July 23, 2019

The Happy Book (at last)

Well, Waferinos, it's been a long haul, but at last The Happy Book is finally available. I call it that because it made me happy to write it, and I'm hoping it will make you happy to read it. One thing that got omitted from the Amazon listing: the book has 21 plates, 14 of them in color. I say this because $25 is a lot for a short book, unless it has so many illustrations. I've asked Amazon, via my publisher, to add this info, so potential buyers won't be put off. Whether or not Amazon will do it is, of course, anyone's guess.

https://www.amazon.com/Genio-Italian-Genius-Morris-Berman/dp/1626548838/ref=sr_1_16?crid=AVW0KGXC4GWO&keywords=morris+berman&qid=1563889558&s=books&sprefix=morris+berman%2Caps%2C156&sr=1-16

Anyway, put it on your coffee table, get all your friends excited. :-)

-mb

July 22, 2019

365

Well, Waferinos-

Here we are, with things getting progressively worse. Regarding Iran, I have written the Pentagon urging them to also nuke Toronto and Paris, but those yokels pay me no heed. Domestically, the rot is frustratingly slow; but it does deepen on a daily basis. On the American tendency to ram head up ass, I've been reading "American Hysteria," by Andrew Burt, and "American Panic," by Mark Stein. Jesus, we are so incredibly stupid. Burt has a final chapter on how to deal with the next bout of hysteria (which is upon us now, I suppose); yeah, that'll work. Perhaps his next book will be on phrenology.

-mb

July 11, 2019

Hatred and Dissolution

Wafers-

We have reached a new stage in the evolution of this blog. The senders of hate mail have escalated their hysteria: they are now making death threats. It's not clear to me how serious these are, but it would not be impossible for these folks to track me down and kill me, if they really intended to do it. And they just might, especially since their bitterness is completely over the top. However, it would take a fair amount of work, and there's always the risk of getting caught. So it's hard to predict what will happen. Lots of writers get death threats and are still walking the streets; or so I am told.

Not to be excessively grandiose, but I am reminded of a similar situation in the Germany of the thirties. The Nazis held huge book burnings, and many of the books thrown on the fire were studies in psychoanalysis--Freud, Reich, et al. As some historians have observed, there was an immense irony in all of this, for the Nazis were destroying the very texts that could have helped them, psychologically speaking. Similarly, this blog, with its overall candor and insistence on reality, might just possibly serve to help these folks heal, become genuine human beings, instead of vessels of rage and hatred. Of course, as we all know, they much prefer to hate than to heal, in the same way that the Nazis did. I am certainly not writing these words in the hope of waking them up; I'm not a complete fool. And it must be added that almost all Americans are living in unreality, although in most cases it doesn't get to the point of making death threats. These guys, I venture to say, are the craziest of the bunch, the far end of the spectrum, and their response to this little essay will surely be additional threats. Inner reflection would be great, but it's not likely a path they will choose to take. Increased hatred is the more likely path. Actually, it's absolutely certain.

Unexpectedly, I felt some degree of compassion for these folks: living in that much pain can't be much fun. But there is, in addition, a larger perspective to consider, namely the one of declinism. In a series of books and articles I have (I believe) convincingly argued that the US is going down the drain; that the only future it has is a dark one; and I have also identified the causes of our decline. But it might be said that the one thing I neglected to emphasize is the poison contained in the individual American soul, multiplied by millions. It's one of the factors that put Mr. Trump into office, after all. He has created a favorable climate for these types of people, and since his inauguration the stats of racial hatred, antisemitism, and the like have taken a decided upturn. Speaking as a declinist, and as an historian, I can say that this sort of soul-poison is an obvious factor in civilizational collapse. The death threats that show up on this blog (and elsewhere) are the tip of the iceberg, as the ship of state increasingly resembles the Titanic. What future can the country possibly have when a large percentage of its population is steeped in this much anguish (and with 40% living in poverty, to boot)? In that sense, these death-threateners are historical agents, in much the same way that Trumpi is.

