January 19, 2012

The Vancouver Connection

So there's this great guy based in Vancouver, Justin Ritchie, who runs a website called Extraenvironmentalist, and these folks did an interview with me a few weeks ago that just got put into a podcast. It's kind of long, but I think they did an excellent job of editing it:

http://www.extraenvironmentalist.com/episode-34-america-failed/

For those of you in the Vancouver area, please note that I'm going to be up there March 18-19, doing some lectures. I think one is going to be at the People's Co-op Bookstore (1391 Commercial Dr.) the evening of March 18; then another (although I might wind up giving the same lecture, I'm not sure) at the U of British Columbia at around noon on March 19, Woodward Hall, Room 1.

From there I'm going to drop down to San Francisco, March 21-22, although I haven't yet worked out the bookstore scene there. In any case, I'll do another post ca. March 1st, giving my travel details, so those of you within striking distance can attend these events, if you want.

Enjoy...mb

153 Comments:

Blogger steck said...

Passing through Seattle or Portland?

12:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steck-

Already did (Seattle, anyway) on Nov. 4. See below, "The Seattle Talk."

mb

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Any update on an East Coast leg?

Look forward to hearing the podcast (I'm a few behind - haven't listened to the interview with Tainter yet) - it'll be fun hearing you interspersed with Hedges, Zappa, and McKenna, among others.....

11:55 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

That was a good interview Dr. Berman. Aesthetically, the audio quote "breaks" were interesting ... mixing up quotes from the Republican Candidates and people from Detroit.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kev-

Wiley wdn't front the $ for East Coast trip, so that plan bit the dust, sad to say.

mb

4:25 PM  
Blogger WCS Minor Circuit said...

That was a tremendously interesting podcast. Maybe not the most uplifting thing to hear (but really, what is nowadays?), but definitely a must listen for all your readers.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

You're not coming to the east coast? You really know how to hurt a guy.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Shit, man, how do u think *I* feel??! Wiley squeezes quarters so hard the eagle screams. I'll be lucky if they come up w/a few hundred bucks to help me with my 2nd West Coast tour. Talk abt depressing...

mb

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in San Francisco and look forward to your visit. I had almost jumped a plane to Seattle to see you at Elliot Bay, but the timing wasn't great. I'm so glad you'll be here.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Shep:

Re: Slavery

The last thing in the world I want to do is praise slavery in any way. It is, however, one of a number of methods of exploitation. There is an existential difference between slave-labor and wage-labor, but wage-labor at its worst can be little or no better.

I believe it was in “Das Kapital” that Marx said: “The essential difference between various economic forms of society, between, for instance, a society based on slave-labor and one based on wage labor, lies only in the mode in which surplus-value is in each case extracted from the actual producer, the laborer.” This is an overwhelming fact of human history.

Please do not forget that those who profit from our ‘wage-slavery’ want us to hate slavery so much that it keeps our minds off our own condition. They’ve got things rigged so that ‘slaves’ are grateful when a ‘master’ attaches them to a set of
‘chains’, indeed wage-slaves compete for sets of ‘chains’ which we call jobs.

Dr. Berman:

I certainly hope nobody thinks I was equating Chapter 4 of WAF with “The Call of Duty” – which I wasn’t. The point I was trying to make was that on the subject of the South and the civil war, the country is full of people who can’t tell the difference. Sadly, even Douglas Dowd has a problem with it.

David Rosen

2:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

I've written a bunch of bkstores in the Bay Area abt doing a rdg March 21 or 22, including ones I've done rdgs for b4. Not a single one has replied, thus far. Either their dance cards are all full or I'm the kiss of death, but either way, it's not looking gd. Anyway, stay tuned: if anything breaks, I'll announce it on the blog. Have u ever been to Vancouver?

mb

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The interviewer said that the BBC was doing some sort of program or programs about whether the US was in decline. I have tried to find that, and I can't find anything like that on the BBC news site. Would that be done by some other arm of the BBC? Please try to get a reference for that program if you can?

Meanwhile, there has been a very noticeable theme threading through the NPR talk shows I listen to these past few months. Decline is definitely in the air. Perhaps this is a good list to attach to this blog entry.

from Wisconsin Public Radio:
To The Best Of Our Knowledge: Decline of the Middle Class
TTBOOK always produces very thoughtful and in depth discussion of their topics. This show is no exception.

from KQED in San Francisco:
Forum: American Exceptionalism
In a recent trip to Asia, President Obama emphasized America's role as the strongest and most influential nation on Earth. This notion of U.S. leadership is sometimes called American exceptionalism. But does that mean more than just being better than others? Historian David Kennedy joins us to discuss the origins and history of American exceptionalism - and America's changing role in the world.
[Which is a euphemism for loss of influence, of course...]

and then just a few days later:
Forum: Homlessness in Schools
There are more than 2,000 schoolchildren in San Francisco who are homeless...

You'll like this one from WBUR:
Onpoint: Former Mexican Foreign Secretary Jorge Castaneda On The U.S. Middle Class
This hour, On Point: former foreign minister of Mexico Jorge Casteneda, and his call to save the American middle class.

And then earlier this month:
Onpoint: Not Movin’ On Up
America has always meant “land of opportunity.” Above all else, this was the country where you could get ahead. And pity old, stodgy, stuck-in-the-mud Europe. Well, look again. A wave of studies now show that upward mobility is higher in Europe than America. And not just a little higher.

Meanwhile, from WHYY in Philadelphia:
Radio Times: The Psychology of Poverty
A social scientist explains how poverty wears people down and keeps them trapped...

So you can see why I'm curious about what the BBC is finding in their investigation of American decline.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you tried Diesel Bookstore in Oakland (on the Berkeley border)? They host readings and it appears as though their calendar is open for those dates. It's three blocks from the BART (train) line, so very convenient. Just a thought.

http://www.dieselbookstore.com/oakland-info

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I have an ex-wife in Vancouver actually so I'll tell her to sub for me (if she's still willing to talk to me). Yes, not only do only 12% of Americans hold passports but politicians can be sure of an applause when they say,"I'm proud I don't have a passport" so I've read.
Funny about the line about Jews plotting to take over the world. I once came to a meeting a bit late and said that I'm late because my meeting with the international Jewish bankers conspiracy went a little over time. No-one laughed. I assume they thought I was serious.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

DR

I know you are not praising slavery. Thank you for the response.

MB

Here is a great quote from, "Been in the Storm Too Long" by Mr. Litwack to prove chapter 4 and the feelings of a lot of Southerners.

"Bowman Seales, a free black from Clayton Alabama, claims to understand fully 'the quarrel' ...and how it affected his people. ' I make no claim to be adversed to their best interests; but I know enough of Yankees and their treatment of the starving blacks among them to understand that their war upon the South is prompted by no love of us, but only by envy and hatred, and by an intermeddling and domineering spirit.' If the North should succeed, Seals warned, 'disorder and ruin' and 'extremist want and misery' wd be visited upon all classes and both races"

Must have been a 99 per center, as well as, a WAF'er!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shep-

The bk is "Been in the Storm So Long," by Leon Litwack. Amazon indicates that Gene Genovese and Vann Woodward both reviewed it (NYTBR and NYRB). That's a great quote, thank u, and rt on the money--exactly correct. I don't know how I missed the bk when I was doing the research for ch. 4, quite frankly.

Dan-

I shd be more precise on the passport figures. It was 12% up to a few yrs ago, when a law was passed requiring Americans to show a passport at the border when they returned from Mexico or Canada (holidays, mostly). Up to then, only a birth certificate was required. So now, w/the passage of this law, technically lots more than 12% hold passports, but only because of the occasional holiday in Mex and Canada. In terms of actually going abroad, 88% still don't do it.

Anon (too many Anons; perhaps pick a handle?)-

Thanks for hot tip. I just sent an e-mail to the events person at Diesel, asking him if they'd host me for March 21 or 22. Now, keep fingers crossed.

Other Anon (u2, pick a handle, pls)-

Check it out:

http://news.bbc.co.
uk/today/hi/today/
newsid_9398000/
9398261.stm

mb

10:24 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Professor Berman,

Will you be coming to Victoria prior to your Vancouver jaunt? If not, I may simply take the ferry over to the lower mainland... :-)

PS: are you able to share sales figures for North America? I hope your book is finding its way into the hands of readers on both sides of the border.

Cheers,

Jerry

10:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Jerry,

As far as I know, I won't be doing anything in Victoria. I have a gig at the People's Coop Bkstore (Commercial Dr.) the afternoon or early evening of March 18, and then the talk at UBC, Woodward Hall, noon-2pm the next day. That's it. As for sales: WAF is commercially a major flop. I sold less than 2500 bks since it was published last Oct., which is abt 1/10th of what DAA sold in a comparable period in 2006. There have been virtually no revs of the bk, and I'm not really expecting any. In a word, it sank like a stone.

mb

6:18 AM  
Anonymous LNWI said...

Coming soon to a town near you ?
http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2012/jan/21/stringers-maryland-company-seeks-privatize-/

6:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Really, all I can say to that is Ging Newtrich! Possibly, our next pres. O&D!

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing radical but interesting to see a post by Jonathan Turley titled
10 reasons the US is no longer the land of the free in the Washington Post. Makes some timely comparisons.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-the-united-states-still-the-land-of-the-free/2012/01/04/gIQAvcD1wP_story.html

An interesting report by Human Rights First shows Mr. Obama tripling the rate of those detained in Bagram. Plans to expand the detention center as well. Sorry I misplaced the link to the report but the report makes G. Bush look like Mother Theresa in comparison.

El Juero

9:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

El J-

As far as the upcoming election goes, and the pathetic liberal tendency to vote for the lesser of two evils, it wd be hard to imagine a more rt-wing/evil move than signing 'indefinite detention' (NDAA) into law, wh/Obama did on Dec. 31. A few days later, a cartoon in the Wash Post showed the pres blowing his nose on a copy of the Constitution. Nevertheless, Mr. Obama basically doesn't have any center of core values, and doesn't really know what he's doing. He's a nowhere man, really, and so his destruction of the US, while certainly impressive, has nevertheless been rather desultory. We need someone who can do it with great deliberation and foresight, and I think that in Ging Newtrich we may have found our man. He's sick, twisted, and just the guy to lead the way into a frenzy of stupidity and violence. Hence:

Vote Ging in 2012!

