White Irish Drinkers

White Irish Drinkers takes place in Brooklyn in the 1970s among the Irish diaspora. It’s a small, interconnected world wherein Brian Leary, a gentle Catholic high school graduate who likes painting and sketching the yellow cabs, brownstones, and subway trains of his neighborhood is in danger of being led into liquor-store robbery by his brother who has taken up crime as a career, and his friends and classmates preach the virtues of inertia and civil service jobs.
Brian and his bad-element older brother, and most likely his parents, were born in the USA, but some other older-generation characters, such as Jimmy Cheeks, were most likely not. Jimmy Cheeks, corrupt pawnbroker, “fence” to Brian’s brother, and “shylock” to Brian’s theatre-owner boss, sports a melodious Irish tenor for an accent.
Though Brian and his contemporaries sport conspicuous Brooklyn accents, when a friend who goes away to college returns and offers them some weed at a party, Brian and his social circle decline. Not because they are Boy Scouts, (they neither make any claims to exalted morality nor do they have any health conscious bones in their bodies) but they actively reject other varieties of intoxicants when they are made available, because they adhere to a “tradition” as a result of their heritage: they clearly identify themselves as “White Irish Drinkers”.

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