April 08, 2015

242

Well Wafers-

I suspect we've wrung all we can out of the Symbology theme, so it might be time to move on to greener (or purpler?) pastures. The only trouble is, I can't imagine, at this point, what these might be. Shaneka Torres? Poop in Wal-Mart? There's only so much one can say about these colorful, patriotic Americans, beyond wishing that they become presidential candidates. Speaking of which, we could devote ourselves to Hillary; but every time I see that pasty-faced imperialist robot online, I have an urge to bring up all my meals from the past 24 hours; and how much we can discuss vomit here--well, I dunno, really; there's gotta be an upper limit.

Then there's the foolishness of 'progressives', and the general stupidity of the American people...One theme we've sort of discussed before is what the latter see when they watch TV programs that are nuanced, or even critical of US policies. For example, in the series called Homeland, which deals with the futile and destructive antics of the CIA, there is a comment every so often, given the inevitable carnage of innocents that CIA activity generates, along the lines of: "Is this really worth it?", or, "What are we doing, anyway?" I imagine these sorts of self-critiques go over the heads of American viewers, who just translate the show into good guys vs. bad guys, and of course we are the good guys. But then, the dumber we are, the faster we slide into oblivion. So, always a silver lining on the horizon, eh?

Perhaps the theme of 242 should be left completely open, left up to you guys to decide whatever subjects you want to raise. So on that note: let the fun begin!

mb

199 Comments:

Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: One thing Homeland is particularly good at is showing the incredible brutality of American psychiatric hospitals. Jesus, talk about social control.

mb

5:34 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings all,

MB-

Ah, you must be at the part where Carrie is involuntarily detained at a psychiatric hospital. What about the scene where she is so heavily medicated she experiences speech impediment? Ain't that something?

Miles

6:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marc-

Sorry, wasn't able to run it. We have an informal rule here of Don't post more than once every 24 hrs. So maybe wait till tomorrow, and re-send it. Thanks.

mb

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

As Gore Vidal pointed out, we live in the United States of Amnesia. I have been reminded of this problem countless times when my neighbors complain about Obama, rightly so. However, I ask them where all that anger and complaining was when we had a 2 term appointed idiot in the office. Of course all I get is silence. When I mention that Gore Vidal had remarked that although we have had bad presidents in the past, we never had a Goddam fool before. Again, silence and then rolling eyes.

Sorry, I can't comment on any television shows. The TV went out the door in 2007. But that hasn't stopped people from asking me if I have seen this or that on TV. What is sad is that when I hear people talking about the shows, they seem to take them seriously. But ask them about anything real and you can forget it. Although it is getting easier to identify people on mind altering medication.

Outside of work I usually expose myself to the public in small doses now. I used to do all of my shopping for supplies in one day. But I just can't seem to tolerate the general public for any extended period of time. The texting is ubiquitous. People do not know how to respond to the simplest of courtesies. I am reminded of what you MB and Joe Baegent said that seemed to be linked together. You spoke on how the technology has colonized their minds and JB mentioned that people were suffering from Digital Autism. They are now one and the same now.

Vince

9:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Vince-

I don't say this as hyperbole, or to be cute in any way: try to think of the people around you as marionettes on strings, because that is effectively what they are. Meds, cell fones, slogans, folks who are clueless and have checked out--this is the American public now, and the sad truth is that what you are living with is little more than a collection of robots. There is no altering this situation; it will only get worse. Emigration is the sanest response.

mb

10:14 PM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

Hi Dr. Berman (and Wafers),

I'm in the middle of NB and wish to say "Thanks!" As in your other books, you've presented me with many new ideas, and you've made me aware of (and pre-digested) many researchers, works, and information that I probably wouldn't have encountered on my own. I'm learning a lot and feel that this rounds out my Japanese experiences.

You might be discussing this later in your book, but one thing that struck me when discussing the atomic bombing with my wife several years ago was her statement that, "Just after the bombing, Americans visited those sites -- not to help, but to observe. All of us Japanese know this." In other words, experimentation might be yet another reason why they were dropped.

Perhaps you've already seen these, but if not, the movie "When the Last Sword is Drawn" and the novel "Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family" are both very good (and painful at times).

dkhinkle

12:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dh-

Well, thank *you*; I'm glad yr enjoying it. I don't discuss 'experimentation'; as far as I know, that was the object of the Trinity test in July 1945, and the scientists at Los Alamos pronounced it a complete 'success'. But there cd be more to the situation than I'm aware of, I dunno.

mb

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. B and Wafers,

I woke up to an early spring snowfall this morning and a new blog post by MB! Thank you so much, Dr. B. I look forward to reading the only blog that matters every single day. Our spring snowfall will melt by the end of the day so it's just a friendly reminder that we're not in charge. On my drive to work I got a glimpse of Vermont's Green Mountains sleeping under soft blankets of clouds. I've always said that if the six New England states and part of upstate New York could secede from the union, we'd be a pretty cool country. Dr. B, I remember you writing of your friend in Vermont who was a secessionist, but I believe he may have passed away. I keep thinking I should take up the cause. It makes less and less sense each year to pay taxes to a central government that could care less about whether we live or die. I also realize that same central government will do everything in its power to hold the crumbling union together. If I were to lead the effort, I would name the new country Abenaki after the good people we exiled from their lands. Only a pipe dream I'm sure but wouldn't it be a wonderful thing?

8:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rusty-

Perhaps 30-40 years down the rd, who knows. My friend is dead, but his work lives on: "Secession," by Thomas Naylor.

mb

10:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This is so annoying. Why didn't he just gun her down, like a dog?

http://rt.com/usa/248125-texas-woman-punched-police/

10:39 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Good one over at the Druid this week:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-burden-of-denial.html

"When people go around insisting that not buying into the latest overhyped and overpriced lump of technogarbage is tantamount to going back to the caves—and yes, I field such claims quite regularly—you can tell that what’s going on in their minds has nothing to do with the realities of the situation and everything to do with stark unreasoning fear. Point out that a mere thirty years ago, people got along just fine without email and the internet, and you’re likely to get an even more frantic and abusive reaction, precisely because your listener knows you’re right and can’t deal with the implications."

and:

"Denying a reality that’s staring you in the face is an immensely stressful process ..."

1:04 PM  
Blogger Val said...

I wanna propose another Presidential candidate: Kevyn Orr, the man who shut off the water to thousands in Detroit. What's public health when you have a budget to balance? Last I heard, now he's been assigned to balance the books by destroying what's left of Atlantic City. Sure, I know the electoral field is already aswarm with assorted political morons and sleazebags, but you can never have too many to satisfy the American public's craving for creative corruption. A superabundant smorgasbord of crooks and cons is what they demand and so truly deserve.

MB, would you care to speculate on what exactly will be left of society a few years from now, as we likely provoke more stupid wars & the economy takes an even more dramatic tumble downward? I'll focus on the area where I live, N California. As drought bites harder and jobs vanish through the cracked mud while foreclosure puts thousands on the streets, how will the self-styled greenies and uber-progressives who abound here respond? Drive-by shootings, vigilante lynchings, home invasions, police repression, personal bomber drones? Harsh water conservation measures enforced by summary execution on the spot (but only for the poor)? What will daily life be like? I'd like to hear some nitty-gritty so I can form a vivid mental picture.

My family are all but completely hypnotized by television. They often carry on as if the (propaganda) programming content were filled with vitally important information, & become incensed, even enraged, when their favorite programs are preempted by some other idiocy. Consequently their minds have turned to mush. So here's a question: would it be ethically justifiable to surreptitiously destroy the reception?

Thanks MB and Miles for your advice about my pedal affliction. I am attentive to your counsel, & hope to resolve the matter before the pain drags on for too much longer. It makes me feel warm and safe to recollect that I have Obamacare to provide for all my medical needs.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

A short clip of Shaneka's "Bacon Rage" court case:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHCUMLC6LZw

While I'm pretty certain people will do just about *anything* for the almighty dollar, what the hell explains this, Wafers?:

http://www.inquisitr.com/1991721/sarah-reign-obese-woman-turns-extra-pounds-into-extra-cash-as-a-feedee/

The fun never ceases...

Miles

2:56 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

We'll its going to be someone like Hillary - a slow but inevitable destruction to Corporatocracy, great depression II and/or environmental catastrophe, or your garden variety rapid destruction with any of the GOP imbeciles. The next move is whether the dems with jettison the Iran talks, one way or another we need another war - since Iran is 3X the population and 5X the area, there could be real money to be made on all sides with military contractors with yet another unnecessary war, this time even larger. Or maybe we'll experience a Zombie apocalypse, with all the current craze of Zombie/Vampire films and TV series in the USA. That's high culture American style, perhaps an unconscious admission of what is coming soon. So which state should we secede with - Vermont maybe, Texas not so much.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I tell ya, Shaneka's my gal. I was fascinated by her face in this clip of the trial, as in Exactly how many lobotomies has this woman had? Well, I'd marry her in a minute, and instead of going to jail I think she shd be headed to the Oval Office, where she wd preside over the Last Stages of the Great Collapse. Go, Shaneka! Wafers support you 100%!

Val-

You might think of removing the cathode-ray tube and inserting your family's heads inside the box. This wd definitely be ethically justifiable. As for America, it is now suffering the death of 1000 cuts, but there is a phenomenon of quantity-to-quality, similar to the tipping pt argument. At some pt, a seemingly innocuous event, like Kim displaying her rump, can act like the last straw, and everything comes tumbling down. Surely that can't be more than a decade away.

Consider Shaneka Torres. At some pt, the cumulative effect of ordering bacon cheeseburgers and getting them w/o bacon was just too fucking much for the gal, and she flipped out. I hate to go back to our Symbology post, but this is at least an analogy of what's going to happen in the US. Not that Americans will revolt, because they just don't have the cojones for it; but rather that these random incidents of the cops gunning down innocent people (both B&W) will suddenly go over the top. When it does, they'll suddenly start mowing down citizens by the thousands. I keep telling them to get AK-47's--much more efficient--and they don't listen to me. But at some future pt, they will. It will be known by future generations as the Shaneka Effect, or Let's Bring Home the Bacon!

mb

5:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jwo-

Yeah, that's a gd one. I've done that quite often, in fact: said, Life was just fine without cell phones; in fact, much better. The response is usually rage. The depth to which the American head is rammed in the American rump is breathtaking.

mb

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Doctor Berman- re. Texas woman punched: call on me. (you can't see it but I've got my hand up.) Because she appears to be Caucasian, perhaps?

5:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dawg-

I dunno if race was involved, but I remain puzzled by the punching. After all, he cd have clubbed her to death, wh/is what a real man, and a real cop, wd have done. But r.u. saying that he *wd* have done that if she were black? Hmm...cd be, altho during 2001-11, cops killed 5000 civilians of all colors, religions, genders, ages, and mental states. In these cases, at least, the cops did not discriminate; of which all Americans can be proud. I just feel that we need to be moving toward heavier equipment for our men in blue. In addn, this picking off of citizens one by one is rather primitive. What are drones, machine guns, and nuclear weapons for, after all? Americans need to know that the Nation's Finest mean business.

mb

6:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Provocative article by Sue Halpern in the April 2 issue of the NYRB: "How Robots & Algorithms Are Taking Over." Shd generate some discussion here.

mb

7:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Why in the world wd anyone give a shit abt this?:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/Decoder/2015/0407/Michelle-Obama-upstages-Easter-bunny-with-Uptown-Funk-dance-video

8:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is the way to arrange an economy:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/world/europe/italian-artisans-revival-after-economic-crisis-reflects-resilience-of-small-industry.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

9:07 PM  
Anonymous bruguel said...

http://rt.com/usa/248429-us-census-bureau-shooting/

What beef can anyone possibly have with the census bureau? Was the shooter dressed as a woman?This country gets a little weirder everyday.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

John,

Do you really think that there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans? They are much the same save for a bit of theatre--they are all "sponsored" by the same folks...Do you really think Chuck Schumer is a nicer person than pick any republican? Makes no difference--both are douches...

Hillary--by any objective measure a true puzzle. Why has the media always loved her so and foisted her ugly mug on the U.S. almost daily for going on a quarter of the century? Flunked the D.C. Bar, never uttered an original idea, not funny, not attractive or charming, not a good speaker. Jeb bush the same. Any other country if the wife of former president and thebrother and son of former presidents were the prefered candidates for president would have the NYT screaming corruptions and backwardness......Indeed the cognitive dissonance and utter insanity combined with sheer stupidity is actually fascinating. Every time I return to the U.S. the detachment from reality seems to increase. The U.S. also proves one of the points made in Hebrew school by an ernest Holocaust survivor--don;t fear evil, its stupidity which does much more harm in the world--on this score the U.S. is leading the pack AS Mencken said in every place idiots about but it is only in America where they are the leaders and set the pace and standards.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

brug-

What if it turns out that the guy who attacked the Census Bureau hated statistics, and thought that one cd go to the Bureau and kill them? This is America, after all.

COS-

I think the time has come for Wafers to take action against Hillary. There are 160 registered Wafers. I suggest we all converge on DC, each w/a sixpack of Bud Lite. We then hunt down Hillary, knock back a few beers, and drench her shoes in urine. I envision her being up to her ankles in a yellow river. Someone will hafta hold the camcorder, of course. Headline in the Washpost the next day:

HILLARY ATTACKED BY WAFERS; SHOES DRENCHED IN URINE.

Then wd follow how her chances for the presidency were ruined (along w/her shoes) because of the shame involved in being peed on. "I'm sorry," James Carville was quoted as saying, "but once you've been peed on, yr simply not electable."

Wafers wd make history, as a Revolutionary Force that kept Hillary out of the Oval Office. Meanwhile, sales of my bks wd go thru the roof, leading to my buying a villa in Tuscany and inviting all 160 Wafers over for the party of the century. We wdn't be drinking Bud Lite, either, I can assure you.

mb

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Al B. Tross said...

Dr. Berman,

Might I suggest:

"I envision her being up to her cankles in a yellow river".

Also, there is much money being made these days in the development of I-phone apps,how about a Wafer app that allows techbuffoons the ability to outsource their critical thinking skills:

https://medium.com/matter/the-shut-in-economy-ec3ec1294816

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Take a good look at these pictures, and then read the comments below the pictures:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/09/nude-art-tour_n_7033208.html

Consider these comments:
"Think how many problems in the world would be solved if everyone suddenly decided to no longer have shame in their bodies"

"This is why God invented clothes"

"I am an old lady and don't wanna inflict this on anybody's eyeballs, for cryin' out loud"

"This is what it's like when things get ugly. That's why people have sex at night (in the dark)"

"At least there's no problem with concealed weapons"

"The NRA will see nudity as an abridgement of their precious right to carry laws"

My take on this:
In some cultures it is an abomination and a sacrilege to behold the nakedness of your parents.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Deluded to the very end said...

Hello Mr.Berman,

about the progressive issue, i would like to ask you about your oppinion on "Progress and Poverty" by Henry George.

thanks,

deluded

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Deb said...

I thought this excerpt from an interview with Philip Roth re America might be appreciated here:

Anything but a homogeneous population, no basic national unity, no single national character, social calm utterly unknown, even the general obtuseness about literature, the inability of many citizens to read any of it with even minimal comprehension, confers a certain freedom. And surely the fact that writers really don’t mean a goddamn thing to nine-tenths of the population doesn’t hurt. It’s inebriating.

Very little truthfulness anywhere, antagonism everywhere, so much calculated to disgust, the gigantic hypocrisies, no holding fierce passions at bay, the ordinary viciousness you can see just by pressing the remote, explosive weapons in the hands of creeps, the gloomy tabulation of unspeakable violent events, the unceasing despoliation of the biosphere for profit, surveillance overkill that will come back to haunt us, great concentrations of wealth financing the most undemocratic malevolents around, science illiterates still fighting the Scopes trial 89 years on, economic inequities the size of the Ritz, indebtedness on everyone’s tail, families not knowing how bad things can get, money being squeezed out of every last thing — that frenzy — and (by no means new) government hardly by the people through representative democracy but rather by the great financial interests, the old American plutocracy worse than ever.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

On clothing and nakedness...

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society."

-Mark Twain, compiled by Twain bibliographer Merle Johnson in More Maxims of Mark, privately printed in November 1927

8:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank u all for yr comments. B4 replying, let's catch up on America Today:

http://rt.com/usa/248469-florida-shooting-mentally-ill/

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2015/04/08/children-freezer/25454865/

I think we can agree this is a wonderful country. Roth's description of the US is perfect: a nation of hustlers run amok.

