Thursday, November 29, 2007

Killing The Celt

From the Amazon page:

Killing the CeltKilling the Celt is a collection of short fiction, metafiction, and nonfiction pieces that include Celtic history, social and political satire, travel narratives, pop-culture musings, and memoir. The book’s thirty one essays and stories are framed within brief histories of the six Celtic holocausts, and bound together with a Celtic sensibility marked by dark, anarchic humor; a love of place, time, and culture; and a steely distrust of authority.

As the author notes, the Celts are always done in because they can never unite long enough to fight off a common foe. We Celts are good examples of those who hang separately because they’ll be damned if they’ll hang together past the first fist fight.

Or, as dark Irish humor has it, God invented whiskey to keep the Celts from taking over the world.

The following is just one excerpt from Killing the Celt. Call it political satire. Call it a Jacksonian daydream…

The First Openly Celtic President Talks Foreign Policy

Anchor: “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Daniel lzquierdo for ABS News. This evening President MacBytback is going to address the nation on the subject of the Middle East. I am joined for tonight’s broadcast by my colleague Tom Gauche. We also have our Celtic Color Commentator, Peter O’Deas.”

Co-Anchor: “And it’s rather early in his term for the President to be speaking on such an important topic, isn’t it, Dan?”

Anchor: “That’s right, Tom. President MacBytback has only been in office for two months now. But as we heard recently in his speech on terrorism to the Council on Foreign Relations, the President is not afraid to speak his mind and to take decisive, somewhat unprecedented, action. It will be interesting to see what he has to say tonight. Here he comes now.”

The President is shown walking into the Oval Office. He is wearing a kilt. Surprisingly, to many watching, a basket-hilted sword is slung at his left side. A piper can be heard playing a martial tune in the Rose Garden. A large metal map of the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Europe sits on an easel behind the President’s desk. A two-dimensional bag of money — marked by three bright-red dollar signs-is attached to the map with a magnet. The map looks like something you might have seen in an early-19th century elementary school classroom.

Co-Anchor: “Peter, is that a MacBytback tartan the President is wearing?”

Celtic Color Commentator: “No, Tom, that’s the Marine Corps tartan. As you know, the President was a marine back in the late 1960s. The pipe tune being played is the old charging air, The Haughs of Cromdale, a favorite of the Highland regiments in the early 19th-century Peninsular Wars.”

Anchor: “Thank you, Peter. Now the President is about to speak.”

Slainte, my fellow Americans. As you know, I am a quiet man, a man of few words, so I will get straight to the point of my talk right away. The Middle East has tong been a primary focus of United States foreign policy. I have absolutely no idea why this is so — perhaps it’s our amazing thirst for oil, maybe a certain sense of religious commonality, or possibly a degree of undue influence from a small number of powerful people in the Northeast. I mean, if one bothered to watch television news, a thankless task to be sure, one would go away with the idea that the Middle East is the largest continent on earth. Well, our business there is no longer going to be done as usual.
- - - - - - - - -
“We buy most of our oil now from our friends down in South America and we’ve begun to tap into Russia’s huge reserves. So we needn’t worry too much about oil.” He paused. “As for religion, as far as I’m concerned Newgrange in the Boyne Valley is the New Jerusalem.” He looked away at a small spot just below the ceiling on the far wall. “Or it may be Avebury in Wiltshire. We’re not sure at the moment. I have a committee from my Druidical Council of Scholars working on that problem right now.” His preternaturally light blue eyes peered steelily into the C-Span camera, and he briefly smiled at his handlers, who were trying their best not to squirm in their seats.

He stood up in front of the map. “In any case, we’re going to stop pouring billions of our taxpayers’ dollars into that stony, turbulent dust bowl over there as we’ve been doing every year for the past 40 or 50 years. It hasn’t done much good, now has it?” He took a wooden pointer and pushed the magnetic money bag from its position between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, up across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe, so that it settled over the Isle of Man. “So, we’re going to mooooove this from here to here. See how easy that was.” He gave what a New York newspaper would call a “big, dumb grin” in its lead editorial the next day.

“We’re going to cut that money in half and spend it for a while in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. We may put a little into England and Brittany, too. We’ll see. I’m convinced that if we help the Celtic peoples in this way, they will form a unified, strongly bonded nation that will be a good ally in our fight to keep freedom alive in the world and a stabilizing influence in the Eurabian region. We need to guard the cradle of the Western imagination with all of our might. And, to be sure, we need a perpetual counterbalance to the hyper-rationalist Franco-German superstate.

