Speaking In Tongues

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dan

From top: Irish language protest at government buildings; Dan Boyle

The author hails our first language and gives Little Irelanders a tongue lashing.

Dan Boyle writes:

Two curious events have occurred in recent weeks that question our understanding of what we mean when we think of Irish culture.

The first event happened in Cork, although I say that with no sense of pride. Here, a bar owner/restaurateur (an affable man, quite popular in these parts) dismissed an employee for addressing customers in the Irish language.

His argument was that he wouldn’t expect his Polish employees to address his customers in their native language. English being the language of the hospitality industry, the lingua franca, so to speak.

In this our friend is wrong. As honourable and poetic as the Polish language is, its use isn’t, like Irish, protected by our Constitution.

The second event saw a GAA referee in Galway insist that players from a Gaeltacht team stop speaking to each in Irish lest they would be insulting him. You would wonder what the protocol for this would be for international soccer games?

Those who have made it thus far into my entreaty may have noticed that I’m writing this in English. Having been born in the US I had the option of not taking the subject of Irish up at all when becoming part of the education system here. I choose to try to catch up, reaching no further than a passable standard.

Again not something I take a great deal of pride in. My father was a native speaker. That said his Donegal dialect, in its intonation and delivery, sounded to me like a very foreign language!

My Mam did her Ardteistiméireachta as Gaeilge. Her Irish was Munster Irish, the RP version of the language. It’s a wonder my parents could communicate at all.

Immersion in the language did not happen for us while we lived in the States. I was grateful though that my parents did disabuse us of the notion that the Erin Go Bragh version of Ireland, so beloved of many in Irish America, was not an Ireland we were a part of.

I could have continued with our shared indifference towards our national language if it hadn’t been for my recent sojourn in Wales.

I was really impressed with how the Welsh have made their language a living language. From what I could see this has been because of the emphasis on spoken language, as opposed to the defeatist emphasis on grammar in how Irish is taught.

It was expected that all election material there had to be bilingual. Making my efforts at proofreading quite pathetic.

Most of the interactions the Welsh have with their language are seen to be positive. There it is seen, not only as an important cultural icon for them, but also something that assists in the learning of other languages.

It has made me want to acquire some cúpla focal eile, despite the behaviour of Little Irelanders wanting us to be otherwise.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Rollingnews

101 thoughts on “Speaking In Tongues

  1. Anomanomanom

    Great piece I’ve always wanted to be fluent in irish. Its not thought as a language in this country, its thought more of like a detail heavy subject(learn a,b,c and you’ll pass). Id love to see all school from low babies(or whatever its called) up be all irish spoken.

    1. louislefronde

      Ah that dreadful legacy of post-colonial little Ireland nationalism. Hiberno-English is the spoken language of 96% of the population, and that clause in the constitution which says ‘the Irish language’ is, is nonsense dreamt up in the 1920’s and we all know it!

      Firstly, the term ‘Irish language’ is in itself incorrect. The language is Gaelic or Gaeilge to give it’s correct name. Gaelic is a language spoken by some in Ireland, it is almost spoken by some in Scotland and no-one though it used be in the Isle of Man.

      1. Rob_G

        Why would ‘Irish language’ be incorrect? It seems more correct than ‘Gaelic’, an English corruption of an Irish word.

      2. Nigel

        The law and ideal and and aspirations of the Irish Free State were dreamed up in the 1920s? The hell you say.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    Emphasis on spoken…. imagine if those in education knew that. Imagine, sure wouldn’t it be great, instead of pretending it’s a first language….. ah, 20 .. 30 … years that’s been said….

    1. Tony

      Clampers, you have often expressed your hate of Gaeilgoirs, thus making it easier for discrimination to occur. why?

          1. Tony

            Any examples or just straightforward hate? Its fine with me, lots of people feel that way. Like most hate things though its about themselves and their own insecurities.

