February 13, 2013

Interview with the Universidad de Monterrey

Dear Friends,

The following link is to an interview I just did with the radio station of the Universidad de Monterrey, here in Mexico. After you click on it (i.e., put it in your browser), you'll see a screen; go to the Audio File that says MORRIS BERMAN - EN INGLES SIN EDITAR, the column entitled VBR MP3, and click on 122.1 MB. The interview starts out with my saying a few words in Spanish: basically, thanking my host, Juan Carlos Gerra, for having me on the program, and for letting me do the interview in English, which is obviously a bit easier for me (esp. over the phone). Then I switch to English, and the interview goes on for about an hour and a half. Enjoy!

Link as follows: https://archive.org/details/EntrevistamorrisBerman


Anonymous Mike sosebee said...

I tried to go to the link but it was censored "as a result of court order".

2:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


??! You mean the Feds are closing in on me already? Vey iz mir. Well, I dunno what to tell u, because I just copied the link, plugged it into my browser, followed my own instructions on what to click on, and it worked. Is anyone else having a problem accessing this audio?


3:08 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

If you are having trouble with the audio, try this link directly to the MP3 file:


You can download or stream.

In this interview, I like Morris Berman's comment that Why America Failed might be more widely read in the future -- by Chinese historians.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Long time lurker...thought I should chime in that I didn't have any trouble listening to the audio an hour or so ago.

I thought it was a good interview, by the way. A nice encapsulation of your views and how they fit into the present day scheme of things.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

I think Mike is being funny, I'm listening to the MP3 right now.

Good interview. Juan Carlos asks good questions and I was happy to hear a little about Japan.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Mike Sosebee said...

Apparently it has to do with my browser Firefox. I tried Chrome and it worked.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Glad you all cd access it. Meanwhile, the DoD is now giving out a medal for genocide:


Ain't that neat?

6:02 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Hi all,

Yes, I listened to it in the last couple of hours. It was a bit of a hassel to figure it out but I did eventually get it. I shortened the search by typing MB's name in the search box.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I've been thinking regarding the papal resignation: the problem is that we need to have Pope On Toast (POT). Everything goes better w/toast, really; can you imagine a BLT w/o it? If the new Pope, whoever he is, were to lie around the Vatican on a bed of toast, it would create quite a stir, and breathe new life into the papacy. A POT would be a Pope I cd believe in. Is there a Wafer consensus on this pt?


8:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Let me also add that under Vatican II, you had nuns running around in hot pants, and this proved to be a big plus for the Church worldwide. We need a new Angelo Roncalli.

8:48 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Great interview.

No sweat--the next papal election will be arranged such that a goldman sachs partner is elected pope.

Saw that 23% of americans are illiterate.


If you add in those who can't understand tenses, allusion or the difference between opinion and fact I bet its 60%. Hell over 65% support using drones to kill bad guys without a warrant. Nice bunch. Over 1/3 believe God is involved in their life directly--and communicates with them!

Agree--you are spot on in that the government, the institutions and people are all one! As George Carlin said where do you think the so called leaders of the country come from? Mars? Nope they are the very salt of the american earth! Are there legitimate victims of power? Yes, many, many many. But are the so called 99% virtuous yeomen exploited by the nasty 1% (bankers, politicains etc..) nope. Most are just plain nasty, blood thirsty and base creatures.

As to success of U.S. culture. Could it be that Edward Bernay's established himself in the U.S first to establish PR and that the U.S. alone stood alone among the developed countries to pump out film and consumer good advertising? Maybe its not a strong culture but rather a nasty one which got a head start due to circumstances and as such is more fragile than we realize?

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,
Great interview. You talk about the lack of craft for craft's sake in America and I mostly agree with that. The only thing I can think of to slightly refute this is home brewing. You are not allowed to sell it to others and it's done for the sake of doing it (and to have a beer to drink). I think it's one of the most popular hobbies and it requires skill to make a good beer.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There is a diff between illiterate and functionally illiterate; I think I discuss this, and the percentages, in the Twilight bk, tho I can't remember exactly. I believe that something like 1/3 of the country reads at a 5th-grade level or less. There was also a study of how many Americans were unable to read the instructions on a coke machine so as to extract a can of soda, and the % was very high. But yes, the % who don't know the diff between opinion and argument, or what evidence is, or what a metaphor is--this is surely over 90%. I mean, I was teaching *graduate school* at Johns Hopkins during 1999-2000, and while my students did (unlike undergrads) know what a thesis was, they did have problems understanding the nature of evidence, and how it was used. These were grad students at Johns Hopkins, amigo; I'm not talking about the morons who show up on "Judge Judy" (not hard for her to have a field day w/them, obviously). If they--grad students at an elite institution--don't get it, who does? What % of the American public cd identify the author of this quote: "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?" .00001%? That many? When I did the research for Twilight, I learned that abt 50% of Americans believed that extraterrestrials had visited the planet during the past year, and something like 70% reject Darwinian evolution. And so on. As for violence: yes, 62% are happy abt drones killing civilians (so long as they are Ay-rabs); 24% say that it's OK to use violence in pursuit of yr goals; 38 states have capital punishment, etc. The American soul is a cruel one, I think that's pretty clear. I love the Carlin quote: spot-on. Rotten people, and rotten cultures, produce rotten representatives. (How is it that the Left can't understand this? It just ain't rocket science.). As for fragility of American culture: no doubt abt it, wh/is why we are endlessly bombarded by how great we are. People who are truly strong, in an inner, spiritual sense, don't brag abt themselves; they don't need to. People who lack this are typically haunted by a (correct) feeling that they are nothings. I suspect that the whole nation feels that way, on some level. I mean, if we are now giving out medals for genocide, surely it's over, no? What in the world cd we possibly stand for, at this pt? Who the hell are we, beyond a large collection of pathetic hustlers? What a sight: 315 million people w/their heads rammed firmly up their buttocks, rolling around and proclaiming the brilliance of their vision. Oh yeah, revolution rt around the corner, claro; a New America is clearly on the horizon. Come back to the five and dime, Jimmy Dean (doo-wop, fade out).


11:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Dubious Claim to Fame Dept.:

Cranial Rectal Embedment is now part of popular culture. No, I'm serious. Try googling it, see what you come up with. This is probably what I'll be known for, 50 yrs from now.


11:36 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I just finished listening to your interview. I think it is a masterpiece, and I was glad that you touched upon issues I have not heard in your other lectures. I appreciated your cultural insights in particular, because these are the kind the details I amuse myself with observing daily, here in the hustlerhood.

Now, after listening to your interview, what better way to validate what you said, than to watch a clip about the most extreme UberTechnoBuffoonery imaginable: a cardiologist treating his patients with his iPhone. Yes, that's what health care is coming down to in the country of Hustleria. Here it is:

“This is our future in medicine”:

4:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Be sure to check out the doctor-patient interaction scene in "God Bless America," for further effect, as well as the medical treatment in the movie "Idiocracy." On a personal note, see my essay, "The Black Hole of Bethesda."

I was recently rdg an article by Richard Goodwin from 1970, "The End of Reconstruction." Interesting to see what some people thought might be possible, 43 yrs ago. He writes: "What America hungers for is not more goods or greater power, but a manner of life, restoration of the bonds between people that we call community, a philosophy which values the individual rather than his possessions, and a sense of belonging, of shared purpose and enterprise." One wonders what country he was talking abt.


5:27 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...


The total surveillance state is upon us... it is reality...note the article from the Electronic Freedom Foundation on the new "Stingray" system. Quoting the EEF, " The device, which acts as a fake cell phone tower, essentially allows the government to electronically search large areas for a particular cell phone's signal—sucking down data on potentially thousands of innocent people along the way. At the same time, law enforcement has attempted use them while avoiding many of the traditional limitations set forth in the Constitution, like individualized warrants. This is why we called the tool "an unconstitutional, all-you-can-eat data buffet." Here's the link : https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/02/secretive-stingray-surveillance-tool-becomes-more-pervasive-questions-over-its .

Now, Argus is deployed, here's the description : "DARPA and the US Army have taken the wraps off ARGUS-IS, a 1.8-gigapixel video surveillance platform that can resolve details as small as six inches from an altitude of 20,000 feet (6km). ARGUS is by far the highest-resolution surveillance platform in the world, and probably the highest-resolution camera in the world, period. ARGUS, which would be attached to some kind of unmanned UAV (such as the Predator) and flown at an altitude of around 20,000 feet, can observe an area of 25 square kilometers (10sqmi) at any one time. If ARGUS was hovering over New York City, it could observe half of Manhattan. Two ARGUS-equipped drones, and the US could keep an eye on the entirety of Manhattan, 24/7". Read all about it here: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/146909-darpa-shows-off-1-8-gigapixel-surveillance-drone-can-spot-a-terrorist-from-20000-feet .

