Berfrois

July 2016

Real life is the poor, lost cousin of pretence…

Real life is the poor, lost cousin of pretence…

Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark in American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, 20th Television, 2016 From The London Review of Books: People now talk about big drama serials the way they used to talk about classic novels. If there’s one you haven’t caught up with you feel embarrassed,...

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‘Summer cannot get served because it abjures shirts and shoes’

‘Summer cannot get served because it abjures shirts and shoes’

Summer is when we don’t have to get up in the morning, or even the afternoon. Summer is when we insist on ice-cold beer to chill our body cavity, especially the spleen.

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The App and the Territory by Joel Gn

The App and the Territory by Joel Gn

Like the internet and its derivatives, Pokémon’s values of exploration, acquisition and social interaction are modelled after paradigms applied in military operations: the creature is your target, and it must be captured.

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Every dinner table in North London was doing the same, probably…

Every dinner table in North London was doing the same, probably…

The first instinct of many Remain voters on the left was that this was only about immigration. When the numbers came in and the class and age breakdown became known, a working-class populist revolution came more clearly into view, although of the kind that always perplexes middle-class liberals who...

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Joseph Conrad on the Titanic

Joseph Conrad on the Titanic

S.S. Titanic at the docks of Southampton, April 1912. by Joseph Conrad It is with a certain bitterness that one must admit to oneself that the late S.S. Titanic had a “good press.” It is perhaps because I have no great practice of daily newspapers (I have never seen so many...

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Bringing Up Your Status

Bringing Up Your Status

There are some fairly safe subjects to discuss while on an hour-long car ride, alone, with your future mother-in-law. For example, how excited you are to be joining the family, how excited you are about the wedding, and how excited you are, in general, about everything good and wonderful...

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Ah, the insistent buzz of corporate machinery and techno-capitalist communication…

Ah, the insistent buzz of corporate machinery and techno-capitalist communication…

To pick up on the cultural dissonances around the crisis of man discourse we need to look no further than to the thoughts of two of the key figures engaged with this discourse, Hannah Arendt and Susan Sontag.

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Incestuous, Weird

Incestuous, Weird

I love this scene from ADORE. They’re not together anymore. Years have passed. He is married, has a child. She is his mother’s best-friend from childhood.

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Daniel Bosch: Brogue, Seriously?

Daniel Bosch: Brogue, Seriously?

On April 6, 1327, in Avignon, in the Kingdom of Arles, an Italian scholar named Petrarch saw and fell for a young girl named Laura.

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Funds for Tuition by Setsuko Adachi

Funds for Tuition by Setsuko Adachi

A machine, a replicant, utters: I think therefore I am.

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“Classics was a minority subject, very twee”

“Classics was a minority subject, very twee”

DeWitt had her first sense of real academic or literary possibility after arriving at Smith College in 1975, and even that was a letdown.

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‘Catholic religion and anticlericalism were passionately bound up in the battle’

‘Catholic religion and anticlericalism were passionately bound up in the battle’

In the first few months of 1936, Spanish society was highly fragmented. There was uneasiness between factions and, as was happening all over Europe with the possible exception of the United Kingdom, the rejection of liberal democracy in favour of authoritarianism was rife.

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London gave him debate…

London gave him debate…

On an Ash Wednesday in 1583 they sat in this dark-wood panelled dining room, tapestries keeping out the chill of late winter even as the cold couldn’t help but enter through the leaded window with its multicoloured glass diamonds.

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Menachem Feuer: How Simple is Simon?

Menachem Feuer: How Simple is Simon?

His New Job, Charlie Chaplin, 1915 by Menachem Feuer He labored long hours, was the soul of honesty – he could not escape his honesty, it was bedrock; to cheat would cause an explosion in him, yet he trusted cheaters – coveted nobody’s nothing and always got poorer. The...

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3 Quarks Forever!

3 Quarks Forever!

On July 31st 2004, Abbas Raza began to curate the internet. On his first day, he posted links to the Cavafy poem, ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’

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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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