February 26, 2015

Neurotic Beauty

OK, Wafers; the Japan book is finally available. You'll probably need one for the kitchen and one for the bathroom, and maybe one more for your den. And then of course the basement workshop...This Amazon listing needs fixing: there are some endorsements to come, and the subtitle got cited twice, for some odd reason. Well, all in good time (hopefully). In the meantime, I hope you all enjoy the book:



Blogger fyreflye said...

Congratulations, Dr Berman, on the publication of your new book. May you have many readers. I certainly intend to read it as soon as a Kindle version comes out. (Not a joke, but I won't bore you with the reasons I and many others need a Kindle version.)
In the meantime, here's a disillusioned American after your own heart who had an even better idea of how to get himself out of the US:

"Max Hertz is a liberal, college professor, and artist — and he wants out of America. To do so, he’s set up a crowdfunding campaign. Hertz explains that he’s asking conservatives to put their money where their mouths are, as they are known to say things like: “If you don’t like America, you should just leave.”
Hertz explains, “I am worried about the growing anti-liberal, anti-art and anti-intellectual trends in America and I am actually concerned for my well being and safety.” A little melodramatic, maybe, but he seems hellbent on getting the hell out of here. By donating to his campaign, you will receive hate filled, right wing bumper stickers.
“I would like to leave America before the next scheduled installment of a right-wing president takes place.” Hertz explains.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you. I'm sure at least 50 people will read it. But u shd know that there won't be a Kindle edition; pb only. Sorry to disappoint, but maybe you can get yr local library to buy a copy.


12:25 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Congratulations on the release of your new book, MB! Holy smokes, a 516 page delivery and labor of love... How on earth were you able to do it, MB, while fending off trollfoons and CRE Americans from every conceivable direction? Jesus, we don't call you the *Great Woseribre* for nothin', I suppose!

Anyway, I just ordered two copies of NB from amazon and will tell everyone I know to pull their heads out their asses and read it. I will also post an amazon review for it upon completion. As a Wafer, each day is a special day, of course, but the day the head-Wafer publishes a book is an extra-special one. Again, congratulations and many thanks.


4:00 PM  
Blogger fyreflye said...

Thanks for your reply, Dr Berman, but paying for a paper copy of your book is not my problem. I'm ten years older than you and have age related visual problems that require larger type and often a font different from what most books offer. Kindle includes those options.

Obviously, a library copy of your book wouldn't help unless it's printed in 14 pt or larger sans serif type and has wide margins. If it is I'll gladly just buy one.

I was only able to read your WAF trilogy because all three volumes have a Kindle edition. I also have all three paper volumes of your
Consciousness trilogy but have to struggle with them and tend to lose the thread while trying to follow the text. Not complaining, just explaining.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. Berman,

Just ordered my copy, looking forward to it.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Congrats MB. The cover is very intriguing. You could do an April Fools promo where you insert fleeing Japanese citizens underneath the planes and include a link to American Sniper on the page... instant best seller.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Sam Holloway said...

I just placed my order, Dr. Berman, and I'm eagerly awaiting my opportunity to be one of the 50. I'll be sure to spread the word, as well.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Great - looking forward to reading it! Just ordered, though definitely not from Amazon.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Just bought my copy. You know...for the historical record :)

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Jerome said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Congratulations on the publication of the Japan book. My copy is in the mail, and I am very much looking forward to reading it. I will also be discussing WAF with my ethics and technology class today. Should be interesting.


6:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Waferinos-

Thank u all 4 yr encouragement and support. I look forward to yr feedback, for sure.


Stationery stores carry page-size plastic magnifiers, which I have sometimes found very helpful. Even a regular magnifying glass wd work--my grandfather used it all the time. Perhaps give it a shot...


How I did it: I'm still wondering myself.
1. 2 trips to Japan
2. Japanese friends and colleagues
3. Mastery of beginnner's-level Japanese
4. 15K, out-of-pocket
5. Blood, sweat, and tears
6. Improved anti-trollfoon techniques


10:46 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Yesterday I ordered two copies of Neurotic Beauty, one for myself and another for a Wafer friend as a birthday present. Now that the book is available, can we hope for a Dr Berman appearance in the not too distant future in Cascadia (Portland, OR) or another locale for a Wafer summit?

3:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for bk on Surrealism; very kind of u. Powell's behaved like a collection of turkeys, so I'm not eager to speak there. I keep hoping a Portland trip can be arranged anyway, but it keeps eluding me. However, will keep the blog posted on any possible appearances, never fear.


5:04 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Look at what the US created in Iraq and Syria:


Replacing the tyranny of Saddam's regime by neocon democracy has produced utter and complete chaos, a free-fire zone of jihadi anarchy, and an apocalyptic cult of very pissed off construction workers...who don't appreciate Assyrian statuary. Great job, America! You fuckers hit a trifecta.

Goodnight Irene,


8:36 PM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

News today

Russia opposition politician Boris Nemtsov shot dead


How do you see things playing out with Russia and the US? Do you see the potential for something approaching the cold war era?

9:55 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Dear Morris,

Congratulations from Cambridge (England) on the publication of your new book. I am a big fan of your three books on the decline of the United States and re-read them frequently, although I think you are a bit too generous to Jimmy Carter. (He was, after all, the man who said that America owed no restitution to the Vietnamese because "the destruction was mutual.")

Anyway, here's hoping you have a big success.


5:39 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

MB, Wafers-

Please allow me to add a coda to my previous post.

It now *appears* that the art being destroyed in the Mosul Museum were imitations made of plaster. Upon closer examination it's pretty visible to see protruding rebar inside the statues holding them together. This is not any type of hard substance such as marble w/the possible exception of the large Assyrian statue of the winged bull-man. Anyway, the video is a propaganda tool to goad the west into a deeper war w/IS and a recruiting tool.


10:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


True, and there were numerous problems with his presidency. But u hafta look at the larger picture, which makes that presidency, in the context of what the US was and is, quite remarkable.


12:28 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

about Jimmy Carter, you're correct. I've heard Republican commentators say that they believed Carter was the worst president we've had (see Steven F. Hayward or Glenn Beck), and just for the reasons you've given.

Part of the issue is that Carter was blamed for high unemployment and inflation. It's something like how people want to blame Obama for the national debt.

Maybe you've mentioned it, but Reagan is considered the greatest president by the public because he told us we were the greatest country:


6:41 PM  
Blogger escapefromwisconsin said...

Congratulations. Looking forward to reading it. Curious given your perspective what you think of this article: In violent times, young Japanese just shrug

The weekly Shukan Kinyobi discerns a “new fatalism” among young people. Meaning what? A feeling that effort reaps no rewards and so is not worth making; that the world is what it is and cannot be changed — at least not by me, even if I felt like changing it, which I don’t; that luck or inborn talent (which, being inborn, is just luck under another name) determines destiny, excluding most of us from the really good things in life — if they really are good, which they’re not, so to hell with them.

Economic factors, always important, figure here too. Japan’s youngest men and women were born into a stalled economy. They grew up in it, are used to it and are now entering it as workers. In 2010, a journalist named Taku Yamaoka wrote a book titled “Hoshigaranai Wakamonotachi” (“Young People Who Don’t Want Anything”). Status, prosperity, success, victory, love, sex, truth, justice — the key motivators of our species since it became recognizably human — mean little to them. A half-ironic description took hold — the “satori generation.” Satori is a religious term suggesting the enlightenment that raises an adept above worldly desire. Very likely Shukan Kinyobi is right in bringing the whole thing back down to earth with the word “fatalism.”

Seems like the right attitude to me. Makes even more sense living in the U.S.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Anyone here care to speculate on why EST-conman John Paul Rosenberg legally renamed himself with the über-Teutonic "Werner Erhard"?

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your writing by poking around on the web and listening to you tube vids of your lectures. I ordered A Question of Values and can't put the damn thing down. Your writing style puts words to things I've known but couldn't exactly articulate. And I'm looking forward to reading Neurotic Beauty. I have friends living in Japan and my wife and I have been there to visit. I like the country and the people but would welcome your take on the place.
But, did you know Joe Bageant? He was an ex-pat living in Mexico. And he was also an author I found by accident. So you guys have that in common.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Don Italo said...

Probably too late given that you've already published the book... There are some intriguing movements in Japan relevant to your argument. I've spent some time in Japan myself and a friend turned me on to Junko Ediharo.

She sort of spearheads a movement of people to live more fulfilling lives by disengaging from modern society and dedicate 50% of their lives to farming and such. It's more elaborate than that but... you get the idea.

On another note, given my engagement with history academia, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the persistent tendency by those in the liberal arts to focus on increasingly esoteric topics? It strikes me as a form of careerism that has infected academia to the point that NOTHING they do is relevant to the society at large. Any attempt to break this mold seems to be actively discouraged. Historians write books these days for the sole purpose of torturing grad students (who don't read the entire book anyways).

Why would Americans know about the lessons of history when the very people who dedicate themselves to such study make no effort to engage the broader population?

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Congrats on the book. As you may know, I spent 10 years teaching in Japan. I was in the Tohoku (northeast region) so I had a highly authentic Japanese experience. Needless to say, I look forward to your insights. Parenthetically, I became somewhat of a media star in Japan as I became quiet proficient in kyudo, traditional Japanese archery. An archer is judged on three things: accuracy, technique, and manners ( you have to show proper deference to the judges as you enter the dojo). I recall someone getting repeated bulls-eyes but was scored low by the judges. Apparently, he didn't bow low enough to the judges upon entering. That to me was quintessential Japanese culture.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I did know, and look forward to yr feedback.


I discuss Junko and related green issues in ch. 7 of the bk, as it turns out.


In future pls pick a handle, as I don't ordinarily post Anons, thanks. Joe and I corresponded a bit, and I wrote an obit for him (archived on this blog). Anyway, glad yr enjoying my work.


It's kind of a dead topic here, as we had it out with the est-holes some time ago. Collection of morons, with Erhard as the Arch Douche Bag. Not much more to be said, I hope.


Where Japanese young people are these days is a bit of a mixed bag. Check out ch.7 of my bk for some aspects of this.


Keep in mind that most Americans are dimwitted, and also jerks. (Failure to acknowledge this is what has landed 'progressives' in la la land.) This is why Jimmy got elected by accident, and why Reagan was and is mainstream.


12:24 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Jus' received "Neurotic Beauty" and read the introduction:



ps: The book, text, and illustrations all look fantastic.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Dr. Berman,

Congratulations on your new book. I look forward to reading it.

I just finished watching a film called "Amigo" about the US involvement in the Philippines in the early 1900s. The film shows how Americans actually deal with cultures they're trying to "civilize". Another film Wafers might like is called "One Man's Hero". It's the story of John Riley and the San Patricios in the Mexican-American war. There are so few films that describe the gray areas of US meddling overseas. The only other one I can think of is "The Quiet American". There should be a bill in Congress to make Manichaeism the state religion.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

A belated question on the Kunstler interview you posted- You mentioned John Rappoport; any more thoughts about him and his work?

I look at his blogs occasionally. He is one of the few in Alt Media who tries to go beyond just social or political analysis, into a deeper metaphysical or philosophical approach to how "reality" and worldview is constructed. Especially on his new "Outside the Reality Machine" blog. There, he talks in parables, short stories, and/or metaphor, about brainwashing and how to "exit the matrix." I love the attempt; at the same time, I wish he would occasionally spell things out a little more, give a concrete example here and there, because I don't think I'm following him completely.

I'm curious about his giant collection of audio and writings that he offers for sale -- but it's so daunting. Fifty-five hours or something, plus hundreds of pages of PDFs. I don't even know what it costs, it's just intimidating as hell. I'm not sure you can even buy just one thing; that's probably more trouble than he wants, ha ha. No, just buy his complete body of work, and he gives you the secret web address to go download it all. It's tempting, I'll admit.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I'm rather puzzled at how Jimmy Carter is revered as well. While he may not have been as horrible as Ronald Reagan, Clinton, Obama and the Bushes, he and his sidekick, Zbigniew Brzezinski, started the mess in Afghanistan, which has led to the greater mess in Central Asia and the Middle East that we now enjoy.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Jimmy got hoodwinked by Zbig, which was really a tragedy. Check out discussion of this in DAA.


