FFPC13 - Patriot Games

Intro by Ben Harrison

The troubles were a time of low-level war in Northern Ireland and the UK beginning the end of the 1960s and spanning until 1998. I spent some time in Ireland in the early 2000s. It is a really lovely country. I even took an Irish history class while I was there, which I am desperately trying to remember now. Some things I do remember: The stuff about Jameson being a Catholic whiskey is probably bullshit because Jameson was founded by a Scottish guy who was most likely Presbyterian.

I remember some stuff about the Guinness factory. Did I mention that this was my study abroad semester in college? I think I have some Irish ancestors, but I'm not totally sure and nobody in my family really thinks of themselves as Irish, so the conflict between Ireland and the UK has always been a bit puzzling to me.

The idea of the island of Ireland being one country makes a lot of sense to me, just from a neatness standpoint, but I know there are lots of people in Northern Ireland that are quite happy that they live in the UK and don't want anything about that to change. I know that the issue is really hot-button for a lot of people. It is just that for me, from an outside perspective, it has always been hard to know enough to feel like I know what the right arrangement would be, or like it would be a good idea for me to form a strong opinion and argue for it here.

As part of that Irish history class I took we visited Belfast and saw the elaborate murals that people had painted on the sides of their houses, alternately taunting the IRA and their allies or threatening the UK loyalists or commemorating heroes of Irish independence or proclaiming solidarity with the people of Palestine. There is this culture of painting your most controversial political opinions on a 25 foot tall wall for the world to see. It's like if we all decided to put up billboards of our hottest tweets along with our home addresses. I would be getting a lot of sandwich partisans throwing rocks at my house.

Today's film courts a lot of the controversy surrounding the Irish troubles because that is the war against which it is set. It is our boy Jack Ryan, Harrison Ford edition, saving a British royal from an attack by an ultra-violent splinter of the IRA. Sean Bean, an impassioned Irish terrorist, vows revenge for the death of his brother, who Jack kills in the process of stopping the attack.

Jack tries to go back to his quiet life teaching cadets at the Naval Academy about ancient Greek maritime warfare, but the IRA won't let the issue drop, they attack his family, and he is forced to rejoin the CIA in order to work on the task force that is trying to stop these maniacs who are (checks notes) "trying to fight for the reunification of Ireland"? See, I like this movie, but even I forget that it is set in the real world and came out when there was still active violence in Ireland and the UK over this issue.

I can imagine there are people out there, probably some of you even for whom these are really painful memories, but to me it winds up feeling just like a high concept backdrop for a spy thriller. I don't really have those strong feelings and that is weird to think about. An issue that other people can be so certain is something that I don't even feel like I can penetrate.

Anyhow, we had to get this one into the feed because we are not going to leave any Jack Ryan films unwatched. They are the original porkchop movies, after all, and that is my commitment to you, our loyal supporters. "Excuse me Jack, tell me one thing in life that is absolutely for certain!" Today on Friendly Fire: Patriot Games.

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