Berfrois

February 2011

Sex Please, We’re Russian

Sex Please, We’re Russian

Final of Miss Russia 2010. In Soviet times, beauty contests were unknown. Ideologists considered such public displays of the female body as decadent bourgeois behavior. by Elena Fanailova A couple of years ago I was part of a group of young female writers on an Oxford University course called...

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No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

No Archaic/Modern Divide; or, Behavioural Variability in Premodern Humans

Refuting a Myth About Human Origins | by John J. Shea

American Scientist

For decades, archeologists have believed that modern behaviors emerged among Homo sapiens tens of thousands of years after our species first evolved. Archaeologists disagreed over whether this process was...

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Mario Carpo: Post-Authorial Creation

Mario Carpo: Post-Authorial Creation

A Cobbler’s Workshop (Schusterwerkstatt), Max Liebermann, 1881-82 by Mario Carpo The main thesis of The Alphabet and the Algorithm is simple–symmetrical, almost.  In the beginning it was hand-making.  Most handmade things, even when made sequentially, are different from one another, because that’s the way human hands function.  Think of a signature: most...

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‘You can French kiss yourself’

‘You can French kiss yourself’

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), United Artists, 1972  From Guernica: The first time I successfully masturbated I was eleven and my older brother and his girlfriend were watching Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to...

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Deep Cleaning and Other Cosmic Issues

Deep Cleaning and Other Cosmic Issues

by Claire B. Potter Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What’s Holding You Back, by Brooks Palmer, California: New World Library, 232 pp. One of the reasons that self-help books are so successful is that they introduce complex thinking to people who aren’t normally exposed to it, or who are...

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Information Flood

Information Flood

Moore’s Law original graph From The New York Review of Books: According to Gleick, the impact of information on human affairs came in three installments: first the history, the thousands of years during which people created and exchanged information without the concept of measuring it; second the theory, first...

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Good-bye to the straw feminist

Good-bye to the straw feminist

Eflon  by Cordelia Fine “This was not a permissible hypothesis”. That was social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s recent explanation of the outrage that followed Lawrence Summers’ speech at a conference on the under-representation of women in science and engineering, in which he suggested that women are on average intrinsically less...

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‘Captain America carries, after all, not a sword but a shield’

‘Captain America carries, after all, not a sword but a shield’

America’s heroes | by Nick Harkaway

Prospect

We don’t have superheroes in Britain the way they do in the US. John Constantine, the brutal magus anti-hero of DC Comics’ Hellblazer, once observed that Britain is a country where no one would have...

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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