Social Circle: Is St. Pat's Day a celebration of Irish culture?
The "Social Circle" is a group effort between readers, social networkers and the OnMilwaukee.com editors. Every Monday, we ask a question via Facebook and Twitter and then post the responses from our Facebook "likers" and Twitter followers in this column. Well-known Milwaukee movers and shakers will contribute, too.
St. Patrick's Day triggers a lot of thoughts, emotions and actions for Milwaukeeans.
For some, particularly those of Irish descent, it's a day to enjoy the food, drink, music, dance of Ireland. For others, it's an excuse to go out in a crazy hat and drink green beer.
And for some folks, today is just another Sunday.
This week, the Social Circle was asked if they thought St. Pat's Day was a celebration of Irish culture or not, and here's what they said. Contribute your thoughts via the Talkback feature.
Regardless of your thoughts, happy St. Patrick's Day, Milwaukee. Have fun; be careful out there.
Brian C Brehmer: "It's a ploy by the green chemical makers to force their green ways upon the rest of us."
Scott Carlson: "In the traditional sense; no. Unless the patron saint of Ireland beat snakes off the isle then did a pub crawl with a bunch of college kids."
Vedran Ćavara: "Yes, but we're doing it wrong."
Reuven Cocos: "In Milwaukee I think it's a celebration of the worst stereotype of Irish culture. That also being the worst stereotype of Milwaukee culture: being wasted and passing out, puking and falling into the river."
Kelly Kessler Fay: "Depends on who you are. I like to surround myself with the parts of Irish culture I truly enjoy: music, dancing and some good craic while drinking a pint or two of Guinness. Wearing green and shamrock sunglasses while getting hammered on watery green beer is for amateurs."
Betsy Holmes: "Sure and let us pray no young people go missing or drown in Milwaukee this year."
Paul Kennedy: "Let my people go."
Julie Wezyk Liotta: "Unfortunately not. Here is it's all about drinking and wearing green."
Angela McManaman: "I'm not Irish enough to really know, but I don't think so. I did read 'Araby' to my eldest last year. Might do that again, and watch 'The Secret of Kells.'"
Scott Meskan: "O'Hallmark."
John O'Grady: "Sure, why not?"
Al Oldham: "In Ireland it's a reverential holiday much like our Thanksgiving. They don't eat corned beef or get sh*t faced or dye the rivers green."
Paul Schmitz: "No. Irish culture is not people wearing green beads walking around sh*tfaced. If people had a pint and read Irish poetry or listened to Irish ballads, then it would be so. Blarney, I say. If what I saw last weekend mid-day around North Ave celebrates Irish culture, Irish culture sucks. Put the St. Patrick back in St Patrick's Day. OK enough, I'm ornery about all the drunk students wandering my neighborhood for two weekends."
Shamrock Club of Wisconsin: "It depends. The Shamrock Club has enjoyed taking the lead on trying to remain true in presentations of Irish culture over the past half century. We started Irish dance in the city; Milwaukee Irish Fest; The Irish Cultural and Heritage Center; Celtic Women international; Milwaukee School of Piping; and the Irish Genealogical Society. Our longtime and early support of the Gaelic League of Milwaukee helped to lead to the launch of the International Irish Language initiative at the Milwaukee Irish Fest by Irish language minister Eamon OCuiv. Our scholarships have gone to people who have become renowned educators, poets and musicians. Then again, the first St Patrick Day parade was in Boston in 1752. Sponsored by the British army for its Irish troops. It is ironic in a couple of ways, one being that the wearing of shamrocks or green ribbons in Ireland at that time might have caused you to be arrested, for treasonous action against the British government. However, if your idea is to get blotto drunk, use a horrid accent, and wear something with a four leaf clover, nope."
Jen Skladanek: "It depends. I'm a wee bit Irish (Hennessy Clan) and have been to Ireland. I do embrace my Irish roots but not by drinking green beer and wearing Mardi Gras beads. A Guinness is usually in order with a possibility if having one too many. Slainte'!"
Liz Sharp: "I just like an excuse for corned beef!"
Jeanette Sunrain: "Seems more like an excuse for people to get drunk out of their minds."
Laron Taylor: "Absolutely."
Mary Thompson: "Does anyone actually know who St. Patrick was and how he got the 'snakes' out of Ireland? It's actually religious in nature. Patrick got the archetypal snakes or Pagans (in this case Celtic tree lovers) out of Ireland and made it a Catholic nation."
M. Laurel Walsh: "(My friend) refers to it as a 'date rape' holiday. She wants to become a superhero and go to bars and save all the drunk girls in green mini skirts from going home with jerks."
Scott Walter: "No. It is a bad reason to drink to the extreme and eat bad food."
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