Berfrois

January 2016

Jonty Tiplady: Time Pass

Jonty Tiplady: Time Pass

Screenshot from Isiah Medina’s 88:88 (2015 USA) by Jonty Tiplady Where does one start with an Isiah Medina film? One starts perhaps with the fact we have only just started to watch them. With the fact that he himself has only just started to make them. Or with the...

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Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

For the third time this month I’ve locked myself out of my online banking facility. Each time I have run over the limit of making three mistakes in my password.

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State School Myths: Berfrois Interviews Melissa Benn (Again)

State School Myths: Berfrois Interviews Melissa Benn (Again)

As for our own free schools, there is mounting evidence that not only do many of these face as many, if not more, problems than the schools they were designed to replace

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Supremacy or Privilege?

Supremacy or Privilege?

From the cover of Black Panther No. 1, to be published this year, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Drawn by Brian Stelfreeze. From Dublin Review of Books: The ubiquity of smartphones and dashboard cameras has meant that digital capture of police transgression is more available than ever, and the viral spread of...

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Tomoé Hill on scent and sex in Ulysses

Tomoé Hill on scent and sex in Ulysses

As a scent obsessive, these lines from the “Nausicaa” chapter in Ulysses represent much more than they might seem.

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Ursula’s Tentacles

Ursula’s Tentacles

Though Ariel is sweet and naive and in love, she worries that, without her voice, she’s got little more than a clamshell bra and a dream in her heart.

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‘Austerity is a trap for the left as long as they refuse to challenge it’

‘Austerity is a trap for the left as long as they refuse to challenge it’

Those who care to see know the real damage that austerity has had on people’s lives. From those needing care who now get so little, to those waiting longer for hospital treatment, and those whose homes might not have been flooded without the cuts from 2011.

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Tui

Tui

Here are some words I’ve been writing down recently: Mingimingi. Ponga. Horoeka. Titoki.

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Max Ritvo on family, Mortal Kombat and cancer

Max Ritvo on family, Mortal Kombat and cancer

Illustration by Victoria Ritvo by Max Ritvo 1 My only act of violence as a child was one of mutual play. I was friends with Miranda, our housekeeper’s niece, and we were playing pretend Mortal Kombat. We were very conscious of the fact that it was a game. Neither...

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An ecopoem is urgent, it aims to unsettle…

An ecopoem is urgent, it aims to unsettle…

A familiar argument against didactic poetry is that it preaches to the choir. A poem should not preach, but it may teach the choir a new tune, the chorus a new step.

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Gilt, Gilt, Gilt

Gilt, Gilt, Gilt

Buckingham Palace is a gray square with a fierce brown courtyard, as if the building has been stabbed. It has been continually remade and is, like the Palace of Westminster, falling down.

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#Ausnahmslos

#Ausnahmslos

Media coverage of the recent violence in Cologne is perpetuating sexism and racism in the name of feminism. On 9 January, the German magazine Focus carried a photograph on its cover of a naked white woman with black handprints all over her body.

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The Same Lakeside House

The Same Lakeside House

“In the sand of Brandenburg, every square foot of ground has its story and is telling it, too – but one has to be willing to listen to these often quiet voices.” Thomas Harding chooses this quote, from Theodor Fontane, to open his personal, yet historically wide-ranging, account.

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Gated Conditioning

Gated Conditioning

From 3 Quarks Daily: The house we stayed in is situated in a gated community, an extensive complex of large detached houses, each one different, but all built in a similar style surrounded by similar, highly kempt, low-maintenance landscaping–palm trees, shrubs, spiky green grass, brown bark mulch. Nearby are tennis...

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‘Philosophy began with Socrates wandering’

‘Philosophy began with Socrates wandering’

Many newspapers have regular columns on science. But few of these columns are dedicated to a discussion of the nature or purpose of science. Almost all newspapers have regular pages devoted to sport.

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Catherine Wilson: Live Unknown

Catherine Wilson: Live Unknown

Here I will enter a plea for Epicureanism as an equally serious –and in many ways more adequate moral—philosophy. First, a sketch of the principal doctrines and later influence of the School.

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Let’s Get Digital

Let’s Get Digital

Approaching the work of François Laruelle is a singularly disorientating experience. Billed in marketing blurbs and encyclopedia entries as a “philosopher,” Laruelle is difficult to place.

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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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