August 12, 2014

Is This What Senility Looks Like?

Dear Wafers (and Waferettes!)-

Recently drove out to the gym I belong to, on the outskirts of town. En route, I stopped at an Oxxo (convenience store) to get a machine-generated cappuccino and an oatmeal-cranberry cookie. I sat outside in the little patio area they have, drinking my coffee and eating my cookie, and humming a few bars from Strauss' Viennese Waltzes. And suddenly, I looked up: I realized that I was incredibly happy. Just sitting outside a convenience store, watching the traffic, and there I was, in a state of undifferentiated bliss.

Of course, this could be the onset of full-blown mental illness, but who am I to complain? In terms of equivalent experiences (I later reflected), only the following could come close (not necessarily in order of ecstatic quotient):

1. Getting laid. 2. Playing tennis. 3. Eating Szechuan pork at Blossom's in Mexico City. 4. Pounding a trollfoon into the ground until only his head is showing, and then jumping up and down on the head. 5. Smoking a Havana cigar. 6. Porking out at Canter's in LA. 7. Sitting in the Place des Vosges in Paris, on a nice fall day, and watching the artists painting various parts of the square.

There are probably a few more I'm missing, but I can't think of them right now. (Wafers are encouraged to add to this list or provide their own.)

Meanwhile, I trust all of you are doing well. Keep in mind that you are Wafers, the best people on the planet. Well, in the universe, really.

hugs, berm


Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

Yeah, all that stuff sounds great. I'd love to travel to France, but I can't afford it. I wonder if American doctors would attempt to find something wrong with you for being so happy? Maybe they'd diagnose you with EPD, Euphoric Personality Disorder? Or perhaps they'd think you were manic, and attempt to prescribe you costly and dangerous medications?

I say that since pain is easy to come by, we should allow people to be happy without being suspicious or cynical. Don't look this gift horse in the mouth, because it's what all of us want, ultimately.

I want to move away from America. I'm looking at Costa Rica. Ever been there? I've met very nice people from there. They were warm, friendly, transparent, and utterly human.

I'm beginning to understand why ideology can be so dangerous: when it trumps our humanity, we become cold, self-righteous monsters capable of great destruction. When added to existing humanity, however, ideology can foster social justice and philosophical depth in our lives.

Costa Ricans seem to me to be able to live without glorious crusades and righteous causes, which is one of the reasons they are happy. To embrace a cause means that you're declaring that things aren't satisfactory; while this is definitely necessary in this world, *needing* to have a cause means that you need dissatisfaction in your life, that you need to be fighting. It seems to be indicative of a negative identity.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I confess I've been to Paris only twice in the last 40 yrs or so, but I will be going to Costa Rica next mo. to give some lecs at Universidad de La Salle in San Jose. The folks who invited me have been exceedingly gracious in our correspondence, and I look forward to meeting them. BTW, there's someone on this blog who lives there, so maybe put out yr email address and he might contact you.

Of course, I am probably foolish to say I'm happy; the Greeks thought that was an extremely dangerous thing to do, in that it wd invite the gods to hurt you out of jealousy. It certainly invites the trollfoons. One "Anonymous" recently wrote to say, "You suck." That's the whole message. Where do these poor fuckers come from? This is all he's got to do w/his time? As I've said b4, I'd love to be a chick magnet, and instead I'm a trollfoon magnet. What a horrible fate, to attract douche bags.

And I try to tell them, "Revenge is the best reward, you douche bag. How does telling me 'you suck' help *you*? Take drawing lessons, fer chrissakes; learn to play the violin, or ice skate, or to read German or Sanskrit." But they can't do it, 1st because they lack the mental capacity, and 2nd because hating me satisfies some deep-seated, demented need. Really, I shd be flattered. As Lenin once said, If they're not attacking you then you must be doing something wrong.

Onward, Wafers! Let us pound the trollfoons into the ground, and then jump up and down on their heads!


9:04 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

What you describe- is it a state of mild bliss, a ' peak experience' ? It's been a rare thing for me- at retirement age finally feeling comfortable in my own skin, having lived as an ADD round peg in a world of mostly square spots. Nevertheless, I think that I know what you mean. I feel that the world is a benevolent place, that harmony with and in it is not only possible, but for hours or days one can live it. Where it has crystallized for me most recently has been reading in my local cafe, large windows, mellow morning light and the bustle of people. I go there to read;some stuff is conducive to the mood, most isn't. What played into it snugly was John Crowley's Aegypt Cycle, among a few others. The 4 books are out of print, bbut available used or remaindered online. Lovely stuff.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Val said...

Biddly's right: only in the USA would happiness be deemed a mental illness.

I'm also mindful of his warnings concerning Europe, which I fear may become quite troubled as the EU unravels. I'm leaning toward Mexico, partly because of its relative affordability, and also the comparative ease of visiting family, and then leaving again in a hurry.

1:47 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

May I offer my own list of sublime experiences: (1). Enjoying a fine meal at a window table in Cliff House, overlooking the Pacific and Golden Gate; (2). Stopping at the streetside window of Berthillon on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris to get an ice cream, à votre choix; (3). Drinking a Maß of Spaten on a fall day in Munich's Englischer Garten; (4) Having an Apfelstrudel mit Schlag and a coffee at a table outside Demel Salzburg, with a view of Hohensalzburg castle.

And to feed the soul, (5). Getting a reader's ticket to the Reading Room in the British Museum, where you can commune with the spirits of Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, and George Orwell.

Don't just sit there, enjoy something.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Anons. Will be glad to answer yr question, but you need a handle. May I suggest:

Ludwig Schmaltzkopf, Ph.D.
Roland Shmeckle-Pull
Cranston Butterworth III


O that Schlag! It'll get u every time!


10:10 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

A few more moments of bliss:

- sitting for hours at the wildlife refuge where I can neither hear nor see anything man-made and just the yellowlegs and meadowlarks and swallows to keep me company

- reading a book at a punk bar (while drinkin 2-for-1 beers) and having an old crusty punk come up and talk books for 2 hours ... perhaps that was more a "good" uncanny than bliss

10:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd rev. of Rick Perlstein's "The Invisible Bridge" in Aug. 11/18 New Yorker, by Geo Packer. Here he echoes what I said abt Carter vs. Reagan in DAA and WAF:

"[In the mid-70s] America was on its knees, where it finally had a chance to face its flaws and learn from them--'to *grow up*.' Along came Reagan out of the past, a has-been in his mid-sixties who looked like Dean Martin, peddling a tale about a country blessed by divine providence. We know where the story went from there...If you listen to Carter's Oval Office addresses on inflation, energy, and the nation's 'crisis of confidence,' the level of honesty is shocking, and deflating. No President has ever spoken that way since. The lesson he taught all his successors was not to tell the American people hard truths."

This is another example of my argument that the problem of the nation lies w/the nature of the American people. They don't wanna hear hard truths; they jus' wanna keep sucking on the teat of illusion. Another word for such people is morons (or infants).


10:45 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

@Prof. Berman:
Are you a fan of Rousseau, like I am?
He really nailed it with the idea of the simple, "sweet sentiment of existence," and how a human who is uncorrupted by civilization can simply enjoy being alive, without owning anything, doing anything, achieving any honors or accolades or power, etc.

I think that one of the best ways of differentiating a potential WAFer or tolerable person is to observe how they behave just hanging out. Can they just hang out and chat, or just lie on the beach or sit on the porch watching the sunset, without getting agitated and nervous?

My brother, whom I have mentioned too much recently (my apologies - the latest feud over our war crimes, Palestine, etc. reached a fever pitch of acrimony when I didn't back down) was in Europe, in some of the same countries were were during our emigration research.
Anyway, he told me wife that he didn't understand how Europeans could just sit around in cafes, etc. He thought they were lazy... it befuddled him.
All these different traits or disorders are related, aren't they: depression, aggression, unhealthy ambition, love of material items, consumerism, inability to have deep, abiding relationships, envy, greed, mental illness...
I really want to be back on that beach up North, reading CTOS. Except that although I brought it, I was too busy not doing anything to do much reading!

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph A. Domino said...

Hello, Dr. B.
It's that little wave of calm and euphoria that washes over you. The wind stops blowing and time slows down, maybe even briefly stops. Not senility, peace. Senility is running around with your keys in your hand, shouting has anyone seen my keys. Then there's the short/long term memory tricks. I remember the name of my kindergarten teacher, but not what I had for dinner last night.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Shit, I can't remember what I had for breakfast, and that was 2 hrs ago.


Yr brother is a douche bag; a complete, and utter, douche bag. What else is there to say?


12:40 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Pub -

I see this w/everyone. Even on their time off, they have to have a schedule, a plan, and a list of goals. People can't just sit and do nothing; it seems like a waste to them.

When coworkers come back from vacation, they seem to have to prove that they were busy by showing everyone their photos and telling them everything they did. I've never understood why people treat vacation like word, with schedules & planning the whole thing.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: V. interesting article on Putin and Russo-American relations today by David Remnick in Aug. 11/18 New Yorker.


1:39 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

The only thing wrong with this is the final sentence, an all-too-predictable variation on "Now is the time for theLeft to..."
No, now is the time for us - as WAFers - to treat others ethically and compassionately, indulge our intellectual and aesthetic interests and watch with grim satisfaction as the rest of the population rots away.
Sad, for those of us old enough to have partaken of the naive idealism of the late `60s/early 70s, but what else can we do?
The take-away lesson of that era was a secular version of Hillel`s "Do nothing to anyone you would not done to you" and it`s mirror image"Do unto others what you would have done unto you."
The rest was sex, drugs and rock and roll and wasn`t it great?

1:49 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers of the World,


Yes, Rick Perlstein's work is worthy of our time. I'm about a hundred pages into "The Invisible Bridge." Perlstein describes American society in the early-1970s as one that was literally going bananas! The data that he has collected and worked into his narrative is completely mind-blowing. Even our old buddy, former used-car and encyclopedia salesman, Werner Erhard, gets the Perlstein treatment: Perlstein calls Erhard an "only-in-America hustler."

In terms of Reagan, the portrait that emerges is a man who simply *helped* the American people along the road of not paying attention to anything; absolved them of their duty to be critical citizens; and pushed American political culture rightward. It's a pretty devastating account. Reagan is essentially depicted as a phony, a hustler, a toady going all the way back to his days at Eureka College. Here are a few early descriptions from the book about Reagan from people who knew him in college:

"He was a very personable guy but I never felt he was really a human being"


"Ronald Reagan was a man who was spending a great deal of time impressing the populace with little evidence of depth.... I don't think he is intelligent enough to be cynical."

Anyway, here's a quote from an "est" trainer:

"Buddha is dogshit until you experience being the Buddha!"

I like that! Maybe we should put it on a T-shirt. Something like:

Anti-Waferism is dogshit until you experience being a Wafer!


2:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If one's framework is 'progressivism', then Now is the time for the Left to organize, fight the bad guys, reverse the downward trajectory of America, etc. If, however, your vision is one of declinism, then activism consists of contributing to Dual Process: bldg alternative institutions, post-capitalist currency systems, alt. energy systems, and a no-growth eco-sustainable world view. Also promoting secession and small-scale geopolitical entities. Since the 1st option is, imo, a good example of CRE, I think the choice is a no-brainer.


2:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ah, est! Only in America could such a hustler gather such a following of the scammed and the conned . And they are actually still around. What a country, what douchebaggery. I once saw Erhard in a 4-hr performance that I wd describe as grotesque; except that of the 1000 people in the stadium, I had the feeling that I was the only person who felt that way. 999 est-holes abs. adored him. Reagan falls into much the same category, really, w/Americans similarly in a state of befogged adoration. Two robots and their robotic followers. Yes, tell me this country has a future; tell me all abt it.


2:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: and speaking of douchebaggery, who else but a pathetic clown wd take "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" as a meaningful foreign policy, as opposed to an ad hoc, incoherent way of just trying to get by on a wing and a prayer? Putin's depiction of Ovomit holding a poodle is pretty much on the mark (altho a turkey wd have been a tad more precise).

2:25 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

Interestingly, est is maybe the perfect example of American culture’s unique ability to pervert anything into a hustle. That and other depraved variations of the ‘encounter group’ have their roots in t-group practice from the late 1940’s at NTL with Kurt Lewin. Like so many things they get taken in a fed back through the filters of individuals and the times they live in and you wind up with est. or applied within business to, ultimately, ‘sell more crap’ - perhaps that’s at least more honest than the alternative.

Still, Carl Rogers was, on balance, upbeat about encounter groups notwithstanding the abuses, and ‘anything-goes’ detours of the 60’s and 70’s.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous David Clausen said...

If you folks are just pretending to say the kind of shit I'm reading here, well please pretend on. I like it.

Anyway, bare feet and a gently burning blunt can add to the fun.

A friend became a new father yesterday, I'll pass on the love, his daughter will need it.

David Clausen

4:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A nation of vicious trolls:

They're everywhere!

6:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And in the championship douchebaggery dept. we have:

7:12 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

One of the things I love to do is listen to music I like over and over again and simply just relax on my bed.

There are times I will just lay there and stare at the wall, ceiling or just a fixed point in space. I enter into this meditative state. Sometimes I can obtain new insight into different things that way. It's pretty cool.

I believe we have an artificial beach around here and a pool. I may go to it.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Louisa May Apricot said...

I'm so sorry for Zelda's broken heart and the horrible treatment of her on social media. Jack asses.

Dr. Berman:
"Is This What Senility Looks Like?" Not if you were wearing pants. :^) Sounds like a wonderfully blissful morning.
You've had some remarkable experiences.
I'm happiest when I see someone else having a positive experience. Like a 5yo visiting a school library for the first time. My sons learning to drive. Anybody graduating from anything. A lost dog jumping into my car, one step closer to home, etc... Connecting and simply enjoying without needing to put my big face in there for a selfie.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fruit Woman-

I *think* I was wearing pants, but I can't be abs. sure. "Selfie" is another word for "American".


