October 09, 2014



Well, time for a new thread. What shall we talk about this time around? My mind is as blank as Mittney's, so you guys will have to carry the ball. I suppose we could do an in-depth analysis of Lorenzo Riggins' candidacy for 2016, or the fact that Sarah Palin persistently refuses to reply to my marriage proposals, or the annual number of puma-related deaths in Costa Rica; but I'm going to leave it up to you.

Wafers Rule!



Anonymous Curious said...

Did Sarah say why?

7:11 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Big Enchilada and Waferinos w/a side of Salsa Fresca,


In terms of a conversation among douche bags who have awakened to the fact that they are douche bags:

Seinfeld, "The Finale":


I caught just a smidge of remorse from the gang...


7:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As I said, she refuses to reply, so I have no way of knowing. But on a related issue, we may have drifted into trailer trash territory:


I'm just sorry she didn't punch someone out.


8:08 PM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

I checked TCM the other night and they were showing Network. I was fortunately able to catch the character Howard Beale's speech ("We'll tell you any shit you want to hear!"). A movie well worth watching again. Replace the words "tube" and "television" with "hologram", and it's a beautiful description of today's media. Made almost forty years ago, but still packing a wallop.

And don't forget Ned Beatty's performance - "All anxieties tranquilized. All boredom amused."

"Americans don't want drama, especially good drama, they just want their boredom killed" - Paddy Chayefsky

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

What amuses me about the Palin brawl is that neither she nor any other very rich, famous or powerful American will ever spend a day in jail. In America, there's a whole class of people that are above the law, and can literally do anything, while everyone else is below the law - that is, anything can be done to them, from indefinite imprisonment to torture to execution, without evidence, a trial, or even public knowledge. Dmitry Orlov has written about this exact topic very eloquently, and I suggest everyone visit his website and read all about it.

The only way Palin might see jail time is if she joined Occupy Wall Street (or some other equivalent organization), or if she did something illegal to other members of the "above-the-law" class, but even this is questionable. This, I think, is the true definition of American freedom: the freedom to do anything you want to whomever you want, without caring about the well-being of anyone else. It doesn't matter if only .1% of the population ever attains this freedom, since any other form of freedom is apparently worthless to American citizens.

The only thing that can land one of the .1% in jail is the commission of a sex crime. Sex crimes are the only crimes that Americans recognize as actually being evil. Murder is America's national sport, as seen in its eternal wars against everyone and everything, but for some reason, sex crimes are still considered to be evil. In fact, most Americans regard a single sexual assault as being worse than thousands of cold-blooded murders.

Why do you think this is, Morris? Could it be America's Puritanical past manifesting itself? The Puritans, after all, thought their genocide of the Natives as a supremely righteous act, and burnt adulterers at the stake.

8:51 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Shall we have compassion on the bloated sacks of protoplasm called the 'mercan consumer when they begin to dissolve and pour themselves out of their orifices once ebola hits the walmarts? Glad you had a good time in Costa Rica - might wanna think about another visit in a month. Taking your chances with pumas may be safer than filling up the gas tank at your neighborhood qwicky mart.

I vote for compassion... at twenty yards.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, Americans hafta put up w/a lot these days: ebola, ISIS, and the possibility that Kim will not show her rump again for a while. But the worst of it all is having to see pics of this haircut, wh/is nothing less than an international scandal:


All this mystery abt Kim Jong Un! It's obvious: he finally got so depressed abt the rug on his head that he went and shot himself. Comparing his coif to Mittney's didn't help much, either.


1:04 AM  
Anonymous henrykissingersfatass said...

Our entire economy is being held up by tech firms that make revenue by A. Selling online ads that no one clicks on. and B. Collecting user information, creating complex algorithms to analyze that data, so they can more accurately sell you ads that you won't click on.

Our economy is so utterly FUCKED, it's ridiculous.


2:06 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

I tell ya MB, my brain is as empty as a bar on Christmas morning too. Perhaps it is a defense mechanism that kicks in every election season. I really feel like making little round "I didn't vote" stickers. Can apathy be used as a weapon? Maybe I just need to join the Lions or something:


It also turns out I can hardly listen to the radio anymore. Just last night, I heard a "journalist" say like 4 times in one sentence. I suppose she was trying to sound hip and interesting, but the only ones who would find her those things are people who also say like 4 times in every sentence.

Ugh, I turn 38 in 3 weeks and I'm already a curmudgeon ... no, wait, that's a good thing!

10:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


History will show that curmudgeons are the truly hip ones among us. One thing we do know: the problem ain't abt an evil 1%.



12:53 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Good day MB and Wafers,

1. Techno-Buffoons gone wild!:


2. Cell phone walking lanes in DC:


3. More dumbshits:



2:12 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Under the heading "Things You Shouldn't Joke About," subheading "America: Land of the Free, Home of Boobus americanus," the following item, which reports on the removal and repatriation of an idiot on a flight from Philadelphia to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic after he punctuated his sneezing problem with the comment that he'd been to Africa and had contracted Ebola.

Appropriately, passengers whose comments were distinguishable demonstrated similar stupidity.



3:14 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Well, Guy Debord was talked about a while back. I tried reading his Soc. of the Spec., but no dice... Any tips anybody, lemme' know.

In related structuralist readings, I've been checking out Sokal's book on French intellectuals' abuse of the hard sciences to prop up their hazy social sciences. (Sokal was the guy who submitted that hoax paper to the journal "Social Text.")

I'm tempted to write off the Frankfurt school, Debord, post-structuralism and all the rest of it, thanks to Sokal... Make my life easier, anyway. Thoughts?

Also I was reading Ted Kazynski's old Anti-Civilization manifesto. Of course I don't approve of violence (well, except maybe peeing on Guccis) but he did have some perceptive analysis. I was wondering if his ideas about the "Power Process" and "surrogate activities" are common knowledge in the field of psychology, or are those original to him?

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Curious said...

Maybe sexting your proposal?

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Problem is, I don't own a cell fone.


Frankfurt Schl still pretty gd, I think. As for Ted, check out discussion of him in WAF. None of his ideas are original, altho he apparently thought they were. The analysis wasn't nec. wrong, and in fact was coin of the realm in history and philo of science (depending on whom you read) for many yrs b4 he wrote his manifesto. Distilled versions of it can be found in Ted Roszak, and Chas Reich (very naive thinker). He may have even read Frankfurt Schl lit, for all we know.


7:17 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Doctor H- I'm reading Chris ("copycat") Hedges' Death of the Liberal Class. He devotes a few pages to the suicide note left by Joe Stack who flew an airplane into the IRS office in Austin in 2010. CH sez, "The letter is a coherent and lucid expression of views and concerns, many of them legitimate, shared by millions of sane, struggling citizens. All of them feel betrayed, as they should, by both the government and the liberal class." The last 3 words are an over-reach (wonder if he is referring to safety valves and political options that New Deal liberalism afforded citizens?)
Gore Vidal published a few articles in a similar vein about Timothy McVeigh with whom he had a correspondence.
One of the themes that emerges from watching decline of USA is the occasional violent acting out of despair and rage. The man who shot congresswoman Giffords was dismissed as a lone nut; indeed he was seriously mentally ill by my reckoning. But he was a receptacle of the virulent hatred that's coin of the realm in Arizona politics, and became the executioner for many who wouldn't cross into actual vs. rhetorical violence.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There may be a parallel here between the near-constant acts of violence that now go on in the US (microlevel) and the violence being perpetrated by the US against various 'enemies' (macrolevel). On the micro, Americans know, perhaps unconsciously, that the game is up; that the American Dream is a phantom; and that life has little to offer them. But they don't know how to assign blame for this state of affairs, and so they lash out at blacks, Hispanics, people at McDonald's who won't give them Chicken McNuggets, and so on. They also hate themselves, wh/doesn't help. At the extreme, they get semi-automatic weapons and blow a school away.

On the macrolevel, the pattern of "doing stupid stuff," to quote Obama, is well known. The entire nation, like the individuals in it, has no raison d'etre. It has no moral center or, indeed, any center at all. So it too lashes out. In its waning days of glory, England started a torture regime in Kenya (early to mid-50s). Whatever for? It made no sense, except on a demented psychological level.

