Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thoughts on a Sinking Ship

To start this off, I just observed a pair of tourists taking pictures of the front of my building. It was too cute, and also appropriate timing as I was having a moment of appreciative fondness for the cuteness that is Dublin.

On my way to get coffee today, my bus passed by the European Union offices on Dawson St., just down the street from Trinity. There was a pretty sizable demonstration going on outside protesting the bank bailouts in Greece. My taxi driver last night had some pretty strong opinions as well. He was saying, and I'm not informed enough about this to judge his opinion, that while Greece was being bailed out by the EU, Ireland had to save its own banks, and the working class people were taking on the brunt of the burden. He was also saying that its a double-standard to bail out the banks while there are thousands of homeowners drowning in debt from the mortgage crisis, and there was no effort to bail them out. He feels the Irish Dail is prioritizing the corporations over the working people.

One thing that I have noticed about Ireland, at least in Dublin as that is all I can speak to, is that everyone, from your barman to your taxi driver, is somewhat well-informed, and has an opinion, about what's going on in their government. I'd go as far to say that there is a far bigger tradition here of political engagement than there is in the US. Everyone has an opinion, however philosophical or out of touch with the realities of governing it might be. I find it refreshing.

Anywho, I seem to be finding myself at a point of transition. I'm leaving this gorgeous country in 13 days, which seems completely unfathomable. I've been coasting/racing through these past three weeks of exams, just wanting to get to a place where I can enjoy Ireland without stressing over political philosophy and Freudian determinism, that I am just realizing that after I take my last exam (Saturday), I'll have just over a week left here.

If I had been forced to return the states after last semester, I think I would have felt like I hadn't accomplished much, or hadn't taken advantage of my time here. I don't feel that way now. I've worked hard, played hard, and I'm kind of itching to move on to the next thing.

While I love Dublin, and Ireland, I feel like I'm just kind of waiting for my next adventure at this point. Namely, that would be moving to Door County and starting to waitress again. This year has been amazing, but I am happy to go home and spend time with family and friends before my last year at SLC (AHHH).

That said, I had an amazing day on Tuesday. I visited the Hugh Lane Gallery across the river, which has on display, in a very creepy orange-tinted side room, a reconstruction of Francis Bacon's studio. This is bizarre on many levels. I really do like Francis Bacon, but they made a lot of hay out of the fact that his studio had been gifted to them by his sole heir. This would have been cool if the studio has any special significance, other than what they seem to have concocted. On the walls were all these quotes from Bacon about how he couldn't paint anywhere else other than his studio, and that its filth made him feel creative. If anyone has ever had an artist friend, or visited a studio, this is a pretty common thing. The artistic mess? The studio itself was moved and rebuilt inside the gallery, with the visitor being able to stand inside this little three-walled glass box that was recessed into the room. There were also the original windows that could be seen through, and one could walk over the staircase (yes, over, it was covered in plexi-glass) - the gallery made a very big deal about the steepness of the staircase, and that it had a rope in place of a I, although it may just be me, just couldn't see what the big deal was. Inside the room was just a bunch of junk - old photos, hundreds of paintbrushes, and an old rusty circular mirror that, oh jeez, might have been designed by Bacon himself, given that circles were a big theme in his furniture designer days. How revolutionary.

Anyway, it seemed to be just a tourist attraction. Just a gimmick, which I think ended up making Bacon look very silly. Perhaps he was as self-involved as the juxtaposition of the quotes with a reconstruction of his junk piles made him out to be, but I'm sure that wasn't his intention when he bequeathed the space to his heir.

This has been a theme with many of the Irish art galleries I have visited - painfully overselling their mediocre collections, which just serves to make it awkwardly obvious that they don't have a lot to work with.

All this being said, I always love Jack Yeats, in any gallery, anywhere.

After this painful exercise of pretending I know what I'm talking about (Political Philosophy exam on the books for Saturday), I'm off to Donegal to take advantage of my last change to immerse myself in the breathtaking beauty of this place. One day will be spent climbing the Slieve League, which are supposedly the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Hopefully, I won't get blown off. Although, this seems to be a possibility as they warn against climbing the thing in misty conditions or if you have vertigo. I assume they warn against the trek if you are overly in-touch with your Freudian death-drive, as well. Har har

Good afternoon, and good luck to me.

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Thinking About a Guinness?

Thinking About a Guinness?