Berfrois

May 2011

Dostoevsky vs. Tolstoy (on humanitarian interventions)

Dostoevsky vs. Tolstoy (on humanitarian interventions)

 Capture Grivitskogo redoubt at Plevna, Nikolai Dmitriev-Orenburgsky, 1885 by James Warner Dostoevsky was in favor of military intervention in the Balkans, Tolstoy opposed to it. The arguments they put forward are surprisingly relevant to our own current wars. A little background – in the summer of 1875, Orthodox Christians...

Read More

Does George Monbiot live in Sector 7G, Fantasy Island?

Does George Monbiot live in Sector 7G, Fantasy Island?

In Fukushima's Wake | by Alexander Cockburn

New Left Review 

The reactions to Fukushima from the nuclear industry’s shills have been predictable—if still scarcely believable—sallies into cognitive dissonance. Thus Paddy Reagan, professor of Nuclear Physics at the University of Surrey: ‘We had...

Read More

‘Uncoordinated national policies cannot govern migration’

‘Uncoordinated national policies cannot govern migration’

Migrants arriving by boat on Lampedusa Island, Noborder network by Tito Boeri Lampedusa is a beautiful island closer to North Africa than to Sicily. In the last two months it has been flooded with migrants, mostly coming from Tunisia. The preliminary count is 28,000 arrivals on an island where...

Read More

Naco Networks

Naco Networks

Round structures, Site PVN306, Naco Valley by Edward M. Schortman and Patricia A. Urban A debate that has long fascinated us concerns the ways in which political relations emerge from, and are sustained by, daily interactions among individuals of all ranks. The traditional approach in our discipline, archaeology, has tended to...

Read More

Life / Art

Life / Art

From A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist From Los Angeles Review of Books: In Germany, there are pretty much only two categories: literature—work aspiring toward literary merit—and then just pure information, train schedules and the like. (Unfortunate example.) John Cheever’s “legacy” is based...

Read More

Energy Infatuations

Energy Infatuations

Illustration by Milo Winter, from Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift, 1930 edition  From American Scientist: To follow global energy affairs is to have a never-ending encounter with new infatuations. Fifty years ago media ignored crude oil (a barrel went for little more than a dollar). Instead the western utilities were preoccupied...

Read More

Fantasia is what is…

Fantasia is what is…

Fantasia, Walt Disney Productions, 1940  by Bill Benzon Early in my career I was immersed in the ideas of a handful of Continental thinkers, including Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty, Piaget, and Lévi-Strauss, but, as I explained in an essay, about my encounter with Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”, that poem forced me away...

Read More

James Madison and the Corporations

James Madison and the Corporations

James Madison, Corporations, and the National Security State | by Scott Horton

Harpers

James Madison stood between 5'3" and 5'4" tall and weighed barely more than one hundred pounds. He was the most diminutive of the American presidents. He had no skills...

Read More

Emily Greble: Multicultural Sarajevo, 1941-45

Emily Greble: Multicultural Sarajevo, 1941-45

In fall 1941, a few months after Nazi Germany dismembered Yugoslavia and established a satellite called the Independent State of Croatia, local police in Sarajevo, a major city in the new state, hunted down a Jewish man who had been deported to a concentration camp.

Read More

Coca Flows

Coca Flows

Coca Plantation, Madre de Dios, Peru, Benedicte Desrus  by Elaine Carey Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug, by Paul Gootenberg, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 442 pp. As someone who also has become interested in the scholarly analysis of the commodity flows of miracle powders, tinctures, and...

Read More
Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

Read More
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...

Read More
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.

Read More
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....

Read More
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....

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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....

Read More
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...

Read More
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....

Read More
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...

Read More