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Last glimpse of spring, by Mel Hunt

The Root of Offense


By Sean Hyland in ♦ July 2020, in jest

            Your time is up potato -you’re cancelled.

            For too long you have terrorized the hearts and minds of Irish-Americans like me, your bulbous loathsome shape swirling in the deepest nightmares of my unconscious. For too long have I cowered through the snack aisle of the grocery stores and waited in restaurants with trepidation for the dreaded question, “Do you want fries with that?”. For too long have I buried that loathing, pretending to enjoy the salty, fatty symbols of my people’s oppression. No longer. Your reckoning is come today, potato.

            The potato’s complicity with the English in driving my ancestors out of Ireland during the Potato Famine of the 1840’s is well documented and as such is an indelible symbol of English imperialism and oppression. Besides which, the potato was culturally appropriated from South America, and introduced into Ireland, undoubtedly as a knowing tool of oppression. I hope I can rely on including Peruvians in potato based outrage as well!

            It may be pointed out that many Irish-Americans profess to enjoy potatoes, but they are sadly deluded, suffering from an internalization of the oppression inherent in this invidious tuber. They suffer from a starchy root based Stockholm Syndrome, identifying with the oppressive vegetable in an effort to disable the harm inherent in its ubiquitous dietary presence. They are gravely mistaken, and must be shown, against their will if necessary, that they suffer harm and psychic violence by consuming the treacherous root of our oppressors.

            As self-proclaimed spokesman of the Irish-American community, I call corporate America to action to right the wrongs of the past. It’s time to end our reliance on this hurtful tuber for our snacking needs. Turnips and rutabaga’s are traditional Irish root vegetables, and their usage would affirm Irish-Americans in their Irishness and help remediate the offenses which potato-based snacks have inflicted in the past. If you don’t think that turnip fries sound delicious, it’s just because you’re a bigot. You probably didn’t even vote for JFK.

            Now that I have fully realized how much harm is inherent in the potato, whole vistas of resentment and oppression have opened up before me. All those shamrock shakes and green beer consumed by non-Gaelic peoples on St. Patrick’s Day? Disgusting and offensive. An appropriate step would be to limit St. Patrick’s Day revelries to those certified by DNA test to possess Irish ancestry. If caught drinking Guinness without the appropriate papers? Throw ’em in the paddywagon I say!

`           Paddywagon! I apologize profusely for any emotional harm I may have caused readers by the use of such an anti-Irish slur! Please don’t cancel me, as I’m still trying to decolonize my own mind from these pernicious English influences. Moving on now, I’d like to demonstrate my ideological purity by being offended by…

            The Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I take great offense at the negative stereotypes inherent in the depiction of their scrappy belligerent mascot. It perpetuates negative stereotypes of Irish as green clad, receding hair-lined, bowler hatted, violent alcoholic leprechauns. This causes untold psychic harm and distress to Irish-Americans everywhere. What if we don’t even like wearing green? Does anyone think about the extreme cultural pressure we face when choosing our wardrobes, perpetuated by the expectations induced by leprechaun based stereotypes? How many Irish have been driven to alcoholism despite disliking beer and whiskey simply because of cultural pressures?

            Don’t even get me started on Lucky Charms cereal. “Magically Delicious”? More like “Magically Cultural Appropriation”. Using stereotyped mythological beings from my cultural heritage to promote a sugary marshmallow breakfast cereal is incredibly hurtful, not only to me but to leprechauns everywhere. We deserve for the cereal aisle to be a safe space for all Irish. To facilitate that, I would gladly volunteer my expertise to help General Mills design a more sensitive, culturally appropriate Irish inspired breakfast cereal. It could feature blood pudding, herring, and sausage flavored marshmallows with a soda bread flavored oat crunchy. All moistened in your bowl with a generous helping of Barry’s black tea. Delicious, nutritious, and authentic. A sure hit with the wee ones!

            And don’t even think about coming to me asking for advice on finding lucky four leaf clovers or commenting about the red in my beard. Don’t worry, because you don’t have to. I’ll save us all time by being offended by assuming that you wanted to do those things but were too afraid to be seen as bigoted to actually ask me and that it’s just an inherent part of your nature to be offensive to me. See, the healing is beginning already!

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