Berfrois

October 2012

Quoth the Raven

Quoth the Raven

Charles Dickens, in a note now lying before me, alluding to an examination I once made of the mechanism of "Barnaby Rudge," says- "By the way, are you aware that Godwin wrote his 'Caleb Williams' backwards? He first involved his hero in a web of difficulties, forming the second...

Read More

‘No living thing had trodden that ground for many centuries…’

‘No living thing had trodden that ground for many centuries…’

H. P. Lovecraft by H. P. Lovecraft Before quitting the subject of Loveman and horror stories, I must relate the frightful dream I had the night after I received S.L.’s latest letter. We have lately been discussing weird tales at length, and he has recommended several hair-raising books to...

Read More

Das Ding, the Face

Das Ding, the Face

Harpo Marx by Paul Elliott There is an intriguing but seemingly insignificant aside in Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis concerning the face of one of American cinema’s iconic figures: It is enough to evoke a face which is familiar to every one of you, that terrible dumb brother...

Read More

The Landlord’s Game

The Landlord’s Game

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe...

Read More

What Prime Minister Gillard Said by Deborah Cameron

What Prime Minister Gillard Said by Deborah Cameron

Julia Gillard by Deborah Cameron The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard did not mince her words earlier this month when she said of the opposition leader Tony Abbott: “if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of...

Read More

Army Nation

Army Nation

by Vron Ware UK schoolchildren could soon be trained in army ‘values’, the London Olympics took place under military occupation, the armed forces are set for further integration with the police. As Britain’s foreign policy shifts, the meaning of militarisation within our own borders is undergoing a quiet revolution....

Read More

Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau-Ponty by Emily S. Lee Maurice Merleau-Ponty did not write much on race; he only mentioned it once, as far as I know, in his article, “The Child’s Relation with Others”. In these post-colonial times, it is recognized that one of the tools of colonialism is its epistemic...

Read More

O, Dylan Rocks!

O, Dylan Rocks!

Perhaps no star’s luminosity glows murkier than Dylan’s in his interviews. Louis Menand, in “Bob on Bob: Dylan Talks” (New Yorker, 4 Sep 2006), a review of Jonathan Cott’s Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, comments on the absurdity of taking any Dylan interview as a gospel light.

Read More

For Scholarship and Virtue

For Scholarship and Virtue

The Yellow Flowers, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887 by Rick Honings and Arnold Lubbers In the small town of Steenbergen, situated in the Dutch province of North Brabant, near the Belgian border, a book club was set up in 1797, with Voor Wetenschap en Deugd (For Scholarship and Virtue) as...

Read More

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Martin Heidegger by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei The following text  was delivered at the opening of Cross-Examinations #2: How Much Fascism?, curated by WHW in collaboration with Mihnea Mircan, Extra City, Antwerp BE, October 5, 2012. I would like to begin with a definition from Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s book...

Read More

{raven, writing desk}

{raven, writing desk}

One modern incarnation of the debate between nominalism and realism is to be found in philosophical arguments about sets. There are two ways of characterizing a set: intensionally, through description (e.g. the set of all inhabitants of London, to use an example of Russell's), and extensionally, which is just...

Read More

Masha Tupitsyn: Madonna

Masha Tupitsyn: Madonna

by Masha Tupitsyn I cannot lie. I love 80s Madonna, mainly because that period of her music scores my childhood. It’s the only Madonna I like. When I was a little girl I acted and looked like a little boy. It was the first way I knew how to...

Read More

Boca Raton

Boca Raton

by Elvin Lim Mitt Romney barely passed the bar on Monday night’s debate. He was tentative and guarded, not just because he was being strategic, but because he wasn’t, understandably, in command of the facts of foreign policy as a sitting president would be. Barack Obama “won” the debate,...

Read More

Truth’s Minimalism

Truth’s Minimalism

It is not uncommon that a discussion about some controversy turns to the truth or falsity of some claim, and thereupon one of the parties to the discussion questions the very nature of truth itself.

Read More

Giorgio Fontana: Berlusconism

Giorgio Fontana: Berlusconism

"Sorry for being a bore," is how Silvio Berlusconi commented at the end of his dull speech at his party's congress in Milan, some months ago. A bore: a trick or a sincere acknowledgment? Whatever it is, it's true: Berlusconi doesn't make the news like he used to do.

Read More

Are you immune to received images?

Are you immune to received images?

Malcolm McDowell as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Warner Bros., 1971 From Monthly Review: It was a half century ago, in 1963, that I first entered the world of commercial advertising. Only then did I personally grasp the nature and power of moving-image media. I realized it’s possible to...

Read More

Wissenschaft

Wissenschaft

I've appreciated Aleksandr Sokurov since the 1990s, but it was, I think, with his 2003 Father and Son that he first began to seem genuinely puzzling to me. This film, not at all Turgenevian, portrayed two men apparently of the same age, posing in various intimate positions with one...

Read More

Hempstead

Hempstead

by Elvin Lim The second presidential debate tells us about the candidates’ readings of their own campaigns. Both Romney and Obama were fighting for air time, trying to break out of the impasse of “he-said-she-said.” Women were mentioned about 30 times in the debate, because Romney knew that he...

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: LGBT Struggles in Albania

This morning I woke up to a rather surprising headline: "first gay marriage in Tirana." The article referred to the marriage ceremony recently held...

Read More
Feroz Rather in Srinagar

Though the war was still going on, it was not a terribly sad time in my life; at least, I had the consolation of...

Read More
Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

Read More
Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

Read More
Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

Read More
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

Read More
Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

Read More
David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

Read More
Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

Read More
Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Oscillation

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

Read More