Berfrois

June 2013

Legacy Russell: Watching Me, Watching You

Legacy Russell: Watching Me, Watching You

Everyone has tried to use Photo Booth on an Apple computer to take a staged photo of themselves looking effortlessly effortless. If you’re reading this and you’re all like, “I’d never do that,” you’re either lying to me, to the NSA, to someone else next to you, or you’re...

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Socialist Zionism ultimately meant socialism for no one…

Socialist Zionism ultimately meant socialism for no one…

From 5 Broken Cameras, directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, 2011 From Jacobin: The Left has a checkered history when it comes to Palestine. For at least the first two decades of Israel’s existence, due in part to the attempted extermination of European Jewry, in part to the...

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Francis Ghilès: Frontiers

Francis Ghilès: Frontiers

Democratic imperialism has long been the favourite foreign policy vision of American neoconservatives: foreign powers had the moral obligation to impose democratic institutions on people who, subject to authoritarian rule were in no position to determine their fate. The U.S., and many in France and the UK, argued they...

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Song of Whitman

Song of Whitman

Walt Whitman, Camden, New Jersey, 1891. Photograph by Samuel Murray by Justin E. H. Smith I am able to read Walt Whitman only in small doses, for fear of being overpowered by a sort of rapturous assent, tears in my eyes, unable to comprehend how it is even possible...

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Mammoth Mugs

Mammoth Mugs

Woolly Mammoths, Charles R. Knight, 1915 by Leonard Finkelman I need two things to start my average weekday. One of them is coffee. The coffee, of course, goes into a mug . Mugs reflect our deepest-held values, proudly displaying the logo of a faceless corporate monolith or the title...

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To Love a Wall?

To Love a Wall?

Robert Frost’s second book, North of Boston (1914), has almost universally been considered the defining moment of his literary maturation. First published in England when the poet was forty years old, it reflected twenty hard and lonely years of quiet artistic development.

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Just Laugh

Just Laugh

Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office, BBC, 2001 From The American Scholar: In my neuropsychiatric practice, I often use cartoons and jokes to measure a patient’s neurologic and psychiatric well-being. I start off with a standard illustration called “The Cookie Theft.” It depicts a boy, precariously balanced...

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With perfection, there’s no more discussion…

With perfection, there’s no more discussion…

“A writer in the act of writing must fear neither his own words nor anything else in the world,” Heini tells Algin in Irmgard Keun’s After Midnight. Algin is considering writing a historical novel that will satisfy the stiff submission requirements of the Reich Chamber of Literature. The historical...

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Hilal Khashan on Bashar al-Assad

Hilal Khashan on Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian regime continues to celebrate its recent achievement in al-Qusayr, which it describes as a game-changing twist that will eventually awe the opposition into submission. Officials in Damascus wasted no time in announcing the beginning of the Northern Storm Operation to restore government control of Aleppo, Syria’s industrial...

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DRMWorld

DRMWorld

From SimCity, Electronic Arts, 2013 From The New Inquiry: SimCity, Electronic Arts’ online multiplayer reboot of the long-­running SimCity franchise, was supposed to be available for download and play on March 5, 2013. The download part mostly worked. The play part did not. The problems were wonderfully and excitingly...

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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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