Most people who go out and get blind drunk on St. Patrick’s Day aren’t doing it to insult the Irish any more than they’re insulting Mexicans on Cinco de Mayo or Cajuns on Mardi Gras. People will seize upon any excuse to get drunk. These are merely drinking holidays in the US. Very few people who wake up caked in their own vomit after Fat Tuesday head to church on Ash Wednesday. Likewise, the people drowning in tequila on May 5th know very little about the Battle of Puebla. How many St. Patrick’s Day celebrants even know that he was from England?
Why not start celebrating more appropriate drinking holidays? I suggest “End of Prohibition Day” on Dec. 5 (1933) or “W. C. Fields’s Birthday” on Jan. 29 (1880). Let the hipster bars stay open all night on March 28 to observe the birthday of Captain Frederick Pabst (1836).
I wish drinking wasn’t such a staple of Irish culture. I also wish I was a billionaire and that Riverdance never happened.
If we don’t want people to think that Irish = drunk, it’s up to the Irish to chip away at the reputation we’ve earned. The only thing less appealing than the Irish embracing their worst stereotypes would be if they shrouded themselves in the cloak of a victimized minority endlessly seeking appeasement. Drunk or sober, the Irish should be above that.
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