packets. Yet upon her arrival at a familiar restaurant, the busboys' eyes narrowed to slits and they yet again counted the individually wrapped butter patties. One day my mother explained, “Grandma grew up poor, and she had to feed her family through the Depression and rationing during the war.”
She was a woman for whom the spector of penury was never far from her mind.
So it was interesting to learn that her condition now has a name coined by Smart Brothas founder and Editor-in-Chief Damon Young: “post-brokeness stress disorder.”
Except, that can’t be it, because Young seems to assert that PBSD only strikes black people:
“Even now, as I’ve evolved from ashy to nasty to classy enough to shop at Whole Foods instead of going there only for the free samples, I’m the sole person in my immediate family to experience such a change. This makes my new status even more surreal, as if I’m getting Punk’d, which is not an uncommon feeling among black people who’ve undergone similar financial changes.
“Hundreds of years of structural and intentional anti-black bias have left us with a race-based financial dichotomy so stark that the racial wealth gap looks like a typo. For every $100 in white family wealth, for instance, black families hold just $5.04. (Those four cents feel insulting. We couldn’t even get a full nickel?)”
I don’t know where my grandparents would have fallen in that comparison at the height of their earning power, but it couldn’t have been too much higher than the $5.04. The poverty they were born into in Ireland probably wouldn’t have been measurable on this scale.
But according to Young, “professional and financial success, for black people in America, is often a function of luck. We’re all susceptible to the same tsunami of racism.” Tsunami.
Everything in America is to some degree a function of luck. It’s also a function of determination, grit, perseverance, endurance, calculation and resourcefulness.
Poverty sucks and getting out of poverty comes with its own burdens and baggage. Unfortunately, plenty of people of all races live paycheck to paycheck or worse – there have always been people who do. And there have always been people who improved their lot or didn’t. Their race didn’t matter at all. But if you fear a “tsunami,” try stuffing the soup spoon in your purse.
Quick Take: You can have it all! Leah Remini Will Play Conservative, Middle-American Lesbian on Fox
Canada in the fall: come for the foliage, stay for Anti-capitalist performance art. Autumn is the season of anarchist book fairs in Canada. Sept. 8 is the first annual Halifax Anarchist Bookfair. Yes, Halifax. (Apparently, Ice Station Zebra is booked that weekend by the International Brotherhood of Zamboni Operators.) And get this – the fair isn’t taking place on lands stolen by the colonialist predecessors of Canada’s Trudeaian oppressors. It’s happening on pure, unspoiled, “unceded Mi’kmaqi territory.”
Why take time away from your important jobs growing weed, being rude to bookstore customers, smoking weed and writing on coffee cups?
“In a world teetering on the brink of disasters due to industrial capitalism, and experiencing the rising power of authoritarian populists and nationalism, we feel it is vitally important that anarchist gatherings take place. We must create spaces for ourselves to share our stories and ideas, connect our struggles, build our movements, and deepen our affinities, and lay plans for the trying times ahead. It is equally important for us to create openings at this juncture in history for the broader public to join us in our various struggles and to explore and meaningfully engage with the idea of doing away with coercive force, and building a world based on mutual aid, solidarity, and freedom for all.”
Create spaces, connect struggles, build movements, deepen affinities? These must be the worst anarchists ever. Maybe the anarchists on the other side of the continent are doing it right. The Victoria Anarchist Bookfair is Sept. 22 - 23 on unceded Lekwungen Territory in Victoria, British Columbia. What are they all about?
“We seek to challenge colonial attitudes, introduce anarchism to the public, foster dialogue between various political traditions, and create radical, inclusive, anti-oppressive spaces.”
Eh, sounds anarchic, a bit.
“The heart of the Bookfair is the main room including booksellers, distributors, independent presses and activist groups from all over BC, North America, and abroad. If you’d like to table this year, please provide a short description of your group and the materials you intend to distribute at the Bookfair.”
[record scratch] Who are they to demand a “short description?” They’re trying to control the information circulated at the Anarchist Bookfair! This calls for a protest. Get me a molotov cocktail! Where are the puppeteers ... ?
Matt Philbin is Managing Editor of MRC Culture.