Berfrois

We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

We might reflect on the ambiguity manifested in bisexuality…

The prevailing attitude in political and journalistic circles is to cling onto this widely-held belief, rooted in the philosophical and social systems of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that individualism remains triumphant. Yet the plural person and emotional tribes – this is the reality we see all around us every day, and one which is difficult to deny, or to refute.

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El Toboso

El Toboso

From Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, 1863. Illustration by Gustave Doré by Timothy Hampton In addition to his signal achievements as a knight errant, Don Quixote de la Mancha produced a small but noteworthy body of poetry. Samples of this poetry appear at different places in the history...

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In the Caspian Sea there is an eyeless fish that marks the only correct time of the universe…

In the Caspian Sea there is an eyeless fish that marks the only correct time of the universe…

Jahangir’s Dream, Abu’l Hasan, 1622 by Justin E. H. Smith The Khazars are so resourceful that they have oysters breeding on trees. They take a tree by the sea, bend its branches into the water, and hold them down with a rock; within two years the branches become so...

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The reader becomes addicted…

The reader becomes addicted…

In the FAMA documentary, “The Siege of Sarajevo,” the owner of a used bookstore in Sarajevo says that philosophy books were the most popular during the war. Customers frequented bought books by Aristotle, Hegel, and Kant. Deep concentration is required to read these works. The reader takes the role...

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Mammoth Mugs

Mammoth Mugs

Woolly Mammoths, Charles R. Knight, 1915 by Leonard Finkelman I need two things to start my average weekday. One of them is coffee. The coffee, of course, goes into a mug . Mugs reflect our deepest-held values, proudly displaying the logo of a faceless corporate monolith or the title...

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You

Bébert Survived

Bébert Survived

There is a cat that sits on the sidewalk in front of the bistro Chez Bébert near the Gare Montparnasse in Paris (I snapped his picture just yesterday). He does not greet visitors, but he does give them to know, in his silent occupation of that crucial space before...

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‘Camus was seduced over a dinner by the creator of anthropophagy’

‘Camus was seduced over a dinner by the creator of anthropophagy’

L-R: Oswald de Andrade; Albert Camus by João Cezar de Castro Rocha In 1946 Albert Camus traveled to South America. During this journey, he took random notes published posthumously, in which he produced irregular (and sometimes brutal) remarks on both cities visited and on persons he met. In São...

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Such Meats

Such Meats

When King Pyrrhus invaded Italy, having viewed and considered the order of the army the Romans sent out to meet him; “I know not,” said he, “what kind of barbarians” (for so the Greeks called all other nations) “these may be; but the disposition of this army that I...

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En Face

En Face

In the everyday use of the concept, saying that something is grotesque rarely implies anything other than saying that something is a bit outside of the normal structure of language or meaning – that something is a peculiarity. But in its historical use the concept has often had more...

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Sociology(:) for the Rich

Sociology(:) for the Rich

The Battle Between Carnival and Lent, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1559 From N+1: It seems there’s no way out of sociology; nevertheless sociology cannot provide us with internal reasons for its ever-rising prestige. Surely we want to be able to say that the sociology of culture is valuable because...

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Daniel Tutt on Fethi Benslama

Daniel Tutt on Fethi Benslama

The political philosopher Charles Taylor made an excellent observation recently when he pointed out that Islam is usually the culture that multiculturalism fails to adequately encompass in its pretensions towards universalism. By excluding Islam on the basis of the very values that multiculturalism stands for, Islam presents to liberal...

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There are butterflies in Colorado, too…

There are butterflies in Colorado, too…

by Justin E. H. Smith Vladimir Nabokov has done pretty much all a human can do, from within the pouch of corporeal experience and the tunnel of time, to trace out the boundaries of the absolute. He has done so entirely without positive beliefs, but armed only with a...

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Ask

Ridin’

Ridin’

by Justin E. H. Smith The apocryphal story of Phyllis and Aristotle is captivating for a number of reasons. For one thing, it recalls for us a period in the history of culture in which philosophy, and philosophers, were implicated not just in elite disputation, but also in popular...

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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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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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