Berfrois

August 2012

For. Us.

For. Us.

by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei It is not my intention to offer the following notes pertaining to one part of the series Narration d’équilibre , written by the poet, translator, photographer, encyclopedist, and radio maker Jean Daive (1941), as a meticulous overview of the different themes,...

Read More

Wendy Cheng and Laura Barraclough: LA, What Can We Say?

Wendy Cheng and Laura Barraclough: LA, What Can We Say?

Los Angeles is well known as a place anchored by Hollywood and home to celebrities, beach culture and endless sunshine. There are also the dystopic representations of the city as intellectually vacuous, absent of any redeeming culture and rife with traffic jams, suburban sprawl, environmental noxiousness and racial conflict.

Read More

A Kafka Doctor

A Kafka Doctor

The Laurenziberg, Prague From London Review of Books: I am guilty of an association of ideas; or rather: I am guilty – that’s a given, and in casting about for the source of my guilt I find I cannot prevent myself from linking one idea with another purely on...

Read More

Mapping Hidden Space

Mapping Hidden Space

In Pynchon's 2006 novel Against the Day, characters rove all over the known world and, indeed, beyond, discovering hidden realms and involving themselves in political conflicts, obscure mysticisms and mathematical debates. Given its vast scope, the novel may, as Christopher Leise contends, require "more lamps than most to illuminate...

Read More

‘The Eurozone has arrived at a historic crossroads’

‘The Eurozone has arrived at a historic crossroads’

From New Left Review: Why has the Eurozone emerged as the new epicentre of the global financial crisis, when its origins—the famous subprime mortgages—were American? And why, within Europe, has Greece proved to be the weak link? The starting point for any adequate answer is the recognition that what...

Read More

Free Market Power Put on Ice

Free Market Power Put on Ice

by Gregory Jusdanis I got a new lesson on the force of narrative during the blackout that affected much of the mid-west and east coast in early July. It was the third time our own neighborhood had experienced an extended power outage in four years. This time, however, the...

Read More

Capitalism may yet weather climate change…

Capitalism may yet weather climate change…

Can capitalism effectively respond to climate change? This is the timely and critically important question posed by Peter Newell and Matthew Paterson at the beginning of their book, Climate Capitalism. It is the same question that motivated me to focus my own research on the topic of business and...

Read More

The Boss at 62

The Boss at 62

From The New Yorker: Nearly half a century ago, when Elvis Presley was filming “Harum Scarum” and “Help!” was on the charts, a moody, father-haunted, yet uncannily charismatic Shore rat named Bruce Springsteen was building a small reputation around central Jersey as a guitar player in a band called...

Read More

A Portrait of the Philosopher as a Middle-Aged Man

A Portrait of the Philosopher as a Middle-Aged Man

Before beginning in earnest, a preliminary point about birthdays: I am convinced that one of the crucial moments in the emergence of the modern world was the transition from the celebration of saint days to the fêting of our own anniversaries. We scoff at cultures that believe in reincarnation,...

Read More

A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

The accounts, symbols and feelings that we have about national identity were largely imagined, created and popularized in the nineteenth century. The word ‘nationalism’ itself dates from the early nineteenth century and marked the increasing use of national identity in order to make political claims. So to argue that...

Read More

As Modern Citizens

As Modern Citizens

From the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony From Inside Story: This is a slow country to move. After seven years of preparation, months of publicity, weeks of fractiousness and days of panic, Britain had still not quite adjusted itself to the idea that it was to play host to...

Read More

Is the Pied Piper of R&B having a laugh?

Is the Pied Piper of R&B having a laugh?

R. Kelly in his video for “Echo”, 2009 From The New Yorker: In his twenty-year exploration of the limits of the R. & B. sex ballad, R. Kelly has often toed the line between satiric and satyric. In his song “Sex Planet,” he made the obvious joke about Uranus;...

Read More

‘Not all the British visitors were philistines’

‘Not all the British visitors were philistines’

In the first half of the 19th century, the British began to discover Normandy. Previously, the point of entry into France for most travellers had been Calais, which felt safely half-English, and where even the beggars importuned new arrivals in their own language. Those prepared to make the longer...

Read More

The library has become more popular than ever…

The library has become more popular than ever…

Sometime last year, the New York Public Library (NYPL) retired its pneumatic-tube system, which had been used to request books for more than a century. This change was made without ceremony or fanfare; I learned of it unexpectedly, when I walked into the catalog room prepared to deliver a...

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
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...

Read More