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Affecting Irishness

Negotiating Cultural Identity Within and Beyond the Nation


Edited By James P. Byrne, Padraig Kirwan and Michael O'Sullivan

This collection of new essays addresses a key debate in Irish studies. While it is important that new research endeavours to accommodate the new and powerful manifestations of Irishness that are evident today in our globalised economy, these considerations are often overlooked. The writers in this book seek to reconcile the established critical perspectives of Irish studies with a forward-looking critical momentum that incorporates the realities of globalisation and economic migration.
The book initiates this vital discussion by bringing together a series of provocative and thoughtful essays, from both renowned and rising international scholars, on the vicissitudes of cultural identity in a post-modern, post-colonial and post-national Ireland. By including work by leading scholars in the fields of film studies, migration and Diaspora studies, travel literature and gender studies, this collection offers a thorough twenty-first-century interrogation of Irishness and provides a timely fusion of international perspectives on Irish cultural identity.


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The Voice of Pierce Brosnan Ruth Barton 259


The Voice of Pierce Brosnan Ruth Barton In a 1999 episode of The Simpsons (‘The Simpsons Hallowe’en Special XII: House of Whacks’), Marge is tempted by a door-to-door salesman to purchase a domestic robot. On Lisa’s advice, she chooses the voice of Pierce Brosnan for her robot because: ‘a voice like his would give our house a much neater touch of class’. ‘All right,’ Marge agrees, ‘but I’m doing this because he was Remington Steele.’ Once installed in their house, the robot clearly takes a shine to Marge, massaging her suggestively in the hot tub while replacing Homer’s image in the family snapshot with one of his own electronic eye. Finding that Homer has vanished from her bed, Marge gathers up the children and flees downstairs away from the now menacing gadget. As Homer dismantles the ultrabot’s circuit system, the voice (Bros- nan’s own) begs ‘don’t take out my British charm unit. Without that I’m just a boorish American clod.’ Apart from functioning as an inventive gloss on Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (United Kingdom, 1968), this episode illustrates many of the aspects of the Irish star’s persona that I would like to explore below. Notably, it identifies Brosnan as a suave Englishman whose sophis- tication is in marked contrast to the mid-American culture represented by the Simpsons and their neighbours in Springfield. Further it locates Bros- nan’s defining persona in his spoof-detective series of the 1980s, Reming- ton Steele (NBC, 1982–7). It was on the strength...

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