Also check out the novel by Graham Greene.


Many thanks. Hope the rest of it lives up to yr expectations.


4:57 PM  
Anonymous Empty Tan Tien said...

please tell me there's a spanish edition underway ...

6:54 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

It's interesting that you mentioned the SL-1200 (1972). I'm a big fan on vintage audio equipment, it seems some of the best of it was Japanese and from the 1970s/80s. This is just one product of many that is still highly valued today. Actually the SL-1200 is probably one of the least expensive pieces today, as some of these easily go into the thousands or tens of thousands now:

* Korg: PS-3300 synthesizer (1977)

* Roland: TR-808 drum machine (1980)

* Yamaha: CS-80 synthesizer (1977) and DX1 synthesizer (1983)

* Akai: MPC60 (1988)

* Pioneer SX-1980 receiver (1978)

* Sansui G-22000 receiver (1978)

Things are different today, these companies still produce products, but not at the same level of quality. Top artists still prefer these old machines for their quality.

Electronics are completely modern, but it seems like the 1980s was the beginning of the end in terms of quality/craft. Technics/Akai/Pioneer went on to mass produce tons of crap (like many global brands), and now it's like everyone has gone to using the same mass produced iCrap and software.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Excited by the new book - does anything about Uyoku Dantai (oddly pro-American ultranationalist Japanese groups) make it in there? Always been puzzled by those.

I just snagged a copy of Dark Ages America at a used book sale, next to god knows how many shelves of Ann Coulter. I was surprised to see the book at all, but I got a great deal and now I don't have to keep having it sent from the neighboring counties' library!

I was also really excited by this article by Matt Yglesias, "American Democracy is Doomed"


Unfortunately, its just wonky stuff about political structures. I mean, it's interesting, but I feel totally encapsulates the way beltway journalists treat politics like a softball game instead of something that will dramatically affect the lives of hundreds of millions. No mention of poverty, hunger, unemployment, cultural illiteracy, crumbling infrastructure, or anything that might actually, you know, affect people. Just some nerdy discussion of procedural rules and charts and a patronizing "there there it will be alright".

11:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


"Belleza neurotica" is scheduled for a 2016 release.


12:52 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

I walked out of my last stop for the night and this juxtaposition just smacked me in the gob.


12:12 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Just wanted to interject a film recommendation--"Nightcrawler," starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. Talk about hustling--Gyllenhaal plays a young man who decides to break into the news industry as a nightcrawler, an independent cameraman who listens to a police scanner, zooms to the scene of any gruesome crime or accident, films it, and sells it to local news stations.

Gyllenhaal's character is not just amoral but a literal psychopath--he cannot accept anyone else's point of view and constantly talks in faux-business platitudes around success, improvement, and whatever would take him to the next level. Naturally, in today's LA, this works.

The film is a great portrait of someone who derives all sense of dedication, drive, and craftsmanship from getting ahead at the expense of others--literally, in the case of the victims he films.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Dr. Berman, just ordered it.

Have you read any Sandor Marai or Magda Szabo? Recently I started reading translated Hungarian fiction. Read 'Embers' by Marai and midstream in Szabo's 'The Door'. Both of which are really terrific.

Hope all is well.


11:28 AM  
Anonymous A Mudhole By Another Name said...

@ Morris:

Any incivility on my part was triggered by the direct, unnuanced suggestion (in fairness, not by Ray) that Southerners likely have lower average I.Q.s than Northerners. Apologies if I contravened standards, but we will have to agree to disagree that I reacted excessively to such a statement.

@ Ray:

“[i}t is ‘mud´s,’ (and I suspect many other Southern partisans´) particular genius to insist that all debate about that region MUST be forced into their particular obsession.”

My “particular genius” in that exchange was to refute Ray’s overly negative interpretation of Morris’s analysis in WAF, and to highlight points of difference between Morris and Ray that Ray was trying to elide. Ray didn’t like that. It presented him with unmanageable levels of exposure of his own attempts at misdirection.

“Mud never got this point, so keen was he(she) to find me a place in his(her) Manichean worldview.”

Ray is grasping at straw(men) here and elsewhere, making completely unjustified inferences, and engaging in barely concealed insults. Let’s hope, then, that “standards of decency” will be evenly applied. I actually think that Ray is very bright and articulate, and he is no figure of cosmic evil in my “world-view”, whatever that may be. He and I just happen to differ strenuously on this issue.

For the rest, Mud “got the point” that Ray made many ill-considered remarks about the South during that discussion, which are a matter of record available to anyone who takes the time and trouble to research the archives. For someone who finds the South so unimportant, Ray was quite vocal on the subject at the time.

Now, indeed, let’s put all this to bed, including remarks about regional I.Q. levels, perhaps? But for the offensive “I.Q.” comment, I would not have stirred those “muddy” waters. I will not do so again, and, assuming this is published, whoever wishes the last word is welcome to take it.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's not so simple as agreeing to disagree; I set the standards, not u, and u violated them. So I ask u not to do it again. Attributing motives to other Wafers is also something we want to avoid here. In any case, this discussion is getting a bit tedious, so I hope we can move on, and also avoid a negative, personal tone in the future. Thanks.


1:16 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB and all WAFers Worldwide:

Today I call your attention to a remarkable WAFer-like article written by Charles Smith ( http://www.oftwominds.com/blog.html ) citing an article from Foreign Affairs titled "The Calm Before the Storm" authored by Nassim Taleb.

"For countries, fragility has five principal sources: a centralized governing system, an undiversified economy, excessive debt and leverage, a lack of political variability, and no history of surviving past shocks. Applying these criteria, the world map looks a lot different. Disorderly regimes come out as safer bets than commonly thought, and seemingly placid states turn out to be ticking time bombs."

Smith scores America 4 out of 5 meaning that we are increasingly a fragile state.

No surprise to us WAFers!!

2:48 PM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

I've been shocked by some of these facts in the book thus far (pretty basic, but I'm willing to admit I didn't know):

- The bomb was dropped to show Russia our power, not to reduce casualties

- Before Perry sailed over, Japan hadn't had an exterior conflict in its recorded history. Within decades, they had killed 15 million Chinese.

How was I able to get through college and not know this? The answer is that I was too busy learning job skills.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

I was going to leave another comment, then saw the last exchange. Ahem… I didn't know it at the time but have been lucky to have some experiences, not all good ones. One of the better was hitchhiking across the USA in late october '70. from Philly. It was cold out there, so I headed south and cut across through NC, Tenn, Ark, and so on. Had never been in the South. That was by far the best part of the trip. I met so many very smart people there, and realized that I'd developed a parochialism in my attitudes about the South. II still get befogged by that sort of thing. Some outgrowth of my narcissism. This is a big honking' country and we (includes me) don't get out enough to sample the others. Hope this ain't preachy. But, yes, let's keep it civil (loaded word, I know.)
Anyhow here's a howl from a wayfarer who is a WAFer, but don't know it yet:

3:52 PM  
Blogger Val said...

MB, congratulations on the publication of Neurotic Beauty. I can't afford books these days, so I will request my local library to acquire a copy. Maybe I'll ask all 3 branches to do that, and see if they'll go for it.

Mr. Orlov has published an interesting article concerning the political condition of the United States. He hypothesizes that this country has handed itself over to rule by an oligarchy whose Orwellian interests are served by waging wars that we consistently fail to win; and further, that our current provocations in Ukraine manifest their wish to achieve a really big, ambitious failure. I don't know if you would concur with the details of his theory, but it does appear to include the presumption that the USA is doomed and has no future worth mentioning, so I imagine that it probably has some merit.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

You're currently #1 in Japanese History! Not too shabby.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Apparently, Oxford University Press is making some changes to their Junior Oxford Dictionary.

Among the deletions: nature terms, such as "acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, dandelion, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture, willow".

Among the additions: "attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, cut-and-paste, MP3 player, voicemail".

As the writer in the Guardian describing these changes puts it (you can read the rest at http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/27/robert-macfarlane-word-hoard-rewilding-landscape) Oxford "no longer felt [these words] to be relevant to a modern day childhood." "For blackberry, see Blackberry."

Of course the fault isn't with the Oxford University Press, if anyone. But its regrettable all the same.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Berman,

Congratulations on the release of NB. I can't wait to read it. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait till May to do so bc my folks and I are actually leaving for Japan in 10 days, (as well as Russia and several other countries).

As an amateur pianist I was thrilled to get a tour of the Yamaha piano factory last time in Hamamatsu. Similarly thrilled this time to be getting a tour just for my folks and I of the Kawai piano factory. Some of the best pianos made. Legendary pianist Mikhail Pletnev recently gave up solo performance all together (having been with both Steinway and Bluthner), claiming there were no suitable instruments out there, until resuming with Shigeru Kawai, and hailing it the best in the world.

That said, it would be nice to see some more traditional Japanese craftsmanship at work. Sword making is something that would really be fascinating to see. However, my research suggests that most of that which is open to viewing by the public is in Niko. As beautiful as Niko is, our tight schedule may prohibit us from getting there. We have only nine days in Japan and will be operating out of Tokyo and Osaka, with day trips as far as Hiroshima. Do you know where one might be able to observe sword making somewhere other than Niko, perhaps around Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima?

9:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I actually found Nikko a bit overrated. There hasta be swordsmithing in Tokyo, and you can try google; but if you have any Japanese friends, perhaps they cd google in the Japanese language 4u. Have a great trip.


Just a couple of corrections:

1. Intimidating Russia was a factor, but not the only one; and not the central one, I do not think.
2. There was one exterior conflict, which occurred during the Middle Ages. But this is not much, obviously.


11:04 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Dr. B, regarding the travelling to Cuba discussion earlier I just saw this today:


looks expensive, but since you already live in Mexico that should make things easier.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

The upcoming Haru (spring) hon-basho (official tournament) is coming up, in Osaka:


Although I never did any sumo myself, I'm something of an expert on sumo, perhaps even a kind of contemporary amateur historian on the unique national sport. I know all the wrestlers (sumotori, rikishi) and the kimarite (winning techniques). I'm much better at the statistics than I am at the history of the rituals, though.

Sumo will outlive industrial civilization ... perhaps ... I hope so. It has only the most minimal dependence on technology of any kind.

I'll keep you posted if anything particularly interesting happens.

By the way, did you look into Chalmers Johnson's writings on Japan? I haven't read them, but he supposedly was a respected scholar on the matter.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Maybe it's in the last section of the book, but do the Japanese have an apocalypse narrative like we do in the US, whether it's techno utopian, religious, or new age?

I'm guessing this is also later in the book, but what do you think of Japan's future like in terms of environment/resources? You seem to suggest that social/political collapse is more important or at least will come sooner than environmental collapse.

On a final note, I've read that people have suggested much of Japanese behavior can be compared to experiments with overcrowding in rat populations, namely the loss of interest in sex & obsession with vanity. I'm not sure I agree with this one as it seems oversimplified, but maybe there's something to this.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Presentable Liberty said...

Congrats on your new book Mr. Berman! I'm new here and I just managed to immerse myself WAFerism, but one thing strikes me is how lonely it gets. But what depresses me is how my own family feels butt hurt every time I mention about how shitty this country is.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ay muchachos!

Thank u all for writing.

Chino Latino-

Gracias por escribir. Mira, voy a responder en ingles por el momento; es mas facil. That article in Adbusters is going to be published in some anthology by a prof. in political science at UNAM, as "Amor y sobrevivencia", so check back with me in 6 mos. and I'll give you the reference.

ps: In the future, be sure to send yr message to the most recent post; no one reads the older stuff, myself included.


Well, get usta it, amigo. Knowing that 318 million Americans are completely clueless will not render you popular, and your family is American. Suggest u emigrate asap.


Yes, last section of bk.


