Mick takes the bait

· long story short

I realize I’m falling for a deliberate imitative “fallacy” when Nick Denton contrasts the Iraq/antisemitism storyline with one about drunken Irishmen. It reminds me of an EU chart in a late ’80s copy of the Economist I was reading for free on one of my first flights from New York to San Francisco. There were cute little ethnic stereotype cartoons labeling each of the lines on the graph. The one for Ireland was a moon-faced little leprechaun-looking guy hoisting a foamy pint.
If you trace back through my New York Republican roots you quickly hit Philadelphia Irish machine Democrats (and a bishop from Erie regarded as something of a matiné idol in his day) and I’m not unfamiliar with drink or unguarded antisemitism. There’s a strange mix of envy and spite as Irish-Catholic Americans privately compare the progress of two national projects: Ireland and Israel. The complaints about the disproportionate influence of the pro-Israel lobby mask (not very well) a sense of competitive disadvantage, an inferiority complex, not unlike the way antisemites here and in the middle east stereotypically seek out Jewish doctors or scientists when push comes to shove.
So I winced when I read about Moran, recognizing the surname as Irish (actually, of course, Anglicized Irish, as all familiar Irish names tend to be). And then I winced again when Denton made his crack about drunken Irishmen, designed I’m sure to get a rise out of people like me exactly, with my vague, somewhat imaginary sense of Irish nationality (mixed in with the German, Scottish, Welsh, English, Italian, Alsatian, and so on).