Berfrois

July 2015

There were gummy bears and chocolate…

There were gummy bears and chocolate…

I was embarking on an adventure—an experimental procedure called a dorsal rhizotomy, where groupings of spinal nerve roots are cut to reduce the effects of interference, or the reduction of contradictory messages to and from the brain which contributed to my spasticity.

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Abundant Ownership

Abundant Ownership

Back in our day, our children were the center of our lives,” Mother said. “It seems like it’s so different for your generation. You just keep doing what you were doing before the baby arrived. It’s amazing to me.”

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European Community? Pah!

European Community? Pah!

The imposition of German demands on Greece, without consideration for its democracy, sovereignty or interests, is one of those moments that changes everything.

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All That Frustration by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

All That Frustration by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

Edi Rama must be a frustrated man. Frustrated by the provincial tastelessness of the director he chose for the National Gallery of Arts. Frustrated by the utter lack of vision of his Minister of Culture.

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‘Reading without guarantees allows a critic to be surprised’

‘Reading without guarantees allows a critic to be surprised’

The lag between surface reading’s gestation in the late 2000s and its critical uptake/interrogation in the early 2010s roughly corresponds to the time between Kenneth W. Warren’s delivering the W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard in 2007 and his publication of the book based on those talks...

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Sean Kilpatrick on Grant Maierhofer

Sean Kilpatrick on Grant Maierhofer

We place restrictions on love because it never existed. Likewise art regimented by currency does nothing but trend. All creative output has been demoted to the same reliant lung work of some pettier currency.

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Judith Sargent Murray: Swell E’en Female Hearts

Judith Sargent Murray: Swell E’en Female Hearts

I know that to both sexes elevated understandings, and the reverse, are common. But, suffer me to ask, in what the minds of females are so notoriously deficient, or unequal.

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Onto a web already crowded with literary sites…

Onto a web already crowded with literary sites…

Why on Earth would you start a literary magazine? You won’t get rich, or even very famous. You’ll have to keep your day job, unless you’re a student or so rich you don’t need a day job.

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Finlandia

Finlandia

Language is an instrument that can be put to various ends, and the way this instrument is used changes over time. It may be that certain terms become politically incorrect.

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Makeup to Steups

Makeup to Steups

I’d been watching the girl in the painting that hung above my desk for a few months before I became obsessed with the idea of her appearing on my book cover.

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Manik Sharma: When Battalions Come

Manik Sharma: When Battalions Come

The earliest roots of the intelligence agency, as having a bone and mortar identity, began with the establishment of the British Intelligence Bureau, in Shimla, in 1878.

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Where Is Philosophy?

Where Is Philosophy?

Philosophy is typically depicted as a solitary activity conducted in remote natural settings — a hut next to a fjord, a clearing in the middle of a forest, a cave on the slope of a mountain, or, these days, a rocking chair on a porch in a quaint college...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Bitter Albania, Bitter Greece

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Bitter Albania, Bitter Greece

During the last few weeks, the overall silence, or, at most, one-sided coverage of the Albanian media vis-à-vis the national economic situation in relation to Greece's was contrasted by an echo chamber of "regular" EU media chastising Greece's "bad behavior" and empty calls to "get your act together."

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OXI, OXI, OXI

OXI, OXI, OXI

When I recently visited Berlin, it quickly became clear the extent to which Germany had created a fantasy story about Greece.

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Crocodile! Crocodile!

Crocodile! Crocodile!

Instead of page numbers, “The Crocodiles,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha, is marked by 405 numbered, block paragraphs, the whole symmetrically framed by references to Allen Ginsberg.

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Haters Gonna

Haters Gonna

There is a spider crawling along the matted floor of the room where I sit; he runs with heedless, hurried haste, he hobbles awkwardly towards me, he stops.

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Andre Gerard: How Should One Read Tolstoy and Woolf?

Andre Gerard: How Should One Read Tolstoy and Woolf?

In To the Lighthouse Woolf deliberately included elements of Anna Karenina, thereby putting into practice some of the ideas contained in her essay. For instance, the stillborn marriage proposal between Varenka and Sergei is a template for the suspended courtship between William Bankes and Lily.

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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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