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  #1  
Old 02-18-2000, 10:51 AM
sixseatport sixseatport is offline
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Maybe this belongs in GD, but here i'goes:

I was just reading an article about the Kennedy family (specifically all the premature deaths), and I noticed that there were several remarks about the stoicism of the family. The author referred to this as the "Irish Catholic Dysfunction."

What I want to know is why stoicism is suddenly a sign of dysfunction. Who decided that it's better to wail and cry and tear your hair out in public than it is to keep family grief private? Also, why would this "dysfunction" get labelled as "Irish Catholic?" Some of the most demonstrative people I know are Irish catholics.

Is this a possible relic of 19th century anti-irish racism? I don't think it's mere poetic license on the part of the author, because I've heard things like this in other places.

What really disturbs me about this is that I see it going along with the trend of the media to want to make every event a public one. People go on to shows like Jerry Springer and tell everything (I would say that they are too weird to be true, but it is said that the truth is stranger than fiction). The National Enquirer and magazines like that use all kinds of tactics to find out private information about everyone whose name has ever appeared in print. We see so much of this that it's starting to appear normal. Nothing fazes us anymore. Whatever happened to privacy? What ever happened to keeping your thoughts to yourself? Why is it now "dysfunctional" not to want people to see you in an emotionally vulnerable state?

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 02-18-2000, 04:18 PM
Arnold Winkelried Arnold Winkelried is offline
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If I did have any thoughts, I'd be keeping them to myself.

ba-da-bing! Like shooting fish in a barrel.
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  #3  
Old 02-18-2000, 04:33 PM
Ursa Major Ursa Major is offline
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I think the author is saying that stoicism of the Kennedys is a dysfunction compared to the "normal" wailing and crying expected from Irish Catholics. Either way he's still making a cultural generalization.
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Old 02-18-2000, 04:36 PM
sixseatport sixseatport is offline
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I'm not making the generalization myself; I'm just reporting what I read and asking how the generalization was arrived at.

BTW I'm Irish catholic myself, so I guess I just took this issue to heart.
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2000, 04:41 PM
Ursa Major Ursa Major is offline
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To clarify:

"Either way he (the author) is still making a cultural generalization."

His logic is that all Irish Catholics are emotional, therefore, the stoic Kennedys are disfunctional (as far as Irish Catholics go).
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2000, 04:44 PM
sixseatport sixseatport is offline
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No, wait, I need to restate this:

The author of the article was saying that it is an irish-catholic trait to be stoic, and that stoicism is dysfunctional.

My question is who decided that stoicism is dysfunctional (i.e. bad)?
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2000, 04:54 PM
Ursa Major Ursa Major is offline
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No! Who's on first! What's on second!

Sorry about the confusion. Basically I think the author is an idiot for thinking that Irish Catholics are stoic or that stoicism is a dysfunction. If you want a reason for his assumption I don't think you have to look further than just plain old-fashioned ignorance.
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2000, 05:28 PM
Sassy Sassy is offline
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I agree with the author, that the Irish can be reserved to the point of dysfunction. I grew up in a family where all problems were handled "by ourselves" and we never washed our dirty laundry in public. Sounds admirable? Maybe - until the problem is the family itself (drinking, abuse...) and there's no place else to go, no one else to talk to. Took me years to realize that the family attitude wasnt a law and that there were other choices than ours. I feel for the Kennedy's and I understand them.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2000, 06:06 PM
Alphagene Alphagene is offline
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Quote:
...compared to the "normal" wailing and crying expected from Irish Catholics.
Obviously the author has never been to an Irish wake.

------------------
Gypsy: Tom, I don't get you.
Tom Servo: Nobody does. I'm the wind, baby.
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2000, 06:42 PM
UppityWoman UppityWoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by sixseatport:
Maybe this belongs in GD, but here i'goes:

I was just reading an article about the Kennedy family (specifically all the premature deaths), and I noticed that there were several remarks about the stoicism of the family. The author referred to this as the "Irish Catholic Dysfunction."

I think the author has more troubles in his perspective than just his attitude that stoicism is dysfunctional. I think he and everyone needs needs to stop thinking of the Kennedys as Irish and start thinking of them as Americans - which is what they are.

But that wasn't your question. (Pardon my rant.) I think pop psychology has gone a long way toward convincing the average Joe that stoicism is "repressive" and somehow psychologically unhealthy. What the author of the piece to which you're referring probably imagines is that people who are publicly stoic are stoic in private, as well, and therefore bereft of normal, "healthy" emotion. Not necessarily true.

Many people, including the members of my family, maintain a certain decorum in public, even when in mourning for the loss of a loved one. Privately, we grieve just like everyone else. I happen to be comfortable with this behaviour. It is based on the idea that outsiders need not be bothered with your troubles and there is no reason to make others uncomfortable by subjecting them to public displays of emotion. You confine your grief to the wake, the funeral and home until you can maintain your composure in public.

I agree with you that this is not the "Jerry Springer way", but I personally don't care for the "Jerry Springer way".
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2000, 01:34 PM
Random Random is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by UppityWoman:
I think the author has more troubles in his perspective than just his attitude that stoicism is dysfunctional. I think he and everyone needs needs to stop thinking of the Kennedys as Irish and start thinking of them as Americans - which is what they are.

But that wasn't your question. (Pardon my rant.) I think pop psychology has gone a long way toward convincing the average Joe that stoicism is "repressive" and somehow psychologically unhealthy. What the author of the piece to which you're referring probably imagines is that people who are publicly stoic are stoic in private, as well, and therefore bereft of normal, "healthy" emotion. Not necessarily true.

Many people, including the members of my family, maintain a certain decorum in public, even when in mourning for the loss of a loved one. Privately, we grieve just like everyone else. I happen to be comfortable with this behaviour. It is based on the idea that outsiders need not be bothered with your troubles and there is no reason to make others uncomfortable by subjecting them to public displays of emotion. You confine your grief to the wake, the funeral and home until you can maintain your composure in public.

I agree with you that this is not the "Jerry Springer way", but I personally don't care for the "Jerry Springer way".

I agree completely. In the interests of full disclosure, though, my mother is a Dubliner, so maybe my view is the minority.
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2000, 02:40 PM
UppityWoman UppityWoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Random:
I agree completely. In the interests of full disclosure, though, my mother is a Dubliner, so maybe my view is the minority.

We're doing full disclosure? Well, ok, then. I'm from Galway City, Ireland and a Catholic, as well.
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2000, 10:32 PM
The Asbestos Mango The Asbestos Mango is offline
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Most of the Catholics I know areItalian, Greek or converted Southern Baptists. A high percentage of Southern Baptists are of Scotch-Irish descent, and most of them seem far from stoic. I don't think stoicism is dysfunctional. I think it's the first step toward mellowness.

BTW, you try to get a Southern Baptist to convert to Catholicism. It's not an easy thing to do, but once the Catholic Church has got 'em, we've got 'em.

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