          2. Clampers Outside!

            As opposed to an equity-feminist, which is feminism as an equality movement, gender-feminism is the bile you read when you read nonsense like ‘mansplaining’, ‘microagressions’, ‘manspreading’, gender neutral toys and feminist attempts to literally force kids to play with them even when the kids show strong natural inclinations towards a desire to play with toys that have been normally considered to be in line with their gender etc, etc, etc…

            Gender feminism promotes victimhood mentality among women who have experienced trauma (any kind of ‘upset’) and promotes the prolonging of victimhood detrimentally to the victims mental health through the use of Safe Spaces… ( which are now racist, apparently…. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/09/15/in-the-safe-spaces-on-campus-no-jews-allowed )
            Safe Spaces and recovery from trauma is an entire discussion in itself, one I’m personally invested in, and delighted to see that there is finally a backlash against this infantalising of women in this manner.

            Gender-feminism believes that gender is entirely a social construct, completely ignoring all biological determination of gender – I know, sounds daft doesn’t it. More on that here – http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-gender/#BioDet

            The good news is, that a lot of this will be confined to the bin, and these faux academic studies will be rubbished.. why? Because they are based on the ‘gender as a social construct’ model, and ignore biological determination completely. Literally ‘completely’.
            That good news, is that the latest technological developments in brain scans have shown that male and female brains are inherently distinctive, thus providing proof of biological determinism…. this is new and is still making it’s way into the mainstream proper. And more and more studies are coming out now, due to advances in this area, that show biological determination plays a huge role in gender which blows a huge hole in decades of nonsense from gender-feminists who believe all gender is socially constructed. Literally confining much of that side of feminist theory to the bin.

            Gender feminists also struggle with the LGBTQ side of gender. Gender feminists stick to their gender social construct when looking at lesbian, gay, bi and trans…. But guess what, yep… ‘science’ to the rescue. Trans peoples brains are wired completely differently to men and women, which blows a huge hole in the gender as a social construct theory.. more on that here… https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20032-transsexual-differences-caught-on-brain-scan/

            Gender-feminism is basically the nonsense side of feminism… as an example, here’s a few recent papers from gender-feminists… quite funny too, if it weren’t for people taking it seriously…

            In this paper, a feminist scholar concludes women live in unequal relationships with their partners, even after the women themselves told her that they don’t… “In so doing, the paper challenges the explanations given by the women in the study which suggest that their relationships are not unequal” #facepalm
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027753951300071X

            “Pregnancy has been socially gendered” said this loola… http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10894160.2012.653766

            STEM syllabi is misogynist and antifeminist because they prioritize facts over subjectivity (Yeah, read that again!) #CptPicardFacepalm http://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2467&context=tqr

            No wait… this one is even funnier… “Pregnancy has been socially gendered” http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10894160.2012.653766

            No, I can’t stop… here’s another… Men eat meat because they are afraid of the big bad metrosexuals… http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10462930802514370

            I’ll stop on this one. It’s one of my favourites…. Gender scholar asks 55 women if there’s a link between being a woman and having a vagina http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277539505000841

          3. The Real Jane

            Ah, so it’s basically a category invented by you – because you’re mixing radical and liberal feminism there in a way that they don’t mix in real life, my furious old friend.

          4. Clampers Outside!

            I’m on top of and took my insecurities to the coal face @Tony. I know them and I own them. I hope you enjoy my multi-linked reply when it gets released from moderation.

            @the Real Jane… your answer is in that post too.

            @some old queen… not sure if that is sarcasm… but, that’s fine, worrying about what others think, whether what they think is right or wrong, gets no one nowhere, and if I was worrying about that…. I’d probably be seeking ‘safe spaces’ and not living a full and healthy recovery.

            Which I have, and I am.

          5. Clampers Outside!

            Christina Hoff Sommers was a radical feminist, and still is a feminist… but sure, you go name calling like any typical feminist who faces a challenge to their “theory”…. laughable to call her an MRA.

            Just try and delegitimise the brilliant and astute and very intelligent (ex-Prof of Philosophy) Ms Sommers… go for it !

            By the way, it is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that characterises Ms Sommers approach as ‘equity-feminism’… feel free to rubbish that too… I look forward to it.

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            Oh a woman came up with the theory? He’s got you there, Jane. It must obviously have a lot of merit. Also, apropos to nothing, did you see that UKIP had a black guy run for election recently? Obviously this means they can’t be a racist party.

