February 14, 2012

Wafer Summit Meeting in the DF

OK, folks: it's show time. You may remember we talked about having a Wafer Summit Meeting in Mexico City (the DF, Distrito Federal) during the weekend of April 13-16. Well, the time has come to put it on the table. I said that we would do it if we got 12 attendees. Turns out, one person has already written me that they will be coming, so we need 11 more to make it happen. If this is an absolutely definite go for you, I need to hear about it. Since I don't want to take up blog space working out the details of all this, please write me at mauricio@morrisberman.com, and we can make arrangements via email. Cut-off date is March 14, after which I'm taking off for my 2nd West Coast tour (Vancouver and San Francisco); about which, more later. As the saying goes, be there or be round. Arriba!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

" one person has already written me that they will be coming"

Bad grammar! How can one person become multiples?

8:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Technically yr rt, but it is now being permitted in the interest of gender equality (go figure). Anyway, 'that he or she will be coming', if you'd like. Actually, they are so fabulous that they have several wonderful personalities.


ps: Pick a handle, already! We have too many Anons on this blog.

8:47 PM  
Blogger SRL said...

Hi Dr. Berman:

Here's my follow up song to Cranial Rectal Embedment, it's called You Deserve It!


9:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm honored to inspire all this creativity. Time to start working on part 3 of the series: Onward & Downward!


10:11 PM  
Anonymous Natalia said...

An absolut go for me, along with my multiple personalities.


12:20 AM  
Blogger Russ said...

The grammar is fine.


1:38 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Just noticed this Chomsky essay on the American Decline, I haven't read the whole thing, but I wonder if you are cited somewhere...


2:47 PM  
Anonymous Ray said...

Who said onward and downward cant't generate the choicest Dada in the world?


My...uh..heart goes out to the poor guy and I hope he's OK, but this is funny..in the saddest way possible.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Berman & WAF'ers,

Thought you would like to know that BookTV is going to air your talk Feb. 25 at 9PM.... better late than never...right?

Funny, if you go BookTV & type your name, DAA comes up & so does WAF... but the last "air date" for WAF is January 1st, 1900...before the advent of television! If America could have only received the WAF wisdom in 1900... we could have....or..or...we might have.... oh who am I kidding...


9:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Here's the link:


This announces that the talk I gave at B&N Westwood in LA on Nov. 8 will be aired on BookTV on Feb. 25 at 9pm est. I'm hoping that there will also be a link to that videotape, so that I can post it on this blog; but everybody shd be aware that it's roughly the same talk I gave at Elliott Bay Bks in Seattle on Nov. 4, which is archived here.


10:18 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Prof. Berman,

I am most certainly not putting you in the same league as Pat Buchanan. But, in his column this week Buchanan describes how he was fired from MSNBC following publication of his most recent book, "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?". It seems to me that Buchanan's book title is more optimistic than "Why America Failed" because his title holds out some hope for the future.

Coincidently, Buchanan received the most criticism for his Chapter 4 as you did with your Chapter 4, "The Rebuke of History". Buchanan should have known that in selecting the inflammatory chapter title of "The End of White America" that he was painting a target on himself that would draw fire.

I have not read Buchanan's book and have no plans to do so. But, I am interested in how writers are marginalized, pushed off the stage, because they depart from the approved national narrative. Here's a link to Buchanan's column:


8:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I've never been a fan of Pat Buchanan; from what I understand, he's a racist and a Holocaust denier. But it's certainly true that a writer cannot get an audience, a hearing, if s/he departs from the accepted national narrative (cf. the 30 bks of Noam Chomsky on US foreign policy). And then, certain topics--race is perhaps the best example of this--are such hot-button issues that they make everyone hysterical; intelligent discussion seems impossible in these cases.

I don't think the US can do anything at all to save itself at this pt; but if it did have a hope in hell, letting in 'shadow' material wd be the rt place to start. Consider how derivative my ch. 4 is, really; how heavily it draws on 2 of our greatest historians, Vann Woodward and Gene Genovese. Woodward repeatedly made the pt that unless we came to grips w/the Southern experience, we were destined to topple over a cliff. This in 1953, and look where we are today. The whole pt of WAF is that alternatives to the dominant hustling culture have historically been marginalized and/or destroyed. But Jung was rt: deny the shadow and u.r. in for a whole load of trouble. The US is cracking up precisely because it doesn't have the strength to let the alternative narrative material in, to bring it into the light, and to have a nonhysterical discussion abt it. I mean, surely it's over when the Jewish mayor of NYC has his police force throw 5000 OWS books into dumpsters, and never takes note of the terrible irony involved in that. I can't say it enuf: we are NOT going to do the intelligent thing.