Bottom line: all Americans, as well as the country at large, are caught in a vortex that can't be stopped, and that is pulling us down into nothingness. Jimmy Carter was the only president who told us to look within, and to stop blaming our problems on other nations. That was 1979, and since that time he has been regarded as an abject failure. Turns out, he was the only president w/a lick 'o sense since 1945. We laughed at him, and our scorn signed our death warrant.

What's left for Wafers is to speak the truth. To observe, to point out, to analyze and synthesize. To call the 'progressives' on their bullshit, that things can and will be turned around. And above all, in one way or another--to leave.


8:27 PM  
Blogger Val said...

MB, maybe you could compromise with an iPad pic. The instant Sarah glimpses your rampant manly form, she'll be helpless to resist.

Speaking of which, I agree with Biddly about the sex crimes thing. It is indeed a misshapen outgrowth of America's Puritan roots. Nowadays you can be forced to register for life as a sex offender if you're caught peeing in the park because the restroom doors were locked. One guy from Ohio that I remember reading about is doing life for the sex-fantasy contents of his diary, which was published nowhere but in his private chambers.

Here's a relevant quote from Beat poet Harold Norse:

"God knows why anybody in his right mind lives a whole lifetime in cold, duty-driven, pleasure-hating, God-punishing unimaginative workaday mad countries where it rains and snows and life is regarded at best as penance and pain and they make damn sure that everyone else will enjoy it as little as they do! This is called Law 'n Order, and the chief lunatic engineer throwing the switch that executes all beauty, joy, love, thought, and sex is the criminal President of the U.S.A. And his brainless, brainwashed, illiterate electorate vote against their own best interests because they are ruled by Fear."

Gay Sunshine Interviews, volume 1, Gay Sunshine Press, 1978, Winston Leyland Ed., p. 222.

After the iPic, a thoughtful follow-up gift might be some chocolates and an NRA mug. I have one that says "Made in China" on the bottom, which I'll be happy to donate in such a good cause.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Dr. B,

Somewhere in the previous thread, you said something about if you were to write "Reenchantment" now, you would say some different things. I think it would be really interesting to hear your thoughts on how things have changed since Reenchantment was published. Maybe you could even write a whole book -- Reenchantment Revisited so to speak.

I first discovered Reenchantment as I was looking over the reading list in the syllabus for a course on environmental thought that my son took as part of his masters degree at the University of British Columbia. So, it is still being used. I think an update would be great -- if you would be up to the task, of course.

David G.

9:48 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

"And above all, in one way or another--to leave."

Me? Looks like I'm stuck here for a number of reasons. However, I will do my part to help whatever survives rise up from the ashes - I will teach humanure composting. What else can you do when you're stuck with this shit?

9:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out Twilight bk, section on the New Monastic Option. You can always leave mentally, in other words.


Funny you shd mention that. That topic was one of the seminars I gave in Costa Rica, and I think it surprised quite a few people. There is some talk of my Mexican publisher reprinting the Reenchantment trilogy, possibly after they translate the Japan bk; and I offered to provide a new intro for each volume. Of course, I write in English and they translate it; but if it comes to pass, I'd have no problem posting the original English version on the blog.


The problem is--ah, cruel fate!--that I doubt Sarah even knows I exist. So even if I sent her an email (I don't own an iPad) w/a foto attachment, revealing what a hunk I truly am, her assistants will delete it unread. I have this sinking feeling that my dream of copulating w/her on an ice floe will never be realized. (Less global warming, I guess.) As for the mug, I suspect that "Kill Chinks" wd be more her style. Either way, I'm screwed (well, not, actually).


10:32 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

What's a little hazing, as long as you can play football...


7:42 AM  
Blogger Michael said...


Speaking of 'amazing,' 'incredible,' etc., if you haven't heard this:


9:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A lot of times, when u eavesdrop on Americans, it sounds like this.


10:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Annals of Douchebaggery:


1:59 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

The greatest Wafer of them all?

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Susan W.,

You are probably right about that triage nurse in the Dallas ER not knowing Liberia from a shopping mall. I’ve worked for a number years in American hospitals in the Midwest and in Austin, Texas, and I was appalled by the gross ignorance of my ‘university educated’ colleagues. And also the indifference to just about anything that doesn’t involve consumer produces.

Biddly Spop,

Re: That sex is bad but violence is good in American culture.

So very much of what is wrong with the US goes back to the influence of English Puritans who settled North America centuries ago. American exceptionalism, the City on the Hill, Manifest Destiny, outrage at Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’!

The 20th Century humorist, Christopher Morley famously said, “Imagine how much happier we would all be if, instead of the Puritans landing on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock had landed on the Puritans.” Amen!

David Rosen

5:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Abe Wald-

Thanks mucho for writing in, and for your appreciation of my work. I'm wondering if u cd re-send yr message to the most recent post (i.e., this one). Folks here tend not to read the older material, so anything sent to previous posts typically floats away into the ether. Thank you.


3:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More on the Ukraine:


9:34 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Dovidel--I think there's a grim irony to the ebola hospital mess in Dallas. I'm sure you all noticed that even with "the best medical system in the world" ONE case of ebola was too much to handle. It took four days to quarantine the family who shared the apt, almost a week to remove contaminated articles and had Thomas Duncan lived, he was going to face criminal charges.

Yes, he was going to be charged with lying on a form saying he willfully knew he'd been exposed. The facts are (which nobody seems to care much about)he contracted it unwittingly helping a pregnant woman who thought she was miscarrying, he got into a cab with her and went to four hospitals trying to get help--no one would take her--and brought her back to her home where she died two hours later. Though we'll never know for certain, it seems likely he thought she died from complications of her pregnancy. The woman was a stranger living a few houses down and had come into the yard crying for help. An actual news crew went to the town he had been in, found the cab driver and interviewed him.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Wafers, MB,

I thought you would like to see this:

"Why Do New York Restaurants Suck? - The Surprising Answer"

Re. ebola, it looks like it is far more contagious than we are being led to believe:

"2nd infected in US: Texas health care worker tests positive for Ebola"


12:14 PM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

Dr MB and fellow WAFers:

In your heart you knew it was true. Now there's proof according to honorary fellow traveler Bruce Bartlett:

Academic study--wealthy people more likely to behave unethically. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3306667/pdf/pnas.201118373.pdf …

Academic study--the poor are much more generous than the wealthy. http://www.tarleton.edu/Faculty/sword/112/Having%20less--Giving%20more.pdf …

2:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The American Future:




Let's jus' say it ain't looking too good.


9:58 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...


Yeah, the Puritan "culture", if you can call it that, was and is a disaster on every conceivable level. The only thing it was good for was the kind of expansionism that destroys the future of those not living on the frontier, and since there is no longer a frontier, Puritan habits are killing America from within.


Yes, the joylessness, cruelty and workaholism of the Puritans hasn't vanished over the course of time. In fact, it might even be worse today than it was in colonial America. Americans (those who are employed, anyway) work 14 hours a day, typically, with nary a day off for weeks at a time. Prisoners are tortured routinely and forced to work 14 hour days as slaves while receiving dangerously unsanitary, skimpy meals. The American military is out attempting to force the rest of the world to adopt our religion and our way of life, on pain of death, of course. If this isn't Puritanical, then what is?

And then there's this: everything in America is a fraud, just like Puritan pretensions of morality. Americans dress hip, listen to "rebellious" music, but nevertheless anxiously watch their every gesture, always attempting to project the best and most suitable image in their attempt to manipulate others and become successful. So too, they always anxiously watch everyone else's every move, attempting to uncover plots against them and weaknesses they can exploit, in their attempt to manipulate others and become successful. They may hate their jobs, but they nevertheless prefer workaholism to even a moment's silence, which would force them to look within, and dutifully work their 14 hour days. All of this is Puritanism at its finest.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bid (Noah Linden?)-

That's too narrow a take on the Puritans. Not everything bad in the US can be laid at their feet. And it was a complex phenomenon: for example, the Puritan divines were opposed to hustling, and to making life be abt nothing but money. Yr a tad obsessed by this subject, I think. Edmund Morgan and Perry Miller might enlarge yr perspective a bit, if that wd interest u at all.


11:22 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Susan W. & Julian,

Ebola may be far more contagious than we’ve been led to believe, or maybe the commercialized and corrupt US healthcare system is a far less wonderful than Americans have been led to believe – or maybe both. The “American way”, of course is a “war on ebola.” Make the disease illegal and file criminal charges on anyone who gets it.

