Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Marty Whelan



"We have been getting some feedback that “UP DA RA” is
offensive to Irish Republicans. I want to clear this matter up.
“Up DA RA” is a piece of satire. It Satirises armchairrepublicanism. It was written from the point of view of the type of eejit who is liable to have “Tiocfaidh ar la” tattooed on his arm while wearing a Manchester united Jersey. It was personally inspired by a gentleman I knew who spray painted C.I.R.A on a bus stop, believing that the acronym stood for “Constitutional Irish Republican Army”. The writing technique implemented in“UP DA RA” is known as “The unreliable Narrator”. This is a narrative mode used by the writer to best communicate the intended message. This unreliability canbe due to psychological instability, a powerful bias, a lack of knowledge, or even a deliberate attempt to deceive the reader or audience. Some lovely examples of this technique can be found in the song “Rednecks” by Randy Newman, or in the satirical piece “A modest proposal” by Johnathan Swift.

So if you listen to “UP DA RA” literally, without exploring its subtext then it is wide open for misinterpretation. As its author, I wrote the song for a 21st century audience who are very familiar with postmodern Irony. Also, any song whereby the narrator threatens to chase the Queen of England around a field with dog shit on the end of a golf club should generally be taken with a pinch of salt. For example, If you were walking down the road and a man who talks to himself and smells heavily of piss tells you that you can use old condoms as currency, would you then save all your used condoms and try and buy a jumper with them in River Island.?? Probably not, because the mans view of society is unreliable.

“Up DA RA” is intended to educate through the use of humour, because humour is a damn fine way to get your message across to someone without shoving your views down their throat. If it means even one armchair republican picking up a history book and actually understanding why they call themselves “Republican” then the song is a success. I personally find the level of ignorance and lack of knowledge amongst some people who call themselves republican to be offensive. It is offensive to the memory of the Irish men and women who gave their lives for basic civil rights. Armchair republicans attach themselves to a romantic image of the I.R.A brandishing Kalashnikovs as a way of making themselves look and feel tough, when it suits them. They will loudly state how they hate the brits yet have no problem supporting English football or more commonly, mimicking every aspect of British chav culture and absorbing it into their identity. I also get a bit annoyed with the student types who wear Che Guevara T-shirts without having any real interest in socialism. The T-shirts just look cool, that’s it. “UP DA RA” has received a positive response mostly, I take this as evidence that an awful lot of people are just as annoyed with armchair republicanism as I am, because its insincere, and insincerity is a particularly annoying human trait.

I support peaceful republicanism; I support all peaceful attempts to pursue justice where a community of any creed is downtrodden by an unfair and oppressive system. That includes Palestinians, the Travelling Community,and foreign nationals in Ireland. I am proud of my Irish history. My own grandfather was a member of the I.R.A in Tom Barry’s flying column during the war of independence and he took a bullet for it too. However... while I understand my ancestral history of oppression and cruelty I have no interest in hanging on to hatred of the oppressor. If a child is born today, of English blood in London, I refuse to hold him responsible for the actions of his ancestors before he was born. So to anyone who thinks that we are being disrespectful to Republicanism? Well then you may as well call Edward Norton a Racist for the character he portrayed in American History X"

-The Rubberbandits

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