Berfrois

November 2019

What Johnson Did

What Johnson Did

It’s not unusual for governments to throw tantrums when defeated, but quite another for them to do so after a victory. But in the week since Boris Johnson brokered a revised Brexit deal, No 10 has had a snit almost daily.

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They’re Being Evil

They’re Being Evil

It was under extreme pressure from both press and regulators that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg finally turned over 3,000 Russia-linked adverts to Congress. Google and others were only marginally less evasive.

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Were has the butterfly flown?

Were has the butterfly flown?

As Randall Jarrell once wrote of Walt Whitman, “baby critics who have barely learned to complain of the lack of ambiguity in Peter Rabbit can tell you all that is wrong with Leaves of Grass.”

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Sex Studies by Genia Blum

Sex Studies by Genia Blum

Bad girls sleep with bad boys. They get pregnant and, when everyone finds out, they have to leave school. Only married people are allowed to sleep together...

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Joe Linker: Bells

Joe Linker: Bells

Manual typewriters contained a bell that rang to signal the coming of the end of a line. The typist could adjust where along the line the bell might ring.

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Sylvia Warren: Includo

Sylvia Warren: Includo

I cannot let strangers into my house. What is inside is too difficult to explain, too grotesque, but you must understand I am still her mother, and I still love her.

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Russia’s Nuclear Priesthood

Russia’s Nuclear Priesthood

This book discusses the Russian Orthodox Church’s (ROC) expansion and deep integration into every facet of Russian nuclear military forces and politics in the years since the Soviet Union’s collapse...

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Amy Glynn: Head Trained

Amy Glynn: Head Trained

It’s April, only a few days past budbreak. The tiny new leaves on the gnarled vines are the translucent baby-green of a peridot and have something of the same vitreous luster.

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Griselda, Top Girls and Rethinking Feminist Subjectivity

Griselda, Top Girls and Rethinking Feminist Subjectivity

Throughout much of my academic life as a feminist medievalist, I regarded Chaucer's Griselda as “patriarchal history’s doormat.”

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‘Having read Ulysses it added to my enjoyment’

‘Having read Ulysses it added to my enjoyment’

In one of his few written statements on art, Lucian Freud declared that “a painter’s tastes must grow out of what so obsesses him in life”. Published in the London literary magazine Encounter in 1954, the mere two pages of “Some Thoughts on Painting” remained among Freud’s most substantial...

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Welcome Along

Welcome Along

We begin as guests, every single one of us. Helpless little creatures whose every need must be attended to.

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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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