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Having read Carolyn Moore’s fawning tribute to Beyoncé in the Weekend section (Irish Examiner, July 9) I have to say how disappointed I am with the Examiner for failing to recognise the real African-American superstar to feature this weekend — Serena Williams.
Beyoncé is indeed talented and gorgeous but she is just one of a number of successful singers who down through the years have made a name for themselves romping around a stage in her knickers. Standing in front of the word ‘Feminist’ in a leotard is not empowering for women. Her dancers at the Super Bowl were not Black Pantheresque — Black Panthers did not wear black leather leotards! In fact this “women as whore” image portrayed in her videos and stage show (and by others such as Rhianna) makes her a poor role model for girls and for young African-American girls in particular. The music is not allowed to speak for itself — it is all about being sexy. It is nonsense to try to elevate her cultural significance to anything beyond being a great performer of good pop songs.
In contrast Serena William on Saturday became only the second woman in tennis history (of the open era) to win 22 grand slams. This achievement over 16 years proves what a superior athlete she is and in particular in a sport that hasn’t always treated women or African-Americans with the respect they deserve. Serena is an example to all our young girls of what hard work and determination can achieve (with buckets of natural ability and the perfect serve!).
In addition, I can’t help feeling that had a man been attempting to achieve a similar grand slam record they would have been given centre stage in all media.
All hail the real queen — Serena.
I abhor cruelty to animals, whether the victim happens to be a cat, cow, elephant, or any other living creature. But I also find it hard to stomach the hypocrisy of some politicians, among whom I include those long-time supporters of hare coursing in Dail Éireann who spoke so passionately against the shooting of five cattle on a Monaghan farm.
Maybe they might see things differently if cattle-coursing was to be declared a national blood sport.
It would, of course, be fully supervised and with appropriate rule and regulations to ensure the cattle got a sporting chance. Nobody involved would derive any pleasure from seeing cattle killed or injured. Being true sportspeople, they would cheer loudest when a cow escaped over a ditch into the next field. Any thought of cruelty would be furthest from the minds of the fans and cattle coursing officials. They would take pleasure, not in the stressful ordeal and untimely demise of bovines, but from the agility and grace of the cows as they scampered around the field with the snipers in pursuit — the time-honoured thrill of the chase — and from the musical sound of bullets whizzing through the air.
And any cows that survived the sport would be released back onto the farm under the supervision of vets, control stewards, and cow coursing officials.
To fantasise further, the first two cows to be chased and sniped at for fun could be dubbed “Arts” and “Heritage”, in honour of the government department that licenses 75 coursing clubs every year to snatch thousands of hares from our countryside for use in a real life blood sport.
Lower Coyne St
I’ve been watching the slow demise of hurling in Cork for the last 10 years. I can be precise with the time span involved as I remember the day when the warning bells were screaming but nobody bothered listening. It was the All-Ireland final of 2006 and Brian Cody put the Cork possession game to the sword.
In Cork the hand passing and soloing possession game had become our god. It had got us to four All-Ireland finals, two of which we won. We were even teaching our young hurlers the possession game. We taught them how to solo and how to hand pass the ball. I even saw U12 Cork players do it in those half-time matches during Munster finals and the adoring crowds applauded.
Meanwhile in Kilkenny, in the handful of clubs and in such places such as St Kieran’s college, young fellas were being taught the skills that seemed to be not needed in the possession game. These skills included hooking, blocking, catching, rising the ball and striking the ball comfortably on both sides. I know this because those same young fellas are now winning All-Irelands with the current Kilkenny senior hurling team.
Current Kilkenny defenders are not afraid to strike the ball long, knowing that a teammate further up the field has the necessary skills to regain possession. These same players rarely use the solo and only to get away from an opponent and create enough space to strike the ball cleanly. They hand pass the ball only when boxed in and unable to get a clean strike on the ball or to put a teammate through on goal.
Back to Cork and the young fellas that were being taught the skills of the possession game.
Those same young fellas are now playing senior hurling in their clubs and in the Cork senior team. Cork players do not hook or block an opponent. Cork players do not catch the ball over the head of an opponent. Cork players cannot rise the ball in one quick movement. Cork players cannot strike the ball comfortably off both sides. They often solo run or hand pass the ball when it should be struck with the hurley.
In fact, it can be said that Cork have no style of hurling. Any sense of direction for Cork hurling has been lost. It might be time for a new way, which in fact is the old way, of playing hurling. It must be the Kilkenny way.
In Michael Clifford’s article on the large impact of climate change on Ethiopia (Irish Examiner, July 9) he figures in El Niño and the increasing carbon footprints of Western countries, including Ireland, as causal factors in the climate problem for Ethiopia. He omitted to mention the environmental damage that took place in Ethiopia after the fall of Haile Selassie in 1974 and the emergence of the socialist regime of Mengistu which carried out large deforestation programme in Ethiopia alongside the introduction of the new agricultural and societal model. This undoubtedly was another factor in leaving the country more exposed to the impact of climate change and in severely reducing its ability to capture and store carbon in natural carbon sinks. This shows that in the case of Ethiopia the phenomenon of climate change is not one which can be attributed exclusively to Western interference and domination.
Will Croke Park officials send Hawkeye to Specsavers? Probably not, but following the decision by Hawkeye to disallow Lester Ryan’s point during the recent Leinster senior hurling final, it has become quite clear that the system requires urgent upgrading to ensure the complete confidence of both officials and hurling supporters alike.
Fergal McGill, the GAA head of games administration, said “it is all to do with virtual posts which come into play if the ball is above the upright”. Many would agree that McGill’s explanation was not really convincing, particularly if we picture the scenario of either Joe Canning or John O’Dwyer scoring the winning point during injury time of the All-Ireland final in September, and then our “never wrong” Hawkeye disallows it. The system should be 100% accurate, no more and no less.
The headlines and editorials are full of calls for Enda Kenny to resign and for Micheál Martin to assume power.
Why is that?
Enda Kenny was not a member of a government which bankrupted the country; Micheál Martin was.
Is this what they call ‘new politics’?
1 Shielmartin Drive
People should have a statutory right to opt out of charities cold calling at doors.
Some apparently cannot read and do not understand the words “no charities or cold callers”. Others think that because they are a charity such notices do not refer to them, a delusion shared by others with their junk mail about their precious religions : “Not junk mail it is the word of God”. Maybe in their little universe.
People should have a legal right to opt out of all that and define what is junk mail in the privacy of their letterboxes.
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