March 10, 2014

The WAF Paperback Edition, At Last

Dear Wafers (and Waferettes):

It took just about forever, and the listing is as yet incomplete and somewhat botched, but the paperback edition of Why America Failed is finally up for sale on Amazon as a print-on-demand book. It has a new cover, which I thought you guys might get a kick out of, and mistakes from the hardcover edition have happily been corrected. Anyway, you all already have copies, I know, but you might want to tell your friends. Obviously, they are going to need one for the kitchen, one for the bathroom.

http://www.amazon.com/Why-America-Failed-Imperial-Decline/dp/149233393X/ref=sr_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394485519&sr=1-18&keywords=morris+berman

Arriba!

-mb

138 Comments:

Blogger Jeff T said...

Howdy Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

I just ordered up a copy of the new paperback edition of WAF. Jesus, the flag planted into a pile of cash says it all! Not only will the new copy adorn my bathroom, I'm gonna blow up the cover into a poster and thumbtack that baby to the wall...

Jeff

6:38 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

MB:

Put me down with those who love the new cover!
Like Thomas Nast's cartoons, sometimes the right graphic sends the message.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff, bowtie-

Yeah, I kinda like the image as a succinct summary of the content. You know, I can't recall what keywords I used in my foto search, but eventually I found it on istockphotos.com, and thought: perfect, baby! Now I've just got to get Amazon to sort out the listing, and we'll be home; tho hopefully millions of copies will sell just from what's listed already, and I can finally get myself a villa in Tuscany, a Lamborghini, and a younger version of Sophia Loren. Madonna!, la dolce vita awaits.

mb

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Faster and easier than copying and pasting, you can click on the following hot link:

http://www.amazon.com/Why-America-Failed-Imperial-Decline/dp/149233393X/

Everything after the 10-digit ISBN is not necessary.

8:06 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Hooray - looking forward to it! If it really is bathroom reading, I expect it's because I'll be puking into my toilet as I learn even more about how f-ed up our culture is.

Kindly inscribe a stone with my name on it somewhere in that gorgeous Italian villa you'll soon be retiring to when sales of WAF bump Bill O'Reilly off the best seller list.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

MB,

I like the cover too. I guess Wiley is out of the picture? I understand for most authors self-publishing is today more lucrative than working with one of these corporate dinosaurs.

Good luck with it!

Julian

11:15 PM  
Anonymous bartleby the Scribbler said...

mb,

For the Japan book, I'm wondering if you tried the alt publisher OR Books:

http://www.orbooks.com/

There was an interesting article on Amazon in last issue of the New Yorker that mentioned them.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/17/140217fa_fact_packer?currentPage=all

Chris Hedges piece on Blumenthal's Goliath:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/02/17/140217fa_fact_packer?currentPage=all

Masha Gessen's book on Putin is quite good, also:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Man-Without-Face-Unlikely/dp/1594486514/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394508202&sr=8-1&keywords=vladimir+putin

Love the new WAF cover as well!

11:35 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

But Prof. Berman! The original hardback edition's cover was much more refined and distinguished! I got it at the library, but I had to return it. Now I'd have to get an edition that depicts the nauseous soul of America on the cover??

It probably doesn't matter, but I thought "Gulf Pro", who commented 2 posts ago on Orlov, was pretty much a troll. He portrayed himself as even-handed while trashing Orlov. Dmitri may be wrong, or biased, as we all are, but he doesn't deserve the strange (trollish?) attack that this Gulf Pro threw at him. Dmitri has personally contacted me more than once to be simply helpful to me, or friendly. Would a propagandist shill really do that? Maybe, but I think Orlov merits more respect than being branded a "hardcore Russian propagandist." I think Gulf Pro may be the propagandist here - he's cleverly subtle, too. Anyway, doesn't matter.

Watched the amazing film Au Hasard Balthazar last weekend, by Bresson. It really hit me! The film depicted so well the destruction of innocence, virtue, and nobility by hucksterism and greed. I guess that's why so few of those qualities exist in the USA. The slimy little hucksters in that film just became entrepreneurs and corporate shills 40 years later!

12:03 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

I'm ordering three copies - two to give to proto-Wafers who have asked me about it, one as extra to keep around the personal library for lending (yes, we actually have a room designated as the library at our house).

12:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

No, Golf Pro is a serious contributor here; he's no troll. He's just expressing an honest opinion, whether right or wrong. As for new cover of WAF: yr the 2nd person who said it inspired vomiting. Looks like I shd have consulted a focus group! But then others (including me) like it, so...

bart-

Yes, I know abt OR, and that's a possibility. Am just waiting for responses from univ. presses, 1st. Stay tuned: more will be revealed.

Julian-

Wiley was a losing proposition from the get-go, tho neither me nor my agent knew it at the time. Much I cd bore u with on this score, but the bottom line is that that division of the co. was in receivership, and was finally bought out by Turner. Wiley actually had no interest in promoting the bk (wh/makes it odd that they wd even publish it in the 1st place), and by the time they went bankrupt they were hardly a viable candidate for the pb edn. Self-publishing thus seemed the best option (low hc sales gave it the kiss of death, in today's mkt), and I'm happy w/the outcome, i.e. the physical product; tho I can't imagine it'll even sell 500 copies (story of my life)--this is America, after all. Anyway, I'm holding off, for now, on that downpayment on a villa in Tuscany.

Wafers-

As the confrontation over the Ukraine escalates, I see an interesting possibility on the horizon:

1. Putin will have his way, and Ovomit will sit there (as he did in the case of Syria) w/egg on face. He is, after all, a jackass.

2. This will finally constitute the famous "Suez Moment" we have talked abt on this blog: it will be plain enuf for all 2c, that the US is no longer in charge of the planet, and is basically a paper tiger. This will be a major milestone in our downward slide toward oblivion. (Not that I'm a fan of Putin's, but power is power.)

Interesting times, muchachos.

mb

12:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: and this shd make all of us feel warm and fuzzy: Zimmerdouche!:

http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/03/09/george-zimmerman-gun-show-orlando-florida?hpt=hp_bn17

6:41 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Great cover Professor.

Any idea why the hardcover versions are so expensive?

Best regards,
Chuck

9:23 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Congrats MB!

Blair, thanks for the Hofstadter article link on the last post. I do wish he would have published his sources, like when was the Pew poll that he references published? Is the following from 1993 or 2013 or what?

"The results of such widespread lack of curiosity or interest in knowledge are as demoralizing as they are predictable. Only 58 percent of Americans can identify the Taliban, two-thirds cannot name a single Supreme Court Justice, and 29 percent do not know the name of the Vice President."

9:43 AM  
Blogger Michael Waters said...

Dr Berman,

For the life of me I can't find the Palast article you cited, sir. If you have a free moment at some point could you provide the link?

Matt

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Capo agrees with MB said...

MB, You are absolutely correct. Both the Syria and now Ukraine issues are Suez moments (as are Iraq Afg and even Obamacare). Very apt metaphor. Though for the U.S. there will probably be a parade of of Suez moments along some long continuum given the stupidity of the public and political leadership.

Indeed many which will be ignoring the U.S.A. besting it, having healthier happier lives, and defying it at every turn will not be from regimes or societies with values aligned with the progressive narrative or even traditional western values. But alas, they may be doing humanity a big favor

10:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Matt-

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/brains_lost_in_mail_--_postal_bank_bunkum_20140309

Chuck-

Probably because it's out of print, and the original print run was so small. I guess it's turned into a collector's item, I dunno. I guess I should have run off a few with tooled leather bindings.

mb

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Ole Bob Henry said...

I don't see Ukraine as a Suez moment. It is more of another Obama-moment. Our Suez moment will come when we need/should do something but are unable to. Syria? Meh, we don't need to go in there when both sides of the conflict are insane scumbags. Ukraine was under Russian control before and it will be again so the chessboard doesn't really change if we don't do anything.

Don't get me wrong, our moment is coming, but it hasn't happened yet. So far, it's just Obama that looks weak and impotent because he keeps drawing red lines that don't make sense and won't be backed up by anyone with a brain.

In the meantime: http://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2014/01/20/indiana-police-chief-accidentally-shoots-self-at-gun-shop/4666967/

12:30 PM  
Anonymous KarmaKing said...


"But crime pays: The Post Office projects it can suck $8.9 billion a year from America’s poorest if they can just get into this payday loan racket.

America’s big banks also lust for a payday pound of flesh. But they are barred from this kind of sick-o predatory lending by the federal consumer protection regulations promoted by … Liz Warren.

Yet, under a new Post Office plan endorsed by this same Liz Warren, the P.O. would team up with commercial banks to cash in on payday predation, exempting themselves from the Warren rules"

Source:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/brains_lost_in_mail_--_postal_bank_bunkum_20140309

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee says the CIA's improper search of a stand-alone computer network established for Congress has been referred to the Justice Department.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said the CIA's inspector general made the referral. The issue stems from the investigation into allegations of CIA abuse in a Bush-era detention and interrogation program.

In lengthy remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Feinstein said the search in January raised grave concerns that constitutional rights were violated."

Source:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/03/11/cia-senate-computer-network/6285127/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/11/cia-congress_n_4940894.html

The kind of banking you read in the first article was not created by Putin and Russians. The kind of anarchy you read in the second article was not designed and implemented by Arabs and Iranians. Any more questions?

1:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Karma-

Whose questions were u answering, exactly?

