Thursday, 30 June 2022

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship...

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.  Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy.

These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and refitted, even though this should put him to great expense.

Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come safely home from this trip also. He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere. He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors.

In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales...

I have made the line of thought more visible with line breaks.  But that is the opening paragraph of William K. Clifford's essay THE ETHICS OF BELIEF, first published in 1877.

Links to the text and to other material, pasted in below...

If our starting point is Irish Diaspora Studies - and today it is - I think that it is difficult to read that paragraph without thinking of the discourse of the emigrant ship, of the Irish Famine migrations, and, of course, the 'Coffin Ships', now enshrined in song and sculpture.  All the elements are there, the Emigrant Ship, the unhappy families leaving their 'fatherland' to seek better times, exiles...  Ungenerous suspicions.  No tales told...

I will not unpack here my own line of thought, which can appear a bit complex - but, for me, is fairly simple.  One of the things that first interested me about Irish Diaspora Studies was the notion that we had an ideal case study of the nature of knowledge - the ways in which knowledge is created, is used, and earns its living.  When I first started developing that line of thought, I fell among philosophers.  Yes, yes, I know, but some of my best friends... 

And it was suggested to me that what I was doing belonged in the sub-section of philosophy called epistemology, the creation of knowledge.  In fact I would argue that that is not correct - I think that what I do is something else, not epistemology.  But I must accept the steer, from my friends, and explore the suggestion.  And I have become interested recently in epistemology's evil twin, what we are learning to call agnotology, the creation of ignorance.

As have we all.

I recently found myself reading Scott Aikin on the Straw Man...  We have plenty of straw persons in Irish Diaspora Studies.  And this led me back to that cluster of questions - called 'the ethics of belief', after Clifford's title - where epistemology, ethics, philosophy of mind, and psychology, meet.  And back to my meditations on the founding text, Clifford's 1877 essay.  

And the Emigrant Ship.

In discussion of Clifford's essay, the detail that Clifford himself had experienced a shipwreck is mentioned, but is usually - and probably rightly - discarded as irrelevant.  Clifford, himself, describes the wreck of the survey ship, Psyche, 1870, as 'comfortably managed...'  

Discussion of Clifford's essay also tends to discard, without comment, the detail that he is describing an Emigrant Ship.  And, I think, had in mind the discourses around the Irish Famine migrations.

Now, how could we unpack that?

Patrick O'Sullivan

June 2022

 

1  William K. Clifford,

THE ETHICS OF BELIEF, I. THE DUTY OF INQUIRY

https://people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/Clifford_ethics.pdf

Originally published in Contemporary Review, 1877; reprinted in William K. Clifford, Lectures and Essays, ed. Leslie Stephen and Frederick Pollock (London: Macmillan and Co., 1886). The author (1845–1879) was an English mathematician


2  In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Clifford's shipowner and his Emigrant Ship become a 'shipowner who, once upon a time, was inclined to sell tickets for a transatlantic voyage...'

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-belief/

The Ethics of Belief

First published Mon Jun 14, 2010; substantive revision Mon Mar 5, 2018

The “ethics of belief” refers to a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology, ethics, philosophy of mind, and psychology.


3 Two useful books...

Chisholm, M. (2002) Such Silver Currents: The Story of William and Lucy Clifford, 1845-1929. 1st edn. The Lutterworth Press. doi: 10.2307/j.ctv1pdrr4p.

Madigan, T. (2008) W.K. Clifford and ‘The ethics of belief’. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.


4 Scott Aikin and colleagues on the Straw Man - plenty to find out there.  See for example...

Aikin, S. and Casey, J. (2022) Straw Man Arguments: A Study in Fallacy Theory. London: Bloomsbury Academic.


5  Searching for 'The wreck of the Psyche' will take you to many strange places.  The best account I have found is in Science and Controversy, A Biography of Sir Norman Lockyer, Founder Editor of Nature By A. Meadows, 2016.

