Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Diva Diving: Joan Walsh, Know THIS about the Black Irish

Joan Walsh, recently, has shown all the pejorative, thin-skinned and immature characteristics of the Professional Left, which indicate why people really should follow their words of "wisdom" at their own risks and, more importantly, why we should leave off even paying attention to these people in general.

To harken unto their word risks making us their lackeys. Rather, we need to follow the example of that brilliant, unnamed, working class hero, who called out Dylan Ratigan and Cenk Uygur for the liars and opportunists they are and, in doing so, sent their fat, rich, one percent asses waddling rapidly down Wall Street.


To me, this man is more of a hero and more of a symbol of the Occupy movement than the sinister, manipulative and arrogant Joe Diaz. Diaz claimed his moment of fame when he stopped a real American hero, Congressman John Lewis, from addressing the Occupy Atlanta gathering.

Our man on Wall Street, instead, unstuck the leeches of the Professional Left - the word "Left" being debatable in sincerity.

Recently, Joan Walsh took exception to a blog I'd written about her ambition to cast herself as "Everywoman" (with apologies to Chaka Khan) in an effort to deflect from an obvious problem she has with race and with people of colour in particular.

I don't know how long she's had this problem. Ta-Nehisi Coates has certainly been aware of her racism since 2008, so it's probably something about which she's been in denial all her adult life, if not before. It's really an attitude, and a lot of attitudes and prejudices are handed down generation by generation.

Old habits die hard. I live on the South Coast of England, thirty-five miles from France, and people here don't have a good word to say about the French and haven't done since the 1300s. And each time an Englishman travels by car through France, they almost invariably are niggled at some point by over-zealous gendarme on one of he autoroutes.

For the past five months, however, after making a major gaffe in a Twitter exchange with some African American bloggers, following a blatant lie referring to writer Ishmael Reed, which Walsh inserted in one of her most bitter rants against the President, and for which, she's refused either to acknowledge or to apologise, Joan's been desperately trying to show her relevance and how what she says matters, not only to Progressives, but also to people of colour. She comes across, needless to say, as full of shallow white privilege and condescension.

Reed relates the incident, himself:-

“I deeply resent people who insist that white progressives who criticize Obama are deluding themselves that they’re his ‘base,’ when his ‘base’ is actually not white progressives, but people of color. Ishmael Reed laid out this pernicious line in December, in the New York Times, after many progressives, of every race, criticized Obama’s tax cut compromise.”

This was’s Joan Walsh’s response to my Times Op-ed(12/12/10) in which I expressed my dismay about a few media progressives referring to themselves as President Obama’s base and voicing opposition to the president’s policies without mentioning that Obama had majority support among blacks and Hispanics, but no where in the Op-ed did I say that “people of color” were Obama’s base.

Moreover, the Republican party was threatening to halt the extension of unemployment benefits to thousands of workers unless the president went along with the tax cuts for their big business employers. Their Christmas gift to thousands of workers.

That took me back to a Christmas in 1966. I’d just received an advance for my first novel and sent some cash to my parents. Unbeknownst to me , my step father’s union was on strike and he’d been laid off. They didn’t have the cash to buy my brothers and sisters gifts and so the cash that I sent helped. My mother said that after the money arrived, she found my step father on the steps. He was weeping. I’d never known him to weep.

Wealthy white progressive women like those who recently interrupted president’s speech over the harsh conditions accorded Bradley Manning have the bread to by Christmas gifts. (Not a peep from these wealthy donors about the horrendous conditions that thousands of blacks and Hispanics live under in California where conditions are so bad that a book about California prisons is called “The Golden Gulag.” The prison hospitals are so horrid that the Federal government took them over. Gov. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger fought the takeover of prison hospitals that one writer described as a form of torture.)

Some of the 574 who responded to Ms. Walsh’s article, “Wisconsin, Obama and the Democrats’ Future,” Salon, April 5,2011, chided Ms. Walsh for neglecting to provide a link to my Times’ Op-ed so that readers could judge for themselves about whether I had called “people of color” Obama’s base.

To add credence to the point he was making, Reed included a comment made to Walsh's blog in question, entitled "Wisconsin, Obama and the Democrats' Future," written in sheer reaction to the disappointment Walsh felt that the President intended to seek a second term.

The comment, to which Reed referred, was made by a reader called Oblomova (the bold script is my own):-

Hack Work

Joan, I’m curious as to why you failed to include a link to Ishmael Reed’s New York Times piece, even though that seems to be the source of much of your angst on "who’s the base?"

Maybe, just maybe, it’s because Reed never ONCE said what you claimed — that Obama’s base is "actually not white progressives, but people of color."

