Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Boston vs. Philadelphia 2008 Round 6: St. Patrick's Day

Ok, it's a little late for St. Patrick's Day, and the pic above is from 2003, but what the heck.  Now, Phillie may have a zombie shuffle on Easter (amusing play on the Resurrection, that), but they got nothin' on Boston's St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Boston, of course, has a long history of ethnic strife, including a tough reception for the Irish in the mid 1850's:

A Boston Committee of Internal Health studying the situation described the resulting Irish slum as "a perfect hive of human beings, without comforts and mostly without common necessaries; in many cases huddled together like brutes, without regard to age or sex or sense of decency. Under such circumstances self-respect, forethought, all the high and noble virtues soon die out, and sullen indifference and despair or disorder, intemperance and utter degradation reign supreme."

These days being of Irish descent in Boston is not only accepted but celebrated.  Since 1947 there has been a veteran's group-sponsored St. Patrick's Day Parade which has been going on since 1902.  And what's a good Massachusetts holiday without bitter argument and division?  In the 90's a GLB pride group sued the organizers of the parade for the right to be included and the case wound up at the Supreme Court in 1995.  In 1994 the state Superior Court had ruled that the organizers could not exclude anyone.  The parade was cancelled that year.

More recently, Veterans for Peace were not allowed to march in the parade.  Instead they followed the trash trucks...  A column by Kevin Cullen in the Boston Globe tells the back story.

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day!

Oh, and in terms of the latest B vs. P:  this round goes to Boston for encompassing all that is ugly and beautiful about the city in a single event.

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