September 03, 2010

A New Meaning for Gettysburg

Dear Friends:

The following essay contains an excerpt from an article that appeared in the the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on August 31, about a casino that is very likely to be built just outside of the Gettysburg battlefield. The essay itself is by Dave Cohen, appearing on the website
peakwatch.typepad.com/decline_of_the_empire on September 1st. You can draw your own conclusions (though I personally think it's hard to argue with Dave's). [My two cents are in brackets, BTW.]

The Meaning Of Gettysburg

Few people outside Pennsylvania know that for a long time now, there have been plans to build a gambling casino 1/2 mile south of the Gettysburg National Military Park.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory in the summer of 1863 that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North. Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", it was the war's bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties. It also provided President Abraham Lincoln with the setting for his most famous address.

Gettysburg and the surrounding area are as close to Sacred Ground as you can get in America. Yesterday, casino friends and foes testified before the state's Gaming Control Board. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has been covering the story.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
By Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
GETTYSBURG -- It's Pro-Casino vs. No-Casino, as advertised.

The state Gaming Control Board is holding an all-day hearing today on whether a $75 million resort hotel casino should be added to the existing Eisenhower hotel and conference center, just south of the southern border of the Gettysburg National Military Park, where thousands of Union and Confederate troops died in early July 1863.

"NO!" shouted Susan Starr Paddock, leader of No Casino Gettysburg, who said a casino so close to "hallowed" Civil War ground would be a national disgrace. She was supported by Nicholas Redding of the Civil War Preservation Trust, who urged the board to "save the hallowed nature of this ground for future citizens and preserve Gettysburg."

"YES!" said David LeVan, owner of a Gettysburg motorcycle dealership and lead developer, along with Penn National Gaming (which would finance and operate the casino), plus several Adams County and Cumberland Township officials (where the casino would be located), who each stand to get $1 million a year from the casinos, to help them add jobs and hold down taxes.

State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick, wasn't here today but did have a statement of support that was read. Mr. Readshaw, who has spent the last 13 years restoring the monuments at the Civil War battlefield, said Mr. LeVan "has assisted me in numerous important ways," including an annual fund-raising motorcycle ride from Harrisburg to the Battlefield Harley Davidson dealership in Gettysburg, which Mr. LeVan owns.

The opponents of the casino showed a video in which author David McCullough, filmmaker Ken Burns, actor Sam Waterston, Susan Eisenhower, grandaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower (who lived here after leaving the presidency) and others urged the board to give the second and final resort casino license to one of three other applicants. [Am I reading this correctly? McCullough et al. are not arguing that there should be no casino, but only that the license should be given to someone else??--!] [This is the end of the excerpt from the newspaper.]

It will be impossible to please everybody in this contentious fight—someone must win and someone must lose. I believe there is a novel solution to this dilemma which transcends petty local disputes:

Put this fucking casino right on the battlefield, preferably where the Union men repulsed Pickett's charge, or even better, on the very ground where Lincoln spoke. Whereas in the past Gettysburg has served as a powerful symbol of our desire to be better than we are, of the desire of the United States to rid itself of the moral stain—the evil—of slavery in which one man "owns" another, we now have an opportunity to invest Gettysburg with a new meaning more fitting to the times we live in.

Let this fucking casino be a powerful symbol to future generations of what an open, running, rancid sewer the United States had become by 2010. It is altogether proper that Gettysburg remain an unwavering emblem of who we are, and what we aspire to. Let us resolve today and henceforth to give a New Meaning to Gettysburg.


[Who are we? A sad collection of clowns. What do we aspire to? Money. How much do we care about our heritage? Zip.]

69 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My great-great-grandfather fought for the Union in the 11th Illinois Cavalry. He was horribly wounded during an ambush, and remained crippled for the rest of his life. What did he and hundreds of thousands of others sacrifice life and limb for? They died so we could build casinos next to their graves. I feel nothing but shame at what we, as a nation, have done and are doing.

Where others see noble sacrifice, us Americans see only monetary gain.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

There is no such thing as "hallowed ground" in the US anymore---unless, of course, it can be ginned up to serve a political adgenda or beat some minority over the head or get third-rate commentators on the front page. I'm not surprised by this as you have pointed out several times, there's no interest in history here. The real estate developers rightly concluded people would rather be entertained than edified. But, cheer up, maybe they'll have minstral shows or the barmaids dressed as Southern belles.

I agree that statement was confusing---it sounded like they might be trying to freeze out our friend Mr. Motorcycle from making his quick million or maybe they just wanted to make sure the next windfall went to themselves or one of their pals. Good to know none of them is standing in front of the bulldozers.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Brad said...

This isn't related, but I thought you might like to know that your work is being misused.

I've seen two separate "white nationalist" blogs quote your Twilight of American Culture as a rationale to not want their children to study anything that might evenly remotely put white people in an unfavorable light, like not studying slavery, not studying Martin Luther King Jr., not studying the slaughter of native people, not studying what America is currently doing to the rest of the world, etc...

In short, your work is being used for purposes you may not like. I just thought you might like to know that.

12:28 PM  
Blogger dharmaguerilla said...

A couple of weeks ago, I had a letter to the Editor published in my local paper, the (Nashville) Tennessean. I was addressing the controversy over the Park 51 Islamic Center planned for a neighborhood a few blocks from Ground Zero.

In defense of allowing it to proceed, I used the phrase, "No one is talking about putting up a subdivision on the Gettysburg battlefield." It turns out I was right, but not by much.

A casino 1/2 mile from the "hallowed ground" where 51,000 casualties occurred in armed conflict over the direction of the country? But we can't allow a religiously oriented community center that close to a place where 3,000 Americans lost their lives in pursuit of a paycheck or profit.

It is true, in America, money trumps any symbol of the values that underlied (underlay?) the nation's heritage.

I used the past tense deliberately.
(Or tried to.)

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Is your blog acting funny again? I tried to post this earlier, but I don't think it went through.

Personally, I think they should also erect a statue of Glenn Beck in front of the casino, as he's the nation's new civil rights leader.

Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune) recently asked: "Is America a dumb-ocracy?". He interviewed Rick Shenkman, author of "Just How Stupid Are We?". Shenkman told him that "myths are part of a larger narrative that people construct in their heads to make sense out of seismic events."

As you (and Dharma) have noted, money is our national religion. I'm not sure that we can ever live without myths. But why are we incapable of creating beneficial (or at least benign) ones?

2:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Art-

I never got the earlier post. I love the Beck statue idea. We are incapable of creating intelligent myths because we are a nation of goofballs.

mb

5:52 PM  
Blogger Tuan said...

dr. b,

i just finished reading "dark ages america." it is a brilliant masterpiece. it clarified, elaborated and confirmed a few of my own suspicions throughout the past years. I am a 40 year-old u.c. Berkeley educated attorney of Vietnamese-american decent. I am very curious to know your opinions on the viet nam war. My website is www.lamthompson.com. When is the next time you will be in southern california? I would love to meet you at a lecture or book signing or something.

tuan lam
tuanlams@gmail.com

ps if you email me, please put something in the subject line. I don’t open emails that don’t have anything in the subject line.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Tuan,

Thank you for writing. You can also reach me at mauricio@morrisberman.com.

On VN war: I do cover this (a few pp.) in DAA, discussing US murder of 3 million civilians, torture of tens of thousands, etc., and how the whole thing was part of the misguided Cold War scenario. I would also recommend "Backfire," by Loren Baritz.

No plans for Southern Cal, I fear, but then sometimes I do get an invitation out of the blue.

