My apologies once again to regular readers for the protracted absence of entries on this blog. An annually recurring bout of winter sadness is partly to blame but a more significant cause was the bleeding state of the bleeding nation.
For months now the news content of the Irish Times might has well have been produced from a computer template permutated from the following:
Another health service crisis, Harney denies responsibility/blames nurses/doctors/managers/patients/God
McDowell introduces more controls on on immigrants and asylum seekers
Bertie is economical with the truth on health/law and order/the economy/house prices/education/whatever you're having yourself
Enda fails to get Bertie to answer the simplest question on health/law and order/the economy/house prices/education/whatever you're having yourself
Labour to form electoral pact with anyone who'll have them (The fecking St Vincent de Paul wouldn't take that shower in).
Ryanair imposes a passenger oxygen consumption surcharge on European flights. O'Leary blames anti-competition legislation for rising costs of air.
In an effort to obviate the mass suicide of their readership before they get as far as page 2, the old lady's editors have taken to putting cheery, 'aren't we a quirky little nation to be sure, to be sure' stories on the front page. These are somewhat like the 'skate boarding duck' tales that used to end local news programmes on the BBC in the 1970s.
Today's was a classic about Galtee Merci, a Holstein Bull based at the Dairygold Artificial Insemination centre who was put down after apparently fathering somewhere in the region of 100,000 daughters
A cursory examination of this bull's story tells us a lot about the sad state of the nation's psyche (or at the very least the state of the Times' sub-editors' psyches). The stories of skate-boarding ducks in Warrington and a Jack Russell in Blackburn that could sing Verdi which I remember, at least had the merit of being factually correct, locally (and often yokel-ly) relevant, and they were tucked away at the end of the newscast. Their ideological function was to lighten the relentless litany of 'it's grim up North' stories which made up the bulk of local news in my youth. The Galtee Merci story has none of these marginally redeeming characteristics.
This 'truly great hero of Irish agriculture', 'the father of the Irish herd' and 'the first and greatest' local bull was, in fact, an immigrant of Orangeman stock (born in Holland, don'tcha know). Estimates of his fecundity are just that. No-one knows how much of his bovine spunk actually gave rise to off-spring. And we all know what us chaps are like when it comes to giving our quantity of sexual conquests a bit of an upward spin. Why should bulls (or their handlers) be any different?
In other words this is a bullshit story which just happens to be about a bull. It's as thin as Oxo gravy and wouldn't make a one inch side-column insert on page 7 of a national newspaper during August anywhere else in the Northern hemisphere How it came to be below the fold on the front page of our nation's paper of record is beyond me.
In the words of Myles 'The public should be told...'