I am Sarah Palin, and I endorsed this ad.

mb

10:01 AM  
Blogger xraymike79 said...

A short film I made to illustrate the state of the world:
Graffiti Philosophy

2:38 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Probably already seen it, but check this out re: WAF reviews!!
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/01/23/the-decline-of-the-american-empire-2/

5:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shep-

Yeah, nice review from Kirk Sale on Counter Punch, which I hope will offset that disastrous one from Douglas Dowd. I disagree with Sale when he says the bk is not abt why America failed, but other than that he told it like it is.

mb

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: NDAA and liberalism.
I’m afraid it’s the overall decline and it’s splitting hairs between the overt insanity of the “right” vs the liberal “left”.

Watch Bill Maher, Jon Stewart or Rachel Maddow etc.. It’s not a 100% of the time but not a lotta' diff.in Maher’s crowd when Bin Laden was executed to conservative shows during Bush admin.. Ck out Stewart’s audience - “we’re back baby!” when Obama acts pol./militar. in ways the left wld object to if it were G. Bush.

You're right, the lft will line up again for Obama while fearing his opponent who's not any diff. in the end. Union members sold out for decades will happily be a backdrop w/ their colored local union t-shirts clapping & smiling through it all.

El Juero

7:47 PM  
Blogger WCS Minor Circuit said...

Re Lesser of two evils:
I used to get on my friends' cases about them not voting. I felt it was socially irresponsible of them. Now I'm faced with choosing between Obama, whose real allegiance is to Goldman Sachs and not the American people, and either Gingrich or Romney in this upcoming election. Like hell I'm going to vote for the latter two, but Obama is definitely not going to get my vote either.

I think it's finally time that I zen these things out. It's a burden that I'm forced to study the circus of politics on a daily basis (even if it is entertaining in a vaudevillian sort of way). Who knew trying to enjoy life--the fine wine, the good books, the good friends and the discovery of new ones, et cetera--would be so taxing? Even if I do live a pleasant life, I'm not quite sure I'll ever be able to get rid of this damned filter that keeps telling me that my life only has meaning if I have the newest iPhone and the most money. I can resist it sure -- that's what I plan to do for the rest of my life -- but it's like having a small, sinister, invisible elf on my shoulder all day trying to make me miserable. Thanks America!

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Berman... Regarding the rejection of the hustling society the world has embraced,I'd be interested to hear your take on the Zeitgeist movement. Have you seen the films? More than worth your time.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman:

Kirkpatrick Sale's review of WAF was reprinted at LewRockwell(dot)com today.

David Rosen

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Heads up. Obama will deliver the State of the Onion address tonight--no doubt will drone on re: drones [groans]--puts people to work & makes U.S. safe from the restof.

Don Raul detained by TSA.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

I'm interested in the story you tell about the anthropologist woman you knew working for IBM. I suppose what fascinates me about that is how do you chose to "go back to sleep"?

I mean, does she watch the election coverage (for example), (sub)consciously hear the myths and ideology behind what's being said and then chose to act as though she doesn't?

Or has she somehow found a way to turn off that part of her brain and repress her curiosity?

Even if one does believe that ignorance is bliss or one would be better off in this World by not understanding it I simply don't know how you could "turn off" that part of your humanity.

Am I missing something? Was she just stupid? I really wish I could meet her...

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reuters: Subculture of Americans prepares for civilization's collapse

...

Many of today's preppers receive inspiration from the Internet, devouring information posted on websites like that run by attorney Michael T. Snider, who writes The Economic Collapse blog out of his home in northern Idaho.

"Modern preppers are much different from the survivalists of the old days," he said. "You could be living next door to a prepper and never even know it. Many suburbanites are turning spare rooms into food pantries and are going for survival training on the weekends."

Like other preppers, Snider is worried about the end of a functioning U.S. economy. He points out that tens of millions of Americans are on food stamps and that many U.S. children are living in poverty.

...

4:49 PM  
Blogger PsychoAnalyst said...

I voted for Droner last time, but I'm going 110% Newt in November.

Regarding DAA vs. WAF sales figures, I was wondering whether the titles may have had some bearing. Personally, I find DAA's title to be much catchier. I remember when I first saw it on the shelf at Borders (R.I.P.), I had to grab it right away because the title was so outlandishly provocative.

Finally, 2012 is looking really promising for America and the West in general:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/01/22/george-soros-on-the-coming-u-s-class-war.html

Julian

8:03 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Dr. Berman:

Good news, your Seattle talk aired this morning in Portland OR. and may have aired on other stations that carry David Barsamian’s Alternative Radio program.

http://kboo.fm/node/33302

http://www.alternativeradio.org/collections/latest-programs

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

In June of 2011, Amy Goodman interviewed director, Marshall Curry, of the documentary If a Tree Falls about Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The doc has recently received some Oscar nominations. But what struck me was the description of CMUs "a secretive prison unit known as Communication Management Units, or CMUs, in Marion, Illinois" and especially what one of the guests, Andrew Stepanian, said about his incarceration there and how that came about. Stepanian was an above ground activist with Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and yet was incarcerated in the CMU as a terrorist, along with suspected al-Qaeda members. This gives a good idea of which and where people will be indefinitely detained who are branded terrorist suspects by the corporation-controlled U.S. government:

"If a Tree Falls"

11:57 PM  
Blogger PsychoAnalyst said...

When I used to live in Houston, TX, the Pacifica KPFT radio station (90.1 FM) carried Barsamian's program. There may be other progressive Pacifica-associated stations that carry it as well (KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkley, CA, KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles, WBAI 99.5 FM in NYC, and WPFW in DC).

Julian

6:45 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman and DAAers:

Here are some thoughts about knowingly living the fantasy instead of reallity. Reading many of Fredrick Douglas's writings and speeches. He iterated numerous times how aquiring knowledge had been both a blessing and a bane. It seemed the more he became enlightened the more he suffered mental anguish. It was when he was forced to throw himself into the hard labors of the field that the thought of liberty and escape was put out of his mind. When he was trnsferred to less exhaustive work, he had time to reflect and would suffer more with thoughts of being free. Perhaps that situation is partly in play now. People throw themslves into their work and work longer hours not just to earn a living but to also not have time or energy for reflection causing aguish and anxiety. Of course I'am sure this is what the powers that be want to happen and they make it happen with the less educated, but there must something else at play when the educated fall into the trap.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Hi David R.

It could be that all mediation is a scam. What mediation? Well, for starters...Art, religion, morality, culture, history, time, longitude and latitude, straight lines, geometry, models (of science), "truth," history, music, shamanism, authority, scholarship, theory, deconstruction, post-modernism, myth, reality, MEDIATION, the UNMEDIATED, and the "true" index to all this? The thirst/longing that cannot be slaked...at least not by the preceding Rabelaisian, though partial, list.

The only thing that I personally recall slaking the thirst was the wonderfully alive tree that danced for me outside my childhood home, after I awoke from a prescribed nap... and the tree seemed so alive that it terrified me...I'd feel the thirst on awakening from the nap, but knew that water would not slake it... only the dancing, vivacious tree distracted me from my thirst...ditto with my solitary time in the jungle around my house to where I fled having been branded a "cry baby" by the thuggish white boys with their pop guns who shot off the iridescent wings of wondrous blue-winged butterflies and they cackled uglily with delight.

How can one be conned by authority, impressed by wealth, when one knows that all humans are feast for maggots which are the real class levelers?

[This is an irrevelent response on which to hang a hat, your hat that I picked because I know you are immured in the mediated and symbolic as am I though I'm beginning to sense my exit, emigration... way to some air 'cause I can't breathe in the CRE-induced bozone of this our surreally BAD NATION, sometime a great notion.]

4:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kel-

My mind boggled a bit at yr post re: CMU's, so I copied it and sent it to Chris Hedges. He wrote me that this is exactly correct, that the legal and physical mechanisms for this are in place. And I have to add, that since 'terrorist' is amorphously defined, we shd all be nervous regarding the slippery slope that this cd entail. I see reason to be frightened, in any case.

mb

11:27 AM  
Blogger Cory FB said...

Dear Professor Berman:

At the local public library computer which won't allow me to access your e-mail link.

Read your trilogy on human consciousness, as well as Twilight and Dark Ages.

Over the new year read your latest, Why America Failed as well as John Michael Greer's The Long Descent.

Although you and Greer approach the decline of America from different angles, noticed a number of similar references in your books. (See link... and don't be nervous about the archdruid concept. This guy has an exceptional grasp of history and is a sharp thinker.)

Greer's post for January 25, 2012: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morris,

There is a chain of Independent bookstores in the SF bay area called "Books Inc" that would probably love to host a reading/signing by you if you are visiting in March. Especially try to speak at their silicon valley Mt. View store about 40 miles south of SF.
-Marty

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB,

A lot of inmates are routinely kept in solitary confinement (SHU) for extended periods of time (months or years), oftentimes during pre-trial as a way of “breaking” them. A pre-trial inmate could be held in prison for many months or years simply on a judge’s whim. Many of these pre-trial inmates are mentally ill, which makes their illness much worse. It is a form of torture.

So, even before NDAA the American “justice system” routinely kept pre-trial individuals incarcerated for extended periods. NDAA will likely make this practice far, far more widespread.

Julian

4:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cory-

mauricio@morrisberman.com

Marty-

I'm going to be speaking at Modern Times in the Mission the evening of March 22. Meanwhile, Books Inc. did contact me re: March 21. It's a store in SF, I can't remember which one. I'm in the process of deciding, since I don't wanna give same talk 2x in 2 days in same city. However, I might do something different for Books Inc. than for Mod Times, so stay tuned...all will be revealed, soon enuf.

mb

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Mark Notzon said...

Dear MB et al,

Check out Jason Linkin's informed and eloquent rant on Thomas Friedman at www.huffingtonpost.com

"Thomas Friedman Declares an End to Math, Urges Working Class To Get Awesome" (26 Jan 2012)

--Mark N.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A counter argument is beginning to appearing in the press now. Robert Kagan wrote in The New Republic for Jan 11th, an article titled "Not Fade Away: The Myth of American Decline". Not having a subscription to TNR, I found a column by Robert Colvile in The Telegraph that discusses and gives full access to this article.

The Telegraph: Goodbye, Great Britain?