Deluded-

I never read it.

mb

10:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferinos-

Here's the 1st review to appear of "Neurotic Beauty" (outside of the fine ones posted on Amazon):

http://xpatnation.co/book-review-neurotic-beauty-an-outsider-looks-at-japan/

Enjoy!

mb

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Hugh Melioration said...

On nekkidness,

"What's the ugliest part of your body?
Some say your nose,
Some say your toes,
But I think it's your mind..."
(F.Zappa)

I'm also reminded of Buck Henry's campaign to clothe animals....

Hugh Melioration

11:29 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

It's a beautiful day in the Waferhood,
A beautiful day for a Wafer,
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Well, Wafers, I can't tell you how excited I am... I awoke to the sound of the Rev. Jesse Jackson on BBC radio explaining how black people live in a state of unequivocal *terror* in the US. How long b4 we can *all* say this about our boys and girls in blue, I pondered?

The broadcast then turned to the subject of Hillary. Apparently, she's gonna announce this Sunday. The thought of listening to Killary's horrifying voice and watching her deranged smile for the next several months is, well, too much to endure. I began to have suicidal thoughts. I felt a disturbance deep w/in my bowel as my mind began to flash on all my *progressive* female students who worship Killary, believe that the Monroe Doctrine is the Marilyn Doctrine, and think that the 1st Amendment guarantees the right to own cats. I began to panic, experience extreme vertigo, and aspirate vomitus. How am I gonna stop 'em, Wafers? What can we possibly do to shake them from Killary's hypnotic spell? These thoughts raced thru my mind like a bolt from the blue!

Suddenly, I was hit with severe paralysis as my wife ran outta the bedroom and retrieved my laptop. We frantically logged on to DAA where we were met with the sage advice of MB, COS, Mr. Tross, and others, already engaged in deep discussion about activating the Wafer Urine Detail (WUD). The vision of Wafers, united, unleashing a cascade of urine upon Killary's shoes and around the confines of her Brooklyn headquarters was the equivalent of experiencing a vision of Shiva, or the second coming of Christ... My paralysis began to lift; my mind began to clear; my spirits raised. My wife even remarked that she's gonna learn to pee from a standing position. Ain't no stopping' us now, Wafers! And remember, happiness...is a warm piss, yes it is...

Miles

3:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Shiva is the Destroyer, yes? Well, pasty-faced Hillary definitely cd use that. Her shoes are far too dry. In addition to the WUD, we need a SWAT--Sudden Wafer Attack Team--to sweep across the country, and hose down Hillary's campaign. This is indeed a wonderful day. How many mentally ill teenagers did the cops kill today? How many mothers stuck their kids in freezers? O beautiful, for spacious skies...

mb

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

Well, Fred Reed still has his finger on the pulse of American capitalist society. See “Purity of Soul: An Excursion into Northern Politics of Race” at:

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/04/fred-reed/the-purity-of-the-yankee-soul/

If Americans could accept what you say in Chapter 4 of WAF about what the North did to the South and why, they might realize that the US has been doing the same thing to the rest of the world ever since, and for similar reasons. How Americans struggle to preserve their sense of self-righteousness!

(Of course, I type this on a keyboard made by our Asian slaves.)

David Rosen

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

I took my invalided mom to the eye doctor today and was appalled to see a slick ad in the waiting room advertising sunglasses used by the "American Sniper." How sick is that?

5:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Birney-

Shd sell a bundle! Americans love death. I tell you, in this country life and parody have merged.

DR-

Americans don't read polysyllabic bks, I'm afraid. Actually, they barely read at all anymore, except what's on screens. Check out quote from Roth, above. Actually, 20 yrs ago Phil crunched the #s, and concluded that for every 75 readers of serious bks in the US who died, they were replaced by 1.

mb

6:35 PM  
Blogger escapefromwisconsin said...

An attempt to break the world record for the largest Easter egg hunt descended into chaos on Sunday, as adults ended up barging toddlers out of the way and scuffles broke out in a bid to collect the most eggs. Parents of the children taking part at the event in Sacramento, in California, described scenes of carnage as the crowd squabbled on the lawn. "It’s really ridiculous," said Michelle Rodriguez, who told The Sacramento Bee she paid $140 for her seven children to participate in the VIP portion of the hunt, in which some of the eggs were stuffed with coupons for free food.

http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-chaotic-easter-egg-hunt.html

See also "Enjoying the Low Life?" (NY Times)

The index ranks the United States 30th in life expectancy, 38th in saving children’s lives, and a humiliating 55th in women surviving childbirth. O.K., we know that we have a high homicide rate, but we’re at risk in other ways as well. We have higher traffic fatality rates than 37 other countries, and higher suicide rates than 80.

We also rank 32nd in preventing early marriage, 38th in the equality of our education system, 49th in high school enrollment rates and 87th in cellphone use.

Ouch. “We’re No. 87!” doesn’t have much of a ring to it, does it?


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/opinion/nicholas-kristof-enjoying-the-low-life.html

8:29 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

There is one subject in which Americans aren't stupid. I'm talking about sports. I don't follow any sports, have long recognized its just another elaborate racket, with billionaire football team owners making tax free revenue built upon stadiums paid for by taxpayer revenue to college basketball coaches who are paid at levels of fortune 500 CEOs, yeah that grotesque. Amazing that this is tolerated, no eye blinks, instead elaborate fantasy leagues where people can burn out their neurons betting billions of dollars on line. Then there is the so called Super Bowl by far watched more than any other event. I sometimes listen to sports talk radio (another distraction industry like shock jock right wing radio) just to be amazed on how ordinary people are so obsessed about how total strangers play a particular game, seemingly even more obsessed with these things that about their own lives. And they spew out elaborate philosophies on how a player or team should play, which if they spent 10% of the effort just thinking about philosophy in general would be a distinct improvement. Even so called intellectuals like George Will pontificating about the beauties of baseball, which should sound like the hunting of the snark, if a trace of sanity were present.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Asher Ginsberg (1856-1927) was a Hebrew essayist who wrote under the pen name of Ahad Ha’am. A colossal intellect, and Zionism’s major critic from within. In 1891 he visited Palestine and then published a pamphlet, “Truth from Eretz Yisrael,” that contained the following observations:

“We who live abroad are accustomed to believing that the Arabs are all wild desert people who, like donkeys, neither see nor understand what is happening around them. But this is a grave mistake. The Arab, like all the Semites, is sharp minded and shrewd….The Arabs, especially the urban elite, see and understand what we are doing and what we wish to do on the land, but they keep quiet and pretend not to notice anything. For now, they do not consider our actions as presenting a future danger to them.…But, if the time comes that our people's life in Eretz Yisrael will develop to a point where we are taking their place, either slightly or significantly, the natives are not going to just step aside so easily.

“We must surely learn, from both our past and present history, how careful we must be not to provoke the anger of the native people by doing them wrong, how we should be cautious in our dealings with a foreign people among whom we returned to live, to handle these people with love and respect and, needless to say, with justice and good judgment. And what do our brothers do? Exactly the opposite! They were slaves in their Diasporas, and suddenly they find themselves with unlimited freedom, wild freedom that only a country like Turkey [the Ottoman Empire] can offer. This sudden change has planted despotic tendencies in their hearts, as always happens to former slaves. They deal with the Arabs with hostility and cruelty, trespass unjustly, beat them shamefully for no sufficient reason, and even boast about their actions. There is no one to stop the flood and put an end to this despicable and dangerous tendency…When these people [the Arabs] feel that the law is on their rival's side and, even more so, if they are right to think their rival's actions are unjust and oppressive, then, even if they are silent and endlessly reserved, they keep their anger in their hearts. And these people will be revengeful like no other.”

Smart cookie…one wishes this kind of perception had a voice in contemporary Israel.

mb

11:47 PM  
OpenID dermotmoconnor said...

People as marionettes. Reminds me of this passage from Orwell's 'Coming up for air'. People should really read Orwell, and not just the cliff notes or movie versions of 84 and AF. Here, his fictional narrator describes a dismal encounter with a public school alumnus who can't be persuaded of the threat of Naziism.

QUOTE: "I watched him leaning up against the bookshelf. Funny, these public-school chaps. Schoolboys all their days. Whole life revolving round the old school and their bits of Latin and Greek and poetry. And suddenly I remembered that almost the first time I was here with Porteous he’d read me the very same poem. Read it in just the same way, and his voice quivered when he got to the same bit—the bit about magic casements, or something. And a curious thought struck me. He’s dead. He’s a ghost. All people like that are dead.

It struck me that perhaps a lot of the people you see walking about are dead. We say that a man’s dead when his heart stops and not before. It seems a bit arbitrary. After all, parts of your body don’t stop working—hair goes on growing for years, for instance. Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea. Old Porteous is like that. Wonderfully learned, wonderfully good taste—but he’s not capable of change. Just says the same things and thinks the same thoughts over and over again. There are a lot of people like that. Dead minds, stopped inside. Just keep moving backwards and forwards on the same little track, getting fainter all the time, like ghosts.

Old Porteous’s mind, I thought, probably stopped working at about the time of the Russo-Japanese War. And it’s a ghastly thing that nearly all the decent people, the people who don’t want to go round smashing faces in with spanners, are like that. They’re decent, but their minds have stopped. They can’t defend themselves against what’s coming to them, because they can’t see it, even when it’s under their noses. They think that England will never change and that England’s the whole world. Can’t grasp that it’s just a left-over, a tiny corner that the bombs happen to have missed. But what about the new kind of men from eastern Europe, the streamlined men who think in slogans and talk in bullets? They’re on our track. Not long before they catch up with us. No Marquess of Queensbury rules for those boys. And all the decent people are paralysed. Dead men and live gorillas. Doesn’t seem to be anything between."

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

"This is so annoying. Why didn't he just gun her down, like a dog?"

http://rt.com/usa/248125-texas-woman-punched-police/

"Robinson, 38, is a decorated Air Force veteran and recipient of the Airman’s Medal for the time she pulled her colleagues out of a burning plane in Iraq. She now lives in Quinlan, with another infant and three step children, aged six to nine. But her marriage had been undergoing a turbulent period lately, which culminated in a shoving match with her husband several days prior to the incident"

Think for a moment: if you were in the military fighting for your country only to come back to this kind of treatment at the hands of police, how would you feel about patriotism, American dream, and so on?

Policing in America represents/is symbolic of inner decay in America. That the police people cannot control themeselves, that everything must come down to physical fights and gun fights, that grownups are incapable of using reason and communication in solving their problems, that it must always come down to blows, that there is no other way of doing things except fight and force - I tell you, something is not right with this kind of culture.

There are more people living in China than in USA, but we do not read about this kind of madness in China. What is it about the American culture that every disagreement has to be handled through yelling and violence and killing? Are there good books on this American mindset? I need to read more about this madness. Something is not right. This must be some kind of Karma.

3:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ed-

On American mindset: check out QOV. As for China: highest rate of capital crimes in world, I believe.

mb

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Morris said...

Mr Berman: "Asher Ginsberg (1856-1927)"

But Israel was not created until May 14 1948. Asher died in 1927, which is 21 years before the creation of Israel in the Middle East.

4:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Morris-

I'm well aware of that. I said Ahad Ha'am visited Palestine in 1891; I didn't say he visited Israel. Zionism, agitation for a Jewish homeland, the land itself, and Arab-Jewish conflicts all existed prior to 1948. However, for whatever reason, he did title his 1891 pamphlet "Truth from Eretz Yisrael," i.e., from the land of Israel. I guess nobody told him he was jumping the gun by 57 yrs.

mb

9:47 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Re: Sue Halpern's NYRB article

This reminds me of one of Kurt Vonnegut's early novels, "Player Piano." Vonnegut describes a world run by machines and computers and the dysfunction of a total tech society. He mocks and satirizes the corporate world and shows how easily society can slip into tech worship along the way. If I remember correctly, a *major* theme of the book is that humans essentially lose a sense of purpose in life w/out meaningful work. Vonnegut even predicts the coming of nincompoops like Ronald Reagan, in that they're elected based solely on spending time on TV... Considering that "Player Piano" was written in the early 1950s, it's a beautiful testament to the mind of Vonnegut.

John S-

Weirdly, Noam Chomsky argues that the ability to recall various sports statistics is evidence that Americans are *not* entirely brain-dead. In other words, they can hold information in their heads, but it's entirely useless and meaningless information.

Miles

11:54 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

Professor,

Have to disagree with you re: Capital Crimes. Per world bank the murder rate in china is 1 per 100,000 which given the size of the population is well a lot! However, in the U.S. its 5.2 or so and in the citadel of the empire its been as high as 41--Mexico City is 8, Philly is 14.

You make a very important point which perhaps feeds into my own Mexican fatalism--why bother? I have a few relatives in the U.S. and well they have idiotic ideas and are all amped up on TV and "social media" and I ignore their chatter and minimize contacts. A few friends (friends are a blessing, unlike many relatives --you choose them and they choose you) from college and beyond which either have repaired to other places or by dint of will or resources have become NMI. I realize I am lucky but I realize that many smart people are of the why bother frame of mine. Not being fatalistic or disengaging from our own lives but checking out of the media spectale, american politics and the like. Some have voiced the same--why bother and even a few F' the american public. Alas, here is the solution and a Russian perfected one at that--check out. Forget voting, revolutions or messaihas of various sorts. The only way to go is to check out and at minimum your life will be better and if enough people do it, a lot of lives improve. The refusnik/nmi/emmigration solutions are the only viable ones..

Leave or check out.....and if you can enjoy the show but whatever you do--don;t try and change people or wake them up--its a waste of time and you will have better results teaching a dog trigonometry.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman & Morris,

Re: “Eretz Yisrael” and the modern nation state of “Israel”

I think that for centuries before Zionism was a gleam in Herzl’s eye, the term “Eretz Yisrael” was used in the Jewish world to mean the Land of Israel, and not a modern nation state. “Palestine” is the name the Romans gave it when they destroyed the Kingdom of Judea, so Jews tended no to call it that. Yisrael, on the other hand, meant the entire Jewish people wherever they were. How far back that usage of the expression “Eretz Yisrael” goes I’m not sure. I don’t know where the expression first appears, but it goes back to early Hasidic masters, and I think much, much further. (Capo, of blessed memory, would have known – he is sorely missed.)

My own rabbi ancestors, who came to the US around the beginning of the 20th Century, were very antizionist for purely religious reasons. The idea that mere human effort could restore the Jews to their ancient kingdom was hubris – an idolatrous false messiah. This was to be an act of God brought about by the coming of the messiah.

The Passover Haggadah is a wondrous book, filled with miracles and acts of God, but I always thought it strange when we came to the part of the Seder which says, “This year we are here, next year in Jerusalem.” I asked myself, “What the hell are you doing here? All you have to do is buy a ticket on El Al and you’ll be there!” It seemed to me that it had to mean more than that – and it does.

David Rosen

6:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

COS-

Problem w/all these stats is that they bear closer examination. Most homicides in Mexico are gang-related, confined to Michoacan and the border states, as wd be expected. The rate in Mexico City is something like 9 per 100,000 per annum--same as Wichita or Stockton CA. So gross figs don't help much. In addition, I was talking abt the execution rate, not the murder rate, wh/are 2 diff things.

As for China executing the highest % of criminals in the world: problem is, I can't recall the ref. I was rdg an article by some China expert who mentioned this, and given the authoritarian nature of the state I wasn't all that surprised; but I can't offer you a citation, sad to say.

mb

6:36 PM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

There's not a glimmer of hope that your new book will be a best seller. Why? B/c the best sellers on Amazon are - you guessed it! - coloring books! For an hilarious take on this you really, really must go here:

http://www.russellbrand.com/


Adult Colouring Books: Is This The Apocalypse? The Trews (E295)

Reaction to the news that adult colouring books have topped the Amazon bestselling charts, are they really enough to de-stress us?

6:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

DR-

Well, eretz does mean land, so I guess we need some research on the history of the word and its various meanings. I'm no expert in this area, I fear.

