Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (2008-2009)
Coincidentally, I read these over the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, or ‘St. Paddy’s Day’ as an American colleague referred to it when we were saying our goodbyes on the Friday. He was hoping I had a good one, and while I appreciated the sentiment the only reason I know it’s on March 17th is because I googled it just before writing this.
I’m English, you see. There’s what you could call ‘a bit of history’ between the English and the Irish, which means that big nationalistic celebrations don’t really travel all that well across the Irish Sea. It reminds me of the time a Japanese colleague asked me if I could do a Thanksgiving lesson; “Well, not really. A lot of what they give thanks for is the fact they successfully got away from England.”
On that note though, the ‘St. Paddy’s Day Effect’ is a big reason why I don’t get too upset about the more ridiculous aspects of Japanese (mis)appropriation of Western festivals: the apocryphal ‘Santa on a cross’ christmas displays or the thumping assault of confectionary advertising in the run up to Halloween and Valentine’s. I’ve never experienced St. Patrick’s Day in either Ireland or America (or anywhere, in fact), but an Irish friend who’s done both assures me that the American urge to dye their beer green is just as innocently misguided as the Japanese predilection for queuing up outside KFC on December 25th. Both represent a reaching for something from outside that isn’t normally available within their respective cultures.
I’m not going to expand on that here, though feel free to pitch in in the comments. I’m only mentioning it because St. Patrick’s Day forms the backdrop to one of the plot strands in We Gotta Go Now. For the record, while I do slightly play up to the image of the stiff-upper-lipped English gent, I also have very immediate Celtic forbears. They just come from the North instead of the West – Wee Hugie’s neck of the woods – and so I’ve had a decent number of conversations like the one below. With Americans and Japanese both. And, if I’m being completely fair, with Brits when talking about Japan –