I appreciate your interest in my work. Stay in touch-

mb

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

And here, on the very spot where President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg address, you'll notice that--we're into history and all that--we've situated a one-arm bandit in the shape of President Lincoln, complete with stove-pipe hat.

You get you're jackpot in Lincoln pennies!!

3:02 AM  
Blogger nigel said...

Your ability to express in bleak, unmodulated tones, the sentiment of so many of is appreciated. My Gettysburg story of hallowed ground is as follows: Just a few years ago, driving to NYC from Seattle to attend law school, my wife and I stopped along the way to see many sites significant in the life of Lincoln. We hit Gettysburg in the August heat, and spent the day walking the battlefield. We left to find a nearby campsite to pitch our tent. I should mention that we are an interracial couple. We found a private campground. We went inside and asked for a site. The person behind the counter stared at us as if we were side show entertainers on holiday. A young woman, she then assigned us spot 301. We drove through the mostly empty campground and came to site 300, and could find no site 301. We kept driving another several hundred yards until we left the shelter of the trees and found spot 301. Unlike the first 300 spots, 301 had no fire pit; no water spigot; no tree cover (it was the only such spot lacking cover); and no other occupied campsites for at least 200 spots. I began to laugh. I backed the car up and went and found one of the several hundred open spots to my liking, and pitched our tent. I then went inside and smiling, told the people we relocated to a spot more to our liking. I believed it to be altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

The irony of visiting a place where 10s of thousands gave their lives in an effort which ultimately led to the freedom of my ancestors, only to face such petty discrimination um, colored my experience, to say the least. It also led me to believe, that despite the long struggle of equality, the baser instincts of class and racial tribalism remain.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Nigel,

It's quite possible that the young woman in question had no idea what the Civil War was. I'm not kidding. A large fraction of the US population can't place the half-century in which it occurred. I also recall Jay Leno or some comedian doing his thing of asking passersby obvious questions, and getting idiot answers. One question was, "What was the War Between the States?" Answer: "Which states?" Racism is bad enuf, but when you add Meatheadism to it...(MLK said the worst possible combo was anger and stupidity; which I take to be the two outstanding qualities of the US population).

mb

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Nigel & G'burg

I've got family a couple of hours south of the battleground and I'm pretty familiar with MD, PA and NY.
The KKK is still fairly active in that area to this day.
IMHO, the old "South" and values that we associate with it start in some ways in Southern NYS.

ElJuero (juero59@yahoo.com)

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

"Open, running, rancid sewer"...indeed. Excellent essay, and thanks for another good link and resource, Maestro.

What a land of soulless zombies. When one considers what we are - WHO we are as a nation, is it surprising that there is no such thing as hallowed ground here anymore? Why is this blog the first place I've seen this story, and yet the Palin-ites protesting the building of the mosque and the moron threatening to burn Korans are all over the news? Why aren't people screaming about this casino being built?

At least modern American life is enternaining. It's beaten my heart and soul up pretty bad, but thanks to places like this, Dr. B, I'm beginning to realize what a circus it is. Stupidity sure can be hilarious.

Nigel - thanks for posting your story. Sad, but again, not surprising. Stupidity and especially anger, as Dr. B says, are in no shortage here.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

It just goes to show how "valueless" we are as a culture. It's interesting to hear the politicos talk of 'values' when stuff like this goes on... Fact is, when I try to discuss things like the points made in your essay or other such long standing icons falling to real estate developers the main responses I usually get are either annoyance that I'd even bring up the subject (as if I'm raining on someones parade by standing in the way of "progress") or ignorance, as in a total lack of concern. The attitude mostly seems to be "who give's a rat's ass"... Anyway, I guess it's just confirmation about the slope we're on... "Hallowed Ground" has been coopted by designer funerals, drive-in weddings, mail-order degrees, and a whole host of other cultural abominations. Exactly the stuff Dick Meyer states in, "why we hate us".

As always, a sanity break to read your essays and postings here...

12:00 AM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Anon;
I have lived in Hagerstown, Md. for 8 years. H'town is not far from Gettysburg and is a scant few miles north of Sharpsburg, where Antietam Battlefield is located. I was shocked to find that there was an active KKK group in this area when I first moved here, but have since come to realize they are a very small group and despised by the other locals. This is, indeed, ignorant territory, but not any more so than the rest of the US, as far as I can tell. There are rednecks and fools everywhere (and they always seem to have a lot of children, more's the pity). On the flip side, however, we have a Muslim mosque here in town, built in the late nineties, which serves the tri-state Muslim community. This mosque was built, and remains, completely free of contention. Maybe our bigots are just lazy? Anyway, they sure aren't gaining ground.
About five years ago, the KKK was granted a permit to rally in Antietam Battlefield Park. The vast majority of the community was horrified at the prospect and there were letters to the editor, petitions to the park service, etc. asking that Antietam not be open to the KKK for the event. The park service issued a little statement about freedom of speech and the rights of citizens and announced they had to grant the permit. So the Big Day came and here's what happened: hundreds of anti-KKK protesters showed up at Antietam. Police squads showed up. A bus, hired to carry the members of the KKK, pulled in. Ten (10. Ten. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10) people got off the bus wearing white robes, carrying the white hoods they had forgotten to put on in their excitement. They looked at the throng, huddled behind the police, whispered amongst themselves, and got back on the bus. The bus left. That was the end of the rally and they haven't had one since that I'm aware of.
Coming up in October, the Westboro Baptist Church plans to have a protest on the street in front of one of our high schools. If you don't know who these "people" (I use the term loosely) are, take a gander at their website, godhatesfags.com. That is actually their website, not a spoof of a website. There are several counter-protests planned against Westboro, involving thousands of the natives. I understand that Westboro is comprised of about 15 people, so the numbers are not in their favor. I'm not sure why they picked this particular school - which my daughter attends - although I do know that it is school policy to let gay couples attend dances together and openly exhibit any signs of affection that are allowed to the straight teen couples. The large number of people interested in the counter-protests gives one hope.
I wouldn't suggest that we are anywhere near free of racism and bigotry, but I frankly think the larger problem in this area is one of sheer ignorance. The town always has anti-abortion picketers holding signs that read, "Abortions cause breast cancer" and the like. The local paper is full of letters (and comments in the on-line edition) that reflect an absolutely abysmal understanding of basic history, politics, and finance. We have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates among white students in the nation.
"We have trouble in River City, that's trouble with a capital T..."
Unfortunately, the whole country is River City now, and we've got wa-a-a-ay more than one problem.
-Teri

7:34 AM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dear Dr. Berman,
When I wrote the letter to you earlier today, a little screen popped up which read that my letter was too long. I edited it several times in order to get it to an acceptable length, and was pleased that you had found this way to remind us to keep our letters brief. I see, however, that my entire - and entirely too long - letter was posted. While that is nice for me, it may be boring to everyone else, and I certainly found in the editing that I could say the same things in many fewer words.
It leaves me curious, though, as to how the whole "edit your letter" thing-ie works. Please tell me you did not have to read my post five times in ever-shortened forms before publishing one. *I* don't even find myself that interesting.
-Teri

6:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Teri,

I had nothing to do w/that little screen, I fear. I didn't even know such a thing existed. Your message was abt a page long, which is fine w/me.