  3. kellma

    Of my two cailini, one is in the gaelscoil (and scoil mor) and the other in the naoinire. It is lovely to the see the ease with which they switch into using their cupla focail. It is a wonderful life skill to be able to speak a different language (yes some are more “useful” than others) but it is a great challenge for a growing mind.

    1. ReproBertie

      It’s really no surprise that humans can switch between languages easily. The fluctuations of borders between empires and kingdoms throughout world history meant being bilingual was normal for much of the planet until the 18th century when the idea of an empire speaking a single language became popular.

    2. Rob_G

      I went to a Gaeilscoil and speak Irish fluently; sure, it’s nice and all, but I can’t help but feel that it would have been infinitely more useful if I had spent the eight years there learning French or Spanish instead.

      (or Mandarin, or German, or Italian, or Polish, or Dutch… almost any other language would have had more practical applications and /or have given utility for learning additional languages).

      1. some old queen

        Is it not the case that people who were raised as bilingual find it easier to learn other languages too?

        1. Rob_G

          This is true – but it seems misguided to spend 14 years of compulsory education teaching a language solely for this purpose.

          Like, if they spent the same amount of time during the 14 years of children’s education teaching French instead, the kids would have the bilingual benefit, but also speak a language that is used by 100s of millions of other people. Plus, learning French makes it a lot easier to learn Spanish, Italian, Romanian, etc – Irish doesn’t have much crossover with other languages.

      2. Anomanomanom

        Very good point. But if learning to be fluent in irish was just a normal school thing, then as your get to secondary school irish would not be thought and another language could replace it giving extra lessons to a foreign language of choice.

        1. Colmán

          I can speak English, Irish and Spanish but I would rarely speak English to another Irish speaker and wouldn’t even dream of speaking Spanish to another Irish person not unless we were in a Spanish conversion with other Spanish speakers.

          A Rob, an raibh tú ag Gaelscoil i ndáiríre? Tusa an chéad duine riamh a chuaigh chuig Gaelscoil a chuala mé ag rá a leithéid de rud. Is mór an trua gur sin an dearcadh atá agat. An t-aon áit a labhraíos tú Spáinnis ná Fraincis ná i dtír atá na teangacha sin i réim ann. An gcaitheann tú mórán ama sna tíortha seo? An bhfuil sé i gceist agat bogadh chuig ceann acu? An bhfuil tú dáiríre ag dul a bheith ag labhairt leis na ‘milliúin’ duine, a labhraíonn Spáinnis agus Fraincis, an labhraíonn tú leis na milliúin daoine i mbéarla nó le thart ar 100 duine in aghaidh na seachtaine cosúil liomsa. Déartar nach mbíonn de chairde agus lucht aitheantas ag an gnáthduine ach 1000 – 1500 daoine.

          1. Rob_G

            Yes, d’fhreastal mé ar Gaerlscoil i ndairíre – imagine that, me forming my own opinion on the subject?

            Tá conaí orm i dtír ina labhraíonn siad Fraincís, agus téim ar mo laethanta saoire go dtí an Spáinn i fhad míos minice ná go téam go dtí an Gaeltacht, so aimsíonn an Fraincís agus an Spáinnis i bhfad níos usáidach.

            And your other point is dumb in the extreme – you are only likely to encounter a few hundred people over the course of your life, so you may as well limit your cultural horizons by not learning major languages(?)

      3. Colmán

        I can speak English, Irish and Spanish but I would rarely speak English to another Irish speaker and wouldn’t even dream of speaking Spanish to another Irish person not unless we were in a Spanish conversion with other Spanish speakers.

        A Rob, an raibh tú ag Gaelscoil i ndáiríre? Tusa an chéad duine riamh a chuaigh chuig Gaelscoil a chuala mé ag rá a leithéid de rud. Is mór an trua gur sin an dearcadh atá agat. An t-aon áit a labhraíos tú Spáinnis ná Fraincis ná i dtír atá na teangacha sin i réim ann. An gcaitheann tú mórán ama sna tíortha seo? An bhfuil sé i gceist agat bogadh chuig ceann acu? An bhfuil tú dáiríre ag dul a bheith ag labhairt leis na ‘milliúin’ duine, a labhraíonn Spáinnis agus Fraincis, an labhraíonn tú leis na milliúin daoine i mbéarla nó le thart ar 100 duine in aghaidh na seachtaine cosúil liomsa. Déartar nach mbíonn de chairde agus lucht aitheantas ag an gnáthduine ach 1000 – 1500 daoine. Agus nach labhraímid muid an teanga gnó idirnáisiúnta cheanaféin .i.e. Béarla? An bhfuil gach duine sa tír ag dul teanga idirnáisiúnta éagsúil a fhoghlaim d’fhonn cúpla punt a shaothrú ó na Sínigh, Seapánaigh, Indigh, Francaigh?

