Monday, March 12, 2012

Irish Crow

A few days ago, I posted a recipe for cupcakes, using Guinness, Irish whiskey, and Irish cream, based off the drink known as an "Irish Car Bomb".  An Irish reader took offense to the name of the recipe (which I completely agree with) and suggested I rename them "9/11 Cupcakes".

This has me thinking.

First, I need to eat a bit of crow.  I hate the ICB name, and in addition to simply not wishing to pollute either a Guinness or good whiskey (Middleton's anyone???) with something like Irish cream, I do find it offensive.  I dont necessarily think making light of a situation that has divided and devastated a country and killed God only knows how many people is a great thing to do.  (Apparently, a lot of folks agree).  That being said, I didnt think when I posted the recipe, and I called by the American slur that the drink is called by).  Because I prefaced by saying that I dont like the name/drink, I didnt think too much of it. 

And that was wrong.  And I'm sorry to anyone that was offended.  Not just because it is offended, but because I should have known better.

Walking by our local pub and seeing that, in honor of St. Pat's, ICBs will be half price kind of curdles my stomach.  How would I, as a Catholic feel, if I walked by the local Knights of Columbus hall, and saw a sign advertising that, in honor of the Assumption, a spiced up version of a bloody mary, which they decided to call a "Knocked Up Mary" was on sale?

How would my Jewish friends feel if we looked at a menu advertising a skinny version of a popular Israeli drink as an "Emaciated Jew", in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day? 

Or what about waltzing into our lunch choice on Mother's Day and reading that, in honor of Mother's Day, the drink special of the day is the "Dead Baby Cocktail".  I think I might leave.  No, I know I would.  And then I'd call and complain.

Would any of us like a "9/11 Sundae", or eat at an establishment celebrating MLKjr Day with something entitled the "Nigger Special" consisting of friend chicken and watermelon?  No, of course we wouldnt.  Because they are awful, offensive, and sickening names to describe something.  Following the rule of "if I wouldnt feed it to the kids, maybe I shouldnt eat it", perhaps a better rule about language should be put in place.  If I'd be pissed off if my kids said it, then it's not worth having a place in my vocab either.

As an Irish-American, I should know better.  And, even though it was Irish-American sisters who sent me the recipe, that just goes to show that we are all fairly deadened to the offensiveness of something that we've only 'lived through' via the media... Because we've never had to pick up the body pieces left behind from one of those bombs or buried our children because they died of shrapnel wounds.

As I was talking about this with Peter last night, he made the statement of "Why not call it something else?  Why name a drink that?"  I dont know...  You'd think, right?

So, from now on, this cake (which will be made on a regular basis because it is pretty darn delicious) will be called a "St. Patrick's Explosion" Cupcake or Cake.  It's an "explosion of Irish goodness in every single bite", as we decided last night while licking our fingers of the whisky ganache.  I'm about to make another one (a cake this time instead of cupcakes).  And, while I do, I plan to repent of my previous title by saying a Rosary dedicated to the victims of the car bombs. 

And truly, I am sorry.

When you walk by the pub and you see it... Or you overhear a bartender making it... Maybe one person stepping up and saying "Hey, while you're add it, can you toss in a "Burning Jap", you know, that drink that honors the dropping of the A-Bomb in WWII?" (or, perhaps, less offensively, asking the establishment to cease serving drinks with names like ICB) will, for a second, get people to think about the power that language has.

(And for those who think I'm taking it a step too far by being concerned and bothered... Imagine for just a second how PC any of the other made-up drink names I've used in this post are and if they'd be used... Would they be?  Would you drink/order one?)


Ms. J said...

I'm Irish and it didn't bother me, but if others were bothered and you can think of a fun, clever, name in place of it...Mazel!

I find "Chinese Auction" extremely offensive, as do most adoptive families with children from China. Even after I explain the history of it and how it's now considered in poor taste, I often have people think its not a big deal. Really? Then let's call it a "Jew Auction" or an "African American Auction." hmmm, still think its not a big deal?! Yep! Checkmate.

I can't imagine how my little girl will feel when she comes across a banner somewhere, someday, that says "Chinese Auction" and jokes begin to roll that "haha, maybe they will auction off you!" Oh yeah, really funny to an adoptee from China, not to mentiOn a "special needs" adoptee. Cue sarcasm font.

Paula said...

Good job finding a new name for these. They look yummy although I can't stand stout (give me a glass of Bailey's any day).

Like Ms. J, as the parent of a child adopted from China, I dislike the term Chinese auction.

Cromdubh said...

You have nothing to apologise for.
Many people, including me, have been left with the most frightening memories, and perhaps it shows in various ways.
But to castigate a lady who posted a recipe for Paddy's Day cupcakes because of that period is beyond the beyonds.
Get a life! is all I can suggest to this chap

Leah said...

I think we should all be careful of what we say, but we should also take into account people's motives, and I can't believe for one minute that you would hurt someone on purpose.

I hate to generalize, but some Americans (definitely NOT including you in this) have a hard time recognizing what happens all over the world. Until something happens right in our own backyard do we realize how awful things happen. And it takes a special person (now I am referring to you!) to realize that calling this an Irish Car Bomb is as insensitive as calling it a 911 Cupcake. First and foremost, we are all members of this earth, and it's important to be respectful of all the hardships we've experienced.

Brigid said...

I don't think you were offensive at all!

I never thought twice about the name b/c my dad has us do them together as a fam and he's, like, the most Irish you can get!