8:58 PM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Michael Greer's most recent blog post:

The Archdruid Report

Druid perspectives on nature, culture, and the future of industrial society
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dark Age America: A Bitter Legacy

A little attribution would be nice.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

"who else but a pathetic clown wd take "Don't Do Stupid Stuff" as a meaningful foreign policy, as opposed to an ad hoc, incoherent way of just trying to get by on a wing and a prayer?"

This is actually the genius/idiocy of Obama's presidency. He will be the first PoTUS since Eisenhower never to be primarily blamed for a major catastrophe. He will not have accomplished anything and presided over further deterioration, but he will escape without a Watergate or Iran-Contra.

Why is this significant?
Because in the history textbooks he will be remembered solely as the first black president, as his actual governance record remains a total vacuum. It's only when you get to the college level that the failings of his policy will become even the subject of historical discussion, and it's unclear how much longer our university system will exist outside of nice fields, a state of the art gym, and a wi-fi'd library where everybody is on social media.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

news on the collapse front:

Americans’ optimism is dying

It has been slipping for some time, really, but a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll this month put an exclamation point on Americans’ lost optimism.

When asked if “life for our children’s generation will be better than it has been for us,” fully 76 percent said they do not have such confidence. Only 21 percent did. That was the worst ever recorded in the poll

The wealthy were as down as the poor (75 percent and 73 percent, respectively) and even those who felt that they were doing well personally didn’t think their children would do as well (61 percent). Women are as grim as men, and there’s little difference according to race (whites are slightly more pessimistic and Hispanics slightly less) or by region (Westerners are slightly less gloomy than the others).

11:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pleased- this be a breach of intelligence in the massive wall of American stupidity? If this represents an unlikely breakthru on the part of Americans into reality, then perhaps Wafers can finally organize for direct action. We need to have millions of people marching around, to nowhere in particular, carrying banners saying things like, "Our Values Were Wrong from Day One," or "The American Dream Is a Gigantic Mistake," or "WE Did This to Ourselves!", and so on. I suppose it wd be too much to hope for, that they all had copies of WAF and were chanting, "Belman! Belman!"; but the sight of millions of Americans marching around the country and declaring that hustling was the cause of our problems, and that it was no way for decent folks to live--well, I'd certainly settle for that.

Of course, none of this wd reverse the downward trajectory that we are on, but at least we'd die w/our eyes open. That's not nothing.


11:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Wafers are encouraged to submit other sayings that might be emblazoned on these banners. E.g.:






11:48 PM  
Blogger Nicholas Colloff said...

1. Eating goose carpaccio at my favourite restaurant in Sanseplocro, Tuscany where the owner charges the wine by the amount you have drunk. 2. Going on an outing to the sea with a group of poor Colombian women and their children in a rickety bus. They were 'blowing' their savings on seeing the sea for the first time. 3. Floating on my back in the Mediterranean, at night, star gazing. 4. Beer, dry salty fish and a sauna in a friend's back garden in the Russian outback. 5. The day my mother's fibro myalgia retreated after following the regime of marvellous physiotherapist Nora devised!

7:03 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Suggestion for a banner. (Also suitable for a t-shirt, I should think.)

We Have Met The Enemy amd He Is Us.*

*Such use might require permission from the estate of Walt Kelly, the cartoonist who created Pogo (1948-1975), although Fair Use could apply. This slogan adorned a poster Kelly created for Earth Day 1970 showing Pogo at the edge of a forest whose floor had been littered with trash.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Exotic! But I'm sure you mean Sansepolcro, non e vero?

More Banners:





8:09 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...


What do you think about this map? Could you share your thoughts about how this plays into the new Dark Ages theory you described?

"ISIS Releases Map of 5-Year Plan to Spread from Spain to China"

Personally, I think this makes sense. All European countries included in the black area are a lot closer culturally to the Middle East than the rest of Europe. I lived in a few of them, so I know. At the moment I am in Cyprus. Let me tell you, these "Greeks" are so lazy and dirty, they give the Middle East a bad name.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Dunno what to think, inasmuch as historically and psychologically speaking, the US hasta demonize the enemy (or create one) in order to function. There were no jihadists in Iraq until we destroyed the country, e.g. As for Cypriots: I suspect Americans wd be better off if we were a bit lazier and dirtier. Instead, we're clean and workaholic, and have done untold damage as a result.


10:19 AM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

I can recommend some good complementary reading to Perlstein's book: Kevin Mattson's '"What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?": Jimmy Carter, America's "Malaise," and the Speech that Should Have Changed the Country'. It's an excellent account of the events surrounding Carter's address to the nation, in the context of the aftermath of Viet Nam, Watergate, the energy crisis, the dawning of the Moral Majority, Carter's blunders, and Reagan's eventual victory.

I remember that time very well - particularly the energy crisis. But like many Americans, I saw the oil embargo as a fabulous opportunity; a gift, in the form of a beautiful challenge. But we would have to rise and seize it. It was an invitation for us to band together against a common threat, and banish the ghost of Viet Nam and Watergate. And we could neutralize this threat peacefully, without war, using our mastery of technology and our powers of organization.

But it was not to be. Instead of facing this issue like adults, the nation opted for Reagan's dreamy populism instead. Basically, nothing was accomplished. We pissed away a shining opportunity.

I had the toughest time trying to understand this. I still do. How could a nation so boastful of its scientific achievements countenance such a threat to its technological infrastructure? How could a citizenry so strident about liberty not seize the challenge to remove itself from foreign power and corporate corruption? How could the home of the brave be populated with such...well, such...pussies?

It was the dawning of my realization that the majority of my countrymen are not who they claim to be.

Here's the link to Mattson's NPR interview...

Here's the link to his CSpan talk...

Here's the link to the text of Carter's speech. Really quite amazing...

10:53 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

The killing of the unarmed kid in Ferguson, Missouri is on the front page of every news organization. The police violence is increasing each day.

The police arrested two reporters in a McDonald's, shot tear gas into a backyard, and teargassed Al Jazeera reporters. This is in addition to tear gassing crowds, shooting rubber bullets at people, aiming sniper riffles at the public. Watch this video of cops shooting tear gas at the Al Jazeera camera crew:

Any comments here? It seems people aren't just mad about this, but about the trend of police violence against citizens & the militarization of police.

People dismissed the police violence against Occupy, but this seems different. I think people are seeing the protestors here as innocent.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,



Come to think of it, this would be a good banner to have when ISIS makes its way into the US via Corpus Cristi, Texas. Would yelling Akbar & Jeff also help?


I yearn to be as lazy and dirty as the Cypriots you describe. Only trouble is, many of them are *not* lazy and only a bit scruffy. Ever heard of a guy named Marcos Baghdatis?



11:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I discuss the Carter vs. Reagan business both in DAA and WAF. The answer to yr question(s) is that Americans are children. Clever politicians know this. Jimmy was honest, not clever, and his mode of engagement was adult-to-adult. This can't work if yr effectively talking to 7-yr-olds.


I cd be wrong abt this, but I suspect that the reason everyone is up in arms over Ferguson is that involves race. There are a certain very few issues that get Americans worked up, and race (or identity politics in general) is one of them. Americans do not get worked up over the militarization of the police force, or increasing police violence. In fact, there have been no demos abt these things, and only intellectually commentary abt them. Americans, by and large, don't care abt these issues, as far as I can make out. The same is true abt NSA and surveillance, social inequality, the steady slide toward a renewed Cold War, etc.--most just don't give a damn. Americans are narcissistic, solipsistic, and not very bright. Not so much human beings as jokes. That's the bottom line.


11:41 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Speaking of the NSA... Snowden is such a perfect example of American opinion; he's not against empire, we just need some tweaks!

2:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anti-CRE Dept.:

Some of you may remember a sad sack named Autonomous, who showed up here raving abt MOOC's, cdn't reply to my challenge re: poetry via hi-tech education, and then went a tad ballistic (wh/inspired my essay, "The Existential Strain"--see? Trollfoons have their uses!).

There's a gd discussion of the destruction of (real) education by technology in the Aug. 14 NYRB by David Bromwich, "The Hi-Tech Mess of Higher Education," wh/is a review of a film entitled "Ivory Tower." Highly recommended.


6:00 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...


I really do think that Americans are not optimistic about the future anymore. However, I think the reasons for their pessimism are less than encouraging, to say the least. They blame Islam, liberalism, environmentalism, and socialism for America's ills - in general, anything that would impose any limit to economic activity. This pessimism is mutating into rage, which is why you're seeing so many shootings in America these days. Americans aren't any closer to discovering the true sources of their suffering - quite the opposite. They are pessimistic and discontent because there are still a few minor limits to their ability and legal right to exploit, harm and defraud others. I think when America officially becomes a totalitarian country, Americans will be overjoyed.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


To my knowledge, there have been no polls asking Americans why they think the country is in trouble, or why they are pessimistic abt the future. This wd be a very interesting study, to be sure.


12:04 AM  
Blogger Val said...

Biddly, right on. I will add the proviso that the "economic activity" that Americans love generally refers to usury and its myriad corollaries. Real economic activity would consist of actually producing something - widgets, coffee makers, garments, etc. - and selling them to one another, rather than shipping in shoddy goods made by arbitraged cheap foreign labor; or in providing genuinely needful services, rather than forcing people to support the insurance industry and medical billing departments that soak up more funds than nurses and orderlies do.

In other words, "their ability and legal right to exploit, harm and defraud others" is what Americans think of as *being* the basis of their profitable economic activities - with some reason, too. Even the contractor business is about serving real estate, which in turn is all about fractional reserve banking and compound interest - viz., about usury. That's why current construction is often so shoddy - it's supposed to make sense on paper, especially the bottom line, not in physical reality. The only motive for quality is a desire to dodge lawsuits.

"...when America officially becomes a totalitarian country, Americans will be overjoyed."

I feel sure you're right.

1:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check this out:

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB and all world wide WAFers:

Today I call your attention to an interesting website where it published statistics on stress, ( look under the Health tab ) quoting directly :
" Percent of people who regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress 77 %
Regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress 73 %
Feel they are living with extreme stress 33 %
Feel their stress has increased over the past five years 48 %
Cited money and work as the leading cause of their stress 76 %
Reported lying awake at night due to stress 48 %
Percent who say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life 48 %
Percent who said stress has caused them to fight with people close to them 54 %"

Gee, I wonder what could possibly cause such stress when you are living the American Dream??

8:28 AM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

Looks like people are happy now that the cops stopped pointing sniper rifles at reporters. Is that how low the bar is on demands we make?

I think you're right, this is about police targeting black people.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Check these two things out especially the first one.

Fuck, what is that racist woman's problem? She needs to go to Canter's Deli.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

This is going to be an incoherent, unfocussed posting. I watched the film "Nebraska" a couple of days ago, because another Wafer recommended it. What a beautiful movie. I especially appreciated the two cousins. As I was watching, I thought "these guys are like about half the people I know."

I was out at my community garden plot yesterday, chatting with a fellow gardener, who's a great-grandmother in her 70s. I gave her some surplus zucchinis (I leave zucchinis on my neighbours' doorsteps when they're away too), then she told me about a French zucchini soup recipe she uses. It's just cooked and puréed zukes with a wedge of vache qui rit cheese per cup of purée. Without my knowing, a bit later she 'phoned her husband, who printed out a copy of the recipe and delivered it to the garden, which is about a mile from her home. How nice is that?

Last night I went to the Japanese pavilion at "Folkfest," which is our annual celebration of international cultures. I was invited to participate in a Japanese Tea Ceremony. The history and ethos of the ceremony was explained to us, and a Buddhist monk and an assistant prepared and served everything. I had to make an effort not to appear as a western lout during this delicate, profound procedure, but I think I did OK.

I was happy to learn about "Wabi-Sabi" during all this. It was explained as finding "beauty in decay." When I got home I looked it up. I believe I've been practicing this all my life and didn't know it.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

The problem with the whole Ferguson thing was it seems the guy was an an oversized thug after all. video provided..

Nothing to defend there. However, the response by the police to protests in militarized riot gear and hardware is something else which will be lost and not be addressed because as I said Brown was a thug... regardless if this is after the facts were known... yet two sets of thugs don't make it right but it does make it right for the American news media which I'm sure has had a good laugh over the whole incident... and in the end amounts to nobody learning anything other than an increased distrust and disgust over both the African American community and a minor glance at the police...

5:10 PM  
Anonymous birney zouave said...

10% off in restaurant for not using a cell phone...

6:31 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


"that Americans love generally refers to usury and its myriad corollaries"

Bingo. The dream is to have your money work for you. It's why pensions as we do them are so ridiculous. This is the easiest tell to verify if someone actually wants things to change. It's incredible to think about the mass of historical animus against Jews that stemmed from religiously permitted usury. And now American society literally worships interest.

Percentage over people.

I also watched Nebraska last week, enjoyed it. The way it depicted resignation to the vacuous and vicious felt right on to me.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

"I cd be wrong abt this, but I suspect that the reason everyone is up in arms over Ferguson is that involves race"

I think you are entirely correct -- though this should not be the focus. This comment also makes me recall conversations I had with Americans before moving to Germany; many of whom, amusingly, criticised Europe as having class-oriented societies, and that they simply could not live in such a place. When I mentioned that I actually found America to be more class oriented than my country of destination, but that the issue tends to be filtered through the lens of race, they were dumbfounded. There is a much more visceral hatred of the poor amongst the general population than almost any other group. See the public response to Ferguson vs. Occupy.

In Germany, it still astounds me to see how people of different socio-eco. backgrounds mix amongst one another in virtually any setting imaginable. There are issues of course, but the society is undoubtedly more egalitarian. Americans don't want to face it, but class rules -- and money determines class. For some reason, the issue can't be dealt with head on.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...


It's true, I was making conclusions prematurely, and only based on my own anecdotal experience. I will say, also, that I've met a handful of Americans (outside of this blog) that realize something is deeply wrong, and that something is rooted in American culture itself.

I don't think the sort of study you mentioned will ever be done; at least, not one that will be large enough to be accurate. That kind of study would be very complex, and the answers would be so varied as to make the study worthless, unless thousands of people were surveyed.