        Tá moladh agamsa labharfaidh muid ár dteanga féin. Beidh muid bródúil agus foghlaimeoidh daoine eile as tíortha eile í chomh maith.

  4. Andrew

    What is mean by the term ‘Little Irelanders’ ? people who disagree with you Dan?
    You consistently can’t help but sneer.

    1. Coppélia

      It may have less to do with the notion of Little Irelanders and more to do with the politicising and hijacking of the language by the Shinners, who have used the language as a tool to promote Republicanism .Times are changing and one would hope that the interactions that we have with the Irish language will soon seen to be as positive as the Welsh.

      1. some old queen

        True. There is actually a sizable amount of Protestants in the north who speak Irish but because of the politicisation of it in the north, only speak it in their own communities or when in the south.

        1. Colmán

          Incorrect. There are Protestant Irish speakers but because of the lack of Irish-language legislation in the North Irish is only made available in Catholic Schools and Gaelscoileanna therefore they have to learn it as an subject outside of schools. For this they go to the classes organised by various Irish-language groups in the north none of which discriminates on the grounds of religion or anything else. This or else they bring and Irish-speaker in to teach classes within their community. The teachers are usually but not always from a nationalist background.

          1. Colmán

            I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say ‘nice try’ Some Old Queen. Do you speak on behalf of Protestant Irish speakers when you say you are sure they wouldn’t agree? What makes you so sure?

          2. Colmán

            “In certain circumstances Protestant learners represent a religious minority within a minority language group. On the other hand, many of these Protestants would like to see a united Ireland, and by learning Irish they feel they are taking part in a nationalist project of cultural restoration. They are welcomed within Irish language circles, and their Protestantism seems unimportant and becomes backgrounded. Their opinions on the Irish language often differ little from their Catholic counterparts. Unionist learners of Irish are another case altogether. Their way of looking at the language often differs from that of nationalists, but they undercommunicate their views in Irish language circles for fear of giving offence. In preparing this chapter, I decided to concentrate on unionist learners of Irish as I wished to contribute something new to the understanding of the Irish language issue in Northern Ireland; the nationalist approach to Irish is comparatively well-known.”

            Some Old Queen – it makes for interesting reading http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/language/mccoy97.htm#learn

          3. Colmán

            That article was written twenty years ago. A lot has changed since then to the extent that Protestant East Belfast has their own Irish language learning centre which many from a nationalist background frequent, incidentally.

          4. some old queen

            @ Colmán

            Yes I have read it and it was over twenty years ago but how much has changed since then is up for debate. Northern Irish speakers from Protestant backgrounds still tend to get it in the neck from both sides because they don’t fit easily into the ‘them and us’ mindset.

            This is just an opinion of course and there is no real way of proving it (or not) but as a general point, anything that challenges that suffocating tribalism up there is progress.

  5. Fully Keen

    Token Irish.

    The worst way to keep a language “alive”.

    Let’s give a dignified burial, it’s just sad now.

    I can’t translate this for the gallick speakers. Hopefully they can understand English. Can one of the broadsheet people who loved Irish in school and can’t wait to show off translate please?

    1. rotide

      Do you purposely misspell the name of every language you don’t like?

      “hahaha, look at you speaking dootch! Ye spa, ye’ll be speaking SORBO-CRUFTS next”

      Are you LJG guy in disguise?

    2. ReproBertie

      Let me get that for you.

      Dúirt Fully Keen “Níl mise ach bodach. Ná bac liom. Is fuath liom an Gaeilge mar ní feidir liom é a caint.”

      1. Murtles

        Nearly correct Bertie but you have to use the tuiseal guinedeach in the grammar construction of the sentence to indicate his sarcastic tone and wish to mock the native language.

