Thursday, June 04, 2009

To add to the chorus on Terry Eagleton...

Indeed...was there ever a "windily pompous, pudgily superior type" crank more in dire need of being yanked from the ivory tower and placed in some menial capacity among his beloved proletariat for his own intellectual and spiritual sake?

But, let's face it, also possibly for ours, because in a more perfect world arguments like those of Dawkins surely deserve to be elevated. Productively. Not by mere sneering and blowing snot and sand on the entire discourse.

Matt Taibbi (via sbttp) is predictably, humorously, perhaps unnecessarily cruel, refers to Terry as
....physically resembling a giant runny nose, who seems to have been raised by indulgent aunts who gave him sweets every time he corrected the grammar of other children....If you ever want to give yourself a really good, throbbing headache, go online and check out Eagleton’s lectures at Yale, upon which the book was based, in which one may listen to this soft-soaping old toady do his verbose best to stick his tongue as far as he can up the anus of the next generation of the American upper class...Like almost all great defenders of religion, Eagleton specializes in putting bunches of words together in ways that sound like linear arguments, but actually make no sense whatsoever....

A shame, because the argument Teagleton is trying (failing, miserably) to make deserves a better spokesman. Surely there is someone out there better suited in temperament and tone to use Dawkin's appeal as a starting point to begin a more popular conversation on the concept of God (a word Teagleton seems increasingly to neglect, in the sorry tradition of all chronic and intellectually lazy polemicists). Ideally it would be someone who has not only read, say, Derrida, but still has an ear for her audience and is capable of maintaining the patience (and humility!) of an actual philosopher.

More reviews here.

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