Tag Archives: Dan Boyle on Thursday

From top: Irish schoolboys, 1940s; Dan Boyle

The Irish education system threw back my proper socialisation by a number of decades. My school in Chicago was secular, integrated and most importantly was mixed gender.

The religion, race or sex of my classmates was a matter of complete indifference to me.

Proximity, though, made my still enlarging heart grow fonder. At eight years of age, a classmate, a young lady of Czech extraction, named Anna Cervinka, had me all a flutter.

Within months my mother had planked our family in Cork, where I was sent to a Presentation Brothers (GAA) Boys school. From then I was encouraged to consider the female gender, not only as an opposite sex but as more of a different species.

In secondary school céilís were offered as an alternative to the licentiousness of discos. Held in ballroom style with boys on one side and girls on the other; lights were left on full glare, with teachers never more than ten feet away.

Conversations were often stilted with little being offered lest idiocy, hesitation or spittle became too prevalent. Issues of closeness, to touch where, how and with what intensity, plagued us with insecurities.

In a parallel universe we lads, when among ourselves, would be consoled through locker room talk. Most of us knew this to be over compensatory twaddle. Many sadly didn’t. What was meant to be the language of insecurity became, for some, the practice of misogyny.

Most of us got over our hang up. Learning, if often far too late in the day, that our lives would be enriched when able to relate to strong, independent, ballsy women.

Others saw their verbal and psychological bullying of women as banter; their physical assault of those they perceived as underlings, as a bit of slap and tickle.

All power systems – political, commercial or artistic attract these ill formed versions of masculinity. Many have colluded with these power plays. The worst perpretrators have been lauded as ‘Ladies Men’. We learn too late how poorly their seduction methods are.

For those knuckleheads who believe they have arrived, they see the prestige and privilege bestowed on them as conferring a droit du seigneur. How hollow must their lives be that their relationships with the other half of humankind on this planet, can only be determined by their ability to implicitly, or tacitly, intimidate others into submission.

However pathetic the tongue twisted and floor gazing adolescence (and early adulthood) that many of us have had was, it could never scrape the barrel of those who while believing themselves to have had it all, in human terms have had nothing at all.

With the recent death of Hugh Hefner, perhaps this is a good time to dissolve the chimera his fantasy lifestyle was meant to provide. It seems that too often that what has happened in various corridors of power has been more Marquis de Sade than Mills and Boon.

We need to stop lionising these tawdry heroes of a tired and spent masculinity. We need to emerge from our emotional ghettos. We, men, need to cop ourselves on.

We still have a lot of growing up to do Lads.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Pic: Walker Harrison Howell

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From top: Donald Trump; Dan Boyle

We may yet sink deeper into this anti-intellectual morass. We may linger longer than we expect, and most certainly need to. But flames need to be kept lit.

Dan Boyle writes:

“I’m, like, very smart,” The Donald has stated to criticisms that he has chosen not to take briefings from the US intelligence services.

To be dubious of what such briefings might contain, should be a character point in his favour. After all dissembling is a raison d’etre for such ‘intelligence’ agencies. However to forgo any such briefing, because you already know what you believe you need to know, truly is ignorance writ large.

“A wise man is someone who knows what he doesn’t know,” that is a saying attributed to the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. It seems, in its apposite meaning, to perfectly not encapsulate The Donald. His total lack of self awareness has been seen by enough of those who support him, as reason to have him become their pin up boy. His certainty being seen by his defenders as confidence. His confidence being seen as strength.

In this he has become emblematic of the post modern world. This world of the simple truth. A world without nuance. A world where complexity is an inconvenience to be ignored.

Instinct, not influenced by the organised thoughts of others, but developed through bias and prejudice, is the sad standard bearer of truth in these ever deluded times.

The simple truth is confirmed by surrounding yourself with those who share your worldview. To question is to invite derision amplified through abuse. It is the behaviour of an ever indulged child whose faux confidence should be more properly recognised as bullying.

This is the world where we have had enough of experts. Where scientists are the conveyors of hoaxes. Where shouting louder makes you more ‘right’ than anyone else.

Those emboldened by this celebration of ignorance now hold sway throughout the ether, on the airwaves, and in our collective consciousness. Those of us who choose to think differently (or indeed to think at all) could decide to remove ourselves from this madness. Instead we should listen. We should try to engage.

We may yet sink deeper into this anti-intellectual morass. We may linger longer than we expect, and most certainly need to, in this thoughtless swamp. But flames need to be kept lit.

Liberal complacency has certainly contributed to this ongoing political coup against logic. Liberal surrender would make its victory complete. Think on that while we are still able to think.

The further or deeper The Age of Donald persists, the more antagonistic the treatment will be towards thinkers/questioners. In the US the preferred form of abuse by the rabid right is a slight on the mental capacity (but more insulting on those with special needs) of those who won’t rejoice at this new golden age. This abuse should become a badge of pride.

The slogan towards enlightenment should be ‘Libtards of the World Unite’.

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

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From top: Enda Kenny with newly appointed High Court judge Una Ni Raifeartaigh SC at the Aras on Tuesday; Dan Boyle

‘Personal magnetism’, a high ‘sex drive’ and an ‘ability to cast spells’.

Everything we need in a hip, happening taoiseach.

Dan Boyle writes:

The Taoiseach awoke from his hibernation this week to tell us he has his mojo back.

I suspect he was referencing the definitive Muddy Waters‘ version of the song ‘I’ve Got My Mojo Working‘ from 1956. Muddy didn’t write the song, nor did he record the first version, but he made the song his own.

By way of diversion can I say that aside from his distinctive blues guitar and voice, I’ve always loved the name Muddy Waters. It works just as well as a political verb.

Back to the mojo in question, that of the Taoiseach. The dictionary definition gives some indication as to what the Taoiseach has been trying to get across.

It explains mojo as –

A magic charm, hex or spell; associated with the African/American religious practice of voodoo. Supernatural skill or luck.(slang) Personal magnetism; charm.(slang) Sex appeal; sex drive.(slang) Illegal drugs.(slang, usually with “wire”) A telecopier; a fax machine.

Quickly moving on from the idea of the Taoiseach being a hex worker, the illegal drugs are probably best avoided, but I would have thought the metaphor of being a fax machine is crying out to be used.

The danger of using cultural slang is that you may end up missing the zeitgeist.

Mojo is more Kerouac than Eminem (and Eminem isn’t exactly the zeitgeist). If it’s hip and happening you want to be then mojo is your man. If it’s happening and hip you’re looking for you’ve kind of missed the bus.

The answers in Enda Kenny’s interview with Pat Kenny have little to do with the interviewer. Neither is the general public the intended audience. This exercise in braggadocia is strictly for the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

Apparently if you make yourself appear big in front of a bear, the bear would be less inclined to challenge you. This is the Taoiseach’s strategy.

There is some indication that it might work. It could also be argued that John Halligan, with his Waterford stand-off, is employing a similar strategy. Being able to appear bear like would further help this strategy.

The Taoiseach has about a dozen years on me. When I think mojo I think back to my lost, much mythologised, youth. That time when I did all night what it now takes me all night to do.

I suspect we may not be thinking about the same thing but I’m fairly sure we are about arriving at the same destination. If we’re not careful Naomi Klein’s next book may be called ‘No Mojo’

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

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