I was thinking further about the Harp, and how it’s used by the Republic of Ireland (as the successor state to the Irish Free State, itself the successor state of the Kingdom of Ireland). But it’s not exclusive – it has been appropriated for commercial purposes.
Guinness basically waited until 1862 to grab the harp – after the Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland had been illegally prorogued in 1801 under Pitt the Spawn. All the symbols of Ireland’s independent existence within the Three Kingdoms were being actively suppressed by Westminster factions, and I personally believe that “diluting” such a potent symbol by affixing it to an alcoholic drink must have been seen by some as a clever stroke.
Let’s take a little thought experiment. Imagine if, in 1812, the British hadn’t been distracted by Bonaparte and had decided after their early victories in the 1812 war to re-occupy the Colonies, annex them to Canada, and extinguish all the symbols of US independence. And then 50 years later a British beer brand, Newcastle Brown Ale, for instance, slapped on the Great Seal of the United States or the Seal of the President of the United States onto every can. Fast forward another 50 years and a successful rebellion re-establishes an independent political structure. And they go to re-use their own symbols and find they are also now being used to create an aura of “Americanness” around a beer manufactured by a company with a corporate structure foreign to the United States.
Labels: Guinness Harp Ireland