December 11, 2011

The Poetry of Kurt Vonnegut

A few years back, when he was still alive (obviously), Kurt Vonnegut published the following poem in the New Yorker, a tribute to his lifelong friend Joseph Heller. Here it is:


True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, "Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel 'Catch-22'
has earned in its entire history?"
And Joe said, "I've got something he can never have."
And I said, "What on earth could that be, Joe?"
And Joe said, "The knowledge that I've got enough."
Not bad! Rest in peace!


Blogger Jerry said...

Prof. Berman,

That's a great tribute to a fellow writer. Did you remember the event (ca. 2003) when Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Gore Vidal joined forces to speak out against the Iraq invasion? Sadly, Vidal is the only one still living (he provided a blurb for Dark Ages America; has he read your most recent work?).

If you're able to pick up a copy of the December issue of Harper's Magazine you might be interested in reading a piece by Earl Shorris called "American Vespers". The essay is part memoir, part political analysis: the author went through a near-death experience and uses that as a vehicle to discuss the decline of the United States. Shorris feels that the decline began with Ronald Reagan, so he doesn't go back to the very founding of the republic (as you did in WAF), but you'd definitely agree with the last sentence in his piece: "No nation is forever."



8:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I did try to contact Gore via his ass't, whose email address I had from yrs back; but there was no answer, and I suspect that Gore may not be in the best of health. I did become friends, of sorts, w/Earl Shorris after the Twilight bk came out, but then the correspondence sorta drifted away, and I had no idea he had had a near-death experience. Thanks for the heads-up, in any case.


9:08 PM  
Blogger Nebris said...

This showed up in my g-mail:

..and it led me to this:

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

After seeing a U-tube video of Chomsky talking about Social Darwinism, I think Counterpunch will not publish your rebuttal. Chomsky contrasts the work of Herbert Spencer, essentially the founder of Social Darwinism with the work of Peter Kropotkin who wrote a book called "Mutual Aid a Factor in Evolution" which argued that cooperation and mutual aid are the most important factors in species evolution.Chomsky argued that his work was basically marginalized because it did not conform to the beliefs,values, and attitudes of the rich and powerful whereas Spencer's work was widely distributed and discussed since the principles of Social Darwinism are favorable to the interests of the ruling class.And obviously the ideas contained in WAF are wholly not favorable to the elites.
But why won't Counterpunch publish your response? It then hit me that although CP, Democracy Now, Alternet seem to be subversive they in fact fit neatly within the ruling class's ideology in that they still support the 2 party system and make a horse race of presidential elections. As a result, no new radical ideas can ever surface especially ideas that challenge the basic assumptions of capitalism.I genuinely feel for you, Dr. Berman. Such a brilliant work is WAF. I just hope you can at least take comfort in that we WAFers could hardly get up in the morning if not for your cogent insights and I hope that in spite all, the truth will continue to get you high.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I suspect that's part of it. But even more, I think that it's that I am not 'progressive'; I don't believe in techno-progress or the notion that we are necessarily evolving toward a better world. I also value the 'backward' and traditional, as I did in WAF re: the American South (at least, in part), and this wd tend to put progressives (including Marxists such as Dowd) off. In a word, I occupy a niche that is unrecognizable or incomprehensible, to both the Right and the Left; and so there's no way I can have a voice in this culture.


9:23 AM  
Anonymous VW said...


I have finally made the time to post a review of your book at Amazon.


I have to agree with you about Democracy Now. Although it has been my primary source of news since I ditched the TV in 2007, I have noticed that there seems to be a wanting to fit in rather than displace the MSM. While I respect Amy Goodman for bringing voices on her program that would otherwise be unheard by the masses, I find DN more engaging when Juan Gonzalez is on and interviewing the guests. His demeanor is straight to the point.


10:16 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Of course there's always the possibility that when the country is thoroughly in the ditch and there is no way to extricate it then people may take a look at your work. But as you say on pg.158 in WAF that that would take"a degree of maturity" that the US "sorely lacks." SO I guess even if every American were reduced to living in a grass hut there would still be cries of "USA,USA!" Afterall, most Americans would regard living in a grass hut a decent price to pay in order to fight terrorism.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks for yr generous review; I appreciated it. Now, if there were some way to alert the larger public to the fact that the bk exists, they cd at least read all of these positive revs. One can only hope...


11:47 AM  
Blogger Chil said...

Four fifths of the way through the book. Another beacon from Berman! Thanks for writing it. It's taught this fellow exile - I lit out forLondon 40 years ago - a great deal.

You across, by any chance, these lines from Act I, scene iii of Shakespeare's Troilus & Cressida? They're germane.

‘Then everything includes itself in power,
Power into will, will into appetite;
And appetite, an universal wolf,
So doubly seconded with will and power,
Must make perforce an universal prey,
And last eat up himself.’  (Troilus and Cressida, I.iii.)

9:10 PM  
Blogger Nicholas Colloff said...


I love the precision of Shakespeare's quotation. However, in describing the dynamics of power within a person (and by extension) a community or country, it places a comforting emphasis on 'self-consumption' excepting that in an inter-connected, increasingly fragile world, the tragic hero (community, country) does not go down with their ship, as the passengers make for rescue in the rowing boats, they take many of the forlorn passengers down with them!

Exile is so easily invaded (as it is in the UK, my home country, by our rather doltish traipsing after the US - though not thankfully in everything. I can still afford to be ill, for now)!

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is high time to read some Vonnegut again, thanks for the tip Dr. Berman! Here is a quote I ran across from Alfred North Whitehead.

"Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the death of knowledge."

8:59 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Chil: I have wondered, from time to time if Shakespeare wasn't a actual burning bush!

Here is a quote attributed to Clarence Darrow that seems to have a similar echo to it, up to the inevitable devour part.

"I could have run with the wolves. I have the brains to know that that path is easy. I know all good [wealth] things in the world come to the people who play with them."

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman –

Thank you for your substantial and generous reply to my comments on “La longue durée” a while back. I guess I had Jari Chevalier all wrong. I had never heard of her before listening to her interview you, and she did a good job of letting the interview be about you and your work, rather than about her. However she paid a price for it when I, knowing nothing about her, I mistook her comment on consciousness for the kind of ‘change-your mind-and-change-the-world’ drek that Oprah peddles. What can I say except ‘sorry Jari’?

As for OWS – if it does become a permanent ‘teach-in’, I hope its teachers will come from the alternative tradition. Even that is not going to turn the whole system around, but at least it may generate some NMI’s.

Thanks for the Vonnegut poem.

David Rosen

3:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No need to apologize; Jari does buy into a lot of that Oprah stuff, or at least did for a while (I may have made a dent in her thinking, I dunno). But the confusion that arose was one of saying "consciousness creates reality"--which is not the Annales position--or historical forces do--which is. My pt was that historical forces need embodied agents, as much as those agents need to be acting out the historical forces of their time; and that the Annales folks tended to slight the embodied agents. Anyway, this discussion is becoming rather convoluted, so maybe we shd just go on to other things. I notice a depressing lack of reference to deli meats on this blog as of late, and perhaps we need to focus on that.

As far as the future of OWS, I tend to come back to 2 crucial pts: one is that lasting, effective revolt tends to come from the periphery rather than the center; the 2nd is that w/in the US, the alternate tradition is historically so feeble (excepting the antebellum South), that what we can expect from OWS is the latest chapter in the marginalization of that tradition (if OWS does indeed represent that tradition, wh/I'm not sure it does). However, even as these two historical trends weigh heavily on OWS and on all of us who are grossed out by the world of hustling, that doesn't mean we shdn't do it. The choices are something like this:

1. Hit the road, find a better life elsewhere. That's what I did.
2. Try to foment an actual revolution, and wind up 6' under.
3. Become an NMI and contribute to the continuing history of the alternative tradition (well, I suppose I'm still doing that, even at a distance).
4. I can't think of anything else.

The choice here is obviously personal. As for the impact, we won't know that for a long time, I suspect. Gandhi is relevant here: Something abt, Nothing u do is important, but u shd do it anyway.

This is not a fun period to be living thru, but it is unusual, in the same way that the waning of the Middle Ages was. We are seeing the disintegration of capitalism before our very eyes. As this gains momentum, NMI alternatives may not only become attractive--there may be no choice! (A new sheriff in town, etc.)


5:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hustling hits a new low dept.:

Some co. in VT is selling Jesus Toasters.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

Jesus H. Crust...

I'll take my salvation on whole wheat please.


6:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Every time I think this country can't get any dumber, it does! The guy is probably making a fortune on his toasters. How many O&D T-shirts can I sell, I wonder?

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


You might want to wait until that old ass reverend tries to have a bowel movement and predicts another date for the end of the world.

