This month’s Twit of the Month is a guy called Matthew Walther. He thinks he is a journalist. He describes himself as National Correspondent at The Week (whatever that is) and he is based in Michigan. I don’t know if he is Irish or American or German. All I know is that he is a right-wing Catholic and a professional controversialist. After the referendum on abortion recently, he tweeted the following:
Ireland is such a joke. “Look at us, we’re nice modern anticlerical progressives. Our prime minister has a quaint title in a made-up language invented by Yeats and Lady Gregory out of boredom. We kill babies and allow corporations to hoard their ill-gotten gains here.”
We have plenty of experience of professional controversialists like this in Ireland: you only have to mention the likes of Conor Cruise O’Brien and Kevin Myers. And as was the case with the Cruiser and My-Arse, people like this do two things: they simplify issues that are complicated and sensitive (we kill babies) and what they have to say is just clichéd nonsense. There is not an Irish speaker alive who hasn’t heard this kind of dim-witted pontification hundreds of times before.
And believe me, these opinions are nonsense. Yeats had no Irish and whatever Irish Lady Gregory spoke, she had nothing whatever to do with the refit of the Irish language at the time of the Revival, whatever role boredom had in the matter. Usually, the modern Irish language is ascribed to De Valera, but as neither version is correct, what does it matter?
And of course, though a lot of changes have been made to the language in the last couple of hundred years, most of the words and structures in the language are exactly as they were two hundred years ago. The Bedell Bible was translated in the 17th century but there is little in that book that would be hard for a good Irish speaker of today to understand.
So, this nonsense is nothing but ill-mannered, ignorant blether.
The only message that talentless egoists like Walther have is: I am the most important person on earth. Listen to me! You have to listen to me! So, remember Walther’s name. And if you see that name on an article, don’t read it. People like Walther have nothing worthwhile to say, and there is not much point in wasting your time with their nonsense.