On another subject, let us contemplate this:

The Washington Post recently ran something called the Style Invitational which invited readers to take any word from the dictionary and alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. First place went to:

1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

I love it. Except that bozone doesn't just surround people; it also surrounds entire nations! And it's strong: nothing can penetrate its protective shield. What are Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader (see Chris' recent truthdig column) compared to the Bozone Shield??! Nada!!!

mb

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Greetings Dr. B,

just read Hedges' most recent colum. It was an excellent piece, and I really enjoyed reading what Nader had to say. Hedges is passionate and he seems to get at how deeply decayed this whole mess is. The only thing is, I just don't think people are smart enough or motivated enough to do anything to, as Hedges puts it "piece by piece, dismantle the iron grip that corporations hold over our lives." I don't think all it will take is rallying the common American to resist. I think the system is representative OF the common American, in that at the head, there is nothing but the previously mentioned deep decay.

Or, as you more simply (and accurately) put it, the (freakin') bozone layer. It's been there for a very long time, and it seems like it's getting thicker every day. Why would the masses in the bozone crowd want to resist corporations that give them smartphones, internet porn and jersey shore?

I guess I just think that it's hopeless here. How could one attempt to facilitate change in this country when he would have to change the very fabric that it is woven in? I just don't think the ideals that people give lip service to, and pretend to mourn the loss of, ever really existed. Or if they did, it was long ago in a faraway land. Certainly nothing I can see from where I'm sitting.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Ah, clearly u need to read my next book, i.e. the 3rd in the "America" trilogy, which deals with this very thing. When Hedges keeps saying "We need to...", I ask myself: Who the hell is 'We'? Because 'We' are the bozos, ensconced in bozone; 'We' don't really want any changes at all. The consent may be manufactured, as Chomsky says, but at some point the false consciousness argument simply won't work: This *is* who we are, and this *is* what we want. In an odd way, America really is a pure democracy, because the government is delivering on its promise to take away love, meaning, spirit, etc., and replace all that with toys. And 310 million bozos don't *want* love, meaning, or spirit; they want toys!

Onward and Downward, I say!

mb

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya gotta laugh sometimes don't ya?

I'm one of a number of people here who will always check out the latest Chris Hedges article, the Chomsky interview and so on. No one strikes a darker sounding tone in interviews than Hedges. I think he's almost always on and very interesting.

Yet at some time you have to ask "where's the departure gate?", If it's as dark as he describes shouldn't we be packin' up?

I've noticed that more and more outside thinkers are living outside the bozosphere. Hedges I think now has dual citizenship in Switzerland, Glenn Greenwald in Brazil, Joe Bagaent is in Mexico as is our good host MB. I wonder in 5 years how many others will be writing with at least one foot outside the door?

I do think two ideas always come up as different and unique to your work for me Dr. Berman and that is 1) This isn't new, it's really the history of the country from the first settlers and 2) It's not fixable. It's toast.

While we might say the future's difficult to predict, I think you work out of a historical perspective - that arc that asks how this could ever work out differently given what's obvious and has happened before?

As always, love the posts by everyone......

El Juero (juero59@yahoo.com)

6:31 AM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Dear Dr. Berman and friends,

Thank you for including me in your lively chat. Actually, I am rolling around in the bliss of finding you, and your concern for us all. Yesterday I introduced myself in the cat: Spheres of Influence. Yes, chopped liver as a metaphor for what has become of us, chopped into pieces and/or choked with under the bozone layer. How can we feel whole anymore surrounded by the bozone? I truly miss the more enriching beauty and loving ways of the past, (aprox prior to yr 2000). My grief is exaggerated going it alone with my beautiful children, ages range 5-14. I wish I could guide them to at least become environmentalists. They are born so pure, happy, loving, hopeful and this atmosphere IS so persistently stupid. Just one example, (is the usual and 'pase' complaint' that now just goes without saying).... in the myriad of it all: I am so revolted by the bozone that I cannot even bring myself to have a cell phone, after all these years; just not wanting to be that way, always staring at gadgets in public, waiting for something, looking for something on a lighted box. I still don't have one. Convenience, yes, but with a steep price. Even the family I grew up with seems so chopped as their attention divided, that I do not even recognise them anymore, seems they're always online, but not engaged with these beautiful kids at all; and we cannot find a warm or loving heart. My principles are leaving me left in the......? It is like nazism, is it not? And they think I am stupid. A line from my ten page essay written 10/08, (I mentioned in Spheres of influence), entitled, A Sense of Duty. By design, system methods of competitive personal advancement so escalate as to essentially become a restrictive religion, to the detriment of true social values. Dr. Berman you are a joy in this context, we need people to help clean up the mess and this is what this is a big mess and you are a servant (or saint) of humanity. Thank you so much for your loving and patriotic service. Think of what joy really is and what we could be doing other than this, if we were able.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Joe,

On Truthdig is an interview with Chris Hedges on global warming (July 21, 2010) and a talk to Veterans for Peace (Sept. 1, 2010). In the first he talks about, of all things, the monastic option to salvage the best of our culture and in the last, the fact that (his words)"the coup is over and they won and there's no going back." If you're interested they're in the archives. It does seem for quite a while he was trying to rally opposition but realizes it's now hopeless---the system is too big, entrenched and powerful for any populist movement to dislodge it.

We've always been told "there's more where that came from" and most of us don't know how to live any other way. I have one daughter I've literally begged to look reality in the face, live within their means and realize if her husband lost his good job, there aren't many to take its place. No go---I'm being "negative" and "it stresses me out to talk to you about this." I hope my fears for their future are never realized but, if they are, they'll have nothing to sustain them and I don't just mean money. People who are leading comfortable, middle class lives think they'll go on forever and somehow, it's owed them. It's an illusion very few people are willing to question.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

El J-

Hustling, and the view of technology as some sort of salvation, have been with Americans for 400 yrs now. They will certainly not give either of these up. This is why the momentum against any change, or even alternative voice, is so strong. The only president who attempted to buck these historical trends was Jimmy Carter, and on the day after his "spiritual malaise" speech (delivered in Annapolis on 15 July 1979), members of Congress took to the floor to ask whether he was mentally ill. This was not rhetoric, imo; for the 'normal' bozonified American, any questioning of this way of life has to be de facto insane. Not hard for Reagan to subsequently win by a landslide: defeating Jimmy and his 'insane' pt of view was like shooting fish in a barrel. Any breach in the bozone layer was rapidly repaired.

E.E.-

Well, I'm definitely not a saint, but I certainly don't own a cell phone. (I also don't own a TV, and the bliss of that is wonderful.)What a shuck: as if we couldn't live w/o them, when they are only abt 10 yrs old, in widespread usage. Americans are so stupid! The next gadget--cell phone, iPad, you name it--is all they know. And there will always be a next gadget, to keep 310 million people firmly embedded in bozone. The American landscape, from where I sit: 310 million people with their heads firmly embedded in their rear ends, rolling around and proclaiming the brilliance of their vision. How did one single nation manage to achieve this in a mere 400 yrs? If it's terrifying, there is also something oddly glorious about it all.

Susan-

I guess it wd be nice if Chris credited his sources, but then it's certainly possible he never read my work, and that what I wrote ten yrs ago is just seeping into the national unconscious. According to a recent poll, more than 50% of Americans believe the country is in decline, so at least part of the message is afoot. Another part might be, *Why* we are in decline...but that really does require putting down one's cell phone and breaking thru the bozone layer. Rotsa ruck.