If I had to guess, most Americans blame one, or both, of the following: 1.) Islam; 2.) the government, or one section of it (Democrats or Republicans); or 3.) the upcoming Apocalypse. I don't think we're at the point where even 1% of Americans realize the true causes of America's decline. However, as decline accelerates, perhaps this will change. In any event, it *is* good that most Americans do not believe the future will be brighter and brighter, for whatever reason. That's definitely a step in the right direction.

This change in American consciousness proves that you can't shut out reality completely when things fall apart. When your families, communities and finances are all falling apart at an increasing rate, it's pretty much impossible to believe in a bright future.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

It seems to me that whether or not Brown is the guy in the video is immaterial. Brown was not accused of shooting or killing anyone; he was not a murder suspect. Even if it was him in the video, he was unarmed when confronted by the officer. Also, the Ferguson police allege that there was a struggle for the officer's weapon, yet Brown was shot and killed 35 ft. away. So it's very confusing as to why exactly he would have been 35 ft. away, unarmed, and gunned down in the street. The credibility of the stormtrooper Ferguson police in this entire situation is questionable.


9:51 PM  
Blogger Dominic O'Malley said...


Your experience sounds ok I guess. You may want to look into a way how sipping espresso could make you money however. That would give the experience true value. I assume you were working an App however during this time, yes? Please tell me yes. Otherwise it might be time to see the old headshrinker. Living amongst those backwards folk might cause permanent liberatio…I mean damage!

10:04 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

"To my knowledge, there have been no polls asking Americans why they think the country is in trouble, or why they are pessimistic abt the future. This wd be a very interesting study, to be sure."

MB -

I don't know if the vast majority of people can intellectually identify what's wrong with the country, but they certainly feel it implicitly.

In your various works, you tend to portray the 90's as a time when we didn't have anything to think about so we wasted our time on trivial issues like Monica Lewinsky and OJ Simpson. To a certain extent this is of course true, but I feel like there was a genuine feeling of unease rooting about in the culture. A sense that the good times were over and that the post-cold war optimism was just a facade. That our society had completely lost its way.

Across various media, there was The Sopranos, or American Beauty or The Corrections, none of them transcendent works of art, but all very popular works that struck a nerve with Americans who felt subliminally that all was not well.

Now, this implicit unease can be directed at convenient targets like Obama, Bush, Wall Street 1%, evil Moozlim terrorists, or whomever else. And I'm sure in poll, these are the targets that people might blame. But it is the same feeling of dread, reflecting the same problems inherent to the American character and way of life, however people might choose to explain it.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Not that it will make the slightest bit of difference, but see this wonderful and humane statement by holocaust survivors and descendents regarding Israel`s slaughter of Palestinians:

4:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank u all for the interesting comments. I'm up to my eyeballs in work at the present, so can't respond in detail. But let me make a few things clear, as Nixon usta say:

1. Probably all our problems, since 1776, can be blamed on the Ay-rabs.
2. Remember that song yrs ago, abt "Ahab, the Ay-rab, sheik of the burning sands"? You see? But I never understood why his camel was named Clyde, instead of (e.g.) al-Baghdadi.
3. This random shooting of black people, or any people for that matter, by cops, needs to be expanded. I propose a "Free Pass for Cops" day, in which they can wipe out entire sections of various American cities with drones.
4. We also need an "Americans Killing Americans" day, in which every citizen is equipped with an AK-47 and encouraged to blow anyone they don't like outta the wáter.
5. Now I think we're getting somewhere! Wafers are encouraged to submit additional death-oriented proposals.


5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. In an Atlantic interview of a year ago (How America's Culture....), you said, "[A]s things began to speed up in this country from about 1965 on, a kind of.... "frenzy" took over." --1965. --For many years I've wondered why my library effectively ends at 1965. Little published after that pleases, even in earlier-established writers. And the break is so sharp and so uncanny that I've mentioned it to (earlier-established) booksellers, and they've agreed. Spiritually gutted. What happened, and when -- forty years earlier, thirty years earlier,(when does a writer reach maturity?) -- that could so profoundly have affected the common psyche, to produce such a traumatic break? I've puzzled and puzzled over it. My computer won't accept your email link so I'm using this route to communicate. Constance Grospiron.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Buck Bugock said...

You wrote:
"We also need an "Americans Killing Americans" day, in which every citizen is equipped with an AK-47 and encouraged to blow anyone they don't like outta the wáter".

There's actually two movies out that touch on this very subject, both are sequels. They're called The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy.
They're about a futuristic America in 2025 where for one day a year, from 6:00pm to 6:00am murder and crime are legal.
I've only seen the previews but funny enough, as I watched them, I thought that something like this could actually happen one day in America, as sick, soulless and vacuous are it's "people". I've gotten to the point where literally nothing surprises me anymore with Americans. Someone like Sarah Palin would have been considered a comedian 20 to 30 years ago, today she's seriously considered for the presidency. Such satire in real life repeats itself EVERY day there, over and over.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

One more addendum to the Holocaust survivors criticizing Israeli policy towards Gaza. This speaks for itself.

New York Times: Righteous in Holland and Gaza

HENK ZANOLI (pictured) is a 91-year-old retired Dutch lawyer whose personal history encapsulates the reasons why the Netherlands and Israel have had such friendly relations since the foundation of the Jewish state in the wake of the second world war. Mr Zanoli's family was, as the Dutch put it, "right in the war"—i.e. members of the resistance. In 1943, Mr Zanoli escorted an 11-year-old Jewish boy from Amsterdam, Elchanan Pinto, back to the family home in the village of Eemnes, where he and his mother Johanna hid him for the rest of the war. (His father, Henk Senior, had already been sent to a concentration camp for his resistance activities; he would die at Mauthausen.) Mr Pinto subsequently emigrated to Israel. Three years ago, the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem awarded its "Righteous Among the Nations" medal, given to non-Jews who rescued Jews from the Nazis, to Mr Zanoli and (posthumously) his mother.

On August 11th, Haaretz's Amira Hass reports, Mr Zanoli sent Yad Vashem its medal back. Mr Zanoli's great-niece, Angelique Eijpe, is a Dutch diplomat, deputy head of the country's mission in Oman, and her husband, Ismail Zi'adah, is a Palestinian economist who was born in Gaza's al-Bureij refugee camp. On July 20, the Zi'adah family house in al-Bureij was hit by an Israeli bomb, killing six members of the extended family, including the family matriarch, three of her sons, and a 12-year-old grandson. In an elegant and sorrowful letter to Israel's ambassador in The Hague, Mr Zanoli explained that he could not in good conscience keep the Israeli medal.


7:58 PM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

MB -

Maybe the military should put old nukes and such on ebay to help pay off the federal debt.

I'd also love to see Amazon drones dropping handguns on doorsteps, same day delivery if possible. I really hope they change their policy to make this happen. Maybe somebody in silicon valley is already on the idea.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

I'm thoroughly enjoying everyone's moments of peace & bliss, and in fact I've been enjoying some of my own lately, often by observing the many birds & small animals around our house -- just watching them for long periods & feeling a certain oneness with them.

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from another book about the decline of deep reading in the Age of Distractions:

11:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Re: those films u mentioned: keep in mind that life follows art. De facto, if not de jure, it's not an impossible scenario. Americans are so riddled with pain and rage that a situation in which each of them possesses an arsenal and just walks down the street randomly blowing anyone they meet to kingdom come is not completely far-fetched. We've been slowly moving in that direction since 2001, with pólice murder of civilians being the leading edge. Toynbee said that civs didn't die from external causes; rather, they committed suicide.


If u cd lead with yr name, rather than with Anon, it wd help me a lot. Answers to yr questions may be found in my Twilight bk.


11:59 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


I propose that we team up our weapons manufacturers with big pharma. Two-fer deals across the board. Buy a months supply of Zanex, get a pistol. Buy an AR-15, get a years supply of zoloft. Buy a drone, get a flatbed of oxycontin. The dynamic partnership of these two power house industries is sure to create jobs, growth, and progress. Amen.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Something in the air is feeling different. There have been some recent news events and news stories that are really changing the mood.

* The ongoing police brutality in Ferguson is showing people militarized police, and the segregation that still exists

* 2 star general murdered in Iraq, this to cap off the failed mission in Afghan, with combat troops leaving in December

* The recent news that oil production is happening through debt, not profits

* The recent poll that said Americans are not optimistic about their children having it better

* Total loss of confidence in the congress and the president, with people seeing the president as being totally ineffective about anything.

It feels like things recently have changed, like the hope and optimism is getting sucked out of people. It just feels like we're getting very near to a serious crisis point, and it seems people are anticipating this

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Constance said...

Happy things: finishing an embroidery; tiny white violets I saw on a walk, miniature and perfect, the faces perhaps 3/8 of an inch, with faintest lavender at their centres; on another walk, four silly little fluffs of bunnies, too young to be afraid of me; immaculate craftsmanship; meteors outside my window in the time before sleep.

The violets? The next day I looked again for them and the whole area had been churned to mud by the wheels of an ATV. And the little rabbits, even as I knelt beside them, were scattered, terrified, by the roar of an ATV shattering by. They were so young they probably didn't find the doe again. So those two were bliss/misery. Mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water.

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

@Tim Lukeman
>> I'm thoroughly enjoying everyone's moments of peace & bliss, and in fact I've been enjoying some of my own lately, often by observing the many birds & small animals around our house -- just watching them for long periods & feeling a certain oneness with them. <<

Yeah. There's a catbird that lives in a tree adjacent to my house. I love to sip my coffee while listening to his singing. Most folks have heard a catbird's meow-like call, but not everyone realizes just how beautifully they can sing. They're cousins of the mockingbird. Five minutes of listening, and my soul is re-centered. He sounds like this…

Also, your previous link to the Bill Moyer's/John Lithgow interview on King Lear was great. It reminded me immediately of James Hollis ( When Lithgow speaks of Lear learning "his own folly", and "...even as he's lost his mind, he's gained a sense of himself", it brought to mind Hollis' discussion of hubris, and the pain that comes from identifying ourselves with our persona. The naked beggar scene seemed very symbolic of this sort of thing.

On a lighter note , here's one of Lithgow's less lofty roles, from 30 years ago as Dr. Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai...

11:33 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

A Swedish friend sent me this message this past weekend, during a discussion of the police state violence here:
"The violence is horrible, but I love the people.
The hospitality, the warmth and caring love, the generosity, the people the Americans. The Americans I know are almost everyone acting to make the world a better place. Yourself included."

That is odd to me: very few people I know in the USA are "acting to make the world a better place." I wonder why my Swedish friend thinks that? He lived here as a high school exchange student with my uncle in the 1970's. My uncle was a very outspoken antiwar activist, etc. Perhaps that skewed the Swedish friend's perceptions.

I was at the local watering hole a few days ago reading "Robopaths." A young grad student started talking to me about it. I gave him the lowdown on how our society has become even more robopathic since it was written.
Boy, did that cause him to take an aggressive, defensive attitude. He started to defend academia, authority, and seemed to imply that I was anti-science and anti-rationality. Odd... in the beginning of the scientific age, science was anti-authority and pro-truth.
We have fallen to the point where not accepting dominant narratives gets one painted as a nut.
The worst was that he obviously just disengaged emotionally from the conversation. I could feel him look at me like I was a deviant, rather than engaging.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous tam said...

Hi, MB. Catching up with your blog; belated congrats on plates-acquisition ... always tickled when one recognizes the real gift is rarely [if ever] in the material!

Prior to that mission, your directive was, in essence, to keep in mind: "They are all dolts." Like so many Wafers here, I took your admonition to heart.

My testosterone level is surely lower than yours, so it's probably not surprising that I don't readily relate to your "pee-on-them" type of suggestions. I try to channel my energy into expressions other than anger and physical aggression.

Compassion is super-satisfying to my soul. It's stress-free, and sometimes has the bonus-factor of pissing-off a dolt to whom you extend it. ("Aw, I'm so sorry your culture has placed so little value on education! ... It's not your fault, you poor hunny-bunny you!")

11:47 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

As James Brown usta SHOUT, "Livin' in America":




Albert Camus once remarked that the best outcome one could expect, in terms of our collective melancholia, was "not to be cured but to live with one's ailments." That's certainly insightful, but it doesn't go far enough. Why on earth Americans don't just barricade themselves inside their hovels and pull the trigger is beyond me. Random Americans punching their clocks is not enough, Wafers! Real progress will be made when whole blocks, or entire suburban subdivisions, begin to personally off themselves. That's the magic moment to wait and watch for...


12:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




It's possible yr Swedish friend is clinically insane. The other guy just seems like yr typical American.


I agree, but I think every citizen needs to be supplied with a nuclear warhead. Then, if (say) some resident of Bklyn wants to destroy a suburb of Rapid City, or vice versa, they can just do it and enjoy themselves. No need to depend on the Pentagon to destroy the country, imo.


2:06 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...


Have you noticed that Americans have made a civil religion out of themselves, and not just their nation? The most striking characteristic of any American is his complete inability to apologize for anything, accept blame, or find fault with himself. Likewise, each American worships himself as though he were a deity, even though he feels empty, enraged, etc. This sounds like hyperbole to most people, but Americans literally see themselves as the right hand of God (if they are religious), or the very epitome of all that is good and right (and are completely intolerant of anything else) if they are not religious.

Americans in chat rooms routinely use handles like "GoddessShira" or "GoddessMilennia" or "AlphaAsAGod". In public, they certainly act like vengeful deities that have the right to demand anything of anyone, without regard for their feelings or needs. This attitude explains why friendships and relationships almost never work out in America, and certainly explains America's political establishments and foreign policy. When Bush Sr. said "What we say goes.", he was speaking from a state of mind where he believed himself to be omnipotent and the world his plaything to be shaped according to his pleasure.

Freud wrote about infantile narcissism, expounding the notion of "infantile omnipotence" as one of its most salient characteristics. All of this tracks well with the infantile emotional and mental state of most Americans - a nation of infantile narcissists.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Dear Morris and Wafers,

Regarding bliss experiences, one that works each time for me is listening to "the man in me" by Bob Dylan. I would have probably never discovered this song if I didn't watch the Big Lebowski, which is another bliss experience by itself.

