Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Debating is really fun. But that's debatable.

You know what really grinds my gears? They don’t have Lucky Charms here. You know what other place doesn’t have Lucky Charms? Europe. You know what else poisons my water hole? The movie Leprechaun wasn’t even filmed in Ireland. You know where it was filmed? Outer space. But seriously guys... Green? Does anyone know what the national color of Ireland is? Blue. And what’s the color of the European Union flag? Blue. Connection? I think so; and more than Irish would like to admit.
                This was my teammate Dan’s intro to our debate question: Should Ireland’s identity be viewed in the context of Europe or independently as a solitary nation? The team I joined was in favor of the former.

This is Dan. It's ok to judge him by his looks.
Here’s the point I wrote:
If you're an Irishman when you enter the restroom, then what are you while you're inside the stall? European! Ireland is best viewed in terms of Europe as a whole because Ireland’s history is heavily tied to other European nations. Ireland was invaded so much, if it were a food, it would be a seizure salad.  Ireland cannot be viewed solely as an isolated nation or culture because it has been heavily influenced by the groups who have invaded it. We have the Vikings, the English, the Spanish hopped over here for a while too.  The Irish were getting beat up by everything from the Viking’s horns to England’s tea cups. Plus, there are immigrants from other nations currently living here as well. Ireland is not quite a melting pot, but more like a casserole: it’s mainly pasta with a few other things thrown in.
Yes, they did some important things in history that made them distinct, but so have other countries, such as Italy’s Roman Catholic Church and how Spain is well-known for the style of its cathedrals. But, they’ve all merged together. The Catholicism of Rome has spread throughout Europe. The Spanish have influenced other cultures, as in how their architecture can be seen throughout Europe and how they declare “Naps aren’t just for kindergartners!” The unique contribution that Ireland has made and its distinguishing characteristics doesn’t detract from it as a separate nation but it also doesn’t mean that Ireland is not a part of the greater European context, influencing other countries and being influenced by other nations.
The Protestant-Catholic conflict may seem very distinct, but it was also a prevalent issue in England and many other European countries were choosing their fav. denominations at the point as well. While it was a climax in Ireland, this conflict was also occurring elsewhere in Europe.
In the words of Dan, you know what else grinds my gears and Brads my Kellyn? How Saint Patrick is viewed as a classic Irish hero when he was born in Wales, gained an education from England, and brought influences to Ireland from England and France. The Christianity he brought was very European. He emphasized the distinct values of the Irish, but those values were not unique to the Irish. A lot of the values the Irish had were influenced by other European nations. For instance, one reason they valued courage so much was because they were frequently invaded, and they really liked it when any lads put up their knives and angrily told them to “Stop it!” However, Ireland was not alone in its invasions. Countries in Eastern Europe were suffering from invasions as well. So, while a value such as courage was emphasized in Ireland, this value was not unique from other European countries who endured similar experiences to the Irish. Each European culture has different emphases, but as in the example of both the Irish and Eastern valuing courage, there are overlaps between cultures.
[Verdict: Debating is fun.]
While we’re not debating, we like to do this:

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