Bizarro is brought to you today by Irish Yoga.
First off, I’d like to say that I’m allowed to trash the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day because my mother is part Irish, rendering me an indeterminate percentage Irish. Plus, my first wife was mostly Irish, making my two daughters, Krelspeth and Krapuzar (Gaelic names) about half Irish. I also come from a staunch Catholic family and went to Catholic school. And I drink a lot of whiskey on a regular basis. So I’m covered.
Now that we have that out of the way, is there any religious holiday that has gotten more offtrack than St. Patrick’s Day? Sure, I’m guessing somebody somewhere goes to church that day and prays to or about something or other that has to do with the life of St. Patrick or Jesus or somebody. But I don’t know for sure that anyone does that because the entirety of the holiday now is about getting so drunk that you embarrass yourself in public in any number of available ways: vomiting, nudity, unconsciousness, assassination attempts, karaoke, etc.
Some might say that this is because the Irish are notorious drinkers, yet others would say that is an unfair, bigoted stereotype. Now, I’m not a historian and I’ve not spent one second on Wikipedia looking this up but I’m going to go on record with the certainty of an expert and say that the Irish are, in fact, notoriously heavy drinkers (and poets and fighters, which often follows excessive drinking) and that this hard, cold fact is exactly why this holiday has degenerated into a festival of degenerates.
As a partly-Irish person, I’m not offended by this characterization at all. Nor am I morally offended that what (presumably) was once a religious holiday is now about debauchery. The only objections to St. Patrick’s Day I currently hold are that the high percentage of public drunkenness makes leaving the house mathematically more dangerous for me, and that the outlandish parades cause traffic jams. Other than that, I don’t really care how people dress or act on March 17th.
St. Patrick himself might have been a real peachy guy, but as far as I know he is famous primarily for driving the snakes out of Ireland. (No idea how he did this since he died 1400 years before the invention of the automobile.) Again, I don’t know anything about this alleged event but I can say with certainty that either there are still snakes in Ireland, some natural event got rid of them, or there never were any. I know this because there is no such thing as magic, only “tricks” that fool the eye. I doubt even Penn and Teller could appear to rid an island the size of Ireland of an entire suborder of reptiles by means of trickery.
I’m also puzzled as to why ridding Ireland of snakes would even be a good thing. Snakes eat rats and rats are a far larger potential health menace for humans than are snakes. So, thanks, but no thanks, Pat. Bring the snakes back before we all die of plague.
Here is a St. Pat’s Day cartoon I did in 2006, which got some guys in an Irish club of some sort all bent out of shape. I received a number of indignant letters from a handful of these would-be leprechauns and will share the best one with you here:
I was completely offended by the St. Patrick’s Day panel you decided to put in the paper. As and Irish American and Catholic, I must make you and your fellow cartoonists aware that such a depiction of the patron satin of Ireland goes too far in exploiting the Irish stereotypes.
On MLK day, did you write a panel of African Americans drinking 40s in the street?
On Jewish holidays do you draw cartoons about Jewish people and their eating beliefs or money hoarding?
On Thanksgiving, will you portray today’s American Indians sitting around their casino drinking and living their tax-free lives?
Why are the Irish open to such stereotypes but for anyone else it would cause too much trouble?
I hope you enjoyed that letter as much as I did and that you have a safe St. Patrick’s Day with as little magic marker on your face tomorrow morning as is possible under the circumstances. If you feel inclined to write an angry, semi-coherent letter about my views of this “holiday” and my treatment of it in my most recent St. Pat’s Day cartoon, please do. Reading idiotic hate mail in my comedy shows is one of my most popular routines.
DISCLAIMER: Yes, I realize that not all Irish are heavy drinkers and that most people who make fools of themselves on March 17th are not Irish and that some Catholics take the holiday seriously and go to church or whatever and that the letter I reprinted here contained non-PC comments about various ethnic groups and that you may have found one or more comments in this post to be offensive.