October 24, 2013

199

Dear Wafers, and Waferettes:

Your comments have been coming in so fast and furious that we are already onto another post; and it won't be too long till the 200th post is upon us. Like the millionth hit we recently celebrated, it seems hard to believe. The Pentagon, White House, Wall Street, and all of the major corporations listed in Fortune's 500 are quaking in their boots as a result; they sense that as the power of this blog has grown, and its ideas have revolutionized America, lifting The American People to a new level of consciousness, their own power is waning. What can I say? What started out as modest beginnings have now overturned the dominant, outmoded ways of thought, and Waferism is now set to sweep the globe. It's a tsunami of awakening, and I doubt even Kim's buttocks, massive though they are, can resist this tidal wave of intelligence. Like a phoenix rising, we see Shep with his mayo and his mandolin, and Cube with his logic and his turkey sandwiches. And of course, I sit in the corner of my study, weeping tears of joy into my matzo ball soup. It's all good (I actually hate that expression; how is it all good?).

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I'm going to be giving a talk at Washington & Lee University in Lexington VA on November 19, then spend a few days doing deli research in NY, and then go back home to continue working on my Japan book, which is like giving birth to a rhinoceros. But it's about 2/3 done, and I'll be giving a series of lectures on it at the University of Tokyo during the week of April 14, for those of you who care to fly over (just kidding). Needless to say, I'll be lecturing in English, as my Japanese is pretty basic: Toire wa doko des ka? (Where's the bathroom?).

But the world is our oyster; we are Wafers, after all, and that single, fabulous fact of our existence carries us through any and all forms of adversity. Banzai!

-mb

192 Comments:

Anonymous Capo REgime said...

Waferinos.....

Beware language...Official imperial language is something to behold.

Yesterday had occasion to pop into MB's alma matter. Johns Hopkins D.C. shop known as SCIS where sundry high functionaries are produced and official pronouncements on the state of the world are produced.

In this conference (and it was web cast and perhaps you can see it). The grandees included a couple of think tank hacks, a whitehouse economist and two hedgefund executives who had recently left government service to share the insights of their "service". The whole premise of the shindig was economic development in the guise of allowing pension funds and corporations more latitude in investing overseas and to bring the wonders of american know how and products to people around the world. They noted enthusiastically that the flow of funds from the U.S. to the "opportunites" overseas has increased dramatically. Not noted was that the exiting of U.S. funds and finding ways to ease the way for more funds to exit the U.S. will only hasten the demise of the U.S.

What is always striking is the dulcent tones and smoothness of the "policy experts" who are very cleverly advocating policies which are ensuring americans get triple fucked. Many of these people are "progressives" , women, gay , minority and environmentally sensitive.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

I know that silver-tongued crowd well. But as you point out, they are the gravediggers of the nation. Which I appreciate, but still wanna pee on their Guccis.

mb

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

What a difference of espíritu from this post to the prior one. ENHORABUENA!! Dr. Berman. From a ranch in Texas you took us all the way to Japan, not too bad!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel Muchacho-

I like to mix it up, keep u guys on yr toes.

Arriba!

mb

11:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/24/retirement/pension-overpayments/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

3:55 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Fun with charts and American educational decline:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2013/10/measuring-americas-decline-in-three-charts.html

It is worth checking out the original survey too (http://tinyurl.com/nravuwv) despite it being directed towards a capitalist-bull-roar end, there is some good stuff in there.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

NSA Spying Scandal: EU Sends Team To U.S. To Seek Response To Allegations

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A delegation of lawmakers from the European Union will travel to Washington on Monday to seek a response to allegations of widespread spying by the United States against EU citizens and governments, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The three-day visit by members of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee follows reports this week that the U.S. National Security Agency accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel's mobile phone.

The revelations have drawn condemnation from EU leaders meeting in Brussels, with Merkel demanding that the United States sign up to a "no-spying" agreement with Germany and France by the end of the year, in line with similar deals with Britain and others.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/25/nsa-spying-eu_n_4162418.html

11:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Muted-

Given the hostility of your attempted 'contributions', my guess is that yr a troll; i.e., not really interested in dialogue. One rule I have is that while serious discussion is welcome here, Attitude is not; and if I see it, I don't post it (I used to, yrs ago, but eventually saw it was a waste of time). And sending me a 'laundry list' of all the things wrong about my arguments, or those of the blog, is an ambush; any of those pts would take a while to refute. You provided no evidence for your statements; and in addition, as I've said numerous times, we are no longer discussing the Civil War; we had it out in extenso a long time ago, I convinced no one, and see no pt in continuing that discussion. If the evidence I mount in WAF ch. 4 is not good enuf 4u, well--what can I do at this pt? Saying it's all 'Lost Cause' stuff doesn't prove anything, after all. Those folks may or may not agree w/me, but my sources were folks like Woodward and Genovese (have you read them, BTW?), not biased Southern lit. (I hardly wound up on the White Supremacy lecture circuit in the wake of that chapter, you shd note.)

Anyway, it appears yr real interest here is in attack, in venting yr hostility, not in real dialogue. This describes the mental condition of most Americans. They just emote. Like u, they come from a place of anger and pain; they don't know how to have a dialogue--which requires courtesy--or to present evidence. These are actually foreign concepts to them. A blog like mine is not, for them, a forum to examine certain issues, pro and con; it's just a punching bag. They are severely damaged, emotionally and intellectually speaking. And you, it seems to me, are quintessentially American.

However, altho (given your rage) this is probably a waste of all our time (yours included, please note), I'm willing to consider yr objections and respond to them, the best I can, if you can manage to do the following:

1. Neutral tone; more 'muted'. Drop the Attitude completely. I understand that it's mainstream America, but it's not welcome here. Just present your thesis, whatever it is.

2. One at a time. I'm not interested in a laundry list, or an ambush. Do one item at a time, e.g. cell phone use in the Congo, or whatever.

3. Present the evidence for your thesis. What are your sources, your data?

4. Make the conscious decision to be a mensch, and not a troll. This, I suspect, will not be easy 4u, but in terms of your emotional and intellectual life, it might be an important watershed 4u to cross. After all, to be writing messages w/that much hostility attached to them does suggest that you are really hurting inside. Wdn't it be worth your while to have a look at that? On a deep level, my blog is obviously not the problem here. (I understand that you will blow this off.)

Good luck!

mb

12:18 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB,Wafers-

A great new post! Indeed, "like a phoenix rising," Waferism is destined to gr-oooo-w! Ain't no stopping us now... as the truth peeks through America's cracked sidewalks and hole in the soul on a daily basis.

Consider:

1. Retirees/Pension Fraud= A BROKE America.

2. Drone Operators= A BROKEN America.

3. Charting American Educational Decline= A BONEHEADED America.

It's BYE BYE BIRDIE for sure.

Or ...

And it really doesn't matter if
I'm wrong I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong.
Silly people run around they worry me
And never ask me why they don't
get past my door.
I'm taking the time for a number of things
That weren't important yesterday
And I still go.
I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go.

The Beatles, "Fixing a Hole," 1967.

Happy Friday all,

Jeff

12:49 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

I did mention this. In a larger system the accuracy predictions on a grand scale is much higher. A predictive model has a more difficult time predicting higher accurate projections when one accounts for smaller fluctuations. Dr. B, you and your pastrami sandwiches may be that smaller fluctuation.

I have tried to have logical debates and discussions with various people and ask questions about what they say. I have learned if you're trying to change their minds you're wasting your time. I came to the conclusion it's better to have turkey sandwiches with lots of may at subway, to eat it in a corner somewhere and relax.

Greg and Megan

There are times I have a difficult time finding the words to convey my thoughts but I do believe grounded feeling is the correct term I meant. It is what I am trying to say. I will admit though that Grounded Feeling is difficult for me. I can feel certain body sensations when I experience different feelings and emotions but I do not have a label for some of them. I do understand it logically and on a conceptual level though

In grounded feeling I lack certain data about it and how to effectively process data through it. I will admit that everything that I say and the society I do want to try to set up in the distant future does lack data and it does come from my own neurology, perceptions, biases and perceptions. This means I may lack data in other areas as well. Greg, if I understand you correctly you're afraid that this could become to rational. First, this is an excellent point and second objections and constructive feedback has to be a part of this system itself. The idea of challenging ideas and making improved ones is the part of the whole idea.

I do try to be objective but I still do have my own biases, perceptions and prejudices so I can't fully define it. Everyone has these things as well so therefore this system can never be fully done, complete, perfected or done. I will try to explain using a metaphor.

Imagine a library that has an infinite amount of space in an infinite amount of spatical dimensions. Imagine this library has an infinite amount of books and these books have an infinite amount of pages. Imagine these books have an infinite amount of ideas and concepts and these things are constantly mixed around to come up with better concepts and ideas and this is repeated to infinity to produce even better ideas and concepts. By the nature of this library, it could never have a complete collection of all. By your response and constructive feedback you helped improved it.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cube-

Keep moving away from logic and toward psycho-logic. Grounded feeling: gd thing 4u. As for infinity, remember what happened to Georg Cantor. He wound up sitting in the rubber rm of the lockup ward, drooling and talking to himself. Not gd.

Jeff-

But the real question is, How many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall?

mb

2:25 PM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dr. Berman,

I have been reading the book "When he body says no" by Dr. Gabor Mate. It has been a great read so far. One sentence that captured my attention more than others is: "Intensely held beliefs may be no more than a person's unconscious effort to build a sense of self to fill what, underneath, is experienced as a vacuum."

I wonder if this statement applies just as well to the US, i.e the individuals and the collective society? Some of the intensely held beliefs amongst many Americans are "We are an exceptional country", "We are number one", "techno-grandiosity"...I am sure there are some more but I can't think of them off the top of my head. If we take away some of these strongly held beliefs from the US today, then what remains is a vacuum as far as I can tell.

Thank You,
Himanshu

3:57 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

cube,

That grounded feeling, I think, is happiness at least 4 me. It is a big clue to happiness. It is something concrete (or provable by direct perception) & maybe it can provide answers. What are its preconditions, 4 u & 4 anyone? This line of inquiry may be the psycho-logic MB indicates for everyone. I relevantly notice that CTOS (Coming to Our Senses book) is grounded in the somatic & it analyses the role of the somatic in life & history.

MB, I'm currently reading CTOS. U carefully dug down & brought up some gold there. Tnks for writing this book.

On American decline:

http://www.defenseone.com/politics/2013/10/kerry-says-world-leaders-mocked-him-over-shutdown/72611/

4:02 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

MB asked

"But the real question is, How many holes does it take to fill the Albert Hall?"

42?

No, wait. That's the answer to another cosmic question.

I'll give your question some more thought and maybe I can offer a reasonable guess. After all, the dimensions of the holes chosen will obviously bear on the answer.

Thanks for these brainteasers. We need more thought and less action, don't you agree?

4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

There was a commentary on that particular song I once read that argued that the holes being referred to were assholes. So the dimension, on avg, wd be abt 2cm. As for thought and action: depends on the quality. More bad thought and less good action wd probably not take us very far. Except deeper into the hole; which brings us full circle (of 2cm in diameter). Jesus, this is like a Cube discussion. (Sorry, Cube; u know I love u.)

Sanc-

Glad yr enjoying CTOS. For kinesthesia, check out the scene in the early part of "Swann's Way," where Marcel dips the madeleine into the tea, and the whole memory of Combray comes rushing back. (Also discussed in SSIG.) This owed a lot to Henri Bergson.

Himan-

For applic to the US, check out essay entitled "conspiracy vs. Conspiracy" in QOV.

Hope u all are gonna have a great weekend.

mb

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Capo REgime said...

MB Wafers.....Well I am certainly biased but the key insights are all to be had by Jewish guy now or formerly living in Mexico City.

Per Erich Fromm we see that he from a personal psychology perspective sees what MB shows us.

And thus NASCAR and Congress make new sense to me:


The sick individual finds himself at home with all other similarly sick individuals. The whole culture is geared to this kind of pathology. The result is that the average individual does not experience the separateness and isolation the fully schizophrenic person feels. He feels at ease among those who suffer from the same deformation; in fact, it is the fully sane person who feels isolated in the insane society — and he may suffer so much from the incapacity to communicate that it is he who may become psychotic. In the context of this study the crucial question is whether the hypothesis of a quasi-autistic or of low-grade schizophrenic disturbance would help us to explain some of the violence spreading today.

The workplace in the U.S. explained as well as politics:

Exploitation and manipulation produce boredom and triviality; they cripple man, and all factors that make man into a psychic cripple turn him also into a sadist or a destroyer. This position will be characterized by some as "overoptimistic," "utopian," or "unrealistic." In order to appreciate the merits of such criticism a discussion of the ambiguity of hope and the nature of optimism and pessimism seems called for.

MB touches upon this:

Optimism is an alienated form of faith, pessimism an alienated form of despair. If one truly responds to man and his future, ie, concernedly and "responsibly." one can respond only by faith or by despair. Rational faith as well as rational despair are based on the most thorough, critical knowledge of all the factors that are relevant for the survival of man.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morris et al.:
Have a good weekend!
Interesting days. I'm about to head to an island on the Mississippi, where Thoreau once stayed when he visited Minnesota.
An older retired couple is hosting a dinner. The matron of the family just finally "really" retired. She's in her mid-80's, and was until a few days ago a social worker in nursing homes, where many of her clients were younger than she is!

She always thanks me for convincing her to not retire more than 10 years ago. I remember that when I asked her what she would do when she retires, she said she would do what she was doing at her job, but volunteer.

Turns out, she was really going to retire out of peer pressure: most of her friends had retired. I convinced her that she should not base her life on what others were doing, or peer pressure.

What else?
I really appreciate the vision Prof. Berman has given us for a new monasticism. My family and I may be able to emigrate in a few years, but until then, we have to figure out a way to stay sane.

@Morris: there actually are a few good people here. But you know that. Many of the ones I know live on the island I am about to walk to. It's funny - most of the decent, thoughtful people I know (who generally read books, talk, and avoid computer games) have the look of refugees in their eyes. When we get together, though, we can really have a good time!

More tomorrow. Maybe.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-Publius

(I forgot to sign post of a moment ago, about the island, etc.) This is my signature!

7:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Please don't sign in as Anon, thank u; it kinda makes it difficult. Am glad yr enjoying the NMI life. Yes, such people do exist; altho I never found more than 2 or 3 when I lived in the US. It takes real fortitude to resist the dominant culture. I myself cdn't do it, so had to get out. As I've said b4, best decision of my entire life.

mb

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

It's an honor that you chose Mexico to move to Dr. Berman. Wellcome.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel-

I've been here already more than 7 yrs, muchacho, but I appreciate the sentiment. Mexico gave me back my life, really (see poetry volume, "Counting Blessings"--soon to be out in a 2nd edn).

On another note, this is from the Analects of Confucius:

"A people without faith cannot survive."

mb

9:01 PM  
Anonymous kyle said...

MB-
I'm finally realizing that all social interaction in America now is some form of fraud, deceit, or douchebaggery. It appears that the stupidity of the dolts is increasing at a rate proportional to the decline of the economy. Anyways, when dolts are on the move, empire moves as well.

See you in Lexington!

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

....and that's an issue that gets me worried often. To see a lot of my fellow mexicans immitating the way of life of the USA, specially here in the north part of the country where I live. Is there hope? Some of the things that are discussed here keep occurring: the cell phone dependance, the bussines mentalithy, the work more to buy more philosophy, the rat race in general. What do you think? In general though, I feel we are still very far away from the situation beyond the border. Good weekend to all!

10:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel-

Pls remember to post only once every 24 hrs, thank you. Of course the North is the most Americanized part of Mexico, where people believe that copying the US is the way to get ahead. Octavio Paz once wrote that there's no use lecturing to the 'Third World'; they have to go all the way thru the phony dream of progress to realize how bankrupt it is. So there are probably no shortcuts, so to speak. Lastima!

Kyle-

We need to establish a Daily Dolt Index (DDI), to measure the ever-increasing doltage. Plus start a newsletter called Doltwatch, to report on this. Glad u can make it to VA.

mb

11:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers Note:

I'm sure I don' hafta tell anyone here how much the following article excited me:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/25/politics/return-of-sarah-palin/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

I am now thinking of renewing my plans to marry Sarah, and have sex w/her on an ice floe in Alaska, among the meese, and with Ed Meese in attendance. Wish me luck!

mb

10:17 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

This may be a bit too long but ...

An ordinary sunset was about to turn extraordinary. AVENTURA was resting between voyages — way down south in the Banana Latitudes. We were anchored in a cove so serene that the birds seemed to fly at half speed in order to preserve the tranquility.

A native cayuco slowly emerged from behind one of the islands that frame this tiny bay. A man and a woman were gently rowing their dugout canoe through the pale, peach-glazed water. When they swung their bow around and faced the west, I recognized the young couple. They had stopped by yesterday and traded a freshly-caught fish for some cooking oil.

They stowed their oars in the cayuco and drifted about 30 yards off my starboard side. She leaned her back against his chest and his chin cradled the top of her head. Although the twilight panorama that we were savoring was only mediocre, I suspect that their contentment was as transcendent as mine.

