The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Immanuel Kant’

The Critique of Pure Idiocy, and Other News

March 20, 2015 | by


Kant’s home, vandalized.

  • Outside Kaliningrad, Immanuel Kant’s home still stands, and now it’s adorned with a loving note in his memory: “Kant is a moron.” Russian police have made it their categorical imperative to find the vandals. “With Arthur Schopenhauer dead for 155 years, however, authorities start off with few strong leads.”
  • The Pittsburgh Tax Review—subscribe now—features a new paper by Arthur Cockfield called “David Foster Wallace on Tax Policy, How to Be an Adult, and Other Mysteries of the Universe,” presumably focusing on The Pale King. “The drudgery of taxes is what attracted Wallace to the subject, Cockfield argues. And, he says, Wallace has helpful advice for those of us bogged down by tax season.”
  • “I hate literature,” Varlam Shalamov wrote in a 1965 letter. Nonetheless, he did well by it. “Between 1954 and 1973, Shalamov wrote 147 stories about Russian prisons, transit camps, the mines of Kolyma, life in the camp hospitals, and the troubled experience of returning home … the more you read, the less documentary-like the experience becomes … particular images and phrases repeat; objects exhibit a strong symbolic power; meanings double, as accounts of daily camp life take on aesthetic and philosophical dimensions.”
  • “The flower’s leaves … serve as bridal beds which the creator has so gloriously arranged … and perfumed with so many soft scents that the bridegroom with his bride might there celebrate their nuptials with so much greater solemnity.” Scientists remember Carl Linnaeus today for his binomial system, but his writing on botany was, for the time, frankly sexual. The Encyclopedia Britannica referred to his work as “disgusting strokes of obscenity.”
  • “When the people shall have nothing to eat, they will eat the rich,” Rousseau wrote. But what if intraclass cannibals beat them to it? In Britain, the landed gentry have started hunting themselves for sport.

The Dude Abides

September 20, 2013 | by


When the world heard about the shooting prompted by a dispute over Immanuel Kant, we simultaneously recoiled at the violence and wondered that a work of philosophy should prompt such passions. Could it happen in America, we asked? Perhaps we have our answer.



Philosophy Turns Violent, and Other News

September 17, 2013 | by


  • During an argument over the works of Immanuel Kant, a Russian man was shot in the head. He is, shockingly, not seriously hurt, but the shooter faces up to a decade in jail for “intentional infliction of bodily harm.”
  • The distinguished poet Graham Nunn—former artistic director of the Queensland Poetry Festival—has apologized for serial plagiarism. After getting caught.
  • James Patterson: “I’m going to give away $1 million in the next twelve months or so, to help independent book stores. We’re making this big transition right now to ebooks, and that’s fine and good, and terrific, and wonderful, but, we’re not doing it in an organized, sane, civilized way. What’s happening right now is, a lot of book stores are disappearing, a lot of libraries are disappearing or they’re not being funded. School libraries aren’t being funded. This is not a good thing. It used to be you could go to your drugstore, you’d find books everywhere.”
  • The president of the Ohio board of education is calling for the ban of The Bluest Eye by native daughter Toni Morrison. Debe Terhar calls the 1970 novel “pornographic.” Says Morrison, “I resent it … I mean if it’s Texas or North Carolina as it has been in all sorts of states. But to be a girl from Ohio, writing about Ohio having been born in Lorain, Ohio. And actually relating as an Ohio person, to have the Ohio, what—Board of Education? —is ironic at the least.”


    What We’re Loving: Stèles, Cellpoems, Converse

    November 30, 2012 | by

    I’ve been nosing around in Robert Hass’s recent collection of essays, What Light Can Do, which itself noses around in such subjects as writing from California, Korean poetry, landscape photography, and Immanuel Kant. There are some pleasurable moments in essays on the poet Ko Un and on Laura McPhee’s photographs of the Salmon River, which winds through the Rockies and into Washington. But I found bliss in Hass’s mediation on Robert Adams’s photographs of the Los Angeles Basin in the late seventies and early eighties. Just before the end, Haas includes a haiku—so appropriate to the city’s spare, industrial haze—whose author he has forgotten: “Cut flowers / in the drainage ditch— / they’re still blooming.” —Nicole Rudick

    What does classical Chinese sound like when imagined by a French modernist poet and translated into English? Victor Segalen, a medical doctor and theorist of exoticism, published the first edition of Stèles in 1912, in Beijing. (A stele is an upright slab with an inscription; a stèle is a genre invented by Segalen.) Each poem in the book is surrounded by a black border and reads—spookily—like a lyric carved into stone: “To fuse everything, from the east of love to the heroic west, from the south facing the Prince to the too-friendly north—to reach the other, fifth, center & Middle // Which is me.” —Robyn Creswell

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