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 "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme

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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 6:16 pm

Quote :
Ethnicity is an "imagined community" whose members see themselves as as suficiently similarly to each other and sufficiently different to others to constitute a distinct ethnic, social group.

And are seen as such by "outsiders" ?

Shared difference: but it does mean sharing certain types of thing. Shared taste in fashion, shared tallness, or shared ability at maths, say, would not make an ethnic group.

I agree that this is all dangerous territory if it is used to demonise, dehumanise or other wise put down a group, but there also a lot of benefits to having a shared ethnicity / culture / difference.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 6:19 pm

Desmond O'Toole wrote:
Quote :
Yes, ethnicity as a concept seems to raise more questions than it answers. If you were to define it (not unreasonably imo) as requiring a shared linguistic identity, kinship/shared genes and a common culture, then would there be such a thing as Irish ethnicity?

I agree with your comment that ethnicity raises more questions than answers. I'd part company with you WRT your definitions however. Irish people do not have a shared linguistic identity as the continuous hand-wringing over the Irish language demonstates. Similarly many different ethnic groups share the same lingustic identity. I'd also argue that kinship is largely irrelevant to ethnic identity outside of the question of the socialisation of children into a particular ethnic group. I, for example, have absolutely no kin or close genetic relationshp with the overall majority of Irish people, yet that doesn't make me, or them (!), any less Irish. I also think that the idea of there ever having been a common culture is pretty redundant at this stage.

Ethnicity is an entirely cultural phenomenon. I would argue that it has no genetic base whatsoever. Genetic similarities, for what they're worth, are a result of the social behaviours prompted by shared identity and social organisation. Genetic similarities are neither a marker of, nor a condition for any particular ethinic identity. Ethnicity is an "imagined community" (Benedict Anderson: 1983) whose members see themselves as as suficiently similarly to each other and sufficiently different to others to constitute a distinct ethnic, social group.

Good point. Genetics is often used to give a spurious pseudo-scientific basis to culturally self-selected groups. The genetic evidence invariably fails to coincide with the "ethnic identity".
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 6:21 pm

ibis wrote:
Desmond O'Toole wrote:
Quote :
Yes, ethnicity as a concept seems to raise more questions than it answers. If you were to define it (not unreasonably imo) as requiring a shared linguistic identity, kinship/shared genes and a common culture, then would there be such a thing as Irish ethnicity?

I agree with your comment that ethnicity raises more questions than answers. I'd part company with you WRT your definitions however. Irish people do not have a shared linguistic identity as the continuous hand-wringing over the Irish language demonstates. Similarly many different ethnic groups share the same lingustic identity. I'd also argue that kinship is largely irrelevant to ethnic identity outside of the question of the socialisation of children into a particular ethnic group. I, for example, have absolutely no kin or close genetic relationshp with the overall majority of Irish people, yet that doesn't make me, or them (!), any less Irish. I also think that the idea of there ever having been a common culture is pretty redundant at this stage.

Ethnicity is an entirely cultural phenomenon. I would argue that it has no genetic base whatsoever. Genetic similarities, for what they're worth, are a result of the social behaviours prompted by shared identity and social organisation. Genetic similarities are neither a marker of, nor a condition for any particular ethinic identity. Ethnicity is an "imagined community" (Benedict Anderson: 1983) whose members see themselves as as suficiently similarly to each other and sufficiently different to others to constitute a distinct ethnic, social group.

Good point. Genetics is often used to give a spurious pseudo-scientific basis to culturally self-selected groups. The genetic evidence invariably fails to coincide with the "ethnic identity".

Genetics is full of surprises - like our unexpectedly close connection with rabbits albino rabbit
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 6:24 pm

ibis wrote:
Desmond O'Toole wrote:
Quote :
Yes, ethnicity as a concept seems to raise more questions than it answers. If you were to define it (not unreasonably imo) as requiring a shared linguistic identity, kinship/shared genes and a common culture, then would there be such a thing as Irish ethnicity?

