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...

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‘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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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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...

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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.

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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...

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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...

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{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...

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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...

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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,...

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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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