A Big Con?

A little later than intended but still a useful antidote to the party politics (possibly), a characteristically spiky interview with The Guardian has Roddy Doyle following on from his ‘blasphemous’ view that Joyce “needed a good editor” and kicking hard against the stereotyping, and self-mythologizing, of the Irish people.After all, who, if we’re being honest, isn’t flattered at the notion that we spring from, and into, a culture rich in musical and literary heritage and never mind how many truly great musicians from Ireland you can name, or that Joyce, Wilde and Shaw all left the suffocating Ireland they lived in.

Although Doyle acknowledges the vitality of the spoken word, and his awareness of that obviously contributes to his own writing, he also questions the motives of those behind the “selling ourselves as the land of the writing, singing, little people” and rails at conservative Ireland (of the present and his own past), the agonizing over increasing materialism and “whether the country has lost its way”. The real question, as he sees it, is “Why are there still children living in poverty? We now have money but it’s not filtering down.”

Is it all part of what is, as he says about “the myth of Dublin as a sexy place”, “a big con job”? And, if it is, are we just conning ourselves?