Marketing the shirts might have to pertain to O&D for the whole planet. Which of course is not too far fetched given the latest round of climate talks in Durban.


6:49 PM  
Anonymous Bisley said...


If you like the Jesus toaster, you'll love this:

Kinda hard to know where to start.


7:24 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I happened to venture in a Barns and Noble Cafe the other day and although the cafe was full there were not 2 people engaged in conversation! All were engrossed in some crap technology-so incredibly FUBAR. And if knowledge is, as the Greeks thought, socially constructed, what chance is there of any original thinking coming from the US?
It does look like that horrific bill will pass and Obama will sign it. In fact,it appears that the idea of detaining Americans indefinitely actually came from the White House, according to Carl Levin.
By the way, the poem reminds me of something from Zen:When you feel you've gone too far then you've gone far enough. How many in this country know anything about limits?

9:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I'm pretty close to opening that T-shirt factory I keep telling u guys abt.


9:17 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


I feel your pain. One of the few places to even see people who are not shopping or working is the nearby Starbucks. I know. I know.

Once in a great while I see a couple of people that I have managed to strike up a conversation with in the past. We talk about current events, etc. Since I don't go there very often anymore, I haven't seen them in a while.

I went in the other day for something to drink in the hopes of catching someone's eye. Sometimes there can actually be some nice looking ladies walking in and out that aren't glued to a crackberry. Remember, I said sometimes.

The place is pretty much taken over by people with laptops. The back has some couples actually engage in "conversation". But they came in together. On the weekends it is some kind of hodgepodge of kiddies playing adults and a meat market, if you know what I mean.

The Barnes and Nobles near me has such a poor selection of books it isn't even funny. The now defunct Borders was much better. Since there is a SB inside B&N the scene is not much different. People talking on their phones, staring into screens; you get the picture.

Current events are nothing more than Facebook page updates. I have a better chance of starting a conversation with myself than I do with the people around me anymore. People are too busy in a hurry hustling, shopping, talking, texting, listening to some mindless crap on their iPod.

I am back to school part time after work in the hopes of engaging with people of intellect. It can be VERY difficult. I would have a better chance of getting people's attention by walking across campus in a robe and slippers like Rodney Dangerfield did in Back to School.

But then I would just end up on YouTube.

Sorry about the rant.


9:35 PM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

A couple of days ago, I got an Xmas card from Jimmy Carter, along with a letter requesting my support of the Carter Center. Jimmy writes: "when conflicts erupt...for every soldier killed, nine civilians perish from stray bullets, bombs, landmines, and deliberate deprivation of food and medical care." Can you imagine Obama ever telling the American public any of this?

My earlier plan to semi-retire from the blog was a foolish one. There is much in my life that needs re-arranging, but retreating from vital nourishment such as this is not one of them.

Speaking of nourishment, a NY style deli just opened up here in town; they make their own brisket, corned beef and pastrami. Now, if there were only a book festival here that would invite you to talk!

1:10 AM  
Blogger Nicholas Colloff said...


Your Barnes & Noble experience put me in mind of Oslo, where I was last week. I had not seen such a concentration of book stores - full of people, out together, talking about them and buying them - and the way the English titles simply blended with the Norwegian - the assumption that most people could read both. The cafes/restaurants too full of people for Christmas, having conversations, uninterrupted (mostly) by mobiles. It was delightful - convivial and communal - and these were supposedly 'dour' Nordics (though the shadow side is they cannot half drink)!

5:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


All of us are glad yr still w/us. Hope yr father is hanging in there, BTW.

My lecture, shd I be invited to yr town: "Deli as the Lifeblood of a Healthy Society."


ps: As u well know, Carter was a visionary, and Obama is a joke.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Here is what Obama said at the White House Correspondence dinner on May 4, 2010:"The Jonas brothers are here. Sasha and Malina are huge fans. But boys, don't get any ideas. I have two words for you-predator drones. You'll never see it coming. You think I'm joking?" Compare that with anything Jimmy Carter has ever said.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman and DAAers
The Jesus toaster reminds me of the glow in the dark crucifixes of my youth and Notre Dame's touchdown Jesus. To paraphrase Bob Dylan: its plain to see that with this society nothing is really sacred.
I was in the local B&N inline for a cup of coffee and notice an older women(L70/E80) and struck-up a conversation. Somehow the subject of her sons careers came up. Well she went on a rant about how successful they were. I replied(when I had an opening) that they must be dedicated to their chosen fields.She said no they are just in it for the money. I thought how lucky I am that my career was about the work that I loved and not the money.
I finished WAF and found it to be actually consolling and inspiring. This might sound contradictatory being what the books portends; but when most of your life is spent wondering among a group of people whose only concerns are acquisition, self absobtion, greed and vanity, its like a soothing ointment to know explicitly and detailed how it came to this. Thanks for writing the books.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

PS I forgot to mention I grewup in an italian neighborhood so my favorite deli meat is genoa salami

9:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Comforting to me that WAF was a source of comfort 2u. A # of folks have written me that they enjoyed it because they'd rather know what's up than wallow in b.s., even if the news ain't great. If u have a moment, and it's not a lot of trouble, I'd be grateful if u cd post a rev. on Amazon.

Many thanks,

9:43 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Alas, Christopher Hitchens died last night. (

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Bisley said...


I think this is your target audience:

Truly amazing.


10:59 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


Dick Gregory once said that if Jesus Christ came back they would kill him again, and that two thousand years from now people would be wearing little electric-chair necklaces. Avoid the rush, order your glow-in-the-dark electric-chair necklace now.

Certain branches of Protestantism once produced "generations of Bible readers". Here in rural Iowa every body belongs to some church, but the level of knowledge of what the Bible is and what's in it is just about zero.

David Rosen

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Vince said...


This reminds me when Bill Hicks used to talk about Jesus coming back and seeing everyone wearing a crucifix, and comparing that to people walking around wearing a sniper rifle to honor JFK.


2:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Every day, the CRE gets deeper and deeper. I love it.


6:07 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

He may have been wrong on Iraq, but he did what a public intellectual is supposed to do, piss people off, and that is one reason I will mourn his death. Here he is, making the case for why there are few issues more important than the empowerment of women, providing a brief history of the shameful behavior of the church towards the Nazis, and explaining to a college audience what the life the mind is all about. All in just 7 minutes.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Here’s a nice overview of the empire we’ve become. Note charts showing that troop levels cannot be permitted to decline to anything less than cold war levels.

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So I guess my father fought in WW2 so Americans can now be picked off the street and placed in indefinite military detention.As Glenn Greenwald wrote yesterday in the NDAA bill "does not exempt US citizens from the presidential power of military detention." And why not? Obama already claims the right to assassinate American citizens so why not detain US citizens as enemy combatants? Sorry, Dr. Berman, I'm starting to think that the New Monastic Option may no longer be enough to survive in the US. People need to seriously think of getting out of this country before the full force of a police state is upon us.
Vince and Nicholas,
Thanks for your replies. I just read that few Americans are getting married these days and I sometimes wonder if all the techno crap is partly to blame. I estimate that everyday there are at least 100,000 romantic relationships that never materialize because one or both people are involved in some techno nonsense at the time. These cafes reek of spiritual and emotional death.
Although I am no longer a fan of Alexander Cockburn for not publishing Dr. Berman's rebuttal to Doug Dowd, I suggest you read his piece in Counterpunch about Hichens which clearly shows that he was more or less a fraud.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


There is some rough justice in allowing the US military to assassinate or ‘disappear’ American citizens. After all, the majority of these American citizens seem to think that it’s perfectly okay to assassinate or imprison anybody else in the world. They always seem to be saying, “You’re either with us or against us.”, and that anybody who rejects our wonderful way of life ought to be either killed or locked away in some ‘black-hole’ forever. If you can be labeled ‘anti-American’, you’re in the crosshairs. In a way it seems only fair that these American citizens should be subject to the same treatment they are so happy to see dished out to others.

The problem is that the ones it will happen to aren’t the ones who really deserve it. The same is true of capital punishment, which is one of the reasons why I oppose it.

All this means that, for those few American citizens who are capable of understanding what I’m talking about, it’s time to go!

Dr Berman--

In your Seattle bookstore talk, you spoke about how the US uses WW II as a model and justification for all its wars – every enemy is another Hitler. I once stumbled on a website called “Things That White People Like”. It featured things like ‘New Balance shoes’, and ‘women who wear their hair in bangs’. When they said, “White people like to compare everything they don’t like to Hitler.” It made wonder. Then I realized – of course, Hitler was the mass-murderer whose victims were white people. After all, if you are a Native American, what’s the difference between Hitler and Columbus?

David Rosen

1:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I just think it's long overdue for the Pentagon to nuke everyone, and also disappear everyone. This restraint on the part of the US Gov't is really getting on my nerves!