I agree with your comment that ethnicity raises more questions than answers. I'd part company with you WRT your definitions however. Irish people do not have a shared linguistic identity as the continuous hand-wringing over the Irish language demonstates. Similarly many different ethnic groups share the same lingustic identity. I'd also argue that kinship is largely irrelevant to ethnic identity outside of the question of the socialisation of children into a particular ethnic group. I, for example, have absolutely no kin or close genetic relationshp with the overall majority of Irish people, yet that doesn't make me, or them (!), any less Irish. I also think that the idea of there ever having been a common culture is pretty redundant at this stage.

Ethnicity is an entirely cultural phenomenon. I would argue that it has no genetic base whatsoever. Genetic similarities, for what they're worth, are a result of the social behaviours prompted by shared identity and social organisation. Genetic similarities are neither a marker of, nor a condition for any particular ethinic identity. Ethnicity is an "imagined community" (Benedict Anderson: 1983) whose members see themselves as as suficiently similarly to each other and sufficiently different to others to constitute a distinct ethnic, social group.

Good point. Genetics is often used to give a spurious pseudo-scientific basis to culturally self-selected groups. The genetic evidence invariably fails to coincide with the "ethnic identity".
Nonsense, look at the FG front bench and don't tell me there isn't a po faced DNA.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 6:54 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Quote :
Ethnicity is an "imagined community" whose members see themselves as as suficiently similarly to each other and sufficiently different to others to constitute a distinct ethnic, social group.

And are seen as such by "outsiders" ?

Of course. It's a dialectic. You only have to list out the names that many ethnic groups adopt for themselves to see how many of them are descriptions/names given them by other ethnic groups. For example, "gaelic" is reputed to be an adaption into Irish of the Welsh word for people from Ireland. What is also important to note, however, is that the perspective that "outsiders" have of what constitues a given ethnic identity or social group is likely often to be quite different to that which the people within that group may have.

Quote :
Shared difference: but it does mean sharing certain types of thing. Shared taste in fashion, shared tallness, or shared ability at maths, say, would not make an ethnic group.

It may not, but you'd have the devil's own job trying to list out what those shared things might be. Let's take a simple example:

The particular type of music we have in Ireland is unique (for argument's sake) to the ethnic group we call the Irish, as is our Gaelic language, our devotion to pig-meat and our fondness for strong drink . We know that ... it's obvious (?). What happens if I can't abide "Irish music", never listen to it and don't want my kids ever to learn it. And futhermore, I won't speak that Peig rubbish, am a vegetarian and am allergic to the crature? Where would I stand in terms of a "shared ethnic identity" if it was dependent on "sharing [these] certain types of thing[s]"?

And what if, say, I'm a Nigerian resident in Ireland who goes nuts for Riverdance, the cúpla focal, Superquinn sasuages and Uncle Arthur?

I know these are rather obvious examples, but what I'm trying to clumsily explain is that the ethnic identity I possess is one which is not dependent on material objects, geographical ties, kinship or particular shared behaviours. It has a relationship to all of those things ... and not, as the case may be.

I'd maintain that my ethnic identity is a choice I make. It's a choice determined in large part by my socialisation, but it is also a choice at a conscious level. This is particularly important when we are dealing with the idea of multiple ethnic identities. I grew up in England, speak with an English accent and most of my immediate family still live there. I'm not English though, or at least as far as I'm concerned.

Another personal example. On my Facebook site I have used the Heritage application to claim that my heritage is "ethnically Irish, intellectually Greek and politically French." It's all bollox, of course, but it does illustrate the fluidity and artifice involved in ethnic identity.

Quote :
I agree that this is all dangerous territory if it is used to demonise, dehumanise or other wise put down a group, but there also a lot of benefits to having a shared ethnicity / culture / difference.

It is dangerous teritory and you are right to sound the note of caution. As to whether it is of benefit? Well there's two sides to that particular coin as I'm sure you'll agree. I prefer to simply note that ethnic identity is part of how we do the human thing. It's a fascinating area for research and discussion. Where it joins us together by appealing to our interest in plurality and our curiousity for the different and novel ... then great. Where it divides us from one another and causes us to fear the "other" then it is malevolent and spectacularly dangerous.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:09 pm

Very interesting article here
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:12 pm

I'd agree with a lot of that, but I think that National identity and ethnicity are two different things. I would look at ethnicity as being a collection of "given" characterists /behaviours that might all be unconciously held by an individual or group - not a matter of choice.

To me, national identity is more about what we conciously choose to identify with and/or by which people choose to identify us.