Chalmers: yes. Sumo: I watched the playoffs on TV when I was in Tokyo last April. Great stuff, tho Naomi, my host, thought it was boring. Well, I find baseball boring, so what the heck.


6:19 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Your book finally showed up yesterday and I had a few early observations:

- That's a pretty nice painting of bamboo on the cover, MB. Is that the sumi-e you speak on in the Chapter 1 Endnote 1?

- Speaking of endnotes, this is the first book I've read (probably) since grad-school where I've had to use 2 book marks, one for my spot in the text and one for my spot in the endnotes.

Well done.

Liberty: Trust me, you are not alone in feeling the way you do. Most of us here have gone through it! I would recommend going back through some of the older posts and reading the comments, they will help. Try this one first:


6:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, my artwork, I'm happy to say. I knocked my own socks off, but I really think it was my sensei who deserves the credit as a brilliant teacher.

Thank u4 rdg the ftnotes. Some of them are quite long, and are essential to the discussion in the text.


7:19 PM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

Hi Dr. Berman (and fellow WAF'ers),

I just ordered your book and look forward to reading it -- and to discussing some of its salient points with my Japanese wife. (By the way, will there be a Japanese translation?)

I'll try to bring any good feedback (including thoughts from my four years of living in Toyama-ken and in Tokyo) into this forum.


1:01 AM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...

Just bought my copy. Looking forward to another exceptional reading experience, and adding this one to my Berman book collection on display for visitors to see and hopefully ask about.

Have Wafers seen this one? I guess our country doesn't have enough people incarcerated. A potential new law in Kansas would put teachers in prison for assigning materials deemed 'harmful' by judges. http://www.salon.com/2015/02/27/kansas_could_put_teachers_in_prison_for_assigning_books_prosecutors_dont_like/

1:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


How long b4 this blog is considered treason, I'm sent to Guantanamo, and Wafers are hunted down as fellow travelers? All of this legislation is starting to have the 'creep' of the Nuremberg Laws. 'Progressives' keep talking abt revolution, but if such a thing occurs, it will come from the Right, not the Left.

Kurt Vonnegut: "There's a shit storm coming."


3:47 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

FBI, CIA, NSA, "Papa" Monzano, and the ghost of Harry S. Truman-

As a Wafer, I hafta say, if you're gonna throw me in a black site facility somewhere...that I require pastrami on rye w/coleslaw and Russian dressing, biweekly. If this request is not honored, I will *not* cooperate.


Jesus, "Neurotic Beauty" is fantastic. I'm about 180 pp. in and am enjoying the hell out of it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any other work by an American historian assembles and frames, in such a grand sweep, all of the various strains of reasons and motivations behind the decision to drop the bomb like you do in NB. Indeed, chap. 4 is simply mind-blowing; it goes way beyond anything I've read about Hiroshima. Anyway, great work!


5:04 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hola wafers. Now semi-retired and am a roadtrip. Wish i'd gotten off of the hamster wheel many years ag. Now reconnecting with old friends on the east slope of the Sierras. I was just outside in perfect reading mode. But...So on this trip i want to give Coming to our Senses a close reading. Echoing someone above, this includes 2 bookmarks, marking up the book and taking some notes. Dr. Berman, dude, it's blowing my mind in a good way. I'd read a couple of chapters before going back over it. But today had to put it aside as it is so deeply affecting. Just to let it sink in, so to speak. So, i'm a lonng way off from reading NB, but have it to look forward to.To put it crudely, i see it and SSIG, and AQoV a money in the bank.I have requested local library system to acquire NB.
Miichael- I haven't seen Nightcrawler, but can imagine "the pitch" to the studio.. Matt Drudge with a videocam.
Aplogies for worse than usual typing- tremor pretty bad today. otherwise i'm feelin pretty good.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Jimmy Carter memoir coming out in July-


I recently bought his book, "The Hornet's Nest," a novel of the American Revolutionary War, at a local library. I can't imagine too many of our recently retired presidents researching and writing a historical novel...

6:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sounds like yr coming to yr senses. As for money in the bank: "There is no wealth but life" (John Ruskin).


I cd be wrong, but I read all of the lit I cd find on the bomb--in English, or Japanese in English trans--and I did not see any discussion of the clash of two very conflicting mindsets as being the heart of the matter. At least not among American historians; tho it seems obvious enuf. However, I do not read Japanese, and for all I know, this thesis may have been advanced by some Japanese historian. I'm hoping I can arrange a Japanese translation of the bk, because I wd definitely like to see what the Japanese public (both lay and academic) think of all this. I mean, in general, they wd know better than I, I'm guessing.


6:10 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Small personal note of joy to share. I was awarded my purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu this morning. I haven't stopped smiling yet. 😊😊😊😊😊

7:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Congratulations, that's great. It's sounds really exotic. If Wafers ever hafta square off against trollfoons, you'll be in the front line.


8:10 PM  
Blogger boxcarro said...

Speaking of Japan, I own several guitars built there, & here is a Video of Extremely Talented Young (geek) Girls "Shredding". Is this not a form of Craft?


9:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A lot of skill here, 2b sure, but craft usually refers to the physical creation of something (material)--e.g., the making of guitars.


9:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

At one pt during the struggle for independence in India, Gandhi was invited to tea at Buckingham Palace. He wore his traditional loincloth and shawl. A British reporter asked him: "Don't you think you were a trifle under-dressed for the occasion?" Gandhi replied: "His Majesty had enough clothes on for both of us."

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. B,

Great seeing your piece in Adbusters this week:


8:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"Americans never learn; it's part of our charm."--Gore Vidal


It's amazing to read various online articles abt the 'upcoming' presidential election--20 months away. O, is Hillary in trouble because of her use of her private email account! O, will Jeb Bush become the GOP front-runner! O, blah blah, and blah!

These questions are debated in the media as if they actually matter. 'Progressives' in particular haven't learned a damn thing: IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE. They got excited abt Obama, thinking he was a piece of gold. Fool's gold, is what he turned out to be; a piece of dog excrement. The whole Obama presidency was hot air, rhetoric; he violated every promise he made. Very quickly, he became a war criminal, and a shil for the Pentagon, Wall St., and the corporations. But here's the pt: so will the next president! To get elected, you hafta court the rich and powerful--as well as a very dumb and jingoistic American public. You can hardly talk abt what we've done to other countries, abt imperialism and neo-colonialism. Nor can you state in public that plutocracy has replaced democracy, or that we probably never even had a real democracy. Ha! Imagine an election campaign that was real, a presidency that was real. As Wm Blum once put it, if he were ever elected president, he'd be assassinated by day 4 of his presidency. Meanwhile, 20 mos. ahead of time, everybody's getting worked up over crap abt email, poll #s, and who is likely to get the nomination in each party--while the parties are abt as different as McDonald's is from Burger King. What a farce all of this is, and what a complete distraction from reality. Of course, the last thing Americans are interested in, or remotely in touch with, is reality. And so, with every passing day, we sink deeper into the quicksand.

O&D, my friends; O&D.


9:11 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

You'll probably like this article. A preacher spoke the truth, and he was immediately shunned for being un-American. Here's what he said:

"As you know two movies came out recently. Selma, the story of one of the 20th century most influential Christian leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led a non-violent movement that changed the course of American History forever. And American Sniper, the story of the most deadly Navy SEAL sniper in American history. Selma has made 29-30 million so far. American Sniper made over 103 million in the first 4 days. Gives you an idea about who our heroes are. I don’t think it is an under-statement to say that our culture is addicted to violence, guns, war, revenge and retaliation. Unfortunately, so are a lot of Christians."

Ouch. This reminds me of how churches in 2003 were extremely supportive of the war and would erupt into cheers when the preacher would say, "This is a just war!"


10:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


How much more evidence do we need that this country is completely and utterly fucked?


10:32 PM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

I liked the bit in the last chapter on New Urbanism. In a way, I think liberals might be doing more damage than conservatives because greenwashing takes away the guilt of our society while allowing problems to compound. I hear so many people say that our problems are being solved because of LED bulbs/rooftop solar/new yuppie urban developments, etc. It all seems like the biggest load of BS, but when I call it out, people get defensive, call me a pessimist, and start talking in general terms about innovation and green/local blah blah blah.

As an example of recent New Urbanism, here's a project in DC (http://www.cnu.org/resources/projects/columbia-heights-2009): the centerpiece is a Target, CVS, and Best Buy. These types of developments are popping up everywhere and people widely praise them, but I see it more as just a yuppie enclave built for fun and to remove any guilt of consumerism/pollution.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Compelling article here by John Pilger: hhtp://www.consortiumnews.com/2015/03/02/the-rise-of-a-democratic-fascism/

Mention early on of the lionization/heroification of the mass murderer psychopath in "American Sniper".
Much revelation as to the abuses of and by Brzezinski.

It must seem clear now that the US and much of western governments adopted the fascist model; only without the figurehead dictator that could be more easily recognized as a danger by the idiot masses.

One wonders if Nazi Germany would have succeeded w/out a Hitler, or if Fascist Italy with Ciano instead of Mussolini would be the template for the world ?

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

here's a sweet datum for yer asses. You love it.

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

Hello Dr. B,

Congratulations on your new book. It is currently on my wishlist. I've got a lot of catching up to do as far as reading is concerned.

I thought that this video was right in line with breaking the myth of America's role in WWII.


It is really a matter of money / hustling when you get right down to it. When money is our god, then how can anyone get enough of it. After all, when most people have a price, those with enough money can practice their own brand of omnipotence.

I would appreciate anyone's on the video.

Peace fellow Wafers.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous moonwetpotatoe said...

Speaking of Clinton and the elections and all the vomit inducing nominees of the demon rat party I think the last one I could enthusiastically vote for was George McGovern. What do you think of him Humphrey and Adlai Stevenson?

11:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


During his 2nd election campaign, in 1956, Stevenson was speaking at Vassar College, and when he finished one student stood up and said, "Gov. Stevenson, you have every thinking American's vote." "Won't work," he shot back; "I need a majority."

He was also asked by a reporter how he felt abt Norman Vincent Peale (an early version of Oprah) vs. St. Paul. His reply: "I find Paul appealing, and Peale appalling."

My kinda guy.


11:21 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, moon-

Damn Estes Kefauver! You know, Stevenson wanted JFK to be his running mate in 1956, but decided to let the delegates decide his running mate. Big mistake! Tho '56 was a blowout for Ike, it might've been closer w/JFK on the ticket... BTW, Peter Sellers stated that his portrayal of President Merkin Muffley in "Dr. Strangelove" was modeled on Stevenson.


Thanks. Yes, I just read footnote 48 for chap. 4 about exploring the "conflicting mindsets" of the US and Japan as a critical factor. Also, I never really appreciated just *how* it was that America basically ruined Japan after WWII, i.e. a rigged authoritarian democracy that was little more than a sham, similarities of Commodore Perry and MacArthur, an our way or the highway policy, etc. I recall that when the Iraq War began to go south for the US, conservative intellectuals and politicians began to bring up our *successful* occupation of Japan, and how it could serve as a possible model for Iraq. Jesus, is the goal of America as simple as attempting to make Americans out of *everyone* on the globe?


12:58 PM  
Blogger Mark Watson said...

Dr. Berman:

Currently engrossed in "Re-enchantment of the World." I am fascinated by the long discussion of the proto-quantative mindset of Alchemy and was interested in reading more about the rich history of the field. Is Von Franz a good starting place? It looks to follow a similar path to your account.


1:02 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Today's salon.com has a piece entitled "The vast right-wing conspiracy is still real. Also, the media is really stupid."

The subtitle reads: "Fake scandals consume the news cycle. The real scandals go uncovered and unremarked. Our press is officially a joke."

Among the fake scandals: Hillary's emails; Billo's* and Brian's* (faux) heroics and (lack of) intrepidity as journalists.

Regarding the audience for these reports and "analyses," one commenter worth quoting writes:

"In the immortal words of George Carlin, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of them are stupider than that."

