Angela’s Ashes, a reaction

Here’s something I wrote several years ago after watching Angela’s Ashes, a film based on the autobiographical book by Frank McCourt.  It was before 2008, before the Great Recession.  I think it applies to many more people now.

First, the excerpt that inspired me, spoken by a school teacher who sees the inequality to which the boys in his class are subject.

“It’s a disgrace that boys like McCourt, Clark and Kennedy have to hew wood and draw water in this so-called free and independent Ireland that keeps a class system foisted on us by the English.  Well, it disgusts me.  We throw our talented children under the dung heap.  If this is the end of school for you, you must get out of this country, boys, and go to America.”


So, where do we go? Where is today’s “Land of Opportunity”?  Where is hope? Perhaps the persistence and propagation of social ills and lack of great men and women of leadership is due to the lost resources of the bright minds, ingenuities and energies of a new generation, squandered by forces that care only of economics and power, and overwhelmed by a rotting corpse we call “old money”, the establishment, the status quo.

Worse yet is the new “consumption” [old word for tuberculosis] , apathy, that erodes not physical health, but compassion, intellect, and any sense of unity as the collective consciousness of a nation lapses into a coma, leaving reality to blow at random like a cold foreboding wind that aches the bones and opens the eyes of those few it touches.

And as their raspy throats cough up their warning cries, their stories fade to silence as the cold wind snakes along the grayest lowlands, never felt by those with sunshades on and fences built around their hilltop estates.

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