No, It is Not Only The Catholics One Can Mock, Southie is Also Fair Game

2009 11 19_1002As an American Irish Catholic growing up I thought this country was wonderful for welcoming my grandparents to its shores. All the members of my family, my grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins were Irish. One died during WWII when his B–17 went down. Others, uncles and cousins on both sides were in the armed service. I do not know if there was a more patriotic group than the Irish Catholics although I have to admit the Italian, Polish, Lithuanians, and others we associated with shared equally this love of America.

I was never taught the true attitude of many of the Americans as it related to the Irish and Catholics.  It was many years after I graduated from school that I learned about the 19th Century American Party which was strong in Massachusetts. It was also known as the Know Nothing Party or its successor the 20th Century Ku Klux Klan from the deep South which were formed as anti-Catholic groups.

Sure I had heard about the “no Irish need apply” signs. I never knew that one of the reasons behind the women’s suffrage movement was to have the WASP women vote offset the Irish Catholic immigrant vote.  Nor did I associate the passage of the prohibition laws as another way to strike back at the Irish immigrants.

It was all right that we fought for the country but not so much that we expected the same rights as the people who were here first. We were sort of like blacks. Often the Irish immigrant workers were set up against the black workers each one struggling to exist. Unlike the blacks, most of whom lived in the South around the beginning of the 20th Century who were being stripped of the right to vote, the Irish had access to the voting booths. It was through that we gained the power to force our ways into the corridors of power.

Most of us though were fortunate to be able to stroll along a relatively easy road that had been paved for us by those who came before us. Through the 20th century many of the old biases and prejudices were eventually set aside. We made progress becoming a country where we looked at others by the content their character and not by external appearances.

While tossing out and frowning upon activities demeaning others, there was one action that seemed to have gained acceptance in America. That was anti-Catholics prejudice.   Arthur Schlesinger Jr. described anti-Catholicism as “the deepest held bias in the history of the American people.”  It is acceptable to mock things Catholic. When Catholics speak out they are condemned as seeking to suppress the rights of others regardless of the slights being perpetrated against their religion.

Knowing much of this, it occurred to me reading an article the other day that one other prejudice was permitted. That was it was all right to demean the people of South Boston.

Here the guy’s starting line: “Denial was always a river that ran through Southie.” Nice slandering of a group of people.

Add to that line this: “the utterly delusional and the vaguely racist sat at bars the length of Broadway.” Could you imagine yourself reading something like that about the bars along Blue Hill Avenue?

These South Boston people are called: “a conspiracy of fools, lying not just to each other but to themselves.” He tells us that these racists enabled Whitey Bulger to “make millions flooding his own neighborhood with drugs.” It is written as if it was only in Southie where there was a drug problem. None are named; a neighborhood is defamed.

This is necessary because it is prelude to an illogical and unfounded attack on a woman from South Boston, Catherine Greig.

He writes “she would have to accept that she enabled great evil, . . .” That’s the big lie. Greig had no connection to any evil. When she went with Whitey the last great evil he engaged in happened ten years earlier. When she was with him for 16 years no great evil was done.

He suggests her great crimes were being Whitey’s “conduit to the outside world, buying the toilet paper, bringing him to the doctor, fetching his medications.” For that she will do over ten years in federal prison.

He does not stop there. He tears into her as if in a mad rage. He maliciously writes vile things about her that he could not know. He exhibits an inexplicable bile such as probably never been written about any other woman in a newspaper: “She spent much of her life not only as a kept woman, but as the second-string mistress. . . .  Cathy was the afterthought, the after-hours alternative. . . . He slept over with Cathy. . . she used his money for plastic surgeries. She would stay up all hours, greeting her Jimmy at the door in the early morning, her hair perfect, her makeup just so. She cooked for him when he got home after a long night of crime. . . . He didn’t pick her first, but he picked her last, and that was good enough for her.”

He writes: “She would have to accept that she lived a lie. And how many of us can do that?” He is wrong. She has accepted what she has done. It was not a lie but love. She has with open eyes courageously taken the unwarranted consequences of her love.