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Dr. Berman,
I think you are being tongue in cheek ( or at least I hope you are) but in fact the military was opposed to the indefinite detention parts of the bill as well as the FBI and CIA. So why did Obama sign it? My guess is that it was pressure from the large financial institutions who fear OWS. I fear then that those protesters will be the bill's first victims.
I guess you can say that the Tea Party was correct is carrying signs depicting Obama as Hitler. Well, as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right 2 times a day.
Dave,you are absolutely correct. The good doctor said somewhere that after the US had exhausted foreign enemies, it would set its sights on domestic enemies. See the conversation between Hedges and Michael Moore in Truthdig where they talk about the violence the US inflicts overseas would eventually become a staple of American life as well.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

MB and Dovidel,

A little science fiction?

Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death.

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!


2:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan, Vince-

I'm sorry to seem a bit rad here, but I just can't help feeling that if we nuked everyone outside of the country, and disappeared everyone inside of it, a lot of our problems wd be solved. This pussyfooting around is just too annoying.


4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Rosen,
Check out the book, "The Rape of Nanking" by Iris Chang, about the war crimes commited by the Japanese in WWII and how the U.S. never had a Nuremberg trial for them as their victims where not white etc.
Mike O'

4:44 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Thanks for the comment Dan. I like Cockburn and his Counterpunch site, saw both he and Hitchens speak at different times at Powells Books. But I can't just throw someone's books on the fire because I don't agree with them on every issue or because they had less than perfect behavior. Celine would be a good example of this.

On WWII, I recommend Paul Fussell's book Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War. MB sited his book Class in one of his earlier works. Fussell mentions how appalled he and many fellow soldiers were at how quickly we made our Russian ally into an enemy after the war. They knew that none of them would have made it through the war if the Russians hadn't killed far more Germans than did Britain and the US. My father was a bomber pilot in the war and saw the German jets fly by, they couldn't be touched. But the Germans were out of manpower and couldn't get enough of them in the air to make a difference. But, you won't find many Americans who know that the Russians essentially won the war in Europe for us. If they know anything about it at all, its the Spielbergian history where Tom Hanks wins WWII.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Apparently, the American police state is already here:

(Virtually anyone can be a terrorist now.)

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...

Surreal. Now it appears the Tea Party of Rand Paul and military figures are the last bastion fighting Dems/Repubs and Obama to resist the implementation of full-Orwellian America.

Referring back to the local B&N and Borders. I live in Albuquerque. In 10 years of going to these bookstores I never saw more than a handful of people reading serious literature. My casual surveys of what folks were reading invariably included Get Rich Quick, Guns and Ammo, Military History, Bible, Spiritual Wisdom from assorted gurus, Cookbooks, Pop Politics-Coulter, et al, Sports, Superhero Comics, Celebrity bios, etc.

I once counted Western philosophy vs. Christian Inspiration/Eastern Wisdom/Occult and it was 18 vs. 2 sections of shelves. Western philosophy was in the minority and even that section featured titles like Philosophy in the Simpsons-type pop philosophy.

The trilogy was a big help in maintaining basic sanity. As well as the other writers like Chris Hedges, Chomsky, Zinn and many others. But I do think I had a special connection to the trilogy because it summarized the complete cultural collapse in a way that was ironclad.

There's also a fatalism that I share. I just want out. It's seems clear to me exactly what's in store for OWS. I think there could be real mayhem. Look at where the Arab spring is at the moment.

Will this happen to OWS if they come back out in force? I don't easily discount it. They're already cracking heads while the marchers are peaceful.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Prof. Berman,

Long-time lurker; first-time poster here. I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for ToAC and DAA. I happened to stumble upon them back by sheer luck when I was fighting in the trenches of capitalism back in 2007 (i. e. marketing). Your blog was also an immense source of comfort during those long office hours (often in excess of 12 hours a day) where I watched my youth slide away like sand through my fingers. (I'm far happier now as a writer and musicologist.)

I just ordered WAF and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival on my doorstep. In the meantime, I'm revisiting DAA to get me in the mood (as well as Chalmers Johnson).


The Second World War and the role of Japan is far more problematic than it may first appear. Without getting into it too much, consider that Japan was under a dire dilemma in the wake of Perry: colonize or be colonized. Also consider the deep racism Japan faced from the West, which in turn provoked a growing resentment from the Japanese in the wake of their victory in the Russo-Japanese War (which saw them forced to accept very unfavorable terms due to pressure from American interests) and the foundation of the League of Nations (where a clause that would've ensured racial equality in the League's covenant was rejected).

If we're to decry Japan's very real war crimes, let's call a spade a spade then. The US has been no less guilty of violence and murder, post and pre WWII. Unprovoked war and annexation of foreign territories, large scale racism, eugenics, wholesale destruction of various nations: America has got all that and more covered. Yet the US has never once been called to account for these. Meanwhile, Japan is still made to assume a mantle of eternal guilt--which not even Germany really deals with anymore (that's the racism still at work).

In a way, Japan is a kind of alternate or parallel America. Only that Japan was made to confront and atone for its "manifest destiny"--something that still eludes the US.

4:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Welcome to the blog, and I hope you'll keep writing. Suggest u pick a handle, tho; we've got too many Anons on this blog already.

Re: the trilogy: glad it has been of help 2u. I'd also suggest a bk I did a yr ago called "A Question of Values," as it has material on the US that was not included in the trilogy, and wh/I think is impt to understanding the 'vector' of America history.

Funny u shd mention Japan, as that is the subject of my next bk. Am currently rdg Peter Booth Wiley's study of Matthew Perry. Lots I cd say abt this, but maybe that's for another day.


Yeah, we all may hafta join the Tea Party, just to preserve basic sanity in this country. The Bill of Rts is now in shreds, and the pres. has hardly been an obstacle to this process (to say the least--see url below). Meanwhile, Borders has folded, B&N is on its way, and Americans sit around rdg Chicken Soup for the Soul. Can u imagine anyone there rdg WAF? (Turns out, it's not being sold in any B&N across the country; they don't stock it.) People occasionally ask me when the empire is going to fall, exactly, and I say: "Just look around!"

Will bks like that be possible in the future? Or blogs like this one? Once Obama signs the bill, virtually anyone can be a terrorist; the definition is infinitely elastic, it seems to me. Meanwhile, check this out:

I figured stuff like this was going to happen eventually, but I thought it was 5-10 yrs away.


7:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, it's come to this (This American Life Dept.):

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Bart said...


After seeing the Levin vid I thought of this. A comic I did a little while back. My cruel caricature of Levin prompted my wife to respond..."But he's an old school Democrat. I thought he was ok." That's where it's at, even at home. On top of that my "political" cartoons have nowhere I can think of that would publish them. Nobody wants to look at just how far gone the democracy is.

Anyway, no need to post this. Just thought you might like it.

Of course, no doubt this puts me on the terrorist list. A threat to the Reich in my old decrepitude and commercial nonexistence.

Again, your writing and blog are one of the very few sources of comfort to those of us still living in this bleak country. Thanks.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I agree with Zosima on Hitchens - don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

Anyone wanting a more intimate look at Hitchens, warts and all, should read/listen to Dennis Perrin's reflecions:

here ("Letter to a Lost Friend")
and here

3:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to all Wafers:

It turns out that my response to Prof. Dowd's review of WAF (see post, below), which I submitted to Alexander Cockburn at Counter Punch on Dec. 6, got lost. I decided to write Alex one more time (this time to his personal address), and he replied with a nice note, to the effect that he never received my original letter. Counter Punch will be running it this coming week, in Alex's "Diary" column.

I'll be damned! Apparently there is a god...


6:03 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...

Hedges take on Hitchens.

I agree with Hedges here. I never liked Hitchens ridiculing his opponents both before and after his Neocon conversion. His support of the Neocons and the invasion of Iraq I found sickening. One can also notice that Hitchens was almost as invisible as Chomsky before his siding with the Neocons after which he became a national celebrity and esteemed man of letters. That's a good indication of how one gets ahead in the mainstream.

I read some of Celine's anti-semitic diatribes published in the NYRB a few years back. Those permanently altered how I view Celine. Reading them is a lot different than in some vague way knowing that he wrote them.

I greatly admire Chris Hedges, as well as Chomsky, Said, Zinn, of course Prof. Berman. One has few voices to look to in the morally impoverished American intellectual class.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bart, Re: the "Western philosophy vs. Christian Inspiration/Eastern Wisdom/Occult"

Did you make any distinction about the quality of the books in these other categories? There is a big difference between C.S. Lewis vs. "A Course in Miracles" or the various "Chicken Soup" titles. Also between works of Alan Watts or the translations of great Asian classics by people like Christopher Isherwood (he and Swami Prabhavananda translated selected Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita Gita, and even the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali into English) vs. the Nth generation of Transcendental Meditation how-tos now being published.
Even the so-called Occultism has quite a range of value. Gerschom Scholem wrote some excellent scholarly studies of Kabbalah in the mid to late 20th century.

