Covering the British royals is confusing for most American journalists – all that protocol, all those titles, tantrums and tiaras – so imagine how tough it must be for a man as habitually confused as Mike Allen.
Each morning, Allen shares his fog of bore with thousands of soon-to-be equally confused followers through his Axios AM email. Acute readers, or even anyone who actually bothers to read it at all, have noticed that over the last two days that Allen has begun his addled musings with a bizarre and potentially xenophobic introductory line:
Yes, to commemorate President Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom, which is a completely different country from the Republic of Ireland, Allen has opted to open with ‘🇬🇧 top of the morning’, a stereotypical Irish greeting. If you’re not Irish, you really shouldn’t use it, just as visitors to the Emerald Isle are advised to enjoy the craic but not to crack wise about leprechauns and pots of gold. It would be like visitors to the US greeting everyone with ‘Howdy, pudner!’ or a heavily accented line or two from The Dukes of Hazzard. Or does Mike Allen wish to imply that the Irish, the people who gave us Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, Beckett, Van Morrison and Snow Patrol, are dim-witted peasants?
Cockburn has many cousins in the Old Country – and he’s never heard any of them use this expression. Indeed, according to the Macmillan Dictionary blog:
‘“Top of the morning to you” would, like begorra(h) (a minced form of by God), be considered an Oirishism or a Paddyism, something popularly associated with stereotypes of Irishness but which is seldom or never used by Irish people themselves.’
You wonder whether anyone thought to point this out to Allen, who prides himself on his early starts and direct relationship with his readers (or ‘community’, as he calls them.) A profile of the notoriously eclectic journalist during his time at Politico Playbook revealed:
‘No one even edits Playbook before it goes out, he said, which adds to his “human connection” to “the community.’
To prevent further bafflement among his British and Irish subscribers, a once-over from someone else at Axios might be due. Perhaps Allen’s colleagues could help out, before he causes further offense to the Irish lobby? Already, it’s rumored that a petition is being raised to ban him from Boston. For guidance, Allen should ask Jonathan Swan who’s from Wales, the land of kangaroos and Crocodile Dundee. Or perhaps his Canadian co-founder Jim VandeHei, born and raised among the cheesemakers of Oshkosh, Wis. could explain??
At least Allen got the emoji right. 🇬🇧
Update 5/6: Like clockwork…