The Rose of Tralee is back, and thank God for that – otherwise, what would Ireland’s self-appointed arbiters of taste and coolness have to be moaning about?
The show, marking its 60th anniversary, is a guaranteed blockbuster, both for RTE and the Kerry town, drawing huge TV ratings for the live shows last night and tonight and big crowds to Tralee for the week-long festival.
It also goes gangbusters on social media and traditional media, which is where the fly duly arrives to land in our ointment.
It’s not enough for these self-styled sophisticates to simply ignore the show – which, let’s face it, is an easy thing to do in this age of infinite choice on TV and online. Indeed, you’d have to go out of your way to find yourself sat in front of RTE One between 8pm and 11.30pm tonight.
Rose-haters have to let the world know just how much, and in precisely what ways, they hate it. This entails watching the entire thing and tweeting about it constantly or writing sneery articles in the lead-up or aftermath.
How tragic is that? Imagine consuming media for the bones of half-a-day, which you know beforehand you won’t enjoy, just so you can tell the other sad sacks on your timeline that you didn’t enjoy it. It’s like the world’s most pointless self-fulfilling prophesy.
Is this what passes for coolness now? They’ve really lowered the bar over the decades. Cool people used to do things like play electric guitar, smoke cigarettes, join rebellions in Latin America, sleep around, ride motorbikes, fight The Man and spend inordinate amounts of time maintaining their fantastic hairstyles.
In 2019, apparently, cool people type on a phone while watching that they don’t like.
Is this what passes for sophistication? That’s the term used to describe sharp women in sharper suits drinking gallons of martini while swapping waspish quips with a raffish man in a trilby as Noel Coward played jazz piano across the room.
Nowadays, sophistication is measured by the number of likes you get for drawing attention to your fatuous observations about how the Rose of Tralee “has no place in modern Ireland”.
Even worse is when commentators insist on dragging in their exhausting political obsessions.
“Why does nobody ever address the issue of abortion/#MeToo/Donald Trump/gun control/whatever on the Rose of Tralee?” they’ll screech.
Why? Because this isn’t a current affairs show, it’s light entertainment. As people who seem very sure in their knowledge and appreciation of TV, I’d have assumed you knew that. In fact, I’m fairly sure you did, but are pretending otherwise so as to make your tedious point.
One might as well critique the Oireachtas Report for not including sports results, or Prime Time for consistently failing to do a retrospective on lesser-known grunge bands who weren’t that good really but had one decent album and a handful of genuinely great songs.
I hardly ever watch the Rose of Tralee, but I don’t like being told what to do by self-regarding egotists who think they’re better than me. It’s all sadly reflective of the current frenzied mind-set in public life and affairs.
Nobody can allow someone else to enjoy something they personally don’t care for. They must castigate, lampoon, lambast. More than that, they must demand its removal, its cancellation, its obliteration.
The sheer spitefulness of this cannot be measured. Will it honestly make you feel good to deny the hundreds of thousands of Rose fans their annual two-day pleasure? Rather depressingly, the answer is probably “yes”.
It’s incredibly childish as well. Lads, it’s just a TV show. Don’t get all wound up about it. Don’t read so much into it. Don’t take it to heart.
Don’t see it as a personal insult to you, or symptomatic of “toxic masculinity” or as the latest carpet- bombing by the armies of The Patriarchy. It’s just telly.
I don’t rant and rage on Twitter because every second movie being made now is some stupid superhero thing. I hate those films, and am baffled into paral-
ysis by their popularity, but such is life. Different strokes for different folks.
I just watch someone else. You can do this too. Or better yet, don’t watch something else – instead, turn off the telly and read a book. Phone a friend. Go for a drink.
We get it – you’re incredibly cool. Your professed disdain for the Rose of Tralee proves this, beyond all argument. So now that you’ve ‘won’ something or other – the internet, life, whatever – can you give it a rest?
You’re getting boring now, and boring isn’t cool. Or maybe it is. These days, who the hell knows.
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