More generally, what practices do you wafers find the most useful to take things easy in this corporate douchebag world? After meditating for a few years without seeing a massive progress in my capacity to take things easy, I've found that more body-focused practices like Bioenergetics and TRE were more helpful for me. Does anyone have experience with those?


4:09 PM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

I think I came across the perfect picture of America:

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Here is a nice article on CounterPunch:

In it Michael Smith makes the claim that America has no way of processing anyone who feels malaise or depression arising from their recognition of the distorted society Americans live in, instead trying to force such people to have a "positive attitude".

But on the basis of psychological studies he concludes "We can now say with some assurance that the larger and more obvious the gaps between rich and poor in developed societies – and the more exploitive the relations required to maintain and expand them – the greater the likelihood of violent conflict, mutual distrust, and degraded health, both mental and physical."

Even supposing MB is right about how Americans are willfully stupid and ignorant of their circumstances and this is the main source of their problems (and I think he is right), the inequality theory of unhappiness can still be useful from another perspective, as this empirical psychological research in the article shows.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

No Marigolds left in the promised land
There's a hole in the ground where they used to grow
Any man left on the Rio Grande
Is the king of the world as far as I know

MB, Wafers, greetings and thank you for the
myriad of inspiration you provide!

Kneel Jung

7:53 PM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

I like this quote from a well-known engineer in DC (responsible for repairs to the Pentagon after 9/11 and other high profile projects):

> “I have a deal with my wife,” he said. “When I die, I get my cellphone, two extra batteries and a portable fax machine in the coffin.”

Sounds about right.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Swordfish said...

Sitting on the porch of a tiny rental house in Ulster County, NY at midnight, after a snowstorm, and seeing twelve dear come out of the woods and walk past, utterly silent. That was about a month after hurricane Sandy destroyed most of our street in Staten Island. Oddly, enough,here in the good ole USA I can only be happy surviving some crisis. I'd say maybe that's what you have, MB, you survived the crisis north of the border and therefore are happy. Here's to Wafer Emancipation and Emigration Day! (coming soon, maybe?)


5:30 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

"The Americans I know are almost everyone acting to make the world a better place. Yourself included."

That is odd to me: very few people I know in the USA are "acting to make the world a better place." I wonder why my Swedish friend thinks that? He lived here as a high school exchange student with my uncle in the 1970's. My uncle was a very outspoken antiwar activist, etc. Perhaps that skewed the Swedish friend's perceptions."

Czeslaw Milosz, in his autobiography, wrote that in America "I never met so many good people willing to help their neighbor." That was 60 years ago, of course, but still.

My thesis is that Americans have always been quite nice to people who are "one of them", but that the increasing isolation of American life has led to the other-zation of almost everyone they know.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gee, No Kidding Dept.:

9:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I suspect they're dumber than the average chimp.

9:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Apparently there's been a 2nd fatal shooting of a black man near Ferguson, who was wielding a knife. Cops cdn't manage to shoot the guy in the leg or whatever; oh no, they had to kill him. This in the context of Ferguson going up in smoke. I'm wondering what the IQ requirement is to become a member of the St. Louis PD...


9:27 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Black life is expendable in America. Unarmed black people in the US are routinely shot dead without any accountability for the police or private citizens murdering them. Instead the MSM distracts Americans with innuendo about how the victims brought it on themselves, such as by smoking marijuana.

Seeing the National Guard be sent into Ferguson brings back the historical parallel of the Guard killing unarmed students at Kent State in 1970.

Essentially what is happening here is that protesters are making a demand, for justice in the face of a fundamentally unjust and racist police system, which the system is completely incapable of accommodating. Instead the system has responded with even more violence and repression.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

American journalist beheaded by ISIS. An eye for an eye, back to war we go.

Warning, graphic;

9:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, of course; but there's something fundamentally stupid--even insane--abt killing yet another black man (when killing wasn't remotely necessary) in the context of protests and riots going on a mile or so away, no?


10:03 PM  
Anonymous Constance said...

"Fundamentally stupid -- even insane." Unless the intent is to incite so much discord that 'locking down' an entire area becomes increasingly normalized. The sight of 'tanks' in Boston, to 'protect' citizens from one adolescent kid, shocked me. Now I just wait and watch. One might argue shooting a second black man in Ferguson was pathologically sane.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Pilgrim, Constance, Swordfish -

Something that strikes me is just how many Americans really don't want anything to do with the natural world. They have no feeling for it, other than as a nuisance or (of course) a resource to be "developed" so that it's "useful" (money money money). Caring about the needs & concerns of any living creature other than themselves is an utterly alien & foreign concept to them.

The always insightful Michael Ventura on the urge for electronic connectivity & the fragility of it all:

Kanye Cyrus,

I try to limit my exposure to toxic culture, and I also try to immerse myself whatever is soul-nourishing: Nature, art, quiet, love & companionship. I've begun writing to friends via actual paper letters again, and cutting back on the emails -- and of course I never text, use Facebook, Smartphones, etc. My wife & I are currently taking a basic drawing class, which we're loving -- among other things, it teaches us to really look at the world around us. As Yogi Berra once said, you can observe a lot by just looking. :)


Seems to me the last place Americans want to look for the source of their discontent & mounting dread is within. Even psychology in America has largely become superficial self-help/self-affirmation -- that, or a prescription for happy pills. The last thing Americans want to do is hard, painful, frightening work on their own psyches.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I suspect they just act w/o thinking, but there may be more to it:


9:37 AM  
Anonymous Jerome J said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Wafers,

An eight year old Sioux girl weilding a paring knife was tazed by the police last year. The police continue to maintain that it was justified. The girl's grandmother commented that the officer responding "had no brains." More here:



10:08 AM  
Anonymous tam said...

Tim Lukeman wrote:
"Something that strikes me is just how many Americans really don't want anything to do with the natural world. They have no feeling for it, other than as a nuisance..."

I've the same observation! I go to my community pool several times a week, and it sickens my stomach, listening to people talk about how our homeowners' association should cut down more trees, get rid of lizards and frogs, etc. My impression is that they're *afraid* of nature! It's really spooky, hearing them talk.

That they're so unaware of the serious threat(s) their own [human] society is presenting. And that frogs can send them into a tizzy... It's truly mystifying.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not clear to me why they didn't gun her down with an AK-47.


It's actually been demystified! Check out ch. of CTOS entitled "The Wild and the Tame."


11:59 AM  
Blogger Publius said...

@ El Alamein - thanks for the insight. I'm trying to think about my neighbors objectively... they aren't bad folk. We had the big nat'l night out event a few weeks ago.
What struck me was how isolated and weird people seemed. Many of them didn't seem to really "get" how to relate to their neighbors. Many seemed very anxious and out of place. It was quite odd.
A few were very personable and what I would call "normal," normal being how I learned to relate to neighbors as a child decades ago in a small town.

@Tim Lukeman: great path you are on. I need to recommit to my goal of leaving the world of virtual interactions as much as possible. I also like to send real letters, use the phone versus email, etc. I kind of backpedalled after the big euro trip.

I think the Net is attractive, because we feel that we are doing something by interacting on Web sites, affecting the big outer world. But we really are not. Comments on news article have zero effect. And now, according to Snowden, the gov't can automatically place their own comments to skew the public perception anyway, so why bother.
I think that we should just give up the virtual world, except for Prof. Berman's blog, and focus on the people and places around us.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Indeed, it would be more effective to train a battalion of chimps to police the streets of Ferguson. Jesus, even members of the press were attacked by these Bozo cops in their tanks and riot gear. How dumb is that! Therefore, all Wafers should convene in St. Louis and begin the process of drafting a measure that would replace these fucking cops with a variety of primates.


4:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hey, at least he's honest:

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Swordfish said...

Tam, Tim,

I live in a beautiful area near Albuquerque right now, with a lot of flora and fauna. Recently I took a walk and came upon some neighbors braying at each other at the top of their lungs about "problem" animals -- basically the ones who lived here way before they did. (I don't know why these folks talk so loud and stand so far apart. It's like they are unaware of physical space. As an experiment (oh ok, also because I didn't want to talk to them), I skirted them, keeping behind a couple of trees. They could easily have seen me, but didn't. Weird weird weird.

MB, the Fed also incentivizes the use of military equipment by telling Police departments that they must show a "need" for the stuff. This means, generally, that they have to use it within a year or give it back. That's why the SWAT teams come out for everything. Here in Albuquerque it's an ongoing problem:

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr. MB and Fellow WAFers:

The best compendium of stupid human gun stories is right here:

It gives you faith in WAFerism.

5:48 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,


I read Smith's CounterPunch article, too & was going to comment before reading yr insightful response. Thank you. My own response to Smith's piece was lukewarm, and I was compelled to search CP's archives for other perspectives. These 2 struck a chord:

1. "The Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America" (a conversation with Richard Whitaker):

2. "The Crisis as a Problem of and For Mental Health" by Dr. Lluís Isern:

My thought was: wouldn't it be great to combine all 3 viewpoints (Smith, Whitaker, Isern) but then, when it comes to TAP (The American People) & CRE, *don't* let them off the hook. We gave our consent to this too. Instead, he calls out Obama, Congress, and Wall Street as the lunatics. They're not the only lunatics. Maybe Smith falls into the 'false-consciousness' trap. Perhaps that would account for my tepid response to Smith's article. My criticism leads me to this question: after assembling your data & presenting it in such a responsible & compelling way, why not state what is obviously the case? Nothing high-handed about it. Everything leads up to it. You've all but made the case. It's right there in front of you (& us). Don't hem & haw. We *need* you to say it. Fish or cut bait, my Dad used to say. Turns out, I should've searched the DAA archives first. Check out MB's "Fork in the Road" and then "Jonathan Swift Revisited":

6:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Near, Trout, et al.:

When I survey what most people believe, and then I reflect on Waferism, I can't help feeling sorry for all of those people. 318 million Americans chasing will-o'-the-wisps, and only a handful clued in. This is indeed how a civilization goes down the tubes.


6:44 PM  
Anonymous Biddly_Spop said...

Recently, a Ferguson officer was "suspended" for pointing a semiautomatic rifle at a peaceful protester and threatening to kill him. This means that if you're a cop and you kill or threaten to kill someone who poses no threat, you are either suspended for a couple weeks, or you receive no punishment at all. On the other hand, if you try to change the system for the better, you can expect to be vilified at the very least, or captured, hauled off to a black site, and tortured to death over the course of several years at worst.

On the whole, Americans love this state of affairs. It *really* keeps people from criticizing American imperialism, or attempting to soften the increasing brutality of capitalism, the twin-headed evil deity that Americans venerate. It allows Americans to never, ever be exposed to any information that might poke holes in their collective fantasy of predestined American supremacy, limitless progress, and all the rest of it.

You have to be pretty sick and twisted to kill or torture people to death just because they tell you something you'd rather not hear, seeing as these "peaceful protesters" don't pose any threat for igniting a revolution or causing any change at all. But that's where we are now.

Also, the new DSM-5 (which will be used by American mental health professionals) has gotten rid of many diagnoses, no longer classifies psychiatric disorders by type, and denies the very existence of certain disorders that are growing exponentially (Asperger's syndrome in particular). I see this as a harbinger of America's upcoming backward slide into ignorance concerning all scientific and technological matters. Limitless and inevitable progress indeed.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Capo's other son said...

Popocola would have approved of your list. His quibble would have been with the Havana cigar. He was an inveterate cigar smoker. In his view, Havana's overrated. The best cigar by far in the world today in his view was the nicaraguan Padron--he liked the 3000's for daily and the 1962 and 1926 for special occasions. If I had to guess he was probably a fan of getting laid also, did marry young and between moms death and marrying my step mother he sure made up for lost time. Its awkward as step mom only 6 years older than I his youngest but she is a fine person and frankly quite looker. So a man much like you. Thanks to your books and my fathers nagging my Rabbi brother left Israel. I have been reading your blog--it really is good and its remarkably free of dreck and pendejos. In Mexico city he loved eating at Bistro Mosaico, which it turns out Diana Kennedy is also a fan. Try a Padron and check out Bistro Mosaico, not to far from Pendulo which was also a source of fun for him--a big fan of the crepes and then followed by a cafe de olla at hole in the wall on Nuevo Leon street where they let him smoke cigars. I think race riots and an imploding economy and Obamas retreat to the golf course would have him in stitches.

Thank you and the readers of your blog for the kind words to my wife and to my brother on fathers contributions on your fine blog.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Thanks for the articles, will have a look. I agree with you that the core problem is the willful ignorance and stupidity of most Americans.

We often hear people in the Left and 'progressive' circles blaming our social ills on the 1%, or capitalism, or a racist government, as if there was some deep conspiracy underlying our problems.

But the real problem here is that Americans choose to be ill-informed, and not to adjust their views to the empirical data.

How incredibly stupid must a society be when they have persisted for more than a decade in a costly and disastrous war on a tactic (terror). It is guaranteed that such a war by definition could never end, yet Americans persist in fighting it, as they do the futile war on drugs.


There is indeed something insane about killing yet another black man after the protests and riots from killing Michael Brown.

More details emerged about that incident. Apparently the officers involved had tasers but did not use them, and handcuffed the man to the ground after he was already shot. So it shows again how completely militarized and rotten this police system has become. The same militarization of police takes place nation-wide, it just hasn't emerged that much yet (except the Boston bombings).

Scratch beneath the surface of the 'democracy' that America likes to call itself, and you find its true reality: a violent, militarized police state in which the people lack the freedom to make of their life what they will. When the demand for justice goes strong and does not vanish, the true reality of the violent and repressive state comes to the fore.

It was just the same in the US with the protests against Vietnam during the 60's and 70's. American history is going in a regressive and backwards direction rather than forwards as Americans like to think, but so few people (other than WAFers) seem to get this.

There's a good update on that second black man killed here:

9:40 PM  
Blogger Val said...

