November 05, 2013

200

Well, Wafers: We did it! 7.5 years after this world-changing blog was launched, we reached the 200th post. They laughed; they said It couldn't be done; but we did it. Like the Wright Bros. at Kitty Hawk, we soared, a kind of mental drone, revealing the disintegration of the American empire, for all to see. They quaked in their boots, the DoD, NSA, NYSE, FBI, CIA, and the W.H., for they knew that Belman and the Wafers (sounds like a fifies rock band, like Danny and the Juniors--be sure to Google them; I remember at Cornell when I was a freshman, there was a group called Pontius Pilate and the Nail-Drivin' Five, which many of us thought was a tad out of taste, but you gotta understand the climate of the times) had their number, and that the jig was up.

Still, even way back in 2006, who could have predicted the depth, the intensity, of the Cranial-Rectal Embedment (CRE) that would come to be everyday fare in this fair land of ours? Could we have imagined this?:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/4/abraham-lincoln-democrat-northeastern-illinois/

Or this?:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/05/us-usa-shooting-newjersey-idUSBRE9A403W20131105

It's things such as these that inspire us Wafers to renewed efforts, and new heights. So I say to you all: Onward to the next 200 posts! What awaits us 7.5 years hence, God only knows.

187 Comments:

Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. Mb and fellow WAFers:

Today, I bring your attention to a NYT article by Dr. Mark Rank titled "Poverty in America is Mainstream".
Extensively quoting because the article is paywalled, Dr. Rank, " Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of the population that directly encounters poverty is exceedingly high. My research indicates that nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line..... if we add in related conditions like welfare use, near-poverty and unemployment, four out of five Americans will encounter one or more of these events.....

In addition, half of all American children will at some point during their childhood reside in a household that uses food stamps for a period of time....

Put simply, poverty is a mainstream event experienced by a majority of Americans. For most of us, the question is not whether we will experience poverty, but when.....Contrary to political rhetoric, the American social safety net is extremely weak and filled with gaping holes. Furthermore, it has become even weaker over the past 40 years because of various welfare reform and budget cutting measures....

We currently expend among the fewest resources within the industrialized countries in terms of pulling families out of poverty and protecting them from falling into it."

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/02/poverty-in-america-is-mainstream/?src=me&ref=general

America is becoming a Third World country... a very few rich people and most people struggling to survive. What would Jesus say? or Do?

6:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trout-

I dunno abt Jesus, but I do know what the Roman Empire did in a similar situation: nothing.

mb

ps: US distribution of wealth is now on a par w/Mexico, Egypt, and Tunisia.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"What awaits us 7.5 years from now, God only knows."

Though he was writing about the threat represented by the Cold War and nuclear weapons, perhaps a line from one of the era's leading commentators might not be inappropriate as a response:

"We will all go together when we go..."

[From the song "We Will All Go Together When We Go" by Tom Lehrer. A fellow who called 'em as he saw 'em. Someone who would be of interest to WAFERs, I believe.]

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Trout and B, the answer to poverty question lies in the following article: when you have a major political party with lawmakers who cannot THINK serious thoughts of their own, what do you expect?

Add to that: when the same lawmakers have medical degree and STILL cannot THINK original, creative THOUGHTS, then you know that the nation's time is up.

When a college dropout like Sarah Palin makes millions of dollars from writing books while medical doctors have fried brain cells, then you know we are finished:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/05/rand-paul-plagiarized-op-ed_n_4216047.html

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Hi "WAFers",

Was reading over old posts and found this debate a couple months back over this Orlov post regarding 'feminism':

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2013/06/communities-that-abide-preamble.html


I would react against this, as it seems like most WAFers did do on this forum...but it worried me when I realized, as a woman, I then have nothing to put in its place.

What are some recent books or writers that any man or woman WAFers have read on the subject more or less of being a woman "WAFer" in America?

Psychological/psychoanalytical/sociological...anything...

I've just realized I have a pretty big deficit on the bookshelf of pragmatic writers that are writing either about a real-life feminism (that could help address the article I've posted)and that isn't self-help, goddess-based (not that that subject is completely off) or just highly 'post-modern' and blindly angry.

Just very interested in procuring my condition, have read many other WAFer and Dr. B citations on here...all have been helpful, so keep it up!

Mary Beth

9:49 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Fellow WAFers:

I believe this is the embodiment of what we're talking about. http://stevecorona.com/college-was-my-biggest-mistake

I don't even know what to say to this. I am stunned and speechless.

Another time I felt like this was when I had to set up computers at different schools. It was when I saw in the teacher's classroom this quote on a poster. It said "Your attitude was more important than the facts." The guy who said this quote was named Charles Swindoll.

With WAFerism, I feel like I found my cultural home which is completely opposite of Americanism.

I am about to give everyone an inside scoop about American hustling.

I can tell you that hustlers don't lie per se or commit fraud even though some do. Those are the ones who go to prison. An excellent hustler does not do this. They do a lot of exaggerating and they promote themselves as more than they really are. They will use exaggerated terms to make themselves seem more important than they really are. For example, let's say we buy a lot of things at the grocery store to help the needy.

Instead of saying that that one bought everything at Wal-Mart or Kroger they will say they obtained the stuff from one of our warehouse distributors. It is a form of deception which is accepted in America. If you do not do this in business you're not taken seriously. I know this from doing a non-profit with my SO.

My SO is excellent at playing this game. At a lot of the social events and functions it looks like everyone is having a good time and cultivating deep and meaningful friendships but I can assure this is not the case. What is really happening behind the scenes is a social chessboard. People are calculating their hustling-based moves to make. I have observed my SO in action, listened to my SO speak on the phone, listened to her venting at me and other issues.

Speaking of Jesus, if we went by what Jesus actually said in the bible and not what the Christian Fundies promote about him today our American culture is everything Jesus is against. Not only is America anti-intellectual and pro hustling it is anti-life and anti-God. If one was to follow the two greatest commandants set forth by Jesus this country would not be a viable place to do that.

It is like a city that looks like it was built purely of gold but when examined closer the gold is really pyrite or fool's gold. America is the wolf in sheep's clothing

10:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mary Beth-

She's not officially a Waferette, but wd always be welcome here: Barbara Ehrenreich. All of her bks are fab, and describe America as it is. I do wish, however, that some Waferette would write a bk w/a title like "I Was a Waferette for the CIA," or even "I Was a Waferette for Christ," "True Confessions of a Waferette," "I Led Three Lives: Mother, Spy, Waferette." Etc.

mb

11:01 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Mary:

For one, try: http://carolynbaker.net/

Women are also a huge part of the self-sufficiency/homesteading scene, see these:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3445983-depletion-and-abundance

http://www.amazon.com/Homegrown-Handmade-Practical-Self-Reliant-Living/dp/0865717028/ref=pd_sim_b_50

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6306050-the-backyard-homestead

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7560659-radical-homemakers

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6503517-homesteading

11:18 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

I watched Blackfish last night, I recommend it. Sad evidence of our ability to delude ourselves. The justifications of the former trainers are so thin as to be laughable, not that I doubt their truthfulness. A Seaworld defender gives a powerful example near the end of the reasoning that enables capitalism...

11:18 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nu-uA1TAVw

Check out Shep at the :53 mark.

Pilate And The Nail Biters live in another carnation!

_________________________


In Dr. Maestro Belman's epistol No.199 is this quote.

“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 am currently re-reading Michael Parenti’s, "The Assassination Of Julius Caesar. A People’s History of Ancient Rome”, and he reports a completely different story.

First of all, his charactorization of Cicero, is not at all like Mr Hedges. Also, his version of events has Cicero trying to escape The Second Triumvirate (Octavian, Mark Antony and Lipedus) after the battle of Philippi (Where Cassius and Brutus commutted suicide - why not Cheney and Obama?) when “Cicero leaned his head out of his liter to see who was approaching and was decapitated by his pursurers. So silenced the golden voice of Rome’s PRIVILEDGED COTERIE.” (caps mine)

Later Parenti says: “ Thus when modern (he includes Lewis Mumford w/ an example) classical historians label Rome’s popular leaders as ‘ambitious demagogues’ they are not making an objective historical judgement but uncritically sharing the characterizations propagated by the elitest commentators such as CICERO (caps mine).”

This is a glaring difference. No?

I wonder how right any of us are?

12:33 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

It is hard to keep up with this blog and the amazing comments! Especially when one must bring home the bacon.

@Megan: glad you find Illich interesting. He's amazing.
@JWO: thanks for the great advice on a nature walk. I've been there, but it's been a while!

@Dude: you are blessed. Keep up your great attitude, and enjoy life.

Interesting quote from Illich in Medical Nemesis:

"An advanced industrial society is sick-making because it disables people from coping with their environment and, when they break down, from substituting a 'clinical' prosthesis for the broken relationships People would rebel against such an environment if medicine did not explain their biological disorientation as a defect in their health, rather than as a defect in the way of life which is imposed on them or which they impose on themselves..."

I think this also applies more and more to mental health. The pills and drugs allow people to carry on with their awful lives in this awful culture, rather than try to change their lives or the society.

Thus, the medical establishment is another institution that suppresses revolt. Another reason Hedges is likely to be disappointed.

So I must now start a new file at home, with the heading:

Emigration

Of course, one can start an inner emigration immediately.


1:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

shep-

Check out bio by Anthony Everitt; very authoritative.

mb

1:10 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Dr. Berman,

Not that you need it, but some more proof Mr. Lincoln wasn't the most empathetic, caring guy in the world.
The first quote is the one I'm citing here.
cosmicquotes.com/quotes/authors/a/abraham_lincoln/abraham_lincoln_3.html/

2:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

My mother said: "Be a plumber, you fool!":
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/utterly-disappointing-facts-about-books

Joe-

Is that url correct? Didn't work, for me. Meanwhile recent research (papers found in Kew, nr. London) turned up the fact that Lincoln was interested in setting up separate colonies for black people right into 1865.

mb

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Muska said...

Oh, my God!

A top aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has been dealing with a series of plagiarism allegations in recent days, acknowledged Tuesday that Paul's staff in some cases failed to properly attribute and quote content pulled from other sources.

"In the thousands of speeches and op-eds Sen. Paul has produced, he has always presented his own ideas, opinions and conclusions," senior adviser Doug Stafford said in a statement. "Sen. Paul also relies on a large number of staff and advisers to provide supporting facts and anecdotes — some of which were not clearly sourced or vetted properly."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/11/05/amid-plagiarism-flap-rand-paul-camp-cites-staff-error/

3:40 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

The "disappointing facts about books" link you provided is further proof that you *must* launch Belman and the Wafers immediately! Indeed, a doo-wop band playing/singing about Waferian themes is our last hope MB.

I'm gonna dig out and dust off my white buck oxfords, argyle socks, and cardigan sweater. Waferettes are encouraged to wear poodle skirts and saddle shoes. I'm also gonna work on my pompadour and grow some sideburns as well...

Yes, Belman and the Wafers has huge potential! We're gonna be bigger than the Beatles, maybe get a gig on SNL, and have an unlimited supply of catered delicatessen delights. The sky's the limit!

My only request would be that I can sing lead vocals every now and then; especially on Dion & the Belmonts, "I Wonder Why." I can seriously rock this tune MB. Whew, this a gonna be big, Big, BIG!

Jeff

ps: Congrats on the 200th post.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Dr. Belman,

cosmicquotes.com/quotes/authors/a/abraham_lincoln/abraham_lincoln_3.html Should work now.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Article on homeless people in NY, Oct. 28 issue of New Yorker, says that during Bloomberg's 12 yrs as mayor, the # of homeless families went up by 73%. I think I read somewhere that Bloomberg is worth $24 billion.

mb

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Mary Beth,

I would suggest viewing Adam Curtis's Century of the Self . A BBC series on PR its brillaintly done. Feminism is well a sort of PR marketing device, womans equality was first bandied about in an effort to cast off traditional gender norms and thus encourage women to take up smoking and thus make more money for tobaacco companies. Yes bringing women to the labor force a great step for equality but alas that doubled the labor force and viola real wages adjusted for inflation are lower now than 1970. So like all "progressive" utopian schemes there are costs and much more to these schemes than meets the eye. Seriously, you live in a corpocracy and the so called "progressive" ideas like feminism are tools for the advancement of corporatism.

In praise of the Kingfisher I will say I deny any allegations that I am a sexist. Beyond denying the allegations I also deny the veracity of the alligator.

Cubeangel. I don't know, I like that kids story. At least he did not fall for the dream factory racket that is american higher education. I am happy he found a way to take in some rainment for himself without higher education. Yes he did have some hustle but alas we must somehow get by and to do so outside the established narrative structures is by my lights a bit of a victory. If more can make a bit of dough without falling into the snares of debt and mortgages and if careful be able to by your freedom then mazeltov.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Annals of the Police State:

http://www.alternet.org/anal-searches-8-times-over-doctors-and-cops

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Manfredo said...

What's your view of the Anonymous protest movement that's been making headlines.
Heart in the right place but ...

Manfredo

3:43 AM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dear Dr. Berman and all,

I just learned today that Robert Gates, yes, the former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was appointed to the Starbucks board of directors last year. I must have been asleep for quite some time to have missed that. Does Fox News still get to call Starbucks a pansy-assed, do-gooder, liberal organization? Does Mr. Gates himself prefer latte or espresso? Such questions will remain unanswered for now. But the great news is that Starbucks plans to hire 10,000 veterans, emulating Walmart, which announced earlier this year it is going to hire 100,000 of the flying monkeys. The companies get a $9600 tax credit for each vet brought on board. (That program is set to expire at the end of this year, but there can be absolutely no doubt that it will be extended. It's good for Congress to be seen as supporting the warriors and REALLY good for the big businesses. Unlike the SNAP and WIC programs, which only feed the poor, the halt, the lame, the women, and the children - you know, THOSE people.) So the companies can hire the vets, work them part-time so as to avoid cost-prohibitive expenses such as benefits, and get a rebate from the government (i.e., the taxpayers) to cover the wages. What's not to like? USA, USA, USA!

Warning: unless you really, really love the warrior class, don't delve too deeply into the comments attached to this article. I found that reading too many causes projectile vomiting.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/11/06/news/companies/starbucks-hiring-veterans/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

Best,
Teri

9:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Man-

Let's hope that this time around they have a coherent political platform and genuine political organization.

mb

9:47 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Capo

I don't know. Maybe you're right. Maybe I am just to critical but every time I hear people talk in this way I experiencing this tensing of my muscles especially my neck and face. I don't have the words to describe how I feel except revulsion.

I guess if one wants something better one may have to do something that repulses him. I wish I could do something useful and meaningful that benefits others and makes me a bit of money at the same time.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

As you maybe aware Terry McAuliffe (Democrat)won narrowly the Gubernatorial elections here in VA where I live. I read somewhere that 2/3 of McAuliffe voters voted for him to just keep Cuccinelli (tea party repub) out. I live in a University town where all the Liberals look happy today like they made a "big difference". I wish I could share the essay "Pissing in the Liberal punchbowl again" by Joe Bageant with them:

http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2006/11/pissing_in_the__1.html

Thanks,
Himanshu

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Cubeangel,

I am certain you can do something meaningful that helps others and makes you a bit of money. There is a lot of learned helplessness out there and that to some extent that is deliberate I suspect. From your comments you come across as thoughtful, concerned and a bit in pain and frustrated. Free up your imagination and take a few risks and or just go out there. You can help people who have been labled with disabilities, you can just listen and exchange views and well this may germinate an idea or two lurking in your head. Write down ideas every day and think of how you can be of service even if you start very modestly. I don;t mean to sound like Dale Carnegie as I do think that things socially are going downhill but that does not preclude individuals to do meaningful and rewarding things with their lives. I have a autisitic neice who turned her love of dogs into a small dog walking and grooming business which brought her great peace and meaning and even some money. A friend long in dispair self published a book on createaspce which boosted his self esteem and sold 1000 copies. Lots of ways to find meaning... Go, go!

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

The lies and attempts at coverup continue:

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul lashed out at the media Wednesday for its coverage of the plagiarism allegations that have rocked the Kentucky Republican over the last week.