*Bill O'Reilly (Faux News) and Brian Williams (NBC)

1:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Of course, Carlin was talking abt Americans. Now map that onto the macrocosm, i.e. US foreign and domestic policy, and u.c. why we are in the situation we are in, and why the media is preoccupied w/kaka.


God, I was writing that bk 40 yrs ago, so it's hard to remember anything abt it. There is so much crap written about the magical tradition; I was trying to walk a fine line between the gullible and the totally skeptical. Anyway, one thing I might suggest is running down the ftnotes for the chapter on alchemy. That shd keep u busy for some time to come.


I'm confused. I haven't seen Strangelove for decades, but I thought Sellers was sending up Henry Kissinger (shouting "Mein Fuehrer!" in the War Rm, etc.). As for yr question at the end: yes, that basically is the sum total of our foreign policy, and has been for a very long time. Which reflects a deep anxiety abt our own identity. As for n.48: r.u. sure? I just checked, and it doesn't correspond to what yr referring to.


3:31 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...


Sorry, you're right, MB! I should have wrote that I read your explanation about the "conflicting mindsets" of Americans and Japanese (i.e., references to the "American national character" and the "Japanese psyche") *following* n.48 in the text. I hope this makes sense. At any rate, I get what you are saying about how both mindsets contributed to and played out in terms of what you described as "the endgame of the Pacific War."

In terms of Sellers mimicking Stevenson, I read somewhere, perhaps it was a film critic, that Sellers studied Adlai's midwestern accent and drew inspiration from it in his portrayal of President Muffley. Muffley was also a serious and balding "egghead"; of course, that's what critics (Nixon) usta call Adlai back in the day. I could be wrong, but I thought the Dr. Strangelove character, also played by Sellers, was based on Kissinger. However, the film debuted in 1964, and this was before Henry was a serious factor in public life, tho he did advise Nelson Rockefeller in foreign policy going all the way back to 1960.


ps: Please excuse this 2nd post violation.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, I heard it was Kissinger. There are scenes in the War Rm where Sellers can't control his right arm, which keeps shooting up in a Sieg Heil! salute, with Sellers yelling things in a German accent.


5:51 PM  
Blogger fyreflye said...

At the time the assumption was that Dr Strangelove was Wernher von Braun, former SS member and developer of the German V-2 rocket during WW 2 who, instead of being tried after the war for war crimes, was co-opted by the US to run its IRBM missile program and later to NASA to work on the Saturn spaceflight program that preceded the Apollo Moon Mission.

10:29 PM  
Blogger fyreflye said...

Dr Berman,
My rectangular 2X magnifier arrived in the mail today and looks like it will work for most non-Kindle reading, so I've ordered Neurotic Beauty and happily await its delivery. I've also requested the Sonoma County Library System acquisitions department to purchase a copy for general circulation.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hey, Wafers. Dr. Strangelove was a seriously funny piece of deep propaganda . Kubrick was very well informed about the US, looked at its roots. He went to England and never came back, though continued to locate movies in the US. If I recall it so, George Scott was not entirely pleased the way his performance came out, saying that Kubrick shot multiples of the scenes with his character as cool, average, and over the top, and that only the latter appeared. Great comedic performance. Kubrick went deep in the Shining. Se the documentary "Room 237" about the subversive americano subtext passed off as a "horror movie."Imagine SK saying,"they want a horror movie when they're living one?")
Terry Southern was no slouch as another subversive observer of the American scene (The magic Christian.) I'd guess that the character of Dr. S. was a mashup of several sinister types, including Kissinger. Though he wasn't a celebrity yet, I'd wager that Kubrick and Southern were aware of him. Kubrick as photo-wafer? I heard on the tv that he encouraged Sellers to improvise, and that opening scene of Lolita became distorted by this. Upon seeing it again, hafta agree.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

"Strangelove" brilliant ...one of my faves. Only one left among the actors is radioman James Earl Jones, Lt. Lothar Zogg.
Interestingly, both 'Merkin' and 'Muffley' are suggestive of the female reproductive areas of anatomy.
Sterling Hayden as suicidal psychopath Gen. Jack D. Ripper !
Geo. C. Scott as philanderer jingoist Gen. 'Buck' Turgidson !
Keenan Wynn as Col. Bat Guano !
Peter Sellers in command performance in multiple roles.
The closing song, "I'll Be Seeing You" by Vera Lynn.

Kubrick's best.

"Strangelove" was an antonym/ironic twist: Familiar ( or common ) Hate.

Would like to see a film of Vidal's "Kalki" done in a similar humourouress style.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And let's not forget Slim Pickens.


Yr a trooper!


2:36 AM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Thought you might be interested in this article:

"If Imperial Japan was the victim in WWII, than Harry Truman, not Hideki Tojo, must be the war criminal.

Tokyo’s revisionist logic is centered on the premise of Japan being victimized by the Allied powers, most notably in the fire bombings of Tokyo and the devastating atomic bombings of the of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which resulted in thousands of civilian casualties.

This revisionist narrative is laid out in detail at the Yushukan museum in Tokyo next to the Yasukuni war shrine. The logic is as follows: Imperial Japan waged the Great East Asia War (Daitowa Senso) in an effort to liberate the Asian peoples from the yoke of Western Imperialism. The “selfless goal” was to bring the enlightened modernization of Meiji Japan to hopelessly backward Asian brothers and sisters."


9:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. That debate is covered extensively in NB ch. 4 (be sure to read ftnotes as well). One reason the revisionist arg. won't go away is that it was suppressed, rather than refuted, at the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, 1946-48.


10:00 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

A good, though a little hyperbolic, essay here on Japan, US and Canada:


And finally, someone calls bullsh!t on the "Education is the Silver Bullet" mantra:


Also, Sellers played 3 roles in Strangelove; Mandrake, President Muffley and Dr. Strangelove. He was supposed to play Major Kong (Slim Pickins role) also, but injured himself so he couldn't run around the B-52. The funny part is, Sellers improvised much of the extra Strangelove stuff and if you watch you can see the extras cracking up during his phantom hand stuff, even the guy who played the Russian ambassador.

10:09 AM  
Blogger fyreflye said...

If you liked "Strangelove," and can deal
with dark humor on a much subtler level,
I'd suggest The Manchurian Candidate (the original, 1962.) Two masterpieces of black humor from the early '60's.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Informal rule here: pls post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks.


11:08 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Re: Otaku

In the last chapter you did a lot of comparison with the US, but not regarding Otaku. It seems the nerd culture/obsessive hobbies is a global thing, so I don't exactly understand the Japanese focus here. There are plenty of people in the US who spend ungodly amounts of time on video games, cosplay, LARP, and related things. I'd say this deserves global focus.

Re: hikikomori

This also seems to be a global thing, and I believe it's more of a mental health issue partly coming from the pressures of modern life and inability to fit in, and I think it has 0 to do with being an outright rejection of a hustling culture.

Here's a reddit post with a hikikomori:


Q: "What made you become a hikikomori?"

A: "Somewhat common story: out of college, couldn't find work (beginning of recession), had to move in with parents. Problem was, parents lived in completely different state than before (so no college friends or high-school friends) and I got depressed when I couldn't find a job."

11:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You may be rt abt otaku, tho it does seem to me to have a certain Japanese aspect to it, esp. in terms of the continuity w/the craft tradition, which American young people are largely oblivious to. As for hikikomori: this is universally recognized as a uniquely Japanese phenomenon. It's not abt not being able to find a job, and thus becoming depressed; it's abt not *wanting* to be part of the job (corporate) culture--i.e., opting out in advance. It finally constitutes a pretty clear statement to the larger culture, which I don't think can be said of American youth, unemployed or not.


12:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I shd add that in the case of the otaku, they don't constitute a uniform phenomenon. There are otaku and there are otaku. For some, as in the US, it's just entertainment, nothing more. Others see it in more significant terms--as does, for example, the critic Hiroki Azuma, whose analysis I discuss on pp. 298-301.
As for the hikos, no other country has a population of 1 million young people who lock themselves in their rms for up to 15 yrs (this goes way beyond depression). This is why there are journals on the subject, branches of therapy specifically devoted to the phenomenon, and so on.


1:59 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, All-

Just like the old counterculture era tune: jus' droppin' in to see what condition my condition was in... Jesus, every day gets increasingly bizarre in the US. For your reading pleasure:



As MB once asserted, "This sucker is goin' down, kiddies!"


ps: Slim Pickens as Major T.J. "King" Kong: "Well, boys, I reckon this is it-- nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies."

2:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


O those russkies! O those Ay-rabs! O those ____ (fill in the blank)! Hmm...it never seems to end. Why is that? (Duh)


3:49 PM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

Here's a video I found interesting, or, very sad really:

"Japan's Disposal Workers: Net Cafe Refugees"


I was shocked by the guy who was a sararīman working 120-200 hrs of overtime a month. When he finally snapped and went to get his depression treated, he was considered a psycho, and weak.

A second comment -- are you familiar with the term Otariiman? This is a recent phenomenon - an otaku salaryman. I'm curious on your thoughts here.

One last comment, I read the book "On Paper", and I was shocked about the part where he described the firebombing of Tokyo. He said it was the paper windows and lack of glass plate windows in Tokyo that helped make the destruction that much worse. He said Japan really didn't have any plate glass until the 20th century.


9:52 PM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

As a student of film history, let me interject on the "Strangelove" issue and say that Sellers's Strangelove was not a parody of Kissinger, who was a little-known academic at Harvard when the film was shot in 1963. Rather, most scholars argue that its a parody of Herman Kahn, of the RAND Corporation (the BLAND corporation in the film), the author of "On Thermonuclear War" (1960) which hypothesized different strategies for surviving Worlds Wars 3, 4, 5…. Sellers' President Merkin Muffley was, however, a parody of Adlai Stevenson, the well-intentioned but totally ineffectual liberal egghead. It's certainly worth re-watching, especially if you're all caught up on "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."

O&D - The Capt.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That sounds rt, tho Kahn didn't have a German accent. But he did come up w/the phrase, "Mutually Assured Destruction" (MAD). A few yrs ago I read a bio of him, and he sure comes across as one sad, fucked-up dude. As for Adlai, if yr rt, it surely is a parody, because I never regarded him as ineffectual (this in retrospect; I was just a kid when he was running for office). Some political scientist later commented that his loss, and Ike's win, was "the victory of the shoe salesmen over the intellectuals," and that this showed the direction of future American culture and society--a comment that proved to be true. Around the same time, Richd Hofstadter published "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life."


Thanks again for yr input. I'll try to answer yr questions, tho one thing I wanna say, to all and sundry: I'm not an expert on Japan, despite writing a rather lengthy bk on the country. I spent a total of 3 mos. there, speak Japanese at only a very elementary level, and don't read it at all. That being said, as I explain in the book, probably the best study of Japan by an American is the one by Ruth Benedict, and she also cdn't read or speak the language, and had never set ft on Japanese soil. So go figure.

1. Any type of mental illness is stigmatized in Japan, and the mental health profession hasta struggle against this prejudice. People hide it, because if revealed, it cd mean your daughter won't be able to get married, for example. So 'treatment' consists of drugs, much like in the US. I can't recall exact figs, but when Paxil was introduced into Japan a few yrs ago, sales topped something like $2 billion in the 1st year.

2. Otaku salaryman: as I was explaining to lack, the otaku phenomenon is not uniform; it is very much multi-aspected. Most otaku work only part-time, so that they can support their obsessions; but full-time otaku don't surprise me, because it is more a state of mind than anything else. It has escapist aspects to it, rebellious aspects to it, craft aspects, etc. It has also been heavily stigmatized in Japan as nuts or even evil, and one thing I hope I demonstrated in the bk (chs. 6-7 and Appendix IV) is that this perception is completely off-base.

3. The shoji, or wood-and-paper screens used by the Japanese, are a great part of the craft tradition, and create a subtlety in living (less separation from nature, e.g.) that plate glass prevents. Of course, the firebombing of Tokyo was so devastating that I doubt glass construction wd have made much difference, but paper walls certainly didn't help. 100,000 died overnight, I believe, and Curtis LeMay, who masterminded the operation, later said that if Japan had won the war, he wd have surely been tried as a war criminal.


