So who was McGinty ? His name's generic, bestowed with irony by foreigners, and somewhat deprecating, since Irish people weren't given much respect either, in those days. There he stands in evening dress, with top hat, tails and cigar. But is he a worldly, privileged man about town ? Or was he some poor peasant orphan, dressed up to amuse night club patrons, whose experience of "real" Chinese people was strictly limited. The McGinty's of this world have ever existed, as dwarves in royal courts, or freaks in circus shows, mocked and patronized, like performing pets. Yet what characters they must have been, to stand up to prejudice and often cruelty, to make some sort of livelihood despite the odds being stacked against them. So when I found McGinty, I wanted to honour him, whoever he might have been, however he might have ended up. Not forgotten by me !
Please also see my piece on Franz Schreker's Die Gezeichneten. Alviano Salvago is a nobleman, rich, talented and intelligent, yet gets screwed by the world around him, because he's different. McGinty would have understood.