But I'm wandering into personal definitions, not useful probably.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:13 pm

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
Very interesting article here

Donnachadh Ó Corráin is the DB's. Rather him discussing the development of ideas of ethnic identity in the Middle Ages than a celebrity garderner.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:18 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I'd agree with a lot of that, but I think that National identity and ethnicity are two different things. I would look at ethnicity as being a collection of "given" characterists /behaviours that might all be unconciously held by an individual or group - not a matter of choice.

To me, national identity is more about what we conciously choose to identify with and/or by which people choose to identify us.

But I'm wandering into personal definitions, not useful probably.

I take your point, although I wouldn't agree that national and ethnic identity are any different from one another. I would however agree that nationality and ethnic identity are very different beasts entirely and something that the intellectually-challenged over at P.ie don't appear able to get their heads around.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:19 pm

When I went through security once at Nairobi airport I was greeted by a Kenyan immigration official who greeted me with "OOoooh, Conas atá tú?" very intriguing sort of situation. I'd love to see someone categorise that lad Razz.

Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson is a useful work on the imagined identity of communities and nations. Here is a wiki link with a synopsis for anyone not bothered to buy the book. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imagined_Communities
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:21 pm

Desmond O'Toole wrote:
SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
Very interesting article here

Donnachadh Ó Corráin is the DB's
. Rather him discussing the development of ideas of ethnic identity in the Middle Ages than a celebrity garderner.

He is if you enjoy attending half hour lectures on why chewing gum around UCC campus is evil, how disgusting today's students' habits are, and how it is your own personal duty to go around telling them so. As happened to me one afternoon years ago...
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:23 pm

johnfás wrote:
When I went through security once at Nairobi airport I was greeted by a Kenyan immigration official who greeted me with "OOoooh, Conas atá tú?" very intriguing sort of situation. I'd love to see someone categorise that lad Razz.

A racist generaliser to whom the only response should be 'It's "Cad é mar atá tú" to you....'
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:26 pm

This programme has at least one more episode... this first bit was a tad patchy, but one gets the feeling they may be saving the best until last....
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:26 pm

toxic avenger wrote:
Desmond O'Toole wrote:
SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
Very interesting article here

Donnachadh Ó Corráin is the DB's
. Rather him discussing the development of ideas of ethnic identity in the Middle Ages than a celebrity garderner.

He is if you enjoy attending half hour lectures on why chewing gum around UCC campus is evil, how disgusting today's students' habits are, and how it is your own personal duty to go around telling them so. As happened to me one afternoon years ago...

Did you get a bad mark in that particular module? Wrigleynetics - DAngerous stuff
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 7:31 pm

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
toxic avenger wrote:
Desmond O'Toole wrote:
SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
Very interesting article here

Donnachadh Ó Corráin is the DB's
. Rather him discussing the development of ideas of ethnic identity in the Middle Ages than a celebrity garderner.

He is if you enjoy attending half hour lectures on why chewing gum around UCC campus is evil, how disgusting today's students' habits are, and how it is your own personal duty to go around telling them so. As happened to me one afternoon years ago...

Did you get a bad mark in that particular module? Wrigleynetics - DAngerous stuff

No, it was directed at the entire class, I wished I hadn't bothered turning up. I didn't like the bloke, clever as he is.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 8:15 pm

Desmond O'Toole wrote:

I'd maintain that my ethnic identity is a choice I make. It's a choice determined in large part by my socialisation, but it is also a choice at a conscious level.

It's a good point, this.
although it's not a choice for the majority ( you can't choose where you are born and raised) it is a "choosable" thing.

Anyone who dons leathers, ride motorcycles and listens to heavy metal music makes a concious choice to be part of that "culture".

As the planet becomes more accessable to its inhabitants, the ethnic lines will blur more and more.

