“some of us are looking at the stars. Just not very many of us…”

Reading Frank McNally’s An Irishman’s Diary today – on the number of comments here, compared to the numbers here – all I can say is that, fortunately, I don’t suffer from ‘comment envy’…  Much.  From today’s Irishman’s Diary.

And all right, Mars might be a minority interest on most websites, never mind sites focused on Northern politics. One couldn’t expect stories from the red planet to be anything like as pressing as events on the green and orange planets where most Sluggerotoole contributors live.

Nevertheless, the length of the respective discussions highlighted a severe lack of perspective. Number of comments on the Mars thread (at time of writing): 3. Number of comments on Dungiven parade: 259. Clearly, as Oscar Wilde said, some of us are looking at the stars. Just not very many of us.

IT’S A MAD idea, I admit. But maybe enforced annual visits to Armagh Planetarium should be part of the training for all Northern politicians, community leaders and parade organisers. You never know. An afternoon spent gazing at the heavens, every July or August, might help ease tensions on the ground.

He has a point, you know…  [You would say that! – Ed]

ANYhoo… Read the whole thing.

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  • andnowwhat

    I blame Blue Peter. It promised me holidays on the moon by the year 2000. The space thing is a right let down. What is more imperative is that circumstances throughout the world have taken our eyes off the environment,

  • Mister_Joe

    Don’t know if anyone takes anything I say seriously, but the whole article is worth a read. Well spotted, Pete.

  • The quality of blogging and commenting does not necessarily have anything to do with numbers of comments.

    I read all of the science bloggs and enjoy them. I rarely comment upon them but there are good reasons for that.

    There is little on a science blog to argue about or disagree with. Perhaps it is worth comparing science with politics. The former is about the laws of nature. Most laws, if not all of them, have certainty and can not be argued with. Politics, on the other hand, well…..

    If there is a disappointment about Slugger, it is not the comments but the lack of diversity on the subjects posted. It is top heavy on the Orange – Green debates. I would like to read more blogs on different subjects, including sport and UK politics.

  • Pete Baker

    Seymour

    No need to be so literal…

  • babyface finlayson

    Pete
    If you are going to post threads about the lack of comments on your previous threads, you may never escape the schwarzschild radius.

  • ThomasMourne

    Unfortunately, most contributors like nothing more than a good sectarian squabble, which reflects society at large in N. Ireland. Some of the ping-pong whataboutery is childish in the extreme and probably is a consequence of our education system which leaves a high proportion of our school-leavers with poor language and thinking skills, unless these ‘failures’ of the system take the trouble to educate themselves.

    I commented on the Mars missions in relation to the horrendous expenditure; the cost of the current mission would cover the Education budget in N. I. for the next 1,000 years!

  • Mister_Joe

    And the money was given to people who went out and spent it, creating employment for others all around the world and those people went out and spent their bit, ad infinitum. Are we drifting off topic? Pete, feel free to delete this comment.

  • Alias

    Most outside observers are probably baffled by the tribal passion that characterises these (micro-trivial) disputes but that is because they are manifestations of much deeper disputes that are below the surface and invisible to them.

    If you looked at it as simply a case of folks wanting to march in a particular area and other folks not wanting them to march in that area then you wouldn’t be able to understand the passion without projecting familiar points of cultural reference onto the events that have no actual relevance such as the KKK wanting to march through black ghettoes, etc – never mind that the reality is a bunch of middle-aged men who are just ordinary respectable members of society. They might also look at the inconvenience of it but they wouldn’t see anything more inconvenient there than a traffic jam (or envision a bunch of angry locals screaming at the traffic to get off their road) or the occasional work works.

    Look at the related issue of marching in silence part church buildings and here again you have to look at the deeper issue in order to avoid utter bafflement at the passion that now invades it. The deeper issue for Catholics isn’t that Protestants should show respect for religious buildings that most Catholics themselves don’t respect but whether or not the reformed institutions of the state can be used successfully to control the moderate the behaviour of the other competing tribe.