SW-

I never imagined that NB wd sell more than a few 100 copies, really. Americans aren't interested in foreign countries, and they certainly aren't interested in cultural analysis. When Ruth Benedict published "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" in 1946, it had no appeal beyond academic circles, and sold a few 1000 copies. Once translated into Japanese, it sold nearly 3 million over the next 20 yrs. This pretty much says it all.
Luckily for me, I never expected to make a bundle, and wrote the bk because I was/am fascinated by Japan. I hafta take the attitude of 'virtue is its own reward', because I don't expect any financial reward. (I once estimated my hourly income from royalties over the yrs; it came to 2.5 cents--seriously.) Wrtg the bk cost me abt 15K out-of-pocket; I doubt I'll make $1500 in royalties from it. Any writer of serious bks in the US can't be doing it for $, unless s/he is nuts.

That said, this may be my last effort. I have a few things I'm thinking abt, rdg abt, but I have no idea if I'll turn them into another project, and I'm in no hurry to do so. Nobody's listening, really, and the triumph of garbage over quality is one of the key features of a society in decline. What I *can* say is that I have no regrets regarding the path I chose. There's just no substitute for being real, for trying to tell the truth to the best of yr ability.

On that subject, I've been having an interesting response from bkstores in NY abt doing a rdg for NB. I wrote 7 major independents; most rejected it out of hand. (I'm still waiting on one possibility, a kind of anarchist-creative bkstore that has values beyond that of the bottom line.) These rejections use all sorts of euphemisms to disguise the fact that the store is abt $, nothing else. (And these aren't the corporate biggies, mind u.) In one case, the excuse was so transparent that I decided to have some fun w/the store, and events person, in question. I called her on it: that the place was about bringing in bucks, not abt quality of the work or the conversation that might ensue. It's been interesting, rdg her responses, which are thin rationales for what is obvious. She tries to hide her guilt; she twists in the wind. I can't imagine the conversation will go on much longer, but I enjoyed telling her (in so many words) that she was participating in corruption to save her job. It will make no difference, of course, but it was an opportunity for her to save her soul. She flunked. Hey, this is America; the rot seeps into everything, as I tried to explain to her. Everybody's got a mortgage to pay off, or so they say; this justifies everything.

mb

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Here is a recent interview with Nick Hanauer. In there you will hear the BBC host talk about hustling as if it is a positive and desirable American notion; Nick calls it aspiration.

I once ran into Nick's book titled The Gardens of Democracy, but I am yet to read it - Dr B can help out here. But this is the first time I heard Nick talking about inequality, and I think I may buy his books because of what I heard from him.

https://player.fm/series/hardtalk/ht-nick-hanauer
or here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02m7n5n

Q & A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTQjqa7OAFE

10:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Paula-

Hustling isn't totally bad, depending on the scale of it and the context. This is a pt made quite clearly in Richard Powers' marvellous novel, "Gain". There's also the question of its role in the overall ecology of one's life. For Americans, and perhaps for Nick (I don't know), it's absolutely central; it *is* their life. This is a tragedy. Keynes understood this: in later yrs he wrote that the economy shd exist to serve civilization, whereas capitalism got it backwards. As a young man, he and his friends wd occasionally drive down to London from Cambridge, down to the financial district (the City), lean out the car windows when they saw some tight-assed businessman walking along, and yell: "Excuse me, Sir, but you seem to have lost a sense of your personal identity!" My kinda guy.

mb

10:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

State of the Union:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/04/11/thousands-dead-few-prosecuted/?hpid=z1

2:42 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings All,

America Today Dept.:

http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/04/11/pkg-father-arrested-punches-toddler.kget

http://www.cnn.com/videos/justice/2015/04/10/ctn-sot-report-man-tased-beaten-by-deputies.cnn/video/playlists/stories-that-shock/

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/12/video-shows-tulsa-police-pursuing-and-shooting-man-killed-in-alleged-mistake

*Turns out you're 50 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist in the US. That said, let's bomb Iran, already!

Miles

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Em in CA said...

Dr. Berman,

Please tell me what country I should emigrate to. I am so sick of my life here.

Let me give you a short background on who I am:

Educated, book lover, loner, antisocial, sick of interacting with Americans. I have a total of two "friends" whom I cannot stand:

One is a Stanford graduate who is obsessed with looks and money. He
recently secured a high profile job by quoting a popular meme, of all things, and the staff thought it was cute. Disgusting. The other friend is a 45 year-old pothead who watches cartoons constantly and can quote every line from The Simpsons.

I have to find sane people. What do you suggest? Switzerland? France?

2:29 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Lifetime sports fan here (yeah, I know), but I would argue that Americans' obsession with sports clearly demonstrates their inability to think rationally. Despite sports fans' obsession with all the facts and figures, most will still passionately argue why their team is superior to all others despite their being no evidence to support that fact. They will excuse the bad or even criminal actions of their team's players while deriding similar actions by opposing players. They will celebrate their teams' billionaire owner getting a taxpayer funded pleasure palace for their team to play in because the team needs corporate sky boxes (that they will never be allowed to set foot in) in order to stay competitive. They also think it just awesome that dumb athletes who have no business being anywhere near an institution of higher learning get Bs in phony classes to stay academically eligible while their labor is exploited for the profit of the schools--and relatedly they think it is perfectly acceptable that the highest paid public employee in nearly every state is a basketball or football coach.

If all this garbage can go on in an area in which people are actually somewhat informed, there is utterly no hope in those that they are not.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

Yes, a whole other subject in its own rt. But then, when u realize that most of the country consists of destructive buffoons, who don't have two thoughts to rub together, it all makes sense.

Em-

Well, what can I tell u? One reason I had to escape the US is that every time I had a conversation w/an American, I was struggling not to vomit. Not a gd feeling, obviously.

The really impt thing is to relocate to a large city, because this tends to attract people who are interested in ideas. With that in mind, the exact country doesn't matter, as long as it's non-Anglo. Paris, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Madrid--it doesn't matter, if u.r. fluent in the language or willing to become so. But make yr plans now, because emigration involves a lot of work:

1. Research various places on the Net, and also buy used city guides off of Amazon

2. Get language tutoring, or buy Pimsleur disks for the language you will need

3. Clean up yr affairs in the US, including bank transfer arrangements etc.

4. Go visit 2-3 potential cities you might live in, for 1 mo. each.

That shd get u started, and gd luck. Believe me, you'll be so glad u got out; you have no idea.

Jeff-

Gd stories. As far as bombing Iran: yes, long overdue. As you know, for 2 yrs now I've written to the Pentagon abt nuking Paris and Toronto, but our military is actually a pack of liberals: they ignore my entreaties. Well, they'll be sorry, u just wait and c.

mb

4:42 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I just stepped into a bit of yankhead that I thought I'd share. There's a heartwarming article over on Commondreams about a bubba who posts videos opposed to white privelege and racism from his F-150 half-ton. I can just imagine "progressives" holding their cellfones across the table in the coffee shops to show this piece to their companions. "Isn't this charming. Even rednecks are coming over to our side."

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2015/04/10/dixie-honkey-white-america-look-fcking-racial-mirror

Anyway, I noted how one person there said that America will never become a "great nation" until it acknowledges the slavery upon which it was built, which is fine, except that it's weird how yanquis are so worried about the USA being a "great nation." People in other countries don't concern themselves with being a "great nation." This attitude crops up in yankspeak in such utterances as "the great state of Maine/Texas/ North Dakota," &tc.

You'll never hear a Canadian say "the great province of Ontario," or a Frenchman say "le grand département de Loire-Atlantique" for example. It just sounds wrong.

After I pointed this out, the earnest, well-meaning progressive proceeded to attack me (Dr. Belman, in his "Alternative Radio" talk, notes that Tocqueville remarked on this tendency 200 years ago), calling me "obtuse," which is rather funny given that he had no idea what I was talking about. He didn't even seem to understand the context of what I was telling him.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

'Progressives' have their heads wedged tightly in their buttocks, wh/makes it hard for them to hear what anyone is saying to them. Then, resembling donuts, they just roll along.

Personally, I think Italy is a great country; much, much greater than the US. All depends on how u define 'great'.

Allora...vorrei mangiare una pizza...arrivederci...Maurizio

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Miles and John S,

When Wafers say that Americans are brain dead, it’s a metaphor for bat-shit stupid. Chomsky seems to be using the expression in a way closer to the medical definition of “permanent lack of cerebral activity.” What I find significant is that Americans choose to focus on sports while the waters are rising around them.

My neighbor keeps four large talking parrots in a big cage in front of his house. Were we to train them to repeat some of Rush Limbaugh’s slogans, they would equal “brain dead” Americans -- which seems to be most of them.

It’s just part of the “bread and circuses” that Americans so eagerly lap up; deny them Chicken McNuggets and they call 911 – and sports are part of the circus.

O&D,
David Rosen

6:30 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

I am both far behind in the discussion and about to talk about a somewhat dated subject, but I thought y'all would enjoy this nonetheless. While doing beginner's yoga this morning and after glancing at a statue of a Hindu deity it occurred to me that Hindu art is a prime example of Gopnik's "Poses have power" symbolism. I'm admittedly all but completely ignorant of Hindu art, but I couldn't help but notice the similarities between the yoga poses I was learning and the poses I half-remember seeing in Hindu art. I do know enough about yoga to know that there is a lot of meaning behind each pose; thus, if there is any relation between yogic poses and the poses of the figures in Hindu art, the artist must have been trying to communicate a message when choosing a particular pose. It's fascinating to think of a stationary object as being so 'alive.' This aliveness is even more apparent when one considers that every yogic pose is not merely a stance; every pose has a beginning pose followed by a series of actions that lead up to said pose. Very alive indeed. Which reminds me of something I read on a Hindu sculpture's label at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts recently (sorry JWO :). It said Hindus believe their sculptures to be living representations of their gods. That's pretty neat.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous SeanKerrigan.com said...

I know we generally agree not to fight amongst ourselves and criticize our friends here, but if Chomsky and Ellsberg vote Clinton in 2016 (as they voted Obama in 2012), I will never let it be forgotten. I'll go as far as destroying all of my Chomsky books and condemning Ellsberg's incredible shortsightedness at every opportunity. No one cares what I think, but it's the small private protests that matter most.

It's infuriating listening to people talk about Hillary in anything other than a contemptuous tone. American liberals never learn. Nader said it best: "What is the breaking point? The criminal war of aggression in Iraq? The escalation of war in Afghanistan? Forty-five thousand people dying a year because they can not afford health insurance? The hollowing out of communities, sending jobs to fascist and communist regimes overseas? There is no breaking point. And when there is no breaking point you do not have a moral compass."

7:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sean-

I don't know abt Dan, but Noam seems to believe we'll get past all this shit and move on to some form of democratic socialism. He's a great man, imo, and has, via his critique of US foreign policy for decades now, done us an immense service; but the problem is that all 'progressives' can't let go of some version of the Marxist program: with struggle, things will eventually get better. And the reason is simple: if they did let go of it, they wd feel their work and lives are meaningless. Depression and/or suicide follow pretty quickly.

However, I appreciate 'progressives' greatly, tho not for what they *think* they are doing. A better future, in any immediate sense, is sheer kaka. What the progs are doing that is worthwhile is what I'm doing, no more and no less: documenting the decline. When the US has its final train wreck and future historians (Chinese, I'm guessing) want to figure out Why America Failed, they'll dig up Noam's work and it will be a treasure trove of clues. Similarly, they'll discover my work and say: "This guy Belman; he was onto something." ("Belman!" they'll cry in Tiananman Square; "Belman!" waving their copies of WAF, bound in red.) So I applaud Noam and Dan and many of the others, but not for the reasons that most other progs applaud them.

In any case, Ralph is rt: progs have no breaking pt, and therefore will rally around Hillary--an utter phony, a lackey of American imperialism, and one of the most disgusting human beings in the history of American politics. And that face; don't get me started. (For more on her, dig thru the Archives here for an essay called "A Farce Called Hillary".) The only comfort I have in her presidency, which I suspect is likely, is that she'll do us a terrific amount of damage.

DR-

Let us salute:

Latreasa Goodman
Lorenzo Riggins
Shaneka Torres

My heroes! (If you google the above and look into their eyes, you will see the soul of America; and I'm not kidding!)

mb

8:12 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Dr. MB,

Apologies--misread on the capital crime matter and did not realize your were referring to executions. In any case, the murder rate in the U.S. is fairly high relative to most places with drains and electricity for the last 3 generations. Its a marvel it is not higher!

Here is the thing.....and its a bit out there. Indeed, like many admire the work of Ellsburg and Chomsky of course. Ellsberg besides getting celebrity for his whistelblowing was a mathematical game theorist of solid standing. Chomsky well known and admirable... But alas, that they are given such wide berths and visibility by respectable media is a bit suspect....By suspect is that what the hello lets him them a platform cuz a.) only a teeny minority really listens or understands what they are saying and well nobody is going to do anything anyway, b.) by letting then chatter we gain a certain legitimacy and the folks at the NYT can feel smug and tut tut China, c.) what they suggest as solutions are fairly safe and annodyne--vote, join protests, write your congressman.....

If these guys vote again--yes we can take that as confimration they are the court jesters of the regime...

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Sean- I doubt that NC or DE is actually endorsing Obama or Hillary. Angela Davis, for chrissakes, suggested that people vote for BO. Of course, it's simply a vote against GWB or JMc or whoever's worse. Nader's run in 2000 was the last time there was a chance to cast something like a meaningful vote, and it got only a relative handful.
I have voted in every presidential election and will continue to do so. A single vote is the only real influence I still have here, and I harbor no illusion that its anything but delaying the inevitable, perhaps mitigating it somewhat. It's disheartening, now just one more piece of unpleasant business. There should be a public ritual like Ash Wednesday where voters can share their disgust.
The first presidential vote I cast was for Humphrey, who couldn't summon up the decency to come out against the VN war until the last days of that campaign, and then timidly. Voting for him was nauseating then and it will be next year, voting for whichever chump gets the Dem nod.
Democrats have a way of espousing principles, then abandoning them for the sake of "electability" and losing anyway. It's a perverse gift, really.
I've had a lot of back and forth online about Nader, whom I supported. I've been blamed personally by a very smart, informed progressive with a penchant for vitriol, for Iraq, Alito, etc. Nino Scalia dines with me from time to time out of gratitude. (Never enough tapioca or toilet paper on hand when that guy come around, but what are you gonna do?)
As Ralph put it, having to choose over and over "the lesser of two evils leaves us with the evil of two lessers." It's infuriating to do it, but I will again, along with DE, NC and AD. I don't think that they have any illusions that its more than flinging pebbles toward the goons at the gate.
Daniel Ellsberg is that rare thing, a great American, who risked it all. If you haven't already, check out his memoir "Secrets." Its a great read, and it did surprisingly well despite his status on the margins as just another noble pariah. Lots of good company there.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

A quick history lesson from youtube videos. In America, this kind of rhetoric works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5puwTrLRhmw

This however, does not:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hphgHi6FD8k

2:06 AM  
Anonymous 20timesigetuptopee said...

Em- How did you become friends with a 42 year old pothead who quotes Simpsons endlessly?

2:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ATTENTION ALL WAFERINOS!

I'm going to be doing a lecture on the Japan bk at the Bluestockings Bkstore in NY (Lower East Side) on Sept. 7 at 7pm. For those of u in the greater metro area who wanna attend, I'd be delighted to meet Wafers in the flesh. In addition, I'm wondering if we could do a 2nd Wafer Summit Mtg, as we did at the AOC Restaurant a few yrs back, in the Village: I'm thinking lunch the afternoon of Sept. 6 (Sunday). Sir Tagio, Bowtie Jack, perhaps u guys cd swing into action, rouse the troops. Pls let me know if this wd be of any interest.

Fun: an impt part of life ('progressives' don't understand this).

mb

11:29 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Great news! The Bluestockings appears to be the perfect venue for a reading for NB. I also noticed that it's not too far from Katz's Delicatessen over on E. Houston St.

MB, Wafers-

Incidentally, I have reached Elite Wafer Status (EWS) -- I have my own personal trollfoon. To observe this trollfoon in its natural habitat, please see my review of NB on amazon.com.

Mazel tov,

Miles

1:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Well, I'll hafta give Katz's a whirl; it's only 2 blocks away from Bluestockings, at Houston and Ludlow. As for yr trollfoon: I never read the comments, but on yr rec I did, this time. What a sad pile o' shit that guy is; like he has nothing better to do than tear you and me down--and he never even read the bk! (How American!) He won't take yr rec that he see a shrink, but Jesus, he sure needs at least 100 sessions. What a douche bag, sitting around and tracking on this blog day after day, so he can attack it. I keep telling these morons to get a life, but the truth is they wdn't even know where to begin.