Suddenly, this exquisite peacefulness was destroyed by the roar of an outboard engine as a shiny American powerboat came blasting through our little sanctuary. Two overweight guys laughed drunkenly as they watched their wake nearly capsize the little native canoe. I looked over at my neighbors and shook my head in disgust. They responded with body language that said, “Sad, sad, sad.”

A few minutes later, with the euphoric spell broken, they slid a fishing line into the water, and then started to row towards a nearby island. As I watched them depart, I realized that every element of this dusk-soft panorama was so elemental, that it could have taken place 500 years ago.

While their cayuco drifted to the south, with the lovers lazily fishing, I turned back to the west and caught a glimpse of the drunken gringos roaring out of sight. Because I am blessed (or cursed) with the philosopher’s need to contemplate such symbolic vignettes, I began a meditation that took me deep into the star-plush night.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Coriander said...

Wafers will appreciate this article on scientific experiments to create a mouse utopia. Even with sufficient food and ideal environmental conditions, the mice society reaches a climax and then degenerates fast. One among the mouse groups, called the 'beautiful ones' check out of the craziness - they eat their food, still plantiful, groom themselves and refuse to fight - in other words, the mouse representation of MB and the wafers living their inner focused monkish lives!

Don't write off the hustlers too quickly though. They resurface in later iterations of the mouse utopia as 'social high velocity' individuals. Maybe the Kardashians have ultimate staying power?
http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/42/wiles.php

11:56 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. Berman

I will have to buy more of your books like your latest, "Spinning Straw into Gold" and "Coming to our Senses." I am still reading Dark Ages America. I did enjoy The Twilight of American Culture. Maybe your books can help me with "Grounded Feeling." Do you recommend anything else?

You said "As for infinity, remember what happened to Georg Cantor. He wound up sitting in the rubber rm of the lockup ward, drooling and talking to himself. Not gd."

I read more about Georg Cantor as well and some of what he says is so eerily similar to what I say today. I get Goosebumps thinking about it. Dr. B Georg Cantor is one of the few people who makes perfect sense to me besides you of course.

I think he was onto something and did not understand the ramifications that he was onto fully. No one can fully do so because that is the nature of infinity. There is no complete picture to understand. I believe the next step is to take the concept from Cantor and put it into the cultural beliefs and values.

I did do a NMI thing yesterday. I went around my neighborhood and picked up some of the trash around it. I needed the fresh air and exercise anyway.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

Forget Cantor. Exercise, fresh air, much better 4u, I'm thinking. Grounded feeling: try "Hara," by Karlfried von Duerckheim. Whatever you do, don't Cantorize it.

Cor-

Yr characterization of MB and Wafers doesn't have much to do w/reality, but don' let that get in yr way. (Clearly, u never read the Twilight bk.) As for staying power: I believe cockroaches are No. 1 in this category. That wd be u, no?

mb

12:32 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Erich Fromm, who certainly had a good grasp on the weirdness of human nature:

Just as the Hebrew myth of Adam and Eve, so the Greek myth of Prometheus sees all of human civilization based on an act of disobedience. Prometheus, in stealing the fire from the gods, lays the foundation for the evolution of man. There would be no human history were it not for Prometheus' "crime." He, like Adam and Eve, is punished for his disobedience. But he does not repent and ask for forgiveness. On the contrary, he proudly says: "I would rather be chained to this rock than be the obedient servant of the gods. "

From the essay, 'On Disobedience':

http://eqi.org/fromm.htm#On Disobedience.

And his typically contradictory take on that old chestnut 'hope':

'To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.'

Here's Canned Heat droning on, and on:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRKNw477onU

1:35 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Belman & fellow Wafers:

Don't know if any of you are Cormac McCarthy fans, but his latest work - his first original screenplay - The Counselor is one most devastating and nihilistic meditations on the American empire I've seen (up there with Cosmopolis for me, although more allegorical). Shocking that a major Hollywood studio financed it. If you're looking for a great (albeit brutal) film to see, give The Counselor a try.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

May the SIG be with you for your "drills" with Sarah.

Jeff

3:03 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

WAFers,

More from Russell Brand.
http://www.alternet.org/world/comedian-russell-brands-surprisingly-good-essay-possibilities-revolutionary-politics?page=0%2C6

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Shep,

Nice vignette. I'm thinking that there may be a solution to this kind of behavior--Polonium-210. It has served Mr. Putin pretty well, at any rate!

Dr. Berman,

Just a quick question. I was wondering: an intellectual like yourself must have a pretty good-sized library, right? Well, how did you get all your books down to Mexico? Or did you have to discard many of them? I ask because I have a very un-ascetic attachment to my own library, and have been a book collector for as long as I can remember. I hate having to throw away books, and I also dislike the feel of any room that isn't encircled with bookshelves--too utilitarian and minimalist for my taste! Anyhow, I ask partially out of idle curiosity, and partly as practical advice on how to leave America (should the chance ever arise), and still hold on to one's beloved book collection! Also, what about your research? Don't you need a good number of at-hand tomes for that as well?

Ah, and don't even tell me that you've sold out and gone Kindle!

Thanks.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

No, no Kindle for me. I sold off abt 1/3 of my library b4 I left the US. It's still pretty extensive, and keeps growing because I keep buying bks. So they are now piled on chairs, the floor, on top of bookcases, etc. There's no way I can write or do research w/o frequent reference to my collection. But I saved a lot of $ in terms of shipping by selling off books that I probably didn't really need anymore.

mb

9:16 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

Okay, I will try to forget about Cantor. If the concept of infinity caused him to lose his mind I definitely do not want the same fate and definitely do not want to be under the care of dolts in an institution. It will be difficult for me.

These are the things I will do.

a. Buy more books to read that stimulates my intellect.

b. Exercise

c. Get Fresh Air

d. Do our non-profit

e. Do mystery shops and be the mystery shopper not to benefit myself but to help those being mystery shopped. People's lively hoods are dependent upon receiving good reports in certain criteria. The companies are very rigid with this. I have their system down pat and the conversations memorized as well. Therefore, I can easily maneuver things around to give good reports without arousing suspicion.

Consider me like Shindler from Shindler's List. This whole hustling based system is a joke and if I can help and save people in it I will. This is one way.

These corporations try to artificially contrive friendliness and systemize it. You can't do this. It has to be genuine like the one on your way back to Mexico in the airport. By your description he was genuinely happy to see you back.

I have been to the beach in Mexico. The water is so blue, clear and beautiful. I loved it.

Megan

Maybe you can send some books you do not want anymore my way so you can clear up some room :D.

Shep

I do have problems with abstract language so I will have to try to read your writing many times to gain further understanding.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Megan, Cube,

It is not my writing. Wish it was. An except from an article I recently read. Thought it was beautifully appropriate for WAFers. Forgot the quotation marks.



Dr. Belman,

Here is one for you about uncouth hustlers. This is a REAL Southern Gentleman.


Cowgirl Apocalypse

Haiku #70

Loading groceries-
fat guy smoking in big truck
next to me jacks off.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Megan,

It's a dilemma as to what to do with tons of stuff when moving to Mexico. Maybe the easiest way to move your library is to drive or find somebody who is driving. I got estimates from commercial movers, but they were much too expensive.

I lived in Europe for seven years before coming to Mexico six years ago. While in Europe, I had a self-storage 5x5 locker in California that cost $60 a month to keep my precious junk, including about 600 books, suits and ties that I would never wear again, and more.

It finally dawned on me that I had spent $4,000 for storage, mostly for things I did not really need. So, soon after moving to Mexico, I learned that a friend would be driving from California back to Mexico. I offered to pay for the gas and tolls if I could fill her SUV with as much as possible. It was a good deal for both of us.

Speaking of driving: If you plan to bring a car to Mexico, I highly recommend that you first do some research. If you plan to become a permanent resident, your car must be nationalized and that costs about US$2,000 or more -- and only cars manufactured in North America are eligible. Cars from Japan, Korea and Europe cannot be nationalized under NAFTA.

Most people don't really need a car in Mexico. Local buses are inexpensive and almost fun. Long-distance buses are more comfortable than buses north of the border -- as roomy and plush as business class on Singapore Airlines. And, Mexico has several low-cost airlines for domestic travel with prices half of what you would pay for equal trips in the USA.

As for Kindle, I'm not exactly a fan but I do buy Kindle books, including Why America Failed, that I read on my MacBook Air or even my iPhone. Yes, that goes against the grain of many of the comments here, but I'm getting my life down to one suitcase and a carry-on. It turns out that I did not really need all that stuff I brought down here and I've given nearly all of my books to a local English-language library.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Food for Thought Dept.: This is from "New Left Notes," August 1969, and quoted in Neil Gordon's novel, "The Company You Keep," pp. 159-60 (source of the Robt Redford film):

"The war goes on, despite the jive double-talk about troop withdrawals and peace talks. Black people continue to be murdered by agents of the fat cats who run this country, if not in one way, then in another by the pigs or the courts, by the boss or the welfare department. Working people face higher taxes, inflation, speed-ups, and the sure knowledge--if it hasn't happened already--that their sons may be shipped off to Vietnam and shipped home in a box. And the young people all over the country go to prisons that are called schools, are trained for jobs that don't exist, or serve no one's real interest but the boss's, and, to top it off, get told that Vietnam is the place to defend their 'freedom'.

"None of this is very new. THe cities have been falling apart, the schools have been bullshit, the jobs have been rotten and unfulfilling for a long time...

"...when you get down to it, this system is nothing but the total economic and military put-down of the oppressed people of the world."

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Any NYC events planned for WAFers to attend?

1:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kev-

I'm actually gonna be in NY Nov. 20-25, but was cruelly turned down by several bkstores when I asked if I cd do a rdg for SSIG. Actually, most of them didn't even bother to reply.

mb

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

So, just a tiny observation from the trenches -- after attending a Halloween-themed housewarming party for a 20-something acquaintance of mine: yes, they are absorbed (intermittently) by their cell fones, and they are watching Teen Mom (or whatever it's called) on MTV.. addendum though, they are also quite fixated on their PETS. That is a big topic of conversation. Not sure how that plays into the Wafer critique as such.

I have recommendations, and invite your opinions on:
http://www.corbettreport.com/episode-285-meet-noam-chomsky-academic-gatekeeper/

(For the unitiated, gatekeepers are supposed to be intellectuals who broach select sensitive topics, yet toe the company line on select others and thus dissuade inquiry on them among their followers. Corbett makes a strong case that Chomsky is "gatekeeping," though he does not speculate on Chomsky's motives.)

http://www.extraenvironmentalist.com/2013/10/16/episode-67-bubble/
(A great interview with Michael Hudson, who is one of the most knowledgeable voices out there on what the bankers are really up to, and how the financial world really works, but all in a down to earth, accessible style. Also see a few podcasts back, they interviewed our host Morris Berman.)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/10/the-coercive-power-of-capitalism.html
(post on NC that generated lots of interest.)

9:23 PM  
Blogger Bertrand Caso said...

Hi Morris. I thought you might appreciate this song by James Mcmurtry if you haven't already heard it. He's one of my favorite musicians and a great writer. Anyways here's the link please tell me what you think.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRBOePMCppc

10:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hack-

Well, ya smoked me out. Time for me to admit it: I'm a Left Gatekeeper. I mean, c'mon: you think I can support myself on my "royalties" (= practically nothing per annum)? No way, Jose. For years, the CIA, FBI, NSA, Pentagon, and a few other agencies I've lost track of, have been funneling not millions, but *billions* of dollars into an offshore acc't I have in the Cayman Islands. Of course, in the face of such largesse, I didn't ask any questions; but I never did figure out exactly what they were paying me to say on this blog. The only specific instructions I was given came directly from Dick Cheney in 2006: "Berm," he said (he likes to call me Berm; we're still in touch), "America is filled with a shitload of trolls and douche bags. Now that we got u to launch this blog, the detritus of America is going to wash up on your shores; you can be sure of it. Your job is to show them that they are a collection of morons, and that they shd just crawl back under the rocks from which they came. Got it?"

"Aye, aye, Comandante!" I cried. And the rest is history. Every week I get an email from Dick, to the effect of: "Do you believe that asshole, who said to you...(etc.)." Anyway, time I came outta the closet here: I'm a Left Gatekeeper (and a very wealthy one, I might add). So now u know.

mb

10:28 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Great quote, Shep. I've been following Ray Jason's blog for a while. His path is much like the one I want to take: not the railroad, but the whale road.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bertrand-

Gd stuff, thank you!

mb

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Publius said...

Just for "fun," I am trying to read Zbigniew Brzezinski's latest tome, Strategic Vision - America & the Crisis of Global Power. It's ponderously written, and has no life in it. But he does have damn good grammar!
Here's a choice quote:
The key to American's prolonged historical appeal has been its combination of idealism and materialism, both of which are powerful sources of motivation for the human psyche. Idealism expresses the best in human instincts for it sanctifies the prioritizing of others over oneself and requires social and political respect for the intrinsic sacredness of all humans..."

Good lord. Pretty good rhetorical coming from a killer.

Morris, you say that you only met or knew 2 or 3 Americans who were not hustlers... It's hard for me to believe they (we) are that hard to meet. My own uncle, who is still alive, is such a one. He is a veteran of WWII, the marines. Fought at Tarawa. He became an anti-Vietnam war politician years later, because of a memory of coming ashore on that beach and his commanding officer saying, "Isn't it glorious! They all died going forward."

Anyway, in the late 70's, he wrote a personal letter to Mr. Brzezinski, in response to a photo on Time magazine of Zibby with a sniper rifle, bragging about killing Russians in Afghanistan, referring to the "enemy." My uncle scolded him for vilifying the Soviets and bragging about killing.

He did not get a response.

I feel like writing a letter to Ziggy in response to his book. He claims to be gravely concerned that America's appeal is waning, due to our aggression abroad, and our failure domestically. Yet I have never seen him call for the prosecution of one banker criminal, or one war criminal. What gives with Zibby? If he is really so concerned, why does he continue to do nothing to undermine the elite of which he is a part?
Kind of a rhetorical question.

What do you think of Canada as a potential refuge? Too much like America? I think we could actually have a chance of being accepted there.

Life without my smartphone is better. Some sucker in New York bought it, allowing me to buy non-GMO food.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

MB - You may not be a Left Gatekeeper but you missed your calling as a comedian. (Your kvetching is funnier than Woody Allen's last 20 movies combined, although I suspect he's jumping on the WAFer train given the evidence of his last film, "Blue Jasmine.") Since we're still cataloging the rate of American decline for those intrepid Chinese historians (circa 2100), here's some more data courtesy of John Cassidy at the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2013/10/measuring-americas-decline-in-three-charts.html.

I recently ran across some lines from Yeats that could serve as the epitaph to our forlorn empire: "We had fed the heart on fantasies/The heart's grown brutal from the fare;/More substance in our enmities/Than in our love..." But, then again, we probably don't deserve Yeats..... O&D

1:55 AM  
Blogger James said...

Morris,

I just read that you are planning to come to NY in a few weeks. So which garbage bookstores didn`t even reply to you? I hope you have not given up looking. I`d be willing to assist in securing a venue for the New York City leg of your SSIG book tour. May I suggest the Brooklyn Commons?

http://www.thecommonsbrooklyn.org/

-James

2:29 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Ken Smith,

Thanks a lot for taking the time to explain all that. I appreciate it. I don't know that I'll ever be in a position to move, but it's useful to have such information beforehand. So thanks again for pointing that stuff out.

Dr. Berman,

Yes, I was picturing you in a home overflowing with books! But it's nice to know you haven't been "Kindle-ized." Of course, if you want something out of print and a bit exotic like Horace Walpole's collected letters, or Cassanova's memoirs, for free, rather than paying 100 or 1000s of dollars for them, Kindle is not a bad option. Nevertheless, there is something inherently ghastly and barbaric about reading great literature out of an Etch a Sketch! Indeed, I put Kindle right up there with the invention of flame-throwers, poison gas, SUVs, Twitter accounts, etc. In other words, things that belong only in the kingdom of Mordor!

Cube,

If I ever clean out my library, I'll definitely keep you in mind! But most of my books are dark and pessimistic and world-denying. I can't relate to your sense of optimism and progress, Cube, but I like the fact that people like you are out there. And, alas, I fear that the bulk of my reading material would do irreparable damage to your innocent good nature!

5:26 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Thanks Kevin and Shep. Between the Sea Gypsy's blog, Orlov's blog and Sterling Hayden's book "Wanderer" living on a boat seems a good NMI route ... though I've never been on one out to sea so I don't know yet if I would get sea-sick!

11:20 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

I thought of this blog right away when I saw this: Some poor guy with too many health problems already goes through benzodiazepene (tranquilizer) withdrawal and ends up learning the hard way that we live in a society full of shallow, narcissistic, developmentally-arrested morons.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

BTW, I had a different car experience than Ken. The rules I was told are: you get a one-shot opportunity to bring everything u want across the border, tax free; including yr car. I pd $75 for a Customs sticker, at the border, and that was that. Basically, once down here you probably need an abogado who is also an immigration adviser; wh/is not hard to find. As for Kindle: among other things, ya can't take notes rt on it; and if I can't do that, I really am unable to absorb the text, because for me it hasta be 'interactive' w/the author.

