January 17, 2012

Entrevista con Gandhi

Relax, amigos; it wasn't an interview with the Mahatma, who died when I was a kid. No, Gandhi also refers to a major bookstore in Mexico, and they interviewed me at the Feria Internacional de Libros in Guadalajara on November 26 of last year. The video just got posted online a few days ago; it's fairly short. I was also relieved that they didn't show my shoes and socks, since that occasioned such a firestorm of criticism when I posted the link for the TV Azteca video (below). As for my T-shirt (also the subject of some discussion last time), it says: "Nadar Te Da Vida"--swimming gives you life. Clearly, good advice.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big M,
I'm looking forward to seeing you in your swimming trunks come April, at the DAA get-together. Are your rings a family heirloom? You don't seem like the type to be buying material accessories. Your finger look so nice and slender, April can't come fast enough....
~ Sarah P

3:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And u in yr bikini, chica! But after that, we'll fly up to Alaska, and have sex on the ice floes, among the meese, and hopefully Ed Meese will be there. I love u.


5:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life Dept., or Why do I find these stories strangely related?



10:37 PM  
Anonymous PhilfromNC said...

Has anyone familiar with Dr. Berman's work (or perhaps Dr. Berman himself?) read Robert Bellah's new work on the history of Religion? I'm just curious how it compares to some of the insights in Wandering God.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

But there does seem to be enough money to fund major sports at high schools and colleges. When I lived in Atlanta we met a German girl who had come to teach at the Goethe Institute she was shocked to see that the local high school could afford to have its own football stadium. She didn’t understand that the massive amounts of money spent for such things is worth it because of the loving kindness Americans learn through athletic competition. Also, nice to see students learning the lessons of religion American style.


3:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I could speak Spanish!

(and play piano)

Here`s an interesting tidbit from Leonard Lopate's WNYC podcast about Guantanamo's 10-year (!) anniversary...

The most popular book in the Gitmo prison library?

(drum roll please...)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.

They'll make true Americans out of 'em yet!

D in Osaka

5:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The Real SOTU:


9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You look upbeat in this interview -- more so than in your U.S. interviews. Living in Mexico is clearly making you happy.


10:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ain't it the truth, man. Great help to my creativity as well: 4 bks in 4 years! No chance for that in the US, at least not for me.


11:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:


1:25 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

From John Zerzan’s article, “Seize the Day,” (2006) at http://www.johnzerzan.net/articles:

“As much as we yearn for community, it is all but dead. McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Brashears (American Sociological Review 2006) tell us that 19 years ago, the typical American had three close friends; now the number is two. Their national study also reveals that over this period of time, the number of people without one friend or confidant has tripled. Census figures show a correspondingly sharp rise in single-person households, as the technoculture -- with its vaunted "connectivity" -- grows steadily more isolating, lonely and empty.”

2:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Even worse, the stats of CRE have dramatically accelerated since 2006. Nothing is more calculated to polishing us off, beyond the NDAA.


6:04 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Yeah, Maury,

I'm gettin' more nervous every day...

Here's a useful portal for living in France:

Living in France: Key Expatriate Websites and Resources

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman:

“Christian Century” (25 Jan 2012), a voice of liberal Protestantism, says the following under “What They’re Reading”: “Michelle Bachman touted J. Steven Wilkin’s ‘Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee’ (Wilkins is a leading proponent of the notion that the South was an orthodox Christian nation attacked unjustly by the godless North.)”

If it hadn’t been Douglas Dowd’s misreading of Chapter Four of WAF, I probably would have taken this at face value -- negative.

I went to Amazon where reader reviews of Wilkin’s book were mixed; it was love or hate with nothing in between. Here is a negative excerpt:

“This book is written by one of the leading members of the League of the South, which is an organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and a self-described secessionist organization.”

What would the SPLC say about Chapter Four of WAF? And remember that WAF got rave reviews from a Vermont secessionist organization, and that secession is making more sense by the day. Here’s from another review:

“This book is a distorted view of the causes of the Civil War, masked as a biography of one of its greatest generals, Robert E. Lee. According to Wilkins, the South was Christian, the North was not, and the war's purpose was the ‘subjugation’ and destruction of Southern beliefs. The passages regarding slavery are particularly abhorrent, such as: ‘it was (and is) easily demonstrable, that, taken as a whole, there is no question that blacks in this country, slavery notwithstanding, were 'immeasurably better off' in every way.’”

What are the chances of the above writer reading WAF and not reacting the same way? (I know you didn’t say that about slavery, but will the above person see it?) Most Americans seem to be up their eyebrows in opinions with approximately zero thought.

The only consolation is that you and Michelle will have something to talk about on your first date.

David Rosen

9:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ah, Michele, ma belle...

Well, on whether slaves were economically better off under slavery etc., I review the lit on that argument in n.41 of ch. 4, which runs for several pages. But at end of the day, the existential difference between being slave and being free, economics or no economics, is quite huge.


