If at any point this past week, particularly Thursday, you were seized by a sudden and inexplicable urge to bark out a good old Éirinn go Brách while embarrassing yourself and others in your vicinity by having too much to drink while wearing green, well, you know why: Thursday was Saint Patrick’s Day, that massively important religious and cultural celebration of all things Ireland that we in the U.S. of A. have turned into an excuse to get blotto and act like assholes while contributing to unflattering Irish stereotyping. Sounds like fun on the bun.
But maybe, days later, you’re still hungover and feeling just the weest bit of remorse for treating street corners like urinals and punching what you thought was a leprechaun, but was really just a small, emerald-bedecked child performing a stepdance routine in the middle of your local bar, square in the face. Well, let me tell you: suck it up. This is what you get for being stupid. Look, I’m not the kind of person who lives his life with a stick planted firmly in his colon; I think going out to a pub and getting crazy is generally an acceptable way of honoring most holidays or special occasions. If the mother needs to be turned out, then by all means: turn that mother out.
The thing is, once you are caught up in the full swing of getting your Blarney on, you will quickly lose sight of what Saint Patrick’s Day is all about, and this thought can be reprogrammed to be about any noteworthy holiday acknowledged here in America. So next year, before you go to the bar and don malachite party ears topped off with beer steins, I suggest taking a second to consider what, exactly, it is that we are honoring when we honor Saint Patrick’s Day. It is not just about getting into fist fights with your family, your friends, total strangers, or the mayor of Boston, and it is definitely not about validating people’s perceptions about what being “Irish” is all about. I probably don’t need to slow walk anyone to that conclusion, so please don’t let your intelligence be insulted, here.
What to do on Paddy’s Day, then, besides take in a session and down a few pints of Guinness? How about this: check out a few Irish movies instead*. Which leads me to the big question of the week: what are your favorite Irish movies, and what movies would you put on your watch list to ring in Saint Patrick’s Day in 2017? Would you go the Brooklyn route and take in more recent fare that encapsulates the experience of the Irish immigrant? Might you sit through the collected works of animator Tomm Moore (which, granted, add up to a total of two and a combined running time of a hundred and sixty eight minutes, but still)? How about The Guard and Calvary, two films by the same Englishman but which star the eminent Irish thespian Brendan Gleeson? Maybe, in homage to the continued fight for Irish independence, you’d rather catch up on Hunger, or The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
I could go on. But I won’t. I’m happier to hear what you have to say instead. So fire away.
*I am certain that it comes as a massive surprise that I am filtering my sense of Saint Patrick’s Day through movies.