May 05, 2015

243

Ay Chicos! I wish I had a new article or something more substantial than a number for you all, but as of now, nothing comes to mind. Well, Canal 22 in Mexico City recently did another (very brief) interview with me (20 minutes, cruelly reduced to 5), which might be fun for those of you wanting to work on your Spanish once again; but thus far they haven't sent me the link. I did just submit another essay to Adbusters; if they (cruelly) reject it, I'll probably post it here. But for now, I have no particular thread to propose: Shaneka Torres, perhaps. God, I love that gal. Anyway, onward, unto the breach!

-mb

192 Comments:

Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

I actually did write abt Baltimore in the previous post, but it was very brief. Pls note that I don't post Anons, so if u want to participate in the discussion, you'll need to get yrself a real handle. Suggestions:

1. Cranston Butterworth III
2. Hans Schmaltzkopf, Ph.D.
3. Gehakte Leber

Thanks!--mb

10:55 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

tear:

(from comment on previous post) Glad you liked The Circle, I want to start making antler chandeliers now...

Also, a tip, Cecil's delivers! $50 minimum order though.

Anyway, no news up here other than bird flu, random redneck shootings and many of my friends think Bernie Sanders will save us all.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous John WAfer said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/us/no-sharp-rise-seen-in-police-killings-though-increased-focus-may-suggest-otherwise.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0

How do we as WAFers interpret this? Kinda counterfactual to our norm convo: "police homicides are near their nadir."

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hello fellow Wafers- hope that you're all feeling well and daisy-fresh.
In a previous comment I'd mentioned the effect that reading chapter 1 of CTOS had on me. Here's a little background. (Would you rather I tell you about my analysis or have me shoot you? Well, ...Okay… BANG.)
I spent the early and mid 70s doing self-reinvention, and dog-paddling my way toward the health that seemed too often to be the horizon. Fortune led me to the office of an ace shrink. I had insurance via job that paid 10k per year in "mental health benefits (at 20% co-pay!) It's one opportunity that I can say that I made something of. I led a monastic life in SF with all the fun, fun, fun going on all around me.
Part of the unnecessary suffering I was trying to get rid of was experienced somatically. I lead a book by Lowen, did some exercises. I think that it and some yoga were groundwork for later developments. ( I had been doing Tai Chi all along.)
I eventually did Rolfing and it was a great, liberating, if very painful, experience. There was a bit of "free your ass and your mind will follow." I had assumed the attitude (in a somatic sense) of a pretty beat-down little guy, and getting freed of it at a tissue level really opened things up. Rolfing (now Structural Integration) was pretty esoteric at the time. Fortunately Ida Rolf was careful to maintain standards in her procedures and training and again, fortune led me to one of her first generation practitioners.
I mentioned my reading of CTOS because one thing that I decided on early was to watch my tendency to go "meta" in all of this. So rather than read about early object relations as I was therapizing, , I went on a guided and direct tour, visiting the pit every so often. So, reading the stuff later in CTOS was like looking at a map of areas I'd traversed, with "the shock of recognition."
The wife and I will be vacationing with friends soon, one of whom is Feldenkrais trained and Alexander experienced. I expect that we'll be spending some time talking about those things.
Our bodies are the most marvelous apparatuses. Interesting as can be. I'm currently slow-reading The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary take on our bods, in health and disease. Fascinating stuff.
As always, MB, thanks for your books.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B, (Oh wisest of the wise, seerest of the seers)

As I kind of couldn't give a monkeys about the trajectory of the US, but do greatly admire the trajectory of your work/thinking, is it possible that you could expand on your admiration of the following book, which I will no doubt buy in the near future:

Alexander Lowen, "Depression and the Body."

Thanks very much.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Edward-

Many thanks for the two clips you posted. I enjoyed listening to Susan Jacoby discuss the debasement of American culture. I was particularly impressed that she believes that Americans *wanna* be debased. This is an argument that very few are willing to make when discussing American culture. You know, I read her book "Freethinkers" a number of years ago and was very impressed by it. I'll hafta give "American Unreason" a read.

The Hedges, West, and Wolff lecture was also good. Sad to say, tho, that Ronald Reagan quoted Thomas Paine throughout the 1980s. Reagan usta say: "You know we have it w/in ourselves to remake the world again." Of course, he meant it in the vein of increased hustling, individualism, and the continuation of the American Dream. Amazing how things can transmogrify, yes?

MB, Wafers-

I just listened to an interview w/Pamela Geller. She's the woman who organized the recent hate-fest competition in Texas to see who could draw the most insulting cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad for a monetary prize. Jesus, this woman will say anything! Completely paranoid! Apparently, she's known as a notorious professional Islamophobe. She seemed surprised that her group was attacked by two wannabe Jihadis. Where did this woman go to school? Klutz University? I tell ya, the absurdity of this place is now total. We have moved to a situation in America where one group of *fanatics* manages to bait another group of *fanatics* into threatening public safety... Let's call it fanatical fratricide.

O&U!

Miles

5:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dawg-

Well, I'm glad CTOS was of value 2u; it certainly was to me (writing it, while I was doing long meditation retreats etc.). One thing I wd tell anyone interested in a knowledge that is deeper (ontological) rather than just intellectual: above all, watch your breathing. This is the No. 1 somatic activity you can do. Even if only 5 mins a day, just watch yr breath going in and out. This is where conscious and unconscious meet.

Since the days of "Reenchantment," my goal has been to be a mystical atheist, or sacred humanist. It's a hard line to walk, and looking back at my life now, I'd say I'm abt 10% of the way there. Well, OK, maybe 8%. But for me, there's no other path to follow, no matter how unsuccessful I am at it. The going is the goal, as some wise man once put it.

Golf-

My official title is Great Visionary Seer of the Western Hemisphere (GVSWH). I actually have those initials tatooed on my ass. It's way beyond Level 8 Thetan, or whatever Hubbard called it (everybody be sure to see the movie on Scientology called "Going Clear"--scary how very intelligent people can buy into this stuff for decades, and a gd illustration of what happens when people have no ontological awareness).(As I wrote in CTOS, America is extremely ripe for fascism. The only thing that can save us now is Wafer consciousness.) Indeed, sometimes, when I reflect on how evolved I am, I get so dizzy I hafta sit down.

But I digress. Lowen: well, he wrote abt 12 bks, all the same, really; "Depression and the Body" is the best of them. Lowen was a Reichian, which means (imo) too much emphasis on sexual energy, when there are other types of energy bottled up in the body. But with that as a caveat, he does argue that unless you are in touch w/yr body and yr emotions, yr not really alive. I read it during a period when I was doing tons of body work of all kinds, and it made a lot of sense.

I actually met Lowen once, at a conference somewhere in Europe that he and I and a few other people were invited to speak at. (I have no memory of what I talked abt; chopped liver, maybe.) Basically a nice guy, tho being lionized over the years had pushed him in a guru-ish direction, which is never a gd thing, I don't think. Anyway, read it slowly.

-GVSWH

5:17 PM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

MB, Wafers:

After a few months of lurking the blog, I'd like to join the discussion. Allow me to introduce myself briefly and how I began drinking the MB Kool-Aid. I ended up reading WAF on a whim after my record shop bought back a copy (we happen to also sell a miniscule selection of consignment books). I was intrigued and finished the 'decline' trilogy shortly after. Currently reading SSIG, which is great so far.

MB, I look forward to seeing your lecture on September 7. See, I have the terrible misfortune of residing in NJ, so I jump at any opportunity to leave this hellhole (even if it's just a short day trip into another slightly lesser hellhole).

am I among the few millennial wafers? I'm 25.

The handle I'll be using is a coined noun/adjective my friend (total wafer tendencies, perhaps I could recruit) and I often use to describe the current decline, as well as the many slack-jawed homo consumens that reside in the ny metro area who contribute to mass vapidity.

All best,

5:42 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Hello MB/Wafers,

I am really excited about the thread started in the previous post by Deludedtotheveryend on bodywork. A single blog on bodywork, Shaneka Torres and Hillary Clinton, what else do you need in life?

I am going through a phase of experimentation with different bodywork techniques at the moment and the two books that made me realise this is the direction I should be going towards are:
- "In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and restores Goodness" by Peter Levine.
- "Joy" by Alexander Lowen

The Levine book is terrific. It made a lot of things click for me.

All those books on bodywork could benefit from a few jokes every now and then though...

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Great Visionary Seer of the Western Hemisphere,

Please accept my apologies for the discourtesy I regrettably exhibited in mis-titling you otherwise.

And thanks for your insights - I shall augment my dive into Lowen with appropriate cautiousness.

Cheers!

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Film recommendation: Herzog's 1976, Heart of Glass. He apparently had a majority of the cast hypnotized before each scene, for some very dramatic effect.

I had somehow never heard of that one, film buff friend recommended it to me ovr dinner last night. Thought of u all immediately.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Wafers will look forward to a report on your body, and your depression, which hopefully will be nonexistent (i.e., yr depression; god willing, you'll still have a body) by the time u finish Lowen. Actually, the No. 1 cure for depression in the entire world is this blog; but not for trollfoons--it only makes them more depressed! As Kanye pts out, where, in the entire blogosphere, can u find in a single blog (one-stop shop) discussions of bodywork, Shaneka Torres, and Hillary Clinton? I mean, we gotta be doing something right.

Kanye-

A keen sense of humor (notably absent among 'progressives', and numerous body workers), plus a deep commitment to deli meats, are the twin keys to a happy life.

brain-

If yr suffering decay at age 25, can u imagine what my brain must look like? I'm fucking 70! Sometimes I just sit at this computer and drool, w/a bit of waving of arms and grunting thrown in. It's not a pretty sight.

But the Wafer Community (hardly a cult, as so many jealous, bitter trollfoons have claimed--the Kool-Aid here is actually Cel-Ray tonic, available at all NY delis; very democratic) welcomes u w/open arms. Out from the shadows! No more lurking! The sun of Waferdom streams upon you. Tripping across WAF was no accident, amigo: it was Divine Intervention. And here u.r.

NJ, of course, is a scary place; more a state of mind than a state. I taught at Rutgers for 5 yrs during the 70s, and it was generally agreed upon that New Brunswick was the anus of America, a black hole from wh/I finally managed to escape. Many were less fortunate (or wound up in Jersey City).

I look for'd to seeing u at Bluestockings on Sept. 7. But u shd be aware that huge momentum is bldg for yet another World Wafer Summit (WWS) in the West Village, on Sept. 6. The 1st WWS was held a couple of yrs ago at the AOC restaurant on Bleecker/Grove, organized by Sir Tagio and Bowtie Jack. It was a dionysian affair, and became something of an urban legend. New Yorkers still talk abt it in hushed tones. So you might think abt attending the 2nd WWS on Sept. 6: time and location may be ascertained by writing me in early August (mauricio@morrisberman.com). So far, we have no less than 6 Wafers attending, if you include me. You'll make 7, and we welcome millennials w/open arms. The young people of America generally do represent the future: clueless and depressed. Young Wafers, however, are in a whole other category, for they have drunk the Cel-Ray, and they shall know the Truth. O&D, my friend; O&D.

-mb

6:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferers of the Greater Shores:

I'm sorry 2b so wordy today; I don't know why that is. What I do know is that us Wafers are generally a happy lot, as we go Wafering thru life. We look at stats of American stupidity, and we chuckle. We see cultural collapse all around us, and we know this is in the natural order of cycles of empires. We see 'progressives' knocking themselves out, and we appreciate the archive of the decline they are accumulating, but we feel sorry for them, i.e. their belief that they can reverse that trajectory. We bask in Waferdom, knowing it is the highest state of consciousness, and that this is the only blog one wd ever need.We contemplate Kim's rump, and a Lorenzo Riggins presidency, and these things give us great satisfaction.

We are also aware that happiness for Wafers = misery for trollfoons; and since misery for trollfoons is good for society in general, we enjoy the fact that we are making the trollfoons miserable. They hate our joy, and that is a gd thing.