        Dúirt Fully Keen “Is maith liom a imirt le mo liathróidí sa leaba gach maidin”.

  6. fluffybiscuits

    Spoken languages are the best way of bringing a language back from the dead. Take for example Hebrew which has been brought back from the dead. Speaking a language without the drudgery of classes allows for people to learn it more naturally and the grammar falls into place later. Duolingo works on this basis I think :)

  7. Ronan FitzGerald

    “The author hails our first language and gives Little Irelanders a tongue lashing.” ??? Is he waving at it? Calling it over? In what manner does the Hialing manifest itself??

  8. Rob_G

    “In this our friend is wrong. As honourable and poetic as the Polish language is, its use isn’t, like Irish, protected by our Constitution.”

    I disagree with this argument. What if, instead of being a barman, he was a 999 call operator – would be ok for him to insist on speaking Irish in this instance when 99% of the calls coming in would be in English?

    If there was, for example, a Polish-run pub where the management insisted that employees should speak Polish at all times, it would be appropriate to dismiss an employee who insisted upon speaking in English, constitutional protection or no.

    1. DubLoony

      I work in an office that has English as its official business language. But at lunchtime, you can hear various languages being spoken in the canteen. when having a chat, some people do use their native language with a fellow speaker.
      People should get so uptight about it.

      1. Rob_G

        That’s all well and good – but “lunchtime” is the important bit in the above.

        If you insisted in speaking Irish during meeting with English speaking clients or whatever, and continued to do so after being told to stop, your management would lose patience and fire you.

        This is basically what happened here.

          1. Rob_G

            … and his boss told him that his job requires him to speak exclusively in English, as is his perogative.

            If the barman owned his own pub, he could speak to customers in whatever language he liked, but as he was working for someone else, he has to abide by the conditions of employment or find another job.

        1. Colmán

          An raibh tusa ar Ghaelscoil dáiríre a Rob? Más ea is aisteach liom go bhfuil tú in éadan labhairt na Gaeilge san áit oibre. Pub a bhí ann!

          1. Rob_G

            Its actually Gaeilgeoirí like you that put people off learning the language – the whiff of fanaticism, and in-group/out-group mentality – “in order to be one of us, you have to drink the kool-aid and embrace all aspects of Irishness unquestioningly”

    2. LW

      Rob this is a true beauty. You’re dead right. What if instead of being in Ireland, the bar was in China? Ha? What about that?

  9. DubLoony

    In Europe, ts normal to speak 2-3 languages. In some places where there is the official language & a regional dialect, bilingualism is the norm. Why we have to be so binary here is beyond me.

    I grew an interest in recent years via Garrai Glas, a TG4 gardening program. Also through hillwalking. the names of plants and place names make a whole lost more sense in Irish. Names and uses of trees and their wood is also fascinating from an environmental point of view.

    Gaelteachts are passed they sell by date. Was in one place who had summer schools but rest of daily life was in English, only doing it for the grant money. The miserableness of some areas – moping that the language was dying, but annoyed at learners for not having their particular pure accent from the get go.

    Language is for communication, it needs to be spoken. If we want revival then it needs to be spoken with mistakes and all. Over time, different accents, including those from, gasp, Dublin, must be accepted as legitimate. Otherwise it will continue to fossilize & die.

    1. Tony

      I agree with most of what you say, but language is about more than communication, it is also about expression. Thats why languages borrow from each other, to fill the gaps their own cannot articulate. Some languages have a je ne sais quoi that expresses things in a more nuanced way truer to their intended meaning. If irish was only for communication, i would argue that English serves that purpose very well. Thats why gaeltachts are important. They preserve the richness and colloquial nature of the language so that others can learn it when they wish.

      1. Coppélia

        And other languages do away with nuance by compounding words to offer us such delights as ” Backpfeifengesicht” and “fremdschämen”.

  10. The Real Jane

    I honestly think that if your customer would like to pass the time of day with the barman in Irish or Polish or any other language the two of them happen to enjoy speaking, fair play to them. What’s wrong with a bit of friendliness and ease? We have a really peculiar attitude to languages in this country, I think.