Bob-

You cd be rt, but only time will tell. The general pattern is probably one of 'the death of a 1000 cuts', as happened w/Rome; but then Rome was also punctuated by severe crunches, or Suez moments, from time to time, as in A.D. 410. In its own way, the entire Obama presidency as been a slow-moving Suez moment, really; and while Syria didn't finally amt to much beyond embarrassment, the Ukraine cd well be a whole different story, esp. if Ovomit is stupid enuf to push it. Keep in mind that he has no real political experience, esp. in the area of foreign relations. He's basically just a bit of flatulence, and has no more claim to be president than you or me, really. He's only in the W.H. because the American people are also empty, flatulent, and inexperienced.

mb

3:01 PM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dear MB,

The recent post "The Crimean “Crisis and Western Bias" on Dmitry Orlov's blog is interesting. The article posted is by "Outlook Zen".
www.cluborlov.com

In the lead up to the article Orlov points out that Huffington Post refused to run Renee Parsons excellent analysis of facts about the Ukrainian crisis (It was posted on Orlov's blog).

Thanks,
Himanshu

7:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Himan-

Thanks. These 'progressive' blogs are so full of stewed prunes. The day I can place an article on Truthdig or whatever, pigs will fly across the nighttime sky.

mb

8:14 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

This is Hell had an interview from

"Nicolai Petro is professor of comparative and international politics at the University of Rhode Island and a current Fulbright Research Scholar in Ukraine. His latest article, Threat of Military Confrontation Grows in Ukraine, is up at The Nation’s website."

http://thisishell.net/shows/790/#.Ux_OTYW7JoY

The situation, like most everything in this world, is far too complex to fit neatly into our soundbite culture.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Bigglesworth said...

When you said new cover, I was expecting Mrs. Kardashian's posterior. Disappointed.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mr. Big-

Actually, the picture on the new cover is metaphorically equivalent to Kim's rump, when u think abt it; but I take yr pt.

mb

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

Dept of What's In It For Me?

Re. the mass killer Adam Lanza

For the first time, Peter Lanza talks about his estranged son Adam - his early years as "a weird little kid," his growing isolation, his parents' years of struggling to diagnose, understand and treat his escalating mental health problems, Peter's own knowledge his son would have killed him "in a heartbeat." Peter has reached out to Newtown families - “I need to get some good from this. And there’s no place else to find any good" - but lives in "a state of sustained incomprehension about what has become the most important fact about (him.)"

(source: Common Dreams)

6:11 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Chomsky interview about Japan:

http://www.alternet.org/chomsky-how-us-playing-fire-asia?paging=off&current_page=1

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Deborah said...

In case it was not already mentioned here, Dmitry Orlov was interviewed on the Keiser Report:
http://rt.com/shows/keiser-report/episode-571-max-keiser-082/

Also, more depressing statistics on the USA:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-11/55-things-about-america-you-may-not-know

Last month I caught the tail end of a radio news broadcast stating the fact it was the Facebook anniversary and the anchor stated "Facebook is a social media site where you don't have to speak to or see your friends". Sounds like the kind of relationship I've always dreamed of.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous KarmaKing said...

I am still answering the questions posed by those who believe they have monopoly on truth - they are the same cabal that has reduced America to a wasteland of greed. Anyone can always answer the questions like me: Do you think that persons who suck the blood of the American poor (as in the banking article) and persons who love to spy on Americans but do not want to be spied on (as in the spy article) are human beings?

One source has this as an answer:
"It appears that the US State Dept. gave $5 billion to Ukrainian neo-Nazis who used some of the money to hire mass murderers who massacred protesters, policemen and bystanders in order to provide a rationale for overthrowing the democratically elected government of Ukraine and installing an anti-Russian puppet government."

-from: The Crimean “Crisis” and Western Bias by Dmitry Orlov
http://www.cluborlov.com/


Another source provides this answer:

"Instead of trying to convince the population in the east and the south of Ukraine that their interests would be taken into account, the parliament has moved in the opposite direction:

- One of its first acts was to repeal the 2012 law allowing Russian and other minority languages to be used locally.

- It introduced a resolution to outlaw the Communist Party of Ukraine, which received 13 percent of the vote in 2012, and which, after the collapse of the Party of Regions, is the country’s last major political opposition party.

- It consolidated the powers of speaker of parliament and president in one man, amassing greater powers in a single individual than is allowed under any Ukrainian constitution.

- Finally, it created a new Lustration Committee to prevent those who supported the previous government from ever assuming political office again.

In effect, the parliament now rules without any constraints on its power."

-from:
http://www.thenation.com/article/178619/threat-military-confrontation-grows-ukraine

11:56 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

On the way to work this morn, listening to NPR (National Propaganda Radio - not because I think it's "liberal", just full of baloney), I heard something freaky from the South by SouthWest "festival."

It seems that there's a huge group of techies who are into what they call the quantified self. These are people who use "wearable computers" to gather statistics on every aspect of their existence.

I mentioned months ago how I heard a 20-something bragging about a bluetooth-enabled toothbrush.

Then the NPR reporter went on to described "embedded tech," which you put inside your body. Tech buffoonery moving to the next level.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Wm Gibson predicted embedded tech in his 1984 novel, "Neuromancer."
Still a gd read.

mb

12:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Just so you know, I don't post Anons. Suggest u pick a handle and try again. Possible handles: Cranston Butterworth III; Sam Schmeck, D.D.S.; Myron Fink, Ph.D.; Hans Scheisskopf. Yr choice.

mb

1:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a gd piece:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/07/opinion/putin-western-hypocrosy/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

9:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

OK Wafers: For those of u who might just happen to be passing thru Tokyo in mid-April:

http://utcp.c.u-tokyo.ac.jp/events/2014/04/morris_berman_special_lecture/index_en.php

10:21 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QefiNX9W9Jk

Tim, this episode of the twilight zone is similar to the story you posted. Please, watch it. Dr. B, please, watch it as well.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Hey everyone,

Hopefully I'm not interrupting the thread, but I just got done watching "My Dinner with Andre", and I have to thank those of you (was it Tim?) who recommended it. Wow, what a lovely, brilliant film that was! I have to admit, for the first twenty minutes, I wasn't sure if I would like it, but as it progressed, it all tied together perfectly, and there wasn't a single false note. Yes, I think that should be required viewing for everyone here. And to think the film was made 34 years ago--what prescience!

I was feeling a bit depressed and lonely before watching it, but now I feel energized and happy. It was just so spot on. And Andre was such a delightful character--I kind of wanted to hug him. I was also struck by the degree of courtesy and gentleness that both Andre and the other guy displayed towards each other--even when they were in disagreement over something. Darn, that was so refreshing. Compare that to today's world, and it's like watching the interaction of two alien beings. (Oh and I loved that there were no f*cking cell phones or text messages to interrupt them during dinner!)

Okay, sorry to interject that into the middle of the Crimea stuff, but I felt the need to gush a little....Thanks again for making my night a pleasant one.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

Not to worry; I think we may have moved on from Crimea, even tho the Ukraine hasn't (obviously). It might be useful to discuss secession in the US, however; a topic that Andre and Wally didn't get around to, if I remember correctly (I saw the film in 1980). Anyway, no need to ever feel lonely: yr a member of the International Wafer Brigade (IWB).

mb

12:24 AM  
Anonymous James Jellyworth III said...

@DEborah

Keiser and ZeroHedge are doomtard hacks, pretty much equivalent to the Alex Jones level of moronic dribble. Just a heads up, when people cite to them for anything other than a laugh it's a bit disturbing. Much like when an adult actually cares about pro wrestling.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Only in America: Zimmerdouche Update:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/05/showbiz/zimmerman-dmx-boxing-match/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

I was probably far too harsh on Orlov, but I'd been on the sauce that night, and I was still recovering from the shock of being charged £3.80 for a Guinness.

£3.80!!!!

That said, he isn't neutral - all his opinions on world affairs eventually wander over to Russia Best territory. Nothing wrong with being an advocate I suppose, but I do wish he'd drop the pretense of being Mr. Reasonably Neutral beforehand.

Being labelled a troll is oddly exciting, I have to say.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Well, at least he didn't call u a trolfoon. But I do think yr gonna hafta start buying yr stout at a grocery store, and drink at home. 4 quid for a pint is reason not for an attack on Orlov, but on the Houses of Parliament, possibly even the Queen herself.

mb

7:39 AM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dear MB,

Came across the the following quote by Raymond Chandler (an American writer):

“The keynote of American civilization is a sort of warm-hearted vulgarity. The Americans have none of the irony of the English, none of their cool poise, none of their manner. But they do have friendliness. Where an Englishman would give you his card, an American would very likely give you his shirt.” - Raymond Chandler

What is your response to this quote as a American cultural historian?

Thank you,
Himanshu

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...


Dr. MB and All WAFers Worldwide:

A new Harris poll of US teenagers offers reassurance that the end is near.Of US teenagers 43% believe in Evolution while only 38% believe in Creationism, 36% in Astrology and 31% in UFO's. On the other hand, 46% believe in Ghosts, 74% believe in Angels and 76% believe in Miracles.

It's all here : http://t.co/2DabBaCLAd

9:31 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

@Gulf Pro: my apologies for suggesting that you might be a troll... one has to be suspicious of certain patterns these days, in light of Snowden's latest revelations!
Notice I didn't say you were definitely a troll.
I myself have been accused of being a troll, and banned from a blog, for simply expressing the idea that another blogger also might have a point!
Anyway, I'm glad we have established that neither of us are trolls, and that Dmitri is probably not working directly for Pravda or Putin, etc.