Pasted in below, photo from The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: Volume 18, 1870, by Charles Darwin, Frederick Burkhardt, Sydney Smith, Cambridge University Press, 1985...

 

Monday, 20 June 2022

It has been a quiet day in Irish Diaspora Studies...

We still have alerts in place - left over from the time of the Irish Diaspora List (see my notes about the Ir-D List, somewhere below).

So, we still monitor items of interest to Irish Diaspora Studies, books, articles, lectures, exhibitions, conferences, as they appear in the media - and some items I can share with Irish Diaspora Studies colleagues...

In recent years, of course, in the background, we have been negotiating Irish History's Decade of Centenaries.  There has been much to mull over.

Today alerts came in as usual - and, on one day, I shared these three links with colleagues... 

We see...  Decisions within the diaspora affecting the course of Irish History...  Creativity re-shaping an identity for independent Ireland - disparaged women's work re-shaping identity...  Independent Ireland still tidying up its untidy legislative legacy, proving of interest to the investigative journalists at Bellingcat....  And structures for three discussions within Irish Diaspora Studies.


1.

London assassination a landmark in Irish history

https://www.irishpost.com/history/london-assassination-a-landmark-in-irish-history-235941

The gunning down of a British army officer had far-reaching consequences for Ireland

This article by Ronan McGreevy concludes...

'The Wilson shooting was Ireland’s Sarajevo moment. Without it, there would have been no British ultimatum, no shelling of the Four Courts, no Civil War. Michael Collins would have lived, and the history of the new Irish state would have been different.

The impact of the Wilson assassination has been underestimated, because of the assumption that the Civil War would have happened anyway and his death only hastened the inevitable, but no war is inevitable.

From Collins’ perspective, Wilson was a dangerous enemy of Irish nationalism. Collins was in the visitors’ gallery of the House of Commons in late May 1922 when Wilson declared that the British government should have no hesitation in crossing the Border to secure order. Collins also held Wilson responsible for the “worse than Armenian atrocities” in Belfast.

Wilson had made enemies too within the British government. Yet Collins miscalculated the depth of unhappiness in Britain about the toleration afforded to the anti-Treaty side by the fledging Irish state.

The shots that killed Wilson would lead on exactly two months later to the shot that killed Collins at Béal na Bláth, leaving Ireland immeasurably the poorer for his passing.'

Ronan McGreevy is the author of ‘Great Hatred: the Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson MP’, published by Faber (€16.99). He is a former Irish Post journalist.


2.

The forgotten ‘weird sisters’ of WB Yeats who helped forge Irish identity

Overlooked except for a scornful reference in Ulysses, Elizabeth and Lily ran a vibrant women-only arts and crafts enterprise

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/20/the-forgotten-weird-sisters-of-wb-yeats-who-helped-forge-irish-identity

'...They ran an arts and craft enterprise, Cuala Press, from 1908 to 1940, but Elizabeth and Lily were chiefly known as the sisters of two famous brothers – the poet William Butler Yeats and the painter Jack Yeats. They lived in the shadow of their male siblings, and the jibe in Ulysses, before fading into obscurity...'

This Guardian article links to the emerging Cuala Press archive, visible on the TCD web site...

'The Cuala Press ceased operation in 1986, and in October that same year Anne and Michael Yeats presented the remaining business archive (IE TCD MS 11535) and printing equipment to the Library of Trinity College Dublin. The print collection (IE TCD MS 11574) was gifted to the Library by Vin Ryan of the Schooner Foundation in 2017. Funding provided by the Schooner Foundation in 2020/2021 has enabled the conservation, metadata creation, and digitisation of the Cuala Press collection.'

https://digitalcollections.tcd.ie/collections/ms35tg81f?locale=en

 

3.

Inside the Secretive World of Irish Limited Partnerships

'In early June 2019, the Bitsane cryptocurrency platform was a hive of activity.

According to CoinMarketCap, a price-tracking website for crypto-assets, it had a trading volume worth $7 million a day. Bitsane itself boasted of users in over 200 countries.

