Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If You Thought We Were Bad

The self-appointed spokespeople in New Zealand's media have a long history of getting offended at any slight on the country or its inhabitants -- false, accurate, or imagined. I'm afraid this piece wasn't really that much of a joke.

It's terribly embarassing, and you want to crawl under a rock every time they do it. But at least now we have some decent competition.

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Paul Krugman said that the "worst-case outlok for the world economy" was that "America could turn Irish". Krugman's point was that Ireland had suffered from an extreme case of the financial speculation/housing bubble disease and as a result had been hit earlier and even harder than other countries, to the point where its government is being pushed into fiscal retrenchment, which could further deepen its recession. There, but for the grace of the dollar-as-international-reserve currency, could go the United States, said Krugman.

Somehow interpreting this as an attack on the Irish national character, the editors of the Irish Central website responded with a passionate defense of their nation, citing recovery from the potato famine, Yeats, peace in Northern Ireland, and Bono as examples of "indomitable Irishry" about which those ignorant Americans would know nothing.

Cringe-inducing for Irish people, no doubt, although at least it's not their newspapers of record indulging in this stuff.

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