There's microcosm and macrocosm, as I've said before, and they operate in tandem. On the macrolevel, when a civilization or empire implodes, it doesn't look pretty. We are witnessing this right now, a nation swimming in chaos and disarray, led by a "leader" who leads by random impulse. On the microlevel, it's equally ugly: the hate-mongers claiming (e.g.) that I spend all my time with Mexican whores, that I suck Jesus' dick(?!), that my days are numbered, and that they intend to put a bullet in my brain. Very often, a Wafer will post an article about some guy who axe-murdered his two-year-old daughter (or whatever); and when you click on the link, you see a face that is pure horror. This is what I imagine the death-threateners on this blog look like, or something close to it. Meanwhile, in the face of this rock-bottom reality, we read about the silly debates of Democratic candidates (1.5 years in advance), or the even sillier left-wing predictions of how the masses are going to rise up, turn everything around. These are anodynes for fools, in the same category as Kim Kardashian's buttocks, and serving a similar function. For me, at least, what comes to mind are the words of Kurt Vonnegut: "There's a shit storm coming." What he he forgot to add was that the death-threateners are the shit in the eye of the storm; the vanguard, if you will, of a nation bereft of hope, whistling in the dark, and perched on the edge of an abyss.

-mb

July 06, 2019

363

Wafers-

Well, the Democratic debate was a joke; the 4th of July was a joke; and there is little in America these days that isn't a joke.

Am I imagining things, or does Joe Biden's face look like the rear end of a horse?

Meanwhile, Trumpi is busy dismantling the country, and who are we to stand in his way? We can only wait and see what Tulsi Gabbard is up to, I guess.

Theater, the whole thing is theater.

-mb

June 21, 2019

Ocean's Eight

The Sopranos was a kind of breakthrough in American film (or TV), in that the Mafia crime family comes off as more glamorous than sordid (kind of a cool, alternative way of life). Of course, they all get killed off or imprisoned by the end, thus staying within the bounds of conventional American morality: crime doesn't pay. And this is how I remember all of the cops-and-robbers movies of my younger days, namely that the bad guys come to a bad end, and virtue prevails. But the film Ocean's Eight(2018), starring Sandra Bullock and seven other assorted beauties, breaks the mold completely. It not only says that crime pays--the gals rip off $38 million per person from Cartier and the Met--and not only that it is glamorous, but that in its own way it is actually virtuous. As the eight ladies carry out their brilliant heist, step by step, the viewer finds himself cheering for them. And with the massive loot acquired, each of them is able to fulfill a lifelong dream--opening a pool hall, buying into an expensive co-op, quitting work and cruising the California coast on a fine motorbike, and so on--while we in the audience think, "Good on yer, mate!" That they defrauded a private corporation and America's number one public museum in the process--eh! Who gives a damn?

I couldn't help wondering, moreover, if this were a political statement, or even a political shift, whether intentional or not. The girls stick it to The Man, and come off as heroes for doing so. The morality here is hardly Crime Doesn't Pay; it's more the American Dream taken to its logical conclusion: Get Yours and Have Fun Doing It.

Perhaps this is just a shadow morality finally coming to the surface, like Trump, Hustler Extraordinaire, master of the shady deal, winding up in the White House. What is now seen as criminal is getting thrown in jail, as Debbie Ocean (=Sandra Bullock) did a few years prior to this caper, or being stuck in meaningless, dead-end jobs. As the film concludes, we are happy for these babes, and sit there wondering what we would do if $38 million suddenly fell into our laps. (Probably not give it to charity, although I would open up a World Wide Wafer Institute.) Cartier and the Met are just parts of the Establishment, within the Debbie Ocean paradigm; we should care if they suffer?

Thirty minutes before the caper goes into action, Debbie says to her colleagues: "You aren't doing this for me, and you aren't doing this for you. Somewhere out there is an eight-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal. You are doing this for her." So this is what (some) little girls out there now aspire to: a glamorous life of crime with a hefty payoff at the end.

The United States is a new place, really, and this is what I mean by a political shift. Most Americans couldn't care less about the sanctity of private property (Cartier) or about the common weal (the Met). The new morality, the new "virtue," is Get Yours Big Time. Of course, as Kant's notion of the Categorical Imperative tells us, if everyone acted this way, there would be no society--a good thing, according to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. And this is where we have arrived. Nor can you put the toothpaste back in the tube. You can't go from a criminal morality and an ethos of every man (or beautiful woman) for him(her) self to a genuine morality and an ethos of We're all in this together. No way. Ocean's Eight is a kind of instructional film for a society in disintegration. To further that process, we need many more films in this genre.

You go, girl!

(c)Morris Berman, 2019

June 16, 2019

361

Wafers-

Good discussion, let's keep it going. Meanwhile, check out The World Revolution of Westernization, by Theodore von Laue. It's a bit dated--1987--so nothing on fall of USSR, 9/11, or 2008--but a very close look at world events since WWI. Very prescient abt the US, however: see pp. 351-55.

Later, amigos-

mb