Berfrois

The Bear Within

The Bear Within

I try not to weigh in on ephemeral online outrages, but there's one thing I just can't resist the urge to bring up in connection with the recent flare of fascination with Rachel Dolezal's inner life and its outer expression.

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Masha Tupitsyn: About Two

Masha Tupitsyn: About Two

All the President’s Men, Warner Bros., 1976 by Masha Tupitsyn For a long time it was all about the camera. The truths it presented and the truths it covered up. We knew the camera lied, but we also believed it told the truth. Now we know it only does...

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Bananas!

Bananas!

In his 1917 short story, “Report to an Academy,” Kafka tells the story of Red Peter, a chimpanzee captured in Africa and brought back to Europe to be studied by the members of an institution very much like the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Red Peter, by some unusual...

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Strange Monsters

Strange Monsters

Nearly a decade ago, I sat in a class entitled, quite simply, “Corporations,” taught by Vijay Prashad at Trinity College. Over the course of the semester, I was amazed at the extent of Prashad’s knowledge, and the complexity and erudition of his style. He has since authored a number...

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The Now

The Now

Nostalgia No. 3, Ma Leonn, 2006 From BBC: Throughout the 20th Century, the preservation of individuals’ memories became cheaper and so more ubiquitous, but it wasn’t until the last decade that the seamless interconnection of mobile recording devices with the world wide web allowed for the retention of the...

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The Peccaries and the Maize Beer

The Peccaries and the Maize Beer

I am growing increasingly convinced that people who believe we have an absolute moral duty to see to the well-being of all other human beings, to install water-purifying equipment in villages on the other side of the world, etc., and who, at the same time, happily contribute to the...

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Jeremy Fernando: Bull

Jeremy Fernando: Bull

One of the first things to happen after the Occupy Wall Street protestors were evicted from Zuccotti Park was the caging of Arthur Di Modica’s sculpture, the charging bull that has become synonymous with Wall Street. According to the New York Post: “Law-enforcement sources say the cops are keeping...

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Do It For the Askesis

Do It For the Askesis

Babies, David Černý, 2005 by Justin E. H. Smith Before I proceed to estrange my reproductively proficient allies, let me begin by saying that I love kids; those who know me know that when I am around them, they delight in my comical ways, and after I’m gone they...

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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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Stretch Out Your Neck

Stretch Out Your Neck

The Robbers and the Donkey, Paul Cezanne, 1870 by Justin E. H. Smith Whether species all emerged from the same origin, each representing slight variations on the same underlying type, or whether, to return to Buffon’s view, they are timeless variations on the same underlying type, related not by...

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The Origin of Just War Theory

The Origin of Just War Theory

The Underworld, Walter Bayes, 1918 From The New York Times: The origin of just war theory is usually traced to the writings of Augustine, though many of the theory’s elements became well established only much later, during its “classical” period between the early 16th  and mid-17th centuries. The principles...

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A Collision with the Scylla of Russell and the Charybdis of Wikipedia

A Collision with the Scylla of Russell and the Charybdis of Wikipedia

Odysseus in front of Scylla and Charybdis, Johann Heinrich Füssli, 1794-1796 by Justin E. H. Smith I may have mentioned already that I am in the beginning stages of a massively ambitious, multi-year project: I have been asked to write a very long, but not nearly long enough, book...

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Quoth the Raven

Quoth the Raven

Charles Dickens, in a note now lying before me, alluding to an examination I once made of the mechanism of "Barnaby Rudge," says- "By the way, are you aware that Godwin wrote his 'Caleb Williams' backwards? He first involved his hero in a web of difficulties, forming the second...

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Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau-Ponty by Emily S. Lee Maurice Merleau-Ponty did not write much on race; he only mentioned it once, as far as I know, in his article, “The Child’s Relation with Others”. In these post-colonial times, it is recognized that one of the tools of colonialism is its epistemic...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Martin Heidegger by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei The following text  was delivered at the opening of Cross-Examinations #2: How Much Fascism?, curated by WHW in collaboration with Mihnea Mircan, Extra City, Antwerp BE, October 5, 2012. I would like to begin with a definition from Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s book...

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Truth’s Minimalism

Truth’s Minimalism

It is not uncommon that a discussion about some controversy turns to the truth or falsity of some claim, and thereupon one of the parties to the discussion questions the very nature of truth itself.

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Yahia Lababidi: Every Tweet

Yahia Lababidi: Every Tweet

Stone Garden, Kazuyuki Ohtsu by Yahia Lababidi Poetic Ideal: a language scrubbed clean by silences. If we listen, the air is heavy with poems, ripe for plucking. Branches are roots, too, in the sky. Perhaps it is not poetry that purifies the language of the tribe, but Silence. The...

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Narratomania

Narratomania

My livelihood depends on fiction. To this end I have published a book arguing for the importance of literature in life. I have posted personal blogs that combine internal reflection with cultural commentary. In short, I see the absolute importance of narrative in life and work. Yet, I also...

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Weird Philosophy

Weird Philosophy

I want to propose, as a trajectory into the philosophically weird, an absurd theoretical claim and pursue it, or perhaps more accurately, construct it as I point to it, collecting the ground work behind me like the Perpetual Train from China Mieville's Iron Council which puts down track as...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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