I feel like Holden Caulfield these past few weeks. I feel that most people at work and elsewhere are phonies... am I being immature?
I see how so much of our culture now depends on perception management, rather than on caring, empathy, or the desire to excel at a skill or task.
Just another reason to continue my outreach to them foreigners about jobs and such. I am not getting much response - I suspect some of them think I'm either weird, crazy, or maybe even an operative. How many Americans normally write to IT companies saying they are considering emigrating because their nation is on the way to failed state status? Maybe that's not the best opening line. I should switch to something like, "I've always dreamed of living in your country, since I was a little boy. I can't explain it!"

10:25 AM  
Blogger Robo said...

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,853 in Books = WAF

It's a start! I got my first edition from a second hand bookseller. Now it's a collector's item, but I do prefer the original cover. The new one is too cheery.

Maybe the best way into the collective unconscious would be to convert WAF into either an app or an interactive video game. At the very least an eBook for the iPad. If there's no screen swiping and tapping involved, nobody cares.

Seriously, hardly anybody reads things on paper anymore. I used to enjoy reading newspapers at Dunkin Donuts every morning, but now there aren't any news vending boxes outside. Now I have to go to TIm Horton's for the morning paper. Maybe it's because they're Canadians and still wear hairnets and serve coffee in china mugs.

The local paper (D&C) has slimmed down to about two dozen pages and is now only 12 inches in width. One section is just a Reader's Digest version of USA Today.

Big news of the day: Lindsey Lohan's list of 36 Hollywood boyfriends.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

@Publius: Here is an important tip for you. Don't send out CV's to foreign companies until AFTER you have obtained a work permit, residency, etc. Most companies don't want to take the trouble to interview and/or hire someone, who may not be able to start work for them.

Also, many countries require their businesses to establish that you have the right to work in their country BEFORE they can even consider you.

So, pick a country FIRST, obtain a visa and work permit, and THEN start sending CV's.

That is what I did.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Capo sees a troll perhaps. said...

James Jelly Worth,

Zero Hedge is not made up of "doom tard"hack. As for Zero hedge it has made signifincan contributions to transparency and many of us in the "biz" rely on it for insights. And what is the matter with a bit of realism which some these days call doom and gloom--what pray tell is there to be so cheerful about on the economic front? Incidentally, Zero hedge is an aggregator of views and not a single person and full disclosure I occassionally have articles posted on zero hedge. Max Keiser is also a far better journalist than anybody on msn and cnbc and a former trader--a good one at that : Zero Hedge is credited with bringing flash trading to public attention in 2009 with a series of posts alleging that Goldman Sachs had access to flash order information, allowing the firm to gain unfair profits.[3] It used New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) data to detect Goldman's flash trading advantage. The site contends that Goldman Sachs' alumni are at the center of a powerful cabal and that the solution is "a purifying market crash that leads to the elimination of the big banks altogether and the reinstatement of genuine free-market capitalism" - "Dow Zero."[3] The site drew the attention of the mainstream financial media and became a news source for reporters. Bloomberg News published stories based on Zero Hedge’s posts, such as “Goldman Sachs Loses Grip on Its Doomsday Machine,” by columnist Jonathan Weil.[3][13] The New York Times ran a front-page story on the high-frequency trading, detailing how it translated into billions of dollars of profit for Goldman Sachs and hedge funds.[14] The NYSE has since made a rule change and no longer releases the data used by Zero Hedge.[3]

Matt Taibbi, in his book Griftopia, cites Zero Hedge in the last chapter as accurately assessing the level of corruption in the banking industry and credits its inside advantage. He questions why the mainstream financial media did not earlier detect the corruption at Goldman Sachs

1:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Cdn't post it; too long. Pls limit yrself to 1/2 p. max. Thanks.

Pub-

In fact, move to the country first, and *then* apply for a job/work permit. Infinitely easier, I assure you. There's not a whole lot you can arrange abstractly, from the outside.

Robo-

If my Japan bk ever gets published, I think I'll throw in the towel. No pt in being a serious writer anymore, really. I'm thinking of moving to Eastern Oregon and growing rhubarb.

mb

2:46 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and members of the IWB,

MB-

Can you put rhubarb on a corned beef sandwich? How about opening a Deli in Saskatchewan? Better yet, one in LA... The trolfoons, dummies, your critics, and Kimmy and Zimmy would love to have you back in the empire. Like all Wafers, I'm pulling for you to get a fat publishing deal for your Japan book. Additionally, I'm quite intrigued by the title of your second lecture at U of T, "The Road to Hiroshima: A New Interpretation." Can't wait for this talk.

Jeff

3:34 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

I could'nt help read some of the reviews of your ebook Dr B and always check out the most negative just to see the range of viewpoints and their justifications. (Which have helped in the purchase of books I've been referred to from time to time - only to find they weren't worth the paper they were printed on)...(already have a copy of WAF so this exercise was purely for curiosity sake) As in WAF's case, some are just off the wall but then there are those who seem intelligent and well meaning that think living a life of simplicity is fine with them acknowledging the cloud that capitalism casts but being perfectly happy with themselves and not seeing any reason to change anything becuase maybe whatever anyone elses negative experiences with the system is their problem and hasn't got anything to do with them or how they've defined or achieved "happiness" in their lives... Quite frankly I don't know what to think about that? I mean yeah, whatever floats your boat... I suppose there is an argument to the point that most people are dumb... and so what about it. If they choose to be happy with life as it presents itself and they muddle along filling their lives up with junk and trinkets...(or not) so be it? I mean is this the best we can hope for? with the eventuallity of hitting a brick wall after we've witnessed what effects on our (wafer's) own lives so we can be justified in our viewpoint? Considering not having any real control over much of anything anyway... other than living life in a cocoon (NMI) or running away from it all? I suppose the critiuques are a bit subjective in that respect but I don't really think apologizing for a system that's self destructing as very enlightened... anyway, I was just wondering what your take on some of these seemingly well reasoned yet negative and dismissive reviews were? I suppose one could say to each their own but some of these reviews seem very genuine and yet the logic very resigned to just sucking it up and living within the framework of what we've got... good or bad... and that we'll have both anyway so don't change anything as things could be worse? are these just closet NMI's or what? I dunno... I just wondered if you've read any of those reviews and what your thoughts were as some seeming very sincere and present some good points if somewhat in contrast to the points you've made in your books...it's not like I've seen you debate any of your views in a public forum...outside of this blog... (the trollfoons being the exception and a fringe element?)...

4:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pol-

Clearly, WAF isn't for everybody; in fact, as far as America is concerned, it isn't for most--as the negligible sales wd indicate. But I shd tell u that being an NMI does not mean living in a cocoon; not at all. If you check out the examples I give in the Twilight bk, you'll see that those folks hardly disappeared into oblivion. That some folks wanna do that (the latter) will probably make no difference to our inevitable collapse, as far as I can see, and it's certainly a lot more sensible than the 'progressives', who are dumb enuf to think they are going to turn things around.

I wd have been happy to debate the issues raised in WAF (outside of this blog) if I had been asked to speak on it, or if it had gotten any serious, major reviews. None of that happened, and now...it's rather history for me. I never re-read my previous work; I just go on to the next thing. Furthermore, I'm certainly not going to convince anyone (e.g.) that I'm not pro-slavery; Americans are so stupid that they read ch. 4 and think that's my position on the antebellum South. Nor am I going to convince Americans that modern technology has largely destroyed their lives (ch. 3). Etc. You get the idea. The book stands as a postmortem on the nation; 99% of the country has no idea that we're finished, and honestly, I don't care what they think.

Jeff-

Regarding lectures at U of Tokyo: I have no idea if they'll be taped, but if they are, of course I'll post the links on this blog. The Hiroshima lecture is basically an excerpt from a long chapter on the subject in my Japan bk, but whether that will ever see the light of day is anybody's guess. Stay tuned, more to follow. Meanwhile, if u or any other Wafers know of any rhubarb farms for sale in Eastern Oregon, let me know.

mb

5:20 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hiya Wafs:

Jeff T, you'd better not encourage rhubarb in Saskatchewan delis - that'd be cutting into my market.

Dr. B: OK, that other passage of Raymond Chandler, that described what Joe Bageant later called "the American hologram," was a tad too long. How about this, also from The Little Sister?

"“Will you make love to me tonight?” she asked softly.
“That again is an open question. Probably not.”
“You would not waste your time. I am not one of these synthetic blondes with a skin you could strike matches on. These ex-laundresses with large bony hands and sharp knees and unsuccessful breasts.”
“Just for half an hour,” I said, “let’s leave the sex to one side. It’s great stuff, like chocolate sundaes. But there comes a time you would rather cut your throat. I guess maybe I’d better cut mine.”

O&D

8:15 PM  
Blogger Val said...

Dr. B., your experience with being a serious writer sounds somewhat like my experience with being a serious artist aspiring to the tradition of William Blake, the Renaissance, certain surrealists, and the visionary painting school that flourished in the SF area in the heyday of the counterculture. The art establishment isn't having any of it, preferring to confer honors and vast wealth on those who display bisected cows in plastic tanks of formaldehyde, and the public naturally prefers backward baseball caps and bobotopian button-pushing over beauty any day.

@ Politically Incorrect -

"...I don't really think apologizing for a system that's self destructing as very enlightened..."