8:52 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Sorry, but, from what I know about Pat B., he is just one of endless reasons for the destruction of America and shud be discarded from history. He doesn't add a thing to a discussion except hate.

I noticed, very, very sadly, the story of JFK and the rape of the intern, and realized that, in all of its history, my idea that this country hasn't had even one decent President was true. A despicable act beyond my comprehension, and no one is standing up for the lady or is outraged over it.

Let the bombing begin, it is inevitable. This accidental human race needs to be obliterated.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

(On the following see also latest comment under "Land of the Free")

Sometimes I think the best thing we can all do is run away to a pseudo-farm in Norway, tho I've been pretty happy down here in Mexico, I must admit. However, as I've said b4, I remain annoyed at the US Govt's restraint. There is simply no reason not to disappear all 311 million citizens into the 'terrorist' detention center in Marion, IL (well, perhaps reasons of space...), and to start nuking select targets around the world, beginning with Toronto and Paris. Sarah Palin once accused Mr. Obama of 'pussyfooting around', and I think she may have a pt. However, given the fact that I now have a lovely girlfriend, I need to add that my engagement/honeymoon w/Sarah is off the table, and that we shall not be having sex on the ice floes of Alaska, among the meese (and with Ed Meese present).

Anyway, we're all set for a debate regarding Pat Buchanan, racism, and immigrants, so let the games begin.


10:10 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


Pat Buchanan’s precious White America is too big a topic for half a page. Simply on crimes by recent immigrants in Europe, most of whom happen to be Muslims – consider the following:

For the last century the Muslims of the world have been living under Western colonialism. Even the boundaries of their countries have been drawn by Europeans. Many of the Muslims who have been coming to Europe are the poorest of the poor, fleeing the wreckage of what has been done to their societies by Western Imperialism.

The overwhelming fact of the last 500 years is that Europeans have spread out over the world exterminating, enslaving, killing, exploiting, and inflicting every possible evil upon other peoples. Wherever white people live outside of Europe, it means that another people have been exterminated or enslaved. This is a matter that Americans don’t even have a moral right to an opinion about.

It is not the crimes and violence of people of color that we should marvel at, but the graciousness and humanity that they have managed to retain. It is amazing how as I travel around the world, if I just show a little interest in knowing who people are and how they live, or learn a word or two of their languages, they have greeted me as if we were a brother. The exceptions have been so rare that I can count them on one hand.

David Rosen

12:05 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

This is getting zany. Just read a counterpunch article about the potential blowback of drones!

Apparently anyone can get one: hobby shops for instance. This is the great equalizer. The skies will be black and no one will be able to tell who is who.

What do u know, there is a god, after all of my doubts.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is gd news, because it means hobby shops can start bombing Toronto and Paris. I am encouraged. But it still doesn't solve the problem of disappearing everyone into detention centers in Illinois. Pls give it some thought, and get back to me.


2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the UK has got many of the same problems as the US. Including CRE. Couldn't this article have just as easily been published in the New York Times?

Suzanne Moore writing in The Guardian

Instead of being disgusted by poverty, we are disgusted by poor people themselves


The idea that ultimately the poor must help themselves as social mobility grinds to a halt is illogical; it is based on a faith for which there is scant evidence. Yet it is the one thing that has genuinely "trickled down" from the wealthy, so that many people without much themselves continue to despise those who are on a lower rung.

The answer to poverty, you see, lies with the poor themselves, be they drain-dwellers, Greeks, disabled people, or unemployed youth. We will give them bailouts, maybe charity, and lectures on becoming more entrepreneurial. The economy of empathy has crashed, and this putsch is insidious and individualised. No more cruel to be kind. We must be simply cruel.

The argument that there is enough to go round is now a fairytale, like winning the lottery. Poverty is not a sign of collective failure but individual immorality. The psychic coup of neo-liberal thinking is just this: instead of being disgusted by poverty, we are disgusted by poor people themselves. This disgust is a growth industry. We lay this moral bankruptcy at the feet of the poor as we tell ourselves we are better than that.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

I do not follow u?

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


Most everyone has already been disappeared into their own illusions created by cellphones, facebook, and their ipads.

As for the Pat Buchanan debate. I will try to keep it nice. First, let me start by repeating what Howard Zinn explained about WWII. It was NOT the "good war". All sides committed war crimes.