However, like u, I love a gd trollfoon, so let me congratulate u on acquiring one. They continue to tell me what America is all abt. Wafers are encouraged to submit lyrics to "I Love a Trollfoon," to be sung to the music of "I Love a Parade." Wafers are also encouraged to cultivate their own trollfoons.

There is so much trash out there; the mind boggles.

mb

2:28 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Paul Craig Roberts' post on Lincoln and The War of Northern Aggression:

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/04/13/power-lies/

2:29 PM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

A friend recently told me she spent a lot of time reading. When I asked her what she read, she said "legal thrillers." Sure enough, there on the shelves were lots of James Patterson, et al. I'll bet it would be discouraging to write serious books and have adult coloring books and other such nonsense as "competition." If it's any consolation, I read somewhere (don't remember source) that Thoreau's publisher made him pick up all the unsold copies of Walden (apparently quite a few) and store them himself.

Now that The Greatest Shape-shifter Who's Ever Lived has reinvented herself as Ma Kettle, champion of the Little People, this should prove to be quite a side show. Monica Lewinski has crawled out from under her rock (my guess, with the help of the GOP) and it would be great to see them both on Oprah - at the same time.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

I really don't want to get into another discussion of the Civil War, because it will reactivate the Civil War trollfoons out there; but I'm not sure PCR's reliance on Thos DiLorenzo is a good strategy. Very competent American historians regard the latter as off the wall, and they may be rt.

mb

2:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

SW-

Well, Oprah herself is a Reaganite joke; see bio by Janice Peck (required rdg). BTW, thanks for that kind rev. on Amazon; much appreciated.

mb

2:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Sir Tagio:

If u do wanna organize something in NY, say for Sept. 6, perhaps best to do it via your email: i.e., interested parties shd contact you. My email, meanwhile, is mauricio@morrisberman.com

Also wanna add that # of registered Wafers just shot up to 161. I faint, I drool.

mb

8:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Good Strategy Dept.:

This columnist is upset that Hillary's video, addressed to the American people, is vapid and vacuous. My take: Hillary knows her audience!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/04/13/hillary-clintons-insultingly-vapid-video/?hpid=z2

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

MB -

I about lost it today hearing David Brooks on NPR. Here's from the interview:

On describing himself as someone who gets "paid to be a narcissistic blowhard, to volley my opinions, to appear more confident about them than I really am, to appear smarter than I really am, to appear better and more authoritative than I really am. I have to work harder than most people to avoid a life of smug superficiality."

It was pretty incredible to hear David Brooks himself say his life has been wasted on trying to have a successful career.

http://www.npr.org/2015/04/13/399391894/take-it-from-david-brooks-career-success-doesnt-make-you-happy

Maybe he picked up a few of your books?

Meanwhile, there are 300+ mil blowhards waiting to take his place!

12:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

Brooks is so stupid it's quite dazzling. He got his NYT job and a fancy apt. in Manhattan by telling the upper-middle class that they were at the forefront of social change. Yeah, right. What a douche bag.

The truth is that success *does* make u happy if the word is defined from the inside rather than the outside. Success in America is abt impressing others; it's completely empty.

Meanwhile, this looks kinda interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/World-Beyond-Your-Head-Distraction/dp/0374292981/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428987790&sr=1-1&keywords=matthew+crawford+the+world+beyond+your+head

mb

1:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I'm still listening to the Beach Boys on my Walkman at the gym. I've decided to move back to the US, to Southern Cal, get a fuel-injected Stingray, and hit the strip. This is what life is finally abt, I've decided:

"It happened on the strip where the road is wide
Two cool shorts standin' side by side
Yeah, my fuel injected Stingray and a four-thirteen
Revvin' up our engines and it sounds real mean
Tach it up, tach it up
Buddy gonna shut you down."

mb

2:37 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

A taste of things to come?

https://www.adbusters.org/magazine/119/megacity-runs-dry.html

6:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

This is the end I've been talking abt, and for the US it's probably 10-15 yrs away. So much for the American Dream. If u haven't seen the film, "The East," now wd be a gd time. BTW, Pedro Inoue is a friend of mine, and a 1st-rate artist.

mb

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dear Dr. Berman and Wafers,

It was a very interesting weekend from a Waferian standpoint. First, the lights went out in Yankee stadium Friday night for 18 minutes. Second, my wife and I went shopping on Saturday and the store had all its computers down, so the store clerks were writing up sales on paper. We stood in line for 30 minutes. Third, we went for a drive on Sunday but gave up on the country roads after the first 100 potholes. Finally, I went to work on Monday morning and the water was shut off in my office complex. A couple of hundred workers were sent home. What do these events have in common? They all point to the gradual but steady decline of America. At least my wife and I weren't tased or shot to death over the weekend, so there is that hold onto.

Speaking of baseball, it used to be known as the thinking man's (and woman's) game. Old photos show fans at the ballpark dressed in suits and dresses. Today, it's team jerseys and oversized baseball caps tilted sideways with many fans waving souvenirs in your face.

Dr. B, I live north of NYC, and I would be interested in attending your lecture on September 7 and Wafer conference the day before. Please keep us posted on these important events. By then, I will have read NB, so hopefully I can keep up with the lively discussion! Oh, to be around intelligent humans again!

9:57 AM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Kanye--I think you would find the documentaries Flow and Blue Gold: World War Wars to be of interest. There's also the PBS Earth: A New Wild with a specific segment on water. William Debuys' A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest paints a stark picture of the consequences of overpopulation/agriculture in the desert.

I don't know if you've seen Winter's Bone but if not, I recommend it. A very realistic depiction of the desperation of America's rural poor.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Morris said...

@lack of coherence:

Talking about Brooks, read here:
"Nearly a year ago, the Washington Post reported the impending divorce of David Brooks and his wife of 27 years, Sarah. But the couple never filed any divorce papers, or moved out of the District of Columbia. And, interestingly enough, they just bought a $1.9 million home in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood.

The real estate website UrbanTurf reported in mid-September that the 53-year-old New York Times columnist and his wife had quietly sold their Cleveland Park house, where they’ve lived since 2012, for $4.5 million."

http://gawker.com/would-be-divorce-david-brooks-bought-a-1-9-million-hom-1655054510

What does he produce or make to be able to afford $2 million dollar house?

His kind is the problem of America - they create all the financial problems in the economy to serve their self-interests well.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rusty-

I dunno if Sir Tagio will be organizing the 2nd Wafer Summit Mtg & Lunch this time around, but you can communicate w/him via his email if and when he shows up. Meanwhile, you and other NY metropolitan area Wafers, who wanna create this Event, shd probably just write to me at mauricio@morrisberman.com. Then I'll compile a list and hand it over to whoever wants to organize the Event.

As for yr daily life, if you keep in mind that almost everyone around u is brain damaged, and that the country is going down the drain, this may make things a bit easier.

mb

11:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Way ta go! dept.:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/14/japans-post-fukushima-nuclear-restart-plans-dealt-a-blow-by-court-ruling

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

We lost a good one yesterday, WAFers:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/14/books/eduardo-galeano-uruguayan-voice-of-anti-capitalism-is-dead-at-74.html?hpw&rref=obituaries&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

Brian

12:11 PM  
Blogger elizabethrendon said...




Hello Dr. Berman, let me introduce myself, my name is Elizabeth. I'm Mexican by birth, but to my way of thinking, I don't belong to any country. Ok, so that's just a utopia in my head... we all follow some rules and observe boundaries. Anyhow, that article about São Paulo's water problems hit me hard, esta es la cruda realidad. I've been telling people that for years in my own way: that when the natural resources are gone, that's it, there's no more to get. Let's take groundwater, for example. It's not going to just simply comply or obey man's imposed boundaries. I try to say to these people that what happens to the water in Canada (ie., think of fracking chemicals) will soon enough find its way to Patagonia. But not sure I got my point across quite like that writer in the adbusters essay. Bueno mi amigo es un placer estar en tu blog, hasta pronto!

12:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Liz-

That's what the end will look like in the US, complete with martial law. What can I tell u? In any case, bienvenida. Vives en la republica ahora?

Brian-

Even worse, Guenther Grass.

mb

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers,

“Neurotic Beauty” arrived a few days ago, and I’ve been leafing through it. My first impression is, “Wow, this is going to be great!” Now to actually read it.

As a secondary matter, however, in Appendix III on Zen (pp. 385-6), I came across something that really spoke to me. In a Boston psychology laboratory, a study on the effects of meditation revealed that 16% of non-meditators and 50% of meditators got up and offered an apparently suffering woman on crutches their seat. Such an increase in a compassionate response is pretty impressive, but what also impressed me was that *only* 16 and (with special training) 50 percent of people were willing to offer their seat to a suffering person.

I’ve been living in Mexico for a year now with my wife who suffers from a chronic pain syndrome and walks only with crutches. I try to get her out of the house as much and often as possible, and wherever we go people here in Guanajuato are always jumping up out of chairs, seats, and park benches for her and offering to help in many ways – it’s normal in Mexican. I spoke to a Mexican woman who has spent some time in the US, and she wasn’t surprised by the Boston psych lab results. She added that her husband is severely disabled with Parkinson’s disease, and whenever she helps him out of a car into a wheelchair people are always rushing up to offer help.

I guess Americans expect everything to be done by paid employees and see anything without a corporate logo, or not part of a commercial transaction as un-American.

David Rosen

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Paula said...

Dr B, I have heard about prisoners’ dilemma many times many years ago, but I have to understand it now due to the nature of the project I have to complete in a couple of weeks.

1) Did you deal with this topic in any of your books – and which book of yours?

2) Do you know the best books to read on the topic?

3) Is the idea not related to the concepts of hustling and growth in capitalist economy?

Thanks in advance.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Paula-

I recall rdg a bk on the subject yrs back by Wm Poundstone. I may have mentioned the subject in one of my works, but if so, I can't remember which. However, you might check the Wiki entry on it, wh/is quite long, and includes a biblio.

DR-

Check out an esssay in QOV called "Ik Is Us." Also, Ethan Watters has written abt how strange it is to use American subjects for psych expts because as a population, Americans are completely off the wall, as compared to other nationalities.

There is a YouTube video from a few yrs back of a woman in the waiting rm of a Bklyn hospital who falls off her chair and lies on the floor for 30 mins. Another woman in the rm just sits and watches her; the staff peers in from time to time, does 0. Finally, the woman dies.

Are Canadians much better? Here's a story: a few wks ago I was taking a bus from this town I live in to Mexico City. In the bus stn, I had to use the bathrm; which is guarded by a turnstile (5 pesos to enter). I had 2 suitcases and a briefcase w/me, and no one to look after them; so I struggled to get around the rather tight turnstile w/all this stuff. Then coming out of the bathrm, I had the same ordeal of squeezing thru. Some gringo in the waiting rm gave me a thumbs up sign, which I thought was curious; so after I got free of the turnstile, I went over to him and asked him what he meant by that. I was genuinely puzzled. He mumbled something abt "congratulating" me...in other words, it was ridicule. Well, for what it's worth, he was Canadian; but the operative word is gringo. I thought: what if I had had cystic fibrosis, or a mild case of polio, or fibromyalgia? He wd have been ridiculing a handicapped person, and it never occurred to him, watching me squeeze thru that narrow turnstile, that ridiculing me cd have been cruel. And no, amigo, I can't imagine a Mexican person doing such a thing--not in a million yrs.

mb

2:55 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB-

Re: turnstile struggle w/asshole watching

Jesus, would it have killed this gringo to give you a hand as opposed to a thumbs up sign, MB? I wouldn't be surprised if he quickly snapped a pic of yr struggle w/his fone and posted it on FB.

Heads-up for U: a handful of my conservative neighbors (I'm literally surrounded by them) have indicated that if Hillary wins in 2016, they're moving to Mexico, ASAP. Probably a phony threat, but even the *thought* of these douche bags infecting Mexico should send a shiver up yr spine...

Also, many thanks for the moral support regarding my trollfoon.

Miles

3:35 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB,

I just read Spinning Straw Into Gold again on a whim, and I wanted to say thanks a second time for writing it.

Some WAFerish tunes to share:

José González - Killing for Love
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlpInCp7anE&app=desktop

Karine Polwart - Follow the Heron
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6zAg9IIgKo&app=desktop

Carsie Blanton - Smoke Alarm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQQ09Lxy7dI&app=desktop

4:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I fear Mexico is already heavily infected w/these people; they're everywhere in the town I live in, sad to say. And BO-ring: you can't imagine. I wish I cd set up a Wafer cordon at the border, and as the gringos come across, we each knock back a sixpack of Bud Lite and hose down their shoes. Anyway, that Canadian asshole was a true gringo: this is how gringos typically relate to other people. He actually thought he was being smart. And speaking of colossal douchebags who think they are clever: I think it's great that you now have yr own trollfoon. Jesus, what a moron. Sits around tracking closely on this blog--apparently, has 0 better to do w/his "life"--doesn't read the bk, and then casts doubt on the bk because you endorsed it (with specific evidence and detail, BTW, wh/the asshole forgot to mention) and are a fan; meaning that the bk obviously can't be much gd. I'm telling you, these clowns are the scum of the earth. And will he get a life? Will he stop being a piece of trash? No, not at all! We can all await his next insightful "critique." How does America manage to churn out such garbage, such pathetic excuses for human beings? I tell ya, it's a kind of anti-miracle. (And then we wonder how we ever got Bill, Hillary, George, Barack, and for that matter, Millard Fillmore.)

But my feeling is that you have pioneered something impt: yr very own trollfoon. My wish is that every Wafer have (a) a trollfoon of their own; (b) a fuel-injected Stingray, so they can hit the strip.

Dan-

Many thanks; glad u enjoyed it. Since the thing was basically "channeled" (I wrote it in 24 hrs, tho I spent 3 mos. after that editing it), I may hafta reread it myself one of these days.

mb

5:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps:

"If everybody had an ocean
Across the USA
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Californ-i-a
You'd seem 'em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin' USA."

I think I read somewhere that this song is the same music as "Sweet Little Sixteen," by Chuck Berry, and that he later sued the Beach Boys and was awarded $1 million. Go Chuck!

mb

5:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dilbert-

We aren't terribly politically correct here, but I'm not into running hate language on this blog. U wanna be part of the discussion, pls clean up yr act.
Thanks.

mb

6:54 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

A recommendation for fellow WAFers who find themselves in need of a laugh: the New Yorker pieces by Andy Borowitz.

Today's offers his cynical view of the newly-launched campaign of Hillary Clinton. Enjoy.

"LE CLAIRE, IOWA (The Borowitz Report) – With a stop in Iowa on Tuesday, the Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton officially embarked on a nineteen-month marathon of looking concerned.

Sitting with patrons at Jones Street Java House, in Le Claire, the former Secretary of State listened intently, sipped from a cup of coffee, and nodded her head at appropriate junctures, flawlessly reënacting a brief scene from her first campaign video.

After about twenty minutes of virtually nonstop displays of empathy, a Clinton aide said, “we decided to shut it down.”

“Hillary is staring down nineteen months of sipping coffee and nodding her head,” the aide continued. “We want to make sure she paces herself.”

After her Iowa visit, Clinton is scheduled to bring her looks of concern to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and other early primary states."

7:00 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B and others

If you want to see a waferian themed episode of Seaquest DSV here is one.

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

Besides Idiocracy, this is another possible future.

Dr. B what if in the future our machines are the ones to turn things around for us like Census did in this episode?

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

Glad to know yr still alive. Two things:

1. Check out an article by Sue Halpern in the April 2 issue of the NYRB: "How Robots & Algorithms Are Taking Over."

2. Always capitalize 'Waferian'; it's an honorific term. This includes Wafer, Wafers, Waferhood, Waferdom, etc. Remember that Wafers are the most important people on the planet, and that Waferian consciousness is the highest state of spiritual development. This is why there are no other blogs worth bothering with.