Anyway, I've been working like a dog for several wks now, and cd really use a break. So later this month I'm going to return to the Lake District of England, where I spent a bit of time a few yrs back. A real glimpse of paradise, that place. In anticipation, I was rdg a novel by Melvyn Bragg, "The Maid of Buttermere," and he writes that to be alive is to try and fail, to travel, to adventure, and to be part of the time you were born into. And that last phrase caught my eye, because it is, indeed, a privilege to be part of our era, part of the time we were born into ("thrown," as Heidegger puts it). This in turn reminded me of a line from the Russian mystic V.V. Rozanov (d. 1919), I can't quite remember it exactly, but he says something like "My time is *my* time, not the time of Socrates or Spinoza."

None of this chose this time to be born in, but here we are. And there are many things we can do with our time. But the most impt thing, perhaps, is to embrace it. Our time, after all, is a gift; there will never be another time like it.

Wafers rock!

mb

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr. B,

If you get the time, check out the Wye Valley on the Welsh borders. It's very much a place worth seeing.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Many thanks. I'll be traveling w/an old friend, and we plan to rent a car. How far is Ham-on-Wye from the Lake District, do you know?

mb

5:35 AM  
Blogger Amazed! said...

Now you can keep track of the police killings - updated daily!

http://www.killedbypolice.net

USA! USA! USA!

5:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Amazed-

This is gd, but perhaps we also need a web site for people who *shd* be killed by police. E.g., people who look crosseyed at a cop, or whatever. This wd obviously be of great value to the police in terms of preemptive strikes.

mb

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Gold Pro said...

Dr.B,

About 250 miles I think. Which is a longer distance than us islanders can mentally visualize.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Hey, MB, I haven' contributed in a while but I found a real gem to keep up my cred as a wafer. We have a new candidate for president or at least a member of the next Republican administration.

NBC News: Nebraska Woman Files Suit Against All Homosexuals

Nebraska woman identifying herself as the "ambassador" for plaintiffs "God and His Son, Jesus Christ," is suing all homosexuals on Earth for breaking "religious and moral laws," according to court records filed Tuesday.

In the suit, entered into the docket as Driskell v. Homosexuals, Sylvia Ann Driskell, 66, of Auburn, Nebraska, asks in a seven-page, neatly handwritten petition (PDF) that U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard decide once and for all whether homosexuality is or isn't a sin.

...

11:23 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"...people who *shd* be killed by police."

While we might agree that the militarization of police forces in the Untied States is guaranteed to produce unjustified killings, and that in certain places you're as likely to be killed by a policeman as by a fellow citizen, mightn't we also agree that there ARE certain individuals moving among us who would benefit tremendously from a stern talking-to, whether administered by a beat cop or some other authority figure? An angry mother, say?

11:39 AM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

JWO,

it's good to hear you like Cecil's too. I think I will write a review on GoogleMaps simply stating "Wafer Approved." At the very least I'll graffiti it on the side of their building. I found the food to be delicious but it's hard to know how authentic it is with no basis for comparison. All I know is it was even better than what I usually eat three times a day: McDonald's bacon cheeseburgers, extra bacon. I'm doing it in support of Shaneka's campaign. Every time I go in I yell proudly, "Gimme three bacon cheeseburgers EXTRA BACON! Do it for SHANEKA!"

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Kathy Sloan said...

Greetings MB & WAFers! Here is something that will make your day. Every time I think that the U.S. cannot possibly sink any lower into horror & depravity, yet another revelation occurs that sickens me to my soul. Private prison auctioneers are literally conducting modern-day slavery auctions of immigrants as products. Brave New Films has made a documentary about it & you must watch the trailer & film. There simply are no words. https://www.facebook.com/bravenewfilms/videos/vb.7035457015/10152739414452016/?type=2&theater

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SonJYh4yl2M

1:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sav-

Someone needs to sue Americans for being Americans. Always capitalize Wafer, BTW: it's the most evolved form on the planet today.

Golf-

3.5 hrs, it turns out (by car). I just might do it!

mb

4:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

No shit dept.:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/05/06/militarization-american-streets

5:53 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Wafpeeps,

MB-

It's good to see young Wafers like brain hittin' the DAA blog. I agree that they deserve, as u say, a special category. Perhaps we should refer to young Wafers as, *Wafsters* or *coolamundoWafers*.

Also, it's nice to see that you're gonna get some R&R time in England in late May. It should be beautiful. Why not shoot over to Paris and take in a few matches at Roland Garros? Courtside w/Belman, yes? The French Open runs from May 24 thru June 7, I believe. Might be fun...

Miles

7:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Well, I've been to Wimbledon (in 2004), but never made it to Roland Garros, sad to say. I'd be willing to do it, but only as a player. They cd seed me at 10,585, it's OK w/me. I love clay. I've actually been playing a fair amt of tennis as of late, and it feels great (for an old geezer--racquet in one hand, cane in the other). And then I'm contemplating Golf's suggestion to drop down to Ham-on-Wye, altho I don't wanna have a hurried vacation.

Which reminds me: I need for all u guys to give me a bit of a break, May 13-June 2. I dunno what the computer access situation will be while I'm traveling, so it might be best for all of us to take a little holiday during that time, and cultivate nature as well as our nonvirtual friendships. :-) Then on June 3, w/great gusto, we can tear into trollfoons, the State of the Disunion, Shaneka Torres, and other exciting topics. (I still can't understand why she wasn't toting an AK-47 when she unloaded on McDonald's.)

As for the next generation of Wafers: we do need a label here. Young Waferers on the Highway of Life, perhaps (YWHL's). I'm thinkin' T-shirts, bumper stickers, range of pasta sauces, etc.

mb

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Keith S Elder said...

Chris Hegdges is calling for revolution:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/make_the_rich_panic_20150503

8:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Keith-

Well, we've talked abt this b4. When he was standing on Wall St. w/OWS, he wrote how the bankers were "quaking in their boots." Actually, they were laughing at him, and rightly so. And now the rich are panicking? Yeah, real state of terror there. Definition of magical thinking: imagine something in yr head, and then, because it's in yr head, believe that it is happening in the real world. This is how I know that my Japan bk will sell 1 million copies, Wafers will be running the country, and Shaneka Torres, as the new CEO of McDonald's, will be hosting a bacon BBQ on the White House lawn.

Arriba!

mb

9:22 PM  
Anonymous John WAFer said...

Amazed!: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/us/no-sharp-rise-seen-in-police-killings-though-increased-focus-may-suggest-otherwise.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1

They mention

http://www.killedbypolice.net


So these #'s suggest police killings aren't as bad as thought?

7:56 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Great choice to travel to Wales MB and I also definitely recommend Ham-on-Wye. The book shops are worth the detour!

Pen-y-Fan is also a great mountain to climb. Be careful with the right-steering-wheel and reverse-lane driving though!

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

MB - just picked up paperback copies of Twilight and Reenchanment, the latter has a beautiful cover design and I can't wait to inhale both of them.

Kanye Cyrus - know of any good sites or sources for beginner exercises in bodywork?

John WAFer - regarding police killings, this is something I've been telling people, progressive and conservative alike, to little effect. Its just like mass media's poor coverage of mass shootings a year or two back. Random acts of gun violence have long been part of the backdrop of American life - they just constantly happen. Despite a few high profile mass shootings (Sandy Hook etc) that forced the media to pay attention to the issue for a few months, 2012 was actually a relatively low year for gun massacres - a far more terrifying reality!

In the same way, police killing unarmed people is absolutely routine. The media is focusing on these stories right now because they're "hot" topics, but still failing to really discuss the scope of the problem. Any coverage at all is a good thing, but the media narrative is lazy and leaves out a lot, like how often black women are victimized, or that twice as many unarmed whites have been killed this year by police as blacks (though obviously african americans are murdered by police at a hugely disproportionate rate).

i first noticed this after that 9 year old in AZ accidentally shot her firearms instructor with an uzi - news stories about accidental gun deaths involving children were briefly more likely to get published, but they still occur pretty damn often and always have.

The truth is that these violent crimes happen with quite some regularity in America. For whatever reason one will get an outsized amount of coverage and then the news stations will follow the ratings and cover more of that type of story, as long as the ratings hold. Eventually they move on, distracted by something else.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Cole said...

Odd stomach feeling when you read things like this. You have to admit the act of niceness itself is pretty big, but it is carried out here, so it is probably just a form of noblesse oblige, right? Or are a lot of WAFers into Colbert, Stewart, and ilk?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/05/07/1383114/-Stephen-Colbert-shocks-South-Carolina-schools-by-funding-every-single-teacher-requesting-grants

2:34 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Dear MB and Wafers,

Here's something:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/page4/the_clintons_and_their_banker_friends_1992_--_2016_20150507

Putting Hillary in the White House might be a tad worse than Lorenzo. Our Lorenzo, of course, was just *moron* of the month; Hillary is *criminal* of the century...

Miles

4:22 PM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

I've finished NB and thoroughly enjoyed it -- thanks again. (Although, I must confess to struggling through ch. 5, which was a bit over my head...or perhaps it was during the return commute and my mind was tired.) I do agree with the conclusion, and in general am not worried about the Japanese at all as they transition to post-capitalism. (In fact, you've sparked my interest to learn more about the Tokugawa period.) I do worry about the continuing (often suppressed) problems that Fukushima has/is/will cause, about safely decommissioning all other reactors (esp. if the relevant technology, knowledge, and skills fade away), and (in the near term) about the more aggressive posturing Abe-san is making towards China. (I often wonder if the U.S. is behind this, as well as the scandal that brought down Hatoyama-san.) Of course, it goes without saying that I'm mightily worried about Americans as they make the transition...

dkhinkle

12:43 AM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

MB--

Ah, things are starting to make sense now. After spending nearly 5 years living in New Brunswick myself, I wouldn't blame anyone for subsequently writing several books about the decline of American civilization. In fact, that noxious dump (particularly Rutgers) might as well be considered a microcosm of the United States. The horribly dilapidated facilities (poor infrastructure), the student body's mass fixation on athletics (lack of cohesion/identity crisis), the numerous binge drinking deaths (loneliness, unhappiness): these are just some of the many things the US is all about! And don't forget the identity politics--by my final semester it seemed as if every student had suddenly switched their major to 'Women & Gender Studies,' proselytizing about "intersectionality" and why people must start self-identifying as "cis" if they are not "trans." Myopia is rampant and the stench of neoliberal optimism is suffocating. Equally as insufferable is the apparent resistance to it--millennial tea partiers! Quite an interesting bunch. Anyway, the Jersey City bit had me cackling. I have a great idea for an architectural redesign of the Newport Centre Mall. I've said for years now that it should structurally resemble a toilet.

And yes, I would love to attend the WWS! Hopefully by then I'll be steeped in NMI-dom. I'll be attending Richard Wolff's 'Global Capitalism Update' next week for the first time, in the flesh. That should be exciting.

Miles--

That Pamela Geller broad is a total lunatic. Though I wonder if she could just be another Ann Coulter, as portrayed by The Boondocks.

Zeke--

Americans are indeed a strange bunch in that they seem to be intrigued by sociopaths, psychopaths, stalkers, and murderers (likely because most Americans are at least 1 of the 4, and hearing stories about people that resemble them stimulates their narcissism receptors). The massive success of the incredibly morbid television network ID Discovery is really a testament to widespread American depravity and their tendency towards violence.

Go Wafers!

1:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dh-

Thanks for yr kind comments on NB; glad u liked it. That last chapter was really more of a speculation than a prediction; certainly, the reelection of Abe last Dec. is not a propitious sign. I gave some lecs at the U of Tokyo in April 2014, and one question I asked my audience was: How many Fukushimas do you need b4 it will be clear that neoliberism and the LDP are the rd to destruction? Only time will tell, as far as Japan goes. As far as the US goes: it will fail to make the transition, and will descend into chaos and violence. We are seeing that already on a daily basis, but as the saying goes, You ain't seen nothin' yet!

brain-

1. Go the the Rutgers bkstore and get yrself a notepad. On the front of it, write in block capitals: HEADS WEDGED IN RUMPS. Then record everything around u as evidence of national collapse. For example, the emphasis on identity politics is not really politics, but the end/refusal of (meaningful) politics.
2. Rick Wolff: gd guy. Pls report to the blog on what you learned. u.r. our point man in NJ.
3. Months in advance, momentum is starting to build for the World Wafer Summit on Sept. 6, now less than 4 mos. away. Your attendance brings the # up to 7! Pls send yr email address to mauricio@morrisberman.com, so I can keep you abreast of the latest developments. I'm still waiting for Sir Tagio and Bowtie Jack to check in, but it looks like we are going to have an earth-shaking symposium. (When Wafers have a symposium it's called a Waferium.)(ps: Note to Dan: r.u. going 2b attending as well? All of us want to hear more abt the collapse of the 'educational' system.)
4. Put the following post-it on yr bathrm mirror, and contemplate it every morning:
WAFER OR DOUCHE BAG? I'VE MADE MY CHOICE!

mb

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Rufis T said...