10:48 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Dawgzy is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

When i stepped aside from a scheduled position last Fall, my wonderful manager asked "A little observance? Card and a cake?" I supplied the goodbye card to her to be circulated among the bereaved co-workers, the message being the above, except using my "meat" name. It somehow never got circulated.

In the Manchurian Candidate it started" Raymond Shaw is the...." Both book and film were prescient, as to political extremism (especially the Bircher Right.)and the possibility of a coup d'etat by assasination. Sinatra could ACT, Jack. Oddly, he was in another pre 11/63 assassination film "Suddenly."

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

MB, kilo,

J. Tanizaki mentions in "In Praise Of Shadows" the regrets he had upon having both paper and glass screens installed in a new home he was having built, saying that the glass ultimately ruined the overall ambience that paper achieves...


As for asassination paranoia films, don't forget about
The Parallax View with W. Beatty...

Kneel Jung

7:40 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Regarding Dr. Strangelove and which individual(s) he was modelled on, this from Wikipedia:

"The character is an amalgamation of RAND Corporation strategist Herman Kahn, mathematician and Manhattan Project principal John von Neumann, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun (a central figure in Nazi Germany's rocket development program recruited to the US after the war), and Edward Teller, the "father of the hydrogen bomb."[15] There is a common misconception that the character was based on Henry Kissinger, but Kubrick and Sellers denied this;[16] Sellers said, "Strangelove was never modeled after Kissinger—that's a popular misconception. It was always Wernher Von Braun."[17]

As for "merkin"(President Merkin Muffley), OED defines the word as "an artificial covering of hair for the pubes," "an artificial vagina," or "the female external genitals." It might also be noted that one euphemism for a lady's pubes is "muff,"

Finally for those who were wondering from which direction our next existential threat might come, this:


As the Republican senators lick their wounds following the Iran rebuff and Senator Lindsey-McCain decide on language for their next call to arms, we amuse ourselves by yelling at and threatening sanctions against Venezuela.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

I believe you said in the book that Japan's eco footprint is relatively low. I'm not sure where you get this info, but Japan is actually on par with the US on a per capita basis.


I think Japan has 0 chance of transitioning to something else. Their land is so degraded that they couldn't support Tokugawa today, much less the population that exists now. I think they're going to collapse and see a dieoff similar to N America and Europe in the coming century. They're still benefiting greatly from the industrial economy, and when that goes away, so will most of the Japanese people.

I mean, it's great if 40 people can share a cup of ramen, but if they all end up starving to death anyway, it doesn't really matter if they chose that option over violence to get the entire cup.

The future will probably be much better for less industrial countries in Africa, Asia, and S America, unless they end up overwhelming their own resources bases too. I think Japan is very screwed, and maybe a small group of people will survive and rebuild from scratch.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Where I got the info: check the ftnotes. As for Japan's future: you cd be rt. Time will tell.


12:53 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hallo, Waferkonig and Waferkinder,

One more reason the US should just declare game over:


Incidentally, Robert Putnam of "Bowling Alone" fame basically says that if you were *not* spawned by wealthy parents, you're shit outta luck in the US. Music to Wafers ears, that! What's the matter w/progressives? Wax in their ears?


O those Venezuelans!

Yesterday, Obama and the US declared Venezuela a threat to national security:



ps: Dadgummit! Like Dubya, I shoulda quoted Slim saying, "nu-cu-lar combat":


1:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Just read yr review of NB on Amazon. Thank you! Very kind.


7:43 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Powell's in Portland does not list Neurotic Beauty on its web site. Are they not carrying the book? Dr. B, you say early in this thread that Powell's "behaved like a collection of turkeys". What's up with them? Are they boycotting you or something? I try to buy all my books from Powell's instead of Amazon, but I guess I can't (at least yet) by NB from them. Phooey.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I offered to do a rdg for them, and they said they'd hafta read the bk 1st, i.e. approve of it. You'd think they cd look any author up on Wiki, check his or her bio, and decide from that. Anyway, I decided this was not the rt venue for me, and withdrew. As for not carrying NB, I doubt it's any type of boycott or vendetta; lots of bkstores don't order print-on-demand bks unless customers ask them to. So you cd ask them to order it, but Amazon is definitely the faster route.


11:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"The job of the writer is the proper presentation of the problem."

--Anton Chekhov

12:47 AM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

Hi Lack,

In the chart you referenced, Japan's ecological footprint per capita (4.73 gha) is a little more than half of the US' (8.00 gha). This seems more believable to me. Japan does have a modern consumer culture, with an incredible variety of goods for sale, all packaged elaborately (esp. for gifts for others), often brought to individual homes by delivery trucks, and with cities lit up brighter than day, vending machines and convenience stores selling single-serving foods and goods on every corner...

However, gasoline has always been several times as expensive, as is getting a driver's license and owning and maintaining a car, and public transportation (which requires physical effort) is heavily used by all. Notions of living space are much less -- even in the countryside -- and so goods (e.g. a clothes washer) are typically smaller and more efficient, and smartly arranged/affixed in the home to maximize the available space. (People typically line dry their clothes and linens.) When people are in a room (e.g. the living room), they'll turn on the heater or air conditioner for that room only, and when they leave (e.g. to go to bed), they'll turn it off. At least up through the temperate regions (where it may get down to a little below freezing), the temperature in the bedroom is the same as outside, and one piles the comforters on top to keep warm. (You'll learn to appreciate the heated toilet seat as you make a mad dash to it in the middle of the night!) Although the younger generations may be losing this notion, "mottainai" (don't waste!) is still very much in the minds of the older generations.

Hi Dr. Berman,
I too would love to attend your reading at Powell's (or at least be able to purchase NB there), alas...


1:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Powell's cd use a brain operation, what can ya do.

Re: eco ftprint: lack asked abt sources for my citation. At end of that para (in ch. 7) is ftnote 36; if u go to that, there's a url indicated. Put that in yr browser, then choose Resources, then Living Planet Report, and you get Figure 23, which gives the data for 2010, the most recent yr available. US is #8 on the list; Japan is #41.


5:40 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Re: eco footprint

Sorry to dwell on such a minor point. I was looking at both eco footprint AND biocapacity. So for example, Canada is using much less than they have available, although their footprint is very high.

I might argue that in the future as crisis really hits the world that countries could (who knows) end up closing their borders.

For a country like Japan, they might have a much lower eco footprint than the US, but they have to import so much that the net result is that they're on par with the US.

I think you're correct in that Japan will be able to cope with using less, and Americans will simply lose their minds and demand war to take what we want from other countries (what's new?).

This might explain why Abe was reelected. The transition from this way of living to a sustainable way of living would likely involve starvation and a dieoff of millions in Japan (due to a large population now living on a degraded land base), and most people would rather avoid that, even if it means a life doped up on Paxil and working 80 hour weeks.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Say what you will about testing (and much can be said) but we're dolts:


Checkout some sample questions from the math section here:


They are not hard... Neither are the Literacy ones.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr rt, it's a minor pt. Perhaps we shd move on to major ones. As for what's gonna happen: ch. 7 is only speculation; it's not a prediction. I didn't manage to purchase a crystal ball while I was in Japan.


10:59 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,


Sure thing! I very much enjoyed NB and was more than happy to write a review. Additionally, I've determined that I need to give chap. 5 another close reading. I'm quite taken by chap. 5 and the challenges of Kyoto School philosophy. Truth be told, I'd never even heard of Nishida, Tanabe, or Nishitani! Their stuff seems awfully difficult to grasp and wrap your brain around... Again, many thanks for bringing them to light and life.


2:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda neat:


9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Official theme song for your blog?


1:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Very moving; I wept. But I think that in terms of finding a natonal anthem for this blog, we need to throw it open to all Wafers, to submit their favorites. (Original compositions welcome.)

My own choice wd be the following, sung to the tune of "Oh when the saints come marching in":

Oh when the dolts
Come marching in
Oh when the dolts come marching in
Well I don't wanna be in their number
When the dolts come marching in.

Inspiring, no?


9:03 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Re: McDonald's melee

That's some prime thuggery! Where's Rayon Mcintosh when you need him, MB? I hafta say, Rayon would *not* put up w/this kinda shit!

The girl who survived the beat down is now famous, BTW:



10:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That pic on the rt, w/girl taking a selfie w/her tongue sticking out: this *is* the face of America today, a perfect summary of who we are. It's not just that individuals are douche bags; the whole culture is one big douche bag. Consider: she gets beaten up, and instead of anyone coming to her aid, the crowd stands around taking fotos on their cell fones. Then, this pathetic girl 'outs' herself and becomes a celebrity--for getting beaten up. Everybody gets excited, sends her messages. It doesn't get much dumber than this. And *these* are the folks that 'progressives' are going to liberate, or mobilize for revolution? They cd well be dumber than this girl. This country is 99.9999% morons, and .0001% Wafers.


10:28 AM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

I don't know about the people in the video (seems like you're playing into the Buzzfeed memes here....), but America is definitely obsessed with following trivia, celebrities, and internet memes. When you ask people, most will say they know it's dumb and they're just following it for fun. However, when following memes and celebrities becomes something you do for hours a day, it's hard to take people seriously who call it a rare indulgence.

I'm finding that people more and more are following garbage and spending less and less time thinking about anything "serious." I find that people are rarely interested in things beyond TV shows, pop culture, and the latest weird news on the internet.

I think escapism is a much bigger issue than many people are willing to admit. I believe this is a big reason behind the rise in TV shows, video games, memes, celebrities, etc.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Earthwalker said...

I submit this stirring anthem as official theme song for this most excellent blog:


10:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This from Bhikhu Parekh's biography of Gandhi:

"Every government was tempted to misuse its power, and a democratic one was in that respect [in Gandhi's view] no better than an autocratic one. What distinguished the two was the fact that one did and the other did not succumb to the temptation. And this was so because, unlike the autocratic government, the democratic government knew that if it did succumb, its citizens would refuse to cooperate with it. Notwithstanding all its institutional checks and balances, a democratic government could easily turn evil if its citizens became apathetic or vulnerable to corruption and manipulation. The virtues and vices of a government were not inherent in it but derived from those of its citizens. As Gandhi put it: 'The people make the rulers what they are. They are thus an exaggerated edition of what we are in the aggregate.'"


9:27 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafpeeps,

Possible Wafer theme song:


Don't let life slip away...


11:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


One of my favorite songs, actually. Meanwhile, Wafers need to check out recent article on commondreams, claiming that 'progressives are rising', and that they now form a 'bold coalition'. Jesus, what can ya say? The 'wake-up day' for them is clearly very far off...


11:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Now this is interesting:


What I think might be more productive is if instead of Venezuela, Iran, and etc etc, the US set up a Potemkin village in Antarctica called Turkeyville. Then, it wd design a propaganda campaign to convince Americans (easy enuf) that Turkeyville is the Devil Incarnate, and that the leader of Turkeyville, Mr. Penguin, is the new Adolf Hitler. The whole country wd get excited abt the threat posed by Turkeyville; support sanctions against Turkeyville; and send their sons to fight in the war against Turkeyville. Across the country, Americans wd march, carrying signs saying "Nuke Turkeyville." Things wd mount to fever pitch; Turkeyville wd be nuked; and then strategists in the Pentagon wd go about finding another 'enemy'. Wafers, whaddyu think?


12:38 PM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Thanks for Bhikhu Parekh's comment on Gandhi and citizen apathy. It's a pretty serviceable description of why democracy often doesn't work very well. I've tried my own variations of this line on the vaguely politically interested here in the US, and I've got enough data now to prove that this approach scores close to a 100% failure rate. People really don't want to hear it.