But all of these fields have far more trash than treasure. As you noticed, there are things like "The Simpsons and Philosophy" out there. Sturgeon's Law holds true for all fields.

Sturgeon's Law

The first written reference to the adage appears in the March 1958 issue of Venture, where Sturgeon wrote:

I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud.[1] Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. are crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, I think Hedges hit the nail on the head, esp. in his characterization of Hitchens as having no moral center. There was a profile of him in the New Yorker roughly 2 yrs ago, and what emerged was a 'contrarian'--a person who simply liked to fight w/others, regardless of what the issue was. The betrayal of his friends so that he could play with the Big Boys--wh/, as u pt out, is how influence is acquired in this country--was grotesque; and when I lived in DC, folks I knew who knew him said he was drinking like a fish. It was all hustle, all self-promotion, finally. As Hedges notes, a great waste of talent. The world needs far fewer of his type, it seems to me.


8:33 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...


Sorry I didn't mean to imply at all that the Eastern wisdom/Christian/occult were valueless whatsoever. And thanks for allowing me to address the misimpression. Merton, de Chardin, Buddhism, Taoism, all perfectly worthwhile reading. I've found them all of considerable value. What I was remarking on was the preponderance of other categories to the scarcity of Western Philosophy. (It's also probably peculiar to Albuquerque... where just down the road in Soccorro the Harry Potter books were being burnt as the writings of Satan.)

What I find disturbing here is that when I visit my local coffee shops there are groups of people with their Bibles or others professing the Secret. And that in Borders when it was open I never saw a book of Western philosophy being read. But Bibles and gurus of all stripes were the main fare. The Secret wildly popular. Even my accountant believes in The Secret. I expect for people to be speaking in tongues or telling me that the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh now renamed Osho has the key to universal wisdom whenever I sit next to someone..

My central concern is that these people aren't remotely RATIONAL. It's an epidemic. I went on Facebook for the first time a week ago.. and fled in terror.

Being a sci-fi fan I wonder what you'll make of this recent release. I love Philip K. Dick's novels but don't know if I'm ready for the Exegisis.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous JM said...

I first saw this years ago and the full version is finally streaming online again.

The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News is a superb presentation about how public opinion is formed in the US. In the face of this how does OWS or anyone else have a chance of reaching, let alone influencing enough people to make any sort of meaningful difference? O&D!


10:17 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...

Morris, I heard the same things about Hitchens from people who knew him, particularly the drinking. As you say, just what the world didn't need, a brilliant and articulate proponent of the NeoCon imperial project putting all his energy vilifying those opposed to it.

Didn't read that New Yorker piece. Have to look it up. I do remember the hatchet job they did on Chomsky. A disgraceful ad hominem attack completely ignoring and evading his writing in favor of describing him as an intellectual bully, etc.

It pretty much vindicates everything Hedges asserted about the death of the Liberal class.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


There is a generally excellent website which offers health advice and information, including frank and open information about sex and sexuality, to young people. It is called “Go Ask Alice”, and it comes out of Columbia University.

On December 16, a young person wrote to ‘Alice’ with the following question:

“I'm not in college anymore, but students could benefit from this question, too. I'm single with a 'great' job (pays well, insurance, pension, etc.), a decent place to live, no short, life could be much worse. But the only thing lately that makes me happy is doing kind things anonymously for people. I'm rather wealthy but don't want a big TV or a fancy car. I'd rather spend a vacation at a local monastery meditating and performing service. I'd be committing economic suicide to quit my job, and so many are worse off, but 'success through hard work' doesn't make me happy. I'm sure a number of students must have these feelings already. What are your feelings about this, Alice?”

The answer, five paragraphs and a list of therapeutic steps to take, is too long to quote here. However, I was disappointed to see that they seemed to consider this person to be ‘depressed’, and the answer was essentially therapeutic. They didn’t prescribe Prozac, but the therapy or counseling they do recommend just might end up with this poor person as a zombie who is also a life-time annuity to the pharmaceutical industry.

I don’t have an easy answer for this person, but to treat his/her ‘complaint’ as an emotional disorder is surely a mistake. It’s the American Dream that is pathological, not a very reasonable reaction to the way it uses the accumulation of material junk as a substitute for genuine human wellbeing. It is difficult indeed to be sane in an insane society.

David Rosen

10:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is an impt video, esp. with respect to the concept of 'filters'. The American public gets information that is filtered by the biases of corporate owners, yet it believes that the info is somehow objective or neutral. It's all reminiscent of 'The Matrix', and very few Americans ever manage to see outside of it. Of course, videos such as these get filtered out as well, along with ideas such as: 9/11 emerged from a historical and political context of US meddling in Middle Eastern affairs, and not from 'insane' or 'evil' people--to take just one example. This is the most frustrating thing about it: that a handful of folks like Chomsky and Herman have been discussing the filtering system year after year, and those discussions themselves get filtered out.

Many yrs ago I had a lecture agent who arranged for me to give a talk at Cape Cod Community College nr Hyannis. If I remember correctly, the arrangements were made prior to 9/11; the date was set for Oct. 17. So the world had turned upside down between Sept. 10 and Oct. 17, when I showed up to speak. The talk I gave was pretty simple: Events like these don't occur in a political vacuum; if you look at the history of US foreign policy in the Middle East since 1953, you get some idea of why some Islamic peoples would want to attack us. This does not condone the slaughter of innocents, of course, but it does explain it. End of story.

The reaction to this talk was unlike any I've ever had, before or since: stunned silence. It wasn't a hostile silence; it was the silence of someone who's been hit on the head by a 2 x 4. For a full minute--rather long, when u are standing on a dias at a lectern in front of your audience--no one said a word. Then finally one person clapped, and the rest of the audience followed. I took a few questions, then walked down the stairs into the auditorium. An old geezer, abt 75 (I'll be there soon myself) came up to me, wide-eyed, and said: "This was the most important lecture I ever heard in my entire life." Really? I thought; You must have led a rather sheltered life, as this lecture was elementary to a fault. Yet he was perfectly sincere, the truth being that in the US literally everyone lives a sheltered life. When you have a system of information that is so severely filtered, the obvious becomes shocking. That little auditorium of 120 people (most of them weren't students, as it turned out, but from the surrounding towns) was, I realized later, the United States in microcosm. For them, it was as tho I had been parachuted in from Mars.
(continued below)

11:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The group of intellectuals in the US who write and speak the obvious is vanishingly small; in comparative terms, a handful. We are not silenced for only one reason: virtually no one is listening. We are filtered out quite easily; 99% of the American public don't even know we exist. This is not France, after all, where a few words from Sartre to the nation's youth ("don't serve in Algeria") can precipitate a bombshell, and where De Gaulle can say, in response to those wanting to try Sartre for treason: "One does not imprison Voltaire." Noam Chomsky may be our Voltaire, the conscience of the nation; but how many Americans know his name, or would listen to his pt of view if they did? When I lived in the US and was occasionally asked to give a guest lecture in a history or sociology class, I would typically write Noam's name on the board and ask how many had heard of him. At most, 2 in a class of 50. And I wd say: This man is the foremost critic of US foreign policy. The fact that you don't recognize the name suggests that there is something operating in the culture to make sure that you don't. What do you think that might be? And: How many of you, when you get home, will bother to plug his name into google? 3 of u, at most?
Once again, it was as tho I had landed in the classroom from a remote part of the solar system; the students were as bewildered by what I had to say, by my very existence, as they would have been had a talking giraffe walked into the class. Over the years, I figure I reached 100 students, at most. The truth is that critical intellectuals are no threat to the ruling elite in this country--not even slightly. No need for the latter to use the new NDAA bill ('indefinite detention') to round us up; tho if things get crazy enuf, I suppose they just might do it anyway.


11:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Clearly, depression is the healthy reaction to living in the United States. Oprah, on the other hand, is the psychotic reaction (perfect adaptability).


The pt is, we didn't need Hitchens when he was a point man for the Left either. Hedges is completely correct on that score: the *way* he argued was wrong; it had nothing to do with the *content* of the matter at hand, and only with being 'contrarian', and advancing his cause (i.e., himself). And because the arguments came out of a vacuum, a place that had no moral center, it was easy for him to do a 180, because no matter how loudly he huffed and puffed, he had no real convictions. Hitchens was a 'real nowhere man'.


