Berfrois

March 2012

A-Culture

A-Culture

The Simpsons, 20th Century Fox From Triple Canopy: Before Facebook and Twitter became avenues for advertising ourselves and our careers, before Internet dating became not only acceptable but preferable to the alternatives, before so much of our social and professional lives came to be conducted on the Web, social...

Read More

Nicholas Rombes: Punk

Nicholas Rombes: Punk

Mark Perry, the founder of one of the earliest punk fanzines Sniffin' Glue, has said, “Although was entirely connected to the hippy politics, it was entirely the natural progression of hippies' 'anti-establishmentism,' I think. You couldn't wear bells and flowers to freak the powers out anymore and there...

Read More

Sphere Within Sphere

Sphere Within Sphere

Anita Desai by James Warner In The Artist of Disappearance, Anita Desai meditates on the private and fragile nature of the creative act. Her nostalgic visions of India are also parables of the self’s search for authenticity. Anita Desai’s work has often shown us the remnants of a glorious...

Read More

Share Books

Share Books

Peoples Library, Zuccotti Park. Photograph by David Shankbone by Barbara Fister In 2011, American libraries fought for the right to do what they had done in the past: share books and information. Over the past ten years, scholarship has been massively privatized; library access to journals is now almost...

Read More

‘Perhaps there is an ethical school by which standards God comes across as the good guy’

‘Perhaps there is an ethical school by which standards God comes across as the good guy’

The other night I was with friends, enjoying a relaxing evening of Chinese takeout and a wine that was far too expensive to go with it, while we started watching favorite YouTube videos. One of them is Ricky Gervais’ take on Noah’s Ark

Read More

Carl Wennerlind: Credit Alchemy!

Carl Wennerlind: Credit Alchemy!

by Carl Wennerlind When the philosopher Baruch de Spinoza received word of a successful transmutation of lead into gold in December of 1666, he quickly sought to quell his skepticism by personally visiting the adept, and the visit left him fully convinced of the veracity of the adept’s account....

Read More

Jerry Moore: Stuffed

Jerry Moore: Stuffed

In the waning decades of the 20th century, my wife and I, then recent Ph.D.s, moved thirteen times in six years. This was hardly an itinerant lifestyle compared to highly mobile hunters and gatherers like the Ache of Paraguay who reportedly moved fifty times annually, but thanks to the...

Read More

Hayek’s review of the Treatise in Economica appeared technical in character, but it was politically charged…

Hayek’s review of the Treatise in Economica appeared technical in character, but it was politically charged…

The Theatre, LSE, c.1930. Photograph from LSE Library Collection From The Times Literary Supplement: In London, Robbins had experienced Keynes’s less attractive side. They had both been appointed to the Macmillan Committee on Finance and Industry, which was intended to find answers to the severe economic downturn then under...

Read More

Sexless in Skyrim

Sexless in Skyrim

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda Softworks, 2011 From The New Inquiry: You can die in Skyrim in the same way that you can die in all videogames, as a fleeting inconvenience for having lost a sword fight, a small technicality. Once dead you reset to the last...

Read More

The Cult of Chuck by Daniel Roberts

The Cult of Chuck by Daniel Roberts

A smart friend, who nonetheless doesn’t often find time to read for pleasure, asked me recently if I had read any Chuck Palahniuk before. I sure have. And for whatever reason, the question of where to get started with this specific author is one that I’ve been asked quite...

Read More

Ground

Ground

Berliner Ensemble production of The Life of Galileo, 1971 From The Nation: A right thumb, a finger, a tooth. These were the contents of a reliquary acquired several years ago by a collector at an auction in Florence. Little did he know that for centuries the remains had been...

Read More

Michael Moodian: Debating Nixon

Michael Moodian: Debating Nixon

Richard Nixon by Michael A. Moodian The structure of the best tragedy should be not simple but complex and one that represents incidents arousing fear and pity—for that is peculiar to this form of art. —Aristotle in Poetics (335 BCE/1932, sec. 1452b) On September 29, 1945, Republican businessman Herman...

Read More

Metaphysics, History

Metaphysics, History

Marilynne Robinson From Bookforum: In her novels and in her nonfiction essays, Marilynne Robinson‘s questions are always roughly the same: Who are we, and where did we come from? The first is a matter of metaphysics, the second of history. At least since the publication of her first collection...

Read More

Most, except the Greek nationalists, are perfectly happy blaming the Greeks…

Most, except the Greek nationalists, are perfectly happy blaming the Greeks…

So why are we in Europe going down the path of a deeply self-deceptive and hypocritical race to the bottom, where trans-European solidarity is a non-starter, since it can only be a barrier to a European political elite now intent on pursuing the next phase of our liberalization by...

Read More

Tax Bracket Exposure

Tax Bracket Exposure

Uebermalte Fotografien, Gerhard Richter, 2005 From N+1: It was obvious from my very first day that Sotheby’s would be exactly as I had come to imagine it. As the elevator reached each floor, archetypes spilled forth. Tweedy men got off at Rare Books, preppies at Impressionism, former sorority pledges...

Read More

GREATNESS and IMPORTANCE

GREATNESS and IMPORTANCE

The Poor Poet, Carl Spitzweg, 1839 From The New York Review of Books: Since when did being a writer become a career choice, with appropriate degree courses and pecking orders? Does this state of affairs make any difference to what gets written? … A natural selection process favors those...

Read More

‘Frustration among Saudis has deep roots’

‘Frustration among Saudis has deep roots’

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia From Boston Review: About two weeks after the failed mass protests, Chas Freeman, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, gave a lecture at the Asia Business Forum in Riyadh. He unequivocally asserted that there is no great power other than the United States capable...

Read More

Eli Evans plays chicken

Eli Evans plays chicken

There is a moment in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 Masculin Feminin in which the character played by a young and brilliant Jean-Pierre Léaud claims that one day at home while eating mashed potatoes his father discovered why the earth goes round the sun.

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