Again 2u all I say: Palin in '12! When you really, really, really think about it, you see that Sarah is the only way out. I absolutely adore her.

mb

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

RE: "breaking thru the bozone layer"

Keep in mind that resource depletion (water, soil and oil) is just around the corner, and a Palin presidency will accelerate the process. It looks like the only hope for thinning the bozone layer is the Earth itself: no more environment, no more bozones. Problem solved.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Art-

And she's the woman who can solve it! I tell ya, man, I jus' love that broad.

mb

4:16 PM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Dr. Berman and friends,

Have you heard of the Arizmendi bakery cooperatives, there are 5 within 30 minutes of each other, in the Bay Area Cal, of where I am native. I love these places, my (23 yr favorite) is The Cheese Board in N. Berkeley, truly the people are nice to be around and don't seem to breath the same bozone as so much of the populace. Many outside the local area, who know of it, dislike the nimybism (inside their heavenly 'gormet ghetto' bubble). But I like it. A bit off subject,though I am not financially stable in any way shape or form in this little bit of a nice place.

There is also Arizmendi in neighboring Oakland that's been there for about 7 years or so and in the Sunset district of Sf. I've not been to the other two in Emeryville, or across a bridge in San Rafael. They have the best currant scones, sticky buns, cheese rolls, curry cheese rolls, baguettes and etc etc. The fair model business'is good to support. In fact after knowing the differences, and in the difference in the workers awareness (intelligence) levels in general, it's always felt repulsive for me to support the corporates who are clueless to the host of reasons not to support them.

Thanks for your response, good to know I am not the only one w/o a cell, I too no tv, (though we have one).

Dr. B I also saw your mention of fondness for pastry and also the chapter on José Maria Arizmendiarrieta, a young priest who inspired and helped found the Mondragón coop's in Basque country, (beautiful place,I drove thru there in 1994, no time to stop).

I also heard you mention kundalini, I myself had a very spiritually significant entire year of 2009. You wouldn't believe the vertical phenomena, that was not expected. I somehow ended up last July being initiated by Yogiraj Gurunath Siddahnath, of the ancient Nath lineage; (I suppose Aryan orgin?); Well,he states the practice and knowledge of kriya yog is a science.

I am not looking for the vertical experience per say and esp after reading your 'Wandering God' but do think the silence is truly desirable. I am too very bohemian in my blood'n'bones. When a kid most years I dressed as a gypsy for halloween. Excuse talk of my own things, but I am curious after reading WG, are the modern day Gypsies or Rom functioning horizontally?

I think the ego and then the vertical and then the horizontal are naturally evolutionary in that order; or maybe starting with horizontal and then in that order going round and round.?

Back to Yogiraj, he shared specific practices to initiates and sitting in the silence often in the end.

Just to share, there is also a beautiful over 150 year old retreat in Olema Cal, near Stinson, (The Vedanta retreat), open to any contemplative or silent spiritual seeker of any practice, if ok'd by the Vedic Swami in SF.

Hopefully, can you let me know your views on Kriya or Kundilini in general, and pls be gentle on the yogi.

Well, this does nothing to turn around the conundrum or play the sybil in the quagmire or exit the dark abyss sucking up the masses. But it is truly a pleasure to read and write here discussing imprtnt subjects. Thank you.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Presciently (perhaps--maybe the brain rot began sooner) Paul Fussell wrote a book back in 1991 called BAD: or, The Dumbing of America. Still a good read!

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Dr. B, of course I will read your next book...I'm one the DAA 42, remember? Or was it 43 now? Let's just hope Sarah P pulls it off in '12, then our hopes and dreams will be realized for sure!

Susan W., thanks for pointing out the articles, I read the one where Hedges talks about the monastic option. Sounds alot like something I read in a book one time by this Morris Berman character....

10:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kelvin-

I seem to remember quoting Fussell in the Twilight book, but maybe it was his book on "Class". Clearly, yer not the only guy w/brain rot...

mb

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

I'm wondering about this strange pressure like a balloon being inflated in the center of my brain. But since I'm unemployed and uninsured, I won't be running to any doctors soon. I just assume it's the ill effects of bozonification that permeates the air we breath here in these United States of Amnesia (thank you Gore Vidal). (Just now I reached for my Webster's to see if I spelled bozonification correctly).

4:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kelvin-

There's an old Sufi tale about how the gods send one of their own down to earth in human form, to learn about life down here. But, they tell him, the water is tainted; it drives them all insane, so be sure not to drink it. He arrives on earth with his own water supply, and mixes and mingles with the earthlings. He is horrified by how they relate to one another, by their violence and stupidity (the tale doesn't mention the US specifically, of course, but we can use our imaginations here). However, eventually his water supply gives out, and he's forced to drink from the common source (= bozone). Suddenly, all of that insane behavior seems completely normal, and he fits into the culture without any difficulties.

I suppose there is one way America can be saved. One by one, each of the 310 million people inside its borders is forced to spend two years somewhere else, and then return to the US. The culture shock would be so enormous that eventually, the 310 million would scream, "This is unbelievable! We were living inside a fog of bozone! We actually elected Ronald Reagan as president??! Say it isn't so!" We would then apologize to Vietnam, Chile, Iran, Guatemala...(huge list--see Steven Kinzer, "Overthrow"), send each of them billions of dollars; make public use of cell phones and laptops illegal; close down all school systems (kindergarten to university) and import instructors from Europe to help us actually learn stuff; tear down the NYSE and erect a Church of the Reformed Bozonians in its place; etc. On every coin and piece of legal tender, the words "In God We Trust" will be removed, to be replaced by "Four Hundred Years of Inappropriate Behavior CAN Be Reversed!"; and the country would change its name to Nation of the Reformed Clowns (NRC). Sarah Palin would be put in a cage, and wheeled around different cities across the country for people to laugh and point, while G.W. Bush would be permanently incarcerated in the new (and very large) History of Stupidity Museum, located on the Smithsonian Mall in DC. Finally, amidst a huge trumpet fanfare, MB would return to the US and open a deli in Brooklyn, serving huge plates of chopped liver for free. People would drop in from all over the country to the Former Dark Ages Cafe, as it would be called, to devour massive pastrami sandwiches and reminisce about the time when Bush Sr. vomited on the prime minister of Japan, LBJ said that Gerry Ford couldn't fart and chew gum at the same time, Dan Quayle told the people of Latin America that he wanted to speak to them but couldn't because he didn't know Latin, etc. etc.

Whew! Now *that* would be a Novo Ordo Seclorum, eh?

mb

8:53 AM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

The perks would be that the visiting community planning scholars would dine at Chez Panisse each night. Sara would be so impressed with the flavor of the ch liver and of the concept she would become foreman on your ranch, (where she belongs!). Guns would become obsolete and each state would have a massive modern sculpture formed of all sorts of 'old world deadly relics' The children would be surprised of our violent history.

Also, in addition the oil co's collapsing so would the pharmeceuticals; and the hospitals would be begging people to come in and it would become very affordable.
But. the people would rather stay in the community full of music, laughter, angelic children and clean water, and lively cookouts.

Hope you post all three! All we need is love (really)

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Thanks for the injection of anti-bozone. My head's beginning to feel better. I believe your post has the seeds of a vast, satiric novel in the style of Vidal's Myra Breckinridge, Liver (chopped?) from Golgotha, or The Smithsonian Institution. It could be elaborated as a sci-fi novel and make you lots of bucks!

However, on the non-fiction side, I found a devastating critique to rival Marx's in your words from an earlier post:

"When Hedges keeps saying "We need to...", I ask myself: Who the hell is 'We'? Because 'We' are the bozos, ensconced in bozone; 'We' don't really want any changes at all. The consent may be manufactured, as Chomsky says, but at some point the false consciousness argument simply won't work: This *is* who we are, and this *is* what we want. In an odd way, America really is a pure democracy, because the government is delivering on its promise to take away love, meaning, spirit, etc., and replace all that with toys. And 310 million bozos don't *want* love, meaning, or spirit; they want toys!