I think the fact that the system is self-destructing is the best thing about it. The more swiftly and completely it achieves this objective, the better.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So every year I run Career Day at my elementary school. I invite lawyers, mechanics, nurses, etc. to speak about their jobs and also tell the students how important it is to read, write, and do math well. Anyway, there is no money this year to provide the guests with lunch. So I went around to the teachers and asked them to give me $5.00 to pay for their lunch. You'd think I was asking these cheap bastards for $500! I couldn't believe their hostility telling me that, for example, the guests don't need lunch.But of course these shits go out every Friday for happy hour and pay well over $5.00. Some educators of impressionable minds.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Hey, that's the America I know and (don't) love! Urine (on shoes) is the answer (but try not to get fired). Anyway, depressing, but not surprising.

mb

12:32 AM  
Blogger Sir Tagio said...

Still proud to be an Okie from Muskogie?

Candidate for today's top story about the superlative excellence of Americans. 5 white cops in Oklahoma beat an unarmed innocent black man to death outside a movie theater after a bystander calls in witnessing the guy's wife slapping her 19-year old daughter during an argument.

How many people, do you think, have to be murdered by police, before the morons of America figure out that you never, ever call the police for “help”? My guess is an infinite number because Americans love to snitch and the last thing that will ever, ever occur to them is to deal with a problem themselves, as if they were part of a community.

“Police say their actions were protocol”

Meaning, this is what they are trained and told to do and this is what you can expect them to do.

Oh, well, it's okay then!

Article and video here:
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/horror-five-cops-beat-innocent-unarmed-father-death-outside-cinemas

9:26 AM  
Anonymous KarmaKing said...

When elected parliaments of some nations in Africa voted to outlaw homosexuality in their nations, Kerry also cried that those laws must not stand and that they must be rescinded. Now, he is going further - saying that if voting in Ukraine does not go his way, the result must be outlawed. Putin please get ready your nuclear bombs because these thugs in America must be thought a lesson about minding their own business and solving their own internal social and economic problems - especially the huge economic inequality created by the Wall Street heist of 2008:

Kerry: US won't recognize Crimea vote
Associated Press
By LARA JAKES and CASSANDRA VINOGRAD

"The U.S. and EU say the Crimean vote violates Ukraine's constitution and international law. If Crimea votes to secede, the U.S. and European Union plan to slap sanctions as early as Monday on Russian officials and businesses accused of escalating the crisis and undermining Ukraine's new government"

http://news.yahoo.com/kerry-us-wont-recognize-crimea-vote-170151116--finance.html

2:05 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

I just received from interesting advice from a "White American" born and raised in a country I am thinking of exploring. Wow.. what a wacko. Anyway, here is how his "advice" ended. I left his interesting syntax and capitalization scheme intact:

...because moving to a place like you're thinking with no proper understanding of the Country. won't do you any good, Oh yeah and Canada sucks. unless you want to stay in a Iraq-esque country, stay in the safe suburbs. but do visit Europe every once in a while! but you know you're a grown man, do what you feel is right in your heart but BE SAFE! don't waist money moving to some Foreign place, stay in your own lane amigo. stay in your own lane

2:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Annals of Techno-Buffoonery: Cartoon in current New Yorker shows woman on fone, talking to a friend:

"We *loved* Tuscany. The cell reception was fantastic and the Wi-Fi was to die for."

4:19 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

Two items to take a look at:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/14/cnn-poll-most-see-russia-as-a-threat-to-u-s/?hpt=hp_t2

http://us.cnn.com/2014/03/12/justice/maryland-teens-assault-autistic-boy/?iref=obnetwork

Jeff

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Loved the article on Hofstadter. Can anyone who's read Anti-Intellectualism In American Life fill me in on how it relates to his essay, "The Paranoid Style of American Politics"? Is one a fleshed out version of the other, or are they dealing with pretty separate ideas?

As far as "Zimmerdouche", its really worrying how he's become a celebrity, but I guess nowadays celebrity just means "some person whose name you might know". Of course, the right wing consciously decided to make this guy a celebrity out of sheer spite for Obama once the President weighed in on the issue. But I wonder how much the left makes him (in)famous by using his name for linkbait or ratings. Isn't that why Sarah Palin isn't really relevant anymore? After the novelty wore off she stopped driving web traffic whenever she said something dumb. Now she's lost her Fox News deal, and struggles to fill seats at her events.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

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

mb

8:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What Americans Are Concerned Abt:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/14/obama-wants-people-to-quit-bashing-his-jeans/?hpt=hp_t2

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Dr. B,

An interesting interview was done with Henry Giroux at This is Hell. It's interesting how he and you posit different causes as the source of our contemporary social problems. You apparently think the problem is simply that the vast majority of Americans are deluded and ignorant, seeking profit above all else, which has always defined them as a culture from their founding. On the other hand, he traces our social ills to neoliberalism, which he defines as a "political, economic and political project that constitutes an ideology, mode of governance, policy and form of public pedagogy". Moreover, this pedagogy produces the dominant form of subject, which is the depoliticized, possessive individualist.

It is important to know who is right, you or Giroux. If Giroux is right and the problem is a hierarchical neoliberal government trying to impose its will on the rest of society, it makes sense to organize and try to change that government. But if you are right and the problem is that the profit-seeking motive has always been the dominant concern for Americans since their founding, then organizing to change this would be futile, and to hope to achieve change would be senseless.

Anyway, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on Giroux, and how they compare to his. Perhaps I am overstating the differences between your views.


Henry Giroux on This is Hell.

http://thisishell.net/shows/790/#.UyOvMoUXdUM

(third link down)

9:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

There is nothing simple abt my analysis. If u believe that, then you didn't understand WAF. However, I do think that American habits of mind (including values, technology, individualism, exceptionalism, concept of the endless frontier, America as the 'civil religion', and so on) go back several hundred years, whereas neoliberalism is fairly recent. (The possessive individualist certainly antedated neoliberalism.) The notion that an elite is 'doing this' to us--*that's* the simplistic view. Giroux needs to reads his Gramsci, esp. on the concept of 'hegemony'. Giroux's theory (and that of the left in general) is one of the 'rape' theory of capitalism--not entirely wrong--but the larger truth is one of consensual sex. 62% of Americans say they have no objection to a small elite running the show; they just want to be part of it (the American Dream). Americans are hardly deluded (= false consciousness theory of Chomsky et al.); rather, they know what they want. The 'revolution' Giroux seems to be implying is necessary will be a revolving door until radically different attitudes take root involving the purpose of an economy, of technology, of foreign policy, and ultimately of life itself. 'Changing the government' is the simplistic analysis; not mine.

However, I suspect that Giroux and I agree on one thing: no change is going to occur. There will be no change in government, that is to say, in the relations of power; and I'm guessing he understands that. Nor will there be a change in values/attitudes on the part of the American people; the # that share those things w/the folks on this blog are probably less than .000001%.

mb

11:59 PM  
Blogger Himanshu Tiwari said...

Dear MB,

Something for WAFers to consider(I am guessing you are aware of this practice from your Japan research):

Shinrin Yoku
http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/

The medicine of being in the forest:
The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life activity; it affords protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axe-man who destroys it.
–Gautama Buddha

I will be engaging in this activity today.

Thank you,
Himanshu

10:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Himan-

All us Wafers wish u health and serenity, and the attainment of the highest state of consciousness.

mb

1:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: speaking of which, check out "Dallas Buyers Club," a great film (and true story).

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Gaston Glock VI said...

I hated this commercial too.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-maher-and-guests-rail-against-complacent-and-smug-american-exceptionalism/

12:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gaston-

Great show, although I never realized Amy Chua was a total douche bag. Anyway, gd to have u aboard; I knew yr father, Glock V.

mb

4:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Op-ed on Facebook Douche Bags:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/douthat-the-age-of-individualism.html?rref=opinion&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&pgtype=article

4:41 AM  
Anonymous KarmaKing said...

"Fool me once, I cannot be fooled again"
-- President GW Bush


Ukraine Now Headed by Fascists and Neo-Nazis
Is anybody paying attention?

In Ukraine, the West supported an unconstitutional putsch against an elected government perpetrated, among others, by fascist/neo-nazi storm troopers (Svoboda, Right Sector) instrumentalized by U.S. intelligence. After a Russian counterpunch, U.S. President Barack Obama proclaimed that any referendum in Crimea would "violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law."

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/ukraine-now-headed-fascists-and-neo-nazis

9:29 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

It's good to see the quotation from (then-) President George Bush rendered so clearly, though my memory of the Nashville, Tennessee speech in September 2002 was of an utterance much more muddled.

As one political commentator would say later, the remark stood very high on the list of Bushisms "in a very strong field."

It's always beneficial to look backward occasionally to see where we've been, the better to assess where we're going. History is instructive in this way.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Michael Moore has Bush saying it at the very end of "Fahrenheit 9/11," and he flubs the quote totally. The film ends on that note--Bush coming across like a horse's ass.

mb

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

In the following article/video, Dennis Kucinich (a former member of the US Congress for more than 10 years) claims that the people of Ukraine are being misused by USA, World Bank, IMF, etc.

I remember reading here from a professor (Timothy Snyder, "Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine" in NYRB, March 20) that the crisis in Ukraine is about Holocaust against Jews. According to Professor Snyder, it is Russia government that was misusing Holocaust to trick the masses into following fascists and neo-Nazis: "The current Russian attempt to manipulate the memory of the Holocaust is so blatant and cynical that those who are so foolish to fall for it will one day have to ask themselves just how, and in the service of what, they have been taken in. If fascists take over the mantle of antifascism, the memory of the Holocaust will itself be altered. It will be more difficult in the future to refer to the Holocaust in the service of any good cause, be it the particular one of Jewish history or the general one of human rights." Read the end of the article here:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/

Now, watch the following video to understand how the US government is actually doing what Professor Snyder is accusing Russians of doing. How did the Professor come up with this accusation? Is he working for the US government because of dollars? Who are these people teaching our children in US universities? Are they not responsible for making Americans dumb?