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

I followed the link you posted for the new medal for cowardly drone operators and was particularly struck by this paragraph:

"Over the last decade of war, remotely piloted Predators and Reapers have become a critical weapon to gather intelligence and conduct airstrikes against terrorists or insurgents around the world. They have been used extensively on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and northern Africa."

When did we declare war on Pakistan, Yemen and northern Africa?! I wonder who'll pin the medal on these brave lads---Satan (aka Cheney)?

But the overriding question still remains unanswered: why do they hate us? It couldn't possibly be b/c we're casually killing innocent people, could it?

7:12 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...


The worse thing about those stats is that they are almost 10 years old! Imagine what they would say now...


We should set up a t-shirt and bumpersticker shop to help support the blog on something like this (http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/sell/). They don't say how much of every order they take, but I could go for an O&D or CRE t-shirt. Any graphic designers on here?

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


A lot of talk and writing on how Americans are optimistic. Indeed the entire mind cure, self improvement and various religions all were hatched here--multiple sects of protestantism, mormonism, christian science, scientology, etc. Dale Carnegie and Norman vincent Peale, the Secret, Napoleon Hill etc. etc.

To those who say the united states is a secular country I say ha! Its a verifiable fact that Turkey is more secular. The U.S. is a very religious place--in all sorts of beliefs--progress, voting, positive thinking, technological progress and jejova

As far as Optimism given the the foregoing and the massive amounts of anti-depressants dispensed in freedoms land I would say americans are not so much optimistic as they are delusional.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Many thanks to whoever initially mentioned David Icke. I’ve been inspired to visit Icke’s website on a regular basis, which perfectly suits my sense of the absurd, and today I find this:


We’ve been laughing all morning - Take THAT Latvian Orthodox Church!!!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out Barbara Ehrenreich, "Bright-Sided."


Yeah, I guess it's time for us Wafers to do some hustling ourselves, and the T-shirt biz seems like the logical place to do it. O&D!, of course; for the CRE one, I'm thinking of having the letters covered by a red circle with a slash thru it. Also, in terms of advertising the blog, perhaps something like WAFERS ROCK!, and/or (front:) I HAD MY HEAD WEDGED...(back:) UNTIL I BECAME A WAFER. Wafers are encouraged to submit other possibilities, and then we'll need to discuss the details of mass production.


John Powers ("Sore Winners") wrote that "they hate us because we don't even know why they hate us." I'm thinking of writing the DoD, suggesting that they call the medal the Genocide Award, and inscribe on each one the # of civilian deaths caused by the brave recipient. Also that they need to expand the strike network to France and Canada. My worry is that they won't grasp the irony.


10:24 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

RED ALERT- The cranial-rectal embedment is spreading across the border. Proof of it is that my own father called me "stupid" and "crazy" for criticizing and refuting neoliberal economics and called my ideas "socialistic" (as if a ruthless culture which treats humans no better than commodities were such a good alternative). This is coming from a man who has been swindled by his so-called business partners for most of his adult life, and who grew up in poverty because his family's home and ranch were stolen through legalistic means by greedy investors with government connections. He also believes globalization is inevitable and here to stay for a long time, and that we can continue our present trends even with peak oil and environmental destruction. If only he used his brain more outside of mathematics and engineering (his two great talents).
This is it, WAFERS: let's get moving to a decent Asian or Eastern-European country to avoid the most unpleasant scenes in the movie.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Problem is, if yr father were to acknowledge what's actually going down, he wd get very depressed, because there's very little he (or I) can do abt it. Folks who grew up in poverty are particularly prone to defend their oppressors, so I don't think yr arguments are going to make much headway w/him. But obviously, u.r. free to go yr own way, and have a less deluded life.


11:25 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers,

Dr. Berman-

I enjoyed your latest interview with the Universidad de Monterrey. I was struck by the fact that it really does take *time* to reach the level of depth and analysis that your work requires. Above and beyond the fact that only a tiny percentage could even grasp what you are describing, it certainly can't be done in a soundbite. It was also great that Juan Carlos, on several occasions, asked you probing questions and even challenged your positions. This allowed for a much deeper and wide-ranging conversation. After all, how often does one get to bring up Chinese currency, Ben and Jerry's ice cream, craft tradition, Vermont secession, C. Vann Woodward, Gene Genovese, Roman Collapse and the fate of America. Thanks for sharing the interview with all of us.

A T-Shirt idea:

What's BETTER than a POPE on TOAST? A WAFER and a BEER!


12:03 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Well, I popped in yesterday with a comment for the first time to confirm the interview was playable and I thought I'd introduce myself properly, for whatever that's worth.

I suppose you could say I have been on the NMI bandwagon before you ever went public with it. The truth is though that I can't claim any prescient insight or great deductive intellect put me there. It was more by default..out of disillusion, despair, and estrangement, from an early age.

I've never felt connected, never understood the draw of the American Dream, never could dismiss our history or the destructivenss of our modern day motives. I've never been able to stop asking "why" or stop being unsatisfied or infuriated at the answers or mystified by the ambivalence or disdain in the non-answers. Most of all, I'd been plagued most of my life with a nagging, disconcerting, and at times debilitating sense, deep within, that things were not what they seem.

Anyway... finding this site and listening to your interviews in the last year (haven't read any of your books yet as I'm just back from wandering around SE Asia) have been part of the process in trying to come to some peace with myself and the world.

Muchas gracias.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

Someone mentioned personal debt in relation to the national debt on the last post. The U.S. needs to default on its debt, like, yesterday. Perpetuating the myth & fiction of the U.S.$ as valid currency of value needs to stop immediately. With all the debt out there, both private & public, pretending like the US$ has any real worth is laughable. The US needs to default & stop this charade. That's why the tea party is so important, they're the only ones with the power to force a default, and have placed their philosophy ahead of the institution of the US government, even supporting the alternative of secession. They're the only ones who could bring down the empire, though I'd hate to live in the dystopia they'd create in its wake.
Every WAFer should be on board with default & destruction of the US$!

1:35 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Still chuckling over a T-shirt slogan MB suggested a while back.

(front) I'LL BE DAMNED

Recently arrived in Mexico City to study for a degree that may someday lead to employment in a semi-decent society. I'm not young, not affluent, and from a southern red state, but got out. The water is rough, froggies, but it ain't boiling. Think abt joining me. (When perplexity strikes, the comments section of any online US news story sets me straight. Who cld live among such cretins?)

3:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Felicidades! I'm so happy 4u. Try talking to taxi drivers: in the DF, they actually recite poetry by heart. In the US, they can barely drool. Wear yr T-shirt proudly. Meanwhile, lemme know if u need any restaurant recommendations.


"Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one." (Marx)


De nada, and bienvenidos. Keep posting.


It always makes a diff when the interviewer has done his homework. This is craft. With most, it's just mass production (and bo-ring!).


4:42 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Br B,

'Pentagon creates new medal for cyber, drone wars'

This strikes me a an obviously desperate PR move to retroactively legitimise this illegal videogame killing. Chuck some tin at it and the gamers magically transform their arcade experience into the stuff that heroes are made of.

The vampire squid and the Vatican Bank have long enjoyed a deep and intimate embrace--no need on Valentine's day for GS to also supply the front man.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Dr. Berman,

Thank you for providing the excellent interview -- I listened to it today at work on the ipod --you covered a lot of ground. It was helpful Mr. Gerra asked some thoughtful questions.

Also a hat-tip to infanttyrone for sharing the link to the Guy MacPherson lecture. MacPherson certainly nailed it. Any one of the three quotes below I think could have followed that lecture:

"This is not a dress rehearsal for the apocalypse. This is not a pseudo-millenium. This is the real thing folks. This is not a test. This is the last chance before things become so dissipated that there is no chance for cohesiveness."
-Terence McKenna

"I don't know any better than anyone what shape the aftermath of Peak Oil will take, or where on the spectrum it will fall. But I do know that, when it falls, any time spent watching the horizon waiting for the cavalry to arrive is completely wasted. Better to start right now thinking small, looking to each other, and figuring things out for ourselves." - Alan Wartes

"The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences…" - Winston Churchill

Plan on sharing both the interview and lecture with others, again thanx.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This just in:

According to a Fox News national survey, 43% of Americans think Condi Rice wd make a gd president. Imagine--a known war criminal is popular! But then 62% approve of drone strikes, which murder women and children; and the Pentagon is soon to create a Medal for people who sit in rms and kill these women and children by computer.

