Berfrois

November 2010

Theory of Everything but the Theorist

Theory of Everything but the Theorist

Arrow of Time, Vladimir Kush From Philosophy Now: Denying the reality of tensed time illustrates what happens when physics exceeds its proper bounds. Shrinking the conscious subject to an observer who is in turn reduced to a group of values assigned to mathematical variables, thus discarding memory and anticipation...

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‘Playing at cards is, after all, close to playing with fate’

‘Playing at cards is, after all, close to playing with fate’

What's the Big Deal? | by Sally Feldman

New Humanist

The Church has always been wary, regarding cards not merely as the route to gambling, but also as “the Devil’s picture-book” because of their association with dark practices like fortune-telling...

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The Cosmos: Capitalism’s New “Outside”

The Cosmos: Capitalism’s New “Outside”

Total Recall, 1990 From Monthly Review: In the early twentieth century, Rosa Luxemburg argued that an “outside” to capitalism is important for two main reasons. First, it is needed as a means of creating massive numbers of new customers who would buy the goods made in the capitalist countries....

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‘An examination of cannibalism is bound to induce a species of metaphysical unease’

‘An examination of cannibalism is bound to induce a species of metaphysical unease’

Illustration by Theodor de Bry from Americae Tertia Pars, 1592 From Cabinet Magazine: Have you sensed that readers have had trouble coming to terms with how there could be an intellectual history of cannibalism at all? I think cannibalism is challenging not just on an epistemological level. The cannibal provokes...

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Ten Million Hopeful Scribblers

Ten Million Hopeful Scribblers

From More Intelligent Life: Somewhere in the world right now, ten million souls are hunched over their keyboards writing novels. Ten million hopeful scribblers in their holes. Good Lord, I’m one of them. The figure is an invention, but backed up by rough math. A quarter of a million...

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Namely Oprichniki

Namely Oprichniki

Tor-Björn Adelgren From The Day: You have stated previously that 20 years is a short term for history, yet some changes are taking place. I am personally worried not simply by reanimation, but by a powerful promotion of one of the most terrible people of the 20th century —...

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Alice Gregory: Refresh to See

Alice Gregory: Refresh to See

From N+1: When we self-diagnose, we look for control factors. Sometimes we invent them. The goal of solipsistic anxiety is to find an individual agent that explains our misery. We eliminate possibilities one-by-one in hopes that a single cause remains. This is how people deduce food allergies and come...

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Reflections on a Jewish Mirror

Reflections on a Jewish Mirror

by Julian Bourg Jean-Paul Sartre and The Jewish Question: Anti-antisemitism and the Politics of the French Intellectual (Texts and Contexts) by Jonathan Judaken Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 408 pp. Given the sinuous tale of the distinctive relationship between France and Judaism and especially because the figure of the...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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