This is the cover:
Commenting on Andrew Leon's "Strange Pegs" blog, Anne says:
"The Luck of the Irish" means bad luck, not good luck. Whoever came up with that title needs to take a history lesson. Also, that cover is paddywhackery and is highly offensive.
COMMENCE THE HISTORY LESSON, and verily we shall see who is dumb.
The phrase "Luck of the Irish" is not of Irish origin at all. While it means "good fortune" or "extreme good fortune" it first came into vogue during the second half of the 19th century, the gold and silver rush years, when Irish and Irish-Americans (of which I am one; my great-grandma's name was McDermott) were
successful at mining, leading to the expression. (Source.)
Most sites that claim multiple meanings or cite to the version Anne is apparently familiar with have no sourcing (this one, for example, is pretty vague on where the author gets info from) My source, on the other hand, is the author of a book on Irish-American history and a professor at Holy Cross, so: right-er than unsourced vague claims.
David J.J. Lynch, a reporter for Bloomberg and the USA Today used the phrase to mean good luck in his book titled When The Luck Of The Irish Ran Out: The World's Most Resilient Country and Its Struggle To Rise Again. He has a master's degree in international relations and probably (I'm guessing) wouldn't want to start an international incident by misusing the phrase "luck of the Irish" in a way contrary to its meaning.
So what about "paddywhackery?" What is it?
Well, when it's not a TV show airing from 2007 to the present in Ireland, it generally means (according to Urban Dictionary) use of stereotypical elements of Ireland to make something seem Irish. This is a bad thing, or offensive? If I use the Kremlin and wool hats to show Russians, is that Tolstoywhackery or whatever? What if I have Americans in ill-fitting jean shorts with fanny packs talking loudly? Is that UncleSammification?
Using a leprechaun on a March issue of a magazine is not just more or less acceptable, but wasn't my first choice. The original cover was going to have a freaky-looking kitten that is a good luck charm in Japan, but I decided that didn't fit with the theme. So I searched for Irish symbols of good luck and kept coming up with leprechauns and 4-leaf clovers, over and over. Is it my fault if the Irish only have two good luck symbols?
But real paddwhackery, as opposed to using leprechauns on a March issue of a magazine, is using racial stereotypes to pigeonhole the Irish and hold it against them. (Source.) That site notes that
It is hard to say whether there is any harm in all of this, as the great majority of [examples] are electing to be Irish out of genuine affection for the culture.
But ANNE says there's harm in it because Anne was offended, without knowing who made the cover or why they made the cover. She just assumed it was meant to be offensive, without any provocation. (One could, in fact, assume that the leprechaun on the cover was a SCIENTIST, since he is working with a plasma ball rather than magic, but ANNE apparently assumes that leprechauns cannot be scientists. I make no such assumption, and I NEVER pre-judge magical tiny people. I treat them as individuals.)
What is REALLY offensive is small-minded people jumping to conclusions and slamming someone without knowing ANYTHING AT ALL.
Note that I didn't say "Anything at all about the author." I chose my words carefully.