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That IT soft paywall March 5, 2015

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What do people think? How is it going to fare?

A Peculiar Society? Ireland, 1970s – 1990s March 5, 2015

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Many thanks to the person who sent the above. Programme here:

Programme_Peculiar_Society_2015-03-04 Final version

ISPC Israeli Apartheid Week… March 5, 2015

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What you want to say – 4th March 2015 March 4, 2015

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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

‘Margaret Thatcher and the BBC’s Irish Troubles': Irish Studies Seminar at NUI Galway, Thursday March 5th March 3, 2015

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The next Irish Studies Seminar at NUI Galway will take place on Thursday 5 March when
Prof Robert Savage will present ‘Margaret Thatcher and the BBC’s Irish Troubles’. Margaret Thatcher was one of the most dominant yet divisive political figures in post-war Britain.

As Prime Minister she introduced massive cuts in public spending, challenged then crushed the powerful coal miners union, led a successful military campaign to win back the Falkland Islands and confronted the IRA during the 1981 Hunger Strikes.

Throughout her tenure as Prime Minister her relationship with the BBC was fractious and marred by seemingly endless controversy. Margaret Thatcher was determined to win the ‘propaganda war’ unfolding in Northern Ireland and was convinced the BBC was undermining her efforts to defeat terrorism by providing its supporters the ‘oxygen of publicity’.

As violence continued to bedevil the province she grew increasingly upset with her government’s inability to control the contested narrative of ‘the Troubles’. This lecture will consider how a number of broadcasting controversies led a frustrated Thatcher Government to introduce formal political censorship in 1988.

Robert Savage is Associate Professor of the Practice of History at Boston College. Manchester University Press will publish his new book, The BBC’s Irish Troubles: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland in May. He is also the author of A Loss of Innocence? Television and Irish Society 1960-1972, (winner of the 2010 James S. Donnelly, Sr. Prize for Best Book in History and Social Sciences from the American Conference for Irish Studies), Sean Lemass: a biography (2014 and 1999), Irish Television: the Political and Social Origins (1996) and Ireland in the New Century, Politics, Identity and Culture (editor and contributing author, 2003).

The seminar will take place at 4.00pm in the seminar room at Martha Fox House, Distillery Rd and we look forward to seeing you all there.

With friends like these… March 3, 2015

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Interesting outline of the upcoming address to Congress by Benjamin Netanyahu and how the Republican leadership and he may have been too clever by half.
To be honest what’s most remarkable is how deceitful the whole process has been, the White House not being told until almost literally the last minute, claims that it was part of a bipartisan process in the two Houses, the pressure on Congress from Netanyahu and Likud to override the President’s foreign policy approach, the appallingly inappropriate nature of the visit on the eve of an Israeli general election.

The thing with political tricks like this is that when they so overtly look like political tricks the tawdriness of the process begins to come through.

And when you have the Anti-Defamation League arguing this is a bad idea there’s no question that some sort of a line has been crossed in US/Israel relations at government level.

What is truly bizarre is that these actions make previous bi-partisan support for the Israeli government move onto new and very very shaky ground. That’s some bet Netanyahu is making, that the Republicans are going to retake the Presidency next time around, or that the current Republican lock on the Houses is perpetual. Obviously I’m no fan of the current Israeli government or its policies but I’d have to wonder at what sort of advice he is getting or what if any long term strategy is in play.

Any teachers in the house… March 2, 2015

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…who might care to comment on this, William Reville’s latest column in the Irish Times, one in a long list of them to give ‘left-liberal’s’ a lash. This time over the superiority of ‘whole class teaching’ and ‘rote’ as against ‘newer teaching methods’ which apparently accounts for a decline in educational attainment levels in the West as against rising ones in China etc. Seems a bit pat to me, for example I’m not sure how one teaches a range of areas through rote and nor is it clear that one has been entirely jettisoned in favour of the other or that it is anything other than a mixture of approaches depending upon subject, but other opinions welcome…

“Sean O’Casey lived here – A community remembers” March 2, 2015

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This looks good…

Friday, March 6at 7:30pm in UTC

Sean O’Casey Theatre East Wall

St Marys Road, Dublin, Ireland dublin 3

A special premier showing of the 30 minute documentary “Sean O’Casey lived here – A community remembers”, produced by Near TV and directed by Eoin McDonnell.

Last year marked the 60th anniversary of the death of playwright Sean O’Casey . This was commemorated by the local community of East Wall and the North Dock through performances and readings of his work both in the theatre named after him and on the streets he once walked. Plaques were unveiled at his childhood home and on the site of the former St. Barnabas Church.

These events were captured by Eoin McDonnell , and show the community celebration and events , and also interviews residents about the importance of O’Casey and his years living in the area .

Featuring performances in the Sean O’Casey theatre and from the PEG Drama & Variety Group , actors Vinnie McCabe and Neilí Conroy . Also includes broadcaster and life-long fan Joe Duffy and professor Christopher Murray (author of the definitive O’Casey biography ), and Ann Matthews (historian and author).

Evening will include refreshments at 7.30pm , screening at 8pm and Q+A (ie. chat) afterwards . All welcome to this free event .

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week… crowdsourced… March 1, 2015

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Garibaldy is otherwise engaged, so it’s over to you… any contributions gratefully accepted…

“Where’s Jackson?” “He didn’t make it. Neither did you.” – The Getaway, 1972 March 1, 2015

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Another 70s film to cross off the list. Half way through watching the Getaway last night I realised that I’d seen the last forty minutes before. Strange film, directed by Peckinpah, and starring Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen (and thanks to JM for the loan of it and a raft of other 70s films, and…er… Sharknado). Thing is I can’t remember when I saw that last forty minutes. At least a decade ago, probably more. And I always remember MacGraw and McQueen on the rubbish dump discussing the heist (gone horribly wrong) and their marriage (gone horribly wrong) and so on and so forth while she sits in the back half of a car that has been chopped in two. It’s a strange and brutal film, filled with problematic aspects – the sexual and gender politics is grim in parts, though MacGraw has more agency than might be expected. The violence at this remove is oddly cartoonish, caught the last episode of Fringe the other night and it struck me how mainstream what used to be horror tropes actually are now. But it’s the interpersonal violence that is most jarring, McQueen slapping MacGraw after she has tried to kill him, etc, etc.

Roger Ebert summed it up as follows:

Sam Peckinpah’s “The Getaway” is a big, glossy, impersonal mechanical toy. It’s like one of those devices for executive desks, with the stainless steel balls on the strings: It functions with great efficiency but doesn’t accomplish anything. Click. Click. Click. The movie is pretty to look at, though, and there’s a quiet little chase scene on a train that is a masterpiece of its kind.

It may well not accomplish anything, but I’m not too sure it’s all that efficient. It is weirdly clunky, oddly old fashioned as if it was shot ten years earlier (though the Texas backdrop may account for that). The plot makes no sense at all, a useless bank job followed by everyone – that is everyone surviving the bank job and its aftermath, making their way to the same hotel in El Paso for absolutely no reason I can see other than to provide a reason for everyone to… well, you’ll find out if you watch it.

For all that I kind of like it more than dislike it. Peckinpah seasons it with some odd moments and clumsy but not entirely unworthy juxtapositions (kids staring down at shot gangsters, nods towards the counterculture that was springing up all around). Yet there’s room for some sort of a redemption, even hope, which given all that happens earlier is something of a relief.


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