Berfrois

August 2014

  • Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

    August 2014 Highlights

    Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

    All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in 1939. The film is Never Say Die.

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  • John Crutchfield: Chords

    August 2014 Highlights

    John Crutchfield: Chords

    But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any kind of music is better than despair. The semi-conscious busker crumpled full-fathom-five over his abused guitar, hat out flat on the pavement in front of him, mangy dog asleep to one side, half-eaten bag of Oreos to the other, and brightly-dressed tourists streaming past like tropical fish up above: at least he is creating something rather than, say, selling weapons to Somali warlords; at least.

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  • Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

    August 2014 Highlights

    Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

    Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, dictionaries. In order to keep pace, language is constantly changing, evolving fresh forms to cover new forms of political degeneracy, stretching to describe new varieties of corruption and war-mongering. Nazi, genocide, Auschwitz, Gulag, Communism, class struggle: each word brought into being to describe actions previously thought unimaginable or impossible.

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  • Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

    August 2014 Highlights

    Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

    One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A friend of mine is trying on breasts. This is why I like dreaming.

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  • Alexander McGregor: Trauma

    August 2014 Highlights

    Alexander McGregor: Trauma

    Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. Adorno wasn’t speaking literally. It is perhaps more helpful to understand Adorno’s comment, itself poetical, as a final rejection of Romanticism.

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Your real Italian garden brings in a new element…

Your real Italian garden brings in a new element…

There are also modern gardens in Italy, and in such I have spent many pleasant hours. But that has been part of my life of reality, which concerns only my friends and myself. The gardens I would speak about are those in which I have lived the life of...

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Bobbi Lurie’s Struggle

Bobbi Lurie’s Struggle

Turning to me, Duchamp said, "if you wish, my art would be that of living: each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere, which is neither visual nor cerebral." I did not know what to say. “If each second is a work of art, why the preference...

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In the Night by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

In the Night by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

On a chilly Thursday evening, I headed from my parking spot outside the Kaufleuten Saal, where Joyce once put on plays as co-founder of The English Players theater group, and up Augustinergasse, which winds around a small square before opening up to the building at number 9: the Haus...

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Gassy

Gassy

On Boxing Day of 1799 the twenty-year-old chemist Humphry Davy – later to become Sir Humphry, inventor of the miners’ lamp, President of the Royal Society and domineering genius of British science – stripped to the waist, placed a thermometer under his armpit and stepped into a sealed box...

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Nicholas Rombes on Tommy Ramone

Nicholas Rombes on Tommy Ramone

Tommy Ramone the avant-gardist. Buried in a few obituaries and reminiscences about Tommy Ramone were mentions of the sharp, avant-garde angle of vision that characterized the early Ramones. Maybe now — as the last Ramone has died — it’s time to re-think the Ramones as essentially an avant-garde outfit...

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Making Out With a Goddess by j/j hastain

Making Out With a Goddess by j/j hastain

When the moment for a meal finally manifests, its metabolism ravenously ricochets, physically increasing the size of the python’s heart in just a short three-day period. Enzyme-gush protects the heart from injury, and this occurs just after the python has engorged. The body is a green area constantly being...

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Prisoner, Discoverer, Founder, Liberator

Prisoner, Discoverer, Founder, Liberator

The four small stones we dredged up from the river and placed in my knapsack began to weigh me down with African history. I had gone with Shola, a friend, and Johnson, a colleague, to the ancient Yoruba sanctuary of Osun. Located in the remnants of high primary forest in...

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God Gone Astray

God Gone Astray

by Justin E. H. Smith There is an observation sometimes made in connection with the history of philosophical reflection on the nature of human distinctness, that language has moved in, in the past few centuries, to fill a role that had previously been taken up by belief in a...

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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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