Republicans Unfair to Lessing!

by John Holbo on July 21, 2006

I’m late to the party, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed it. Chris "Day by Day" Muir has been mocked round the blogs on account of an incandescently ignorant pair of strips he perpetrated about ‘Kantian nihilism’. Muir made it worse with an egregious, homophobic follow-up. (Honestly, you’d think someone who had just been so roundly spanked could come up with a better a posteriori proof joke.) Then, bless him, he tried to figure out some way to mock Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings. I think: "Way to miss the entire point, cretin," was his most devastating jab. People started to feel a bit sorry for him.

Ouch.  This is getting to be like watching a cat toying with a still-living mouse. – Gromit

No, it’s like watching a still-living mouse pretend to be a cat and kill itself. – Hilzoy

Back to ‘Kantian nihilism’. A few commenters – starting at Yglesias’ site, I think – have scrupulously noted that ‘nihilism’ was a charge first lodged against Kant by Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi. There’s quite an extensive entry on the man at the Stanford Encyclopedia. I happen to have just read Andrew Bowie, From Romanticism to Critical Theory [amazon]. I’ll quote a few bits about Jacobi, because who doesn’t love a bit of esoteric piquancy with their transcendent absurdity?
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Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

by Eszter Hargittai on July 21, 2006

…, …, …!

I’m going to Australia in about two months. I’ve been interested in visiting ever since I read Jill Ker Conway‘s Road from Coorain, which was almost 15 years ago.

The reason I’m particularly excited about all this today is because I just received my tourist visa. Via email. Cool. Yes, talk about a good use of IT by government services. I had submitted my application just four days ago. (Anyone want to tear into this regarding security concerns?)

I got very anxious earlier this week when I realized I needed a visa to go to Australia. I feel like I’ve done my fair share of standing in lines for visas at 5am. Luckily, after a bit of browsing I realized that citizens of certain countries could apply for visitor visas online.

I HATE getting tourist visas. I don’t like the process involved in getting student/work visas either, but tourist visas bother me more. I don’t see why Australia needs to know so much about my various medical conditions just to allow me to visit for a week. In any case, being able to fill out the form in my living room without having to run around for x copies of y dimension passport photos made a big difference.

My most frustrating visa experience to date was at the Canadian embassy in NYC a few years ago. It was unbelievable how they treated people. They also sent people home, one after another – after the requisite five hours of standing in the freezing cold, of course – for paperwork that they never stated was required. I decided not to return to Canada until I could go without having to obtain a visa.

Australians in Lebanon

by John Quiggin on July 21, 2006

As is true everywhere else in the world, Australian news reports at the moment are dominated by the fighting in Lebanon. But much more than in other countries, news reports here are dominated by the dangers facing Australian citizens in Lebanon, and the problems of arranging an evacuation. Lebanon is a major source of migration to Australia and, at any given time, as many as 20000 Australian citizens are visiting the country, and a smaller number living there on a longer-term basis. With the current crisis coming as a near-complete surprise, most of them want to get out as fast as possible. This has proved just about impossible, with the airport closed and no guarantee of safe departure by road or ship. The only really safe way out is on a warship, and Australia’s nearest armed vessel is 17 days away. There are also around 10 000 Australian citizens in Israel, some within reach of Hezbollah rockets.

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