Berfrois

April 2012

Beer and Skittles

Beer and Skittles

The Office: An American Workplace, NBC by Peter Fleming Power At Play: The Relationships Between Play, Work and Governance, by Niels Åkerstrom Andersen, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 192. Neo-liberalism seems to persist through a double life. For sure, it believes in itself like all forms of fundamentalist thought, but...

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Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

Financial repression measures seen thus far are but the tip of a very large iceberg…

As coined by Ronald McKinnon (1973), the term “financial repression” describes various policies that allow governments to “capture” and “under-pay” domestic savers. Such policies include forced lending to governments by pension funds and other domestic financial institutions, interest-rate caps, capital controls, and many more.

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The Diet Lunch

The Diet Lunch

Whitechapel, London, 1972. Photograph by Ian Berry. by Ali Rattansi While analysing multiculturalism in the UK, the Netherlands and France in my recent Multiculturalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011), I had to confess that I had little idea what David Cameron’s “big society” project was going...

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CUC $10 Minimum

CUC $10 Minimum

From The Walrus: At the end of the meal, I’d given the waiter CUC $80 and received CUC $10 in change, and as I stood there with the ten-peso note in my hand Antonio grabbed and pocketed it. I shot him a confused look, and he responded with a half shrug...

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Maryann Corbett on Thomas Lynch

Maryann Corbett on Thomas Lynch

A reviewer once described the writer Thomas Lynch as a cross between Garrison Keillor and William Butler Yeats. I’ll say more later about the Yeats genes in this hybrid cross. But the comparison with Keillor is apt: both men are big, bearded, jowly and affable in performance.

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Disobedience

Disobedience

Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office, BBC, 2001 From The Nation: “I approach philosophy somewhat the way we approach art,” Havel once confessed. Despite his lack of method, he took a reading of Heidegger and a handful of homegrown metaphors and set forth in his writing powerful...

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Jeremy Fernando: Dear Father Lives

Jeremy Fernando: Dear Father Lives

For, we’ve always known that Kim Jong Il is a media event. Not just in death, but right from the very start. Unless you were in his inner circle, no one even knew him other than through the media. He might well have never even been born—or been born...

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Gazing

Gazing

From American Scientist: Does your dog know what you are thinking? Can a chimpanzee understand what another sees? In the three and a half decades since David Premack and Guy Woodruff first asked whether chimpanzees have a “theory of mind,” a considerable empirical and philosophical literature has sprung up...

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By its very nature, Hebrew fiction was shaped by its surrounding literary milieus…

By its very nature, Hebrew fiction was shaped by its surrounding literary milieus…

The resurrection of Hebrew from a “dead,” liturgical language into a living tongue remains dazzling, even a half-century after its initial establishment as an official state language. Once a purely literary language of Scripture and holy songs, Hebrew is now the native language of a populace of millions, and...

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“You put on your running shoes”

“You put on your running shoes”

Charles Duhigg, New York Times reporter and author of The Power of Habit by Steve Silberman For a species obsessed with free will, choices, and options, we spend a surprising amount of time acting like zombies. We’re already sipping our morning coffee before we notice we’ve navigated to the...

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Dead White Male Philosophers Society

Dead White Male Philosophers Society

There has been some interesting discussion at the NewAPPS blog, about the idea of 'academic passing', initiated by a thoughtful guest post from Kristie Dotson. It has been unclear to me throughout this discussion, since Dotson's initial post, whether what is being proposed is an expansion of approaches in...

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Local Slacker

Local Slacker

From Slacker, Orion Pictures, 1991 From N+1: New York City is the great circling bathtub drain that young people from the college towns and mid-sized cities of North America disappear into, unable to resist the siren song of their own cosmopolitan ambitions. The drainage of souls from second- and...

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The Congo wars might well have been avoided…

The Congo wars might well have been avoided…

All over east-central Africa, for several centuries, there has been tension between two ways of life that have also been two human silhouettes: the tall, graceful cattle-people and the shorter, sturdier agriculturalists. They have different names in different places, but in Rwanda and Burundi they are the Tutsi and...

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Radical Chic and the New

Radical Chic and the New

Leonard Bernstein, his wife Felicia Montealegre and Don Cox, Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party in the Bernsteins’ Park Avenue penthouse in Manhattan, January 14, 1970. From New York Magazine. From Eurozine: A discussion of “radical chic” – a term used to denounce criticism and radical thought as...

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What has happened to bring about the sad demise of the Western?

What has happened to bring about the sad demise of the Western?

The only recent Westerns that have managed to arouse my enthusiasm have been those made for TV: Walter Hill’s Broken Trail, and Deadwood, whose third and final season no one has even bothered to bring out on DVD in Spain, which gives you some idea of how unsuccessful the...

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Schools For Profit

Schools For Profit

The “Red Room” at Brooke House Sixth Form College in Hackney, London by Melissa Benn Faster than we recognise, schools are becoming profit centres. The buildings, the teaching, the cleaning, the exam results are all ways to make money. But who benefits? Brooke House Sixth Form College in Hackney – ...

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Winning Words

Winning Words

Tennyson in the London 2012 Olympic village From Literary Review: They are putting Tennyson up in the Olympic village. Last year, the final line of ‘Ulysses‘ – ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’ – prevailed in a public competition to select ‘Winning Words’, which means...

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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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