Page Croyder, former Baltimore State's attorney says, "If I were a Baltimore police officer, I'd be looking for another job immediately. And as a Baltimore citizen, I may start looking for someplace else to live." I wonder how far her advice should be extendedhttp://touch.baltimoresun.com/#section/830/article/p2p-83464082/

10:22 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and respected members of the Wafer cognoscenti,

brain-

Yr beautiful, man! Many thanks for the Boondocks clip; must've watched it 10 times by now. All Wafers look forward to yr Jersey journal/book. Perhaps you could call it, "Craptastrophe: The Sphinctacular Collapse of New Jersey."

MB, Wafers-

Happy Friday! How about a little O.P., the "Maharaja of the keybord":

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

Miles

12:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rufis-

I think Jas Kunstler once called Baltimore a "fly-blown carcass." Oprah actually said of the school system, something like "all you can do is pee on it." Probably true, but then if anyone ever needed a good hosing...

mb

12:50 PM  
Blogger Yossi said...

MB
If you're looking for Ham on Wye it will be a long look. The place is called Hay on Wye - strictly kosher.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Al B. Tross said...

Wafers,

If you find yourself in Baltimore, please do not get detained:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/04/14/this-is-my-jail

The systemic institutional failures and the utter lack of the rule of law clearly demonstrates the continued descent into a Banana Republic.

Cheers,

Al B.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Alb-

Today Baltimore, tomorrow the rest of the country. We are looking at our future: self-destruction on a massive scale. You read it here 1st.

Yossele-

Yes, of course, I know; I even have a friend who works for the Hay Festival, and gave some lectures as part of it (tho this was in Colombia, not Wales) a couple of yrs ago. But I like to say Ham-on-Wye; it has a nice ring to it. It's just my code expression for the Wye Valley, along with: Wye, O Lord; Wye?

Cymru am byth!

-Morys ap Berman

4:52 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Do any of you Wafers feel like election times are one of the most depressing periods of the year?

As some of you may be aware, general elections in the UK just came to an end. All those "Vote Labour" or "Vote Green" posters on people's house windows, the general "the world is changing" vibe, the incessant pub debates on which party is better than the other etc... How much more depressing can it get?

To make matters worse, if you say "I don't give a shit about voting", you're considered a heretic and people start lashing out at you for being a "defeatist". Therefore, if you want to avoid being completely ostracised and don't want to live in the woods like Thoreau, your only solution is to play the game. Acting classes should definitely be part of the Wafer curriculum I am telling you!

O&D

8:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2015/may/08/democracy-a-religion-that-has-failed-the-poor

mb

8:53 PM  
Anonymous John WAFer said...

Zeke- Thanks so much for taking the time to express ur views. Very well put. Totally agree.


Meanwhile, WAFers- "BERNIE SANDERS!" That is what i keep hearing shouted high from roof tops by my young progressive friends. They think he is what Obama was supposed to be. I think some of what Nader says about him is more accurate (that he's more of the same), as well as this little essay by the late Thomas Nayler:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/30/the-myth-of-bernie-sanders/

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

TO ALL WAFERS: I need your input on this! I was involved in a training seminar. We had to be retrained on how to drive our company vehicles. We were actually using an empty parking lot of a prominent stadium for a prominent NFL team. The parking lot is positioned on an adjacent empty lot in front of the huge stadium. There were many other empty parking lots around the huge stadium building, but were on the one right in front of the huge stadium. Surrounding the parking lot on the backside is a lawn of grass and little trees. We got there about 7am, and after spending about 2 hours doing our driving business, one of the girls in our team spotted a person sleeping on the grass and under a little tree on the back of the parking lot. It was a homeless person. It was a white woman, probably in her 60’s. She stood up and started walking around. She then disappeared from our view. We started talking about her and about homeless people in America in general. Most native born Americans had theories about homeless people. Some said homeless people are wealthy people who fake being homeless. Others said homeless people do not deserve any sympathy because they caused their own problems. Here is my problem: for days the image of the woman was burning into my head. I thought about the HUGE empty stadium probably with lots of restrooms and running hot water AND the woman was outside sleeping on the wet, cold grass. The city where this happened can get very cold during the night and during early morning between 4 am and 9 am (rocky mountain regions). I talked to several people about my experience with the homeless woman. All the Americans I talked to agreed on one thing: “if you open the building for one homeless woman you will attract homeless people to the building from different parts of the world.” I still don’t understand how a huge building (the stadium) could be empty while the elderly woman slept on a cold, wet land full of grass and snakes and bugs in a “civilized” country called USA. Please help me to rationalize this.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

"Oh Baltimore, man it's hard...." - sadly nothing new.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV0aXEJW8es

11:05 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Since the election season is upon us--well, it sure seems that way in any case--I thought that perhaps fellow WAFers might care to offer their suggestions for words or phrases that would help voters in deciding which candidates to reject out of hand. (This all assumes, of course, that there is a need for such a tool. If you don't vote, then you won't need one. And, as the obligatory disclaimer demands, full disclosure: I haven't voted in any presidential election since I cast my first vote, a vote for George McGovern in 1972. I don't need a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows.)

If I can start, here are a few words/phrases which, if employed by a candidate you are considering for office, should raise a red flag:

(1) The American people, or in a popular variant, The American people in their wisdom;
(2) The Founding Fathers;
(3) Polls indicate;
(4) I promise to "X";
(5) My [Democrat/Republican] friends and I agree that; and
(6) We all know that "X."

You should pay attention to the frequency with which these or similar terms are invoked. And, finally, you should be particularly attentive to the frequency with which the Deity--or, in a paroxysm of ecumenicalism, multiple deities--are called upon for guidance.

Your turn.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, I think we've gotten to the pt that we need to criminalize short-term optimism. Here's my plan: The US sets up penguin training camps in Antarctica. If any American is heard to utter, or write, anything suggesting that things can get better in the short term (e.g. via the election of 2016), they are immediately sent to a Penguin Reeducation Camp (PRC). During their retraining, they are required to wear tuxedos and walk around like penguins. They also hafta live among the penguins, altho they can't eat them (they hafta follow a penguin diet). Then, after abt 6 mos., but probably more like 12, they can go home, but hafta continue wearing their tuxes and walking like penguins. At this pt, they can say anything optimistic they want, but it won't matter, because everyone will (rightly) laugh at them.

I envision huge PRC's, extending for thousands of acres, filled w/'progressives' (along w/millions of naive Americans), all wearing tuxedos and doing the penguin walk. Now *that* sort of reeducation might indicate that there is finally some hope for America!

mb

ps: I just re-read what I wrote, and I can't find a single thing wrong w/it. Wafers are invited to weigh in on this radical and far-sighted proposal.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/05/taxpayers_pony_up_for_jets_salutes_to_nj_national.html

I thought this was amusing. Even America's gaudy displays of flag-waving "patriotism" are fake, just another hustle bought and paid for by the Pentagon. Nothing sincere here at all. So much for supporting the troops.

This sort of martial sophistry is common at American sporting events of course. Since the average North American sports fan is a fat dumbass who would die of a hemorrhagic stroke if they attempted to do a pull-up, I never really understood the point of advertising military service to them. But apparently somebody in the DoD thinks it's productive, or maybe they just can't find any better use for their marketing budget.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

James-

1972, eh? That might be some kind of record. Even Jimmy couldn't get u to the polls?

Anyway:

(7) My name is _______, and I'm running for president;
(8) This is an exceptional country;
(9) Like Ronald Reagan, I will...;
(10) Well, you hafta be optimistic about this country. Say, whaddaya think about my tuxedo?

Edward-

Here's the brass tacks: we're an anti-society.

Miles

2:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Completely awful human beings dept.:

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/09/oprah-winfrey-neoliberal-capitalist-thinkers

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

Poor penguins.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dear All:

As much as I hate the obsession with "smart" phones, they do seem to be pulling the veil away from the myth that "we're no. 1." Watch the linked video of a woman being turned into a rag doll in front of her 6-year old. Near the end of the video, note the chief earnestly saying that "it was unfortunate that this woman hit her head and was knocked unconscious."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNp30L0TvE0

Here's the guy "folded up like origami" who died of a spinal injury a week after being placed in a paddy wagon face-down after being handcuffed and leg-shackled. His pleas for help are heartrending...

http://www.baltimoresun.com/videogallery/bal-recorded-freddie-gray-arrest-speaks-out-20150422-premiumvideo.html

Are we the greatest country in the world, or what?

7:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pat-

Ca va sans dire. (Didju know that penguins speak French?)

mb

7:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Proud 2b an American dept.:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/08/us/delaware-police-kick-video/index.html

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Dear Wafers,
If you recall from my previous post, I criticized the Teacher Appreciation Lunch thrown by the principal because she provided nothing to drink. She called me up and literally screamed at me for making such a horrendous comment.Since I will be retiring in about 5 weeks and not to make waves I said a perfunctory "sorry" and thought that was the end of it.
Apparently it wasn't. She entered my classroom on Thursday and conducted a 1 hour formal observation. I received the results on Friday and guess what? It was deemed Unsatisfactory. Now I have to meet with her this coming week with union representation to discuss my teaching methods. Next, the regional superintendent will come into my classroom and she will also conduct a formal observation. This will probably happen with only 3 weeks left before I formally retire. Most fortunately this will have no effect on my pension or other benefits. All this time, effort and ink to teach me a lesson not to complain about a lunch that did not provide something to drink.I mean are we talking monomania or what!
By the way, the principal heard of my remark from a fellow union member. A friend pointed out that the capitalist class loves informers so long as the informer does not point his or her arrow at them.
It's sad really to realize I've committed the last 25 years of my life working for a criminal organization called the public school system.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Check out this new book by Nicole Aschoff: "The New Prophets of Capital"

http://www.versobooks.com/books/1845-the-new-prophets-of-capital

Here's a bit from the book:

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/may/09/oprah-winfrey-neoliberal-capitalist-thinkers

10:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

Thanks, already cited above; but that's OK.

Dan-

This is America in microcosm, really. When you can't deal w/the things that are really impt, you focus instead (and intensively) on the ones that are trivial. Makes you feel like yr doing something. Perhaps write an article abt this?

mb

11:30 AM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

BAE has released video of an autonomous drone. No longer will a human be required to pull a trigger:

"Killer robots are weapons that would make drones look primitive. At least with the drone, there is a human being who looks at the computer screen, sees the target and pushes the buttons to fire the missiles and kill. Various militaries are doing research on weapons that would have no human being involved in the targeting and killing of human beings. We found that shocking and horrifying that people are really thinking that it is OK to give the right to target and kill human beings to machines,”

What are your thoughts on fully autonomous drones? This seems like a whole different level than the drones we already have.

http://rt.com/news/killer-robot-drone-uk-735/

12:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Dan: when an empire or civilization dies, its institutions die; and what yr going thru is the process of institutional death. This is exactly what it looks like, whether in education, the media, the courts, the military, or whatever. You might mention this to yr supervisor; well, maybe not.

mb

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

I got a magazine today in the mail, Bradley Cooper was striking a saintly pose on the cover as Chris Kyle. In disgust, I flipped it over. On the other side, a giant promotional image for the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight, with a smaller ad for 50 Shades of Grey. Now, I think boxing's a fine sport and all, and I certainly do NOT agree with Chris Hedge's horrible column on 50 Shades, but you've got a pretty convincing argument for a culture of violence right there!

People get awfully uncomfortable when you mention how scummy these obscenely paid athletes are, though. Mayweather has had 7 arrests or citations for violence against women, and no one likes you to bring this up, even Pacquaio fans! Though it isn't as bad as American Sniper and Chris Kyle. Everyone's heard how Abby Martin is getting serious death threats on sniper forums, right? I forget who referred to the "fascist death cult" springing up around the film, but it seems apt.