What a wonderful country! Truly the home of the brave.


8:15 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Re: drones -- check out a recent Nova (PBS) program. It's watchable online:

Nova: Rise of the Drones

Meanwhile, Robert Reich has gone a step beyond commentary on news programs and now stars in a documentary called Inequality for All.

The Guardian: Inequality for All – another Inconvenient Truth?

The powerful documentary Inequality for All was an unexpected hit at the recent Sundance film festival, arguing that US capitalism has fatally abandoned the middle classes while making the super-rich richer. Can its star, economist Robert Reich, do for economics what Al Gore did for the environment?


8:48 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I just googled "Cranial Rectal Embedment" and the first hit is a very appropriate song by that name:


The lyrics are also amazing:

Cranial Rectal Embedment

Everyone's Head is up their ass
Oh Baby You make me grunt
Unk unk unk

You say you value your freedom,
but actions speak louder than words
You follow the theater of the absurd
No elite will save you
Nor security review
You have to do it for yourself
You will not
You are meat
reinforced concrete
woman of the street
The empire is dying
installment buying
will not save you
incidental to
getting off your ass
the law of conservation of mass
Will not allow you to continue passing gas
Your ideology is stale
that is why you fail
at everything you do
Clueless point of view
Coo Coo Ka Choo
The twentieth century is over
Move over rover!
Nobody wants to hear it.
Who gives a shit!
You can be killed
An enemy of the state
Unemployment rate
Meanwhile I sit
As luck would have it
I protect my class
A snake in the grass
But you'll vote for me
To a tolerable degree
As the rest are worse
Licensed practical nurse
Crainial Rectal Embedment

Now we're gonna tone it down a bit
Groove on down
Front and Center
Distracted by chatter
spin the platter


The unproductive produce nothing
The stupid are so trusting
Why the fuk would anyone care?
inspection and repair
Bled dry
You will be discarded
Once upon a time
victimless crime
Dulled by technology
Economic geology
Junkie fixes
Systemic nixes
emotional blues
detonating fuse
no law and order
posttraumatic stress disorder
the fall will be hard
call the national guard
But they are not coming
paychecks all just bounced
Social revolution
instrument of execution
Eat the rich
machine stitch
contaminated stew
The tale of the shrew
snake in the grass
Everyone's Head is up their ass
But that is nothing new.
Cranial Rectal Embedment.

You can't wake up if you don't go to sleep
You can't wake up--Cranial Rectal Embedment


Including Yours
Dreaming saboteurs
Do you really think it is so easy?
Nice and sleazy
Do you really think it will go quietly
And not violently?
Stop traffic
Everyone's got to eat
and sit on a toilet seat
Who is gonna keep things running
While you go a gunning?
Can you pick up a hammer
Without giving your hand the slammer?
thought not
Jungle rot
Reality is work
Go berserk
Don't expect much to change
commodities exchange
Yes sir, I won't
You don't
Too Bourgeoisie
Without disaster
or no master
No glory
End of story

9:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


See above. Naming this song is what I'm going to be known for, I'm sure of it (nothing else).


9:30 PM  
Blogger Cesar said...

Dr. Berman I find your blog and your books very interesting and -sometimes- almost tragically hilaruios when you comment American average mindset. I think you probably have seen this documentary but even so I want to post it here because I think this film protray some aspects you talked about in the interview - mainly the final part. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Film_Is_Not_Yet_Rated
For readers wishing to wacht it, you can do it here http://www.cuevana.tv/ (With Spanish subtitles- sorry but I am in the other side of te river, as Dr. Berman)

11:42 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

MB said---
The Richard Goodwin from 1970, "The End of Reconstruction." Interesting to see what some people thought might be possible, 43 yrs ago. He writes: "What America hungers for is not more goods or greater power, but a manner of life, restoration of the bonds between people that we call community, a philosophy which values the individual rather than his possessions, and a sense of belonging, of shared purpose and enterprise." One wonders what country he was talking abt.
I would bet that Goodwin was watching a lot of Star Trek. Just like Seinfeld showed that America had become a land of purposeless amorality by the 1990’s, when Star Trek appeared in 1966 it embraced the optimism that liberal Americans like Goodwin felt. The show displayed the earth united in a community that included all races and nationalities, living out a philosophy of exploration, with belonging and shared purpose on a ship called Enterprise. The era of liberal dreams was fading fast by 1970, but it has been difficult for many to let go of those dreams, even today. But back then, it was easy to focus on the few real things Americans did and could accomplish together, such as, the defeat of fascism in WWII, the civil rights movement, and the space program. The upbeat pop music and the rebelliousness of the era also fed the idea that things could change for the better. So, unlike today, with 40 years of hopelessness behind us, at that time, such hopes at least had some basis in reality. So from that perspective it may have been difficult for many to perceive the size of the insane, reactionary tsunami that was about to engulf us.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

There seem to be different terms in use for CRE, when Googling, I also found "cranial rectitis, "cranial rectal impaction", and" cranial rectal inversion". Different terms, same theme...

8:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I guess the anus, along w/the American people, is a source of endless creativity. I also had HRIR as a possible T-shirt logo: Heads Rammed in Rumps; and to your list I would add Head Wedgitis.


10:07 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Thank you for the welcome, Dr. Berman.

As someone who is only able, on the most strained of tiptoes, to keep my eyes above the dolt-a-sphere, I've been reluctant to jump in these heady waters. But, hey...societal/civilization collapses make for strange bedfellows. What's the old "Odd Couple" theme question? Can an iconoclastic intellectual and an aware, curious dolt share internet time without driving each other crazy? Stay tuned.

Anyway, what's your take on South America? Have you given much thought to where it is now, where it's headed, and what its potentials would be in the aftermath of capitalism's flameout and/or crash?

I'm particularily interested in Ecaudor. Beautiful country. I spent 3 months there a few years ago. Looks like Correa is headed for re-election (though it might be wise for him to keep his helicopter time to a minimum). Do Mexican political scientists/commentators just lump him in with Chavez for easy dismissal purposes too?

11:44 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings from the land of HRIR,

Dr. Berman-

Here is more evidence about the point you were discussing with Juan Carlos regarding the stagnation and loss of upward mobility in the US. Indeed, upward mobility is a reality in precisely the places Americans don't think it is happening. All this, while Americans are drawn to the trials and tribulations of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century.



Congratulations are in order for your recent escape to freedom. I often liken Wafers, who do manage to get out, to the classic Steve McQueen and Richard Attenborough flick, "The Great Escape." In the film, Allied prisoners of war escape a Nazi POW camp during WWII. Dr. B is kinda like the character Barlett, the Squadron Leader, also nicknamed the Big X, orchestrating and urging the huge escape.


11:46 AM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

This talk of Pope on Toast reminds me of Father Guido Sarducci's "find the Popes in the pizza" contest on Saturday Night Live many years ago. Unfortunately, I can't find a clip on line, but here's a short transcript:

11:47 AM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

A hot selling t-shirt and hoodie in L.A.this week was "Not Chris Dorner, Please Do Not Shoot":


I think a t-shirt that said "No CRE, Please Do Not Shoot" might work.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Lets start a tab for over/under on pharma sales growth after this nonsense... shall we peg it at 15%? Thats probably way too conservative...TV told me to do it...O&D


2:26 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To the Good Doctor...

