May 19, 2014

Thoughts on a Rainy Day

Who are we, really? Does anyone really know him- or herself? Buddhists say that personality is a ghost, that the self is an illusion, but it strikes me as being a pretty real illusion (whatever that means).

Here's an odd story. When I was in elementary school, I had a friend named David, and this friendship lasted from ages 5 to 16, when his parents moved away and David wound up at a different high school. The next time I saw him was in 2000. Apparently, I did some TV show (c-span, maybe) about the Twilight book, and David caught the show, contacted me, and we got together in Upstate NY, where he was then living. He had become a physician, had been a rebel, attacking the whole corrupt system of insurance and HMOs. Not popular with his colleagues, as you might imagine. He was also an early champion of the MRI, when there was a lot of doubt about introducing it. Anyway, he made a dinner reservation for us just down the street from our old elementary school (which had burned down years ago; this was its replacement), and after dinner we walked around the small building, smoking cigars despite the light drizzle that had started to come down.

Now you have to understand that from my own perspective of myself—from elementary school running through college (but not in grad school, which was a whole different ball of wax)—I was a nerd. I was heavily nerdile, with interests that were not 'cool'. I was not ironic or hip, in the accepted American style; girls had no interest in me, for the most part, and I had very few friends. This left me a stranger in a strange land; and from a fairly early age I had a hard time identifying with America, or relating to Americans, most of whom struck me as obtuse. Conversations with them were boring, at least for me; who cared about the new Mustang, or the World Series (they did, obviously)? (Revenge of the Nerds is one of my favorite movies, as you might expect.) But given the social context, and the fact that children and teenagers are in the process of developing their identities (and even their frontal lobes), I was very much conflicted by the reality that I didn't fit in: simultaneously wanting, and not wanting, to be part of the mainstream. As Goethe once observed, adolescence is funny only in retrospect.

Anyway, there we were, David and I, walking around our old elementary school, when he suddenly said to me, completely out of the blue, and apropos of nothing: "You know, when we were kids, you were my hero." "Yeah, right," I replied. What kind of crap was this? "No," he said, "I'm serious. The fact is that you made knowledge, and learning, cool. At age 7 you were reading poetry and playing chess. Who does that, at age 7?"

I was literally thunderstruck. How was this possible? I mean, I'm sure most of the kids around me regarded me as completely square, someone you don’t bother giving the time of day to. And here's this old pal telling me that I was a role model for him! He obviously knew me, or saw me, in a way that was very different from the way I saw myself. I stood there, in the rain, trying to rethink my childhood, which had suddenly taken on a whole new dimension.

Just so you know, before I go on with this story: a year later David got cancer, and took a room at the NIH in Bethesda. I was working in DC during those years, so every Friday after work I would drive up to the hospital in Maryland and sit with him, talk with him for a few hours. I thought he would make it, pull through, but he didn't: he died in 2002, and then, with a heavy heart, I drove 12 hours through a blinding snowstorm to Upstate NY for his funeral. My real sadness, however, was rather selfish: here I get reunited with an old friend, after all those years, and after only one year of renewed friendship the Universe takes him away. Shit.

Anyway, fast-forward now from age 7 to my early 20s, when the Vietnam war was in full swing. Once again, I was aware of my own strangeness, in America. Sure, many Americans demonstrated against the war, but percentage-wise it didn't amount to much: most were for it, until we were clearly losing the battle. Very few saw through it, realized it was a neo-colonial war in which we were using our sophisticated military technology to pound a peasant people, who had no beef with us and certainly did not constitute a threat, into the dirt. But it went beyond that. Ho Chi Minh was a Gandhi-type figure, a great statesman and intellect who wrote poetry. America has no comparable figure—George Washington is not really in the Ho/Gandhi category, it seems to me. And America’s contemporary leaders, like LBJ and Nixon, were gross, vulgar, and violent. Can anyone imagine them writing poetry? I realized I felt a closer bond to Vietnamese peasants (who do read poetry, in fact) than to the folks around me, with whom I was supposed to feel connected, but didn't. And what I found during my recent trip to Vietnam was just that: a very gentle, very gracious people, with (amazingly enough) no bitterness toward the US, although we murdered 3 million of them and tortured tens of thousands. As a people, they are about as far apart from Americans as one might imagine. Now back home, I've been reading Neil Jamieson's book, Understanding Vietnam, and here's what he says:

"It is very difficult for Westerners, especially Americans, to apprehend how significant poetry can be as an expressive mechanism in society. For many of us poetry has connotations of elitism, obscurity, impracticality. Few of us read poetry, and fewer still have a real appreciation of it. But in Vietnam this is not the case. Many Vietnamese read poetry with enjoyment, commit it to memory, and recite poems to each other with unfeigned enthusiasm. Everyday speech is liberally sprinkled with poetic allusions. Even the poor and the illiterate imbibe deeply of a rich oral tradition that has incorporated much that originated in the written literature of the educated elite. Poetry has been and remains much more popular and important in Vietnam than in the United States."

As an example, Jamieson cites the immensely popular poem by Phan Khoi, "Old Love" (1932). The author tells how he was not able to marry his true love because of restrictive social mores, which required both of them to agree to the marriages that their respective parents had arranged. In a very real sense, their lives were destroyed. And then, 24 years later, quite by accident, they run into each other. The poem concludes:

"Twenty four years later... A chance encounter far away... Both heads had turned to silver; Had they not known each other well, Might they not have passed unknown? An old affair was recalled, no more. It was just a glance in passing!

...There still are corners to the eyes."

And this is the real truth of our lives, what shimmers for us at the deepest level of our being. The real revenge of the nerds is the life that goes its own way, that is not hip, one that the mainstream—at least in America—will never understand. A peripheral vision, if you will. Yes, my friends, there are still corners to the eyes.

©Morris Berman, 2014

192 Comments:

Anonymous Capo Regime said...

A very profound essay. Decency, friendship and to my eyes the role of identity. We either adopt or have an identity foisted upon us. This identity is built up in part from some myth. Myths are important and form a sense of identity. The ongoing collapse of the american "myth" inevitably leads to a form of mass psychosis. Its much like Gray describes (as do Jung and Freud) the circumstance in interwar europe--the place was basket case. Prior system broken down and the drift lead to the horrors of world war II and stalinism etc.. What is the U.S. myth? How do americans form an identity? Is it about liberty or spying and control? Is ones identity formed by sharing thoughts and friends and spending time and effort during a difficult circumstance? Is it about being a child with a thirst for knowledge or indulging a child with consumer escapism? I think the latter--the hell with chess and poetry lets watch TV and go to Chukee Cheese and buy you a game boy and watch football. Can a myth and identity be built around consumption and escapism? I would wager not and as such you see the u.s. well on in a psychotic phase which will lead to further collapse. I suppose the one thing the collapse offers to some more enlightened souls is the ability to cast off a burdensome and unproductive series of myths and associated identities. Some have and will go from say IT workers to operators of a small shop in maracaibo detached from prior lives and aspirations, others will descend into further madness.

9:16 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Capo Regime

The American myth is the Cowboy.
These days, it is probably more pervasive and more powerful (and more dangerous) than the Greek god myths ever were.

As it happens, I grew up in ranching country and real cowboying is hard, dirty, grotesquely underpaid work.
It never attracted me in the least having seen it close-up.

Here's a good deconstruction of the whole Cliven Bundy mess.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/cliven-bundy-homestead-act-history

This points out how the West was settled by deliberate government policy and not by courageous free-lance cowboys.

I think there's something going on here related to what Eric Hoffer wrote about in The True Believer - that the real movement fanatics (with their guns, and military camo, hey! and cowboy hats) are compensating for the felt failures of their own lives by acting out the Cowboy Myth. And always with the shooting iron because FREEDOM!

There is a widespread feeling that the ground is moving under our feet (probably how those Europeans felt in the interwar period), that nothing is certain anymore. It's really not surprising that people would retreat into the certainty of the Cowboy Myth. But it's not a good thing.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous SteveR said...

I suspect a lot of your WAFers can tell similar stories of "not fitting in" while growing up, and it's sad if that's the price of admission (so to speak) to objectivism. My equivalent to your "David" was "Ken" who fit in, if anything, even less well than I did. We went our separate ways and decades later I saw that he'd become a spokesperson for the State Department, forsooth! I would have been hard-pressed to think of a less likely landing place for him, based on what I thought I knew about his personality and beliefs. I contacted him and he clearly didn't want to renew our acquaintance. There's a lesson in there somewhere but I'll be darned if I can figure it out, beyond the cliche "you just never know about people."

12:58 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Great post MB (and good comment Capo).

Someone may have posted this one already, but it deserves another look:

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/america-dumbs-down/

One of the more memorable quotes:

"If the rise in uninformed opinion was limited to impenetrable subjects that would be one thing, but the scourge seems to be spreading. Everywhere you look these days, America is in a rush to embrace the stupid. Hell-bent on a path that’s not just irrational, but often self-destructive. Common-sense solutions to pressing problems are eschewed in favour of bumper-sticker simplicities and blind faith."

1:37 PM  
Blogger dale said...

Been awhile since since I caught one of your posts -- seems like 24 years. Glad to have caught this one in the corners to the eyes.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steve-

It's probably not that obscure: Ken sold out, and reconnecting w/u wd be painful for him because he feels ashamed. You remind him of his self-betrayal. Consider John Kerry: from heartfelt critic of our genocide in Vietnam to bootlicker to a war criminal. What a career! Power and money seduce people into existential suicide.

mb

2:59 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

MB said - “OMG! There's a piece of trash sitting in the Oval Office!”

When the Vietnam war was on there were continuous protests against America across the globe. Yet when Obama visited Japan while you were there, the people were too busy dressing up as comic book characters to do any protesting. Why didn’t such a charming and intelligent population care that he’s killing innocent people with his drones? Are they not citizens of the world? And what makes it even worse is that Japan is a major base for America’s empire. The same non-action occurred when Obama visited Mexico in February, an incredibly gracious population couldn’t be bothered to speak up for innocents being killed on the other side of the world. Looks to me like they don’t care, and since they are all smarter and more moral than Americans, doesn’t this make their silence even worse? Now that you’re an expert on the people of Japan and Mexico can you explain this?

5:46 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

On the theory that there's entirely too little attention paid to subjects literary and to deli meats, may I offer the following:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/05/philip-roth-says-he-has-had-his-last-sandwich.html?utm_source=tny&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=borowitz&mbid=nl_Borowitz%20(74)

Sad news, perhaps, but Roth's decision means there will now be more for the rest of us.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Hola Dr. Berman and Wafers,

James-

Poor Philip, going Cold Turkey, so to speak, with a turkey and tomato on wheat as his last is the saddest news I've read all week...

bowtie-

Yes, the Cowboy! And who was the biggest *fake* cowboy of them all: Ronald Reagan. Wafers have already figured this out, of course, but Obama has yet to realize this.

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

Capo-

Great post! There's a yin and yang quality to all this, yes? As you say, in terms of American identity, "Is it about liberty or spying and control?" Indeed, on the one hand, America has had great achievements in democracy, liberty, meaningful prosperity, and civil rights (now sadly jeopardized on all fronts). On the other hand, the place is sick, twisted, and dangerous with mistaken notions of endless progress, unfettered capitalism, militarism and religious extremism providing the driving wheels for its identity.

Jeff

7:29 PM  
Anonymous capo regime said...

Uggh hate to break the 24hr rule but this Zosima comment is well "compelling". Only cuz I love ya MB.

Zosima, yes Mexicans and Japanese are in many ways smarter and lead healthier social lives. I don;t know what you mean by "moral" so will skip over that. As a practical matter both Mexicans and Japanese are not much for an utterly futile effort such as protesting Obama's visit. Though for the record, there were as I recall a few small protests when Obama came to Mexico city. As a further response to your fairly churlish note, Obama was not elected by the Mexicans or Japanese. Since 1942 neither mexicans or japanese have produced leaders and institutions which invade countries and kill kids and neither have debates on whether or not evolution should be taught in schools. As for citizens of the world, neither Meico or Japan have that conceit, they both seem content to mind their own business--seems pretty smart and ethical to me.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

The cowboy for boomers - has evolved into the mercenary for us millenials. Same libertarian ideals, just honed by our darwinian society so we no longer bother with lip service to morality. Its less delusional in a way; progress i guess.


Watched "Her" today. I think the ending points to my initial reservation, that a relationship between a human and true AI would be impossible. That the movie was made, however, is probably prescient. I shudder to think how many of us will fall for such delusions.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

I don't know the movie "Her," but there's a novel by Marge Piercy called "He, She and It" that sounds a lot like it, which is v. gd.

mb

1:12 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Her_(film)

1:38 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Very beautiful thoughts, MB.
I have a similar, personal story from childhood and 'growing up' ( I guess we all do ) ...but will be content to appreciate yours for now.

3:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"As It Is in Heaven"--great film, abt the life force. I think what I was trying to say in SSIG was that either yr serving the L.F., or yr pissing yr life away--a choice all of us have to make.

mb

3:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Who We Are Dept.:

http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/narcissistic.htm

4:57 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

You're right!

We only have one lifetime to live. Why piss it away on things that are meaningless? All American society is, is but one construct that has no substance to it.

Let's actually live! I still have to buy your SSIG book.

I was watching this by Timothy Leary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQq_XmhBTgg

People of the day misconstrued what he said. What he wanted was for people to think for themselves and come up with new ideas to help make things better.

Using drugs like LSD was but one path out of many to expand the creativeness of the human brain. Drugs were a means to an end not the end. It wasn't about getting high but improving one's thought process and making society better as a whole.

Why didn't people see this?

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Bonnie Q said...

Robert Jensen wrote a piece for the Houston Chronicle after 9/11, and the president of the University of Texas responded shortly after.

Here's a sample from Jensen: "But this act was no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism -- the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime. For more than five decades throughout the Third World, the United States has deliberately targeted civilians or engaged in violence so indiscriminate that there is no other way to understand it except as terrorism. And it has supported similar acts of terrorism by client states. " (i.e. blowback)

Then the response from Larry Faulkner, the UT president: "Using the same liberty, I convey my personal judgment that Jensen is not only misguided, but has become a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy.

Students must learn that there is a good deal of foolish opinion in the popular media and they must become skilled at recognizing and discounting it."

http://www.la.indymedia.org/news/2001/09/10594_comment.php

9:40 AM  
Blogger Robo said...

Recently, an astronaut was making repairs outside the international space station when his spacesuit cooling system suddenly malfunctioned and his helmet started filling with water. Faced with drowning, he barely made it back to the station in time. Of course, the spaceman had placed himself in a deadly alien environment, so he had no choice but to wear a spacesuit and accept the associated risks of space travel.

Back here on Earth, especially in the USA, many of us live in our own spacesuit bubbles of self-absorption and illusion. Even though there is fresh air all around us, we mostly choose to breathe the artificial atmosphere our culture sells us. It’s only when there’s an unexpected event or malfunction that we are forced to break the faceplate and taste the outside air, even if only temporarily.

What a shock it can be to discover that there can be sensitivity, beauty, gentility and poetry occurring naturally in the outside world, free for the asking. Your old friend helped break your bubble just as you have helped many of your readers break theirs.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

MB, Wafers-

Brooklyn elementary teacher poisoned by students:

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/students-9-12-arrested-allegedly-poisoning-teacher-150726280--abc-news-topstories.html

Article states that the two boys "wanted to see what would happen to the teacher."

O&D,

Jeff

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

MB, your post is like cold water in the desert, especially when I see stories like this:

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/students-9-12-arrested-allegedly-poisoning-teacher-150726280--abc-news-topstories.html

It seems as if there are more & more stories about people killing (or trying to kill) other human beings, "just to see what it feels like" -- and what does that say about the culture that spawns them?

It's both interesting & saddening to see the reaction that words such as beauty, poetry, tenderness, etc., elicit from so many Americans. More often than not, there's a certain revulsion, a quick mockery & dismissal. We've all probably experienced this at some time or another.

All the more reason to pursue a life of true feeling & depth, a life of personal meaning that shuns the corrosive tripe served up by society. But it's not always easy, is it?

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

The fear of the exquisite is perfectly captured here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3wCj2sZPoM

3:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff, Tim-

A journalist friend of mine wrote in response to this post, that the US seems to have it in for cultures that are refined--like the Vietnamese. He himself had the experience of being in Tehran, and seeing taxi drivers listening to Persian music and poetry on their car radios in the evenings. In yr wildest dreams, can u imagine more than .0001% of Americans memorizing Robert Frost, or American taxi drivers listening to Aaron Copeland? Or even knowing who Frost and Copeland were? I think we are driven to stamp out the life force because we feel we lack it ourselves, and this generates not only existential strain, but a sense of terror at the edge of our consciousness. This is an impt source of butchery in the world, and accounts for a lot of what we did in Vietnam, Iraq, and so on. People who feel they can't really have life themselves, wind up hating life, and hating its expression in other people. So much of the contemporary world is abt this one particular issue.

mb

3:12 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

MB and WAF-ers, Orlov talks some about a topic we've discussed often here, identity politics:

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2014/05/death-by-political-correctness.html

Here is a long-ish quote:

"Discussions of social policy, especially with regard to such things as the rights of women and sexual and racial minorities, play a very special role in American politics. As I've explained recently, it has recently been shown that the US is not a democracy, in which public policy is influenced by public opinion, but an oligarchy, where public policy is driven by the wishes of moneyed interests. On major issues, such as whether to provide public health care or whether to go to war, public opinion matters not a whit. But it is vitally important to maintain the appearance of a vibrant democracy, and here social policy provides a good opportunity for encouraging social divisions: split the country up into red states and blue states, and keep them in balance by carefully measured infusions of money into politics, so as to maintain the illusion of electoral choice. Throw a bit of money at a religious fundamentalist candidate, and plenty of feminists, gays and lesbians will vote for the opposing kleptocrat who will, once elected, help Wall Street confiscate the rest of their retirement savings, in return for a seat on the board; throw another bit of money at a rainbow-colored lesbian, and plenty of bible-thumping traditionalists will vote for the opposing kleptocrat who, once elected, will funnel tax money to his pet defense contractor in return for some juicy kickbacks."

It takes quite a bit of introspection to be able to realize what MB (and the above Orlov) are talking about when they speak of identity politics like this ... not something most Americans can do. Especially when you consider what MB just commented, "I think we are driven to stamp out the life force because we feel we lack it ourselves, and this generates not only existential strain, but a sense of terror at the edge of our consciousness."

I'm going outside now...

4:24 PM  
Anonymous NJ Guy said...

Hi Dr. Berman and wafers,

I've been reading this blog for about six months which nearly coincides with my getting back into eating pastrami sandwiches after so many years of abstaining from doing so. I am also a Johns Hopkins graduate having earned my undergraduate degree in the early seventies so I was there probably when you were. I also participated in anti Vietnam war activities during that time. My responsibility as a member of the local Hopkins SDS chapter was to plaster the campus repeatedly with flyers that contained a picture of a dove and the words "Work for Peace". I am not surprised with your emotional reaction when visiting Vietnam and have often imagined having a similar reaction myself if I were to visit that country.

I was a nerd myself, never having more than one or two friends at a time. At least at Hopkins I didn't feel that exceptional. The campus was full of people like me. When I was there undergraduate social life was the pits anyway. A good Friday night often consisted of getting high on pot and going to Levering Hall to view the Bob Hieronimus mural.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

NJ-

Speaking of Jersey, after graduating Hopkins I went on to teach at Rutgers for a while. I had a VW with a "Work for Peace"
bumper sticker on it. Lived in Somerset, beneath a bunch of undergrads who (they later told me) usta refer to me, among themselves, as "Work for Peace." They thought the whole thing very funny. They were pre-law, pre-med, went on to swell the ranks of the professional classes, I'm guessing.

jwo-

It's really pathetic, how Americans are so intensely invested in identity politics and political correctness, but don't give a damn abt relations of power. Let someone use some racial epithet, for example, and the whole country is up in arms for weeks. Newspapers will cover the event around the clock. But if Lloyd Blankfein says of Goldman Sachs, "We're doing the work of God," while GS is robbing Americans blind, no one even notices, or cares. And if, say, woman becomes president in 2016, feminists will be all excited--imagine, finally, a woman in the White House. How progressive we are! That she is little more than a lackey of American imperialism, well, we won't worry too much abt that. Most Americans (male or female) don't even know what imperialism is, let alone oligarchy, plutocracy, or probably even genocide. Americans like slogans, and believe that when they are emoting, they are thinking. They like to jump up and down, get into a lather. They have abs. zero interest in analyzing political structures and figuring out what's really going on. They can't find Pakistan on a world map to save their lives. Basically, they are dumb bunnies who can be led around by the nose, and identity politics is a very effective way of doing that.

mb

9:44 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

@Prof. Berman: wonderful story of your youth, and your friend. You were both lucky, or fated, to reconnect. Also the idea of identity: part of my struggle has been to redefine my identity to be more resilient and joyful, while keeping the parts that make me feel like myself. After all, who else do I have to be?
Loved the insight into the fact that there are other cultures that value art as part of everyday life is important to those still overwhelmed by US kulture.

Well, we made it out of the USA.
Met a nice French guy on the tram, who is going to make a pilgrimage to the home this nation's most famous composer. Fancy that. Art has a supreme value to make a pilgrimage to.

The city we are in is just basically full of nice design. Stores selling custom-designed furniture. Buildings that were built to add the overall gestalt of the environment, and not just show off. Everything on a small, artsy scale, with no chain restaurants, or few.
And at dinner, first people we really talk to spend a good half hour talking with us, getting to know us, helping me with my fumbling with their language, talking to my son, giving advice, listening. My wife already has stated she loves the vibe and could imagine living here.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

So, where r.u., already?

Wafers-

There's a bk by Mohsin Hamid called "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," subsequently made into a movie. I wd recommend both, altho they are actually different; what is implied in the bk is made explicit in the movie. The latter, in particular, is a dramatic portrait of U.S. foreign policy, and how utterly obtuse we are--not only with respect to other cultures, but to reality itself. He's a brilliant writer, in any case.

In the March 30 issue of the NYTBR, Hamid discusses the challenge of writing, its sources and its purposes:

"It may be that the DNA of fiction is, like our own DNA, a double helix, a two-stranded beast. One strand is born of what writers have experienced. The other is born of what writers wish to experience, of the impulse to write *in order* to know."

I cd identify; this is a major motivation for me as well--if not, in fact, my primary motivation. He goes on:

"I write these things because I want to transcend my experiences. I want to go beyond myself. Writing isn't just my mirror, it's my astral projection device...We are making ourselves up as we go along.

"Writing is a chance for the stories that are us to come to terms with their innate fiction. So write what you know. But also know you are being written."

mb

12:43 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Who we are ( or, more particularly...Who am I? ) is a question for the ages.
From Hegel, Descartes, Shakespeare, Freud, Jung, Sartre, and a hodgepodge of others; many have tried to answer.

Seems to me that collectively we are stuck between predestination and determinism.
Individually, on the other hand, we have untold millions of dolts that would better serve themselves and others if they stayed predestinated; but that have a lemming like instinct for determinism. The incubator for conformity and nationalism.
Meanwhile, the small pool of true geniuses are mostly suppressed into predestinated states; with only a sliver ever being recognized by others, or to be able to climb above/apart or at least endure the 'slings and arrows' of a moron society.

Postmortem, many concepts change.
The predestinated have stone markers and become worm food. Some of the 'crazies' are finally seen as visionaries.

Perhaps, we need a new question.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shit-for-Brains Dept.:

What Americans google abt, state-by-state (GA is particularly neat):

http://www.phillymag.com/property/2014/05/21/pennsylvanians-google-back-shaving-term/

3:24 AM  
Anonymous James A.len said...

Since the subject of identity is the focus of several recent posts, may I offer the following, which while less introspective than others may yet offer something of value:

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

[Attributed to Oscar Wilde]

6:50 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

I built up the suspense too much for Prof. Berman to handle?
OK, OK.
I am in the nation of Finland.
Suomea.

A quick story that encapsulates so much of America these days. I was in the TSA line at the airport ironically named "Liberty" in Newark, NJ. A charming Swedish family was in line with me. The parents were both fit and trim. Two teenage daughters, both well dressed and charming. The TSA agent, sloppily dressed in his "uniform" and wearing the obligatory blue latex gloves to protect him from the animal herd he was managing (we the passengers), put on a show that made me cringe.

"How old is your mother," he asked the girls. They responded.
"She doesn't look her age. She looks younger than that..."
The girls giggled uncomfortably, the Swedish husband ignored it.
Wow. It's nice to see TSA agents making comments about the attractiveness of the passengers he has the power to molest.

I haven't seen one policeman yet. No armed police swaggering around. No sirens. No alarms. Not even car alarms going off.
LOTS of bookstores.
What's wrong with this place?

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

MB,

Hmmm. Publius said tram and French. I would surmise he is either in Quebec or Montreal chock full o trams and french speakers. Perhaps a visit to home of Andre Mathieu. I think he is being obtuse as Canada does not seem that far afield or interesting but frankly its a very nice place. Sans tram it would open far more exotic possibilities such as Reunion in the pacific (a nice place), Francophone Africa or French Guyana. Perhaps Reines which I recall has trams but not many.

10:32 AM  
OpenID dermotmoconnor said...