Jas-

I didn't know abt the Bklyn Commons, so never wrote them; but it wd be quite convenient, as I'm staying w/friends in Bklyn who live rt near the Atlantic Ave subway stop. Problem is, I'm tired of all this. I do expect to be rejected and/or ignored, but after a while I lose interest in putting out any more effort. Anyway, if u wanna approach them on my behalf that wd be great; but I doubt they wd be able to do it, because it's less than 3 wks away. I cd do a rdg for SSIG on the evenings of Nov. 21,22,23,24--that's all I've got available, and my guess is that their dance card is already full up. But if u wanna give them a fone call, just for the heck of it, that wd be very kind.

Capt-

Dollars to donuts, not more than 1%of the American population has heard of Yeats (Irish-Americans aside).

Pub-

Biggest mistake Jimmy ever made was listening to Zbieg (see DAA). As for my experience: it's only my experience. But if Americans are not busy hustling, they are busy being boring. Honestly, if u just strike up a conversation w/an American, randomly--like, on a plane or train--u discover that they are terribly dull. They have no interest in anything faintly deep, and if they do they come out w/stereotyped, mainstream opinions.
Hustling or not, America just doesn't produce people of quality, by and large; it produces drones and dullards--the inevitable products of a hustling society (money is not inherently interesting). Or the angry, hurting folks that show up on this blog, and who I suspect are quite typical of the population at large.

mb

12:41 PM  
Anonymous kyle said...

As an American, I have been attempting to adopt the "Sublime Madness" that Chris Hedges has written so astutely about. As Chris points out, sublime madness allows those living under oppression to endure. I also think that by extension only sublime madness can allow WAFERS to endure a life of interacting with American dolts. I have to be a little crazy to put up with dolts in my neighborhood that don't even know what a road bicycle is!!

I highly recommend this article to all WAFERS who are attempting to be a NMI. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_time_for_sublime_madness_20130120

1:26 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Dr. B:

" As for Kindle: among other things, ya can't take notes rt on it; and if I can't do that, I really am unable to absorb the text, because for me it hasta be 'interactive' w/the author."

Exactly my position! I really don't get these Kindle fans. I live in an apartment in NY with 6-8,000 books (estimate based on shelf feet and averages) and when I read, I read pen in hand.

By-the-by, are you doing any meetups, talks or such while you're in NY? Would welcome the change to chat and maybe hoist a few.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Megan-

Sounds as if you have the Lou Reed of personal libraries.

Berm/Eagle*1-

Your mission in NYC, if you choose to accept it, is as follows:

a) Upon arrival in Brooklyn, immediately travel east on Montague Street to the Heights Cafe at 84 Montague Street. Michele Bachmann will be waiting to give you a security clearance and an NSA canned response list for your evening interview on the "O'Reilly Factor" at Fox News Channel Studios at 1211 Avenue of the Americas.

b) Next, travel to Clinton Street or Atlantic Avenue and board subway to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to meet your next contact.

c) Exit Brooklyn Museum Station. Follow the "Brooklyn Museum of Art" signs, and at the top of the staircase, turn around and locate attractive women fiddling around with a pink cell phone wearing haute couture. Flash "contact made" sign to Pal/Eagle/Star#1 (Sarah Palin).

d) After you two stroll thru the Japanese Garden at the BBG, travel to NoHo for an early evening cocktail and a small dish at the Temple Bar at 332 Lafayette Street (a Champagne Carlton and an unlimited amount of Bourbon and Branch for the two of you is highly recommended). Remember, you're both headed for the an interview with Bill and, of course, drinks are on the *agency*. Live it up Berm/Eagle*1!

e) As it is necessary to confuse all Wafers in perpetuity, and continue the flow of green into the Cayman's, you will agree with *everything* that O'Reilly says. Capish?

f) After that, the rest of the evening is entirely up to you. Oh, be sure to catch the "Book of Mormon" at the Eugene O'Neil Theatre and grab a late night bite at the Carnegie...

Best,

Dick Cheney/xPOTUS46

3:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

At least u did mention deli meats, thank god. The only problem w/this itinerary is that I want to put Sarah's substantial rump (tho not in the Kim category, obviously) on an ice floe and vigorously copulate w/her, while Ed Meese is filming it. Then, instead of smoking cigarettes, we'll have a few chopped liver canapes.

bowtie-

James is trying to get me a gig at Bklyn Commons, but I suspect it's a long shot. I did write several stores asking if I cd do a rdg around SSIG, but most of them didn't bother to reply. One did, hinting (between the lines) that I was lower than pond scum.

mb

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Stirrings of discontent with the surveillance state continue to filter through the pop-culture chaff. This one is a first-hand story from a family of American citizens who happen to be of Arabic descent. Worth a listen for the sheer mass of detail about typical border agent misconduct. But if one of them hadn't happened to be a producer of a nationally syndicated radio show we'd never have heard the story.

On The Media (NPR) from Sept. 20th:
On The Media: My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country and Hate Border Agents

Earlier this month, OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman, her family, and her friends were detained for hours by US Customs and Border Protection on their way home from Canada. Everyone being held was a US citizen, and no one received an explanation. Sarah tells the story of their detainment, and her difficulty getting any answers from one of the least transparent agencies in the country.
...

Full episode podcast: OTM 09/20/2013 podcast

Follow up on Sept. 27th:
On The Media: Which committee is responsible for providing oversight at our borders?

Bob reads listener responses to producer Sarah Abdurrhaman’s piece“My Detainment Story or: How I learned to Stop Feeling Safe in My Own Country and Hate Border Agents.” Brooke talks to former congressman Lee H. Hamilton, co-author of a recent report calling for reform of the Department of Homeland Security, about how the DHS can, and should, work better.
...

Full episode podcast: OTM 09/27/2013 podcast

And further follow up this past week (Oct 25th):
On The Media: Reporting Around DHS Opacity

When OTM producer Sarah Abdurrahman tried getting answers from the Department of Homeland Security for her border detainment story, she experienced first hand how opaque the behemoth federal agency can be with reporters. But her experience wasn't unique. Brooke speaks with New York Times contributor Susan Stellin and Rio Grande Valley correspondent for the Associated Press Christopher Sherman--two journalists that regularly come in contact with DHS and its various agencies--about just how difficult it can be to get
...

Full episode podcast: OTM 10/25/13 podcast

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Publius said...

Morris,
You state:
"Hustling or not, America just doesn't produce people of quality, by and large; it produces drones and dullards--the inevitable products of a hustling society (money is not inherently interesting)."

I don't disagree! It's taken me a lot of effort and luck to meet people who have devoted their lives to, variously:

Helping others by studying scientific computation (one particular friend). This guy doesn't value money at all except as a tool to help others. He's been lucky, and may found his own company to do this, and everyone will get paid equally. Many find this idea of his strange and weird.

I know a few good writers and musicians who care more for their art than for money. Of course, there is always some "hustling" involved in being an artist, if you want to eat. But I find the care and love they put into their art to be inspiring.

What else? I found my time in academia to be the most disappointing in terms of quality people, by far. More careerists there than anywhere. The janitor of the building I worked in as a science grad student was the most well-read, interesting man: he was an expert on art history. But he was too non-comformist and "rebellious" to even get his bachelor's degree successfully.

I won't beat a dead horse here.
And heck - I met a fellow WAFer who lives nearby on your blog comments section- we plan to hang out soon.

Quick story: two years ago at my last job, I remember the shock and horror of a fellow coworker when she found out I'd never watched the show Lost. I think it was that show.

I've even found that people tend to think you are arrogant or elitist if you don't watch TV.

Or don't eat at McDonalds. Or shop at a food coop instead of a chain grocery. Or don't bank at Wells Fargo.

Why does it bother people when you exercise you supposed consumer "choice" and actually choose something different?

I see Hedges now thinks revolution is inevitable...

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

MB,

You may want to contact Chase Madar to see if he can help you get a gig in NYC. He's a civil rights attorney and intellectual, and the author of a book on Chelsea Manning. I'm recommending him to you because the themes in his work are generally speaking similar to yours (he is a strong critic of American empire).

6:09 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

I re-read your post and noticed this. Toire wa doko des ka? (Where's the bathroom?). Dr. B, if you do not learn anything else in a culture's language this is one of the most important questions to ask in my opinion. By the way, I still have to finish reading your book Dark Ages but so far it is very interesting.

Megan

Me, an Optimist? I am very flattered but most people in America especially in my state of Ga would see me as a pessimist. I will tell you I am mostly pessimistic about American society but mostly optimistic about humanity. It is because of the fly in the ointment of humanity's varying beliefs and philosophies that gives me hope. Dr. B has told me to forget Georg Cantor but it is difficult not to. I believe humanity needs this very fly for it to progress. We may have regressive periods in human history but I have a hypothesis that humanity overall reaches greater and greater heights. Look at Easter Island compared to the Roman Empire compared to Assyria compared to the cavemen periods compared to the feudal period and compared to modern humans today. From the enlightenment period on people were able to achieve greater heights in technology, knowledge, philosophy, and learning than any empire in history. Even Dr. Berman acknowledges that the rise and fall of empires is non-circular but spiral.

There is no system can be complete nor consistent meaning there is always a fly in ointment.

I predict 100s to 1000s of years from now, because of humanity as a whole of reaching greater and greater heights and the fly always being in the ointment, somewhere along the line we will eventually reach a point the system of rising and falling will eventually contradict itself and the cycle will stop.

For all I know it may take a million years. This is why I am optimistic and I have great hope for humanity in the distant future. For America, I have little to no hope for it whatsoever.

I believe Cantor was onto something. He is the predecessor to Kurt Gödel. I believe their concepts have to be integrated into the underlying beliefs of this culture. This is what I naturally do and how my brain naturally works. I look at different concepts and try to build new concepts.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

I remember when these same members of Congress were calling Edward Snowden a terrorist, a traitor, and anti-American. I guess it is now not okay to spy on foreign leaders, but it is okay to continue to spy on Americans in American soil. George Orwell, thanks for seeing the future!

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is hammering the National Security Agency over reports it spied on foreign leaders and allies, and revealed Monday that President Barack Obama said he would halt any such eavesdropping.

Saying that she is "totally opposed" to eavesdropping on United States allies and wants a complete review of U.S. intelligence activities, Feinstein, who has been a staunch defender of the agency since Edward Snowden leaked extensive documents about its activities, came down hard on the clandestine outfit.

In an uncharacteristically harsh statement, Feinstein said the new allegations that the agency monitored the phone calls of foreign leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel are simply out of bounds, and suggested the NSA has failed to inform Congress and Obama of its full activities.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/28/dianne-feinstein-nsa-spying_n_4171473.html

7:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cube-

Careful...there's a gd chance you cd wind up in a straight jacket, drooling and talking to yrself. Perhaps even in Japanese: biru nihon, onegai shimas (two beers, please). I can't seem to get thru 2u here: history is not abt logic; just the opposite, in fact. And it will remain that way, until human beings are replaced by robots.

Mike-

Many thanks. Only problem is that SSIG is not really a political bk, or part of my American empire critique. Hence, I doubt it wd be of much interest to Chase (or to Chase Manhattan).

Pub-

Well, I wish Chris gd luck w/that; myself, I can't see how one can make a revolution when 99% of the country consists of the mentally, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually challenged. Really: the 'raw material' of this nation is pathetic. *These* jokers are going to rise up and institute a new egalitarian social order? How does that work?

Historically, revolution requires at least 3 conditions:

1. Widespread dissatisfaction among the populace, to the extent that they want the social order to collapse. Fact: soup kitchens and tent cities fly American flags above them; polls show that the bottom economic 99% don't resent the top economic 1%, but rather just wanna be *part of* that 1%. The (absurd) American Dream is alive and well, in short.

2. The army and police hafta be willing to defect, or at least remain neutral in case of armed showdown. Fact: in the US, that'll happen when pigs fly. In the 'Conversation' Chris and I did in Vancouver last April, he agreed w/me on this.

3. Presence of a coherent, and politically savvy, revolutionary cadre. Fact: OWS? Don't make me laugh.

Conclusion: Correct slogan for the US today is not "To the barricades!", but rather, "Into the toilet bowl!"

mb

7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More from Neil Gordon's novel, "The Company You Keep":

"It was the best dream we ever had. That these motherfuckers cd be made to stop. That the machine, the corporate machine, the gov't machine, the war machine, that it cd be turned off. That real rts of real people cd come b4 money. That ecology cd come b4 corporations. It was the best dream we had, ever, and it put us in the same company as all the other people around the world who had the same dream; all the people who've dreamt the same dream in all the history of mankind...

"The fact is that in every possible way--race, war, the environment--we were rt. Our gov't has rolled over that dream, every single day since the sixties. Every single day it's gotten worse. The poor are poorer, the rich are whiter, and the world is a worse place than it's ever been before...The machine rolled on over the poor and the blacks at home and all Latin America and Africa and all of the people who so detest us abroad, it didn't have to happen that way. If this country had made the three central ideas of the Port Huron Statement--antiwar, antiracism, and antiimperialism--the law of the land, today we'd be living in a safe, just, and prosperous society. Probably a safe, just, and prosperous planet. All we ever asked them to do was to practice the fundamental principles of constitutional democracy, like they always said they would."

BTW, if you guys see the film, be sure to keep yr eyes out for Susan Sarandon's 'lecture' to the reporter. (Same idea, well expressed.)

mb

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Dr. B, I knew it, I knew you were you a "left gatekeeper"..

j/k of course I never meant to imply that. Just thought I'd throw out the Corbett vs. Chomsky video in case others here had an opinion. As far as I know your only issue with Chomsky though is that he limits his critique to the ruling class, whereas you think the fried rice cares not for class boundaries.

I think Corbett does a great job with these little hour long mini-documentaries, so I hope people will check it out if the topic interests them as it does me.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hack-

Chomsky's analysis is largely political; he doesn't feel comfortable w/cultural issues, it seems to me. He also believes, as I've stated b4, that the 1% is 'raping' the 99%, whereas I think it's much more a case of consensual sex. We got the gov't we deserve, sad to say; every American is a mini-hustler. Meanwhile, rivers of cash from the Wealthy Left flow into my Cayman Islands acc't, as I continue to calm troubled waters in the service of the Democratic party. The fact that I'm shut out from every magazine and website is an excellent cover for the enormous power I wield from behind the scenes. I am truly an eminence grise. In fact, since we are telling all here, I was behind 9/11 (w/a little help from Cheney, and my cousin Mohammed Atta). So now u know. In addition, I keep pushing pastrami because its active ingredient is the same as the one in Prozac. What I told Dick, in 2001, after he came to power, was that I wd personally deliver to him a dumb and listless population, fixated on trash. Just look around, amigo; just look around!
(ps: Kim was on the Central Planning Committee for this as well)

mb

10:48 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Great Neil Gordon quote, mb. He is *so* right, in every way: especially when he says we could have had a free, just and prosperous society - if, I might add, we had really wanted to.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

I too read Chris Hedges article on revolutions today and made me think of Don Renato Leduc, one of our greatest mexican poets in my humble opinion. Renato Leduc was a telegraphist for Pancho Villa during our mexican revolution. He meet John Reed during the revolt. Then went on to Europe during the twenties where he meet Picasso, Andre Breton and many of the influential minds of the era. Don Renato lived thru the twentieth century (he died in the 1980's) I had the honor of meeting him back in the seventies. Anyway, at the end of his life he wrote a poem that at the end states:
"Hicimos revoluciones
por la gente marginada
y unos cabrones burgueses
se llevaron la tajada"
I think the poem states, sadly, what happens to most revolutions. Look at the cuban one for that matter. Maybe the issue should be a revolution of paradigms. When I think of all of this, the more I agree with you Dr Berman, there's little hope. I still enjoy Chris's views, however.....

11:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel-

Well, little hope thru that route, at least in the case of contemporary America. I do think Chris knows this, and is just hoping against hope. However, the choices are not Revolution vs. Roll over and die. This is why I've spent time on this blog discussing post-capitalist formations, Dual Process, eco-sustainability, alternative expts in currency and energy, the craft tradition in Japan, and on and on. Capitalism will keep going until it crashes and burns. This is as predictable as gravity. It's not even interesting any more. What *is* interesting is what lies beyond that, including decentralization, secessionist movements, and the like. And NMI's will have a role to play in all this, very likely. In a word, we need to think small and local, not grandiose; and also, in terms of a network of NMI units, i.e., interconnectedness. Still, as far as the US is concerned, this will be hard to do because many or even most of the alternatives will be hustling alternatives, like Ben & Jerry's (it's in our DNA). Joel Magnuson discusses real alternatives (no-growth, non-profit) vs. Green Bullshit in "The Approaching Great Transformation." I'm betting on Europe as a more likely terrain for these sorts of changes. Real creativity is generally not the stomping ground of competitive, aggressive, and very stupid people.

Kev-

The problem is that hustlers can't create a free and just society; all they can create/reproduce is a hustling society. This is why the 60s was so easily co-opted by corporations and Madison Ave. As I explain in WAF, very few people in the 60s and 70s really wanted America to be fundamentally different. (The reason a scam works against a 'mark' is that deep down, the mark himself is a con artist.) I was at Cornell as the VN war got going; there was a chapter of the SDS there; I can't tell you the rage that almost all of the students felt toward this band of a dozen kids who were suggesting that a different way of life was possible. They were regarded as nonhuman, another species.

mb

12:44 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I think Chris Hedges needs to take a break from writing these polemics for Truthdig. Last week he was urging us to grab our pitchforks, this week it was an equally passionate argument for peaceable, non-violent, incremental change. He sounds increasingly desperate and lost, not a good combination.