It's not just America that's failed, we have failed the planet in that America is one of the leading generators of climate change. Recent information on Climate Change is that we have reached the tipping point much like the concept of path dependency which you have spoken about with regard to America's future except in this case the vectors are locking in for Planet Earth.
Quoting Dr McPherson : " The climate situation is much worse than I’ve led you to believe, and is accelerating far more rapidly than accounted for by models. Ice sheet loss continues to increase at both poles, and warming of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is twice the earlier scientific estimate. Arctic ice at all-time low, half that of 1980, and the Arctic lost enough sea ice to cover Canada and Alaska in 2012 alone. In short, summer ice in the Arctic is nearly gone. Furthermore, the Arctic could well be free of ice by summer 2015, an event that last occurred some three million years ago, before the genus Homo walked the planet. In a turn surprising only to mainstream climate scientists, Greenland ice is melting rapidly.
Ocean acidification associated with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is proceeding at an unprecedented rate and could trigger mass extinction by itself. Already, half the Great Barrier Reef has died during the last three decades. And ocean acidification is hardly the only threat on the climate-change front. As one little-discussed example, atmospheric oxygen levels are dropping to levels considered dangerous for humans.
An increasing number of scientists agree that warming of 4 to 6 C causes a dead planet. And, they go on to say, we’ll be there by 2060. The ultra-conservative International Energy Agency, on the other hand, concludes that, “coal will nearly overtake oil as the dominant energy source by 2017 … without a major shift away from coal, average global temperatures could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, leading to devastating climate change.” At the 11:20 mark of this video, climate scientist Paul Beckwith indicates Earth could warm by 6 C within a decade."
No doubt lots of money will be made right up until the end.

Source here: http://guymcpherson.com/2013/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

5th grade murder plot. Sigh,

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


Funny, I've also been thinking similar thoughts about the difference between Then & Now lately. I'm sure part of it is nostalgia, as I'll be turning 60 later this year -- but that aside, you're absolutely right about the shift (downward) of public consciousness & attitude.

One phrase from the Bible comes to mind: "Without vision, the people perish."

This is it, isn't it? America has no vision, though it likes to think otherwise. It's actually an anti-vision, promising material paradise & producing emotional & spiritual hell. To borrow a concept from comics creator Jack Kirby's 1970s series New Gods, it's the Anti-Life Equation that shuts down all free will & critical thought, substituting absolute obedience.

Except that so many people willingly accept & embrace it. Here Dr. Berman is correct in ultimately placing the blame on the American public, I think. And it strikes me that this was essentially Dante's take in The Inferno as well. No matter how horrific & eternal the tortures of the damned, nobody went to Hell unless at some level they had willingly chosen to do so. No matter what the social strictures & upbringing & indoctrination, he believed that everyone had a very real choice to make about salvation or doom. And that really hasn't changed today, except that the doom is immediate & inescapable.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Be sure to download the "Greenzo" episode from the "30 Rock" sitcom series, a few yrs back.


This is why I've been advocating giving every neonate in every OB-GYN ward across the country an AK-47. 5th grade is already old, really. Under my plan, kids wd be formulating kill lists by the time they hit 1st grade. See my latest T-shirt, A GUN IN EVERY CRIB.


6:46 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...


I love how at the end of the article you linked too the couple in southern Utah says come do an apprenticeship with us to learn sustainable ways - for $7,500. Sigh. The hustling mentality is so ingrained we even try to sell information anyone can find for themselves. The more I read about this stuff, the more I resign myself to the fact there is nothing to be done.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Better make your escape while you still can. I’ve got a feeling pretty soon every country is going to require a million dollar entrance fee:

“High taxes force more Americans to renounce their citizenship”:

“Should You Renounce Your Citizenship?”:


As a kid I loved that flick, "The Great Escape." I guess that's where I got the inspiration to escape from communist Romania. Now I have to escape back... that's what happens when you get your inspirations from Hollywood.

12:33 AM  
Blogger John D. Wheeler said...

A couple of recent comments reminded me of a joke:

The Pope called a sudden meeting of his cardinals. When they had gathered, he announced, "I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is I have just spoken to Jesus. He has returned to Earth to reward the faithful, punish the wicked, and set up his kingdom on Earth."

"That's great!" cried out one of the cardinals. "What bad news could there possibly be?"

The Pope replied, "He was calling from Salt Lake City."

12:49 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...


This interesting article discusses the use of time by Americans in various cultural activities. It reminded me of a stat that showed that the gap between the rich and poor in America was narrowest in 1968. So in the 1960’s a much greater percentage of wealth was going to the non-rich at that time than it is today. Could this explain some of the greater cultural flourishing of those times compared to today? The enjoyment or creation of culture does require a certain amount of leisure, obviously not much cultural flourishing can happen in a sweatshop, and that is what America has increasingly become. The rich, who now enjoy the fruits of the greatest wealth gap in history, haven’t used their leisure to create much in the way of any noticeable cultural achievements. Unless you see this is a cultural achievement:


9:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dumb People, Dumb Nation Dept.:


10:27 AM  
Anonymous Martin Ramirez said...

@Dean band everyone else: If you want a better vision to sustain yourselves, I have the notion that we will need philosophy and esoteric spirituality (not religious dogmas, but the thought-provoking metaphysics and profound moral reflections left behind by the Gnostics, Sufis, Freemasons, Buddhists, kabbbalah, etc.). I have fortunately found one of the most complete resources for reading materials on both from the Internet, developed by a Yale and Washington University Ph.D., Norman D. Livergood. The website is named "Hermes Press", and here is the main page: http://www.hermes-press.com/
He has also authored books which are sold online, such as this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0978961153/105-7968724-2572433?ie=UTF8&tag=dandelionbook-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0978961153
The interesting synopsis:
"Worldwide, thinking people are faced with the terror of the demonic cabal controlling America and the world. This cabal is engaged in imperialistic conquest of other nations and the obliteration of the American democratic system. We must bring into realization an entirely new culture composed of new physical, psychological, and metaphysical principles and structures. We have no other recourse than to realize a new culture. The criminal cabal has corrupted and contaminated the old culture to the point that if we locate our primary being in that culture we'll become as insane and corrupt as they. To realize a new culture, we must understand the essence of the philosophical, economic, political, and social realities facing us. For example, unlike the American colonists, we no longer have a free press to use in our struggle against oppression; right-wing Republicans own most American media outlets. "Humankind has existed within several different 'cultures' during our time on this earth," state Livergood and Mairesse, "and similar to what was said in the Declaration of Independence, when a culture and its causative world-view become destructive of human welfare, it is the right-and the necessity-of humans to disaffirm the old world and bring forth a new culture."
In his essays, he also refers to the average American as a "brain-dead subhuman", "with a degraded mind" and "possessed by destructive personality traits and ideologies." I will continue later. Take care.

1:47 PM  
Anonymous k_pgh said...

A belated and tepid controversy over murder and genocide? Well, time to batten down the hatches and rally 'round the ego.


"Despite renewed controversy over the United States' secret drone strike program in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans on both sides of the aisle support the program. More people currently approve of the program than in July of last year, according to the PEW Research Center poll conducted over the weekend..."

4:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


"he also refers to the average American as a "brain-dead subhuman", "with a degraded mind" and "possessed by destructive personality traits and ideologies.""

I cdn't help wondering if this portait of Americans wasn't just a tad too favorable.


5:18 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Irrepressible capitalism, get your tin foil hats here:


Sadly, no protection against the lethal variety but hey, some savvy hustler is contributiong to the recovering economy and making a quick buck.

Thanks for the article link on the moral order, spot on Dr B.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


New fashionable clothing that protects you from predator drone cameras. In America, we make a profit from abs. anything. Next?: Torture Chic waterboarding outfits.


7:46 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

From the drone front:

US Air Force Flapping Wing Mav

Nano Hummingbird UAV

Festo Smartbird

Texas Police Secretly Deploy Spy Drones, circa 2009

Drone patrols - police start buying UAV's for domestic use.

More from the horse has left the barn, close the door dept:
Rise of Drones in U.S. Drives Efforts to Limit Police Use - NY Times 2/16/13

"In the near future, law enforcement organizations might seek to outfit drones with facial recognition or soft biometric recognition, which can recognize and track individuals based on attributes such as height, age, gender, and skin color." - PC WORLD 2013-02-16 16:26:00

10:12 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Thanks MB. I'm here till June, after which my location will be "undisclosed." Too bad we prob can't meet at El Ocho so I can get yr autograph on my drone hood (or ideally yr AQOV, my fave of yr Amer period).

What you said in the interview about doing a thing for its own sake, i.e., honestly - this is the core of craft, yes? Still remember a time when regular folk cld get together to, say, play softball, WITHOUT trying to turn their league into a business. Hustling nowadays is a totalitarian regime every bit as moralistic/crazy as tot. regimes of the past. Evrything must be abt "how much money will it bring in" (quoting Tocqueville in WAF).

Und now here iss ziss Schopenhauer quote from Essays and Aphorisms (prob self-pity but anyway): "Talent works for money and fame; the motive which moves genius to productivity is, on the other hand, less easy to determine. It isn't money, for genius seldom gets any. It isn't fame: fame is too uncertain and, more closely considered, of too little worth. Nor is it strictly for its own pleasure, for the great exertion involved almost outweighs the pleasure. It is rather an instinct of a unique sort by virtue of which the individual possessed of genius is impelled to express what he has seen and felt in enduring works without being conscious of any further motivation. It takes place, by and large, with the same sort of necessity as a tree brings forth fruit."

