"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Monday, October 20, 2003 Pilgrim down: Mark Shields on the pain in Red Sox Nation:
The capital of Red Sox Nation is Boston, our most political of cities. The team's fans are the offspring of a shotgun marriage between Puritan Protestants and the Catholic Irish.
The Puritans, with their unswerving belief in original sin, surrendered political control, but not social and economic primacy, to the Catholic refugees from famine and British-sanctioned persecution. Instead of a happy tune and a clever quip, these Boston Irish brought with them a grim fatalism, which taught that the grief and injustice endured in this world would eventually be rewarded in the next.
There you have the emotional DNA as well as the historical imperative of the Red Sox fan. The New England Puritans, with their suspicion of and aversion to public pleasure, and the Boston Irish, sustained in their consolation that life's inevitable pain is but temporary, may have agreed on very little politically. But both agreed on the Red Sox, whom they loved and whom both groups expected to lose.