“The people in the Middle East are just going to have to grow up and learn to get along like everyone else. For God’s sake, they’re all the same people, with some odd disagreements on religion. They’ve been going at it tooth and nail for the past 9,000 years. Now, if they can’t get along, they’re going to have to learn to fight with sticks and stones again. Today I signed an Executive Order stopping all foreign aid and arms shipments to the region. So I wish them luck. They’re on their own.

“That’s all I have to say. Good night and God bless.”


Francis W. Porretto said...

Hey, I'd vote for him!

Jim Jinkins said...

Mildly funny, but the premise is unrealistic. Ireland and Great Britain are not major producers. In any case the global oil market is fungible. Wherever foreign oil comes from, the price is the same. Whoever we buy from, Middle Eastern producers receive the same price for the oil they sell.

Only a berserk Celt would think of Russia as a reliable oil supplier.

Nuclear power can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and gas for electricity.

Drilling in Alaska and offshore in US waters can reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But it will take a few years.

Oil shale can reduce our dependence on foreign oil for transportation - gasoline, diesel fuel, and lubricants. But building the infrastructure will take a few years.

Given that "alternative energy" sources are inadequate, more expensive than foreign oil, and frequently damaging to the environment, we desperately need drilling, oil shale, and nuclear plants.

Given the realities of current politics, this will not happen without drastic changes. When enough of our people face those facts, we are in for interesting times. If enough of our people do not face those facts soon enough, we are in for very interesting times.

Ed Mahmoud said...

I'm not sure I like the one civilized Semitic culture in the region lumped in together with the barbarian Semitic people that surround them.

My mother's Great-Aunt Mary Lydon, who lived in the projects South of Andrew Square in Boston, spoke with an accent. Only living relative I have, except I'm pretty sure she is dead now, probably for twenty years or more, from the Old Country/

ricpic said...

For the life of me I can't think of a better prescription for America's continued existence as a free republic than George Washington's advice that we avoid all foreign entanglements. This does not mean that we would cease trading vigorously with other nations or that we would not respond with great force if attacked. All it would mean is that we would cease meddling, which is to say we would stop being a light unto other nations in any way other than as an example. How does this relate to your post? Fine to be fiendly to friendly Celtic nations. But no aid! Maybe the only hope is a worldwide depression, terrible as that would be. It's the only event I can think of that would force a fundamental reappraisal and one hopes a return to our founders' conception.

Dymphna said...

ric pic--

I can see why President Washington wanted to avoid all foreign entanglements but from the frist it was impossible.

The Barbary Pirates started attacking our ships and our men were taken prisoner. Many were killed or sold into slavery. Reluctantly, we were forced to mount a counter attack in order to stop them, and to end their demands of tribute in order for them to leave us alone.

And the in-fighting with England and France didn't end. The War of 1812 is a good example.

In a perfect world, we could an island unto ourselves, but this isn't a perfect world. There is a necessary interdependency.

We are not autonomous. The rest of the world could easily attack our currency, making it worthless.The Canadian dollar is now worth more than the American dollar. And the Euro continues to grow in strength.

So we are not only not autonomous, we are not invulnerable. I agree that the aid we give could change in form so that it ends up in the hands it was meant to help rather than in politician's pockets -- but that's different from no aid at all.

agmartin said...

"Oil shale can reduce our dependence on foreign oil for transportation - gasoline, diesel fuel, and lubricants. But building the infrastructure will take a few years."

I wouldn't put much hope on oil shale reducing the U.S dependence on imported oil. The Task Force on Strategic Unconventional Fuels in its most optimistic projection was predicting oil production from oil shale to only reach 2.5 million barrels per day in 2035. For comparison the U.S. currently uses 20 million barrels of oil per day. The growth in demand in the next thirty years will be larger than what is produced from oil shale.

Jim Jinkins said...

From Wikipedia, which I - mostly - trust on matters of fact:
Total world resources of oil shale are estimated at 411 gigatons (411 x 109 tonnes), which is enough to yield 2.8 to 3.3 trillion (2.8 to 3.3 x 1012) U.S. barrels.[2][3][4][5] Among those, the United States accounts for 62 % of world resources;

I agree that "a few years" was wrong. I disagree that the US could not produce the part of its 20 million barrels per day usage not used for electric power (substitute nukes)from oil shale within - very roughly - 10 to 30 years. All it would take would be enormous investments and significant changes in government regulation. Using nuclear power to process oil shale would reduce costs and pollution.

As to whether there could be enough private investment and public pressure to switch to oil shale in the lower part of that time frame, think about gasoline at $4/gal.

While the current political situation looks bad for the necessary regulatory changes, the situation also looked bad in the winter of 1777.