The ‘I’ in IRA stands for…

Ireland? No, apparently not according to the ‘Banc’ Of America:

The 'I' in IRA stands for...

I think I should start an investment fund called 9/11 with the slogan ‘The “9” in 9/11 stands for “9 great ways to spread your finances for added security”‘.

Or I could just be overreacting.

4 thoughts on “The ‘I’ in IRA stands for…”

  1. Here in the States generally people know what the IRA is, but when you’re dealing with banks, its an Individual Retirement Account.

    Also, it’s a “banc” because its not legally allowed to be called a “bank” because its not insured by the FDIC. Silly, I know.

    But what about this warrants an unfunny joke about 9/11? Seriously, 3000 people died. I don’t know what beef you have with the States, but come on, really? A 9/11 joke?

  2. Firstly: I have no problem with Americans. American foreign policy, yes, American environmental policy, yes, the American people, no, America in general, no. America is just as flawed as everywhere else in the world, and in my post I pointed out that a bank (that happens to be American) was making a joke in its adverts that is really quite offensive to British and Irish viewers.

    The attitude that sometimes Americans have that assumes that everything negative that even slightly mentions America means that the writer hates everything about the place, yes, that can be irksome. I really do like America a lot, but I shouldn’t have to say that here because my post was in no way ‘anti-American’. The use of 9/11 was illustrative of the offence that the Banc of America’s advertising could cause to British and Irish viewers. The attacks on 9/11, as everyone knows, were bloody awful… in *exactly* the same way as the IRA attacks were.

    Read the advert again: the Banc of America made the dismissive joke about an acronym internationally recognised as synonymous with terrorism first, I just illustrated it with an example that would strike a chord with a wider, modern audience. I hope you understand that your offence at my ‘joke’ is the same offence that I felt at seeing the bank’s jokey advertising. What I wrote wasn’t meant to be a joke, it was an illustration of how distasteful the banks advert is to the British and Irish.

    The IRA killed over 3000 people in the UK, and when I was growing up my family was considered a legitimate target. I was afraid of them for my whole childhood. The point of my comment was to demonstrate that this isn’t really an acronym to joke with, which is precisely what the Banc Of America is doing.

    I did do a quick Google before making the comment, to check if ‘IRA’ was more popularly used in reference to banking rather than the Irish terrorist group, and the results showed that overwhelmingly the term referred to the terrorist organisation. I did this check to make sure that I wasn’t being too overly sensitive.

    What would be wrong with using IRF: Individual Retirement Fund? Why keep an acronym that evokes memories of fear for two countries? Keeping ‘IRA’ as your acronym then making jokes with it would be like the British using 9/11 as a term and making jokes about it… Which was was my point.

    No offence was meant to those who suffered because of 9/11, be they in America or in the rest of the world due to the political fallout. I would hope that those who suffered losses first-hand would understand how sore the associated memories of terrorism can be and sympathise with the shock of seeing an advert joking about ‘IRA’. Once again, we lost 3000 people too. I felt that the use of the IRA acronym was exceptionally dismissive of the feelings of people in the UK and Ireland who suffered due to The Troubles. I’d never seen it before in this context and to encounter such flippant use was quite shocking.

    It might also be noted that a lot of the funding for the IRA came from American backers and went through American banks, making the use of the term by a bank even more distasteful. (And it’s fair to say that I am happy to add ‘people who support terrorism’ to my list of people I don’t like, be they American or otherwise.)

    As I said in the original post, I could be overreacting, but I was pretty shocked to see the acronym used in that way. Other people I’ve talked to in the UK also felt the same way.

  3. Hey, I’m actually a fan of yours you know. I hold you in high regard. I didn’t take offense so much as I just wondered where the anger came from.

    To be honest I didn’t know the IRA was that bad (or that close to you). I suppose we can all say that about something. If I didn’t know that you can bet that to the wide majority of people in the US the IRA is just an Individual Retirement Account. In other words, I can guarantee it was unintentional.

    You may be right that it’s insensitive though. It’s in our revenue code apparently, so it legally refers to a specific thing so its not as if a bank could call it something else (otherwise it would be something else, like how a banc isn’t a bank). I have no idea when it was coined, but I doubt anybody stopped to notice the acronym was shared by a terrorist organization, and like so many things in finance, it ended up being easier to refer to as an acronym down the road and here we are.

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