Berfrois

December 2014

  • Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

    December 2014 Highlights

    Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

    Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The person was so skeptical because to her stranger and distance-shaped intimacies are diminished forms of real intimacy.

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  • Remembering Michael B. Katz

    December 2014 Highlights

    Remembering Michael B. Katz

    Michael B. Katz sadly passed away in August. We knew him as a brilliant writer and strong champion of the urban poor. Here are some tributes from his friends.

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  • David Beer: Broadcastwerk

    December 2014 Highlights

    David Beer: Broadcastwerk

    Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home, as such it is “assessed just as quickly and sharply” as any other houseguest.

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  • Michael Munro on Spinoza

    December 2014 Highlights

    Michael Munro on Spinoza

    Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is not without significance. It is perhaps for that reason that the two formulas are best read together. At the point of vertigo.

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  • Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

    December 2014 Highlights

    Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

    The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to genius.

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  • Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

    December 2014 Highlights

    Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

    I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone and orders an Uber. It is ten o’clock. Joni Mitchell croons in the corner from my Macbook Air. Ubering while listening to Joni Mitchell, he says. Probably not what she had in mind.

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Young and Charming and Crazy

Young and Charming and Crazy

Back at the beginning of this year, the celebrity timetable that decrees what is going to be in our gossip columns and fill acres of newsprint and internet pages in any given week, reminded editors around the world that Kate Moss was having her fortieth birthday.

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The Threat to Printed Books

The Threat to Printed Books

One would like to be as cheerful as this about the future of the printed book, or even the book, but the analogy with newspapers, which each year continue to record further steep declines in sales, leading to the extinction of many venerable titles, does not give us great...

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So Slow

So Slow

For more than two centuries, time has been felt to be passing more and more quickly. Scholars tell us that since the twin revolutions of the 18th century — industrial and political — a general sense of time speeding up has been recorded with regularity in documents of all kinds.

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For Real

For Real

In the introduction to the 1995 reissue of his 1973 masterpiece Crash, J.G. Ballard discusses ‘the balance between fiction and reality’.

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It’s Getting Ho Ho Hot

It’s Getting Ho Ho Hot

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, The heat wave brutal and spiteful. Our crops have no water to grow—Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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Thanking You!

Thanking You!

Thank you to our 229 wonderful funders. We can now continue publication for at least another year while remaining free of advertisements. Time to get perking!

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Thomas Rath: Mexican Democracy

Thomas Rath: Mexican Democracy

I don't think Iguala means we should jettison the narrative of democratization entirely, at least if we want to understand how and why Mexico has changed in the last fifty years. Elections are contested by more parties than they used to be, and the Supreme Court has recently shown...

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Pinsky on Hayden

Pinsky on Hayden

Poetry is not the same as mere eloquence or high language. That’s a truism. The stock modernist examples demonstrating it include William Carlos Williams’ “This is just to say.” In a related way, Marianne Moore clearly enjoys saying, in the first line of her “Poetry,” “there are things that...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Albanian Poppies

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Albanian Poppies

Recently, historian Bernd Fischer claimed that in fact the last German left on December 4, which was in turn heavily contested by Paskal Milo, etcetera. Why the fact of the last German leaving ought to determine the symbolic date of national liberation is beyond me, but I'm sure it's...

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Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

In February of 1922, just after James Joyce's Ulysses appeared, Virginia Woolf wrote to her sister Vanessa, who was then in Paris: “for Gods sake make friends with Joyce. I particularly want to know what he’s like.”

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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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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