With that said, let me also say that I am no fan or supporter of Pat Buchanan. But he made a good argument against America getting involved in the conflict between Hitler / Fascism and Stalin / Communism. Although Germany was defeated by predominantly Soviet forces, Soviet forces benefited from our involvement in engaging Germany on the western front, which was a huge setback for his aims in Eurasia. PB's argument was that we should have let Germany and Russia beat each other to death in Russia. Then both Fascism and Communism would have theoretically perished in the 1940's.

Now we are stuck with both here in the 21st century. We have an American military industrial complex that one could argue was created from the template of Nazi Germany; an economy based on war making. Communism survived and now we have a totalitarian regime in China whose capitalist economy is in large part fueled by state enforced slave labor manufacturing.

Just as MB never endorsed or showed any favor towards a slave labor South, PB never endorsed a Jew killing Nazi Germany. Does PB exhibit too much illusory grandeur about a fantastic white america? Yes. But that is the belief system that he was raised in. Just like we have all been raised in an illusion that technology solves more problems then it creates. Nuclear power is a prime example that it doesn't.

Not sure about meeting in the Wafer Summit yet. But I can tell you that the stupidity that I endure on a daily basis at work has nearly driven me to the point that I may just sell everything off and fax in a death certificate as a resignation letter, then move to some quite location where there are no planes, trains, or frickin' cell phones.


8:36 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

A quick perusal of right wing websites will show that there is no shortage of sentiment for attacking places like Paris, Toronto, or anywhere else tainted with socialist infection. But like other good liberals I wait for NPR (National Pentagon Radio) to tell me when it’s time to encourage others to send their children to storm the beaches of Normandy again. They have a fund raising drive going right now, and thousands of liberals are joining Shell Oil and wall street brokers and giving generously. I mean really, why not just skip the middleman and make the check out to Dick Cheney? What need of detention centers in a country where people are this eager to police themselves?

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Front page article on the NY Times re:Drones


Comments section is fairly funny - eg. "can you then buy your own surface to air missiles?" ,"So I can take them out if they invade my air space? etc..you get the picture.

With the eventual weaponization of thousands of individually owned and operated drones (that won't take long in the States right??)
it may beat the race to lock everyone up in giant fed and state lockups no? The race is on!!!

On a side note - thanks Dr. B for your comment in the last post regarding a vector point btween WAF & some ideas w/ in anarchy.

El Juero

7:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

El J-

I remember some skit on the Jackie Gleason Show in the 50s, where he was talking about an 'atomic bomb kit' that anyone could buy and assemble by themselves. "Be the first on your block to rule the world!" he declared. I'm sorry that never came to pass, but now with drones available in hobby shops, perhaps we'll all get a crack at it. Whee!


10:20 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Just thought I'd share this news item, file under "Ik is Us" --


Apparently her son, claiming to be concerned about her welfare, served her with an eviction notice & is trying to put her into a nursing home. Meanwhile he hasn't actually visted her in 8 months, though he lives no more than 30 minutes away, and has tried to sell the house for $330,000. A court evaluation found the mother to be quite competent, by the way.

But sonny boy wants his money NOW!

Family values ...

10:27 AM  
Anonymous JM said...

More on drones:


One thing that haunts me is what Joe Bageant said in his final interview. He got out of America because he didn't want the blood of brown babies on his hands.


9:17 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

I'm sure everyone has heard of this. If not then I suggest a new form of communicative language...

I move we continue any further discussion of this madness in 'pig latin'....ix-nay with the One-drays.


Sheesh, it's so surreal it's as if we're living in a cartoon world...

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Normally most BBC programs are not viewable outside the UK, but this was put up on Youtube. Better look at this while it's available. Someone will get prodded to assert copyright and have it taken down soon. Foreign media cannot be allowed to leak uncomfortable facts into the American Bubble of self-satisfaction.

From Youtube -- BBC Panorama: Poor America

5:36 PM  
Anonymous LNWI said...

"The overwhelming fact of the last 500 years is that Europeans have spread out over the world exterminating, enslaving, killing, exploiting, and inflicting every possible evil upon other peoples. Wherever white people live outside of Europe, it means that another people have been exterminated or enslaved. This is a matter that Americans don’t even have a moral right to an opinion about."
Dovidel, you're painting all white people with a very broad brush. In other words, you're being racist.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is an interesting question; I've always pondered how much nuance to allow in these cases. Mark Lilla makes a case against rich vs. poor, Howard Zinn-type arguments in "Republicans for Revolution," NYRB, 12 Jan 12. I'm not sure I agree w/him, esp. since he puts EP Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm, and Christopher Hill in this Zinnish category, and these 3 historians have been heroes of mine. But it's an essay u guys might wanna ponder, in any case.


