Berfrois

May 2017

If you’re not yet radical, you haven’t been paying attention

If you’re not yet radical, you haven’t been paying attention

There seems to be a consensus that we are in a political crisis. I don’t dispute the claim, but I would suggest that this crisis predates Brexit by a long way.

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The Metaphysics of Handiwork; or, How Aristotle Conquered America

The Metaphysics of Handiwork; or, How Aristotle Conquered America

The debate between Juan Gines de Sepúlveda and Bartolomé de Las Casas held in Valladolid, Spain in 1550 was the culmination of some forty years of agonizing policy discussions over the rights of Spain to the New World.

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A Cold Take on Comey’s Firing

A Cold Take on Comey’s Firing

Until the American media and public stop simply lurching from one outrage to the next, with apparently no cumulative wisdom or even memory, we will continue to live in an outrageous political reality.

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Ed Simon on American Jezebels

Ed Simon on American Jezebels

In 1637, Mary Dyer of Boston gave a monstrous birth and its midwife was Anne Hutchinson. Both were Puritans of-a-kind: Hutchinson the notorious advocate of the so-called “covenant of free grace,” she of the antinomian controversy.

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Virginia Woolf: Dr. Burney’s Evening Party

Virginia Woolf: Dr. Burney’s Evening Party

The party was given either in 1777 or in 1778; on which day or month of the year is not known, but the night was cold. Fanny Burney, from whom we get much of our information, was accordingly either twenty-five or twenty-six, as we choose.

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It was traditional to gulp down the entire glass with each toast…

It was traditional to gulp down the entire glass with each toast…

I met Irakli on the flight from Munich to Tbilisi. Being used to the indifference of fellow passengers on American flights, I did not expect more than a perfunctory greeting upon taking my seat.

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Hipsters, Foodies and Tourists

Hipsters, Foodies and Tourists

Discussions about pricing are also connected to narratives concerning the kind of people who enjoy the market’s food, which seems not to appeal to the appetite of the area’s average resident.

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Cute and Dirty and Innocent and Experienced

Cute and Dirty and Innocent and Experienced

In her candy-colored new memoir, “Priestdaddy,” Patricia Lockwood describes her father’s conversion this way

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Christopher Woodall: Factory Nightshifts

Christopher Woodall: Factory Nightshifts

At some point in the summer of 1977, roughly eight months into a nightshift factory job in Grenoble, I woke up hungover one sweltering afternoon and decided to phone a close German friend, or perhaps it was my ex in Scotland, or my mother in England.

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Menachem Feuer on Thomas Pynchon’s “V”

Menachem Feuer on Thomas Pynchon’s “V”

Even though they are always going somewhere, schlemiels seem to never know for certain whether they are coming or going. Wandering and bewilderment aside, this comic character is a figure of difficult freedom.

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Jeremy Woolsey on Kusouzu

Jeremy Woolsey on Kusouzu

I hunched among shreds of toilet paper and candy wrappers and thought about the origins of this vision: I had first stumbled upon my first Kusouzu in the back of a small temple in rural Tokushima approximately three years before.

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Joe Linker on Elif Batuman’s The Idiot

Joe Linker on Elif Batuman’s The Idiot

A tale told by an idiot signifying nothing might benefit from Walter Mosley’s advice in “This Year You Write Your Novel” to avoid first person narration unless you have an enthralling character. Elif Batuman’s The Idiot successfully ignores Mosley’s suggestion.

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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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