My failure to communicate could be because I haven't cultivated a handsome set of six pack abs, or maybe I lack the proper facial bone structure, or haven't done enough billion dollar start ups, or I'm just not flat out charismatic. What ever it is, I'm pretty sure people aren't interested in doing a quick check of their values. In fact, I need to refill my drink. Nice talking to you.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I suspect that if Gandhi were living today, his vocabulary regarding America in the 21st century wd include the phrase "degraded buffoons."


3:47 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

I think Steve Jobs is a good example of our values. The guy is widely known as one of the most successful business people ever, but he's also widely known as a huge asshole.

Watch the audience reaction here.



8:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You'd hafta check out the blog archives from around the time that Jobs died. We had a long discussion then regarding who he was, and what he stood for; and abt the mass adulation that followed his death. An awful human being, and a very representative American--a hero to most of the population, which says it all.


11:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: also check out WAF ch. 3, on technology as America's hidden religion.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

An interesting which-way-the-wind-is-blowing data point:


1:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Handwriting on the wall, amigo. I'm looking for a presidential candidate in 2016 who will run on the platform, "America Is Finished." Perhaps Lorenzo Riggins, I dunno.


1:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Douche Bags On Parade Dept.:


4:15 PM  
Anonymous El Douche said...

Don't be such a pessimist Berman! The winning slogan for 2016 is "America: Mission Accomplished".

2:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, Americans are definitely optimists, aka douche bags. You wdn't be Lorenzo Riggins, by any chance, wd u?

Note: pls don't refer to me as Berman; it's rude. In future, feel free to use one of the following:

1. Great All-Knowing Seer (GAKS)
2. Mr. Berman

Thank you. Mission Accomplished.


4:03 AM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

To the good Dr. Berman and all WAFers worldwide:

Today, we observe the rare convergence of far right wing opinion with Waferdom. I offer the article by Ron Paul titled "A Green Light for the American Empire". Here's the opening line :" The American Empire has been long in the making. A green light was given in 1990 to finalize that goal. Dramatic events occurred that year that allowed the promoters of the American Empire to cheer. It also ushered in the current 25-year war to solidify the power necessary to manage a world empire."

He pretty much nails it except for some libertarian foolishness.

It's here: http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2015/march/14/a-green-light-for-the-american-empire/

7:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I've always admired John Gray, and thought Steven Pinker was a bit of a turkey. Check this out:


11:28 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Re: John Gray article

Pinker's a stinker! I think he and many others are simply terrified about our uncertain future and the fact that his hair is turning white. His reliance on utopian progress myths about increasing empathy and decreasing conflict serve to cover up this fact. It would be interesting to ask Pinker *why* he has such a consoling sense of human progress in the age of US-instigated asymmetric drone warfare, medieval Mahdist liquidators, Brooklyn McDonald's beat downs, Kim Jong Un's haircut, and the prolific expanse of Kim's tushie. Questions such as these will be raised and answered during the course of Lorenzo's 2016 presidential campaign.


ps: Great American Quotes Dept.:

"I only know what I believe."
~ Lorenzo Riggins

2:07 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Good text from a speech here by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS:


5:33 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

This was an actual headline on the Aol home page-

"Bruce Jenner reportedly 'lonely' living alone"


Complete with video, which I did not watch. The country is finished, without a doubt...

5:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, most people believe that modernity = progress, was better than what came b4; and to some extent, they are rt. We now have X-rays and anaesthetics, etc., to be sure. But what we lost--community, craft, friendship, meaning, spirituality and etc.--was enormous. Plus, as Gray pts out, Pinker's stats are spurious; they fall apart on close examination. But the real Q to me is why do we have this bk (and others similar to it, that Gray cites) at all? If most people think chronologically later = better, and they do, why publish a 1000-page bk to prove the obvious? I mean, is the pope Catholic? The answer is that Pinker et al. are (rightly) haunted by the possibility that 'progress' is a crock of shit, and that the modern age is actually the worst era of human history, not the best. And I'm guessing a lot of people realize this on a subliminal level, as their lives are boring and meaningless to them. Meanwhile, serious genocide only began in the 20C, for example, and the stats of butchery of civilians are horrific. As for increasing empathy in the US: don't make me laugh. Lots more examples cd be cited, wh/Gray does.

Wafers are invited to submit Lorenzo Riggins' 2016 campaign slogan. I suggest: "Hope, Change, and Free Burgers."


5:56 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers:

I humbly submit these two possible slogans for Lorenzo Riggins' campaign:

1) "If your burgers ain't right, you got to fight!"

2) "Power to the Pickle!"

The 2016 campaign season is going to be breathtaking.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi MB, Wafers,

I saw a great movie yesterday - "Nightcrawler" - about a guy who "crawls" to murder scenes at night and tries to be the first to film the footage to then sell to TV new channels. The protagonist is a sociopath ready to do whatever it takes to be number one and Gyllenhaal's performance is spine-chilling.

I read an interview of the Director Dan Gilroy and the guy seems to be a Wafer. Here's an extract:

"What was the most important thing to communicate with this character?

I believe that people like Lou are increasingly rewarded for what they do. I feel that in today’s world you will often find people with some sociopathic tendencies who are succeeding on a corporate level. I feel that the world is increasingly about the bottom line, and not so much about human respect or human dignity. In that regard, people who care about other people will not be in a position to make choices and do things that other people who they’re competing against will get to do. And I feel that the world is increasingly reduced to transactions, and that the human spirit is shoved aside to the point that — well, Lou understands that the world is about the bottom line. And accepts it! He has no family, and no connection to anything. It allows him to thrive, and to fully embrace the uber-capitalist concept, the ultimate hyper-free market. Which I feel is increasingly the world that we live in."


9:52 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[" ...Riggins' 2016 campaign slogan."]

Riggins Is Right.
We Could Hardly Do Worse.*

*Lorenzo Riggins has not approved this message. Paid for by the Friends of Lorenzo Riggins. All rights reserved.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, we've definitely got some gd possibilities for 2016. I sure hope Lorenzo appreciates all yr efforts. We also need one for Hillary, I think. E.g.:

"Sure, she's a douche bag; but she's *our* douche bag."


Yup, a Wafer for sure. Meanwhile, Gyllen's character--increasingly the norm--is the type of American that 'progressives' intend to organize, or liberate. Can they get any dumber, I wonder?


11:20 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Yes, when confronted with, as you said, the horrific stats of the 20th century, Pinker essentially attempts to explain Nazism, Stalinism, and genocide away by stating that in those cases "single individuals" were mostly responsible. He seems to treat Nazi Germany as some kind of historical aberration! This is a complete misrepresentation of history. Jesus, for starters, did he read Daniel Goldhagen's book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners"?

In addition, Pinker believes that one of the most important factors of modern civilization is the possession of "self-control." And that over time, modern states, possessing forms of self-control, realize the impracticality of violence and that it even becomes taboo. Again, what about the Nazi regime? Stalin's regime? Last time I checked, lack of self-control was *not* a factor for butchers like Heydich, Himmler, Stalin; or Curtis LeMay, Truman.

MB, Kanye, Wafers-

Many thanks for all your shout-outs for "Nightcrawler." I'll definitely put this one at the top of my queue.

BTW, has anyone watched the film, "Inside Llewyn Davis"? I watched it last night. If you can get past the fact that the struggling folk singer, *Llewyn*, is a bit of an ingrate and a pain in the ass, it's a great movie. The Coen brothers essentially recreate the vibe of Greenwich Village in the winter of 1961. A highlight of the film, at least for me, is the soundtrack. My apologies if we have previously traversed this terrain...


1:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pinker needs to go to a Wal-Mart sale for a demo of self-control.


3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi MB,
I will be buying 2 of your new books, one for me and one to give to my daughter, who recently spent a year teaching in Japan.

Impassioned article up today on Dmitry Orlov's website titled, "The Rage of the Cultural Elites," worth the read IMO. Among other things, the author talks about the fact that our "leaders" are completely out of touch with reality.

"Think not of conspiracies and dark, complex, sinister geopolitical plots. These went with a different generation, when people might have been greedy and cruel, but they also had the ability to distinguish reality from fiction. That was the era of western imperialism, which is long dead. Churchill and Roosevelt and Nixon are all dead; Kissinger is a nonagenarian. Their replacements do not think in terms of Realpolitik; they think in terms of optics, and dwell in a mirrored hall devised to generate an optical illusion of their hallucinated greatness.

Don't think of reality; instead, think of neurosis, obsession, delusion, perpetual psychic adolescence (real adolescence long gone and even menopause unacknowledged). From the midst of these there arises a white-hot fire of rage so fierce and so random that Nietzsche or Sartre, in their most diabolical existential revelations, could never have foreseen them. Thus is the new Zeitgeist, in this advanced stage of decay of the collective consciousness of America's cultural/political elite and their overseas groupies. It explains their reckless and maniacal love affair with the Ukrainian Maidan, their rekindled but now impotent rage against Russia, and their despicable, narcissistic indifference to the tragedy suffered by the population of the Ukraine."


Best to wafers everywhere,

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I largely agree on the Pinker book. If you want to read a great take-down of the (pseudo-)anthropology Pinker employs in his arguments, check out "Sex at Dawn."

My biggest criticism of Pinker's argument is that he's blinded by a linear view of history, and recent history at that. This is why the charts and quantitative analysis early in the book ignore all the civilizations that flourished and then died, e.g. Rome. For instance, I think that the end of human slavery is the result of replacement of human slaves by energy slaves; it'll be interesting to see if this endures once the human species has to live on a solar budget again.

All that said, there is some good stuff in the Pinker book (at 700+ pages how could there not be), such as his discussion of Norbert Elias's work (which also comes up in CTOS).

3:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sir T-

Thank you, and gd to hear from u after all this time. I trust yr flourishing. Wish I cd wangle a lecture invitation to NY, so we cd do another Wafer Summit Meeting (WSM) in the Village.


4:37 PM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Thanks for the referral to the Gray article. I read Black Mass and have been a fan ever since. I admit I've never read anything by Pinker but I'm usually suspicious of reams of graphs showing all our amazing "progress." According to these graphs many of my co-workers who make about 13 to 15/hr and have benefits should be doing great. They're not. One single Mom whose daughter has asthma and needs expensive inhalers (even with ins. the co-pays are astronomical) couldn't afford a battery for her car though she works about 50 hrs/week.

I've started reading the book on Japan and really like it. I'll post a review when I'm done. Good work! What's the next project?

4:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you, and glad yr enjoying NB. I've been wondering abt the next project myself, tho not too seriously because I still have a lot of 'clean up' work to do on NB, plus finalizing the Span trans of SSIG, wh/is abt to come out and will require some PR in Mexico City. There's some talk of having a major blowout after a public presentation of the book, which cd include a food fight in wh/we all throw enchiladas at one another. (I'll try to get a video 4u.)

After that...not sure I'm gonna write another bk. I may decide to hang it up altogether, take up crochet or bowling, I dunno. But maybe a Palin biography, in my attempt to woo and win her into copulating on an ice floe, w/Ed Meese etc.


5:20 PM  
Anonymous Romulo Rafael Delgado Perez said...

As per the movie "Nightcrawler":

I saw an interview of the movie's director on YouTube and, perhaps not surprisingly since he's an American, he acted like Gyllenhall's character is perfectly normal. He said something to the effect of "I think most Americans can identify with the main character....".

Pretty much all of us who come to this blog have the wisdom to clearly see the prevailing sickness in American culture and society.
When we see a movie like "Nightcrawler" we assume the director created the character as a sort of expose' of America's sickness, but I believe the sickness has taken such a hold now that it's completely inculcated in all things. When it's in a movie it's not because the movie's makers want to expose or point it out, it's because a sick movie was made by sick people to entertain other sickos. People like us can easily see this anomalous behavior in the movie, but it wasn't put there for any special purpose. It reflects the sickness of American society simply because it's American.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Even if the movie had been made as an expose, or satire, this wd go over the heads of at least 99.9% of the American public, because they are incapable of grasping irony, or even critique. You know McLuhan's analogy of a fish in water ("what water?").