Looking back on the violent reactions I got a few months ago for criticizing the mush-brained movie, I wonder if these American Sniper fans are subconsciously reacting to the fact that America LOST both wars Chris Kyle was in. Sure, he was a hell of a shot, and sure, he saved plenty of servicemember's lives... but Iraq is slowly being taken over by ISIS. Afghanistan ain't much better. Is all this angry bravado really just about the failure of our military response?

Do you all think this is why Americans are going so insane over this movie? Is it a cinematic attempt to overcome Vietnam Syndrome, the way the racist film Black Hawk Down rewrote America's defeat at the Battle of Mogadishu?

3:34 PM  
Anonymous SeanKerrigan.com said...

Looking at the use of automated drones, it seems like a new frontier of cataclysm, but really, it's just the natural progression of a long arc of civilization -- efficiency through quantifiable values. Whether it be the slave masters whip or corporate culture, the goal of civilization has always been to control people for material gains, more specifically, to increase efficiency. When machines are more efficient at doing anything, including killing, they replace men.

I fear the *real* revolutionary change will be the creation of a networked hive-mind (not dissimilar to the Borg from Star Trek). That would be in line with the overarching trend, and could come to pass in my lifetime (I'm 31), but it would also be fundamentally different because we can't possibly predict what the motivations of such a creature would be. If I were a religious man, I would probably take a long hard look at Revelations for clues. It's hard not to see such events as apocalyptic.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Zeke-

As America slowly implodes from within, and Americans' lives become more untenable and dysfunctional, there is very little people have to hang onto. The *meaning* of the US--if indeed there ever was one, beyond hustling--has evaporated, and in general the country is in a mode of semi-controlled hysteria. In such a context, the military becomes our last bastion of 'hope', esp. since, truth be told, we haven't won a single significant war since WW2. It's a thin reed, but most Americans probably cling to the image of "the power and the glory," and this is why crap like "Sniper" has such a mass appeal--i.e, as a kind of life raft. The fact is that only my America trilogy, or bks in that genre, offer any real hope, if hope = reality, because what they try to do is get Americans to rethink our national narrative. But the problems inherent in that are quite formidable, for the following reasons:

1. Intellectually speaking, this is more than Americans can handle. Most of them don't read bks anymore (just screens), and can't handle polysyllabic words. If u were to go out onto the street, as Jay Leno usta do, and ask people what a narrative was, they wd draw a blank. Thus, how are they possibly going to contemplate an *alternative* narrative, if they can't even define the word 'narrative'?

2. Ontologically speaking, rethinking the standard (dominant) narrative is also quite unlikely, because of the success of the American Dream as a snow job. The stats of American failure are all there: in education, criminal justice system, corruption of the media, and so on; but Americans can't tolerate this type of data, because letting it in generates an excruciating psychological crisis. Instead, they just plug their ears and yell "USA! USA!" louder and louder.

No individual in therapy can change for the better unless they can, session after session, manage to see thru their own (faulty) narrative; become transparent to themselves, in short. Well, the same applies to empires, or even nations. Repair, or transformation, requires diagnosis, and this is way beyond most Americans, both intellectually and spiritually. Our collective demise is thus unavoidable. But in the meantime, we have stuff like "Sniper" to give us a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

In other words, what is required is a transvaluation of values. Chris Kyle wd hafta be seen as psychotic, and Chelsea Manning as a hero. Ronald Reagan wd hafta be seen as a douche bag, and Jimmy Carter as a visionary. And so on. Not gonna happen.

mb

4:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Interesting piece (think secession):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-end-of-britain-as-we-know-it/2015/05/10/1c82b4ea-f716-11e4-a13c-193b1241d51a_story.html?hpid=z2

12:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A real brain trust they got down there in Georgia:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/05/07/teacher-accused-of-putting-autistic-child-in-trash-can-comparing-him-to-oscar-the-grouch/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/05/10/apologetic-georgia-principal-blames-the-devil-for-racist-remark-at-graduation-ceremony/?tid=pm_pop_b

Real cutting-edge intellects, I tell ya.

mb

12:11 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Under the heading "This is some fucked up shit, yo" the following:

http://www.scout.com/story/1545004-nfl-teams-paid-to-thank-troops-at-games

O&D, O&D.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

It doesn't get more hollow than this, does it? And it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that we are in serious decline. Everywhere u turn in the US, it's bullshit and more bullshit.

mb

10:10 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Zimmerdouche Dept:

http://rt.com/usa/257573-zimmerman-shooting-police-florida/

Jesus, this guy deserves his own department...

Miles

3:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

This is like a Dostoyevsky novel. The guy feels guilty for having killed Trayvon, so he keeps trying to get arrested to assuage his conscience. I think he shd be required to wear a sign that says, "I am Zimmerdouche."

mb

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Edward- the homeless woman in your comment serves as a Rorscach or some other kind of projective test. You sa " tell me about this thing" and what is said tells you a lot about the person looking at the ink blot (or whatever.)
Homelessness in the US is complicated. One way of looking at it is as "a feature, not a bug." That is, it serves as a warning to ordinary drone folks that , unless they play ball, that it could be them on the streets. There's so much in what you describe- not just the juxtaposition of the stadium with its facilities that are used maybe 6 hours every 2 weeks- likely built or heavily subsidized with taxpayer $- and a simple case of basic human needs.
There have always been american people who lack shelter. When was it that we birthed this concept of "The Homeless?" I g
I'd guess that it was during the 80's when St. Ronnie was in charge.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I've been re-reading Raoul Vaneigem's Revolution of Everyday Life (first published in 1968) these days. He seems like a proto-Wafer, as he writes such lines as:

"The role compensates for a lack: ultimately, for the lack of life; more immediately, for the lack of another role. A worker conceals his prostration beneath the role of foreman, and the poverty of this role itself beneath the incomparably superior image of a late-model car. But every role is paid for by self-injury (overwork, the renunciation of 'luxuries', survival, etc.). At best it is an ineffective plug for the gaping wound left by the vampirization of the self and of real life. The role is at once a threat and a protective shield. Its threatening aspect is only felt subjectively, however, and does not exist officially. Officially, the only danger lies in the loss or devaluation of the role: in loss of honour, loss of dignity, or (happy phrase!) loss of face. This ambiguity accounts to my mind for people's addiction to roles. It explains why roles stick to our skin, why we give up our lives for them. They impoverish real experience but they also protect this experience from becoming conscious of its impoverishment. Indeed, so brutal a revelation would probably be too much for an isolated individual to take. Thus roles partake of organized isolation, of separation, of false union, while compensation is the depressant that ensures the realization of all the potentialities of inauthenticity, that gets us high on identification. "

Some of the writing is a bit sophomoric, yet obscure, but there are sparkly gems here and there.
http://library.nothingness.org/articles/SI/en/display/56

In the "One step forward, two steps back" department, last week the province of Alberta tossed out the 45-year Conservative Party dynasty in favour of the leftish NDP, but today, Canadian Prime Minister Harper is going to make the BDS movement illegal under "hate speech" laws.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa-cites-hate-crime-laws-when-asked-about-its-zero-tolerance-for-israel-boycotters-1.3067497

I'd advise against visiting Canada, Herr Belman, as your criticisms of Israel could get you labelled an anti-Semite here.

O&D

5:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Well, I ain't pro-Zionist, at least not in contemporary terms. I wonder if Harper's govt makes these sorts of distinctions.

As for the US, action after action by the govt reflects a certain type of fragility. It's like they are doing everything they can to hold the narrative together--a narrative that is full of holes. Consider this:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/05/11/guilty-embarrassing-government-cia-whistleblower-gets-42-month-sentence

mb

6:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

When pigs fly dept.:

So I'm rdg Irvin Yalom's bk, "Staring at the Sun," and (he's a psychiatrist) he describes a patient of his, James, an attorney who has been coming to him for a few sessions now. James believes in a lot of New Age claptrap: astral projection, Atlantis, life after death, UFO's, and so on. Yalom is a secular humanist, but he makes it a practice not to get into arguments w/his patients abt religion or their belief systems. However, James finally challenges him, says he really wants to know what Yalom thinks abt all this. As politely as he can, Yalom tells him that he regards all of it as unmitigated dog poop. At this pt, much to Yalom's astonishment, James begins to sob. After he finished, Yalom asked him what that was all abt. James replied:

"I've been waiting so long for this conversation...have waited so long to have a serious intellectual conversation abt things that have depth. Everything around me, our whole culture--TV, video games, porno--is so dumbed down. Everything I do at work, all the minutiae of contracts and lawsuits and divorce mediation--it's all money, it's all shit, it's all abt nothing, all so meaningless."

What a breakthru, eh? To realize that (a) American culture is a degraded pile of crap; (b) it's impossible to have a serious conversation with practically anyone in that culture; and (c) his job as a lawyer was defined by hustling, nothing more, and as a result, was meaningless.

The breakthru was twofold: what it means to have someone take u seriously, have a real--and deep--conversation w/u; and the recognition that America was a land of hooey.

Now imagine that 320 million people go thru Yalom's office, have this revelation, and reject the whole 9 yards: 'progress', the American Dream, Kim's buttocks, all of our institutions, our phony wars, etc. 320 million Wafers, 320 million NMI's. What a world that wd be, eh?

I have a feeling that day is a ways down the rd...

mb

12:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to all Waferinos:

On May 15 I'll be taking big silver bird into sky, to touch down in Amsterdam. Holland for a wk, then Lake District in UK. Hence, best thing wd be 4 us 2 take a little blog holiday, or Waferbreak, for abt 2 wks. I may get to an Internet cafe from time to time, but in general will probably be out of action until abt May 31. I thank u all 4 yr patience.

mb

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Dr. B.- short of being stuck I with a bunch of tourists (see Monty Python travel agent sketch on you tube) there's no doubt that yo'll have a great time over there. Here's wishing you a safe trip. Looking forward to your observations next month.

1:01 PM  
Blogger jml said...

"American culture is a degraded pile of crap"

In case anyone needed any convincing of this, yesterday Kanye West was actually given an honorary doctorate degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the oldest art schools in the country. He's now Dr. West.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/32700848/kanye-west-gets-honorary-doctorate-degree-in-chicago

1:22 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

MB,
While in Amsterdam I recommend checking out Sama Sebo, a great Indonesian restaurant near the Rijksmuseum (Pieter Cornelisz Hoofstraat 27, accessible by frequent tram lines 2 and 5). We had the traditional rijsttafel ("rice table"), about 15 small dishes with rice, with lots of beer. Service is attentive and excellent, but the place is crowded in the evening so reservations are probably a good idea. Happy travels, after finishing the superb NB you deserve a trip.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jml-

Hard to hold back the vomit. What do American awards mean, anymore, really?

mb

1:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack-

That sounds divine. My friend and I are going to the Late Rembrandt show at the Rijks on May 17, so that might be the time to pork out.

mb

3:19 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Have a good and restful trip Dr. B, If you're still on a museum kick try the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.

I'm stuck going through the living hell of trying to find a new apartment, I tell you people just have no care for their fellow humans "I don't have to work tomorrow so I'll make all my neighbors suffer, go USA!" ... I know what will cheer me up, some deli meat research!

Best deli in Amsterdam, click, click. The anonymous internet come up with:

http://www.sal-meijer.com/english/index.php

report back on their half liver, half corned beef!

3:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jwo-

Haarlem is only 20 mins away by train, so we just might do that. I'm also thinking a lot abt bami goreng these days.

mb

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Laughtears said...

