Berfrois

March 2011

Diary of a Little Man

Diary of a Little Man

  Bezirk Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Berlin by Peter Fritzsche When I first found the sprawling diary in a Berlin archive, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  It was full of insight, but littered with self-pity.  Political reportage on the terrible drama of twentieth-century German history often yielded to inflexible...

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Dharamsala’s Democratic Dalai Lama

Dharamsala’s Democratic Dalai Lama

McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala From The New York Review of Books: It’s been startling to witness mass demonstrations in countries across the Middle East for freedom from autocracy, while, in the Tibetan community, a die-hard champion of “people power” tries to dethrone himself and his people keep asking him to...

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Madness

Madness

The Palestra, University of Pennsylvania’s arena in Philadelphia From Projo: For my pilgrimage to West Philly, I needed a spiritual guide, so I turned to John Edgar Wideman, the distinguished novelist and Brown University professor who played brilliant basketball for Penn from 1959 to 1963. But Wideman’s recollections proved...

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Helen Thomas talks Israel and Palestine

Helen Thomas talks Israel and Palestine

From Playboy: PLAYBOY: So is this how you pictured retirement? THOMAS: I’m not retired! I was fired. In fact, I’ll die with my boots on. I’m still writing and I’ll continue to write and ask hard questions. I will never bow out of journalism. PLAYBOY: Take us back to...

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Fight of the Century

Fight of the Century

From Reader’s Almanac: It seems like only a heartbeat ago that Frank Sinatra was ringside at Madison Square Garden, camera in hand, straining to get just the right shot of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier as they went to war for the first time. The calendar tells us, however,...

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Excess Cinema

Excess Cinema

Justin Reed by Michael B. Mathias Aristotle commended the poets for their ability to portray the ways in which fate tests character and to display how human weaknesses may be amplified in unusual situations. By depicting human beings caught up in extraordinary circumstances, the poets did not simply entertain; they...

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Rebecca Suter on Murakami

Rebecca Suter on Murakami

Norwegian Wood, ToHo, 2011 by Rebecca Suter Murakami Haruki is perhaps the best known and most widely translated Japanese author of his generation. His latest novel, three-volume, 1600-page 1Q84, was an instant success: the first print sold out on the day it was released, and the first two volumes...

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When everyone works, it’s hard to find extras for a strike scene…

When everyone works, it’s hard to find extras for a strike scene…

Monica Vitti as Guiliana in Red Desert, Rizzoli, 1964 From Words Without Borders: Ravenna, October 15, 1963 Finally, after a year’s delay, we are in Ravenna. Just a week left before the first take. The Red Desert will be born after a long and difficult gestation. Those of us here with...

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300 (Years of Hume)

300 (Years of Hume)

David Hume at 300 | by Howard Darmstadter

Philosophy Now

Like most philosophers of his time, Hume conceived of thought as a flow of mental images. Seeing a tree, imagining a tree, or remembering a tree, were all thought to consist of...

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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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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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