A few weeks R & R in the backwoods maybe?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myhnAZFR1po

I found the Michael Hudson interview (and references) really interesting, even though high finance and economics generally bores me rigid:

http://www.extraenvironmentalist.com/2013/10/16/episode-67-bubble/

5:18 AM  
Anonymous MK said...

MB,
Just another thanks for your blog. I don't comment much but do read it almost every day. I forget who asked if others noticed how frantic people act...and yes, I have noticed this for some time. Working in a public library, people act desperate-among other things. While I am glad they are getting books (and movies) they act as if we are keeping them from their last meal. (Not good about waiting their turn). Also, am watching the DVD You've been Trumped...just more of the wonderfulness of hustling (not).
Keep up the good work!

9:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

MK-

Many thanks. Americans behave as tho they are hyped up on speed because deep down, they know they are going nowhere. Life doesn't really *mean* anything in the US, and that's a terrible burden for its citizens to carry.

ellen-

Yeah, I'm praying that Chris will finally come south and chill out (it's actually cold in Mexico rt now). I mean, one can be a critic of the empire from anywhere, given modern communications; I didn't die or evaporate when I moved to Mexico. In fact I proceeded to write 5 bks in 5 yrs. But I did--unlike Chris so far--give up on the US, and that's the one thing that 'progressives' can't seem to do. They too are caught in American exceptionalism, that we are going to pull things out of our ass and reverse everything at the 11th hr. The truth is that abs. nothing Amy Goodman or The Nation or Chris can do or write at this pt will stop the downward trajectory. If it's ugly now, can u imagine where we'll be 20 yrs from now? The only hope is long-term; and as I've said b4, that may not even involve the US. When Chinese historians write us up, they might well conclude that we were a 400-yr expt in hustling that finally imploded. "Belman!", they'll cry. I can see it now.

mb

10:03 AM  
Blogger Sir Tagio said...

Hello MB and Wafers,

Two recent events that I think resonate very strongly with the MB view on our "society."

Catherine Austin Fitts just gave a great, "Bermanesque" interview over at USAWatchdog.com, in which she endeavors to patiently explain to Greg Hunter that the reason that we don't see prosecutions of bankers or a concerted effort to eliminate fraud and force as the foundations of our "society" is that the overwhelming majority of Americans are basically corrupt, conniving, thieving bastards who are completely down with the program, and who think that all that matters is winning (and vicariously experiencing winning by identifying with the winner).

Poor Greg Hunter can't seem to grok it, and keeps trying to blame someone else -- the media mostly, for not telling us the truth. He goes so far as to assure his listeners (three times!) that Catherine is one of the good guys, lest they can't discern it from her massive smackdown of American exceptionalism.

http://usawatchdog.com/u-s-system-dependent-on-crime-and-fraud-catherine-austin-fitts/

Re: the Chris Hedges article on the time for revolution. Dave Harrison over at the Trade With Dave blog made snarky remarks about Chris's expressed hatred of authority based on Dave's acceptance of Romans 13: 1-7 of all things (accepting subjection to authorities, because they are established by God). (Save your time, not worth the read) Dave does not permit comments on his blog, but when Max Keiser posted Dave's article on maxkeiser.com, Max's readers took Dave to task, and stood up for Chris Hedges, in a big way. I mention this all by way of background. The best comment was posted by Andy Perry, who runs the "Crackernomics" blog, and who had this to say:

"Don’t you people ever stop to think for one moment? All across this thread we have heard a chorus of laptop rebels proclaiming their right and duty to revolution etc. and yet at the same time there is not now, NOR HAS THERE EVER BEEN any serious revolutionary movement in this or any country in the Saxon Axis (Five Eyes). What better proof that you, your fathers, and their fathers are slaves through and through, either through lack of backbone or lack of brains? And given this irrefutable proof of your propensity to slavery what could really be your objection to an admonition in the Bible? Answer this question and you will see your face in the mirror for the first time.
Third, slavery is not being bound in chains. Being bound in chains is being a hostage. Wishing you were like your master is being a slave. If a black slave despises his Anglo Saxon kidnappers, their bony German skulls, ugly, greedy, stupid narrow set German eyes then he has not really been damaged. Malcom X made this point over and over again, telling African slaves they were beautiful, why straighten your hair to look like a Cracker? In other words accept the power they have over you and that is all the power they will have over you. Don’t accept the power they have over you and they will take your soul."

http://www.maxkeiser.com/2013/10/it-is-time-to-grab-our-pitchforks-chris-hedges/#yct0MTZ6Mp13dxZ0.99

If there are any residents of the NY metro area who are interested in trying to arrange a meeting to treat MB to drinks and/or dinner when he is here, please contact me and let's see if we can present a group offer. sirtagioatgmaildotcom.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Star Rover said...

Often I get confused when I read Chris Hedges. On the one hand he is smart enough to know that peaceful change will not work. Let's face the facts: Those in power are not going to give up because they lost a particular election or a few folks carried signs in the street. On the other hand he is against violence. So I guess he's left with writing in the wind. But this is something I see on both TruthDig and Common Dreams. People say voting doesn't help and violence won't work. In the latter case either because it will be ruthlessly crushed or Dr. King would be against it. So the comments strike me as coming from frustrated people who really have lost all hope and the only thing they have left is to type a few words on the computer. But please understand me. I don't blame anyone for having lost hope. The situation is, after all, pretty hopeless.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

You got it right Star, remember MB's thing about people like Michael Moore who think the wool has been pulled over the eyes of Americans without realizing their eyes are wool ... or something to that effect.

Armed revolution and/or violence won't do anything either, why do you think police dept.s around the nation have become military goons? Don't forget: Deru kui wa utareru (The nail that sticks out gets hammered down).

Speaking out, writing, etc. is fine and I thank MB and Hedges and Orlov, et al. for doing it, but it is 99.9% preaching to the choir.

However, I wouldn't call it (or us) hopeless, I would call it resignation. I am resigned that Fukushima Prefecture will probably be a nuclear wasteland. I am resigned to the fact there is no difference between democrats and republicans ... and on and on. But I do hope that an intellectual basis in NMI-dom, knowing how to dress out a deer and knowing where to find mushrooms will keep me out of the plebeian throng!

1:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jwo-

Resignation might be a bit too...passive, or defeatist. Creative response is in fact possible; it just doesn't involve armed rebellion, as far as I can see (unless one enjoys chewing on steel).

mb

2:11 PM  
Anonymous shep said...



All,

Oh well, seems everyone is a hustler. Evo has turned according to this article. I stopped half-way through. Ugh. Same as Mandela?

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/29/bolivias-cynical-utopia/

2:24 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

Maybe you're right about human beings and logic. It sure would explain a lot of things to me. I can accept it logically and in theory but for me it is difficult to wrap my mind around this.

You said "I can't seem to get thru 2u here". Imagine you're a sea creature who lives at the bottom of the ocean. This creature has never seen dry land and has never experienced a surface area that does not contain water. Now imagine you as this sea creature was pulled up to the surface by someone. This surface has no water only air.

The creatures can think about it conceptually understand it exists but not much more. This creature understands that it is but does not know why nor how.

One of the members here said and I am paraphrasing that most people go by their instinct and not their rationality. For me, this instinct is diminished or I do not have it at all. It is difficult for me to envision it.

I am trying the best I can with what I do have. Will you and the others please bare with me on this? For me, it is a struggle.

I have been invited to go out and live in Australia. They are more egalitarian there and I would have more of a fair go there.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Dearest Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

You should only be accused of *one* thing MB, telling it the way it is...

You wrote, "The reason a scam works against a 'mark' is that deep down, the mark himself is a con artist." God Almighty, truer words were never written, as the American Dream is the ultimate *scam* of all, yes?

Jeff

ps: I'm running down a copy of the film, "The Company You Keep." Many thanks for the suggestion. Somehow I missed this gem when it was in the theaters. It's nice to see that Redford is still making thought provoking films. I've been a fan since his "Three Days of the Condor" and "Jeremiah Johnson" days.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

The novel is pretty gd too; better, in some ways.

Cube-

Maybe yoga/meditation might help. Meanwhile, I suggest NZ instead of Oz, if u can arrange it.

mb

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Tagio- Thanks for link to CA Fitts video; I remember the last time she was on that venue it was interesting.

ellen- if you enjoyed hearing Michael Hudson, you should look into MMT a little bit and see what you think. They are (or it is, in one physical instantiation) a ragtag group of economists mostly centered around the backwater UMKC (as they are personas non grata in mainstream econonomics depts.) Probably you are bored by most high finance because most of it is artful BS, designed to mythologize capitalism and prop it up. The MMT guys and gals, while they may not lift the veil quite so polemically as the Marxists, at least accurately describe how "the system" works.

It's too bad most people do find it MEGO (Mine Eyes Glazeth Over), or at least think they do, because it radically alters the conventional wisdom and shows up most of the media narratives about debt and deficit, for instance, as pure malarkey.

If more people understood it, it would offer a clear route for actually building the supposed sustainable and more sensible infrastructure people talk about, but which remains pie in the sky since people accept all the conventional wisdom that we're "broke" and have to have austerity to "balance the budget."

I do personally have some reservations about it -- MMT is merely an accurate analysis of our system as it exists -- it doesn't say whether this system is good or bad, it just lets you clearly see what you're dealing with. So that you're not steering a ship by, say, pushing on the rudder or something, you've actually got your hands on the steering wheel (or whatever, I'm not Capt. Hackenbush.) One could object to the system itself of course. And even using MMT understanding, one could use it for "good" or "evil" even within the system; for instance Hitler's full employment Germany was run (I think) with an appreciation of how fiat money really works.

Anyways - Hudson has a website where he posts audio and writing, and neweconomicperspectives.org is the UMKC blog, with lots of primers and overviews in sidebar.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

USA, USA, USA, you are on the right path:

A 3-year-old Colorado boy has died after what authorities say was "an accidental gunshot wound to the head."

Police in Frederick, Colo., a town about 30 miles north of Denver, said Tuesday that the boy has been identified as Sheine Steine, according to the Longmont Times-Call.

"We have no reason to believe this was other than an accidental firing of the gun while the child handled it," Frederick Police Chief Gary Barbour said in a statement.

Police arrived at the boy's home Monday morning around 10 a.m. after Steine's mother Dione Warren found him on the ground, not breathing and bleeding from the head.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/3yearold-colorado-boy-die_n_4174779.html

8:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cube-

This might possibly help u understand what I'm getting at: the film "Damage," starring Jeremy Irons. It's based on the novel by the same name, by Josephine Hart. Screenplay of film was written by David Hare. At the end, the Irons character is living by himself, walking down a narrow street in a small town in Greece or Spain, and says (I think this was written by Hare, i.e. is not in the novel), "I traveled till I arrived at a life of my own." Then he says (this going on inside his head), "What really makes us is beyond grasping; it's way beyond knowing." Anyway, see if u can find it; it might be worth yr while.

mb

9:10 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Cube,

Sometimes when a person with a taboo “issue” expresses it, there’s a tendency for others to try to “fix” them. But being open about your difficulty with feeling is good because this issue is indeed taboo. Disconnection from feeling is the very engine driving our entire culture. Anyone fully connected to real feeling IMMEDIATELY ceases to be part of it. So at the risk of sounding like I’m trying to fix you (and turning this blog into group therapy) I believe it’s important to address this issue – not to “fix Cube,” but only to expose a hidden force that may be driving all of us to varying degrees.

It sounds natural to say that feeling is a “struggle.” I’m sure in some sense it seems that way to many people. But really, feeling is beyond easy. Poke your arm and you feel something. There’s no struggle involved. It’s not even easy. It’s effortless and automatic. If, for some reason, you don’t feel the poke, then there’s definitely a problem or blockage – maybe nerve damage, maybe you’re distracted by something; but struggling is not going to resolve it. And even having nerve damage or being distracted feel like something. There’s always an effortlessly accessible “what it feels like” to every experience – the part that can’t be put into words, analyzed, or manipulated – only felt. No such thing as an experience that doesn’t feel like something.

You’ve said you have a form of autism that makes it hard to recognize emotions and expressions of it, like sarcasm and innuendo. No doubt, that makes communicating difficult. But I'm willing to bet it doesn’t make feeling difficult. Emotion is only one thing that can be felt. Even having difficulty recognizing/feeling emotion “feels like something.” And whatever that feels like, it’s no more difficult to feel than a poke on the arm.

Our culture doesn’t value feeling. It values mechanical things, like disconnected logic and disconnected emotion. Both have market value. Feeling has none. So feeling seems insignificant to us and we pretty much ignore it. But feeling connects us to true intelligence beyond mechanical, disconnected logic. There is no explanation for how. It just does. You can only find out how by feeling.

The real “difficulty” with feeling is that our culture attacks normally feeling people – whether they be aboriginal peoples or children. We force feeling people into our anti-feeling way of life. The pain of this generates defense mechanisms against feeling. THAT is the only reason feeling becomes a “struggle.”

11:14 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Just when you thought Americans had already plumbed the very depths of narcissism, now we have a whole website called" "Selfies at Funerals." My personal favorite is the two dopes in the backseat of a car on the way to a funeral with their headphones on, sticking their tongues out at the camera like Miley Cyrus wannabees.

http://selfiesatfunerals.tumblr.com/

11:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Greg-

The whole American Way of Life can probably be summarized in one word: numbness. It's this that keeps the system running.

mb

12:02 AM  
Anonymous CMC said...

Dr. Berman,

I read the Hedges article with interest --and some surprise too; not sure how rhetorical it was.

I agree with your list of things necessary for revolution --and your prognosis.

But I read this recently too, and it caught a feeling. In a review of Nassim Taleb's latest book, the reviewer praised him for some sharp asides, including this one:

"Revolutions happen when people are hungry to become martyrs."

Also, related to some of your main themes of discussion, but I just saw, over the weekend, the new movie, "The Counselor." Dark, mean, nasty. Noir, but in the desert. I think you might like it and find some things to comment on.

12:16 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Greg,

Very good points. I would add that our culture greatly overvalues neurotypicals, and has an incredibly low tolerance for anyone who deviates very much from the norm. I was in Education for 10 years, and I saw this on a daily basis. It might sound like hyperbole to someone who hasn't seen it up close, but it really is one of the great human rights abuses of our time--how we over-medicate our kids. The millions of teenagers with ADHD alone(the mental illness formerly known as "being a healthy and energetic boy")is breathtaking. What it amounts to is an utter impatience with anyone who doesn't fit neatly into a pat and prosaic notion of "well-adjusted mental health." A bit too sensitive and thoughtful? A little down over the transience of life and human affection? Must be bi-polar! Take two of these and call me in the morning...Indeed, how could any sane and sensible person not see that we are living in the best of all possible countries, in the best of all possible worlds?!

By the way, I love autistic people. I'm so socially awkward myself, that I feel a natural affinity with them! My autistic girlfriend is full of charm, empathy and bantering good humor, but it comes out much better in her writing than in face-to-face encounters. Knowing her as well as I do, I often wonder if autism should be classified as a mental disorder at all? Maybe we just need a more playful sense of the great diversity of human personality types? At any rate, the latest DSM (number 5 already!) has now officially pathologized virtually every aspect of human existence. From my experience as a teacher, the kids who get stigmatized most frequently are the authentic, the sensitive, the poetic, and the creative ones. However, such tendencies automatically brand you as a "misfit" in today's America. Which, when you think about it, is not the least bit surprising!

3:47 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Dr Hack,

Thanks for the link to the blog at neweconomicperspectives.org, some very interesting stuff there.

I notice too that in the resources panel there, Adam Curtis's BBC doc 'The Trap' is linked. Cube might find that useful too for it examines the limitations of systems theory and its results when applied too rigorously to us natural human beings and our supposedly wholly predictable behaviour.

I had a long love affair with systems theories too, mainly because of the implied promise of control (and thus power over a chaotic world) that is inherent in them. Like all implied promises, it is a trap and as game theorist John Nash personally exemplified, a dangerous human delusion. Curtis does a good job of connecting the dots to the inevitable crazy conclusions we can now see operating, to our detriment, all around us.

“The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.” (Clausewitz)

9:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ellen-

I haven't seen 'The Trap', but oddly enuf did an essay on problems w/systems theory a long time ago:

“The Shadow Side of Systems Theory,” Journal of Humanistic
Psychology, Vol. 36 No. 1 (Winter 1996), pp. 28-54.

Problem is, I doubt it's online.

mb

10:51 AM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

From time to time I re-read some of Joe Bageant's essays (Dr. Berman, perhaps you are aware that when you visit Lexington, VA in November you will be in Joe Bageant country, i.e "redneck" mountain VA). I recently read Joe's essay titled " America Y UR PEEPS B So DUM?". Its an elaboration on the post-it sign "You are Living among dolts". Below is an excerpt and the link:


http://coldtype.net/Assets.11/pdfs/0111.Joe.Culture.pdf

Thank You,
Himanshu

11:38 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Wow. Lots of action in the comments.
Thanks for the novel and movie recommendation, Morris. I am putting "The Company You keep on My List."