What Reed ACTUALLY wrote: "When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama’s base, all they see is themselves. They ignore polls showing steadfast support for the president among blacks and Latinos." That quite explicitly does NOT say that "only African Americans are the base."

I’ve included the link to Reed’s piece so anyone still reading this can read it for themselves and determine whether you gave Reed a fair reading, or whether you engaged in self-pitying demagogic hackery.

I believe Mr. Reed and the readers of Salon deserve an apology for your vicious (or should that be "pernicious?") and deliberate misreading of his words. Of course, that might get in the way of the "But I’M the Victim!" narrative you’re spinning here.

The word "victim" literally jumps from the page here, because - in addition to lying (evidence of which we have above), Joan is also adept at twisting a situation to the point where it's all about poor, pitiful Joan, who then presents herself as the ultimate victim. In fact, she does this so much so, that she reminds me of a favourite toy I had as a child, the Poor, Pitiful Pearl doll, who came dressed in rags, but also who had a party dress as well, the idea being if you showed Pearl some love and dressed her up in her party togs, she became well-behaved and beautiful.

And this is the problem Joan and all her Professional Left friends are having at the moment. They're not receiving what they reckon to be their fair share of love, respect and attention. Oh, they got that well enough when Bush was in the White House; they served as a rallying point and gave public vent to a lot of just concerns people on the Left shared. They were happy to do so, especially when they or their sites received gushing accolades from the grateful public, acknowledging a particular celebrity talking head as "their voice."

But during the past three years - and especially since the Midterm debacle - more and more of this public are beginning to see the constant criticism, carping and catterwauling surrounding this President's every word and action - and his every word and action is never enough for the political pundits of the Left - as not constructive in any way at all. Quite the contrary, it was bloody undermining.

To be fair to Joan Walsh, she restrained from any overt and wanton criticism until after the President had announced that he planned to run for a second term. For some reason, that seemed to enrage her.

But also, since the Twitter race war, Joan seems intent on proving that her ethic demographic, the Irish, suffered equivalent to the suffering and misery endured by African Americans. To this end, she began referring to her demographic as "the black Irish," supplying a story told by her father that the odd black-haired, dark-eyed Irish person was a descendent of Moorish (North African) sailors intermarrying with the Celtic race. So you see, not only did Joan have black friends, she was black, herself. She even took to referring to the Nativists who morphed into the "Know-Nothing" party as "white Nativists."

Go figure.

That was the story Joan heard about "the black Irish" from her father; but I had heard a different one from my grandmother, who happened to be English.

Yes, I know there's scant love lost between the Irish and the English, historically. The Irish were treated abysmally by their English landlords, which was the reason many fled to the United States in the 19th Century; but then most of "the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe" who showed up on these shores back then were pretty much considered to be the shit of their respective societies; and once they arrived, they became cheap labour for the emerging industrialists and cannon fodder for wealthy men too busy making money to fight in a Civil War, like Teddy Roosevelt's father.

They had been the lowest of the low, from whence they'd come, but there was someone lower on the ladder than they when they arrived - and that was the black man, be he slave or free.

Immigrant labour worked cheap, but the freed slave, heading North for work opportunities, worked cheaper; and they became a source of resentment for German and Irish immigrants in the work force, according to Doris Kearns Goodwin in her mastepiece Team of Rivals.

However, as the years passed, the Irish became a stalwart and accepted part of society. They went into politics and founded the corrupt political machine Tammany Hall, which ran New York City, and which was first fought and they embraced by Franklin Roosevelt. They were the backbone of the police force and fire brigades; and there was always a simmering animosity between the descendents of Northern European immigrants and, not only the African American community, but also descendents of Southern European immigrants as well.

Joan wants to remember the white backlash riots of Newark, Philadelphia, and Detroit, in reaction to implementing sections of the Civil Rights' Act of 1963. She wants to remember the Boston de-segregation riots and its principle participant, Louise "You Know What I Stand For" Day Hicks. Perhaps her bumchum Charlie "Must-Diss-Obama-Racially" Pierce would apprise her of that situation, considering that his parents ensconced him safely in an all-white all-Catholic male high school to avoid the catastrophe of sending widdle Charlie to school with black children.

The story told to me by my grandmother about the "black Irish" was told from the perspective of an Edwardian lady of property and was the standard line told about the Irish seeking work in England at that time.

It was as wrong and incorrect as the romantic Othello-Desdemona-like fable Joan's father told her.

Here is what the Ireland Information website has to say about the term, and I would take their rendering as solid FACT(again, the bold is my own):-

The term 'Black Irish' has commonly been in circulation among Irish emigrants and their descendants for centuries. As a subject of historical discussion the subject is almost never referred to in Ireland. There are a number of different claims as to the origin of the term, none of which are possible to prove or disprove.

