15 June 2010

A day of Habermas and vuvuzelas

I was going to write about Fine Gael and vuvuzelas today, how five days in and I am now convinced that every major event would be enhanced by the soothing drone of vuvuzelas, particularly those events involving politicians professing their loyalty to and/or justification for mounting a destructive leadership challenge against, their current party leader.

Apparently this soothing tone operates at the same frequency as the human voice, so any attempt to remove it digitally from the TV broadcasts would also cut out the commentators, thus a couple of well placed vuvuzelas outside the Dail would do wonders to reduce the level of steaming poo emanating from the occupants therein, either through harmonious digital deletion or simply by driving away the gangs of malcontents that hang around inside looking shifty and causing trouble. Think of vuvuzelas as a mosqitio alarm for 50 year old men.

I was going to write about that, but I'm not, because tonight I went to see Jürgen Habermas.

The last time Habermas was in Ireland was in 1994 while I was a theology student. He didn't mean that much to me then, I'm sure there were pints to be had somewhere else and it was all the way out in UCD, and while technically UCD is in Dublin it really is so only in the Ryanair way that Beauvais is in Paris, and so I didn't go.

There are times that 37-year old me wants to go back in time and slap 21-year old me around the place, and that is one of them.

It was thus with no small amount of delight that I found out late last week that Professor Habermas would be in Dublin to receive UCD's Ulysses Medal on Bloomsday, and would be giving a public lecture the night before. Rarely does one get such an opportunity to reverse the mistakes of youth without the aid of some temporal-shifting bubbling-water-based furniture, and so off I went.

Nearly two hours of Habermas on Political Theology; it was like he knew I had snubbed him sixteen years ago, forgiven me, and written a lecture just for me. Like the parable of the prodigal son, only secular, with fewer slaughtered calfs, and no irate brother.

While I took copious notes, it is going to take me a while to digest them all, so I've no summary here beyond his closing comment that "The democratic process is also a learning process", which seemed good advice for Messers Kenny, Bruton et al.

And if they don't sort themselves out and quit their messing there's always vuvuzelas.

And nobody wants that.

There was an interesting interview with Habermas in Saturday's Irish Times.

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