A day after announcing plans to amend the approval process for speeches and op-eds under his name, Paul told National Review he was so frustrated with the negative press that he would have failed reporters if he were their journalism teacher.

"What makes me mad about the whole thing is that I believe there is a difference between errors of omission and errors of intention," Paul said in an interview with National Review's Robert Costa. "We aren’t perfect and we have made errors of omission, but we never intended to mislead anybody."

"I’m being criticized for not having proper attribution, and yet they are able to write stuff that if I were their journalism teacher in college, I would fail them," he added.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/06/rand-paul-plagiarism_n_4226249.html

4:04 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

@Jesse:

I'm sorry to disagree with the spirit and content of your attack on Rand Paul, but please... your partisanship is a bit too much to take for this WAFer.

Rand Paul's plagiarism is a big deal? Really? When historians like Joseph Ellis and Stephn Ambrose engaged in whole-hog plagiarism?

When Obama lied through his teeth about his vaunted Obamacare? (Remember "you can keep your doctor and plan?)He lied outright, and he's getting a pass from his partisans.

One of the things that has doomed the USA is the lack of integrity on the part of partisans.

Rand Paul probably stands for many things most WAFers hate: free range crapitalism, for example. He also stands for things we should advocate: he's against foreign interventionism.

Regardless, Rand Paul's possible plagarism is pretty small potatoes compared to the vicious fraud and lies coming out of every crevice of the American political establishment, from both parties. The Dems are more dangerous, because they sell the poison that the Repubs can't sell, and their partisans swallow it. And they're now going to be dying, literally, when their old plans are canceled, and the new plans are unaffordable, or non-existent in terms of needed treatments and hospitals and doctors.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Sir Tagio said...

Hello Wafers,

In the FWIW category, I found this little parable so much better -- truthful, revelatory -- than the story about the frog in the pot of water that is gradually being heated.

http://unitedstatesofeverywhere.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/perrys-cats/

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Malefic Trout said...

@Publius

Interestingly enough, I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said,"The Republicans are trying to f@ck you... and so are the Democrats."

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

Watch and listen to former NY City police officer, Adhyl Polanco. You need to first listen to DemocracyNow video of today. After that, listen to other videos and read the other articles (you will begin to understand the source of our problems in America):

1) NYPD Officer Risks His Job to Speak Out Against "Stop-and-Frisk" Targeting of People of Color
November 6, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/11/6/nypd_officer_risks_his_job_to

2) NYPD Officer Adhyl Polanco Speaks Out Against Stop And Frisk In Video

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/nypd-stop-and-frisk_n_4066335.html

3) At 'Stop-And-Frisk' Trial, Cops Describe Quota-Driven NYPD

http://www.npr.org/2013/03/21/174941454/at-stop-and-frisk-trial-cops-describe-quota-driven-nypd

All I have to say is that Mayor Bloomberg and those people like him who control NY City are worse than Nazi goons and Hitler.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Jesse, Publius,

Dr. Martin Luther King was a famous plagiarist, and I don't think his legacy is diminished because of that is it?

Cube,

To sustain yourself while finding something meaningful - that is the question, eh? Although still unemployed I volunteer at my daughters preschool, and will hopefully soon be able to help them build a greenhouse for their community garden. Work on your nonprofit, and continue to write. Can't hurt.

Dr. B,

Are there any coherent conservative/right wing books/authors on the issues you discuss? Reading a lot of you and hedges and the alt news sites you mention and a lot of it is real similar stuff. Is there any coherent, i.e., not Ann Coulter, arguments for the other side? If so, I'm interested in seeing what they have to say.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

There are a bunch of intelligent conservatives associated w/the journal New Atlantis. Once in a while (not often), I actually find myself agreeing w/them!

The truth is that I'm actually quite conservative in certain respects. I'm hardly a 'progressive', because I think that much of 'progress'--economic and technological expansion, for example--is quite destructive. I also think traditional pre-modern societies have a lot to teach us. I concur w/Marx's analysis of capitalism, but I hardly think we are moving toward some sort of proletarian revolution, or even, necessarily, a better world (it's a coin toss at this pt). But it's hard for me to point to a particular collection of texts or authors (I like Jackson Lears, for example, and Christopher Lasch; but they are not classic conservatives). When I think of 20C conservatives, I think of Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman; but I frankly regard them as demented.

mb

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

MB-

Are you opposed to technological advancement itself? What if we could have technological advancement in such a way as too not eviscerate genuine human interaction. Obviously, technological advancement through the capitalist system is dehumanizing and counterproductive but I see no reason why the advancement of technology has to be detrimental. Technology has helped us reduce the need for manual human labour and as Marx pointed out, is the antithesis of capitalism. Then again, maybe we are just not mature enough as a species to handle the forces unleashed by the Industrial Revolution. This is probably the most likely scenario in which we're fucked regardless.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Steamed Capo said...

Marcos,

Am surprised you put up a post where someone says that Bloomberg and the Cops in New York are worse than Hitler and Nazi goons? Really? So you mean Bloomberg has murdered millions and millions of Puerto Ricans and Blacks in New York? Really, worse than Hitler. What dreck. How can you can be so utterly ignorant.

Sorry to post more than once MB but this utter idiocy has to be discouraged, lest this become the Daily Kos or the Daily News.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Mary Beth,

I agree with what Capo said about Feminism as found in modern capitalist societies. However, trying to understand the natural relationship between males and females in the human species is as difficult (if not impossible) as trying to understand ‘human nature’. A perusal of the anthropological literature shows that they vary all over the map.

It seems to me that, within any Western or civilized society, the two greatest determinants of human thought and behavior are social class and gender. NB: I use ‘gender’ as a social term, and ‘sex’ as a biological one.

In his book/annotated bibliography, “Gender”, Ivan Illich points out that in every society in the world, men and women have always had very distinct gender roles. As both Illich and Capo point out, much of the ‘progress’ women make is often a different form of oppression.

It might be easier to see Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi as ‘liberated’ than the countless working-class women who toil at mindless sub subsistence jobs.

As you formulate (or are sold) ‘progressive’ ideas in the context of capitalism, you have to guard against buying into the system. Like demanding equal employment opportunities for men and women or other ‘oppressed’ groups, while forgetting how men are exploited as wage slaves.

We live in a capitalist society, so our ‘progressive’ ideas tend to be ‘bourgeois-progressive’. Therefore, bourgeois-feminism, which simply wants an equal chance for women to join the one-percent, would indeed be a distraction – as would other pseudo progressive ideas as our moribund capitalism utters its Swan song and is replaced by something else.

Look around you; a society based on exploitation corrupts everything, even progressive ideas. And our perverted society leaves none of us untouched.

On that note, I also recommend BBC’s “The Century of the Self”.

David Rosen

11:03 PM  
Anonymous constable jones said...

Re: plagiarism

It's a joke. If you're a rich, elite scumbag like Fareed Zakaria, Joe Biden, or now, Rand Paul, you will be made fun of for a while. On the other hand, if you are a struggling student or regular joe, and get caught doing it, it will destroy your career and you will be blacklisted and outcast.

It's funny how regular people (including some WAFers) still seem to fall into the trap of treating anything the elite do as if it has consequences that reside in the same universe as what regular folks will experience. Like Carlin said, there's a club folks, and you ain't in it.

MB:
Can you recommend a few books to read? I'm looking for something new. Thanks.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

constable-

Well, prominent authors get taken to task for it as well, and rightly so. Try The Chymical Wedding, by Lindsay Clarke.

Capo-

Yr rt, but pls avoid attacking other folks on the blog personally, or using derogatory language. Thanks.

Kyle-

This wd require a v. long discussion. You might check out WAF ch. 3, and also Albert Borgmann, "Technology and the Culture of Contemporary Life," which addresses this question v. well. There comes a pt in advanced industrial societies where most tech innovation is frivolous or destructive, and I think we've reached it. Even if u pt to things like heart transplants, who can afford them? Once again, it depends on how we are going to define 'progress'?

mb

3:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And speaking of depressing:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/world/asia/china-labor-camp-halloween-sos/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

3:22 AM  
Anonymous Muska said...

@constable jones (Re: plagiarism)
I am thinking exactly as you stated. Also, your sentiments extend to Bloomberg’s Hitler-like mindset.

Rand Paul can plagiarize and when he gets caught, he becomes belligerent and naughty. But when a high school student or a college student from a working-class family does the same thing, he or she is punished for life.

Similarly, Bloomberg is fighting crime by arresting innocent kids and giving them criminal record that will ruin their lives. But the real criminals sitting in the Wall Street are protected by him. He dehumanizes innocent kids for life just like Hitler started by taking away rights and dehumanizing people he did not like. It starts with this kind of blatant injustice and provocation. Give those people an inch today, they will take a mile tomorrow. Like Hitler, they will build concentration camps for poor people/working people.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Kyle said:

"Technology has helped us reduce the need for manual human labour..."

Unfortunately, some technologies have served to make a fair number of our species superfluous to the capitalist enterprise, improving production methods and efficiency but making the humans "redundant " (as the Brits say).

Meanwhile, humans keep churning out more and more humans, a product they typically require no particular technology to produce.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

We used to have a saying when I was going through my training as a therapist. The saying was, "find the pony." Tongue in cheek, the idea was that there's so much sh!t 'round here, there's got to be a pony somewhere!

Well, in the load of sh!t that is the US, here's a pony.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ejh_hb15Fc

Dr. B - see you next week in Lexington.

8:28 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

I will give you what I think progress is. Progress to me is about balance. One has to have balance in all areas in his life. For example, we talked about Canterizing vs. Cantorizing. Cantor became obsessed with with math more specifically infinity. He needed more balance in his life and by going out to Canter's Deli and hanging out with friends. Maybe he can have a beer or 2. He would need to balance that out with some exercise.

A functioning society to me has balance. Money would exist but it would not consume them like it does today. Technology would exist but it can't be the end all be all. Even balance has a paradoxical nature to it meaning that sometimes one can splurge a little. Dr. B, from the writings you write you want balance in your life and you set the rules like your 24 hr per post rule. You want to be able to do other things besides this blog like sit at the beach and drink a gin and tonic and enjoy the blue and beautiful Ocean. We would have the balance of the sensate and the ideational.

Capo

Yeah, you're right I do feel a bit of pain and I am frustrated. I can say that in my group 2 out of the 1000s of members accept that America has failed and there is no turning back. Many of them like the progressives believe America can be reformed. I say that will happen when pigs fly.:) It seems like the same narrative of doltism and denial crosses neurological lines. Is doltism some kind of universal constant? Dr. B does not want this to be a therapy type blog so that is all I will say on that.

I did pick up some trash around the neighborhood last week. I did some NMI activity. I can only control what is in my sphere of influence.

8:35 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

In other news, Hillary Clinton, likely 2016 Democratic nominee, recently got $400,000 for two speeches at Goldman Sachs.

When policemen do this sort of thing, it is known as "being on the pad."

9:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

shep-

Ay, enuf! There's no need now to start attacking Capo personally. Look, he's right: Bloomberg, as a member of the ruling elite, certainly hurt a lot of people, but he didn't herd millions of them into gas chambers. Let's be clear abt what we're talking abt here. I think we can drop the Hitler analogy, and also stop putting each other down. Thank u.

mb

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

Re: Rand Paul

Dr Martin Luther King, Joseph Ellis, and Stephn Ambrose did it. Therefore, others should be allowed to do it. Hitler did it. Therefore, Bloomberg should be allowed to do it. They did it; they do it; therefore, we must do it. That is why this blog is not Daily Kos or Daily News.

Amazing! This must be called improved WAFER LOGOS!

Get out your post-it and write it down: If they do it, we must do it. If they did it, it is ok for us to do it.

Now, let us apply this supercharged, improved logic:

Good news for “WAFERS (??)” who defend plagiarism on the ground that others did it in the past/liberals engage in the same act (you now know where to get copies of Rand Paul’s plagiarized thoughts and ideas). I, Jesse, is posting it here for you so that you will have the information and link for your future reference:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/rand-paul-breitbart_n_4230124.html

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Malefic Trout said...

I was disheartened to view the blog this morning and see that Godwin's law had taken effect. Conflating Hitler with pretty much anyone, no matter how vile they may be, has the consequence of trivializing their actions. No matter if it's Bloomberg or Obama,or his 3 most recent predecessors for that matter, all that inane comparison does is distract away from, in the case of NYC, the legitimate concern that a segment of that population is having its constitutional rights stripped from it, and in the case of Obama, well really there is quite the abundance of riches to choose from. The point is that all undue injury does is turn a bigot, or a war criminal or a (insert American Degenerate here), into a martyr, and as far as these men are from Hitler I'm pretty sure we can agree that they reside the same amount of distance from the alternative distinction.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trout-

I think we're pretty much done with the Hitler motif, thank Wotan. Unless someone wants to hold forth on his talents as a painter.

mb

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5C-N-xmT44

2:53 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Jesse,

I wasn't condoning plagiarism; I was merely pointing out that Rand Paul is not the first person to get away with/be called out for this sort of thing.

Dr. B,

I attempt to inform everyone of the horrors of Chinese products, but they all want their homes festive for the holidays. Oh, the inhumanity.

WAFer's,

Reading Flat Broke in the Free Market, by Jon Jeter. It's about how globalization has destroyed economies throughout the world. The story about Argentina would interest Shep in particular, I believe. Argentina is 97% white, yet has all the problems of a 85% black American inner city slum. Why? lack of jobs!

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Kathy Sloan said...

I must begin by stating what enormous admiration and respect I have for Morris Berman. I use every possible opportunity to implore colleagues and friends to read the WAF trilogy. As a political dissident and long-time feminist advocate and leader, tragically but unsurprisingly, my attempts at enlightenment of "progressives" are unable to "penetrate the fog." A perfect example is my interaction with colleagues on the board of the National Organization for Women (NOW), the largest feminist activist organization in the U.S. When I share notes from WAF or pieces by Chris Hedges that call out Obama for the war criminal that he is or the fact that their great heroine Hillary Clinton is an imperialist, capitalist, militarist, American exceptionalist, I am attacked or shunned. Their denial and willful blindness deeply depress and infuriate me.

Speaking of Hedges, one of my favorites is his piece on the destruction of Native Americans and the shining example of Crazy Horse as perhaps the most defiant resister of the white man's culture of death. Chant this line like a mantra: I refuse to accommodate "corporate power whether it hides behind the mask of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney" (or Hillary Clinton). Take some inspiration today from this: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/time_to_get_crazy_20120702

Thank you, thank you Morris!! You will never know the profound appreciation of the countless minds you've touched. As the US Titanic goes down, we should all get out while we still can.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Kathy,

Thanks for your kind words of support. Frankly, I have a feeling that on my deathbed, I'll be saying to the friends who have gathered 'round: "Hey, I made a difference for 5 or 6 people, right?" But perhaps I'm being too pessimistic...

What you say about feminists is the problem, at least for me, with all identity politics: the concern is for each group's turf, their little patch of grass, and not much more. Hillary is a gd example. How excited feminists were in 2008, that she might be the Democratic nominee! Her actual political record was of no matter; no, it was all about the "traveling pants suit"--! Meanwhile, her campaign adviser was Mark Penn, head of Burson-Marsteller, the co. that served as PR firm for the Argentinian junta during the dirty war, trying to convince everybody that Oh no, there were no human rts violations in that country--! This didn't bother Hillary a whit, apparently, and her followers even less (assuming they even knew abt it).

During the Iraq war of 2003, a group of Iraqi mothers appeared on American TV, making a plea to American mothers: "They are killing our sons. You have sons, you know how we must feel. Help us!" The response from American feminist organizations was complete silence.

Do they celebrate the war criminal Condi Rice, because she is a woman who rose to the top (of the dunghill)? I wonder. After all, she broke the glass ceiling; what else matters? The truth is that for most minority groups in the US, 'freedom' and 'liberation' consist in getting an equal (to white males--most of whom are now unemployed or wage slaves) share of the socioeconomic pie. There is no addressing the possibility (as did MLK b4 he died, God rest his soul) that the problem is the *pie*; that it's rotten. I remember marching against the war in Iraq in DC in 2003, with a friend of mine--he was a lot more nervy than I--who went up to black cops on motorbikes and said to them, "Gee, 40 yrs ago they wdn't let you use their bathrms, and now look what they've got you doing." (The response was typically a look of shame. Today, they'd probably bash his head in with a nightstick.)