'Black Irish' is often a description of people of Irish origin who had dark features, black hair, dark complexion and eyes.

A quick review of Irish history reveals that the island was subject to a number of influxes of foreign people. The Celts arrived on the island about the year 500 B.C. Whether or not this was an actual invasion or rather a more gradual migration and assimilation of their culture by the natives is open to conjecture, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that this later explanation is more likely. The next great influx came from Northern Europe with Viking raids occurring as early as 795 A.D. The defeat of the Vikings at the Battle of Clontarf in the year 1014 by Brian Boru marked the end of the struggle with the invaders and saw the subsequent integration of the Vikings into Irish society. The migrants became 'Gaelicized' and formed septs (a kind of clan) along Gaelic lines.

The Norman invasions of 1170 and 1172 led by Strongbow saw yet another wave of immigrants settle in the country, many of whom fiercely resisted English dominance of the island in the centuries that followed. The Plantation of Ulster in the seventeenth century saw the arrival of English and Scottish colonists in Ulster after the 'Flight of the Earls'.

Each of these immigrant groups had their own physical characteristics and all, with the exception of the Ulster Planters, assimilated to some degree into Irish society, many claiming to be 'more Irish than the Irish themselves!'

The Vikings were often referred to as the 'dark invaders' or 'black foreigners'. The Gaelic word for foreigner is 'gall' and for black (or dark) is 'dubh'. Many of the invaders families took Gaelic names that utilised these two descriptive words. The name Doyle is in Irish 'O'Dubhghaill' which literally means 'dark foreigner' which reveals their heritage as an invading force with dark intentions. The name Gallagher is 'O Gallchobhair' which translates as 'foreign help'. The traditional image of Vikings is of pale-skinned blond-haired invaders but their description as 'dark foreigners' may lead us to conclude that their memory in folklore does not just depend on their physical description.

The Normans were invited into Ireland by Dermot McMurrough and were led by the famous Strongbow. Normans are ultimately of French origin where black haired people are not uncommon. As with the Vikings these were viewed as a people of 'dark intentions' who ultimately colonised much of the Eastern part of the country and several larger towns. Many families however integrated into Gaelic society and changed their Norman name to Gaelic and then Anglo equivalents: the Powers, the Fitzpatricks, Fitzgeralds, Devereuxs, Redmonds.

It is possible that the term 'Black Irish' may have referred to some of these immigrant groups as a way of distinguishing them from the 'Gaels', the people of ultimately Celtic origin.

Another theory of the origin of the term 'Black Irish' is that these people were descendants of Spanish traders who settled in Ireland and even descendants of the few Spanish sailors who were washed up on the west coast of Ireland after the disaster that was the 'Spanish Armada' of 1588. It is claimed that the Spanish married into Irish society and created a new class of Irish who were immediately recognisable by their dark hair and complexion. There is little evidence to support this theory and it is unlikely that any significant number of Spanish soldiers would have survived long in the war-torn place that was sixteenth century Ireland. It is striking though how this tale is very similar to the ancient Irish legend of the Milesians who settled in Ireland having travelled from Spain.

The theory that the 'Black Irish' are descendants of any small foreign group that integrated with the Irish and survived, is unlikely. It seems more likely that 'Black Irish' is a descriptive term rather than an inherited characteristic that has been applied to various categories of Irish people over the centuries.


The term 'Black Irish' has also been applied to the descendants of Irish emigrants who settled in the West Indies. It was used in Ireland by Catholics in Ulster Province as a derogatory term to describe the Protestant Planters.

So there you have it. Joan needs to remember that the Celtic race encompasses more than just the Irish. The Scots are Celts. The Welsh are Celts. Northern France was Celtic, and so is the Northwest of Spain and Northern Portugal. It's what the "gal" derivative means. France was referred to as "Gaul" in ancient times. The Northwest of Spain is GALicia; PortuGAL. Wales is also a derivative. In every one of these areas, you encounter inhabitants with dark hair and fair skin. In point of fact, the most obvious "intermarriage" storyline would have to be the one concerning the Vikings. Norsemen, the ancestors of modern-day Norwegians and Danes were, like modern-day Norwegians and Danes, dark-haired. Jesus, you don't think Hamlet was referred to as "the dark and dismal Dane" because he looked like Bjorn from Abba, do you?

