"Speak softly and carry a big stick"
There was a touch of Ireland's great comic, surrealist writer, Flann O'Brien, in President Barack O'Bama's speech in Dublin yesterday. Speaking of his ancestors from Ireland and Africa, and how they were inspired by the American Dream, Obama said:
It’s the dream that Falmouth Kearney was attracted to when he went to America. It’s the dream that drew my own father to America from a small village in Africa. It’s a dream that we’ve carried forward -- sometimes through stormy waters, sometimes at great cost -- for more than two centuries. And for my own sake, I’m grateful they made those journeys because if they hadn’t you’d be listening to somebody else speak right now. (Laughter.)That last line is slightly odd, sort of questioning reality while undermining it. Like the story of the Irish guy who was planning to meet his friend in a bar.
"If I get there first," he said to his pal, "I'll put a big 'X' on the wall, and if you get there first, you rub it out..."