10:00 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman:

Of course you are right about it being existentially better to be free than a slave, and I never meant to imply otherwise. Indeed, you’d have a hard time convincing me that African-Americans were “immeasurably better off' in every way” under slavery. It’s just that the social, cultural, psychological, and legal conditions that the ex-slaves found themselves in after reconstruction have to make you wonder just how ‘free’ they really were.

How can we know whether the ‘peasants’ in a feudal society accepted their station in life, and whether “their noble wishes never learned to stray…” while “they kept the noiseless tenor of their way?” We do know, however, that the great majority in a capitalist society have to struggle with the cruel question, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” For all but one out of ten-thousand, "I know that I have enough." is incomprehensible.

David Rosen

12:19 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

I can't think of a bigger stain than slavery, and, it still exists, for sure, in many, whatever form you want to call it, today, in the South.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ultimately, it's hard to really measure happiness. A peasant in
15thC France could have been much happier than a 21stC hedge fund manager in NY; who's to say? It cd have been a better life, all in all.


Not just the South, of course. Illegal sweatshops in NY, labor 'compounds' for corporations like Apple in China; it still goes on.


9:21 AM  
Blogger Neb said...

Of all the interviews I heard, I liked this one best. As you said the editing with their commentary breaks in the conversation were good; better than earlier interviews with breaks for station id, money, time constraints and whatever else. For all the back and forth on chapter 4 in prior interviews and posts, your talk here, uninteruppted, seemed smooth and put a period on the subject for me.

Potential Voters:

Can't stand Ging or Drone ? Consider the Greens or a third party that is interested in what you consider important. My heart wants there to be a dem/repub upset by (almost) anybody else; just to flip the table on the fixed card game already. Reality suggests this is unlikely. But if the 3rd way(s) start growing with you involved there, you'll be familiar with a group with like interests and thoughts and action about how to be now and when collapse is more prominent than American Idol.

Voting has been a hard fought right for many. By going non/least-cancerous party you say - here I am and I don't approve your message. I'm flipping the script in my mind by forgetting winning the election (we've already lost) but gaining knowledge of a few like minded folks whom I can "prep" with.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Estimado Sr. Berman:

He leído sus tres libros publicados en sexto piso, muchas felicidades. han sido de mi agrado. Nada mas quiero compartir las experiencias respecto al tema critica social, trabajo en un hotel en Morelos, con un enfoque autosustentable y ecológico, de todos los turistas que nos visitan, los americanos son los que se acercan mas al perfil de cliente que buscamos¬, amigables, curiosos, se interesan por la historia del lugar, la comida, dejan suculentas propinas a la recamarista y siguen al pie de la letra las recomendaciones ecológicas del hotel, no lo se, será que cuando viajan cambian? o simplemente son el tipo de americanos amigables los que buscan este tipo de hospedajes? Mi comentario es por que a aquí en el hotel siento exactamente lo opuesto a lo que pone en los libros, respecto a la forma de ser de los americanos y mexicanos, el turista mexicano (una gran parte) le importa un pepino la ecología, son demandantes y poco interesados en la charla, nunca han dejado una propina a la recamarista, y el objetivo principal es emborracharse de lo lindo, no importa si molestan a los demás clientes o si son prepotentes o sino visitaron los lugares de culturales de la región.

Saludos cordiales.


8:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gracias por escribir. Voy a responder en ingles, porque es mas rapido para mi.

First, I'm delighted that you read my 3 Sexto Piso books. Please be aware that the 4th is about to appear, the translation of "Why America Failed": Las raices del fracaso americano. I hope you enjoy that as well.

These books on the US, of course, are speaking a grandes rasgos. They talk of the vast majority in the US, which doesn't mean that there aren't the generous and very self-aware type of Americans whom you describe. But 'eco-tourism' hardly attracts the mainstream, as I'm sure you know. What you are seeing, in a word, is exceptional. If you want to see the typical American visitor in action, you need to go to a gringo bar or restaurant in a place like San Miguel de Allende; this will open your eyes, for sure.

Similarly, when I write (in Las raices and elsewhere) about Mexicans being gracious, it hardly includes the entire population. I have met many who aren't. My neighbor across the street throws beer bottles and chapas outside of my house, and we have had a few ugly fights about it. Basically, he's a naco, and there's nothing I can do about it. But the larger experience I have of the Mexican people is one of great courtesy and generosity, which is why I enjoy living here.

Por cierto, hazme un favor: en futuro, es mejor enviar su mensaje al post mas reciente. Los lectores normalmente no leien (read) los postes anteriores (viejos).

Gracias, amigo.


9:09 AM  
Blogger philosopher g said...

Philosopher G. trying to create communication..Stop Being Unconscious..Free Book..The Mindual of Philosopher G...Helps you to analyze Unconsciousness..

The Conscious War to Defeat Unconsciousness gives Us Survival Benefits..2/28/2012..

11:57 AM  

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