Berfrois

December 2010

Edited Out

Edited Out

District 9, TriStar Pictures, 2009 From Killing the Buddha: This version of District 9 was really strange. Scenes were missing. The dialogue was muted out on occasion. Characters vanished from the plot, never to be heard from again. In some cases they vanished into (literal) thin air. I know the...

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Rudolph as Vertumnus as the harvest as monster

Rudolph as Vertumnus as the harvest as monster

Vertumnus, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1590-1591 From The Smart Set: We fill absences. This is what we do. Nature has her way of filling up absence with stars, atoms, frogs, dirt, human beings. Human beings, though, have their own curious way of filling absence. When we lived in caves, we filled...

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‘The worst case scenario is not that humans will become extinct…’

‘The worst case scenario is not that humans will become extinct…’

Life After People, History From 3 Quarks Daily: The year is 3010 and an interesting new species has evolved: a muscular, knuckle-walking primate with sparse body hair and a strikingly human face. It appears to be deformed, with extra non-functional limbs in various anatomical positions–like something out of a...

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In the slam laboratory

In the slam laboratory

Señor Codo From Poetry: A rotary phone and an antique cash register rest on the counter behind the bar. The faded handwritten labels on the jukebox look as though they’ve been around since the days when the men and women who came here sported fedoras and white gloves. Behind...

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Always Already Derrida: Berfrois Interviews David Mikics

Always Already Derrida: Berfrois Interviews David Mikics

by Russell Bennetts David Mikics is a professor at the University of Houston and writes on Renaissance literature,  twentieth century poetry and fiction, continental philosophy, and literary theory. His published works are on ideas which range from pathos and subjectivity in Spenser and Milton to individualism in Emerson and Nietzsche. His current book,...

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‘Les Halles was more central to the idea of Paris in the minds of its own citizens than any tower or monument could ever be’

‘Les Halles was more central to the idea of Paris in the minds of its own citizens than any tower or monument could ever be’

In Search of Lost Paris | by  Luc Sante

The New York Review of Books

It was often called the “soul” of Paris as well as its “stomach,” and it was destroyed impersonally...

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Super Shigsy and the 25-Year Jumpman

Super Shigsy and the 25-Year Jumpman

From The New Yorker: Fishermen have a saying, in reference to the addictive sensation of a fish hitting your line: “The tug is the drug.” Gamers, as video-game players are known, thrill to “the pull,” that mysterious ability that good games have of making you want to play them,...

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Memories of the Future: Across the Afro-Hispanic and U.S. Latino/a and Chicano/a Americas

Memories of the Future: Across the Afro-Hispanic and U.S. Latino/a and Chicano/a Americas

Adrián Sánchez Galque, Mulatos de Esmeraldas, 1599    by Tace M. Hedrick Afro-latino Voices: Narratives from the Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic World, 1550-1812, by Kathryn Joy McKnight, Leo Garofalo, (eds), Indianapolis: Hackett, 377 pp. Technofuturos: Critical Interventions in Latina/o Studies, by Nancy Raquel Mirabal, Agustín Laó-Montes, (eds), Lanham: Lexington Books, 420...

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‘While Beach found fun in capers and antics, Monnier held the literary punks at bay’

‘While Beach found fun in capers and antics, Monnier held the literary punks at bay’

From Brick: Sylvia Beach said that she had three loves: Shakespeare and Company, James Joyce, and Adrienne Monnier. For mysterious reasons—perhaps because she wrote in French, perhaps because in the age of high modernism she preserved the habits and demeanour of the nineteenth century—Monnier was passed over for the...

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‘The foreigners were gone, at last…’

‘The foreigners were gone, at last…’

From The New Statesman: As the rain sheeted down, time washed away. I looked down from the rooftop in Saigon where, more than a generation ago, in the wake of the longest war of modern times, I had watched silent, sullen streets awash. The foreigners were gone, at last....

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Very comfortable in its excess

Very comfortable in its excess

From Washington Monthly: The furniture is, in reality, all very cheap, Yang confides. He bought it from a relative who is in the furniture resale business. Though it may seem a tad gaudy to Western sensibilities, it feels very comfortable to him in its excess. When I and another...

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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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