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Thursday, June 24, 2010


Last Thursday, an initiative was brought to pass in the form of a decree. On the 17th of June 2010, the people of Cork were politely asked by the mayor not to use that word which starts with an r and rhymes with secession. This was ostensibly a move that would 'help drive Cork out of recession and into recovery'. Mercifully, I didn't actually use the word 'recession' in my column on that day. Instead I wrote about people who blissfully ignore the recession and carry on spending whether or not they have the resources. Funny that.

In the spirit of belated inclusion I will instead replace the word 'recession' with 'banana' for the rest of this column and provide a rebuttal to this decree as only a bananaista can.
The banana exists. You cannot ignore the banana. The banana is part of an economic system dependent as much on a bust as it is on a boom. We only have to weather the banana storm that is hailing upon us as best we can, despite the general feeling that we are all on a slow banana boat ride to nowhere.
Nor can we peel back the layers of the banana with an overly-optimistic word like 'pre-boom', which is a notion verging on the tragicomic. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the sense of optimism that this generates and the heartfelt effort by the good people of Cork to wholeheartedly attempt to 'lift (them)selves out of the doom and gloom' - to spend one day out of the shadow on the banana. Personally if I'm feeling gloomy I prefer a brisk walk with some podcasts and a nice, refreshing drink when I get back in, but each to their own.
Here's my point; we can ignore the banana just fine, but what would the response be if we decided not to use the word 'HIV' or 'rape' or 'Nazi' and dress every evil sounding word as something more palatable? I would imagine that there would be outrage on many camps and a distinct feeling of diminishment of people who have been adversely affected by these words. They sound that way and carry that resonance for a reason. We can't just pretend that something doesn't exist or that if it sounds better, that it somehow doesn't make an impact. You have to call a spade a spade. Lest we forget; a banana by any other name would taste as sweet.