Yesterday I noticed a tweet from RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan referencing an article in the UK Indepedent about Chris Evan’s recent historic car purchase. Mr. Evans purchased the 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of only 36 built. The car was formerly owned by the actor James Coburn and was driven by Steve McQueen. Evans bought immaculate condition, full service history and association with 2 of the “coolest” hollywood stars of a bygone era. You pays your money and takes your choice, as they say. Most of all though, Evans bought art.
While flicking through the fantastically inane RTE list of Greatest Irish People, I was struck by how the lack of scientists, engineers and the inclusion of minor celebs and flash in the pan types such as Louis Walsh & Colin Farrell. No disrespect to either of them, the have to share a list with Joe Dolan 🙂
Did they round up people to vote based on cluelessness? This list has to be a joke. Can nobody in Montrose see it?
With my Waterfordian chip firmly weighing my shoulder down I also noticed that two obvious omissions from the list are Ireland’s only scientific Nobel Prize Winner, E.T.S. Walton, and Robert Boyle also known as the “Father of Chemistry”.
To that we’ll add John Palliser (a hero in Canada), Thomas Francis Meagher (designer of the Irish flag) and Luke Wadding (who started the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations). You can take your “Greatest Irish Person” list and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine RTE, we’ve got our own! 🙂
In all seriousness, it’s disturbing how little knowledge the list compilers had (apparently the general public) of Irish scientists, economists, engineers or indeed anyone not obvious or tabloid. If they’d been able to Google they could have found this list of famous Irish people on wikipedia. Although, admittedly that list applies the same selection criteria as Jack Charlton, who could have made the list himself. Still, its science list includes Irish born scientists such as John Desmond Bernal (X-Ray Crystollography) and John L Synge (major contribution to Black Hole research).
William Reville has a nice article about our Scientific heritage at his Understanding Science page
I think it’s quite funny that Rage Against The Machine’s 1992 swear-fest Killing in the Name is number one in the UK for christmas but the circumstances of it getting there are all a bit juvenile. Maybe that’s the point.
I’m sure some people will be hugely offended by the content of the song. There’s always someone just waiting to be offended at what they see as the erosion of the moral fabric of society. It’s all bullshit of course. Society is perhaps more moral now than it was, say, 100 years ago but there’s a generation that find open discussions of sexuality, violence, corruption etc. to be unsettling. They’d prefer it all swept under the carpet. However, “Killing in the Name” is not just random anarcho-punk. RATM aren’t Blink 182. It’s a serious song about police racism (particularly membership of the klan) in some states of the USA. It’s also about senseless wars initiated for corporate reasons by corrupt governments. In many respects Killing in the Name is a song about the Republican Party’s close relationship with the industrial-military complex in the US. The famous refrain with it’s 17 expletives is about questioning authority figures in whatever form they take.
It’s not the first protest song to become a Christmas hit. John Lennon’s “Happy XMAS (War is Over)” reached #4 in 1972 and #3 in 1980. I’m pretty sure it’s the first anti-war song to reach number 1 as a protest against the plastic pop of XFactor and other “idol” tv shows. The ShiteFactor crew outdid themselves this Christmas with sweetly plastic Joe McElderry covering a sickly sweet song from US plastic girl Miley Cyrus who pretends to be the super-fake Hannah Montana when told by her bosses as the plastic factory known as Disney. This is the least bio-degradable track of all time. How much frigging inauthenticity can they cram into one friggin song? I’m sure the folks from Guiness World Records were invited to the recording session.
Every time R puts on X-Factor I think of Bill Hicks advertising sketch. Looked at objectively much of these competitions consist of cruel exploitation of delusional/mentally-disturbed people for the purposes of entertainment. Still, we’ve advanced in the morality stakes by not actually feeding them to lions afterwards.
I’m hopeful that when people buy the RATM single they’ll listen to all the lyrics and not just the “fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” refrain and realise that in the true spirit of anarchy they can apply this not just to crafty Simon Cowell but also to the government, banks, religions, secular religions (ya know what I mean), the EU and all manufacturers of dairy produce. It’s metaphorical ya see 🙂 It’s a song about standing up to injustice and hypocrites.
If this happens then I frankly couldn’t give a damn how much money Sony make out of this. Although it bothers Brian Boyd in the Irish Times for some reason I’m not entirely clear about even having read this article. Amusingly enough the quaintly insular Irish Times describe RATM as “little known American punk metal band” in today’s paper. They’ve since edited this from the online version so someone must have explained to them that RATM are better known than the Irish Times itself.
Anyway, happy holidays!