8:15 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dear LNWI,

My remarks were meant as a criticism of Pat Buchanan’s glorification of what he calls “White America”, and said nothing about all white people. Let’s see what I actually wrote.

"The overwhelming fact of the last 500 years is that Europeans have spread out over the world exterminating, enslaving, killing, exploiting, and inflicting every possible evil upon other peoples.”

This is a historical fact which says nothing about all white people.

“Wherever white people live outside of Europe, it means that another people have been exterminated or enslaved.”

This too is a historical fact which says nothing about all white people.

“This is a matter that Americans don’t even have a moral right to an opinion about.”

This is my opinion, and it refers to Americans – not white people. I admit I left out one word – I should have said “most Americans”. Thank you for calling it to my attention.

The ‘civil religion’ of America is America, and there are very few Americans (including many who are not white) who don’t incorporate the ‘city on the hill’ or ‘the thousand points of light’ into their thinking and opinions.

What I was objecting to was taking the damage which has been done to victims of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism and using it to ‘blame the victim’.

David Rosen

9:14 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


I'm not intending to start a controversy (or grow a small one into a larger one, if there's already one here by the time I can proofread & post this), but consider...

This is a matter that Americans don’t even have a moral right to an opinion about.

I will grant the horror of whatever number of whiye/European colonial invasions/occupations you wish to discuss, but if you are familiar with Joe Bageant (occasionally referenced by posters here), you should consider that the emotional age of "Americans" (the human people at large, as distinguished from their corporate owners) is probably close to the age at which Catholic doctrine says a person is capable of committing a mortal sin...and their more-or-less intellectual age is probably lower than the age at which U.S. courts are beginning to realize that the parts of a person's brain that are involved with making moral judgements are fully formed.

If you want to say that this means that Americans as a whole are incapable of having a moral opinion about nearly anything that they have been brainwashed to believe by the various parts of the American Hologram...join the club & please bring coffee & doughnuts to the meeting next week.

If you don't know Joe, I highly recommend reading about the Americans through his eyes & words.

Until the minions of the 1% decide to shut his site down, you can find his works at www.joebageant.com

It is not the crimes and violence of people of color that we should marvel at, but the graciousness and humanity that they have managed to retain.

Again, not to in any way dismiss or gloss over the cruelties of a variety of white/European colonialists, but some of that graciousness and humanity in the face of English, American, German, Dutch, etc. invasions could be in a small way related to the invadees' knowledge of history and their understanding that, just as a single example, each of them is probably better off than a late-14th Century inhabitant of Isfahan after their non-European homeboy Timur decided to make an example using every one of the 70,000 inhabitants as part of his early version of a Power Point presentation.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Shep, the Kennedy intern story is highly disturbing. She was a 19yr.old virgin who JFK deflowered then treated her like crap thereafter. He even forced her to perform oral sex on him and an aid. Of course she's been treated with complete scorn on whatever show she appears because the media whores cannot tolerate any blemishing of the Kennedy era.
The drone story lends itself to a variety of fantasies. Imagine if some 100 countries had had enough of American meddling in their internal affairs and decided to launch a coordinated drone attack on the US. I can hear the media and politicians now-"The are attacking us because they hate our freedoms!" Then someone like Glenn Greenwald or William Blum are about to publish a piece detailing all the various coups and assassinations this country has been involved in around the world certainly since the dawn of the Cold War (Oh, try asking a high school student what the Cold War was)and he or she is immediately put into indefinite detention.
Finally, did you see that there are about 66,000 paid and unaccoutable US assassins that not even the Pentagon knows what they are doing? I guess this is one way to prop up an economic system that only works for the elites.
Anon, thanks for the BBC piece about American poverty. Can't imagine that program lasting much longer on U-tube.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Two people above have mentioned Joe Bageant and that got me to wondering if I had ever thanked Morris Berman on this blog for his tribute to Joe and his review of Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. I've searched this site and it appears I have not done so. So Maury, thanks.

I managed (still do) Joe's website since its launch. Joe died last March, just three months after he learned he had fast-growing and inoperable cancer. He died three days before the release of Rainbow Pie, his second book. One week before Joe learned he had cancer, he and I had talked about inviting ourselves to meet and visit Morris Berman, who lives a couple of mountain ranges to the east of us here in central Mexico. That meeting never happened and I regret missing a great conversation.