In any case, the way a disease spreads and behaves in huge parts of sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be very different from what it does almost anywhere else. We’re just going to have to wait and see what happens as it reaches other continents. And this isn’t just due to differences in technical and medical expertise or economic development, since social and cultural factors can be even more important. Dmitry Orlov has been saying that what he calls social and cultural collapse is already well under way in the US, so anything is possible. It’ll be interesting in a grim kind of way.

David Rosen

11:43 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Dear Morris,

There are news in France that are worthy of your attention. A French intellectual/political journalist has been under fire like none has been in a long time since last week from all mainstream news channels for basically saying the truth about where France is headed - i.e. in the gutter. He is a guy called Eric Zemmour and he recently toured all major talkshows promoting his book "Le Suicide de la France", which has parallels to your work, even though his theory is different from yours.

To roughly sum it up (his book is 500 pages-long), he says that since the end of General de Gaulle and May 68, French élites have started a "deconstruction" of French traditional values like the Family, the State, Sexuality etc... by explaining that everything is "social" and that everything could be "deconstructed" in the name of "individual freedom". That's the reason for France's loss of values and the merde its currently in.

I don't know if you speak French but I'll still post the link of his 1-hour interview on one of France's biggest talkshows that started it all last week:


Ironically, despite being Public Enemy n°1, he sold over 100,000 copies of his book since last week and is on the top of the bestselling lists. Shame your books aren't about France, you'd be a bestseller here!


5:16 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB said, "for example, the Puritan divines were opposed to hustling, and to making life be abt nothing but money."

Indeed. You'll hear a fair number of contemporary Americans on the religious end lament our status as a result of the loss of this guidance. From God giving orders to tech giving orders. Isn't anyone sick of fucking orders?! I thought science was about skepticism...

7:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, intellectuals get a bum rap everywhere, I suppose, altho I never cared much for deconstruction. But I really doubt they have that much power, even in France. Still, folks over there read. When you go into a major bkstore chain like FNAC, let's say, in Paris, the place is crowded w/people buying bks--yes, real bks, not stuff on screens. Shift across the pond, and B&N stores are empty and slowly closing up (much like the American mind).


It is, but it also has orders of its own.


8:03 AM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

> and slowly closing up (much like the American mind)

Bloom reference?

9:12 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

FNAC still sells CDs, or at least they did a couple of years ago, when I was last in France.

Speaking of the French, do you remember our discussion of "Zût flûte?" Well, my brother-in-law, the guy who said that, died of cancer last week. He was only 54.

The family is keeping his body in the house until the funeral, to let them say good-bye over time, and so people can visit him. My wife's over there now, and she told me on the 'phone that she visits him every day and gives him kisses. I was rather shocked to hear that.

Is mine a typical North American reaction? At first I thought the idea of hanging around a corpse was bizarre, but the more I thought about it, this is probably normal for older cultures, where death is more easily recognised as part of the life cycle, and better accepted (as are open expressions of grief) than it is here.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous David G. said...

I tried watching the interview of Eric Zemmour that Kanye suggested, just out of curiosity and to see how well my French would hold up. I had to turn it off after 5 minutes. They were argumentative and talked over each other -- it was too agitating to watch. I was dismayed that this style of show exists in France. I am wondering if it is just commonplace in any country to have a rowdy, noisy, disrespectful exchange like this or if this is a spillover from US-style talk shows. In contrast, the interviews that Bill Moyers has had on his show over the years are thoughtful and respectful, where Moyers is a gentleman and lets his guest do most of the talking. (And Moyers is an American -- from Texas no less!) I know the US is moronic, but I cringe to see such drivel in other countries too.
David G.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I do remember zut flut. Zut alors, flut alors.


I wasn't thinking of Alan, and he didn't say empty; tho perhaps he shd have. BTW, Bellow wrote a bio of Alan in the form of a (bad) novel called "Ravelstein."


3:40 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

I've always thought that most people traveled just to tell other people that they travel.

Any thoughts on that? What should be the point of traveling?

3:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


To hunt down, and devour, deli-meats.


5:01 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

Just going from the description here, Zemmour's book sounds a lot like the standard-issue right wing culture warriors in this fine country who claim that our culture has gone to hell because a shadowy group of elite has conspired to destroy our values since the 60's.

Pat Buchanan, Tom Tancredo, and yes even Dan Quayle have all made this argument regularly.

Maybe I'm reading too much into your description, but in book form this can and has sold quite well in the US.

5:18 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

"The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There's no innocence. Either way, you're accountable."

I came across this quote during this blog's little hiatus, and the first thing it reminded me of was what it's like to be a Wafer. Never will I regret taking the red pill!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I usta give guest lectures to intro sociology classes and tell them that I wanted to infect them, to get inside their bloodstream. I suspect they just thought I was demented, and that I made no impact at all. But what the heck, all we can do is keep Wafering thru the world...


Trivia quiz: who called American intellectuals the 'nattering nabobs of negativism', and what happened to him?


6:49 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...


I don't like yr reference to Chris Hedges as 'copycat.' Not that I'm offended 'per se' w that label. And as Wafers, U & I are 'simpatico' when it comes to the issues that really matter to us. Furthermore re: issues such as 'identity politics' & 'political correctness,' MB isn't asking us to 'self-censor.' He's told us not to, I believe. So that's not where I'm coming from. You see, I spent 3 days w/ CH in June 2013, when I attended his publisher's fundraiser (called the 'Truthdig trek') along w/ CH's son Thomas, publisher Zuade Kaufman, & 16 other 'trekkers'. We hiked thru parts of the Presidential Range/'White Mountains' of NH. And winding down in the evening, CH conducted impromptu lectures/Q&A's w/ the initial focus on one of his books in what said to us was a trilogy: that is EOI, DOTLC, & DoDDoR (w/ Joe Sacco). If I have a point, it's that I can vouch for CH's integrity, kindness, & grace which he demonstrated to all of us during this time. And so when I hear him called things like 'plagiarist', or 'lefty hero' I think that's not doing *anyone* justice. I've said on this blog that CH is a hero of mine, but I'd want to use that word 'hero' the way a Wafer would use it: lucidly, keeping track of all my senses and then, as well as I could muster, stating it without guile. Here's something: just weeks prior to our trip, CH got his Wilderness First Responder certification. That's an extraordinary effort to make on our behalf. So too, during the most treacherous moments hiking down a mountain (& one time w/ reports of 80 mph winds looming) CH took up the 'rearguard' position. IOW, yr the *last* one to come off the mountain. And you take up that position to optimize your 'sight picture,' keeping to the fullest view of the surrounding 'situation.' How else can you insure everyone's safe passage at critical junctures? Now I was curious to find out why, once we were safely off the exposed parts of the mountain, CH sprinted the final mile to our destination (ok, relative to my pace he was sprinting!). I asked his son abt this: when you have damaged knees it's painful to walk slowly (rather, it's easier to maintain an unbroken pace instead of constantly stopping & starting which is what you have to do when you are waiting on others to go first). Anyhow, the wear & tear comes not only from CH's hiking these same Mts. since childhood, but those years of reporting from AOs (Area of Operations) while imbedded w/ military units whose primary mode of travel, obviously, is 'humping it.' And bear in mind that CH's son is a professional 'tour' guide in these mountains, but it was CH who took charge when the situation was 'fluid,' or tenuous, & even dangerous. Ok, other things to mention, but I made a point here & I'm at my 1/2 page.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, El-

Don't wanna answer for El, but I have a Roman Candle of a remark about his *boss*. Comedian Mort Sahl once said, Nixon's the type of guy that if he saw a guy drowning 30ft from shore, he would throw him a 25ft rope. Kissinger would then go on TV and say, Nixon met him more than half way...


9:48 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Near Far- great post. The appellation was ironic when applied to CH- I guess that I threw it in there to be a provocative Bozo. Also, IT DON'T MATTER. Does Hedges have a nickname? That boy's as serious as a heart attack, which I find spoof-worthy. I did manage to get a mini-chuckle from him when I asked him to sign my copy of American Fascists "to one funky heathen." He's one of a precious few commentators who are with reading, not only as a diagnostician, but also when pointing out that conventional forms of protest and dissent are ineffectual.
Yrs in waf-itude,
His Dawgship.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...


I believe it was Spiro T. Agnew with the "nabobs" comment. As a young teen, I asked the man himself
a question about Watergate as an audience question
the guest segment on the Mike Douglas talk show from
Phlia., '75-'76 or so, can't remember the exact question
or his response, but I do remember Loretta Swit and Jamie Farr were there also...

