PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 50: St. Patrick's Day

by | Mar 14, 2012 03:56 PM ET

We think of St. Patrick's Day as an Irish holiday, but the way we celebrate it in America is uniquely (and sometimes problematically) American. Green rivers, green beer, green food ... it's easy to go overboard on all the green. And some of the other stuff. (Also, thanks to listener Lissa for suggesting this subject.)

Here's how we got into St. Paddy's:

  • Green lobsters and other things that pinch
  • People who only go to church on Christmas and Easter
  • St. Patrick's Day as terrible PR for Ireland and its morph from a religious holiday to National Drinking Day
  • Some remarkable Guinness stats
  • The importance of St. Patrick's Day in building community among Irish immigrants
  • Whether the propensity of drunkenness on St. Patrick's Day is due in part to the decline in church attendance
  • The controversy over whether gay organizations can march in the NYC St. Patrick's Day parade (from what I've been able to tell, the verdict is still that LGBT organizations can march but not have a banner saying they are an LGBT organization)
  • Where Chicago got the idea to dye its river green
  • Leprechauns and how they're only part of St. Patrick's day in the U.S.
  • Corned beef and cabbage and other (more authentic) Irish foods
  • Frank McCourt and "Angela's Ashes"
  • Don't drink and drive!
  • Listener mail! It's from Jason from our Facebook wall, who wrote about our episode Did Movies Ruin Love? We talk about some things that maybe kind of accurately portray love ("500 Days of Summer," "Lost in Translation," "The Squid and the Whale," "Empire Strikes Back" "When Harry Met Sally" and the book "Written on the Body" come up) and ask listeners to write us (popstuff  at discovery dot com) with their suggestions.
  • "How Saint Patrick's Day Works" and "Brilliance or Blarney: The Saint Patrick's Day Tradition Quiz"

My research:

  • St. Patrick's Day 2001: Myths, Facts and Traditions
  • St. Patrick's Day: Why do we wear green?
  • Cottrell, Michael. "St. Patrick's Day Parades in Nineteenth-century Toronto: A Study of Immigrant Adjustment and Elite Control." Social History, Vol. 25, May 1992.
  • Marston, Sallie A. "Making difference: conflict over Irish identity in the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade." Political Geography. Vol. 21, 2002.
  • Moss, Kenneth. "St. Patrick's Day Celebrations and the Formation of Irish-American Identity, 1847-1975). Journal of Social History. Fall 1995.

Episode link: St. Patrick's Day

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