June 19, 2009

alone at the microphone

I woke up late and had, of course, neglected to prepare a lunch to bring with me to work, so I cranked up CBC radio and lo and behold, the host of the Current was discussing the so-called "New Atheism." My ears perked and the next thing I heard, Terry Eagleton was being introduced. What followed was a frustrating, if not unfortunately executed interview that did little to help Eagleton's cause or promote his new book. Obviously, national radio isn't necessarily a comfortable place for someone like Eagleton, and his argument did come through in fragments, but for the most part (and although I largely agree with Eagleton) I tended to sympathize with the host, who tried his damnedest to keep his guest on track and get something relatively straightforward out of him. Simple questions like "do you pray" or "do you believe" were continuously sidestepped and, though Eagleton is right to point out that such questions unfairly presume reductive "yes" or "no" responses he could have at least been a bit more courteous and resisted drawing attention to the "ignorance" of basically everyone who is not a theologian. Seriously man, after making such a huge deal about the "smugness" and "arrogance" people like Hitchins and Dawkins employ, you might want to tone down your own intellectual elitism - and for the love of God, lose the witty analogies. Here's a link to the interview if you're interested. Go to part three.

Things, however, did improve. The program ended with a song by Guelph's folk heroes, Royal City. And to my surprise, the reason for there presence had to do with a certain "theological" development in their story. Their leader, Aaron Riches, broke up the band in 2004 when he left to purse a Ph D. in theology under the supervision of John Milbank at the University of Virgina. Here's an interview with Riches on his intellectual life and the life of Royal City. The band was signed to the now dismantled Three Gut Records which also housed Cuff the Duke and my personal favourites, the Constantines. Asthmatic Kitty will be releasing a collection of b-sides by Royal City in the very near future.

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