    But the deeper issues are harder to view from a perspective that will successfully mitigate them, if there is any such perspective. I don’t see how changing a perspective will help to resolve that dynamic, and others. You will always have two tribes competing with each other for control of one state – and you can only live in your own reality, not remove yourself from it to a galaxy far away (well you can but narcotics are illegal)…

  • Pete Baker

    “I don’t see how changing a perspective will help to resolve that dynamic, and others. You will always have two tribes competing with each other for control of one state – and you can only live in your own reality, not remove yourself from it to a galaxy far away (well you can but narcotics are illegal)…”

    It’s a start, Alias…

  • Mark

    Just like to get a genuine point accross Pete … maybe the wording could have been more polite . If so I apologise .

    If I may …. Alias , you have said on this site that you’re Jewish and married to an Irish Catholic. …..I ask this in good faith . Would it be fair to say that maybe you might not under stand the Irish Catholic mindset ? and that sometimes that manifests itself in an anti nationalist sentiment . Just asking Alias ….really .

  • Mister_Joe

    ..the Irish Catholic mindset ..

    Mark, can you expand on that since, even coming from such a background, I don’t understand what that means? Feel free to consider a recent poll on what Northern Irish Catholics think about voting for a united Ireland.

  • Mark

    I’m a Southern Irish Catholic … in name only . Marriages etc however with holy communion in the house next week , I’ll go back to mass . When I said Catholic I was talking in terms Nationalism and this seems to be subject Alias seems to take great pleasure in reminding us that it doesn’t really exist anymore becasue the IMF owns the country etc . But the mindset I’m talking about Joe is the one on the receiving end of a couple of disgraceful incidents which cemented the reputation of the Catholic mindset with regards as to how their still regarded in the North by the Unionist mindset .Capice ?

  • Mark

    Joe , I’m off to bed ….talk soon .

  • Mister_Joe

    Capice? No, not in the least. You need to get out and about a bit more. There’s a whole world out there. Save a bit of money and explore it.

  • Mark

    Looks like I just caught that … That new world …. been there done that Joe . And here’s me expecting more words of wisdom rather than snotty career advice .

  • Mister_Joe

    C’mon, Mark. People acting silly buggers are but gnats in a room full of elephants. If you have travelled to other countries, especially third world ones, you should really know that.

  • Alias

    “Would it be fair to say that maybe you might not under stand the Irish Catholic mindset ?”

    As Joe asked, what does such a mindset mean? Is there such a mindset? There certainly was a mindset of that ilk in rural pockets but it has passed into history. There is now a liberal pseudo-Christian mindset and, insofar as I understand it, it isn’t configured to understand the inter-Christian conflict in Northern Ireland. If your mindset (and that’s the generic northern you) was the same as their mindset, they’d understand you. But they don’t understand you, so what does that tell you about the divergence between Irish Catholics and their Northern Irish counterparts? They don’t understand you and that’s why they demonised the unionists. They could only begin to grasp your hatred and violence toward the other tribe if the other tribe were truly evil people. But now they see them as human and, gosh, even decent, they understand you even less. But do keep telling us how evil they are if you think that’ll still work for you…

  • tacapall

    “They don’t understand you and that’s why they demonised the unionists. They could only begin to grasp your hatred and violence toward the other tribe if the other tribe were truly evil people.”

    “The past is far from being a precisely sealed off set of events with a fixed meaning, pre-decided for us by a fixed viewpoint and then closed off from further debate. Instead, our understanding of the past is shaped and transformed, constantly, as we progress and grow in knowledge and experience. And, as much as our current reality is shaped by our world vision — our past too, is shaped, re-shaped, viewed and re-viewed by the narratives we happen to follow at any given time.