Spinning Straw Into Gold: Straight Talk for Troubled Times is not available at the library yet! But all 2 copies of WAF are checked in. :)

One of the hardest parts of trying to be an NMI in the USA is protecting yourself from the personal attacks.

My own brother has called me un-American numerous times, for opposing the latest war, or for criticizing greed.

My wife got attacked by a fellow mother for taking our son out of a classroom run by a mean, domineering teacher. The other mother said that my wife was "undermining the teacher's authority." Where do these people come from?

I am starting to think that we need to plan our escape from this nation. I want to go a place where people live communally, or have a community. I don't want to go someplace that is well-run, but dependent on government. That is, Scandinavia is out. They are hyper-statist.

France? Italy? Corsica? Someplace that is still village oriented.

Well, gotta work.

12:15 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Dr. B – I heartily concur that “numbness” encapsulates our way of life. Almost none of the insanity we see around us could happen if people weren’t numb. Joseph Chilton Pearce has cited studies that show we are literally growing more numb as a society over time – less able to detect and distinguish sounds, colors, etc. And that’s only the stuff scientists can measure, not the really important stuff.

Megan – The way we socially/medically treat kids in school is one of the best examples of how our society literally (no hyperbole) attacks feeling. Must’ve been terrible watching this up close, on the front lines. Although we were all on the front lines (and in the death camps) as kids.

As for neurotypicals – they’re handy to have around once you have a good system up and running. They’ll keep it going forever, with their wonderful ability to form consensus. But they tend to be so mindless that they slowly screw the system up in the process of “upholding” it. Eventually, the system goes off the rails and needs fundamental reform – or needs to be trashed altogether – but those neurotypicals just keep mindlessly plugging away, totally oblivious. That’s when us misfits need to step in and say/do what needs saying/doing – because we’re the only ones willing enough to break away from the herd and see and think with fresh eyes and mind. I think this is why nature made sure to stock the gene pool with a good number of us. Most of us will sadly get crushed by the current off-the-rails system, but a few of us will manage to squeak by.

If we ever do manage to come up with something better, the neurotypicals will rush in and take it up just as enthusiastically as they did the old system. And then they’ll proceed to screw it up all over again!

12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

They may never purchase SSIG, since it's a pay-on-demand bk. You might wanna check w/them.

Himan-

I did an obit of Joe, in fact. It's archived on this blog, and also floating around the Net.

mb

2:01 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

CMC-

Nice quote from the review of Taleb's latest; precisely why I follow John Lennon's counsel in the song, "Revolution." Besides, as MB pointed out, the critical factor is that slogan, "Into the toilet bowl!" Not only is the US *in* the toilet, poop *belongs* in the toilet, yes?

On a more serious note, a good source on revolution is historian Crane Brinton's classic work, "The Anatomy of Revolution." Indeed, a serious and urbane dissection of major revolutions. Only trouble is there's absolutely no info on how morons and douchebags lead and win revolutions. I'm thinking about adding a coda to it, something like, When Revolting Shitheads Actually Revolt: Duck!

Jeff

2:36 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Megan

I think you're a very intelligent person yourself. You say you love autistic people. We're going to get along great on here.

Greg

Would the song by Pink Floyd be appropriate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ_GgOysu6o

3:43 PM  
Anonymous kyle said...

I am going to second that article Himanshu Tiwari just posted. Incredible writing that really covers the meaning and purpose behind WAFERISM.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Turtleeggsoup said...

Is America's Suez moment upon us? Forbes now ranks Vladamir Putin as world's most powerful man instead of Obama. http://www.forbes.com/powerful-people/list/
I predict the U.S. President will continue to move down the list and by 2025 will no longer be in the top 5.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Turtle-

Very likely. Keep in mind that Obama is a colossal douche bag, and Putin is a savvy customer. Ovomit sits in W.H. w/egg on face, and Putin put it there.

Jeff-

If any US newspaper ran a headline as follows: THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE REVOLTING!, my response wd be: No doubt abt that.

mb

5:25 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Tonight (30 October 2013) is the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles's "The War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. This was a radio play about Martians landing in New Jersey to take over America. It is believed that millions of listeners believed this broadcast was the literal truth and panicked. (The scholarly study by Cantril says about 1.5 million people believed the broadcast.) "People headed for the hills," a producer snorted later.

Here is an excerpt of a letter written at the time by one of the few hundred sensible listeners:

"It is my personal opinion, stated more than once, publicly in the Baltimore Evening Sun, that the average American, not withstanding his public free education, is a humbug, a blatherskite and a moron. He cannot sit to read a book for two hours, could give you no review if he read it, and cannot sit for ten minutes to hear what is said, proof being, that at least four times 'War of the Worlds' was announced as fiction."

We can, therefore, add "Martians" (albeit briefly) to Mencken's "series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary," which "keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety)."

9:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sanc-

As Mencken's observations wd suggest, the American head has been filled w/dog excrement for at least 100 yrs now. But I have the impression that at some pt around 1965 or thereafter, it took a quantum leap and became enriched dog excrement: thicker, denser, more disgusting. As for War of the Worlds broadcast, apparently there were a # of suicides as well.

mb

10:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shooting sprees in TX and SC. And the band played on...

12:06 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Cube,

Thanks a lot for the kind words! I don't feel very smart, but it's nice of you to say that. But, yes, I'm sure that you and I will get along great. Besides, anyone who likes Georg Cantor and builds 1000 year utopias in his mind, is a cool dude in my book.

Greg,

Yes, numbness is a central feature of American life. I was thinking of Sanctuary's post about the "War of the Worlds", and I wonder how people would react to that today? Admittedly, I didn't know that 1.5 million actually people bought into that back in the thirties. In a way, it almost makes me nostalgic! I mean, if you still believe in such things, then the world can't be entirely disenchanted, right? However, we're so blase and postmodern now that people no longer believe in ANYTHING (unless it's on CNN, of course!) However, if they reported a Martian attack tomorrow night, I bet 90% of the country would just Tivo the coverage, so that it wouldn't interrupt their viewing of "American Idol" or "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." (Obviously, I'm being a smart-ass, here; in reality, Americans have a great fear of death. So they would probably completely panic, drop everything, and start raping, pillaging, and murdering their neighbors by way of consolation!)

But seriously, I wonder if all these new alien movies point to a kind of unconscious collective longing for something Real, rather than just the routine unreality of everyday American life? It's just something I've noticed; but the more empty our lives become, the more alien/apocalyptic/asteroid- hurtling-towards-earth type of movies we seem to have. Perhaps the repressed human part in us senses that a great fiery apocalypse might well be preferable to "business as usual." At any rate, I'm personally very much in favor of anything that gets me out of my cubicle for a few hours!










1:29 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Megan

I do not feel very smart either. You made it to the cubicle. I couldn't even do that and I ended up on SSDI. Because I am on SSDI, I simply reflect and read a lot. I read what people say and I ask questions and analyze their responses. It is how I concluded that America was flawed and there was no saving it. I concluded it from a systematic perspective though. Dr. B concluded it through the historical perspective.

Dr. Berman, Ellen and others pointed out a flaw to Systemized thinking which is what Cantor is based upon. I have to try at some point to read Dr. Berman's paper and watch Ellen's suggestion "The Trap" to understand the limitations. I believe in trying to obtain greater truths and if there are limits to systemized thinking then one must go outside of it. I need to watch Dr. B's movie as well.

Reflecting on what Dr. B, Ellen and others say got me thinking on Cantor and Gödel who is based upon Cantor. If a system can't be complete and consistent and if this theorem is a system in itself then this system has to become inconsistent as well. Therefore it has to be negated through its own rule and one has to think beyond it.

By this negation, I must conclude that systemized thinking based upon what Dr. Berman, Ellen and others said has its limits. Ergo, I need to know what they are and go into the realm of grounded feeling but not completely abandon rationality either.

The Utopia I envision would eventually become a disaster because it would have limits as to what the people could do with their beliefs. In addition, another problem with systemized thinking is choice. We, as people, have free will.

We are constrained to physical parameters to certain properties of time and space but if these properties were to be removed all of our choices would be independent of each other. In fact, we could shape our effects before our causes.

Free will and Choice is a problem of creating a deterministic system. In the Matrix, the Architect tried to create a perfect system of mathematical precision and harmony. It failed every time because of free will and choice.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

“President Vladimir Putin has rejected U.S. pleas to send Snowden home to face charges including espionage, and the temporary asylum he was granted in early August can be extended annually.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/edward-snowden-job_n_4180601.html

If all criminals in NY are brought to book to face charges, half of NY City would be in prison. The entire population of Wall Street would be in prison. Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Dianne Feinstein would be in prison. Rubin, Summers, and Greenspan would be in prison. These are people who have ruined America! They are worse than Hitler!

The Warning
http://video.pbs.org/video/1302794657/

11:24 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafmen:

Turtleeggsoup's article on the decline in the prestige of the US president is yet more evidence that a vacuous blatherskite lives in the White House.

"Mistah Obama - he dead."

11:26 AM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Cube,

Pink Floyd does a great job dramatizing how fucked up we are by the system, so anyone who isn’t already aware of that could get a lot out of them. But to my mind, they only focus on half the story – the more popular half, the half that can sell millions of records, the half where we are solely the victims of the system. The other half of the story is that, after getting fucked up by the system, we become the system. So all in all, we’re not just another brick in the wall; we’re also the bricklayers now. This is exactly parallel to how the liberal left would have us believe that we are solely the innocent victims of the 1%. But as Dr. B keeps pointing out, the vast majority of us are not just victims; we’re 1% wannabes. He couldn’t have put it any better than just a few posts ago where he said that the “mark” only gets conned because he’s a con artist too. It’s exactly the same with our disconnection, dehumanization, alienation, numbness, and so on. Same phenomenon, different level. The only way out is to see how deep in we really are. But this message doesn’t fly off the shelves quite as fast as the “innocent victim” message.

Megan,
I remember thinking in my HS biology class how, if we ever did make contact with extra-terrestrial life, it would only be a matter of weeks before we turned it into just another bone-dry academic topic kids would be falling asleep to in HS Biology classes around the country. That’s how good our society is at sucking the meaning and juice out of life.

Once we turn off the spigot of feeling inside ourselves, as we must in this society, the enchanting juice of life is gone and its all “business as usual.” So yeah, I totally agree about our fascination with apocalyptic movies – and with war-military-pageantry, “charismatic” religions, massive sports and entertainment phenomena, and all our other “vertical” pursuits. We’re trying to get back to something juicy and Real, but generally we don’t know how to turn the spigot back on – or even that we turned it off, or even that there is a spigot. So nothing works.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Dr. B,

I did find your systems theory paper online, but you have to a member to read anything but the abstract. Just read Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Hedges, and he seemed to put a lot of stock in the occupy movements. He seems to think the govt won't "go over the edge", and would stop before killing people. But hasn't our govt already proved they will stop at nothing to crush resistance within this country? He even points out in the book how labor was crushed by the govt and the indians. Kent State anyone? To rephrase a line from Rage Against the Machine, they don't gotta kill the people, they just remove them.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Sir Tagio said...

Calling all Wafers in the NY metro region:

I am taking names for a possible extension of group hospitality - in the form of drinks and/or lunch/dinner and conversation - to MB while he is in NY (11/20 - 25) researching the latest developments in deli meats. Please contact me if you are interested (and haven't done so already) at sirtagio@gmail.com.

Thanks.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

One of the traits of Americans is the faith that technology will save us, and that technology is where it's at.

I work in the tech field, and actually find technology pretty boring. It is really nothing more than navel-gazing and mental masturbation, for the most part. It was sort of interesting as a 14 year old on my Commodore 64. At that time, you had to actually understand how to program the primitive machine yourself, to get it to do much.

I've heard the claim at my company that learning how to program "teaches you how to think." Anybody have a comment on that idea?

Here's an excerpt from an essay by a modern "liberal":

In the 2008 election, President Obama’s advisers talked of their boss’s belief that it was time for an “iPod government.” Obama, a technology addict who tools around on his iPad before going to sleep and who fought the U.S. Secret Service bureaucracy for the right to carry a smartphone, would be the first president truly at home in the Digital Age.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

As many have observed, Gandhi's tactics worked vs. the British, but wd not have worked vs. the Nazis. The latter case also applies to the US: there wd be abs. no hesitation abt gunning protesters down like dogs, and by the thousands, as far as I can make out. In fact, the police and the army wd probably enjoy it. As I discuss in WAF, the extermination of Native Americans set the pattern of "scorched earth, scorched soul"; this then got repeated in the Mexican War, the Civil War, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Iraq, and so on. I very much doubt that the fact that the military wd be 'killing their own', in the case of a domestic uprising, wd give them a moment's pause. Nor wd most Americans give a damn. In a word, I think Chris is hoping against hope.

mb

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

On a slightly less depressing note, I will point out someone who is doing the kind of NMI work that MB advocates. His name is Gerard Schwartz, the conductor of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

Schwartz has a project (on the Delos record label) to record all the music of a generation of American Classical composers who came of age just after WW II. These include composers such as Howard Hanson, Peter Mennin, Vincent Persichetti, Alan Hovhaness and David Diamond.

These composers were all tonal composers, who wrote in a kind of “modal” style of composition, which would have formed a good basis for an American school of classical composition. So, why did they not get the acclaim they merited? For once, it was not commercialism that did them in, but a musical fad called “serialism” (Roger Sessions, Milton Babbit, et al.) which gripped the academy, and denounced tonal composers as “old fashioned.” After about 1955, nobody would play their music, so they had to get teaching jobs at places like Julliard and Curtis to feed themselves.

Some of them wrote a lot of music for concert band. I played in school bands in my youth, which is how I first heard a lot of this music.

Below are some short, representative clips of this music. Although America never could have produced a Mozart, Bach or Haydn, I see no reason why we could not have produced second-tier masters on the level of a Smetana, Vaughan Williams, or Sibelius. Listen for yourselves and see if you agree.

This is another one of those “alternative tradition” might-have-beens which litter the American historical landscape. Bravo to Schwarz for recording this and preserving this music for future generations:

Peter Mennin “Symphony #3”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=558o13d2zng
Persichetti: “Psalm for Band” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0TPeuSm23Q
Howard Hanson “Song of Democracy”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_jBo0GfGQI
(set to the poetry of Walt Whitman)
Alan Hovhaness “Mysterious Mountain Symphony”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlXBmIjjzAc

8:05 PM  
Blogger James said...

The Brooklyn Commons has a space available on Nov 22nd from 530 to midnight for a book reading for Dr. B. Cost of renting the space is $200.

I`m looking into another more inexpensive option as well.

http://thebasebk.org/

James

8:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

On a side note, I was abt 9 or 10 when Howard Hanson visited my elem. schl, sort of like a visiting dignitary. He led the class in a rendition of "The Froggie Went a-Courtin'," and while he did it, looked like a bit of a frog himself. This is 60 yrs ago, and it's burnt into my memory. The mind is indeed a terrible thing.

mb

8:14 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

MB -

Would you consider going on Democracy Now! while you're in NY? I'm sure they would have you.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Wafers,

My favorite line in Chris Hedges’ article about revolution: “It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect.” Wow! In psychology that is called “denial”, and it is considered to be a very unhealthy way of relating to reality.

I think Chris Hedges is a wonderful author, but I really think he needs to hang out in non-activist circles more often. Taking a drive to his nearest mall or Walmart might offer him a more accurate perspective on American “political ferment.” But, as MB said, he probably lives for the exceptionalist hero spotlight he gets in the US. He lives for the occasional appearances on Amy Goodman’s show. He is addicted to the rush that writing one more “I’ll Show You How to Save America” article gives him. If he has any sense at all, he should pack up and move to Mexico ASAP, where at least his daughters can enjoy a more normal life.

As far as the rest of the US is concerned, the hypnotic power of Zbieg’s “materialism and idealism” is just too powerful for the vast majority to escape. Even those who should know better are unable to resist it. Case in point, I know a lot of Romanians in places like Chicago and New York, who, 25 or 30 years ago put their lives on the line to escape from Communist Romania in order to live free in the West, but are now unable to leave America because they are paralyzed by materialism. They know that America is rotten, that it’s become a police state, but still won’t leave. Their most commonly invoked reason is that they’re waiting for their houses to go up in value “just a little bit more” before they sell and leave. And some of them are in their 60s, 70s, many are unemployed and don’t have basics like health insurance. Some are on food stamps. But they are waiting for their houses to appreciate in value. They swallowed the American Dream whole, and darn it, won’t let go of it until it comes true. They are in denial too. Virtually all of them left Communist Romania based on principle, not based on material motives. They were defectors, not immigrants. Some were dissidents. Many abandoned much better homes in Romania, just to live free in the West (or so they thought). Look at them now, 30 years later. Look at what America and capitalism did to their minds, their spirit, and their principles.

My point is, if defectors from the former Communist Block are not able to escape America, how do you expect anybody else to do it? It’s hopeless. To put it simply, America is like Roach Motel: “they check in, but they don’t check out.”

As for me, I left America already, and I have absolutely no regrets. My only regret is that I did not do it 20 years sooner.

Julian

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MIchael,

Those are awful! U.S.A. did not produce much in classical--wrong period I guess. But hey, some of the musicals and Cole Porter where truly great. Samuel Barber a bit Maudlin but maybe third rate..but for Modern Gershwin was really pretty decent no?

