Berfrois

September 2012

Uso

Kenneth Weisbrode: Tactical Representation

Kenneth Weisbrode: Tactical Representation

A few blocks from Lafayette Park, diagonal to the statue of Jackson triumphant on horseback, is a strange building, tall but thin, just about one office thick, and sandwiched between two standard Washington rectangular, concrete blocks. The windows of the building jut out at right angles, giving the impression...

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Ship Europe

Ship Europe

Film Socialisme, Wild Bunch, 2012 by Srećko Horvat Costa Concordia, the famous cruise ship that hit a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea in January 2012 might furnish another aptly-named example for symbolizing the harmony and unity between European nations. Recently in Bucharest, I came across an apparently innocent map...

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Alternatives for Publishing

Alternatives for Publishing

Mud mural on the outside of the Rainbow Books store in Madison, Wisconsin. Photograph by LuMag00 by Lee Konstantinou “In order to transform publishing into a less crisis-bound, short-term-oriented system, we must end capitalism,” according to Andrew Goldstone’s – and my – friend, Colin Gillis, a member of the...

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Daniel Roberts on Survivor and An American Family

Daniel Roberts on Survivor and An American Family

The competition show Survivor just began its 25th season in the United States, and while any stigma associated with watching the show has almost completely faded, it nonetheless still gets grouped into the wide expanse of “reality television.” But that label, which tends to carry such negative associations, doesn’t...

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“A safe, live-action game”

“A safe, live-action game”

Occupy Albany eviction. Photograph by Sebastian Barre From The New York Review of Books: “The police can see the defeat in our eyes. They know they’ve beaten us,” an Occupy Wall Street organizer told me a few days after the 2012 May Day demonstration that marked the movement’s fizzled...

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Open (Access) All Hours

Open (Access) All Hours

Photograph by Aunt Owwee by Cameron Neylon With major governments signalling a shift to Open Access it seems like a good time to be asking which organisations in the scholarly communications space will survive the transition. It is likely that the major current publishers will survive, although relative market share...

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Plants-U-Like

Plants-U-Like

If you had to be an endangered animal, you’d be better off as a tiger than a toad. If you were a tiger, filmmakers might cast you in wildlife documentaries and journalists might write heart-rending stories about the disappearance of your kind. Your furry mug might appear on magazine...

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When defining mathematical Platonism, only Independence is controversial…

When defining mathematical Platonism, only Independence is controversial…

Sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci by Massimo Pigliucci Recently I have been intrigued by James Ladyman and Don Ross’s ideas about naturalistic metaphysics and in the course of my discussion of their book, Every Thing Must Go, I pointed out that those ideas (as the authors themselves recognize) are...

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An Animated Bang!

An Animated Bang!

Genesis. Gummi Big Bang, Chandra Bocci, 2006 by Bill Benzon As I understand it the modern conception asserts that the cosmos is fundamentally inanimate. Dead. And then, somehow, life evolved. Miraculously. Except that we moderns don’t believe in miracles. So life isn’t a miracle. It’s merely a puzzle. One...

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Our lives of jugs, and pots and plates…

Our lives of jugs, and pots and plates…

“The important thing is not what we write,” Joyce tells Arthur Power in Conversations with James Joyce, “but how we write, and in my opinion the modern writer must be an adventurer above all, willing to take every risk, and be prepared to founder in his effort if need...

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Some Jung Guy

Some Jung Guy

by Kris Pint 1. Returning to Jung In Deleuze and Parnet’s Dialogues there is this marvellous quote from D.H. Lawrence about the purpose of literature: “To leave, to leave, to escape… to cross the horizon, enter into another life…” It is a phrase that succinctly summarizes Deleuze’s own philosophical...

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“I wonder how the owner of this wall feels”

“I wonder how the owner of this wall feels”

I watched the opening ceremony from the roof of a friend’s narrowboat, near King’s Cross, northwest of the Olympic Park. Boat dwellers have had a rough time under the Olympic regime; many of the boats moored opposite us were exiles from the waterways around the Park, displaced because they...

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What future transitions we can expect?

What future transitions we can expect?

by Kevin Kelly What kinds of developmental thresholds would any planet of sentient beings pass through? The creation of writing would be a huge one. The unleashing of cheap non-biological energy is another. The invention of the scientific method is a giant leap. And the fine control of energy...

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Joel Gn: Play Pop

Joel Gn: Play Pop

The Occident is currently experiencing a massive import of hybridised cultural products from the Korean peninsula. This phenomenon, known as the Korean wave or hallyu, refers to the global rise of South Korean entertainment such as feature films and television shows.

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Intentional Spontaneity

Intentional Spontaneity

Photograph by Steve Johnson From Notre Dame Philosophical Review: Like many other Kantian-inspired accounts, the one Arnold offers as an alternative to cognitivism is initially quite compelling, but when carefully and closely examined, bafflingly obscure. One rather basic question unanswered in Arnold’s presentation is: could there be a being...

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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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