    As tragic as it appears to be, America and Britain also managed to willingly give up on temporality. It is the lack of true historical discourse that stopped Britain and America from understanding their future, present and past. As in the case of Jewish ‘history’, American and British politicians insist on a banal, binary and simplistic historic tale regarding WWII, The Cold War, Islam, and the events of 9/11. Tragically, the criminal Anglo-American genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan, AKA ‘The War against Terror’, is a continuation of our self-inflicted blindness. Since Britain and America failed to grasp the necessary message from the massacres in Hamburg and Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima, there was nothing that could stop English-speaking imperialism from committing similar crimes in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.” Gilad Atzmon

  • Mark

    Alias ,

    So the Southern Irish Catholics are the bad guys . And according to you , the reason our Northern counterparts ” demonise ” the Unionists is because they don’t understand us . ?

    Alias I have never referred to the other tribe as ” evil ” as you put it and I’d be very surprised if you found a post where I did . I’m not the one who uses language like ” hatred , violence , tribes ” . You push that line !

    Another gem seems to be that now that our Northern counterparts realise the other ” tribe ” ain’t so bad , they’ll understand us even less .????

    One last thing Alias , how can I keep telling you how evil the other ” tribe ‘ is when I’ve never started in the first place ?

  • ThomasMourne

    So we’re back to sectarian squabbles.

    Wonder if NASA could donate a few of their millions of dollars to sort out our wee problem?

  • Mister_Joe

    Nope, NASA wouldn’t cut it. Perhaps a US Marines Division might do the job.

  • Alias

    Mark, here you go.

    There are a couple of other minor failures of comprehension in your post which I won’t bother to correct other than to make explicit that which was implicit in my post: it isn’t just Irish Jews who don’t share the northern mindset – the southern Irish don’t share it either. We’re all outsiders in your world, kid.

  • Alias

    “Wonder if NASA could donate a few of their millions of dollars to sort out our wee problem?”

    You might have the making of an idea there to help sort out your political class. Why not phone NASA and ask them if they need any more lab monkeys to shoot into space?

  • Greenflag

    Belfast 2050 AD

    Vladislav Pietr Lo needed a new brain (the science of brain transplants being much advanced in the future ) and went into a surgical supply store . He was shown the brain of an excellent mathematician who had died a year before at age 75 which he could have for 75 euros ,

    Vladislav asked for something a bit younger .He was shown the brains of two young men both recently killed in street riots in North Belfast one Protestant ‘brain ‘aged 26 and one Catholic ‘brain’ aged also 26 both going for 200 euros each .

    Vladislav shakes his head . He was an atheist and non political and would’nt have felt comfortable with either .

    ‘What are these two ‘? Vladislav asked suddenly as he came across two brains encased in a beautiful glass walled refrigerator with a spotlight shining on both ‘

    ‘Those ‘ said the dealer ‘are our prize possessions ‘ .They are the brains of the recently deceased First Minister and Deputy First Ministers and you can have either for 150,000 euros .

    ‘A hundred and fifty thousand euros ‘ said a shocked and paled Vladislav . ‘But why so much ‘?

    ‘Because neither have ever been used ‘ said the dealer .

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Good to see the old tradition of street rioting still exists in 2050. Has the UK joined the Euro or have we a united Ireland?

  • Mark

    Northern mindset sounds a whole better than your usual ” catholic murder gangs ” Alias . And it sounds so much more civil …..keep it up kid ( I like that )

    My view is that Southern / Northern Irish people have more in common than you’d like to think . When I say ” you ” I mean the generic you …(not the Irish Jewish community you … obviously , the other you ) .

    As it’s lunchtime in my world , I’m off to my Opus Dei meeting …. so until the next barrage .

  • Greenflag

    @ TS ,

    ‘Has the UK joined the Euro or have we a united Ireland?’

    It doesn’t matter to Vladislav .You could say he’s got more pressing matters on his mind 😉

    But hark the crystal ball unclouds! Lets have a closer look . Oops no UK and oops again no UI either .The recently formed World Government was appointed by a select committee drawn from the former Chairmen of the top 20 of the 50 international financial institutions listed towards the end of this link. . The WG saw no need for a continuation of either the UK or the UI (established 2030 AD ) as neither merited continuation based on their economic and governmental performances which ranked in the lower 10 percentile of all APRs (Advanced Performing Regions ) .

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed–the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

  • Pete Baker

    *ahem*