Richard Rorty for the Silver Screen: Waking Ned Devine

Waking Ned Divine is a charming movie about a tiny Irish community that schemes to support a plot involving impersonating the dead winner of a lottery. While surfing around to find context for a posting on Richard Rorty, I came across this surprising article by Crystal Downing. Here’s an exerpt:

“Rorty’s neopragmatic ethic is grounded in “we-intentions”: immorality is “the sort of thing we don’t do”2?like defy the “intentions” of an entire village to share a dead man’s lottery winnings. Of course, these weren’t always the “we-intentions” of the community in Waking Ned Devine; the new solidarity of Tullymore is shaped by the two protagonists who see potential for positive change. Jackie and Michael thus illustrate Rorty’s concept of irony: a force that brings into view the contingency of a community’s vocabulary. Ironists prevent a community from stagnating or becoming legalistic, providing “new metaphors” for new contexts. A metaphor, of course, is when one object represents another: “My love is a red, red rose.” In Waking Ned Devine, one person represents another: Michael O’Sullivan is Ned Devine, an incarnated metaphor that benefits the entire village.” —Richard Rorty for the Silver Screen: Waking Ned DevineChristianity Today)