11:41 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Just a few weeks ago I heard Hedges speak to OWS and his voice cracked with genuine emotion, I felt instant admiration for the guy, he is sincerely appalled at what has happened to this country. I know he and Hitchens clashed in debates. But, I know Hitchens mainly from his literary essays and his attacks on the powerful, organized religion, and scum like Henry Kissinger. When I saw him, he was hawking a book calling for the trial of Henry Kissinger that I’m sure made him all of 6 bucks. I admit that I have willfully avoided his pro-war writings, and references to his behavior and dealings with some of his colleagues. I guess I just like to see someone going after some of our unjustifiably sacred idols. He could have been a David Broder or Thomas Friedman and never gone after anyone with power and just raked in the cash. So I reserve my bile for those types. Sorry to go on about this, but I also don’t think we have enough people like him around who were willing to challenge the entrenched foolishness of religion.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Celine by all accounts was a horrible person, at his trial after the war the judge concluded that he hated everyone, not just the Jews. I brought him up as an example of someone who wrote great books that should be read but also had wrong views. Journey To the End of the Night is one of the best antiwar books I’ve read, and Death On the Installment Plan kind of sums up our hustling culture pretty well, not bad for a book written in the 1930’s. I don't believe there's any antisemitism in either of those books.
I remember many years ago some scholar found an antisemitic remark in one of H. L. Mencken's letters, but it was also revealed that not only were some of his best friends Jews, they were all Jews. But, nevertheless some were all too eager to throw his books in the fireplace, on top of all the books the some extreme feminists wanted put there because their authors had said ‘mankind’ instead of ‘humankind’, or some such rot. I think you can see where this can lead.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Bart said...


Agreed. I wrote:

"I agree with Hedges here. I never liked Hitchens ridiculing his opponents both before and after his Neocon conversion. "

Anyway I'm half asleep so maybe I wrote sloppily somewhere else?

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Bart said...


Here's the NYRB piece on Celine. Take a look and see what you think.

3:38 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

“But the only thing lately that makes me happy is doing kind things anonymously for people. I'm rather wealthy but don't want a big TV or a fancy car. I'd rather spend a vacation at a local monastery meditating and performing service.”

What a wonderful discovery to find such a person here in America. The response should not have been an offer of advice but rather a request for advice, such as “how do we become more like you?”

Thanks Dovidel

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Parenthetically, Dr. Berman, Chomsky graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia. It is the city's top academic high school. There is a Hall of Fame wall which lists all its famous graduates. Chomsky is not listed.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

The condition of this world can be compared to the Cone of Silence in the Maxwell Smart comedy series. Obviously ridiculous but funny as hell! There is nothing that will change our course to destruction. The Indians have it correct. Suicide is the only escape we have. Let the nuclear attacks begin!!!!

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, Morris Berman, from my own studies of current events in Japan, Japan's not exactly paradise now either.

The reason the suicide rate's so high there is the same the suicide rate is so high here in America: there's a hidden assumption that you are not to complain, EVER, even if other people abuse you.

Even its "anime," or "Japanese animation," is mostly dedicated to making sure nobody criticizes society and always "adapts" to "the way the world is" even though Japan is copying America's sociopathy and mindless consumerism. And increasingly, it has no tolerance for those who "opt out," either. The monastic tradition that used to be so strong in Japan is now thought to be "cowardly escaping from the natural suffering (!!!) of human interaction."

Only two factors prevent Japan from being totally a copy of America:

One, Japan is pro-intellectual instead of anti-intellectual (the smart kids get popular in Japan, not ostracized, but Japan's emphasis on conformity dilutes that somewhat).

Two, Japan does have a strong tradition of taking other people into account when you act (although even that sometimes gets twisted into not criticizing bad behavior, ever, even if you have to suffer).

Do I think Japan's a better place to live than America?

Yes, it's an improvement. But I would caution everyone on holding Japan up as some sort of paradise. There is an extreme level of emotional repression and repression of criticism there that's partially responsible for the high suicide rate (the school and workplace bullying's really bad in Japan, too).

12:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm not sure where u got the idea that I thought Japan was some sort of paradise, or even that it was a desirable place to live. I have my reasons for wanting to write abt the country, but at this pt, I have no idea what I'll say; it may prove to be very negative. For all I know, I might wind up saying that it's a much worse place to live than the US. Rt now, I'm just doing the research.

As for J being pro-intellectual: Kenzaburo Oe did an article a few yrs ago in Japan Times, saying that the country had lost all interest in literary or intellectual issues, and that the world of public discourse had been severely debased, in Japan.

It's also a place that has very little sympathy for the crippled or deformed. The handicapped tend to get shunned or avoided. Oe wrote about that as well; he himself had a son born with a birth defect.


4:06 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman--

I just got the following e-mail from a friend in Iowa City:

"Why America Failed was just purchased by the Ia. City Public Library and is being processed; I'll be the 1st to get it."

Every little bit helps.

David Rosen

5:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And I just got off fone w/friend in Bellingham, WA, who told me she tried to take WAF outta the library there; they have 3 copies, and all of them are on hold. This, combined w/the Iowa info, has me literally peeing in my pants.

The truth is that I don't care abt sales; what I care abt is that the ideas get discussed. I.e., I want people to read the bk, period; how they manage to do that doesn't matter to me at all. They can xerox the damn thing, for all I care (don't tell my publisher I said this). Or chip in w/10 friends to buy one copy, and then circulate it among themselves. If just 0.5% of the population wd consider the possibility that we are utterly and totally screwed, and that we need to understand how this came about--well, that wd make my day/decade. (Big events in small lives dept.)


6:07 PM  
Anonymous Problembär said...

Greetings Prof. Berman,

I'm very curious to read your forthcoming book on Japan. The parallels between America and Japan are very often too blatant to ignore. I'm sure what you'll have to say about Japan will be refreshing and insightful.

You mentioned Oe, but no study of Japan--in respect to its modern day decay and aimlessness--would be complete without at least acquainting yourself with the work of Oe's antithesis: Yukio Mishima. Often derided on both sides of the Pacific for his homosexuality and his near pitch-perfect sense of self promotion, his work actually provides eloquent, if often quietly despairing, portrait of the factors leading to Japan's current crisis.

Without getting too prolix here, I will say that nowhere else can one really get a better understanding of the dead end facing Japan on both an individual and national sense. Everything they had known before 1945 had been utterly destroyed and cast into doubt by their defeat in the Pacific War. Instead the country focused its all into capitalism. When that failed in the 1990s, the nation was left feeling rudderless. "Now what?," seems to be the question facing Japan.

That despair was infamously commemorated in his death by seppuku after failing to instigate a coup d'etat. Mishima was highly and publicly critical of the Showa Emperor (whom he felt should have abdicated and assumed full responsibility for Japan's defeat and war dead). What seized him was the ideao of the emperor as being the embodiment of the Japanese spirit. That last point is the important one, missed by nearly every critic of his work. It was the dissolution and crumbling of that spirit that haunts his work, something I think your average American would find difficult to understand given that the US has never suffered such a humbling--and humiliating--experience.

I urge you to please read Confessions of a Mask, The Sound of Waves, After the Banquet, Silk and Insight, and The Sea of Fertility tetralogy if you get the chance.

When Shintaro Ishihara--a friend of Mishima's, and a very fine writer--said earlier this year that the Tohoku earthquake was a "divine punishment" for the "greed" that had consumed Japan's modern identity, he was definitely wrong about the cause. But he succinctly and candidly pointed out the rot at the nation's heart. Could you ever imagine an American politician being so honest (or aware, for that matter)?

I think the sensitive reader and thinker that takes a deeper look into Japan will find America's reflection staring right back at them.

Best regards,

Problembär (formerly the Anon you had requested a nickname of handle from)

8:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank u for yr comments. I'm not in a hurry on the J-Project, as I call it; I figure I'll publish the bk in 5-7 yrs, what the heck. Yes, I've read a lot of Mishima over the yrs, and there is a new film abt him soon to be released, spring 2012 (dir. Wakamatsu Koji). You may be familiar w/Paul Schrader's film of 1985; the Japanese are so embarrassed by M., that the film has never been released in Japan, altho a Japanese person can order the dvd from Amazon. Plus, it does appear on J-TV from time to time. So it will be interesting to see how Wakamatsu Koji deals w/the subject.

It's interesting, by contrast, how "The Last Samurai" (Tom Cruise) was received in Japan in 2003. The Japanese literally wept; they declared that the samurai tradition was "the real Japan." Saigo Takamori remains a hero there. Mishima, however, who said similar things, is kept under the rug. Of course, M. was a dandy, a kind of romantic fascist, and this didn't play well. But I have long wondered over the strong difference in the reaction to Schrader's film, and the one starring Tom Cruise. Part of it, I'm sure, is the impact market capitalism had on the country between 1985 and 2003: the greed, the crassness, the total descent into a hustling society.