Of course the composer singer which I think epitomizes Americans today is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woLQI8X2R6Y

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

Hi Dr. Berman. I hope this post fits with your criteria.

I saw the mention of Pink Floyd and music that explores or expresses topics of interest to WAFers. Here are some other bands and songs that address much of what we discuss here and are lesser known in the US or forgotten oldies. I’ve enjoyed these songs for years and I hope my fellow Wafers enjoy them too.

The Housemartins: they were a mid-1980's British band. Even though they were in Britain many of their songs have cutting social commentary. Some of these songs are:
Sheep
Flag Day
Get up off our knees
The People who grinned themselves to death
Think for a minute

The Beautiful South: Paul Heaton (singer) and David Hemmingway (drummer) formed the Beautiful South after The Housemartins broke up. They continued the cutting commentary in songs like:
Have you ever been away?
We’ll deal with you later
Hidden Jukebox
Poppy

Other artists and songs
Adrian Belew: Burned by the fire we make
The Fixx: Driven Out
Two Hangmen: Mason Profit Band
Phil Ochs: every song he did!
Bruce Cockburn: If a Tree Falls

Obviously there are more. I hope this music makes for enjoyable listening.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

"Chris is hoping against hope" but he's not rebelling against rebelllion. Then the problem is how to address the rebellion or revolution. I realize now that revolutions do not work because, as you point out in regards to the occupy movements, they want to take the place of the people they are rebelling against. Funny that you mention Gandhi, he was definitely rebelling against someone that he did not want to replace....just a thought.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Pls note that I don't post Anons. You might wanna pick a handle and try again. Possibilities include Sam Schmeck, D.D.S., and Cranston Butterworth III. Also, Rufus T. Firefly seems to have disappeared, so that may be another option 4u.

Julian-

Just to be clear: I never said Chris was chasing the spotlight; he's no hustler, and has no interest in celebrity status (I don't believe). However, I do believe he's desperate, i.e. hoping against hope, and that's not a healthy place to be, as u pt out. But Chris is smart, wh/means that in his heart of hearts, he knows it's Game Over. The problem is that he just can't seem to make that crucial, abs. necessary leap--namely, to give up on America. America has certainly given up on him (not that the mainstream was very interested in the 1st place, of course).

Re: the nonrevolutionary potential of Americans: here's one of my favorite vignettes, told to me by Peter Berg. Peter was visiting Baltimore in the late 60s and at that time, the Black Panthers were very visible, calling for revolution on every street corner. Peter listened to this for a while, then walked down the street to a black church. It was pretty full. He sat in the back. The preacher intoned: "Whaddya think about Jesus?" And the crowd sang back: "He's all right."

AS-

It's not terribly likely. At one pt I did my best to insult Amy Goodman, as a 'progressive' believing in the impossible--i.e., that her show made any difference, and that 'we' might turn things around--so I can't imagine she's keen to interview me. What wd we talk abt, anyway? That the US is dead as a doornail, that the American people have little more than fried rice in their heads, or that the zeitgeist has moved on, and left America in the dirt? Not her cuppa tea, I'm guessing. She means well, of course, and I'll give her the same role that I give Chris, Noam, and myself: it's useful to have a record of our collapse. But to confuse being a witness with having power or any kind of serious influence--boy, that's delusion of the 1st order.

mb

12:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

James-

Thank you for yr efforts. Truth be told, I've done lots of bkstore rdgs, and never had to pay to do them, so I'm not eager to start now. I suspect this is a lost cause. As I mentioned, I wrote several stores, and none of them had the slightest interest in having me give a talk. I think my time in NY will be devoted to taking care o' business, seeing friends, and doing some serious resarch into deli meats.

mb

12:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel-

This is kind of confused. I don't know what 'rebelling against rebellion' means. Also, I never said OWS wanted to replace the people in power w/themselves. What I said was that they were misguided in believing that the 99% were antagonistic to the 1%; that the 99% had no objection to a small wealthy elite, they just wanted to be part of it. I.e., this was abt what the majority want, not abt what OWS wanted.

Mike-

Well, marginally...

mb

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

When people say America is a total nightmare it's hard to really understand what that statement means without living through it. Today I had an experience where I was driving and a guy in a pickup truck driving behind me for no reason goes against the opposing traffic and cuts me off.

Where I live people drive like this all the time. To me it was a reflection of how warped American society has become that I encounter people like this this guy, who would risk his lives in dangerous weather to cut me off. He is quite typical of the average competitive American, who can only achieve pleasure at the expense of others' pain.

With all Americans constantly competing against all others and glued to their atomizing screens at every waking, one wonders whether the empathy that is necessary for any society to exist has vanished in the US.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous ConstableJonesIII said...

I'm growing bored on YouTube and would like to see a new interview with MB. Maybe one of the WAFers could interview MB themselves? Skype it or something and upload it to YouTube? Why ask if Amy Goodman will interview him when tech available allows us to do it ourselves?

Also, Amy Goodman and Dem Now make me cringe. Another limousine liberal org IMO, with unpaid internships in the rich Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan/NYC, and she makes millions of dollars. Just another rich puke giving lip service about "feeling our pain" etc. Just my .02.

Happy Friday!

8:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Constable-

I'm doing a lecture at Wash & Lee U. in 2.5 wks, and if they video the thing, I'll post the link here. If not, I'll just post the text. But never fear, there's something in the pipeline for Wafers to cogitate upon. As for Amy, several mos. ago there was an article on Counter Punch (I forget the author) claiming that lots of alleged left-wingers were really in the pay of wealthy Dem sources (such as George Soros, e.g.), the goal being to keep genuine discontent w/in the bounds of the Dem Party. I can't remember if Amy was on that list; perhaps not. But yes, there is such a thing as a very wealthy 'Left' in this country, and they aren't too interested in serious alterations in the status quo.

mb

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Red on the Head said...

Dr. MB,

Have you read John Gray’s recent book “The Silence of Animals”? I’ve often heard you say that there is really no hope for the US to turn itself around, but that you do have hope for the human race in general. I’ve always agreed with your statement until Gray’s book recently kicked me in the nether-regions. Irrationality is a constant, and consumerism does seem to spread like a virus wherever it’s tried. Any thoughts on Gray’s work? Just curious!

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

James stated: The Brooklyn Commons has a space available on Nov 22nd from 530 to midnight for a book reading for Dr. B. Cost of renting the space is $200. I`m looking into another more inexpensive option as well.

MB replied to James: Thank you for yr efforts. Truth be told, I've done lots of bkstore rdgs, and never had to pay to do them, so I'm not eager to start now. I suspect this is a lost cause. As I mentioned, I wrote several stores, and none of them had the slightest interest in having me give a talk. I think my time in NY will be devoted to taking care o' business, seeing friends, and doing some serious resarch into deli meats.

What does this say about NY and America? What does it say that you cannot get a single bookstore to reply to your emails about reading a book about important issues of our time? Chris Hedges always tells a story how Marcus Tullius Cicero of Rome was murdered and beheaded so that he could no longer criticize corrupt politicians in the waning days of Rome.

I had a friend who told me the best place to publish a book is China, because you can easily get your books published at a cheaper price (as low as $4,000). He said that to publish in USA without connections to some powerful people is nearly an impossible task. He said that publishing in USA is not about the quality or content of your book; it is not about what you have to say but rather about who you know in powerful positions. Sarah Palin published, but so many educated young people cannot. What does this say about American capitalism and American democracy?

10:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Edward-

I regard it all as part of the decline. I can't get articles published; I can't get readings in bkstores; I'm having to self-publish the pb edn of WAF, as I did my collection of essays (QOV); and so on. A little story: Neil Gordon did a fabulous novel yrs ago, "The Company You Keep." It got rave reviews, and Robt Redford made it into a movie. Yrs later he wrote a sequel to it, and no American publisher wanted it. It's being released by Picador in England, he told me. WTF? You see where America is headed: it's all abt $; there really are no other considerations anymore. I can't get on the radar screen, i.e. be part of the national discussion. It's just not going to happen, and the irony is, that if I *could*, if my books sold more than a few thousand each, it wd be a different country and I probably wdn't have had to write them. The commercial failure of these bks validates their argument!

Red-

I haven't read that particular bk by Gray, but my own historical observation is that somehow, the human race always manages to bounce back--the human spirit prevails, over the long haul. It doesn't necessarily bounce back where it died: the recovery from the decline of Rome took place centuries later, in northern Europe, e.g., and I think recovery from the collapse of America will not take place on American soil. But there is what I called in CTOS (I think it was) a "cosmological urge," which is a love of knowing, of being, of creating. This is why, when you look closely, DAA is finally an optimistic bk: sure, no hope for America (I'm not *that* stupid!), but hope for the human spirit, to be sure. And that's the historical record, Gray or no Gray.
It's why I talk abt Dual Process, post-capitalist formations, eco-sustainable/decentralized/homeostatic cultures, and so on, on this blog. We are at the end of America, but hardly at the end of humanity *tout court*.

mb

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

The source behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) bold claim that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had paid "basically" no taxes for a decade was Jon Huntsman Sr (the father of one of Romney's primary rivals, former Utah governor, Jon Huntsman Jr).

In a July 2012 interview with The Huffington Post, Reid said a Bain Capital investor had told him that the former Massachusetts governor "didn't pay any taxes for 10 years."

"He didn't pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain," Reid said. "But obviously he can't release those tax returns. How would it look?"

Reid stood by the claim throughout the campaign.

While Huntsman Sr. denied to the Washington Post's Greg Sargent that he was behind the tax delinquency rumors, he pressed Romney to release his returns to clear the air.

“I feel very badly that Mitt won’t release his taxes and won’t be fair with the American people,” he said.


Scroll down after reading the article to read the following from a smart poster:

He takes American jobs and sends them to China and other nations.

He takes livable wages in the companies he didn’t mine for their assets and then sell them off leaving shareholders holding the bag and turns well paid jobs into minimum wage jobs.

He took pension funds that belonged to the workers and folded them into profits then closed the companies leaving the federal government pension support fund to replace those pensions.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/jon-huntsman-sr-romney-taxes_n_4184334.html

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Muska said...

Somebody wrote the other day that Senator Dianne Feinstein should be in prison. These people are all traitors:

Just days after expressing outrage over reports of widespread surveillance of foreign leaders by the National Security Agency, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) pushed through the Senate Intelligence Committee on an 11-4 vote a bill that enshrines the bulk collection of Americans' phone call records into law, and expands the agency's authority to track foreign nationals who enter the United States.

The bill, passed on Thursday, is meant to respond to the revelations of leaker Edward Snowden. But critics immediately charged that it does little more than offer a fig leaf for the NSA's controversial surveillance operations.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/senate-bill-nsa_n_4183183.html

11:33 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Dr. B:

On the subject of Kindles and such, there's a good article on the supremacy of paper over the screen in this month's Scientific American:

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: Why Paper Still Beats Screens

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-reading-brain-in-the-digital-age-why-paper-still-beats-screens

All together now: "I knew it!"

11:54 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

MB talked above about his inability to *be part of the national discussion.* I read that as *a* national discussion, for really there is no national discussion going on in the USA.

Over the last ten years during several visits to Europe, I was repeatedly struck by the relative diversity of political, economic, and cultural discussion - you don't have to look hard to find it. When I come back to the Homeland, I find - virtually nothing.

This blog is really an exception for which I am thankful. I just acquired the novel *The Water Thief* by Nicholas Lamar Soutter, mentioned by MB or a Wafer some time ago, and look forward to reading it after finishing Ursula LeGuin's latest collection of short stories, *The Real and the Unreal* Vol. 1.

That's another value of this blog - shedding light on the dark age America by sharing what we know and experience. Thank you Wafers and MB, from a daily lurker.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

You mentioned Peter Berg in an earlier response to Bingo/Julian. Is this *the* Peter Berg of the Diggers of San Francisco in the 1960s? If so, please pardon my ignorance of your inner biography, and, of course, this *is* very cool!

I read a wonderful memoir, "Sleeping Where I Fall" by the actor Peter Coyote that chronicled the Diggers, Peter Berg's life in many ways, and the counterculture in general a number of years ago.

Capo-

You made my Halloween with that singin' Ashcroft video. I wuv it so; can't get it out of my mind! Of course, as the *composer* of many other terrible moments in the history of the US, this one ranks near the top, no?

O&D Wafers, O&D!

Jeff

12:19 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Here is an article about what we've been talking about on the blog, they call it "Liberal Washing"

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/01/how_the_1_percent_always_wins_liberal_washing_is_the_rights_new_favorite_tactic/

From the article:

"Similar to green washing or so-called “gay washing”/“rainbow washing,” liberal washing is all about wrapping corporate America’s agenda in the veneer of fight-for-the-little-guy progressivism, thus portraying plutocrats’ radical rip-off schemes as ideologically moderate efforts to rescue the proles."

12:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Peter and I were friends during the late 70s, and in 1979 mounted a conference called "Listening to the Earth." Participants included Gary Snyder and Murray Bookchin. Peter died last yr, sad to say.

Jack-

Don't lurk; join!

Jesse-

This is why it broke my heart when Mittney lost, besides the fact that the Rudolph Murdoch press cancelled the publication of my 5-vol. "Foundations of the Mittnaic Philosophy." Mittney, I wuv u! Come back, Little Mittney!

mb

1:24 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B and Everyone

If you all do not mind will you please read what I have written called "The Trial of Yours Truly?" I have written a form of a satire and a lampoon of the fall and decline of America. You could say it is an absurdity. Would you all please tell me what you think?

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt244016.html

Jack

I am so glad I found this blog. It is a refreshing change from all of the doltism out there and fall of the fawning of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton's tooshies.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

I don't post Anons. You might wanna pick a handle, try again.

Cube-

tushies.

Rec rdg: Evgeny Morozov, "Only Disconnect," New Yorker, Oct. 28.

mb

3:57 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Berman: "It's why I talk abt Dual Process, post-capitalist formations, eco-sustainable/decentralized/homeostatic cultures, and so on, on this blog. We are at the end of America, but hardly at the end of humanity *tout court*."

But I think the point is that those alternative lifestyles/cultures you talk of lost. Capitalism won and the game is up. I believe you're right that historically speaking, humanity does bounce back, but in 2013 humans possess the technology to obliterate all life on the planet (whether through war or corporate exploitation of natural resources). The juggernaut of industrial capitalism can't be stopped (that much seems clear) and when the US collapses, it's going to take everyone else with it (and this is where Hedges is 100% correct). Most scientists agree that unless humans decide to stop pumping the environment to exhaustion, we're not going to be here for much longer. And at this stage - to borrow one of your favorite expressions - it would be like trying to turn an aircraft carrier around in a bathtub.

I personally subscribe to the Stanley Kubrick worldview that humans have been screwed from the very beginning and that it was bound to come to an end at some point. From my perspective, holding out hope for the future of human civilization is no less fantastical than believing that the US is gonna turn it around. And btw, I think it's a mistake to confuse this with "apocalyptic thinking." There are certain realities - it seems to me - that can no longer be denied.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Bill Rogers said...

Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers--

MB said..
"As for Amy, several mos. ago there was an article on Counter Punch claiming that lots of alleged left-wingers were really in the pay of wealthy Dem sources (such as George Soros, e.g.), the goal being to keep genuine discontent w/in the bounds of the Dem Party..."

Here is the link-

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/15/the-progressive-movement-is-a-pr-front-for-rich-democrats/

Amy Goodman wasn't included on that particular list, but word on the street is that she should have been. Many topics discussed on this blog are verboten on DN.

-Cheers

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers,

I’ve been mulling over Wafer comments on the general numbness (along with the ‘normal’ dumbness) observed among The American People, while reflecting that Americans live in what Eric Fromm would call the ‘having’ (as opposed to ‘being’) mode of existence. I opened my old copy of E.F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” and found the following:

“If human vices such as greed and envy are systematically cultivated, the inevitable result is nothing less than a collapse of intelligence. A person driven by greed or envy loses the power of seeing things as they really are, of seeing things in their roundness and wholeness, and his very successes become failures. If whole societies become infected by these vices, they may indeed achieve astonishing things but they become increasingly incapable of solving the most elementary problems of everyday existence. The Gross National Product may rise rapidly: as measured by statisticians but not as experienced by actual people, who find themselves oppressed by increasing frustration, alienation, insecurity, and so forth. After a while, even the Gross National Product refuses to rise any further, not because of scientific or technological failure, but because of a creeping paralysis of non-cooperation, as expressed in various types of escapism on the part, not only of the oppressed and exploited, but even of highly privileged groups.”

Well there you have it in a nutshell. It’s what you witness not just at a Wal-Mart, shopping mall, or typical American workplace – but in government and on a university campus.

Also, I have a lot of respect for Chris Hedges, but his talk about political ferment among Americans reminds me of Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” where the masses of Kansans, pitchforks in hand, burst into the mansions of the rich shouting, “We’re here to cut your taxes!”.

America’s decline and collapse is about people as well as institutions, and it isn’t just a prediction. It’s happening now, and we’re seeing the results.

