Being a peasant is nothing to be ashamed of. Being ignorant is nothing to be proud of.

Richard Waghorne derides the Irish language and Irish folk music as “peasant“.  As if their worth was somehow diminished by that classification?

Richard’s a cultured type of fellow, you know.  His references and allusions are impeccable, his shibboleths carefully rehearsed.  It’s all about projecting the right image: in with the in-crowd, running with the pack, toe the party line, true blue, to the hilt, died in the wool, on the right side, not “one of them”, gentleman to the core, faultless credentials, right sort.

Not sure what I mean?  I invite you to read Richard’s blog.  Pick any three posts at random.  Go on, pick six!  Observe the careful construction, the selective examples, the name dropping (and fawning), the cultural references.  These posts are not arguments or apologiae.  They are simply expressions of identity: flag-waving, soccer-chants.

“Look at me! I’m a right-wing, neo-con, pro-Bush, pro-business, anti-peasant!  You’ll never catch me conceding any point to them.  When I grow up I want to be an internationally-renowned right-wing intellectual commentator, just like <insert_here_from_list>”.

Richard’s got a plan to acheive this goal: observe and imitate (monkey-see, monkey-do).  No room for independent thought or open-mindedness here!  Start with the conclusion (the “appropriate” conclusion of course) and construct the argument to fit.  Colour it up with some suitably highbrow references and presto!  Childs play!

It certainly is.  Debating for dummies.  Blogging by numbers.  It can look very impressive too, and if you are the kind of person who wants nothing more than to have your prejudices and misconceptions re-affirmed then this kind of thing should keep you going for quite a while.  There is no shortage of this kind of cheerleader blogging at any end of the political spectrum, and no shortage of mobs to applaud it. 

So, Richard’s argument against the Irish language and Irish music is essentially that they are “peasant”.  Translation?  “The wrong sort, really.  Nasty, backward types.  Not like us.  Oh – and farmers too.  Smelly.”

Of course, I’m just a peasant.  I confess to being ignorant of a great many subjects, as Richard is of Irish artists like Máirtín Ó Cadhain.  Unlike Richard, however, I do not consider ignorance to be a virtue.  I am open-minded, and willing to learn.  How can you tell?  That’s easy: comments are open.

[Tuilleadh plé ar an ábhar seo:, Dónal Ó Caoimh, Adam Maguire]

Explore posts in the same categories: irish, irishblogs, language

5 Comments on “Being a peasant is nothing to be ashamed of. Being ignorant is nothing to be proud of.”

  1. Rhys Says:

    We have plenty of Dic Siôn Dafydd’s in Wales, although not quite as extreme as this guy. They prefer sucking up to London rather than Washington.

    He argues that Irish history was/is written in English. Surely Irish history was also written in Irish by THE IRISH.

    I don’t know if he can read Irish, but how can he say that poetry is better because it’s written in a particular language.

    God help him!

  2. annette Says:

    Oh well said…but then again, me thinks the blogger in question doth protest too much. I find it fascinating that someone should spend so much time and energy decrying “the enemy” – sounds to me like this is the only way one’s head can stick above the parapet

  3. Gary Says:

    Liked the post a Chonn, nicely worded, exactly what I’d have liked to say.

    But as you said yourself on Friday, “Ná cothaítear na troill” and this troll is just loving the attention.
    Also the fact that he was one of the cover stories in Foinse as well is just sickening

  4. I’m not sure whether Richard Waghorne is his real name. It seems so appropriate fora swinging d**k of the tiny variety. However I don’t want to go down that route – tempting as it is given the ridiculous and baseless post of Mr Waghorne.
    Mr W it seems works for an instittute called the Freedom Institute and he spends his days promoting the cause of, I presume, freedom.
    Yet when someone exercises his right of freedom of expression – at no cost to anyone, least of all the State – he does the patriotic thing (in the spirit of the Patriot Act) he shops him to his employers and boasts that this encounter won’t have done the fellow who sent an email on company time (all of ten seconds no doubt) any good in the career stakes. That’s a peculiar form of freedom, don’t you think. The freedom of the tout and informer. Is that encouraging debate.

    If perchance that we were to wake up tomorrow morning in a world dominated by the policies (lunatic as they are) of the Freedom Institute, we’d be economic slaves in a despotic one party regime. A totalitarian capitalist stae without the benefits of the socialist model of the Soviets.

    It’s an Orwellian vista we’re presented by Richard Waghorne – Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance (of Irish) is strength.

    He’s nothing more than a language totalitarian and a lunatic one at that.

  5. ainelivia Says:

    Yes, Mr Waghorne is so concerned with freedom that the doesn’t allow comments on his blog………

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