Cant happen fast enough, if you ask me.....
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 8:48 pm

Desmond O'Toole wrote:
For example, "gaelic" is reputed to be an adaption into Irish of the Welsh word for people from Ireland. What is also important to note, however, is that the perspective that "outsiders" have of what constitues a given ethnic identity or social group is likely often to be quite different to that which the people within that group may have.
Indeed and 'Welsh' is an Old English word meaning foreigner.
Desmond O'Toole wrote:

The particular type of music we have in Ireland is unique (for argument's sake) to the ethnic group we call the Irish, as is our Gaelic language, our devotion to pig-meat and our fondness for strong drink . We know that ... it's obvious (?). What happens if I can't abide "Irish music", never listen to it and don't want my kids ever to learn it. And futhermore, I won't speak that Peig rubbish, am a vegetarian and am allergic to the crature? Where would I stand in terms of a "shared ethnic identity" if it was dependent on "sharing [these] certain types of thing[s]"?

And what if, say, I'm a Nigerian resident in Ireland who goes nuts for Riverdance, the cúpla focal, Superquinn sasuages and Uncle Arthur?

I know these are rather obvious examples, but what I'm trying to clumsily explain is that the ethnic identity I possess is one which is not dependent on material objects, geographical ties, kinship or particular shared behaviours. It has a relationship to all of those things ... and not, as the case may be.

I'd maintain that my ethnic identity is a choice I make. It's a choice determined in large part by my socialisation, but it is also a choice at a conscious level.
Yes, I agree it is a conscious choice, but it is a two way choice. The 'ethnic' group you might wish to associate with may decide consciously or unconsciously to exclude you against your will. As I'm sure most Nigerian residents in Ireland are discovering (sadly, I must add). We have not yet repeated the mistakes of other European societies, but the citizenship (Keep Ireland 'White') referendum of a few years ago was surely a retrograde step and does not bode well for the future.
Desmond O'Toole wrote:
I would however agree that nationality and ethnic identity are very different beasts entirely and something that the intellectually-challenged over at P.ie don't appear able to get their heads around.
Absolutely. The idea that nationality or citizenship be based on 'blood' is positively medieval, but that is the road our (supposedly) elders & betters led us down with their vile referendum. In fact medieval is not the right term, as medieval society predated the nation state and was likely bound more by linguistic and religious sentiment than by 'blood'. Maybe a better term would be 'crazy racist bullshit'?
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 8:59 pm

Quote :
Indeed and 'Welsh' is an Old English word meaning foreigner.

And Pob Saes, the Welsh for English, means foreigner too.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 9:09 pm

Johnny Keogh wrote:


As the planet becomes more accessable to its inhabitants, the ethnic lines will blur more and more.

Cant happen fast enough, if you ask me.....

I think a point made on the programme was that the opportunity to do this kind of research will be gone soon as our diversifying country brings more cletes (terminology?) into the DNA profiles. As long as they don't turn the spittle tests into some kind of Mayflower club !Smile
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 11:15 pm

candide wrote:
Johnny Keogh wrote:


As the planet becomes more accessable to its inhabitants, the ethnic lines will blur more and more.

Cant happen fast enough, if you ask me.....

I think a point made on the programme was that the opportunity to do this kind of research will be gone soon as our diversifying country brings more cletes (terminology?) into the DNA profiles. As long as they don't turn the spittle tests into some kind of Mayflower club !Smile

I'm afraid I don't agree, Candide. This is a good example of the sloppy thinking behind the programme. The idea that air travel and the latest movements of people across the globe will somehow close the window on genetic nationalism makes the basic mistake of assuming that the existing genetic pool in Ireland is in a static state.

There have been enormous population movements into and across Ireland during the historical period, from settlement by Vikings, Normans, and most importantly the Elizabethan planatations of Scots and English settlers. In addition, there has been an enormous and sustained migration of people from rural Ireland into the cities, especially over the last century. None of these historical populaton movements have prevented genetic research being conducted. Contemporary population movements which are significantly smaller than those in the past, by the way, are even less likely to obstruct such research.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyTue Jan 06, 2009 11:17 pm

Desmond O'Toole wrote:
candide wrote:
Johnny Keogh wrote:


As the planet becomes more accessable to its inhabitants, the ethnic lines will blur more and more.

Cant happen fast enough, if you ask me.....

I think a point made on the programme was that the opportunity to do this kind of research will be gone soon as our diversifying country brings more cletes (terminology?) into the DNA profiles. As long as they don't turn the spittle tests into some kind of Mayflower club !Smile

I'm afraid I don't agree, Candide. This is a good example of the sloppy thinking behind the programme. The idea that air travel and the latest movements of people across the globe will somehow close the window on genetic nationalism makes the basic mistake of assuming that the existing genetic pool in Ireland is in a static state.