By one of the great Irish poets of the 20th century:

USA
by Michael Hartnett

They who were once proud of their persuasion
now in their declining jaws grow small bones,
their teeth grow huge, their skins turn yellow and
crack. They are slowly becoming Asian,
Apache arrows in their chromosomes.
They killed her lovers, expecting to replace
pure blood with the dubious bastard stocks,
using the weapons of civilized man:
bad alcohol and God, guns and smallpox.
Dogs with the right to bear arms would found
a juster republic.
Why are they afraid?
They live upon a burial ground:
Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Teuton, Celt and Jew
avert their eyes, afraid to look around
and see ghosts of Navaho, Cheyenne and Sioux.
They chained the land and pulled her down
and nailed her to the sea with towns.
She lies on her back, her belly cut in fields
of red and yellow earth. She does not yield,
she is not theirs. She does not love this race.
She will not open her legs to enclose
the scum of Europe, jockeying for grace.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Rosegarden said...

I just borrowed Poison Spring by E. G. Vallianatos with McKay Jenkins, 2014, from my little local library. Warren Porter, professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin, has found that mice and rats exposed to toxin levels similar to groundwater all over the US suffer damage to their immune, endocrine, and neurological systems. The damage leaves the animals more aggressive. (Page 118)

Other findings reveal that children exposed to pesticides in utero and at preschool age turn out highly aggressive, with diminished intelligence and decreased stamina. (Page 119) (Waren Porter, Toxicology and Industrial Health, 15 (1-2) (1999) 133-150.)

So, we poison their bodies, keep their parents' jobs insecure, fill them with junk food, distract them with itoys, and then blame the teachers. Now retired from elementary teaching, I read to preschoolers at the library. We sing songs, read poems, plant seeds, and play games with blocks. Back in 1967, my principal said, “Rose, you cannot save them all.” Now, my goal is to help one or two.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings all,

Pub-

Ravel? Debussy? Bizet? Are you in France? Perhaps you're in Copenhagen, with its oodles of Danish Modern furniture. The suspense is killin' us. As MB said, let us know!

At any rate, wherever you are, I'm certain that it's a whole lot better than the US. Good luck with your trip and remember when you find permanent residence outside the US, you and your family can then vigorously discard your post-it notes.

Cheers,

Jeff

3:23 PM  
Anonymous bob, esq said...

You missed the part how they limited the searches to certain categories. Google has a better database of searches.

http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends/visualize?nrow=5&ncol=5&pn=p1

Here's the important part in the article you cited:

"Now, this was a limited sample, apparently. Nickum: "We focused our search queries divisive topics like politics and religion, as well interest in types of recreation, music, movies, diet and health topics, famous people, TV shows, dumb questions, and a bunch of silly stuff like thumb wresting and glam rock."

3:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Yeah, but then he'll need a new note: I USED TO LIVE AMONG DOLTS.

Rose-

Jus' keep on doin' whatcher doin'.

Pub-

I just cdn't understand the cloak-and-dagger aspect of yr approach. But glad yr outta the closet finally, in any case. Finland's gd, tho the weather and language are a real bitch. Wafers are encouraged to complete the following limerick:

There once was a man from Helsinki
Who left the US, which he regarded as stinky.
The town didn't diminish
His desire to be Finnish
And--

Forward, Wafers! Victory over the douche bags and the trollfoons! We pee on their shoes! Hasta la revolucion permanente!

mb

3:44 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

There once was a man from Helsinki
Who left the US, which he regarded as stinky.
The town didn't diminish
His desire to be Finnish
And...Iiro Pakarinen is a pinky.

(Pardon the hockey reference...but it's about all we Canadians have, other than being renowned for being boring)

4:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

bob-

Well...Bob's your uncle!

mb

5:11 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Pub: Have fun over there and drink some beer for me:

http://www.europeanbeerguide.net/helspubs.htm

Sinebrychoff is about the only Finnish beer I can think of that we get here.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Dermot,

That poem made me remember this song;

http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/ryan/inmy.htm

http://www.amazon.com/In-My-Tribe/dp/B00I1UHPX6

Its a gorgeous song, but I think the poem rings true. Why is commonality so often the minority opinion?

7:25 PM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and WAFers,

I've been lurking around this site for a few months now, and having just read WAF, I'm ready to step out of the shadows. (The book is now with another fellow in my community, who's also been lurking around...) First, thank you all for the great insights and references, for helping me to see the larger picture, and for giving words to that which I've been feeling.

I'm probably not as well-read as most of you, as engineering school nearly killed my passion for reading (ha!), but I'm now on the comeback. My graduate advisor once told me to "Go west, young man," which he meant to be Sillycon Valley, but which I took to be East Asia. After a good number of years in Taiwan and Japan, and regrettably not having been acquainted with Howard Zinn's "People's History" or WAF, I fell for "hope and change" and moved back to the U.S. Well, Portland does seem like a good place to be for an American-Japanese couple -- esp. since Tokyo now has a radioactive contamination problem (which most people don't see due to "willful blindness").

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

There once was a man from Helsinki,

Who left the US, which he regarded as stinky.

The town didn't diminish
His desire to be Finnish,

But his expatriate 'friends' thought he was kinky.

OR:
And his skin became pale and not inky.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

hinkle-san-

Do hitashimashte. Glad you decided to make yr appearance on the only blog worth reading, and I'm looking forward to yr comments on my Japan bk, if it ever sees the light of day. As for shadows, be sure to read Tanizaki. I never thought of Silly Con, but that's a fairly gd description of the place. Meanwhile, tell yr friend to also stop lurking; we need all the Wafers we can get, in the cosmic battle between the Wafers and the Douche Bags, also known as Trollfoons. It's about Light vs. Darkness, a classic Manichaean struggle, as Wafers try to keep the flame of truth, and civilization, alive. All that aside, I'm glad yr enjoying Portland, tho you might consider Kanazawa as an alternative; lovely place, as is all of Nagano Prefecture (another option; very organic). Added inspiration might be found in the Japanese film of a few yrs ago, "Departures" (I think the Japanese title was "The Funeral Director"), a truly moving bit of work. Anyway, congratulations on your entry into Waferdom: the highest spiritual condition known to wo/man (it may even be mentioned in the Pali Canon, I can't recall).

mb

4:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a terrific little film: "Wadjda". Saudia Arabia, 2012.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Martin Sinclair said...

Greetings Dr. Berman

I saw the C-SPAN program in 2000 where you talked about your book Twilight of American Culture. I was impressed by your talk that I bought the book and began reading your other books and that is why I am now a proud Wafer.

John Kerry should be in the docket at Nuremburg along with other war criminals. He is giving speeches lecturing us about controlling our carbon foot prints and then executing a foreign policy designed to control the world’s oil and gas supplies. Another war criminal, Dr. Evil (Henry Kissinger) said it himself: “Control oil you control nations. Control food you control people”

The United States’ meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine is not about spreading democracy or human rights; it is about controlling natural gas coming into Europe. Qatar is sitting on the world’s biggest supply of natural gas and they want to pipe it to Turkey so Turkey can sell it to Europe; however, there is one thing standing it the way of tapping this market and making big bucks: the country of Syria. United States protests about how Syria treats it people is just like their rhetoric about the Ukraine, our government does not care about spreading democracy into Syria or protecting human rights. John McCain advocated sending Special Forces into Nigeria to rescue the kidnapped school girls and not for compassion but to establish an American military presence in Nigeria.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Martin-

McCain is a fraud. Check thru comments section of previous post.

Congratulations on yr entry into Waferdom. A higher level of consciousness has not been achieved in the entire history of the world.

mb

10:44 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings all,

MB, Wafers-

How about:

There once was a man from Helsinki
Who left the US, which he regarded as stinky.
The town didn't diminish
His desire to be Finnish
And he said "adios" with a wave and a winkie;).

Blessed are the two new Wafers... for they shall inherit the earth. Or so says George Taylor in "Planet of the Apes."

MB-

Small package on the way...

Jeff

12:11 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Hello good people. Sorry for my absence. I try to pipe up here only when I've got something to say, but I lurk and listen and enjoy.

So here's an interesting Catholic review of Christopher Dawson's critique of the technological order (link is below). It supports WAF's discussion of how technology is not value-neutral. If Wafers (or the Wafer-curious) should need additional specifics about how tech and capitalism are not strictly utilitarian but ideologies in themselves, they could read this review for more examples of it -- including, provocatively but not unexpectedly in a Catholic mag, contraception. The reviewer, Hittinger, makes tech tyranny's "mechanism," so to speak, pretty clear.

http://catholiceducation.org/articles/civilization/cc0048.html

Time for a drink and a sandwich. Please stay well!

12:26 PM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...

Dr. B:

I saw Wadjda when it first came out. TERRIFIC.

One of the more interesting things is that the woman director (first Saudi film with a woman director) had to direct the shots from inside a van with a cell phone and monitor, because if a woman did that on the street, obviously the Universe would implode.

Haven't teased it out, but the patriarchic paranoia obviously has a common pattern with many of the, cough, cough, patriotic Christian Americans in our Southern states. History will not be kind.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Leonard Cohen once remarked that after he began his recording career he began to make money "and the quality of my life declined dramatically." He had been living on Hydra and writing non-remunerative poetry prior to the success of "Suzanne."
This was brought to mind as I find myself now in my seventh decade and earning less than ever, occupying an apartment I can barely afford, and turning over my entire paychecks to VISA and the realty company that escalates my rent every few months.
Yet, somehow, although I feel genuinely impoverished for the first time in my low-income life, I find myself just doing what I`ve always enjoyed most: reading, drinking beer (that may have to subside a bit)and - now- reaping my news from the Internet.I haven`t owned a television in at least a decade.
Somehow I make it back to NYC once or twice a year. I know it`s the center of evil but I lived there when there were great bookstores like Coliseum (when it really was at Columbus Circle; now it has shuttered its displaced location across from the library), Classic Books, B. Dalton, Brentano`s.
In addition, for less than a week`s pay you could see Dizzy Gillespie, Sun Ra, Archie Shepp, Benny Bailey et. al. at the Vanguard, Fat Tuesday`s and other long-gone venues.
And, hey, there`s still the Met Museum, the Frick Collection etc. but I know the place is really a ruin now. Just a playpen for Gulf emirs and their clients and whores.
And New Yorkers now aren`t what that/we were. Everyone is a body-snatched, Type A corporate drone.
So, although I`ll be going back like a junkie in August, I`m really winding down my life to a small circle of comforts and appreciating sleep more and more.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous SteveR said...

Way back up toward the top of the comments, the "ultimate fake cowboy" was listed as Reagan. I'd like to propose another: John Wayne. When WW2 came, he suddenly remembered "an old football injury" (truly!) and enlisted the help of various entertainment bigwigs to keep him out of the draft. (There are contemporary accounts of him being booed off stage on his rare attempts to entertain the REAL troops.) Then he went on, of course, to make a career out of portraying the very thing he wasn't, a courageous soldier/sailor/airman as well as sheriff, Red-hater, but most of all: Cowboy. So that's my nomination - Ronnie should have some competition, after all.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

WAFers and Prof. Berman: darn it, more good movie references etc. I hate that, because then I have to rescan the posts and enter them into my notes. :(

Update from Helsinki:
We biked to a neighborhood pool today for a swim and sauna. Man, nice facility. And it was a "working class" place! The water was non-chlorinated and hyper clean. It was like swimming in spring water.

Another thing I've noted other than the complete lack of armed police thugs around - lots of old people. I've never seen such a thing in the USA: nonagenarians walking alone at the market square, at the sauna - trundling around with their interesting walking sticks (instead of a cane, they use two poles like ski poles without the baskets).

What is wrong with this country? Don't they know old, wise people are supposed to stick to their wheelchairs and beds, watching TV?

I met some eccentric artists last night at the small dive bar owned by the Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki. They were drinking and carrying on, in fun, dissipated, fin-de-siecle kind of way. I interviews an experimental filmmaker named Seppo Renvall about life as an artist in Finland. I need to edit down the audio before posting, but I will, if it warrants the effort. He sees his life as art - it's not just a job. In Helsinki, there are lots of good artists, who kind of struggle, whereas in the USA, it's winner take all, he says. He still complained about the philistinism of the bourgeois, but isn't that part of the fun of being an artist?

@JWO: I've had numerous Finnish beers, even went to a Finn brew pub. Good stuff... different. They are even getting into IPAs.

My wife loves the city. Walkable. Bikeable. Good restaurants on every block. Harbor life. Market life. It's all local and small.

Don't they know that their way of life is an anachronism? We need to get Donald Trump and some MBAs in here to fix it.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steve-

There's also John McCain (see discussion in comments of previous post). What a bullshit artist/piece of crap.