Recently, there have been two powerful challenges to the conventional wisdom about the United States. First, Robert Kagan published a lengthy essay in The New Republic, arguing that predictions of America's decline as a global power are woefully premature. Next, Andrew Sullivan set off something of an internet firestorm by claiming in Newsweek that Barack Obama – contrary to the criticism from both Right and Left – has actually been a pretty good President.

Is it possible, I found myself wondering, to do something similar for Britain? Is there a case to be made that we are not in irreversible decline, but in a situation like the 1970s (when the Washington Post produced the headline above), simply waiting for the right leadership to save us? And – to combine Kagan with Sullivan – might that leadership even be our very own Coalition?

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

From Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram [entitled "The Ecology of Magic" at http://www.primitivism.com, a site that contains excerpts from works by Bob Black (The Abolition of Work), John Zerzan, Adorno, Horkheimer, Diamond, Freud, et al.):

"But in genuinely oral, tribal cultures, the sensuous world itself remains the dwelling place of the gods, the numinous powers that can either sustain or extinguish human life. It is not by sending his awareness out beyond the natural world that the shaman makes contact with the purveyors of life and health, nor by journeying into his personal psyche; rather it is by propelling his awareness laterally, outward into the depths of a landscape at once sensuous and psychological, this living dream that we share with the soaring hawk, the spider, and the stone silently sprouting lichens on its coarse surface."

I've found it profitable to reflect on this passage in conjunction with Morris Berman's careful analysis of the Eliadic (shamanistic) interpretation of cave art in his Wandering God.

10:12 AM  
Blogger cosmoflanker said...

Mo Man,

Sorry to hear that WAF has been a commercial flop, however I am gratified to know that, at least, I am among a true elite of about 2500 people. Truly the 1% of the 1% of the 1%. Of the 1%.

Perhaps the publisher should have gone with your suggested title - "Capitalism and its Discontents." Couple that with a complete cover redesign - I suggest a picture of you, barechested, Safari hat with a feather in it, holding a rifle across your chest. At your feet two lovely and scantily clad young things look admiringly up at you. The clincher - The two lovely young things would be chosen for being Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin look-alikes (the Michelle look-alike would of course be holding, nay not just holding but be in rapt erotic anticipation of being about to take the first bite of, a foot-long corndog). Oh and did I mention Barbara Ann Nowak would be seen peaking from out of the jungle behind you (they would just photoshop in her actual face).

You Sir, would, due to sheer demand, be TURNING DOWN speaking engagements with honorariums that would make a four-term Senator blush!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Mike Cifone said...

Dear Maury,

Modern Times is around the corner from my apartment! It's great to hear that you'll be in my neighborhood, which is essentially 'little Mexico'. Maybe I can buy you a beer while you're in town? How are you with a place to stay?

In any case, I haven't written in in a while: happy new & blessed year to everyone.

And your interview with the guys from Vancouver was one of the best you've yet done, I think. What you have to say requires hours not minutes.

Look forward to seeing you in SF soon.

Mike C.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, at least in Europe the mainstream media are willing to talk about the changing world and the "Decline of the West" --
Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the Guardian:

Europe's three-dimensional crisis

In the rush to define Europe's problems as fiscal, our deep-seated banking and competitiveness problems have been largely ignored.

In the search for a simple, one-dimensional answer – austerity and, if that fails, more austerity – to what is a three-dimensional crisis, Europe's leaders are failing to grasp the profound historical forces now reshaping Europe's role in the world. For without complementary action reshaping our financial sector to serve the wider economy and reigniting growth, no amount of public spending cuts and no number of rigid fiscal rules will prevent a lost decade of high unemployment and long-term decline.

...

There is, at least, now a dawning recognition that Europe is facing more than a short-term fall. Instead, a great global restructuring is happening before our very eyes and Europe's stagnating economy is in the throes of the transition from our 20th-century western-dominated economy to an Asian-led world. Once Europe was responsible for 40% of the world's output; already it is down below 20%. Within a decade – if we do nothing – it will be little more than half that, 11%. We are, in fact, at the sharp (and currently losing) end of huge historical processes moving production investment and trade from the continent of the first industrial revolution to the new Asia. And the jury is still out on whether Europe will face absolute – and not just relative – decline and whether today's crisis is, in effect, writing its own penultimate chapter in a story that will be entitled "the decline of the west".

...

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recently overheard a bank clerk in Wal-Mart say this to a customer:
" Wyoming. That's in Virginia, right ?"

4:47 PM  
Anonymous EM said...

Regarding passports and "In terms of actually going abroad, 88% still don't do it."

Remember that going abroad requires both money and time - two things most Americans don't have much off.

Rather than attributing this to simple xenophobia, I think it's probably more of a vicious circle. ...because Americans can't afford to go abroad, they don't, so they become more ignorant and xenophobic, so they vote in ways that makes the economy even more exploitative, so they have less time and money to go abroad...

A small point, I know. But as the owner of a passport that goes unused (except for a combo work-leisure trip to Canada a few years ago), I can assure you, not wanting to go abroad and not having the right combo of time and money to do so are two different things.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remain anonymous because my balls have not fully dropped. I came upon this blog (the first blog I think I have concensly read) from listening to your special on the alternative radio (my fiancee preset the dial because of some music she heard on 88.5 in St. Pete FL). Like 95% of people I know here, I'm from somewhere else-Atlanta. I remember while living in Atlanta NPR was a daily ride for me, but for the past 6 years I have completely lost them. While I have not yet read any of your writings, besides whats here, I feel like I have found a home again. I thank you for what seems to be a relentless persuit to help awaken people. People like me who have felt the wrong with this country for so long, but maybe thought it was just the begining of insanity. I wake up with the feeling of lostness and that soemthings just missing.
I have been blessed with my beautiful family-the son of a single mother, who put nothing in front of me and is single today, but would not allow me to ever live a day of poverty, and I know I'm lucky there. My fiancee is just as miss guided, but constantly pushing for better, currently in school for green sustainability managment, with wonderful asperations of help the world. She is also working full-time will being pregnant with our second child. My daughter is an amazingly brilliant and loving 3yr old, but (the reason I felt so compelled to write this now) is surrounded by all of the brain killing objects all children her age has-everything. Seriously shes 3 and her toys can cover the entire space of our 1000 sq ft aprtmnt.
I was told growing up that I was given everything that my mother did'nt have. Now my generation is: we are giving our child JUST EVERYTHING!
The point is, I feel caught in an endless circle of consumerism and frustration of not having enough to consume.
I work for probably the worst person I have meet in my life and he is currently selling 75% of the business to the second worst person. This man truly believes in the wage slavery aspect. I became a manager after about 5 months. This is a restaurant and I have waited on him and his entire family, no lie, at least 30 times in those 5 months, and until a week after I was made a manager he did not know my name, and would snap his fingers, never tip and say that your tip is your job (a server makes $4.23 an hour here). Now he has another restaurant owner buying in that has failed three others in the area, and neither one like each other. I work at least 50 hours a week and two nights at another job. We are hard working and only want the best for our children, the american dream a terrible reason to never see the ones you love.
I now wake up and wonder why I have had these blinders on and when exactly they drugged me. Now I have to work on my fiancee.

I am looking forward to reading your work and staying active on your blog.

Thank you for reminding me that I have intelligent thought.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank you all for writing in. I can't reply at length because I'm currently in Cartagena, Colombia, where I was asked to give some lectures. But I do plan to take time off and soak my rear end in El Caribe.

Anon-

Thanks for yr message, but pls do me 2 favors in future: one, use a real handle; we have too many Anons here. Two, compress yr messages! Abt half the length of this one wd be just rt. Thanks.

EM-

There are still many ways of doing it on the cheap, as so many young people did in the 60s. But Americans will spend fortunes traveling around America, because they really have no interest in Europe or whatever. (We're No. 1!)

Mike-

I wd not be totally opposed to beer and a burrito, 2b sure. The problem is I have a # of friends in SF, and only 2.5 days there. Write me closer to the date, and I'll know more abt my schedule. I'm hoping we can work something out.

Cosmo-

Loved yr letter. u.r. clearly my kinda guy. The problem is that I recently, and quite accidentally (but not really: karma and all that) acquired a sweet, beautiful, and shockingly intelligent girlfriend, so necessarily hafta forfeit any plans I had to eat corndogs with Michele or copulate with Sarah on an ice floe among the meese (with Ed Meese present). Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and I'm a lucky guy.

mb

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anon,

I used to live in St. Pete too. What a depressing dump. But do say hello to my parents if you see them. It’s easy to spot them: the elderly couple sporting numerous US flags surgically attached to their forearms. Tell ‘em I meant to call, but I just can’t stand it when they break into that “USA! USA! USA!” chant...LOL

Julian

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

News Item, 28 Jan 2012:

“CHICAGO (AP) — Hull House, the Chicago social services organization founded more than 120 years ago by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, closed Friday after running out of money.”

Just another sign of ‘American progress’.

David Rosen

5:24 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

In our increasingly Dickensian labor market many Americans are barely permitted to take a sick day. Forget vacations, foreign or otherwise. In many modern countries vacations are considered a right as is health care. So, blaming Americans for not going to Europe is like blaming them for going bankrupt because of health costs.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/05/1051848/-Medical-bills-cause-62-percent-ofbankruptcies

9:55 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

BTW. To all you anons out there, please answer the plea of Dr. B and come up with something. It’s really quite fun. Do what I did and find something from a literary work you admire. For more fun, see if you can guess from which book I took Zosima. Don’t cheat and look it up, at least not until you’ve given it that old college try.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Excerpted from:

JUST IN TIME FOR SPRING

By Ellis Weiner

Introducing GOING OUTSIDE, the astounding multipurpose activity platform that will revolutionize the way you spend your time.

GOING OUTSIDE is not a game or a program, not a device or an app, not a protocol or an operating system. Instead, it’s a comprehensive experiential mode that lets you perceive and do things firsthand, without any intervening media or technology.

GOING OUTSIDE:

1. Supports real-time experience through a seamless mind-body interface. By GOING OUTSIDE, you’ll rediscover the joy and satisfaction of actually doing something. To initiate actions, simply have your mind tell your body what to do—and then do it!

...

2. Is completely hands-free. No keyboards, mice, controllers, touch pads, or joysticks. Use your hands as they were meant to be used, for doing things manually. Peeling potatoes, applauding, shooting baskets, scratching yourself—the possibilities are endless.

...

