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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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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