It’s Malachi’s fault

“ Michael, Richard and Dan are the only newly ordained priests for Dublin’s million-plus Catholics”.
Its not exactly news but it’s written up in the usual limpid McKittrick style of letting the story tell itself which requires far more skill than you might think. (Note the avoidance of redundant value judgments.) It sounds as if another journalist for whom value judgments are meat and drink, Malachi O’Doherty, is partly to blame for a revival of this touchy subject, as his latest book “Empty Pulpits” is about to published, see credit from David. Malachi gave himself a plug somewhere in the tangles of Turgon’s bookish thread earlier this month but not a word yet in his own sparse-ish blog. Lucky boy Malachi, he prefers to write for payment. According to the only blurb I’ve seen about it so far, for North Down’s Irish literature festival:

” In “Empty Pulpits”, “author Malachi O’Doherty argues that our Irish experience has news for the fundamentalists, who think nothing ever changes — but also for the hard atheists, who don’t understand religious culture from the inside. Ireland is on the cusp between faith and atheism, free now to think freshly about both.” That should get the sluggerees going.

  • Rory

    Well, Brian (if I may be so bold), the first response must be, “Miaow – you bitch!”

    I shouldn’t be surprised to see this blog gracing either of the pages of the Street of Shame or the Literary Review columns of a fortnightly London magazine which shall be nameless – for the moment.

    Well done – fame at last! Or, at least, the possibility thereof.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “Quick everybody! Turn on the news. A second plane has just hit the south tower!”

  • Brian Walker

    Rory. No irony intended. Sluggerees just love this theme – you can hardly have failed to notice. Bill-joe and others in the same vein – when are you going to publish then? Send us your list.

  • Well, I accept the rebuke about my own blog being sparse and will put that right in the coming days.
    ‘prefers to write for payment’ – true, though I often write for nothing, as in Fortnight and in my contributions to other blogs like this, sometimes under my own name and sometimes under a pseudonymn. And those who think there is big money in writing articles and talks should wonder why so few leave other professions to reap the riches of freelance comment journalism.
    Nor is there money in writing books proportionate to the work that goes into them. The motivation is much the same as the blog writer’s – the will to be heard and the addiction to verbosity and articulation; and writing being a good way of ordering your own thinking – you sometimes learn what you think by writing it. And vanity. And just preferring to do something you do better than you build walls or fix cars or manage accounts or grasp computer technology or law.

    The reason there has been little written about the next book is that it is not in the shops yet. The publisher, Gill and Macmillan, has a marketing strategy and, as part of it, I’m to try and stay off the subject until the book is out.

    There will be a launch in the Bookshop at Queens on Sep 23rd and a free glass of wine for any sluggerees who turn up. They won’t even have to buy the book and really shouldn’t if they are so confident that it contains nothing they haven’t heard before.

  • roger

    Yawn !!!

  • Dewi

    “limpid McKittrick style” strange phrase – is it supposed to be insulting?

  • Rory

    At the very least Brian and Malachi have raised the vital issue of payment in return for the written expression of one’s creativity. The only worthy champion of similar rights in contermporary art of which I am aware is that renowmed thespian, Count Arthur Strong.

    …and where’s my bleedin’cheque then?

  • Dewi

    Sometimes, Rory, we should be paid to read you….

  • Rory

    And, Dewi, me sort code is … and this account number …, if you please. Mark your payment slip “Hunger relief”.

  • Eddie

    “Sluggerees”? “Slugarees”? A new word from dear old Brian Walker. Surely, if we have to go along this sort of route, the word should be “sluggerites”

    Sluggerees sounds like people who are the subject of some action – such as employees, or even detainees – passive people. People who have things done to them.

    But, of course, having to wade through the length of Brian’s increasingly lengthy contributions, perhaps we ARE suffering. Here’s an idea – why not call us contributors.

  • Brian Walker

    Eddie, sluggerees is a very technical term though I applaud your exactitude. “Attendees” instead of “attenders” etc is ghastly. Sorry about the length, it must be catching. You’re free to scroll down rather than “wade through” you know. On another point of English. “Limpid” means transparent or clear, Dewi – spot-on for McKittrick.

    Just to be clear: I’m a total fan of David and Malachi. About payment Malachi, my tongue was in my cheek but maybe not firmly enough. Out of habit perhaps, some commenters – sorry, “contributors” – have been looking for a sting in the tail where none exists. The dearth of Catholic priests isn’t breaking news, that’s hardly a criticism, I chose the topic after all and I look forward eagerly to what Malachi in his wisdom has to say about an almost inexhaustable subject! How about a London launch and a glass of wine or two ( on me, launch or not)?

  • Eddie, an exception seems to be ‘escapee’ for someone who has escaped from prison rather than been escaped from.

    PS a London launch sounds like a great idea, or even a wee reading somewhere.

  • Eddie

    Brian and Malachi

    I also hate this attendee word. I am an attender.
    And I can’t tolerate escapee. If you escape you are an escaper.

    If I am a reader of your stuff, Brian, I am a reader. Next thing, you’ll be calling me a readee.

    A sluggerite I remain.

  • Big Maggie

    hard atheists, who don’t understand religious culture from the inside.

    Back on topic, can this be right? Who are these ‘hard atheists’? Were they born of atheists? If not, they most likely became atheists through choice, as I did. Which means people like me DO understand religious culture from the inside, being it’s likely the reason we became atheists, in order to escape that appalling ‘culture’.


    We are all born atheists. It is through indoctrination that some become deists.

  • willis

    “We are all born atheists. It is through indoctrination that some become deists.”


    Although it could be argued that we are born with an innate attachment to a mother, tricky if you think god is male of course.

  • Tazia Doll

    “We are all born atheists. It is through indoctrination that some become deists. ”

    Baron d’Holbach? Not true, you can’t be an atheist if you suck your thumb, you just can’t.