4. Delivers “head-free” surround sound. No headphones, earbuds, speakers, or sound-bar arrays required—and yet, amazingly, you hear everything. Sound is supported over the entire audible spectrum via instantaneous audio transmission. As soon as a noise occurs and its sound waves are propagated to your head, you hear it, with stunning realism, with your ears.

...

6. Enables complete interactivity with inanimate objects, animals, and Nature™. Enjoy the texture of real grass, listen to authentic birds, or discover a flower that has grown up out of the earth. By GOING OUTSIDE, you’ll be astounded by the number and variety of things there are in the world.

...

8. Is fully scalable. You can interact with any number of people, from one to more than six billion, simply by GOING OUTSIDE. How? Just go to a place where there are people and speak to them. But be careful—they may speak back to you! Or remain alone and talk to yourself.

...

Millions of people have already tried GOING OUTSIDE. Many of your “friends” may even be GOING OUTSIDE right now! Why not join them and see what happens?

Going Outside

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Speaking of wage slavery, I was amazed that CBS Sunday Morning ran this story about child labor in a Chinese factory that supplies Apple with electronics:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8601-3445_162-57367950.html?assetTypeId=41&blogId=&tag=accordionB;
commentWrapper

Apparently there's been a wave of suicides by these young workers. In an interview with Steve Jobs, he praises the restaurants & movie theaters the factories have for the workers -- how could such a wonderful working environment promote suicide? Utterly ignoring the grinding destruction of individual human beings in the name of greater profit, of course.

The comments section at the site is fascinating, by the way.

I've noticed that when corporate people are interviewed on TV, they use their own variant of English. It's clean, clear, precise, technical, upbeat -- but stripped of any human feeling, or any recognition of human beings as actual flesh & blood people. It's as if they live in some Platonic ideal of "success" & don't want to be reminded of the real world. Transcendence indeed!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kel-

Albert Borgmann anticipated just this kind of craziness in "Technology and the Culture of Contemporary Life", 1984.

mb

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Hi Tim,

Very disturbing. I've been hearing this news from China on John Zerzan's Anarchy Radio and it's pretty pervasive and disturbing. But there's also sporadic factory sabotage, as Zerzan reports. Yes, good ole Saint Steve!

Hi Maury,

Yes, I must read some Borgmann. Thanks for the ref. Meanwhile, I hope you've activated your copy of Going Outside(TM) and are enjoying your time in Cartagena.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Zosima:

So, you live in the desert?

Et.Al.:

Yesterday, Bill Moyers & Co (1-29-2012) had the most infuriating program I have ever seen.

His guests were acting as if they had accepted a plea bargain for their criminal activities within the financial industry and were giving Bill (the inside) the scoop for the financial collapse. In the end they all claimed not to be able to do anything about it, even tho, they were the principle participants. Check out the now head of M.I.T. asshole.

A ravenous, diseased dog threatening innocent people shud be cornered and dealt with. Of course our illustrious huckster society will have none of it and thus WAF.

I would have come across the table if I had been the interviewer and beaten the shit out of all of them. Everybody should watch it just to throw up, if you have nothing better to do.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous David M said...

DR. Berman & Kelvin:
"Going Outside" is great. I made hard copies (E-mail with attachment is just not appropriate) and I'am planning to go outside and deliver them to family and friends in real time. Some will scoff, some will laugh and some will just not understand.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Outside the Human Aquarium said...

Here's some advice for all you folks who are pestering poor Morris about getting together with him during his upcoming mini-tour, buying him a beer, ingratiating yourselves, and no doubt hoping to show him how brilliant you are:

"Anthropologists stress that the number of exhilarating and important personal relationships that people can establish is limited. Apparently, the common pattern of people in any society is to have two important childhood friends, two significant adult friends, and two doctors. Typically, there are two powerful sexual partners who eclipse the others. [...]

The number of significant personal relationships is remarkably similar for everyone, regardless of their location, sophistication or culture. This had led to the anthropologists’ 'village theory'. In an African village, all these relationships happen within a few hundred meters and are often formed within a short-period of time. For us, these relationships may be spread all over the planet and over a whole lifetime. They nonetheless constitute a village which we each have in our heads, and once these slots are filled, they're filled forever."

(J.G. Ballard)

Hope this helps.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Outside,

On the other hand, maybe they're just being friendly (what a concept!).

mb

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

It's strange and sad that being nice or polite is such a foreign (almost literally) idea these days. I was leaving the bank last week and a woman ahead of me held the door open for me. This alone was strange, but even stranger was the confused look she gave when I said thank you. It was as if I said something that hadn't been uttered since a time long past (which may not have been far from the truth).

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Steve Jobs, he stole his best ideas from Xerox, treated his own family like crap, and now he’s being sainted? For what? For having successfully marketed a series of reality testing-altering hallucinogens called the iPhone and the iPad? He was basically a drug pusher. Anyway, here’s a very recent NYT article about Apple’s exploitation of its Chinese laborers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?pagewanted=all

Julian

PS – the reason I submit these anonymously is to avoid being tracked by Google, which, after their latest privacy policy (or lack thereof), I stopped using. But at least I sign my postings.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The controversy over America's apparent decline has reached Onpoint. No mention of WAF in the entire show... and I specifically emailed them a pointer to the book and this blog some weeks ago.

Onpoint: The Declining Superpower?

Is America in decline? It’s become almost assumed in recent years. China, India, Brazil, others – up. America – down. Humbled. Less than it was. Now comes the pushback. “The Myth of American Decline,” goes one headline.

And the theme becomes political just as fast as you can breathe. America in decline? No way, said the president last week. Not on his watch.

Well, which is it? Are we up, down or sideways? Is decline a myth? Or is that idea just a kind of denial? American dreaming?

This hour, On Point: Truth or dare. We’re debating American decline.

Guests:

Michael Beckley, research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s international security program. His recent article in the journal International Security contends that America is not in decline and that both its international power and hegemony are increasing.

Christopher Layne, professor, and Robert M. Gates Chair in Intelligence and National Security at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. His recent article in International Studies Quarterly argues that America is in decline .

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

Joe,

I experience that every time that I am out in public where the doors aren't automatic. I attempt to say to hello to everyone that I make eye contact with; or at least give the obligatory "guy nod" to men just as a matter of convenience.

On the flip side of this however is what I experienced just the other day. One SUV was stopped at a crosswalk stop sign waiting on someone inside one of the local strip mall stores. I was on my way in when another SUV came barreling around her that was "piloted" by a woman talking on her cell phone. She never even attempted to stop at the sign and almost ran me over.

Isn't technology just great? Automatic doors and cellphone piloted cars.

Take care.
Vince

10:29 PM  
Blogger boxcarro said...

Dr. Berman' I am J. Bernays. I heard you on KALW this morning, Alternative Radio Programme. You speak what my 62 Years & Love of Reading "Books" (how quaint!) has convinced me. I recognised it (Rome=UsA- Empire self-Indulgence- Ruin: Television= Bread & Circus, ETC.)

Neal Postman, Sir Bertram Russel, et al.

Hope to Hear you in SAN FRANCISCO this March. Am buying your books..unless they are at the MECHANICS LIBRARY..

By the way, have you tried the MECHANICS INSTITUTE , Library & Chess Room?
I was a Homeless Man when I joined, $95.00 a Year, Very intelligent folks here.
57 Post Street, @ Montgomery, SF, CA. 94104.
(415) 393-0101.

I lived in Colonia Aleman, Tijuana, MX for 2 Years, 1994- 1996, so I am aware that Mexico is a Freer & More Advanced nation than America.

11:04 PM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

Dr Berman:

In the past year, I think that the reality of American decline has become obvious to at least a small minority of the population (more than just the participants on the DAA blog, let's say). A cardinal example is the rise of the "Occupy X" movement, as I call it.

Apropos, here is an article from the Star (Toronto). It is interesting that most of the "decline" articles always seem to be in newspapers from outside the US. One of the more poignant moments in this story concerns a recently naturalized US citizen (from the UK).

Why the American dream could come to an end

1:29 AM  
Anonymous EM said...

Not to belabor it, but Zosima is right about travel - how are people supposed to travel with no time off? If you're LUCKY, and have the rare salaried job with paid vacation, that probably means one week's paid vacation - most of which you probably have to use up a day here and a day there to deal with ordinary life issues. And trying to coordinate you're measly time off with a partner's measly time off and the kids being out of school? Good luck.

People could "do it on the cheap" in the '60s in part because they were either students (at much cheaper educational institutions, and not working near-full-time to pay for it), or because they actually still had jobs that both paid a living wage and gave them time off. Almost nobody has one of those anymore. Also, Europe was a much cheaper place to visit in the decade or two after the war than it is now (no matter how "cheaply" you do it, you'll still need to eat and sleep somewhere - and even "cheap" overseas airfare is pretty expensive these days).

As for spending lots of money traveling around the US, I really don't see it. Yeah, some people eke out a rare trip to Disney World or something - it's easy to blame it on a lack of imagination (and yes, that is part of it), but one of the big appeals of Disney-type vacations is that you can book a short (weekend-plus-a-few-days), all-inclusive, no-planning-needed trip on short notice. After all, who the heck has time to even plan a real trip, or go anywhere for more than 4 days, with both parents working almost 52 weeks a year (for ever-declining real wages)?

Look, I agree that American culture is part of the issue here. But it really does go beyond that. Even if more Americans wanted to go abroad, they simply do not have the resources to do it.

So I will continue to respectfully disagree that this is JUST a "culture" issue. As I said before, I think it's a cycle.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

To begin, M. Berman is a good guy,
who should return to Victoria, BC
since 80% of the locals have a library card and avidly read the
books on America's slipping into the sewer of history.

We once cold afford guns and butter, now it is guns and burgers.
What happens when we can no longer
afford the burgers? How can the
nihilism of consumerism and the
monoculture of mindlessness be
maintained once America's position
in the world's economy slips below
what is required domestically to
keep the masses content?

3:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Great hearing from all of u. Am still down in Cartagena (Colombia), returning to Mex on Thurs. EM: I guess we'll just hafta agree to disagree!

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Vince,

My wife & I have had several close calls with drivers not only using their cell phones, but looking down at their laps & texting at turns, intersections, and in multiple lane traffic. They don't seem to have any concept of other people, other people's needs, other people's lives -- all that exists is their cramped little bubble of ME!!! Of course their digital toys give them the illusion of endless space & infinite connection, but they're only connecting with Ego at its most squalid.

