Sometimes you just have to say it like it is, tell your story, claim your moment, publicly stand up for someone or something, or boldly strike out. Recently I’ve been reflecting on the cost of this. Where I am you might be ignored or cop a verbal tirade. But the two men stabbed to death on a train in Oregon (May 26) bodly attempted to defend two Muslim women who were being verbally assaulted (and probably at risk, given that the aggressor was armed and did kill two men). They were brassy enough to step out and risk. Martin Luther king Jnr. boldy stepped out and paid with his life. Ghandi did too. Bernadette Devlin was certainly a brassy woman pushing for peace in Northern Ireland.
In another sense there is a link to being “brassed off” or fed up. The movie ‘Brassed Off’ is a portrayal of the post 85 privatisation of the British coal industry and the collapse of mining communities. In the 80s the miners had spark and were brassy, but by the 90s they were simply brassed off and had lost hope, the fight had gone out of them. They simply gave up and didn’t fight for themselves. The movie is loose fiction of the real thing, the destructive nature of capitalism. It is a sad picture of class war, inequity, struggle and also hope.
As the original meaning of brassy includes, you just have to be bold and brash enough to have a go. Be brassy, speak up and don’t just be fed up.