6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the day when America decides to arm all the "good guys" as a proactive measure against the "bad guys." For then occurrences like these will happen a dozen per hour; not merely by the day.


6:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I tell ya, I can't get enuf o' this stuff. As the economic noose gets tighter and tighter around the necks of Americans, making them crazier than they already are (wh/is saying a lot), the country will be witness to increasing random violence. I expect to see martial law declared in most major cities w/in my lifetime, w/citizens gunning each other down out of pent up aggression and frustration, over the most trivial of issues: they didn't honor my coupon, I didn't get my Chicken McNuggets, etc. The progressives' notion that we are going to have a revolution is correct--except it will be a revolution from the rt, not the left.


7:14 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Dr. Berman,

Congratulations on getting your new book published. Thank you for writing it.

Regarding the inability to see the sickness, even when some admit that the “evidence is overwhelming” somehow they simultaneously manage not to see it. Take this article (Steve Jobs, Near Capitalist Criminal, Refutes the Decline of Capitalism) from Forbes magazine.

“[Steve] Jobs seems to have been sociopathic, psychopathic, narcissistic — or a cocktail of all three. The evidence is overwhelming on this point.”

“For all his lying and cheating, Jobs built memorable products. For thousands of people he created some of the coolest jobs in the world. He made employees and investors rich. Steve Jobs put a dent in the universe, and the universe is a better place.”

What can you possibly say?

It’s not just Forbes. The polls are in. The people have spoken. They love overwhelming cocktails of American sociopathy, psychopathy, and narcissism.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There are critiques of Jobs that argue that his 'creativity' was merely differences in design, i.e. window dressing; that it didn't amount to any substantive technological chg. I'm not equipped to judge this, but I've read this a # of times: that what he did didn't really amount to shit. And so he made people rich. To what end? To float around on yachts and drink $20K bottles of wine? Jobs had $8.5 billion when he died, which he made by paying teenagers in Shenzen 14 cents an hr, 14 hrs/day (or something like that). Nets had to be installed outside windows to keep the kids from jumping to their deaths. But in the US, he's a big hero, because Americans are as sick as he was, so how are they going to notice it? Would-be monsters holding candlelight vigils for an actual monster.


8:38 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Re: Gray

I really enjoyed this meta TED talk by Benjamin Bratton.

"We're in a moment of cultural deacceleration. We invest our energies in futuristic information technologies including our cars, but drive them home to kitsch architecture copied from the 18th century. The future on offer is that everything can change, so long as everything stays the same. We'll have Google Glass, but we'll still have business casual."

"keep calm and carry on innovating. Is that the real message of TED? To me it's not inspirational; it's cynical. In the US, the right wing has certain media channels that allow it to bracket reality. Other constituencies have TED."


9:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's vague in my memory, but I seem to remember some critique or satire of TED that characterized it as a bunch of shlock. My own feeling is that anything that's trendy in the US is suspect by definition.


9:31 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Anybody think that this Ms. Sawant, on the city council of Seattle, has any chance of making serious political change? Chris Hedges's recent article about her on CommonDreams sounds inspirational. I would like to have hope that there are actually some possibilities in what she is calling for, but maybe it's just a pipe dream. One never knows until one tries. I gotta hand it to her for trying and being zealous.


10:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I guess it depends on whether one thinks socialism--which is her political orientation--is fundamentally different from capitalism. I don't, myself; I just think it's the other side of the coin. The idea is to redistribute wealth, which is fine, of course; but ultimately, it's not a change in the basic way of life--the values are the same--money, growth, 'progress', and economic expansion. So people might get a larger share of the pie, but the problem is that the pie itself is rotten. This is the same problem that OWS had, imo: the idea was to let more people in on the American Dream. It never addressed the fact that there was something fundamentally wrong with the Dream. All of this finally leaves the system intact.
MLK was rt when he said that he sometimes felt that he was herding people into a burning church.

The socialist model also posits dramatic positive social change or, ideally, revolution. We have certainly discussed this at length on this blog: there is literally no chance of grass-roots organizing taking hold in any effective revolutionary sense in America. Ralph Nader put it best some yrs ago when he said that there really was no Left in any coherent sense; whatever was there had no clout. So all of this is perhaps noble and inspirational, but pretty much detached from reality. If a revolution does take place in America, it's likely to come from the Right. Very likely, in fact.

Hedges increasingly sounds like a Thirties Marxist, which is a tedious model by now, and which does not fit current circumstances--at least not in the US. So it's all 1% vs. 99%, neofeudalism, the rich oppressing the poor, and revolution as the solution. Pretty B&W, and unfortunately for him, both history and life have a lot of gray in them. (His world view, as far as I can make out, is very Manichaean; which is to say, American.) I once put it to him (in our phone conversation in Vancouver, a couple of yrs ago) that a revolution requires the police and the military to defect to the other side, or at least refuse to fire, and that that was not going to happen in America; he reluctantly agreed. And then there's also the case that it requires widespread dissatisfaction w/the status quo; and while Americans are certainly suffering, every poll we have tells us that the goal of the avg American is to succeed, to be part of that 1%; to live the American Dream, in short. This is hardly a rebellious population. It's a very docile population, statistically speaking, and also--as I've repeatedly stressed--not a very bright one; and that's no small issue. I recall yrs ago I sent Hedges some of the stats of American stupidity, which are truly incredible, and he wrote back that he didn't want to think abt that because if he did, it wd be very difficult for him to do the work he was doing. Well, sure...precisely my pt.

The correct model is not France 1789 or Russia 1917; it's the waning of the Middle Ages, or the disintegration of the Roman Empire. This takes time, and the fundamental mechanism of change is what I've called Dual Process: as one huge socioeconomic formation continues to fall apart, alternative experiments begin to gain ground, until finally you have feudalism replacing the Roman Empire, or capitalism replacing feudalism. In terms of replacing capitalism, socialism, or populist grass-roots organizing, won't work. What *will* work is the introduction of themes basic to a new socioeconomic formation: alternative energy, alternative currency, no-growth (homeostatic, or steady-state) economies, and so on--a different civilizational paradim, as Naomi Klein has put it. But it will certainly take time, and even then, there's no guarantee that these movements (including secessionist movements) will succeed.

(continued below)

12:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The 1st clue I had that Hedges had departed from reality was an article he wrote during the heyday of OWS, in which he said that the bankers on Wall St. were looking at the demonstrators outside their windows (himself included) and "quaking in their boots." Yeah, right. They were *laughing* at Hedges and the other demonstrators, because they knew who had the power--them, the bankers. Subsequent events showed that that was true.

Similarly, I very much doubt that Ms. Sawant is the most dangerous woman in America. I doubt she's even mildly dangerous. Raising the minimum wage will be good for the workers involved; it will not change the system. More sophisticated analyses of capitalism than Thirties Marxism--for example, Wolfgang Streeck's essay, "How Will Capitalism End?," in the May/June 2014 issue of the New Left Review--point out that socialist challenges to capitalism have always served to keep capitalism more flexible, on its toes, adaptable to external demands such that it wound up functioning more effectively. FDR understood this as well, and historically his real function was to preserve capitalism, not destroy it. Of course, the rt wing in the US has also failed to understand this; they are typically rigid and blockheaded, when the truth is that folks such as FDR or Ms. Sawant are ultimately capitalism's best friends. What Streeck shows is that capitalism will end the same way communism did: from its own internal contradictions. Ms. Sawant, if she succeeds, will make the system more adaptable, more viable. But the substantive end of capitalism requires rigidity, stupidity, and blockheadedness, because it is these things that will finally cause the system to implode. Meanwhile, folks exploring real, de-growth alternatives will (hopefully) be putting a new system into place. (Altho I hafta add that for various reasons, these alternatives are not very likely to take root in the US; Europe is a much more likely candidate, and such things are already happening there--esp. in places like Spain and Greece, where the regime of austerity and implosion of capitalism is well underway.)

Anyway, that's how I see it as an historian. Obviously, only time will tell whose vision was the more accurate one.


12:25 AM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Dr. Berman- Hedges makes your point in "The Death of the Liberal Class," (which I've yet to finish) that liberalism has served largely as a safety valve when some reform are necessary, rather than (with few exceptions) as a "progressive" influence, and that the Dems have abandonded this role, with consequences as you outline.
I don't doubt that he had some emotionally, perhaps hope driven reactions to Occupy, etc. ,but he seems appropriately pessimistic and skeptical about "the system" moving in a just direction.
He's seems much a participant-observer, as he confessed to having been as a war correspondent in "War is a force that Gives Us Meaning." Some emotional distortion seems inevitable. He's a pretty strongly charged guy.
There are other things that I find problematic in his writing, which become tendentious jeremiads all to often. Nevertheless, after paring this away, I find his reporting to be useful.
That being said, we in the US live in a body politic where facts and truth do not matter. We are so far through the looking glass (hmm.. resonance with 1st chapter of CTOS) that the really useful observations and predictions will only be about where, when and how the dung will hit the propeller. It's been slo-mo so far compared to what's coming. The "really big shew' in the meantime is the why, which is about the only reason that I read "the news." I feel like a pathologist looking at a slide of a cancer, but it's a Really Interesting cancer, and it's partially mine.
Hedges is a fairly accurate diagnostician of our maladies; as an observer of these things, I appreciate any clarity that can be lent to the process of our demise. Though he might not admit it, he clings to some hope. So much of this is a Memo to Spengler. (not a bad book title. Now all I have to do is to write it.)
I'm still chewing my way through CTOS. Great stuff. Thanks for writing it.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I agree, and the muckraking tradition has a long and respectable pedigree in American journalism. It's just that as his writing has evolved, Hedges seems to have slipped over the edge of pessimism (which = realism, in the contemporary American context) and skepticism into something resembling fantasy. One thing that used to be evident in his voice (which I haven't heard for a long time now) was a deep sadness: it was clear he was depressed, because his head and his heart were going in opposite directions, and he cdn't resolve the split. Lately, heart seems to have just taken over, as tho wishful thinking had become true--a rather easy way out of the dilemma. 'Progressives' typically can't admit when the jig is up, because then their lives wd have no meaning (the recent exchange between Naomi Klein and Elizabeth Kolbert is a gd example of this); until recently, Hedges avoided this trap. As of late, it seems to me, his vision has become a bit blurry. Sure, we need heart; but w/o an equal amt of head, the critical edge starts to dissolve. In the past, with his occasional unjustified optimism, I usta say: "Shit, he knows better than this." Now, I'm not so sure. It's quintessentially American to believe there's always a solution, and that good days lie ahead. But history does not validate that outlook--by a long shot.


5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Re-Nightcrawler and your argument that the movie is twisted precisely because it's American. Sure, I think just like for Tarantino movies, it takes an American to do movies like this, however, this doesn't mean that the people making the movie aren't trying to pass a deeper message with their work beyond entertainment. Not sure if you watched this interview, but on top of the one I read, I watched this one on Youtube where D. Gilroy clearly says at around 12:00 that "Maybe the problem isn't just Lou [Main Character], maybe the problem is the society that creates and rewards Lou". So it does seem like he sees beyond the picture so to speak.


It reminds me of a discussion we had on this blog a while back over David Chase and the Sopranos. Did Chase know about the futility of the american way of life or did he fail to see it? He never claimed so explicitly in his interviews but judging by the insight provided in some of his episodes, deep down, he probably knew. Whether or not viewers of a movie/TV show realize this is something that's beyond a director's control.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB, I am passably well, thank you. I continue to lurk here, just haven't been moved to comment much lately.

Re: an occasion for another WSM in the Village, any chance you could prompt the Japan Society, located a stone's through from the U.N., to host a talk centered around your new book? Here's a snippet from their mission statement:

"Today, Japan Society has evolved into a world-class, multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia."

Sounds like you fit the bill, man!

And forget crummy bookstores, dig this for a setting:

"Activities at Japan Society are set against a stunning backdrop of indoor gardens, a reflecting pool and a waterfall. Facilities include a 262-seat theater, art gallery, language center, library and conference rooms."


10:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sir T-

Many thanks; I'll suggest it to my publisher. I doubt the JS wd pay for airfare and a hotel, but it's probably worth a shot.


10:33 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Naomi has indirectly given Hillary her 2016 campaign slogan:

Global climate change...we APPRECIATE you! This time we're gonna get our shit together!

Also, a new book about Sarah Palin is a terrific idea! Please consider this possible title for it:

"A Thrilla for Attila in Wasilla"

MB, Rom, Kanye-

I took a film course back in 1995. We viewed the film, "Bob Roberts." Tim Robbins plays a guitar-pickin' right-wing folk singing politician from Pennsylvania. Think Bob Dylan in a business suit singing about hanging the unemployed, the virtues of capitalism, and Reagan's greatness. Our beloved Gore Vidal had a large role in the film as well. In short, it's pure political satire. It turned out that more than half the class didn't get it! In fact, many identified w/the messages that Roberts was singing about. What the hell is the matter w/these blockheads, I remember thinking... Anyway, *this* was one of my very first Wafer moments.

MB, Golf, Wafers-

This quote caught my eye in an article dealing w/the significance of Britain joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank:

"The U.S. can no longer dominate world history."

Serious stuff, Wafers. See entire article here:


I remember MB once said, "If you think I'm kidding about all this, think again." Truer words were never spoken...


12:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In 2000, I said the US was going down the toilet. The response? They laughed!


12:41 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

"So people might get a larger share of the pie, but the problem is that the pie itself is rotten."

Spot on. Too bad 99.9% of America would respond to that by saying, "so you want to live in caves?!" or "you're just a pessimist, people have been predicting collapse forever and it never happens!"

I think TED talks are *extremely* dangerous because they are promoting all these solutions to our biggest problems, but these solutions are basically hype or will have extremely limited change on things.

For example, I'll say something about high meat consumption being bad for the environment, and people will snap back with, "oh, let me send you a link to this awesome TED talk! We just need to do grazing properly!"

It's not just TED, there's a huge fanclub for following hype on gizmodo or /r/futurology. Of course we're right around the corner from free energy, curing cancer, etc etc.

I'm just blown away how stupid people are. No matter the decades of evidence showing environmental/social decline, people still keep saying we can solve all of it through innovation and the free market.

It's too bad Hedges doesn't see it, but that's fine, I've stopped reading his stuff. The question isn't if we'll collapse, but how collapse will occur over the coming decades.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...



1:55 PM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

You should like this article.

"It’s Official: Americans R Stupid"


I like this bit. We've gone from presidents talking like this (Madison):

" In reviewing the scenes through which it has been attained we can rejoice in the proofs given that our political institutions, founded in human rights and framed for their preservation, are equal to the severest trials of war, as well adapted to the ordinary periods of repose. "

to this (Obama):

" But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow. "

3:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ca. 1994, I think it was, Jackson Lears did an article (in New Republic?) in which he said that left vs. rt made no sense any more, because the ideology was the same. Whether one read The Nation or The National Interest, one found the same belief system at work: "growth," economic expansion, "progress," technological innovation, etc. Socialists and 'progressives' certainly subscribe to this vision, which means that one cannot expect any serious social or economic change from that quarter. And since nearly 100% of the American public subscribes to it as well, inasmuch as it is integral to the American Dream, and since it is a vision without a future, collapse is all we can reasonably expect. Beyond the Wafer circle, how many people understand this? 20? u.c. the dimensions of the problem.

Anyway, yr rt: the crucial question at this pt is the nature and trajectory of the collapse, along with the prospects for Dual Process. 'Progressive' discussions of how we are going to turn things around amount to little more than breaking wind.


3:28 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

More of daily American existential angst: a guy threatens pizza shop employees with a baseball bat over a dispute about a tip jar:

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Rómulo Rafael Delgado Pérez said...

@ Miles Deli:

Re: The "Bob Roberts" movie.

I had an identical experience, but 20 years before yours.
When the movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" came out in 1975 I ran into countless people, from co-workers to neighbors and everyone in between, who were annoyed by the movie because according to them, it glorified a thug (Randle McMurphy) who gave a poor, hardworking nurse (Nurse Ratched) a hard time. They said they couldn't see any point in the movie other than that it glorified some rabble-rousing thug.

UNBELIEVABLE, right? And this was in 1975...forty years ago. And to think we've gotten much worse since then.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry: I meant National Review, not National Interest.


5:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And these are the people 'progressives' are going to organize and/or liberate. Right.


5:53 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

@ GOS ( Great Omniscient Seer ), lack ...

I stopped reading ( and subscribing 2 )TNR back in late 70's, when Kondracke and Kinsley went all 'New' Democrat with Krauthammer feeding the themes.

IDK if this has been brought up b4, but I'm OTO that Velbenian dichotomy is in it's penultimate stage, as he predicted in "The Theory of the Leisure Class" ( w/ the proletariat emulating the ruling class ), except the evolution resulted contrary with the business enterprise system becoming a demigod; where economics is not empirical... but a religion of dogma, myths, and just plain lies.

Now, Veblen did not foresee the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War, and everything else since his death; which probably would have altered his ideas.

Do u think he wld b a WAFer today ?

6:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...



Meanwhile, Gideon Levy, who writes for Ha'aretz, recommends that in the wake of Bibi's reelection, the entire Israeli people need to be replaced. I agree, but I think the same formula needs to be applied to the entire American people as well. We can't get anywhere until 318 million Americans are shipped off to SW Bulgaria, and 318 million decent, intelligent people are shipped in to replace them. Now this is a 'progressive' program I can definitely endorse!


6:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: New post-it for yr bathrm mirrors, amigos:


6:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: sorry, I left out the link:


6:24 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...


Of the opinion...

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hi, kids. TED talks occasionally have decent speakers and topics. For the most part they're NPR pablum. Malcolm Gladwell is the UR-TED. He spins those bits of cotton candy that make people feel like they're eating something, when he's just doing PR for the new age techno boom.("Everything you know is wrong!" Blink and you're at the tipping point!)
I was in Austin last weekend during the start of South by Southwest (by coincidence.) I went to some of the pop-up venues, many with complimentary beer and food, and with good live music. Thing is, they're awash in PR, branding, etc. I heard an interesting band from Austin start off a number with the sax player declaiming part of a Mario Savio speech. Quite moving, to be sure, but them lovable saps was just pissin' in the wind.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is what I've heard, and frankly, I regard Gladwell as a charlatan. Only in America cd someone so intellectually thin (and wrong) get lionized. BTW: be sure to post only once every 24 hrs; I need my beauty rest. Thanks.




8:41 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Dr. B: Wow, thanks for the extensive essay in response to my little question. Most interesting. I guess I kind of figured that the necessary change is so at the root of the system that nibbling around the edges won't be sufficient. Meanwhile, as the old song "Ball of Confusion" said: "And the band played on". That is, everyone continues their consumer lifestyles, oblivious to how this plays into the very system that is killing us. But it is all so normal.
Anyway, I have one little question. You say the revolution will come from the Right. Do you mean the radical far-right -- who might think that the country is not conservative enough -- or do you mean a resurgence of a moderate right -- who may be fed up with Tea Partiers and want to move the conservatives back to something more moderate and reasonable?

11:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Far rt; outright fascism, probably in the form of extremist vigilante groups. There is no doubt in my mind that we shall arrive at a point where "the centre cannot hold," and all hell will break loose. At that pt, the govt imposition of martial law will actually look good. (Ugh) This is one more reason for Americans who have any intelligence at all, to get out while they can.

One thing Hedges told me some time ago, was that when he worked for the NYT, he usta arrive at his office around 6pm, after a day of working in the field, and play the tape on his ans. machine. He said it was filled with pure poison: 20 or 30 minutes of rage and pain, denouncing him as a traitor, complete w/death threats and the like. That's the crowd I'm talking abt, the crowd that wd murder Jews and blacks and Muslims and anyone whose looks they don't like. They sit around rdg lit on blacks as untermenschen (who was the country western singer who called Obama a "subhuman mongrel"?--tip o' the iceberg), or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and think that this dreck is factually correct. There are millions of them in this country, and it's also w/in the realm of possibility that they might even form a coherent political party (something the left can't do to save its life) and capture a large % of the vote by promising stability, esp. in a period of economic disaster (this was the Nazi story, after all). When there's no food in supermkts, no clean water, and no political stability, "iron governments" start to look very attractive. Brecht had it rt when he said of fascism, after WW2 ended: "The bitch is still in heat." Indeed.

Things will not end well for the US, I do not think.


12:13 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I'm saddened to report that the little indie bookstore from which I ordered "SSIG" was torn down this week. An adjacent building, the Farnham Block, one of the first buildings built in the neighbourhood back in 1912, has also been destroyed. Why worry about Vandals and Huns when we have Real Estate Developers?

I have to confess a strange obsession I've been having since around Christmas - I've been repeatedly watching the HBO series "Band of Brothers" and reading every autobiography about the members of "Easy Company" that I can get hold of.

I don't know about "The Greatest Generation," but these were guys who memorised poetry and had some sort of culture, even though they were paratroopers. Lots of them were (they're almost all dead now) rah rah patriots, which I'm not crazy about, yet they are nevertheless compelling people who somehow set a standard.

There's no way I'd describe them as WAFers, yet they do have something to tell us.

Last week I came across the German TV show "Generation War," which could be described as "Friends...set in the Third Reich." The characters are highly nuanced. There are no obvious evil Nazi black hats or white hat brave resistance fighters - everyone is wrapped in moral ambiguity.

The reviews I've read of the series aren't at all edifying, and some are downright hostile. Apparently it's sinful to portray Germans as complex human beings rather than as one-dimensional caricatures of evil personified.

Have any of you seen these shows? Whaddya know, whaddya say?

A couple of years ago, while on holidays and visiting London, UK, I was reading Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class...and then went to Harrod's. It was like a field trip into decadent capitalism!

1:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Reports from the Buffoon Front:



So there you have it.

Buffoons in the White House
Buffoons in the streets.
Buffoons on the rooftops
Buffoons: what a treat!

Wafers are encouraged to submit their own poems on buffoons.


6:56 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Further proof of our cultural decline: the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (founded in 1866) is awarding Kanye West an honorary doctorate.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What greater evidence do we need that American 'culture' is a fucking joke? Next, Kim will get an honorary doctorate from Harvard, or perhaps the president's Humanities Award.

This reminds me of the flap that occurred a while ago, when I was interviewed by the Washington Times and said something in passing about est. Immediately, all the est-holes began jumping up and down in outrage; one of them wrote me something abt Was I aware that est was now part of a large # of university programs? Of course, all this shows, imo, is how degraded and meaningless American universities have become; but you can't really argue w/an est-hole, any more than you can w/a religious fundamentalist. (And then, we've got Stephen Pinker teaching at Harvard, when he more correctly belongs on the staff of Slippery Rock Community College, as an adjunct.) Well, it's all part of the decline; that much is obvious.


7:59 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Y cuando tendremos la versión en español??
Mi inglés no es tan bueno y el esfuerzo hace que el disfrute de la lectura sea menor...

6:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

¡Ay Chica!

En 2016, lo siento. Pero entre tanto, este mes va a parecer "Spinning Straw Into Gold" en español: "Convertir la paja en oro". Puedes comprarlo de sextopiso.com.

abrazo fuerte,

5:07 PM  
Blogger Mike X said...

Watched a YouTube video: Why America Failed. Good stuff. I've decided I like you.
On DC: the cool people are in Maryland. Most are kind and honest.
From now on, I'm going to read all your stuff (if only for the colorful language).
The great thinkers are disappearing. What are we going to do with all the posers and meat puppets?

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Berman,
I bought your excellent book about Japan (Neurotic Beauty) a few weeks ago and today I checked if I can have a kindle version (not to carry it with me on my coming trip to Japan).
To my astonishment I cannot find it anymore on Amazon.
Could you pls let us know the reason?
Many thanks and even more thanks for the book I am still digesting in small portions.

3:47 PM  

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