Offhand, I'm guessing that this brand of gender and multicultural 'liberation'--identity politics--is a perfect formula of 'divide and conquer' for the ruling class. E.g., Richard Sennett argued that Clinton manipulated the masses w/identity politics so as to be able to keep the minimum wage at status quo during his admin. And how easily manipulated they are! Never look at the larger picture; focus only on How does this affect women, blacks, Hispanics, Martians, Bulgarian-Americans, people who are left-handed--Me, in short. I too am discouraged and depressed by all this. (Check out my essay in QOV entitled "Tribal Consciousness and Enlightenment Tradition.")

Thanks again for writing. Keep in mind that (a) identity politics is another nail in our collective coffin, and (b) like all of us, by which I mean anyone w/half a brain, you need to hit the road.

mb

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Capo REgime said...

MB,

a dank oyf der blog em brengen mir a sakh fargenign ikh muzn geyn als dos idiots equating der bamien fun etlekh arayn nyu york tsu dem shkhite fun millions bsoykhem mine grandparents mine tate-mame beyde survived khurbn un hagam joyful zey carried yesurem lemayle der wildest imaginings fun dos folk posting aher zayn gezunt un efsher meir megn bagegenen aroyf arayn Mexico shtot

6:41 PM  
Anonymous bartleby the Scribbler said...

In the downhill slide department:

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/mi-police-pursue-charges-against-homeowner-who-shot-19-year-old-black-woman-dead


On the NMI side I'd highly recommend the documentary "Tomi Ungerer: Far Out Isn't Far Enough." I'm not sure how many are familiar with TU's work but he did some of the more remarkable anti-War posters during the Vietnam era, not to mention some fantastic erotica which ended up getting his highly popular and award-winning children's books taken out of public libraries across the country.

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

Being an artist, I found it remarkably uplifting and inspiring. Something to offset (like this blog) the horror of having to live in this hellhole.

Like Kathy, I want to add my deep thanks for your work and effort in managing the blog, MB. It makes a lot of difference in my life. You and the WAFers are a great aid in my staying (somewhat) sane.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

Ya, zayn gezunt, bubbele. Verstehe ich. Anyway, I think we're done w/Hitler for the time being, gott zay dank.

mb

7:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bart-

That's some link. More proof that the country has gone completely insane. The guy will probably get off scott free, I'm guessing.

Thanks for yr thanks, in any case. You know, it's hard living in a country where 99.9% of the population simply don't grasp what's going on, and if they ever read, say, Chris Hedges' work, would regard it as coming from Mars. Here I am, in the process of self-publishing the pb edn of WAF, because no publisher is interested in it. And then, in a country of 315 million or more, 6000 bought the original hc edn, and I'm guessing 2 or 3000 will buy the pb. To talk abt the contents of my work w/the avg American walking down the street is for me like whispering to him or her across a wall of concrete 50' thick.

You know the word 'metanoia'? It means a total revolution in mindset. For real positive chg to occur in the US, that 99.9%--hell, 10% wd be gd enuf--has to suddenly see the world they live in completely differently. I can't stress it enuf: This is just not gonna happen. And so for those of us who have gone thru the process, what's left? Inner immigration (becoming an NMI), or literal emigration--leaving the country. I've said this b4: I personally tried to be an NMI and failed; I didn't have sufficient internal strength to continue confronting an insane reality on a daily basis. Who was I going to talk to? 29% of the population think the sun revolves around the earth, or don't know which revolves around which. 2/3 of the country think Darwin got it wrong. 62% approve of drone strikes. THESE ARE YOUR NEIGHBORS. And I tell u, muchacho: once yr out, the place looks even more insane than when u were in it. We're now at the pt that if you simply go up to a cop to ask him a question, along the lines of "Where is Main St.?", yr taking yr life in yr hands. As a kid growing up in the fifties, there was abs. no way I could have ever imagined that the US would wind up in such a place, for real. That it wd be committing genocide on a daily basis while the major ambition of the citizenry would be to be on American Idol, or own a Louis Vuitton handbag. Who *are* these people? What *is* this country?

Good night, and good luck (Murrow).

mb

8:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

We need a break. Here's a trivia quiz: George Costanza is always talking abt how he'd like to drape himself in velvet. He finally has a girlfriend, Paula (played by Christa Miller), who says looks aren't impt to her, and that "you cd drape yrself in velvet for all I care." So he does; after which, they have sex. What was the name of this episode?

mb

9:01 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

I think this was "The Doodle" episode.

Jeff

9:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Well done. Wish I cd send u corned beef on rye w/cole slaw and Russian dressing.

mb

9:41 PM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

@Himanshu - I totally agree with your assessment of McAuliffe's profoundly depressing victory as the Old Dominion's new "gubbner." And thanks too, for the Joe Bageant link--I had not read that essay of Joe's before, but it was completely appropriate in this case.

Today, Gawker "pissed in the liberal's punchbowl" with an article entitled, "Meet Virginia’s New Sleazebag Governor," that concisely spells out just what an awful human being he is. Okay, Cuccinelli may be indeed awful-ler, but I've gotten to the point where I root for the politicians to win who will do their best to speed along America's demise (I sure as heck don't participate in the farcical elections anymore).

http://gawker.com/meet-virginia-s-new-sleazebag-governor-1459579288

Personally, I am an NMI, because I don't want to get divorced and also because of this little cancer problem that crept up on me this past year. It's hard. If it wasn't for a handful of sane voices like Dr B. that I can retreat to a quiet cubbyhole and read to reassure myself that I'm not crazy, I don't think I could stand it much longer.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

No good Samaritan at home:
http://www.newser.com/story/177173/teen-seeks-help-after-crash-homeowner-kills-her.html

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Joe,

One 20th century conservative who is worth reading is Will Durant. He doesn't have any strictly political or economic books that I'm aware of, but his multi-volume "History of Civilization", for example, is informed throughout by a kind of genial humanist viewpoint--which I think it would be fair to classify as "conservative". His shorter
"Lessons in History" is also quite good.

Thomas Sowell is a current writer who is partisan, but whose books are not entirely without merit-- even if you are coming at things from the other side! Sowell is too close to the GOP for my personal taste, but I think he is a careful scholar, and brings up some good points that you will likely miss if you only read things like "Daily Kos" or Chris Hedges. "Intellectuals and Society" is a book of his that I'd recommend.

Also, anything by the inimitable John Gray should prove rewarding, though I don't know if it's precisely fair to call him a conservative!

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Jerome Langguth said...

Dear All,

Was digging through a crate of vinyl at the last record store in town and was amazed to discover the first album by Belman and the Wafers misfiled in the Procol Harum section. The track listing is as follows:


Belman and the Wafers- Emigrate!

Side One

I am a Poor Wafering Stranger
CRE (Is Coming for You and Me)
Onward and Downward! (surf instrumental)
Sarah Palin Lovesick Blues
Down at the Deli
Ballad of Mittney


Side Two

Confidence Man Yodel
Freedonia, Land of the Free (with special guest Rufus T Firefly)
Gucci-Gucci Goo (Soaking your Shoe)
Home Alone with a Drone
Buffoonami or Pastrami? (That is the Question)

Sorry, it is early and the news is depressing

Jerome





5:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jerome-

Now this is what I call a creative use of one's time! I'm definitely singin' the Palin Lovesick Blues these days, I tell ya ("Among the Meese, with Ed Meese..."). Move over, Rhonda and the Ronettes; here come Belman and the Wafers!

mb

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

How many Americans will give away such a price? How many people in the city of NY will give away such money to help soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan?

“Karman, the Yemeni activist who in 2011 became the first Arab woman to be awarded the peace prize, says she has donated the $500,000 prize money to a fund for the people wounded and the families of those killed in Yemen's Arab Spring-inspired uprising.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/05/world/meast/yemen-nobel-laureate-donation/index.html?hpt=hp_c4

9:09 AM  
Anonymous The Dude said...

@Pauli - if I had the money to give, it would be to the maimed and orphaned Iraqis and Afghanis, not to any of those who maimed and orphaned them.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

Our country is done. I have totally reached your conclusions. Part of the assumptions that exist in America is this rugged individualistic mindset. It is the belief that anyone can achieve more no matter what circumstances exist and is in control of his circumstances no matter what conditions exist.

I was having a conversation with this man and he explained how he operates and works. Whether it is true or false as to whether one has control of his circumstances he takes the default position that he does whether it is factual or not.

He uses denial and distortion in a very conscious manner. I've come to the conclusion a lot of people actually do this. This has been done throughout American history. Look at Charles Swindoll. Since a lot of people do this and has done it since the inception it was a stable form of madness. Overtime, the walls have been cracking little by little over the decades and centuries. America's culture is a form of institutionalized madness and this institutionalized madness which used to be stable is breaking down. This is because it is a bad foundation to begin with. The dam is just about to bust. What do you think?

11:58 AM  
Anonymous The Dada said...

@The Dude, your are a good man. You need to start at the home front where your help will be appreciated. There are lots of homeless veterans in New York, LA, Chicago, Florida, and Houston. Love begins at home and then spread outside. If you cannot give your own citizens medical care, if you cannot allow your citizens to protest in public spaces in NY, how can you give to other people outside your home??

1:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

All u really need to know abt it at this pt is written on yr post-it. Be sure to consult it every day.

mb

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Marcos said...

I stand by what I said – my comparison is 100% accurate. Go and commit suicide if you think that Bloomberg is better than Hitler.

That you defend Bloomberg does not surprise me – because it is possible that his crumbs fall down onto your table, to feed you and your kind. Until all of you are dealt with, this country will continue to disintegrate. This is why I support Iran and their nuclear bombs – it is because people like you should not be allowed to hold the bomb alone. Now, you can go mad and call me more names.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

I'm a bit caught up in the all the hoopla surrounding the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK assassination. My wife and I recently took in the film, "Parkland" a few weeks ago. It was good, but unusual in the sense that the film doesn't indicate in any way a conspiracy of any kind. It takes it as established fact that Kennedy was killed by Oswald. A highlight of the film is the always excellent, Paul Giamatti, as Abraham Zapruder. In addition, I'm also reading a new work by Philip Shenon, "A Cruel and Shocking Act" about the Warren Commission Investigation itself and the personalities of an incredible assortment of people surrounding the events of the assassination and its aftermath.

While reading this work, it struck me that few events have cast such a long shadow over American national life as the murder of JFK. Can we signal this event as a major point of departure for America, a sort of historical crossroads, that triggered the empire's descent and accelerated its destructive direction? It sure seems to me that it's a key factor in America's failure. It's also frustrating to think that we will probably never get the *whole* truth about it.

Here's an interview with the author on NPR's "Fresh Air" program:

http://www.npr.org/2013/10/28/240822565/botched-investigation-fuels-kennedy-conspiracy-theories

Jerome-

No apology needed, I've been searching high and low for that LP. Jesus, Belman and the Wafers were way ahead of their time with the tune, "Home Alone With a Drone."

Jeff

4:48 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

Which is your favorite Seinfeld episode? I think mine is The Smelly Car

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Beth said...

Thanks for the advice, guys!

Though, I do think it points to some deeper malaise-- that an online forum full of WAFin' intellectuals hasn't really any suitable examples to fill the role.

Maybe THAT answers my question....

Mary Beth

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Conservatives worth reading-

I was reminded of Allan Bloom's _The Closing of the American Mind_ this morning looking at the bibliography to Lasch's _Revolt of the Elites_. He writes of Bloom's book (paraphrasing) "The book liberals love to hate! Deserves to be more studied, very thought-provoking."

I read it in my late teens, and it was some of the first non-fiction I read that really made *some* kind of sense of the world, and made me want to learn about Rousseau, Swift, the history of the university in America, and much more. I was churning with questions after reading it. Not sure I really properly followed up on those lines of inquiry -- but, it must have influenced me in how to filter things I did come across.

A book that had a similar, perhaps more profound impact even, was John Taylor Gatto's _The Underground History of American Education_ (shamefully I still haven't finished the last chapter or so on religion -- life interrupted, and my socks were already completely knocked off anyway, and I never have gotten back to it.) Anyway, I *think* Gatto could be classified as some sort of conservative, from what I have gleaned -- he seems to be associated with the (to use the common slur) conspiratorial branch of political thought that recognizes and emphasizes the role of specific historical elites in US history (as opposed to abstracting them away or eliding their role.) Possibly this is connected to that whole John Birch society thing that was and is considered a joke and ridiculed if mentioned at all? (and may be a joke, I don't know much about it.) But it's sort of this Libertarian/conspiratorial wing of thought. He's very erudite though, don't let my vague speculations scare you off! He's an incredible writer and researcher.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marcos-

I wanted to post your latest message so that the Wafers cd get a sense of where yr coming from. I don't have anything against u personally, but do need to inform u that I won't be able to post anything from u in the future, because hatred, rage, and irrationality are not part of our modus operandi. Rather, this blog is an intellectual discussion group about politics and the decline of the American empire; we strive to treat each other with respect, even (or esp.) when our views differ. Unfortunately, you don't fit that category, altho I'm quite sure u will be able to find blogs that are more in accordance w/yr particular style and mode of expression. That being said, we sincerely wish you the best.

Dan-

"The Conversion," specifically the part where the priest (Latvian Orthodox Church) asks George what particular aspect of the religion attracts him the most, and he says, "The hats, father."

A close 2nd, of course, is the one where George is trying to combine lovemaking w/eating a pastrami sandwich, but his GF isn't having it. However, at the end he meets a friend of Elaine's, who is heating pastrami on the stove, and tells him "I have always regarded pastrami the most erotic of the cured meats." They proceed to fuck wildly on the kitchen floor.

Mary Beth-

Sorry: what were u looking for, again? I can't remember (creeping senility--not a happy thhing).

Jeff-

Very few people know that prior to Phil Spector, I pioneered the "Wall of Ground Round."

mb

7:51 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Dr. B, his minions (WAFer's/WAFerettes),

Thank you all for the recommendations. Not that I don't enjoy reading what I have, but I am interested in a clear concise message about how leaving people without food, water, electricity, and jobs is a good thing. BTW, the Jon Jeter book I read has a great section on how Mandela sold out and what it has done to his own people, if anyone is interested.

9:15 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

11-8-2013

Marcos,

Pls contact me at:

shepherd2121@teleclipse.net

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Hackenbush

The terms ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ are obsolete. Traditional liberals or traditional conservatives are so patently full of dreck that only idiots take them seriously – which means that many Americans do, and the rest aren’t paying attention. People Wafers take seriously are often hard to classify.

John Taylor Gatto is very interesting, and I suspect he appears more ‘conservative’ than he is. Many of his books are bought by the fundamentalist Christian and/or anti-government Tea Party home-schooling crowd. Praising religion, knocking Darwin from time to time, and describing American Education as a ‘conspiracy’ may sell more books.

Maybe he’s sacrificing a little honesty to boost book sales. However, political left being anti-religious is a mistaken idea that leftists need to discard (too much to discuss here). When criticizing Darwin, Taylors’s attacks aren’t usually against evolution, but Darwin’s belief in inherent upper class superiority, which was ‘normal’ among that generation. Also, many of the people who ‘reformed’ education in the 20th Century probably thought the way Darwin did about class and race – and what they did looks conspiratorial.

I heard Gatto on YouTube addressing a bunch of hardcore libertarians. Asked about Ayn Rand, he dismissed her with faint praise and shifted the conversation to drawing inspiration from books. He listed three books that had influenced him. Here’s a paraphrase:

Caesar’s “Gaelic Wars”: How a superior force can defeat an inferior force by dividing the superior force against itself.

Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations”: Here you see the richest, most powerful person in the world saying that “anything which can only be purchased with money or ordered by power is not worth having.”