Shep,

I've been following Bill Moyers' new show, and it's indeed infuriating but vital viewing. I've noticed that Bill has asked some of his guests if there's any hoping of reversing what's going on, and several have flatly stated, "No." I think Bill feels the same thing in his heart of hearts, and knows that he's bearing witness on behalf of his viewers & posterity.

Kel,

I recommend Richard Louv's Last Child in the Wilderness.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

Dear MB,

Congrats on the new GF. Best wishes for long and happy love.

I agree that the name of the book is too radical to sell. What, America has failed? The concept cannot be entertained past the red, white and blue.

BTW, no me importa los zapatos. :)

Finally got WAF, been savoring it ...

Best,
Satya

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Berman,

Your love Sarah, played by Julianne Moore, makes no mention of you in the trailer but I'm sure you will be featured in an episode.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/game-change-trailer-julianne-moore-palin_n_1244846.html

9:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kel-

A bit too long. Compress, amigo!

Anon (pls, give us a handle), Satya-

Yes, Sarah is a thing of the past. My girlfriend is dazzling, talented, loving, breathtaking. Cdn't happen to a nicer guy, obviously.

mb

ps: Satya: glad u.r. enjoying waf. When u finish, if u have a moment, perhaps u cd post a review on Amazon--I'd really appreciate it.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Here's possible theoretical underpinning for the Occupy Movements:

Many contemporary anarchist theorists have tried to draw on the natural and physical scientific notions of chaos and complexity. The significant ‘hook’ here is the existence of ‘self-organising’ systems as an integral part of the ordering of life itself, that there are‘mutualistic’ processes at work
which allow other patterns to ‘emerge’ according to their own internal dynamics (rather than being imposed on from outside)... Chesters suggests, it is
precisely in the organisational cultures of the ‘alternative globalisation movement’
(AGM) that these processes will begin to be visible:

[The movement’]s reliance upon flat structures, network forms,its antipathy to institutionalisation and leaders per se, its generation and proliferation of events, gatherings, e-mail lists and web sites has created a structure that is dynamic, resilient and actualises through ‘weak ties’ the potential of those belonging to it. The apparent disorganisation . . . masks a deeper truth – an emergent order on the edge of chaos. (Chesters, 2003: 56)

from Changing anarchism:
Anarchist theory and practice in a global age
, edited by Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen, Manchester University Press, 2004, pp. 14-15

9:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kel-

Problem is, as far as I can make out, that the movement seems to have fizzled, and precisely because of flat structures, lack of leadership, and lack of any goals beyond its own energy. Check out an article I did years ago in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology called "The Shadow Side of Systems Theory." The theory often is too all-encompassing; it doesn't run the risk of falsifiability (a la Karl Popper). A total explanation, in other words; religion. It also claims global validity when it may be valid only under certain conditions--which is where the core-periphery distinction of the World Systems Analysis people becomes relevant. I also refer u to the review in the NYTBR, yrs ago, of "The Tipping Point," by Malcolm Gladwell. The review showed in explicit detail how the argument was full of holes. In my own experience, systems folks often fall into the category of people who want optimism without context or history, which they believe can and shd be dispensed with (good luck).

mb

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Ray said...

Dear Morris and Kel,

Talking about the need for context and history.......

There may be a way to square the circle between flat structures, self-organizing distributed systems/networks on the one hand, and focused, goal-oriented hierarchical organizations on the other.

The Renaissance/Scientific Rev/Early Enlightenment seem to me to be essentially networked, leaderless, distributed and flat structure phenomena, although various arrangements were indeed made with rulers and the powerful.

This distributed "weak" structure allowed for a long period where these cultural/intellectual expressions of the growing assertiveness of the urban middle classes could develop without the danger of a direct confrontation with power, give or take a few early adopters burned at the stake.

The later Enlightenment, however, as it entered its political phase, grew increasingly programmatic, doctrinaire, and ultimately hierarchical and goal oriented - culminating in the French and American Revolutions and their objective of ending the old regime.

Its early days in the unfolding of the world that comes after ours. Just like the Levellers, Hussites, Galileo, etc. perhaps the ultimate value of OWC is once again, to leave a tradition or memory trace for later, more focused and structured and effective movements.

Ray

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian authorities say they are struggling to keep outsiders away from a clan of previously isolated Amazon Indians who began appearing on the banks of a jungle river popular with environmental tourists last year.

The behavior of the small group of Mashco-Piro Indians has puzzled scientists, who say it may be related to the encroachment of loggers and by low-flying aircraft from nearby natural gas and oil exploration in the southeastern region of the country...

More at Isolated Peru tribe makes uncomfortable contact

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Hi Maury,

You don't have to post this as I don't want to hog blog space. But thank you for the references re: systems theory. BTW the anarchy book apparently cites an article of yours in footnote 10 of the intro.:

10 The somewhat inward-looking dimension to poststructuralism, perhaps in reaction to the failures of ‘May ‘68’, has been pointed out many times (see Berman, 1992;
Eagleton, 1996).

Berman, M. (1992) ‘Why modernism still matters’, in Lash and Friedman (1992)

Lash, S. and Friedman, J. (eds.) (1992) Modernity and identity, London: Sage

But not sure if it's yours bcs of APA style of references.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The occupy movement might have a comeback. The Occupy Umass Boston movement has just upped from 3 to 4tents inside the lobby of the school's student center. In-between chess games and reading books such as "The Racial State", activists are making demands for a higher student to teacher ratio and an end to capitalism.

Edward Moss

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB,

This must be good news, I guess. I just ordered DAA from amazon for a friend, but turned out the book was out of stock, and so I need to wait a few weeks longer. Does this mean DAA is selling like hotcakes? :)

Julian

7:32 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Tim,

I agree with u in total (I explode). I think Bill Moyers is one of the few who understand how bad it is in this country. I really, tho, do not believe he is as aware as we are on this blog.

There cannot be over a few thousand in the entire world that know, for sure.

Anybody,

What is life for? Seems to me, nothing.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Berman, this is right up your alley, I think.

"Corpse Sits Among Oblivious Video Gamers For Nine Hours In Taiwan Internet Cafe"

http://preview.tinyurl.com/72aff5m

How could they tell the difference?

2:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Julian-

I just checked Amazon; bk seems to be back in stock (I had no idea it had ever been out). I suggest writing them, telling them u don't wanna wait several wks. Let me know what transpires, if u wd. Thanx.

mb

11:27 AM  
Blogger boxcarro said...

I have purchased your Seattle programme from Alt-Radio, and listened at least twice a day. I also listen to (over 5 hours) Age of Manipulation series (Pts 1 & 2) where Disney CEO alleges "We are proud to be First, to Band that Child, and then we OWN that child for years... (also) We are in the business of Making people BUY things Thet DO NOT need.

Yes, the American Psyche is a Viod. Only a void can be filled with this type of Branding [as Cattle, or slaves]

Your statements on Hegel and the Negative personia, the Virulent Hatred Americans reap upon OUR OWN CITIZENS who become "Homeless" is a Obvious Product of this
American fear nothing but their own secret knowledge of their total GOYSHEISM....We are Cattle.

I have spent my entire life (since age 17- 1967) as a Nomad, a seeker, and your advise to "Get Out" is the only Reasonable advise I ever have heard. Others offer "Solutions" to SELL BOOKS, to MAKE A LIVING off Misery.

We as a People are UNABLE to ACCEPT that BERSEN-BELGAN, ASCHWITTZ, Slaughterhouse 7 is our Future..
as you said, "I fear it could become very nasty, very soon...

John C. Bernays, Great Nephew of Edward Lewis Bernays.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB,

What happened is a little strange. Two days ago I ordered the entire trilogy (TAC, DAA, and WAF) to be delivered to a friend in Chicago. Initially I specified two-day delivery. Amazon said it will be shipped in 2 packages, with delivery for WAF and TAC being Feb 7, and gave me a DAA delivery window of Feb 15 – Feb 23. My friend then said that he is leaving on trip on Feb 7, so less than an hour after I placed the initial order I went back to amazon and upgraded it to next day delivery. So the following notification from amazon was that WAF and TAC will be delivered on Feb 4 (as they were indeed delivered today by a company called Ensenda). But the odd part was that DAA is now expected to be delivered on Feb 8. This works fine, as my fiend made arrangements to have the DAA package accepted by a neighbor. However, I wonder why couldn’t amazon come up with DAA for a reasonable two-day delivery, but somehow managed to for a next day order. Do they print DAA on demand, like they do with the Create Space stuff?

Julian

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, you'll have to check out the latest Theonion.com video depicting a family that wants to euthanasie their child who has turned into a vegtiable on her iPhone. 

7:59 PM  
Blogger Jerry said...

Professor Berman,

Regarding book availability: is it possible to order your novel Destiny through local, independent bookstores? I know that some CreateSpace titles are widely distributed ("expanded distribution"), and I am reluctant to order from Amazon: amazon.ca does not stock the title (the title takes up to 4 weeks to ship) and amazon.com charges shipping fees to Canadian addresses. I'd prefer to order it from Munro's or Bolen if the book is carried by independent distributors as it would arrive sooner and I wouldn't need to pay shipping charges.

Speaking of Bolen: the store sold out of its stock of Why America Failedand the book is on re-order.

Speaking of Amazon: is it possible that B&N isn't carrying WAF because of the company's dispute with Amazon? I recently read that B&N won't be stocking titles published by Amazon, but I hope that they're not 'blacklisting' authors who've published with Amazon in the past...

Cheers from Victoria,

Jerry

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jerry-

"Destiny" is sold via expanded distribution, as well as on an individual basis, so it's possible for any bkstore to order it, I believe.

Julian-

I honestly don't know what Amazon is up to, or how they work. But I can tell u that the only bks of mine that are "on demand" are the Create Space ones, ie Destiny and QOV.

John-

Thanks for writing in. It's not too often that I get letters from actual relatives of Freud.

mb

10:44 PM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman & DAAers
A few questions for superbowl sunday.

Of the two most important days in americans lives Black Friday and today which is #1?

How soon will the halftime show at the superbowl feature moslems being thrown to lions?

Which gladiator/player or players will recieve death threats for losing the game?

How many american will be passed out from alcoholic beverages before halftime?

If there is a shortage of chichen wings will american finally get off its collected asses and riot in the streets?

And last but not least, which side is god on?(who is playing anyway?)