MB and WAFers -John Gray reviews David Graeber's new book. Looks pretty interesting, forgetting the little bout of unpleasantness he tried to stir up around here last year -

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/06/the-utopia-of-rules-on-technology-stupidity-and-the-secret-joys-of-bureaucracy-david-graeber-review

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

A teacher was out for a few months because of "nervous exhaustion" meaning a nervous breakdown.During the time she was out, the school got a new teacher to take her place. Yesterday the former teacher returned expecting to resume teaching her class. The principal (yes, the same one who threw a fit over my water remark) told her she was not to return to her class and just cover classes if a teacher is absent with the remark, " I don't want you to go back to your class since real instruction is now going on there." What a lovely first day back at work. One thing Americans are expert at, and upper middle class pre-teen girls are the Michael Jordan of this, is the art of the hurt. They now exactly when to say or do something to destroy someone's confidence.
A small but indicative story. A kindergarten class was pracicing their graduation song. They were singing and dancing to the Hokey Pokey. It was cute beyond words, truly a precious moment. This one particular class had a student teacher, a girl in her 20's. During the entire practice this piece of crap was on her cell phone texting missing a near transformative experience. What a worthless piece of protoplasmic puke! I love alliteration.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

This is the kind of thing that is largely absent from cultures such as Mexico or Japan, in my experience. In the US, routine conversation is hurtful or insulting, w/o the participants even realizing it. One-upsmanship, put-downs, and competitiveness are as normal as "pass the salt." You can't measure this, like the GDP; but when one factors in the intangibles, like the quality of human relationships, America is indeed a failed society.

mb

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Pretty crazy train derailment in Philadelphia, near me. So far 6 killed, 200+ badly injured. Its unclear what caused the crash, my guess is poor track maintenance. Did anyone on this blog link to John Oliver's bit on INFRASTRUCTURE, the 'film', a few weeks back? Things really are just falling apart. And apparently the GOP right after this tragedy cut more than a quarter-billion dollars from AMTRAKs anemic budget. I've heard that they cut an even larger chunk out not too long ago, but can't confirm. Of course, you can't avoid the fact that they're making these cuts under a larger budget deal that Obama went along with.

Events like these are pretty much the only time cable news is worth a damn. After about five minutes of watching they left the coverage so a pretty female anchor could go over their online poll. "Should train passengers be required to wear seatbelts?" 52% of uninformed respondents bored enough to vote say no, 48% yes. Thankfully they cut to commercial break before they started reading tweets on-air.

Unfortunately, the commercial was one of MSNBC's many energy advertisers. The tv was on mute but judging from the montage (friendly looking fracking well, woman in hard hat, high-tech fuel pipeline, modern and idyllic looking schools & homes that only exist on draftsmen tables, a close up of the American flag, starbursts of fireworks) the basic thrust was that we need fracking to continue our progressively improving American way of life. That this is worth a few busted well casings and the rising rate of breast cancer in Pennsylvania was, I believe, merely implied.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Have a wonderful holiday. I know you'll certainly enjoy being around some of the happiest people on the planet.

Turns out, that the Dutch have found a nice balance between work and the important things in life by opting to work part-time:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/05/economist-explains-12?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/ee/st/whysomanydutchpeopleworkparttime

Perhaps you'll find a quiet cafe, a pile of bami goreng, and lazy afternoons w/a beautiful blonde Dutch Tina Fey look-alike...

Cheers,

Miles

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Bill L. Lennington said...

MB - Any plans for your travel reading? Or are you just picking miscellaneous things up along the way?

12:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

A history of Amsterdam by Geert Mak, and a novel called "Rembrandt's Whore." They are both pretty gd. On Lake District: so far, "The Maid of Buttermere," by Melvyn Bragg, which was just OK.

Jeff-

I wonder if Tina has a Dutch sister...

mb

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

A friend loved this place.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kröller-Müller_Museum

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

We loved the Lake District when we visited - some great hikes on the fells - and subsequently picked up Hunter Davies "A Walk Around the Lakes" which was recommended. Supposed to be very good. You may want to give that a try. (Davies's main claim to fame is as author of the authorized biography of The Beatles.)

4:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kev-

I also read "Unruly Times," by A.S. Byatt, which I greatly enjoyed.

Dawg-

Many thanks. I doubt we'll get much outside of Amsterdam, except for Haarlem, to see the Frans Hals Museum.

Anyway, Wafers, tomorrow morning I take the big silver bird into the sky, winding up in Amsterdam on the 16th. Will try to keep tabs on u all, but finding Internet cafes cd be iffy, I dunno. So perhaps make next 2 wks a kind of Waferbreak, and I'll be back in biz for sure on June 3. Remember to have fun during these 2 wks. One thing that drives trollfoons abs. nuts is when Wafers enjoy themselves. And when trollfoons suffer, the planet benefits; how cd it be otherwise? So let's all have a great fortnight, improving the general condition of Mother Earth.

mb

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

MB:

I'm shocked no one has weighed in on the upcoming boxing match between Mittney and Evander Holyfield. I couldn't believe it when I saw that but its true. Its for charity which I think was the basis of his economic philosophy on social insurance. At least he's willing to take a punch for his beliefs! Now if only we could dispense with the charade of elections and have the candidates duke it out. We could all bet on it. That might be more lucrative for the american public.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Haven't read such a good article in a while:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/15/selfie-economics/

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Sour Krauss said...

I came upon this quotation from Karl Krauss recently, and thought that it would resonate with most of the folks here (obviously, one can take the reference to "God" metaphorically):

"God created man not as a consumer or producer but rather as a human being. That the means of life should not be the goal of life. That the stomach should not outgrow the head. That life is not exclusively based on the profit motive. That a human being is allotted time in order to have time and not to arrive somewhere faster with his legs than with his heart.”

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Rosegarden said...


Dan,

I am sorry that you have had such a hard time recently. Everyone should be able to retire with dignity. I feel badly for you and the teacher who was returning from sick leave. When I began teaching in 1967, I worked with a woman who did not get married for 10 years as she waited for the law to be changed so that she could keep her job after marriage. The little ladies with blue-tinted hair told of their early days when there was no tenure or contracts. Each teacher walked into the boiler room where the school board members sat with their feet up on the fender, smoking cigars. The teacher stood and begged for a job. Money was not discussed. In August if a school board member had a friend who needed a job, he or she got yours.

In the 1970s and ’80s the problem was maternity leave. You were made to feel like a bad mother if you returned to the classroom. You were supposed to go away so the job could go to someone younger (cheaper.) As punishment, you did not get back the same classroom, building, or grade. Most of us elementary teachers had spent our own money on books for the classroom library, games, and manipulatives. It was really hard to get them back, unless your name was on every piece. Those were the days when we were walking the picket line. Our hard-earned gains, such as they were, now seem feeble. I feel like the lifetime efforts of two generations (80 years) are being washed away.

I have talked to nurses who have a similar feeling of loss.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Jarid Wagner said...

I read "Staring at the Sun" years ago ! It had a real profound impact on me. I still remember the Epicurus quotes and his philosophy. The lawyer James was a good one. I liked the lady who comes to accept transience as she sold her house. Freud is to sex as Yalom is to death. Thinking about mortality much or just thought it'd be a good read?

7:37 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

These guys urgently need to be recruited among Wafers!

http://tech.co/theres-stupid-shit-no-one-needs-terrible-ideas-hackathon-2015-04

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hello Waferinos-

This is my last day in Amsterdam, heading to north of England tomorrow morning. Amst. is a very relaxed, friendly, live and let live kinda place. Enjoyed walking along the canals, hanging out in coffee houses, etc. But best part by far was my encounter w/Rembrandt. I think I saw the originals only once b4, yrs ago, in NY. Hard to believe anyone cd paint like that, and what u.c. across the board is a spiritual vision, even in the secular paintings--such as his portrait of his friend Jan Six, or the Blond Man, or "The Scholar in His Study"--which shows R's belief that intellectual activity hasta be inspired, or illuminated; sacred humanism, in my own terminology. Then a couple of hrs at Rembrandt's house, which is very moving; you get an idea of R as a person. A great trip so far. Hope u guys are all doing well, and I'll try to write something from England.

Tot ziens,
mb

5:27 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Kinda Blue Dept.:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/world/asia/bin-ladens-bookshelf-reflects-his-fixation-on-west.html

What? No DAA on Bin Laden's bookshelf? This is upsetting news...

Miles

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Low Brows said...

Speaking of some fine art:

Was following along and becoming nauseous watching those Sothebys / Chrisities auctions last week (probably just from the liquidity alone!). Picasso's Le Femmes D'Alger sold for $179,000,000 ! ! ! ! !


Then some Rothkos going for $81,000,000 ! ! !

Super money flowing into the art "world", again. They say some of these (Cezanne etc.) will start selling for half a billion in a few years. Some nice Mondrians though...

7:45 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

"Haven't read such a good article in a while:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/15/selfie-economics/"

Kanye - I have to disagree strongly with your take here; This is ineffectual, slipshod "progressive" hand-wringing about greed at its worst; The desire for profit has been roughly constant throughout American history - Am I really supposed to believe that the financial crisis happened because Goldman Sachs was more greedy and unscrupulous in 2008 than it was in 2003? The misallocation of economic resources, the failure of education, the incapacity to properly regulate banks - somehow this is less of a problem than Paulsen shorting worthless MBS? You can of course tie our current predicament to a larger culture of "every man for himself", but this is a stupid and irrelevant way of doing so;

"Do GDP and bond yields mark the health of a person, a nation, a world?"

Actually, both of these measures at this moment correctly indicate that the world economy is pretty much screwed;

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Lacan-Or-Lacan't said...

Hey Dr B --

I've just finished Bruce Fink's book on the Lacanian Subject. Thought it was really helping me understand Lacan with more nuance, when my girlfriend's father noticed I had read it, and he sent me this article that is very critical of Lacan's whole life. I assume u'd probably disagree w/ it, I've noticed u reference Lacan before, but was wondering if you had any comments.

My take is that he was a flawed man with some smart and sharp insights. Like most.

http://www.psychiatrie-und-ethik.de/infc/en/Shrink_from_Hell.htm

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Rosegarden,
With the principal fully aware that I was retiring in June, she nevertheless conducted a formal observation in early May. I mean why? Observations are designed to inform the teacher what areas of instruction he or she needs to improve upon. Of course my lesson was rated unsatisfactory. I mean God forbid a first grader should be momentarily off-task. And then my lesson did not provide enough"rigor" which is a word administrators throughout the country use, by the way. I work in the poorest section of the city with homes that have not one book; family members in jail, on probation, or waiting trial; and she's concerned about the lack or rigor in my room.
So I'm scheduled to meet with her for my post-observation conference. The day before my conference the vice-principal suddenly appears and he conducts a further observation. Is this Kafkaesque or what? Most tenured teachers have 2 observations in a year. I'm now experiencing 2 observations in a month with only a few weeks before retirement. Word to the wise, Wafers: Don't mention the lack of something to drink at a principal sponsored lunch even if the main course is sand. You will deeply regret it.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Pls note that I don't post Anons. You need a real handle.

Wafers-

Am now in Lake District, UK. Very hard to locate Internet connections here. Pls hold off on messages to the blog until June 1st, if possible. Thanks.

mb

6:47 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

New Monastic Individuals...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w6QYPzF2TI

4:06 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

Hedges was just on the show "On Point" talking about revolution. They introduced him as a newly ordained minister(?)

What's your latest take on these protests in Baltimore? It seems like Hedges is trying to take this and spin it to say, "the revolution is coming!" when the message of the protesters has nothing to do w/ systemic change beyond claims of racist cops, and I'm fairly sure at least 99% of America does not agree w/ the protesters on any level. You don't see anyone out there protesting capitalism! If anything, people just want a bigger slice of the pie, they aren't critical of that pie!!

I keep thinking you're right - it's way past time to leave America. The dialogue and state of things just gets worse all the time.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

I cannot claim to be much of a scholarly sort of intellectual but I at least dabble in the world of ideas from time to time. I recently decided to at least peruse the Wikipedia pages of Louis Hartz, C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hostadter, all of which you claim as major influences pertaining to your "Why America Failed" trilogy.

All 3 of those men I found interesting but in particular I very much enjoyed reading about Hofstadter, his leftist background (like my mother, Jean Bernstein, who was briefly a member of the Communist Party and who voted for Henry Wallace for president in 1948), Hofstadter's disdain for capitalism, but also his rejection of a view of political history based primarily around class struggle in favor of his consensus history perspective.

Hofstadter comes across as warm, funny, balanced, compassionate and analytical. I would have liked him.

