Berfrois

January 2012

Nicholas Rombes: Flowers Cover Everything

Nicholas Rombes: Flowers Cover Everything

by Nicholas Rombes 1. My life, in those days, was to be defined by three female poets: Dana Levin, Olena Kalytiak Davis, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Where lies the fault in that? Could I be blamed for seeing darkness in everything? Or for feeling, at some point of no...

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Ugly Commentary

Ugly Commentary

Kim Kardashian and Mario Lopez in H8R From The Believer: Last year’s short-lived reality show, succinctly entitled H8R (if you can’t decipher that idiom, you are too old to be watching the program), followed celebrities like Snooki and Kim Kardashian as they confronted people who’d said mean things about...

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A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Sure, there’s the GOP symbol, but the real elephant in the room at any of the Republican debates since December has been the super PAC, the turbocharged political action committee able to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political ads — as long as that spending isn’t...

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These days anyone with free software and access to a server can set up an online newspaper…

These days anyone with free software and access to a server can set up an online newspaper…

scienceforseo.com by Massimo Pigliucci A recent piece by Scott Jaschik in “Inside Higher Education” pointed out what a number of my colleagues have been thinking for a while now: the peer review system for scholarly journals doesn’t work very well, needs to be reformed, and really ought to take...

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Ryegrass and Clover

Ryegrass and Clover

Pluies by Toby Harper Seeds of Empire: The Environmental Transformation of New Zealand, by Tom Brooking and Eric Pawson, London: I.B. Tauris, 256 pp. Visitors and residents alike tend to think of New Zealand as a clean, green land, rivaling Ireland in the luxuriance of its verdure and leading...

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Hilal Khashan on Syria

Hilal Khashan on Syria

Dictators, be they benevolent or malevolent, are incapable of compromise, and because of their constitutional makeup they see the world as black or white. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is not an exception to the rule. He is not receptive to engagement in serious political reforms to placate his country’s...

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The Awful Daring

The Awful Daring

T. S. Eliot in 1923. Photography by Lady Ottoline Morrell From Poetry: In the summer of 1918, T.S. Eliot was alarmed by the news that the American armed forces in Europe, then engaged in the final campaign against Germany, would begin to conscript American citizens living in England. Eliot...

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Katrien Jacobs: Breast Lovers of China, Unite!

Katrien Jacobs: Breast Lovers of China, Unite!

Sora Aoi by Katrien Jacobs Since its establishment in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has upheld a nationwide ban on pornography, imposing harsh punishments on those caught purchasing, producing or distributing materials deemed a violation of public morality. Meanwhile, a well-developed yet illegal internet pornography industry, DIY pornography...

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Patti Smith was aiming at once higher and lower than Paul Simon or Jim Morrison…

Patti Smith was aiming at once higher and lower than Paul Simon or Jim Morrison…

Patti Smith at Jim Morrison’s grave, Paris, 1976 From The New York Review of Books: I first heard of Patti Smith in 1971, when I was seventeen. The occasion was an unsigned half-column item in the New York Flyer, a short-lived local supplement to Rolling Stone, marking the single...

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Flawedonomics

Flawedonomics

From Freakonomics, Cold Fusion, 2010 From American Scientist: The nonfiction publishing phenomenon known as Freakonomics has passed its sixth anniversary. The original book, which used ideas from statistics and economics to explore real-world problems, was an instant bestseller. By 2011, it had sold more than four million copies worldwide,...

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What Bread-Weight Dreams May Come

What Bread-Weight Dreams May Come

I dreamt last night that weight was bread. More precisely, I dreamt that a kilogram was a loaf of dark, rye-like, round bread, about the diameter of a steering wheel.

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Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Victorian poetry is famous for documenting the emergence of key strains of secular modern thought, including those associated with natural science and modern biblical criticism. Breathtaking advances in astronomy, geology, and evolutionary biology during this era had produced a very different looking cosmos from that imagined in the book...

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We Who Draw

We Who Draw

by Susan James In which it is claimed that the practice of drawing can lead two thinkers centuries apart into a new symbiosis opening the way to political transformation. But what kind of transformation? Bento’s Sketchbook, by John Berger, Verso, 2011. 167pp. From A to X. A Story in...

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Frog Loves Moon

Frog Loves Moon

Figure 1: All art unless otherwise indicated by Rex Veeder by Rex Veeder Introduction Marshall McLuhan deserves to be re-evaluated as a rhetorician because he has described and demonstrated a perspective on rhetoric that remains significant. That perspective involves aesthetic, social, and cultural elements that gravitate around a mythos...

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Qigong’s Comeback

Qigong’s Comeback

The Jinhua caves are located in a wooded, hilly area about 200 miles southwest of Shanghai. The most famous cave, Double Dragon Cave, is entered by a stream that passes under a stone overhang just a few inches above the water.

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Leslie Paul Thiele: Sustainability

Leslie Paul Thiele: Sustainability

King Midas turns his daughter to gold, from A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls by Nathaniel Hawthorn, 1893 by Leslie Paul Thiele Sustainability is quickly becoming the lingua franca of public discourse. It is endorsed by government agencies around the globe, championed by increasing numbers of international non-governmental...

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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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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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