Berfrois

April 2011

The Cossacks Again!

The Cossacks Again!

The Zaporozhian Cossacks write a letter to the Sultan of Turkey, Ilya Yefimovich Repin, 1880-1891 by Elena Strelnikova The Cossacks have played an important part at various times in Russian history. Now their ranks are diluted by intermarriage and the admission of non-Cossacks. Elena Strelnikova ponders the attempts to...

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‘Never return to the places where you’ve been happy’

‘Never return to the places where you’ve been happy’

From Granta: Never return to the places where you’ve been happy, my father always said. Ever since I started writing fiction, I’ve crafted not-always-happy stories about the country of my overwhelmingly happy childhood. It was no Utopia, of course, especially in the economic scramble after the fall of Soviet...

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Welfare for the Rich

Welfare for the Rich

Christy Mack and Susan Karches From Rolling Stone: America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial. The official budget is public record and hotly debated: Money comes in as taxes and goes out as jet fighters, DEA agents, wheat subsidies and Medicare, plus pensions and bennies for that...

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“The library crowd”

“The library crowd”

The Seduction | by Paula Marantz Cohen

The American Scholar

Although I have been teaching for almost three decades, I feel I have only recently begun to teach. For years, I was doing what was expected: preparing detailed syllabi, grading piles of...

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Redeyed

Redeyed

Narita International Airport: Various Curious Scenes of Airplanes, Yamaguchi Akira, 2005 From London Review of Books: While John Kasarda shares the title page of this scientific romance masquerading as a work of urban theory, Aerotropolis was written by Greg Lindsay alone. Kasarda, a professor at the University of North...

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‘Women’s under-representation in philosophy has been well known for decades’

‘Women’s under-representation in philosophy has been well known for decades’

The Four Philosophers, Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1611 – 1612 From The Philosophers’ Magazine: Sally Haslanger is angry. “I entered philosophy about 30 years ago,” she told me at the American Philosophical Association’s Eastern Division meeting in Boston. “I had a budding feminist consciousness, and I thought then that...

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Reese Witherspoon and Elephants

Reese Witherspoon and Elephants

Water for Elephants, Fox 2000 Film, 2011   by Anne Helen Peterson Earlier this week, Lainey Gossip posted a particularly critical reading of Reese Witherspoon’s current publicity attempts, with specific attention to the contradiction between Witherspoon complaining about her lack of privacy and the recent sale of her wedding photos...

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“You want the dumbest headline possible!”

“You want the dumbest headline possible!”

From The Atlantic: As for the science of Web-site headlines: “I’m against verbs,” Denton told me, even though that day’s greatest-hits list included several exceptions (“Rat Crawls …”). “It’s almost as if you’ve got to get the whole story into the headline,” Brian Moylan said, “but leave out enough...

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The Middle of Marján’s Map

The Middle of Marján’s Map

by Jason Dittmer The Middle of the Map: Geopolitics of Perceptions, by Attila Marján, John Harper Publishing, 208 pp. Attila Marján’s The Middle of the Map is a book that defies easy characterization. From its cover photo by Deep Purple’s Roger Glover to…well, really the cover photo by Roger Glover...

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Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

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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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Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

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Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

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Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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