The article and video now follow:
http://intellihub.com/us-presidential-candidate-dennis-kucinich-says-us-instigated-ukraine-crisis/

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

12:43 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB

I also liked DBC. Though, I think it's important to note that Jared Leto's character is fictional. Hollywood marketing agendas and all that. I watched Wolf of Wall Street last night, I really liked it. I thought the final shot beautifully captured the central problem of american society that you pointed out to Mike yesterday. It's consensual sex...

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

MB:

I've mentioned before that I have come into possession of a collection of "Great Books." I came across a great story in the editor's introductory comments on Euclid's Elements. It's a poignant commentary on today's state of education.

"The other story about Euclid that has come down from antiquity concerns his answer to a pupil who at the end of his first lesson in geometry asked what he would get by learning such things, whereupon Euclid called his slave and said: 'Give him a coin since he needs make gain by what he learns.'"

1:33 PM  
Blogger Val said...

Nice to know we'll be going back to the Moon, where we left the keys in the Cadillac. I was afraid we didn't have a manned space program any more. Where do I get the tickets for my lunar vacation?

Advertising is black magic, according to Ioan Coulianu, author of "Eros and Magic in the Renaissance." It'll be interesting to see how Cadillac's sales figures fare a few years on, once the shale bubble pops and real estate goes bust again.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

A couple of indispensable books on the history of American "education":
Schooled to Order by David Nasaw (1979)
Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto (2001)
Also worthwhile is Richard Mitchell`s early `80s trilogy:
Less Than Words Can Say
Graves of Academe
Leaning Tower of Babel

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

MB,

Thanks for the response. I will just address this point you made: "'Changing the government' is the simplistic analysis; not mine."

I didn't mean to suggest that your analysis was simplistic, only that it is much different from that of Giroux. He is probably not the right person to tell to read Gramsci, though. Here's a quote from him showing why:

"The biggest problem facing the US may not be its repressive institutions, modes of governance and the militarization of everyday life, but the interiority of neoliberal nihilism, the hatred of democratic relations and the embrace of a culture of cruelty. [...] In other words, there is no theory of cultural domination here."


On another note, Bill Moyers had the reporter Julia Angwin on his show and it's worth watching. She describes how America has become a dragnet nation, with mass surveillance by corporations and government. Privacy is an illusion when the technologies you use allow you to be constantly monitored. She usefully suggests some practical methods for opting out of this mass surveillance system.

http://billmoyers.com/episode/no-escaping-dragnet-nation/

9:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

Giroux seems to be confused, or perhaps confusing. From what you've said abt his position, it *does* seem to be a theory of cultural domination; which is what the interiorization of neoliberal nihilism wd indicate. And which is also something Gramsci wd say. Giroux seems to have it upside down, but perhaps I'm just not understanding him. In any case, changing the system is hardly a matter of getting rid of neoliberal oppressors--a simplistic approach, as I said. Things are way too deep, and too far gone, for that to be any type of solution.

mb

9:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos-

Well, looks like Crimea voted to join Russia, and that there ain't a whole lot the US can do abt it beyond bluster; as a column in The Guardian from last Friday pointed out:

"The many calls for Obama to do more mask a difficult reality for US policymakers: we are not nearly as powerful as we’d often like to believe. Calls for a greater US response to Putin’s military provocations assume a degree of omnipotence in US foreign policy – and an ability to shape foreign events – that simply doesn’t exist..."

I don't know if this attains the level of a Suez Moment--probably not--but it's certainly a mini-moment in our continuing downhill slide toward world marginalization. Next few wks shd be pretty interesting, in any case.

mb

9:36 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Reagan and G W Bush will always be the heroes of our multimillionaire class because they cut their taxes the most. You can sense the loyalty in Glenn Beck regarding Moore’s attack on his hero:

“Would you kill someone for that?...I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore...I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it,...No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out. Is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus — band — Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, "Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death." And you know, well, I'm not sure.”

What was his punishment for threatening someone’s life on the public airwaves? Why getting a more lucrative show on national TV (CNN and later Fox), of course. Next time you look at CNN, keep in mind that it was CNN/Time Warner executives , not Fox, who first promoted Beck to a wider national television. Here's an example of his work at CNN which is based in Jimmy Carter’s home state:

During his February 8, 2006 show, Beck repeatedly referred to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter as "a waste of skin", adding that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was not a bigger waste of skin because "[a]t least evil is using that skin."

Now I’m sure that after spending millions of dollars promoting Beck, it wouldn’t surprise me if in some quainter region of Time Warner’s vast media empire there have been the occasional article or book decrying the state of civility in America. But what examples do the children see, multimillionaire blowhards like Beck or Bill O'Reilly telling a guest that he “was against the death penalty, but not for Michael Moore.”

10:53 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

mb,

I liked that NY Times article on America's online, gadget-obsessed culture. Doubly interesting to see Nisbet's 'The Quest for Community' referenced. Nisbet's work, and that book in particular, has had a huge impact on my understanding of the world. He really got towards the root cause of our civilization's social ills.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Shalom Wafistas:

"My Dinner With André" was on TV this weekend. I hung around through the first 20 minutes (it must have been a test - I thought it was an exercise in self-indulgent pseudo-intellectualism) before the film started to say things to me.

I liked the electric blanket discussion. As a year-round Saskatchewan cyclist, I think the same things. The weather is real to me; I don't have a whole lot of technology between me and 30-below when I'm out on my bike.

I don't know about trying to talk to the bugs about leaving my rhubarb alone this summer, though.

As for Obama's fortunes in whatever Crimean adventure he may be contemplating:

"'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldiers knew
  Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
  Rode the six hundred."

2:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

There are two possible charges here. One is physically going into the region--war, in short--wh/Ovomit is probably not stupid enuf to do; and the other is plunging his head even further up his rear end. In the case of Syria, he avoided war, then made ridiculous 'American exceptionalism' speech, only to be rebuked by a sober Putin; wh/left him w/egg on face. I'm hoping in this case he won't just fade away, but will make at least one very stupid speech, so that he again comes off looking like a fool. Another mini-Suez, in short; altho the US not being able to do anything abt the Crimean vote does demonstrate to the world that we can't order people around any more. I also wonder if this external impotence is related to our internal violence (as a kind of compensation, as it were): militarizing the police, the killing of 5000 random citizens between 2001 and today, the surveillance state, and so on. We are watching the nation simultaneously losing influence, and going crazy on the domestic level--becoming increasingly brutal and irrational.

An interesting comparison is the rapid emergence of Israel as a fascist state during the last 13 yrs (at least), ably documented by Max Blumenthal in "Goliath." It's a pretty scary bk, describing a country that is a little more insane each day. Even the Left, the so-called peace parties, are now basically on the Right, and the more intelligent Israelis are emigrating. Current Israeli gov't estimates have it that something like 1 million Israelis (13% of the population) now live outside the country, an increase of almost 700,000 since 1980: a new "Exodus". It's like I've said abt the US: when you see a tank determined to go over a cliff, you get out of the way (if yr smart).

mb

5:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nice to see Truthdig slowly catching up to me:

http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/page4/moocs_and_other_wonders_education_and_high-tech_utopia_20140305

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/nasa-funded_study_sounds_alarm_for_civilization_20140316

5:36 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

A nice post from the Sea Gypsy Philosopher here:

http://theseagypsyphilosopher.blogspot.com/2014/03/encouragement-for-young-non-conformist.html

Dr. B you are mentioned in there along with some writers I've never heard of, such as Chalmers Johnson.

9:09 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Here's more good news!

"Numerous studies show that hydrocarbon resources will become increasingly depleted by mid-century, and by the end of this century will be so scarce as to be useless – although we do have enough to potentially tip us over into irreversible runaway global warming."


http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-the-rise-of-the-post-carbon-era/

9:43 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

I have to say that James H. Kunstler really nailed it this morning!

I love this use of metonymy: "What will be the next step of the menswear model in the oval office?"

Strange days. Missing planes, whole regions seceding, Scotland voting on same, Catalonia getting uppity, not to mention the Basques, Quebec. Fun times!

11:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jwo-

Chalmers Johnson did classic study of blowback; highly recommended. This was 1st of a trilogy on US falling apart via its foreign policy.

mb

11:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Be sure to read yr Wallerstein. The entire world socioeconomic formation that got going ca. A.D. 1500 is now coming unraveled, in a big way. This is the story of our times, and the things you refer to are the effects or manifestations of that process. However, one thing that these analysts omit is crucial to the unraveling, namely the Deepening Endouchement of the American People (DEAP). Every day, more Americans are more douchey; they engage in even deeper douchebaggery. If the US is the cutting edge of the Great Collapse, then massive CRE is no small factor in the World Transformation. My thanks go out to Ovomit, Kim K. and her buttocks, Miley C. and her tongue, and all those Americans wallowing in stupidity and trivia and cell phones. They may be reverse-heroes, but in terms of social (d)evolution, they are heroes nonetheless. Let us now praise famous buffoons.

mb

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Golf Prone said...

Is anyone able to parse the significance of this one?

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/mar/17/atlanta-food-deserts-stranded-struggling-survive

12:17 PM  
Blogger MJ said...

Golf Prone:

It's quite simple, actually. The US is simultaneously spending huge amounts of money maintaining its massive military all over the world while cutting social services across the board. Because it is cutting money on things like public transportation, these people in Atlanta cannot make it to places where fresh food is available.