Within a few weeks, however, the platform, its social media sites and the deposits of close to 250,000 registered users had vanished.

Bitsane customers took to social media, first to question whether there was a temporary issue, then to panic about their deposits, then to angrily compare losses.

Some had invested tens of thousands of dollars into a variety of cryptocurrencies that were offered on the platform.

But from one day to the next, all that was gone...'

'... What Exactly is an Irish Limited Partnership?

ILPs came into existence as part of the United Kingdom’s 1907 Limited Partnerships Act. At this time, Ireland was still a part of the UK.

The same act brought into existence Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs), a corporate vehicle exclusive to Scotland.  Bellingcat has previously produced a number of reports concerning the alleged misuse of SLPs after a series of high-profile money laundering schemes came to light...

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2022/06/18/inside-the-secretive-world-of-irish-limited-partnerships/

 

Thursday, 17 March 2022

House of Commons Library - The Irish diaspora in Britain, Research Briefing

Well, the most interesting thing about this is that it has happened at all...

And, yes, what about George Canning, Prime Minister in 1827 - who described himself as 'an Irishman born in London'...

P.O'S.


The Irish diaspora in Britain

House of Commons Library

Research Briefing

Published Wednesday, 16 March, 2022

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cdp-2022-0055/

A Backbench business debate on the Irish diaspora in Britain will take place in the House of Commons Chamber scheduled for Thursday 17 March 2022.

Documents to download

The Irish diaspora in Britain (154 KB , PDF)

This debate pack was prepared in advance of a debate on the contribution of the Irish diaspora to Britain.

Irish people in Britain have contributed hugely to life here across a wide range of sectors, and the lives of Irish and British people have been intertwined for millennia.

Niall Gallagher, chairman of Irish Heritage, an organisation that celebrates the work of Irish writers, composers, singers and musicians who are trying to build careers in Britain and beyond, has described the contribution of the Irish to the cultural life of Britain as “incalculable”.

For decades Irish labour was “indispensable” to the British construction industry, with Irish workers part of the teams that built the earliest tunnels for the London Underground network, as well as more modern works such as the Victoria Line.

Irish people have also contributed greatly to the National Health Service, and Irish President Michael Higgins paid tribute to their service during his 2014 State Visit to the UK. As of September 2021, 13,971 members of NHS staff in England reported their nationality as Irish, this includes just under 2,400 doctors, and over 4,500 nurses.

 Two British Prime Ministers, William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, were born in Ireland. Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when both held office.

Monday, 7 February 2022

Feedback: we became a 'suggested video' on YouTube...

 A 'suggested video' on YouTube...

I do not know if this is interesting or not.  But my musician friends tell me that this counts as Feedback, and should be shared...

It can be a footnote to my standard lecture, the rich comedy of:  'How the lockdown turned a lyricist into an ersatz record producer', or 'Learn from my mistakes.' 

I made so many mistakes...

But at least once - it turns out - I did something right.  But what?


1.

In 2018 Stephanie Hladowski and I worked on the lyric I had written to sit comfortably on the melody by Ennio Morricone, Jill's theme, from the Sergio Leone movie, Once upon a Time in the West (1968).

As part of...  Exploration of Song.   Exploration of Lyric.  Exploration of the Recording Studio - the recording studio as a working tool, rather than a rite of passage.

There is more about this on my blog, below, at...

https://fiddlersdog.blogspot.com/2018/11/the-train-jills-theme.html

In the background are all those questions that lyricists get asked.  Like, Music First or Words First?  Problems and Answers.  The answers, by the way, always involve Structure.

Also, in the background, is my long study of a specific genre of song - but I won't go into that now.

I thought, in 2018, Ok, we have taken a step.  To acknowledge that, I will make a little video to fit the audio, and stick it on YouTube.

The idea behind the video was:  take stills, screen grabs, from the movie, Once Upon a Time in the West, and show Jill's story in reverse order.  So that my video ends with the first time we see the character Jill - Claudia Cardinale, in her cute little hat, peers out of the train.