When reading about intellectuals of the past and perusing their ideas, I keep experiencing the same uneasiness, related to the notion that we are living in an age of ecological crises which are likely to trump everything else. Ecological catastrophe looms large as a backdrop against which all other human events (political, economic, sociological, historical, etc.) are to be perceived. If you go back just 50 years, ecological crises (global human population, pollution, species extinction, deforestation, desertification, ocean acidification, climate change, etc.) were there but they were not so poignant, and intellectuals (such as the 3 mentioned above) could spend their time analyzing plenty of ideas divorced from the questions pertaining to mass extinctions, the deterioration of industrial civilization and a possible catastrophic die-off of much of humanity.

Have you experienced a similar kind of unease, foreboding, anxiety, etc.?

Some authors such as Christian Parenti attempt to relate ecological processes to the dynamics of political, economic and sociological changes. It's not a totally new field of research but there is novelty within such a venture.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons. Pls pick a real handle and try again.

Marc, lack, and other Wafers-

Am currently in Lake District. Pls hold off messages until June 2nd, when I'll be back home, thanks. Re: Hedges: he has clearly entered Fantasy Land, the Land of Magical Thinking, where wishes become 'reality'. This is sad.

Went to Grasmere today, where Wordsworth is buried. Went to an art gallery there. In the corner, a low wooden table for children, with pencils, paper, and crayons. Two tots, abt 5 yrs old, boy and girl, sat there intently, doing art. If this were the US, they wd be staring into screens.

mb

10:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I got a kick outta Chris Hedges' column on Truthdig, May 24, cautioning against unwarranted optimism and the "mania for hope." Jesus, he's been a major proponent of both, at least up to now (we're on the verge of revolution, Wall St. is "quaking in its boots," some girl in Seattle has the Power Elite terrified, OWS and/or Ferguson will change everything, etc.). Perhaps he is evolving: going from preacher and journalist (and as of late, mostly the former) to historian. I guess stranger things have happened; but whatever the reason for this wake-up/massive reversal, it's a welcome change (altho some might call it opportunism, an attempt to ride the edge of real insight). We won't get anywhere until we examine *why* we are stuck, *why* America failed, what the mechanisms of resistance are, and so on. And I think it takes real historical analysis to do that (which in turn requires years of study), not preaching or journalism. Hopefully Hedges will call for a major conference to raise these issues, from which anyone who has any short-term optimism, including all 'progressives', will be debarred. (Given most of his writings over the past 2 yrs, of course, this might lead to *his* being debarred as well; but then life is filled with great--and very amusing--ironies.)

12:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What the world needs more of dept.:

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jun/01/kim-kardashian-pregnant-second-child

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Deluded to the very end said...

Thanks to fellow WAFers for your insights abt bodywork.

Mr.B,

I think it was on TRoTW you mentioned eastern philosophy as underground narrative in "revolutionary" movements. Cd you recommend me something to read a little bit more abt that?

thanks in advance

PS -- "Depression and the body" is a personal favourite.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

OK, Waferinos: I'm back home, ready to continue our venture into charting the collapse of the Empire, as well as hammering the trollfoons into the ground. It's like breathing oxygen once again!

Altho my forays into Amsterdam and the UK Lake District were hits of O2 as well. A great holiday, tho now I need the proverbial holiday from my holiday, as it was all pretty tiring for an old man such as moi. I went w/a friend of nearly 50 yrs, who did all the driving in England, thank god (I'm not great at driving on left-hand side of rd). On Coniston Water, I revisited Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin, which I found just as inspirational the 2nd time around. One museum has works by Kurt Schwitters; it turns out that he spent the last few yrs of his life in the L.D. But the real motherlode of the L.D. is the sheer beauty of the countryside: I think Wordsworth called Grasmere "the fairest place on earth." The light, my god, the light. It's all too much.

Deluded-

If I did say that, I now have no idea of what I meant by it; so I can't really help you here. But check out ch. 5 of my Japan bk; perhaps that might be useful, I dunno.

mb

6:09 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello MB and Wafers!

MB-

Welcome back. Nice to read that you had a terrific holiday. In between Kim's pregnancy and Bruce's transition, it's been same ol' same ol' for the nation...

Anyway, some rapper, Rob Hustle (nice name), managed to compile some amazing footage of police violence in America:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlY9C6pzxKc

Marc-

Well, it's a small world... I'm sure your mother and I have crossed paths on many occasions. I was a good friend of Tim Carpenter, and active in the Orange County peace and justice movement in the late 1980s and 1990s. I'm sure that you're aware of this, but Tim shoved off about a year ago, sad to say. Other than your dear mother, Jeanie, was there *anyone* more dedicated to saving the world than Tim? Here's an article about his passing:

http://www.gazettenet.com/home/11772536-95/northampton-resident-tim-carpenter-founder-of-the-progressive-democrats-of-america-dies-monday-after

Miles

ps:

Jesus, I've been thinking about this lyric for two weeks, so here goes:

Forget about the past and all your sorrows,
The future won't last,
It will soon be over tomorrow...

~Ringo, 1971

2:09 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

I came across this wonderful photograph of the "comedic" actress Melissa McCarthy and instantly thought of the blog:

http://cdn.indiewire.com/dims4/INDIEWIRE/5f82364/2147483647/crop/674x474%2B11%2B0/resize/680x478/quality/75/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fd1oi7t5trwfj5d.cloudfront.net%2Fe4%2F21%2Ffb3cda4d40ce9c741f825077266d%2Fspy-melissa-mccarthy-r-1400.jpg

America incarnate, no? Perhaps a potential cover for MB's forthcoming Douchebags on Parade.
Maybe when the next Bush/Clinton enters the WH, they can have a bust of her placed in
the Oval, or have her pose for one of those fabulous oil paintings (I was thinking
they cld put her between Ronnie and George, but suggestions are welcome).

8:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

AS-

This is gd, but for the best view (imo) of where America is headed, google Shaneka Torres and look deeply into her eyes. Why she's not running for pres is completely beyond me.

mb

10:43 PM  
Blogger Val said...

Yes, there's something spookily bovine (or porcine?) about the blankness of Shaneka's expression. It's like there's nobody at home behind those eyes, except maybe a lumbering baby that likes to use automatic weapons when deprived of lollipops. A Torres presidency would surely be a big shot in the arm for standard American foreign policy. She has my vote!

As for the Melissa McCarthy photo, I think we need to put on our Symbology hats and consider what is represented by the bat which is evidently the cause of her consternation. Is it the American id unveiled, exposed to the light of day that it cannot stand, or does it signify the sinister Other, in contradistinction to which our heroical national character is formed - Vlad the Bad in the shape of a flying rodent, as it were? Or does it mean that she and we are batshit crazy? Much Learned discourse on this puzzling topic is warranted, methinks.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers everywhere:

I am so glad you have returned Dr. B. and that this blog is cranking up once again. I missed it so! In your absence I have come up with what I think might be a good idea for Wafers. I would like to produce a small quantity of Shaneka Torres for President bumper stickers for the Wafer community. I would be proud to paste one on my minivan. I could go with a simple "Shaneka Torres 2016" sticker or maybe Shaneka Torres / Lorenzo Riggins 2016. I would offer these for sale for a very reasonable price on amazon.com or some other e-commerce website to cover production costs. Any profits would be used to come up with a line of Torres/Riggins 2016 t-shirts. What do Wafers think? Would you buy one? What should the party name be - something like Guns 'n Bacon maybe? Or maybe Free the Fast Food Party? Let me hear from you. I am 100% serious about this. I will campaign hard for a Torres/Riggins ticket.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rusty-

What Wafer wd not applaud yr efforts? I also suggest thinking abt Shaneka coffee mugs and a range of pasta sauces eventually down the line. We also need to hire Latreasa Goodman as Business Manager. Our name? Fast Food Liberation Party (FFLP).

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh
FFLP is gonna win!

mb

10:49 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

America Today Dept.:

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/america-1-police-killings-among-western-democracies-yet-were-only-just-discovering

Rusty, MB, Wafers-

How about:

SHANEKA 4 PREZ 2016
Bacon, Bullets, Bitchassity

Miles

12:02 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Welcome back from your travels.

I am just finishing Views from a Window: Conversations with Gore Vidal. It is a compilation of various interviews with Vidal from the 1970s.

Vidal was responding to a question from the Playboy interviewer as to why he, a self-described liberal, thought that the belief that things could be made better was "unfashionable."

"Playboy: Why? Because the conservatives are in power?

Vidal: Yes, and because they mean to do nothing, while the lively new radicals of the left have given up. The conservatives are now tending toward fascism--crack down on dissent, support your local police, disobey the Supreme Court--while the New Left wants to destroy the entire system. Emotionally, I'm drawn to the New Left. I would certainly go to the barricades for any movement that wants to sweep away the Pentagon, Time magazine, and frozen French fried potatoes, But what is to take its place? The New Left not only have no blueprint, they don't WANT a blueprint. Let's just see what happens, they say. Well, I can tell them what will happen: first anarchy, then dictatorship. They are rich in Tom Paines, but they have no Thomas Jefferson."

The book focusses a good deal on Vidal's literary works, but contains a fair amount of his political views and social commentary. Many of his views would resonate with WAFer themes and ideas, I believe.

A quick search in abebooks shows there are multiple copies available in good condition at under $10, should any of you be interested.

O&D.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Well, Gore was certainly no fool. I'm happy to say that he did a very positive article on DAA, in 2006, noting my discussion/evidence of how dumb Americans were. Shortly after, in an interview in Toronto w/the Globe & Mail (June 9-10), he called the US "a nation of morons," adding that "stupidity excites me." Definitely my kinda guy.

The question of revolutions going bad is an old one, but very instructive, for the reasons he mentions: no post-rev blueprint. Marx's analysis of capitalism was obviously brilliant (altho he left out the powerful holds of religion and nationalism, and did not pay any attention to the environment--wh/John Ruskin, around the same time, did), but his prediction of what wd follow--"dictatorship of the proletariat"--was too vague to give us anything useful. But a # of things come to mind:

1. What country are we talking abt? Rev is v. unlikely in core countries, such as the US; it has a greater chance in peripheral countries, such as parts of Asia and Latin America.

2. As for the US, a "nation of morons" is hardly dry tinder for rev, but it *is* dry tinder for fascism. Any rev that might occur in the US is 1000x more likely to happen from the rt than the left, esp. when there is no left. "Progressive" advocacy of revolution in America is surely an irresponsible act; what we wd get is far worse than what we have now, and that's saying a lot.

3. Historically, rev requires 3 things: widespread dissatisfaction w/the status quo, or reigning ideology; a revolutionary cadre willing to organize the masses and go to the barricades; the willingness of the military and police to defect to the other side, or at least hold their fire. None of these conditions exist in the US. If there is widespread dissatisfaction, for example, it is not with the American Dream.

What thus needs to happen is not rev, but Dual Process, as we've discussed here a # of times; and that is going on as we speak. "Progressives" who sit around dreaming of left-wing rev or socialism or radical left-wing social change, are living in fantasy; which makes them feel gd, but that's hardly the pt.

4. And what wd socialism accomplish, anyway? Most of the expts we've had to date have been failures, and even successes wd have been failures, imo, because the goal--redistribution of wealth, even if impt--is so limited. Socialism is still about industrial productivity, hustling, and eco-techno-expansion; it's not really abt a different way of life. Once again, I'll take Ruskin over Lenin any day o' the wk. Which is why I went to the Lake District and visited Ruskin's grave, and his house. I don't have much interest in checking out the Kremlin.

mb

5:39 PM  
Blogger jml said...

Regarding Ruskin:
Did you see the recent movie "Turner" about the painter JMW Turner? The subject of the movie is seeing and curiosity, really looking and observing life, all of which is nonexistent in our culture where people are constantly staring at their phones, oblivious to what is around them. It seems to also be a subtle critique of technology. It includes a scene where Turner is photographed and confronted w/ this new, fast form of image-making and doesn't quite know what to make of it. One can't watch the film w/o concluding that we have lost so much. Of course, in the US, the main criticism of the moving was that it was boring because "nothing" happened in it. Go figure. I think you would like it.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jml-

Yes, I did see it, and thought it was great...except for the depiction of Ruskin, which I thought was inaccurate and unfair. He was, after all, a champion of Turner when everyone else was criticizing him (or worse).

