Berfrois

October 2012

Gamer

Gamer

From Poetry: “That elk is such a dick,” Robbins writes in his title poem. “He’s a space tree/making a ski and a little foam chiropractor.” “Your tribe’s Doritos are infested with a stegosaur,” he notes elsewhere. “That Forever 21 used to be a Virgin Megastore.” Often he invites us...

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Daniel Tobin: Irish Routes

Daniel Tobin: Irish Routes

The apartment building where I grew up in Brooklyn during the Sixties and Seventies had strangely much in common with the kind of close-knit Irish townland from which my grandmother emigrated in 1913. Tucked just beyond the entry on the first floor landing, her small one bedroom flat was...

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Novels of Circulation

Novels of Circulation

The Merchant Georg Gisze, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1532 by Jonathan Lamb Piece originally published at Public Domain Review. Some of the best recent books about things, such as John Plotz’s Portable Property (2008) and Elaine Freedgood’s Ideas in Things (2006), deal with artefacts, commodities and curiosities that find...

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Nina Jablonski: Skin Toning

Nina Jablonski: Skin Toning

Hardly a week goes by that there isn’t a scandal about skin colour. Most recently it was the story about the casting of the relatively light-skinned actor, Zoe Saldana, to play the part of the late dark-skinned singer, Nina Simone. Bloggers agreed that Saldana was preferred by Hollywood filmmakers...

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Denver

Denver

by Elvin Lim President Obama had a bad night. The key to succeeding in a presidential debate is recognizing that it is not a parliamentary debate. The rules, the moderator, and even the immediate audience (since they are not permitted to applaud) do not matter. Instead, candidates should bare their...

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Masha Tupitsyn: Somewhere, Over

Masha Tupitsyn: Somewhere, Over

In a deleted take from The Wizard of Oz posted on YouTube, Judy/Dorothy breaks down during her iconic song. She doesn't sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," she weeps it. Did they want her to cry like this? Did they push her too hard, for too long, for too many...

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Every Book I’m Shufflin’

Every Book I’m Shufflin’

Card from A Shufflebook, by Richard Hefter and Martin Stephen Moskof, 1970 by Zuzana Husárová and Nick Montfort Introduction The paper formulates the category “shuffle literature” to help reveal important qualities of certain intriguing works of fiction and poetry. We show how unusual formal and material aspects of these...

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Protest Post

Protest Post

Occupy Wall Street poster From Observatory: As a supposedly antiquated form of media, the poster is regularly pronounced to be on its last legs as a means of communication and of marginal relevance now. I have written pieces myself saying much the same thing. No one doubts that posters used...

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Turkey and the Arab Spring

Turkey and the Arab Spring

The political upheavals of the Arab Spring and electoral victories of Islamist parties have brought a resurgence of talk about the ‘Turkish model’—a template that ‘effectively integrates Islam, democracy and vibrant economics’, according to a gushing New York Times article last year, which hailed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as ‘perhaps...

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‘Even independent voters don’t want to hire a doomsayer for president’

‘Even independent voters don’t want to hire a doomsayer for president’

A Barack Obama bobblehead is launched into space by Elvin Lim The Obama campaign, by fortune or by wit, has peaked at the right moment. Early voting has already started in Virginia, and starts in Iowa and Ohio next week. This means that the polls telling a uniform story of...

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The Taj Mahal has a hundred untold stories…

The Taj Mahal has a hundred untold stories…

From Harvard Magazine: Mehrotra was one of the authors of the 1995 historic preservation act that protects that part of Mumbai, the first such law in India. From 1996 until 2005, even after the move to Michigan, he directed Mumbai’s Urban Design Research Institute, advising the city and developers...

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Weird Philosophy

Weird Philosophy

I want to propose, as a trajectory into the philosophically weird, an absurd theoretical claim and pursue it, or perhaps more accurately, construct it as I point to it, collecting the ground work behind me like the Perpetual Train from China Mieville's Iron Council which puts down track as...

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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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