As mentioned before, I'm considering emigrating to Latin America. Can anyone recommend a good low-cost way of learning Spanish? I'm in California, so it shouldn't be too hard, but I'm not quite sure how to get started. Local community college perhaps?

At the top of my list currently are Mexico, Costa Rica, and Uruguay. At the moment I'm leaning toward Mexico.

I feel Europe may become quite a troubled region within my lifetime, what with the potential for war brewing in Ukraine and what I think will probably be the eventual breakup of the EU.

MB, do you know of any good examples of what might be a good model for a post-capitalist society? Pre-Franco Catalonia? Zapatista towns in southern Mexico? It's a little hard to see where things might go from the current state of the world, other than downhill.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, university extension classes, that kinda thing. Also buy (used) the Pimsleur CD's of Spanish; or take them out of local library.

Capo's other son-

Gd to hear from u, amigo. Keeping the blog free of pendejos--i.e., trollfoons--is a full-time job here. How I wound up attracting the dregs of American society is beyond me, but perhaps not entirely incomprehensible, as I am the only one willing to say that all of American society is dregs (and dreck), and that this is the root cause of our problems. This pisses some people off ('progressives' gnash their teeth), so they show up and prove that they *are* dreck! Whatta culture, I tell ya. Meanwhile, I've eaten at Mosaico many times, and will see if I can find a Padron, patron. Keep tuning in, in any case: w/this blog, you don't need any others.


Just keep in mind that yr surrounded by violent, self-destructive morons, and it all becomes explicable.


10:51 PM  
Anonymous Buck Bugock said...

Remember when I mentioned a movie and it's sequel celled The Purge, and how upon watching the previews I felt that America is so sick that what's portrayed in the movies could one day come to pass?
Check out the article below:

America: One SICK Place.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Check this crap out. How does this help anyone?

11:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The more degraded buffoons there are in the US, the faster the country will collapse. This will help many (esp. folks outside the US). It will certainly help the planet.


See my reply to cube.


12:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I hafta tell u guys: I really do miss Mittney.

12:38 AM  
OpenID atearinrain said...


I couldn't agree more with your diagnosis of Americans. I think it was about five years ago that I began to understand the can-do-no-wrong attitude is an American epidemic. How in the hell did I not see this sooner?


"I'm calmer than you are."


perhaps your neighbors interact in such a weird way because past experience has taught them to fear each other? Often times it's the "positive" and "cheery" folks that disturb me the most. Not that I don't appreciate a congenial attitude, but "It is no great measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."


Never Let Me Go is an amazing film, but then again I am biased—it stars my dream gal Carey Mulligan. Hubba hubba. Mark Romanek also directed one of Robin Williams' better films imo, One Hour Photo. As well as the famed "Closer" music video, which I think you'd like. I'm reading CTOS, currently on "The Wild and the Tame." Anybody who has read it would probably appreciate that song/video (the uncensored version), and understand it better than most. While reading CTOS today "Closer" came to mind, and it made my whole day. Goddamn is it a mind-blowing piece of art.

2:00 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

@Tear: I don't know why my neighbors are so weird, or why most Americans are so weird. It is way worse in the city than in a small town. When I was up North camping, human interactions were more "normal." Not necessarily cheery or fake-positive. I think when people are forced to interact daily, they have to be more real.

It's been annoying around here this week: every night, Blackhawk military helicopters fly overhead, late at night, conducting some kind of military exercise. Some people are freaking out. I think it's an attempt to condition people to the police state, as they could easily conduct these exercises in some remote area.
It's very impolite and inconsiderate of the government to fly helicopters over your house when the kids are trying to sleep.
That's the final straw. I'm going to divorce my government.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd move; other countries beckon, amigo, and u don't wanna delay. You know, sometimes I just sit around contemplating how awful Americans are, and after 5 mins or so of that I actually get dizzy. Once I even puked.


1:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings all,

MB, Wafers-

* More tragedy:



* Meet Kianna McMeans:


* A Mittney double feature:





1:20 PM  
Anonymous tam said...

Biddly wrote:
"Also, the new DSM-5 (which will be used by American mental health professionals) has gotten rid of many diagnoses, no longer classifies psychiatric disorders by type, and denies the very existence of certain disorders that are growing exponentially (Asperger's syndrome in particular). I see this as a harbinger of America's upcoming backward slide into ignorance concerning all scientific and technological matters. Limitless and inevitable progress indeed."

I have a different take on the modern DSM. My observation is that it is increasingly making-up disorders, in an effort to get insurance companies to pay for treatment, and to pave the way for big-pharma to dole out even more chemicals.

I'm not saying that mental-illness among Americans isn't multiplying like rabbits. It's just that I don't believe that all these diagnoses are based in genetics. My strong suspicion is that it's the culture that creates them.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Jake, you're in MN? Tear, Publius and I am too. Those damn helicopters!

3:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You guys need to think abt having a Midwest Wafer Summit (sans moi) at some pt. Soon, we shall be networking the world. Jack L.: things took another step closer to the Portland Wafer Summit in Dec. today; stay tuned for more details. Then there's the International Wafer Summit in Ireland, June 1-5, that we'll hafta start discussing b4 2 long; I'm hoping all tix can be purchased by mid-Jan. By 2016, there shd be a Wafer Summit occurring somewhere on the planet at least once a month. 'Progressives' will want to attend, but we'll just laugh at them, poor buggers.


4:04 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

A few months ago I reported that the comments section on the leftish blog site,, was home to a few antisemites.

It appears that at least some of them existed only through the efforts of a Jewish student at Harvard University who was attempting to discredit Commondreams by making it appear to be a haven for antisemites.

While good news, one still might wonder what could motivate this guy to put in all that energy.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's called Zionism, and the smear of CD probably cost them a lot in potential donations. Frankly, anything that ends in 'ism' can become a motherlode for fanatics. Check out my essay, "The Hula Hoop Theory of History," along w/Eric Hoffer's famous little bk, "The True Believer."


4:43 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...


It's true that a lot of the disorders are caused by environmental and social factors instead of genetics. But removing half of the disorders from the book just seems like yet another manifestation of the denial that increasingly pervades American society. The vast majority of Americans don't believe that global warming, overpopulation or any other form of ecological collapse is underway; nor can they grasp that American culture is vicious, sadistic, and exploitative. Similarly, and relevant to my point, most Americans are blind to the rapidly rising rate of mental illness in their midst.

The new DSM-V actually keeps many of the made-up illnesses (i.e., Borderline Personality Disorder, which is just a white-coat euphemism for the term "narcissistic lunatic asshole") while discounting those that are absolutely proven to exist, and that have primarily biological and environmental origins - Asperger's syndrome being the most prominent example. This reflects America's preoccupation with fantasy and its increasing unwillingness to confront reality. This is particularly horrible, because America's rate of Asperger's syndrome is increasing exponentially, unlike the supposed rates of the made-up illnesses, which are said to have remained fairly stable. All in all, it seems like a giant leap forward in the direction of denial.


Do you think that America has forgotten how to make good movies and TV shows as of late? I'd say that since the end of the Sopranos and Seinfeld, no good television has been produced by America - at least, not that I've seen. The most entertaining new shows seem to be's forecasts. What's missing is even the most basic understanding of human relationships - characters no longer have them, so it's impossible to care about what happens to them.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

The Rastafarians have a word called "ismism", by which they mean Babylon's tendency to cloud people's minds with spurious ideologies.

They find it deeply insulting when their religion is referred to as "Rastafarianism".

6:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes...I guess we'll hafta rethink "Waferism," eh wot? Perhaps "Relaxed and Enlightened Commitment to a Waferian Outlook". Kinda clunky.


6:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is kinda strange. I just watched "The Angriest Man in Bklyn," wh/must be Robin Wms last film. In it, he tries to commit suicide (jumping off the Bridge), but doesn't die. Lying in the hospital, he says, "On my tombstone it'll say 1951-2014." Which is what happened in real life, except that the suicide was 'successful'. Jesus, go figure.


8:37 PM  
Anonymous Buck Bugock said...


I´d say America stopped making good TV shows and movies around the late 1970s, save for a few exceptions in the movies here and there.
TV shows have been garbage for years, and since the 90´s have been sick garbage replete with mindless violence and glorification of psychopathic, soulless characters. The Sopranos is a perfect example of that. Yes, the acting was good, but what was the message? A vile, violent thug is portrayed as a common family man as he and his goons murder everyone from innocents to other thugs. Sorry, I'd rather read a book than waste my time on such dreck.
I'll never forget seeing Sopranos Cookbooks and other gimmicks for sale, all infantile toys for an infantile populace to piss away their money and time on.
Not since the 1950s and 1960s has America made great TV shows like The Twilight Zone (Rod Serling was a great writer), The Fugitive, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, etc., as well as the film noir movies of the 50's with actors like Sterling Hayden (a Wafer for sure), Neville Brand, Colleen Gray, etc., etc.
Those days are gone and the fact that such movies like them are today relegated to some obscure channel on the fringes just proves irrefutably how adept Americans are at destroying the good they once had and replacing it with repugnant trash.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Constance said...

Observations on Biddly Spop's question to MB about quality of television: I saw a recent bit of an American game show at a neighbour's house -- it was staged with strobe lights and flashing coloured spotlights and puffs of smoke. Disco visual effects + greed = entertainment? Time before that (that I saw television) was an episode of a lawyer turned talk show host, guest was a man who replied warmly -- and apparently sincerely -- yes, to host's question did he love his wife?, and then wife was brought on to tell husband on national television that she was leaving him for a lesbian partner. Close-ups of husband's -- (again) apparently sincerely -- stricken expression. Three generations of a different neighbour's family watched avidly, and I was asked impatiently not to drop in when that show was being aired. The last time I 'intentionally' watched TV was an episode of Roseanne: I had been told and read it was just a marvellous family show. Coming to TV cold.... it was one cruel, sarcastic, staged putdown after the next. Quality is clearly in the eye of the beholder. The real question that should be asked is the sanity of these shows.

'Sanity' is defined as adjustment to the common practices and mores of the society in which one lives, and procreation.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Zionists like to make up imaginary antisemites, like at Commondreams, to reorient the narrative around Israel in their favor. Since they can't win in the realm of public argument and debate, they attack those critical of Israel indirectly such as by this troll's actions on commondreams, the firing of professor Steven Salaita, and countless other cases of misdirecting and smearing people who raise questions about Israel.

Of course there are real antisemites around too. But the notion that pro-Israel activists often propound in the US, that Israel represents Jews, such that any attack on Israel is an attack on Jews, is itself antisemitic. Like all antisemitism it imposes an allegedly essential characteristic of Jewishness - loyalty to Israel in this case - that is really just a stereotype. Being Jewish does not equate to supporting Israel.

It is a common feature of the Israeli political establishment that they project onto their enemies what they themselves are guilty of. Just as with the claim of antisemitism, Israel condemns "terrorism" (i.e. any resistance to Israel's military occupations in Gaza and the West Bank), while itself conducting genocide and massive state terrorism against the people of Gaza, with more than 2,000 killed and 10,000 wounded.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Hola Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Golf-

Hmmm, would Waflike work, as opposed to Waferism? Still esoteric w/out the baggage of an *ism*.



ps: Please excuse this second post violation.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Waflike is an adjective, so I don't think it'll work. "The Waferian Persuasion," perhaps.

Another T-shirt:


(waforic = euphoric in a Waferian way)


11:39 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...


Yes, small town social relations are definitely far healthier. I grew up in a couple of them (one of them 20,000 people, the other a few hundred). Awkwardness was pretty rare, especially so in the latter. When I moved to the big city a couple of years ago, I eventually adopted the pretend-the-other-person-is-not-there anti-social unneighborly relations here, since people here don't know what to make of friendliness. I did discover that with a little extra effort and charisma, however, Minneapolis folk do return a smile and will engage in conversation with a stranger. Not always. Two days ago, taking a break during a jog I greeted a toddler that was just standing there staring at me, and her mother quickly escorted her in the other direction. My first thought was, "Jesus! What a weirdo! And what an unhealthy thing to teach your child!" But then I recalled all the crazy assholes I've encountered here, and I've got to say I don't blame her! Naivete is not a virtue.

12:13 AM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

Regarding TV, I have always been a sucker for Sci-Fi (even bad Sci-Fi), so pardon the following list! I found most of the "Star Trek" series to be quite good -- esp. "The Next Generation", which put a lot of new ideas into my college-age head. (However, the "Enterprise" series -- and the reimagined "Battlestar Galactica" -- were upsetting as they seemed to promote the militaristic / "torture is sometimes necessary" / siege mentality prevalent in America in the early 2000's. Guberment propaganda?) There's a good Canadian series on now, called "Continuum", which I can recommend. And, if you dig a little, the dark British series "Blake's Seven" is excellent. (It's fun to spot the same props and actors as in the "Dr. Who" episodes of the time -- another great series.)

Changing gears completely, thanks to several of you for recommending "Goliath" by Max Blumenthal. It was an education.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You can expand that education even further with Ilan Pappe, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine." As for Star Trek, check out the Seinfeld episode called "The Foundation."


Hmm...Can't help saying that I've tousled the hair of toddlers in public, in this small town and in Mexico City, and the parents invariably respond by chuckling.


3:54 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

buck, constance, drhinkle -

I also find myself looking back for quality TV & film these days. Whatever the occasional clunkiness (by modern standards) of such shows & films, they were always about something, they had actual ideas -- humanist ideas, in fact. It was a very different ethos, one that was hopeful & celebrated the better qualities of human beings, while still being quite aware of human frailty & the too-easy human capacity for evil. Much of the so-called "realism" in popular entertainment today seems to be stylized violence, glib irony, and unearned cynicism -- material made by people who grew up watching media rather than living life, and whose "reality" is Guy Debord's "spectacle" -- or the Matrix, if you will -- and an ugly, shallow Matrix at that.

