Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The ubiquitous fiddler

One of the less known obstacles facing the late 1980s Irish emigrant to the USA, such as ourselves, was the handicap of a TV diet consisting only of whatever RTE's one, and then two, channels managed to provide. Of course the situation is transformed now with dishes and microwave antennae sprouting in every Irish village. But back then, we flunked the American pop culture test (and didn't know what 'flunked' meant). With years of effort devoting to catching up, we can pass.

Nonetheless, that background allows us to regale American friends with anedcotes like how the big RTE Christmas movie used to be Fiddler on the Roof (and we're pretty sure it was somewhere on the schedule when we were home at Christmas). And who knew that that specific example would be enough to give us a huge laugh during our nightly MTV video watching, when we happened to catch a new song by Gwen Stefani with an uncredited appearance by hip-hop chanteuse Eve. The song is a reworking of If I were a Rich Man -- including a title change to Rich Girl. But clearly a homage to the original song. With old style RTE enough to keep us hip to this reference, perhaps the parental refrain of "sure what would you want all those other channels for?" had some logic after all.

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