Hobbs’ “Leviathan”: Whenever you think you see power, it is *never* there. What you see is a front, a mouthpiece, or a flack-catcher for the real power, which is *always* somewhere else.

The Hobbs remark was pointed directly at his petty-bourgeois anti-government libertarian audience, but they didn’t get it.

David Rosen

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Maurice Ravel's brief moustache said...

Hi WAFfles. In the midst of e-snippiness, I'm sharing four unrelated things I was thinking about today:

1. I installed a picture of Bach over my Steinway, but it's not going well. He stands there looking so severely at me when I fail him. Should have put goodly-tempered Mendelssohn up.

2. I've been reading Asimov's Chronology of the World, a terrific overview of history arranged by time increments so that when reading it one gets a good sense of which different global events happened concurrently. Breadth, not depth here. Anyway, his characterization of Athens vs Sparta was amusing. He points out Sparta's military caste system as an "unpleasantly mean-spirited oligarchy...[that] interfered with other Greek city states as much as it could," and further says, "By 500 BC, the two most important powers in Greece were Athens and Sparta, with Athens comparatively free, democratic*, and bursting with artistic energy; and Sparta, militaristic, enslaved, and intellectually empty." There's more, but his characterization of Sparta really reminded me of the US.

*yes, he points out the problems with Athenian "democracy."

3. World chess championship begins today (in just a few hours), with Vishy Anand of India defending his crown against the young Norwegian monster, Magnus Carlsen. This excites me greatly, and I will be watching coverage on the internet the way people watch the World Series on TV. I even bought potato chips and beer, and am taking some PTO time from work over the next 2 weeks.

4. I was reminded twice in one day of something I'm sick of: Stupid sayings or retorts that people toss out reflexively as if they're clever, but aren't very clever and never were. In this case, twice in unrelated incidents I overheard different people deliver the ever-so-witty "Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!" Doors don't hit asses very often, do they? When they do, is it a big deal?

Maybe I can inspire people to compile a collective list of these awful sayings and comebacks.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Maurice-

Nice list. BTW,we're Wafers; always, Wafers (or Waferettes). As for stupid sayings: How abt: "It's all good." How cd it be all gd? Only douche bags believe it's all gd.

mb

2:12 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/07/george_w_bush_to_help_group_that_converts_jews_in_effort_to_bring_about_second_coming_of_jesus_christ/

Here’s a great pic of your favorite face. He’s taking a break from painting great works of art in order to do much greater work in the service of our Creator. Namely, converting Jews into Christian storm troopers like himself and Glenn Beck.

“Bush will speak on his experiences in the White House. Ticket packages will range from $100 to $100,000, the higher-end of which will include VIP passes to meet the former president as well as to receive signed copies of his book, “Decision Points.”

There’s the book to read from the man who put conservative principles into action.

“Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas, which Beck attends, introduced Beck as a “prophet” at the event. Morris told the crowd that his church has supported MJBI because “when we do this, the Bible tells us, it’s going to change the whole world. That it’s going to hasten the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s going to bring about worldwide revival.”

It looks like they don’t have the patience to wait 30 or 40 years for yer “dual process”. Heck, neither do I, let’s wish them luck.

4:05 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Dr. Berman,

"Stupid American sayings?--Ah, now this is fun! How about:

1) Anything involving "closure" or "window of opportunity".

2) "Speaking my truth" (It's just so nauseatingly Oprah!)

3) "My bad" (It's okay for ten-year-olds, but when anyone over 30 uses this expression, I want to crawl out of my skin!)

4) "Down Time" (The ultimate hustler expression. Only a deeply pathological culture could even conceive of non-hustling leisure hours in this manner. I once stopped talking to someone because they would only associate with me when they had extended periods of "down time"!)

I would also like to propose a neologism for that exquisite pleasure one feels after deleting an annoying busy-body, social network person from one's cell phone or e-mail list. I'm not sure what to call it, but perhaps there's a French word or phrase which adequately captures all the attendant feelings of liberation,
freedom, disentanglement, joy--coupled with minor orgasm!

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Samy said...

Old but relevant. Enjoy!

http://bloombergscandals.blogspot.com/

7:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Samy-

Thank you. It was nice 2c that he was compared unfavorably to Hitler several times. Hopefully, we've settled *that* debate!

Megan-
a) Pushing the envelope
b) Speaking truth to power
c) Having a violent bowel movement.

In case of (c): for example, yr at a chic dinner party, and a lovely, willowy young thing stands up and says, "Will you all excuse me for a moment? I need to go have a violent bowel movement." I tell u, I'm so tired of that.

Zos-

Dual Process is already in process, but more in Europe than the US. As for the 2nd coming, I too am excited abt it.

mb

8:34 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Here are some stupid sayings.

a. Be more positive

b. Be more confident.

c. Life is not fair

d. In life, there is no free lunch.

e. It's all relative.

f. Be yourself-If one really did this they would be ostracized. When Americans say it, it is an utter lie.

g. The candidate must have excellent communication skills.

h. Love America or Leave it.

I. The world owes you nothing; you owe the world. How does this possibly hold up? How is it possible for all of us to owe everyone but none of us are owed by anyone?

j. You're entitled to nothing.

k. It's not what you know, it's who you know.

l. Everything will work out. Tell that to those who either killed themselves or ended up in mental hospitals.

8:50 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

And in late news on the compassion and American exceptionalism front:

Boy has school breakfast thrown out over 30 cent debt

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/boy-has-school-lunch-thrown-out-over-30-cent-debt/nbkXx/

9:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

bowtie-

This is gd, but I'm a little annoyed that the kid was not arrested, jailed, and vigorously beaten. He got off too lightly, imo. He needed to be confronted with the Full Force of the State.

mb

10:31 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Ever eager to join in the merriment and to participate in the disparagement of those
hackneyed words/phrases that merit disparaging, may I offer:

"It is what it is."

"I hear that."

"We need to think outside the box."
[Judging from the chaos and general stupidity visible all around us, perhaps we'd be better advised to encourage more thinking "inside" the box, to the extent that the thinker's talents and temperament permit.]

"WhatEVER." [This word, when delivered with the appropriate intonation--suggested by my capitals here--can be particularly irritating, especially when it is offered in response to a suggestion or complaint issued by an older person to a younger person. The vocalizing of this word, and, more generally, the speech patterns of an entire cohort of our fellow citizens, has been given a name by linguists: "vocal fry."]

And finally, the word "like." This filler word is so ingrained in the speech habits of so many that it can often constitute the bulk of any given utterance. And can and does test the patience of those for whom the word was once most properly used in similes and metaphors.

Oy veh.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Ah! Good oldPathos!

For all the Andy Griffith lovers:

http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/television/info-05-2010/whistle-if-you-love-andy-griffith.html

11:41 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Wafmen!

In terms of having this conversation, at the end of the day, moving forward, we ought to be efforting to put this abusive language use to bed by visioning a sort of actionable game-changing alternative.

To make such transformational change a reality, we must ramp up our discourse and incorporate a more iconic verbiage. Being that such an event doesn't appear to be in the offing, taking a wait-and-see attitude, and hoping for a perfect storm situation seems to be the best-case scenario at this point in time.

Megan: Would "jouissance" work?

11:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Wafers; always, Wafers (or Waferettes).

Jas-

I hear you; copy that. It's terrifying to realize that the country consists of a large collection of drooling buffoons who, like, talk in slogans and buzzwords. Of course, Wafers need to develop some of their own, e.g.:

1. There isn't enuf urine to go around
2. Where are the deli meats?
3. I'm having a Sig moment

mb

12:16 PM  
Anonymous TheDada said...

Dr B, how safe is Mexico?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24875961

Mexico's local authorities' association say a mayor allegedly threatened by drug gangs in the western state of Michoacan has been killed.

Ygnacio Lopez Mendoza, who headed the small town of Santa Ana Maya, was found dead in his car on Thursday.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Barbara Ehrenreich was mentioned. I recommend her book "Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream". Here's a description from an Amazon reviewer. "Franz Kafka joined forces with Charles Darwin to create the brutal, surreal corporate world the author discovers. People are downsized, laid off, forced into early retirement, and just plain fired as a matter of course in this brave new world of ours, for reasons as pointed as ageism and sexism, as arbitrary as a profitable company wanting to show more of a profit, or for no reason at all...You're lucky to be working, even if you're doing more work for less money over longer hours than you ever expected, even if you get no benefits, even if you survived the last round of layoffs and have no idea what will happen the next time. For if you're not working, you become one of the lost souls Ehrenreich meets. They max out their credit cards on image consultants and career coaches, each one contradicting what the last one said, on networking forums that turn out to be loosely disguised prayer meetings, on advice books, and on inspirational videos. They spend months and even years surfing the Internet and sending resumés to companies that rarely bother to respond at all." Ehrenreich gives juicy examples of the kind of phony corporate pep talks (verbal flatulence) that go on out there now. All this rather corroborates MB's observation that the US's values were based on money and now the money is gone, or going.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Wafer's,

RE stupid sayings, better than I deserve.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Chaz Homz said...

I like what Megan said about down-time “the ultimate hustler expression” as she called it. As for a “neologism” for the exquisite pleasure one feels after blowing-off annoying “friends”, there probably is an existing word somewhere, but I think it best to stick with good-old technical-sounding English and use the phrase “voluntary alienation”. At least we wouldn’t have to further irritate the World by stealing even more words from other nations’ languages.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

Dr. Berman,
Just finished reading Spinning straw into gold. For the first time, anyway for I intend to read it again a few times. Thought of saying many things about it but I think the one honest thing I''d say (and probably learned from the book) is: THANK YOU!
Also bought Destiny, Wandering God and the Reenchantment of the world. Which one you think I should read next or in what order?
You all have a good weekend and keep up the good intellectual work!4

3:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel-

Gracias a ti. Spanish trans, BTW, will be out in March (De paja a oro). Destiny/WG/ROW. (Note that last 2 can be purchased in Span trans from Cuatro Vientos Editorial, Santiago de Chile.)

Sanc-

A great, and depressing, bk. But it does show how full of shit the US is.

Dada-

I've never felt unsafe in Mexico, and I've walked around Mex City at night. (I also hail taxis in the street, wh/they tell u not to do, and haven't once had a problem--this after at least 200 taxi rides.) I also dated a gal who lived in Ciudad Juarez--highest homicide rate in the nation--and didn't feel nervous. I feel a lot more nervous in the US, in fact. As for Michoacan, it's quite beautiful, and if yr not doing drug deals, you'll probably be OK. Most dangerous is the border area nr the US, for obvious reasons.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous k_pgh said...

Here's another one for the list of annoying American platitudes.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I like the way it's frequently used to minimize damage and loss while simultaneously absolving violent bullies.

Plus, I'd be surprised if more than one American in a hundred even knows that they're paraphrasing Nietzsche.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

k-

It's not likely that more than .001% of the population has even heard of Nietzsche.

mb

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Yanuz said...

Berman:

It is good to hear that you feel safer in Mexico than in USA. At least, no over-zealous Mexican Mayor is targeting you for arrest and harassment. That shows intelligence, maturity, and respect for human rights on the part of Mexican government officials.

This is my first post, I usually read posts.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Jeff T- I would count the JFK assassination as a major turning point, especially after reading Russ Baker's _Family of Secrets_. I think presidents may have had a little more latitude to act independently prior to JFK; post-JFK they are on a relatively short leash. Nixon's famous paranoia may have been quite justified, it's not necessarily a safe place to be if you intend to act on principle and not just go along to get along (oh no, I hope that's not a disgusting cliche! "my bad" if so... :-))

(And what's wrong with "my bad" anyway...? geezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

Dr. Berman, have we gotten your views on JFK anywhere? Do you think the "deep state" moved in in a big way post-JFK? Or was it not really such a big demarcation as that?

Btw Jeff T, in Baker's book, he talks about how Zapruder was not just some random douchebag (as it were) but very connected to players in Dallas's (IIRC) royal Russian diaspora. Did you know Oswald had a CIA handler (the evidence is pretty overwhelming) named DeMohrenschildt (name changed from the Russian) who was a family friend of George H.W. Bush? You gotta read that book if you're caught up in the 50th anniv. hoopla! I don't know how actors face themselves to show up in dopey movies like this "Parkland" -- okay, I haven't seen it, and I'm sure it's fun to do period pieces, but stuff is so SANITIZED when it treats of sensitive topics like this. (Stone's JFK may be an exception.)

Dovidel- I was just responding to somebody who wanted "conservative" authors of interest, I don't have any need to label Gatto or other interesting thinkers. That said, I think the labels do have *some* use in a colloquial sense; we know what it means to be red or blue America. Don't ask me to get into "Burkean" conservatism and the whole history of the terms though, that I could not do.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hack-

In terms of history, I think the luckiest thing that ever happened to JFK is that he got killed 2.5 yrs into his presidency. From that pt on, "Camelot" got mythologized, as the Golden Age that wd have transformed American politics. He was young, and handsome, and supposedly full of new ideas--a "New Frontier" for America, in short. And in his inaugural address, he showed his idealism: Ask not what the country can do for you, etc. All of us were shell-shocked by his death, and I still remember exactly where I was when I heard the news.

But that one line is not what most of the address was abt. It's interesting to read it 52 years later: it's clearly the speech of a traditional Cold Warrior, wh/is what JFK essentially was. "We will pay any price, bear any burden..."...Really? *Any* price, *any* burden? This is the language of brinksmanship, of taking up the mantle of the "Free World"; of Nixon, of John Foster Dulles. (One of his big sound bites during the election was that the GOP had allowed a "missile gap" to develop between the US and the USSR--cleverly being more rt-wing than the GOP, in other words. When Robt McNamara at one pt remarked that there *was* no missile gap, JFK told him to shut up.) As for public service, the Peace Corps had, as a hidden but impt function, the gathering of data on insurgency movements in the Third World.


Domestically, JFK had no real interest in changing the nature of the economy; and altho he was supposedly a big fan of John Kenneth Galbraith prior to getting elected, soon after his election he shipped Galbraith off to India (as ambassador). Galbraith himself believed that this was to get him out of the way, so that his own advocacy of a social safety net a la Scandanavia wd not be able to gain any traction in the US. A hustling economy, and Cold War logistics (despite JFK's enthusiasm over Lederer's "Ugly American"--again, prior to the election), were never in danger of being challenged.

Gore Vidal speculated, some yrs ago, that if JFK lived the presidency wd have been a failure, mediocre at best. The death generated the halo, the mythology, the Arthur Schlesinger industry; and very few scholars have pointed out JFK's continuity w/mainstream American ideology (to my knowledge; I cd be wrong). Americans like to get excited over Dem vs. GOP conflicts and debates, and the famous TV debate between JFK and RMN seemed momentous at the time...but it was, as usual, a conflict of style. Was JFK really so different from Nixon, i.e. substantially? I tend to doubt it.

As a result, I don't see the assassination as some big Turning Pt in American history, except in the following sense: After 1963, the US began to unravel. More and more, it just made no sense. Kennedy's death was followed by that of RFK's and MLK's, all in the context of the greatest blot on our history, the shameful war in Vietnam, in which a superpower attempted to grind a peasant population into the dirt, butchering 3 million of them for no justifiable reason whatsoever--and losing! Then came Watergate, the Church Senate hearings, and so on. We never regained our confidence in ourselves; Reagan and what followed was just posturing--blowhards, all of them, down to the current president. By 1975, the nation had turned into a shell. Jimmy Carter tried to pt that out, to argue that we needed to reassess our values. The American people did not appreciate his courage in confronting us w/our emptiness.

(continued below)

9:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

No civilization can function w/o a narrative, a story abt itself it can really believe in. High noon was reached in 1945 with the defeat of the Nazis, and then the whole Lamp of Freedom story was carried into the Cold War (a big mistake, in retrospect). This story is what one reads in JFK's inaugural; but w/his death, and the events that followed, the whole Puritan/John Winthrop/US as manifestation of Divine Providence thing began to lose credibility. Who were we? What the hell were we doing? So altho there was, w/JFK's election, a practical and ideological continuity with the Truman-Eisenhower era, there was a major cultural breakdown w/his death, a loss of faith; and we never recovered it.