After Joe died, I did some marketing and promotional work for Rainbow Pie, which I believe is a better book and will have a longer shelf life than his first book, Deer Hunting with Jesus. I sent Maury a review copy of Rainbow Pie. In his review, Maury summed up Joe's frustration in two words that had never occurred to me and probably not Joe either. Those two words were "extreme isolation", which I thought was so good that I used it as the title of Maury's review when posting on Joe's website.

In case you missed it last May, here is that review on Maury's site:


And here it is on Joe's website:


3:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Ken,

Many thanks. I too regret never having gotten together w/u guys, tho Joe and I did exchange a couple of emails. Here's an excerpt from Duncan Foley's bk, "Adam's Fallacy," that I think Joe wd have appreciated:

"[Adam Smith] addresses more directly than anyone else the central anxiety that besets capitalism--the question of how to be a good person and live a good and moral life within the antagonistic, impersonal, and self-regarding social relations that capitalism imposes. Smith asserts the apparently self-contradictory notion that capitalism transforms selfishness into its opposite: regard and service for others. Thus by being selfish within the rules of capitalist property relations, Smith promises, we are actually being good to our fellow human beings. With this amazing argument, Smith proposes to absolve us of the moral ambiguity and pain that haunt capitalist reality.

"This is Adam's Fallacy....The moral fallacy of Smith's position is that it urges us to accept direct and concrete evil in order that indirect and abstract good may come of it. The logical fallacy is that neither Smith nor any of his successors has been able to demonstrate rigorously and robustly how private selfishness turns into public altruism. The psychological failing of Smith's rationalization is that it requires a strategy of wholesale denial of the real consequences of capitalist development, particularly the systematic imposition of costs on those least able to bear them, and the implacable reproduction of inequalities that divide people from one another in society."


4:42 PM  
Blogger SRL said...

"Onward & Downward." I like it, but it will have to wait until I finish the next song in the series "Dumb White Cracker Man." My wife and I have been having too much fun laughing about it, and she comes first.

(In general I think it is fun to start with a title and work from there, rather than the other way around. It also helps to find a tune to go with the title rather than the opposite.)

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not concerned about the police/prison state being formed in the US or the godfather foreign policy being kicked-in abroad. America is hallowed out, and its population is hopelessly damaged. I expect this whole neo-Nazi project to unravel just like those delusional plans for that laughable 16,000 personnel US embassy in Iraq did. America is just an illusion at this point.

However, the urgent issue is, how are YOU preparing for the storm? Let’s look at health care. Here’s your future... oops, make that “your present:”


Today I visited my doctor here in Romania, a well-known professor in his field. The country is a formerly communist nation, and still quite socialist. It’s not a “rich country” (as America likes to label itself), but it takes care of its people.

Anyway, my doctor bill today, which in America would have cost about $1000, cost me nada, zero. The medication for the next 3 months, which in America would cost about $5,000, cost me another nada, zero. The medication is made in good ole’ USofA. Yes, I am paying the astronomical sum of $30 (thirty bucks) premiums per month into the Romanian government-ran single-payer health insurance system. No deductibles and no concept of “pre-existing conditions” BS. The system is sustainable, and has been for decades. And, by the way, I didn’t get any high-class schmuck special treatment today—the doctor’s waiting room was full of peasants from various villages who received similar treatments at the same clinic.

So, my friends, America is no longer suitable for human habitat. It’s time to jump ship... before it is too late. There are better places to live in than on a sinking ship.

Cheers!... And stay healthy, will ya! :)


9:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr input. Among developed nations, the US is 37th in terms of health care quality. Also take a look at my reply to Paul's message under the previous post: prisons, hospitals--it's basically the same ideological framework.


"CRE" is one of the most moving pieces of music of the early 21st C, and will undoubtedly go down in history as the classic description of the insertion of the American head into the American rump. The world now awaits "O&D"; please don't take too long.


10:20 PM  
Blogger Greg Czyszczon said...

MB - to your last point - I live in Virginia (don't get me started), and I recently learned that the soon-to-be-built state mental hospital for adults will be conveniently designed like a prison, complete with private "rooms" (cells) and intense surveillance. In fact, the company that did the design is one that regularly designs prisons. That way, when Virginia succeeds in cutting ALL funding for mental health, they can just take down the "Western State Hospital" sign and replace it with "Western State Prison."

Ironic that this degree of sickness in the body politic is not considered by most to be pathological.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. Reminds me of this song:

"Nobody needs anyone
They don't even just pretend"

I'm Afraid Of Americans
by David Bowie (feat Trent Reznor)

7:09 PM  

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