I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized We Know Nothing

We Know Nothing

James Moran
The Irish in Manchester c 1750-1921: Resistance, Adaptation and Identity, by Mervyn Busteed, Manchester University Press, 320 pp, £75, ISBN: 978-0719087196 Did you celebrate Back to the Future Day? On October 21st last year we reached the date that, in the Back to the Future film trilogy, marked Marty McFly’s furthest trip forward in his DeLorean time machine. The date was marked with various fancy-dress events, reruns of the movie and President Obama’s Twitter account declaring “Happy Back to the Future Day … That’s heavy, man.” There was a strong element of nostalgia in these celebrations of course, both for those days of future past and for a time when Hollywood could make money from action movies with such complex plotting and dialogue. Journalists had a field day comparing present-day reality with the predictions offered in Back to the Future. The general opinion was that the film-makers, back in the 1980s, had not done too badly, having correctly anticipated the advent of video calling, finger-print-recognition technology and 3D cinema. They had done less well, of course, in imagining us being surrounded by multiple domestic fax machines, floating hoverboards and cars that could fly. Unfortunately, the most accurate prediction made in Back to the Future came, not in the part of the trilogy set in 2015, but in the dystopian version of 1985 presented in the second movie. Here Back to the Future offers a premonition of that most disturbing performance artist of our age, Donald Trump. In the movie, the braying bully Biff Tannen is given a multi-million dollar fortune by luck rather than hard work, becomes weirdly feted as a successful businessman and runs a skyscraper-casino adorned with his name. Biff also becomes a serial philanderer who urges plastic surgery upon his wife and promotes himself as “America’s greatest living folk hero”, despite that fact that – like Trump – he projects all the lovable charm of a stale fart in a warm car. Biff uses his fortune to fund his political ambitions, which involve authoritarianism, financial corruption, and the ever-present threat of violence. And the visual similarities between Biff Tannen and Donald Trump are truly startling. Both look somewhat like a malformed scotch-egg topped with the kind of thing that an aging cat might retch onto the lino. Indeed, to mark “Back to the Future Day”, The Daily Beast reported that the film’s screenwriter had been thinking of Donald Trump when originally creating the character of Tannen. But…

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