It would be interesting to know if Joan's ever made a contribution to the Noraid organisation, which sold itself in the United States as a charity helping the poor in the North and South of Ireland, but was really a money-laundering front for the IRA - the same IRA who were responsible for the Manchester bombings in the UK in the early 1990s, where two small boys were killed, or the Omagh bombings in 1998, which killed numerous people, or the Deal Barracks bombing, nearby where I live, which killed a number of teenaged bandsmen. Joan, of course, would know all about that, just as she would know that money from Noraid probably paid Col Gaddafi for the semtex purchased from the Libyans and used in bomb manufacture.

That's put paid to the Black Irish story, but it still gives Joan Walsh no right either to question my Progressive politics, to label me as divisive or to imply that I am racist in anyway, simply to deflect from perceptions that have been unearthed in her behaviour towards people of colour. It also does not give her any right or reason to smear other Pragmatic Progressive bloggers by linking anything I say to any of their opinions. That is vicious, vindictive and downright mean. In fact, to use a word employed by Joan's "professional friend", Dr Melissa Harris-Perry, it's insidious.

It further doesn't give her any right to deride my intelligence or my mental state or the intelligence or mental state of any ordinary person disagreeing with Walsh's point of view. That's disrespectful and rude - and those traits are the results of the way in which a person was raised.

Just like the unsung and unnamed hero who chased Cenk and Dylan Ratigan from the protests on Wall Street, I am calling Walsh for the liar and fraud that she is - for her obvious racism, for her vacuity as an interviewer in allowing a potential anarchist to deliver his message that voting matters not in society today, I am calling her a disengenuous liar for subtly pushing the newest and darkest meme from the Professional Left - the "Ron-Paul-or-Don't-Vote" agenda. Far, far too many of the Professional Left, with the exception of Chris Matthews are vicariously inserting this and that positive about Ron Paul as a viable Republican candidate who could unite the ueber Left with the Right - forget the centrists, as they're all the biggest problem anyway. Ne'mind that Paul's preaching a doctrine of Property Rights, which is a euphemism for Jim Crow. Otherwise, if Paul's not about, it's simply not worth voting. This idea has evolved from the infamous "Wisconsin" blog, where Walsh exhorts all her would-be dittoes to expend all their energy in getting local candidates elected and don't bother about Obama.

Finally, I'm calling her out for her total cluelessness - for being the only so-called journalist to actually validate Andrew Breitbart during Weinergate and to make Rick Warren look like a reasonable and principled individual when she wantonly inserted her unsolicited opinion in a Twitter conversation Warren was having with another member of the Pragmative Progressives,in whom Joan takes an almost paranoid interest.

She is the very embodiment of everything that's bad about the Professional Left - six figured salaried egos desperately trying to be on the cusp of fashionable politics and rhetoric, knowing that if this President fails, they'll still have their lifestyles and their tax cuts. (Sorry, Joan, your claim that MSNBC doesn't pay you for your thrice-weekly appearances is total and utter bullshit. You have the title "Political Contributor" the same as your nemesis, Pat Buchanan).

Except that Buchanan actually happens to know something about politics, the political process and how the system works. One of Joan's latest Salon articles is a hitpiece on Pat Buchanan's antiquated attitudes, especially his notions about race.

To say Pat Buchanan is a racist would be expressing a statement of fact, but in her previous blog, not only did Joan manage to whine about the pushback she received for playing verbal softball with a dilettante like Diaz, she also managed to present Bill Clinton as heroic, despite the fact that his repeal of Glass Steagall did a lot towards contributing to the latest economic malaise in the United States, she also got in a swipe at the President, by referring to him as our "half-white corporatist centrist President," a phrase, which, eliminating the centrist element, easily could have been spewed from the mouths of Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin.

Revising history ... making borderline racist remarks ... how does that make Joan any better or even fit to sit in judgement of Pat Buchanan?

Joan is Pat Buchanan.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your continuing take down of the racist underpinnings of the pseudo-Left including the former libertarian/rightwing newly minted PL brigade.

    A commenter at The Obama Diary identifies 'Our man on Wall Street' and shares some of the man's tweets:

    October 23, 2011 at 12:40 am
    Kenny Mack, Kenny Mack, Kenny Mack!

    The guy who called out the twin frauds, Cenk and Ratigan, on camera is on a fire on Twitter. Thank you Kenny Mack.

    “KennyMack1 Kenny Mack
    @VeridianPatch How, exactly, would repealing the Affordable Care Act create new jobs? Please explain, you’ve got 140 characters…”

    “KennyMack1 Kenny Mack
    @lightgraphs Dr. West & Tavis Smiley are engaging in poverty porn w/their tour. And I called them on it on the Pat Morrision show last week.”

    KennyMack1 Kenny Mack
    “Every American deserves an explanation…why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs” Pres. Obama!/KennyMack1