12:22 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...


Talk about the mentality of Americans when it comes to foreign policy always seems to remind me of this guy. But there are plenty of others like National Review's Michael Leeden: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."
In assessing the psychological type, I always think of the miserable pipsqueak toady who latches on to the bully and becomes his sidekick. I’m sure the type exists in huge numbers and extends all the way down the class structure from Friedman’s marry a billionaire level all the way down to his janitor. I get the feeling that these guys often got thrown up against a wall in school so they decided to get revenge by sucking up to the biggest bully in human history.

This person does a good job of analyzing TF’s attempts to sound profound while spewing blather, I love the clip since it brings to mind the similarity to New Age blather.


1:53 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

At this point we can ask whether we're gradually building Skynet, don't you think?

I'd also recommend a reading of Robert Sheckley's classic satirical (?) science-fiction story "Watchbird" --


8:20 AM  
Anonymous Stone said...

To Martin Ramirez:

Thank you for the quotation from Livergood (what you describe as a synopsis)!

In which writing of his does it occur?

Thank you in advance for letting us know.


9:02 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...


from your NYT link:
'The agency [FAA]estimates that the worldwide drone market could grow to $90 billion in the next decade.'

The unquestionably impressive nano hummingbird and insect drones remind me of a story from the space race days when the US spent millions developing a ball-point pen that would function in zero gravity. The Russians, who faced the same ink-flow limitations in space, gave each of their guys a pencil.

Here's some uplifting human consolation, scroll down for the lovely video:



9:15 AM  
Blogger jml said...

This from this month's Harper's Index in Harper's magazine:

"Percentage of people killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan in 2012 who were Taliban or Al Qaeda: 2"


"Chance a prisoner seeking a commutation of sentence under President Clinton received one: 1 in 90; Under Bush: 1 in 780; under Barack Obama: 1 in 6,631"


"Percentage of increase since 1982 in the portion of U.S. college with a 'problematic' level of narcissism: 60"

9:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank you all for writing in. It's a pity I've been so occupied with my Japan book, and with getting "Spinning Straw Into Gold" ready for publication, because I see I definitely need to do an additional bk called "Annals of Douchebaggery." Life in the US has clearly turned into a daily festival of douchebaggery, and sometimes I wonder if anyone besides us Wafers notices this.


I believe that quote about Every 10 yrs is actually from Thos Friedman. What a great human being he is, eh? With clowns like TF and David Brooks writing for the NYT, the American middle class is reassured about the US, and knows what to think. Check out Belen Fernandez, "Imperial Messenger."


Just so u know, I'm giving the keynote address at a conference called "Bonus" being held in Tlatelolco on Sept. 6, I think 9 am. For some reason, they wanted me to do it in English w/simultaneous translation. It's pretty brief, but then hopefully we'll have a decent Q&A afterwards.

Meanwhile, I hope all u guys are continuing to think about T-shirt logos for the Wafer T-Shirt Co., Inc. My latest ideas:

(front) 315 MILLION

(front) GO WAFER

I tell ya, we're gonna be rich!


10:44 AM  
Anonymous gloomy said...

Douchebaggery -

I wd like to have a "T" with the front a Carlin quote:



MRS. BARBARA BUSH (Picture with bug eyes)

11:32 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...

Tim L,

Just read your link to the story about the watchbirds. I can't help but think the military must have taken a cue from it as they undoubtedly pore over science-fiction for inspiration. I recall an article in Harper's magazine from a few years back, "The Coming Robot Wars" and a quote from an officer or some other military big wig to the effect that there were too many sheep in this society and not enough wolves. The context in this instance, I believe, was that there weren't enough people in America with the guts and inclination to do hardcore killing overseas and so they had to find some other way to produce the killers and multiply their effectiveness, doing more with less, if you will. Of course, the officer's statement could be interpreted a number of ways and given the overall "noetic" or "memetic" atmosphere nowadays of climate change, resource depletion, overpopulation, growing permanent unemployment due to advancing automation, debt crisis/pension failure, social distress, crime, "terrorism", yadda yadda, one cannot help but grasp the unspoken trajectory (or is it 'tragictory'?) of likely intent.
This is an excellent story which provides much food for thought and deserves much wider distribution.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

And the winner of the 2013 Oscar for "Best Propaganda Film" is...

12:58 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

What's shakin' Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers?

T-shirt idea:

(front) bermanicmonasteries.com



1:45 PM  
Anonymous Mark Notzon said...

Dear MB et al,

The recent Carnival cruise mishap may be taken as an event foreshadowing collapse of the "processed and packaged" North American "life-style." and the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will follow.

For passengers who have lived under the Three Weird Sisters" spell's of Choice, Comfort and Convenience, with little thought of the waste generated (it can, after all, just be flushed away!), the failure of technology brought them back swiftly to the inconvenient truths of creaturely existence.

(And speaking of Swift, a dark satire could be written about Cronos, the ancient Greek god ) who eats his children. The comos turns into a miasm of misery because Cronos cannot digest North Americans--the organic pollution resulting from fast food and medications is too great.)

The sinking of the Titanic was on the order on the order of terror approaching the submlime, but this mishap has its own store of insights about the state of the average N. American psyche.

(What was the very good middle-brow novel that came out in the early '60's by Katherine Anne Porter, when there was still a middle-brow culture in the USA, "The Ship of Fools?" )

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

Discussions on here regarding global warming haven't always made the connection between economics and global warming. The gist of posts seems to be that we'll continue emitting at current or higher rates until the earth can no longer sustain life, but this assumes that capitalism continue unabated, or ignores economics altogether. Global warming actually ties in to my previous post regarding US default and destruction of the US$. Bringing the US economy to a standstill, or going in to free fall as a result of default, and having the effects reverberate through the the entire global economy would have incredibly beneficial effects on the environment. Imagine the effect of empty highways and idled factories on a national or global scale. Then compound that by the effects n population that would result from the social unrest in the US. Destroy the US$, and you might arrest global warming.

6:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Problem is, u came to this blog rather late, and in order to find the discussions we had regarding rels. between economics and global warming, u wd hafta scroll thru the comments of the last few posts. The talk I'm giving on Japan at UBC on April 5 deals w/economic stagnation as a potentially positive thing.


Another possibility for the back:


I was thinking that Jay Leno and I shd make a documentary called CRE. We'll just walk around the streets of LA and NY, talking to random Americans we meet along the way.


7:17 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Si los pendejos valaran no se podria ver el sol!

You are among the very few who point out that many of our problems (or are they historical ineviatabilities?) are due to large scale stupidity.

JFk had Pablo Cassals at his innaugural we now get Beonce lip synching..... As if we needed more proof a geneticist at stanford has some compelling research on the rise of homo pendejos


8:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good article, but he neglected to say that Americans are the cutting edge of these developments. Personally, I'm very suspicious of high-fructose corn syrup. Yes, Beyonce...I think of Robt Frost at JFK's inaugural, by comparison. Be sure to see the movie "Idiocracy."


10:20 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Capo's statement on pendejos reminded me of something I would tell my parents back when I was an undergrad:

El apendejitis es contagioso! Si andas demasiado con pendejos, se te va pegar lo pendejo!!

Dr. B.-

Have you ever seen Macario? My dad loves this movie. It's from the Mexican "Golden Age of Film."


10:44 PM  
Anonymous gloom n' doom said...

WAFers -

What does everyone think of Guy McPherson? Seems he is predicting total destruction because we are past the point of no return?

11:53 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Shane/ gloom-
The data at Mcpherson’s site and elsewhere is alarming. But we like to keep the focus on the fact that you can bet that American stupidity will be at the forefront of preventing any solution to global environmental problems. Many intelligent people in Europe and elsewhere just don’t realize how looney, backward, and ill-informed most Americans are on economic or environmental issues. Tens, if not hundreds of millions of Americans are end times Christians who have been feverishly praying all their lives for the world to be destroyed, though they would probably prefer nuclear holocaust, they’ll take destruction by global warming. Anything that makes the Book of Revelations look like it’s about to become a reality is truly a welcome sign to these people. They are mentally much closer to a person in the year 1013 than to a modern scientifically educated person of 2013. And any plans that might interfere with their ability to drive the biggest and most polluting vehicles, will be seen as coming from an UN global conspiracy run by Al Gore and space aliens. For these reasons and more, intelligent people around the world who are rightly concerned about catastrophic climate change, should count on America being no part their plans. It wouldn’t surprise me if we even worked to make things worse. So, count on Americans to take no action to stop the destruction. None.

