Equality & Classism | The Unbearable Lightness of the Ironic Man

What does paedophilia have to do with classism? And should the Irish middle classes be worried?

In the submission call by Headstuff.org for articles on equality I never expected to see classism on the list in a month of Sunday coddles. For classism is like coddle; everyone posh is scared stiff of the boiled sausage.

“Submissions could be concerned with the following:

-Sexism
-Ageism
-Transphobia/Transgender rights
-Feminism
-Mental health reform
-Racism
-Women’s rights
-Rape culture
-Homophobia
-Classism

…Or anything else that emphasises the inequalities still in existence today in 2016.”

But, omg, there it was tagged on right at the end, almost as an afterthought. Yay! Chuffed is not the word, old bean. Not the word at all. On Wikipedia and other world-wide organs of bien pensant righteousness, classism, usually comes home in a respectable bronze-medal winning third place, after gender and race. Or thereabouts. Not in Ireland though. Not in our current post-modern Republic of Conservative Hipsterdom.

Dublin spire - HeadStuff.org
Image source

The dreaded c word sends all beard-scratching lumbersexuals screaming to their converted garrets to consult Mumford & Son’s latest for good counsel. And when I mention the “c word” I don’t mean cover version – or coddle either (Mammy, can I sleep in your room tonight? There’s strange gurgles, bumps and whinnies coming from up there somewhere in the house. It sounds evil. I can’t sleep. I’m afraid. Mammy, I think there’s a coddle in the attic).

Basically, I’m talking about intersectionality.

The Irish say –
No racism here! Except when the black person in question is working-class. Then it’s: piss off – you skanger!

The Irish say –
No sexism here! Except when the woman in question is working-class. Then it’s: piss off – you scumbag!

The Irish say –
No homophobia here! Except when the person in question is working-class. Then it’s: piss off – you scobe!

The Irish say –
No disability-ism here! Except when the person in question is working-class. Then it’s: piss off – you knacker!

To be honest, I think classism in Ireland is far too ingrained for it ever to be even acknowledged by the middle-classes let alone diminished by a single micron in my lifetime. So please don’t misunderstand me in any way, because I’m not arguing or asking for anyone out there to stop calling me, my family, friends or neighbours scumbags, scobies, skangers or knackers. Not at all. For that would be pure self-pity. Victimhood. Wouldn’t it? So relax.

Coddle - HeadStuff.org
Coddle, image source

Just look at the anger, the rage and the sheer gusto with which the middle-classes define the above terms in urban dictionaries of t’internet lads and lassies for yourselves. The jokes, the banter and the snot flying about the place is really top-notch stuff indeed. It would be churlish to deny anyone such frivolity and catharsis in these desperate recessionary times.

The jokes, the banter and the snot flying about the place is really top-notch stuff indeed. It would be churlish to deny anyone such frivolity and catharsis in these desperate recessionary times.

So no, no, no, no, no. I’m not asking for it to cease. This type of thing goes on. I’m used to it. Move on positively in an empowering way is my motto dudes.

However, what I am asking for is to be permitted to throw it back with as much anger, bravado and sheer gusto as the middle-classes are allowed to get away with themselves. That very same carte blanche in reverse. I think that this would be a fair exchange. And fun too. Two negatives make a positive. And it really does look like oodles and oodles and oodles of side-splitting fun, Toby. Truly, madly, deeply. Lazy stereotypes always are. Surely, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander? N’est-ce pas? I do think so. I do. I do. I do. I do. I do. So hey ho, let’s go is what I say; The Blitzkrieg Bop.

First the prologue. 

The quiddity of humour in Ireland is a working-class accent. Your get out of jail card. Yay!

To make people laugh in Ireland you don’t have to be funny or witty or any such nonsense. Just think of a sentence. Any sentence will do. Put it back in the pack. Don’t tell me what it is, please. Now say that sentence with a working-class accent. Bingo! Everyone cracks up. Infinite hilarity. For free. The quiddity of humour in Ireland is a working-class accent. Your get out of jail card. Yay!

I never realised I was from “Ballyfermot” until after my Leaving Certificate, aged seventeen going on eighteen, when I went to college in Dublin’s city centre. Up until then I must have led some sort of a sheltered existence, in that, I never knew or hung around with any middle-class people whatsoever. Only nice Ballyfermot people. So when I got into college I thought, wow, I’ll now be mixing with a bunch of turned-on clever-Trevors from the length and breadth of Ireland who’d done really pat-on-the-head well in the Leaving Certificate to get here. The beautiful people. The intelligentsia, as it were. Things could only wax supersonic from here on in. Bionic even. We’d 3D print a utopian new world before Rag week. A stereolithographic brave new world indeed. Surely?