  11. RT

    It seems that there can never be a reasoned debate about the Irish language without a resort to the (sometimes) arrogant/elitist labels of “first language” “native language” and a reference to the constitutional protections afforded to it.

    The reality is that for the vast majority of people on this island, English is our mother tongue, and we should feel no shame for having embraced it and forged our own Hiberno-English dialect (which carries parts of Irish grammar and structure in it), regardless of the history as to why this is the case. Witness the sheer diversity of accents, colloquialisms and our large contribution to English literature, drama, poetry, etc. and be proud to be an Anglophone country

    Before the accusations of West Brit, historical revisionism or a lack of patriotism come flying in, I have nothing against the language being taught as an optional modern European language at second-level and promoted/supported to a reasonable expenditure, particularly in Gaeltacht areas. What I dislike is the elitism around it and the notion that we should be ashamed for not being fluent in it, or have reached the level of the Welsh/Hebrew language revival

  12. RT

    Wow, both getting hung up on the one word in my contribution, I guess the rest of it was fair and realistic then? :-)

    Correction: “everyone *forcibly* gets taught Irish”

    1. The Real Jane

      Well the whole tone of your post was one of resentment and the word that encapsulates that seems to be elitist, to judge by the content and how often you used the word.

      Yes, Irish is part of the school curriculum. So what? I can’t see why that’s such a big deal. Also, I think it kind of negates your obsession with Irish being elitist.

      So what is your actual problem?

      1. RT

        No resentment there, I can actually speak a bit of Irish and was a reasonably good student of it. I attempted to add some realism to those bleating on about its status in the constitution (which is not infallible, eighth amendment anyone?) and state my pride in our Hiberno-English.

        I’m just tired of the hackneyed and predictable reactions of those who rush to defend the language and it’s promotion/use/expenditure from even the most minor criticisms

        “Irish is a *mandatory* part of the school curriculum” let’s not sugar coat! It’s a big deal for the thousands of students who didn’t / don’t wish to study it, and let’s be honest – many struggled / struggle with it to a greater extent than English or the other languages taught at school.

        1. The Real Jane

          Well they may well, but I don’t know how much of that struggle could be avoided by a better attitude. I’ve a nephew who’s a perfectly bright and able little boy, only in junior infants who already has decided that he doesn’t like learning Irish. I think there’s a rot that sets in far too early for some children and an attitude that they’re learning to Irish which really impedes some of them.

          1. RT

            We can agree on that point Jane, but I feel it would take a seismic shift to change the way it’s taught, possibly due to dogma in this area. That’s just my perception though

          2. The Real Jane

            Well since he’s been in primary school less than a month and most of the Irish teaching at that point is doing things like songs, I don’t think he’s getting this from appalling pressure of rote learning verb conjugations.

        2. Tony

          All I asked about were your use of the words Elitism and Ashamed. Thats what I reacted to. you haven’t explained that despite throwing in a few new sneers like hackneyed and predictable. Why dont you say what you actually mean?

          1. RT

            You speculated it came from an “inner voice” therefore attacking me as a person, rather than debating my point. Therefore I won’t engage as I have with Jane. I’ve been clear on what I mean. Have a nice day :-)

          2. Tony

            Oh stop it snowflake, Im asking you to explain your crap about elitism and ashamed, and youre running a mile. You haven’t been clear at all and in fact come across as someone who hates gaeilgoirs because of how you feel in their presence. At least have some bottle like Clampers and admit it.

        3. Colmán

          There is such a thing as ‘language anxiety’ it is quite a tough thing on students by the looks of things especially when they are not geared up for learning languages or sufficiently motivated to fully learn and use the language in question. It is not unique to Ireland or Irish.

          There are other factors at play in Ireland such as post colonial legacy. Many of the same negative attitudes towards Irish exist among people in the north where there is no obligation to learn the language in schools.

  13. Brian Phelan

    I like what you said about your Dad’s Donegal Irish ….to me that’s RTE/TnaG …all canúint and blas. Your comment on Wales is spot on, they are way ahead of us.

  14. Deluded

    Apart from the delightful aside into gender “issues” I thought the comments had a fair amount of rancour and bitterness, just not aimed at you for a change ; )

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