Occasionally I hear of people reading other blogs, and it always bewilders me. "Why, O Lord," I ask, throwing up my hands; "Why?"

mb

3:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Does everybody here realize that we are abt to be bombarded with 'exciting' 'news' of the 2016 election campaign on a daily basis, for the next 19 mos., when in terms of what's real it makes no more difference if the future president was a robot w/a cassette tape in its mouth (and think abt who recorded that tape)? Or a cup of matzoh ball soup from Canter's Deli in LA, sitting on the desk in the Oval Office? Or perhaps a sculpture of Kim's buttocks?

Oh, Hillary did this! Oh, Jeb said that! Oh, Ted Cruz attacked Rand Paul! Oh, Rand Paul picked his nose! And oh, the American people, in their infinite wisdom, will be hanging on each 'new' development, as if any of this mattered.

'Oy', is the operative word here.

mb

3:39 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Mr. Berman, yes this election "season" (I don't know why they call it that) is gonna be hellish. I've gotten in plenty of trouble already using the terms O-bomber and Kill-ary. I just need to learn to keep my mouth shut, I find I'm much happier that way.

Cube: Seaquest! Haven't seen that in a while... just wait until the Gulf Stream stops and we'll need to find some sort of WAFer submarine.

Good essay here:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/10/reflections-on-american-exceptionalism/

10:02 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Oy vey, Wafers!

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/14/georgia-man-kills-armadillo-wounds-mother-in-law-ricochet

cube-

Holy smokes! We thought we'd lost u forever...

MB, Wafers-

Time for something beautiful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJXLqAutql4

Enjoy,

Miles

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers:

The word out of Iowa this morning is that Hillary Clinton was successful in eliminating all the ceremonial hot dogs she consumed yesterday on the campaign trail. Reporters and photographers were present at the site to record the event. Noted one reporter: "Anyone who works this hard to push out a substantial message such as the one Mrs. Clinton produced will win the hearts and minds of Iowa voters for sure." Following this significant campaign feat, Mrs. Clinton returned her head to its rightful place. More details as they develop.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Aaron Hernandez has been found guilty without the possibility of parole.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/15/aaron-hernandez-guilty_n_7070180.html

What does the case of Aaron Hernandez remind you of?

It reminds me of America. This is the perfect symbolism for me – a country full of great possibilities. But then because of the past/history of America, she must self-destruct.

Similarly, Aaron Hernandez is only 23 years old when he got the perfect opportunity in life, but because of the defects in his genes, he had to self-destruct.

I do not know what to call this. Karma?

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

How can one not be for Hillary when kittens are on her side?!?!
http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/new-hillary-clinton-ad-features-just-kittens

As for Hernandez, the trial has been a mainstay in the CT papers. Here's an interesting sentence from the story on the verdict on the Hartford Courant's website: "The Odin Lloyd homicide investigation revealed what authorities are now characterizing as a pattern of violence that went unnoticed during his professional football career."

Huh? How can violence go "unnoticed" during his football career - isn't that the point of football?

4:08 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

The Nefertiti of our age has been ruthlessly cast out of a photograph in one of the planet's most important news organs.

As Elmer F. Kurtz would say, "The howwa, the howwa."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/kim-kardashian-cut-from-photo-on-israeli-ultra-orthodox-jewish-news-site-1.3034289

I never write "LOL," but I burst out laughing when I saw the adjustment made to the photo.

O&D doodly-dee-doo

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Joe from Chicago said...

Dr. Berman,

I wrote you a few months back, presenting my Wafer credentials, and you advised me to emigrate. I appreciate the advice but unfortunately I lack the necessary resources. I do have a thought/question for you, though, and any other Wafers.

The present neoliberal world order is led by the U.S. but not localized there. When the U.S. becomes a failed state or whatever ends up happening, the forces in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, etc. will most likely not suffer in their bottom lines. The agents of corporate globalization openly state their goal of nullifying all sovereign states (TTP and TTIP attest to this.) I grant that other populations might not be as vile as Americans, but do you really think any part of the planet is a safe haven from the transnational oligarchy? It seems to me that we're fucked planet-wide. And while I wish I could leave the belly of the beast, the sun never sets on the corporate empire.

Thank you for your work and for providing this forum.

Joe

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Gd pt. The odd thing is that capitalism still has some elasticity--just as the Middle Ages did, long after it was dysfunctional. Typically, things don't snuff out overnight; as I've said before, we shall suffer the death of 1000 cuts (as did Rome). True, there will be some violent blows, like the crash of 2008; but in the meantime, in terms of where to live, there's better and there's worse. Remaining in the US is definitely in the latter category. But if yr going to continue to live here, I wd suggest starting yr own austerity program rt now. Economically speaking, living in NY, SF, DC, etc will be increasingly impossible, except for the very wealthy. Find a cheaper place to live, and do yr best to live frugally and save $. It will also help to find folks who have come to the same conclusion and are doing the same thing. Plus, check out the chapter of Twilight on the New Monastic Option; it might help, at least psychologically. As Nietzsche put it, He who has a why can put up with any how. One intention of this blog is to give people a why, to the best of my ability (being a 'progressive', incidentally, won't work; it's a pseudo-why, an illusion).

Beyond that, I dunno what to suggest. You wd really, really be better off hitting the rd (e.g. Scandanavia didn't really suffer that much from 2008). For now, you need to get really practical and strategic in yr thinking.

Wish I cd be more helpful, mon cher. Maybe other Wafers might have some ideas 4u.

mb

10:37 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Joe from Chicago,

Hello! When we walk around the world we really ultimately deal with people. Though as you note various idealogues in U.S. want their ideas to spread to the world the fact is its not the case and when ideas spread they frequently take on local characterisitics. In any case, freedom of sorts is not easy. Ideally moving out of the U.S. should be done with 500k and a source of monthly income. But alas its possible to leave with very little and then find yourself a situation elsewhere. Inclination, physical health, open mind are the resources you need to leave. If you have these it is worth it casting your fate in the wind and find yourself as a waiter or English teacher in Lima...If you go to Europe or even U.S. or any number of places you will be astonished at the number of people who daily show up with nothing and then stitch together a life..If you want to at minimum have a great adventure which will change your live in any case--give it a go...

7:56 AM  
Blogger elizabethrendon said...

Dr. Berman,

No, deje la república hace 22 años. Currently, I live in the southeast US but want to come back to Mexico (en un pueblo en la selva), but it's proving difficult!

8:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Liz-

Well, suerte, chica; I hope u make it. Give it all you've got.

mb

9:08 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B, Jeff, others

Yeah, I'm back in the saddle. Has shep ever come back by the way?

My SO and I do have a garden growing and we expanded the plots to grow herbs as well.

Dr. B, I think one possible scenario with technology more specifically A.I. is that the A.I. themselves may conclude what you conclude as they're programmed to find the best life style for the human.

Please watch this episode of seaquest. If nothing else please watch this part. Look at the last two humans left in 2245 learning to interact with each other and Darwin the dolphin by throwing the ball and those two playing frisbee.

Especially pay attention to what the A.I. computer says. Whomever wrote this episode was Waferian minded.

https://youtu.be/xlkmxkWSngU?t=36m41s

All of our math, science, philosophy, knowledge, and wealth mean nothing if we lose our love and compassion for each other.

It makes me wonder, what would a society look like if it's main goal was to love, have compassion and to uplift each other? How would technology evolve around if love and compassion was the underlying basis?

Out of curiosity Dr. B, do you ever like to throw the frisbee around sometimes?

9:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

People don't do frisbee down in Mexico, for some reason. We toss tortillas around instead. And frankly, AI needs to think abt the rel. between technology and deli meats. This may prove to be the crucial link for human beings in the 22nd century. As for shep: well, as u know, when he left I cried myself to sleep every nite for months. Just as I was recovering from his departure, Jeff wrote in to say that shep decided I was a narcissist and basically a horrendous person, and that this blog was a cult. So, more months of crying myself to sleep. Once again, I'm slowly crawling out of the hole. But not a day goes by that I don't cry out to the universe, "Come back, little shepster; all is forgiven!" The guy broke my heart, I tell ya.

mb

10:16 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

So sorry to have contributed to your 2nd bout of depression regarding the shepster. I hope you'll take comfort in the fact that Wafer registration continues to increase and, come September, Big Apple delis are *not* gonna know what hit 'em...

That said, I plan on being in NYC to attend your lecture at the Bluestockings and partake in any other Wafer gatherings that happen to materialize.

Miles

2:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Well, into every life some rain must fall. My rain/cross to bear was named shep; what can I do?

As for NY in Sept.: if you have a moment, perhaps u cd inquire as to how much it costs to rent Madison Sq. Gdn. for an evening.

mb

3:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafer Power!

We just did a quantum leap, folks: up to 162 registered Wafers. I'm telling u, we're gonna take the world by storm. They laughed, when I started this blog 9 yrs ago (this month), but we'll have the last laugh. I mean, they laughed at the Wright Bros. too, rt?

mb

8:43 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

I'm in the midst of reading David Harvey's 'Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism.' The thesis - capitalism is riddled with internal irredeemable contradictions. Great read, spot on throughout, though like Dr. Berman's books since it has too much good sense, it is totally ignored by the wider public and intelligentsia, perhaps I summarize some if when I'm finished. Anyone familiar with his work.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

@MB thanks for the book by William Poundstone.

Also, I found another book by Anatol Rapoport and Albert Chammah. There is also a related book by Robert Axelrod.

The topic is interesting. Did you know that the so-called Plato's Allegory of the Cave is also about the subject?

12:56 AM  
Anonymous Al B. Tross said...

As Dr. Berman mentions frequently and as this news story demonstrates, there is absolutely no respect for the public space in the USA. Hopefully, there is a position in the Torres presidential cabinet for these people:

http://abc7chicago.com/travel/woman-kicked-off-flight-for-poking-snoring-passenger-with-pen-/664214/

11:56 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...


Though evidence abounds demonstrating how nasty boobus americanus (H.L. Mencken coinage) can be on any given day, take a look at the following story on ESPN reporter Britt McHenry's vitriol-filled rant directed at a hapless towing company employee after McHenry's car had been towed from the parking lot of an Arlington, Virginia Chinese restaurant. It should be pointed out that at least one report I read suggested that Ms. McHenry had in fact finished her meal at the restaurant and had chosen to leave her car in the lot while she and a companion went elsewhere, presumably for postprandial cocktails. The comments section on a local news site (arlnow.com) demonstrated typical empathy for the berated woman by pointing out how the towing company was sleazy and rapacious and the employee essentially got what was coming to her. Enjoy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2015/04/16/espn-reporter-britt-mchenry-apologizes-for-incident-with-parking-lot-attendant/

[John S]
Recommend you take a look at the monthly talks given by Professor Emeritus U-Mass-Amherst Richard Wolff (YouTube). He's a prominent critic of modern capitalism.

As he is fond of saying (vis-à-vis capitalism), if you lived with a roommate as unstable as the capitalist system, you'd have moved out long ago.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings all,

John S-

I look forward to yr summary of Harvey's latest. I read "The New Imperialism" during the reign of dubya. The book was not so much about Bush, but how US foreign policy had moved into its current global coercive phase. Harvey dissected an array of forces pushing this particular agenda. Of particular importance was the role of Wall St. and high finance involved in this stage of capitalism. Interestingly, Marx once described high finance as "the Vatican of capitalism"; something that is obeyed w/out question. I love that description...

MB-

Speaking of high finance: an evening at the Garden will set Wafers back a cool 250k! We hafta find some rich hippies...

Miles

3:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Alb-

Not very effective, imo. She coulda peed on his shoes, after all.

mb

6:41 PM  
Blogger plbodden said...

dear morris: you answered my question in the previous post about there being only 160 registered Wafers. thanks for explaining. and yes -- there is not much intellectual life to be found in the states or even decent observation and sound conclusions... which is why i have returned to france where i grew up (in part) in a military family with an american dad and a french mother. i think there should be more than 160 Wafers and was going to join. but i'll be switched, if i can find how to register on the blog. maybe it's like refrigerator syndrome -- you, know: you open the door and can't see the carton of milk you're wanting and yet it's right there. please, point me toward an appropriate link. amities, patrick

5:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Patrice-

Vive la France, et felicitations! Smart move, mon cher.

We now have 162 Wafers. I'm so excited.

I don't know how to register, but perhaps other Wafers can help u out.

mb

6:47 PM  
Anonymous Deluded to the very end said...

Mr.B,

I'm eager to read ur Japan book, but I'll wait to the spanish transl. I read that recent review and now I'm more impatient.

Having been an aficionado of otaku pop culture in my youth, i think you're spot on. I recently heard that Peter Levenda interview ( http://auticulture.com/the-liminalist-11-basket-of-snakes-with-peter-levenda/ ) in which he spekas abt his experience learning chinese and changing his perception of the world by using another language, and he thinks there is in the end a lingüistic tension becoming more relevant in global media.

So japanese anime for example --it has this quality of hysteria, of unresolved trauma. PTSD has this right-brain hyperactivation --also there's the book "Japanese Brain" in which it is argued (maybe it's ethnocentrism) that Japanese language activates right brain. Yasuo Yuada has commented on "occult explosion" in Japan during the bubble there --they are a step forward as you argue.

I think you're also spot on japanese body configuration as more cappable of containing this trauma mindset --as in "Hara, vital center of man" argues too.

Just dropping this lines to thank you again for ur work, very very inspiring. Also recently I had a LSD trip during which I had to confront some femenine dynamics in my family right on the center of Hara. I had been doing "hara work" and i guess it exploded there. Very similar to Wilhem Reich's idea of state as mother-bonding dynamics and also with your more profound reading of agriculture as mother bonding structure. I would add now sugar and sweet flavor --as related in chinese medicine to mother, since sweet is first flavour in childs mouth. Grains add this sweet-as-pacifier-breast-loop --tittytainment. Surreal readings follows, as this vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoK8DaJRDaM

I i've been on a deep depression following that trip, but your model helped me to relativize it and now I'm OK --so very grateful to your work.

4:46 AM  
Blogger plbodden said...

cher morris:
you may recall that i contacted you last year sometime about a possible lecture in france. i think what you have to say about the usa is important and deeply relevant. however, the french -- who know a great deal about les etats-unis -- are completely missing certain things. yes -- so do americans, but it's not the same problem. french society remains much more open-minded and generally willing to explore both places and ideas.

unfortunately, i haven't had time to devote to organizing an appearance for you here since i first mentioned the idea to you. a few keywords and you'll be able to construct a picture that will be close to the reality i have been living these past several years: declining mother, money, lalique glass sociopathic brother, florida, florida guardianship, 20 attorneys, medicare fraud and more. like i say, you get the picture. the treatment of our elders by both family, the state, and the medical industry is one of the most damning transgressions of american society. (interestingly, i've seen no discussion of the topic on your blog. perhaps, i missed it).

mom passed away 8 weeks ago. the lawyers, however, are still present and encouraged by the sociopathic brother. florida is still florida. nevertheless, the overall load on me is significantly reduced (even if it has been replaced by grief). i intend to take advantage of a bit more time in the course of the year to see if we can get you invited for a lecture in france. remember: certain american musicians attained recognition in the u.s. only after having been first recognized in paris. maybe the same could happen to you!

amities,
patrick

6:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Deluded-

Japan bk will be out in Spanish toward the end of 2016, I'm guessing. Sorry I can't speed it up.

Patrice-

Don' worry abt getting me a lecture in France; you've got more impt things to worry abt, ca va sans dire.

mb

7:24 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Patrice,

So sorry to hear of your hassles. But alas--Vive Le France.....

You note the poor treatment of seniors. Indeed the poor treatment of seniors in the U.S. is a scandal. Worse yet is that of children. Child party explodes and it goes laregly unreported. Neglect and narcotizing of children is common. Alas, what can one expect from a nation of debased creatures such as that of the U.S.? Once people lose their humanity all is open game. Another item which was family lore is Florida. My father always said forget reading the federalist papers or D.C. or New York. To really understand the U.S. spend some time in Vegas and in Florida. Here the unvarnished reality jumps out at you. My dad had a joke about Florida towns--relevant to your situation--one lawyer could not make a living, two made a good living and three laughed all the way to the bank....Its all a racket and well when you are old the vultures all come in for their ounce, lawyers, taxman, family, long lost ex spouses, doctor bills, insurance will not pay up, all par for the course in the U.S. Grieve with dignity but exorcise Florida and all of the U.S. from your mind....

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Patrick wrote: “the treatment of our elders by both family, the state, and the medical industry is one of the most damning transgressions of american society”

The treatment of elderly people in America is very fascinating indeed. I used to argue with a friend - that there should be laws mandating that children should be held responsible for their elderly parents in the same manner that parents are held responsible for their under-age children – this is only fair and just.

