Fifty Grades of Shame – Frank McNally on a bumper year for judging others
An Irishman’s Diary
Kim Kardashian: condemned for hosting a private party, to which not even Seamus Woulfe was invited. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Even with more than a month to go, it has been a bumper year for people who enjoy judging others.
Hardly a week has passed without a major reason for self-righteousness somewhere.
Here, in no particular order, are 2020’s Fifty Grades of Shame.
1. Spring skiing breaks in Italy.
2. Johnny Ronan’s holiday video.
3. The people who went to Cheltenham.
4. The people who came back from Cheltenham.
5. Toilet-roll hoarders.
6. The chorus of “Sweet Caroline” in a Temple Bar pub.
7. The Howth chip shop queue.
8. Hill walkers outside their 5km zone.
9. “Hashtag Covidiot”
10. Crowded beaches in May.
11. Picnics in the park in June.
12. Leo with his shirt off (and later passing the bug on to Richard Bruton).
13. Ireland having to keep all its off-licences open during the lockdown as an essential service.
14. Big tailbacks out of Dublin on roads leading to Wexford caravan parks.
15. TV Zoom interviewees forgetting to hide their Jeffrey Archer collections when posing in front of their bookshelves.
16. Post-lockdown DIYers queueing from early morning for Woodies and Ikea: “Do they not have a life?”
17. People queueing after midnight for doughnuts (okay, that was before coronavirus, but I’ve just remembered it and the shame hasn’t lessened).
18. MEPs doing Zoom calls in their underpants.
19. Women named Karen complaining about anything.
20. Marchers without masks.
21. Heavy-breathing runners sharing air with passersby.
22. Phil Hogan’s Tour of Ireland.
23. Phil Hogan’s explanation of his tour of Ireland.
24. Clifden golf dinner partitionism.
25. “Everyone’s a judge” (including Séamus Woulfe still, somehow).
26. Mary Kenny wondering out loud on social media if it would be all right to fly over from London to the Percy French Summer School.
27. House parties everywhere.
28. Especially that one with the Facebook video of the 47 people coming out the front door when the Garda Síochána called.
29. Street parties in Killarney.
30. Galway students at the Spanish Arch.
31. Celebrations after GAA matches not being properly distanced.
32. Fights during GAA club matches not being properly distanced.
33. The lad on the counter of the Berlin Bar pouring drink.
34. The customers under him, drinking it.
35. The fall of Berlin, pending a hearing on licence renewal.
36. People giving out about others even when no rules were being broken. During the Level 3 restrictions in Dublin, for example, I tweeted a short video from the city centre, suggesting it felt like the “Latin Quarter in Paris” with all the outdoor dining. This was meant to be positive. The restaurants and diners were obeying guidelines as far as possible, after all. But people still complained.
37. Then I found out that someone had posted a clip earlier of almost the same scene, but from the point of view that it was a disgrace. And that one got a lot more interest than mine.
38. Also, a whole sub-discussion broke out under my video about a detail I hadn’t even noticed. This involved a dog apparently taking a dump in the middle of the street and its owner not cleaning up after it. That provoked nearly mass criticism too.
39. Further analysis of the clip revealed that it was in fact a lady dog and she was only peeing. But of course, that explanation received much less attention than the complaints about the non-existent poop, which was still getting “likes” for days afterwards.
40. Where was I? Oh yes, Tourism Ireland chiefs going on foreign holidays.
41. The Bobby Storey funeral in Belfast.
42. The all-night rave in a field in Meath.
43. Edwin Poots’s geographical breakdown of infections in Northern Ireland, which suggested that the disease was being spread mainly by the demographic popularly known as “themmuns”.
44. Food shops selling clothes on the sly in Level 5.
45. Customers buying them.
46. The letter where Séamus Woulfe explained everything.
47. Kim Kardashian’s private party, to which not even Séamus Woulfe was invited.
48. The shebeen revival.
49. The South William Street drinking outrage.
50. People thinking of flying home for Christmas.