Berfrois

December 2019

120 Months by Ed Simon

120 Months by Ed Simon

Since it was always a matter of contingent decision, the arrival of January 1st, 2020 was foretold the moment that the Gregorian Calendar was adopted...

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New Worth Working

New Worth Working

It was 11.30am and the temperature was airport. There is nowhere colder or warmer inside the totalizing monochrome space. There is just airport climate.

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On Valdis Āboliņš

On Valdis Āboliņš

This book tells the unlikely story of a Latvian-born ex-patriot, Valdis Āboliņš (1939-84), exiled to Germany during World War II and remaining there after the war

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“Life found a way!”

“Life found a way!”

In Mark Twain’s Letters from the Earth, God gathers the archangels and announces that He has made animals. Satan—who else?—asks, “What are they for?”

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Merry Forking Christmas!

Merry Forking Christmas!

Humanity’s fate, as fans of NBC’s The Good Place well know, is a subject for moral philosophy, whether through stacks of frayed library books, constant references to philosophers, or tension-filled replications of famous thought experiments.

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“He ate our daughter’s corsage and then ate our goldfish!”

“He ate our daughter’s corsage and then ate our goldfish!”

I once bought a shirt at an outdoor market in New Orleans that I still wear pretty regularly. It’s red plaid flannel with a hand-stitched Sasquatch in classic mid-stride on each shoulder.

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Jessica Sequeira: Exhausted and Luminous

Jessica Sequeira: Exhausted and Luminous

Winétt de Rokha taught me intensity, the slide from idea to idea that connects images as in dreams, with an overlap of meanings that shifts between...

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Alexandra Naughton: a place a feeling something he said to you

Alexandra Naughton: a place a feeling something he said to you

It is raining in Crissy Field and you are not allowed to leave the car. It is sunny in the Mission and you are not allowed to leave the car.

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Douglas Penick: Creating the Past

Douglas Penick: Creating the Past

People, of course, have always travelled. In earlier times, they did so mainly for conquest, for trade, for survival and occasionally to learn technical skills or philosophies from people of distant lands.

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Justin E. H. Smith: Ecstatic Rationalism

Justin E. H. Smith: Ecstatic Rationalism

I have recently been informed that I am “outside of the sociology” of academic philosophy. The person who said this of me is someone I like and admire...

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Adieu, Fakir by Eli S. Evans

Adieu, Fakir by Eli S. Evans

Recently, I learned of the passing of Fakir Musafar, the renowned body artist whose professional and creative life (and, as far as I know, personal life, as well)

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When Two Deaths Go to War

When Two Deaths Go to War

In January 2019, climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech at the World Economic Forum, warning the audience that ‘financial success come with an unthinkable price tag’

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Consuming Climate Change

Consuming Climate Change

Companies compete for consumers via the aesthetic presentation of their packaging. One type of water, for example, advertises itself as ‘artisan’ and includes a bright pink flower on the plastic wraps of its twelve packs.

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When Will Labour Win Again?

When Will Labour Win Again?

The immediate, clear consequence of the UK election of December 12, 2019, is that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has succeeded where Theresa May’s failed in the last general election, in 2017—by winning an emphatic parliamentary majority...

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Ed Simon: Jesus Shat

Ed Simon: Jesus Shat

As an Advent rumination, I’d like to consider El Caganer. In the accumulated cultural esoterica of the Christmas season, from the horned and fearsome demon...

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Marcelo Hoffman: The Workers’ Party and the Rise of Bolsonaro

Marcelo Hoffman: The Workers’ Party and the Rise of Bolsonaro

The title of Perry Anderson’s book certainly captures his gloss on the uniqueness of the Brazilian experience. It speaks to a multifaceted Brazil.

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The Punch That Wasn’t a Punch

The Punch That Wasn’t a Punch

First, some facts, as they are in precious short supply. Around noon on Sunday 8 December, Daniel Sheridan of the Yorkshire Evening Post published a story about Jack Williment-Barr

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Qua Quillette

Qua Quillette

A year ago, I came across an article by Stephen Elliott, a writer I’d admired. There were plenty of disturbing things about the piece

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Deep, slow moving darkness!

Deep, slow moving darkness!

Tucked on a side street in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood is Foyer, a small store specializing in plants, stationery, and “treasures.” On a bleak January day I stopped in for a couple of tillandsia and succulents...

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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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