5:26 AM  
Blogger jml said...

I read the article about the decline of human intelligence - my problem with it is that it seems to point to genetics. I can't help but think that the reason is Americanized entertainment/advertising which is specifically designed to get people to NOT think rationally.

I have taught at a community college for almost eleven years. Most of my students are international - they come from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I also have white, Hispanic and African-American kids who were raised in America. The comparison between the American and the International students is often striking. Most of the American kids' brains are just fried - it's like there is nothing in there. Sometimes they are dressed better and act as if they are superior (especially the white kids from the suburbs), but most of them are pretty much zombies. It seems to me that the reason for this is the exposure to American entertainment/advertising 24/7 which the kids from the other cultures haven't been as exposed to as often. Most of the kids from the other cultures are better educated about history, but more than that they have a self awareness that the American kids often do not. If America is in decline it's because we did it to ourselves. The choice of Beyonce rather than someone like Pablo Cassals is both the reason and the effect. Do most Americans even know who Cassals is? Or someone who might be considered his contemporary? Why?

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...


Another secret WAFer discovered; Glenn Greenwald writing in the Guardian :
The premises and purposes of American exceptionalism
That the US is objectively "the greatest country ever to exist" is as irrational as it is destructive, yet it maintains the status of orthodoxy

That's the title of his article today It's all here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/18/american-exceptionalism-north-korea-nukes

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Captain Spaulding said...

gloom 'n doom -- Re: climate change and the end of life on earth.

To quote from Gen. Buck Turgidson, "I'd like to hold judgment on a thing like that until all the facts are in...."

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

Guess I just wanted to sound a positive note that I thought capitalism would collapse long before it had a chance to destroy the earth through global warming, as some here have proposed...

12:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's probably neck and neck rt now, as the demise of capitalism will probably take the rest of the century. But of course, no one has a crystal ball...


Only demented buffoons cd take that sort of American exceptionalism rhetoric seriously; and/or, folks with their heads severely wedged in their buttocks. Wait, I think I know a population just like that...
The foto of American flag seen thru barbed wire is becoming truer every day, chillingly enuf.


Yes, more an American problem than a genetic one. I can have conversations in Europe that are not possible in the US. American culture is basically a machine designed to extract gray matter and insert pureed dog excrement in its stead. Once you realize this, then our behavior, both individual and national, becomes a bit more comprehensible. (Cf. comment by Zosima, above.) Those people Jay Leno interviews on his "Jaywalking" segment can do little more than drool. Or think of the clowns that come into the court of "Judge Judy." If somehow we could get to biopsy the brains of say, 10,000 Americans, and publish the results--that all of them had pureed dog excrement inside their heads--the rest of the world would begin to understand why we think and act the way we do.


12:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: No Comment Dept.:


12:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: Same Dept.:


1:04 PM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...


I read the article on intelligence decline. While I'm sure nutrition plays a large part in the matter, no mention was given to the rise of screen culture (tv's and computers) and the overall decline of physical activity and direct interaction with one another in our lives. I can't help but wonder also about the loss of communal traditions of singing and dancing and its effect on mental health, especially regarding depression. I suspect that the obsession with excess comfort and convenience is creating a form of sensory deprivation that is most likely adversely affecting our brains, favoring some skill areas (eye-hand response) at the expense of others (reading, environmental knowledge, empathy, critical reasoning).

1:09 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

"he also refers to the average American as a "brain-dead subhuman", "with a degraded mind" and "possessed by destructive personality traits and ideologies."

I cdn't help wondering if this portait of Americans wasn't just a tad too favorable.

Prob'ly one o' them progressive lefty types who just can't face facts...


Re: Guy McPherson
If he's wrong by 50%, then we Northern Hemispherians have about 30 years or so left.
If he's spot on then we've got about 20 years left.
If his glasses are slightly rosy, well...do the math.
I'm impressed that he left Tucson and EZ$$ and moved to an almost off-grid living arrangement.
Lots to think about...I read his blog at least once a day.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Here's a personal anecdote regarding the literacy level of the average American dope: recently, I visited a medical practice that has six doctors on staff. During my appointment, my doctor was personable, patient and took the time to explain everything to me as a good doctor should.

The problem was with the administrative staff at his office. When my wife and I walked in we were greeted by a fat, unpleasant, middle aged female receptionist who had the personality of a brick, exactly the kind of person who should be making the first impression for customers of any business (sarcasm).

I might have forgotten about it, except later I received a collection notice for an unpaid bill from the practice despite having never received the original bill from them. Then came the kicker: just this week, I received an envelope from the practice with paperwork I was supposed to have filled out weeks ago, and which was now OBE'd, asking me to complete and return it. But what was really funny was how my name and address appeared on the envelope...it looked like they had been written by a first grader who was trying to master their printing skills.

I don't know what is more appalling, that such incompetent dolts could be employed in a medical office, that these six physicians are apparently too cheap to hire a competent staff and do not care how much that might piss off the patients (customers) who are paying the bills, or that they are so quick to sic collection agencies on their patients at a time when the latter might be struggling with serious health problems.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers,

Dr. Berman, Wafers-

Regarding children's toys and fascist reinforcement, it's interesting to note that mothers in the late 1960s and early 1970s protested the Hasbro toy corporation and the overt militarism of its popular G.I. Joe action figures. This was the result of the Vietnam War and the belief among many mothers of that era that violent pro-military toys were conditioning children into an uncritical acceptance of militarism. Where are these parent's today? As a result of the protests, Hasbro liquidated the strictly military line of G.I Joe. It was a small victory, but it didn't last. The military G.I. Joe line came roaring back with the Reagan presidency and more overtly with the build up to the First Gulf War. This is researched and described in Tom Engelhardt's excellent book, "The End of Victory Culture: Cold War America and the Disillusioning of a Generation."


6:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That was my experience with medical staff (not the physicians) in Wash DC. In one case, I finally had to speak to my doctor about the receptionist being hostile (to everyone) for no apparent reason. I'm not sure paying higher wages wd help. People in a higher bracket probably don't want these types of jobs, and people who do want them hate themselves, the clients, the job, and are basically morons anyway. I had at least a dozen experiences similar to yours--maybe 50, really--with a whole # of different doctors' offices. I tended to take it personally, but in fact the behavior was directed toward everyone; and at that time, I did not realize how angry, depressed, and stupid the majority of the American population was.


6:52 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Tragically, another child had to pay the ultimate price to the degeneracy which now describes this nation:

“3-year-old Russian boy killed by American adoptive mother in Texas”:

My question is, why the hell is Karma taking so long?


Indeed, American born again “Christians” are praying fervently for the end of the world to come asap, and they are assured they won’t have to go through it because they will be “raptured.” Because a loving God would not allow THEM to go through it. Right! What a bunch of morons. If they would even bother reading their Bibles they might notice that there is no such event even hinted at – quite the opposite. They can’t help but automatically assume a happy Hollywoodish ending to their own pathetic lives.

As far as Mr. Al Gore and the UN are concerned, we differ in opinion. Gore is a gigantic fraud driven by the same greed and hypocrisy typical of his ilk, while the UN is nothing more than the rubber stamp of a warmongering, collapsing West. The UN is merely yet another Western institution that is experiencing “full spectrum disgrace” (you may quote me on that). I no longer so readily dismiss “conspiracy theories” as I once did, simply because I now see a convergence of reality and these “conspiracy theories.”

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

Guy McPherson/climate change redux -- perhaps his findings can be distilled down to this quote:
"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." — Woody Allen

Or for a uber doomer quote related to humanity's destiny here's Jacques Cousteau:
"The road to the future leads us smack into the wall. We simply ricochet off the alternatives that destiny offers: a demographic explosion that triggers social chaos and spreads death, nuclear delirium and the quasi-annihilation of the species… Our survival is no more than a question of 25, 50 or perhaps 100 years."