Blair-

NY is like Rome in A.D. 300. Enjoy!

Bowtie-

Yes, what an inspiration. But I cdn't help thinking that her entrepreneurial spirit, taken to the limit, produces the US. And the group-community spirit, taken to the limit (as in Saudi Arabia), stifles all of life. It's all abt balance, I guess.

Sanc-

Gd to know yr still alive. Now if we cd only get a smoke signal from the shepster. I tell u, ever since he left the blog I've been crying myself to sleep every nite.

Jeff-

Chopped liver, by any chance?

mb

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

DETROIT (AP) — When they pull up to a gas station these days, Detroit drivers are looking beyond the price per gallon at a far more threatening concern: carjackers.

The armed auto thieves have become so common here that parts of the bankrupt metropolis are referred to as "Carjack City," and many motorists fear getting out of their vehicles even for a few moments to fill a tank.

So gas stations are taking steps to protect customers, and the city has formed a special police team to go after suspects. Convicted carjackers will even get their faces and prison sentences plastered onto billboards.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

There once was a man from Helsinki
Who left the US, which he regarded as stinky.
The town didn't diminish
His desire to be Finnish
And they welcomed him there with a drinky.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pat-

I've been trying to come up w/words that rhyme w/stinky. Not easy. E.g.:

So he picked his nose with his pinky.

Needs work, I guess.

mb

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

This is not very efficient. We need to give these people some serious weapons. Perhaps John Kerry can arrange something.

“California drive-by shootings leave seven dead”

http://rt.com/usa/161268-california-shooting-university-wounded/

9:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

That's a great personal story Doc. Thanks for sharing. Here's to being a charter member of the never quite fit in, stranger in a strange land, "lunatic" fringe. If you're ever going to be in Aguascalientes maybe we can have a beer.

Oh, and may I just throw in gratuitously: Fuck the mainstream and all of its millions of addled camp followers.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Rorschach said...

The other day I was listening to the interview you did with Judith Regan and you said "I feel as if there isn't a day that goes by where I go on the internet and hear about a mass shooting."

Well....here's another one

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10853875/California-drive-by-shooting-Son-of-Hunger-Games-assistant-director-Elliot-Rodger-suspected-of-killing-six.html

"A young Californian gunman identified locally as the son of the assistant director of The Hunger Games film franchise is suspected of killing six people and wounding seven more in a murderous rampage from his black BMW.

The killer, who also died, conducted a series of drive-by shootings in a college town on a busy Friday evening, just hours after apparently posting a chilling video outlining his murderous plans for “retribution” because of rebuffs by women.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

I am not opposed to beer. However, you'll need to pick a real handle to get posted in the future, since I don't usually post Unknowns. Possibilities:
Sam Schmeck, DDS; Cranston Butterworth III; Mabel J. Farnsworth, Ph.D.

Julian-

I agree; this is penny-ante stuff, almost un-American. Americans think big, or shd. Consider this, wh/I just read online:

"Between 2003 and 2012, one pedestrian in the U.S. was hit by a car every 8 minutes on average."

I mean, this is far too low; again, un-American. We cd get those #s up if Americans stopped driving those silly cars and drove Hummers and Abrams Tanks instead. Those are true American vehicles. A death-oriented society shd be knockin' 'em off in large #s, it seems to me, not be wimping around. Really, I'm ashamed of us.

mb

2:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Is the following Wafer T-shirt a tad too aggressive, do ya think?:

TRUE AMERICANS SLAUGHTER THE INNOCENTS

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

On poets,
"Yo, que en vano me afano y me desvelo
por demostrar que tengo de poeta,
la gracia que no quiso darme el cielo"
The verse is by Cervantes, who then went on to write the most poetical prose of the spanish language. I am convinced that if he was still alive (physically) he would definitively be a WAFer....greetings to all of you!

4:32 PM  
Anonymous tiang lampu said...

so deeply feel stories to read morris!

5:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel-

We need to start compiling a list of great, dead folks who wd clearly have been Wafers, had they lived to see the emergence of Waferdom in the 21st C. Voltaire, Thucydides, and Jascha Heifitz, for example. Also Buster Keaton, and certainly Groucho Marx in the role of Rufus T. Firefly.

mb

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Well, Morris, you strike me as someone very deeply in love with himself.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I spattered vomit on my computer dept.:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2638319/Kim-Kardashian-Kanye-West-wedding-pictures-saying-vows-wall-flowers.html#comments

The comments section is pretty gd, however.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

Well, at the very least, my self-esteem is pretty gd. Why do I have a feeling yrs isn't?

mb

10:23 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Benedicite Wafers:

Here's a list of dead Pre-Waferelites:

St. Francis, Leo Tolstoy, Frank Zappa, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Helen and Scott Nearing, Phil Ochs, Farley Mowatt, Al Purdy...

11:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

That's pretty gd, but what abt the guy who invented chopped liver? I ferget his name...

mb

11:38 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

from news on mass shooting in CA:

"'It was apparent he was very mentally disturbed,' Brown said."

-- however, this is disputed by deputies who visited his house before the shooting --

"There was nothing in his behavior to suggest he was violent, and the deputies "determined he did not meet the criteria for an involuntary hold," he said."

People just wont let the "he must have a mental disorder" argument go. But, this is old news already. There have been another 3 mass shootings since this one (note, all occurred yesterday)

http://www.reddit.com/r/GunsAreCool/wiki/2014massshootings

7:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

That's a great web site. And I agree, guns are cool.

mb

8:00 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"There was nothing in his behavior to suggest he was violent..."

As Lawrence Peter Berra once said, "It's déja vu all over again."

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard statements like the one uttered by the law enforcement officers of Isla Vista, California, I could've afforded to buy myself a nice little pied à terre in the center of Salzburg and a beach bungalow on Fiji.

When was the last time you heard a local say, upon being "interviewed" by a breathless member of the Fourth Estate in the wake of some horrific murder, that the individual "had always found the suspect to be a creepy person who I thought was liable to kill someone any day now."

You're much more likely to have heard the interviewee say that the killer "was a quiet guy who kept pretty much to himself" except for those occasions when he'd intercept the Good Humor truck and "buy all the kids on his block ice cream."

Why do these incidents continue to "take us by surprise"?

8:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

In this as in a # of other types of events, there will not come a pt where America sees the light. There will be no dawn, no Aha! moment. Such a thing is literally beyond us, and if it were going to happen, it wd have happened already (it faintly happened post-Vietnam, post-Watergate, but nothing really changed). Americans are not very bright, and the one thing they are never, ever taught to do is connect the dots. Social critics who *do* connect the dots for them are in fact vilified. All of which guarantees our continued decline. After all, u can't remedy a situation if yr analysis of it is faulty, and so the cultural disintegration continues on a daily basis. Nothing--not OWS or any other 'progressive' movement--can derail this trajectory. If we (who?) cd only see this, we cd begin to have some real discussions abt America's future (or lack thereof). But we won't. Serious declinists are written off as cranks. And so the comedy continues...we are awash in a buffoonami.

mb

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

Compare him to America: he has access to lots of guns; if he does not get his way, he will slaughter other people to get his way. Is this not a correct description of how America deals with other nations?

"The rampage played out largely as he laid it out in the public postings, including a YouTube video where he sits in the BMW in sunset light and appears to be acting out scripted lines and planned laughs.

"I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you," Rodger, the son of a Hollywood director who worked on "The Hunger Games," says in the video posted Friday and taken down by YouTube on Saturday with a message saying it violated the site's terms of service.

"I don't know why you girls are so repulsed by me," he says in the video, describing his loneliness and frustration at never having had sex with or even kissed a girl. "I am polite. I am the ultimate gentleman. And yet, you girls never give me a chance. I don't know why."

Of the men he sees as rivals, he said: "I deserve girls much more than all those slobs," and that after his rampage "you will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one, the true alpha male.""


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/25/california-mass-shooting_n_5388253.html

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Dead WAF - ers?
How about Schopenhauer and Diderot?
(I know what you think of Diderot, Dr. B., but he`s still kind of a hero to me. Arthur M. Wilson`s bio is very good).

12:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Blair-

Diderot rocks.

mb

1:22 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Posthumous Wafer Award Recipients:

1. Wilhelm van Berkel, inventor of the deli meat slicer.

2. The guy who invented the crowbar.

3. Ralph Kramden.

Jeff

1:28 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB and members of the Wafersphere:

Some more pre-Waferlites ( I like that word...sounds - 'artistic' ):

Oscar Wilde, Steinbeck ( maybe not entirely during his life, but almost certainly today ), James Baldwin, Jimi Hendrix, ...possibly Kafka, Tom Paine, and Wittgenstein.

Jas A, MB ...Try to find the video clips of Ed Gein's neighbors ( Gein the real life model for "Pycho's" Norman Bates ).
I knew Judge Gollmar that presided over one of Gein's trials. Even he said that Gein was basically a quiet guy with an eating disorder ...but I think he was making a joke.

AFA an Aha! moment ...totally agree. But there will be a dawn - probably current. Thing is, the dawn happens slowly.
It's not the radicals and pretend revolutionaries that cause change - it's the invisible, the ghosts, the dispossessed that awaken to the futility of a corrupt and rigged system - that stop participating ( as much as possible ) in the con game.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

Dr. Berman,
I got a feeling those comments at the end of Kim's wedding article were written by Capo, Zozima, Plubius, MB, etc, using a different name. If they were not, those people should be invited to visiting yr blog. Don't you think? It kinda gave me some hope to read the comments anyway. However, I too piuked.T

3:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ariel-

Hmm, you cd be rt, tho I didn't write in myself. I did barf a bit on my computer, however.

Jeff-

Ralph Kramden, of course. But what abt the guy who invented K-Y jelly? And did he know #2, at all?
Greatest team since Laurel & Hardy, that wd be.

mb

4:11 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

pwe-Waphealites...(ala Gilda doing Baba Wawa)

Fiction: Joyce, Beckett, Pynchon, DF Wallace, James Ellroy, etc.

Non-fiction: Joe Bageant, Hunter Thompson, Carl Oglesby, etc.

Sci: Chandra Wickramasinghe, Bucky Fuller, Richard Feynman, Nikola Tesla, etc.

Entheology: Terrence McKenna, Augustus Owsley Stanley III, Timothy Leary, et. al.

For fun, compare photos of Tesla & Zappa sometime.


5:52 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

I Know Where I’m Going!
The Red Shoes

Satyajit Ray - Pather Panchali (and the entire Apu Trilogy)

Vittorio De Sica - The Bicycle Thief
Zhang Yimou (& Mo Yan) - Red Sorghum
Akira Kurosawa - Ikiru

Do yourselves a favor and take a break from Americans. There’s six films for you with not a single American in sight. Even if you’ve seen them before - watch them again. For the sake of your sanity and to remind yourselves of the human 96% of the world.

(If you must watch Americans, here’s some stuff you may have missed. Johnny Guitar - for Sterling Hayden & Mercedes McCambridge, The King of Comedy - DeNiro’s best performance, imho - many Americans stupidly missed this great film because they can’t handle the unusual. “DeNiro must forever be a gangster/tough guy or were not going”.)

Well, I guess I just backed off my premise there - others have already posted some great Americans. It’s a long list (Billy Wilder- born in Galicia though) - obviously there have been many, and we need their help, too.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

MB and All,

Michael C. Ruppert. WAFER bar none.

Peace,
Vince

8:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

panda-

Man, u 1 sick dude, eh? W/a lot of time on yr hands, I expect. Not much of a life you've got there, amigo. Whew! Wdn't chg places w/u for all the tea in China. How did America manage to produce so many sad people, I keep asking myself.

mb

9:15 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Here is my attempt:


There once was a man from Helsinki
Who found the US to be stinky.
To avoid being sadder
He spoke from the bladder
By spraying goodbyes from his winky.



Some of you may enjoy this piece on peacock communication.

http://www.businessinsider.com/email-etiquette-and-strategic-sloppiness-2014-1

“As the boss, you can make as many mistakes as you want. Cutting corners is a time-saving mechanism that doubles as a display of dominance.”

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Rorschach said...

k_pgh's limerick is a winner!

1:07 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Dear WAFers:

Checking in from beautiful Finland.
Yes, it is beautiful, despite the difficult language and winter weather (keep in mind I come from Minnesota!).
I am writing this from the train, on our way back to Helsinki. We visited my remaining known relations in Finland, out in the country.
They are odd. They are somewhat laconic, with notable exceptions. They were generous, providing lodging and catering to our needs, and taking us around the area. Digging up old photos.

I went to a bar with my cousin's boyfriend on Friday night, and met my first Finnish gun nut. Yes, they have gun enthusiasts here. This fellow is a border guard on the Russian border. He was in town for a pistol shooting competition. He was quite friendly in his Finnish gun-nuttish way.

