Berfrois

Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The person was so skeptical because to her stranger and distance-shaped intimacies are diminished forms of real intimacy.

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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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Work It

Work It

Work, Ford Maddox Brown, 1852–1865 by David Palumbo-Liu In its March 2013 issue, The Atlantic ran a tersely titled article, “Anthropology, Inc.” The author, Graeme Wood, spoke about a market research company (ReD) that was hiring anthropology PhDs to use their training in social science field work to dreg up...

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New Stories

New Stories

No, she insisted, she could never go back to Zanesville. Of course, she would continue to visit her hometown but she would not live there again. My student’s words were adamant but her voice broke with undisguised sadness. I stared at her as the sun flooded the oak desk...

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Daniel Tutt on Badiou’s Plato

Daniel Tutt on Badiou’s Plato

In what Alain Badiou calls his "hyper-translation" of Plato's Republic, we are taken into the world of Plato's classic dialogue on politics and justice, sped up to the pace of a 21st century New York street corner. Socrates and his sophist interlocutors speak a gritty street talk that is...

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WRT Fitness Outcomes

WRT Fitness Outcomes

by Massimo Pigliucci The “Darwinian” theory of evolution is here to stay. I used the scare quotes to refer to it in the previous sentence because the current incarnation, known as the Modern Synthesis (and incorrectly referred to as “neo-Darwinism,” which actually was an even earlier version) is significantly...

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Inject the Hellenic

Inject the Hellenic

James Joyce, Man Ray, 1922 by Juliet Flower MacCannell In his twenty-third seminar, Jacques Lacan framed the sinthome as a radical unknotting of the symbolic, the imaginary and the real. He offered le sinthome not as a mere technical addition to the battery of psychoanalytic tools, but as a...

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‘”That, to me? Is real.”’

‘”That, to me? Is real.”’

by Justin E. H. Smith I’ve carried around with me for the past few years this idea that George Saunders discovered a new method for exploring the human soul at hitherto unimagined depths, that he was the culmination of what Nietzsche had in mind when he called Stendhal ‘a...

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What is the real cause of Wittgenstein’s unpopularity within departments of philosophy?

What is the real cause of Wittgenstein’s unpopularity within departments of philosophy?

The singular achievement of the controversial early 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was to have discerned the true nature of Western philosophy — what is special about its problems, where they come from, how they should and should not be addressed, and what can and cannot be accomplished by...

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Always to be Blest

Always to be Blest

by Justin E. H. Smith I’ve been reading Thomas de Quincey’s 1827 essay, The Last Days of Immanuel Kant, which is really little more than a massively long quotation, in English translation, of Ehregott Andreas Wasianski’s 1804 work, Immanuel Kant in seinen letzten Lebensjahren. In fact, Wasianski’s entire work is cited, after a few...

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Kant’s Last Days

Kant’s Last Days

Death mask of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried Schadow, 1804 by Thomas De Quincey I take it for granted that every person of education will acknowledge some interest in the personal history of Immanuel Kant. A great man, though in an unpopular path, must always be an object of liberal...

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All the Magic Alcohol

All the Magic Alcohol

C. P. Cavafy by Gregory Jusdanis If asked to select a writer to dine with tonight, I would name C. P. Cavafy (1863-1933), the Greek poet of Alexandria. I would do this for many reasons but mainly to see his reaction when I tell him that he is one...

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Eugenia Herbert on Julia Margaret Cameron

The Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is currently undergoing a revival with a recent exhibition of her work at the Metropolitan Museum in New...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly...

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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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Jesse Miksic on Dark Souls II

Is Dark Souls II the crowning rebirth of Gothic Romance for the digital age? I'm being dramatic, I realize. The spirit of Gothic has...

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Michael Munro
A Quotation and Provocation by Michael Munro

The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty. That is the opening line of the text, its first thesis. It’s...

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Menachem Feuer
Menachem Feuer: Schlemiels

As human beings we have to “court” failure. This term suggests two things: on the one hand, it suggests dating and becoming intimate with...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie with James Franco

Every day after that, I stood outside The Italian Restaurant on Fourteenth Street until it closed. I didn’t even smoke. The guy from The...

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Henry Giardina
Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen...

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Ashley James
Ashley James: Personhood

It seemed that by the close of January this year, the entire country could recognize the face of Sergeant Cory Remsburg: Near the tail-end...

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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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