Anyway, thank u for yr observations; very helpful.


8:44 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Bart, thanks for the piece on Celine and your other perceptive posts. It is interesting that she recommends reading all his work even the anti-Semitic stuff. I’ve only read Journey with any thoroughness. I feared we were wandering way off topic here, that turns out not to be the case as Vonnegut is on my side on this one.

This all does make me wonder when some mainstream publication will do a major expose of some of the writings of this slightly more influential figure.

And here’s a guy who’s been pretty influential.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Portland OR public library has a copy of WAF now, its already got 3 holds, and Powell's Books bought 8 copies for its various stores. It's going to do well, esp if it comes out in pb and some of the more enlightened members of the recently down-scaled can afford to get a copy. BTW, many thanks for the copy I finally got. It arrived suitably on the Monday after that great orgy of hustling, Black Friday.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for info on Portland libe and Powell's (one of my favorite stores). The bkstore scene has been frustrating to me, because at this pt no B&N store across the land carries the bk (believe it or not). My agent has been trying to correct the problem, but thus far we haven't had much success. (Seems nuts, quite frankly.) Anyway, glad u finally got yr freebee. I shd add that there's a plan afoot to have me come up to Vancouver in March, give a lecture at UBC and maybe a local bkstore as well. A bit of a stretch for a drive from Portland, I suppose, but maybe a bunch of local Wafers cd car pool, or even rent a bus a la Ken Kesey. Stay tuned, in any case; I'm waiting for a green lite so I can go book a flight.

Q: How do people in Venezuela greet one another this time of year?

A: Feliz Chavidad!

Ha Ha


11:25 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Professor Berman,

You might be happy to know that *Why America Failed* is being stocked all across Canada at Chapters and Indigo bookstores. I bought my copy at Bolen Books (Victoria) and the remaining hardcovers are being displayed face-out on the shelf. I know that there is another major book chain in the States called Books-a-Million; are they featuring your book? (I visited BAM while on a trip to see my mother-in-law in FL; I was shocked to see three large bookcases of Evangelical Christian novels a la "Left Behind" but I did pick up a copy of Tony Judt's *Ill Fares The Land*).

The best way to go from Portland to Vancouver is the Amtrak Cascades train: it's fun, inexpensive, and scenic. The Bellingham stop (en route) is just a few blocks from Village Books, which is is probably carrying WAF. :-)

12:13 AM  
Anonymous Bart said...


I'd read most of Celine many years ago before I saw that NYRB piece and read the content of his tracts. He had enormous influence on the writing of many American writers. Wiki lists Vonnegut and Heller both. Also Henry Miller, Kerouac, Bukowski, Burroughs, Ginsberg, and Kesey.

Celine was the sparkplug for the Beats.

There's an account of him meeting Burroughs and Ginsberg where he basically condemns the whole human race. Ginsberg and Burroughs were completely charmed by him....

Speaking about novelists and mb's Japan book I can't help but think of Haruki Murakami, who out here is the most popular novelist among American college students as a used bookseller was telling me. Many of Murakami's novels manage to convey the kind of extreme emptiness and unreality of moving through "virtual reality" -- surreal Kafkaesque fantasy worlds-- and his work is wildly popular both in Japan and here. I can see it would appeal to college kids with their virtual world fantasy lives.

For me he serves as a kind of indicator of contemporary Japanese detachment from reality which I imagine could be even worse in Japan than in the US. But who knows how to measure that? I recall an NPR story about how Japanese men, unable to have real love relationships because of the complications, have plastic sex dolls who they name and have full relationships with, taking them out on dates, etc.... .

Lars and the Real Girl features Ryan Gosling playing an autistic-type American who orders a sex doll to find his way into a real human relationship.

This news piece has the feeling of a Murakami novel: .

Murakami also writes non-fiction. One book I read was about the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway called Underground.

He puts out books, essays, translations short stories and novels as if he never sleeps... which is perhaps how he manages the dreamlike quality of the contents.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Wow, that city's a gem, been looking for an excuse to get back up there. I'll cross my fingers that it works out for us!

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Bart said...


Feliz Chavidad to you as well!

And here's some news sure to brighten everyone's Xmas.... no one other than Sarah Palin is now saying "It's not too late for 'Folks' to Jump in the Race."

Note at the bottom that Field Commander William Kristol, (who let's recall rounded up Palin for Mc's VP in the first place) is advocating a brokered convention.

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


An interesting article from Reuters Health jumped out of my computer yesterday. It’s called “One-third of young U.S. adults have been arrested: study.”, and it is about a study reported in the medical journal “Pediatrics”.

There are several interesting features of this article, one being that it looks like yet another attempt to medicalize a social problem. The last sentence of the article contains, “We urge that parents who are concerned about their kids' well-being, that they get those kids in to see a pediatrician on a regular basis…” Instead, I would argue that social problems need to be seen for what they are and confronted as such, and not disguised as medical or educational problems. After all, what should we expect of a society where family and community have frequently atrophied to the point of near-nonexistence?

Sociologist Lillian Rubin’s 1976 book, “Worlds of Pain: Life in the Working-Class Family” may be a bit dated, but it contains a description of how police tend to arrest and book working class teen-agers (thereby sticking them with a ‘criminal record’) for the same adolescent behavior that only gets middle-class kids a warning.

This calls to mind the old southern adage, “You know it’s hard times when they treat a white man like a (n-word.)” Well, we know the society is in decline when they treat the (formerly) middle-class like working-class or ‘minority’.

As our declining empire dies a death of a thousand cuts, we will see it manifested in a thousand ways.

David Rosen

1:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is gd data, and exactly how a nation or civ or empire dies: by 1000 cuts, like this. Doesn't hafta be the dramatic sack of Rome, A.D. 410; just lots of little 'sacks'. As for that Southern phrase: I'm trying to remember exactly when I first heard it: "We're all niggers now." I think it may have been after the Kent State shootings, 4 May 1970. Meanwhile, the US endlessly tries to avoid social and political realities by converting them into medical or educational problems, as u say; or, most typically, things that have a technological 'solution'. This is another way to put oneself into the grave as fast as possible. We are literally drowning in self-destructive stupidity.


U mean Sarah, my true love (despite my little virtual dalliance w/Michele, after her corn dog episode and identification of the USSR as a clear and present danger), might be back? O come to my arms, my beamish girl! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! We shall have sex on an ice floe, among the meese, and Ed Meese will also be there!


I guess if I do make it up to Vanc., Chapters wd be the best place to do a rdg (there's one store at Granville and Broadway, nr. where I'd be staying w/friends in Kitsilano). As for Victoria, I take it Bolen wd be the best choice; and the UBC folks mean to include Victoria in my 'tour' (I'd also hafta drop by UVic, where I taught during 1982-87, and terrorize my old colleagues). Anyway, I'm not surprised that Cdn bkstores are stocking WAF; after all, the most penetrating critic of the American psyche (he once described it as 'insane') is Sacvan Bercovitch, born in Montreal. As for US bkstores, no copies are in B&N, nationwide (tho I'm encouraged by messages from some of u abt Portland etc.), wh/suggests that I identified the paradox correctly: If the book were being distributed and read in the US, I wdn't have had to write it, whereas the near-blanket rejection of it suggests that it might be just the castor oil the nation needs to swallow (rotsa ruck, I know).


4:52 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

While you cortle in your joy over Sarah, a couple of thoughts on Japan:

- After the Fukushima disaster, I read an article that noted that, until Japan was "opened" to the west in the late 1800s (another triumph for the hustling class....), it's population over the centuries was around 25 million. Following the advent of the industrial capalism model, with its energy inputs - none of which Japan has naturally, the population quintupled to ~125 million. Extreme overshoot if 25 million is the sustainable number. Japan is now in the process of descending the ladder and I'd think that manifests itself psychologically with maladaptive behavior. (Wait till you see what happens here....)

- Another Japanese figure to explore is Masanobu Fukuoka, Japan's "father" of permaculture. (Appropriate that these practices arise most strongly in island nations where expansion is limited, e.g. Japan, Australia.)

9:13 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Just in case you wanted to know Dr. Berman, there are 165 libraries around the world that currently (12-20-11) own WAF including 4 Canadian Provinces, one in Germany, 2 in New Zealand, one in Singapore and 13 in Ohio. Not bad!

10:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


How the hell did u find *that* out? Of course, the problem w/library sales is that people will read the bk only if they know it's there, or that it exists; and w/o a real marketing campaign (wh/I sorely lack) most aren't going to know. Perhaps a large banner in front of the library door, something like WEEP NO MORE! BERMAN'S LATEST HAS ARRIVED! Long shot, I suppose...