I've been re-watching the single season of Then Came Bronson (1969-1970) on bootleg DVDs -- the only way to see it, alas -- and I've struck by just how introspective a series it is. Nothing really happens, except life itself. In one episode, Bronson meets an old Jewish widower from NYC, who's bought a van & is exploring/searching for America -- just as the younger Bronson is doing on his motorcycle. They befriend each other for a couple of days, talk about their lives, the expanding Universe, the history of dancing, loss & loneliness; they encounter other people & share brief but meaningful moments with them; finally they part & go on their separate ways. No artificial conflicts, no violence, no screaming matches -- just two people meeting in trust, openness, empathy. Now you KNOW something like that would never fly today!

8:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I may have posted this info b4:

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr. B & Jeff,

As the Rastafarians refer to themselves as "Rastafari", perhaps "Waferi" might be appropriate.

Perhaps abbreviated to "Wafa" when being congenial.

Perhaps other Rasta concepts could be Waferised. e.g. "Babylon" could be "Douchebagylon".

Or maybe I'm over thinking it.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Wafers or Waferinos for the individuals; but we still need something for the belief, outside of Waferism. Of course, we cd just keep Waferism w/the understanding that this is just a way of looking at things, and not some sort of fanatical ideology.


11:24 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

For those of us who continue to mourn the loss of our Mittney:

Have a WAFORIC day!


11:30 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

The World from PRI (Public Radio International) on Israeli jingoism.

An anti-war Israeli couple tells the story of their isolation after admitting to being against the war

Despite multiple attempts at peace talks and ceasefires, the air war between Israel and Gaza has continued. Palestinian rockets hit Israel on August 21, severely injuring one civilian. Recent Israeli airstrikes killed three senior Hamas militant leaders.

But the war has been fueling another conflict in Israel — one between those who support the Israeli military operation and those who oppose it. The tensions can be seen in Facebook news streams and heard at dinner tables and around workplace water coolers. Meet one young Israeli couple near Jerusalem who has dealt with this divide first-hand.


11:55 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

I'm afraid there are still only 3 known WAFers in the Twin Cities. I used to be Publius. Now I am Jake. I no longer want a pseudo-intellectual pen name. Sorry for the confusion.

Am I the only one who wonders why there isn't more talk of the fact that the USA/West supported and funded "ISIS" to help overthrow Assad, but now Isis is the new mega-threat? Wow. What a great plan. Neverending war. You must fund and support the terror group who becomes the next big threat. Like we did when we funded the Islamist guerrillas fighting the USSR in Afghanistan, which became Al Qaeda.

Why is that nobody in the mainstream dares to criticize these insane policies? I personally believe that the policies are sane, if you understand the real goal: the creation of endless warfare, which has many benefits: profits for the death machine, the undermining of civil rights by a fearful population, and the balkanization of the great middle east for easier control (supposedly). I won't even go into the provocation and demonization of Russia. But everyone buys it all! Hook, line and sinker. Very few people can really think for themselves here.

Getting back into CTOS. I'm done with the news and outer world. Can't do anything about it.
Good for Russia

12:19 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Apropos of nothing in particular, but perhaps offering a mild diversion, some wisdom from Julius Henry Marx:

1. "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."

2. "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself."

3. "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others."

4. "Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light."

And finally

5. "Whatever it is, I'm against it."

2:48 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Thanks for explaining the mock-antisemitism on Commondreams as "Zionism" Dr. B. Many of the folks (we're all "folks" now) over there dismiss the guy who did it as a twisted psycho. I've been trying to argue that the guy's a highly-motivated ideologue, but that idea's getting no traction.

I have the same problem with "vegetarian" that Wafmen are having with "Waferism." "Vegetarian" sounds like a creed or a philosophy. "Legumite" sounds good, if a tad Biblical, while "herbivore" anticipates being bitten by a T-Rex.

I saw a new TV show, "Welcome to Sweden," last night, that Wafniks might like. It's about a gringo ex-pat living in Sweden with his Swedish girlfriend. The show pokes fun at US culture by comparing it to life in Sweden.

Last night his douchebag father and medicated mother visited.
The mother at one point asked the girlfriend for Zanax (sp?) because she was experiencing feelings...and she didn't like that.

There was a nice scene between the two fathers as they were walking through a commons. The gringo couldn't understand the idea of communal property. "How do I know who to shoot?" was how his attitude was expressed.


3:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks. And stay Waforic!


3:48 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Unsurprising but depressing anyway:
Incidentally, I agree that the most chilling of pod people are those of robotic "cheerfulness" and mindless acceptance of a Stepford status quo.
The fact that it`s not their fault, that it`s been inculcated in them from the cradle doesn`t absolve them, in my view. They have passed the age of reason and chosen not to use it. Pissing on their shoes isn`t enough, I`m not sure what would be.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Iguanodon said...

Mittney taking the "ice bucket challenge", with Paul Ryan dumping ice water over his head.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

I thought you all might like this article published by Robert Jensen today (prof at UT Austin):

"New UT Chief's Military Background Is Cause for Reflection"

a sample...

> My new boss sounds like a pretty nice guy, for someone who has been involved in a long-running criminal enterprise.

> Let me be clear: I am not questioning the courage or commitment of McRaven or any other member of the military — I am criticizing U.S. policy, without apology. In my lifetime, the role of the U.S. military has not been primarily to safeguard anyone’s freedom but to secure an unjust distribution of the world’s resources. I am not arguing that U.S. military forces never do anything positive, but rather that the role of the U.S. military generally is to project power in a fashion that does not serve people in these regions or ordinary people at home.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Got into discussion of American decline randomly with a foreman on a job site today. He had a secondhand anecdote that scares the shit out of me. The DHS stockpiling of bullets and other assorted police militarization has been fairly mainstream, but he hit me with a whopper. His wife's family is established military stock, multiple brothers serving, one just left for his 4th tour etc. Well one of them was supposedly involved in a training program that centered on the operation of guillotines. Foreman told me he called bullshit and the brother produced a picture... Brother also told him that he was asked during the program if he would have a problem killing a US citizen under UN orders, to which he answered yes. He was shortly thereafter removed from the program and put at a base in Korea for a year.

The UN line seems too far up the typical American right wing tree for me, but the possibility that the brother invented the line to sublimate his own fear of his command structure seems likely to me. I talked to the foreman for an hour and a half, he did not strike me as a liar, thought obviously the brother could have been...

8:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I tell ya, this article bothered me:

What is disturbing is that after Dan Page said, "I kill everybody," he didn't specify *how*. What, with his gun? Why not say, "with nukes and with drones"? Or at least say, "I'd like to do it with nukes and drones"? Or just, "I'm pissed off that I don't have any nukes and drones at my disposal"?

God, how far the police force has fallen.


10:46 PM  
Anonymous OnlyinAmerica said...

Today in West Virginia a 21 year old man driving an SUV with a dog, an AK47, 40 chickens, marijuana, and altered fireworks that may be bombs crashed on the interstate. Only in America could the driver be arrested for the marijuana and not the AK47 and bombs.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

I was shopping in a supermarket today, and for some reason, I was much more acutely aware of peoples' body language, their tone of voice, and the general nature of their thinking as revealed by their words. Wow...incredibly stupid people. I could scarcely believe the level of stupidity I witnessed. One amazingly stupid person after another, all of whom seemed to be completely unaware of their ignorance and lack of curiosity. The old people I encountered were just as stupid as the young; their words contained not even a shred of understanding or sophistication. They behaved like domesticated cows, dumbly and dimly going about their routines, not even aware of what they might want out of life except for creature comforts, sense pleasure, and not ever having to entertain a single thought. (I'm not dismissing sense pleasure, only the type of mindset that dismisses everything but sense pleasure.) Some of the old people were dressed like teenagers, and walked around staring into their cell phones, no doubt checking up on the latest celebrity gossip.

I also noticed something very curious. Most of these people had extremely tiny craniums, misshapen faces, and dull and/or anxious eyes. I think this is partly the result of all the toxins and chemicals that have been allowed to build up in America's environment, particularly in its food and water. This state of affairs should be avidly studied by everyone in the coming ages. It would serve as an excellent warning to all people, groups and nations that think that no harm can come out of habitual hustling and greed. Habitual hustling and greed literally reduces people to the level of particularly stupid animals, genetically, socially, mentally, emotionally, morally, and neurologically.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Ken Smith said...

Look at the advertisement that just popped up while watching a YouTube video. I'm not thin, but I am undoped and ready to be shipped.

Wafers In Stock.
Thin Wafers. Oxide. Undoped. All in stock and read to ship.

The advert had nothing to do with the video. I've been reading online about nanotechnology and graphene, so Google or YouTube must have tagged me as a potential buyer of Wafers. No thanks.

- - -

I was watching a YouTube video interview of a woman in eastern Ukraine with two hungry children.

Let's go beyond the filtered news reports that follow an official narrative. Here is Katya, an ethnic Russian in eastern Ukraine. She says, sarcastically, "Thanks Ukraine, now I have two hungry children." She blames the western Ukraine army and mercenaries for the bombs and shelling of her city of Lugansk. It's in Russian, but you can click to turn on English sub-titles.

Click here:

12:06 AM  
Blogger Val said...

Okay, I went and got some Spanish CDs from the Library. None are Pimsleur, but it's a start. Now I gotta have the discipline to study from them.

I feel I ought to rectify my previous remark, wherein I said I feared the potential for war in Ukraine. Of course I meant the potential for a wider war, or an escalation of the current situation. But for people in Donetsk and other locations in eastern Ukraine it's already war, and I should have acknowledged that. I've seen articles in RT and elsewhere that speak of bombs killing civilians. One had a photo of a teenage girl with her arm shattered and shrapnel lodged all down the right side of her body, lying in a hospital bed. She'd been with a bunch of people holidaying by a riverside, and bombs fell and killed them. She saw one child's head blown right off.

I can remember when this sort of thing happening in Vietnam used to bring protesters by the thousands out into the streets of US cities. This war too is backed principally by our government, as well as the EU, I gather. How is it that Americans don't give a crap that people are killed by their government any more? I know MB has covered this thoroughly in many books, but I'm still appalled by how far we've fallen. Of course most Americans aren't getting the real story from the media they follow, but I suspect that ignorance is willful. They *want* to be lied to.

Lately I've concluded that our wars are more than just a byproduct of empire, of the desire to extract wealth from peripheral subject nations at grossly unequal rates of exchange. Our appetite for consumption is so voracious that basically our way of life in itself *is* a war upon the rest of the world.

Re Dan Page and his methodology for killing: maybe he sprays people with a phial of Ebola he keeps handy.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

My suggestion for our belief: Why not simply "Waferin", as in "Keep on Waferin," or as an allusion to Wafer INsight?

2:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bid et al.-

Gd journalism! When a civilization dies, this is what it looks like. There are "nodes," dramatic moments like the crash of 2008 or the attacks of 2001, or Alaric sacking Rome in A.D. 410; but the real process is daily, nitty-gritty, such as people you might see in a supermarket turning into vegetables, or cops killing one unarmed civilian after another. Or arriving at the point that you literally have no one to talk to abt these things. This blog does not assume, like 'progressives' do, that any of this can be reversed at this pt; it only seeks to bear witness, to create an archive, so to speak. It's also why we are not a cult, and why Waferism is not any sort of ism in the traditional sense of the term. Jack's suggestion is a gd one: Wafering is what we do, as in Keep on Truckin'. After all, besides emigrating, and/or becoming an NMI, what else is left?

When Biddly refers to genetic changes, I hafta say that this is a long discussion, because supposedly acquired characteristics can't be inherited, a la Lamarck. Yet I've always wondered whether the Weissmann barrier (the 'wall' between soma and germ plasm) was as impermeable (or, technically speaking, uni-directional) as scientists claim. I suspect that there is such a thing as "neo-Lamarckian mimicry," whereby things are a lot more flexible and blurry than orthodox theory has it. In any case, I'm not sure it really matters: after 400 yrs of hustling, it's as though an entire way of life is sewn into our DNA. American babies emerge into the world as proto-hustlers, so to speak; wherever it comes from, this is what will circumscribe their lives. And Val is certainly rt when s/he says that our way of life itself constitutes a war on the rest of the world. ("Possessions are a disease with them"--Sitting Bull)

B4 I 4get: *do not miss* the Israeli film "Bethlehem" (2013), dir. Yuval Adler.

Anyway, Keep on Waferin'...


ps: Val-

Also try to find a mixed conversation group where some wanna learn English, and some wanna learn Spanish. You need actual practice with the language.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Constance said...

Epigenetic changes in response to environment are real and lasting.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for that input. Wiki article on epigenetics suggests that this is a form of Lamarckism.

So this raises the question as to whether, if Wafers went door-to-door in the US w/tire irons, beating Americans while yelling, "Stop hustling, fer chrissakes!", their great-grandchildren wd indeed not be hustlers. By then it will be too late, of course (in terms of national collapse), but it's still an encouraging thought. If only Americans had received epigenetic therapy 200 yrs ago, eh?


8:03 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Here's another overview on "the illness that we are" that sums up a fair amount of we're discussing on this blog:

Of course it includes the obligatory "there is still hope/things can still be turned around" paragraph. I'd love to believe that myself, as I don't look forward to any further decay & collapse -- but the writing is on the wall & has been for a long time now.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Wafer Anthem (apologies for length)

Waferin got my chips cashed in, Keep Waferin, like the Bel-man man
Together, more or less in line, just keep Waferin on.

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street.
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it's all on the same street.
Your typical city involved in a 'Merican daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings.

Dallas, got a soft machine, Houston, too close to New Orleans,
New York's got the ways and means, but just won't let you be, oh no.

Most of the 'foons that you meet on the street speak of true love,
Most of the time they're sittin' and cryin' at home.
One of these days they know they better get goin'
Out of the door and down on the streets all alone.

Waferin, like the Bel-man man. Once told me, "You gotta play your hand"
Sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime, if you don't lay 'em down.

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it's been.

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Livin' on reds, vitamin C and cocaine,
All a friend can say is "Ain't it a shame?"

Waferin, up to Buffalo. Been thinkin', you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep Waferin on.

