How Could this have.... actually.... happened?
Everyone ( a swarm of Facebook and Twitter bees ) is outraged about the Irish Famine just now.
Oh yes. The Great Famine. One million people starving to death when the potato crop failed?
And the English, the English Government, refusing to give the starving people the food taken from Irish land as a cash crop for english landlords?
The potato crop failed for three years running.
It would have been too costly to keep all those people alive.
Everyone knows this now on account of the TV series 'Victoria', wherein television Victoria, coming to that calamity in time, brings our modern values, our virtue signalling, to bear on the crisis.
A bit of remedial time travelling, as it were.
And what else could they have... Actually... Done?
The killer lines, sounding from the mouth of a stony faced English MP, came in the blunt proposal to let starvation do its job in correcting inconvenient overpopulation. As opposed to wholesale redirection of the fruits of peasant labour, to feed the starving people. A game of cheap labour, profit margins and famine by inaction, was all. A game of feckless peasants, over-breeding and failing to put a little by for bad years. You could take your pick, your preferred narrative.
Charismatic ( Unconscious) Bias
Why, I believe that Mr Kevin Myers had a similar argument about the flow of overseas aid to Africa. Moral Hazard for poor people, people breeding fecklessly, living of the milk and honey of overseas aid, fodder for famines when the famines come.
He showed a similar and energetic delight in blaming the victim on the subject of pay inequality for women. Let's see how that went. Oh yes.
The women, being less charismatic, less able, than the men, were paid less. The market place decided. A stranger then to the concept of unconscious bias, our Kevin...
But hey, they didn't have to off him, did they? He honed my thinking, sharpened my perspective on the subjects of women's rights, multiculturalism, gender bias with his jaudiced, choleric diatribes.
And once he wrote a most beautiful piece, in 2012 I think, about the glorious Autumn of that year, the collage of red to gold to bronze leaf drift, that year. God in the turning of the seasons.
Poor Harvey's (sorry) in a Safe Place ( purging and praying), People.
He, Kevin, might have been purged, redeemed, brought at the end of the lash to Political Correctness. Like Harvey Weinstein, who has taken himself off sharpish for therapy (in a safe environment) (ah bless). Safe from outraged judgements, the virtuous ire of the righteous, bringing current mindsets to bear on ancient sins.
Our outrage is exhausting, avenging, absolute. Never mind that the casting couch, the sexual preying on the hopeful young was a cliche, a joke, a fact of life for years and years before, even, the birth of Hollywood, celluloid, acting. It was the way of the world, the law of the jungle, the natural order of things.
Worthless Women/On the Couch
It was all that. The conviction that everwoman's shaking humiliation, her humiliated powerlessness as she lay herself down on the casting couch, was valid, real, legitimately felt, is very now. The understanding that it is not a question of being a good sport, being serious about your career, being copped on, being hysterical, is slowly settling still. The truth that we are being preyed on, abused by a man given all the cards, is shining clear at last.
How long has it taken women to catch hold of that truth, to unearth the unconscious bias of men and women. To nail the lie. Centuries, seasons, generations passing, to learn that essential thing.
Worms, Hooks, and Optics.
Weinstein is a canny man. He know about the optics, how to loop back in time and explain himself. So, like, that was then and this is now? he offers. I mean, why, wasn't he a victim too! Of those outdated notions obligating you to molest, to season the young. To message their ignorance, exploit their ambition. But now, ah now, he's (absolutely) having therapy, if we will only let him (slip) off the hook from which he hangs.
He dangles on the hook of time, caught on the turn, misfortunate Harvey. The neural pathways burgeoning in the minds of women, flowered in a narrative, a vision, a refusal, to be treated as meat.
And we're coming for the English, after!
You wonder what the English might be made to do, now they've been shamed on Social Media. About the Famine that is, and never mind Brexit. Luckily (for them) all those monstrous ministers from Peel's Tory Government are long dead. They can't be made pay. Or, um, can they? Well, yes in a way. The spectre of Compensation for the Irish People is rising fast, taking shape, I tell you! A grovelling apology may be on the cards here too.
Wait and see!
And poor penitent Weinstien will have to take one for the team of male sexual predators stretching back behind him, dead and gone, beyond the reach of outrage. Hmm.
"Yet another fine mess ye made, Mary!"
'So, yeah, one million dead... two million emigrated to America?"
The boss looks up from her google search and I loose the thread of 'Victoria' again, just as she, Victoria, is proposing to take herself over there to Ireland to find out what in Hell and Damnation was, actually, going on?
"Yeah. Yeah, we all used to know that. Every Irish school child used to know that?" I offer to her pained, considering face. (she has paused the TV show)
"Sure, the Irish people? they were taller, and, I mean, free and fluent in the Irish tongue? until the Famine..."
And so they were, we were told. That and a bunch of other stuff about the Easter Rising, 800 years of oppression by English colonisers, and being an island of all Saints and Scholars (no, really)
"Haven't you ever heard of the Wound of the Colonised, darling? The dark dysfunction behind our drinking, our sexual repression, the way we lost the Celtic Tiger?"
"No," she said calmly. "No I haven't. But don't you think it would have changed history, like. I mean if the English hadn't let the Irish people starve? And, I mean, all those tall, Irish speakers had lived among us keeping the language going, here and present, and never going to America at all?
Never, I mean, dying in the Coffin Ships, here with us, swelling the numbers, having our backs..."
Never adding Irish to the melting pot, the sky scraping buildings, the American police.
A Parallel universe, Yeah.
How everything would have been different, had the potato crop not failed, and failed, and failed.
So that now tall ghosts walk among us, nudge, murmur 'as gaelige', detonate little bombs, from time to time, least we forget the nature of human nature, forget who we are and what we are and where we came from.
All that preying on the young and pretty, sucking substance, joy and confidence from their precious core?
That was us, doing that people, not he or she, or bad people, us. Own it.
At least the young reach beyond us, always. Nothing is ever written in stone.