Berfrois

May 2015

  • David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

    May 2015 Highlights

    David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

    As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John B. Watson.

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  • Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

    May 2015 Highlights

    Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

    I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip Folger’s at home and distilled sludge at the office.

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  • In X the Promise

    May 2015 Highlights

    In X the Promise

    X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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  • Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

    May 2015 Highlights

    Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

    Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and internationals “in-the-know” is that the municipal elections in Tirana will be a mere formality.

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Aggregated Communities

Aggregated Communities

Taylor ruefully describes the experience of discovering that her documentary film, Examined Life—interviews with philosophers, two years in the making—had been posted online by strangers before it had even opened in theatres.

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‘Sex, snatches of old TV shows’

‘Sex, snatches of old TV shows’

Another moment in the dark: early December, the end of the year creeping near, not the object of immediate attention but visible in the distance. I was fifty years old.

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Stoned

Stoned

By all appearances, stone is a poor medium for keeping time, yet the under-rated rock has much to say about temporality. The extreme slowness of most geological processes renders them perceptible only when viewed in the appropriate timescale.

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Art is long, but life is short…

Art is long, but life is short…

Image by RubyGoes From Slate: All poetry critics are on the hunt for neon-lined, essential truths about their subjects—but James has an uncanny instinct for where to look. It’s precision not just of vocabulary—of intuiting the right words to describe a tone or style—but of thought. James has mastered...

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What constitutes Latin American philosophy?

What constitutes Latin American philosophy?

In a way, such a question is of a piece with a central topos of Latin American culture: that is, the lack of ground for the unity of what is gathered together under the name.

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Maps are expressions not only of power, but of desire…

Maps are expressions not only of power, but of desire…

A critical cartography is the idea that maps – like other texts such as the written word, images or film – are not (and cannot be) value-free or neutral.

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Elisa Veini: Erdha

Elisa Veini: Erdha

“The Valbona concept of time is non-existent. In Albanian, when someone calls you: ‘Hey, come here’, you answer: ‘Erdha’, which is past tense, ‘I came’, instead of: ‘I am coming’.

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While the men of China are entering a civilized new world, China’s women still remain in the dark.”

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OK, Will Stop Texting

OK, Will Stop Texting

It just makes me sad that everyone lets everyone go all the time. Precarity and chronic melancholy have made everyone emotionally inert and estranged.

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The Pleasures of Readerly Discomfort and Difficulty

The Pleasures of Readerly Discomfort and Difficulty

I was an undergraduate at Cambridge at an interesting moment in the history of the university’s curriculum in English literature. When I matriculated in 1993, more than ten years had elapsed since the Leavisites had failed to promote Colin MacCabe due to his teaching of “structuralism.”

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“How do you feel?”

“How do you feel?”

Olivia sat across from me in my sunlit office, shadowed in grief. She’d been trying to get pregnant for years, and had been coming to see me for nearly all of them.

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Words went scuttling past like beetles…

Words went scuttling past like beetles…

Alongside Schulz’s extraordinary fiction and his horrendous death, there remains one more element of his legend.

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‘Hegemony makes people lazy and powerful enough to repress critics’

‘Hegemony makes people lazy and powerful enough to repress critics’

My approach is that I see populism as an ideology. By saying that populism is an ideology rather than a discourse, I assume that they mean what they say.

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Adam Staley Groves: Pacmania

Adam Staley Groves: Pacmania

Muhammad Ali was no doubt a lyric boxer and he remains a poet-boxer unique among poets and boxers, unmatched, unmatchable.

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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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