Berfrois

November 2016

From the moment we are born, forms chase us…

From the moment we are born, forms chase us…

From the moment we are born, standardized forms chase us: birth certificates, school applications, bank deposit slips, insurance claim forms, and, irritatingly, more.

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‘This won’t kill the Paris process, but it will severely weaken it’

‘This won’t kill the Paris process, but it will severely weaken it’

With so little to guide predictions, the reality of a Trump presidency has become a national Rorschach test. Conservatives and the anti-establishment imagine an ascendant Trump will set a path for a more competitive national economy, smaller government, and a stronger defense.

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It is tenable that the democratic ideal was too idealist to succeed…

It is tenable that the democratic ideal was too idealist to succeed…

The West Wing, Warner Bros. Television, 1999-2006 by G.K. Chesterton It grows plainer, every day, that those of us who cling to crumbling creeds and dogmas, and defend the dying traditions of the Dark Ages, will soon be left alone defending the most obviously decaying of all those ancient...

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Adam Staley Groves: Why I Didn’t Vote

Adam Staley Groves: Why I Didn’t Vote

You don’t get to choose when it’s over but, do you get a chance to recognize that it is? Americans have elected an accused child rapist. An accused rapist who is also accused of sexual assault he condones. And that’s just part of it as you know. Trump may...

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Coal’s Victory

Coal’s Victory

Peabody Energy is, by its own description, the “largest private sector coal company in the world.” It’s also bankrupt. The company, based in St. Louis, filed for Chapter 11 this past April. Today, on the news of Donald Trump’s victory, Peabody’s stock surged almost fifty per cent.

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David Beer on Walter Benjamin’s Fiction

David Beer on Walter Benjamin’s Fiction

Main Scene from the Ballet “The False Oath”, Paul Klee, 1922 by David Beer The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness, by Walter Benjamin. Translated and introduced by Sam Dolbear, Esther Leslie and Sebastian Truskolaski. Illustrated by Paul Klee. London: Verso Books, 240 pp. Walter Benjamin is full of surprises. This...

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Jonathan Basile: Team OA

Jonathan Basile: Team OA

When medievalists Eileen Joy and Nicola Masciandaro grew exasperated with the academic publishing industry, they started their own alternative, punctum books.

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W for a World

W for a World

The Thirteenth Floor, Columbia Pictures, 1999 From The Atlantic: Gefter: If snakes aren’t snakes and trains aren’t trains, what are they? Hoffman: Snakes and trains, like the particles of physics, have no objective, observer-independent features. The snake I see is a description created by my sensory system to inform me...

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Paws Lifted by Menachem Feuer

Paws Lifted by Menachem Feuer

While Andy Warhol told us that everyone wants to becomes a star, filmmakers like Woody Allen, Judd Apatow, and Seth Rogen show us that even the smallest people – what, in Yiddish, are called schlemiels - are really “larger than life.”

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Too Few Butterflies

Too Few Butterflies

There were too few butterflies in Atlanta for Vladimir Nabokov’s tastes. In a letter to his wife Vera (dated October 11, 1942), the astute lepidopterist complained that the city was too far above sea level (1,000 feet) to do much in the way of butterfly catching.

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A Berlin Teaparty

A Berlin Teaparty

We’re co-hosting an opening night party for Colin Raff’s latest art installation. Hope to see you there!

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss the Apocalypse

Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss the Apocalypse

The question is not whether humans are on a crash course with misery and extinction but how we as individuals relate to our membership in a species and chart a path for ourselves between now and our personal demise.

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DIVORCE MILL GRINDS

DIVORCE MILL GRINDS

It was one of the Franco-American scandals of the 1920s. It brought Americans on an eastward ho to undo in Paris what had been wrought in America.

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Beyond and After (Marx)

Beyond and After (Marx)

Marx After Marx takes up the question of the expansion of capitalism outside of Europe, in polemical opposition to a simplified image of ‘Western Marxism’, by constructing a non-European Marxist tradition for which ‘formal subsumption’ is the key to comprehending the unevenness and necessary incompletion of capitalist development.

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Scherezade Siobhan on Maged Zaher

Scherezade Siobhan on Maged Zaher

The Anatomy of the Bones, J. Barclay, 1829 by Scherezade Siobhan The Consequences of My Body, by Maged Zaher, Nightboat Books, 160 pp. When I begin to think of a (any) body and its liminal (autocorrect wants to reaffirm it as “luminal”) itineraries in a world that aches to slap a...

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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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