After our many debates on the topic, my friend called me years later to inform me that China just passed a law as I suggested years earlier. I told him that it was simply a matter of common sense and fair play. Also, I told him that Americans are only capitalists and Christians on paper. Read how an American journalist is twisting and turning on the issue here:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/22/caring-for-aging-parents-should-there-be-a-law/

Think about it: without your parents, you would not be here. Your parents took care of you for about 17 years; you should be able to take care of them for about 17 years. In fact, instead of paying taxes to the government the children should spend the tax money on their parents. Or, the state can take half of the tax money and give the other half to the care of parents. Also, people should have control of the money taken from them as FICA and Social Security.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

America Today Dept.:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/19/living/feat-lilly-pulitzer-target/index.html

Though Lilly has ascended to the giant shopping mall in the sky, her devotees still go berserk over her pastel summer dresses and handbags...

O&D,

Miles

9:05 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Edward,

As an only child who lost an elderly mom to cancer in 2013 and now has to deal with a dementia-plagued 86-year-old dad, I agree with the general sentiments you expressed. However, it's worth pointing out that people live for an incredibly long time these days. When my parents were growing up, it was pretty common for people to have passed away by the age of 40--long before the onset of things like cancer and dementia.

Now, for a lot of people, being elderly kind of sucks and can be a trying time for both parents and offspring alike. My mom was extremely abusive as cancer-induced dementia hit—as if the cancer itself wasn’t terrible enough. And my dad was an extremely abusive parent throughout my entire childhood and teen years. That being said, he and I have more or less repaired a lot of the problems that existed in the past and I usually stop by at least a few times a week to see him. I run all his errands for him and drive him to all of his numerous medical appointments.

He’s in a good assisted care facility and gets pretty decent meals delivered to his condo three times a day. He just had hip replacement surgery a year ago and now needs a knee replaced, so he can’t cook for himself or even drive a vehicle.

I don’t want to make this too long, but I’m pretty sure a number of states already have laws something like the one you linked to. I’m in an OK position because, thanks to an inheritance, I don’t need to work and can look in on him regularly. If I had to work, someone else would have to do everything because most employers don’t give any flexibility for people who have an elderly, ailing parent. That’s why I don’t think such laws are particularly fair in a country like the U.S., where most workers struggle and everything is built around the automobile. There would have to be much bigger, macro-style structural and cultural changes taking place, imo.

Christopher

9:33 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

I hate to go back so far in the thread, re:sports, but I think it odd that someone with Morris' particular insight into the American condition would miss what I view as the key point. It is precisely the lack of purpose and cohesion in American society, chronicled ad nauseam in Morris' trilogy and AQOV, that lies behind the appeal. As silly and trivial as the outcome might be, it is essentially the only institution we have that can cause people to act as if they are part of some social collective. The popularity of sports is a desperate attempt to recapture what the ruthless individualism and alienation of American society has destroyed. Chris Hedges of course argues that the military serves this function, but participation in the armed forces is only 3-5% at this point.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

El-

Actually, I reviewed a bk abt sports in America in the NYT abt 15 yrs ago. Plus, there are a lot of institutions that try to do this, tho they tend to be outside mainstream culture, like est or Scientology. I find it kinda hard to write abt everything, myself.

mb

5:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Some stuff I like:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41563.htm

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/21/opinions/costello-america-fat/index.html

5:18 PM  
Blogger plbodden said...

to those of you who responded to my post metioning the treatment of the elderly: thanks.

i'm too tired right at the moment (it's late here in france)to create a complete response, but i think the abuse of the elderly as it manifests itself in america is an important topic and should be an integral part of our discontent with american life (and american death). perhaps dr. berman will want to start a new post devoted to the elderly in america at some point.

i agree with the comment about children. of course, they are vulnerable, too. but they may grow out of that vulnerability, they have a chance. an aging person nearing the end won't have that opportunity. all their strengths are failing them. however that life ends is how it ends. there will be no do-over, no second chance. so, in that sense, the abuse of the old and infirm and dying is worse; frankly, reprehensible.

my mother had taken legal precautions against an abusive son, who would have relegated her to the equivalent of an animal shelter in order to save money. i have been dumbfounded at how flimsy her legal documents proved to be as a means of protection and at how illogical and uncaring the legal system is. as noted attorney / priest / professor / filmmaker, ed gaffney explained to me: "the state of florida will consider your mother as nothing but a bank account with a body attached to it!". he proved to be so right, that it's frightening. i have seen more sentimentality and concern displayed for a vintage automobile than was accorded my mother. gaffney went on to say that the situation is worse in florida, because there is such a high concentration of elderly (many with substantial assets), but the problem is nationwide. the current generation of elderly does not appear to be activist-minded and often seem inherently stoic. like the poor, they are all too often invisible. we need to take care of them, protect and defend them, ease them as gently ands serenely as possible out of this life. maybe it would help if we can start by talking about what's happening to the elderly in america. regards to all, patrick

6:41 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

I found and read your review!

https://www.nytimes.com/books/00/09/17/reviews/000917.17bermant.html

Spot on. College has become such a joke, you're better off holing yourself up in the library and choosing books to read by throwing darts.

However, as to your other point, I also believe that extreme right-wing movements are a product of this phenomenon as well. There's a brilliant scene in The Believer where Ryan Gosling is trying to raise money for his "intellectually serious above-ground fascist movement" from some empty-headed corporate executive with an apparent extremist past. He tells Gosling "Forget the Jewish stuff, it doesn't play anymore. Today there's only the market, and it doesn't care who you are." "But people still need values and beliefs!", Gosling insists. "Not the smart ones."

Really, a perfectly distilled essence of American soullessness wrapped up in "progressive" notions of racial equality in the eyes Pluto.

11:21 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Patrick, Chris and Edward,

It’s not only that people live so long, it’s why and how they live so long. I’m almost 70 and would be dead by now if not for medical intervention. Of course, why we get so sick is another topic for another day.

Anyway, the older you get the more medical intervention you tend to need, which means that after a while it’s mostly beyond the average person’s ability to provide care. Then, like my mom who recently died at 95, her children are in their 70s, and by then it’s difficult to cope with all the necessary care. So we have a lethal combination of people who are elderly themselves trying to help the ancient who need sophisticated medical care.

On another note, my mom had a narcissistic personality disorder and practically with her last breath let me know what’s wrong with me. My brother, who I haven’t spoken with in years, would quote “Rush” and “Bill O,” thought W would go down in history as our greatest president, and invading Iraq was wonderful idea, is a chip off the old block. Bro, a bully with an exaggerated sense of self, is busy spending her money (although, to my very limited knowledge, not on himself) any way he wants – it’s his right because his name’s on mom’s accounts, and therefore I have no right to know anything except if he deigns to do so. He’s a multi-millionaire who thinks he’s a cut above everyone else. Don’t ya know? Bro’s the most moral, excellent person ever to reside on Planet Earth, and omniscient to boot.

Unfortunately for now we have to communicate, but I’m looking forward to never having to deal with him again once the legalities are over with.



9:01 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

It saddens me greatly to report that our beloved Shaneka Torres will *not* be running for president in 2016. Unfortunately, Shaneka will be behind bars for the next 3-7 years for opening fire on a McDonald's drive-thru after her burger didn't have bacon on it. See full story here:

http://www.wzzm13.com/story/news/local/grand-rapids-south/2015/04/21/woman-to-serve-3-7-years-for-baconless-burger-shooting/26141207/

I think it important that all Wafers let Shaneka know that we are behind her 100 percent, and will work tirelessly to see that she is pardoned. Indeed, Wafers have yr back, Shaneka! We won't let U down!

Miles

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Sarasvati: I tell you, what happens to family members when it comes to money and politics is very scary. In most other cultures outside Western nations, elderly people die in their homes no matter how old they are. I knew a family with a father who was 123 years old when he died. He died in his own home. Every members of the family got involved in helping out with the care of the aged man. I think part of the problem is the cost of medical care. Everything medical is so expensive today that it may be practically impossible to keep sickly elderly people in their own homes for the rest of their lives – especially in USA. Solving the healthcare problem in USA would have solved lots of other related problems. But healthcare is about multi-billion dollars in profits for some people, so changing the industry for the better is out of the reach of the common folks who need the medical care. So the beat goes on.

It will be interesting for someone like Dr B to write about the lives of elderly people in Japan and China. I mean their daily activities, how they live, how they manage medical cost issues, how they die and where they die and how they are treated by the society. There are also many third-world nations where elderly people have no support from the government. Their last years alive in such nations are more miserable than the lives of elderly in USA. I think everything is relative, but also heavily dependent on the cost of medical care.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous For What it's Worth said...

Sarasvati,

My dad was bipolar and my mom is a narcissist. I grew up wealthy, but even at a young age, felt something vital was missing.

My dad worked for years to pull himself out of poverty to become a millionaire. In his 60s he lost his mind, his fortune and died homeless. My mom moved on to another wealthy man.

I credit them in large part for why I'm a fan of this blog and of Dr. Berman. I crave what they were unable to provide. Truth, perspective, Meaning, soulfulness.

2:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Let's also say to her: WE'LL BRING HOME THE BACON 4U, SHANEKA!

Note to Deluded-

As I said, I'm sorry Span trans of Japan bk won't be out till next yr, but in the meantime, the Span trans of "Spinning Straw" just hit the stands here in Mexico, and you can order one thru my Publisher:

http://sextopiso.mx/

Para tu interés, I just spent the last 3 days doing marathon PR for the bk: Reforma, Jornada, abt a dozen newspapers and journals, plus a major event last night at Fondo de Cultura bkstore in Chimalistac. It was a public conversation with Mariana Hernández, a TV personality, who is smart as a whip. She recorded it, so when she sends me the audio link, I'll post it here 4u and other hispanohablantes.

Cuidate, chico-

mb

2:25 PM  
OpenID vwclown said...

Hello Wafers and our dear Great All Knowing Seer:

The comments and links are, as expected on the only blog worth reading, deeply affecting me this go 'round. Especially the thread regarding the care of aging parents. Thank you all.

Glad to see, Dr. Berman, you're out on the PR trail and getting to speak with interesting people! While that's payment in itself, hope you see a spike in book sales!

All I have today is this link to another nutty 'Merikan standing his ground:

http://www.koco.com/news/police-man-pulls-gun-at-softball-game-because-granddaughter-didnt-play/32531298

2:16 PM  
Blogger messtime said...

After i received my social security income (age 62), plus i make some money online, i moved to New Zealand almost 3 years ago. I live in a very quiet RV park. My brother lives in Ensenada, Mexico which is down south a little from San Diego, California. He loves Mexico & Ensenada works well for him. I would rather live in Mexico or the Philippines than NZ, but this works for me. It depends on how you feel about world events: If you think USA will not suffer any nuke war, then Mexico & Philippines might be best. If you think otherwise then NZ best option probably.

3:16 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Hey, you guys, did ya know that Bruce Jenner's "coming out" was the Millennial Moon Landing? But seriously:

http://www.vice.com/read/bruce-jenners-coming-out-is-the-millennial-moon-landing-253

"Watching the interview, I felt the same thing I did when I watched Obama win the 2008 presidential election: this was major social change. But last night's moment was cultural, not political, so it felt more everlasting."

I mean, if some poor kid actually believed this crap they would probably just kill themselves right now.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

messtime, I sure would like to hear a little more of the details on the logistics of moving to NZ. Is it hard to do. When I retire I sure as hell am not gonna stay in the US if there are any other legit possible options available.

When Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush are the relatively sane options available for the POTUS - that is one metric of how truly sick and insane the country has become.

Other wafers, thanks for the comments, will get back on economics stuff at some point.

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Chris, You wrote: “it's worth pointing out that people live for an incredibly long time these days. When my parents were growing up, it was pretty common for people to have passed away by the age of 40--long before the onset of things like cancer and dementia”

I think it is a good thing that people live longer today than in the past. Part of the problem is that there is no serious effort on the part of Western societies to pursue preventive medicine and healthy lifestyle – things that will prevent bad health in elderly period of the human life. One reason for this sick mindset in the West is that having a sickly population creates more opportunities for some people to make more money from the sickness they help to create in other people. In other words, that people live longer is good and should help everyone in the society only if we re-orient our thinking about certain issues. Producing foods without too much chemicals and without dangerous chemicals, doing preventive care for everyone in the society, not polluting the environment due to profit motive, etc etc, are things that will contribute to happy and fulfilling life at the age of 100 or more.

The following article claims the same – that the healthiest places on the planet are so because of quality of food and attitude towards life:

http://www.odditycentral.com/travel/japans-okinawa-island-the-healthiest-place-on-earth.html

The following article nails it:
“One other thing the longest-lived societies tend to have in common: they have limited or no consumption ofrefined sugar and other processed foods. But with increased globalization, this is changing, and the food environment is becoming more Americanized in all of these once-remote places. This is already having an effect on their health and longevity – for the worse”

http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-03-29-where-people-live-the-longest/

8:31 AM  
Blogger messtime said...

John S . . .

I do not know how you would move to NZ legally. This is not a good place to retire to . . . NZ is not a cheap (not low cost) place to live. Food & Rent high. The climate here is markedly cooler. Go someplace where there is warmer weather. NZ seems to be a mini-US. NZ only good in my opinion if nuke war on the horizon. Otherwise go to some other warmer place, like Mex or Phil, or Panama. There are americans living & working here that like it here. I am speaking only for myself.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Random comments from the field:

Last week I spent a few days in Boise, Idaho to work on a job-related project with colleagues there. I offer these two observations, relevant to US culture:

1) I flew on Alaska Airlines, who, during pre-boarding, includes, in addition to children and the elderly, "members of the active military -- thank you for your service". Ugh, that awful meme again, mindlessly repeated. Presumably Alaska Airlines thinks it is the socially correct thing to do. I wonder how many people think this is nice versus those (including me) who are repulsed by it?

2) I worked with a recent doctoral graduate of Boise State University, where it is now allowed for students to carry guns on campus. He said it was kind of weird being in a classroom with other students who had pistols on their hips. Geez, no kidding! I guess it's the Wild West all over again. A campus shootout here is all but certain.

Meanwhile, the most recent issue of Adbusters offers a pertinent quote from Dr. B himself: "America's (material) 'success' has proven, in the fullness of time, a colossal failure." It doesn't say where this quote came from, but way to go Dr. B.

Also of interest in this issue of Adbusters is a long essay called "State of the Species" by Charles C. Mann. In it, among other things, he mentions revolutionary societal changes brought about by the power of changing ideas -- ending slavery, women's rights, gay rights, and the reduction of violence (although he doesn't mention Steven Pinker). He then goes on to speculate whether humans will be able to muster up the changes necessary to deal with climate warming -- recognizing that this is bigger and more complex than any of the previous changes. Even though it is hard to imagine how we will ever pull off the changes in everything that are necessary, I still want to cling to a tiny glimmer of hope.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David-

I too am out in the field. Have been spending time in Mexico City, to do PR for the Span trans of SSIG. (4 more interviews today) The other day I was on a bus, and across of me was a woman in her late 20s rdg Selections from Nietzsche. Can u imagine a 29-yr-old American woman riding a bus in any American city and rdg Nietzsche? All I can imagine her doing is talking on her cell fone.

Then I happened to see two kids, 11-yr-old girls, on a streetcorner, holding hands, whirling around, and laughing hysterically. Pure joy. Again, what abt their US counterparts? Hurting, angry, and paranoid, for the most part. Teens and pre-teens in the US don't experience a whole lotta joy.

Then I threw a SSIG victory party for my friends here. What a pleasure it was, sitting around, doing wine and pizza, and enjoying each other's company. US comparison: parties I've been to, lots of subtle boasting plus putting other people down (wittily). Ugh, barf.

Time to chg motto on legal tender in US: not In God We Trust, but We Are Simply Awful Human Beings.

mb

11:04 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

The world is changing Wafers!

https://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/wimbledon-england-club-ban-fans-bringing-selfie-sticks-124410093--ten.html

11:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

England has made a bold decision, to try to lower the # of douche bags in the country. A small flicker of hope.

mb

12:54 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello MB and Wafers!

MB-

Well, it's nice to read that you are among the *living* down in Mexico City, MB. Many thanks for the updates.

