Saturday, March 20, 2010

40 Days of Lent: Day Thirty Two

It's amazing how quickly the anger comes on when old resentments are mentioned, especially when someone blithely gets their facts wrong. Historian Nell Irvin Painter was on The Colbert Report to discuss her book The History of White People when she stated that, for example, people were once referred to as Irish and then started subcategorizing, such as Scots-Irish.

Colbert was quick to correct her. "Scots-Irish are not Irish."

"Yes, they are."

"No they're not. Scots-Irish...there's no Irish blood in Scots-Irish people. They are Scotch Presbyterians who were given land in Ireland, they took our land, they drove my people across the river Shannon, where we forced to farm rocks by Oliver Cromwell and I will see him rot in Hell before you call Scots-Irish people 'Irish!' You wanna fight?"

It's always interesting seeing what will make Stephen break character, how passionate he gets, and how quickly he is able to switch back to entertaining once his point is made. He shifts from wishing to see Cromwell rot in hell to playfully challenging Ms. Painter to armwrestle in the space of a few seconds.

The whole interview is here. You're not really going to learn anything about the history of white people, but if you want to see Stephen's rant, it's at around 2:20.

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Nell Irvin Painter
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Iva said...

I love it! My creed all my life...Scots-Irish = not Irish!
And may Cromwell rot in hell.

the hanged man said...

Yes, when Erin and I were discussing it, we mentioned that he sounded like you.