Thursday, April 24, 2014

Russell Bennetts

Russell Bennetts is the founder and editor of Berfrois. He lives in Camden Town.
@RussellBennetts

Contributions

For the Articles: Berfrois Interviews Carrie Pitzulo

I'm not sure I would use the word "radical." I would say that in the 1950s, Playboy was subversive in various ways: It celebrated free sexuality amongst single, "nice" girls, which was contrary to so much of postwar popular culture.
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Always Already Derrida: Berfrois Interviews David Mikics

For better or worse, Derrida continues to be a dominant figure in the academic humanities. There's a steady stream of books about and by him (during his life Derrida published about seventy books; there have been at least a half-dozen more since he died, six years ago). Most of the books about Derrida take him as gospel truth, claiming that he uncovered, for the first time, an essential truth about life and the world. Derrida wrote brilliantly about so many central thinkers of the Western tradition: Plato, Freud, Nietzsche, Heidegger and many more. In Who Was Jacques Derrida? I offer vignettes of these philosophers, giving my own sense of their work, along with an account of what Derrida did with them. Often, Derrida gave a partial or misleading account of his philosophical influences, but he always did so in an interesting way. The struggle between him and his great predecessors is dazzling to watch. I try to present these encounters in a lively and readable way, for readers who may not have the time or stamina to wend their way through Derrida's many books, which can be tough going at times.
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Playing the News: Berfrois Interviews Simon Ferrari

Newsgames are a way of doing journalism with games, so they exist somewhere in-between the two concepts as we usually think of them. This isn’t to say that they fit there neatly. Newsgames call attention to current and past issues that might not have received the scrutiny they deserve, they analyse these issues in ways that the written word or video can’t, they exist on a spectrum between professional and citizen reportage, they can be “hard” or “soft,” relevant or ridiculous. Some newsgames are meant to inform, some to persuade, and some to simply poke fun.
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Uncloseting Drama and Fag Hags: Berfrois Interviews Nick Salvato

We find, for instance, homoerotic and incestuous subjects at the center of closet dramas by Byron and Shelley, just as we find them at the center of closet dramas by Pound and Stein. But I argue that there is a historical specificity to the modernist revival of the closet drama as a site for queer meaning-making. The modernists’ moment is one in which the new sexual sciences have codified a range of identities and ways of understanding identity-formation, making the task of resisting regimes of sexuality more urgent than it would have been, say, in the early or mid-nineteenth century.
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Berfrois Interviews Gabriel Josipovici

The first thing to be said is that to define Modernism in any way at all is to take a stand. In that it is like Romanticism. You cannot write a 'history of Romanticism' or of Modernism, because you cannot stand above it on some neutral vantage-point. In my book I argued that though Modernism is associated with certain avant-garde artists working between 1850 and 1950 it is quite wrong to think of it as period-based, like Mannerism, or The Victorian Period, because that implies that it is now over and behind us.
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Comprehensively: Berfrois Interviews Melissa Benn

The more urgent problem here in the UK, as in the United States, is that the quasi-comprehensive model is being taken over by the private sector, with the potential for profit-making looming clearly. In the US, corporate educational reform is sucking the lifeblood out of an already badly pummelled public education system and I fear that the same thing is going to happen here.
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Russell Bennetts: Jarredhead

1. John Barrowman. 2. All-too pertinent news clips are shown in the background of two discussion scenes. 3. Music I listen to for pleasure being used for pain. (I know this happened IRL, but nonetheless.)
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Drink

An image gallery of Eddie Van Halen
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