Sittin' and starin' out of the hotel window.
Got a tip they're gonna kick the door in again
I'd like to get some sleep before I travel,
But if you got no warrant, I guess you're gonna come in.

Busted, down on Bourbon Street, set up, like a bowlin' pin.
Knocked down, it get's to wearin' thin. They just won't let you be, oh no.

You're sick of hangin' around and you'd like to travel,
Get tired of travelin' and you want to settle down.
I guess they can't revoke your soul for tryin',
Get out of the door and light out and look all around.

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it's been.

Waferin, I'm a goin' home. Whoa whoa baby, back where I belong,
Back home, re-read my Que-Oh-Vee, and get back Waferin on.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Blair said...

You can`t make this shit up:

11:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In the US, satire and reality have merged.


A bit long for blog, but I cried all the same.


11:45 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Val wrote:

"I can remember when this sort of thing happening in Vietnam used to bring protesters by the thousands out into the streets of US cities. This war too is backed principally by our government,..."

Might the explanation for why there are no [war] protesters in the streets lie in the fact that very few Americans are directly touched by war? No draft, no requirement that the entire country experience sacrifice--no Boy Scout paper drives, no meatless Fridays, nothing. Sure, Americans pay the taxes that finance a portion of the costs of these wars--the rest comes from borrowed money, from China among other creditors. (How's that for irony? )

No sense among U.S. Americans* that this war--or that one, or the other--has anything to do with them personally, except in a very abstract sense. And their notion of sacrifice consists principally in buying a Support Our Troops magnet for the car. Or, if funds are short, thanking a GI for his service to our country when he encounters one at the mall or in an airport.

In short, bubkes.

*Locution coined by Miss South Carolina in response to a 2007 Miss Teen USA pageant question. She was asked why she thought it was the case that recent polls had shown that 20 percent of Americans couldn't find the United States on a world map.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I always thought it was transliterated from the Yiddish as bupkes. Miss SC's answer to the question was that there weren't enough maps.

In future, pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks.


1:26 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Further evidence of MB's point about children as "proto-hustlers":

* Notice the Reagan figurine on little Jack's desk.


ps: My apologies for yesterday's second post violation, MB. I thought I just had to go nite-nite once, then I could post again...

2:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry! I see that it was Jas Allen who posted, quoting you; not you. Hope I didn't offend. It's a problem of age, I think: after 70, the brain just turns into cottage cheese. Anyway, my apologies.


2:48 PM  
Anonymous Louisa May Apricot said...

Glossary check; "Wafering is what we do, as in Keep on Truckin'. After all, besides emigrating, and/or becoming an NMI, what else is left?"
What's NMI?
Keep n WAFerin!

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

MB and all,

For all those interested in the topic of what's happening in Israel, there is a good new interview of journalist Max Blumenthal here:

7:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fruit Woman-

New Monastic Individual. Check out Twilight bk for discussion and examples.


7:44 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

What if there were a cultural collapse, and nobody showed up?

I realize that part of wisdom is knowing when to give up. Give up arguing with family members about politics... give up fighting for this or for that.
Why so much struggle?

Life, of course, is inherently a process that entails suffering, overcoming, and change. But what if we focused on our selves, our family/friends, and immediate surroundings, and let the monsters in D.C. proceed unimpeded in their projects?
Voila! Instant cultural collapse! I'm out of the protest/progressive/get-enraged game.

I know that WAFers get this, but why do so many Americans NOT understand that literally EVERYTHING the USA touches in other nations is destroyed, degraded, infected, or undermined?
Why do we bother?
It's also interesting that Americans are the most ignorant of other lands of any people, yet the most eager to intervene. Truly odd.
@Biddly: I've noticed the degradation on the American physiognomy over the past few decades. Truly astounding. It's partly physical/biological (GMOs, terrible food, chemicals), but also spiritual. I believe that spiritual apathy or collapse induces biophysical decay. Literally.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The list of scholars who have documented the fact that civilizations rise and fall, and that there is not one which, in the process of falling, reevaluates what it is doing and reverses the process--is quite impressive. Toynbee, Tainter, Spengler, George Modelski...well, it's a long list. 'Progressives' don't grasp this; they are in denial abt it; and it is what makes them come off as particularly pathetic. As for the factors, I do a comparison of Rome and the US in the Twilight book, wh/you might find helpful.

As for Americans not understanding, or undergoing spiritual and physiognomic death: these are only 2 aspects, among many, of what an ongoing collapse looks like. Imagine what the country wd look like if, instead of a few hundred Wafers and 318 million morons, the nation consisted of 318 million Wafers and a few hundred morons. It wd be a *very* different country, quite obviously, and collapse wd be much further on down the line. Imagine if the American people celebrated Jimmy Carter as a visionary, and regarded Reagan as an utter jackass? Imagine if they thought the world of Lewis Mumford, and regarded Henry Ford and F.W. Taylor and J.P. Morgan as douche bags? Etc.

You ask why Americans can't understand this or that. But what if biopsies, CAT scans, and MRI's revealed that almost the entire nation had dog excrement in their heads? You can say, "Well, that's not *literally* true," but since they *act* as tho their heads were full of shit, what's the difference?

While I regard emigration as the sanest response to all this, I don't really advocate passivity. NMI's, whether in the US or outside of it, can get involved in Dual Process, as we've discussed it here at various times; and looking down the road a few decades, they can start creating the elements of a post-capitalist, eco-sustainable, homeostatic world (degrowth). There's a lot to be done, if one wants to do it; altho I personally believe that the real vanguard of all that will be outside of the US.


10:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is a gd essay, tho I am disturbed that author never uses phrases such as "douche bag" or "needs urine on her shoes":

11:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And here's a useful discussion of Obama's CRE:

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...


Speaking of anecdotes, I have more of them I'd like to share. I go to a music school in New York City. I consider my classmates to be the cream of American culture (this isn't saying much); despite being the cream of American culture, it's a miserable place to get an education. It's impossible to make friends there; just about everyone responds with hostility to kindness and attempts at deep discussion, and positively to superficiality, narcissism, and cliquish behavior. Just about everyone there loves Obama and everything he has done, including killing millions overseas (they regard all Muslims and Arabs as terrorists that must be killed ASAP). Most of them also do not believe that any ecological catastrophe is unfolding, and that the future of the world is as bright as could be. Likewise, they embrace a wide, impassable gap between rich and poor, and see consumerism as the sole permissible way of life.

And this music school is a branch of The New School, widely considered to be one of the most liberal establishments in America. If the extreme left wing of American politics is embarked on a crusade to rid the world of all Muslims and Arabs, what do you think the extreme right wing of America stands for? If the extreme left wing of America does not acknowledge global warming, deforestation, etc., what do you think the extreme right wing of America believes? And so on, for wealth disparity, intolerance of any way of life except consumerism, and everything else...

We're fucked. Even if you disagree with the assessment that America was doomed from birth, you'd have to acknowledge that American politics has shifted so far to the right that America is officially a fascist nation.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't post Anons. Pls pick a handle and re-send yr message. Thank you.


2:48 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Biddly Spop,

At the risk of coming off as an apologist for the current version of the USA's 'right wing', consider the following:

Although he might have other faults, Ron Paul does not seem to be in favor of eradicating Muslims, Arabs, or anyone I know of, other than maybe the operators of the Federal Reserve. His take (during the GOP presidential debates) on 9/11 struck me as pretty much the same as our host's, as described in DAA. (Feel encouraged to point out any serious differentials, Professor.)

I'd be surprised if he is a 'climate change denier', but if he is, add that to his catalog of faults as far as I'm concerned.

If Paul's not part of what you think of as the extreme right wing, maybe if you widen your bandwidth to include him you'll find others out there who are in full acknowledgement of the problems you noted, about all of which I share your concern. Also, Paul is friends with (former?) Rep. Kucinich, perhaps the only progressive who might be possessed by sanity, maybe even be a crypto-Wafer.

Sure, a lot of these guys want to take power from the big corporations and the government they have bought & paid for so that 'heroic individuals' can have The American Dream, which we know needs some serious therapy. That puts them on footing similar to what Dr. King was on until soon before he was murdered. Although most of these folks may be aliens from your current perspective, they need not all be the enemy.

One of the big failures of The Left in the 1960's era was the inability to find common ground with The Right. I suspect that the failure was guided by plants within both factions, but I'm not a historian of the problem. You can read up on Carl Oglesby, one of the founding members of SDS, who proposed trying to build alliances with The Other Side at the time. From the Wiki page on him: "He once unsuccessfully proposed cooperation between SDS and the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom on some projects, and argued that "in a strong sense, the Old Right and the New Left are morally and politically coordinate". He was drummed out of 'the movement' in fairly short order. If you sense a calculus at work the math.

Even if some of us are able to do in very small ways what Oglesby proposed almost half a century ago, we still aren't likely to win. There is too much momentum/inertia now with Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Ad, Big Everything. And the only reason to fight fascists is the one Hedges offers: not because there is a prayer of winning, but because they're fascists.

I used to follow three blogs it's down to two. DAA & NBL (Guy McPherson's blog on climate change and other scientific threats). If McPherson is right, we may have as few as 15 years left, if that. If he's wrong, we might have as many as 35 or even 85, but we're unlikely as a species to see 2100. This isn't to throw water on our host's interest for Dual-Process economics, and it sure isn't counter to his obviously clear analysis that the USA is in for near-term Doom.

We can draw graphs to represent the forces at work, but that doesn't mean there is any solution. We don't have a 'problem' that has a solution. We have a predicament within which we must act on a daily basis. I have liked living in Costa Rica for the past 5.5 years or so. MB digs Mexico. Other Wafers live elsewhere. I suspect finding right wingers in NYC would be quite a challenge. If nothing else, try to find a way to escape what Joe Bageant called "the American hologram". If you can't leave the country and live among other victims of the empire, at least go to where the NMI's are in your area.
I think it's called Ar-monk, NY.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

an interesting story....

"The Strange & Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit"

> Knight stated that over all those years he slept only in a tent. He never lit a fire, for fear that smoke would give his camp away. He moved strictly at night. He said he didn't know if his parents were alive or dead. He'd not made one phone call or driven in a car or spent any money. He had never in his life sent an e-mail or even seen the Internet.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Constance said...

Twin studies suggest that character and personality are far more genetically determined than had been thought. OK, now consider a population wholly self-selected for maladjustment, discontent, greed, opportunism -- happy people rarely emigrate -- let them interbreed for six or eight generations, effectively in isolation, wholly divorced from any stable culture going back into prehistory, and what would one expect to see? America. Which makes *us* inept and maladaptive 'recessives', easily out-classed by ten-year-old not-so-proto-hustlers.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for interesting post, but pls try to limit future ones to half a page (hard, I know). I'm also curious as to how many monks there are in Armonk. Is there also a Yourmonk? Kucinich is apparently a fan of the Reenchantment bk, BTW.

Apropos of hermits and lunatic cultures, someone suggested "The Circle" by David Eggers a while back. I'm almost finished w/it; terrific bk, highly recommended.

Here's a sweet diversion: "Fading Gigolo," dir. John Turturro. W/a sound track to die for.


6:53 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

infanttyrone -

Ron Paul has deduced the obvious causes of the 9/11 attacks, but also considers Social Security to be as great an injustice as American military intervention abroad. He is a man of principle, but so is Pat Buchanan.

Buck Bugock-

"The Sopranos is a perfect example of that. Yes, the acting was good, but what was the message? A vile, violent thug is portrayed as a common family man as he and his goons murder everyone from innocents to other thugs."

The show has problematic dimensions, but I think you have taken the rather opposite message that the show means to convey. It is a portrait of a man who has achieved everything that our vacuous and morally bankrupt society tells us we should have, and who is still filled with dread and anxiety. We are a society of thugs, living in McMansions who go see who go to therapists not for self-improvement but to re-assure ourselves by making others complicit in our lies. We have escaped justice for the crimes of the past, but know subliminally that we will pay for them in some way or another. It is perhaps the most purely wafer-ish portrait of contemporary American society that has ever achieved mass popularity in the dismal medium of television.

Granted, these points are made in a better and more aesthetically tasteful fashion in other places, but I think the very skepticism of the American mythos is key to its appeal.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Desert Fox-

I've thought a lot abt The Sopranos, or at least on occasion. Paul Stiles, who wrote "Is the American Dream Killing You?", saw it as reflective of our sickness: instead of condemning this mafioso way of life, it just (postmodernly) presented it as one lifestyle among many. He thus saw the show as immoral. But I'm not sure abt that assessment. Here's what occurs to me:

1. The scripts are terrific. Whoever was writing them is an extremely talented guy. And the acting was also superb.

2. This *is* the American Dream. Tony is rolling in dough, has a house in the burbs, and on a material level lacks for nothing. Many social scientists have remarked that the hustling of legitimate businessmen is not very different from the hustling of organized crime. Indeed, org. crime is heavily invested in legitimate businesses of all kinds. The pt is that the mindset is identical, even if the means of cosa nostra are often over the top. A recent article in the New Yorker argued that what organized crime always wanted was legitimacy in the larger society, and that historically spkg, they usually obtained it, sooner or later.

3. But as folks here have pted out, there's a snake in the garden. How intentional was it, on the part of the writers of The Sopranos, to reveal that the American Dream was a con; that it finally didn't deliver any peace of mind whatever? Tony's family life is a total mess, he's constantly walking a tightrope, and he's riddled w/anxiety--he never really has a moment's peace. He also doesn't seem to like himself all that much. In a word, the A.D. not only fails to deliver the goods; what it does deliver is ultimately disastrous, from a social, psychological, emotional, and existential pt of view. Think of the clowns at Goldman Sachs, who are driven to assuage their haunting sense of emptiness with private jets, multiple homes, and $20,000 bottles of wine. In America, in other words, we're all Tony, or Tony wannabes.


8:40 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Jake said: "What if there were a cultural collapse, and nobody showed up?" I've started to think of living among Americans as being stuck in a riptide taking me out to sea. The 318 million are content to go with the flow or kill themselves swimming against the tide instead of swimming like an NMI across the current.