The problem is, I find it hard to concentrate on Japan (or anything, really) when images of Sarah cloud my brain; which is often. Wasn't there some recent biography that said that she was not averse to a little shtupping? Sarah, come to me, my little buttercup!


10:50 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Dr. B, I accessed a library database called Worldcat and since I currently work in a museum/library that subscribes to it, I can see all the libraries that have it (the database is mostly used for Interlibrary Loans). Even better is that since not every state/university belongs to WorldCat, the number of libraries that have your book is probably much higher.

You can go here ( and see if you can access it. If not I can email you the list. It is 4 pages long so too big to add to the comments.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Art said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Obama's tribute to the late Vaclav Havel:

"His peaceful resistance shook the foundations of an empire, exposed the emptiness of a repressive ideology, and proved that moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon."

Just don't try this at home, I suppose. When are we all going to Washington to piss on this guy's shoes?

12:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We need to arrange an Obama Urination Summit Meeting rt away. The guy is all words. Nobel Peace Prize my ass.


Oh, I didn't know such a thing existed. I use Hipcat, myself.


12:29 PM  
Blogger Jimi Jones said...

And you'll be glad to know that WAF is currently being cataloged at my library (it's a very LARGE library across the street from Congress in DC). I can't imagine our patrons across the street will check the book out but maybe Kucinich might...

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


Old Joke: "You know how to tell when a politician is lying? When his / her lips are moving."

Dennis Kucinich talked about Obama after the health care bill passed. He said that everyone kept waiting for the "real" Obama to come out and do what he promised during the election campaign. Dennis said that this IS the real Obama, beholden to Wall Street; get over it. He represents his bank-rollers, nothing more. Everything else is just piecemeal.

I remember Ralph Nader warning about this in 2008. He kept saying over and over again: "Be prepared to be disappointed." Unfortunately, Ralph his relegated to the same media coverage as Dr. Berman, Dr. Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Howard Zinn, etc.


3:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem is that Dennis wd hafta know that the bk exists, and given the non-promo and nondistribution that has effectively sunk it, I don't really know how that's going to happen. Maybe u cd knock on his door? "Yo, Dennis! Check it out!" Etc.


5:23 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

I just went online and sent a message to Dennis Kucinich humbly suggesting that he have a look at WAF. I even added a PS to whoever first reads the message to mentin the book to DK. If that doesn't work I'll put a note in a bottle and send it down the Ohio River.

David Rosen

7:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, what the heck. I have a suspicion, however, that it may all turn on how the guy feels abt chopped liver.

Best case scenario: Dennis holds the bk up at a session of Congress and cries: "Why are we even sitting here? It's all over, understand? We're FINISHED! Pack it in, suckers!" I tell u, that wd make it all worthwhile...


8:41 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Dennis is a reformer. He expects the 11th hour rabbit out of the hat. Look how he caved on Obamacare when he was so vehemently opposed to it.
Dr. Berman, I taught English in north Japan for nearly 10 years and to paraphrase Bob Denver,"Thank God I'm not Japanese." To be Japanese is to live a live of near psychological torture. The only time it is permissible to express your true thoughts is when you are drunk. And for a western feminist, the country is an abomination. I taught women who were near fluent in English but as soon as a Japanese man entered the room, all the women acted as if they couldn't say "This is a pen." I could go on for hours with a myriad of such stories. I did become rather fluent in the language which gave me a unique vista into how Japanese regard the west. For instance, you wrote in "A Question of Values" about Asians taking us for chumps. On that point you were completely correct. They have always regarded us as little more than barbarians who they used for our technological prowess.

11:36 PM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

Professor Berman:

It looks like you are 99.9% correct about Barnes & Noble not stocking your latest book. I live in the greater Minneapolis area, and we have many B&N stores here in MN. B&N has a helpful will-call service where you can locate a store by zip code and reserve an item for purchase. After doing some investigating using a few MN zip codes, I can say with reasonable certainty that there is exactly one store in the entire state which has copies of WAF on the shelves: the downtown Minneapolis store on Nicollet Mall.

So yes, your assertions about B&N are indeed correct. Or one could say that you are 0.1% in error. :)

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman--

The last time I ever heard the phrase, “You know it’s hard times when they treat a white man like a (n-word.)” was in the TV version of Arthur Hailey’s “Roots”. The scene was in the 1930’s and one of Hailey’s ancestors had managed to get some education and was working with a white boss or colleague who, in response to something that they both witnessed, used that phrase. He had paid what in America is the supreme tribute of forgetting for a moment that the person he was talking to was black, and simply treating him as a human being. Realizing what he had done his face took on an “uh, oh” look, and Hailey’s ancestor replied, “Why do they have to treat anyone like a ni--er?”

When I was six years old I came home from school and told my father, “Bobby calls colored people* ‘ni--ers’. My father replied, “Oh, we don’t ever want to say that word.” To which I said, “Why not?” He said, “Because the only reason anyone says that word is to hurt someone – to make them feel bad. And we don’t want to do that, do we?” I replied, “No.” And that was the end of that. I’ll always be grateful to my father for putting it to me that way.

About Kent State: At almost the same time, several black students were killed by state police in a similar incident at one of what were called Negro colleges in a southern state. The New York Times had a little story about it, maybe on page 5. Then it was forgotten while the whole country was in an uproar about Kent State. Isn’t it amazing how much white skin adds to the value of a human being?

David Rosen

*I’m old enough so that ‘colored people’ was the polite expression to use when I was six. The term ‘Negro’ was just starting to replace it.

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Art said...


Judge Judy often tells a variant of your joke: "You know how to tell when a teenager is lying? When their lips are moving." Politicians, teenagers: same difference.

Dr. Berman,

Dennis Kucinich is a vegan, so I doubt he thinks much of chopped liver. BTW, that NY style deli that opened recently in my little town... I tried their pastrami, and it was a slab of fat. Almost bad enough to turn *me* into a vegan. Almost.

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! "Under the pavement, the beach."

4:49 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

To those looking to the 'monastic option' I suggest reading Schopenhauer. He tells us that this world, 'is a kind of Hell,' and that we should, 'confine our efforts to securing a little room that shall not be exposed to the fire.' Great intellects, he says, will be isolated by natural process. He compares this to ascending a mountain, whereby the higher one climbs the lonelier it gets. But the reward comes in the view from the top. The simple-minded person sees only his immediate surroundings much like an insect on a leaf.

Even as a youth he lamented that finding someone to engage in real, intellectual conversation was nearly impossible. Such people exist, but most, having had their fingers burned in society, keep to themselves, for there is 'not much in this world between vulgarity and solitude.' Schopenhauer said that a conversation with an intelligent person was the highest pleasure.

I would caution people about believing that by changing countries they will find their Shangri-La. For whilst other nations offer up cosmetic differences this soon wears thin, and human nature, being what it is, always stands ready to offend. Some, however, may find another location gets them a 'small room,' or a 'hojoki.' In his book of that name Kamo-no-Chomei tells us:

If you live
among crowds
you cannot flee
when fire breaks out

Another book is Anthony Storr's 'Solitude.'

The key is aloneness rather than loneliness.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Dovidel, you are right.It occured 10 days after Kent State. It happened at Jackson State College. Police killed 2 students and injured 12. Gunfire lasted for 30 seconds- 140 shots were fired by 40 patrolmen using shotguns 30-50 feet away. There were no arrests.
Again, as I wrote previously, I'm not terribly sanguine about the New Monastic Option in a police state. I think its better to simply disappear instead of being one of the disappeared.In other words, time to get out of Dodge.

9:07 AM  
Blogger James said...


In the dark, dank spaces of the mind where intellect is permanently buried and moldering, there is little chance that exhortations, incantations, and solid reasoning will resurrect the entombed. It's possible to lay bare the entire mechanics of the ongoing self-destruction and scream “God damn you dirty apes.”, but to what avail? I've learned many things that would be quite explosive if their were any fuses to light, but where are the fuses? They've been trimmed off or neatly tucked inside. There is no sense in disturbing the dead and dying. I think I'll find a nice terrace on the mountain and have a Schopenhauer/Berman cocktale for the holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and so on.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I was reading a review in Harper's (Jan 2011) by Phillip Lopate of a recently published edition of Emerson's Journals. He makes the point that "[o]nly in solitude could [Emerson] free himself from public opinion and discern his own mind."

Per Emerson: "Alone is wisdom. Alone is happiness. Society nowadays makes us lowspirited, hopeless. Alone is heaven."