David Rosen

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB,

I’m afraid the TechnoBuffoonery disease you so astutely diagnosed across the Land of the Free has now become a vicious global pandemic:

“Parents' cellphone addiction may hinder child development – Swedish study”:

http://rt.com/news/swedish-parents-lose-children-082/


Wafers,

Here's another small step toward that unavoidable American Suez Moment:

"The World's Most Powerful People 2013":

http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2013/10/30/the-worlds-most-powerful-people-2013/

Guess who's in the #1 spot?
Hint: His first name is “Vladimir”.
Second hint: His last name is not “Lenin”.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

As I said, I don' think Amy is gonna have me on her show, but you've given me a gd idea for my turning the tables and interviewing *her*: "So Amy, is it true what they say, that yr just a left-wing thug?"

AS-

I don't think capitalism won. In fact, I think it's disintegrating as we speak. Sure, you cd be rt; but I suspect Dual Process is going on all the time (in Europe esp.), and that there is a farther shore that we might land on. As Mark Strand once put it: "It's not the end of the world; just the end of the world as you know it." I do believe it's Game Over for the US, and that capitalism's run amounts to abt 600 yrs (World Systems Analysis); but I really can't convince myself that this is also the end of history. (Of course, that future cd look bleak, I don't deny that--check out "Riddley Walker," by Russell Hoban--but none of us has a crystal ball.)

mb

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

WAFERS:
I am beginning to lose hope with America. A smart white kid of about 20 years old does not know about Pell Grant, Stafford Loan, and GPA-based scholarship, but he knows that Obama is a communist. I happened to meet the kid from a friend and we started talking. The kid seems quiet and smart. He is in fact smart. But he seems to repeat all the trash from right-wing radio talk shows. I started to think about this boy after he left my sight.

I wish Obama has given us universal healthcare. Most rational thinking people know that universal healthcare is the only best solution for USA, but not for this kid because this kid believes such a thing is socialism and communism.

Consider his situation: this kid thinks college is too expensive for him, he works at a job that pays him $9 per hour, and he has no pension, no medical care, and no plans for the next 10 years of his life. He gets about 70 hours in a two-week pay cycle; he lives in a house with a roommate, and he pays about $400 per month for a room and utilities. He has no cellphone, no home phone, no TV, no PC, no internet, and no future at his job. Yet, he talks about communism and socialism.

Some of us dislike Obama and his spineless policies with passion because the buffoon has no spine to be radical in reshaping a lot of policies to help the working people. But common now, how can this boy understand opinions and propaganda stuffs from hate-mongers like Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, but he recalls nothing from his financial aid counselors from high school?

11:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pauli-

He may never wake up; most Americans don't. They live underwater, with their heads filled w/slogans. This is why 'progressives' are just blowing in the wind. Positive change requires lots of things, but awareness and intelligence are high on the list. We just don't have them, and this is the bedrock reality that I keep pointing to, and which progressives won't admit. In a strange way, they are as much in the dark as this kid.

I remember, during my conversation w/Chris Hedges last April in Vancouver (available on YouTube and archived on this blog), he was talking abt how when he worked for the NYT, he wd get back to his office at the end of the day and his ans. machine was completely filled up--w/venom from Americans screaming he was a traitor and so on. And he basically compared this to the Stockholm syndrome, which I think is correct: that since these people cd do nothing abt their miserable situations, they found a way out (not really) by identifying w/their oppressors, w/the military, and directed their rage instead at the people trying to wake them up, to liberate them. And all of this is true, it seems to me; which means that given the oppty, most Americans wd be only too happy to lynch the folks trying to 'save' them, or trying to fight for constitutionality, due process, the right to not live in a police state or a surveillance state. I'm pretty sure Chris knows this, and frankly, when I listened to that conversation later on, I thought he sounded depressed. As for Amy and lots of others in the left-wing vanguard: I have a feeling they have not yet figured this out. They read books--difficult ones. They talk in complete sentences, and use complex concepts. The masses hate them for reading bks, for being sophisticated. At Zuccotti Park, Mayor Bloomberg had the cops throw the OWS library--more than 5000 bks--into dumpsters. They were only too happy to do this; they see books as their enemy. I mean, when I say we are completely fucked, I'm not blowing smoke, or just striking a pose. The evidence is rt in front of our eyes.

mb

mb

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Cube,

Your writing is very nice, but your satire gives the impression of someone trying to say too much about too many things in too short of a space. For example, I don't think the part about "falsifiability" really fits in this piece. At any rate, it's not exactly a humorous concept(!) so it doesn't quite fit in a satire, and it makes the writing a bit diffuse. Still, I think you have a good mind and good ideas; but I prefer your normal conversational voice to this more allegorical approach.

Greg, Dovidel,

The other thing that is a huge factor in the numbness/alienation of our society, is what Hedges calls the "pornification" of the culture. I give Hedges great credit for having the courage to take this on, as most on the Left have a tendency to celebrate porn as simply a matter of "choice." But in my opinion, nothing has a greater ability to coarsen the soul, or debase a culture than the kind of intensive exposure to porn that most Americans have. As Hedges also points out, the influence of porn on our society's manners, morals and entertainment is ubiquitous. (As a conservative estimate, I would say that 8 out of 10 of my former Jr. High boys were exposed to porn for at least six hours per week. Which is chilling, but quite in line with the statistics that Hedges cites in "Empire of Illusion".) For some reason, however, most people don't seem to be aware--or simply don't care about--the damage this is causing.

It really is the biggest story of the last twenty years, and yet it's so mainstreamed now, that to even criticize it is seen as fuddy-duddy moralizing. What a shame, though, as it is one of the most potent forces for disenchantment in today's world.

2:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

TV rec: The series called "House of Cards." Pretty gd portrait of the USA today.

mb

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Constable Jones said...

"I'm doing a lecture at Wash & Lee U. in 2.5 wks, and if they video the thing, I'll post the link here. If not, I'll just post the text."

Very good. But if they do a Q&A can you please ask them to use mics for the questions OR repeat their question before answering? Gracias.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Constable-

Gd pt, I'll try, but u hafta remember that I'm practically senile at this pt and my memory is largely gone. These days I can't even remember what I had for breakfast, unless it was pastrami.

Meanwhile: are these events running at abt 1 a wk now?:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/02/us/lax-gunfire/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

mb

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Here's a typical day at my elementary school. A teacher told his class that "forget" is a compound word. Another teacher read the word cholera pronouncing the "ch" as in church, while a third teacher had her class underline the verb in the sentence "Me and my friend went to the movies." In addition, the music teacher never heard of Stephen Sondheim! I mean might as well have students take standardized tests all day since they're not learning anything from their teachers.
Doctor, any chance we can cross paths in NYC?

10:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Write me at mauricio@morrisberman.com.

mb

11:18 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Dear Wafmen, and AS in particular:

I personally subscribe to the Stanley Kubrick worldview that humans have been screwed from the very beginning and that it was bound to come to an end at some point.

Why should our fate be different from the dinosaurs or that of any other species?

As the great philosopher Clint Eastwood said, probably because he was reading "The Death of Ivan Ilych" between scenes, "We've all got it coming, kid."

11:34 AM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Megan,
What you (and Hedges) are saying seems very truthful – that, of all the compulsive, addictive ways we try to make ourselves feel “better” (numbing ourselves while also getting some sense of aliveness) in our society, pornography in particular is often passed off, or totally ignored, as a harmless – or even healthy – form of pleasure-seeking even though, in actuality, it’s got to be right up there on the list of things that have the most corrosive, soul-rotting, depersonalizing effects on us and on society as a whole.

Which makes it yet another ubiquitous, highly destructive force that I’d put in the category of things-we’d-have-virtually-no-interest-in-and-would-even-find-repulsive-if-we-were-allowed-to-retain-our-natural-full-feeling-capacity. It’s a pretty big category.

Thinking about all this just makes me sad…the extent to which our way of life offers us so many ways to utterly degrade ourselves – and even actively promotes them as “yeay – freedom!!” And how, once we let ourselves get sucked in, it’s so hard to get out or even to clearly see what we’ve been sucked in to and how nasty it is. It’s sad and sickening.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Good article by Naomi Klein:

But the bottom line was clear enough: global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that “earth-human systems” are becoming dangerously unstable in response. When pressed by a journalist for a clear answer on the “are we f**ked” question, Werner set the jargon aside and replied, “More or less."

There was one dynamic in the model, however, that offered some hope. Werner termed it “resistance” – movements of “people or groups of people” who “adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture”. According to the abstract for his presentation, this includes “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups”.

Serious scientific gatherings don’t usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage. But then again, Werner wasn’t exactly calling for those things. He was merely observing that mass uprisings of people – along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street – represent the likeliest source of “friction” to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control.


http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/29-4

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Megan,

I agree with you and Chris Hedges that porn in today’s capitalist societies must have a negative impact on people and on society in general. Commodification of human beings is one of capitalism’s greatest sins, and porn has to be one of the grossest forms it takes, especially when children and adolescents are exposed to it. What better way to teach young people to regard other people as resources to be used?

Moreover, there has always been a tremendous amount of misogyny in Western society, and porn tends to reinforce it.

I remember, many years ago, when my twenty-year-old daughter showed me a Playboy centerfold and asked me what I thought of it. I said, “I see a slender woman with gargantuan mammaries. And that doesn’t happen in nature!” And it’s not just in porn. Advertising in general seems to make atypical women into the standard. Look at the covers of magazines – health, fitness, fashion, whatever. The majority of real women will never look like that, and if they do it will only be for a few years.

This has to make many women feel insecure and dissatisfied with themselves in some way, and it leaves many men wondering why they don’t have a partner like that. Of course for the advertising industry, it’s great. Chronically dissatisfied people tend to compensate by buying more products.

The solution is not more control over people, especially in America with its Puritan origins – the solution is a decent culture and society. I’m all for freedom and choice – but remember freedom is a test. What you choose tells us who and what you are. With all the porn, drug addiction, violence, consumerism, etc., which is really all addictive behavior, the Great American People are certainly flunking rather badly.

David Rosen

9:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

As far as our elected representatives go, this just abt says it all:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/29-3

mb

10:22 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Megan

Well, It's not going to win a Pulitzer. Do you know what though? You're one of the few people who give solid constructive feedback. I wish more people did this. This is what happens in America. Either they will tell me to screw off or they will completely lie to my face and say it is top-notch when I know they're lying to me to spare me my feelings. My mother is a book reviewer she says I do the classic mistake novice writers do. They say to much and they cram to much into their writings. For me, writing that was a way of just releasing negative energy I had pent up. Turkey Sandwiches help as well.

Dr. B,

I am still reading Dark Ages America and it rings really true. We as a people have isolated ourselves even in our own neighborhoods. No wonder I am Canterizing things and wanting to order 2 beers in Japanese. lol. It explains a lot. Humans are social beings and meant to be interconnected with each other. This Americanized lifestyle is not good and soul sucking.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And more on Douche Bag Nation and the destruction of the young:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/28-7

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cube-

Unfortunately, I don't know how to say 'turkey' in Japanese. But if you want to order only 1 bottle of beer, it's "Biru, i-pon, onegai shimas." Hope that helps. (I'm wondering if pastrami is pastlami, usually served w/a side order of chopped river. The song "Moon River," on the other hand, is probably rendered as "Moon Liver," which is simply too weird, as I'm sure you agree.)BTW, "Canterizing" means converting things to Canter's Deli in LA, whereas "Cantorizing" means sorting things into various categories of infinity. In general I feel the 1st is good and the 2nd detrimental. It's possible that if Georg Cantor had done more Canterizing, and less Cantorizing, he wdn't have wound up in the bughouse.

You give me lots to think abt, clearly.

mb

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Cube,

My very honest opinion is that you are interesting and likable, and that your writing really is good. Most people can't put sentences together on the page, Cube, and you do that quite well. My criticism was directed mainly at the satire aspect. I would only add that when writing to a presumably educated audience, you don't need to explain "falsifiability". Even if they haven't actually read Popper, it's safe to assume that they already understand the concept, so you don't need to beat them over the head with it!

Greg, Dovidel,

Yes, porn is increasingly the great dark underbelly of American life. In a very real sense, it has become the new opium of the people. What worries me the most, however, is that the target audience for porn is the age group of 12 to 18 years. So even to talk about "choice" when it comes to 13 year-old boys with smart phones is absurd. There's no choice there--only biology. And biology will always win.

Also, as you point out, porn has become nothing but sadism, objectification, dehumanization, sexism, etc., so it amazes me that not many people are seeing this for what it is. But imagine the effects that viewing this for years and years must have on the adolescent psyche! Goodness, and people wonder where all our empathy is going?

Moreover, the real secret to Eros, poetry, and cultural elevation, is a damming up of the passions. As Nietzsche often pointed out, restraint is the vital force behind all high civilizations, whereas overindulgence is one of the primary reasons for our own physical, spiritual, and cultural impotence.

And, incidentally, I would add that it's only through restraint and sublimation that we get super nifty stuff like the following: (unimaginable in a pornified, coarsened culture like own.)

http://youtu.be/VuHGu7S-WWM

1:41 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Attention Wafers:

Be sure to check out front page of today's online NYT. There is a pic of Bush Jr. that is abs priceless: I don't think I've ever seen such a stupid face in my entire life. Appropriate, that he captured the minds and hearts of so many Americans!

mb

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Dr B, this one is for you.

A writer named Philip Caputo wrote a book titled “The Longest Road”
He was interviewed by MSNBC about how he wrote the book. He decided to travel from Florida to Alaska to ask the question: What keeps U.S. together? According to Philip Caputo, it is the word “hope” that unites U.S. together and hope stands for American dream.

“The American dream is hope”, says Philip Caputo.

He concludes by stating that hope keeps us together and hope is the American dream.

I thought WAFERS should consider this man’s play on words.

If hope is hustling (since hope is the American dream and since the American dream is hustling), then what unites U.S. together is money or material things. Remove money and you destroy America!

This is why the country is now falling apart. Some people have decided to take all the money for themselves.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

You have giving me lots to think about as well. I think I am beginning to see a pattern emerging. What if beliefs have different dimensions to them and each dimension has varying shades? What if some societies and some individuals can go to the extremes of these different dimensions? Maybe the problem with some societies and some individuals take some things to extremes.

Maybe this is what happened to Cantor and this is what happened to America. Cantor became wrapped up to much in mathematics and infinity at the detriment of other things. America has taken the idea of profit and business to an extreme level to America's own detriment.

Have you read Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels? It is a satire as to what can happen if things are taken to extremes and he was satirizing England at the time.

What we all need is a balance of these extremes. Take for example Canterizing VS. Cantorizing. Both can be taken to far and have to be balanced. Like you said, maybe Cantor should've Canterized more. He would need to balance that out with exercise.

Megan

You said "I would only add that when writing to a presumably educated audience, you don't need to explain "falsifiability"."

I do appreciate what you have said. I did not know this until you pointed it out

You said "Even if they haven't actually read Popper, it's safe to assume that they already understand the concept, so you don't need to beat them over the head with it!"

Pardon my ignorance, but I do not grasp what you're saying here. Even if a person is educated how would they be able to understand the concept without reading about the concept first or conceptualizing it first?

I looked at the YouTube video you posted. Vanessa Wills is a very talented artist. Her paintings capture a certain depth to them. They seem so vivid and so real almost like she was able to peer into reality's essence and soul. I wish I could put this into logical terms but it is very difficult. The words, the realness, the depth is beyond any logical reasoning I can convey.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

I don't know if more evidence needs to be piled on but this should give everyone a laugh.

http://www.thinkatheist.com/profiles/blogs/bill-nye-bood-in-texas-for?fb_action_ids=10202377247655538&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210202377247655538%22%3A10150215830605299%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210202377247655538%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

11:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cube-

Remember to post only once every 24 hrs, thanks. Meanwhile, I suspect I'm probably over-Canterized.

mb

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

Senator Rand Paul is getting deeper and deeper into plagiarism mess. Today, he defended himself like a cowboy:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) fired back Sunday against accusations that he plagiarized portions of his speeches from Wikipedia articles, musing "if dueling were legal in Kentucky" he could "challenge" the charges.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/03/rand-paul-plagiarism_n_4208469.html

In the past, he acknowledged that some ideas were borrowed without proper references:

“In the course of a 25 minute speech, Senator Paul described the plot of a movie attributed it to the primary sources -- the movie -- in no way insinuating they were his own thoughts or ideas," his office said in a statement to BuzzFeed. "If the text had been submitted for academic publication, of course it would have been footnoted. Only in Washington is something this trivial a source for liberal media angst.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/rand-paul-gattaca_n_4182334.html

What is going on with American education because Rand Paul is a medical doctor and he has many paid staff members to do research for him? Imagine being paid well to write simple speeches. What is happening to America? Is everyone a dolt, including trained doctors?

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB/Wafers.

If the word is hope--well abandon all hope ye Americans. Not a helpful cultural fulcrum hope.

I am baffled and need help. Had lunch with a fellow in new york. He has two kids, one just finished college at Dartmouth the other boy a Freshman at Rochester. Both attended an exclusive day school (a.k.a expensive). He was all smiles when telling me his kids did not learn cursive (a.k.a handwriting). Having been a professor some 10 years ago I was gobsmaked. Apparently, they (students) do not write notes and either passively take powerpoints, outlines or type in class. This must assume several things....that electronic devices will always be available, that handwriting is not viewed as important or at least a crucial back up if and when you find yourself in a meeting with no electronics and pen and legal pad, what are they teaching in the stead of penmanship/handwriting in the schools.

