Michael Flatley, Irishness, Sex and The Brits
Michael Flatley is upset about Ireland becoming too multicultural, and fears we may lose our Irish identity. Speaking at the first US Ireland Forum in New York, he asked: ‘When is the last time you walked by a pub in Dublin and heard Irish music, or ordered a coffee and heard an Irish person taking your order?’ Putting aside the irony of a son of Irish emigrants complaining about Irish immigrants, which of the many versions of Irishness is Flatley anxious to preserve? His Celtic Tiger show includes a scene which Flatley must have imagined like this:
We get a nice Irish girl in a green air hostess outfit, doing an Irish dance. Then I come on as a pilot and eye her up, and she looks all coy and nervous. Then a load of other pilots join me and we all dance around her. I lift up her skirt a little and look at her legs, then we all lift her up over our heads like a human airplane. Then we put her down and, honestly this will be great, we put a video of a huge hell-fire behind her, and she does a sexy strip-tease to some blues music. And here is the really great bit… when she gets her green uniform off, she is wearing a Stars and Stripes bikini! Oh, and maybe she does the splits at the very end. Yeah, that would be good.
Which ended up like this:
Also in his speech to the US Ireland Forum, Flatley added that Ireland had forgotten that we had reached where we are because of the heroes of 1916. Which brings us away from sex, and onto the Brits, a topic to which his Celtic Tiger show repeatedly returns. Here is my favourite example. >>>
The Redcoats and Famine scene in the Celtic Tiger must have evolved from Flatley imagining the following:
Okay, we start off with a traditional Irish cottage. Then we march on a load of stern-looking Brit Redcoats, singing Rule Brittania. Then we make them dance to Irish music. So they get upset and they set fire to to the cottage. Some peasants try to escape from the burning cottage – they are very sexy, scantily-clad peasants. And the Brits stand there watching them die – oh, and they die very sexily as well. Then, seriously, you’ll love this, I come out of the cottage as a priest! With my hands held together in prayer! The Brits surround me, I say ‘forgive those who trespass against us, and deliver us from evil’, then they all shoot me and I die. Brilliant!
Which ended up like this:
I honestly don’t know what to make of Flatley. Maybe the air hostess stripper dance is about the Irish being corrupted by foreigners, or maybe it is about us being liberated by foreigners. Unless the foreigners are the Brits, in which it seems much more clear-cut and anachronistic. I don’t know – do you think we can survive if we lose Michael Flatley’s version of our Irishness?