Keep on Waferin' in the Free World...


11:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it. The rule is: post once every 24 hrs. Thank you.


1:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is interesting:


8:57 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Pour Decisions - The Real McKenzies


I used to be a socialist
a sort of communist
now I'm a pessimist
n I don't care at all

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B, I read the articles you posted on militarization of America. I really like the report by the ACLU tiled "War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing"

I want to everyone here to go to the following link and read the article there. Also, spend some time on the comment section - you will be amazed. Check out this comment:

"They must kidnap because they are poor. Can we kidnap if we are poor? Will John Kerry come and defend us in court if we get caught kidnapping while we are poor? Does John Kerry want to buy from poor people any kidnapped school girls as travel aids?"

I tell, when you understand how some of these American leaders think, then you begin to understand why America is decline.

Here is the link:

If you want more explanations, read here:


11:22 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Mittney, alas...

Shall we raise Cain? Or simply campaign for Nobody?

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Dr Berman- Thanks for the background info on Kazynski's ideas. Interesting that they were "coin of the realm" in Philo and Hist depts.

But, I am also writing today to mention an "open letter" of sorts I wrote on my own blog... It's related to the Trollfoon problem, and concerns, maybe, a potential solution...

Well, that's the "humorous" premise anyway. I hope you and others will check it out and see what you make of it. It was funny when I wrote it, let's just say that. After a few days away from it, I wonder if it was too flimsy a premise to devote so many words to it.

Oh well, here it is:

(Note -- all in good fun, hopefully it's not open to being misinterpreted by you or others here.)

1:45 PM  
Anonymous lack of pastrami said...

Re: Deli Meats

American stupidity has invaded this realm as well.


8:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's gd, but the only thing that can stop trollfoons, ultimately, is to have their shoes inundated w/urine. I hope u will promote that in future posts.


9:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life:



9:38 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

More fun in the USA:


I especially like how the cops refused to install metal detectors 'cuz of Utah's open carry laws...

12:24 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Hola Dr. Berman and Wafers of the World,

MB, Wafers-

Holy smokes! I nearly shit a Buick when I listened to this today:


Delusional or inspiring?


3:55 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Dr. Belman-- Ooh, Ooh call on me!! "Nabobs" was uttered by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew who later resigned in disgrace when found to have been on the take as state official in Maryland. He didn't have the brainpower to come up with that gem himself. It was written by none other than Patrick Buchanan- a team effort by "Nixon's Nixon" and a proto-fascist.
ro against

5:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, he was on the take as VP. Contractors or whoever were coming to the back door of the W.H. w/envelopes filled w/cash. Both he and Nixon were hoods, basically. You know something's wrong when the pres feels it necessary to declare, "I am not a crook." I keep waiting for Obama to hold a press conference and announce, "I am not a douche bag."


5:52 PM  
Anonymous Otis P Driftwood said...

At our company website, people can "chat" with customer service reps. Here's a doozy that came in recently quoted verbatim:

"how come I applied here ten times and yall still aint call me for no job?!?"

Ah, Americans ... I wonder indeed!

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Dawgzy, MB,

Don't forget Bebe Rebozo, another key player in that layer cake of sleazery, aka as "The Nixon White House"


8:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And speaking of awful human beings:


I encourage everyone to read "The Brother," by Sam Roberts.

As for the Cold War, I very much enjoyed Season 1 of the TV series, "The Americans." Very gd capturing of flavor of the times.


8:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers at the cutting edge (always):


9:20 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

From George Monbiot:

4:34 AM  
Anonymous Xiale said...

Not quite sure how to ask so I just will. Do you think that had you met the right women that you would have emigrated? I ask because I remember reading twilight as a college student and feeling as if you hit the nail on the head, although I couldn't quite wrap my head around how the monastic option could translate to my life. I just couldn't fathom how one could create that sort of bubble without feeling completely isolated and lonely. However, years later I met a wonderful Dominican women and was soon married, which changed everything. She could intuitively sense much of what you argued in Twilight, DAA, and WAF. She is always fond of saying " en Estados Unidos tienes cantidad de cosas pero zero calidad de vida. Aqui pagan los viernes para que gasten el fin de semana".
As a result, I found it easier to detach from mainstream Americans without a general feeling of isolation, as I always have my wife and her extended family around. Together we actually sit around the dinner table and talk about everything from current events to el crepusculo de la cultura americana. Consequently, I don't really interact with almost any Americans on a personal level, and quite frankly, I don't miss them.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

From the Monbiot article:
"We have changed our language to reflect this shift. Our most cutting insult is loser."

Every morning I ride my bike past a church that has a magnetic sign out front on which "uplifting" spiritual messages are posted. Fairly often the messages refer to winners and losers. Last week the message was something like "Losers see ice on the road, winners put on their skates," or some such nonsense.

Those uplifting signs bug me at the best of times, but I hardly think a loving God divides his children into "winners" and "losers."

I'm still waiting for Turner Classic Movies (or the Six O'Clock TV News) to show Guy Debord's "Hurlements en faveur de Sade." This blog will afterwards be filled with articles about irate movie lovers hurling babies at their televisions, or poking out their own eyes with remote-control devices.


11:36 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


I'm always stunned by what my students *don't* know. I mentioned the death of David Greenglass in one of my classes and I was met with 45 blank faces of bewildering obliviousness. I decided to probe a bit deeper... hitting the usual suspects (i.e., Julius and Ethel, Judge Kaufman, McCarthy, Roy Cohn, Cold War, etc.). Still, I got nothin'! It's as if these kids all have some type of undiagnosed learning disability. I tell ya, I lose sleep over this kinda thing.

Anyway, yes, the first season of "The Americans" is outstanding. Did you notice the Reagan portraits hanging about on the walls of various govt. buildings? I love it! Ronnie...always watching.


Be sure to check out Nixon's relationship w/"Bebe" in a book by Don Fulsom, "Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President." Bebe and Dick might've swapped more than just cash in their relationship...


Perusing my local B&N the other day, a virtual ghost town btw, I noticed a new book by Buchanan about Nixon. I don't remember the title (who cares, really), but I do remember thinking about how pathetic Buchanan must be if he's still propping up Nixon. Jesus, imagine that for a minute: Buchanan has spent his entire life defending one our most disgraced presidents? I mean who does? One criminal defending another, I suppose.


Congratulations on the launch of your new trollfoon blog! I think it's important that at least one of us open up a second front against these relentless bastards. Onward! Once more unto the breach! And as Izzy Mandelbaum usta say, "It's go time!"


1:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!


I confess, I wasn't able to figure out what u were asking, esp. in yr 2nd sentence. Let me rewrite it, just as a guess:

"Do you think that if you had met the right woman, you would have not emigrated?"

If this is what you meant to say, I can only answer: Who knows? But I can tell you it wasn't my depressing romantic life in the US (one unhappy gal after another--a literal parade of misery) that tipped the scales for me; rather, it was my (lack of a) social life in general. Simply put (as I have so many times), Americans are awful. They are rude and boorish and ignorant and aggressive and emotionally retarded, while at the same time thinking they are hip. As a result, I had almost no one to talk to (I have only a handful of friends left in the US), and that was a major factor in motivating me to get out (tho certainly not the only one). All of this is pretty much confirmed when I meet gringos down here...oy vey, amigo, you shd be a fly on the wall. (Check out the poem entitled "Gringos" in my bk "Counting Blessings".) 5 mins. of conversation w/them and I wanna shoot myself just to get the pain in my head to stop. This translates onto the macrolevel quite easily: except for Israel, America doesn't have a friend in the entire world. Most countries are diplomatically polite, but actually find us repulsive. Gee, what a surprise.


2:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Jeff: It's a gd bet that most of them don't know who Dwight Eisenhower was. Try asking them, just for fun. And of course John Foster Dulles: that will be a complete no-show.

I recall some final quiz show a few yrs ago, chaired by Jay Leno, of American college seniors who had won all the intellectual competitions across the country. These were the brightest and the best. Jay asked one woman on the panel (of 4): "What was the nickname that Richard Nixon was known by?" She had no idea. When he said, "Tricky Dick," she replied: "Well that's not very nice." Here's the creme de la creme of American college students, and their level of political analysis is, "That's not very nice."

What can you say, finally?


2:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is the sorta thing that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside:


2:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Some time ago we had a discussion regarding the possibility of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Championed by Lamarck, this was supposedly discredited by 20C genetic research; idea of the Weismann barrier is that what happens to the soma (body) does not affect the germ plasm. (In other words, hereditary info moves from genes to body cells, but never in reverse.) I referred to discussions of "neo-Lamarckian mimicry" that had subsequently occurred in scientific circles, wh/suggested that the Weismann barrier may be more osmotic/permeable than previously thought. Someone on the blog also mentioned the topic of epigenesis, wh/suggests something similar.

All of this is relevant to the argument that Americans are not just ignorant, but actually stupid. That as in the (wonderful) film "Idiocracy," as the generations go by, American gray matter gets increasingly damaged or diluted. I attribute a lot of this to the watching of screens, wh/has been going on in the US since the late 40s, when TV began to invade American households. Then, w/the revoln in communications technology that began ca. 1965 and dramatically expanded from the late 80s, we have an exponential rise in screen-watching, and also increasing evidence that such activity damages the brain--even physically (synaptic connections, e.g.; see ftnoted articles in Nicholas Carr's bk, "The Shallows," among other sources--Maryanne Wolf at Tufts, etc.). So if the Weismann barrier is in fact somewhat permeable, this wd mean, a la "Idiocracy," that Americans are indeed getting dumber and dumber.

I was thus intrigued by a recent study indicating that drinking Coke and related beverages has a negative impact on the DNA:


All of this resurrects an earlier post I did called "Fork in the Road," which revisited the old arg. abt how Roman utensils were lead-lined, and that this may have degraded the brains of Romans until the empire collapsed. It's hardly a fashionable argument among historians of Rome today, but one wonders. In any case, contemporary evidence might suggest that from a # of sources, including screens and soda pop, we are damaging our brains and DNA and then passing this on to subsequent generations. The erosion of American intelligence since, say, 1945 is a matter of public record (overwhelming data); but all of this biology might mean that it's as much an issue of stupidity as it is of ignorance. And dumb people elect dumb people, and the nation continues to sink, via its stupidity, into self-destruction and irrelevance.

When I look out on the American landscape, I see 318 million people w/their heads rammed in their recta, rolling around like donuts. In one hand is a cell fone; in the other, a bottle of Prozac. O&D, my friends; O&D.


6:42 PM  
Anonymous Manolo Cabeza de Huevo said...

How about candidates for places even more full of douchebags than the U.S.? I nominate Dubai--like Vegas but without the charm, booze or hookers..... Dubai,and most of the gulf states come to mind as equal or greater in douchebag density. Other than that--the U.S., Israel and Gulf states--sui generis douches...

7:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's not the # that's impt; it's the density. MPH = Morons Per Hectare. We need a DBI = Douche Bag Index. For example, while Denmark has 0.6 MPH, the US has 183.8. These figs are the result of extensive scientific research, and cannot be controverted.


8:01 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Were #1! category;


America: Imagine the World Without Her

"A story that questions the shaming of the US through revisionist history, lies and omissions by educational institutions, political organizations, Alinsky, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other progressives to destroy America."

billed as a documentary. the user reviews are scaring the piss out of me. if someone else is brave enough to screen it, let us know if its got any chuckles.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, Dinesh D'Souza is notorious, and basically writes stuff that is utter nonsense. But the more material like this that circulates, the faster the US declines! Revisionist history cd wake us up; it doesn't have a chance.


9:02 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Any fans of Thomas Frank here? I just finished What's the Matter With Kansas? Going into it I wasn't expecting much, and judging from it's cover I didn't figure I would agree with the answer. But damn did I enjoy it, and I think you all would too. Most of the book deals with how Kansas went from being a solidly Left state to the extremely conservative Kansas we have today, and he waits until the very end to give the answer as to why that has happened—an answer that is quite Waferesque, in my opinion. Frank doesn't make the "capitalism is a culture, not just an economic model" argument, one that I find compelling and central to understanding what's wrong with this country (Kansas included). Yet the book is great nonetheless. My favorite part:

"American conservatism depends for its continued dominance and even for its very existence on people never making certain mental connections about the world, connections that until recently were treated as obvious or self-evident everywhere on the planet. For example, the connection between mass culture, most of which conservatives hate, and laissez-faire capitalism, which they adore without reservation. Or between the small towns they profess to love and the market forces that are slowly grinding those small towns back into the red-state dust—which forces they praise in the most exalted terms.
In this onrushing parade of anti-knowledge my home state has proudly taken a place at the front."

Another excellent thing about the book is how it ends. Frank offers no hope for a rosy future. In his eyes, apparently, the future isn't just bleak. It's downright apocalyptic.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I never read it, but know that the bk generated a lot of controversy. There was much critique over the notion that Kansas had ever been anything but conservative, etc. You might wanna check out the reviews. I did read "Commodify Your Dissent," however, and drew on Frank in one of the 'America' bks--Twilight or DAA, I can't remember. Anyone who says there is no hope for the US can generally be trusted.


7:42 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

For the "This American Life" file:
Take care of your yard, or else:


11:51 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

This just in from cnn:

Heads-up Texas Wafers! In an attempt to contain the Ebola outbreak in the US, Obama and new Ebola Czar, Ron Klain, are considering a nuke strike in Texas.

Tear, MB-

Thomas Frank, or any American for that matter who came of age after 1945, can be forgiven for assuming liberalism was the norm in American politics. But in the overall scheme of American history, this liberalism was anomalous. Even the Populist movement, beyond being a failure, of course, was full of half-crazy loonies w/strong conservative (conspiratorial) strains. Many of the loonies were Kansans. And, the striking thing about the New Deal is how limited and modest it actually was, considering the extent of the calamity the nation was facing at the time. FDR's National Recovery Act (NRA), arguably his boldest program, was a huge stretch for the Americans to take. FDR plotted a Court-packing plan when the NRA was tossed by the Supreme Court; indicating American concern at the growing power of the federal government. Even if direct federal aid was actually *helping* the plonkers, millions of Americans still remained unconvinced and skeptical of government power and the aid they were receiving. All this is mind-boggling, I know, but as MB has said in one form or another: If you're dealing w/an American, you're dealing w/a stupid person!


12:29 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Thanks for the tip about Bebe & Dick...

Tear, MB,
I've also read T. Frank's books, "Pity The Billionaire" was the last one that I can remember, along with all of the Baffler journals....and yes, I too have difficulty figuring Kansas as ever having been a liberal realm...


12:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out discussion of New Deal in DAA; perhaps in WAF as well, I forget. Most American historians are agreed that it was FDR's goal to save capitalism, and that he succeeded--by offering the working class a few crumbs from the table of the rich. And that was all it took to buy them off.


2:23 PM  
Anonymous Joe Hohos said...

Dawgzy, Dr. Berman,

Another member of society who acted out. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5139598/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/man-who-bulldozed-through-colo-town-dead/

Joe Hohos

12:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@atearinrain - interesting. I never read Frank's book either, but it sounds like it covers a lot of the same territory as Joe Bageant's outstanding "Deer Hunting With Jesus." Joe was writing about small town Virginia and was desperately trying to reach out and open the eyes of liberals, but he also reached the conclusion that there was no hope that anything would change before things really go kablooie. He even put his money where his mouth was--so to speak--by emigrating to first Belize and then a small town in Mexico.

Sadly, cancer took ol' Joe from us a few years ago. His long and well thought out blog postings made for some of the finest WAFer-like reading out there.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous nick pearson said...

As ebola comes to the United States we are seeing more and more examples of the dumbed-down country on display. First the rampant incompetence and complacency in the top people at the CDC in Atlanta. Then the failure of the caretakers at the Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to take proper precautions. Then leaving Duncan's family amidst the ebola soiled sheets and other things in his house for a week. It goes on and on and isn't over yet.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is what a civ looks like when it is in a state of ongoing collapse. You look at any single institution, and it is largely dysfunctional. This applies to the health system, education, the military, the press, etc. The late Ronald Dworkin commented on this several yrs ago in the NYRB, saying that there wasn't a single institution in the US that wasn't corrupt. The result is that we may limp along for another 20 yrs or so, but the US is basically a shadow country now, not a real one.


It's buried in the Archives here somewhere, but I did an obit of Joe shortly after his death that might interest u. It's footnoted in the Wiki entry on Joe.


10:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

From the judge's comments in the recent sentencing of Michael Dunn, for killing an unarmed teenager:

"this case exemplifies that our society seems to have lost its way."



10:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More evidence of same:


The sheer # of morons in the country is reaching asymptotic proportions.


10:51 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings all-

MB, Wafers-

Did someone recently mail a package consisting of a crowbar, personal lubricant, and detailed instructions to the fed chairwoman?:


Just for kicks, Wafers, be sure to read some of the comments regarding this article; the funny papers a day early, so to speak.


My pleasure. I'm enjoying yer new memoir, "Special Deluxe," BTW.


ps: A few excerpts about the Nixon-Rebozo relationship from the Fulsom book:

1. Bobby Baker, a top aide to LBJ, said Nixon and Bebe were "close like lovers."

2. Bebe's friend Jake Jernigan is quoted as saying that Bebe "loved Nixon more than he loved anybody. He worshiped Nixon. Nixon was his God... his little Jesus."

3. Time magazine's Bonnie Angelo, covering Nixon at Key Biscayne in '72, reported that she's "never seen seen two men hold hands for as long and as fondly as Nixon and Rebozo proceeded to do."

* All this, coming from a president who was a vociferous homophobe... Makes one wonder, yes?

1:39 PM  
Blogger Val said...

I'm very excited that our beloved leader has appointed an Ebola Czar. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling of security. Who needs a fusty old doctor of a Surgeon General when we have a political appointee to protect us from a virulently communicable disease? For probable historical precedent of what I'm sure will be his superbly competent efficiency, just recall this phrase: "Yer doin' great, Brownie!"

P.S. - Does anyone else miss C. Everett Koop? I sure do.

2:21 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

The more I think about it, the more the theory of mass brain damage being a catalyst for a civilization's destruction seems to make more since. Rome had their mass brain damage as a result of using lead in their cooking utensils. Americans have even more ways of turning their brains into gook.

Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, statin drugs that break down fat cells in the brain, dangerous Chinese imports, aspartame added to countless foods which gets converted into formaldehyde inside the body, fluoride added to all public drinking water which is a known potent neurotoxin, Mercury based preservatives in vaccines, huge consumption of unregulated street drugs with god knows what kind of adulterants in them..... the list goes on and on

2:27 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Thoughts for the day (I hope this isn't too long):

1. Dr. B.: I was wondering if you might write a post summarizing your trip to Costa Rica and commenting on it as a country vis-a-vis other Central American countries and, of course, the US. I would be very interested in both topics.

2. Again, Dr. B.: I found your reply to Xiale, in which you describe your unpleasant personal experiences with people in the US, to be very poignant and sad. It is really disheartening that an intelligent, thoughtful, and sensitive person would be so treated, yet it's the way it is. I have such fears for my two young adult sons, both of whom are very intelligent, thoughtful, etc. One of them is in Canada, but even Canada seems to be becoming America-lite. I have a question though. Is it possible that the distribution of morons is uneven across the different regions of the US? Your experience on the East Coast seems to be more severe than my experience here on the West Coast. Yes, there are lots of morons here, but I think the culture is probably less aggressive and awful than in the East. Any thoughts?

3. Up a ways in the comment string, Jeff T. complained about the ignorance of his students about Cold War stuff. I do not for a minute dispute the ignorance of young people today, but I must confess my own ignorance about David Greenglass -- I had to look him up on Wikipedia. I am frustrated by my own ignorance of history, philosophy, literature etc. We weren't taught much in high school, and I never had to take much of these topics at university. Most of my learning (undergrad through Ph.D.) has been technical, for my degrees and profession. I am now, in my 60s, trying to play catch-up. I do sympathize a bit with the students, however: to a 20 year-old today, the Cold War is as near in time and relevant to their life as World War I was to me. Plus, there is a lot of history to learn, which is why it is frustrating, particularly when there are many other good things to learn too. I am not excusing ignorance, but I do see how easy it is not to know many things that are worth knowing.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, the line was "Heckuva job, Brownie!" Altho it turns out that Brownie had warned Bush abt the levees, and the fed govt didn't pay any attn. Brownie later aired that discussion (audio tape) to defend himself. So it's possible that Brownie *cd* have done something of a job, if Bush hadn't been brain damaged. Meanwhile, 9 yrs later, I don't think anything has been done abt the levees in the wake of Katrina.

"It's simply great, mate, waiting on the levee
Waiting for the Robert E. Lee!"

1-Wish I cd, but wd take too long. Place is an eco-paradise, tho; makes for a nice holiday. It's a real pleasure, walking among butterflies and toucans. Big diff from other countries: it has no military, and therefore no military budget. $ goes into eco-preservation, education, health, etc. Cost of a heart transplant in C.R.: $0.

2-We need tons of moron research, this is clear. I have written Obama many times, suggesting the establishment of a Moron Research Institute (MRI), w/myself as Director; but inasmuch as he himself is a moron, he's not terribly interested. You might be rt abt East vs. West Coast, but I tell u, the Moron Density (MD) of Berkeley CA hasta be one of the highest in the world.

3-Nobody is going to know who David Greenglass was; it's far too esoteric, like asking who was Herbert Hoover's VP. In my case, I just happened to read the bio by Sam Robts yrs ago, because I'm interested in the Cold War (having spent most of my life in it). The real problem is that it's a gd bet Jeff's students haven't heard of any of the following:

Dwight Eisenhower
John Foster Dulles
Nikita Khrushchev
Willy Brandt
Marshall Tito
Julius & Ethel Rosenberg

But then it's also the case that they probably wdn't be able to identify Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, or Desi Arnaz.

I was at a cocktail party in VT a few yrs ago, and a faculty member at UV or some other local schl said to me: "Freshman walk in knowing nothing. And when I say nothing, I don't mean a little; I mean nothing. They've never even heard of Adolf Hitler."

"What do they talk abt?" I asked him.

"Video games."

In a word, we don't have a population; we have a joke-population.


4:08 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

I think I found a copy of your tribute to joe

Reading that counts as my Wafer fix for the day.

8:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for excavating this. Re-reading it, I was moved by what a great, and anomalous, American Joe was. Yes, we all need a Wafer fix, and on a daily basis; I cdn't agree more.


9:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Any bets as to how this is gonna go?:


6:14 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

"Anyone who says there is no hope for the US can generally be trusted."

There is no hope for the US. Hope is a very powerful emotion and if more people believed they were truthfully poor and had no hope to get out of it you would see some reform and heads roll.

They would get the guillotine, cut off Ovmit's head, and then piss on his head.

Fat chance of that happening. We're a nation of douches. America is done, finished, and the fat lady has sung. Time to take out the fork.

Again, there is no hope for the US of any reform. None, Zilch, Nada.

I do have hope that better and improved recipes for chopped liver will come about as decades and centuries pass.

8:06 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Thank you to Comrade for posting the Joe Bageant tribute by MB. I was a big fan of Joe Bageant. I was moved by reading the tribute then and was even more moved by reading it today. I think the tribute may have even been how I discovered this blog.
I am currently in a bachelor's program in an American college trying to earn a degree in a profession/trade so I might get some skills that may allow me to move to a humbler place. I am the oldest one in the program - 47 - and have bachelor's and master's degrees in arts. Studying art and culture is all I have ever known and I suppose I took it for granted that most people know at least SOMETHING about these things. I can say that all of you are right - the lack of cultural or historical knowledge/learning/understanding in my twentysomething classmates is astounding, beyond astounding - I don't even know if there is a word that aptly fits here. We've all read articles about it and seen the youtube videos of college students who don't know basic knowledge, but to be surrounded by it is something else.
Last week, one of our professors asked if anyone knew who Margaret Mead was. In a class of about 100, not one person raised their hand. (I must also add here that this program is very difficult to get into. From the beginning the students are constantly told that they are the "smartest of the smart, the best of the best" - can't tell you how many times I have heard that.) Anyway, the professor was astounded, "Really, NONE of you have ever heard of Margaret Mead?" I chose not to be the only person to raise my hand but rather to sit quietly and just witness. And, I saw many young twentysomethings drowning in student-loan debt, dressed in new trendy clothes, with shiny new laptops, and iphones shrug, shake their heads and arrogantly look at her blank-faced. They don't want to know anything but what's going to be on the multiple choice test next week.
Mead's famous quote about never doubting that a small, committed group of people could change the world because it's the only thing that ever has seems to very much relate to Bageant's words about the tragedy of American's ignorance. Why would we want to change anything when we have all this shiny new stuff? Why would we even know that anything needed to be changed?

