I almost got distracted from working my yearly post around this picture of Mr. EW and I in Moneygall, taken back in 2008 when Brian Cowen was about to become Ireland’s Taoiseach and Barack O’Bama was about to officially get enough delegates to win the Democratic nomination to be President.
But this very worthwhile Adam Serwer post reminded me:
President Obama has officially declared March 2011 Irish American Heritage Month. More importantly the White House also announced that the president would be brewing his own beer called White House Honey Ale for St.Patrick’ Day.
Obama, who said he will pay for the beer making equipment himself, has made presidential history by being the first U.S. president to brew beer at the White House.
It seems that Obama is certainly getting in touch with his Co. Offaly, roots although no one is sure if honey ale is brewed in the town of Moneygall (Obama’s great-great-great grandfather is said to have left Offaly for New York in 1850).
I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up raised by his Irish-American mother, his view of the Brits, for example, is very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits–the bust of Winston Churchill–it was a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Dublin with an Irish mother and grandfather, their view of the Irish Republican Army is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.
Now, back in 2008 when we were wide-eyed idealists, I found it notable that both Cowen and Obama were making a big career move at the same time. Both of them, you see, are Offaly men (just like Mr. EW, I have to admit), what the Irish affectionately call “Big Ignorant Fuckers from Offaly.” So at that point, I imagined there was some special Luck of the BIFFO, which would put them both in good stead as they moved forward to lead their country.
But it turns out that’s not what these two rising national BIFFO leaders had in common. Unfortunately, it seems, it was a fondness for banksters.
Rather than make honey ale (!?), I’ve been corning beef for the last 10 days, which my own beloved BIFFO and I will enjoy with some Guinness. May your Guinness and corned beef bring you the luck of the Irish in the year ahead.