On a deeper level, this is symptomatic of a society where people do not care about anyone other than themselves and empathy for one's fellow citizens has disappeared - as MB says, this is the American dream.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous KarmaKing said...

The only thing to say is this: If you do not like the result, then get a coalition of the willing to invade Russia as you invaded Iraq; stop talking your lies and start living your lies:

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/03/16/vladimir-putin-is-the-greatest-crimeas-bid-to-leave-ukraine-and-join-russia-wins-soviet-style-support/

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Mikhel said...

Obama announces sanctions on the result of the democratic process in Ukraine.
Scroll down to the comment section and to read the following apt summary of Obama's reaction:

"We will not stand for this Democracy!"

(the comment is posted by Paul M. (Cratewasher) @ 17 Mar 9:46 AM)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/us-sanctions-russia_n_4978965.html

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

WAFers--

Here's to reclaiming the public commons and the pursuit of moral excellence:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/03/17/us/ap-us-belch-assault.html?hp

O&D--

Brian

3:59 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings from Lorenzo and Latreasa's 2016 Headquarters,

KarmaKing, MB, Wafers-

Exactly! Bout time Obama grows a pair! I weep for the late great USA, desiccated and sterile, ruled by an unethical infant. I simply can't take this shit any more. I've written the White House and expressed my absolute disgust and recommended that we begin shelling Moscow back to the communist era.

I tell ya one thing: Lorenzo wouldn't stand for such nonsense from Putin. No way Jose! This is precisely why Wafers need to get behind him in 2016. In fact, I'm working for his campaign right now and have attended many high-level meetings with the big L. He said he's gonna drop some cheeseburgers on Kiev and blast Volgograd with globs of ketchup and diced onions. And, in terms of a Coalition of the Willing, Latreasa indicated that Morocco is gonna send us a few dozen monkeys who can locate and detonate land mines in Russia b4 we roll out the heavy artillery. Stay tuned Wafers, and always remember:

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our Trust."

Jeff

4:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I'm very excited abt these developments. Walter LaFeber calculated that the Cold War cost us $8 trillion in 1967 dollars. I maintained all along that we cd have won it if we had simply rained Big Macs down on Moscow for 40 days and 40 nights. But did any one listen to me? Ha!

Brian-

A chair? Why not a drone? I'm so annoyed at the way some people pull their punches.

Mikhel-

As I write this, I do so with great joy, knowing that Ovomit has Mr. Putin quaking in his boots. Sanctions! O, the horror, the horror!

Does everybody realize that we hafta live w/Ovomit for nearly 3 more years? It seems like an eternity. Of course, then it'll be Hillary for 8, and *that* will be an eternity. And then another verkakte bozo, etc. (with 'progressives' telling us that If we can just get Mr. or Ms. X elected, *then* the system will right itself).

mb

6:12 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

To MB and all WAFering strangers ...

Watched 'Democracy Now'/Amy Goodman this AM. I don't often ...usually tepid rehashing of liberal prayer circles.
Anyway, today was a truncated presentation ( due to fundraising interruptions ) of a speech Prof. Richard Wolff gave about two y ago featuring comments from his "Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism", outlining how capitalism is a failure governments, especially USA keep repeating. Mentioned: the "Great Depression" that lasted for 12 ys. and the current demoralization that began late 2007 and continues now six years running. I submit things are worse now than when the speech was recorded.
( Coincidentally, there were 11 other economic 'downturns' between 1941 and 2007. This is a formul designed to fail ).
Anyway, check it out along with Wolff's other interviews/writings.
Think he might be a WAFer ?

Another anecdote: I'm involved in an original, low-budget play. One of the cast.
I also offered my skills as an artist to come up with the playbill cover. In researching this, I checked out various plays of reknown, and so looked over "Death of a Salesman".

I think that much of what MB and we notice and discuss here concerning CRE, DEAP, douchebaggery, doltishness, and the accelerating warm embrace of anti-intelligence among the overwhelming majority in contemporary american culture (?) could also be termed
"Willie Loman Syndrome ".
Think about it ... Loman was an aging, declining... then cascading nobody that was doomed to be a failure. His response? To create a fantasy existence of fame, fortune, popularity, and self-importance to keep his fragile psyche from admitting the truth and postponing the inevitable suicide.

We're dealing with 315 million delusional Willie Loman's, and they can't change.
No wonder they're such willing dupes.

8:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JS-

Rick is actually a friend (see back cover of WAF, last entry). I dunno if he really believes things can be turned around. I mean, if u believe that, u can't be a Wafer. Rick is terribly smart, so I'm guessing that in his heart of hearts, he knows it's curtains.

A lot of the duping that goes on in the US is due to the individual belief that Yes, the system is tough, but I can beat it. Sorta like the logic of losers in Las Vegas. W/such a deep, and old, psychology of extreme individualism, it never occurs to these losers that the way to win is to get together. Heaven forfend: that wd be socialism! We can't have *that*.

Here's a little excerpt from my Japan bk (I'll omit the context for now; guess you'll hafta read the bk). It's a Jewish parable:

"Someone asks God the difference between heaven and hell. God takes the seeker to a room in which a group of people are sitting around a table, laden with large platters of food. But surprisingly enough, everyone is starving and miserable, because by some quirk of fate they were all born with a rigidity in their elbows that makes it impossible for them to bend their arms. Hence, they are unable to feed themselves. 'This,' says God, 'is hell.'

"Next, God takes the seeker to a second room, in which everything is the same: a table laden with food, a group of people who cannot bend their arms. And yet no one is starving, and everyone is happy. The difference? Each person takes some food with a spoon or fork and then uses their inflexible arm to reach across the table and feed someone else. 'And this,' God tells the seeker, 'is heaven.'"

mb

8:18 PM  
Anonymous PaulJ said...

Who says Iran should not build its own nuclear arsenal?

“UNITED NATIONS: The US-Russian confrontation over Ukraine, which is threatening to undermine current bilateral talks on North Korea, Iran, Syria and Palestine, is also in danger of triggering a nuclear fallout.

Secretary of State John Kerry told US legislators early this week that if the dispute results in punitive sanctions against Russia, things could “get ugly fast” and go “in multiple directions.” Perhaps one such direction could lead to a nuclear impasse between the two big powers.

According to a state agency news report from Moscow, Russia has threatened to stop honouring its arms treaty commitments, and more importantly, to block U.S. military inspections of nuclear weapons, if Washington decides to suspend military cooperation with Moscow.

“Without going into the politics of the situation on the ground, as I don’t have the kind of regional expertise for that, this is not a place for issuing nuclear threats or scoring nuclear points,” she said.

“I’ve been disgusted to see some British and French representatives try to use Ukraine’s crisis to justify retaining nuclear weapons in perpetuity.””

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-141395-US-Russia-standoff-over-Ukraine-may-trigger-nuclear-attack-

8:26 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

I had not heard that parable before. The lesson is familiar to me though, as there is a scene in The East that is nearly identical. I have some objections to the film; but I do recommend it, that scene being one of the chief reasons.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1869716/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

10:22 PM  
Blogger Val said...

Dr. B., I've seen that parable illustrated very memorably in a painting - actually a pair of images - lo these many years ago.

Speaking of painting, what if anything is the point of art created upon the cusp of a dark age? If, say, Botticelli found himself living in late 5th century Alexandria or Rome rather than 15th century Florence, what would it have most behoved him to do, and with what aim? Or supposing it were Piero Della Francesca, desiring to write a treatise on perspective, as sheep start grazing in the Forum and its marble blocks are being chipped away? Is it meaningful for him to write the treatise, knowing there's just an off chance that a copy or two may survive in obscure monasteries, or be dug up in the desert a thousand years hence? From his POV, is it worth it?

Not just a hypothetical question. It would be interesting to learn your thoughts on it.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...


One way to measure whether or not stupidity is accelerating in America is to follow the fortunes of the Republican party. Call it a stupidity barometer, if you wish. If stupidity was rapidly accelerating, then Mittney surely should have won in a landslide, esp considering how poor the economy has been under Obama. I would say that if the Republicans do not win the Senate in Nov that could spell the beginning of the end for the Republican party and it may be a sign that US stupidity has peaked or plateaued. It would be quite a shock for the forces of stupidity in this country, because they really should be able to take the Senate in an off year election when voter turnout is so low. Also something to keep an eye on. The current Republican presidential candidate field even manages to make a decrepit Hillary Clinton look good. To show how desperate they are, there is even talk now of turning to Jeb Bush! Can you believe it?! A party whose only program for relieving the suffering of an increasingly impoverished populace is to pander to Christian and racial bigotry has extinction written all over it. Esp with a shrinking white population.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Val-

I dunno if these folks think abt it analytically. It's just who they are, and what they're 'supposed' to do; so they do it. Very little any of us do makes a difference, after all.

mb

12:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Some thoughts on secession:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/17/opinion/crimea-vote-putin-obama/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Val,

Your question about the point of art in a Dark Age really hit home for me. I do think there's a point to making art in such times, more than one point, in fact.

1. Even if no one else sees it, the artist is enriched & enlarged by the creation of art. Something beautiful, powerful, meaningful is its own justification for existing. If others are touched by it, so much the better.

2. Dark, totalitarian, oppressive regimes seem to breed artists. Stanley Kunitz said that the poet is the natural enemy of the State; and by poet, we mean any creative spirit. Why? In an oppressive, poisonous environment, the struggling soul needs an antidote to the poison. If you can create your own antidote, something to counter what's inundating you all day long, your life is better. And again, if it touches others as well, perhaps it'll kindle something inside of them.

