Apparently, Burns Night is upon us. Tomorrow, Scots all around the world, but very few in Scotland, will be re-enacting one of those meaningless and outdated rituals that are typical amongst those who feel they ought to celebrate the fact that their great-great-grandmothers were born in a certain geographical location.
Scotland is a wonderful place. I am among the few surviving visitors who have been there on a day that it did not rain. As a preamble, please be aware that the following attack on all things Scottish is only in jest. Racism in any form will not be welcome in this journal. Nationalism is, in my view, an unpleasant manifestation of racism that I have no time for. Having said that, I would not want my principles to stand in the way of good laugh.
It is a characteristic of the Scots that they enjoy inflicting misery on others. Living in a country where it rains for 322 days of the year, and on each of the remainder midges attack every living organism, gives rise to an outlook on existence that falls short of joyful. The Scots therefore take it upon themselves to make everyone else as miserable as they are.
It is a well established fact that no one in Scotland enjoys bagpipes, porridge or the poetry of Burns, but they will all seize every available opportunity to inflict these trials on the rest of us in the name of “culture”.
What other possible explanation can there be for the custom of "first footing", whereby on New Year's Day, you visit all of your neighbours and trample coal dust into their carpets.
Burns was either a truly appalling poet, or a con artist of the highest order. His poetry is punctuated by “an all tha’” – the 18th Century equivalent of “y’know”, as a sign that he could not scan and had limited imagination. He is responsible for the atrocious verses of “Auld lang syne”, which has somehow become traditional to sing at the change of the year. Seeing human beings involved in this activity is the nearest I ever get to embarrassment, and I make it a point to be in bed by 10:30 on 31st December.
How did we allow the Scots to take over the new year? When I was a lad, television stations broadcast until after midnight, and thought that Andy Bloody Stewart was suitable entertainment, and a fitting part of celebration. For a truly talented Scots poet, please visit the website of James McNulty.