From Watership Down:
There is a rabbit saying, ‘In the warren, more stories than passages’; and a rabbit can no more refuse to tell a story than an Irishman can refuse to fight.
Wow. OK, if someone made a joke about New Yorkers being argumentative or people from Iowa being boring (sorry, Tom!), I wouldn’t see it as being in poor taste. But somehow, to this non-U.K. reader, Adams’s remark about “Irishmen” seems a bit over the top. I’m not criticizing it as offensive, exactly; it just is a bit jarring, and it’s kind of hard for me to believe someone would just write that as a throwaway line anymore. Things have changed a lot since 1971, I guess, or maybe in England an Irish joke is no more offensive/awkward than a joke about corrupt Chicagoans, loopy Californians, or crazy Floridians would be here.