Re: The Sopranos. I think it useful to compare the Sopranos to House of Cards. Both are culturally approved ways of hustling your way to the top! But unlike Frank, Tony reveals the nature of this life in a physical reaction ... therapy, panic attacks, etc. Connecting the USA lifestyle to the physical reaction is one of the hardest things to overcome as a new WAF-er.

I saw one of these t-shirts at the Fair this weekend and though it really means hustle as in playing sports with energy, I thought it rather appropriate to life in the USA:

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Seeking Sanity said...

I enjoy the comments about TV and movies here. As a kid in the 70’s I remember watching Sanford and Son, Chico and the Man and Good Times. These shows featured poorer people and families trying to stay afloat, let alone get ahead in life, but they still had some laughs and loved each other. I could relate to the characters in these sitcoms.

In the 1980’s things changed as it became morning in Reagan’s America. That’s when TV and movies quit dealing with working class people. I remember the movies 16 Candles and Pretty in Pink where the wealth gap always loomed large and the only goal anyone could possibly have is joining the ranks of the conspicuously wealthy.

From there it seems the majority of movies have featured people and lifestyles that I just don’t relate too. Do any of these TV or movie families live in a house smaller than 5,000 sq. ft.? If so, then they live in the ghetto. There’s no in between it seems. Sure they might throw in a sitcom like Roseanne, but then they must throw in the dysfunction to show that those working class folks just don’t have their shit together.

Then we had Cosby (wealthy doctor with a shitload of kids in NYC), Cheers (dysfunctional people in dysfunctional relationships) and Friends (trying to give 20-somethings meaning in life) and Seinfeld (more dysfunctional people). Around the end of Seinfeld I pretty much quit watching TV altogether.

With the exception of Burn Notice I essentially stick to science fiction or fantasy in my movie and TV entertainment. At least I know I am dealing with fictional characters in such movies. Ironically, I relate more to the fantasy characters than the attempted “real life” characters of the sitcoms depicting daily life in America. Just my observations. Sorry for the long post.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous in.fern.all said...


Are you familiar with Hal Smith's blog, "The Compulsive Explainer"? He also lives in Costa Rica and much of what he writes sounds like what you say here. His most frequent theme is humanity's (not just Americans) collective surrender of it's humanity in favor of becoming machines.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No apology needed; that's abt the rt length, thanks.


11:58 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings MB and Wafers-

Witless Mitt is creating some serious buzz about 2016. Two things make me put my pants on backwards:

a) Canter's

b) Mittney


12:29 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Because we're talking about "The Sopranos," and I'm coincidentally currently watching reruns of the show almost every night, I thought I'd pitch in.

This isn't a revelation, but like "The Godfather" (with that great first line, "I believe in America" - the USA is an act of faith, dig?), "The Sopranos" uses the Mob as a metaphor for the USA.

Tony often talks about how "his thing" is in decline. He knows he's at the end of something that he thinks used to have meaning. He also refers to a golden age, where guys like Gary Cooper (not Ronny Reagan) dealt with their problems like men, and didn't need self-help manuals.

He also talks about how his immigrant grandfather struggled, but who was talented enough a stoneworker to build a cathedral. Now, Tony said, you can't find anyone who can grout a bathtub properly.

Religion takes some hits in the show as well. Father Phil, a moocher who feeds off the emotional lives of his flock, tells everyone that they're OK, even though the people themselves know they are seriously flawed.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

@lack of coherence...
I thought you all might like this article published by Robert Jensen today (prof at UT Austin):

"New UT Chief's Military Background Is Cause for Reflection"


Great article. Very well stated. THANKS!

12:47 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Re The Sopranos;

I rewatched the first episode last night. When Tony explains that he feels his thing is in decline and he feels he's missed out on the best, Dr. Multi replies that many Americans today feel that way. Pretty clear cut..

2:02 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

(Jake = ex-Publius, if you are to connect the new me to the old).
Well well, how about some real-life anecdotes?
I was hanging out alone on Saturday night, watching a Norwegian film that takes place in Medieval Times (a popular genre, I know), when I got a text from my brother, the wealthy chemical salesman:
"Jake, it's ironic you criticize and condemn your home (I think he means gov't) that takes such good care of you and your family with programs like income based repayment (of student loans). People like me feel robbed from programs like that. Why I should I pay for people's loans I don't even know? You should emigrate since both of you hold your home in contempt yet both of you have been propped up from the programs and country you despise."

How's that for a nice, heartwarming family communique? So the fact that I am not absolutely crushed by student loan payments makes people like him angry.
Also, to him, criticizing our gov't means that I hate my country, and that I should leave. Critique equals treason.
Ironically, I do indeed want to leave, and finally my wife is onboard too. But my brother's anger and even hatred for me and my views is blindingly obvious. I think he was triggered by a post of mine comparing the rates of police shootings in the USA versus other nations. He called my graphical display of this information "obnoxious."
My brother is perhaps an extreme case of what is going on in the average person - despair combined with vicious animosity towards non-comformists.

Regarding passivity, I didn't mean that I want to be passive, Prof. Berman. I want to work on skills and human relationships and knowledge that are basically NMI, and stop wasting energy on the progressive (or any other political) fight. That's all.
I've decided to become a wooden boat builder. I built a boat once, and that was a joy. I want craft, attention to detail, working with wood, the smell of wood shavings, with my workshop door open to the wind, a little fire in my woodburning stove... No more cubicles, no more computer screens.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


I was not familiar with The Compulsive Explainer. I read a few weeks worth of his short-ish, near-daily postings and made a comment on one to offer to exchange Costa Rica contact info. I'll be back there about 18 September. Hopefully he'll respond before then. If not, I'll keep up with his blog, as it's full of interesting thoughts. We have a partial overlap in that we were both involved with computers and some other electronic things.

He had a post about growing up in a small town that caught my attention. I sent him a couple clips of a song series that I've treasured for going on 45 years, since I first heard it performed live. I'm visiting in Texas-stan, so I'll just say I hope some of y'all enjoy them. One live version, one from the ancient vinyl (remember?). The vinyl clip has the words via photos of lyrics that were on the album cover.



3:19 PM  
Blogger Val said...

@JWO -

Those familiar with John Rechy's novel "City of Night" will know that in gay slang of yesteryear "hustler" means "male prostitute." Kinda odd that murkins now want to give their kids t-shirts declaring them to be this.

MB, thanks for the tip about discussion groups. I was thinking I needed some kind of IRL practice situation for Espanol, and that's just the thing. I'll start looking for some instanter.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Everyone check this out. It seems like the Rwandans may be onto something about psychological healing.

It does make me wonder as crazy as it sounds what if Canter's Deli with the fine music and fine food with fine friends would help better than western psychology.

Maybe eating Molis Belman's mother's chopped liver recipe with awesome friends would help as well with lots of singing and dancing.

Only one problem. How in the heck do you dance? I have no idea how to do it? I have two left feet.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Yamato Kusoatama said...

Hi Mr. B; I started to watch "The Sopranos" many years ago but stopped early on. After reading your two trilogies I watched it again and found lots of themes in common with your books, ie ...

... a narcissistic mother behind Tony Soprano's panic attack's (later on the show we see it's her mother acceptance of mob behavior).

... west-coast-paradigm-shift -type-spirituality gets portrayed as hollow and psychopatic (seen on is rekationship with his sister).

... and then this tension between monogamy-traditional-agriculture-society vs. men's more accused desire of sexual diversity mixed with the neo-primitive-capitalist-women-liberation-caused-hypergamy (though i find a lot of resentment on MGTOW or MRA movements, still find one of their foundational texts, the misandry bubble a great read, along with "Sex at dawn" by Chris Ryan).

Also thought it was interesting the meat and tobacco as main staple and drug of choice, thought it would be difficult to me to justificate it since I've been more of a pseudo-intellectual type.

PS: this is shithead/fool trollfoon, hope i have your blessings for this (i hope) definitive handle

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Deborah said...

Speaking of the Sopranos and the Mafia, get a load of this recent article about a Mafia boss who doesn't trust Wall Street:

I think that says it all. I think the tv decline was pretty obvious when Dynasty and Dallas came along which depicted our new obsession with $$$ and upsizing.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

I need a family and a community. Don't worry, I know that this is not what this blog provides, but wow...America isn't even a nation. It's a giant collection of warring individuals. I have vague recollections of having more of a family and a community when I was young, but I wonder how much of this is really true. Was I just more naive? Was I just innocent and relatively intact at the time?

It seems that Americans are much angrier than they were 30 years ago. I wonder, exactly, at what state this will hit rock bottom? Maybe when Americans are literally in the streets, killing each other at random?

5:48 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

" Paul Stiles, who wrote "Is the American Dream Killing You?", saw it as reflective of our sickness: instead of condemning this mafioso way of life, it just (postmodernly) presented it as one lifestyle among many. He thus saw the show as immoral."

Only someone with a blinding desire to project their own ideas onto everything would interpret it that way. David Chase rubs our nose in Tony’s essential vileness and immorality at almost every turn. And, as al-qabong pointed out, he also very clearly identifies Tony as a metaphor for the decline and spiritual wasteland of contemporary America. The morality of the show might be challenged, but certainly not on these grounds.

Here are some other analytical ideas for Paul Stiles to run with:

Dostoevsky’s novels posit that fashionable enlightenment ideas had rendered traditional Christian values obsolete.

Vertigo is an affirmation of the essential virtue and saneness of living in the past.

Sacvan Bercovitch's works center on the idea that Americans are fundamentally level-headed and capable of rational self-examination.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr bro is a douche bag. He has mucus in his head.


u.r. not a trollfoon. Be on lookout for my Japan bk, hopefully available in Dec.


But they *are*, no?


7:41 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

When I do watch TV shows it's usually Spongebob Squarepants. It's hilarious, with lots to teach kids (and adults), saturated in messages criticizing hustling, aggression, pretentiousness, dishonesty and other American values. But I may have to check out The Sopranos. I ignored it since (A) it was popular, and (B) I assumed it was glorifying that which it was apparently criticizing.

Biddly Spop,

I really dig all the anecdotes you've posted. For one thing, it's interesting to read Wafers experience so much of the same shit, when for years I thought I was the last sane American alive. Also, hearing about things secondhand is informative in a different way than books and articles. I suppose that's one thing the Internet is good for—a medium to visualize collapse as it's happening, informed by a virtual "community" of a handful of people scattered about like stars in the sky. As for real community, friends and good family—these things take time, because in this country you usually have to start from scratch. People that you thought for years were good friends turn out to be scum, and it really is no use keeping a vampire around to suck the life out of you. It's very hard to know sometimes what needs mending, and what's a lost cause—some people are bad friends because they are in pain and need your help, and other times they are just bad people. Cherish the true friendships, and those that last will be strong and very rewarding. And good family relations are difficult to sustain, but if you keep trying your family members will have the utmost respect for that, and those bonds will be very strong. A little advice that I wish had been given when I was your age (I'm assuming you are in your early twenties since you're in music school).

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Buck Bugock said...

The "positive" things about The Sopranos that some people are mentioning here are only things that those of us who are among that 1% of Americans who don't have shit for brains would be able to see.
I've never read or heard if the creator or writer of the show made it with the intent of pointing those themes and issues out, but even if he did it's beyond obvious that his effort was lost on about 99% of the American population despite the show's success.
Americans didn't like The Sopranos for the reason the few Wafers here liked it. I was a Firefighter/Paramedic for 20 years (1988-2008)and when The Sopranos came out in 1998 my co-workers would watch it in the station house. Like most American Slugs, they got off on the extreme violence and glorification of vile scumbags whose behavior they desired to emulate, and on days the show wasn't on HBO they'd constantly talk about it and the characters as if they were real people.
A few of them even bought the childish gimmicks like the Sopranos Cookbook. Yes, the show had great acting and writers, but a lump of shit is still just that, even if it's packaged in a fancy box. And just knowing how shows like The Sopranos, Oz, and other violent trash makes Americans get all excited in their quest for violence makes me despise those shows as much as I despise Americans. After finally being succesful in moving away from the U.S. the last thing I want to do is associate with Americans and watch their repugnant shows, movies, etc.
Again, the older TV shows and movies were different, and as far as the movies go there are good ones today once in a blue moon, although they usually go straght to DVD since what makes them good keeps them from being attractive to Americans.
Whatever "message" about America that The Sopranos and other shows like it have to offer, I have no doubt I can get the same thing from a book written by men like Andrew Bacevitch, Neil Postman, Chris Hedges, Howard Zinn, Wendell Berry, Morris Berman, etc., etc., in a delivery that will be much more intellectually satisfying.

But to each his own.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Biddly Spop,

Further to my comments a few days ago about the possibility of finding sensible extreme right-wing Americans (for lack of a less straight-jacketing & for many, pejorative term)...From time to time I will see someone on TV (don't watch much, really, but here & there) or in a blog comment mention the name of General Smedley Butler. Surprisingly often, many of the people who drop his name appear to be military vets. Back when I used to watch Olberman on Countdown, I'm pretty sure one or more of the Veterans Against the Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan mentioned Ge. Butler by name on more than one occasion.

I have not gone out and looked for the sorts of folks you are looking for, but if Butler's name is becoming even remotely well-known among combat vets, that's where I would go if I were in the market to meet them. Use Butler's name as a dowsing rod of sorts, maybe.

Butler is an important figure that few know about. Google his name and read the long pamphlet/short book titled: War is a Racket.

Anyone who drops Butler's name with respect as opposed to derision is someone I'd presume to be worth talking to and maybe more. Within a few generations at most, my take is we're all going to land on the thermal-climate version of the beach at Gallipoli. If we're toast on a plate anyway, why not go out next to someone you resonate with?

6:21 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi Morris,....I know that state of mind, yes....I was wondering whether I could use some text from ' The Re-enchantment of the World ' in a piece of artwork that I'm working on, or would I have to get permission from the publishers as well....I could show you drafts of the text and the artwork if necessary...there will be a sea of words within a larger figurative piece.....Cheers, Lisa.

8:17 PM  

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