The video is clumsy.  It suggests the idea, rather than completes the idea.  Nothing here is perfect. 

But we had finished something - and that encouraged us to go on and finish other things...

https://hladowskisingsosullivan.hearnow.com/


2.

In the middle of January 2022 our song + video, The Train (Jill's Theme), became a 'suggested video' on YouTube.

Video link

https://youtu.be/yt29GzVKGRU

We had not done anything clever - we put the video up in November 2018.  I did pause to make sure that the right data was visible to search engines.

I made clear my work's relationship with the work of Ennio Morricone, and with the movie.  I wrote to Mr. Morricone's agent, drawing attention to the song and to our YouTube video, saying... 'the emotion I hear when I listen to the melody is, above all else, compassion...'

I made no attempt to 'monetize' the song.  I did not want to pick a quarrel with Mr.  Morricone or the Morricone Estate.

In any case the video very quickly collected a 'copyright claim' on YouTube - which, I think, was simply the content recognition software doing its work.

I will not explore technicalities of what else we might have done with our song, The Train (Jill's Theme) - except to note that technically it is not a 'cover song', it is a 'derivative work'.

You will find online much advice about ways you might become a 'suggested video' - very little about what to do if you do become 'a suggested video'.

Pump out more product, is the advice...


3.

YouTube gives us a grotesque amount of data behind the scenes.  They all do this, Spotify, CD Baby, Amazon.  Do not get bogged down...

The two main visualisations offered by YouTube are 28 days and 48 hours...

As of today, February 7 2022... 'In the last 28 days, videos on your Official Artist Channel got 5.6K views'

The Train (Jill's Theme) has had 5,578 views.

Where are our visitors coming from?  The bulk of the traffic is following an Ennio Morricone sequence.  The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, 22 million views, the Dulce Pontes version, 10 million - and so on.

Our visitors are overwhelmingly male, 92% - mostly over 50 years old.

The peak viewing time is after 1800 hours - between 6 and 9 pm in the English evening.  Which suggests that we are mostly being found by Europe - NOT the USA or China.  Main countries are...

Views · Last 28 days:  Germany 7.8%. Italy 6.6%. France 6.4%.

And more and more from Brazil, 8.9% - this has not affected the time pattern.  I suppose that Brazil does stick out, to the east.

There is some suggestion that a SMALL number of visitors go on to find our other tracks on YouTube, the lockdown rescue that became our Album, Hladowski sings O'Sullivan... 

To encourage this I have made The Train part of the Album Playlist on YouTube.  And I have made the link to our Hearnow site visible in the YouTube text...

https://hladowskisingsosullivan.hearnow.com/

And we have picked up a small number of new 'Subscribers'.

YouTube works by trying to please the user, and keep him (in this case HIM) looking.  YouTube brings eyes to adverts.  Because this video is not 'monetized', there are no adverts.

This is Search Engine Journal's comment...

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/youtube-algorithm-facts/403984/#close

 My little video does none of the things that the 'advice' suggests that a YouTube video should do - it has quite a slow burn start.  Part of the homage to the movie..

Can I not expect patience?  In the movie, how long is it before Harmonica shoots Woody Strode, Jack Elam and Al Mulock?


4.

To our new Subscribers...

Gentlemen, you are welcome.  Thank you for your interest in our work.  But, I have to tell you, that, for the time being, we have little more to offer you...


The Train (Jill's Theme) - update Feb 18 2022

'This video got 10,083 views in the last 28 days'

'This video has gotten 10,960 views since it was uploaded'

'In the last 28 days, videos on your Official Artist Channel got 10K views'

Video link

https://youtu.be/yt29GzVKGRU

Saturday, 8 January 2022

No Irish, no blacks, no dogs - lace curtains and iconography

No Irish, no blacks, no dogs.

This is a note for Bill Mulligan's Irish Diaspora Studies Facebook group - there has recently been (yet more) newspaper comment on that iconographic sign.  And I want to make some images available to the Facebook group.