I love it!: folks reading Nietzsche on buses; kids having a wonderful time just being together; dozens of newspapers, journals, and big-whig media personalities showing major interest in SSIG; partying w/friends, pizza, and vino. I tell ya, Tina Fey is gonna take notice of yr recent fame in Mexico...and complete the picture for u. I'm still keeping my eye out for her at the Farmers Market in LA.

The US, by way of comparison: a complete & downright joke; bookstores continue to close (my local 1 just moved my quiet little history section right next to the toilets); Obama cracking dumb jokes at the White House Media Correspondents' Dinner while drones liquidate innocent people (barf); Hedges, over at TD, arguing that a Black Radical Liberation Movement is afoot in the US (huh?); and poor Ken (sigh) still struggling to recover from his stroke and the perils of big pharma. Jesus, he's got some serious shit to sort out...(see latest update and interview).

And now this:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2015/04/26/401953167/what-if-students-could-fire-their-professors

It must be nice 2 c all yr predictions come to fruition in the US...

*O&D*,

Miles

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers:

All morning I've been watching clips of violence in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray. Every time a youth breaks a 7-11 or drug store window, I rejoice. I feel bad about that because I'm normally a very peaceful guy. How else are these young people going to express the frustration they must feel? I remember reading somewhere that Franklin Roosevelt didn't start work on the New Deal until unemployed workers started breaking factory windows. Here's a clip if you haven't already seen videos of the violence:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AtsVp5_OVY

1:13 PM  
Anonymous J. Cheever Loophole said...

Good Day:

Bah, selfies! At Wimbledon no less! I say, "Well, done All England Lawn Tennis Club!" The art of portraiture is wasted on these louts. Any churl with a telephone is now able to record his image, not that anyone in the future would care a fig what this rabble looks like.

How I pine for the time when one could hire a Holbein, or perhaps his offspring, to put one's features in oil for posterity.

Thank you, and I remain

Your servant,

J. Cheever Loophole

2:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I tell ya, if I don't marry Tina within the next decade, I'm gonna hafta pack it in. She is my true soul mate.

As for black revolution: what are we gonna do abt poor Chris? He seems to find revolutionaries under every bed. Here's a story 4u, one my ol' friend, the late Peter Berg, usta tell. It was the late 60s, and Peter was visiting Baltimore. He went to a couple of Black Panther rallies, calling for violent revolution. After the 2nd one, he walked down the st. and came across a black church. He entered a side door and sat down in the back. The place was packed; Peter was the only whi' boy in the place. The preacher intoned in a quiet singsong voice: "Whaddyu think about Jesus?", and the audience responded in the same quiet singsong, "He's all right."

Yeah, we're on the verge of a black revolution, no doubt abt it.

mb

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Morris said...

Dr B says "Yeah, we're on the verge of a black revolution, no doubt abt it."

There will not be any revolution - black or white.

After my experience with Obama, I am done hoping for any miracle from anybody.

Even if Jesus Christ comes down from heaven today, I do not believe there is a miracle or revolution coming from his words and behavior or whatever.

I remember three weeks ago when Charles Barkley (former MBA player) was running around ALL the TV networks in America protesting loudly about the law in Indiana concerning religious freedom and gay rights. I told my wife that there is something fishy about this picture - when the black man was killed in Ferguson, Barkley uttered no words. When it happened in Ohio and other places, he uttered no words. Suddenly, he found his voice for gay rights. Today, he is again as silent as door nails. Gay rights are more important than human lives. This is America for you - land of the free and the insane and the enslaved and the confused. Stupid people!

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Sean Kerrigan said...

If there is another serious financial crisis, there could be a commercial collapse (that is, a point where global credit dries up). Without credit to enable commerce, you can't pay people or ship goods. This very nearly happened in 2008. If it did happen, things could very easily get bad enough where prisons, both public and private, need to seriously consider letting large numbers of inmates go simply because they can't feed them or pay guards.

Something similar happened in Greece (from 2012: http://www.protothema.gr/news-in-english/article/200481/prisons-are-running-out-of-food/). As I understand it, they got by thanks to donations, but do you see that happening in the US? Even if we wanted to, there are a lot more prisoners per capita.

What would society look like if 2.3 million of our most aggressive and brutalized citizens were released? Well, for many unjustly put there, it would be a godsend. But if there's going to be some kind of black revolutionary action, that might be a catalyst that could actually happen. It seems like a longshot, but in light of whats happening in austerity torn Greece, I find it conceivable.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

The temporary breakdown of Baltimore is only a sign of things to come. When young kids have no opportunities and no prospects for the future except sales jobs at Walmart despite the propaganda eventually it explodes into riots. It goes way beyond racism IMO. I think this is a sign of many more of these to come. The real surprise is why this doesn't happen more often.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous CK James said...

Good read:

"A security guard recently told me he didn't know how much he'd be earning from week to week because his firm kept changing his schedule and his pay. "They just don't care," he said.

A traveler I met in the Dallas Fort-Worth Airport last week said she'd been there eight hours but the airline responsible for her trip wouldn't help her find another flight leaving that evening. "They don't give a hoot," she said.

Someone I met in North Carolina a few weeks ago told me he had stopped voting because elected officials don't respond to what average people like him think or want. "They don't listen," he said.

What connects these dots? As I travel around America, I'm struck by how utterly powerless most people feel.

The companies we work for, the businesses we buy from, and the political system we participate in all seem to have grown less accountable. I hear it over and over: They don't care; our voices don't count.

A large part of the reason is we have fewer choices than we used to have. In almost every area of our lives, it's now take it or leave it.

Companies are treating workers as disposable cogs because most working people have no choice. They need work and must take what they can get."

more here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/why-so-many-americans-fee_b_7150874.html

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Dr. B

My girlfriend, some mutual lady friends, and I were having a lovely night at Atlanta's Fernbank Museum, discussing paleontology amongst the dino bones etc., when we met an incredibly nice, slightly younger (21-24 yrs old, maybe) Pakistani man, moved here probably for programming, can't recall.

He was very freshly new here, describing what a beautiful place it is, what lovely people, everyone so supportive and friendly, schools incredible....

I politely coughed, smiled, said I was afraid I would have to disagree. Unfortunately, this was immediately followed by some of my non-WAFer girlfriends scoffing at me and apologizing for what I said...to b honest, I wasn't planning on saying anything more, ruining such a pleasant evening etc...

I have the feeling this happened to u 100,000 times, what wld u do: Pull no punches; politely inform; not even bother making the burning bed?

Thanks guys

- Michael

11:11 AM  
Blogger Presentable Liberty said...

Wow this little reunion between president Obama and Abe is a bit too much. CNN coverage has Obama in one screen and the protest in baltimore in the other. Seriously obama trying to sound reasonable with Baltimore burning is something I expect a comedian to do. I wonder what prime minister Abe is thinking....

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hi, Rusty (and other WAFers.) I don't know whether you were around for LA/Watts '65, Detroit, etc etc. Those were RIOTS! There was the Kerner commission report on urban black poverty and unrest. It has 5 decades of dust resting on it. The Balt Sun did a nice job of documenting the scope and specifics of police brutality in Balt just last year. Sorry, Freddy.
I think that it would be a swell idea to set up "Potemkin villages" of liquor stores, mini-marts and electronics stores for the inevitable and periodic "urban disturbances." Or just rows of houseless windows. One thing that the political and business establishment in the US knows is that "these things happen from time to time."
The lesson from this is that maybe our cops should stop killing poor, black, mentally ill, etc people in broad daylight on visible street corners. This point won't be pushed by "the people" but by the insurance companies who shell out for the occasional damage in court. AIG is our only hope!

1:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

I left the country. Problem solved.

Morris-

I was, of course, being ironic.

mb

3:29 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Tossing Cookie Dept.:

David Brooks -- emperor of the 1% -- is making media rounds lecturing Americans about moral virtue and character... What a fucking joke that is!

David thinks it acceptable to bomb a country into submission jus' because the president says so, but it's immoral to riot when the police are murdering black people again and again. What planet does this asshole live on?

Jesus H. Christ, David and sycophants like Judy Miller (currently on her Iraq War defense book tour), Bill Kristol, and other neocon agents at the NYT are responsible for more deaths than all of the world's terrorists combined! My bladder is bursting, Wafers...

Miles

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Keith S Elder said...

Off topic, but I just read a great article about Joe Bageant. Not sure if Ken Smith is aware. Sorry I don't know how to embed links, but here it is anyway:

http://www.thebaffler.com/salvos/toxically-pure

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hi Dawgzy (and all Wafers),

I believe it was Howard Zinn who observed that Roosevelt didn't get off his ass and help people until private property started getting destroyed, notably factory windows. Yes, they don't call me Rusty for nothin'; I do remember the riots in the 60's. I think those acts of destruction sped along Johnson's Great Society. When the Black Panthers started arming themselves civil rights became chic. My conclusion from all this is that nothing positive ever happens in America until a lot of stuff gets broken and burned. We do value property way more than human lives, it seems.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Jeff's trollfoon-

I fear yr the one who needs the psychiatric help, my friend. What a pathetic person u.r.: closely monitoring this blog so u can attack an individual who writes a favorable review of my bk. You don't even know what a review is, and u didn't even read the bk. I keep telling people like u2 get a life, but clearly, that's far beyond yr abilities. Go elsewhere, por favor; yr little more than a bad joke. How anemic yr inner life must be; what pain u must be carrying. Anyway, no pt in bothering this blog anymore; I'll just delete u without rdg your profound "insights."

mb

12:22 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

C.K. James

My niece’s husband is a finish carpenter who does beautiful work and can build just about anything. During the great recession he lost his job and it took him two years to find another one. The company he went to work for was literally a sweatshop. Low hourly pay, no benefits, and the employees had to punch out on the time clock to go to the bathroom, amongst other charming rules. They manufacture very expensive furniture, which costs peanuts to make. The owner is a member of the 1%.

Mike found another job, which looked really nice including the fact that it was a union shop. He was there less than three months when they reclassified his position, even though his responsibilities didn’t change, and cut his (low) salary by two dollars an hour. He spoke to the union about it and they said, well, the company was going to cut your salary three dollars an hour, but we talked them down to two. Unions are as corrupt as the companies their members work for.

Michael

I’ve totally given up on expressing, except in the most oblique manner possible, a point-of-view different from the currently accepted brainwashed opinions. It’s frustrating and a waste of time because people are totally in love with their ignorance, and hate you for questioning it. I agree with Morris that your best bet is to escape while you can. I wish I could.


5:05 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Unbelievable! Again, many thanks for yr support regarding my trollfoon. I have a strong inclination that this particular trollfoon will *never* take yr advice to exit the cave and get a life. That said, I've decided I wanna give it back! Is it possible to return a trollfoon? If so, this is something that should be finalized w/out delay. Truth be told, my trollfoon is seriously cramping my style, has zero sense of humor, and seems a bit stiff and stagnant.

Accordingly:

As of April 29, 2015 A.W. (in the Year of the Wafer), I hereby relinquish all claims to my trollfoon. Godspeed trollfoon!

"Give thy thoughts no tongue."

Sincerely,

Miles Deli

6:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

No Shit Dept.:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/04/28/challenging-american-exceptionalism

6:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I do understand how u feel; yr trollfoon--let's call him Schmendrick--is definitely at the bottom of the gene pool. One of the saddest human beings(?) to have shown up here in 9 yrs, for sure. However, b4 u send him back (does he come with a refund?), I hafta tell u that I have some odd affection for Schmendrick. Let me explain this strange reaction.

Schmendrick is not very bright (I think we can all agree on that); his Amazon "review" (aka let's vilify Jeff, MB, the blog, etc.) makes that quite clear. But he's dumb in another way: he hasn't a clue as to the basics of human psychology. He really thinks he hates me and you, failing to understand that the opposite of love is not hatred, but apathy. And one thing Schmendrick doesn't have is apathy. No, he has enormous *energy* for us, and this game he's playing, which apparently defines the countours of his "life". What is going on,then, in his pea-brain?

Here's the punch line: Schmendrick wants to be a Wafer! He wants to be part of the discussion; to be taken seriously, respected, even loved. But he doesn't know how to arrange that, so his deep attachment flips over into repulsion. As I said, it all comes down to energy. If he thought u, me, the blog, etc. were losers, not worth his time, he'd go elsewhere. But he can't do that; the addiction is too strong. So in his own sad way, he keeps pounding on the door, wanting to be let in. (Believe me, he'll be back!) All of his energy is fixated on us (what cd be more pathetic?), and man, this guy has plenty of energy. Aka love.

And of course yr rt: Schmendrick has 0 sense of humor. He's a sad guy, stiff, boring, and a douche bag, and I enjoy pounding him into the dirt. His shoes cry out for urine. But in his own dialectically fucked up way, he's hilarious. Given the intensity of his desire to be loved here, to be one of the gang, maybe we shd pat him on the head and say, "Don't worry, Schmendrick, yr really OK; we validate u" (which is what he is seeking, above all else, the poor shmuck; his parents probably rejected him at an early age, and who cd blame them? Kids ridiculed him on the playground; etc.).

So let me know what u think. Schmendrick offers all of us an oppty to hone our trollfoon strategy. Meanwhile, I'm thinking I shd publish this little essay under the title, "Reflections on Jeff's Trollfoon."

mb

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

Sarasvati,

You are spot on about your comment about work. I am a skilled technician for a very large transportation company. It is a union shop. It is all about "production". Quality work is preached. However, our company manages to numbers. How much can you do, how fast can you do it, are you done yet? Only a small percentage work a Monday through Friday shift. Weekend shifts are for straight time unless you work at least 6 days a week. Our pay scale is probably at least 10 to 15 years behind what normal raises would have put us at. Yet we can't find skilled candidates to fill the open slots to do our kind of work.

School graduates are not prepared for what we actually do. A limited number of people can pass a drug screen. Most people with seniority are only staying for the vacation time and insurance. Otherwise, the younger people you are even remotely competent are going to the competition or other companies in our industry who recognize that the pool of people qualified to do the work that we do is shrinking. Ironically it was predicted that this would happen at least 10 years ago.

The union has not been helpful to any real extent. We seem to be glad to hold on to what we have rather than stand for what even market forces should be dictating what are real bargaining power actually is given the shortage in qualified people. The fear of right to work status has not helped our situation either.

What is funny is when a company tries to get me interested in coming to work for them after seeing how experienced I am is the pay that they are offering. They truly believe that it is a great rate when in fact it is 10 to 20 percent lower than what I am already making.

All I can say is that when people start to notice serious interruptions in what is delivered by truck, remember that someone has maintain them. And that breed is disappearing just like all skilled tradespeople and craftspeople.

Vince

9:29 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

"But the new religions in this country are consumerism and capitalism."

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/sex-drugs-and-embezzlement-no-biggie-for-thailands-buddhist-monks/ar-BBiOnau?ocid=UP21DHP

Dr. Berman, wasn't it you who said the 20th century was the American century, and the 21st century will be the Americanized century? All that hegemony is coming to fruition--freedom, baby. Freedom to do whatever the hell I want!

10:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

tear-

Great article. Check out the discussion of Brian Victoria's work in my Japan bk.

dale-

Sorry, amigo; I didn't post yr comment on Schmendrick because I cdn't figure out what it was you were trying to say. In any case, perhaps it's time to not beat a dead Schmendrick any more, but the guy is such a turkey, it's hard to resist. Plus, I did just get an email from someone who read his "review" on Amazon (i.e., his review of Jeff, not of my bk), and wrote: "What an asshole! His hollowness is obvious."

That seems to be the crucial pt. Like so many Americans, except to a very heightened degree, in his case, Schmendrick is an empty person. I think of Hegel's concept of "negative identity," which I discuss in QOV. My blog is apparently Schmendrick's life. All he knows how to do is attack. He affirms nothing, and stands for nothing. This is a very sick guy, a guy who is really hurting from a huge amt of poison that he is carrying around in his soul. This is probably how he'll die. After all, what can be done for him? (Fritz Perls once said that there are poisoned people in the world, and that nothing can be done for them. Can u imagine Schmendrick in therapy with Fritz? There's an image 4u!) What a waste of a life--the very opposite of what us Wafers are abt (which Schmendrick does realize, on some level; hence his rage).