11:38 AM  
Blogger Lobotomy said...

"One thing we do know: the problem ain't abt an evil 1%."


Marx, in his essay "on the Jewish question," very clearly stated that America (both the 1% and the 99%) was a nation founded purely on hustling and moneymaking.


“The devout and politically free inhabitant of New England is a kind of Laocoön who makes not the least effort to escape from the serpents which are crushing him. Mammon is his idol which he adores not only with his lips but with the whole force of his body and mind. In his view the world is no more than a Stock Exchange, and he is convinced that he has no other destiny here below than to become richer than his neighbor. Trade has seized upon all his thoughts, and he has no other recreation than to exchange objects. When he travels he carries, so to speak, his goods and his counter on his back and talks only of interest and profit. If he loses sight of his own business for an instant it is only in order to pry into the business of his competitors.”

"Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade, and the bankrupt trader deals in the Gospel just as the Gospel preacher who has become rich goes in for business deals."

3:03 PM  
Blogger Val said...

I'll second David's request concerning Costa Rica. Any observations you might have, however brief, about your general impressions of the country would be of value. At the moment it's topping my short list.

BTW, have you seen any of Andre Vltchek's articles comparing Europe unfavorably with America? He thinks they're even worse than us, the senior partner in imperial crimes, as it were. Here's an example:


As far as I can tell, he absolutely *hates* Europeans. They actually peed in his shoes there.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Jeff T.- Thanks, but just to clarify, "Trollfoon Central" is supposed to be just that ONE post, not my entire blog... Although, since nobody comments anyway, what difference does it make.

There is also a serious use for the post if anyone cares to-- it could be a place for Wafers to discuss topics that are verboten here, because they don't interest MB or have been overplayed or whatever. So feel free if anyone wants to use it that way: http://timrockscomics.blogspot.com/2014/10/trollfoon-central.html

Dr. Berman, I have stumbled across the most fascinating interview today, that also happens to be by a professor of Asian-American studies (hence relevant to your new book.) It is densely packed with information. Rather incredible info too, it really comes from what many would call a "CT" (con. theory) angle, and yet he's the senior prof at UC Davis. I sort of don't know what to make of it, someone that credentialed, saying these kinds of things.

His book is "'Servitors of Empire', focusing on Asian Americans as an ethnic-specific group, and by elaborating upon their socio-historical and economic function within the postwar US-led global order, this study yields unique and vitally important insights regarding the larger system of military-political control and the linkage to a host of National Security Agency- and Central Intelligence Agency-connected companies such as Oracle and Google."

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Sundriedtomato said...

Here is a song by Fish Karma called American. The chorus could replace the national anthem. "I am a moron. I am an American.".

7:08 PM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, David-

That's certainly a bet you won't lose, MB. In fact, you can take it to the bank! Not only are the majority of my students deficient in a basic working knowledge of history, most show a near total lack of curiosity about historical, sociological, and intellectual matters of any kind. I'm certain it's a whole lot worse since you published the Twilight book.

In terms of the Rosenberg case, I've always had an interest in it; from Ellen Schrecker's works about the Cold War right down to E.L. Doctorow's "The Book of Daniel." Also, in 2004, I watched and extremely interesting documentary, "Heir to an Execution," directed by Ivy Meeropol. Ivy is, of course, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's granddaughter. I recall the questionable testimony of David Greenglass formed the heart of the film; Ivy, at one point, was going to confront Greenglass about it, but decided against it. Anyway, I highly recommend the film.


7:27 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

"Any bets as to how this is gonna go?:"
Acknowledged or not, codified or covert, in your face or behind your back, the american inferiority complex demands the right of brutality. Small penis means big truck and crippled dog. The wife, in a wafer induced moment of enlightenment, split a couple of years ago, heh heh.

My boy and I are learning spanish together in case Escape becomes possible.

8:48 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Oops - forgot to capitalize Wafer. Can you fix that for me?


8:50 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

"He's not a monster, he's a businessman":


8:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Didn't Green Day do a song yrs ago called "American Idiot"? I can't remember...


I did read that essay a few days ago, but his intense personal bias kind of weakened his case, I thought. Europe is no heaven, for sure, but his experience of it is certainly v. different from mine. Check out the bk by Steven Hill, for the flip side of this perspective.


I have a problem w/args that equate Judaism w/money making; there's a lot more to the culture than that (like scholarship, e.g.). Also, by being barred from virtually every professional job, European Jews had little choice but to become tradesmen and money lenders. But most weren't Rothschilds, in any case; my mother's family were poor as church mice, and this was the norm in Eastern Europe. And I very much doubt that Judaism ever dominated Christianity in North America...!


That scene is probably repeated in 1000s of classrms across the country every day. But in 1-2 generations, the *teacher* won't know who Margaret Mead is.


5:52 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

jml and Dr. B

I must say that I feel embarrassed that I have never heard of Margaret Mead. I have heard of Issac Asimov who wrote the Robot and Foundation series and he was the one who came up with the three laws of robotics.

Anyway, she is the one who helped paved the way for the 60's sexual revolution. This begs the question, if I have not heard of someone important such as this who else have I not heard of that is important?

On a different note, has anyone ever heard of Candide? Professor Pangloss and his antics show exactly what is wrong with positivity and optimism today in America. Pangloss would revel in America's positivity bullshit.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...

Found an old box of cassette tapes from when I was a kid and while listening to the music from long ago, I came across this and immediately thought of this blog. This classic punk rock tune by Christian Lunch came out in 1981 with lyrics that could've been written today -

The state of the union is out of control
America is dreaming all the way to the poles
A swing to the right at your children's expense
The money for the schools is going to the defense
The jokes on you if you think it goes
So bite the bullet and take your blows
Our kids are crazy
they can't sit still
Let's put 'em in the army
and teach 'em to kill
God's work now must surely be done
No more abortions and no more fun
Fear and taxes going through the roof
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
A speedy trial is a shot on the street
Cause the good ole boys want to help the police
The state of the union is really a mess
We all love our country, but under duress
Not a word of truth anywhere to be seen
Cheery propaganda meets the main stream
The crime rate's going up?
What do you do?
I got a gun
So do you
You shoot me and I shoot you!

1:36 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

jml's and Jeff T's comments brought to mind a question that always arises whenever the subject of yoots* and education are brought up:

How are we to reconcile the picture of American yoots who seemingly possess no cultural or historical knowledge but who are at the same time able to boast of GPA's ABOVE 4.0, and even multiple Advanced Placement courses in college prep work.

This really confuses me, as I had always operated with the understanding that no one could truly be considered well-educated who did not also possess a basic foundation of information that we might consider our common inheritance from earlier generations and indeed the whole of humanity.

This "inconsistency," as I have characterized it, may not exist except in my own mind, but I'm curious to know the reactions of the Gemeinschaft to my perception, and, if possible, an explanation as to how this might be possible.

*Yoots: Lawyer Vinny Gambini's (Joe Pesci's) pronunciation of youths in the court of Judge Chamberlain (Fred Gwynne) in "My Cousin Vinny" (1992)

8:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's not that mysterious. Grade inflation at h.s. and college levels has been in full swing for at least 20 yrs, with students getting A's for work that wd (rightly) have earned C's or less yrs ago. At some pt the SAT's decided to automatically add 100 pts to everyone's score--another gd example. Schoolwork and standardized tests don' mean shit anymore.


Well, try Gregory Bateson (Marg's husband).


12:16 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

There's a hole in my soul
I feel frail as a foal

If I try to stand
I sink deeper in the sand

When I try to claw
I slide down toward the maw

I cannot afford this toll


High GPA is a reliable indicator of two personality traits; fear and selfishness.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Yo Dood said...

> I have a problem w/args that equate Judaism w/money making; there's a lot more to the culture than that (like scholarship, e.g.). Also, by being barred from virtually every professional job, European Jews had little choice but to become tradesmen and money lenders.

Trends show that there's a much larger % of rich jews than their % of the population. Based on my experience, jews in America for the most part seem focused on getting really good jobs (e.g. doctors, business leaders) and making good money. A Jewish girl I used to date would cry that she wasn't as successful as Mark Z (I don't think this was atypical). There is no evil intent here, it's just what a lot of jews do. The history explains it, so it makes sense.

