Berfrois

January 2014

  • Michael B. Katz: Poor Science

    January 2014 Highlights

    Michael B. Katz: Poor Science

    For most of recorded history, poverty reflected God’s will. The poor were always with us. They were not inherently immoral, dangerous, or different. They were not to be shunned, feared, or avoided. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a harsh new idea of poverty and poor people as different and inferior began to replace this ancient biblical view.

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Jenny Diski’s idyllness

Jenny Diski’s idyllness

Lassitude, indolence, extreme laziness, idleness beyond belief - I don't know how to convey the degree of my incapacity for activity. People don't believe me. You don't believe me. You think I exaggerate. No, I don't. You won't believe that either. You think it an affectation. So yesterday I...

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Robyn Ferrell: Evaded Commodification is Passé

Robyn Ferrell: Evaded Commodification is Passé

Some classics re-emerged. Baldessari re-interpreted his 1977 video event of ‘Six Colourful Inside Jobs’ that paid homage to a legendary art origin in Sol Le Witt’s work by paying painters to repaint the room continuously in a changing palette of colours. In the Abramovic room, her 1997 classic performance...

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Stuart Elden on Foucault’s third/eleventh

Stuart Elden on Foucault’s third/eleventh

Delivered between January and March 1973, La société punitive was Foucault’s third annual course at the Collège de France. It is the eleventh of his thirteen courses there to be published, in what have been uniformly excellent editions under the general editorship of François Ewald and the recently deceased...

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Someone (a lot) like Don Share

Someone (a lot) like Don Share

Huh. Well, I collect weird dictionaries, including dictionaries of cliches (which come in handy, in my line of work). But my favorite strange dictionary is the great classic Dictionary of Similes, edited by Frank Wilstach and published in 1916; it has the epigraph, "It's hard to find a simile...

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This desert is making Ann Plato thirsty

This desert is making Ann Plato thirsty

by Ann Plato They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way. Thirsty, their souls fainted in them. —Psalms It is difficult to form a correct idea of a desert, without having seen one. It is a vast plain of sands and stones, interspersed with mountains of various sizes...

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Daniel Bosch: High

Daniel Bosch: High

Against a black background, part of the face of a fair-skinned woman. The tone and texture of her skin. The curve of her lips. Especially the black of her eyes — as if we could look through her. All these exceed not only what we expect to see when...

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The Uncanny and the Abcanny by Alexander Stachniak

The Uncanny and the Abcanny by Alexander Stachniak

What happens when I introduce a ghost or monster into my fiction? What options open up to me? Is there an established convention? Am I bound to it? The majority of literary theory regarding the Uncanny and the Abcanny is near useless in answering any of these questions. Concerned...

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If we have no logical justification for induction then…oops

If we have no logical justification for induction then…oops

Photograph by Oisin Prendiville by Massimo Pigliucci I used to have the “meta” itch, but I learned to live with it and stop scratching it. It only irritates anyway, without doing much good work. Let me explain. If you are a regular (or even occasional) reader of Rationally Speaking...

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“Playful”

“Playful”

From Le Revenant, Méliès, 1903 by William Flesch An Honest Ghost: A Novel by Rick Whitaker A book that furnishes no quotations is no book — it is a plaything. Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. How frequently the mere purchase of a book...

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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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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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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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