Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2012
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In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share a classic song by the legendary Celtic folk-punk band The Pogues which embodies the deep ambivalence the first wave of Irish immigrants felt upon leaving their homeland. Of course, I take issue with any song whose lyrics boast of toasting JFK-even if uttered in a jocular fashion-for obvious reasons, but otherwise feel the song accurately captures the spirit of first generation Irish immigrants. The lottery referenced by MacGowan is the post-1965 system that limited ┬áthe immigration of Irish immigrants in order to increase the number of visas issued to those living in third world nations. The Diversity Lottery, ironically enough, was intended to rectify this error.

However, like almost every other piece of immigration law enacted since the Johnson administration, that legislative “fix” merely padded the voting rolls for the Democratic Party. For a fuller explanation of this song’s meaning, check out the annotated lyrics page of The Parting Glass, which provides textual analysis of what remains the greatest Irish punk band ever to come out of London.

 

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