Megan just posted about the effect My Dinner With Andre had on her; and of course the film itself discusses the uses & necessity of art. Art reminds us that we're not the only people in the world who think & feel as we do. And in an earlier post, where I mentioned how 70s soul music was lifting my spirits, Jeff recommended contemporary soul artist Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. I picked up a couple of their albums & I'm enthralled -- thanks, Jeff!

Artists make art because they must, I think. They have to express their deepest feelings -- and they do so in a way that can touch our own deepest feelings, make us respond to the birdsong of something more lovely & nourishing than the crassness of our mainstream culture. A film, a song, a poem, a painting, a dance -- whatever it may be -- is almost sacred, a gift of grace, a descending angel encouraging us to see beyond the darkness that threatens to engulf us.

Megan, you might search out the Grove Press script of , as it contains material that didn't make it into the final film. And you might want to watch Wallace Shawn's The Fever & The Designated Mourner, both of which deal with matters familiar to WAFers. Let me also recommend Mindwalk again, though you'll have to look for it on youTube -- its film-length dialogue crosses paths with Andre's more than once.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: "The Fever" is really stunning. If any of u guys can get to see it as live theater, be sure to go.

mb

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

The US response to Russia's annexation on Ukraine is absurd on so many levels. First there's the fact that the US has been continually expanding NATO to include more and more countries along Russia's borders, after having promised not to do so at the end of Cold War. This goes completely ignored by most of the American news media and politicians, of course.

Then there's the absurdity of the US criticizing Russia for violating international law and acting undemocratically. The US has no problem when its key ally, Israel, occupies Palestinian territories and violates their rights on a daily basis, but is all up in arms about Russia violating international law. Or look at Egypt, where the US supports a military that has carried out a coup against a democratically elected leader. The hypocrisy and blindness on the part of American politicians is truly staggering.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Tim,

Thanks so much for the recommendations. I will definitely check them out.

I agree with you about the importance of art in our lives--especially music. I don't know much about soul music, but I love Mozart, Schubert, Bach, The Beatles, as well as Norwegian Death Metal. (Just kidding about the last!)

Also, though I'm turned off by the stilted pretentiousness of most opera, I do think Mozart's "The Magic Flute" is perhaps the most perfect artistic creation of all time. When American living attempts to push me into an anhedonic coma, The Magic Flute is my antidote!



12:36 PM  
Blogger Lex ov said...

Fellow wafers,

I haven't seen much mention of Banksy on this blog, but I think he strongly fits the profile of a Wafer. Val, you don't need to wonder what would masterpieces from great painters have looked if created upon the onset of a Dark Age. Banksy provides plenty such art already!

http://www.stencilrevolution.com/banksy-art-prints/rickshaw-kid/

Alexey

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Mike RE: US Hypocrisy & Blindness

After seeing Obama in action, I gave up trying to blame this or that whiteman or balckman. I came to realize that the system was designed to be cruel, undemocratic, anti-market, anti-capitalism, anti-human beings, etc, etc.

Just help your mind here (start with the youtube videos):

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street
by Justin Fox

The Suicidal Corporation
by Paul H. Weaver

News and Culture of Lying
by Paul H Weaver

The Manufactured Crisis
by Berliner and Biddle

Capitalism: An Ethnographic Approach
by Daniel Miller

The Trap
by James Goldsmith

Myths of Free Trade
by Sherrod Brown
(Democrat and senator for many years)

James Goldsmith on the Myths of Free Trade (Parts 1 to 6)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PQrz8F0dBI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZTzPmn-87w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_hiEvTNV5k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yonUgZ2Y6Qs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW6KkF6aa_A

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

2:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ed-

In future, pls limit yr posts to 1/2 page max. Thanks.

mb

3:46 PM  
Anonymous bartleby the Scribbler said...

Val,

You might keep in mind that Botticelli wasn't an artist in the modern sense. The online etymological dictionary says that the word art in reference to "skill in creative arts (painting, sculpture, etc)" was first used in the 1660s.

In later life, Botticelli, Michelangelo and other Renaissance artists became devoted followers of the fanatical priest, Savonarola, who instructed artists to burn their "sinful" works in a gigantic conflagration known as the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Fra Bartolomeo, Fra Angelico, Fra Filippp Lippi, etc. were monks and would have had no idea whatsoever of themselves as "artists". From my point of view, approaching painting from the mindset of a 15th-century monk will yield better results than attempting to make "art" in the hopes of appealing to the tastes of a thoroughly bankrupt culture.

The American people haven't the slightest interest in art, except as entertainment, decoration, status symbol, or financial investment.
The Renaissance produced Leonardo/Michelangelo/Piero in the South... Dürer/ Bosch in the North ... Late capitalism produces Keith Haring/ Jean-Michel Basquiat/Andy Warhol on the East Coast. John Baldessari on the West Coast.

I think one of the greatest achievements that post WWII-America will receive full credit for eventually is the complete obliteration of what was once referred to as High Art (a concept embraced by snot-nosed European elitists back in bygone days.)

6:07 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Dr. B,
You got a long mention on Thom Hartman’s radio/talk show today. He had Guy McPherson on at the beginning of the show talking about how, based on his analysis of the scientific data, so many irreversible global warming feedback loops have been set in motion that, by 2040, there is not likely to be any livable habitat for humans (or many other species). Hartman then mentioned your name and brought up your NMI idea, explaining it in some detail, and asked McPherson if he had any similar ideas. McPherson’s response was along the lines of trying to ensure that we take as few species as possible down with us. Obviously McPherson could be wrong (he was wrong in his prediction of peak oil), but combined with that new NASA report on the possible major collapse of civilization, things aren’t looking too rosy for the future of the species - never mind America. Better engrave those NMI projects in stone. The next species able to make sense of them might not come along for another 10 million years or so.

McPherson’s blog is Nature Bats Last: guymcpherson.com

6:16 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Here is a very good piece by Arthur Silber on Greenwald/Omidyar.

http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/in-which-our-self-proclaimed-hero.html?m=1

6:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Greg-

I didn't realize there were people out there more pessimistic than I am, but I'm gonna hafta suspend judgment on extinction in our lifetime, 10 million yrs for recovery, etc. until My Hero weighs in on these subjects:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/18/romney-slams-obama-clinton-for-foreign-policy-failure/?hpt=hp_t2

Honestly, I abs. adore this guy. I remain deeply depressed that the Rupert Murdoch Press cancelled my planned 5-vol. work, "Foundations of Mittnism," in addition to my 2-vol. "Cornerstones of the Mittnaic Philosophy."

mb

7:26 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers of the World,

Tim-

Glad to read that you are enjoying the music...

MB, Wafers-

Some more music for all:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekeq4szDmJo

Pootie-Poot's a bit stiff, but he does have a smooth delivery.

Jeff

7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And here's The Guardian on the Ukraine, and the Putinesque world:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/18/crimea-ukraine-shooting-pivotal-struggle-heartlands

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/18/ukraine-vladimir-putin


9:02 PM  
Blogger Val said...

I dunno Dr. B, seems to me these types that wanna write treatises on perspective - Piero, Leonardo, L.B. Alberti and so forth - would have plenty going on between the ears and would probably be aware of their historical situation, & might even think about it from time to time.

Tim, I very much appreciate your response, especially the two points you enumerated, and the idea of excellent work as a kind of grace or a descending angel, as you put it. This bears much thinking on.

@ bartleby - I heard about the Bonfire of the Vanities. What Savonarola eventually got he had coming, for that and other reasons, IMHO. The idea of paintings done by a 15th century monk - presumably working for devotional rather than professional or egoic reasons - might prove to be a useful one in the current and near-future context. Sounds like a Buddhist monk painting a mandala or a Thangka painting. It also sounds rather like the sort of activity that a New Monastic Individual might engage in, I fancy.

I feel that the death of high art as it was once known is a disaster. Somewhere between Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" and the post-WWII New York art scene, a baby and its bath water got hurled from a 100th floor window of the Empire State Building. If you simply eviscerate all the traditional standards of excellence and skill, and burn the entrails in a great sacrificial bonfire, how is the tradition supposed to survive, let alone develop? This act of cultural self-immolation seems to me like a foreshadowing and harbinger of our civilization's trajectory and ultimate fate.

Dr. B, r u gonna replace Mithras w/ Mitt? Scary!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Val-

They weren't on the cusp of a dark age. That was yr question.

mb

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

Lapham on why there'll be no revolution in America, televised or otherwise, no matter how bad it gets: http://www.juancole.com/2014/03/consumerism-american-revolutionary.html. Of course, Lapham would die before he ever used the word 'douchebag' in a sentence.

- The Capt.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Zosima,

Do you honestly believe that political parties a.) matter and b.) that they are any different? By positing that the Republicans exemplify stupidity (and they do) you seem to imply that somehow Democrats are capable and intelligent (they are not). As for appealing to the declining white population it should not escape notice that republicans are gaining a lot of ground among hispanics--I believe two U.S. Senators and several members of the house of representatives are hispanic and republicans and one governor is a hispanic woman republican in a majority hispanic state (new mex) Now please understand that note of this ultimately matters but we wafers can do better than uttering some old tired and inaccurate partisian platitudes.

Now

12:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

On the other hand...

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/14/opinion/getting-ukraine-wrong.html?_r=0

4:44 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Dan Henry,

That Silber article on Greenwald/Omidyar is complete nonsense. Here is a quote from Silber: "The simple, incontrovertible fact is that Greenwald ultimately comes down squarely on the side of power and wealth. ... despite what appear to be certain harsh denunciations of the crimes and misdeeds of the powerful, Greenwald tempers and undercuts those criticisms to an extent that renders them toothless and of no consequence."