Reading his article I wondered: “What is it that motivated such untoward bitterness from this person not only against a group of people but particularly against this one women?”  This I thought was far beyond the pale of any decent person. It was then I realized that the people of Southie like the Catholics are to be mocked and spit upon.

11 thoughts on “No, It is Not Only The Catholics One Can Mock, Southie is Also Fair Game

  1. Can Kevin Cullen not be excused somewhat for his potboiling Harlequin Romance excesses about Cathy Greig ??? … Why take him so seriously ??? … Eddie Mackenzie was wearing a wire beneath his toupee for the feds in ’92 when he and the Globe named ” Whiteys , ” a scruffy pack of snarling coke entrepreneurs , got busted en masse. MacKenzie, their self-described Bulger confidante and lead pack dog bargained the main connection, Columbian and out of California, to the feds in exchange for local protection on sex assault of minors beefs, and relief from onerous federal charges. Mackenzie was never a Bulger confidante. I don’t doubt he paid rent. But the Columbians were in the mix in Southie as in many other Boston neighborhoods and Hispanics were very much in the mix, as well as other ethnic groups, dealing heroin in Southie, as exists to this day, and in many other Boston neighborhoods.

    Bulger presided over a avaricious bunch of dope peddlers, like Eddie MacKenzie and his ilk to the extent that he regulated by terror an industry that was there whether he was there to be a regulator or not. He did not ” Keep the drugs out of Southie” as the enthusiastic Mike Barnicle once penned, a journalistic disservice if there was ever one, nor did Jimmy Bulger ever make this claim. NO ONE COULD KEEP THE DRUGS OUT OF SOUTHIE. PERIOD.

    This is the essential point. The fleet street hustlers like Cullen staked out their territory in the Whitey/Southie mythic landscape, and cannot really surprise anyone when they defend it with fulsome denunciations of all characters ” Southie ” , and all gangster molls ” Cathy Greig. ” What else is to be expected from the overachieving Kevin. He’s gotta make a buck. If trashing South Boston is the modus vivendi and inbred WASP bloodsport of his Boston Globe masters then let us not hold the charming Kevin to a higher standard than the one to which he so obviously bends beneath . Southie is a state of very resilient Mind. Therein has always been its strength. It is a strength as obdurate as Fort Independence, and as elusive as that wily Seagull who just stole those clams straight out of the hand of that outraged Kelly’s Landing patron. 🙂

    1. Khalid:

      I did respond to MS about the tribe issue. If you are interested you may want to take a peek.

  2. How can I “tribe” Matt?

    Let me count the ways:

    1. the Irish tribe
    2. the Catholic tribe
    3. the family tribe
    4. the Republican tribe
    5. the US Empire tribe
    6. the Southie tribe
    7. the John Connolly tribe
    8. the crime fighter tribe
    9. the cape cod tribe
    10. the Red Sox nation tribe
    11. the Patriots tribe
    12. the Celtics tribe
    13. the BC tribe

    Caroline Myss is one of my tribes

    Let me plant this tribe trojan horse inside you

    couple of excerpts from her essay on tribes


    Transcending Tribal Mentality
    By Caroline Myss

    All of us are born into a “tribal mentality” of various forms. These include our family unit, religious background, country of origin, ethnicity, etc. The tribal mentality effectively indoctrinates an individual into the tribe’s beliefs, ensuring that all believe the same. The structure of reality – what is and is not possible for the members of the group – is thus agreed upon and maintained by the tribe.

    While the tribal mentality has definite benefits in terms of establishing common ground and ensuring group survival, it is not a conscious agreement. We are born into it. Yet at a certain stage, both personally and collectively, the tribal mentality must be challenged. People can then begin to recognize the need for a personal honor code independent of the tribe. If humanity is to progress, we need to learn how to treat everyone – regardless of tribal affiliation – with honor and respect.

    Every one of us is plugged into the tribal mind. We support tribal belief patterns by directing a percentage of our life force into maintaining our affiliation with the tribe. This involves an implicit agreement to think like the tribe thinks, to evaluate situations and people the way the tribe does, and to believe in right and wrong according to tribal values and ambitions. As long as the tribal mentality within us remains unexamined, we unwittingly subject others to our tribal laws.