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More politicians in Europe are willing to talk about more than economics:

Speech by Irish President Michael Higgins at the National University of Ireland

‘The Role of the University at a time of Intellectual Crisis’ Address by President Michael D. Higgins on receipt of Doctorate of Laws (Honoris Causa) from the National University of Ireland

...

The National University of Ireland finds itself, at the moment, in the most challenging of times. It is obviously a time of crisis in the economic world, a crisis that is not abstract in its form, or its consequences, as expectations are shattered, exclusions from real citizenship created, through poverty, unemployment and all of the insecurity that flows from fear of losing one's home, loss of loved ones to unanticipated emigration and a bewildering confusion as to self-worth.

The crisis is, however, also an intellectual one. Decades of Keynesianism have given way to decades influenced by the theories of such as Friedrich Von Hayek, to unrestrained market dominance. A new dominant largely uncontested paradigm has emerged. That paradigm has consequences for all institutions including universities. It is a paradigm that makes assumptions and demands as to the connection between scholarship, politics, economy and society. It has fed off, and encouraged, I suggest, an individualism without responsibility. It not only asserts a rationality for markets, but in policy terms has delivered markets without regulation.

...

Intellectuals are challenged, I believe now to a moral choice, to drift into, be part of, a consensus that accepts a failed paradigm of life and economy or to offer, or seek to recover, the possibility of alternative futures. And were universities not special places, the citizens of the future may ask, for the generation of alternatives in science, culture and philosophy?

The universities have a great challenge in the questions that are posed now, questions that are beyond ones of a narrow utility.

...

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB,

I just got another email from Amazon, saying that the second package was shipped today (Sunday) and the new estimated delivery is tomorrow. One day earlier. Go figure!

Have you considered selling/promoting your books via the shareware concept? Back in the early 90s I was a shareware author, and in a few years I sold seven-digit worth of a desktop publishing program I had developed. Since all were direct sales, and I was running the operation out of my spare bedroom, it was mostly profit (the IRS was my largest expense!). My formula was simple: I gave away a complete and fully functional version of the program, and kingly asked the users to buy one of my more advanced versions if they liked the free version. I also encouraged them to share copies of the free version with as many people as they wished. No pressure, and no middlemen. Perhaps in a book trilogy like yours, you might offer the first one free, and then guide them to the others that they could get from Amazon. Anyway, just an idea, for what it's worth.

Julian

6:28 PM  
Anonymous David M said...

Dr. Berman & DAAers
In Robert Jensen's lastest post he reviews Walter Breggeman's lastest book 'The Practice of Prophetic Imagination' and his previous one
(1978) 'The Prophetic Imagination' some folks might find interesting.
He makes the argument in the reviews that you cannot separate politics and religion.
Here is a snippet: But a blank claim that "religion and politics don't mix" misunderstands the inevitable connection between the two. Whether secular or religious,our political judgements are always rooted in first priciples--claims about what it means to be human that can't be reduced to evidence and logic. Should people act purely out of self interest, or is solidarity with others just as important? Do we owe loyalty to a nation-state? Under what condition, if any is the taking od a human life justified? What is the appropriate relationship of human beings to the larger living world.

Case Wagenvoord made a similar argument just before he died (on his blog short shots) that empathy and the christian religion can be the same if you throw the politics out(money and divinity also) of religion not the religion out of politics. It was what he called the Tao of Jesus( live by the word not the myth).

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Massachusetts lawmaker proposed a bill to have the letter “G’’ affixed to the driver’s licenses of gang members.

http://mobile.boston.com/art/30/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/02/07/mass_rep_pulls_back_on_bill_aimed_at_gang_members/

8:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life Dept.:

http://news.yahoo.com/mo
-teen-gets-life-possible
-parole-killing-141938731
.html

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

MB,

"The sleep of reason produces monsters." - Goya

At this point, reason in America isn't just sleeping, it's in a coma.

I'm sickened but not surprised by this case. There have been others like it previously; there will be more like it to come. Killing is cool, after all -- everything in the media tells us so. And life is so cheap. Unless it's your life, of course, in which case, "Screw you, I got mine!"

A shining city upon a hill ...

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

DAA’ers,

I was about to write in agreeing that it is not reasonable to expect people trying to live the American Dream (Nightmare) to travel beyond North America with their limited spare money and lousy two-week vacation. I have lived on five continents plus the Middle East, and I can tell you that if the only way I could travel was to save up money for a two-week trip to Europe, I wouldn’t bother. Then I realized that this is just one more proof of just how thoroughly incompatible the American Dream is with any kind of decent human life.

The only hope most Americans have for any kind of ‘quality of life’ is to reject the American Dream outright, and so very few of them have even the slightest inkling. That’s why it is so hard for me to work up any enthusiasm for most of the protests that only seem to want to preserve or restore such a shallow and empty existence.

David Rosen

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Joseph S. said...

Though one could argue that violence in America helped make this girl violent, you cannot discount the fact that she had some SERIOUS mental health issues. A violent culture mixed with a tumultuous family life (her parents abandoned her when she was young) and an educational system that most likely ignored any warning signs of mental instability caused this girl to declare her killing of a 9 year old "ahmazing" (as she wrote in her diary after the act). Her mind was the perfect laboratory for a number of factors to take root. What she did was not solely because of her environment, as that would take away from the murder that she, and she alone, committed.

I'm not surprised by this case either, though not for the same reasons that Tim gave. A person with this level of psychopathy would eventually find a way to strike out when the time was right. You can name extreme cases like this in any country worldwide. Recall that a few years back in Canada a man slaughtered and ate another person on a Greyhound in front of its horrified passengers. That had nothing to do with Canada's culture of hunting, for example, or the perpetrator's heritage (he was an immigrant from China I believe). Mentally unhealthy people pop up and do crazy or violent things, and often times they're hard to predict.

All of this being said, I'm shocked this girl has any chance of parole. I believe that since she pleaded guilty to the crime she was convicted of 2nd degree murder when it was clearly a 1st degree crime. This alone says tons about the great US of A.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

It is interesting though not surprising that this story is from Missouri, home state of Walter Brueggemann, a state that just voted for a man who would essentially outlaw birth control if he could, creating even more unwanted, neglected and desperate children of the type featured in this story. The people that voted for Santorum in MO and Newt in SC are known by politicos as “values voters”, values preached from the pulpit for generations .
“This is our task—the tearing down of systems inconsistent with our values and the building up of something new” Jensen says that Brueggemann is working towards a Christianity that will do this. I wish him success, if MO is any indication he certainly has his work cut out for him. But how do you do this within a system of thought which invented some of the most authoritarian ideas in human history, such as the eternal torture chamber of hell and original sin and whose sacred book advocates violence against children and many other repulsive iron age values? Talk about trying to turn around an aircraft carrier in a bathtub.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joseph-

Yr rt, homicidal maniacs exist in many cultures worldwide, yet I'm impressed by two things in this case: one, the girl's joy in all this, her recording of what an 'amazing' experience it was for her (the life of the little girl she killed never crossed her mind); and the stats into which she fits. When it comes to the stats of homicide (leaving aside countries in which they are high for reasons of constant political turmoil), we lead the pack. This sad, awful murder is iconic, somehow, of the depths of our violence, and our narcissism. After all, where else do Wal-Mart shoppers trample others to death, to save $29 on a DVD player, and then refuse to move aside when the medics arrive? If u have a moment, check out the essay in my bk "A Question of Values," entitled "Ik Is Us."

mb

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Joseph S. said...

MB-

I agree that this girl is symbolic of the US. If she lived someplace else, in a less violent society maybe, would she still have done what she did? Who knows. However, she is an extreme example considering her situation is not true of all Americans. (I'm talking about abandonment issues and the fact that her parents probably handed her a crap set of genes.) Almost everyone I know personally likes violent films, likes their iPhones and Blu-Ray players, and doesn't blink twice when they see that X number of people were killed by Predator drones today, et cetera. Though, unless they're hiding some deep, dark secret, none of them have killed anyone, let alone a 9 year old girl.

America is a violent place. The "me first" attitude is prevalent everywhere, and this manifests itself in car jackings, home invasions, gang crimes, domestic violence; you name it, we have it here. This girl, mental instability aside, fits well into the iconic role of all this. However, as a symbol of America as a whole, I think any Black Friday incident embodies the spirit of this country better than she does.

Luckily I own A Question of Values. I like flicking through it sometimes when I'm particularly down in the dumps. I'll certainly read "Ik is Us" sometime today.

JS

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Joseph S. said...

Regarding my last comment:

"Two People Are Dead Because They Unfriended This Man’s Adult Daughter on Facebook"

http://gizmodo.com/5883546/

This wasn't caused by a mental illness, at least not one yet mentioned in the DSM-IV-TR. These guys just find others' lives so worthless that they can kill two people over something so trivial. It's making news now, but how long will it be until this becomes commonplace?

JS

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Joseph,

While I agree that this girl obviously has some mental health issues, I'm still left wondering if certains kinds of crazy are encouraged & nourished by particular kinds of culture, as Morris suggest -- and rightly so, I believe.

Certainly there's more free-floating anxiety, alienation & fear in the world as a whole ... but isn't it the kind bred & spread by a hopelessly shallow, technocratic society that devalues anything truly human?

Yes, there have always been Just Plain Crazy Folk in every country & culture -- I won't argue that -- but I think we're living in an especially crazy-making culture, one in which The Normal Man is anything but normal by most standards of civilized behavior.

I've been re-reading a fair amount of R. D. Laing lately, and I come back to his statement from The Politics of Experience (circa 1967):

"The condition of alienation, of being unconscious, of being out of one's mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years."

I don't think things have improved appreciably since Laing wrote those words. If anything, things have gotten worse -- more soulless, more callous, more detached & distracted. This is the Wasteland.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Just one addendum to my previous post, with another quote from Laing:

"Our behaviour is a function of our experience. We act according to the way we see things.

"If our experience is destroyed, our behaviour will be destructive.

"If our experience is destroyed, we have lost our own selves."

And how do the majority of Americans currently see things?

3:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jos-

The question is, does her behavior lie on a spectrum, a continuum, with Wal-Mart stampede killing, or is it in a class of its own? Is she just merely the far end of a very fucked up norm?

mb

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Joseph S. said...

