Berfrois

July 2012

Chasse-Croisé

Chasse-Croisé

La rue Félix Faure, Nancy. Photograph by Dalbera by Jean-Michel Rabaté My title assumes that the reader knows what “the Nancy School” is. In fact, there is more than one. I will mention at least three. There is the school, celebrated at the Museum of the Nancy School, that...

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Calling a Crêpe a Pancake

Calling a Crêpe a Pancake

by Justin E. H. Smith One question  I keep coming back to here is the way in which natural language influences our metaphysics of individuation. Differences between different natural languages on this point are most in evidence, I think, in the way we talk about food, in particular, which...

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How much could a wandering writer carry from tambo to tambo?

How much could a wandering writer carry from tambo to tambo?

The sky is cloudless and still, and although the early afternoon temperature is only in the mid-70s, the air is incomprehensibly arid, and the sun intense enough to burn through our shirts. Downslope, heat waves shimmer over Chile’s Salar de Atacama, making the long piles of lithium 20 miles...

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Never Exactly Poster Children

Never Exactly Poster Children

L-R: David Mamet and Gilad Atzmon by James Warner Reading Gilad Atzmon’s The Wandering Who? immediately after David Mamet’s The Secret Knowledge, I was surprised to find the two books, written from vehemently opposed political viewpoints, nonetheless reminded me of each other. Does Mamet’s need to see the Israelis...

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Borges in Cambridge

Borges in Cambridge

The sweet-tempered octogenarian I knew needed in his blindness to be helped gently across carpeted floors. His preoccupations, notably Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse, were above all philological. His father had taught in English, which Borges used to say was the first language he ever spoke, though you would probably...

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Smells Like Tribes Spirit

Smells Like Tribes Spirit

by Joe Linker I knew about The Tribes of Palos Verdes (St. Martin’s Press, 1997) when it first came out, and I was interested in reading it for what appeared to be its local surf setting. We used to go snorkel diving in the coves around Palos Verdes, the...

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‘FEMEN’s images and actions became increasingly daring and innovative’

‘FEMEN’s images and actions became increasingly daring and innovative’

Any emergent social movement will faces obstacles, will proceed unevenly and with difficulty as it undermines people's resistance toward cultural change. In Ukraine, the decades ahead will present ever greater challenges to the formation of a consensus on women's rights, even as people's awareness of the patterns of anti-woman...

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In something else in something else…

In something else in something else…

Tristan Garcia by Graham Harman The French philosopher and novelist Tristan Garcia was born in Toulouse in 1981. This makes him rather young to have written such an imaginative work of systematic philosophy as Forme et objet,1 the latest entry in the MétaphysiqueS series at Presses universitaires de France....

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United

United

Caesar Chavez on the México-Tenochitlán—The Wall That Talks mural project, Avenue 61 and Figueroa, Los Angeles From New Left Review: In any account of the United Farm Workers, there is ample room for recrimination and bitterness; but Bardacke shows none of that in his own spirited history. The story...

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Materially Entrenched

Materially Entrenched

The “network” of which we speak is comprised of contingent logical and physical strata: applications and content; the higher level protocols and services implemented in software, and the lower substrate network or “physical layer”, comprising physical hardware such as channels, routers, storage and processing technologies and resources such as...

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Francisco de Miranda actually lived in the foothills of the Acropolis…

Francisco de Miranda actually lived in the foothills of the Acropolis…

Cartagena, Colombia. Photograph by Fernando Zuleta by Gregory Jusdanis Literature seems to be everywhere in Cartagena and not just because Gabriel García Márquez still has a house there. I was prepared to find a literary city as I had recently read Ilan Stavans’ biography of García Márquez. But as...

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Foucault too could be a vampire…

Foucault too could be a vampire…

The way that the undead challenges the living’s boundaries provides the focus for several essays. Richard Greene uses a thought experiment to argue that undeath is considered worse than death because of its presumed relationship with evil. However, the state of being undead is not necessarily bad for the...

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Agustín Fuentes: Humans Being

Agustín Fuentes: Humans Being

The quest to provide a concise description of human nature is ancient, extensive and recently in vogue again. But the simplistic and linear narratives frequently offered up for whom we are and why we do what we do are mostly wrong. These basic, and erroneous, stories such as those...

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Taped

Taped

I take a position on filesharing and the free exchange of copyrighted works that surprises many people I meet. Because I’m a writer, they assume that I oppose all forms of unauthorized copying and distribution, that I resent anyone who wants to “steal” my work, and that I’m afraid...

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Bobbi Lurie: Walter White and I

Bobbi Lurie: Walter White and I

Dying in Albuquerque can be the breaking point for anyone, believe me. Walter White, of Breaking Bad, and I were diagnosed with cancer the same week. I have no idea how long Walter White has lived in Albuquerque but I had only lived here a few months when I...

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“Democratic theory can be thought of as an attempt to answer the challenge of Thomas Hobbes”

“Democratic theory can be thought of as an attempt to answer the challenge of Thomas Hobbes”

Josiah Ober Josiah Ober is a classicist and political theorist at Stanford University, and his work on ancient Greek democracy is widely read in both disciplines. The Art of Theory recently spoke with him about Athens, democracy, and fly-fishing. The Art of Theory What prompted your interest in classics?...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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