Yes, in that sense, the assassination was a turning pt. And the rest, to employ another well-worn cliche, is history.

mb

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Hackenbush,

I’m sorry you took my comments as some kind of criticism or attack – that was the last thing on my mind. Even though our political labels are not very clear anymore, I too can’t help but use them. One difficulty is that even though we do know the difference between red and blue America – as the ship sinks, does it matter anymore?

An often overlooked feature of living in an age of transition like ours is that we just don’t know what’s coming. We can’t develop the new vocabulary we need to describe our unknown future, so we make do with our outdated terms. As Antonio Gramsci said, “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; and in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

We know what we mean when we use the word ‘conservative’, but I’ve always felt that it is something of a misnomer. Already in their 1947 book on urban planning, “Communitas”, Paul and Percival Goodman “observe the paradox that the wildest anarchists are generally affirming the most ancient values… as if they lived in Neolithic times or the Middle Ages, whereas the so-called conservatives are generally arguing for policies and prejudices that date back only four administrations.”

Historians looking back at our time may well decide that the only important distinction was between Wafers and the rest! But for now, as we wait to see what replaces our disintegrating society, we plod on with our old-fashioned language, and in this interregnum a great variety of morbid misunderstandings appear.

In any case, I agree that Gatto is a good choice as a conservative thinker who is worthy of our attention.

David Rosen

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

MB;

That is an interesting take on the JFK assassination, and what you said makes a lot of sense.

My own view, is that the Kennedy brothers were the American equivalent of the Gracchi (Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus) in late Republican Rome. When you study the parallel lives of the Gracchi and the Kennedy's (in the manner of Plutarch), the similarities are downright spooky. Both sets of brothers were social reformers, but determined to work "within the system." Tiberius Gracchus was a war hero, being the first to scale the walls of Carthage in the final Punic War, just like Kennedy was a PT boat captain. The Gracchi were despised by conservative patrician classes, just like the Kennedys were despised by many Cold Warriors. Ironically, in both cases, the Gracchi and the Kennedys were trying to save their respective systems, only the reactionaries were too narrow minded to see that.

Finally, the Gracchi were both assassinated at the behest of the patrician oligarchs, just as JFK and RFK were. I have long believed that the CIA (being the Praetorian guard of the plutocracy) was behind the JFK killing. Lawyer Michael Schweitzer has stated his own conclusions, which (in the absence of a better explanation) I accept as most probable:

http://mikiestar.com/qa-about-the-assassination-of-president-kennedy-2/

I read Spengler when I was in university, and I have accepted his comparison of modern America with late Republican Rome as a valid framework of analysis. Spengler actually predicted that, in the year 2000, the dominant power in the Western world would be ruled by the modern equivalent of the Roman dictator Sulla - that is, a reactionary who was determined to turn the clock back on recent social reforms, and who would initiate an age of proscriptions and extra-judicial political murders. Who did we get in November of 2000? George W. Bush!! Need I say more?

MB's idea that the assassination of the Kennedy's inaugurated the cultural breakdown of the U.S. fits in well with this analysis. In the Roman world, the deaths of the Gracchi likewise inaugurated the social and political descent into chaos which only ended with the Battle of Actium.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...


Philippine typhoon death toll could reach 10,000

http://news.yahoo.com/philippine-typhoon-death-toll-could-reach-10-000-011657978.html

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Comrades,

Thanks a lot for all the funny "stupid American sayings"--your responses really made me smile! (By the way, "Jouissance" is an excellent pick, Al--it even has the sense of transgressive eroticism that I hinted at! And Chaz's "voluntary alienation" is likewise quite good, though not as precise or subtle as the Gallic version!)

Needless to say, I would never delete or "blow off" someone who approached me in an even remotely human manner. Treating people as disposable objects, to be added or deleted from one's life at random, is another matter entirely--and definitely not what I'm referring to. (This is the part where you are supposed to say, "whatEVER!")

Dr. Berman,

"Having a violent bowel movement" should indeed only be reserved for extreme occasions. Like corporate "positivity training seminars", or Sarah Palin fundraising dinners!

Dr. Hack,

You're right that "My bad" isn't THAT bad! Perhaps I was being too fussy, or just channeling my inner George Will; but it's one of those things that tends to blur the distinction between adulthood and adolescence--like grown men who wear baggy pants, or play video games!

On a more serious subject, I do think Gatto is a first-rate critic, so excellent choice there.

4:33 AM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dr. Berman,

Have you read "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters" by James W. Douglass?

I thought he made a fairly compelling case for the idea that JFK had turned away from the Cold Warrior mentality and that this change of heart is what got him killed. Interesting book and well-written, IMHO.

Just curious about your take on the book, if it's one that you've read.

-Teri

6:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Teri-

I haven't read it, but I know that there is some evidence that JFK was seeking to cool down, rather than heat up, the Vietnam involvement prior to his death; altho the Cuban missile crisis of a yr b4 the assassination hardly suggests someone 'soft on communism' (tho unbeknownst to the American public, JFK had to remove missiles from Turkey in exchange for Russia's removal from Cuba). We now know that Carter's loss of the election in 1980 was an 'inside job'--i.e. the military saw him as too idealistic, and hence the arrangement between the Reagan camp and the Iranians to not release the hostages until after the election. But they didn't find it necessary to kill Carter, at least. Which is not to say that the same folks killed Kennedy; just that the Warren Commission Report was full of holes and self-contradictory--a 'rush to judgment', as one critic called it. The circumstantial evidence, at least, that there was more than one gun firing on that day is pretty gd, as far as I can make out. But finally, we'll never know for sure. The theories are: CIA/military; Mafia; angry Cuban exiles (in wake of failed Bay of Pigs); and so on. I remember that ca. 1965, Rolling Stone did a long, careful article assembling all the evidence that it was an inside job, which was pretty impressive. So I guess everyone hasta decide what they personally believe, in lieu of a 'smoking gun'.

mb

8:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

She's back! My heart throb. I promise to believe in God if S/He will arrange for Sarah to marry me, and fuck me silly on an ice floe in Alaska, among the meese, with Ed Meese present:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/09/sarah-palin-blasts-church-of-government/?hpt=hp_t2

mb

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

Dr Berman, from the article on Sarah Palin:

She is touring the country on her latest book: "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas."

The bigwigs of the Republican Party support her: "Palin was joined by other major tea party favorites such as Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Steve King of Iowa, as well as conservative intellectual and activist Phyllis Schlafly"

She is worried about a war on Christianity: “The war on Christmas is just the tip of the spear in a larger battle"

Given the above, I have these questions for all Wafers:
1) Why do companies keep publishing her books (if she is not as intellectual as some known “intellectuals”)?

2) Why does she sell more books than professors with PhD’s (even though she dropped out of college)?

3) Is she not right about the existence of a war on Christian principles (given that Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama favor gay marriage)? In other words, this country was founded on Christian principles. And we know that Obama and Bloomberg are scumbags and they both support gay marriage contrary to Biblical injunctions. Why is Palin not right here?

4) How does she compare to Rand Paul (and on what standard are we making this comparison)? In other words, should Wafers continue to make fun of her while accepting Rand Paul’s ways?

10:36 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

11-10-2013

Quotes I do not care for:

“I was spared for a reason”

"If u don't give up, u can accomplish anything."

“Have U done ur part?” and “U get to pick the amount” - PBS fund raising mantras.

_______________________

Mike in O,

Just read about the Late Roman Republic.

I agree with you.

_______________________

Comment on Plagiarism:

"Plagiarism is an insider’s obsession. If you’re a professional journalist, or an academic historian, or a philosopher, or a social scientist or a scientist, the game  you play for a living is underwritten by the assumed value of originality and failure properly to credit the work of others is a big and obvious no-no.

All texts are palimpsests of earlier texts; there’s been nothing new under the sun since Plato and Aristotle  and they weren’t new either; everything belongs to everybody.'

If one is not making a profit in any way, what difference does it make? If u are doing a ‘good’ thing, it makes all the difference and does not matter how you get the point across.

________________________

The US empire has killed and slaughtered more humanity, by far, than any other nation, and, we are told to be proud of it.

This makes this country, the worst civilization ever birthed.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

shep-

When popular writers steal my stuff, and don't mention the source, it bothers me. I don't think it's any different from shoplifting a coat from Macy's, quite frankly. Not maintaining the stds of intellectual property rts is, to me, part of our cultural decline. I think it matters quite a bit, how u get yr pt across. Easy to shrug it off, if yr not the victim.

As for the US being the worst: that's quite debatable, mon vieux.

Pauli-

1. Co's are interested in making money, not much else.
2. The American public is interested in easy reads, not in bks by professors.
3. Christian principles apparently have a certain flexibility. Cf. Pope's recent pronouncements on homosexuality.
4. Sarah is *funny*! Rand Paul, a stick in the mud. Can u see SNL doing a skit on Rand Paul?

mb

11:51 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Sarah...

Additionally, thanks so much for your views and perspective on the assassination of JFK. Much of the myth making and the shaping of the public memory around JFK did obscure and override the fact that he was a Cold Warrior and in many ways an economic conservative. Putting his actual policies and worldview, as you did, in the larger political and cultural context of the Cold War and Lamp of Freedom ideology makes a helluva lot of sense, it seems to me. I was born just after the assassination and I still remember my mother, a big JFK supporter and Kennedy lover, crying about the event when asked about it and on anniversaries of the event.

I take solace in the words of Billy Joel:

JFK, blown away,
What else do I hafta say...

Dovidel-

In your response to Hack, you gave us all another great Post-it. How about:

There are Wafers and then there's the rest!

Hack-

Many thanks for the John Taylor Gatto and Russ Baker book suggestions. In terms of Baker, I recall you and I went 10 rounds over it. Suffice it to say, I do need to read it and I will.

With Nixon, you painted a picture in my mind: a paranoid Nixon hunched over a double scotch and rambling on to H.R. Haldeman about the fact that *They* took out Kennedy for less. Indeed, the presidency is no place for high ideals and principles. Jesus, just look at at Obama! The man is incapable of telling the truth.

I was aware of Oswald and the CIA connection through this DeMohrenshildt person, tho not aware of Zapruder being connected to the big players in Dallas, unless you mean *just* successful small business owners. What do you mean by (IIRC)? I am awaiting another book I ordered, "Dallas 1963." It deals specifically with the city of Dallas, i.e., the players, the politicos, wacky right-wingers, the gangsters and hustlers who made the city tick in the late fifties and early sixties.

Cheers,

Jeff

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Thanks DR B for explaining the concept of plagiarism.
WAFERS, please do not be caught plagiarizing because:

plagiarism = stealing

Stealing a penny is not different from stealing a million bucks or stealing a sentence from a book. Stealing goes to the heart of the credibility of a writer or speaker.

If everyone in America steals, there will not be society called America. The recent stealing in the wall street is the reason a lot of people around the world became homeless and jobless.

One can argue (and it has been argued in books) that the American and British business firms and governments perfected the art of stealing externally and are now practicing the art internally.

If you legalize stealing, if you institutionalize stealing, if you universalize stealing in any society, it is hard to stop; it will destroy the society; that society is finished.

Imagine teaching all kids from grade one to high school that stealing is the moral thing to do. This is not good for the interests of the individuals or for the interests of the entire society. If I steal all the ideas from WAF, I will harm the personal interests of DR B. If you legalize my behavior, you will harm the entire US economy. Think! Stop emoting!

1:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Yes, another potential T-shirt:

(Front) WAFER OR DOUCHE BAG?
(Back) THE CHOICE IS YOURS

mb

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Re: entertaining dolts. Wait a bit for more to come out on Ted Cruz. I get the impression he will be as much fun as Sarah Palin. He just hasn't had as much time for his background and history to be researched, nor the sheer number of hours on camera to make ridiculous gaffs. Early indications are that he seems to have a similar religious extremist ideology, that includes his own specialness as a central tenet. That sort of personality is going to reveal itself sooner or later.

And speaking of nutcases, the news is looking more and more like some sort of black humor parody. Remember when the movie A Clockwork Orange was so "controversial" for its violence? That was within my lifetime, and it looks downright quaint now. Not only for the intensity of the violence, but the extra constant of "law enforcement officers" and other supposedly responsible officials being the perpetrators as often as not.

USA Today: N.M. motorist sues over court-ordered anal searches
Police detained David Eckert for not making a complete stop while exiting a Walmart parking lot on Jan. 2, and officers suspected him of concealing drugs because he "appeared to be clenching his buttocks," attorney Shannon Kennedy told KOB-TV, which reviewed medical records, police reports and the federal lawsuit.

Hidalgo County sheriff's deputies arrived with a drug-detection dog, which reportedly detected the presence of drugs near the driver's seat, The Deming Headlight reported. A judge then signed a warrant for an anal-cavity search.

...

USA Today: 4 charged with severing pot clinic owner's privates
Four people were charged with kidnapping a California marijuana dispensary owner, torturing him with a blowtorch and cutting off his penis during a robbery because they thought he was burying piles of cash in the desert, authorities said Friday.

...

NY Daily news: Arkansas cop tasers woman who refuses to show him her breasts
A cop in Arkansas allegedly tasered a woman after she refused to show him her breasts.

Ashlea Bennett alleges that uniformed Officer Brandon Carter strutted into her place of work on Dec. 13, 2011, and ordered that she give him a sneak peak of her bosom.

...

[And here is a sign that Canada isn't really that different from the US...]

BBC: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in video murder rant
Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has apologised for a video of him making threats to commit "first-degree murder" against an unknown person.

The leader of Canada's biggest city told reporters he had been "extremely inebriated" in the clip, which shows him apparently blowing off steam.

It is the latest video controversy to engulf the mayor, who admitted this week having smoked crack cocaine.

...

2:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sav-

Actually, I don't think there's any need for performing anal cavity searches on the American population, because all yr going to find up there is their heads. Anal *extraction*, however, wd be a public service, tho requiring millions of crowbars and gallons of K-Y jelly. However, inasmuch as we've already spent $6 trillion on Iraq, apparently...

mb

2:59 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

How about your favorite episode of Curb? I love The Nanny From Hell.... "fuck Hhhhhhhhhhhyoooooo"

3:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

I think I saw 1 or 2 episodes, found them a tad depressing. Then I left the US.

Capo-

Sorry, had to delete (pls, no put-downs of other Wafers). Suggest u re-send, but w/that part omitted. Thanks.

mb

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Zabra said...

Someone said: You can't hold a man down without staying down with him.

Another person said it another way:
When you do an injustice to another human being, you destroy your own soul. Or that whatever comes out of your mouth defiles you.

How true are these things?

6:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Zabra-

I have no idea. But focus of this blog is collapse of American empire. Thanks.

mb

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Wafers,

Regarding plagiarism. What’s the problem? I teach college students, and half of the papers I receive are plagiarized. A plagiarized paper is always well written and well supported. So I give them all As. Besides, if I didn’t, half of my students would fail, the schools would lose money, and I would be fired. And trust me, when 90 percent of all university faculty today are adjuncts earning on average $29k a year, I am not the only one taking that approach to *business*.

Cubeangel,

I suggest you immediately stop picking up trash in your neighborhood. That only delays the collapse. You need to start thinking more proactively. Use your imagination on how you too may expedite the demise of the Empire. Here are a few examples of useful constructive action:

1. Freely throw trash out of your car when nobody sees. Freeways at night are perfect for this.
2. After using a public restroom, drop the entire toilet paper roll into the toilet. Mall restrooms are perfect for this activity.
3. If you applied number 2 above, DO NOT FLUSH! Never flush under any circumstances.
4. After you used it extensively, return all purchased merchandise at the end of the return period. I suggest you shop at Target, because it has a 90-day return policy.
5. Stop buying sugar, napkins, and toilet paper. You can get those free at Starbucks and McDonald's even if you don’t buy anything.
6. Stop paying your bills except for utilities.
7. Stop paying taxes.
8. Stop paying attention to television.

This is a lot more fun than picking up trash in the neighborhood. It’s a real self-esteem booster too.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

MB,

Here is the master of detecting the butchering of our language.