Tim-

I agree. Things have gotten worse in America, and continue to as the days go by. Like I said before, I don't know if she would have done the same thing if she was born in another place (or if she had different parents, a different school, different peers... the list of hypothetical situations can go on and on). And your comment that we live in an especially crazy-making culture is pretty spot on, as is evident from the vast amount of antidepressants and such that are out there and consumed by Americans. This girl was on Prozac before she killed the 9 year old.

MB-
I'd say she lies on the extreme side of the spectrum. Craziness seems to manifest itself in a way that is respective of its culture. A person living in another country but with a similar problem would do something drastic as well, but it probably wouldn't be the same thing. So, if it's in the continuum of the Wal-Mart tramplings, I'd say it's related through a shared "Me" culture. The root causes are different in both cases, though I can't say if one's worse than the other. A loss of life is terrible anywhere to anyone and I'm not going to fall into the temptation of saying that a 9 year old girl dying is worse than that of an adult.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jos-

Well, if the two things *are* on a continuum, then the root cause is probably the same. (Ik Is Us) Interesting to think abt, anyway.

mb

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is primarily the nature of American society that makes people violent, selfish, and gives them the “license” to act crazy. Most cultures have a built-in “shame mechanism” that keeps people in line (think of it as a cultural superego). This mechanism is part of most collectivist cultures, or cultures where people share a common history and heritage. Case in point: many Romanian immigrants to the US tend to change shortly after arrival to the US. They begin acting selfishly, recklessly, and with disregard for others, including their own families. They would never act that way in their own countries, but they do in America. This can be a very serious problem for immigrant parents who raise their children in the US.

Julian

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Interesting discussion re: MO teenager. Then there's the Powell man who torched his home, killing himself and his two very young sons that he might elude conviction for murdering his wife since his boys were drawing pictures of a woman in a trunk of a car. But these two stories are replicated worldwide. We can't forget Galtung's DYI genocidal cleansing in oh-so-civilized Sweden. There are stories in China of parents murdering their children.

What's behind all this? Well, to take John Zerzan's lead: humans are not meant to live in this mass society, this industrial techno-philic-culture. Just think of the daily terrorism of distracted/drunk drivers, cruise ships saluting islands and sinking (techno-tourism), eco-tours [a sick joke] inciting murderous reactions in indigenous tribes, etc. In a way singling out the U.S. is an inverse American exceptionalism.

2:09 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Hello WAF:ERS,

Please check out the latest column by Chris Hedges at Truthdig:

The Cancer in Occupy

2:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Every civilization worth the name has at its center the central principle of most religions: You are your brother's keeper. The basic premise (value system) of the US, from its earliest days, is: What's In It For Me? (Or: go out there and make a bundle!)(And if you need to step on someone else to do it, what's the problem?)
At least in this regard, the NRA may be rt: people kill people, not guns (hence, high homicide rate in US). If guns were banned, Americans wd switch to knives. Etc. The bottom line remains: what are the stats, and what does American culture in particular cultivate?

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelvin,
I've been listening to Zerzan for awhile (radio podcast) and read several of his books. He has some very interesting points. I might add quickly I think Hedges has it (Zerzan) wrong in his recent column (another thread entirely).

Increasingly I'm caught somewhere between WAFerism and anarchism. At times, I can't tell if the US is merely the lead dog on a sled ride to hell or modern civilization is the disease. Some days it's a toss up.

I see little in my living and wking in NE Asia that wld make me optimistic - some of it cld be regarded as bad cloning of the US but Confucian-capitalism looks as poisonous as anything we could've come up with. All the attendant prblm's - high suicide rate, tech obsessed, emptiness, disregard for others (intern. driven as opposed to US outward aggression) etc..

Any thoughts on this r welcome of course.

El Juero

9:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

El J-

Keep in mind that Waferism has a sort of anarchic vector. At the end of WAF I talk abt the eventual likelihood of secession, decentralization, and the rise of small-scale communities, as the empire breaks up. See also essay on this blog, "La longue duree".
I do think there is light at the end of the tunnel, except that (as at end of Middle Ages) it's going to be a very long tunnel. Only contemporary sane option for those of us in the US is that of the NMI, or else leaving, and finding some place that has remnants of traditional cultures. Or so it seems to me.

mb

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

El Juero,

I've also been listening to Zerzan's podcasts and that's how I got the reference to Hedge's recent column that was trounced by Wylden Freeborne who was hosting last Tuesday since Zerzan is in India until the end of February. Like you, I'm sitting on a fence although why may differ from your reasons. But I'm grooving to anarcho-primitivism whose ideas were first seeded in me by Maury's Wandering God [still want to read the many references to the scholarly lit. in that book's footnotes and bib.]

It's worth thinking about Hedge's points. Non-violent resistance can achieve certain things but does it go far enough? I'd mentioned the Watts Riots as being effective in unsettling the powerful and perhaps advancing the Civil Rights Movement through violent resistance. But Hedges like many progressive liberals sees violence as discrediting radicalism. And so the debate continues, as it should do. But I think Hedges has not fully assessed Jensen who on occasion advocates sabotage, etc.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Outside the Human Aquarium said...

Re. The Bustamante case: Examples of such anomic violence occur worldwide, and are always outlying phenomena. They are not part of a continuum.

Zerzan: Thanks for mentioning his name, as I haven't had a good laugh in a while. Zerzan's ideal would basically have us devolve into hairless Bonobos. Others may find this to be progress; I am not one of them.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Dr. B, I don't know if anyone has posted this yet, but your Seattle talk just showed up on Truthdig.

(http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth
/item/morris_berman_tolls_the_bell
_for_american_society_20120210/)

3:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JWO-

I asked Chris H. if he wd do that, and he came thru. I shd tell u that the LA version of the Seattle talk (4 days later, and pretty much the same thing except for subsequent Q&A) is finally going to be aired by C-SPAN the weekend of Feb. 25-26. They also told me that the info wd be up on their website by afternoon of Feb. 20: www.booktv.org. Frankly, I was so shocked that it was finally gonna run, I had to pop a few Prozac and lie down for several hours. Anyway, I'll post this info as a proper blog as we approach Feb. 20.

mb

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

NMI life is a feat in itself. Everyday in every way the walls close in a little more with things like NDAA, undermining and failure of resistance (like OWS), WikiLks, media propaganda, etc. The less a person is allowed to express themselves is less of a reason to stay until it becomes too late - for sure. But I doubt that will be for some time, the more likely scenario is that you get on some kind of list of undesirables.. Like felons you won't be able to get housing, a job, etc. The sand is shifting beneath our collective feet as we slowly get pulled under... Things like random acts of violence I believe are more a cry for help when there is none. But the alternative - cultivating an inner reflective life? - who has time for that when the stress of the daily grind is enough to overwhelm anyone. (especially if you've got a family to support) It can be done but there's a price. Consider not everyone may be on board with your 'enlightened' ideas. It's a question of values. Does one value life (sanity) or 'things' (insanity). Most don't even know there's a difference esp. when you read about people hooked on video games until they expire? In a way I'm really not suprised more aren't showing up on the 6 o'clock news... Actually, there's probably so many it's a tough choice - which one is more able to grab the headline... 'Stay tuned, live execution at 11'. I mean why not?

Anyway, a little rambling but it's definitly a 'road less taken'...

6:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Paul-

There are 311 million people in the US. I assume that less than 5,000 are on board w/my ideas, enlightened or not. For all I know, less than 500.

mb

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Rowdy said...

Surely the "random acts of violence" that infest the U.S. are, like anywhere else, simply extreme manifestations of mainstream trends.

Just as Durkheim pointed out that society pullulates with "suicidogenic" currents, it must generate "homicidogenic" currents also - homicide being essentially the flipside of suicide (which is why most murder victims are known to their assailants).

9:00 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Kelvin,

Re: Hedges & Jensen & violence

But Hedges like many progressive liberals sees violence as discrediting radicalism...But I think Hedges has not fully assessed Jensen who on occasion advocates sabotage, etc.

What I got from Hedges' essay was his concern that indiscriminate, spur of the moment violence against targets of opportunity, absent any analytical justification, can easily discredit radicalism in the eyes of the very kinds of citizens he and Jensen would hope to convert to their viewpoint.

I'm not a longtime Hedges reader, but I've read some and have seen enough clips of him to persuade myself that he wouldn't have quoted Jenkins so liberally if he hadn't both assessed and embraced Jenkins' position on the occasional efficacy of violent resistance.

These Black Bloc-kheads, if they get enough media coverage, are dumb-ass enough to turn a too-quick-thinking left-neck Joe Bageant admirer away from violent resistance. Who wants, at first glance anyway, to be seen as doing what they're doing? And this is the effect that the agents provocatuers within their ranks are being paid to generate.

Rousting the nonviolent Occupiers throttles down one channel of resistance, and making violent action seem to be the work of macho adolescents (rebels without a cause?) chokes off another avenue. Both roads will still be chosen by some in the future, but in the near term, each will probably be less travelled than they would have been.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Great to hear you’ll be on C-SPAN. I remember seeing Chomsky on there a few years ago, I almost fell out of my chair, probably the first and the last appearance for him. They’ve got plenty of space for the usual dreck though, including our friend TL Friedman, recently talking to some mayors conference. God he’s so boring, the audience looked half asleep, China’s got nice new fast trains and airports and we don’t! Just replace China with Japan and it’s 1986 again, same old corporate globalist boilerplate. Funny that Europe and Japan can have good education and great infrastructure AND pay decent wages, so we not gonna mention them any more, we only want to talk about China and India, and 20 years from now when their wages get too high, some little Tom Jr. will be promoting Nigeria or some other slave wage hell. Oh, and lets not mention those trillions we spend on the wars I promoted, that could have built some nice infrastructure.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Hi Outside,

You may be a bonobo too! Ha! Anyways, I think bonobos are cool. so's I wazznt inzulting yous.

Hi infant,

Well, what's so wrong with adolescents? I think that was the happiest and saddest time of life, everything in question, trying to find out who I am, and knowing that the MATURE adults didn't know jack shit! Emperor Knew close syndrome.

3:33 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

About C-Span. I am also falling out of my chair.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Time to start a Hairless Bonobo Liberation Front (HBLF).

Hairless Bonobos of the World, Unite!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Dr. B:

"If guns were banned, Americans wd switch to knives."

I just saw a doc on t-v about gun clubs and meet ups. It was hilarious how much fun these people have. They are deadly serious with a gleam in their eye for the situation when only they have the weapons. Tanks. Flame throwers. 50 Calibers.

