I like to re-use this post every St Patrick’s Day as one of my personal favorites. It has a new meaning this year, sadly.
Good people go to Heaven, but the Celts went everywhere. There isn’t a corner of the globe where you can’t find us if you look hard enough. Nations as far flung as Canada and Australia are largely Celtic in origin, and the majority of those Celts came from Ireland.
Our people have wandered the earth like almost no other, and for one day we all return home with the help of a hyphen. Many of us become Irish-Americans or Irish-Canadians on Saint Patrick’s day when any other day American or Canadian would be enough. We drink up well in pubs, cheer on the bagpipers, and think back to what our ancestors must have gone through to get us where we are.
As we revisit Barataria’s history approaching the Tenth Anniversary next month, this piece from nine years ago stands out. You can see that nothing happening now really surprises me, but it certainly does disappoint.
When I was young, I lived in a time and place where just about anything was possible. It’s amazing just how terrifying that prospect was.
Leading into the 10th Anniversary of Barataria in less than two months, I am re-running pieces from the first year. Some of these pieces, like this one, are more personal and introspective. I hope you enjoy it.
Why do we write? It’s a tough question. People put a lot of effort into blogs, but not too many of them are worth reading. Most of these will eventually cease to be amusing, stop being updated, and gradually dissolve as if there were never more than some kind of atmospheric turbulence. So why are they started in the first place?
This piece is actually from an old blog I had in 1999. This was before the current Depression, before the Millenium, and indeed before the word “blog” was commonly used. This is part of a retrospective heading into the tenth anniversary of Barataria this April. It is presented unchanged from 18 years ago.
Politics is often defined in America by an intense partisan struggle. The language used is one of division: red states versus blue, Fox versus NPR. Not only is most of this nonsense, it is actually dangerous.
Around the surprisingly excellent Superbowl we have the usual display of ads. It’s one of the features of the big event – and for some the main event. But what do these over-produced ads usually bring the advertisers who are spending $20M and more for a minute?
Most of them are here to “build the brand,” or improve the image of the company more than actually sell a product. Anyone who has been in marketing for any length of time will roll their eyes at the idea. It’s usually an excuse for the worst excesses of advertising, the small telenovelas which are really money pretty much down the drain. Targeted advertising, driven by “Big Data,” is what really sells products, after all.
Still, branding is an important exercise all around. People are willing to pay more for a product they feel good about – whether that is corporate responsibility, perception of quality, or a connection to a greater good. And brands are more than corporations sometimes – the value of a brand can also come in a tag that says “Made in USA” or any other nation.
The classic American road trip is a great experience for a lot of good reasons. More than the core of great novels and movies, it’s usually a journey of inner discovering and bonding and so much else all at once. At the core, however, is one undeniable lesson – this is a truly vast and amazing nation.
The best measure of how stuck in a rut this nation have become is how much that obvious fact has been forgotten. I promise you that the United States is bigger than you or I can ever possibly imagine. But to listen to today’s media or politics of any kind you’d swear that this nation is weak, fragile, and small.
We need a road trip. Short of that, let’s take one in our minds.
As we prepare to inaugurate our nation’s second genuine psychopathic president, Andrew Jackson being the first, it’s better to look back on happy times. Back in 2009 Barataria was celebrating by … well, strangely looking forward to something like today. Judge for yourself.
During the many lulls in inaugural coverage, CNN knew what would dazzle ‘em. They had their satellite image of everyone standing around in the cold waiting for The Moment – the time when Obama would formally be worn in. Huddled around giant screens you could see the black specs, which the CNN crew dutifully told us “look just like ants!” Yes, from a distance, we are small, but doesn’t that miss the point just a little? It seems to me that when the great Wheel of History appears to be turning, we have one day where we should not be focusing on where we are on the rim, but on the progress of the great Wheel itself.
That’s why I started rummaging though all the ancient texts in my library.