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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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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Claudia Landolfi: Europe’s Colonial Perversion

The aftermath of a violent act or after a sharp change of political horizons is also a crisis of imagination and language. The rupture...

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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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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