Yahoos set up camp in Dean Swift’s home town
While we were in Ireland, it was announced, with much hoopla, that Yahoo is to move its European headquarters to Dublin. The announcement was made at a press conference held by Micheal Martin, the Republic’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment who described the move as an “outstanding achievement for Ireland” and affirmation of Ireland’s reputation as a “serious contender for the world’s largest internet companies.” John Marcom, a senior vice president of Yahoo!, was wheeled out to declare that the decision was also based on “the calibre and volume of graduates available in Ireland; the up-to-date and cost competitive telecommunications and data centre infrastructures and the assistance of IDA Ireland”. (Note for beginners: IDA is the government agency which bri…, er, encourages foreign companies to locate in Ireland by offering them ludicrous tax breaks.)
The most interesting thing about the hoo-hah, however, was the absence of any reference to the man who first invented the word ‘Yahoo’ — Jonathan Swift, the great satirist who was Dean of St patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin and the author of Gulliver’s Travels. If any of the clowns participating in the press conference had been literate I would have suspected them of leaving out Swift on purpose. After all, he described the Yahoos as “a species of animals utterly incapable of amendment by precept or example”, which is not a bad description of Fianna Fail, the dominant party in the government in which Mr Martin serves. But somehow I think that sheer philistinism provides the more plausible explanation of the lacuna.