Berfrois

May 2011

‘After negotiating a maze of passageways Berners-Lee delivers me at the door of Noam Chomsky’

‘After negotiating a maze of passageways Berners-Lee delivers me at the door of Noam Chomsky’

MIT in Second Life From The Guardian: Before my tour of MIT ends I am given a taste of what this astonishing abundance of riches means in practice. In the space of half an hour I enjoy the company – in the flesh and spacially – of three of...

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“I heard the runners got a little restless”

“I heard the runners got a little restless”

Barkley Marathon, 2009, Michael Hodge From The Believer: On the western edge of Frozen Head State Park, just before dawn, a man in a rust brown trench coat blows a giant conch shell. Runners stir in their tents. They fill their water pouches. They tape their blisters. They eat...

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The Ultimate Rose

The Ultimate Rose

Plucking the Red and White Roses in the Old Temple Gardens, Henry Arthur Payne, 1908 From Times Literary Supplement: The rose was made for symbolism, metaphor, allusion. Its beautiful flowers – in the wild, each bearing the symbolically charged number of five petals – bloom alongside vicious thorns. Sight,...

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Freewheelin’

Freewheelin’

Matt Bors, 2007 by David Hayes The most influential and original musician of the 1960s generation remains a figure of protean creativity half a century on. The wealth of attention devoted to Bob Dylan as he reaches his 70th birthday is testament to a career of astonishing range. It...

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Back to the Arcades

Back to the Arcades

by Richard Prouty At one point as I was writing my doctoral dissertation on Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project I jokingly suggested to my dissertation advisor that I should leave the project unfinished, just like the Arcades Project itself. “Ah, the mimetic fallacy!” he responded. That ended the conversation. His...

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There will inevitably come a point when photorealism in videogames reaches its zenith. But what happens after that point is achieved?

There will inevitably come a point when photorealism in videogames reaches its zenith. But what happens after that point is achieved?

Visual Games: Photorealism in Crisis | by Kyle Chayka,

Kill Screen

In certain corners of the world of Super Mario 64, there are graphical glitches that turn a seemingly solid space into a splintered chaos of polygons...

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Keep the Red Textbook Flying

Keep the Red Textbook Flying

Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels Statue, Berlin, AC-50D by Christina Morina Socialism is an old idea. The ideas and movements that can be subsumed under the term, encompassing a plethora of radical or moderate shades, have shaped the course of human history over the last two hundred years. One could argue...

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Why Elif Batuman doesn’t read reviews

Why Elif Batuman doesn’t read reviews

by Elif Batuman Let’s say you’re writing a book.  Every day you get up and think about it and work on it and change it. Then, at some more-or-less arbitrary point (I didn’t realize before I published a book how arbitrary this point is), it’s taken away from you...

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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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