I might return to this note at a later date, if I find it needs tidying...

Tony Murray, who is quoted in the recent Irish Post article about the sign, tells me that the image displayed with that article - and in the 2015 Guardian article - is NOT the image stored within the Archives of the Irish in Britain at London Metropolitan University.

London Metropolitan University would charge a fee for the use of the image.  Tony Murray thinks that someone constructed a version of the image to avoid paying a fee.  It is this doctored image that is now widespread.

Nowadays it is possible to search the web for images...  I have found 4 versions...


1 IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS Window and Lace

Now very hard to find.  This is the original Archives of the Irish in Britain version - I have checked this with Tony Murray.  Note the fuller view of the window, the IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS sign, and above that the little Bed & Breakfast sign.

IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS a mixture of upper case and lower case lettering - note the lower case g in DOgS.

Note the version of the plus sign used as an ampersand in Bed & Breakfast.

Note especially the lace curtain - an important part of the iconography.



2 IRISH, BLACK, DOGS, Window no Lace

This version I discovered through the search.  I have not seen this before.  It must put Image 1 into a new context.

Again, a fuller view of a window - a window set into a pebbledash wall.  Similar but not identical IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS sign.  All upper case lettering, I think.  Different layout Bed & Breakfast sign - but similar ampersand.

No lace curtain.

 


3 IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS Lace no Window

This is the widespread version, believed to be a doctored version of Image 1. 

No wider image of the window, no Bed & Breakfast sign.

The same PATTERN lace curtain as in Number 1.  But there is distortion and modification.  Note the three half stars to the left of the sign - there is nothing like that in Image 1.

A different IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS sign - all upper case lettering.  Note the extra white space underneath NO DOGS.

 


4 IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS Industrial

This turned up in the searches.  I believe it to be a recent do-it-yourself version to illustrate an online article.  Easy enough to do.  I am digging.



There are lots of questions you can ask of these images...

Versions 1 and 2 look so similar, and so posed.  Was a photographer given an assignment? 

Is that paper size A4?  Look at the bricks to the left of the window.  It has been pointed out to me that the piece of paper is the same height as two and a half London house bricks.  So maybe height 182 mm, much smaller that A4 paper, 297 mm.

Black marker pens?

All that being said, people whose word I trust tell me that they saw such signs in real life, as young people in London...

Now, my own comments...


Comment 1 - Search

We needed somewhere where we could display the images in sequence, and make comparisons.  This blog entry is the best I can find - and it works...

I have not given any specific source for each image.  There is a convention, that we give a web address and the date a web site was accessed.  But that is unhelpful here.

What you can do now, because I have brought the images together, is do your own web search, see context and make comparisons.

It will depend on how you have your own computer set up, and on what your system allows.  But, in Google Chrome, if you RIGHT CLICK on an image, there is usually a way to search the Web for that image.  You can test that now, here on this blog - RIGHT CLICK on the 4 photos that I have collected, above.

If you have Google Lens in place you can click through to search in Google Images.  These are the hits through Google Images...

Searching again, January 11 2022, I found

Image 1 (the original)

4 hits

Image 2 (the discovery)

3 hits

Image 3 (the image that we know is doctored)

309 hits

Image 4 (the recent do-it-yourself)

1 hit

But Google Images also tries to link Image 4 with Image 3.

That is searching through Google Images - other search systems create different patterns, and I am experimenting.  But the overall pattern is clear.

Reaching Images 1 and 2 sometimes needs a bit if digging into old blogs, which will test your ingenuity.

So the known phoney, Image 3, dominates.  As we have seen - now that we have a context - it is obviously a doctored image. 

Amongst those 300 and more sightings of Image 3 you will see many established newspapers and journals - it is very odd, to put it mildly, that this image has been circulated and reproduced so widely without anyone ever stopping to examine it.

Examine it and search for a context.  It is not hard.  You have just done it.


Comment 2 - 'posed'

Dealing with the images in reverse order...