They have firing sessions and then pridefully walk among the carnage to check out the horrific damage. The final armageddon is at night so you can get the full effect of the multitudinous fireballs and mayhem. They then close with a huge round of applause.

Switching to knives wd be an improvement, I think, but maybe we shud allow these jerks and fools to purchase nuclear weapons so we cd get this thing over with.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Outside the Human Aquarium said...

Kelvin:

"You may be a bonobo too! Ha! Anyways, I think bonobos are cool. so's I wazznt inzulting yous."

No offense intended on either side, I am sure. If I had to self-identify with an ape, then I would be much more an orangutan, actually. So, I'll agitate for a Hairless Orangutan Front, myself.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Outside:

Don't forget Liberation: Hairless Orangutan Liberation Front (HOLF), not to be confused with the Hairy Orangutan Liberation Front (HOLF). See "Life of Brian" for sophisticated discussions of Palestine Liberation Front vs. Front for the Liberation of Palestine, etc.

Shep:

I for one am very annoyed at these nonproliferation agreements, and believe that not only Iran, but every US citizen, should own a nuclear device, ready to be launched at any moment. As I've said b4 on this blog, it's time to end these cruel restraints on our personal power. Cf. Slim Pickins in "Dr. Strangelove"--my kinda guy.

mb

4:34 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Considering that society is in the thrall of Humveepithecus Americanus, we might be wise moving a couple notches towards the bonobo on the spectrum. After all, unlike Americans, bonobos don’t insist on having 6000 pounds of smog spewing steel and plastic to haul their obese asses every time they crave a happy meal...or have a crappy meal. What’s more likely though is that the American right to bear arms and the unwritten American right to drive the largest vehicle conceivable will merge into the right to drive an Abrams tank. Perhaps If we all chant “drill baby drill!” a little louder at this year’s Republican convention, the good Lord will make it so.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Related to what we've been discussing (Americans as bozos, not bonobos), check this out:

http://ideas.time.com
/2012/02/10/why-american
-kids-are-brats/?hpt=hp_t3

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Americans won't use knives. That may require that they get up close and literally touch someone. Americans like their killing as impersonal as possible. In a sense drones are the ultimate act of cowardice since not even a human is in the aircraft. One can only imagine how little respect the Afganis or Pakistanis must have for the US since they shy away from real combat.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Zosima,

My wife & I tend to refer to ASS-UVs whenever we see them (or stop short or swerve to avoid them due to their cellphoning/texting drivers). Their stench of self-centered entitlement is overwhelming!

Really, what's going on in the minds of Humvee owners, anyway? Do they simply want to feel as if they're in the military & they're playing soldier? Is it just another case of having to have the biggest one (fill in the Fruedian blank)? The things are so damn ugly!

We've got a lot of McMansions going up in the area, too. The bigger they are & the more money that goes into them -- well, that's how grossly ugly & devoid of style they are as well. A lot of them look like banks. Which is undoubtedly the most beautiful sight in the world to their owners, I'm sure.

Today's pet peeve: the increasing number of news stories about returning soldiers surprising their families by leaping out of boxes, showing up as their servers in restaurants, etc. And making sure it's all filmed for TV & YouTube. Privacy? Intimacy? Such old-fashioned & obsolete concepts!

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xanax and vid games ain't helping no more. I still got a head from the Stupor Bowl. I need to bomb something, something real. Maybe Iran. But not till after the Grammys. (massages chafed knuckles, spits out tooth)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tim-

As far as returning soldiers goes, most Americans are unaware that since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, 50,000 soldiers have committed suicide. Most of these were male, 18-24 yrs of age.

mb

3:20 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

They probably aren't aware of the 500,000-1,000,000 rapes (documented by the Department of Defense) of service women either. (Per new documentary "The Invisible War").

It is getting brutaler and brutaler out there.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Morris,

You almost never hear about that in the mass media, since heartwarming is preferable to heartbreaking.

Lately I've noticed several heartwarming TV commercials asking the public to help returning vets. All well & good. But they effectively stop any questioning of why vets need help from the public, instead of getting it from the government that sent them overseas to be maimed in body & soul in the first place.

Of course returning vets who try to get treatment for PTSD are often denied, because the agencies supposedly devoted to helping them do their best to define any emotional difficulties as a pre-existing condition, prior to enlistment.

After all, there's no shortage of more cannon fodder.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Ray said...

Dear Morris and Tim,

Maybe all these servicemen are killing themselves to avoid the embarrasment of having to pop out of boxes or surprise their families as "servers" in restaurants.

Morris...any citations on hand that we can use to document the 50,000 statistic? I mean, citations ironclad enough to frustrate any denialism from the jingoistic non-reality based right?

And how does 50,000 rack up statistically against overall non-military population suicides in same time span...anyone? Let's make this stat really deployable. It's THAT useful, I think.

Thanks,
Ray

5:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ray-

On the 50,000 figure: check out Dennis Loo, "Globalization and the Demolition of Society," pp. 12-13 and esp. the footnotes on those two pages, wh/provide all the sources. The Veterans Admin admitted these stats: 6570 suicides per yr since 2003, so multiply by 8 (i.e. to end of 2010)and you get 54,000.

mb

7:09 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

It is fun to listen to them try to gin up a new war since everyone is so bored with the current ones. Sadly, for network executives, war on Iran, is so not gonna happen, because it would mean the extinction of Humveepithecus. The Iranians can easily shut off the oil flow out of the Persian Gulf which is about a third of global supply, they have thousands of ballistic missiles, so they can easily sink all the tankers that pass by, or even better, obliterate all the oil refineries, terminals etc. on the other side of the gulf in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc. So even our genocidal warmonger class has to ask themselves: What would that do to the price of gas? You’ll notice that even someone as openly sadistic and religiously insane as Bush had to pause when faced with that question. While it’s fun to listen to these bullies talk, talk is cheap and action, in this case, would be very, very expensive.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Hi Zosima,

Although Obama has postponed a decision on whether to build the XL Keystone Pipeline from from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, will he veto it? Well, he has a poor track record for opposing anything [Remember the NDAA!] and I guess we need that crack cocaine bitumen from the deforestation, earth works, and water consumption of the Alberta Tar Sands to run our Humvees--not to mention that the Alberta project is one of the largest single emitters of CO2. But maybe it'll keep us out of Iran, you think?

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zosima,

I tend think think war is likely with Iran. Just as in ancient Greece it's easier to make war than to fix a social issue. Robert Baer in his book "The Devil We Know" speculates war is likely and would play out similar to Iraq, a quick U.S. victory at the beginning with overwhelming air power etc. But we would eventually be bogged down in another insurgency. 

Mike O'

10:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I'm just thinking that at this (sad) pt in American history, the dumbest, most irrational, and most self-destructive decisions are the ones most likely to be taken. O&D!

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin said...

Dear Outside,

Thought I crossed the line with an ad hominem...but since you're Outside the Human Aquarium it's possible you could be a literate (and hairless) bonobo or renegade computer who'd managed to pass the Turing Test. Just playing with your handle (he-he).

Here's an autobio. anecdote on why I groove to anarcho-primitivism:

Missed the last bus so had to walk several miles back to my apt. including crossing lots of concrete clover leaf freeway. Was surprised at the desire paths created by the carless & min-waged (cf. Ehrenreich Nickel & Dimed). Got home and felt bursting with life as never before. Felt hunger for food, sex, experience, joy just 'cause I de-habituated, de-automatized the olde routine. Reminded me of the film American Werewolf in London where the hero feels a heightened appetite for food, sex, life, and sense of well-being after an episode. The legend is nostalgia for our wildness and lack of domestication. And all it took in my case was walking on the earth at a "dangerous" time of night and arriving safely at my boring apartment.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

There is another factor that has been overlooked by many. No one has ever bombed active uranium enrichment facilities. The Israelis bombed an unfueled reactor in Iraq in 1981. From what little I’ve read online, causalities in the millions are not out of the question. Of course our media would do everything in their power to ignore the fact that our bombs have just lifted tons of radioactive uranium into the air and the lungs people down wind, such as those of our own troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. So, Americans could be kept in the dark, but other countries downwind, such as India are sure to notice. I could be wrong, but from what I’ve read it could make Chernobyl and Fukushima look like a mild case of sunburn.
Now we all know that the 1000 or so billionaires who own this planet don’t care what happens to un-persons like Iranians or even our own troops, but some of this radiation could end up falling on some of their nearby playgrounds such as Dubai. For such people the rapture and the messiah have already come and the streets are already paved with gold and I think their wishes will prevail over those of the settlers on the West Bank or callers of Pat Robertson’s prayer line. But I could be wrong.

2:19 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Hate to say this but...I fear for Chris Hedges...

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After hearing your 'tvbook' program your "Why America Failed:..." has been removed from my 'to buy' list.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Oh no! Anything but that!

-mb

4:56 PM  
Blogger The Blue Elephant said...

I am looking forward to hearing you soon at Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. I have not read all your books so perhaps, as a literary man, you have always used as a metaphor the whale in Moby Dick. Melville made your same dire predictions for "the Union," clearly symbolizing ship as the U.S., with the mad captain (so apt for U.S. presidents always on a murderous pursuit of imagined enemies) and a sampling of its various citizens on deck as the ship at the end disappears into a whirlpopol generated by the whale, like the disappearance of the empire. But Melville's parable is not news to you.

11:19 PM  
Anonymous TonyU said...

I ran into Dr Bergman while researching for a topic.
The first video I saw was the talk he gave on C-SPAN on WAF.
The video was revealing. Then I followed up on his recommendation to go to his blog, so I found this place. I really enjoy the kind of discussion I see here. I will return again and again for more. And will participate as much as I can. What I really enjoy about Dr. Bergman is his willingness to give out a lot of books on the topics he discusses on his talks.

Dr Bergman should try getting on a radio program named “To the Point”. It is hosted at KCRW in San Francisco. The program gives a detailed discussion on each topic. When you listen to the following, you may want to skip the initial round-up of the news of the day (the three selections lead to the same implications and conclusions Dr Bergman is talking about):

Homeownership and the Fading American Dream
http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/tp/tp111012homeownership_and_th

What Do Climbing Executive Salaries Mean for the Rest of Us?
http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/tp/tp111006executive_pay_and_co

'American Exceptionalism:' Myth or Reality?
http://www.kcrw.com/news/programs/tp/tp111021american_exceptional

5:28 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home