Help me understand this. It seems totally insane, particulary in light of seeing my grandkids in Yeshiva and Waldorf busily perfecting their handwriting a true alien world awaits my little angels.

MB--there is first rate cafe on Durango by the Casona. Best capucino in the western world.....

12:33 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

David Rosen said, "Chronically dissatisfied people tend to compensate by buying more products."

That's post it material. Here's another that one might want to keep at the ready as a response for those typical American banalities:

Oh look a flying fuck. It escaped before I could give it.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

@ Jesse - it should be noted that Phillip Caputo was one of the very few American officers ever court marshaled for war crimes during the Vietnam War. He was exonerated.

Just how screwed is America? The public twiddles on its iPhones contentedly disregarding the fact that we have gone from a president who ordered the invasion of Iraq because he wanted to "kick some ass," to a president who brags about how "good" he is at killing people with drone missiles. Frankly, I'm not sure which one of the two assholes is more repellent.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/last-president-obama-reportedly-told-024401509.html

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

This is a good interview with Robert McChesney, author of a book titled "Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy."

http://c-realmpodcast.podomatic.com/entry/2013-10-23T11_26_38-07_00

All interesting - and, of course, not a chance of his "prescriptions" happening - but the really interesting section is around the 29 min. mark with the following section (and he gives some examples):

"You see a lot of work on how the Internet…changes the way our brains work…because we’re moving from screen to screen, we can’t concentrate as long, our literary skills are declining, and our…ability to think imaginatively and critically declines as well as Carr ["The Shallows"] points out and oftentimes in almost all these books…these are just technological dangers, something in the technology is doing this, and that the argument that I make is that in fact we oftentimes confuse technological changes for changes in the technology that are commercially driven.…But the broader point is that a lot of the stuff that’s described as technology really reflects commercial pressures and in a less commercial environment the technology would act differently."

5:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dude-

These presidents are almost as sick and disgusting at the folks who voted for them.

mb

6:46 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

A note on health care and "health" in the USA, and Ivan Illich:

WAFers and Prof. Berman: I highly recommend Ivan Illich's Medical Nemesis. It was written in the mid-1970's, but is even more apt today!

His claim, to simplify a dense book, is that modern medicine is not just a failure, it is destructive of human health. It destroys the ability, desire, and knowledge of individuals, families, and cultures necessary to self-heal, accept suffering and mortality, and to produce a society that is conducive to health. In other words, it's way more (and worse) than just doctors removing the wrong kidney once in a while.

He states that whole cultures can become unhealthy producers of illness. That must explain why I am still shocked at the horrible physiques, complexions, psychological states, and obvious decrepitude at early ages I see when I leave my "enclave" of Whole Foods eating, techno-industry yuppies. Americans are becoming more bloated and poisoned each year by the GMOs, preservatives, toxins, and junk food.

The question is, why? I know that the corporate purveyors of these poisons are happy, but don't they know they are killing their customers?

Even a lot of people I know refuse to buy local, organic, more healthful food when they can, due to cost. Yet they buy iPhones, Priuses, and big screen TVs.

I wonder of previous civilizations that collapses also experienced a similar destruction of the health of the populace, or if this is a new thing caused by modern technology and marketing and big ag, etc.

I'm feeling kind of down today, feeling trapped.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Hard to feel up when yr living among dolts.

One theory abt fall of Rome was that lead in aqueducts poisoned the populace, along w/lead utensils. I dunno if this is true.

I also read somewhere that iatrogenic disease is now the #1 killer in America, but I dunno if that is true either.

Meanwhile, contemplate this from Dogen (13C):

"Having received a human life, do not waste the passing moments....Human life is like a flash of lightning, transient and illusory, gone in a moment."

mb

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Publius,

Thanks for the book recommendation--that looks like a fascinating read!

Cube,

Just remember that intelligent and educated people will understand scientific, literary or classical allusions simply as a matter of course. If they don't, let them work a little on their own! Besides, these "pedagogical digressions" (i.e.,explaining "falsifiability", etc.)have no more place in satire, than a conversation about the Kantian categorical imperative has in the middle of a good sexual experience. In other words, it spoils all the fun!

Glad you liked the Youtube video. I posted it primarily for the nice reading of Keat's love-letters, but you're right, the artwork was exquisite as well. At any rate, I thought it was a good example of "sexuality" (speaking of sex!) before it be became demystified, objectified, commodified, and dehumanized by the porn culture. Alas, the current American attitude towards sex is now perfectly typified by the odious character "Zoe Barnes" (from Dr. Berman's "House of Cards"--an excellent but repulsive series!)That is to say, a cold, selfish, impersonal transaction, devoid of any trace of tenderness or human feeling.

Yeah, it's tough having been born in the wrong century!

2:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"Universal" health care in the US: a closer look:

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/19692-obamacare-the-biggest-insurance-scam-in-history

7:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Muted-

Oops! 1000 apologies: when I saw yr name, I just assumed you were sending in another diatribe, wh/was most unfair of me. If your message was a non-Attitude, serious critique, pls resend, and I'll post/reply accordingly. I'm really sorry; it's just that I get so many troll attacks, it gets kind of exhausting.

Thank you for yr understanding-

mb

9:13 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

WAFers: Here is Margaret Atwood's review of that book I mentioned earlier, lucky for you she is a better writer than I am!

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/nov/21/eggers-circle-when-privacy-is-theft/?pagination=false

Pub:

Sorry our schedules haven't worked out to hang out in the bar with no TVs and speak of the world's end. Sometime it'll will all work out. But regarding feeling down, I highly recommend a media fast (except the newspaper) and a long slow hike here (the link is a PDF):

http://tinyurl.com/mp6v2yd

I recommend parking at the DNR landing under the 77 bridge. Once you get away from the traffic noise you'll find anxiety fading away and you will also find yourself not caring whether or not your acquaintances eat fast-food in their Prius. What difference does that make to you? This is what I meant about "resignation" earlier.

Read up on some Sea Gypsy and look forward to the day you can get out!

http://theseagypsyphilosopher.blogspot.com/2013/10/enslaved-by-our-stuff.html


9:42 AM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Megan,
As per Himanshu’s recent article link (post #198?), please don’t base your views of what constitutes normal biology or psychology on modern, westernized peoples. I’ll bet most 12-18 year old hunter-gatherer boys would look at porn for a few minutes, make a couple obscene jokes, then lose all interest in it and head off to do something more engaging (which could very possibly include having truly natural, non-demystified sex). Not having an unnatural void of emptiness and unmet need, they would have no use for porn – and those images wouldn’t sear themselves into their young minds the way they do into the minds of our unbalanced, unnatural youth, creating intense, dehumanizing addiction.

The issue here might be: natural limits. In our natural state – which to me just means not having any blockages to/disconnection from our full feeling capacity (not necessarily being a hunter-gatherer), we’re wonderfully self-limiting. When we can feel that something is unbalanced, unhealthy, unnatural, overly disruptive of relational/ecological harmony, and so on, we tend to shy away from it. But once we develop blockages to feeling, we become disconnected from our innate self-limiting tendencies. Thus, pornography, credit default swaps, fracking, junk food, CEO compensation, the NSA, modern warfare, strip malls, school shootings, you name it. No healthy limits.

This is opposite how most modern people view hunter-gatherers (and nature/feeling in general) – i.e., as “savages.” Modern people think that, because h-g’s were uninhibited in feeling, they must’ve been the ones with no limits. We fail to see that “uninhibited feeling” is the basis of (healthy) limits, not its absence. So from this point of view, the sublimation you talk about (intentional damming of passions) is actually a kind of elaboration of our h-g heritage of self-limitation. In its full, h-g form, this “sublimation” is so balanced and integrated with all aspects of the personality as to be virtually invisible (to most modern westerners anyways – which is another reason we think of h-g’s as “savages”). This isn’t sublimation as we think of it now – it doesn’t produce high art, as in your video – which I agree is truly nifty; but it also doesn’t produce any neuroticism. Not saying h-g life is the “ideal” way of life; but any damming of passions must rest on a foundation of unblocked feeling in order for it to be healthy. Otherwise, it will always contain the seed of disintegration/mental illness/addiction/etc. It will produce works of exquisite beauty and refinement – but also kitch, cheap commercialism, and porn, which will take over and dominate in time, as they now have.

I’m grossly oversimplifying a hugely complex topic here for the sake of brevity. Dr. B’s CTOS and WG deals with these things in very insightful ways – and I’m wondering if his study of Japanese craft traditions will offer a healthier model of sublimation than we have in the modern west?

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B, the following story on Obamacare goes together with the link you provided (Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History):

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115457/obamacare-victim-florida-happy-she-can-get-real-coverage

Notice one critical thing from the story: everyone is doing their best to confuse the American public; no person knows what is real and what is fake from Obama.

I feel sorry for the American people sometimes because the power, greed, and lies behind policy making in USA are too much for any mortal to fight. There is no way USA will ever get "universal" healthcare - it will mean a second civil war in America.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Karl said...

Thanks for answering my question about Death of a Salesman, I was interested on your take. Reading your blog about the man who worked in advertising breakfast cereal reminded me of it as an example of people recognizing the destructive effect of our culture.

Today I sat through over an hour of a live Microsoft commercial (the live event was on stage in Barcelona)

And what I noticed was the super-fakeness of the entire affair. Cutaways to the fake anchor desk at 'Microsoft studios', who then cuts to a fake reporter, who says "people are really pumped up here" cut to live shots of people at their offices cheering on Microsoft.

Anyway, it illustrated a lot of the things you and others have written about business culture.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

Apologies for the oversight.

I will move towards the canterizing direction and see what happens. I have been to Canter's Deli in Vegas. They make awesome sandwiches and they put a lot of meat on the sandwiches.

Rand Paul's defense as I understand it was that it was only plagiarism if it was done in an academic environment, am I correct? What I do not grasp is how he would derive that plagiarism is constrained by venue or institution? What are the premises that lead to his conclusion? Another thing I do not grasp is why didn't anyone follow up and ask him what his premises were and his underlying assumptions were? There is no analysis of a person's reasoning whatsoever.

Megan

I understand what you're saying especially about a good sexual experience and the Kantian categorical imperative. It would not work for me either. It is like putting spaghetti sauce on ice cream. You said "If they don't, let them work a little on their own." Believe me, I have had to do this.

You know I wish I could do art but the most I can draw is stick figures. It is a talent that unfortunately I was never born with. Out of curiosity what is your NMI activity that you're doing or you wish to do?

1:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Karl-

I've witnessed tons of that crap; American business civ is drowning in it. I remember one workshop in Philly I had to attend yrs ago where the content was near zero-- pathetic in the extreme--and the speaker got a standing ovation. It may have been at that moment that I realized the country was doomed, I dunno. (My boss, who forced me to attend this thing, apologized to me in a whisper at the end of it; but he and I were the only folks aghast at the workshop while more than 100 buffoons were on their feet, applauding wildly.) Power Point and related stuff is such dogshit--a mask for absence of content, really. If u wanna see how this works in Big Pharma, check out the film "Love and Other Drugs." Another gd X-ray of America, I think.

Greg-

Re: the Japan bk: stay tuned; it's like giving birth to a rhino.

mb

2:27 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Love this stuff dept.:

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/crime/2013/11/03/nr-vo-gas-station-man-sets-woman-on-fire.cnn.html

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2013/11/04/dnt-kkk-halloween-costume-controversy.whsv.html

Jeff

3:37 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Here you go Cube, a great artist who specialised in matchstick men (usually industrial and working class), and matchstick cats and dogs, L.S. Lowry:

http://www.easyart.com/art-prints/artists/L-S-Lowry-2836.html?affiliate_id=309&keyword=lowry&gclid=CLi5_KOBzLoCFWbMtAodwXYACA

My favourite of these is 'Man Lying on a Wall', it could almost be a Banksy.

http://www.easyart.com/canvas-prints/L-S-Lowry/Man-Lying-On-A-Wall%2C-1957-431355.html

3:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, further on the process of militarizing the country, we have this (I expect drones to eventually be used for rectal exams):

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/03/business/meet-your-friendly-neighborhood-drones/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

And in the Full-Blown Dementia Dept., this (Isn't he adorable?!):

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2013/11/04/dnt-kkk-halloween-costume-controversy.whsv&hpt=hp_c3&from_homepage=yes&video_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F%3Fhpt%3Dsitenav#/video/us/2013/11/04/dnt-kkk-halloween-costume-controversy.whsv

And when I say the country is going down the toilet, people laugh! Yes, they laugh!

mb

5:08 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

"25 Signs That America Is A Seething Cesspool Of Filth And Corruption"

http://tinyurl.com/ckfh52j

Dunno about the rest of this site; maybe the very existence of this site is Item #26? As MB notes, if revolution comes to America, it will come from the right-wing.

There isn't a Post-It big enuf to hold "u are living in a seething cesspool of filth and corruption among sadists, psychos, crooks, hustlers, con men and con women, and dolts" unless u write really small.

"Mo's Inspirational Post-Its." A book Americans can read. This cld be the follow-up to the rhino. (I kid.)

7:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sanc-

Thanks for the link. I thought #3 was particularly charming. This idea of a post-it bk is not totally w/o merit...

mb

7:24 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

Dr. B said: "I also read somewhere that iatrogenic disease is now the #1 killer in America, but I dunno if that is true either."

According to this article it is 3rd, but is also likely underreported:

http://www.yourmedicaldetective.com/public/335.cfm

As a personal aside, I owe the American medical establishment a great deal of gratitude in that my cancer treatments have been so successful to date that I've gone from being told my life expectancy was merely 11 months back in February to where it is now open ended again. Of course, the cost of the treatments have been about $300K to date (and rising--thank goodness I have good insurance), and I, too, at one point suffered a post operative infection that laid me up in the hospital for four days feeling far worse than the cancer, chemotherapy or the radiation treatments have so far managed to do.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dude-

Congratulations! I'm sure I speak for everyone on this blog when I say that we are glad we shall have u with us indefinitely.

mb

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Vito Corleone said...

If one of the readers paid for the $200 fee required to do a reading at the Brooklyn Commons, would you show up?

11:16 PM  
Anonymous kyle said...

It seems American life is getting harder to differentiate between satire and reality. Just look at the drone article you posted. A picture of a cat attached to a drone is followed by a drone carrying a pizza. That isn't an article from The Onion? What the fuck?

Christopher Lasch pointed out this bizarre phenomenon in The Culture of Narcissism. The only quote I distinctly remember from that book: "As in other times of absurdity, satire is often indistinguishable from reality". He was referring to his analysis of the degenerating state of college education in which students go to college and graduate without acceptable writing and reading skills. The quote rings true now more than ever.

Just this weekend I was riding the public transportation system at my college to go to my friend's Halloween party. The entire bus chanted/screamed "USA!USA!USA!" for the full length of the bus ride. Obviously, anyone with a functioning brain would find this annoying and ridiculous. After about three minutes of the chanting I mentioned to the person sitting across from me how annoying and loud everyone was being. His response, given in a serious manner, with not a hint of sarcasm: "You don't love your country?"

You are right that the U.S. is going down the tubes. Still, you're being naively optimistic when you say things like "imagine this place in twenty years". The U.S. is on its last legs right now. I give it five years tops until some major catastrophe hits and dissipates the country into what Chris Hedges predicts will be a collection of totalitarian feudal polities owned by despotic oligarchs.

I'm glad I found your blog. Now I have extra incentive to finish my degree and skip town before it is too late. After college I'm going to visit Mexico, Canada, and some parts of Europe to get a feel for where I am going to move. Any suggestions on where to visit in Mexico?

1:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kyle-

When people feel the need to do that, u know it's over. But I do see a slow rather than fast death. Capitalism still has a lot of muscle to it, even as it's disintegrating. Try Merida.

Vito-

That's very kind of you, thanks. However, I don't think it's right for places like that to be charging artists and writers for the use of a performance space; it seems kinda shabby. Meanwhile, I note that they are hosting a course called "Withdrawing from the Community of Money." Neat.

mb

4:14 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Dude,

Congratulations on your positive results. And remember, "indefinite life expectancy" is the best that can be said for any of us!

Cube,

I'm terrible at drawing as well! I'm not sure about my "NMI activity", but I tutor some neighborhood kids, write poetry, and generally try to get through life with as little pain as possible! (I'm pretty good at the first, okay at the second, and rather inept at the latter!)

Greg,

Your comments are very astute, and I agree with pretty much everything you said. In a way, though, the old Freudian "repression/sublimation mechanism" has become a rather quaint and dated paradigm. Indeed, American mass culture is perfectly happy to see us fulfill our every wish and desire--shopping, sex, constant entertainment, etc.--so long as those wishes and desires don't include the need to be a non-commodified, autonomous individual!

To be sure, it's really no longer so much a battle between the Superego and the Id, as it is a battle between the exterminating/dehumanizing forces of mass culture, and the very concept "selfhood." Porn is simply the most egregious example of this, because it represents an attempt to colonize and commodify what should be the most personal and private aspect of our lives.

I could go on for pages, but I don't want to monopolize the blog! I do appreciate your very thoughtful response, however. These issues are well worth thinking about.

4:23 AM  

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