On a somewhat separate note is a discussion James Howard Kunstler had with John Michael Greer in the most recent episode of the Kunstlercast -- some of which relates to issues covered in Dr. Berman's interview. Although I like Kunstler tremendously I question his political moorings. For example he's often stated he voted for Obama because he was better than the alternative. Now JHK knows this system has to fail/collape for there to be a future -- so why vote for the candidate whose most likely to perpetuate its existence -- if you're gonna participate in the voting charade might as well go for the gusto and vote in the worst of the charlatans.
See episode #217 The God of Progress is Dead, http://kunstlercast.com/

For an additional dose of JHK Chris Martenson interviewed him in his recent Featured Voices podcast of 2/16/13.

Lastly, readers may be interested in a recent piece by Robert Jensen entitled: Rationally speaking, we are all apocalyptic now.

"We are all apocalyptic now, or at least we should be, if we are rational."

"This "revelation" is simple: We've built a world based on the assumption that we will have endless energy to subsidize endless economic expansion, which was supposed to magically produce justice. That world is over, both in reality and in dreams. Either we begin to build a different world, or there will be no world capable of sustaining a large-scale human presence."
Article found here:

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

This is the way I feel since I've your book and blog. CRE all the way baby!
kuebiko n. a state of exhaustion inspired by acts of horror, which force you to revise your image of what can happen in this world—rebuilding the fences around what’s normal, weeding out all unwelcome and invasive truths, cultivating the perennial good that’s buried under the surface—propping yourself up like an old scarecrow, who’s bursting at the seams but powerless to do anything but stand there and watch.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr not powerless at all; you can *leave*! I suggest sooner rather than later. I found a whole new life, roughly 2000% better than the old one. In case u hadn't noticed, daily life in America is pure misery. For one thing, who is there to talk to? 315 million people w/fruit compote in their crania? In the meantime, please adopt Doc Berman's Famous Post-It Remedy: you paste it on yr bathrm mirror, and write on it, in block capitals:
Most Wafers report that they found this Remedy very liberating. The truth *will* set u free, mon cher; you ARE surrounded by dolts and eventually you need to go to a relatively dolt-free environment. Every Wafer on this blog is cheering you on.


Kunstler's vote for Obama is a great example of cognitive dissonance, and it proves something I've known for a long time now: of all the critics of America currently writing, I'm the only one who has *truly*given up on the country, w/no secret reservations. Altho I'm not pessimistic abt the human spirit, or the long-term possibilities, I hold out abs. NO hope for the United States. For me, it's completely Game Over. Which is why I can barely get published any more: the other critics *do* secretly think the US is gonna pull it out at the last minute, and this bizarre optimism shines thru their work. So sure, they get published. I mean, outside of Counter Punch (bless their hearts), who wants to entertain the notion that the country is composed of violent morons, and that it has no future whatsoever--and I mean Zero. I'm actually embarrassed for Kunstler, that he wd do such a shameful thing.


I read the article. I tell u, I felt broken-hearted for that innocent little boy, being adopted, brought over here, and then beaten to death by the woman who adopted him. No child deserves such a terrible fate.


11:03 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Bingo said:

I no longer so readily dismiss “conspiracy theories” as I once did, simply because I now see a convergence of reality and these “conspiracy theories.”

I am in the same, very queasy, position. From dismissing the theories as being too outlandish to contemplate, I am starting to see the underlying reality that fuels these patched together stories.
For a well researched history on the whys and wherefores of the formation of the UNn NATO, CIA etc and the subsequent covert machinations that have shaped our current geopolitical disasters you might investigate the work of Daniele Ganser a Swiss academic who wrote:
NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe (Contemporary Security Studies) His findings were verified in the Italian courts in the 80's and 90's but not much publicised.
There is no indication that this network has ever been disbanded, rather it and its ideals seem to have been incorporated into the quasi-covert government agencies of the western world.
It's grim reading but explains a lot that was previously quite mystifying, to me at least.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


I too felt broken-hearted all day after reading the article about the little Russian boy. I have a 6-year old, and ever since the Newtown incident happened, last December, we have withdrawn from almost all social activities here in Chicago (a.k.a. the murder capital of the world). We stay at home, waiting for the next 4 months to pass, so we can leave and never return to this country again.


In reference to the nastiness displayed by these medical receptionists, I think there is more at work there than stupidity. There is clearly arrogance and detachment involved as well. I think the root of this is the fact that American doctors are trained, starting in medical school, to be arrogant and distant, and are brainwashed into believing they are a superior breed whose “shit don’t think.” In other words, in America, doctors are gods. This “doctor = god” equation is a pervasive part of American culture, and everybody in America knows that they need to bow down and worship at the feet of doctors.

Along those lines, I think the reason why doctor’s receptionists and other staff are usually so arrogant and nasty is because they introjected those attitudes either from the doctors they work for or from the greater American culture. Unconsciously, they simply assumed that if “doctor = god” then “doctor’s receptionist = demigod”. And of course, how else should a demigod treat regular mortals (a.k.a. patients) but with utter disdain.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous doom said...

Time for levity -

Bill Maher - to me, funny most of the time.

Here is his discussion of Pope replacement candidates.

I'm pullin' for Pope-rah.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Oh . . . my god; okay, who wants a crack at this one? Please understand that I'm an ardent fan of this blog who rarely posts, but I couldn't resist this gem:



7:42 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

O.K. a bit long but I think it shows that MB is fundamentally correct. Americans love solutions and denying reality. Obama will save us! Elizabeth Warren will fix those bankers! More computers in the schools! Technology will solve it! I love to read Chris Hedges but sadly have to pop in to Truthdig and alas there is the hurahs of Obamas virtue and evil of the Republicans, ah if only the progressives were in charge!

I can see MB and H.L Mencken having a nice chat over a beer..... Discussing highlights from H.L's Cult of Hope....

Of all the sentimental errors that reign and rage in this incomparable Republic, the worst is that which confuses the function of criticism, whether aesthetic, political or social, with the function of reform. Almost invariably it takes the form of a protest: “The fellow condemns without offering anything better. Why tear down without building up?” So snivel the sweet ones: so wags the national tongue. The messianic delusion becomes a sort of universal murrain. It is impossible to get an audience for an idea that is not "constructive"—i.e., that is not glib, and uplifting, and full of hope, and hence capable of tickling the emotions by leaping the intermediate barrier of intelligence.

Unluckily, it is difficult for the American mind to grasp the concept of insolubility. Thousands of poor dolts keep on trying to square the circle; other thousands keep pegging away at perpetual motion. The number of persons so afflicted is far greater than the records of the Patent Office show, for beyond the circle of frankly insane enterprise there lie circles of more and more plausible enterprise, and finally we come to a circle which embraces the great majority of human beings. These are the optimists and chronic hopers of the world, the believers in men, ideas and things. It is the settled habit of such folk to give ear to whatever is comforting; it is their settled faith that whatever is desirable will come to pass. A caressing confidence—but one, unfortunately, that is not borne out by human experience. The fact is that some of the things that men and women have desired most ardently for thousands of years are not nearer realization today than they were in the time of Rameses, and that there is not the slightest reason for believing that they will lose their coyness on any near tomorrow.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out the Object Relations literature in psychoanalysis, the stuff on the Transitional Object--Winnicott, Balint, Klein, and ch. 1 of my book, "Coming to Our Senses." Apparently most of the women who own these dolls are rt-wing Christians; wh/suggests that a distant, conceptual Christ is not doing the trick for them. The Trans Object is at the heart of all addiction, which is actually a kind of parody of sacred experience.


10:52 AM  
Anonymous doom said...

oops. forgot the link to the new pope candidates.



11:26 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

I find the psychology around conspiracy theories to be interesting. To my thinking, people will react in one of three ways to a conspiracy theory or the idea of conspiracy theories; but what is common among all people in the modern world is that we all have this preconceived "made for tv movie" conception of what a conspiracy is that serves to perpetuate the status-quo.

Simpletons (i.e.-rural, religious, conservative base America) who don't have the nimbleness or nuance of mind to initiate inquiry can easily be herded into a pre-selected for effect paranoia by a skilled propogandist (i.e. Fox News). These people can even be force-fed disjointed, even negating multiple paranoias (i.e. that in our near future, Dutch guys in blue helmets will be roaming the American countryside implementing and enforcing... Sharia Law.)

The result is an even more confusing and hostile environment for the disaffected and, worse yet, an escape hatch for the other majority (i.e. the liberal base, moderates, the intelligentsia) to continue their clever game of self-delusion, albeit at a more perturbed, frantic, and higher staked level.