Anyone who has been following Greenwald's work knows that he has been a very harsh critic of both the US government and corporations for years. His revelation of the NSA story is far from being "toothless" or "of no consequence," as they are leading to big legislative and cultural changes on spying throughout the world. When I see articles like Silber's attacking Greenwald for such silly reasons, I can't help but wonder if those people are really driven by envy at the publicity Greenwald has gotten.

On a different note, here is a new article that Wafers will find interesting, by Lewis Lapham:

http://www.juancole.com/2014/03/consumerism-american-revolutionary.html

10:23 AM  
Anonymous KarmaKing said...

@Capo, thanks for the article by Lewis Lapham. The gem is in the following quote, and it can be summed in one word: Karma caught up with the evil thugs:

“As a consequence of the political becoming personal, by the time the 1960s moved on to the 1980s and President Reagan’s Morning in America, it was no longer possible to know oneself as an American citizen without the further identification of at least one value-adding, consumer-privileged adjective — female American, rich American, black American, Native American, old American, poor American, gay American, white American, dead American. The costumes changed, and so did the dossier of the malcontents believing themselves entitled to more than they already had.

A generation of dissatisfied bourgeois reluctant to grow up gave way to another generation of dissatisfied bourgeois unwilling to grow old. The locus of the earthly Paradise shifted from a commune in the White Mountains to a gated golf resort in Palm Springs, and the fond hope of finding oneself transformed into an artist segued into the determined effort to make oneself rich. What remained constant was the policy of enlightened selfishness and the signature bourgeois passion for more plums in the pudding.”

http://www.juancole.com/2014/03/consumerism-american-revolutionary.html

10:46 AM  
Anonymous AS said...

Recently saw Godfrey Reggio's brilliant Koyaanisqatsi (1982). It's a fantastic visual accompaniment to the work of Lewis Mumford and MB, as it concerns the spiritual and environmental devastation wrought by industrialization in the modern world (specifically in the US).

I highly recommend it to any Wafers who haven't seen it. Sometimes we fail to recognize the commercial rot that surrounds us 24/7. This film is a great reminder.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

@Greg:
Peak Oil is real, so McPherson is right about that. Peak oil as measured by conventional oil production has, indeed, peaked. I can get you data if you wish.
What has not peaked in unconventional "oil" and gas.
The problem with this new bounty is that it is only economical to extract at very high oil prices.

The paradox is that the minimum price of oil that can support unconventional oil extraction is going up - it's getting more expensive as the easy-to-get stuff is gone.

But, and here's the kicker: the maximum price of oil that our oil-dependent economies can tolerate before hitting the wall and contracting (e.g. Depression) is going down!
It's called the Triangle of Doom by some people, like Steve Ludlum (see his Economic Undertow blog).

There is more oil in the ground than ewe can ever get to: but most of it will never be gotten to, because we'll be driving donkey carts and horses. Unless, of course, nuclear fusion finally pans out after 50 years plus of fruitless research!

@Everyone: you come up with great thoughts/ideas, faster than I can take notes! Art, philosophy. I'm familiar with Lapham and Chalmers Johnston. I will get me some Wallerstein at the library this week.

Thank god for our local art museum: I take my son there more and more, it's an escape from banality... and he likes the ancient Greek/Roman nude sculptures. Thinks there funny. Whatever it takes to get them there!

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Thus Says theOne said...

@Mike, you stated: “Anyone who has been following Greenwald's work knows that he has been a very harsh critic of both the US government and corporations for years. His revelation of the NSA story is far from being "toothless" or "of no consequence," as they are leading to big legislative and cultural changes on spying throughout the world. When I see articles like Silber's attacking Greenwald for such silly reasons, I can't help but wonder if those people are really driven by envy at the publicity Greenwald has gotten.”

Substitute the word ‘envy’ with the word ‘greed’ or substitute ‘envy’ with ‘tribal interest’. Then and only then will you begin to understand what motivates those people. If Greenwald had concentrated on praising former Mayor Bloomberg or former senator/traitor Joseph Lieberman, there would be no article by Silber criticizing Greenwald. Also, consider the fact that Omidyar has an Iranian ancestry. Then you begin to understand where these people are coming from. You will begin to see how their greed has taken over America and why America is going down because of this very fact.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

MB-

Yes! I agree with Mearsheimer. He makes a whole lot of sense and should be taken very seriously. I would also add that at the heart of this conflict is Putin's fears as well as his ambition. In his mind, he is acting to defend Russia against an assertive and expansionist West who has been trampling on Russia's interests since the end of the Cold War. After all, NATO has been moving to make Ukraine a member since 2008. I think it's also pretty clear that Putin rejects the idea that Western-style market economies and democracy are the answers to all problems. Who could blame him, really. Emulating the West as an economic model is the road to chaos, ruin, and disaster. He's also gambling that he can outlast any economic sanctions from Europe and the US because Europe has far too many integrated financial interests in Russia to do any serious damage and the reality that Obama is a limp noodle and gutless turd. So far, he's been right about all of this.

In addition, Putin likes to point out that his parents survived the WW II siege of Leningrad by eating tree bark and grass; evidence of Russian resilience and high pain tolerance. The fact is that Mr. Obama has been thrown up against the wall by a tough motherfucker who sees no need whatsoever to back down.

Jeff

1:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Ovomit is indeed a great douche bag, but this whole thing is finally a minor Suez Moment, at best; tho not unimportant (they tend to add up). I'm just hoping he does something *really* stupid, like go to the UN and beat his chest, and then look like a complete fool. In terms of our increasing decline, it's gd to have a prez who doesn't know shit abt foreign policy. An outspoken ninny, in short.

mb

2:26 PM  
Anonymous dawgzy said...

djqwjk qwjkkld
Hi, y'all. I was born and raised in Arizona and still have family there, visit 1 or 2 times a year. It's an interesting case study (or petri dish) for social pathology and I follow events there like a miner looks at the canary. One window into it is a fine blog "Rogue Columnist" run by a guy who finally pissed enough people off in his Phoenix major-daily column that, while they thought they cast him into Outer Dark, he ended up in Seattle. sweet. Anyway, there's a dialogue that goes on there about the salvageability of their situation in AZ. The commentators are smart and funny, and there's a lot of serious back and forth. The current post, http://www.roguecolumnist.com/rogue_columnist/2014/03/fergit-hell.html , captures some ground-level tension among those on the light vs. dark watch.

3:39 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

Publius - Yes, I agree - peak oil is for real. My reference to McPherson being “wrong” related only to his estimate of WHEN it would occur, not THAT it would occur. Hartman pointed this out in his interview by way of saying, “Why should we believe your date of 2040 (for a mass human wipeout) when you were off in your estimate on peak oil?” or something to that effect. Of course, the exact dates for when things of this nature (peak oil, collapse of America, collapse of livable habitat) will occur don’t matter too much in the larger scheme of things. If I climb out on a tree branch and start sawing it off, there’s a certain point where I’m going down sooner or later and nothing will stop it.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I can't know what the outcome of this to-ing and fro-ing between Russia, the European Union, and the United States over Crimea and the Ukraine will be, but I can't help but think that at some point the various sanctions being instituted against Putin et al. will produce a favorable outcome for the West.

A recent measure just announced may prove to have a beneficial effect in this whole affair. I provide a link below to an item outlining this new development:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/03/us-freezes-putins-netflix-account.html?utm_source=tny&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=borowitz&mbid=nl_Borowitz%20(51)



4:40 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Megan,

Thanks for mentioning Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Yes, much of opera does seem pretentious, but I guess that’s a big part of the art form so ya gotta love it. Nothing is as glorious as some of the (especially Italian) arias, and although I’m not too crazy about German operas (think Wagner), The Magic Flute is something special.

For anyone interested in a phenomenal piece of music and an absolutely stunning performance, you cannot do better than Diana Damrau singing Der Holle Rache. I watch this several times a week because the artistry helps me remember that humanity isn’t all bad.

Wafers, the actual singing starts a little after two minutes, and even though it’s entirely in German it’s worth watching the whole scene. You don’t need translation to understand that she’s one pissed woman:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzFi-7H9TKs

And Lady Gaga is referred to as a diva? Ugh! Ms. Damrau puts them all to shame.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Good Lord, all I can do is echo again MBs earlier point...it's consensual sex. Wafers protecting billionaires... oy vey.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Yes, take *that*, you dumb apparatchik, you!

mb

7:55 PM  
Blogger Robert Cook said...

I'm listening to your Feb. 2013 interview with Universidad de Monterrey on YouTube. You refer to the title change of WHY AMERICA FAILED having been in vain, as it sold only 5,000 copies in America. You rightly point to the unwillingness/inability of Americans to process such an idea as America having failed as a basis for these poor sales, but I suggest a better one: the difficulty in finding the book on the bookshelves. I live in New York City and I could never find the book in any bookstore except one: the NYU bookstore on lower Broadway had ONE copy of the book on its shelves. And I only found that months after the book had been published.

I didn't have the funds to buy the book when I did find it, and I had wanted to avoid buying it through Amazon, as I prefer, where possible, to support my local booksellers--endangered and disappearing even in NYC!--but I will now relent and order a copy of the paperback edition.

I always enjoy hearing your audio/video lectures, and I greatly enjoyed DARK AGES AMERICA. Thank you.

11:58 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home