4 IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS Industrial

This, I deduce, is a very recent do-it-yourself effort, created to illustrate a legal article.  There is no attempt to set the scene, no B & B sign - it looks like someone's office or factory.

I must include this image because it will turn up in the search.  It does show the image search working well.  And it shows how much the IRISH BLACKS DOGS sign has indeed become an icon.

3 IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS Lace no Window

This is the widespread doctored version.  I think that it is obviously a mock-up - I think that there are clear signs of Cut & Paste.

2 IRISH, BLACK, DOGS, Window no Lace

This one is very interesting because - as I say - I had not seen it before.  Its existence was revealed to me by the search.

It has all the elements of Image 1, the two signs, the framing window.  Note that it is a casement window, in a pebble-dashed house - and you can just see some stained glass in the lower part of the window above.

Trees are reflected in the window.

1 IRISH, BLACKS, DOGS Window and Lace

The important image, the image that is stored in the Archives of the Irish in Britain at LMU.  I was first shown this image many decades ago - and when I was first shown it I said that it looked posed.

Why do I think that Image 1 looks 'posed'?

It is too perfect.  It tells the story too perfectly.

I had worked for Time Out magazine in the 1970s - this is just the sort of thing a photographer sent out to bring back an illustration would come back with.

It displays all the elements of the narrative.  It reads down within the framing window frame.

First the Bed & Breakfast sign.  The eye takes in the lace curtain background.  Then the No Irish sign

This is a B & B, this is a respectable B & B - we don't want Irish, blacks or dogs.

What I have listed as Image 2, the new discovery, is so similar - I think a good working assumption must be that the same photographer was responsible for both Image 1 and Image 2.  But, if I were a picture editor choosing between 1 and 2, the lace curtain would sell Image 1 to me.

The same reasoning, I guess, guided whoever doctored Version 3.  The lace curtain sells it.

Note that this is a sash window, in a London brick house.  We feel we already know that window - we have walked past it many times, a North London terrace.

The trees are clearly reflected in Image 2.  Can we see something white reflected in the window in Image 1?  Some people think they can make out the white signage of a London bus.

Images 1 and 2...  Two very similar photographs, telling the same story in the same way, possibly by the same photographer.  Are there more out there, is there a portfolio?  Can we identify the photographer?


Conclusion

I think that I have taken this discussion as far as is appropriate in a blog entry.  Obviously the discussion could go in many different directions.  One direction would be to explore the gaps and distortions in the research record of the Irish in Britain, and of the Irish Diaspora more widely.  This we are doing.

Previous discussion of these images has spiralled in strange directions.  Doubts about a Robert Capa photograph do not lead to the suggestion that no one died in the Spanish Civil War.  Doubts about an Alexander Gardner or a Matthew Brady photograph do not lead to the suggestion that no one died in the American Civil War.  In the age of mechanical reproduction we really should not be sucked in to defending the authenticity of any particular image.

In the 1970s and 1980s I worked with the creative photographers of that period.  My home, in Bradford, Yorkshire, is not far from the National Science and Media Museum - we spend a lot of time looking at photographs,

As I have said, the discovery of Image 2 must change the discussion.  Images 1 and 2 are very interesting.  As photographs they are efficient.  Perhaps someone did wander the streets of London, camera at the ready.

Or perhaps someone, with appropriate prayers, made an icon.

Patrick O'Sullivan

January 2022

 

 


Niall O'Leary writes...

Image 3 is immensely interesting.  As you point out this is a modification of Image 1.  What has been done is that the fold of the curtain containing the single half star to the left of the sign has, for whatever reason, been cloned three times, with artefacts from the (clumsy) cloning especially visible in the first fold.  See the attached graphic where I have lined up the star from the original, Image 1, and the three stars from image 3 side by side behind a grid   To my eyes they are clearly the same star.  Perhaps this is just to obscure the copyrighted nature of the original as you say.  Interesting all the same. 

https://www.nialloleary.eu/