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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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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