23 January 2010

The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles

I am now about 20 hours into a 48 hour visit to my family home, which will possibly be the longest continuous period spent in my house since I was twenty. So far I have not killed anyone, which is a good thing. Still, 28 hours to go and the night, as they say, is still young.

Normally when I am here it is because I am looking after one or other of my grandparents in shifts with other family members; I will do the day shift and someone else does the night shift, and thus I get to return home to the warmth and comfort of my own bed each night. Now however it is just me for the weekend and the creepy factor of being in your childhood home that has had no trace of your own presence for eighteen years since your sister decided she wanted your room after you moved out, threw out everything in it and repainted its amazing burgundy walls because they scared her, is really starting to kick in.

But I'm not bitter.

The other weirdness involves watching television with my grandparents. As I have mentioned before my Grandfather has a predilection for watching programs that will annoy him, just to raise his blood pressure and give the rest of us a wee shock. Thus when he announced his intention to spend the evening watching "that hateful, spiteful appalling little man" I braced myself for a night of either Ryan Tubridy or Glenn Beck. Unfortunately for me he was referring to both.

The Late Late Show (the Irish one, not to be confused with any American equivalent that actually has a host with some semblance of charisma, guests that have evolved beyond the intellectual level of bread mold, and an audience whose recent ancestors did not include farm animals*) is an institution that, like anarcho-capitalism, Hanna Montana or Kazakhstan, I am aware of in that I know it exists, but could not actually identify it in a police line-up. It is an experience like tripe, tongue or kidneys that others seem very partial to but when I encounter it sitting on my plate I can't help but retch. I am thankful, rather surprisingly, for last night's experience, for I did not think it possible that any RTE presenter could annoy me more than Pat Kenny, in fact, I did not think it possible that there was anyone more smug, condescending and annoying than Pat Kenny, but I was wrong. Ryan Tubridy is the Black Swan of RTE's 'I can't believe that he has no personality' personalities, and he has changed my understanding of just how awful a presenter can be, forever.

But he is still light years away in awfulness from the other "hateful, spiteful appalling little man", as my Grandfather so eloquently labels him. In the five minutes of watching Glenn Beck during the ad breaks of "The Late Late Show" I learned the following things:

a) Hitler and Stalin were best buds
b) Hitler was actually a far-left liberal, which is why Stalin loved him so much
c) George Bernaaaaaarhd Shaw (said in a pirate accent) was English
d) George Bernaaaaaarhd Shaw won a Nobel Prize because, like all Nobel Prize winners, he was evil
e) Hitler got the idea for the Holocaust from George Bernaaaaaarhd Shaw
f) Obama will create death camps and kill millions of Americans because he is a Nazi and a Socialist and a Nobel Prize winner.

While there was no word on whether any of Obama's works will inspire a Broadway musical and movie starring Rex Harrison, I can certainly see Julie Andrews rocking out "Yes We Can" in a Cockney accent.

Sometimes I think that I live in a parallel universe to the rest of the folks around me, and after a night watching spiteful hateful little men I'm glad that I do. My world might not be as day-glow or hexaped-filled as that of the Na'vi, but its still a pretty nice place to live, with nice friendly people (you know, real Pandorans) and in my world right is right and left is left and we've absolutely, positively, really and truly always been at war with Eastasia.


* In the interest of full disclosure it must be pointed out that once upon a time I too was a member of The Late Late Show audience. The year was 1994 and a group of us in college went in an ironic way. And by ironic I mean there was drink and/or the prospect of drink involved. Gay Byrne was still host and the guests included The Kelly Family. More than once during the three hour long ordeal I too wished I was an angel.

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