Anyway, enuf of Schmendrick. As an Arab proverb has it: "The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on." Good advice, I think.

mb

1:33 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Yes, it's time to leave poor Schmendrick be. However, after reading yr insightful words regarding Schmendrick, I feel compelled to respond.

Thanks to you, MB, I now realize that a good trollfoon is a terrible thing to waste... Life can be boring w/out an active trollfoon relentlessly trying to enter into the most prestigious of clubs: Waferdom.

Perhaps one day Schmendrick will have a "come to Wafer moment" and renounce his trollfoonery and douchebaggery. Don't hold yr breath, of course, but miracles can happen. Until that day occurs, however, please allow me to make one suggestion: we should refer to Schmendrick, as well as any future adopted trollfoons, as "TF". Schmendrick to distinguish him from actual Wafers.

Miles

3:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

My assertion, that Schmendrick wants to be part of the discussion, was not just a hunch or shot in the dark. He showed up here a while back as "Baronet Nerd," with some refs on Surrealism. Which I actually enjoyed rdg. Then he goes and tears u down gratuitously--for no gd reason at all. Completely sabotages his chances. Fact is, he's a confused and unhappy person, wanting acceptance and not knowing how to get it. I genuinely feel sorry for him, but the asshole part of him (98%) is clearly dominant, and as u wd say, a TF is a TF. Who knows: maybe like Tolstoy's Ivan Ilych, Schmendrick will lie on his deathbed, thinking: "Shit; I blew it." Unfortunately, my money is on the likelihood that he'll never wake up, not even then. Poor shmuck; a putz to the very end. R.I.P., Schmendrick; we hardly knew ye.

mb

6:19 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

At first I thought this was some kind of elaborate Wafer joke, but then realized they were serious:

"Women On 20s, with your help, aims to compel historic change by convincing President Obama that NOW is the time to put a woman's face on our paper currency. With over 256,000 voters casting ballots over the last 5 weeks, Americans have chosen which of the 15 inspiring American women heroes will go on to the Final Round of voting. And now we reveal that Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks are the people’s choice and will advance to the final ballot for your consideration."

http://www.womenon20s.org/

Americans really can turn everything into hustling - even feminism.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

AS-

Well, that'll turn the country around, for sure. My vote is for Kim, in any case (preferably her rump).

Still in Mexico City, Waferinos, and just did an interview (my last, I hope; Jesus I'm tired) with the magazine Milenio. Earlier I had to take a taxi somewhere, and suddenly I found myself in a lively discussion with the driver, who had read Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine" in Spanish translation and wanted to know if I thought it applied to Mexico. After he dropped me off, I thought to myself: How many taxi drivers are there, in all of the US, who have read "Shock Doctrine" and are prepared to discuss it in detail? 0?

mb

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Experiment 2.0 said...

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-limits-of-discourse

Sam Harris set up this "debate" w/ Chomsky. Very interesting, in some ways. Illuminating collision (for WAFers) between the new age neo-libertarian P.O.V and the 'progressive's zenith.

Prof B? WAFers? Pennies for your thoughts...Covers a lot of ground, could really generate great convos

11:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Expt-

Kind of a waste of time, it seems to me. Meanwhile, here's a great profile of The American People--who they really are, imo:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/01/poll-reveals-widespread-support-us-drone-program-doesnt-exist

mb

11:50 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Expt-

A bit of a megillah between Noam and Sam Harris, eh? I might as well put my bias out here immediately: I can't stand Sam Harris for obvious reasons. He's a bit of a ungershpart yungotch, to say the least! That said, I do wish more Americans c/would pay attention to this level of discourse, but they are incapable of doing so. Case in point: I just read that nearly 17 million tuned in to watch the Bruce Jenner interview. Jesus, who cares? He's a douche bag, already! End of story... Closer to home, my neighbor, a man in his fifties, told me the other day that Islam and Muslim are two *different* faiths. Can you believe this? I am not making this up!

Anyway, Noam has fought the good fight. I wish he would just let America go and enjoy the remaining yrs. of his life. He can't let it go for reasons that we have discussed on this blog. At any rate, he'd be better off, like MB, emigrating to Mexico and having engaging conversations w/taxi drivers, who have more brains than the above average American.

O&D,

Miles

ps: I just watched Gary Kasparov discussing politics on the Bill Maher show. Strange guy... Chess genius, sure; political genius, not so much.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

This debate is coming on 13th May 2015.
People here have already finished the debates with sound conclusions many years ago.

Question: Is smart technology making humans dumb?

Two experts say YES
Two other experts say NO.

Wafers said YES 6 years ago!

http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/1255-smart-technology-is-making-us-dumb

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Another sign it's time to retire. Last Friday was Teacher Appreciation Day. So the principal bought lunch for all the teachers and staff. Except there was nothing to drink! So there we are sitting and eating chicken nuggets and salad with salty croutons. I came in late, asked where the drinks were and was informed that there were no drinks. The principal was not in the room by the way. So I said," No drinks? How can you have food and nothing to drink?" About an hour later I got a call from the principal literally screaming at me for complaining about the lunch, going on that she spent over $200 for the lunch (which is a lie since such costs are factored into the budget), that no one gave her anything on Principal Appreciation Day,and that she felt I was rude for mentioning the lack of drinks at the lunch. Keep in mind that this is a woman who is constantly preaching for students to control their emotions.
Another sign is that I just finished 3 weeks or proctoring our state standardized tests during which elementary age students had to sit quietly for for 2 hours taking tests in dimly lit rooms with English so convoluted I would have a tough time doing. Believe me, if officers from the Hague had come in the room and had arrested me for Crimes against Humanity, I would not have resisted. As I think I said at our NYC lunch a few years back (yes, we had something to drink if I recall), public education is designed to destroy all those things that make childhood a unique time in a person's life.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Experiment 2.0 said...

Miles - Thanks for responding. What did u think of the content, points made, between SH and NC?

MB- Waste of time, Prof B? I don't agree usually w/ Sam Harris geo-politcally, but he is at least a pretty sharp guy who likes to stir the pot. I also think he understands that there really does need to be a removal of the partitions that separate these very diff kinds of cultural critics and their audiences, otherwise we'll continue 2 have this panelist format w/ no one responding 2 each other's views in real time.

And in Sam Harris's defense, he does bring up some polished points, usually unemotionally, and, sadly, even our own Max Blumenthal, Noam, etc. get their hackles raised and kinda emotional/unprofessional when put to the challenge. Us WAFers deem these guys our progressive cultural attaches, we say that they hold diff perspectives but w/ rightly placed hearts. We give their like so much air time on this board, critically or not, thought it would b PRODUCTIVE to see how they respond when outside our bubble.

https://twitter.com/samharrisorg/status/522577349163114497

https://twitter.com/samharrisorg/status/583078383086489600

Sorry if wasting more of ur time :-/

10:41 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Dan-

Yikes! Let's appreciate our teachers by watching them all choke to death! I hope u can retire soon...

MB, Wafers-

I watched "Nightcrawler" last night. Many thanks for the recommendation guys! A nice look at how sociopaths climb the ladder of success in the seedy underbelly of LA TV news, yes? It kinda reminds me of the Billy Wilder classic, "Ace in the Hole" w/Kirk Douglas. "Ace" was a Wafer recommendation aways back. I can't remember who made the rec.; I think it was zosima. Are u out there, z?

re: Sam Harris

Here's the thing: I remember reading "The End of Faith" and agreeing w/much that was written about the history of violence associated w/the monotheist faiths. By chap. 4, tho, I began to wonder *who* is this Sam Harris person... It seemed like a massive contradiction to denounce the inquisition, as Harris did, and then argue that torturing Muslims was a sane and practical response to terrorism. But here's the real whopper: Harris argued that since our weapons systems are not perfect, we must accept that collateral damage is gonna happen. Too bad for those unlucky Muslims who happen to be in the way of our missiles; jus' know that we meant well. In other words, innocent people are gonna hafta die, but our intent (i.e., destroying evil) is largely an ethical operation. Jesus, who taught Harris ethics? Tim McVeigh? In fact, McVeigh argued something very similar...

Miles

ps: Oops! PK4, Mr. Kasparov... I misspelled yr first name. It should be Garry.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

This by a friend of mine who is based in Hanoi:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-a-ashwill/the-wall-times-65-vietnam_b_7137940.html

mb

8:52 AM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Several years ago I watched a debate on YouTube between Sam Harris and Chris Hedges. Harris was dismissive, evasive and insolent. Any point raised by Hedges was distorted or ignored and he ended by insulting him by saying (and I'm paraphrasing from memory here): "I place more faith in a well designed poll than some correspondent wandering around the Middle East". He was referring to some poll taken in Egypt and Hedges was a report for the NYT in the Middle East. I've seen him several times on Bill Maher and his smug, self-righteous "arguments" haven't changed a freckle. He literally has nothing new to say. One wonders if his wife and children would be considered acceptable collateral damage if they happened to be seated next to someone targeted for a drone strike by a well-intentioned president - such as Clinton or Bush. I can understand why Chomsky gets somewhat emotional over his casual dismissal of others' pain.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I've come to enjoy John Oliver's HBO program, " Last Week Tonight." An alum of The Daily Show, Oliver opens with a brief recap of the preceding week's leading stories, followed by a long piece on a topic of general interest.

I find his show more appealing than Jon Stewart's (Daily Show).

WAFers may enjoy this most recent edition's long story on standardized testing (Sunday, 3 May). Among the interesting points highlighted, that one of the leading companies that flogs these various tests and test-prep materials, a firm called Pearson, advertises for test assessors/graders on Craigslist. A British publishing firm with American branches.

No profit left behind, as one story reporting on this "industry" had it.

Get out your Number 2* pencils, open your booklets, and begin.

http://youtu.be/J6lyURyVz7k

*Apt, eh?

11:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear SW,

Thanks for the info. I haven't really followed Harris' career all that much, largely because I get a bit bored with religious atheists--like Hitchens & Co. Truthdig did an essay of his yrs ago, perhaps in the wake of that debate, in wh/he said that Hedges was sanctimonious--wh/I believe is the case--but perhaps he is as well. In any case, I didn't find the exchg w/Noam very enlightening; it seemed to generate more heat than light, as far as I cd make out. My own personal experience of Noam, wh/I've described here, is of someone obviously brilliant, but extremely rigid. This too might apply to Harris.

mb

2:53 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Five-year-old special-needs student, Connor Ruiz, handcuffed and shackled in upstate NY:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/04/new-york-state-police-handcuff-shackle-connor-ruiz

Meanwhile:

The pin-the-tail-on-the-elephant game has begun in earnest today, as more GOP candidates have announced plans to stroke the *Cock* bros. money bags...and bring the nation to climax by preparing for nuclear war w/France.

My money is on former neurosurgeon, Ben Carson. Carson has indicated that, as president, he plans to perform brain surgery on millions of Americans. Unusually outspoken, Carson has likened the US to Nazi Germany, Obamacare as being worse than slavery, and claims that if he could somehow bottle the force of Kim Kardashian's prodigious rump, he could solve the energy crisis.

Win with Ben!

Miles

4:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/04/indiscriminate-killing-gaza-was-top-down-war-plan-say-israeli-veterans

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

@Miles Deli, I agree with the following: “By chap. 4, tho, I began to wonder *who* is this Sam Harris person... It seemed like a massive contradiction to denounce the inquisition, as Harris did, and then argue that torturing Muslims was a sane and practical response to terrorism”

Yes, the biggest problem in most of today’s so-called thinkers and activists is lack of consistent principles. I believe it has something to do with love of money and fear of losing one’s job or position in society. The same problem is worse in the American academia – where most professors do research for big firms for money, so they fear saying or writing things that would cause discomfort or controversy for their employers and paymasters. Sometimes they write things to please their paymasters or to influence the prevailing public policy. This means they must bend the truth or contradict themselves or contradict what they wrote months or years earlier.

Try reading from (or about) American people like Thomas Pained, Robert G. Ingersoll, and John Brown. These were people who did not care about money, but about ideas and challenging the accepted way of thinking. They remained consistent to what they believed in until death took them from this planet. I do not believe that the current academic culture is capable of producing minds like Thomas Pained and Robert G. Ingersoll

Try these for more insights into the same issue:

The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought by Susan Jacoby

http://www.npr.org/2008/03/04/49328288/susan-jacoby-attacks-american-unreason

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

6:04 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Dr. Berman & Wafers,

I'm looking forward to reading Neurotic Beauty once I'm finished with this book on biodynamics. Coincidentally, I just recently read The One-Straw Revolution by the late Japanese author Masanobu Fukuoka. I believe he was mentioned on this blog at some point. Other great media I might not have sought out were it not for this blog include the movies Snowpiercer, Fading Gigolo, and The East; the HBO series Rome; and the books The Circle and Deschooling Society—all of it very rewarding stuff. I'm normally a very slow reader, but I zipped through The Circle in two days. I just couldn't put it down! Most importantly, I finally experienced the wonderful world of Jewish deli, and inadvertently so. I wanted to visit this deliciously authentic Somalian restaurant, but I lost the arm-twisting match with my brother, who suggested this place called Cecil's in St. Paul. Lo and behold it turned out to be a great little restaurant & deli. I had a pastrami and coleslaw on onion bread with potato knishes on the side, and sipped on the fearsome brew that Lou Reed used to sing about. With all the talk on this blog about this cuisine, my expectations were high. And boy were they met! Maybe someday I'll take the most important advice of all and crawl out of this hellhole. Until then I will appreciate all the ways in which my government serves and protects me.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/fbi-overstated-forensic-hair-matches-in-nearly-all-criminal-trials-for-decades/2015/04/18/39c8d8c6-e515-11e4-b510-962fcfabc310_story.html

12:46 AM  
Blogger Val said...

Here's an up-and-coming American "industry" (viz., investment racket) that's well positioned to flourish for decades to come:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/may/03/owning-trailer-parks-mobile-home-university-investment

This scintillating facet of our glorious future is a growth industry for sure, right up there with collections and coffin-making.

Couldn't we somehow get rid of capitalism and its rentier vampirism *now* please? I don't have time to wait.

4:26 AM  
Anonymous Deluded to the very end said...

Thanks for the remark Mr.B, i just ordered both books.

I'm proposing a theme for 243: i wd like to know your favourite body-work practices, since you mention them in your "consciousness" trilogy but without being specifical.

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hi Miles, Dr. B and all Wafers,

Miles, I agree with you that Dr. Ben Carson is the man. I say this with a heavy heart, though. I was on board with Shaneka Torres and Lorenzo Riggins. I was all ready to start printing Torres/Riggins bumper stickers, free of charge, for all Wafers worldwide. Ms. Torres, while a convicted criminal, could overcome all the obstacles. Do you think we could start a "Spring Shaneka" campaign? I can just imagine the bumper sticker for that: "Free Shaneka Torres - America Needs Her in the White House!" Besides, there have been several unconvicted criminals in the White House in recent decades - Why not Shaneka! Indeed, why not!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hi Gang-

I'm abt to switch over to next blog post, but just wanted to put a few mindless comments down here:

1. I feel bad Lorenzo Riggins has been cruelly ignored.
2. Bumper sticker: what I propose is: "Free Shaneka [everybody knows her last name by now]! America needs her in the White House, not at McDonald's!"

(In case anyone finds her candidacy ridiculous, keep in mind that the Obama presidency has been ridiculous, that the Hillary candidacy is ridiculous, and that the entire GOP spectrum in 2012 was ridiculous. Why in the world take Herman Cain seriously, and not Shaneka T.? Speaking of which, I just screened "Game Change" for the 3rd time, a life-altering experience. Talk abt ridiculous: this is Sarah Palin in action! Steve Schmidt, McCain's political adviser, said the movie was completely accurate. McCain and Palin said it was false, but added that they never saw it.)

Body work: I've done a lot of stuff over the yrs, and continue to do some of it--yoga, the Alexander Technique--but the single best bk I've read on the subject is by Alexander Lowen, "Depression and the Body."

Tear: I'm ecstatic to hear abt yr experience w/deli meats. Next time, add a side of chopped liver, a half-dill pickle, and a Cel-Ray Tonic. Nor wd a cup of matzoh ball soup hurt.

You know, I never said anything abt it, but my real purpose, in starting this blog in April 2006, was not to expose the American empire. No; it was to promote deli meats! (This has been a major source of confusion for trollfoons, of course.) I think I may just now be reaping the rewards of my efforts.

On to the next post, muchachos!

mb

10:11 AM  

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