As for US critique of the film...again, why is it that Americans are so stupid? Over the yrs I've sent my agent 2-3 terrific novels, written by friends of mine, and in each case he said: "Too quiet." Which is code for: "I can't sell these, since Americans just want 'action', and are too dumb to appreciate these finely-wrought bks." If I ever do write "Bozo Nation," it'll hafta be a 6-vol work, each vol 1000 pages long. Shaneka Torres will take up at least 500 pp.

mb

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

"A Georgia man openly carried a fully loaded AR-15 semiautomatic rifle into Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest in the world.

Jim Cooley was armed with the weapon -- complete with an extended capacity 100-round drum -- when he went to drop his daughter off for a flight last Friday. Following the enactment of new state legislation in 2014, it's actually legal to carry a rifle in the open in the airport, so long as the holder doesn't attempt to pass through airport security.

Multiple police officers approached Cooley while he was in the airport and asked about the weapon, after which he replied he was carrying it for safety. Officers can be heard talking with Cooley in videos of the interactions he later uploaded to YouTube."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/03/gun-atlanta-airport-_n_7505422.html

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Deborah said...

A science teacher was suspended for using a signal jammer to block his students' cellphones.
He wrote a letter explaining that he did it to force his students to focus on their schoolwork and it was disruptive to the class to constantly be stopping to confiscate a phone.
http://rt.com/usa/264757-teacher-suspended-using-cell-jammer/

Last fall my son complained that he couldn't hear the history teacher because he sat in the back and was surrounded by girls talking on their cellphones. I contacted the teacher who happily moved him to the front of the class, but did nothing to change the cell phone habits of her students. It is truly beyond hopeless.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

We’re just around the corner from the mention of “Edward Snowden” in daily conversation becoming a federal crime in Merica:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/04/terror-prosecutors-want-edward-snowdens-name-banned-from-trial

9:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Deb-

Those are great stories, and demonstrate that the US, in culture and values, is completely upside down. When folks ask me when the collapse of the nation will happen, I say: "Just look around!" The collapse consists of tiny little events such as these; what has been called, in the case of Rome, "The death of 1000 cuts."

mb

10:08 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I just received a telephone call from a local independent bookstore, telling me they cannot place my order for "Neurotic Beauty" until they receive a 50% deposit, because the book is "print-on-demand."

Huh?

Did anyone else encounter this?

1:13 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Indeed, graviora manent, MB...aut neca aut necare.

We hafta prepare for bellum omnium contra omnes.

Ergo:

1. All Wafers must emigrate.
2. Those who can't emigrate need to be *heavily* armed.
3. Wafers supra omnia!

Miles Gloriosus

1:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Well, that's pretty lousy, for both me and the customer. I'm wondering if this has anything to do with your ordering from a Cdn bkstore.

mb

3:34 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello again (within 24 hours...sorry, sorry, mea maxima culpa) Wafers:

Dr. B. I'll ask when I go to the store later today. I don't know if there's a Canadian angle to this. I ordered "Spinning Straw into Gold" from another local indy store (the one that was torn down - there's a gravel parking lot there now), and had no problems. I just checked amazon.ca, and they don't mention having to print copies on demand.

Maybe the publisher has something to do with this?

4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

No, it *is* a print-on-demand bk, and most people just order it off Amazon, which is the easiest way. The problem w/bkstores--probably in the US as well as Can--is that they may not wanna order single copies. What they usually do is order from Amazon in bulk, what is called "Expanded Distribution." This means I make abt 10 cents per unit sale, but WTF, I'm just happy if people are rdg it. (The bkstore, of course, will still charge you the list price, sad to say.) Strange that there was no problem with SSIG, in that that too is p.o.d.; but perhaps the store had ordered a bunch via Expanded Distribution. I just wrote my publisher abt the problem, 2c if she was aware of it; but in the meantime, you probably can't fight city hall, and may hafta give the store their cruel and unjustified 50% deposit. I guess their worry is that if someone orders it and then never comes to get it, they are stuck w/a copy they had to pay for. Let me know how it turns out, in any case. Sorry yr having to go thru all this kaka.

mb

5:06 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

GVSWH ...Welcome back, Dr.B! Hope you had a grand time. Re: Dunceland being 'Ripe for fascism . It is now 'Ripe with fascism', i.e. corporate, oligarchic rule; where the tyrants are not kings, but are the 'killer elite': the sociopathic misanthropes at the top of Capitalism's food chain. ( The conflation with the death-cult Schicklegrubians has adulterated the term ).
Some have made notice more recently that Capitalism is a Mental Illness. I reason that any psych disorders are symptoms, not a definitive cause. I say that Capitalism is a Social Disease that is more of a willful choice ( in the beginning ), but becomes an addiction like any other until the 'corpus' is sick and ineffective/unworkable ( where Idiot America is now ), and death eventually
ensues ...economic, societal collapse ( coming soon ).
It will be, a 'Death of a Thousand Cuts'.
Then, the dolts will quickly learn that their fear of 'wealth redistribution' only led to 'debt redistribution', and those vested more in the scam will lose the most and be ruined.
This is the same type of collective cowards and numbskulls that Tom Paine wrote so affectionately about as American Tories.

AFA penguins, most have an incredible sense of humor ...and they had the wisdom to live separately from humans and most other creatures. They may be the most intelligent sentient beings on the planet. Look how many times they've adapted as a species on the evolutionary scale.
( I just like penguins. They're inherently funny, and among my more popular cartoons. I've avoided potential arguments by suddenly blurting "Penguins", and even most dimwits will immediately smile. Changes the subject quick, and the moron soon leaves ).

WAFer ON !

11:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Yet another reason to put Shaneka Torres in the Oval Office:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clintons-guilt-by-association/2015/06/04/bd836dc4-0b13-11e5-a7ad-b430fc1d3f5c_story.html?hpid=z3

1:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

This is a very interesting article you all might enjoy. It does a good job of showing how the Civil War dramatically accelerated the expansion of the hustling society:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/did-the-american-civil-war-ever-end/?action=click&contentCollection=Americas&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&region=Marginalia&src=me&pgtype=article

BTW, I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but Ward Moore did a novel many yrs ago in the "alternate history" genre, in which the Confederacy wins the war, and the implications of that. Very thought-provoking:

http://www.amazon.com/Bring-Jubilee-Ward-Moore/dp/143447853X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433503471&sr=1-1&keywords=bring+the+jubilee+ward+moore

mb

7:28 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Regarding depiction of Ruskin in the film "Turner":
This is a good article about how Ruskin was badly portrayed in that film and how he is badly portrayed, in general, in the modern era. He was a lover of beauty and truth, which have been all but been outlawed in our modern era; so his life and work must be tarnished and made fun of. The article includes some lovely paintings by him as well. Enjoy.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/oct/07/john-ruskin-emma-thompson-mike-leigh-film-art

9:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jml-

Thanx a million for this; a great little profile. Only error is that he did fight Effie Gray vigorously, in her lawsuit against him.

It's hard to keep the flame of JR alive, really, since he was a proto-Wafer, eschewing both socialist and capitalist formulas. Possibly the 1st person on the planet to argue that industrialization was destroying the natural environment. And a man interested in love/beauty/truth, not the hustling of either the left or rt. Consider the influence: Gandhi said that "Unto This Last" was the most impt book he ever read, and translated it into Gujarat. The Labour Party distributed his writings after WW2 to MP's, and used his ideas to fashion institutions of the welfare state, such as National Health. And yet, he remains a 'quaint' figure for those who are even aware of him, much like Thoreau (or Lewis Mumford) is in the US. As in the case of Waferdom, Ruskin is a true Third Way, offering hope to all mankind.

mb

11:07 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good day all,

MB-

A few thoughts regarding recent articles:

1. Is it me, or does Hillary kinda look like Melissa McCarthy?
2. Your analysis of the Civil War in WAF was *not* coming outta left field somewhere. This is something that you've explained ad infinitum to the trollfoons, sans success, of course. Ted Widmer better be prepared for a shitstorm coming his way, no doubt about it...

And speaking of shitstorm:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/crime-courts/akron-ohio-police-seek-man-who-defecated-cars-19-times-n322246

Also, can Shaneka be cured? PETA thinks so:

http://wisconsindailyindependent.com/hold-the-bacon-for-mcdonalds-shooter/

"Give me bacon, or give me prison!"
~Shaneka Torres, 2015

Miles

12:19 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Thanks for the link to the "Did the American Civil War Ever End" piece. I enjoyed it.

Reading the comments was rewarding, too, something that you can't always say about a comments section. I learned, among other things, that a fair number of my fellow citizens have figured out what ails the country and afflicts our body politic. The answer: southerners--or, if you prefer, Southerners. Especially white ones. Party affiliation of same seemingly not especially important. Mere "southern-ness" sufficiently indicting.

Learning this has greatly eased my mind, as I now have a better fix on the source of much of our collective misery. And knowing the source of a problem does much to help us consider it and to develop possible solutions.

Honesty--a trait that WAFers would almost certainly agree ranks at or near the top in importance in a list of virtues--compels me to full disclosure. I am a southerner (Southerner?) by birth, son of a Lebanese mother and a North Carolina-born father from a large farm family. Neither parent college-educated. Both exhibiting their own ethnic and racial prejudices, something that likely could be said of every parent who was ever born on this planet. I'd like to believe that I overcame my "southern-ness affliction" and that I'm a little better at recognizing when my prejudices emerge and at working toward that ideal of attitude and behavior that we're all hoping to achieve.

Final note. I was once in a carpool with a couple who were well-educated: he a graduate of Columbia University; she a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. ("Yankees," if you will.) I distinctly remember--and likely will never forget--remarking once during a drive to work on some article I had just read in the New Yorker. He expressed surprise: "You read the New Yorker?" I confessed that I did, but must admit to rankling just a bit that he would find this surprising.

There's a French expression "l'esprit de l'escalier" that covers that situation and my feeble "Yes." If I'd been a bit sharper that morning, I'd have responded that I got my subscription through an assumed name and via a forwarding service in a Northeastern state. I know, too sensitive, Probably. But that's who I was, and still am, truth be told.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

On Being Southern:

I grew up in the south, East Tennessee to be exact. I have lived in the north all of my adult life. When I first moved to New York City I was so excited to be going to a place where supposedly there was little racism. That illusion lasted about two weeks. In New York City there were even more ethnic groups for people to hate. Of course it was all unspoken in that few people used the "N" word or similar epithets in the normal course of conversation. It seemed like the racism was more institutionalized in NYC than it was down south. For example, all the best subway cars travelled to the more affluent (white) neighborhoods. The outer boroughs got the old clunkers from previous decades. I used to travel the CC line. It broke down frequently and delays were the norm. And then there was Harlem. Everyone knew that no white people lived north of 96th Street. I know some of this has changed in thirty years, but all the mechanisms that made it so are still very much alive in NYC. Just ask any black person there. They'll tell ya.

I'm heading down south next week for a visit. I'm so excited. A friend of mine once told me that even the air smells different down south. I'm about to test that theory out for myself.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Oracle said...

John Gray on Peter Singer's new book, and Singer's response:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jun/25/whats-left-hanging/

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/may/21/how-and-how-not-to-be-good/

9:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Oracle-

Many thanks. Gray is, as always, right on pt re: how people actually behave in the real world; Singer's 'reply' to the critique is more nonexistent than it is pathetic.

mb

10:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: the following is an interesting movement to consider:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/06/05/systemic-problems-require-systemic-solutions-time-talk-about-next-system

It could fall into the category of the encouragement of Dual Process, as I've discussed it on this blog and in ch. 7 of my Japan bk; or it cd simply be wishful thinking, 'progressive' optimism. I'll leave it to you guys to decide. Tho I shd add that when Naomi Klein had a debate with Elizabeth Kolbert in the NYRB some time ago, Liz pretty much handed Naomi her head on a platter.

In any case, the theory of Dual Process certainly agrees that systemic problems require systemic solutions.

mb

10:41 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Kolbert is spot on here. I laugh at all of the talk for need of deep systemic change from progressives. I'm not sure where Klein gets her ideas, because the possibility of deep systemic change happening in America is at best 0. I live in the NW, a place full of progressive environmentalists, but for the most part people want all the toys and gadgets - very few people really want to give up TV, cars, imported organic foods, flights to the Caribbean, electronics, Amazon, smartphones, high paying tech jobs, etc. The vast majority of people here will get angry and defensive about our way of life and how technology, innovation, and the free market will fix everything in time.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

lack-

Over and over again, I hafta say it, and the progs don' wanna hear it: consider the people who you think are ripe for radical social change. Consider who they are, what they believe, want they want out of life, and what their intelligence level is. Having done this, r.u. really sure that serious positive social change is likely, in the US? Because what you have is 320 million dummies who believe in the American Dream and think that life is about the latest electronic toy. What they want is status quo, but w/themselves on top.

