Berfrois

April 2015

Michael Munro: Clarity

Michael Munro: Clarity

“If reading is not to be simply synonymous with deciphering, commentary or even interpretation,” Geoffrey Bennington has written, “then it must inevitably encounter the question of the unreadable”

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A German Europe

A German Europe

Almost all EU regulations made in recent years show the hand of Germany – starting with the Lisbon Treaty, which remains the EU's primary law.

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Amy Glynn: Call Me Back

Amy Glynn: Call Me Back

Dear You, I am writing these lines from northern Washington on the day of the year when I most hate northern Washington; the one that does not end.

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Shut Not Your Doors

Shut Not Your Doors

In October 1865, a 22-year-old wordsmith living on Ashburton Place, behind the Massachusetts State House, filed what has to be one of the nastiest book reviews ever published.

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Good books are the sort for the young to read…

Good books are the sort for the young to read…

Being told I would be expected to talk here, I inquired what sort of talk I ought to make. They said it should be something suitable to youth-something didactic, instructive, or something in the nature of good advice.

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Munchies

Munchies

Over the years I’ve known many people with nicknames, including Lucky, Big O, Haywire, Turtle Eggs, Hercules, two guys named Hollywood, and three guys called Booger.

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All That Paper

All That Paper

Is there a relationship between the quantity of books available to us, the ease with which they can be written and published, and our reading experience?

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BBB

BBB

Rarely have I seen a cityscape more depressing than that part of Beirut we are expected to call its centre-ville. It once contained a real souk, a vital, organic city center.

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Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed to produce any satisfactory explanation. Now we only knew how it had entered, but still not why.

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Just Sick Enough

Just Sick Enough

I used to buy The Sun newspaper. Not just to fit in with mates at secondary school but right into my first year at university. I knew there was something to be ashamed of in this filthy habit.

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Vaulting Ambition

Vaulting Ambition

Illustration by Salvador Bartolozzi. Via. by Lauren Berlant This is a very lightly revised version of the paper I tried to deliver at the American Studies Association conference as a performance piece that also riffed on the talks just given around me: a complete failure as a performance. Amitava...

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Thoreau’s Walk

Thoreau’s Walk

Summer and winter our eyes had rested on the dim outline of the mountains in our horizon, to which distance and indistinctness lent a grandeur not their own, so that they served equally to interpret all the allusions of poets and travellers

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Can benevolent autocrats be trusted with development?

Can benevolent autocrats be trusted with development?

Historians have recently begun to investigate how development became central to the global humanitarian politics of the twentieth century, and why it has never been able to deliver on its promises.

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Generation People

Generation People

It’s easy, of course, to make fun of generational analysis. For many years generations have been the favored category of social pseudoscientists, not to mention marketing gurus and breathless lifestyle journalists.

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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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