For me those words illuminate our situation like a bolt of lightning leaving behind it the fresh smell of ozone.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kel-

The so-called puzzle of America is quickly solved if you realize

1. That we are living in a BRE (Buffoon-Rich Environment). Even as I write this, OB-GYN wards across the land are churning out future buffoons. This leads me to compose a little poem:

The Buffoon Index is very high;
Someday, it will reach the sky.

(Keats, eat yer heart out)

2. There are no mechanisms, political or otherwise, for reversing the BRE, or the daily generation of buffoons.

3. Therefore, the bozone layer increases in size and density every day, and will do so until it implodes.

4. A Palin Presidency (PP) will hasten this process, and is therefore a good thing. Sarah, I love you.

5. As Bugs Bunny once said, "That's all, folks!"

mb

6:26 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I think the bozone should also include critics of American foreign and domestic policy who subscribe to the official 9-11 story. It grieves me that you can by into that nonsense. Why? Are you afraid you will be considered some kind of kook? Come on, Morris, show some courage.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

So I lack courage if I don't believe it was an inside job? Man, you are a real piece of work!

ps: you misspelled buy

11:00 PM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Yes, bozone's need to: (or else):
(Please bear w/me)

and eat your chard!

Establish Arizmendi bakery cooperatives in their towns. And open organic sustainably raised chopped liver deli's. Name:(Happy Day Deli's),(w/compostable to go packaging).
Establish organic farmers markets. And bring their own bags (b.y.o.b).
The soils will be nourished by true methods. Their bodies/minds/emotions/ families/communities will be unpolluted and nourished by true nutrients
They will ditch their SUV's, throw out their toxic gadgets,and walk, and ride bikes
and help people, and hold family sing alongs w/ dogs.
There will be abundant happiness and even the neighboring thugs will drop their weapons
and join in lovely ways. And they will bring back the trolleys/streetcars.
Disgusting fast food along with it's packed convenience will become revolting.
The oil co's will become much more modest; the pharmaceuticals will too.
The water supply will be much cleaner. And sea life will no longer choke on plastic, bags.
The air too, no more emissions from styro, etc. etc. The bozone will begin to lift and clear.
Eventually there will no longer be bozones, breathing bozone. Their cells and DNA will become whole again. The hospitals will be begging them to come in, but the people would rather stay in their communities full of music, laughter, gardens, angelic children, lively singalongs and clean water.

Or we can just stay the ugly same,
realize the Sara fantasy
and hope it will all just blow up
as some resigned to when W was elected.

From Eco Worldly:
Our planet’s resources are very finite; through overpopulation and exploitation, our species has done an excellent job of burning through them at a devastating rate. Clean water is increasingly scarce, our atmosphere is quickly degrading, and our oceans are turning into acid. Many scientists now believe that our species, as well as thousands of others, may be teetering on the precipice of another global mass extinction. Is the collapse of life as we know it now inevitable?

Google wiki: OVERPOPULATION:
Without farming, the world population would probably have reached half a million by now."[2]

Oops, now what do we do?
Sara IS looking good.
You"re the man Dr. B.
maybe i should just curl up and die
or
may i wander around Mexico w/you?
I wonder if they'd like to try human liver, maybe we can market it.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Dan,

As for courage, MB has proven his. You try baking cookies for a neighbor in these here United States and you risk incarceration for stalking or for undermining the Nabisco cookie monopoly, a far more serious crime. MB has baked cookies for his neighbor when living in DC (whether from scratch or Nabisco cookie batter is immaterial). Now _that's_ kourage!

However, it's presumptious of me to come to the defense of someone who can very well polish off his opponents with a bolt of anti-bozone.

On the other hand, you may be in good company because Gore Vidal subscribes to the insider job for 9-11, and Oklahoma City. I myself believe that Trystero is behind it all. Read Pynchon's _The Crying of Lot 49_ for more details.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Dan,

You might want to read an article on Alternet today titled America Can't Deal with Reality Anymore. He addresses the 9/11 conspiracy idea as part of our inability to separate facts from an assault on reason. I was curious what the basis for the 9/11 conspiracy was so I watched Loose Change:9/11 where the case was laid out. The case they made was not very compelling as far as a conspiracy went but very convincing at how venal and ruthless the neocons are. At the end of the movie, the narrator said the neocons who executed this should be brought to justice. This is never going to happen, even if you're right and I'm wrong, who's going to prosecute them? There's ample evidence of war crimes in Iraq and Afganistan and none of them are the least bit worried about paying for their involvement. So, Dan, my advice to you (even though you didn't ask for it) is to use your precious time wisely and pursuing conspiracy theories is a waste of it.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

E.E. Heart (beef heart?) makes a good point about the need for "organic sustainably raised chopped liver delis". If I had access to grass-fed pastrami in my neck of the woods, it would be paradise.

There *is* a "real food"/family farm movement brewing, but much of it originates from fundamentalist/libertarian types. On the other end of the spectrum, progressives are munching on celery sticks and soy milk. What a mixed-up country this is! (Or, is it not mixed-up enough?)

2:58 PM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Hi friends,
I just got around to reading C.Hedges on Truthdig as mentioned in above posts, and for some reason I have never before read him or TD. Well, I wrote my last post before reading his pieces: Attention all Future Eaters and C.H. on Global Warming. I know and have known all these facts,(i do live in Calif). Though by far not all here know or believe it. I also like,(on-line): Reality Sandwich,(have you'all seen it?).
For me I feel a tremendous sense of urgency and every one else besides the few and far between seem oblivious.

Yes, meat production is a very large culprit, most are unaware of: (Gleaned from tube):
Producing 1kg of beef results in more CO2 emissions than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home

And your body is also telling you no no. Listen to the signs. And eat your chard!

Subtly is poetic and beautiful. Listen and honor all subtle beauty or it will turn into vulgarity. Beauty is love honoring itself.

Can you truly imagine cannabalism as a consequence of not heeding the dire warnings. We killed them, payback; continues the vulgarity.
We must honor beauty, yes, our shadow knows.
Sorry for being as dire as CH.
I still love you.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Saludos a todos!

For some reason I don't understand, this blog keeps circling back to the topic of food. I'd love to establish a separate food blog; the only problem is that what I know about nutrition is severely limited. I do know that I am opposed to chard--metaphysically, politically, ethically, and in every other possible way. And am (as u all know) extremely pro-corned beef. Beyond that, I think we need to find another locale for our collective fascination with diet.

Regarding 9/11: I have avoided discussion of that on this blog for a number of reasons. First, there are tons of websites that discuss and analyze it ad nauseam. Second, there doesn't seem to be a smoking gun in these sorts of cases: Reichstag fire, FDR's advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor, JFK assassination, etc. True, sometimes the circumstantial evidence is very good, but ultimately nothing is done about any of this stuff because we lack a clincher--e.g. a letter or email or audiotape--that nails the culprits to the wall. There's no doubt in my mind that 9/11 conspiracy speculation will continue for the next 50 yrs; I'm also sure that nothing will be definitely proven, and that nothing would be done about it even if it was. Frankly, I wouldn't put it past anyone as psychotic as Cheney, but circumstantial evidence finally doesn't really do the job. For example, I too saw "Loose Change," and there's a lot of provocative stuff in it. I was particularly impressed by the claim, at the very end, that 9 out of the 14 hijackers are not dead and in fact have jobs in Syria and other Islamic countries. The only problem is: how do I know this? Why should I take the filmmakers' word for it? You see the problem.

