Berfrois

July 2011

‘A quarter-mile of corkline and mesh writhing and splashing’

‘A quarter-mile of corkline and mesh writhing and splashing’

Bristol Bay, Nick Hall From N+1: About half the world’s supply of wild salmon comes from a system of rivers, lakes, and streams in western Alaska that empties into Bristol Bay, a relatively shallow body of water roughly 250 miles long and 180 miles wide. Every summer, 40 million...

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Sabine Feisst: Lonesome Schoenberg

Sabine Feisst: Lonesome Schoenberg

Portrait of Arnold Schoenburg, Egon Schiele, 1917 by Sabine Feisst Arnold Schoenberg, the famous Viennese-born composer and pioneer of musical modernism, was one of the many refugees from Nazi tyranny who settled in the United States in the 1930s and never again set foot on European soil. Yet despite...

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23 Aphorisms by Yahia Lababidi

23 Aphorisms by Yahia Lababidi

Commedia dell’arte, 18th Century engraving by Yahia Lababidi A fraction of a poem’s power resides in words, the remainder belongs to the spirit that moves through them. Poetry: the native tongue of hysterics – adolescents and mystics, alike. Bow so low and you kiss the sky. There are many...

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Able to be Scaled

Able to be Scaled

The Descalations of Will Self | by Geoff Nicholson

Los Angeles Review of Books

I’ve been thinking about the novelist in the lunatic asylum, the one who decides to write a novel that describes the whole world and everything in it.

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Jurassic Park!

Jurassic Park!

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip, BBC From The New York Review of Books: With his fetishistic parochialism, supreme literal-mindedness, and rancid bourgeois complacency, Partridge was a parody not just of English talk show hosts but of contemporary England itself. As with Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers...

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{ Advertising Space }

{ Advertising Space }

They Live, Universal Pictures, 1988 by Justin Lewis Advertising is everywhere. Media that were once largely commercial free – from movies to the internet – now come replete with commercial messages. Not so long ago, most musicians were reluctant to see their work used to endorse shampoo or sneakers....

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“Douchebags” in Print

“Douchebags” in Print

Punishment of the Panderers and Seducers and the Flatterers, Sandro Botticelli, c.1480-c.1495 by Elif Batuman Forward-thinking readers! You don’t need me to tell you that our language is a living, growing organism. So, in an effort to stay with the times, I recently attempted to use the word “douchebags”...

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Slave of the Passions

Slave of the Passions

Mark Rothko From The Philosophers’ Magazine: We’ve probably all had the experience of being on the verge of acting from anger or jealousy, when someone advises us to act reasonably. A typical picture of motivation for action is one in which emotions or desires drive us one way and...

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Céline Dauverd: Dynastic Imperialism, Mercantile Interests

Céline Dauverd: Dynastic Imperialism, Mercantile Interests

View of the City of Naples and Vesuvio from Castel Sant’Elmo by Céline Dauverd The word imperialism inevitably conjures up reflections about the relationship –or lack thereof—among western countries and let’s say Algeria, Lebanon, South Africa, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico or Libya. However, these are all regions plagued by...

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Kathy Rudy: Love All the Animals

Kathy Rudy: Love All the Animals

Stone Age paintings, Chauvet Caves, France by Kathy Rudy At no point in history have humans used animals like we’re using them in America today. Factory farms crank out almost three pounds of meat per person per day from 20 billion food animals who function literally as flesh machines;...

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The fallacy of difference is a fallacy of science but how is it also a fallacy of art?

The fallacy of difference is a fallacy of science but how is it also a fallacy of art?

by Julia Galef It’s not often that you find something that’s a fallacy both logically and creatively — that is, a fallacy to which both researchers and artists are susceptible. Perhaps you’re tempted to tell me I’m committing a category mistake, that artistic fields like fiction and architecture aren’t...

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1/136

1/136

Fellow Prisoners | by John Berger

Guernica

The wonderful American poet Adrienne Rich pointed out in a recent lecture about poetry that “this year, a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics finds that one out of every 136 residents of...

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Foucault’s Will to Know by Stuart Elden

Foucault’s Will to Know by Stuart Elden

Areopagus from the Acropolis, Athens  by Stuart Elden Michel Foucault, Leçons sur la volonté de savoir: Cours au Collège de France, 1970-1971, suivi de Le savoir d’Œdipe, edited by Daniel Defert, Paris: Gallimard/Seuil The most recently published lecture course from Michel Foucault’s time at the Collège de France is...

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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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