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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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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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...

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