264 Days left until the Zombie Apocalypse…
So, February has long since come and gone. Yet again, I failed to write about the new things I tried to make life worth living. However, unlike in January, this was not at all because I didn’t know what to write about. I just didn’t really know how to write about it. I’ve been kind of obsessing about it actually. In any case, March always makes me remember how Irish I am and it is definitely appropriately festive so I figured I’d at least give it a try…
So I’ve always wanted to see a performance of Riverdance–# 29 on The Ever-Growing Bucket List! If you don’t know what it is, you are seriously depriving yourself of all kinds of awesomeness. Go here immediately to educate yourself!
Anyway, I’ve wanted to see them perform since I was a really little kid and my godparents had us watch it on TV. It was really compelling to me and I couldn’t figure out why. I just never thought I would have the opportunity to see it live. In California, I had never heard of them coming to town–though I’m sure they probably did at some point. After moving to Mississippi, I was pretty sure it was one of those things that was never going to happen. The arena here usually gets only country singers. So it was a delightful surprise to find out that Riverdance was coming here! I had to go–and it was amazing.
I still don’t really have the right words to describe it. The musicians were amazing. The singers were incredible. The dancers were phenomenal–they moved so quickly that a lot of times you could hardly even see their feet move! Yeah. That’s really all I can say about it. It’s one of those things that you will have to see for yourself in order to understand. Hurry up though…they are on their farewell tour and the American portion ends in June…
I highly recommend watching it for an entirely different reason though: culture. Yeah, yeah, I know. You’ve heard it a thousand times before. “Culture” gets tossed around so often that it gets really old, really quickly. But it also happens to be another one of those clichés that are true. We need culture and, as Americans, I think that sometimes we forget that…
It isn’t our fault, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. The whole “melting pot” thing is an incredible phenomenon that doesn’t really exist anywhere else in the world. It makes us more accepting of other people–which, in my opinion, also makes us better people ourselves. However, the problem is that it hasn’t always been like that. We haven’t always been open and accepting–and yes, I am talking about things like slavery, Jim Crow laws, stealing land from Native Americans, and Japanese Interment camps. We have a very ugly history. And while we have largely made strides to move past it, there are still scars.
To me, the biggest of these is the silencing of European cultures. Let’s face it, the white population of America has not always been kind to other races. As a result, it has become politically incorrect to be proud to be white. It has become politically incorrect to celebrate our European heritage.
Personally, I’ve never really cared about any of that. I’m not politically correct–and I don’t care if people dislike me because of that or not. I have always been proud of my Heinz 57 heritage–regardless of whether we are talking about the parts of me that are Ute, German, Irish, Polish, or any other of the various nationalities I’m made of. It’s just sad to me that so many other people can’t come out and say that for fear of being labelled a racist.
Rather, they are almost never allowed to do so. There are certain exceptions. Germans can honor their heritage with Oktoberfest. The French have Mardi Gras. The Irish have St. Patrick’s Day. Those are just celebrations though. The rest of the year, we are largely expected to keep quiet about who we are. I think it is because we spend so much time learning about other cultures in order to have open minds, that we often miss out on learning about our own. As a result, I think a lot of people forget that they even have an ethnic heritage in the first place–aside from that small handful of holidays when they really only remember in order to have an excuse to get wasted. It’s sad.
Maybe that’s why Riverdance has always been so fascinating to me. It’s something that everyone who is of Irish descent can claim as their own. More importantly, it’s something that we can show off to the rest of the world. It’s a way to say, “Hey, European history isn’t solely filled with hatred and the oppression of other people.” It’s a chance for everyone to see that we have a past filled with art and passion just like everyone else. It’s a chance for us to be proud of ourselves without having to be afraid of being labelled as racists. The best part though is that it’s sheer level of awesomeness is something that everyone can love and appreciate. It’s an opportunity to show the world that the old saying is true: “If you’re enough lucky to be Irish, you’re lucky enough!”
Failing that, I suppose we could just have them watch “The Boondock Saints”…then they won’t be able to ignore how awesome we are 😉
The Butcher of the Bard