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March 17, 2012
A slur upon the Irish on St. Patrick's Day?
St. Patrick's Day has collided with America's grievance-mongering movement -- and in Iowa of all places.
Now, besides looking forward to another beer-addled St. Patrick's Day, many Iowans are debating whether a pub and eatery in Davenport insulted the Irish with a light-hearted promotion depicting them as hard drinkers.
John M. Dooley, a Davenport resident who is fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, claims the popular Circle Tap pub and eatery went too far -- and he vented his outrage in an Op-Ed published Friday in the Quad-City Times, a local newspaper. His article is attracting wide attention, and the overwhelming number of readers -- including those of Irish heritage - are telling Dooley to lighten up in the paper's comments section.
At issue: A T-shirt being sold by the pub, in the run-up to St. Patrick's Day, that's emblazoned with an "alcohol-detection meter" against a green background. The meter displays a needle and various levels of inebriation: sober, buzzed, drunk, blitzed -- and Irish. And befitting St. Patrick's Day, the needle falls squarely upon "Irish" (the highest level of drunkenness).
Dooley contends the implied stereotype --that the Irish are hard drinkers -- is highly offensive. Even worse, he wrote, the T-shirt is part of a string of historical outrages against the Irish.
All in all, it's the sort of chest-thumping victimization talk that one rarely finds among Americans of European heritage (Balkans excluded). Rather, it's typical of some members of groups -- typically those with high levels of underachievement -- who are highly adept at playing the victimization card.
Circle Tap owner Debra Lundgren shot back with a diplomatic rejoinder: "Every year the Circle Tap offers a St. Patrick's celebration in good faith, good fun and with a light heart. We invite everyone to join us for a responsible good time."
She has the support of an overwhelmingly number of readers offering up comments. In the paper's online comments section, many readers -- including some identifying themselves as having Irish ancestry -- had a singular message for Dooley: lighten up. Some compared Dooley's outrage to what they regarded as the silliness of native Americans protesting Indian-themed mascots used by some universities.
A sampling of 40-plus comments that overwhelmingly took issue with Dooley:
How ironic that John M. Dooley, rather than shaming the Circle Tap, has inadvertently given it priceless publicity - and probably boosted sales of its politically incorrect T-shirts. Tonight, the Circle Tap ought to be a fun place to knock back a few.
And I say "cheers."
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