George Carlin: Modern Man

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkCR-w3AYOE

George Carlin: National Press Club:\
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc0ZHsoHAlE

Still reading. Dodging Abrams tanks daily.

A term from one of Joe B.'s essays.

"Digital Autism"

I think this term fits perfectly with the response you gave to a question in Grand Rapids.

"The technology is colonizing their minds".

Peace,
Vince

8:17 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

I don't believe this blog urges criminal activity; however, Abbie Hoffman had a funny one yrs ago that always makes me laugh. He recommended the following. Rent a safety deposit box at yr least favorite bank & secretly keep a dead mackerel in it. Be unreachable by the bank. The smell will drive the bank crazy. The employees will have to break into yr box to remove the offensive mackerel. If they ever manage to find & confront u abt it, act EXTREMELY offended & say, "That fish was a priceless heirloom! I'm gonna sue!"

One reason not to do this in real life is that it likely won't work & u may end up being tortured to death by the American police state.

On a more serious note, just imagine a country in which a wiseacre activist like Hoffman was possible. All we see on the national stage now are Amy Goodmen, & wealthy comics spewing toilet jokes & feeble corporate-sponsored remonstrances to the amusement of murderous presidents.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Dr. B- Somewhere I've heard (maybe it was Baker again) that Kennedy went into office a Cold Warrior, believing the Soviet Union was a threat, then learned the US was way ahead in the arms race. So he initiated a back-channel dialogue with Kruschev, side-steeping the generals and MIC, and this got him in hot water. Also, after the Bay of Pigs, he was pissed at Allen Dulles (head of CIA), fired him I think, and was quoted to the effect that he was going to wipe out the CIA, that it had gotten out of hand.

Interesting factoid: you mentioned you remember where you were, as so many do; well, George H.W. Bush said in an interview that he could *not* remember where he was that day! And yet, on that day, he phoned in a tip to the FBI about who might have shot Kennedy, accusing a co-worker of his from some sort of campaign office (but it may have just been a way of providing a paper trail for an alibi for Bush.) There are many, many strange doings surrounding Bush Sr. and JFK, according to Baker's well-documented book.

Dovidel- I did not take your comments as attack or criticism. I enjoy your posts.

Jeff T- And don't forget Allan Bloom...

10:29 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

OUR MODERN WORLD DEPARTMENT.

OK. this one kid wants another kid's jacket (at the Bryant Park skating rink behind the NY Public Library - a million people there at any given time) and shoots a couple of people when he doesn't get it. He then posts about it on Facebook, leading the cops to his house, where there is an hour long standoff as he continues to post (bad grammar and spelling) on Facebook.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/cops-questioning-shooter-skating-returns-bryant-park-article-1.1512258

And here is a picture of the jacket, which has been the cause of another prior shooting and a murder.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/notorious-biggie-jacket-sparks-nyc-violence-article-1.1512688

Of course, until recently Bryant Park was the scene of New York Fashion Week. And, no, I'm not going to go there

12:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bowtie-

Once again, I'm annoyed that all the kid had at his disposal was a revolver. There *are* drones for sale, after all. Sheesh.

mb

1:27 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...


Dr Hack,

Bush the elder as a Manchurian candidate assassin-- now that's a conspiracy theory I can admire, it has some gravitas, unlike elder Bush the FBI tipster.

Vince said: "The technology is colonizing their minds".

Here the technology is literally colonising the cockroach mind. Today the cockroach, tomorrow....?:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24455141

3:51 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

A clarification of my comment on plagiarism:

I think it would be wonderful if everyone 'stole' Dr Berman's ideas from WAF. It would make for a much better world. In this sense, I do not think Dr. Belman would mind at all.

What if everyone had stolen and bought into the ideas of Socrates or Jesus, and, followed them!

Obviously, honesty is a virtue that, for me, ranks right up there with 'do not kill''. ( I stated. "failure to properly to credit the work of others is a big and obvious no-no.")
Also, I cd never be a victim, or harmed, because I am in no way an intellectual (which some seem to think is a prerequisite for membership in WAFerism) but I understand any and all comparisons to stealing.

I was born with the opportunity to have or do anything damn thing I wanted. All I had to do was follow the rules of class. RegrettabIy, I chose to chase girlfriends and play. I hated school, did not understand work, and abhorred reading.

Plagiarism certainly applies in a competitive/hustling environment. (USA! USA! USA!)

These were my only points.

__________________

Another pt of recent discussion: 'Conservatives'.

I hope this doesn't cause some WAFers to 'emote' excessively.

"Conservatives are fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous nation this is. The only thing that matches their love of country is the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it."

""Conservatives insist that government should be " run more like a business." One might wonder how that could be possible, since government does not market goods and services for the purpose of capital accumulation."

"A Conservative government is an organized hypocrisy."

_________________

Bingo,

All eight of ur suggestion to Cube are on my list already, especially numbers 1 and 2.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

shep-

No, of course there's no 'intellectual' requirement to being a Wafer. Intelligence, open-mindedness, and fairness, however, are a plus, along w/a fondness for deli meats. As far as plagiarism goes: I feel it's theft in *any* context, not just an intellectual or competitive one. The plagiarist is promoting themselves by pretending that the ideas s/he presents are their own. The person who has been ripped off can't help but feel dissed, as a result. (Note that 'buying into' ideas and 'stealing' ideas are not quite the same thing.)

mb

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Learning and stealing are not the same. It is good for everyone to learn from Berman’s books by reading them all. It is good for everyone to learn from the ideas and writings of Socrates, Aristotle, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, and other writers. Nobody is saying that learning is bad. On the contrary, WAFERS are saying that there is not enough learning in America because people do not read enough books and some people do not read at all.

It will be disastrous for everyone to be free to steal from books and articles. This would be real hustling. Copying the sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters from WAF is not the same as reading them to understand what is said (learning). If stealing is ok, then a person can just buy WAF, replace Morris Berman with his name, and send a copy of the book to publishers to publish as his book.

When a person learns something from WAF, he or she often starts like this: According to Morris Berman in WAF, “the American sky is falling (pg. 4).” Or Morris Berman believes/claims, argues in WAF that things are falling apart in America (pg. 4). If someone refers to page 4 of WAF, he should read what Berman says about sky and such. This is called giving due respect to an original author. Doing so actually shows learning and improves store of knowledge for everyone. Hustling would be not reading WAF, not learning from WAF, and pretending that you did. Hustlers do not care about learning; they only care about making money via any means necessary, including stealing. I think we should change the culture of this blog to demand/require that everyone cites at least one page number per week from any of the books from Dr B.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

On plagiarism, I may be confused as to what plagiarism is but to me the idea of plagiarism seems to result in a tautology. For the most part, people live in societies today and throughout history. Ideas are passed around and ideas are built upon other ideas. For the most part people do not live in a vacuum. Are there really original ideas that truthfully exist or are they ideas that already exist in other places but simply reinvented with different names and different packages? If there are no original ideas in existence or if they do exist but they're rare then technically it is true that everyone is a plagiarist and a thief but do not even know it. If my reasoning is faulty then will you please show me why it is faulty? How would it be possible to prove that every single idea ever conceived of was original or non-original? I am able to do bibliographies and source citations. When we go into the world of ideas and the world of the abstract it confuses me. In this world it seems like things blend together Stealing a penny is clear cut because the penny is a physical object in which one can assign clear ownership. If I am working under erroneous premises then what are the proper premises that I should work under when it comes to ideas like plagiarism?

Bingo

I can see some of your advice landing me in prison. How can I be a WAFer in prison or are you just playing around?




11:10 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

This may be of interest:

http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2013/features/up-in-arms.html

11:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

That wd be a rather long discussion, wh/I can't have rt now; but let me just say that it's not a question of logic or tautology, and cannot be solved that way. Edward's remarks may be of some help 2u, in any case.

On another matter:

www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36807.htm

mb

12:17 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Happy happy Monday!
I took a break from the blogs for the whole weekend, and it really took some time to catch up.
Sheesh.

Regarding plagiarism: I also agree it is theft, plain and simple. I don't think Rand Paul should be let off with just a slap, but my main thought is this:

Plagiarism in the political or even intellectual class in the USA is a problem in the sense that an undercooked steak at dinner was a problem on the Titanic on the night it sank. It's a real thing, but does it really matter when your ship is about sink? I think not.

The decline and collapse of the USA is so overdetermined by multiple causes that it is hard for me to care much about Rand Paul's plagarism. I'm really more worried about figuring out how to found a life worth living for myself and my family, and figure out where to go. The state in the midwest where JWO and I live is the "least miserable" state in the USA, but that's kind of like having a stateroom on the upper deck of the Titanic: you are still going to sink, just a few minutes later than the people in steerage.

Regarding conservatives: Edmund Burke is always pertinent and sane. He is not a conservative in the American sense, though. There are very few American conservatives (people who actually want to conserve rather than destroy). There were some, such as Russell Kirk (who wrote The Conservative Mind). He was thoughtful, anti-war, and supported the Southern Agrarians, I believe.

@Michael in Oceania: Great insights into ancient Rome and the parallels. I need to read more of this stuff.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Yes and no. I see it as part of our general decline, continuous with it. Theft becomes OK--we just shrug it off--and standards of value disintegrate. It's symptomatic of the whole damn mess.

mb

12:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: The same might be said of grammar and spelling. Trivial on one level, indicative of something deeper on another.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Cube,

As succinctly as possible, citing sources is about respect. Respect for the author's original ideas, or for the work the author has done in locating other original ideas for you. Whether or not the ideas are original, the author has put a lot of time and work into putting those ideas together in an appropriate, coordinated manner for a reader to enjoy. Plagiarism disrespects the author and the work he/she has done by claiming the work as your own. Also, sources serve as a record for other people to go and find later, should they want to verify the information. Without sources, one could make up whatever they wanted and claim it as fact. I hope this helps cube, as this is the best way I can put it. It's a documented paper trail of where you obtained information and putting it all together is the work the author has done.

Dr. B,

Re grammar. I am a grammar nazi to myself and I abhor bad grammar. I do realize when we are typing fast we make mistakes so I resist pointing out mistakes on this blog, especially since I know I make them too. In everything I read I find at least one mistake. How do you feel about the complexities of writing styles, i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago, since even experts seem to disagree on the application of these styles?

3:28 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

I think your missing out. Many great laughs to be had from Curb Your Enthusiasm. A Seinfeld reunion is even plotted into Curb, rehashing the show within a show structure of the original. I have had times where the constant displays of wealth grated on me, and I do wish LD would explicitly critique that world. There are some fantastically hilarious moments though, its well worth watching.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

Maybe this will help: There isn't a single idea in "The Origin of Species" that hadn't been published elsewhere prior to 1859. Not one. Darwin's originality lay in arranging those ideas in a particular way, a juxtaposition that had not been made prior to publication of the bk.

mb

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

ellen- Well, laff, I guess. The fact that Bush called in a tip to the FBI about a potential JFK assassin is kind of an interesting item, given his family's dynastic place in our history, from that day to this, and even before (his father and grandfather were involved in the arms business and war/banking intrigue of their day.) But yeah, we should just laugh about Manchurian candidates and accept what the official commissions tell us. I mean, I tell you that he "can't remember" where he was that day, and that doesn't provoke some curiosity to want to know what that's all about? It's absurd that a figure like Bush could get away with telling us that he "can't remember" where he was --- a member of a prominent American family, deeply involved in business and politics. The lowliest gas station attendant remembers where he was! But we all just yawn indifferently. No big deal if a small cabal of insiders sets up a permanent "deep state" of self-interested dealing within our supposedly democratic government.

***
Talking about Gatto.. Now this brings up Carroll Quigley, who is a fascinating name I'd like to learn more about. He wrote a book _Tragedy and Hope_, which I believe is a sort of foundational text in the officially non-sanctioned idea realm (subscribed to by Alex Jones e.g.) And yet, Quigley was a credentialed academic at some prestigious Dome of Intellect -- name-checked in Bill Clinton's acceptance speech to the DNC as Clinton's mentor... Apparently sort of a fluke that it got published at all; nobody was paying too much attention to what the dusty academics were printing, or expected one to say such obviously verboten things.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

So many interesting topics.

A very interesting thinker some characterize as conservative was Daniel Bell. In some ways his work and perspective remind me of MB. Bell had fascinating and prescient insights on American society. Simple and notable insight was Bells's distinction between a scholar and intellectual. A signal american problem is scholars--the so called leaders are mostly drawn from the ranks of the lawyers and as such are scholars (appeal to authority and texts) and not intellectuals (ideas and experience, perhaps even empiricists). Note most truly civilized places have few lawyers generally (absolutely and as percentage of populations) and fewer in positions of leadership. Do note U.S. has 5% of worlds population and 70% of the lawyers.

Its symptomatic of American society that many who lately are attacking Rand Paul for plagiarism did not bat an eye when Joe Biden plagiarised a speech by U.K. Labour MP Neil Kinnock almost word for word. His reward--considered the essence of probity a master of international affairs and crucial to locking in Obama's electoral victory....

The Obamacare fiasco, the spying scandals, drones, BP spill, the syria and libya messes, banking corrpuption, government shut down It boggles the mind how anyone with two working synapses can take the clowns in D.C. seriously. It really is a testament to the power of television and the dull wits of the american public that this show continues. Like mildly impaired and patient children the american public wait for the recovery (since 2009 when the great one was placed by the hand of G-d himself on the lincoln monument to save us all) that will come any day now. No results or accomplishments required--only new and more PR. Sophism of the creating narratives which have noting to do with reality variety seems to be the true expertise of the well paid denizens of D.C.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Cube,

Ideas aren't Platonic essences, eternal & apart from what they are abstracted from. Each set of different circumstances can require that another act of abstraction be performed. One reason why is to obtain greater accuracy.

Math axioms are (mostly) invariant. But new and not-very-new stuff comes on the scene in "the real world" all the time. Dealing w/ this stuff can require re-thinks.

For example, MB didn't have to come along when he did and put DAA together for us. He cld have written an Oprah-type book instead. The DAA combo required fresh effort. The effort is original, but so are the resulting ideas, at least in the following sense. While certain previous authors criticized American civ from the perspective of the 1950s, for example, their ideas are not identical to MB's. The reason is these authors didn't know everything that MB (& we) know now & so this new information wasn't available to factor into their analyses (brilliant tho these analyses may have been for their day).

We need "re-thinks" & the thinkers who perform them. They really are original. Even if or especially if we later blend their ideas into our own thinking, thinkers ought to be thanked for the help they gave us, at least by our attributing their own work to them. (MB references other authors he learned from.)

Hustlers often steal an idea & obtain riches or admiration w/ it, posing as the originator while the real originator remains in poverty or obscurity. Supposedly this describes Edison/Tesla. (Edison himself once got ripped off by some early movie makers.) Hustlers are typically thankless "parasite" * types who call themselves "great men," "innovators," "captains of industry," etc., while the real work is done by people whom they exploit & then discard. The bitter term "United Snakes of America" well captures the prevalence of this type here.

* I borrow this term from Rand Paul.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Hackenbush et al,

You’re probably aware that Paul Goodman, John Holt, and of course the frequently misunderstood Ivan Illich were all Gatto’s antecedent critics of ‘education’. See:

Goodman: “Growing Up Absurd”, and the one volume version of “Compulsary Miseducation” and “A Community of Scholars”, plus much more.

Holt: Many writings, “Instead of Education” being my favorite.

Illich: The classic “Deschooling Society” and other writings. (To stir the femminist pot again, see “Gender”.) Whether you agree with them or not, I think Illich’s ideas are unique.

These radical ‘social critics’ (excuse me, Bingo) were deeply conservative in terms of human needs and values. Their writings could prevent a lot of ‘modern’ cultural and social dreck from being carried into whatever follows capitalism and should be saved by NMIs.