    When we are plugged into tribal thought forms, we can easily believe in nonsensical prejudices held by the tribe. Tribal mentality allows us to hold harsh, judgmental positions or attitudes about an entire group of people: “All fat people are lazy,” or “all Irish are drunks,” or “all Muslims are terrorists” for example.

    A rigid tribal thought form may have little truth to it, but individuals hold to such beliefs because that perspective is what the tribe has agreed to believe. Innocent children, born into the hatred and prejudice of their parents and ancestors, grow up inside a tribal mentality that sponsors an endless march toward war against the tribe’s perceived enemies. People grow up hating other people – people they have never seen – based on group affiliation. This is the shadow side of the tribe.

    Inevitably, some among us come to a point where we want to break out of the inflexible tribal mentality. At some point, these individuals want to explore, develop, and manage their own consciousness without the judgments and limitations of the tribal mind.

    It is easy to spot these mavericks when they start to question and unplug from tribal


    The Language of Wounds

    For a large segment of the population, the language of wounds has become the new tribal language of intimacy. Prior to the current age of personal therapy – which only really took off in the 1960s and 70s – the tribal language of intimacy largely involved the sharing of only superficial personal and family data. Deeper matters such as family secrets like sexual abuse or a mad aunt or uncle were shared with exceedingly few, if any.

    Divorce and financial information were also considered very intimate. People would almost never talk about such matters, or about their inner life and emotions. They talked only about the details of what was going on in their external lives. The tribal mentality at the time kept people from revealing intimate matters or deep wounds or traumas even with their family and close friends.

    The current age of personal therapy has brought about a very different situation. Now, the tribal mentality has shifted such that we not only share our intimate feelings more openly and willingly, many have even begun to define themselves by their wounds. Let me give an example of how this phenomenon plays itself out.

    I was in an Indian restaurant in Scotland talking with two men friends when the woman friend I was to meet for dinner walked up and greeted the three of us. After I had introduced her, another man walked over and asked if she was free on June 8th, as he thought she might like to attend a lecture on that date. The question required little more than a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer.

    Instead of a simple answer, she began an elaborate discussion about June 8th. “Did you say June 8th? No, no. Any other day would be fine, but not June 8th. That’s the day my incest survivor group meets and I have to be there because we never let each other down.” She went on and on for at least a full minute with this.

    Later, I asked her, “Do you realize that in that brief introduction, you told two men whom you have never met before that 1) you had experienced incest, 2) you were still in therapy about it, 3) you were angry about it, 4) you were angry at men, and 5) you needed to determine the course of the conversation – all in one minute?”

    She replied, “Well, I am a victim of incest.”

    To which I replied, “I know that. Why did you have to let them know that?”

    She was operating from a tribal mentality. The group mind within the incest survivor

    1. MS:

      Yes, I belong to some of those tribes but not to others. When I think of tribes I like to think of that tribe that runs the state of Israel. it is sort of like the Irish tribe and most others. You can find within that tribe opinions that go from the farthest position on the left to the farthest position on the right so just because someone comes from that tribe you do not really know the beliefs of the individual person even though you might think you know the beliefs of the tribe as a whole. So identifying someone with a tribe only goes so far.

      When I was a young lawyer in private practice one day in Suffolk Superior Court at different times I ran into two guys from my neighborhood. Both belonged to the Irish, Catholic, family, Savin Hill, all those professional sport tribes you mentioned. Both had been called to jury duty and would be part of the jury panel from which juries would be selected in Suffolk that month. The first one I met was I’ll call “the fighter” because he was one of the toughest guys in the neighborhood. In our discussion the fighter told me that he can just look at the defendant and tell if he is guilty or not and indicated that if a person was a defendant he must be guilty. There was no changing his mind. Later that day I met the other guy. He was not so much a fighter as a personality guy who everyone liked. He told me he would not believe anything that a cop testified to and as far as he was concerned every defendant in the courthouse was innocent.
      Two guys the same age – nothing objectively different — but a total different outlook on life. I was left to wonder how as a defense trial lawyer I would ever be able to differentiate between the two of them. I could not from the information they provided the lawyers. I did happen to catch a trial that Mr. Personality was a juror on. I walked in the courtroom because it was an important murder case to watch a little while I was waiting for my case to be called in another courtroom. The place was crowded so one of the court officers I knew indicated I could come and sit next to him which was directly across from the jury. I sat down and directly facing me in the first row in the middle of the jury there he was staring at me. He gave me a big wink. I quickly fled the courtroom. The trial which lasted a week or so ended in a mistrial. The jury was 11 to 1 for conviction. I wonder who was the hold out?

