Berfrois

August 2019

Woodstock 50 Turned Off

Woodstock 50 Turned Off

A month before Woodstock 50 was announced, the festival was already in deep trouble...

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Strawberry Consumption Vessels

Strawberry Consumption Vessels

Cold strawberry soup stimulates honeymooners. So goes the thought in rural France. Medieval botanists believed that strawberries, being many-seeded, aided fertility.

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Some Advice for Jew Fetishists

Some Advice for Jew Fetishists

For as long as I’ve been having sex, men have wanted to fuck my Judaism and have sought me out because of it.

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Harlem’s Tennis Superstar

Harlem’s Tennis Superstar

Back when Gibson was growing up, in the 1930s and 1940s, it would have been a hive of activity, shrieking kids running around playing stickball, punchball, marbles and a variety of tag games. And as fate had it, there was another activity taking place on the doorstep of her...

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Making the World Something Beautiful and New

Making the World Something Beautiful and New

In some languages, like Polish, the word for share is the same as the word for divide. It took some time, but finally this did make sense to me.

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Woodstock Turns 50

Woodstock Turns 50

It’s Woodstock’s fiftieth. Happy birthday! But which Woodstock shall we celebrate? I prefer the nostalgic “legacies of ancient ties binding our tribe to the garden primeval”

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Colonial Responses to the Nazi Regime

Colonial Responses to the Nazi Regime

it was an often deplored “fact” among German enthusiasts of colonialism that too few of their compatriots were thoroughly interested in the colonies.

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Literary Schemes

Literary Schemes

“Mystery, humor, romance, realism, risquéness—nothing is barred.” In 1915, Blue Moon, a new magazine, sought submissions from unpublished writers. They already had two stories from “a new and original humorist” whom the editor, Alexander Jessup, had “discovered laying tin roofs in a village in central Indiana.”

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Change the Moral Climate

Change the Moral Climate

The U.S. now has two coal-burning power plants that avoid dumping carbon dioxide into the air.

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Beloved Toni Morrison

Beloved Toni Morrison

What I cherish most about Toni Morrison’s work is the way that she used the English language: to its fullest, across its entire range.

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A Catalogue of Sins in the 20th Century

A Catalogue of Sins in the 20th Century

As a citizen in North America, I have done these things unthinkingly in many cases and knowingly in others, but still I have committed these sins and continue to commit them.

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What binds Hongkongers?

What binds Hongkongers?

What binds Hongkongers as a human collective to speak truth to power? Generations have experienced Hong Kong as a land of opportunities and refuge.

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Kashmir Cut Off

Kashmir Cut Off

In an unsettled world, amid violent wars and imperial occupations, with all norms ruthlessly cast aside, did Kashmir really have a chance to be free?

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After the Revolution

After the Revolution

If I could walk, I would go to the streets again”, Muna*, a 25-year-old Sudanese protester, told me over the phone recently. She was shot and severely injured by the army...

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How to Party Like an Existentialist

How to Party Like an Existentialist

Existentialism has a reputation for being angst-ridden and gloomy mostly because of its emphasis on pondering the meaninglessness of existence, but two of the best-known existentialists knew how to have fun in the face of absurdity.

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Eric D. Lehman: Art Below Sea Level

Eric D. Lehman: Art Below Sea Level

Whoever decided to keep the most art per square mile anywhere in the world below sea level had a singular faith in human civilization...

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Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #8

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #8

In Kwon’s novel, this line is overheard by Will as he observes the young woman of his obsession—Phoebe—drift slowly into the orbit of cultist John Leal.

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Triple Bluffs by Jessica Sequeira

Triple Bluffs by Jessica Sequeira

Two books about solitary poets travelling the Mediterranean and writing poems came my way within a relatively short period of time; it made sense to treat them within the same space.

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Bumbling Brexit

Bumbling Brexit

In his only novel, Seventy-Two Virgins, published in 2004, Boris Johnson uses a strange word. The hero, like Johnson himself at the time, is a backbench Conservative member of the House of Commons.

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Ed Simon: The Final Sentence

Ed Simon: The Final Sentence

Narrative is a strange thing, that little circumscribed universe bound between the covers of a book. Unlike life, a novel actually draws to a close.

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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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