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Opinion: Fifty Shades of Grau

Posted June 12, 2012 by June Caldwell in Ramp Specials

Ireland’s bombshell blonde emissary to Brussels, our very own European Minister Lucinda Creighton, was so worried about the anti-Angela propaganda during the recent referendum campaign the Fine Gael TD for Dublin South East said she didn’t want Frau Merkel to be ‘Europe’s whipping girl’.

Lucinda clearly does not understand the choreography of sado-masochistic role-play! The whipping boys and girls in the world of S&M are those on the receiving end of their mistresses’ and masters’ domination. The German Chancellor isn’t so much tied to a whipping post or an inverted cross when it comes to the power play games of the European Union. Instead Mistress Angie is the one with the whip hand insisting on punishment being meted to the naughty Greeks and Irish.

Two weeks ago her Irish gimps voted through gritted teeth clenching on a collective gag ball to stay inside the House of Pain and Austerity. While our Greek gimps keep using ‘safe words’ like ‘default’ and ‘Drachma’ to be released from their bondage, the Irish whimper and whine but keep saying ‘more’.

So why do we keep returning to the dungeon? Mary Kenny suggested in The Guardian that it is a big Catholic thing, that we Irish are simply doing our penance, that our passage through the years of austerity is like walking barefoot to Croagh Patrick or Lough Derg. Yet there is more to it than good old fashion Catholic guilt, a yearning for atonement after the years of arrogant excess in the Celtic Tiger era.

The far left erected posters across Dublin and beyond of Chancellor Merkel in a subliminal Hitler pose, the innuendo being far less subtle. It’s all a far cry from the days of De Valera visiting the German Ambassador to Ireland to express his government’s sympathies over the death of the Führer inside the Berlin Bunker just as the Russians were ready to storm the Reichstag. Or the IRA hanging out with Nazi spies in order to open up a second pro-Third Reich front in the north or dying on U-Boat submarines off the coast of Ireland in the Second World War.

The reality is when it comes to the Germans we suffer from a national form of penis envy. We are jealous and afraid of Deutchsland but we can’t just fault their workrate and technical prowess. Ever since the Irish started flocking to what was then West Germany in the 70s to look for work in car factories, building sites and the newly opened Paddy-Whackery Irish pubs that are now ubquitious in almost every German city, we have learned to admire them. That admiration was compounded by Euro ’88 when thousands of sunburnt and sozzled Irish soccer fans partied in Hannover and Stuttgart after the national side qualified for its first ever UEFA tournament. Some never came back, they liked it so much. A further wave of Irish economic émigrés riverdanced to Germany after the Berlin Wall fell and new opportunities opened up in the reunited nation, especially in its new capital.
Power worship is not the same as love, but S&M power play can throw up some fascinating psychological insights into those in the game. Master/Mistress and slave can use The Other as a mirror into themselves, to seek deep down in themselves for what they cannot otherwise fathom. In the S&M relationship between acquiescent Ireland and confident, dominant Deutschland what we see through that mirror is what we ultimately would love to be again: solvent, assured, inventive, prudent, cautiously successful and in control.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: No one was whipped, spanked, gagged or tied, during the making of this piece.

About the Author

June Caldwell

  • http://twitter.com/SerialBlogamist Catherine C

    I have never had so much fun reading something written about politics *applauds* 

  • http://twitter.com/ElleEmSee Laura Carland

    Germany seem to be the only ones who know what the hell they are doing. The rest of us are just looking about the mess the room, weeping and then having a sit down hoping it all blows over.

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      … and bundling it under the bed and hoping Germany won’t notice.

  • Sinéad

    Whatever about the political ranks playing ‘stop it, I like it’ with Angie over their jealousy of Germany, there’s a sadder aspect to it in terms of the Stockholm Syndrome developed by the ordinary Joe. A lot of people aren’t out to emulate or impress the German master and show them we can please them, they’re just stuck in low-grade submissive roles because at least its better than the unknown. There’s one brand of S&M politics being played out between Ireland and the rest of Europe. As for Ireland’s politicians and her own people? That’s a sad little game of ‘he only hurts me because he loves me…’

    Great piece, June.

  • http://twitter.com/Fearganainim Fearganainim

    Great, humourous piece. Of course one wonders just how safe the German banks are given their exposure to the debt of just about every major bank/country in Europe… 

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      Yup. They’re the strongest brick in the Jenga tower, but they’re in it none the less.

  • Junecaldwell

    Ah thanks lads! It’s the only way to make our government sound sexy!

  • Brianf

    What wonderful insight and very well written too!

  • Tony Deegan

    The author seems to have misunderstood the term ‘whipping girl’. It doesn’t have any sado-masochistic connotations, but instead is a term meaning scapegoat. It used to be the done thing for royalty to raise a commoner specifically to be punished for the transgressions of the princes, and these boys were known as ‘whipping boys’. Of course, Lucinda had the wrong end of the stick, as it were, as it is the working and middle classes of Europe that are currently playing the role of whipping boys and girls, paying the price for our princely bankers mistakes.

    Otherwise, a fine article.

  • Junecaldwell

    Well clearly I need to be whipped or spanked here for being so wrong Tony?

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