      Yes, we all belong to tribes but we all don’t think like the tribes we belong to are supposed to think.
      I read Caroline Myss. Do you attribute anything unusual about her putting the example “all Irish are drunks,” or “all Muslims are terrorists” next to each other? Probably not because you are not from the Irish tribe.

  3. Hello Matt, one had only to look in yesterday’s Globe to find one of their Feature Writers, Yvonne Abraham, testing the 20 M.P.H. City Council Suggestion, stating that her and a colleague were going to South Boston to test this driving proposal . She was having so much fun she states in her article “the only thing more infuriating than a smart car is a slow smart car. insult meet injury.” Abraham your a scream , why don’t you try the same thing tomorrow in Wellesly just so you can have another day of fun.

    1. JR:

      Good point. If she drove down Dorchester Avenue at that speed she might not have survived to write the story. At least she knew she would be safe in Southie but that is something she would never admit. I think they give medals at the Globe to anyone who has the courage to drive into Southie.

  4. Was Hillary the after hours alternative for Bill? Was she living a lie? She wasn’t second fiddle she was tenth. If one is a Globe employee he is living a lie. 2. At least at Grieg’s sentencing Saylor forbade the fake victims from making a statement. The DOJ doesn’t want her co operation to pursue Whitey. They know she can identify the person standing behind Oswald in the Enquirer photo.

    1. NC:

      1. Hillary was the Theresa Stanley to Bill who closed her eyes to all his adventures with the ladies. She knew he would never run off with any of them because she could bring him down in a New York minute so whenever she cracked the whip he cowered in the corner — that’s how the poor guy ended up with Monica because she would not let him out of the White House.

      2. True, Saylor did crack down on that horse and pony show which must have frustrated the hell out of those whose fifteen minutes of fame relate to having been related to someone murdered by other gangsters. I’m wondering if Wyshak can call another grand jury and bring her back in and go through the same bit again. Of course, Saylor had no courage in the sentencing – what’s wrong with these judges who are so afraid.

      3. The bottom line is Greig beat Wyshak. He failed in his attempt to bully her. She can go through life knowing she stood up to the bully and it cost her some time in prison but in the end she won. When Wyshak and company are gone she’ll be able to go about the rest of her life knowing that unlike most of the guys in the rackets in Southie she stood strong. They should take down the Farragut statute and put up one to Greig — or put up two — one for Andrew Jackson and rewrite history and say Andrew station was named after him; and the other for Greig.

      4. As you know a long time ago I attempted to start a relationship with Fidel Castro. I don’t want to get involved too much in that matter but from all the contacts I have developed I know from them there is little doubt the person standing behind Oswald is an Irishman guy and member of the Catholic tribe from New Orleans named John Kennedy Toole. You probably never heard of him but I’m informed sometime after this he committed suicide.

  5. There is no evidence that Greig’s silence has anything to do with Whitey Bulger. That’s just something that you and Kevin Cullen assume.
    It’s possible, although it doesn’t make much sense. Her silence doesn’t help Bulger in any way. She may be protecting other people, or she may be protecting herself.
    You, Matt, have stated that if she talks and gets other people in trouble, that would make her a rat. You have also stated, in connection with the Globe’s labeling of Bulger, that once someone has been labelled as a rat that their life is in jeopardy.
    It’s possible that Greig may have decided that she would rather not face the consequences of testifying.
    The thing is though, none of us know. There is no evidence one way or the other. Resist the temptation to believe in an unsupported theory because you would like it to be true.

  6. Cullen is an attempted murderer. Or, at least, a conspirator to a murder attempt.

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