Ballyfermot - HeadStuff.org
Image source

Tragically at the time I was too influenced by the social democratic strains coming from across the water. Too influenced and turned on by the alternative culture of their music, literature, comedy, art and politics. (We had the pipe in my house – for a while at least.) I believed that every right-thinking person thought the way that that culture thought and a cherished tenet of that culture was that no matter where you were from it was the person you were inside that counted and nothing else. A self-evident truth. Everything was possible. The future unprinted.

I believed that every right-thinking person thought the way that that culture thought and a cherished tenet of that culture was that no matter where you were from it was the person you were inside that counted and nothing else.

However, there was a preponderance of posh Dublin and country people in my college class who didn’t think like that at all. (Shit scared of coddle too). I was stunned. I had truly never been subject to such conservative and mainstream opinion before in my entire short life. (I know, a very cloistered existence I had had indeed. I know. I know). Northside-Southside jokes. Stunned. My accent and domicile being associated humorously/viciously with criminality, scobies, scumbags, skangers and knackers in the one brushstroke. Stunned. And all the rest. Etc. Etc. Etc. But I accepted it, moved on – and in a positive, empowering, supersonic way to boot.

Lazy stereotypes can work both ways. For anyone can make them up. I encountered a lot of middle-class paedophile priests, middle-class paedophile sports-coaches, middle-class paedophile teachers and middle-class paedophile doctors in my small enclosed world when I was growing up. I know this is based on my own anecdotal evidence and true to that extent only but probably not in any wider generalised sense at all at all at all, but if it’s sauce for the goose, eh? You get me? In reverse? D’ya cop it?

Priests - HeadStuff.org
Image source

And now, finally; The Blitzkrieg Bop.

A friend of mine, Cynthia, her name is, put it best in a monologue to her boss she once gave after he’d called her a scumbag, a scobe and a skanger and then got terribly upset when she used the word fuck in a sentence.

‘Fiachra, it’s just like you and all your like to say something like that. The middle-classes get very upset about bad language. Don’t they? You’re all the same. Most of the bad language that upsets you so has sexual connotations, like fuck or bastard or cunt. You know what I mean? If a middle-class person is shocked to the core of their very being by this sort of common or garden language, then they must be repressed. Sexually repressed if you ask me. It’s a logical conclusion, Fiachra.

Lazy stereotypes can work both ways. For anyone can make them up. I encountered a lot of middle-class paedophile priests, middle-class paedophile sports-coaches, middle-class paedophile teachers and middle-class paedophile doctors when I was growing up. I know this is based on my own anecdotal evidence and true to that extent only but probably not in any wider generalised sense at all at all at all, but if it’s sauce for the goose, eh? You get me? In reverse? D’ya cop it?

‘All middle-class people are sexually repressed which means their parents must be too. And that they’ve passed it on to their offspring. Which means that they must have sexually abused their children. All middle-class people are paedophiles. It’s logical and follows on conclusively Fiachra. Paedophiles beget paedophiles. This paedophilia mixes in with their inherent greed and messes them up so much, that, although they have more than adequate professional salaries, they can never be as happy as the working-classes. Not even close.

‘Every action in a middle-class household is based on money and keeping it in the family, so much so, that the strain dehumanises their lives. The only way they can survive without killing themselves is to feel superior financially and morally to the working classes at whatever cost. They’re only really happy when they’re sexually abusing their own children or the children of the working classes like in the 1950s up to the 1990s as priests or teachers or sports coaches in the community. Beyond that even and into the present-tense. Their whole life is dedicated to this process. This is my own personal anecdotal evidence Fiachra, like your own personal anecdotal “Ballyfermot” evidence.        

‘So Fiachra, that’s the middle-classes for you in a nut-shell. That’s you. A greedy fucked-up paedophile. Excuse the Irish like. I know you don’t like it.’

Al Murray - HeadStuff.org
Image source

If you’re red and pop-eyed by Cynthia’s monologue, then just to be clear, it’s supposed to be horrible and nasty, lazy made-up stereotypes always are. Anyway, you can’t whack a good gander sauce is what I always say. Or as the pub landlord, Al Murray, would say in his very best I-can-say-it-because-it’s-ironic voices, ‘You can’t whack a good gander sauce.’  I’m off now to post-modernly lash it into my coddle forthwith.

Featured image source.

You might also like More from author