Wafers,

I think JFK’s assination acted as a catalist in the transformation from the ‘50’s’ to the ‘60’s’. The whole atmosphere seemed to change.
The play “McBird”, suggesting that LBJ was behind the assination, was all the rage – with everybody asking, “Do you thik Johnson did it?”. The typical answer was, “I don’t know, but I wouldn’t put it past him.” The Warren Commission was widly seen as a coverup, and Woody Allen said his next book would be a non-fiction version of the Warren Report. I remember conversations comparing the US to Ancient Rome with all its political assinations, followed by the question, “Are we so pure that it can’t happen here?” For the first time American exceptionalism and moral superiority were being openly challanged in polite society – at least in New York.

I don’t think the assination *caused* the transition from the 50’s to the 60’s, but it seems to have been a grain around which a lot of supressed feelings crystalized. Young people who didn’t share their parents’ dread of the McCarthy years formed radical student movements which spread from Berkeley across the country. These movements were about a lot more than the war in Vietnam.

David Rosen

11:05 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Dr Hack,

I do think that we should just laugh at the notion of Manchurian candidates. If we'd had any success in actually producing a genuine one we wouldn't (half a century on) be gluing electronic backpacks to cockroaches and wiring up their bodies in an attempt to control their basic movements.

Even I remember where I was that day--and I was quite young, on a different continent and not at all a patriotic American--but 'I don't remember' cannot be taken as a smoking gun by any sane person, the human mind and memory being such a slippery and elusive mystery to us and, thankfully IMO, likely to remain so forever.

IMHO, that elusive mystery is our only hope of continuance as a species.

We all do yawn differently, only some of us yawn indifferently. Either way it doesn't follow that our manner of yawning dictates whether or not we accept what official commissions tell us is the truth. IMO, official commissions are there to establish the official narrative of what happened--which is a very different beast to the truth of what happened.

If you look closely at any group of people where there is potential power to be wielded (and in my experience that means any random grouping of people)and its concomitant rewards to be enjoyed, you will find humans conspiring separately and together to take that power for themselves. It has been ever thus wherever there is plunder and power over others to be had.

So no, I don't find the notion of a cabal of insiders any big deal at all. There is always a cabal of self-interested insiders (read Machiavelli, any historical account of palace intrigues or just indifferently observe for a while)--I just take issue with the notion of a 'permanent' cabal (with super-powers too!) as the attrition rate at that level of cut-throat grasping is, and always was, massive.
Even JFK must have understood that, no figurehead of power can ever be in any doubt, no matter what they may outwardly claim.

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Pauli said...

My head spins after reading attempts to redefine a simple word with so many words. The word ‘stealing’ is the best summary of the word ‘plagiarism’, and that is the end of the story. If we cannot understand this, how can we understand such complex words as ‘justice’, ‘constitution’, ‘the rule of law’, 'racism', 'ethnocentrism', ‘democracy’, ‘communism’, ‘socialism’, ‘capitalism’, etc?

This thing is not a game. When you steal from others, you are purposely doing harm to others. You are also doing harm to the economy and to the society. This should not be too much for us to understand.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Joe

You mentioned the word "respect". This is an emotional term which represents a feeling that you and others feel. Really, it is a matter of empathy or putting yourself in the other person's shoes.

I never considered this aspect and I am beginning to understand what Dr. Berman said and meant when logic and tautology does not apply here. Extrapolating this in general terms one can't just look at humanity and human beings within a purely logical and rational context. Dr. Berman's words mean a lot to him in an emotional way. Because of this, Dr. Berman feels he should respect other people's words by giving credit where credit is due. So do a lot of academics and other people.

If what you guys are saying is true with this then am I looking at people and humanity's narrative in to narrow of a way. Do I have to narrow of a focus when it comes to the narrative of America and humanity?

What you are saying Joe is I can't just consider the logical and rational part of the narrative. This is to narrow and does not give a clear picture. I have to look at other parts including the feeling and the emotional. Citing Sources and Plagiarism doesn't just include rationality and logic it includes the emotional as well.

Dr. B

I had to re-read 10 times to grasp what you were telling me and I almost responded in a faulty way. I never would have thought that the arrangement of entities including ideas could be considered a part of the concept of originality. This literally would never have occurred to me. Coming up with brand new ideas is sufficient but not necessary to being original. The arrangement of other ideas and other entities is sufficient enough to be original as well. I never would have thought of these things until you, Sanc, and Joe pointed this out.

Sanc

What you're saying is hustlers don't come up with their original ideas and their own rearrangements. What they do simply promote the ideas as though they created them themselves and thought of them themselves without giving credit where credit is due? The promote themselves as more than they really are. By this reasoning, Bill Gates is a hustler. He did not create windows. Other people gave him the software and sold it for thousands of dollars and he re-packaged it and makes it seem like he did it. He gives no credit to those who sold him the original program he re-packaged as MS-Dos and then to windows.

Am I correct?

11:01 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

Happy, 11-12-13 day, tomorrow!

"... do good works to create moments of value."

_______________________

The USA is collapsing and so is this blog because of excess emotion.

Dr Berman,

I do not see how u can handle US. That includes, almost, everybody.


BTW - do you bring books to autograph/purchase at ur readings?

____________________________

Publius,

Do not fail to read. “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” by Michael Parenti. Same as the Kennedys, MLK, Jr....snuff jobs, maybe. Who knows. I’m not much for theories of conspirocy.

______________________

Had the best time yesterday on the Bush Hog spinning straw into mental gold. with my girl friend Jack Russell, wavin' at the occassional wheels going by. Just thinkin' away. Sky was Carolina Blue, birds were zooming everywhere.
Temp was a calm, kool, cool, 68 degrees
No need to get excited. We are all doomed anyway. What's the big deal.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

shep-

I have this terrible feeling that yr brain may be turning into cottage cheese. Not sure what to suggest to arrest the process, but--hell, man, do *something*. Anyway, no need to worry: this blog is alive and well, and very far from collapse. Maybe u need a hobby? Stamps are fun. ps: no, I don't bring bks w/me, sad to say.

cube-

Nothing is ex nihilo; wh/doesn't mean it's not original. Anyway, r.u. making sure yr getting in enuf walks and fresh air? While shep's brain is collapsing, yrs may be overheating (again). Time to chill, I'm guessing.

Meanwhile: Note to all Wafers (and Waferettes): One of the saddest (yet funniest) sights in contemporary America is a 'progressive' w/her head tucked firmly in her rump, rolling around like a donut, and proclaiming the brilliance of her vision; which usually consists of some variant of How can we make the American Dream available to all? I was thinking of such pathetic victims of CRE when I recently read a thoughtful article by Robt Nelson, who teaches at the U of Md., entitled "The Secular Religions of Progress." It's in the latest issue of New Atlantis. See if u can find it.

mb

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB,

Robt Nelson is a good guy. Secular religion notions best delivered by John Gray back in the 1990's--he (Gray) had a deep influence on a mentor of mine James Goldsmith and lately on yours truly. Gray's False Dawn and some of his earlier analytic work lays out the religion of progress and other silly notions. The first chapter of False Dawn more valuable than the entire Poli-Schi curriculum of Harvard. Of course, Mencken treated with this (as does Ortega earlier in the last century (Mencken's Cult of Hope is more useful than anything emananting from College Park for its sheer charm and language, much like Russel Brand is more effecitve at communicating than say some guy/gal at The Nation.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

@shep: I just got this from the library: The rise of Rome : the making of the world's greatest empire
by Everitt, Anthony.

I'll try your new recommendation next. Thanks. One book at a time.

@Prof. Berman: you are really pushing the New Atlantis these days. At one time my path was to work for/write for a place like that. Despite my short-circuited academic path, maybe my mere M.A. is enough to at least read such a learned journal (irony).

It will be painful to me to touch an area that I once hoped would be my future brilliant academic future, but the ideas the N.A. discusses are too interesting and important for me to ignore any longer.

What else? My CEO had lunch with me yesterday. He believes that energy via solar is soon to be so plentiful, that a new age is upon us. I wonder what the New Atlantis would think - not about the reality of this claim, but about the idea that humans, especially Americans, would use limitless energy for good rather than evil, or even be able to avoid destroying the rest of the biosphere with that much power.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Actually, I disagree w/most of what the New Atlantis hasta say, but I did think the Nelson article was pretty gd.

mb

2:02 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

More wisdom from Sarah:

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/politics/2013/11/12/lead-intv-sarah-palin-pope-francis-liberal.cnn.html

God I wuv this woman! At one point, she describes herself as "dropping to her knees" in front of the Lord...

Jeff

3:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

She's a goddess, I tell u, a goddess.

Other than that, check this out:

http://www.amazon.com/Village-Against-World-Dan-Hancox/dp/1781681309/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384297142&sr=1-1&keywords=dan+hancox

mb

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Cube,

I was joking. You don’t have to take those suggestions literally. Last thing I’d want is for you to land in prison for not flushing the toilet at Starbucks.

Wafers,

As I wrote above, I deal with plagiarism daily. I usually ignore it, because if I didn’t it would double the amount of my work, and also because I would have to fail half of my students (and then get fired by the school). All first year students are expected to become familiar with the APA standard, and all must take classes where academic honesty is discussed extensively. I also explain this in detail at the start of every new course. However, they still lack a basic understanding of what constitutes plagiarism. For example, many of them think that as long as you provide the source (which rarely follows APA), you can go ahead and copy large paragraphs from books or the internet into your papers, and you’ll be fine. Under APA, that practice is plagiarism.

Some of the schools where I taught make it easy to run a paper through TurnItIn and catch plagiarism. However, other schools, while still offering access to TurnItIn, make it purposefully difficult to check originality, and even more difficult to report plagiarism. Recently, one of the schools where I teach decided to simply drop their contract with TurnItIn, supposedly because it was too costly. This last school also seems to attract amazingly stupid students. Most of them study criminal Justice, so they’ll be the prison guards and torturers of the future. Don’t you find that comforting?...

6:43 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

The USAF says this was just a training mission, but we all know they are in league with the nefarious rogue deli enthusiast, "Belman," and were on a mission to bomb Toronto.

Military drone crashes into Lake Ontario

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/military-drone-crashes-into-lake-ontario-1.2424330

7:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

That's nothin'. Get a load o' *this* (*real* plane action):

http://us.cnn.com/2013/10/18/travel/couple-fined-oral-sex-airplane/?iref=obnetwork

8:04 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Bingo:

I've never been a teacher, never mind a college instructor, but reading your post about the frustrations of dealing with plagiarism among college students brought to mind the larger issue facing them as they emerge from colleges and universities, plagiarists and paragons of probity alike: a country where the middle class is fast disappearing, perhaps never to return, a place where holding a college degree MAY give you an edge over the fellow with a GED but the competition between candidates quite possibly will be over a minimum-wage job with shortened hours and no benefits.

In short, whether the fellow was a plagiarist or not won't matter. It'll only mean that he was taking a shortcut into a cul-de-sac.

Welcome to the world.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Distribution of wealth in the US is now on a par w/Mexico, Egypt, and Tunisia. One thing I'm abs certain of is that the 'skew' will get worse over the next 20 yrs. Real figs for poverty/hunger in the US are quite different from official figs; this has been documented by a # of agencies and studies. Realistically, 1/3 of the nation is under water and the next 1/3 above that just praying they don't have some sort of accident or large expense, wh/will plunge them into real poverty. I expect that in 20 yrs only a small % of the population will be living comfortably, and the rest will be scrambling for the crumbs that fall off the tables of the elite. Flipping burgers at McDonald's will be regarded as a high-prestige job. "Neo-feudalism," Chris Hedges calls it. And there is abs. nothing that can arrest this trend--no way, no how. If young people esp. don't emigrate, or become NMI's and find alternative ways of life thereby, they will be ground into the dirt.

mb

9:22 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Cube, u r correct. I dunno abt Bill Gates tho. Did he ever say he wrote Windows? His claim to fame seems to be biz & sales.

The Dept. of Labor Stats sez the ratio of job-seekers to jobs advertised is 3:1 now. If u consider the fact that many advertised jobs aren't real (it's employers trolling to see what's out there, or HR depts fulfilling a policy abt offering jobs to the public before going ahead & filling them from within the co), the ratio wld look even worse. Here is a video showing how businesses plot NOT to hire a certain segment of population while officially pretending to offer jobs to all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DVoL-1gQgU

Think that Want Ad is real? Think again.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers,

A lot has been posted recently about the sorry state of ‘education’ in the US, and there’s a fine article in the Tuesday, November 12th UK Guardian about No Child Left Behind and the damage done by standardized testing.

Wafers may find its title intriguing – it is “America's dumbest idea: creating a multiple-choice test generation”. America’s dumbest idea? Dumb indeed, but really the dumbest?

Here’s a project for Wafers – decide just what America’s dumbest idea really is. And there are so many to choose from!

We might examine some ‘existential’ ideas, like the fundamental principles of capitalism. We could start with Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’, which always reminded me of the infamous ‘Black Hand’. Ponder, for example, this quote from Keynes:

“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all.”

Or we could consider policy screw-ups like the dismantlement of America’s urban and intercity rail systems, and their replacement by Robert Moses’ freeways and suburbs.

Then there’s Fredrick Taylor’s Industrial Engineering and its dumbing down of the work most Americans spend their lives doing. This has contributed mightily to the near universal cretinization of Americans.

Television and various other techno-dreck has also contributed to a national collective IQ similar to that of a learning-disabled turtle.

All this has been going on for several generations; so many families send kids to school without the slightest idea of what it means even to be a decent human being.

I guess No Child Left Behind really ensures that any child who has somehow avoided being lobotomized or stupefied by a dysfunctional family, television, or other techno-dreck will still be indoctrinated to endure a lifetime of mindless busy work by twelve years of ‘education.’ Then they will all be ready for what most Americans call “the real world”.

David Rosen

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

MB, those formerly middle-class people can always sell the body parts they don't need to survive.

Bloomberg News: Bodies Double as Cash Machines With U.S. Income Lagging

Hair, breast milk and eggs are doubling as automated teller machines for some cash-strapped Americans such as April Hare.

Out of work for more than two years and facing eviction from her home, Hare recalled Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel and took to her computer.

“I was just trying to find ways to make money, and I remembered Jo from ‘Little Women,’ and she sold her hair,” the 35-year-old from Atlanta said. “I’ve always had lots of hair, but this is the first time I’ve actually had the idea to sell it because I’m in a really tight jam right now.”

The mother of two posted pictures of her 18-inch auburn mane on www.buyandsellhair.com, asking at least $1,000 and receiving responses within hours. Hare, who also considered selling her breast milk, joins others exploring unconventional ways to make ends meet as the four-year-old economic expansion struggles to invigorate the labor market and stimulate incomes.

In all but two quarters since the beginning of 2011, “hair,” “eggs,” or “kidney” have been among the top four autofill results for the Google search query, “I want to sell my...,” according to Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at New York-based ConvergEx Group, which provides brokerage and trading-related services for institutional investors.

...

10:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DR-

Possibly dumbest idea (or most self-destructive, anyway):

"I'm here to get mine, and to hell w/everyone else."

I had thought of writing to the Mint that this shd replace "In God We Trust," but figured it was too long to put on coins.

mb

12:29 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

I was trying to avoid the debate on plagiarism as I personally hold that ideas belong to no-one, that there is nothing new under the sun and that is a difficult position to defend amongst academics who believe plagiarism the most heinous of crimes.

However, I randomly remembered that Richard Condon, author of the fictional thriller, 'The Manchurian Candidate' was accused of plagiarising a chunk of it from Graves, 'I Claudius'. After doing a quick google check it seems that this was confirmed some years ago by a forensic linguist and the ensuing condemnation prompted a wonderful essay from another novelist who makes a comprehensive defence of plagiarism as a basis for creativity in the arts.

Its worth reading for anyone who likes a literary game or puzzle where the ends (p.11) justify the means like the punchline to a good joke.
'The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism' by Jonathan Letham. Enjoy:

http://harpers.org/archive/2007/02/the-ecstasy-of-influence/

3:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ellen-

You might feel differently if it were your ox that was being gored. A few yrs ago a journalist wrote a book in which she lifted several pages of my book "Wandering God," a book I had worked on for no less than 10 yrs. This was not verbatim; rather, she presented the same ideas I did in the same order, and it ran on for some time. Except that instead of citing me as her (obvious) source, she simply reproduced the sources I used, as tho it were her original research, copying even the quotations. There was also frequent reference to America entering a Dark Age (the phrase was even in the title)--again, without any attribution. How do you think that made me feel, that some hack skims off material I devoted yrs to, to promote her own overnight career as a popularizer? There is indeed much new under the sun, I have to tell you.

