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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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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