Berfrois

November 2012

Blighty’s Far Right by Roger Eatwell

Blighty’s Far Right by Roger Eatwell

Since the late 1990s, immigration has been a far more important issue in Britain than in almost any other European country. Indeed, for much of the new millennium it has been the issue which most troubles voters.

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Well Above $344,000

Well Above $344,000

It is difficult for me to imagine that I have much to contribute to this exhibition or its catalogue, with their aim of offering a survey of art of the past two years. I have not been looking at art in galleries or museums much for a number of...

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Hoaxes of Dreams

Hoaxes of Dreams

From Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes. Illustration by Gustave Doré, 1863. by William Egginton Popularly known as the father of modern philosophy, René Descartes won that title ostensibly by rejecting traditional modes of intellectual inquiry largely associated with commentary on prior texts, and replacing them with the first...

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Masha Tupitsyn: Time Onscreen

Masha Tupitsyn: Time Onscreen

Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, Paramount Pictures, 1986 by Masha Tupitsyn Youth, for her, was not a transitional age — for this modern one, youth was the only time befitting a human being. Her youth had no need of ideals, it was in and of...

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Oh, Yummy

Oh, Yummy

It's been a busy few weeks for announcements about how smart non-human life-forms are. First there was the talking beluga in California, then there was the elephant in Korea who could articulate a few words, then, finally, the report on a lowly slime mold's ability to make sophisticated decisions.

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Christopher Cappelluti: Scratched

Christopher Cappelluti: Scratched

Reason dictates that the devil does not exist. As sophisticated 21st century people agree, it is absurd to put stock in the magical power of trinkets, ritualistic dances and incantations. While evil is apparent in the world — war, genocide, prejudice, hatred — few rational people would argue that...

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Who’s next for Prague Castle?

Who’s next for Prague Castle?

Vladimir Franz, one of the eleven candidates to run for the Czech presidency. Demotix/Frantisek Gela. All rights reserved. by Jan Hornát For the first time in their history, Czech citizens will directly elect their president next year, to replace the notoriously Eurosceptic incumbent Vaclav Klaus. The stakes are high...

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With Atomic Power

With Atomic Power

From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: After being discharged from the Air Service at the end of the Great War, Buck Rogers was hired by the American Radioactive Gas Corporation as an inspector; while investigating a mine, he was overcome by (what else?) radioactive gas, and it preserved him...

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Walking is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day…

Walking is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day…

Fall falls. Footfalls squish and squash through redorangeyellow leaves, their green energy sucked back into roots, an understandable hoarding for the winter. The casual bicyclist dismounts for the season, buries the bike in the basement, perhaps intending to walk through the winter.

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Dot-Munching

Dot-Munching

by Michael Z. Newman In which: Atari, Ms. Pac-Man, TV Fun, early cinema, my seven year-old son, George Plimpton, Urban Outfitters, Lynn Spigel, International Center for the History of Electronic Games, Computer Lib/Dream Machine, Blip, Pilgrim in the Microworld, the Internet Archive, J.C. Penney, home economics, Harvard, the Business...

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Folk Poesy

Folk Poesy

‘The Goose-Girl’. From German Popular Stories by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, 1823. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. From The Times Literary Supplement: Most of Pullman’s forerunners turned to imaginative creations of their own after they had quarried the scholarly deposits. M. R. James’s thrilling ghost stories are steeped in his...

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From Axl Rose to Willy Loman

From Axl Rose to Willy Loman

Lithograph by Thaddeus M. Fowler, 1902 by Justin E. H. Smith An academic career has a peculiar arc to it. When one is young, and first begins travelling around to various cities for conferences, it is as if one is Axl Rose or something, on tour, in hotels, where...

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But in Love?

But in Love?

Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus, Gavin Hamilton, 1760 – 1763 by Gregory Jusdanis Did they or didn’t they? Only Homer knows for sure. But readers of the Iliad have wondered for centuries about the love between Achilles and Patroclus. The topic was so disturbing to Wolfgang Petersen that...

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Emerson and C

Emerson and C

Ralph Waldo Emerson visited England twice – in 1833 and again in 1847. On his first visit, as a young and unpublished writer, he travelled to meet the men whose works had inspired him – one of these giants was Thomas Carlyle, the ‘lonely scholar’.

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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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