I also once watched a rather famous scholar getting interviewed on television, and doing a gloss on DAA, which I had sent him in a galley edition to do a blurb for (wh/he never did), spouting my stuff without saying where he got it from.

These are just two examples among many, I'm sorry to say. Nobody wants to be ripped off. In my case, I'm persona non grata in the US; so my stuff winds up coming in the 'back door', while that 'crazy person', Berman, gets conveniently ignored. You might (I hope) have some idea of how that makes me feel, esp. when there's fuck-all I can do abt it.

Plagiarism is not merely taking stuff verbatim from another writer. There is also a 'soft plagiarism', whereby you copy their ideas and present them as your own. In the case of the scholar on TV, I wasn't sure: he may have actually forgotten where he got his riff from (if I want to cut him some slack; two yrs had gone by since I had sent him the galleys of DAA). In the case of the journalist, there was no question that she was ripping me off: she had literally transcribed my text, idea by idea. I did think of suing, for about 30 seconds; the problem is that I don't have the money, the time, or the appetite for that, which makes me a sitting duck. I finally decided to let her promote her pathetic career at my expense. (She has yet to write another book, but I'm wondering if I'll be the ore she mines next time around, if she does. Now *that's* unoriginality!)

Some time ago, an American poet did an essay in the NYTBR claiming that one particular poet had made a career for himself by taking phrases and lines from the work of his colleagues--including hers. Also nothing new under the sun?

Alex Haley lifted 81 passages from the work of Harold Courlander for his book "Roots," for which he won the Pulitzer. The book also became a TV series, and made him a mint. Under pressure of a lawsuit and trial, Haley finally admitted the theft and settled with Courlander out of court. The presiding judge stated that Haley had "perpetrated a hoax" on the American public. That the American public cdn't care less is beside the pt.

In another famous case, the Beach Boys took Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" and made it into "Surfin' USA." It was the song that catapulted the group to fame in 1963. Chuck was not amused; years later, a lawsuit granted him royalties and credit as the actual songwriter.

In a word, theft of intellectual property is no minor, or casual, thing.

mb

7:40 AM  
Anonymous flanagle said...

Replacing "In God We Trust" is a great idea and I suggest we get rid of the "E Pluribus..." stuff as well.
How about something like: "Laudabunt Dominum Rum Transire et Tribuebat"? Yes, I admit it's a bit long and not as catchy as E P U, but I think many, many of my fellow Americans could get behind it.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

I do not know what to say. I can tell that plagiarism hurts you on a deep and profound emotional level. Plagiarism is striking the very essence of your soul. Personally, I did not know it was very hurtful to you and to others as well.

Your right I do need to go out and walk and get some fresh air but the thing is in my state it is cold out there.

Bingo

There are times I have difficulty in being able to tell if a person is joking or if they are serious.

Sanc

I just saw the YouTube video and it really puts things into perspective. It is no wonder employers do things like post job listings that require multiple skills with each of them requiring multiple of years of experience.

It is no wonder why I had issues trying to get a job at all even in Wal-Mart and I had to eventually claim SSDI.

It is no wonder they give personality tests that seem to have trick questions on them. It is made to seem like it is all your fault when it really is not. It has noting to do with my social skills, my personality or lack of technical skills.

The tricky and insidious part of this is none of the employers are actually lying. They're using a form of deception called a bait and switch. Yet, the American people believe all of the hype they're told without so much as an examination. We have all been defrauded.

8:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

flanagle-

Yes, that wd work. Although I think "What's In It For Me?" wd be equally effective (rendered in Latin, of course).

mb

8:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

It's not just personal, altho the victim always feels that way abt it. But I'm also bothered from a cultural standpt, because it's offensive--it's ripping other people off so as to promote yourself. The ultimate in hustling, imo.

mb

10:08 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Everyone who plagiarizes, with rare exceptions, knows he is doing it.

You just know it. I've never done it. I have written many papers and essays, and know how to cite sources. Some things you learn by doing, but most people know when they are stealing someone's eggs, car, or ideas.

Plagiarists are pathetic. In the case of the journalist who stole Prof. Berman's ideas and sources, wow! She is to be pitied, because to her, it is the appearance of being an original thinker that is important, not the substance. Her soul is hollow, if it is even there.

But that is one of the biggest sicknesses in America now: everyone wants the appearance of being: smart, sexy, original, creative, rich... whether that is true or not.

I'd rather be a failure, but be myself, than be seen as a success but in reality a fake.

A wonderful Minnesota author/poet named Bill Holm wrote a wonderful book-length essay on failure, entitled The Music of Failure. I highly recommend that book, and his others.

Anyway, even if you end up failing at literally everything you try because you refuse to steal or hustle, at least you will succeed in becoming a self, a human person with dignity and a soul.

One of the most difficult things about being in the corporate world is the realization that with rare exceptions, it is appearance rather than substance that matters. I can't even have a relationship with people in sales, because they seem to be the most soulless ones here.

11:43 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Dr B:

On the subject of plagiarism and intellectual property.

Some 50 years ago, when I was starting out as a young lawyer, “intellectual property law” was obscure stuff about patents, copyrights and trademarks handled by a few relatively small, specialized firms.

Now it is HUGE, dominated by the intellectual property rights of the transnational corporations.

So OK, everybody take a deep breath and reflect that:
1. No corporation ever actually invented anything (patents). All their “rights” come from assignment by the actual, original living inventor.
2. No corporation ever wrote anything (copyrights). Ditto as for patents.
3. No corporation ever designed anything (trademarks). Ditto.

All of this is, of course, within the framework of the opening quote to Chapter 1 of WAF:

"As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?"

De Toqueville letter to Ernest de Chabrol, June 9, 1831

And a final note.

What if Albert Einstein had worked in a law firm? It would have gone something like this:

Partner: Al, what are you working on?
Einstein: Wait a minute, I think I’ve got it!
Partner: Got what?
Einstein: E=MC squared!
Partner: What?
Einstein: E=MC squared!
The equivalency of matter and energy!
Partner: OK, Al, no more of this.
Put down 15 minutes for “admin”, and get back to work on something we can make some money on. OK?

12:02 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dovidel-

Possibly dumbest idea:

Domino Theory.

MB-

Many thanks for the Dan Hancox book link. This seems like a very fine example of what you describe as "dual process": one system caving in giving rise to many possibilities and alternatives. As capitalism loses its luster, plagued with chronically high unemployment, aging populations, and the very real sense of losing its way to greater prosperity (resting on false beliefs of unlimited growth), and so on, it seems certain that the world will see more villages like Marinaleda (I love that name). The emergence of leaders such as Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo is very encouraging and optimistic. A great example, it seems to me, of praxis by a guy who actually looks like a young Karl Marx, no?

Golf Pro-

Here is a very recent interview with Historian Colin Wood about his regional lines America theory:

http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2013/11/12/34612/is-the-united-states-of-america-a-smorgasbord-of-1/

Jeff

1:14 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

“There is nothing new under the sun”

This expression has been used here several times now (as I recall) in reference to the discussion of plagiarism. It means something like, “It’s all been said and done before. Don’t try to claim your thing as ‘new’ and ‘original’ because, at best, it’s a reformulation of what’s been said and done before.”

I understand the sense in which this is true; but still, I see it mainly as a capitulation to the status quo. Because what kind of a sun are we talking about? Have we even been living under “the sun” at all? Or, if we look more closely, will it turn out that that’s actually an artificial bulb hanging up there in an artificial sky?

The moment humans started turning reality into commodities – as soon as meeting and relating to things as they are, on their own terms, became supplanted by substituting a false, limited, narrow, “market” meaning – we stopped living under the real sun and started living under the cheap 45w bulb of commodification. THIS is the “sun” under which nothing is new.

But what about when the occasional person, like Dr. B, starts pointing out the sloppy, soon-to-short-circuit wiring job keeping that fake bulb aglow? In my opinion, they are doing something “new.” For our aboriginal ancestors, who never commodified reality and never stopped living under the real sun, living under that real sun wasn’t anything new. But for us, who have only ever known fake sunlight, every inch of the process that leads to fuller awareness that we live under a fake sun and that there is a real sun is something that deserves to be called “new under the sun.” And there are doubtless still many inches – and miles – of this process left to uncover, for those who care to do it.

Plagiarism is so bad precisely because it takes this process – the attempt to uncover the reality we’ve lost through hustling, commodifying mentality – and turn even THAT into a commodity. If the writer who stole Dr. B’s work truly valued it for what it was, she would have credited him and praised him for it. The fact that she tried to claim it as her own means that, unlike Dr. B, who worked 10 years to produce it – because reality and truth, for its own sake, matters that much to him – she values it first and foremost as a commodity, as a product to sell. Now imagine if we had read her book instead of Dr. B’s books. We’d be on her blog right now, interacting with a fraud – and living under the same old sun.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Slightly off topic sir, but I suppose I saw you mentioning "Wandering God" in your plagiarism story, and it made me think of your use of Jaynes in that work.

I admire Jaynes's book myself, and am about to start reading Mcgilchrist's "The Master and His Emissary", given to me recently by a friend.

I understand that the book oscillates back and forth between adding to and criticizing Jaynes. Have you had any thoughts on it or Mcgilchrist? It looks pretty sweeping.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

Lots of thoughts on Jaynes, wh/I think I discuss in the bk; but sorry, I never read McGilchrist.

Greg-

For me, WG was a work of craftsmanship; that's how I approach all my stuff, the ideal that I follow. To the hustling journalist, her work is just a commodity (as well as the work of others, and probably everything else in her life). As far as the American public goes, they don' know shit from shinola, so as in Gresham's Law, the garbage rises to the top. WG sold abt 2000 copies since publication 13 yrs ago; the hustling journalist probably sold 2000 copies of her bk in the 1st month. Intellectual life in America. Perhaps karma will catch up to her, who knows.

Pub-

Check out a film from 2012 called "The Words." Something similar also happens in Woody Allen's movie, "You will meet a tall dark stranger."

mb

4:25 PM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

I read the following quote today:

"War is the spectacular projection of our everyday living". - J. Krishnamurti

Given the US lifestyle or the aspiration of it (American Dream),is it any wonder then that the US has been at war externally and internally since its inception?

I recently read excerpts of Playboy's interview of Jim Garrison in October 1967. The interview is in the context of JFK's assassination. What interested me was not the theories and facts about the assassination (I don't intend to discuss or rehash JFK assassination on this blog) but the following comments by Garrison:

"I was with the artillery supporting the division that took Dachau; I arrived there the day after it was taken, when bulldozers were making pyramids of human bodies outside the camp. What I saw there has haunted me ever since. Because the law is my profession, I've always wondered about the judges throughout Germany who sentenced men to jail for picking pockets at a time when their own government was jerking gold from the teeth of men murdered in gas chambers. I'm concerned about all of this because it isn't a German phenomenon; it's a human phenomenon. It can happen here, because there has been no change and there has been no progress and there has been no increase of understanding on the part of men for their fellow man.......you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there. We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line."
Here is the link:

http://www.jfkmoon.org/jim-garrison.html

4:56 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

11-13-13 (too bad there isn’t a thirteenth month on a Friday)

Dr Berman:

Yes, I myself realize there is cottage cheese in there, somewhere. Not sure what proportion? I was talking about myself relative to collapse of this here blog.

I have this erie feeling also that I am not long for this world but that is a good thing. Something just tells me. I think it has to do with health, and at this point there is nothing , that I am aware of, that is obviously dysfunctional; physically or mentally. Cheese cd explain my part-heimers, etc.

BTW: Have u ever heard of this Japanese work of fiction? There are ten reviews and all are tens! The movie version is on SNAG Films 1959.

http://www.amazon.com/Fires-Plain-Tuttle-Classics-Shohei/dp/0804813795

_________________


One of the worst hustlers is awaiting sentencing. Kevin Trudeau

__________________



Dovidel: Ur Keynes’ quote is special and duly added to my collection.

__________________

New Law:

Make it a crime, punishable by death, to wear make-up or clothes (exception granted below 32 degrees F.) That ought to clear the decks of celebrity.

__________________

Tiwari

Special tks for the J.K. quote

5:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

shep-

Jesus, that novel sounds pretty grim, eh? As for cottage cheese: as long as you've got 2% functioning gray matter, yr probably all rt. I'm quite sure a large proportion of my own brain is chopped liver, and most of my critics wd agree. Anyway, get some exercise and try to stay on the planet a few more yrs, eh?

mb

8:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The moron shows his true colors. My bladder is bursting at the seams.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/13/bushs-plans-irk-jewish-aides/?hpt=hp_t2

9:29 PM  
OpenID parkyourtuchus said...

Que' horror! A favorite deli meat meets the Titanic:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/schwartz-s-smoked-meat-recalled-in-quebec-ontario-1.2425717
This is what happens when hustlers hit the deli counter....

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Bob Chardonnay said...

A Russian lawmaker has predicted a collapse of the US dollar in 2017:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/13/bill-would-outlaw-us-dollar-russia/

Of course another Russian doomer predicted the USA would be broken up in 2010:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB123051100709638419

The truth is, as much as I dislike the current state of things, the USA as we know it is going to be around a lot longer than any of us. It will get worse for regular folks, sure, but it will not be as "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" as most doomers predict. We are all frogs in a slowly boiling pot and most will hardly notice how crappy things get. Gas will be $7/gallon and people will just keep swiping their credit cards and paying the minimum each month or so.

As long as most people can sit in a chair, buy any variety of fast food within a few miles, and not be thrown in jail, shit will just keep rolling along the same crappy road.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Shep,

I have just ordered the grim Japanese novel you linked and am looking forward to reading such a different cultural perspective on war from a writer who was there. The comparison to Camus, 'The Stranger' was an added incentive.

As just another frog in a slowly boiling pot, I wouldn't worry too much about the cottage cheese, just jump on your Bush Hog (had to google it) and enjoy as many Carolina skies as you can. Chuck in some bluegrass made for dancing for a soundtrack too, if needed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN6F1ZBBfbo

4:25 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Salut, parkyourtuchas.

So Céline Dion is a pusherke, eh? (Sorry, but I've been living in Duddy Kravitz's St. Urbain Street lately)

Is smoked cheddar a WAFerian foodstuff? That, and my home-made dill pickles, a close as I get to deli meats. I'm looking for validity here...

Please add "Manifest Destiny" to the list of bad yankhead ideas.

America hasn't had its humiliation years like Weimar Germany -- yet. Suppose we lose our reserve currency status, interest rates soar as does unemployment and tens of millions more Americans are out of work. (When Hitler came to power, 40% of Germans were out of work.) At that point some tough-talking confident pseudo-populist telling us that… oh, I don't know… Canada and Panama are the cause of all our problems and he has a plan to regain our former "greatness" -- well, that might be music to many ears.

http://innagoddadadamdavegan.blogspot.ca/2013/11/america-is-cabaret-old-chum.html

If it's all the same to you. Uncle Sam, we'd prefer not to be bombed. Thanks.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

*Bush*whacked again! I tell ya, it never ever lets up! A foreign policy based on Biblical prophecy wasn't enough to bring on Armageddon for Dubya and Jesus, I guess. The damage that this fool has done and continues to do to the world is incalculable.

Jeff

4:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

W/many Americans cheering him on.

mb

4:44 PM  
Blogger Alexey L said...

Hello wafers,

Stumbled upon this latest trend in idiocy from the Promised Land and thought about sharing it here:

http://www.ijreview.com/2013/11/94347-game-indication-future-america-may-want-start-packing-bags/

By the way, if any of you WAFers has any reading to recommend on how to raise kids in today's mess of a world - preferably written by a Wafer - it's very much welcome. I don't have any myself yet, but I currently have as we say in French "my ass between 2 chairs" regarding the decision to have some or not.

Cheers.

Alexey

8:41 AM  

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