What is odd, is that despite a fairly strong gun culture here, there are very few mass shootings. In fact, the murder and assault rate is about 17 times lower here than in the USA. So we can safely surmise that it is not guns in and of themselves that drive the American wacko to kill. The liberals will be disappointed if they thing that removing the guns will remove the problem that drives Americans crazy. The guns just provide a quicker way to act on the madness within.

Moving on… not being in the USA is odd. One goes through a kind of withdrawal syndrome, at least I feel I am. Where is the daily dose of stress? The aggressive drivers? One almost feels… bored. As though one might be forced to pick up a book. People read a lot here. Bookstores are common, and even my working-class relatives had large shelves of books: fiction, history, etc.

My sense is that consumerism and modernity has hollowed things out here, though, somewhat.
Towns/villages still work together, though. We climbed a nice watch tower on the biggest hill in the area. The town had self-funded it. Even more odd for an American, the steps were steep, and there were no warning signs. In the USA, someone would fall and get hurt, and sue the town to destitution. In fact, you are kind of assumed to be an adult who can assess things for himself. Very minimal to non-existent police supervision.

Lots of complaints about the taxes. The VAT tax on non-food is 24%! Food VAT is something like 17%. There are literally no homeless or destitute people. A few alcoholics wandering about, but I was told they are taken care of. In the USA, the view is that they would deserve what they get.

Stopping now, so I don't get yelled at by Prof. Berman for going over the limit.
Be well.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Thanks for yr report, but LIMIT YRSELF TO HALF A PAGE, thanks. BTW, and FYI, in 2012 there were 30 murders by firearms in all of England. Figure for US during same yr was 8,855. I don't have stats for Finland, but...

mb

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Publius,

I agree, guns don’t kill people – wackos kill people. For instance, this Elliot Rodger nut job stabbed three people to death and then shot another three.

However, I still believe that properly equipping somebody like him with high-powered combat gear is likely to increase the overall carnage yield. We should not shy away from providing people like him with rocket-propelled grenades, shoulder-fired missiles, land mines, and Reaper drones, to name just a few options available.

Had we been proactive in our societal thinking and provided Elliot with, at the very least, a depleted uranium capable Abram tank, those young college women who refused to open the door of their sorority house would all have now been securely blown to pieces. This episode represents a major failure on the behalf of our psychotic society, and we all should be ashamed of ourselves for letting this young man down.

I say never again should we allow a competent mass killer report to duty inadequately equipped. Never again!

Julian

9:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Carnage of the Day Report:

http://us.cnn.com/2014/05/25/us/myrtle-beach-shootings/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

And Groucho as Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff!

11:27 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

from Guns Are Cool:

"Gun owners have shot 4.5 million Americans in 45 years and managed to kill 1.34 million of them. While some might call that a tragedy, the NRA would call it a good start! There are 300,000,000 guns in the USA, but we need more! Unfortunately, libtards, freedom haters, and Jews want to take guns away from upstanding citizens. Each year, only 130,437 people are shot in the United States (figures for 2012)*. That's just 357 a day."

11:56 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I've heard good things about the Finnish educational system. Here's a decent article about the subject in The Atlantic

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/03/finnish-education-chief-we-created-a-school-system-based-on-equality/284427/

Rorschach said...

"k_pgh's limerick is a winner!"

And the rest are losers!

USA! USA! USA!

12:36 PM  
Blogger Don Italo said...

Nice piece sir. I've been stalking this page for some time now but haven't commented before. This piece got me though.

I was raised in Mexico before moving to the US and that feeling of being a stranger in a strange land is not unfamiliar to me. In fact it persists to this day.

I could rant on and on about the problems of American society but I think I could sum it up as...

Mucha crema y poco taco.

Ya me queda poca paciencia para la cultura gringa, y todavia menos el deseo de asimilar...

Ya viendo como hacer mi regreso a Mexico. A ver si hay nos vemos?

1:42 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Indeed, those libruhls are so delusional. They're just not planning ahead. I had a Chicago firefighter explain the need for assault rifles to me; riots. So prescient. I'm sure the good man also has a breifcase nuke or two stowed away for the next civil war as well.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

This story introduced me to the term "glasshole" today:

http://news.yahoo.com/google-glass-culture-war-meets-waterloo-165100564.html

Yet another indication that privacy is nearly obsolete, and those who value it are considered weird.

And then there's this supposedly "funny" story:

http://news.yahoo.com/funniest-thing-ll-see-today-kids-react-old-141501679.html

This comment, quoting from the story, says it all:

Child: How do you look up homework?

Adult: You go to the library.

Child: Who wants to do that?

That mentality is exactly everything that is wrong with the "smart" technology generation.

Minimal effort and the answers should be given to me ... smart technology is making people lazy and less educated .


I watched an episode of the old 1959-1963 TV series Naked City the other night, "The Multiplicity of Herbert Konish", and counted the literary & cultural references in the script -- over a dozen, including a young detective who recites all of Emily Dickinson's "I'm nobody! Who are you?" at one point. This was one of the most critically acclaimed & commercially successful shows of its time, by the way. A mention of Francois Villon required no explanation of who he was. Nor a passing reference to playwrights Miller & Inge. Nor a mention of Byron swimming the Hellespont.

Such was popular entertainment for the general public at one time. And now--?

3:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Don-

Usted es de veras un Don?

Pero llego la hora para su regreso, claro. La vida nortena no es una vida, chico.

mb

pd: La frase es: mucha caca, poco taco.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Unknown-

As I mentioned b4, I don't post Unknowns (or Anons). If you wd pick a different handle and re-send yr message, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

mb

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

Michael Moore on the May 23rd University of California at Santa Barbara multiple shooting and stabbing that left 7 people dead, including the murderer:

"With due respect to those who are asking me to comment on last night's tragic mass shooting at UCSB in Isla Vista, CA -- I no longer have anything to say about what is now part of normal American life. Everything I have to say about this, I said it 12 years ago: We are a people easily manipulated by fear which causes us to arm ourselves with a quarter BILLION guns in our homes that are often easily accessible to young people, burglars, the mentally ill and anyone who momentarily snaps. We are a nation founded in violence, grew our borders through violence, and allow men in power to use violence around the world to further our so-called American (corporate) "interests." The gun, not the eagle, is our true national symbol. While other countries have more violent pasts (Germany, Japan), more guns per capita in their homes (Canada [mostly hunting guns]), and the kids in most other countries watch the same violent movies and play the same violent video games that our kids play, no one even comes close to killing as many of its own citizens on a daily basis as we do -- and yet we don't seem to want to ask ourselves this simple question: "Why us? What is it about US?" Nearly all of our mass shootings are by angry or disturbed white males. None of them are committed by the majority gender, women. Hmmm, why is that? Even when 90% of the American public calls for stronger gun laws, Congress refuses -- and then we the people refuse to remove them from office. So the onus is on us, all of us. We won't pass the necessary laws, but more importantly we won't consider why this happens here all the time. When the NRA says, "Guns don't kill people -- people kill people," they've got it half-right. Except I would amend it to this: "Guns don't kill people -- Americans kill people." Enjoy the rest of your day, and rest assured this will all happen again very soon."

5:24 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

In penance for going over yesterday, I will be short today. This limerick is not as funny as one that starts with "There once was a man from Helsinki," but:

There once was a man from Saint Paul
Who loathed the cultural pall
That America extruded
And Obama saluted
So he made a pilgrimage to Finlandia Hall

My relative here adroitly pointed out that "Obama and Putin are the same." Of course, Obama has access to far more weaponry and MSM propaganda.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Wafers,

For those of you who don't know it already, I thought I'd share this quote that I've stumbled upon yesterday. It's allegedly from Abraham Lincoln:

"Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."

It's quite spot-on the zeitgeist don't you think?

Cheers.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Except that Putin is shrewd, and has a coherent foreign policy, and Obama is a buffoon, and his f.p. is purely ad hoc.

Holz-

But the answers to his questions are quite simple. Indeed, I've answered them. And if Moore wd acknowledge these answers, he'd hafta give up his endless declarations that this or that event (Obama's 2008 election, or OWS) was going to 'sweep' America, and that some populist effort was going to give us a better future. He'd hafta admit that the only thing that was going to sweep America was the cold, harsh wind of decline, and that the only future we had was more death and destruction. The fact of this, and the causes of it, are precisely what 'progressives' won't admit. So, they soldier on, poor buggers. Hillary in 2016!, or Let's organize for revolution! Jesus, give me a break.

mb

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

Douchebaggery. It's international! Robert Fisk gets it.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/robert-fisk-our-addiction-to-the-internet-is-as-harmful-as-any-drug--and-what-passes-for-comment-these-days-is-often-simply-foul-abuse-9433535.html

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Insightful said...

How Mexico’s New President Is Turning His Country Into a Servile US Client

Enrique Peña Nieto is using violence and repression to dismantle his country’s progressive legacy.

By John M. Ackerman

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38613.htm

11:44 AM  
Anonymous office blob said...

New "Positive Experience" index is out. Paraguay and central american countries top the list. US is tied for #19

http://www.gallup.com/poll/169322/people-worldwide-reporting-lot-positive-emotions.aspx

12:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Insightful, Mo-

Great articles, thanx.

mb

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

MB,
I liked your reply to Publius. I`ve always thought poor Michael Moore a sorry, liberal hack with "progressive" pretensions.
I knew I was a Wafer when I began to become utterly exasperated and then just plain angry when reading a reasonably cogent and accurate analysis of some topic of importance that self-destructed by concluding with something like "Now is the time for the left to..." or "Only a re-invigorated labor movement can..." or "A third party must...". And this by otherwise perceptive people> You`re right: Jesus f... C...!
Oh, and if you or others here missed it, here`s a very good assessment of Putin:
http://pando.com/2014/05/14/sorry-america-the-ukraine-isnt-all-about-you/

3:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Blair-

To Holz, not Pub. Moore means well, but as w/most 'progessives', his heart is running way ahead of his head. He's not gonna wake up, any more than the rest of the progressive crowd. If he did, he wd enter a depression he'd never come out of. Poor shmuck. Well, they're all kinda sad, really.

As for Putin article: author went too far in an 'internal' direction, I think. This is surely only part of the story. Also, he has no proof of his data. I certainly wd not be surprised if it were true, that 80% of Americans supported Lt. Calley; but how do we know this? Etc.

Article by Fisk cited above: very impt, I think. Shows how the Net created a climate for trolls and buffoons to emerge in full force. What a tsunami of dumb, awful human beings have hit this blog since its inception; it's been hard to believe. It's like suddenly, yr face-to-face w/the dregs of American society, and boy, there are a lot of them. Of course, I enjoy grinding them into the dirt; most of them then emigrate to other blogs, I imagine, tho some persist, knocking on a door that is permanently closed to them. How did America generate such dreck, really?

mb

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

MB,
I find myself asking the equivalent of your ultimate question every day at work: Where do they find these people?
Of course, the real question is: Where would they find the exceptions?

7:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Blair-

Probably rt. BTW, pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks.

mb

8:32 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

For anyone with Foodie inclinations; I've been watching Anthony Bourdains latest series, Parts Unknown, and loving it. I may have to aim for Denmark...

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freetown_Christiania

MB, apologies, I think I posted this to the previous topic originally.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

What do WAFers make of this astonishing fact:
No school buses in Helsinki, kids just take the trams.
I saw lots of children from about 6 years old and up who were riding the trams ALONE, without adult supervision. If they were in groups, they were well-behaved. If alone, they didn't seem afraid of me, even as I observed them with astonishment.

What is wrong with this society?

We went to one of the last public wood-fired saunas left in Helsinki, and the manager lady offered to take my son to the women's sauna (he being still young enough to be allowed in there), and she was surprised that I had waited around to confirm that he got there. Did I not trust here with my child? I'm an American, so I came across as weirdly untrusting.
No all societies live in constant fear and mistrust. I can't take it.

2:55 AM  
Anonymous SteveR said...

MB: "Shows how the Net created a climate for trolls and buffoons to emerge in full force." I often find myself wondering if the Net didn't do something far worse, by providing a lightning rod to discharge high-octane dissent by people who object to a war, or economic outrages, or just about anything else. Before the Internet, if you were really upset about something your government had done, you took to the street and protested. Demonstrations were filmed and put on TV, so your protest got into everyone's home (exaggerating a bit here to make a point.) But what happens today? You blog about it. You post your outrage on social media. You conduct flame wars with people you disagree with. None of it goes beyond your little circle, and none of it gets seen by America as a whole, let alone the world. So none of it has any real influence on policies and practices; the outrage is safely bled off through the Net and rendered inconsequential. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but if I were, I'd strongly suspect that the Government created the Internet with this in mind. It came out of DARPA, after all...

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Capo Reime said...

