Monday, May 10, 2004

Bringing the Irish Media to Book

Update 1, 13 May 2004

American Embassy, Dublin

Anti-Americanism in the Irish media? What on earth gave George Dempsey, former first secretary at the U.S. embassy in Dublin, the idea that Irish newspapers and broadcasters tend to give a platform mainly to people sloppy with their facts and with fringe views of the world scene?

I love how Joe Humphreys' follow-up in today's Irish Times to yesterday's front-page story by Henry McDonald in the Observer puts "Anti-Americanism" in scare quotes, as if it were some novel, outrageous and unprecedented slander.

His anger might well have something to do with being jeered at by a section of the audience on Questions and Answers shortly after 9-11. McDonald wrote shortly afterwards that "The hidden agenda of this highly contestable piece of classic Irish what-aboutery was that somehow the Americans had it coming to them". Well, maybe he's reading Blog Irish, Frank McGahon, Irish Eagle too.

The book From the Embassy is coming out in June, published by the Open Republic Institute, whose website is worth an extended visit.

I had thought that Dempsey's "an invasion of the body snatchers from a planet peopled by time-warped 1960s radicals and Marxist revisionist historians" was perhaps too-strongly expressed. A Google search for other comments about Dempsey brought up a page from a postgrad student at DCU:

Late on Monday night [this was probably at some point in 2003 during the Iraq war], having fought with American George Dempsey through the television screen about war on Iraq, I took down from my bookshelves, a soviet[sic] publication entitled What is Dialectical Materialism by V Krapivin.

Hmmm... Indeed... Wouldn't you?

Later on, it also has some other gems, including comments about The End of History and the Last Man.

I found Fukuyama's book profoundly depressing in the context of the current war... He makes it all seem so plausible. Why would any society want anything other than a liberal democracy?

Dia idir sinn agus an t-olc! As Nietsche wrote, "the problem in reforming man is man". Apparently, there exists some deficiency in human nature that makes us prefer liberal democracy to the alternatives; the Stalinist dictatorship of North Korea, hereditary Arab autocracy as found in Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, chaotic Latin American caesarism as in Venezuela under Chavez, Iran's Islamic theocracy, or the blurring of communist totalitarianism into mafia capitalism in Cuba or China.

Peter 笔德

Updated: 13 May - Inserted name of IT journalist, changed formatting in last paragraph