One other thing: what remains significant about Nazi Germany is the Holocaust, not the Reichstag fire. Similarly, what remains significant about 9/11 is (a) the history of US foreign policy--Jesus, sooner or later these folks were going to get tired of what we had done to them since 1953 and strike back, no?, and (b) what happened inside of the US as a result of that attack: the destruction of civil liberties, the setting up of an elaborate surveillance apparatus, the huge shift of cash to the military, etc. Personally, I'd love it if Cheney confessed on his deathbed to engineering the whole thing, but it doesn't seem likely. And then, as someone pointed out--maybe it was Gore Vidal, I can't remember--the Pentagon isn't smart enough to pull off a stunt like that. Middle-class technically trained jihadists probably are.

Anyway, I suggest that outside of the occasional ref to delicatessen, we leave the subjects of nutrition and 9/11 conspiracy aside, and focus on reality instead; like how and in what ways this country is going down the tubes. (Thank u Susan for that Alternet ref; a great--and very disturbing--article. In this postmodern age, nearly everyone is willing to float some version of reality w/o worrying too much about the evidence for it; and since the public at large has no idea of the relationship between thesis and proof, things get more pathological by the day. I never really did discuss the destruction of reality as a factor in national decline, but clearly there's a book here, once I complete my 4-vol. magnum opus on the history of pastrami.)

mb

8:22 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

I have two quotes from a great comedy group and a great songwriter which are relevant to the comments here.

"It's money that matters, in the USA!" _ Randy Newman

"I think we are all bozos on this bus." - The Firesign Theatre

10:33 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

The smoking gun, Dr. Berman, is building #7 which came down about 5:40 PM that day and which nothing hit it. The 9-11 Commission was so perplexed by it that it was never mentioned in the final report. Fine, sir, if you don't subscribe to a conspiracy (though truthers and the government have only competing theories since at least we can all agree that more than one person was involved in what happened that day). What gets to me is how you, Chomsky, the late Howard Zinn, Chalmers Johnson, Hedges and even William Blum who has spent his entire life chronicaling American foreign policy nefarities can so uncritically accept the government's version. Where is your healthy skepticism which I'm sure you preached to all your students? On this Yom Kippur eve let's not forget the Talmudic passage:The world depends on 3 things for its continued existance-truth, justice, and peace. You cannot have one without the other two. And until we get to the truth of what happened that day, the US will never know a day of peace.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

If you go online, you can find lots of material debunking the Building 7 theory. Are all of these folks also deluded by the government, also part of the conspiracy? Where is *your* healthy skepticism, or isn't that part of the equation? The point is that it is *not* a smoking gun; it's not open and shut, but open to interpretation and counter-interpretation, which will go on forever. If this thing is indeed your passion, knock yourself out; don't let me stand in your way. But calling me or Chomsky or whomever cowards because we don't believe it was an inside job does you no credit, my friend. I'm not up for an endless argument with you, in any case (which is what it would be). But there are plenty of websites that want to hash out Building 7 and all the other fine details, and I suspect you'll be a lot happier with those brave and courageous souls. Just a small bit of advice: when you correspond with them, try being courteous. It makes fruitful conversation a lot more likely. Me entiendes?

mb

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Dan,

Truth, justice and peace? Oh yeah, America had those in abundance before 9-11, right? Sheesh. I don't believe in the conspiracy theory, because I think it's just denial. However, I'm not going to argue with you about it, because you've obviously obtained an erudition about the attack that I could never hope for. I don't know what numbers the buildings are. The fact of the matter is that America is destroying itself at a far greater and more efficient rate than any attack could dare to. We don't want truth here; we want entertainment. We don't desire peace, we desire narcissistic, others-are-objects relationships (aka "rugged individualism). And justice? For whom? we've never really been very good at that either.

Dr. B,
you've inspired me yet again...as soon as I post this, I'm having a giant corned beef sandwich and tomorrow a corned beef omelette.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

If it's not too late, I suggest you add cole slaw and Russian dressing to the sandwich. The Stage Deli (on 7th Ave, between
53rd and 54th Sts.) calls this "all the way". ("Heart Attack on a Plate" might be more apt, but as an avid patron of the place, I'm no one to criticize.) A side order of chopped liver would, of course, be *de rigueur*.

Anyway, moving on from 9/11 and all that wonderful stuff, a recent New Yorker article I'd like to recommend to all, which demonstrates clearly why nothing in this country is going to change except for the worse, is "Covert Operations," by Jane Mayer; really a masterpiece of reporting. It updates my own discussion (in DAA) of the right-wing conspiracy, beginning in the late 70s, to shift public opinion to the right, and it does so quite brilliantly and comprehensively. Required reading if you want to depress yourselves even more than you already are; which is, of course, the purpose of this entire blog.

mb

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

RE: "I suggest...we leave the subjects of nutrition and 9/11 conspiracy aside, and focus on reality instead."

I don't understand how you can say that nutrition is somehow not "real" enough. Food (its production, processing and consumption) is at the very heart of our reality and the mess we're in: politically, economically, ecologically. See Richard Manning's article for Harper's, "The Oil We Eat".

You admit that you know very little about nutrition. Would it surprise you, then, if you learned that it is likely the bread (not the meat) that makes your corned beef sandwich a "Heart Attack on a Plate"? If Big Agriculture has us hoodwinked concerning what constitutes a healthy diet ("seven servings of whole grains a day"), isn't this relevant to our discussion about how the country is going down the tubes?

I am disappointed that talking about this vital topic is now off limits. Talking about the bozone layer is important, but may I suggest that everyone is a dolt about one thing or another? You've implied, I think, that you desire to remain unknowledgeable about the subject. "What I don't know won't hurt me"?

9:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Art-

Well, sure, we can talk abt it; it's just that food is really not the purpose of this blog; any more than, say, sports is. One could probably make an argument about the crucial importance of sports for the Amer. Way of Life etc., but personally, I can't see having an on-going discussion about it here. As with 9/11 conspiracy theories, there are blogs for food and for sports; this just isn't one of them.

mb

9:40 AM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Thank you friends,

For putting up w/a little defense of some lovely ways going on in the U.S., (& it is very relevant to both cats: (Gettysburg, and Spheres of Influence). I myself know of two places with higher #'s of conscientiousness, (bubbles surrounded by bozo's).

I know of a really sweet town, Fairfax Ca. adding more and more beauty to their initial lovley ways. These wise steps help all around to experience the precedent to realize and be aware of wise choices in general, in every area of living, including behavior & communication. This solves many problems of waste and pollution, (also verbal or thought pollution) that adds to the bozone. There are no chains or styro or plastic bags wanted as voted by the citizens of FX. It is a place where people are walking all over the place, and it is where mountain biking was 'invented'. Please think of the very relative reality that I am speaking of (the very heart of the prob.). Organic is important because for example a piece of organically raised xxxx contains as much as 1/3 more antioxidants, vites and minerals. This feeds the brain while stopping huge #'s of pollutants. The town is all org. everywhere you look and people are actually smiling all the time. Please consider, these people are doing very well, the place is heaven on earth. As are many many places outside the U.S that are healthy as well. Please notice how many million of pounds of chemical pesticides and ferts are poisoning us and the kids, waters and land, (this is a fact). And so is the scary production of plastics, one ex: (19 billion plastic bags produced each year in Ca alone).