Stay tuned to the next installment of "As the Conspiracy Theories Turn"... "Compartments of a Juggler"

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


Just when you think you've heard it all, the sheer warped-ness of American culture lowers the bar even more. I was struck by this:

they are ”adopted” from “nurseries” that sell the dolls, for anywhere from a few hundred dollars to up to $15,000. They come with names and often adoption papers.

Talk about the emptiness of American lives!


Yes, screen culture has taken its toll. We had a few friends over for the weekend & enjoyed hours of good conversation, covering a wide range of subjects. One thing that came up was how many people we've seen talking to each other by texting, even when they're literally face to face, just a few feet away from each other. More: we've all encountered people who quite simply don't know how to converse with other human beings, not even on a phone. It has to be texting for them.

Remember Isaac Asimov's Spacers, who eventually lived on huge estates with robot servants & could only communicate with fellow human beings via screens? They had become physically & psychologically incapable of being in the presence of another flesh-&-blood human being. Sci-fi from the 1950s, now becoming everyday fact.

My mother-in-law wrote a thank you note to the grandson of a friend, only to be told that he couldn't read it. WWhy? Because she had written in beautiful cursive, rather than in block printing.

Fellow WAFers,

Thanks for the kind words about the spam situation, though I really didn't do that much. I would have hated to see this blog disappear!

12:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I dunno abt u, but I don't go anywhere w/o my tinfoil hat. Evil rays from Mars just bounce rt off.


1:53 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Dr. B--

*Many* thanks for pointing me to Winnicott and Chapter 1 with respect to the "doll" whizbangs . . . gives me some language to frame my understanding of this schtick (as I pick my jaw up off the ground). Of course, consulting "Coming . . ." will pull me away (temporarily) from "Wandering God" (still my fave).

Best to you--


1:56 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

When people post that the US will continue emitting or going into debt at current rates, underlying that is an optimistic supposition that the US will be able to continue on the same path. It's amazing how insidious American optimism and faith in the underlying strength of the US can be, even among some of the posts here.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Off topic, and not to endorse TED widely or even to hold up her talk as particularly thorough, but her honesty impresses me.


4:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I haven't noticed very much insidious optimism on this blog, to be honest. Perhaps yr referring to a different blog, I dunno. One thing abt Wafers: they don't kid themselves abt reality, or the US.


5:10 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

"Yes, there is a conspiracy, in fact there are a great number of conspiracies that are all tripping each other up. And all of those conspiracies are run by paranoid fantasists and ham-fisted clowns. … The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless."
-- Alan Moore, from The Mindscape of Alan Moore (Documentary, 2005)

(This entire documentary can be found on Youtube. The quote is at about 53 minutes into it.)

5:54 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...


Are you sure it was Asimov who wrote Spacers? Or where you referring to The Caves of Steel?

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

Thank you for your support and advice. Maybe it hasn't been on a post-it note, but I've been telling myself for years I AM SURROUNDED BY DOLTS. I don't think I realized how true that was until recently. Guy Mcpherson's data is particularly alarming, especially after I remembered seeing this a few years ago. http://www.chinahush.com/2009/10/21/amazing-pictures-pollution-in-china/
Americans have been shielded from the truth mostly because they want to be shielded from the truth. Every time I look at something made in China, or even the fancy packaging it comes in, I can't help but see the images from the post above. Instead of paying our own people a living wage, and taxes to the government, we'd rather pollute anyone who is willing to let it happen, while allowing their governments to mistreat their own people. What companies will do to make a buck, and what Americans will do to save one, is deplorable.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Winter in America said...

@ Tim, re screen culture -- check out The day that Albert Einstein feared may have finally arrived, http://imfunny.net/the-day-that-albert-einstein-feared-may-have-finally-arrived/

Dr. Berman,

I'm in agreement with you about the cognitive dissonance that's prevalent among many critics/writers -- this is what I was also alluding to in reference to the folks filing the lawsuit against the NDAA. Regardless of the outcome, attempting to fight the government will accomplish nada, save providing legitimacy to the ruse that individuals can get their grievances redressed by a national security state posing as a nation imbued with freedom & democracy. But hey, if the plaintiffs are intent on shoveling shit against the tide or beating their collective heads against the wall, by all means have at it.

Insofar as people chronicling the history of our times for future readers I too see the merit in that -- although I can't help but think how much time people will actually spend reflecting on or reading up on past events. Hell most of their time may be spent just trying to eke out an existence.

Juxtapose that probability against today when information is so vast and is so easily accessible -- how many people are availing themselves of it when it matters most?

8:44 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers,

In terms of not kidding ourselves about reality, or the nature of the US, this Wafer was a stone's throw from some serious carnage that went down in Orange County, California today. A gunman went on a rampage that killed three people. One of the victims was yanked from his BMW and executed on the side of the road. The gunman eventually took his own life less than half a mile from my house. At the rate the U.S. is churning out shooting victims, the only people that will be left here... will be those fake babies. 15 grand is a bargain for a baby who will never be able to pick up a gun.


Shell Shocked Jeff in the O.C.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Another little anecdote about our insane for-profit health care system leading us to our doom--Peak Antibiotics, anyone? This story really hit home for me because I recently suffered a potentially life-threatening, post operative bacterial infection:

"If nothing's done to combat this problem, we're going to be back to a 'pre-antibiotic era' in around 10 or 20 years, where bugs and infections that are currently quite simple to treat could be fatal."

He said there had not been a "completely new" antibiotic registered since 2003 - "partially because of a lack of interest by drugs companies as antibiotics are not particularly profitable".

"The average person uses an antibiotic for only a few weeks and the drug itself only has around a five to 10-year lifespan, so the firms don't see much return on their investment."


10:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is penny-ante stuff. If every American were equipped w/an AK-47, we cd get some serious massacres going. I just can't figure out why we are pulling our punches here.


A lot of folks think I'm using hyperbole when I say I am surrounded by dolts. Quite honestly, there is something terribly wrong w/Americans, the result of being born and raised in a hustling culture. Most of the world knows how rude we are, and how uninformed we are, and how aggressive we are. And you discover this when you go to another country, and see that American behavior is simply not human behavior. I'm really not kidding; you can't imagine how gracious Mexicans are in public, and what a cultural shock that is, if yr used to 'normal' American behavior. So don't delay: put up yr post-it today!


11:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This looks interesting:


12:34 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


Finally, there’s solid proof for your “Dolt Theory.” And I’m sure the subjects “brilliant” Stanford students:

“Human intelligence is declining according to Stanford geneticist”


I must side with MB on this one. The event you describe and all that Dorner hoopla are small fry by our standards up here in Chicago. We don’t feel that our title of “murder capital of the world” is threatened by such pip-squeak stuff. To put it bluntly, we are not impressed. Come on, Orange County, you can do better than that. We dare ya!

3:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I saw that article, but was disappointed that it talked about the whole human race in terms of doltage, rather than the cutting edge of the phenomenon--America. While stupidity is by now sewn into the American DNA, as it were, the fact is that if you create a nation interested only in business and hustling, you've created an environmental hothouse for manufacturing imbeciles. This is why I find that I can have conversations in Europe that wd be impossible to have here, for example. Hence, I suspect the genetic theory has its limits in this case, and the social environment (widespread use of screens, e.g., which are now known to negatively influence brain functioning) is by far a more determining factor.


5:22 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Jeff T said--some serious carnage that went down in Orange County, California today. A gunman went on a rampage that killed three people.
This is not encouraging as it sounds, it hardly makes a dent in the problem as there are still 3,055,742 people left in Orange County, California.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous swordfish said...

This was something I didn't know, and, to my mind, puts the US hustler mentality into a whole new category --

From Chris Hedges:

"one of the largest operators and owners of for-profit prisons in the country, Corrections Corporation of America. CCA, [is] traded on the New York Stock Exchange, [and] has annual revenues in excess of $1.7 billion."

I know this is not exactly shocking to WAFers, but there's something so quintessentially amurkan about a for-profit prison company trading on the NYSE that I couldn't resist sharing it.

And more late stage empire reading from Linh Dinh:


"Violence, always violence. From infancy, Americans are conditioned to enjoy violence, then lured or pressured to support it at every stage of life. Merely by voting, Americans sanction carnage against foreigners, and to have a healthy stock portfolio, one should also invest in mass murder."

Onward & Downward, etc.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Shane w said...

The one thing NOT being mentioned about Dennis rodman & the globetrotters, being such a pariah country to the US, travel is highly restricted, even more so than Cuba. Wouldn't they have had to have gotten state dept permission to even go there legally? I mean, an American can't just go to north Korea.

1:39 PM  

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