Publius,

Nice reports from Finland! Your note reminds me of an anecdote my daughter in law told me a few years ago after birth of the best grandson in world. There was a story on a "moms board" of a norwegian woman visiting some town in the midwest and she left a stroller outside a store with her baby. The cops where called as someone thought this was a case of neglect. Apparently this is the norm in scandinavian countries but obviously she did need to be informed than in the U.s. we would never do such a thing and in fact it is dangerous to leave children unattended in the U.S. Hell, its dangerous to leave adults unattended. Your story goes to the reality of culture--its many little things. Americans engage in shallow tourism when they travel and would not notice the things you are observiing. Its not uncommon for example to chat with a former military person stationed for years in say Germany, Italy or Turkey and have the faintest sense (beyond bars and sometimes food) of how life is lived in these countries. Said people love their burger king on base and are clamoring to return to pascagula or Tulsa to their version of civilization.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Mr. McBurger said...

In an address to graduating officers at West Point that White House officials say will map out America's new role in the world, the president is expected to argue there is a middle way between interventionism and isolationism that will not drag the US into unnecessary conflicts in future.

Does this mean we'll simply ramp up drones, spying, and secret CIA operations?

10:33 AM  
Anonymous John Merryman said...

(This is a repost, with a minor correction.)
As a farm kid, I grew up with a fairly strong sense of identity, but little affinity for culture. Though I like narrative/history and analysis.
Then I realized that same sense of self shines through all of us and we are just filters and reflections of it. Not exactly god, because it would be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell.
The US is a melting pot and that tends to destroy nuance. Much like cooking breaks down food. More an atomized society, than a networked one.
While this gets me in trouble with physics types, reality is best understood as the dichotomy of energy and information, with energy manifesting information and information defining energy. The tension is that energy is inherently dynamic, while information is necessarily static. So the energy is constantly creating and dissolving this form, as the form tries to sustain itself by acquiring more energy and thus changing with it, or solidifying into intransigent lumps.
The result is that energy is constantly pushing out, while the form is constantly drawing in.
This creates the effect of time, which is not so much the present moving from past to future, but change turning future into past. Tomorrow becomes yesterday because the world turns.
This makes time similar to temperature. Time is to temperature, what frequency is to amplitude. Just that we experience temperature as a cumulative effect, rather than a multitude of energy levels, while we experience time as the singular sequence of narrative and wonder why there is no universal clock. In fact, a faster clock only burns quicker and so recedes into the past faster. Remember that, the next time you are in a hurry.
This dichotomy of energy and information is reflected in our physiology, with the central nervous system to process information and the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems to process energy.
These are then reflected in society, with government as the central nervous system and finance as the circulatory system.
Eventually we outgrew private government, aka monarchy and now we are outgrowing private finance and will have to recognize money is a social contract, not a commodity.
Safe to say, I haven't found a place to fit in either.
Regards,
John

7:23 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Do you remember meeting Spalding Grey in NY? He told you that he carried your book around in his back pocket for months. Well that's what I'm doing with WAF. This is just a fan letter: You've changed my life significantly ... twice. First with you consciousness trilogy, now with this. I, too, left America and am now living a few miles from Toqueville in Normandy, I just didn't fully understand why I needed to leave..until now. Consider this an invitation if ever you are in Normandy

3:40 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

May I offer for your amusement:

1. From Guy McPherson's blog "Nature Bats Last" of 28 May, under the heading "The Money Valve," an 8-minute audio clip from the Doomstead Diner:

https://soundcloud.com/doomstead-diner/doubling-down-ffdr-41/s-DPS82

And, from J Howard Kunstler's blog of 26 May, under the section "Clusterfuck Nation":

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/homeless-2/#more-4893'

7:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lorraine-

Do I have the right person? I recall going with you--was it you?--to "The Best Man," in which Gray played the lead, at some theater in Manhattan in 2000. (At the time you were living on W. 81st St., off Central Park, a block away from Jerry Seinfeld.) We walked around to the back and greeted him when he came out. I suggested the three of us go for a beer, but he said he was too tired. And yes, I did know that he had carried CTOS around for a year at one pt. Anyway, if u.r. the same person, you subsequently took a job in dance at some university in the NW--Idaho?--and we lost contact after that. Anyway, I'm glad to hear that WAF was impt 2u, and that yr now in France. I don't have plans to cruise Normandy in the near future, but u never know. In any case, pls write me at mauricio@morrisberman.com and let me know if I've got the rt person, or if my senility is finally kicking in full blast. Thanks for writing, in any case.
BTW, I really liked and admired Spalding, and felt terrible, like so many of us did, when he took his life.

mb

8:26 AM  
Anonymous SteveR said...

I stumbled across this while looking for something else, which is one of the good things about the Internet. I'm not sure what to make of some of the items, but I thought I'd throw it into the mix, in case others might find it interesting or useful, and it certainly fits the general tone of our various discussions: http://www.g2mil.com/decline1.htm

9:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life:

http://rt.com/usa/162244-teen-murder-parents-ipod/

Wafers, pls note: they took away his iPod, fer chrissakes. What did they *expect* wd happen?

2nd, check out the comments section, 1st one, by Lisa (Jenna), bikini top and all. Talk abt hustling, eh? How appropriate.

mb

9:56 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

Clearly, a judge should explain to Parker that this is the *wrong* use for a tool as important as the crowbar...

It appears that the US is experiencing a slight uptick in new births. Makes one wonder just how many potential Vincent's are kicking their way thru the birth canal this very minute.

http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/261036111.html

A glimpse of the future, Wafers:

https://www.google.com/search?q=baby+ipad&client=firefox-a&hs=Zb4&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=YFuHU4fQK8_soATPrIDgCA&ved=0CFMQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=913

MB, Wafers-

Wishing all a good day. Here's a bit of Latin Jazz:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfehIRBff8A

Enjoy,

Jeff

12:30 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Fellow WAFers and Yoda:
Made it to next possible destination nation.
I lost the most important document I could possibly lose today, either on the plane or in the airport. And of course, in a nation where the people are honest and efficient and kind, the lost doc is already in the hands of the police. I called them, and it was almost like they were expecting me. The police woman was pleasant, and eagerly told me the good news. In fact, they'll happily keep it for me until I leave, as though they are running a free safety deposit box for travelers. I'll try to give you a cultural view later. So far, though, it's just as weirdly unstressful as Finland, but the language isn't as weird.
I hear the US economy is on the rocks. It's lies all the way down... how long can the show go on? Lies are weird, when the lied-to eagerly believe the lies.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

More cloak and dagger? What's w/u?

mb

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Capo Reime said...

MB: איר ליידיז מענטש איר

Am happy to see the note from a person for whom you have had such an influence and who maintains a home in France and it appears is of the female persuasion--who persuaded her say Heny!!

That Gray carried CTOS is remarkable. I think that is a fine endorsement of your work! Its quality of readers that matters not quantity. Of course quantity can be had if you say pen something lurid like "how to get laid during social collapse: an insiders guide"

Publius our international man of mystery is indeed correct--economy is in a dire condition. Attended the Bretton Woods committee last week and have to say the spin and anxiety was worse than ever--far worse. While the dolts are happy with Kims ass, and Ovomits pronouncements (its like hearing Von Rundstedt in 44 saying we will win) there are a lot of nervous and frightened people in the corridors of power or behind the curtain....

2:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

Always nice to get compliments in Yiddish; doesn't happen that often. Yeah, CTOS was Spalding's bible, for a while; or so I heard. He was terrific that evening, in "The Best Man." I keep waiting for all those nervous people to hire me as a consultant, but for some odd reason, it never happens. Maybe when "Shtupping During Social Disintegration" comes out, my phone will be ringing off the hook.

sei gesund,
mb

3:52 PM  
Anonymous NOLA news said...

"With the start of the next school year, the Recovery School District will be the first in the country made up completely of public charter schools, a milestone for New Orleans and a grand experiment in urban education for the nation."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/in-new-orleans-traditional-public-schools-close-for-good/2014/05/28/ae4f5724-e5de-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html

7:14 PM  
Blogger Andreas Walsh said...

"The eyes still have corners."
What does this mean do you think?
The original is:
Con mắt còn có đuôi.
Literally - "the eyes still have tails." The meaning isn't obvious to me.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Andreas-

Good question! This cd trigger a very long discussion. I'll try to be brief.

Basically, there are two kinds of poetry. One is narrative, it tells a story. E.g., Constantine Cavafy. The other is metaphorical; it deals in language itself, and can be incomprehensible. E.g., T.S. Eliot. Now I happen to like both kinds; Cavafy is gorgeous, really. It's also the kind of poetry I personally write (see "Counting Blessings," or the poems in SSIG). But my greatest admiration is reserved for Eliot, Larkin, John Donne, et al., and their poems are ones which often make no sense literally, but they do on an intuitive level, if you keep turning them over in yr mind. (I remember some of these for yrs, like "High Windows," by Larkin, e.g.) This last line by Phan Khoi is in this category: a zinger that leaves you bewildered...and yet, you can feel what he's saying. This is my own interpretation, anyway:

The most significant perception is indirect. It lies in not in the center of our vision, but in the corners (or tails, if you prefer). It is this that endures, like the line of a song that doesn't quite fade from memory, but only partly, and is reminiscent of something. So his true love, the love for this woman, of necessity had to float out of his central vision, since he couldn't marry her; but 24 yrs later, it still lingered on.

And isn't so much of our lives like that? What counts is not in the center, but in the corner; not in the body, but in the tail. I recall being at summer camp briefly when I was 10 yrs old, somewhere in NY State. There was a girl there, also ten, perhaps 11, who was attracted to me, and contrived to get me alone at one pt. She was (I see now) sexually precocious; I was sexually clueless. We were standing on a bridge, and very gently, she brushed the hair away from my forehead. In retrospect, it feels extremely erotic, and I'm sure it was. There was more (by way of words)...but the important thing is that altho I almost never think abt the incident, it's there, in the corner, and occasionally floats up to the surface. In a sense, it was my 1st romantic experience (even tho I didn't realize it at the time), a moment that is evanescent and yet frozen in time.

A few yrs later, my high schl English teacher read the class a poem that was written by a woman, in which she describes how 2 boys kissed her (this when she was a teenager), but one just looked at her, in a searching kind of way--like he was trying to see into the person she was. The poem ends something like this:

"Richard's kiss was lost in jest/
Bobby's lost in play./
But the look in Colin's eyes/
Haunts me to this day./

You see? The corner, the tail.

Thanks for asking.

mb

ps: If you want a prose explanation of this idea, check out "In Praise of Shadows," by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki.

11:40 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Greetings Dr. B and Wafers:

Thanks for the explanation of poetry and corners. You'll be pleased to know that the other day the neighbour on the corner of my block was out on his front lawn...with a vacuum cleaner.

We are doomed.

On your recommendation, I've started Blumenthal's Goliath. Even though I've been a student of Palestinian history for decades, and am rather familiar with such accounts, reading them still outrages me.

When Blumenthal described how the Irgun terrorists forced Palestinians to dig their own graves, or put them into a mosque, where they killed them, or how they'd dynamite Palestinian villages after driving out the inhabitants, I kept thinking of what I saw in Oradour-sur-Glane, in France, where a similar atrocity occurred.

So much for the only democracy in the Middle East.

O&D

12:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

When u finish Blumenthal, be sure to read Ilan Pappe, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." What an eye-opener. Also check out a novel by Yasmina Khadra, "The Attack." Plus articles by David Shulman in the NYRB.

Who was it who said, "Damaged people damage people"?

mb

12:51 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

Thank God I don't have to go to the US Embassy here in Norway. All other embassies nice neoclassical houses, US embassy ugly, fenced, monstrosity festooned with security cameras.

Quick impressions of last night in Finland:
Pub Sirdi, working class Kallio district, but gentrifying.
Owner Peter, eccentric Bulgarian, 60's, greasy thinning hair, was a drummer in cruise ship band.
Smallest bar I've ever been in.
Meet annoying guy named Said from Egypt, utopian gleam in his eye, can't stop talking. He thinks American politics are very very bad, but he thinks the American people are good. He thinks we are good at marketing. Everything come from America! Happy hour. iPhones. etc.
I don't tell him he may be deluded about the American people.
He thinks the people of the world can be heard, and change things for better. I feel bitterly cynical in response, but just enjoy his words.
Meet Nadia, a beautiful 30-something half Egyptian, half Finnish woman. Sultry. She gives me cigarette. Small bar, squished up against her. Smells, sweat, Nadia, juman, all too human. She says we should move to Norway, not Finland. Why? Norwegians friendlier. Finnish patriot Aki disagrees. Wander home through quiet cobblestoned streets, 3 masted schooners in harbor.

4:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Time 4u 2 start writing fiction, amigo. Call yr 1st novel, "Nadia." Good luck.

mb

8:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Jeff:

Just received baseball cap w/Canter's logo. Wept tears of joy. I really do hafta get back to LA sometime this yr.

Thanks a mil, chico-

mb

4:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: just a follow-up: I just made an apptment at a hospital in Mex City to have the hat sutured to my brain.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Nice to see some real action on toddlers, for a change. But next time I hope they use a real grenade.

“Toddler critically burned when SWAT team throws flashbang in crib”:

http://rt.com/usa/162580-toddler-burned-flashbang-crib/

USA! USA! USA!

5:27 PM  
Anonymous David Clausen said...

Need an anthem: Doucheland, Douchland . . .

10:08 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB-

You're very welcome, MB. I figured you could use a new cap on the courts, making the ladies swoon and all. Good news about your upcoming procedure! We all know Canter's is close to your heart, now you can have it permanently on your mind...

Jeff

12:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David-

A stroke of genius, that. I was also thinking of "Allons douchebagges de la Patrie..."

mb

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

....which is probably why "memory" is one of the most poetical words that exists. It is certainly one of the cornerstones of poetry. Knowledge, on the other hand, often relates to oblivion.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

In my view Emily Dickinson summed up her unsurpassed art and poetry in general with this couplet:
Truth must dazzle gradually/or every man be blind
John Cale must have liked it, too since he named his `75 album Slow Dazzle.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous dawgzy said...

A northern neighbor looks south in alarm. http://www.macleans.ca/politics/america-dumbs-down/ so, nu?

12:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dawgzy-

Yes, I was saying it in 2000, and at least a dozen bks have added to the pile of data since. Question: given these data, how is it that 'progressives' don't see American stupidity as a factor in American decline, or politics? Possible answer: they too are dumb!

mb

9:48 AM  
Blogger Metagnathous said...

When you're swimming (and often drowning) in stupidity it can be difficult to see.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

I don't post Anons, amigo, so you'll need to find a handle and re-send yr message, thanks.

panda-

It's no use, you poor sap; I'm not reading yr stuff, I just hit delete. But yr dumb enuf to keep on knockin' on a door that is permanently closed to bozos such as yourself. What emptiness your life is! What's it like, being a piece of trash and pissing yr life away by writing me hate mail? Talk abt grotesque. (And there are so many of you out there, broken souls w/nowhere to go.)

Mega-

Cf. fish anecdote by Marshall McLuhan.

mb

7:25 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

panda-

For you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYr7I4gOSXk

Sincerely,

Jeff

12:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I loved Little Richard, back in the day; esp. "Lucille." As for panda: Jesus, what a douche bag. I wish he'd get up every morning, look in the mirror, and say: "My god, Berman was right: I'm a douche bag!" This is technically known as douche bag therapy (DBT), and it's the only thing that might save him; tho nothing can, really. Just imagine moron to the 10th power, and you've got panda. May the urine of all Wafers inundate his shoes (he's the kind of turkey who wears hush puppies)!

mb

1:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

317 Million Americans Dept. (Wm Lederer Updated):

http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/social_networks_20140530

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Ah the hate mail and posts. I wonder if the hostility and incoherent rage of many of these douches goes to the point you made in the essay--that of identity. I suppose when the weaker minded see facts that undermine their sense of identity or reality they become fearful and lash out. The more assured go into denial or ignore facts which don't accord with their sense of reality. The latter tend to be "successful" and are still being served by current arrangements. The former are running on hope and fantasy and more liable. Such is my guess. The progressives of late astound me with their stupidity and lack of reality. Still with the civil rights, gender issues, technology and so forth. I tend to agree with Orlov and Kuntsler, problems now faced are indeed trending toward the existential and niciieties such as making sure transgender people secure meaningful employment or a seat in congress will soon be of zero concern to most. If an old man can have one wish--if only they stopped talking about voting and the differences between democratis and republicans and focus a bit on more pressing matters--like say having food and shelter and keeping some lid on mayhem. A man can dream I suppose.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Capo forgot said...

Oops sorry--forgot to mention. Forget Shemp, its been a while since Dovidel a.k.a David Rossen appears. I miss his good sense and clear but gentle arguments.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

People like panda are bitter, because they see people like Wafers, and they know they cd never be like them; that they don't have the spiritual depth and courage for the 'job'. So instead of trying to become better people, they just lash out. It's like that's all that's left to them. Of course, underneath it all, they know they are pathetic, but denial is a powerful thing.
As for 'progressives': trivia and gossamer dreams now define their lives, I fear. They too are in denial, but of a different sort.
Re: Shep: honestly I cry myself to sleep every nite over his departure, but I take heart in the fact that my intuition tells me Dave Rosen will be back w/us b4 2 long.

mb

11:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

From Thich Nhat Hanh, "Peace Is Every Step":

"Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need."

mb

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Insightful said...

Dear Morris,
Carlos Slim is a greedy mf & selfish wafer. He is also Mexican and the 2nd richest man in the world as of 2014. The gap between rich and poor is very wide in Mexico and the country is run by the elite of mostly European heritage. I don't doubt as a white man you can find hospitality in Mexico, while keeping your US citizenship to get the best of both worlds. But for the Mexican citizen who is not visibly white things are much harder. One thing you and other Americans can do which many Mexicans can't is travel the world IF and WHEN you decide. When you come from a third world country it is much harder to acquire a passport and travel abroad like you do all the time. It is much harder to VISIT countries like America and Canada than vice versa. Now I know many Americans don't travel the world or are not worldly, but the world is still their oyster. Not the case for your average Mexican or Jamaican or African. They would love to be in a position like yourself where they could fly between home and the U.S.—taking advantage of American opportunities and the best of what life can offer at home that the U.S. doesn’t. By the way, you just left Vietnam. Did you know that Vietnam and China are currently in a spat based on an offshore oil greed dispute? I thought they were communists; they appear to be capitalist wafers..

3:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Insightful-

You seem 2b confused as to the definition of Wafer. It's a *very* restricted group of people; possibly only 136 in all of the US, altho I'm sure there are Wafers in other lands. But please, amigo: Carlos Slim is hardly one of us, and the phrase "capitalist Wafers" is an oxymoron. BTW, Vietnam is currently working out relationship between a capitalist and socialist economy; it's a complex situation.

mb

4:36 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

MB, welcome back from your sojourn to Japan and Vietnam. In your absence, I want you to know that I've recruited another Wafer, making a U.S. total of #135 or #137 depending on how you are counting. Unfortunately, my friend is incarcerated in CA at the moment, but that has given him time to reflect upon the QOF and WAF I had sent him. He wanted me to pas on his expressions of gratitude for the insights in your work.

On my part, on a visit to Seattle recently I picked up an interesting piece of literary ethography by Alisa Freedman (Asst Prof of Japanese Literature and Film at the University of Oregon), Tokyo in Transit, Japanese Culture on the Rails and Road. To quote a cover blurb: "Using a cultural studies approach that combines historical research and literary analysis, (the) author investigates fictional, journalistic, and popular culture depictions of how mass transportation changed prewar Tokyo's social fabric and artistic movements, giving rise to gender roles that have come to characterize modern Japan." I'll be interested in comparing her perspective with your analysis, and look forward to your own book, which hopefully will appear in the near future in English as well as Japanese editions.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Last Friday night, Oslo. Met a friendly guy named Emil, but he never stopped talking in the bar Lorry. Unemployed, 53, divorced. Works as janitor in his building for rent. Yet can drink in expensive "bohemian" bar. Annoying rich girl asks us why we are discussing Finnish politics and economics. I tell her, jokingly, that I am a deputy Finnish finance minister. She believes me, and invites me (not Emil) to sit down with her. I feel bad that my joke/lie is believed. Such an American dissembler am I. I do not drink with her, though she keeps gazing my way.
More to point: Norway is rich, and wealth seems to create a-holes. Now in Bergen, poorer, with poor relatives. Much nicer. Good cousin though fears Putin more than Obama. Will try to enlighten. The word "America" still provokes excitement and yearning hear, 100 years after grandpa left. Peak oil understood though. "Europe will collapse," said my cousin Olaf, friend of the king.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:

http://www.salon.com/2010/12/06/america_collapse_2025/

mb

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Insightful, can't say I grasp the point of your post. Seem to be angry that Morris travels but others don't or cant? There is so much just factually incorrect with your comment!

First, I think its a great thing that Morris travels and in fact I hope he travels to the fullest extent of his desire. He has worked hard and long as a scholar and his travels complement his work and did I say he has worked hard and productively for decades so if he wants to travel I say hurray. Also, as Mexican I am honored to have Morris choose Mexico as his home.

You put Mexico, Africa and Jamaica in the same category in terms of circumstance and opportunities for people. VERY wrong. Mexico is an upper middle class country with a per capita GDP of about $13,000.00 per year. The per capita GDP in Sub saharan Africa is $300.00 per year. Mexico is a leading producer of cars, computers, operates several airlines and is one of the worlds major economies. Its a member of OECD and G20. How can you make that conflation?

As for Mexicans not being able "If and when you decide" that is true of investment bankers as well--we can;t get out on a whim but Mexicans seem to travel well. But, last I noticed there are over 20 million Mexicans in the U.S. of which 12 million they say are undocumented. It would appear Mexicans are not having any difficulty visiting the U.S.A and travel freely as part of one of the largest waves of human movement in recent history. Unless you have been living in a refrigerator this is hard to miss. Been to LA lately or any major city for that matter?

As for Slim being greedy, who knows but we can say he is successful and frankly if the fact that the second richest man in the world is a Mexican upsets some gringo I am happy. He by the way is not European but rather Lebanese and rather tan.

President Juarez, the first indigenous president in the western world set things up such that there are no racial classifications in Mexico. We are all just Mexicans and for the most part an admixture.

Please see this photo of Mexican governors, to my eyes they like there rest of business and political leaders do not look like Swedes but rather look like Mexico
http://chihuahuanoticias.com/?p=9901

Did you know it Mexico that we have a large Korean community and that over 2000 Spaniards a month are showing up in addition to the 2 million americans already there! Hospitality is extended to all. Its not perfect, there are a lot of problems but in so far as the compared globaly Mexico is doing great and the people are among the happiest in the world.

Use Morris as a model--read and travel a bit more the world will make more sense to you amigo!

8:33 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Good lord, it just keeps coming and coming:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/03/justice/wisconsin-girl-stabbed/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/261609161.html

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/02/justice/new-york-children-stabbed-elevator/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

9:13 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

For those who might be interested, I include below a YouTube video link on the topic of net neutrality. It's taken from a recent episode of "Last Week Tonight," a new HBO show featuring former Daily Show alum John Oliver playing a news anchorman sending up the news of the preceding week.

Though I haven't checked thoroughly, I suspect that at least some of his show's clips are now on YouTube, so you may be able to see some of his work without needing either a TV or an HBO subscription.

As you seek to amuse yourself while trying to avoid being further depressed by the more pernicious effects of a general American and Western decline, you may find some diversion in Oliver's show.

Happy viewing or Tube-ing.

[Oliver on "net neutrality"]

http://youtu.be/fpbOEoRrHyU

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Johnny Venture said...

This lady smells the coffee

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/24083-on-staying-sane-in-a-suicidal-culture

1:24 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...


Dr B:

Thanks for the link to the Salon article:

"It seems increasingly doubtful that the United States will have anything like Britain’s success in shaping a succeeding world order that protects its interests, preserves its prosperity, and bears the imprint of its best values."

It's best values? like what? ...More? ya gotta wonder how we lasted so long... and what of the rest of the herd... are iPods the best the Chinese can hope for? is an SUV in every driveway really what East Indians value?... whatever the outcome it looks like the energy situation will dictate how far down the scale the 'capitalist nightmare' descends...

Anyway, some interesting scenarios...

1:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pol-

Well, England did, in fact, have some real values to its credit. But in addition, they were (somewhat) successful in their decline because they had someone to cover for them, i.e. hand the torch of empire to--us. We have no one, which will make our decline all the more chaotic and violent.

mb

2:43 PM  
Blogger John Richardson said...

"It is very difficult for Westerners, especially Americans, to apprehend how significant poetry can be as an expressive mechanism in society."

Actually I would say that's the case for nearly all forms of art in American society.

Recently I was at an arts and crafts show, where the works displayed ranged from just-short-of-Elvis-painted-on-velvet to truly beautiful, abstract paintings and sculpture. To hear fellow show-goers' comments was truly disheartening.

Overhearing one person ask an artist if the artist considered turning her work into iPad covers (I naively thought the person was joking at first - when will I learn?). A whole random set of "this would make a great gift for 'x'" comments.

The most saddening thing to me is that when people would walk by artists' booths displaying the most beautiful works, if there was any hint of abstraction at all, their eyes would either glaze over or they'd actually get a look of mild disgust or condescension on their faces, and quickly walk past.

