Proposal update. Oh, and Haiti too.

Self-flagellation aside, it’s been quiet here of late and for one main reason: I have not written a word since handing The Supervisor my proposal before Christmas. With the Great Snow of ’10 over us now, the time has come to emerge from my intellectual igloo. The Supervisor said some very nice things about the ideas contained in the proposal and so now I’m dotting the last few t’s for the application process. All being well, I will be formally registered by March. It is a strange thing to consider being a student again after almost 15 years, albeit with slightly more money in my pocket and fewer ‘borrowed CDs at the bottom of my bed. There’s the small matter of the fees but that too is in hand. My partner, a colleague of The Supervisor, is emphasising that there’ll be no favouritism for my time studying. Pity that, because those bins don’t take themselves out, you know? She was good enough to gift me Taylor’s A Secular Age for my recent birthday.

In the time that I have been ‘away’ there has been discussion online and elsewhere about retribution, the God thing and Haiti. Most of it has been guff of the highest quality but Lara Marlowe’s article appearing in yesterday’s Irish Times gives us a better sense of the issues than any amount of hand-wringing over Pat Roberson’s televisual OCD. Marlowe paints a picture of a Haiti that is coming to terms with daily life after the trauma of the earthquake. Any shock doctrine-type reversion-to-modernity reconstruction will find it hard to separate the faith of people from technocratic imperatives. Kevin makes some salient points about why God cannot do anything about place tectonics and in this reinforces what I was taking from Eagleton’s view of an interventionist God. God no more caused the earthquake in Haiti than She did the lovely fluffy bunny rabbits to be born every spring. Here I am on thin ice so I’ll not dwell on it. We can see though that in much of the Haiti coverage (in the English speaking press) there are prevalent images of religion and faith as if ‘the people’ in Haiti rely on these right now more than us ‘secular moderns’. “See, the victims: they need their God in times of crisis like this is. Pff, I say” Aid will help them but patronising depictions of existential despair do not.

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