Saturday, March 21, 2009

Objections to Ulster-Scots: Part Three

because the Ulster-Scots "industry" itself makes Ulster-Scots look stupid and controversial

Call me a coward, but for the time being all I'm going to say here is that yes, it occasionally does - and I know that the vast majority of you will agree. And the low-quality high-profile "fluff" is sometimes all that the wider public see. So the flip side of that - the high-quality, low-profile work - has little or no impact.

And therefore the public perception of Ulster-Scots is badly skewed. People aren't stupid, but when the only encounter that they have with Ulster-Scots subject matter is trivial and lacking in depth, they then assume that Ulster-Scots as a whole is trivial and lacking in depth. Which is a disgraceful disservice to a wonderful legacy.

Back in February 2007 I wrote this article for AgendaNI, which concludes with:

"...To be fair, most people I’ve met in my time with the Ulster-Scots Agency have an open mind, and are open to being persuaded that Ulster-Scots has depth and credibility. But they have no time for nonsense and fluff – and neither do I. Our story is too important to be cheapened, or to allow it to be denigrated..."

More to follow once I've worked out how to tiptoe through this particular minefield...

Further Reading: What exactly is Ulster-Scots?


Anonymous said...

But let it not be too intellectual.

For most of the people can't even fathom the Belfast Newsletter.

Ulsterscot said...

I suppose that the problem on this topic is how to respond without getting into a slanging match against "the industry" - something which you are carefully avoiding.

We have a community which possibly isn't that used to thinking of itself as a "community" in the modern sense - which may be no bad thing.

This can lead to uncoordinated actions being taken by groups, government bodies and individuals (some well intentioned, others perhaps not). It is part of the character of our people (and I very much include myself) that we sometimes charge on, regardless of whether the steps we take are part of a media friendly strategy, or any strategy at all!

However, that can provide easy ammunition for those who wish to pick over every little error in a way which doesn't seem to be the case in other cultural sectors.

The end result can be some minor mis-step by "the industry" - or even the community generally - is pilloried for weeks in the media.

Clearly, better not to make the mis-step - but we should also not be scared to stand up for what we (and others) are doing RIGHT -and there is plenty of it!