People can't appreciate any artistic form of expression when their minds hold nothing but fear and object-worship.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

The bottom line is that Americans are jackasses. There is no way around this basic fact. BTW, post only once every 24 hrs, thanks.

mb

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Greetings, Wafers,

Never sell Dr. Berman’s intuition short – here I am again, signing in after almost two months. We’re here in Guanajuato – and this town is absolutely magnificent. More later.

I don’t know whether my final escape from the guts of the monster will offer many lessons for Wafers needing escape plans – this time we’re just two more retired gringos. I have lived on five continents plus the Middle East, and some of my experiences there may be more instructive, so I’ll try and share a few of them later.

Capo,

Yes, Dr. Berman did receive some rather un-Insightful remarks, and I agree with what you said. The fact is that most Americans cannot travel overseas, at least not in any meaningful way. A rapidly growing number are simply too poor, and those with enough money have jobs. That means that they get two lousy weeks off from work – what can you do with that?

But much worse – unless they are born into very atypical circumstances, most Americans grow up too ignorant, stupid, and smug to learn anything from anybody different from themselves. They seem incapable of choosing anything but the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Virtually all American military personal who spend years overseas return to God’s own country with about what they would have learned in a shopping mall. I’ve seen it again and again.

Your remark about a Mexican being the world’s second richest person upsetting some gringo really rang a bell with me. You don’t know how many Americans I saw in Kuwait, furiously foaming at the mouth with repressed envy over (non-white) Kuwaitis who were richer than they were.

It is miraculous indeed how rarely growing up in America does not equal a non-surgical lobotomy!

John,

If you want to insult an artist, ask him what his work means.

If she wants to insult you, she’ll tell you.

David Rosen

8:08 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB said, "Well, England did, in fact, have some real values to its credit. But in addition, they were (somewhat) successful in their decline because they had someone to cover for them, i.e. hand the torch of empire to--us. We have no one, which will make our decline all the more chaotic and violent.

C'mon MB, you need to watch more TeeVee! Putin is trying to steal our thunder! He is Hitler 2.0, don'cha know.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

(Sigh) All our enemies are Hitler.
All you hafta do to qualify to be Hitler, by definition, is oppose the US. I'm getting so tired of Hitler and that absurd moustache. But then there's Kim Jong Un's "haircut" to worry abt...

mb

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Non-Anon said...

According to that otherwise bizarre character E. Michael Burke:

"My five years in England taught me that manners are more important than laws and that civility is the very stuff of a decent society."

9:39 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

The Rechtsanwalt for the Hitler estate called to say that the use of the name Adolf Hitler (or Hitler) or of the legally equivalent appellations "Der böhmische Gefreiter," "Der Führer," "Der Retter der deutschen Nation," or "Onkel Adi" is subject to legal restrictions and such use requires the prior approval of the estate.

A formal letter on these points spelling out the pertinent statutes will follow in due course.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Paul Brodsky said...

MB!

- Picked up a hardcover copy of WAF at a local bookstore here in Montreal! Raced through it in 2 days. Great stuff.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Non-

Perhaps both are impt, I dunno. But pls pick a different handle; Non-Anon is too close to Anon. You might consider Pastrami J. Sandwich. Thanks.

mb

11:00 AM  
Blogger John Richardson said...

Publius:

When the Finns discover that you're an American, do they initially assume you're an idiot?

11:46 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Exciting news!

1. Herman Cain is considering another run for the presidency in 2016; Herman and the Almighty, that is:

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/02/herman_cain_says_god_may_want_him_to_run_for_president_in_2016/

2. Mittney is back! It turns out that our Mittney is on a roll and is a political genius. He may have just enough Grecian Formula 16 and the political chops for another run:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/against-the-grain/the-return-of-romney-20140527

http://onpolitics.usatoday.com/2014/05/05/mitt-romney-draft-president-2016-utah/

In a fit over Mitt,

Jeff

1:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Very excited to hear abt Herman, tho I wish he'd run as VP on the Lorenzo Riggins ticket. As for Mittney: this might mean I can get my 5-vol. study, "Cornerstones of Mittnaic Philosophy," finally published. Life is gd.

mb

3:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXmIpbBOSvI&list=RDBXmIpbBOSvI#t=146

mb

7:32 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

True, MB. But, also in true American tradition, this time its different. This is no piss ant little Muslim shit hole with some oil. Were talking full on Genghis Khan type empire stuff here. I mean, have you seen a map of Russia? Its BIG! Oh, and they hate gays. And our freedoms. Plus - communism. Putin just annexed Crimea better than Hitler ever blitzkrieged Eva Braun. And Putin doesn't need any Viagra! Be afraid, MB, be very afraid. The rest of us are. And if you won't join us, well, heh, you've just pointed out how many Hitlers we've had to deal with. You could be our Jewish Hitler (2.0)...

As for Carlos Slim:
If the Mexican people have fallen so low as to be proud of him, they may as well just cut down the fences and join the Union.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Not to worry, I'm not a fan of Putin's. But I heard Hitler himself was Jewish. Not true? Then how do you explain the daily planeload of knishes that usta be delivered to Berchtesgaden? He was also reputed to take mud baths in chopped liver.

mb

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Wafers,

We’ve been bashing on Americans for a while here. So I was wondering if any of you started feeling sorry for them by now. It’s obvious they live in a pretty shitty country at this point; a police state with no jobs, to be more exact. Nothing exceptional about that, other than exceptionally shitty, perhaps. So anyway, is anybody beginning to feel sorry for them?

And by the way, I’m not asking this so we stop kicking them while they’re down. I say let’s kick them even harder. Let’s kick them until they stop killing children with drones, and until they commit mass suicide. Better yet, let’s kick them until they start pissing on each other’s cheap shoes and iPads.

For added amusement, check this out to hear the kind of shithole country they live in today:

"Police State America" with John Whitehead
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/103429

I say, serves them right!...LOL

9:13 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

Thought I'd check in to my favorite, I mean only, blog.
@John Richardson: the Finns seem to warm up after I talk to them for a few minutes. I do not sense any hostility towards Americans. I have to say that I find that the Norwegians especially, and the Finns a bit, actually still buy into the American propaganda. They still think that we are a land of milk and honey, with some minor problems. I was explaining the dangerous progression of the police state to my Norwegian cousins, and one asked what we citizens are going to do about it. She was shocked when I told her about SWAT team raids, tasering, etc. She literally had no idea. I believe that the Norwegian media whitewashes the truth for us. Norway is part of NATO, and I think they fear Putin just as we do. The Finns are intimately economically involved with Russia, so they do not fear Putin, and the media there does not spin Putin as the monster that US media does.
My wife and I both seem to agree that Finland is the better country. Norway is richer but more like America. Great scenery, though. But you can always visit Norway from Finland.
Biggest difference so far in my mind: like Finland, kids in Norway just are not afraid of adults like in the USA. They look you in the eye, bump against you in the trams. Main conclusion: a level of fear that is a norm in the USA does not exist here. Heck, they provide showers to the homeless. Don't they know that's socialism?

9:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pub-

Truly, this is the only blog worth reading. If you have this, you don't need any others. This is why the trollfoons won't let up, and keep knocking on the door (poor shmucks): they know this, and are suffering from exclusion. It's like pressing yr nose to the glass, outside a party for all the beautiful people, and you know you'll never be one of them. For Wafers are the most beautiful people on earth. Poor trollfoons. No self-respect, reduced to begging. (I love baiting them, BTW; with a post like this, they roar out from under their rocks, only to be rejected and beaten down, once again. Then they hide for a while; I bait them again; and then--out they come! Stupidity is so fabulous, really; in America, there is literally no end to it.)

mb

10:07 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Dan-

Don't forget about the kishka! Indeed, Hitler's fondness for kishka was to remain one of his most mysterious characteristics. In between spending his days taking chopped liver mud baths, performing Swedish exercises, and wearing inappropriate and ludicrous clothing, Hitler devoured large quantities of meat knishes as well as long links of kishka. In fact, Hitler's Munich landlady, Frau Popp, cites this as a primary factor in Hitler's desire to invade and occupy Poland. Hitler also expressed a deep desire to make Berlin the deli capital of the world and is credited with the song, "Who Stole the Kishka?"

Here's a bit of the lyrics:

You can have my shinka
Take away my sweet krusczyki
Take my plump pierogi
You can even have my chernika
Take my long kielbasa
But please bring back my kishka

~ Lyrics by A. Hitler
~ Music by Field Marshal G. von Kluge

Jeff

10:41 AM  
Blogger diana said...

MB said: Well, England did, in fact, have some real values to its credit. But in addition, they were (somewhat) successful in their decline because they had someone to cover for them, i.e. hand the torch of empire to--us. We have no one, which will make our decline all the more chaotic and violent.

How true. However, the coming collapse will be a crisis not only for Americans. Most Europeans will have to adjust to new ways of living in the world. Unfortunately, I am not encouraged by what I see. The current plan seems to be that they will spill as much blood as possible on the way down.

David-

Great to have you back and look forward to your insights from outside the belly of the beast.

Diana

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Bingo,

I'm only here because I can't find any blogs mocking British people.

It makes me feel quite voyeuristic seeing what happens in the US, tbh. It's very tragic.

I'm kind of hoping there's a mass-shooting in Basingstoke or Welwyn Garden City or somewhere like that. With the maniac filming it on their Google Glasses. I think that the UK needs to regain some of its "competitiveness" in this area.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Wafers,

We are seeing some amazing progress in killing technology in America. Of course, there’s no money for education or health care, but you can now comfortably shoot somebody from around a corner.

“Google Glass gun app would provide 'mind-blowing' ability to shoot around corners”:
http://rt.com/usa/163724-google-glass-shoot-around-corners/

Publius,

Be careful with Europe, my friend. I’ve lived in various parts of it, and I can tell with confidence that there is no future here. Just because they are 3 or 5 years behind the US in decay and degeneracy, does not mean that Europe has much of a future. Don’t forget, American culture is nothing but the distillation of the worst components of Western Europe.

Also keep in mind that European Nordics in particular are among the most racist, egotistical, hypocritical, and retrograde-thinking human specimens you will meet anywhere. They are far more hypocritical and racist than most Americans. Do not be deceived by the polish of their so-called “civilization,” the sweetness of their tongues, or the pseudo-intellectualism they so skillfully parade. They are precisely the opposite, just that they have learned to hide it better. Psychologically, they are repressed, intellectualized, and unable to experience any true emotions or attachment, except to their bottle of alcohol or favored sexual perversion. At macro level, the only difference between the US and Western Europe is that while the US is the big rabid wolf running to devour you without making much pretense about it, Europeans are the deceiving, hypnotizing snakes that will stab you in the back with a friendly smile on their faces. Somehow I have more respect for the wolf. Also, keep in mind that this entire continent has a dismal history of genocide, abuse, exploitation, and violence. Like an old proverb goes, the snake sheds its skin, but not its behavior. Case in point, the EU has already turned into a monster of corruption, and will only get worse. In my honest opinion, there’s zero future here.

As such, please remain skeptical about these people. Best if you don’t get stuck here.

Julian

11:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

A beautiful song; I wept. Did he ever write anything abt tzimis, or kashe varnishke?

mb

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

Does anyone here know of articles that summarize the history behind Bowe Bergdahl?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/chuck-todd-joe-scarborough-bowe-bergdahl_n_5452280.html

http://onpolitics.usatoday.com/2014/06/04/bowe-bergdahl-congress-tweets-delete/

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...

Bingo,

I once drank a lot aquavit with a sexually depraved swedish blonde. It was a singular experience which I will treasure as long as I love.

A bit of a fact free rant no? Pray tell how could living in europe at anytime since 1946 engender such vitriol. Northern Europe is quite civilized and if they don;t want say Moroccoans or somalis hanging about I suppose its their right no? Where do you suggest fair publius go? The U.S.? Cameroon? Pakistan? As far as places where humans live, Europe is in the main pretty darn nice. Where is the utopia presently located against which you are judging these nasty horrid racist white people? Does said utopia exist in physical space or only in your imagination?

5:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Capo-

I agree w/u that Europe has a lot going for it, despite the fact that it is basically a consumer society. Our dear Publius cd do worse, clearly. However, once I manage to get my Japan bk published, and fend off the trollfoons (who will insist that I wanted the Axis to win WW2; Jesus, what a collection of morons), I think I shall give up writing ("a losing profession," as my agent told me over breakfast in NY last Nov.), run off to Pakistan, and become a dervish. It's not so bad, esp. if you like to whirl.

mb

6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This is now a daily occurrence in the US:

http://us.cnn.com/2014/06/05/justice/seattle-campus-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

7:11 PM  

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