Money making is still dominated by white people & asians more than jews, so I'm not sure why the hatred for jews. There are some major outliers to the trends here, so I think it's not worth spending much time on.

It's all a bit silly, since pretty close to 100% of Americans are obsessed with money and want as much of it as they can get their hands on.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, why make Jews the exception, as yr last 2 paras wd indicate. But my pt is that there is an extremely strong bent toward scholarship among Jews. Hence (if we are talking abt Jewish ancestry): Marx, Freud, Levi-Strauss, Wittgenstein, Einstein, etc etc and etc. (I keep wondering abt Darwin.) One might argue that the Jews invented modernity. Not much hustling there.


6:05 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,


Thanks so much, your response was much appreciated. But It was a pleasure to interact with him. He was very much in his element, there in the mountains with his son. Yes, CH is indeed a serious guy. At the end of the trek, as he was getting into his car-- he was heading toward Fort Meade, MD for the Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning trial-- he shook my hand and said "well you made it." (Both his son & another trekker who was a theology student--studying with James L. Cone at Union Theological Seminary--had to carry some of my gear b/c I was struggling). Then CH told me point-blank: "you know you really need to quit smoking." Now the question you might have is this: am I'm supposed to take anything from that final encounter w/CH other than what he said: I need to quit smoking? I don't think so. IOW, quite simply: that's what he wanted to say to me at that moment: it was unrehearsed and just matter-of-fact. No hidden agenda, no moral extravagance on his part, and no extraneous body language hinting at some other meaning. He wasn't standing in judgement of me. In fact, the tone in his voice was flat or neutral and it wasn't friendly & it wasn't unfriendly. If anything, it's the same tone I've heard CH use when he told a reporter: "Listen I'll do the interview, but you need to quit interrupting me."
Meanwhile, check this out Wafers: "17 Observations About Living in America - Cultural Clashes of a European in the USA" This guy really nails some things, including the difference between the way a German smiles and an American smiles (I lived in Germany for 3 years). I was just going to skim the list, but I stopped to read #12 & #13--yes indeed, he's so right there--and ended up reading the entire post. Terrific:


8:32 PM  
Anonymous Bob Chardonnay said...

This one struck home, made me think of you guys. The Age Of Loneliness Is Killing Us, By George Monbiot - http://eepurl.com/5QPxn

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

glad you're enjoying mr. Young's latest...

I almost forgot about Christian Lunch, (not to be confused with Lydia Lunch...) Unfortunately, the late 70's/early 80's punk/hardcore scenes get remembered more for nihilism, drugs, pink mohawks, mosh pits, etc.,etc....the lyric content of the best bands often got lost in the blur and velocity of the form, which resonated with many on some level, but ultimately turned into another cultish/cliquish/conformist scenario for many involved in the milieu. Dead Kennedys, Culturcide, MDC, Flipper , and many more would call bullshit on idiotic mindless behavior, but to what effect? Style always trumps substance in this braindead country.


11:15 PM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dr. Berman and everyone,

My brother, who lives in Hawai'i, told me this story yesterday. I just wanted to share it with someone, but alas, know of no-one (aside from my brah himself) who would grasp the finer nuances. But then I thought of you guys, so I will share this little treasure of American blissful ignorance.

My brother went to one of the local kava bars yesterday and overheard a small group of people (clearly from mainland America and not natives) nearby having a conversation. The conversation went like this:

Fat guy: Man, so everyone talks about inequality in the US and all that shit, and let me tell you about inequality. I just got back from France. You wouldn't believe! Do you know their king lives in this palace that is the most richest f'ing huge thing I've ever seen and it has like gold everywhere?

Group: Really? What was it like?

Fat guy: So it's this place called Fer Sales, something like that, and like their king lives there and the people can walk around inside and see what-all their tax money bought for him. But here's the kicker - right outside this palace is this really poor, like I mean POVERTY-stricken poor village where the people live with nothing. Like just a few chickens and shacks and shit. And every day, they have to look right at that Fer Sales and know they got nothing. It's awful. Now that's some inequality.

Group: Wow. That's amazing. And we think we have it bad. Wow. God, that's like awful. Damn French. They're socialists, you know. Obama, blah, blah, blah.

I'm not sure what is worse; that Fat Guy has a passport and enough money to travel outside the US (seriously, how dumb can someone be and still make enough money to travel?) or that no-one he was talking to seemed to know any better than he did.

[I have to assume the "poverty-stricken village" right next to "Fer Sales" were the various out-buildings and/or Marie Antoinette's hamlet on the Versailles grounds, since the town of Versailles proper is quite well-off and picturesque. I can't even begin to ponder the possibilities as to whom he thinks the "King of France" is.]

The end.

Best to all,

9:23 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

I finished "The End of Absence" by Michael Harris this morning. (I think I posted an interview with him on the blog earlier).

Some good stuff, some irrelevant stuff but what really hit me was his suggestion that much of current popular (American) culture can be seen as a search for missing authenticity. Replacing real authentic human contact with things that pretend to be authentic, say old fashioned mustache wax or old fashioned clothes or whatever.

Sorry if my paraphrasing isn't very good, but I find myself falling into this trap sometimes... For many things old school is the best, but sometimes it is just hipster douchbaggery.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Jeff T said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

1. A bitter pill to swallow:


2. Fear-bola in the US:




ps: Whoa! Gunfire inside Canadian Parliament! Gonna check it out right now.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous MB said...

I'm a newbie here. I've read Morris's book Dark Ages America and am looking forward to your book Why America Failed. I think America and the world increasingly is only about global capitalism and the super rich. I always wondered why Democrats don't bring up wealth inequality as a major issue. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the majority of them milk the system, and in effect are paupers to the super rich so why rock the boat. I read for example how Mark Warner Democratic senator from Virginia started out as a staffer for senator Chris Dodd and used his connections to become a telecom multimillionaire before becoming a senator himself. A lot of politics is essentially just another mechanism to get super rich for those who can't do it through other means. Obama says we should be nice to bankers because post-president he wants to make money on the lucrative speakers fee circuit ala Bill Clinton. Democrats focus on important but very minor issues like providing corporate health insurance options to more Americans and promoting gay rights, but with few exceptions like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, but by and large they are a Clinton corporate democratic party, i.e. they don't give a goddamn about wealth inequality. I notice that celebrities speak out about a lot of causes but noticeably absent are any ground swell of support for causes like occupy. Why should they get involved, do they want their taxes raised? I see something like the global tax on wealth supported by the new book Capital by Picketty as pretty much the only way to save capitalism, but of course we know it ain't ever gonna happen much less even seriously discussed -why point out the emperor has no clothes on a global scale, it is bad taste. The phony democracy in the US is just a shell game to pretend that the superrich and corporations care about ordinary people. As you mention in your book the Madison avenue effort has been a raving success, because Americans are infantile and delusional enough to buy into this time and time again the so called "American Dream" and it's couplets "American Exceptialism" and "manifest destiny." But it is not just wealth per se that is the problem, but why does any one even want that kind of wealth to begin with. Only an utterly bankrupt culture would think that is what is praiseworthy. Of course it is phrased in the language of accomplishment but it really translates to money. When even poor people think that this is the only way things can be, we essentially have a culture of economic Darwinism, which is what we have. A few breadcrumbs of pissant underfunded social programs can sustain the farce for a while, but not forever. What I'm saying is that US culture of global capitalism and hustling as you might say has infected the world as a whole, with no clear end in sight and nothing that appears to be able to stop it. But I'll tell you what the long term end might be. Wealth can only be propped up by ordinary people buying stuff. There will come a point where ordinary people, no matter how deluded by Faux news, or even by false liberal hopes won't be able to buy stuff no matter how cheap we make I-phones or use fracking or dirty shale oil as well as subsidies to artificially price energy relative to the actual externalities it does to the environment. But a second even more deadly point is being reached, environmental catastrophe and not just from global warming, but global depletion of fishing, water resources, destruction of habitats for the majority of non-human species. Capitalism is going to destroy all these things. We actually might be better off if things just collapsed financially a few times which might give us a way to mitigate ecological collapse I don't know. This may take decades or even centuries to occur, but I don't see anything to stop it.


2:16 AM  
Blogger Jarid Wagner said...

Dr. Berman what's your response to Jeremy Rifkin and his Zero Marginal Cost Society book/theory ? Rifkin says renewable energy and the Internet of things will combine to evolve society beyond capitalism to the creative commons in the next few decades .

2:30 AM  

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