I had an interesting conversation with one of my brothers last night. He told me about a book he has just started to read, entitled The Pope’s Children: Irish Economic Triumph and the Rise of Ireland’s New Elite.
My brother, who had begun reading the book on the advice of our older brother, couldn’t say enough about how brilliantly funny and informative the book is. So, after we spoke, I began looking for more information online. I found a particularly interesting, but troubling, statement ascribed to the book’s inside flap:
“Named for the ironic coincidence of the Irish baby boom of the 1970s, which peaked nine months to the day after Pope John Paul II’s historic visit to Dublin, the Pope’s Children are overflowing with money, ambition and optimism—but they are also the most hedonistic, status-conscious and decadent Irish generation ever. They have abandoned the Old Irish Dream of Catholicism, nationalism and limited expectations in exchange for the New Irish Dream of instant gratification, material possessions and endless possibility.”
Immediately, I questioned whether I would have anything but disdain for the generation portrayed in the book. The description of the generation describes, to me, a population whose personal ambitions override any sense of personal responsibility. They describe, to me, people who posses a trait I like to call “conspicuous consumption on steroids.”
I suppose I tend toward the middle ground between the Old Irish Dream and the New Irish Dream. Fortunately for me, I guess, I am neither Irish nor a member of the Pope’s Children.
Having not read the book, I probably shouldn’t pass judgment on either the book or the generation about whom it was written. Maybe I’ll revisit the issue AFTER I read the book. I’d be curious to hear from others who may have read it.