Most of this country is composed of strip malls and convenience items is it not? They drive to the shopping center gorge on unhealthy junk xxxx and exit with a bunch of packaging, day in and day out. Here lies the essence of our ugly un-health. The support of the corporates feeding us devitalised dead xxxx, and promoting SUV's and driving = supporting polluting oil Co's and eventually in their ill state support the pushed pharmaceuticals, that poison us and planet all over again. All the waste involved in every aspect of this day to day way, let us count the ways.

A typical Indian village I have witnessed, produces practically no garbage @ 5% or less, it seems, of what a typical American produces. They often too eat a vegetarian diet.
Art, I must've been a cow in prev. life...E. E. Heart (moniker)stands for, Eternal Energy of the astral Heart chakra.

Something we all know we need to get busy on is: that every single thing is important from the tiniest ant. Every heart, of Everything and Everybody on earth needs to be honored. I am telling you the heart of the problem from my heart to your infinite loving heart. It is more fun to talk of bozo and this topic can be over if it can first just be acknowledged.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

If the purpose of this blog is "to depress yourselves even more than you already are", then watching "Food, Inc." or reading Lierre Keith will certainly do the job!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Dear E. E. Heart,

Art mentiioned Lierre Keith, who is anti-vegetarian-vegan and anti- soy milk after she discovered that after years of that diet her bone structure was seriously compromised, eg. scoliosis. She switched to a mixed diet that includes high-quality meat (free-range chicken etc) and her bone health was restored. She's also joined forces with Derrick Jensen, the environmental activist.

Jensen doesn't preach peace. He's targeted the corporadoes (to use Barsamian's term) and advocates violent (if necessary) resistance to them. He urges individuals to destroy dams, particularly in the Northwest where dams have driven salmon to near-extinction. He endorses the toppling of cell phone towers that are hazardous to migrating birds. In his 2003 book, _Strangely like war: The global assault on forests_ he reports on page 1: "The forests of the world are in bad shape. About three-quarters of the world's original forests have been cut, most of that in the past century. Much of what remains is in three nations: Russia, Canada, and Brazil. Ninety-five percent of the original forests of the United States are gone."

When I read in Jane Mayer's article, "Covert Operations," (thanks Dr. Berman for mentioning it), that Koch Industries had bought Georgia-Pacific, one of the major corporadoes of deforestation, I thought, "why, of course! It all hangs together. David Koch sits on the board of Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center while his company, Georgia-Pacific, manufactures formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and deforests the countries of the world. His flunkies, who seem possessed of boundless, if misguided, energy, write letters to the EPA saying that a cap on the industrial emmissions will pose a serious health hazard because the reduced pollution will result in more sunlight that will cause more skin cancer. (I apologize if I've distorted this--it's the bozone I breathe--hard to think clearly).

I'm glad that you've found a beautiful place with beautiful people in beautiful (deforested, tree-plantationed forest-fire-ridden) California (Jensen lives in a small stand of redwoods in Northern California and fights vigorously to keep the corporadoes out). But it's the exception that proves the rule.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Having Chicago style "Italian Beef" for dinner this evening, followed by Lechon Baboy (filipino roast pork)...just figured I need to let my friends know that I'm very meat-friendly, and since we end up talking about food all the time, I might as well shout it out. Love processed, greasy, fatty meat.

I don't think we can blame a small group of individuals or corporations for our downfall. I think the common American is equally at fault. Having the privilege to eat what we want is not enjoyed by most of the world. If we are to focus on the food industry, we only looking at a tiny fraction of the inherent rot in our way of life. We are a nation of fools, whether we eat bacon, organic products, soy milk, or seaweed.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Kelvin,

Many thanks for the back-up. I would just like to add that Lierre Keith also advocates (grass-fed) meat eating on environmental grounds. She states:

"I'm so tired of being told that a plant-based diet will save the planet. It won't. It will only entail more drawdown of soil, rivers, species, and life. ...If we could increase soil organic matter even .5% on 75% of the world's devastated rangelands, that would bring CO2 levels back down to 330ppm. ...It's so simple--repair what agriculture has destroyed. Put the appropriate ruminants back on restored grasslands."

(Dr. Berman, thanks for indulging me. But you have to admit, this is pretty good stuff!)

Joe,

Yes, we're a nation of fools; but here's something to ask yourself. One of Lierre Keith's slogans is:"My food builds topsoil and repairs the planet--does yours?" Hardly anyone I know makes this choice (myself included), and the food industry (not that tiny) sure as hell won't make it for us. Yes, we're a nation of fools.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Oh well, we are still on the subject, yet hoping to move on actually, because I miss Dr. Berman; He must be very busy on the projects he mentioned. To reply, yes, a serious issue of waste, and this equates directly to the American people, when considering all the nitrogen, pesti's. and etc. creating harmful pollutnts, co2 -acid oceans, bozone, etc. etc. and soil depletion = human brain depletion, (true there are recent studies out, comparing academic performances, in regard to this issue). Just one simple little thing like a walnut resembling a brain is a good place to start containing DHA vital for developing brain.

The majority of the things and the ways in which America so easily and hastily eats is directly responsible and in large part in creating a large segment of lazy, unmovitated, unconcerned people. I have noticed that what is in the chains are unhealthy and addictive, this puts young people & others on their side. Having this much power Monsanto, Dow, Adm, puts us at the mercy of these unmovable venomous giants, responsible for massive monoculture, agent orange, GMO, and who knows what else.

Only if you wish, check out the edible school yard, pasted from site: The visibility of ESY has also increased. The program hosts over 1,000 visitors each year—from educators, to health professionals, to international delegates—and has inspired countless kitchen and garden programs.

I consider this subject to be more about empowerment of our health in general, and societal health IS what is at issue here.

Yea, yea this is pretty well known. I feel like a big bozo for talking about it again. Can we change subjects now, at least I can just read the next blogs. I miss that silly humor.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear E.E.,

Yeah, I think the way to go here is for us to discuss food for the next six months, then move on to 9/11 conspiracy theories for another six, and finally perhaps a final six on the history of the paper clip. Gripping subjects, all. This will take us close to the 2012 victory (hopefully) of Sarah Palin, whereupon we might consider returning to US politics and culture and the collapse of the empire. Just a suggestion.

mb

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Some time ago, you mentioned that you've always had the ability to offend simply by walking into the room. And now, you've equated food policy with the history of the paper clip.

Yeah, let's return to silly humor and culture (just as long as it's not agriculture). Above all, let's pull for Palin; and let's hope she invades Iran and starts World War III. Wouldn't that be hilarious?

Dave, I hope you're enjoying this!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Art-

Don't kid yerself; paper clips have been essential to the rise of the corporate state. Meanwhile, why not start yer own blog, on food? I'm quite serious; it's very important to you, and I'm sure it'll attract a lot of discussion. As for Dave, I'm sure he'll be back b4 2 long...

Relax, Art; relax!

mb

7:20 PM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Dr. Berman cannot be called a saint or hero: he is a wild lone wolf, trotting along his own course, and I choose to accompany the side of this majestic creature's path, rather than cross it.

You are helping to ground me Dr. B, thank you.

Also, I enjoyed so much of the posts in spheres of influence...
I am interested in exploring middle path between vert/horiz between the rizome and the flower, truly keeping in mind the obscurity of say, a wild goose flying in the herd.

The horizontal/vertical brings to mind Romneya poppies with their 5-8ft stalks, (as tall as people) and a single flower atop. White, crepe-like textured petals w/a large yellow center, breathtaking flowers, and powerful rizomes, that can travel through hard soil (even from one side of a house to the other), being the root of their beauty. I hope to join in the new discussion soon.