I also liked this section of the review:

"I[Lopate], too, am tempted to make enormous claims for them: that Emerson's journals are the Lost Ark of nineteenth century American literature, the equivalent for literary nonfiction of "Moby Dick" in fiction or "Leaves of Grass" in poetry....[W]hat inspires is their faith in the dream to which essayists, from Montaigne to the present, have been especially drawn: that you start off writing about anything, however insignificant, and eventually all thoughts and digressions - "the threads that spin from a thought to a fact, & from one fact ot another fact" - are somehow connected to one another by an invisible web. Emerson's journals were this web, a grand attempt to test his intuition that a correspondence existed between nature's undulating patterns and the mind's ebb and flow."

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Vince said...


I am a vegan too. But it was a choice after being a vegetarian for a year. Too much fast / junk food packed on almost 60 extra pounds. I couldn't seem to find a decent steak a burger anywhere. The last time that I had any meat made me sick before becoming a vegan. I don't preach to people. Your diet is your own. Live and let live.


The aloneness makes a lot of sense. I am on vacation for the rest of the year and my coworkers were having a hard time grappling with the fact that I had not planned some extravagant vacation, although sometimes that kind of plan isn't all bad depending on what you think is extravagant.

You see, if I knew that there was someplace where I could actually speak to someone about life, not money / material wealth, etc., then I would probably be there in a New York minute. I've even posted to a popular dating site what I was looking for. There were many IM requests to which I had posted that I was not interested in. Face to face conversation, dinner, movie, coffee, hell just acknowledge that people around you even exist.

It is tough to get people to understand that the "Holidays" seem to be some sort of fraud. Go shopping, visit some family to drop off some gifts, pretend that everyone is doing alright, and then go back home.

As Dr. Berman has stated over and over in WAF, MORE is not life.

May you experience true peace during the holidays.


11:41 AM  
Anonymous Bart said...

Happy Holidays to all,

And thanks, MIchael, for that post on Schopenhauer and Anthony Storr's excellent book "Solitude". I found the book back when it was published in 1989 and is a great recommendation to those practicing the monastic option. It helped me see what I was doing as not some form of social pathology and misanthropy, which is how you're invariably depicted if you don't spend your time socializing and going to parties, required social events, etc.

After all, who do you think you are?!

It's a wonderful book that dispenses with the common charge against people who work in isolation that they are anti-social misanthropes, which in my instance at least was the opposite of the case. Storr blasts that conception to smithereens.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Art said...


I wasn't preaching; my comment wasn't even directed at you. Dr. Berman mentioned "that it may all turn on how the guy feels about chopped liver." I merely pointed out that Kucinich probably didn't think much of it, given his diet.

My Holiday gift to all of you: I'll never mention diet and nutrition again on this blog. It seems to be more taboo than either religion or politics.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not taboo at all; I just don't want it to start taking up lotsa space, and I know it's #1 on yr hit parade. As I suggested previously, u really *do* need to start yr own food blog. Also: yr under the impression that religion and politics are taboo here? Really? r.u. running a fever, by any chance?


6:32 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


No preaching was ever perceived. It's all good man. I was simply commenting that I became a vegan for practical reasons. I don't exercise but I am on my feet and back all day. The quality of animal based food has just gotten pretty rotten. I used to enjoy my share of White Castle and BBQ ribs.

Please don't feel the need to censor yourself on my part. I welcome some challenge. I work with people who think FOX is a news network.

My chief concern about food and the state of the world that we live in is that one day in the not too distant future our favorite food might become Soylent Green.

Take care.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

So there are 13 libraries in Ohio that have purchased WAF? For the first time in over 30 years, I am proud to be an Ohioan (where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died...blah blah blah). My fine state also gave u all Dennis Kucinich, in all his optimistic veganness. (It also gave you the Kent State alma mater!)

Hope you are doing well, Dr. Berman. WAF was amazing, I am going to post a review on Amazon.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks. Here's something else u might do: get yrself a sandwich board, and print the words on it (front and back) READ WAF. Then go down to yr local library and walk back and forth in front of the entrance. Talk abt conversation starters, eh?


10:06 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Dr. Prof. Berman:

Found this in 12-26-2011 Newsweek. "Michele Bachman cited her most recent read as: J Steven Wilkins's Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee. the article goes on to say, "Wilkins is the leading proponent of the theory that the South was an orthodox Christian nation unjustly attacked by the godless North." Is this good Chapter 4 material for WAF? They accuse Bachman of embracing a crypto-Confederate manifesto. Here is a link to Wilkins book. (

10:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As u might guess, I don't expect Michele to be a very nuanced thinker. Or, to be more precise, a thinker. This book sounds like more B&W nonthinking, as far as I can make out; obviously, there are more sophisticated biographies of Lee. In any case, I'm guessing it's the Christian part of the equation that attracts Michele, not the Southern (or nonhustling) part. We can guess that as president, she wd promote laissez-faire market economics, just as Obama does. They *all* do! After all, they are Americans.


11:33 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Dr. Berman, I'm attempting to locate a sandwich board now. I think I've had a few books out for quite some time though, and although I like to think of myself as brave, I must admit there is a particular librarian who challenges that notion. Perhaps I will just set the sandwich board on a dummy and stand him up in front of the library prior to its opening. Season's Greetings, by the way, Maestro. I bought a canned ham this year because I prefer it to the spiral cut expensive one which requires me to stand in line for an hour to overpay for purchase. Thought you would appreciate.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's a good deli sandwich when you need one?

12:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Isn't this nice?:

2:16 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Ha! Dr. Berman you are up to 176 libraries in the 2 days since I checked.

Joe: Here is the list of Ohio libraries that own at least one WAF.


10:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's great, but what abt Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain?


ps: I suspect that these are 'automatic' purchases, based on getting reviewed in Publisher's Weekly.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

"Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma!"
--Steve Martin.

In OK, it lists Metropolitan Library System as owning WAF, which is in Oklahoma City I assume.

It also looks like 8 libraries own it as an e-book, including the British Library.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I was thinking of the 1950s musical, actually: Surrey with the fringe on top etc.


12:41 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


I enjoyed the heart-warming story about Texas doctors helping this poor little girl. This shows how wonderful we, as a nation, are.

How can they hate us when we're so good? How can anybody in the world even be in a bad mood over the wonderful things we do. Even for a Pakistani. Even for a Muslim. Even for somebody who can't even speak English!

Tell me, am I missing something? Why are the people of the world so ungrateful?

David Rosen

2:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Piece o' cake. It's because unlike us, they are awful human beings.


5:49 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...

How the world could see Americans as brutes just blows the mind.

With our advanced health care system (unfortunately not available to the 1.6 million homeless kids in America we've restored "an effervescent bundle of love" to clear recognizability as a human child.

Maybe if we picked a severely burned and disfigured 4-year old from each of the countries we're bombing with a mind to which ones would best show off our advanced reconstructive surgical abilities (pioneered in Hollywood) we can counter this propaganda that our enemies have been spreading about us.

I think that a world tour featuring the kids in some elegant designer outfits and a chorus of famous celebrities singing "We Are the World" would be a good start, as well as solid bang for the buck advertising for our world-class plastic surgeons.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

JWO...thats a neat trick..thnks for the list, now it's time for me to travel the buckeye state with my sign (THE END IS NEAR...but it's not here yet so read WAF so you can die enlightened). It was hard to fit that on a sandwich board but I did it!

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Bart said...

Holiday Shoppers,

In case anybody is looking for last minute gift ideas:

Also, I think it a good idea to drop links to DAA when making comments to various articles in the "blogosphere" (if you'll excuse the expression).

Peace out.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


“Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.”

—Franz Kafka, from a letter to Oskar Pollak dated January 27, 1904.

I guess it’s like so much else – the people who really, really need to read WAF are the ones who aren’t going to do it. At least half of them probably couldn’t, even if they tried.

I somehow have a feeling that your book is going to have an impact among people who don’t need to see your picture on the covers of Time and Newsweek to make WAF a ‘must-read’. And that's really what matters. It may take some time to catch on, but it’s not a book that will quickly become dated.

David Rosen

3:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Hope yr rt, tho remember I'm competing w/Chicken Soup for Soul, and bks by the Kardashians.


4:39 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...

DAA folks,

Here's an example of dropping a link to DAA.

An article on Truth-Out titled The New Dark Age...

Below the article in the comment section I posted just a brief message that links to DAA (as aardbart... another nom de plume).

Happy holidays to all.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Bart said...


Multitasking ... (yes it does dumb down) ... forgot the link the the New Dark Ages article:

7:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Great idea, and thank u mucho!

Meanwhile, in the midst of a really shitty cold, I'd like to wish everyone on this blog--the regulars and the irregulars alike--a happy holiday season and a great 2012 (insofar as this is possible). We've had a gd yr on DAA, and I'm looking forward to another 12 mos. of great dialogue. I may be doing some more public speaking in 2012, and I'll keep all of u posted as to where and when.


8:03 PM  

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