There have been enormous population movements into and across Ireland during the historical period, from settlement by Vikings, Normans, and most importantly the Elizabethan planatations of Scots and English settlers. In addition, there has been an enormous and sustained migration of people from rural Ireland into the cities, especially over the last century. None of these historical populaton movements have prevented genetic research being conducted. Contemporary population movements which are significantly smaller than those in the past, by the way, are even less likely to obstruct such research.

More than one in ten of us is a recent migrant, but surely that could be allowed for in a study ?
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 07, 2009 2:59 am

It's being repeated right now on RTÉ1. That's a fairly heavy rotation isn't it?
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 07, 2009 3:01 am

SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
Well done Dan Bradley on the Niall Naoighiallach y-chromosone discovery. Oul' Niall was a quare one for the breedin'.

Were they actually suggesting that Niall Noigiallach was the direct ancestor of a shower of Donegal men? As far as I’m aware there’s a big question mark over the man’s very existence.

What was their basis for that again? That the men with the marked gene had a randy ancestor from that time and that his fecundity might be explained by his being a king with plenty of access to wimmin? That’s a b it of a leap. If so, why are the other areas of Niall’s children not similarly marked? He had a kid out in Tyrone, and some out in Meath and Westmeath unless I’m mistaken.


SeathrúnCeitinn wrote:
Atticus wrote:
Can't watch this prog obviously, but is Bob Quinn's old Atlantean thesis finding respectability?!

Bob didn't get a mention but from the first part shown tonight there was strong indications that we're from Africa via the Basque country
He said the bear had genetic links to Spain. It was also inferred that the bears were imported by the incoming groups. Importing bears from Spain is not a job I'd relish.



On the programme overall, not great. Great from an anthropological point of view, we can have a good sneer at what people think of their ancestry and what genetics mean. I loved the Armada stuff.

The question of the Celticity of the Irish came up. They seem to be judging Celts on looks alone, God knows what a Celt’s supposed to look like. (Did anyone else find his habit of wandering around guessing people’s background by their appearance slightly creepy? Borderline Lombroso stuff.) The Celts are generally categorized in three ways: by language, culture and race. Of them all, language is the only reliable one. No one can doubt that there was a distinct group of languages in Europe at one stage (called Celtic by us) and that Irish Gaelic is the offshoot of these. By that standard we are Celtic. Culture is a bit iffy; I think the Classical writers differed widely in their accounts of the Celts/Gauls. The idea of a distinct Celtic genetic group is very problematic indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 07, 2009 3:55 am

I thought the show was painful. Maybe if I didn't know that all humanity originated in Africa or that the Irish had strong genetic links with the Basques I would have enjoyed it a little but I find that particular format excruciating.

I don't know what you call it but that style of documentary making drives me bonkers. It has about three sentences worth of information in the whole show and drags it out by repetition and "re-enacted" scenes. After 5 minutes I was shouting at the television "just tell us what you've found" - "stop dragging that gardener back to Africa" - "stop showing the graphic with Europe covered in ice and then disappearing".

It was pure torture. I looked up the listings and was astonished to find that they were dragging this cr*p out for a whole hour. Can you imagine my frustration when I saw they were stretching this already thin as rice paper rubbish over another episode? !!!

Galvin didn't really bother me much at all even though he speaks really strangely - like he learned English backwards or something. However, if you are going to get some spa that doesn't have a clue of the subject matter could we not have Mr. T instead. At least he has some good lines.

This type of documentary annoys the living hell out of me. I've seen a number of them done in this style now. I think I saw the first one in 1998 on BBC. It was heavily advertised and was called "Man" or something and it charted the progress of early homo sapien. Why do they keep doing documentaries like this? Who are they for?

If you look at a list of the most successful documentaries none of them were done in this format. "Bowling for Columbine", "When We were Kings", "7 Up" etc etc.
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PostSubject: Re: "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme   "Blood of the Irish" RTE Programme - Page 2 EmptyWed Jan 07, 2009 3:57 am

Oh yeah and the Niall of the Nine Hostages stuff was very dubious. If they don't have Niall's DNA how do they know these people are descended from him?
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