Back to the topic of this cat, maybe someone can answer: Whatever happened in the tip of the ice burg example of bozone: the Gettysburg casino meeting outcome or status?

6:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear E.E.,

I dunno, but I'm assuming the resolution passed and the casino is being built. In a jackass culture, one should always assume a jackass outcome; although you can probably get the latest info by googling "gettysburg casino".

-Your favorite rhizome

6:17 PM  
Blogger Ashley Colby said...

I'm with Art and others here who seem to see the connection between how we eat and who we are. I hate to think that references to this connection should be off limits here, one of the few places where people care about the *deep* meaning and history of consumption. I would hate to have my thoughts on these things relegated to a chic foodie blog.

But I think I am getting at what MB finds boring about it. For me, what is so beautiful about food is indulging in the mere horizontality of eating. The bliss of experiencing taste and texture is one of the few easily horizontal experiences we have daily. But as with other horizontal experiences like long walks on a fall day or swimming over a coral reef - it is sort of boring to discuss here. Better to just eat!

Mangia! Mangia!

Ashley

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Remember back in the 1980s, when there were plans to "develop" Walden Pond? I believe it was for a shopping mall, though I'd have to look it up ot be sure. So I'm sickened but not surprised to hear this news about Gettysburg. As Susan W. said, there is no such thing as "hallowed ground" in America any longer.

Of course, any patch of unspoiled land, one that still has trees & vegetaion & its own population of animals, is considered to be "going to waste" in contemporary America. Besides, a spotted owl can't get you a job! It certainly won't pay for your newest suburban assault vehicle or the 257th iteration of your iPhone.

There's a short interview with Lewis Lapham in today's Salon on the end of capitalism:

http://www.salon.com/news/great_recession/ index.html?story=/politics/war_room/ 2010/09/23/lynn_parramore_lewis_lapham

(Just remove spaces between recession/ index, and war_room/ 2010, to make the link work.)

Makes interesting reading, especially alongside the interview with Oliver Stone, who talks about the inevitable decline of American empire.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

Hello,

In response to several comments about the Gettysburg casino, I have a question to ask of several of those who consider Gettysburg hallowed ground; why IS Gettysburg hallowed ground in your mind? Please dont be mistaken, I share your contempt for the American death culture of money, but I can't help but think of the Civil War in much the same way. To think of the war to save the union as altruistic and somehow noble would be to ignore the underlying ECONOMIC factors that were cause enough for 1. The confederate states to secede and 2. For Lincoln to decide that they must not be allowed to at all costs.

My point is basically that if one is going to view this Casino debate purely through the lens of money and gain, then why not consider the reason that Gettysburg is famous(the CIVIL WAR) through that same lens? I can see that the personal gain for individuals is much less veiled in the casino's case, but many more had a lot to gain monetarily by the Union being preserved, which was an unquestioned motive for Civil War to break out in 1861. Time alone should not canonize Lincoln or other civil war power brokers in our minds, ESPECIALLY since hundreds of thousands died for their cause.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Patrick,

You're absolutely right. The CW was not fought over the moral issue of slavery. That provided the focus, but there is a much larger cultural and economic background that is more to the point. I deal with this in ch. 3 of my new book, "Capitalism and Its Discontents," which should be out next year. However, most Americans do buy the "growth of freedom" theory of the CW (as well as much of the liberal academy), and so the construction of a casino nr. Gettysburg should, in that popular framework, be regarded by them as a disgrace. But it's not; which is why I wanted to post Dave Cohen's article. Once we get beyond that shibboleth, however, it's true: Lincoln was a get-ahead capitalist kind of guy, and did see the need for a Northern victory heavily in those terms. Ergo, the casino does, weirdly enuf, stand for Gettysburg!

As authors love to say, Read my book.

mb

3:21 PM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

In regards to P. D. Fitzgerald's welcome inquiry, I mainly use intuition to back my feelings and often aviod (though not always), factual details, (sure you have noticed this, Dr. B. & hopefully you're not frustrated by it; it is amazing actually, what I have experienced by this intuitive approach, as recently as just yesterday,(I'll keep the details to myself).

Initially, after reading the article, I felt it as a contradiction(to be appalled by the Gettysburg casino), as they both really do run along the same parallel lines, considering all the very actions that occurred); and then I went along with the being appalled part of it, and this should be the preservationists reaction which is still the point of this entire blog, is it not? A preservationist seeks to preserve say nature or say history, (that we should learn from).

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

E. E. Heart,

Exactly! What a culture chooses to preserve & remember, as well as what it chooses to discard & forget, pretty much tells us what we need to know about its character -- or lack thereof, I guess.

For some reason, Auden's line about "...children, casual as birds, / Playing amid the ruined languages." Those dead languages today are Knowledge, Art, Wisdom, Reflection, and so on. They're what the culture has chosen to discard & forget.

But we can always go shopping!

9:50 AM  
Anonymous E. E. Heart said...

Tim,
Thanks for quoting Auden.

I hope I can get this through to blog--tried to post the following on Sat.in the 'Chic' cat. & in pondering the origin of it--but I think Dr. B .didn't care for it.

It actually is very relevant as response to Tim; and It is probably better here than in 'Chic' it's getting pretty heavy over there.

Really enjoy being able to talk here, don't usually chat unless it is good!
(I'll omit two middle paras)...

What are we learning as the acceleration of the dream of materialism and of the resulting chaotic cultural confusion escalates out of control?

That even in the middle of it all(including throughout all of the warning signs), the very possible saviors of our sanity and souls-those that got buried in the mess-the lovely subtleties, the immaterial needs of: true beauty, love, spirit, and meaning, overwhelmingly and ironically were put aside and even, often cast away, as seemingly meaningless to our very survival (of it all).
* * *
What was thought could be secured by false means, was actually lost in the grand scheme, and then, life indeed became that of a life so utterly desolate, almost devoid of those immaterial, yet, true lovely necessities.

Well anyway,
it also occurred to me today, the name Wall Street actually seems a good analogy for the typical American street where there is some obstacle to our true freedom.

I think the obstacle is that so many are going the wrong way...for example, thinking we will be loved for our persona or material gains rather than loving unconditionally we wait to be loved, but no one is immune, rich or famous, etc. All can fail with this approach. I am also dealing with some deep and subtle guiding forces myself of how unconditional love of all is our true spirit (our freedom). Well, glad I checked this cat. and hopefully this will post.

p.s. R. Reich's new book, Aftershock, just came out... Another relevant thing to share in regards to Tim's last post! And maybe a worthwhile purchase, no tongue in cheek.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Patrick--

I don't know if you're still reading this but I wanted to respond to your question about hallowed ground. I don't actually consider it hallowed ground, I used the term mainly b/c it was being hammered endlessly in the news. I think Gettysberg is historically significant and should be protected for that reason. And it might even be a good idea to teach kids WHY it's historically significant---but with history books now being purged (at least here in Texas) that seems unlikely to happen.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>We are incapable of creating intelligent myths because we are a nation of goofballs.

The idea that the benighted, stupid masses are ruining the country because of their vulgarity, total lack of culture, and lack of respect for the higher things in life is an idea that one hears repeated throughout history.

Usually, it comes from members of a decaying class sure of their natural superiority and convinced the masses will ruin the place without their natural betters to guide them.

Today it is mostly academics and journalists who think this way. In the past it was noblemen during the rise of the bourgeois, White colonialists during the independence movements in the Third World, etc.

4:57 AM  

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