Meanwhile, the cops are gunning them down in droves:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/05/police-check-on-your-grandfather-shoot-him

mb

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi MB and WAFers--

As a WAFer, I do my best to try and live a life of inner emigration (i.e., outwardly simple, inwardly rich), given my current set of circumstances. This blog and the ideas (and recommended reads and such) are a considerable support in making such a life possible.

One of the ideas I continue to revisit is the way in which we're conditioned to view ourselves in the ol' U.S. as human "do-ers" (vs. "be-ers"). In other words, not "Tell me about yourself," but "What do you do?" as the "in" to a conversation with a new acquaintance (i.e., sizing one another up in the spirit of hustling).

I share as much because of this article I found recently in the NYTimes. I'm perplexed (fascinated?) at the phenomenon . . . in other words, if we lose the capacity to define ourselves by what we do in the market economy, is the knee-jerk reaction to "pretend" to work? Is that the role of "leisure?" Hmm, I don't think the "pretend job" idea was what Aristotle had in mind when he mused that leisure's purpose was contemplation and music . . .

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/business/international/in-europe-fake-jobs-can-have-real-benefits.html?_r=0

Brian

2:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Brian-

Most Americans wd find the opener, "Tell me abt yrself," either rude or incomprehensible. And not many wd honestly reply to this request with the following: "There's nothing to tell. I'm basically a hollow shell stuffing myself with consumerism and related crap. If I recognized this on more than an intellectual level, I'd probably pack it in. Next question?"

One function of this blog, as you've basically indicated, is to get folks together who are not in that category: 164 registered Wafers, so far. Pls divide this # by 320 million and give me the %, if you have a moment.

mb

5:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Here's a great read: Julian Barnes, "Arthur & George"

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

A friend's blog is stirring up quite a big of convo, attempting to convince a Clinton supporter and a republican who voted for Mitt Romney to vote for Bernie Sanders:

"When I get into these discussions with others, this is what I tell them and it seems to work well: Bernie Sanders is called extreme by a lot of people. When I hear people say that, this is what I tell them: It is not extreme to believe that every person in America deserves to be able to see a doctor without going bankrupt. That is called being civilized. What is extreme is to say "let them die" like what was said at one of the Republican primary debates in 2012. It is not extreme to believe that everyone in America deserves the right to go to bed with full stomachs. That is called being civilized. What is extreme is to think if you can't afford food, too bad. It is not extreme to believe that everyone in America should be able to get a college education without being in debt for the next 30 years trying to pay it off. I would think that having an intelligent civilization would be a great thing. That is where innovation begins and allows the economy to thrive. That is called being civilized. It is not extreme to believe that the middle class in this country are the heart and soul of this country and our policies should be geared toward supporting them. That is called being civilized. What is extreme is believing that giving all of this country's money to the greedy 1% will actually trickle down to the other 99%.

This country needs Bernie Sanders more than ever. His policies and ideas are what we need to be leaders in a civilized world. If we do not change our direction the way Sanders wants to take us, we all will be left down on our knees looking up saying "Please sir, I want some more." If you have read Oliver Twist, you will understand that reference...and it is very fitting to where we will head without Bernie Sanders leading us."


Any comments, Dr. Berman? I've heard Ralph Nader make some remarks about Sanders (he voiced a good bit of hesitance) that seemed more accurate to my ears, also this little piece from a few years back, written by Sander's former VT colleague in dissidence, the late Thomas Nayler:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/30/the-myth-of-bernie-sanders/

5:33 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Brian-

This clip is for u:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5OLViof8ho

*Be sure to watch it to the end...

Miles

5:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

Well, I don't really know much abt Bernie. Naylor was a friend of mine; he thought Bernie was full of shit. Apparently Bernie was sucking up to the military so as to bring jobs to VT. I'm not sure that's true, but it wd hardly come as a surprise. Nader's pt is that given the game of American politics, Bernie's campaign will only have the effect of making Hillary more electable--she'll hafta burnish her image as a Woman of the People, even as the Clinton Foundation gathers up $2 billion in its coffers.

As far as the rt to a college education: Have u checked lately, what is in the head of any random college grad in the US, and what is being taught by professors these days? I'm waiting for some 4-yr liberal arts institution to offer a major in Underwater Basketweaving. Not far off, I imagine. In addition, such 'education' is purely utilitarian, i.e. job-oriented; it's not abt asking the Great Questions anymore. Punch line, of course, is that there are no jobs to be had anyway. You graduate, then you go back home and live w/yr parents and try to get hired by McDonald's--and those are the lucky ones.

mb

6:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda neat: a no-nonsense approach to law enforcement:

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/front-range/greenwood-village/owner-of-greenwood-village-house-blown-apart-by-swat-says-this-is-an-abomination-this-is-an-atrocity

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Lt. Spaulding said...

Dr. Berman - I haven't commented in a while, so I thought I'd pipe up on the issue of education. As a teacher, I see first-hand that many students really couldn't care less about the humanities, but I always do get one or two in each class who do carry some notion of education as beyond vocational training ("Albert Camus? Who's that? Tell me more!") That's why, even in the degraded state in which public education finds itself, I still find the neoliberal assault on the public university and K-12 systems so discouraging; especially when a philistine like Wisconsin governor Scott Walker sets out to take one of the great public universities and reduce it down to a vocational training center. When Walker's budget bill announced a $300m. reduction in funding for the University of Wisconsin and a rewriting of its mission statement to emphasize worker training over intellectual cultivation, it reminded me of Justinian's closing of the Athenian academy in 529 ce (although comparing Walker to Justinian is to give him way too much credit): the closing of the rational, inquiring mind and the establishment of obscurantism. Sadly, most people seem to agree with him - no more long book reports at least. Pass the hemlock, anyone?

http://www.salon.com/2015/06/07/they_really_are_the_party_of_stupid_the_real_story_behind_scott_walkers_war_on_higher_education/

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/twilight_of_the_professors_20150606

- Lt. Spaulding (demoted from Capt.)

7:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Leftenant-

Well, Richd Hofstadter wrote "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" in 1963, and died in 1970. In a way, he was lucky. I doubt he ever imagined we wd get to the pt we have, in the 21st century. And at the heart of this evolution is the vector of commodification, aka hustling. It's like the unversal solvent, DMSO: nothing is immune to it, and it's a force that moves blindly, in all areas of life, and w/no purpose except to advance itself for its own sake. For every Wafer in America, there are probably 50 or 100,000 Scott Walkers, maybe more. As I've said b4, Americans are actually jokes dressed up to look like people--the inevitable culmination of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

mb

8:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Primitive Weaponry Dept: Cops still using guns, when they cd be killing us w/drones and nuclear devices. It's really annoying.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fatal-police-shootings-in-2015-approaching-400-nationwide/2015/05/30/d322256a-058e-11e5-a428-c984eb077d4e_story.html?hpid=z1

9:24 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good evening MB and Wafers,

America Today Dept.:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/07/412708943/video-shows-texas-police-officer-pulling-gun-on-teens-at-pool-party?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150607

Way to go, officer! Aren't American teenagers just a bunch of terrorists anyway?

Miles

11:54 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

A nice take on Brucaitlyn:

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/cover-girl/

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Rufis T said...

MB,
regarding the no nonsense Colorado swat team, they did a great job, by not following the plan of Leo Lech; barging in with body armor and gas guns, they took the worn down, after 20 hours, suspect into custody with no injury to anyone, no police officers orphaning their kids, no officer going out injured on tax payer workman's comp, and the suspect who opened fire on police and took a family hostage however temporary had his life saved. Why are people mad at the police for preserving human life over replaceable property damage? How should that shoplifting scenario have ended? As for the Lech family, do you think the engagement ring that allegedly survived 2 world wars but not a police stand off is a an insurance hustle?

12:43 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Henry Giroux ---

"Reminiscent of Francisco Goya's "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters," the scourge of stupidity sweeping US culture represents a war against thought and critical agency, and flirts with a kind of fascistic irrationality, which lies at the heart of the spectacle of violence engulfing US society. The triumph of stupidity and manufactured ignorance is on full display in US political life and is matched by a savage militarization of the culture, an intensified level of daily violence and aggression, the withering of the social, and the withdrawal into private obsessions. Citizens have now become consumers, smothering in a fog of exaggerated self-interest."

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/31238-flipping-the-script-rethinking-working-class-resistance

Giroux continues ---

"The argument that things will now get much worse and push people into action is politically naive because there are never any political guarantees of how people will act in the face of massive repression. They could, for all intents and purposes, go either left or right."

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

I thought you might like this blog post by George Mobus about higher education, or "extended schooling" as he calls it.

http://questioneverything.typepad.com/question_everything/2015/06/time-to-retire-from-education.html

6:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marc-

Just my opinion, but I suspect that the chances that the American people will engage in some massive left-wing uprising are roughly negative infinity. In addition, most Americans don't see the US as Giroux does; the chances of any uprising at all, given the scourge of stupidity he describes, are also just a tad unlikely. As for militarization: someone just sent me a foto of a display window in a branch of B&N located in Boston, with a set of bks labeled TANKS and another set labeled MODERN MILITARY AIRCRAFT. On top of all this is a placard that says: JUST FOR KIDS.

And that, I think, says it all.

mb

9:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More signs of collapse:

http://www.aaup.org/report/trigger-warnings

Note to Jack-

Thanks for great postcard. I esp. liked the stamp of "American Values."

mb

10:29 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Marc, GVSWH, WAFers, ....No 'revolution' or popular uprising for reasons given, but perhaps a popular 'downrising' ? Something on the order of what happened in E. Germany leading up to the dismantling of the Iron Curtain ..the dissolution of statism through atrophy and a benign Gandhi-ism of culminating non-cooperation ?

IDK, the legions of lunacy may have numbers too formidable in USA for this to quietly foment to have an eventual positive effect.
Of this I am sure though, that when collapse is manifest, the masses will not go left. They are so stuck on stupid invested under the pall and spell of a mental suicide pact.
I figure that a solid 20% in USA are these Tory followers ...dead enders. The rest will continue to search for and/or conjure up a 'leader' ( and more than likely find a 'Right' one ). A practically inconspicuous group or disparate individuals will employ a Fabianesque 'getting out of the way', and survive.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Thanks for providing a place where I can engage in active and open criticism of our culture without the hyper sensitivity and flat out indignation of just about everyone. This blog is like a gulp of fresh air to me.

How do you talk to an American without hurting his or her feelings of exceptionality? I have been terribly unsuccessful in getting through.

A little video to add to your collection of what people on the streets will agree to do either because they can't think, want to get over the sales pitch fast, are not paying attention or because they do agree with the premise: pre- emptive nuclear attack on Russia. Sign the petition.

http://www.hangthebankers.com/americans-sign-petition-nuke-russia/

JC

7:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."

Juliet: Thank u4 coming out of the shadows. Americans have meat in their heads; this is clear, beyond debate. Meanwhile, I love it when Putin urinates on Obama's shoes:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/09/putin-says-us-imperial-footprint-unmatched-draw-map-and-see

Stay with us: The only blog you'll ever need.

mb

7:52 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Jus' heard Bernie on the radio discussing how America needs to be more like Scandinavia; like the SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System), I thought... No, he meant like the country of Scandinavia! I haven't laughed this hard since the Izzy Mandelbaum episode, or our exchanges w/TF Schmendrick. He also said that he greatly respects Hillary, believes the American people to be fundamentally good, and just around the corner from a socialist revolution. Anyway, here's some raw material for Bernie's revolution:

http://ktla.com/2015/06/08/wild-road-rage-fight-plays-out-in-the-middle-of-traffic-in-hollywood/

Juliet-

The signatories of that petition are the true Americans. Let's go toe-to toe...Nu'klr combat w/the Rooskies!

Miles

9:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Mandelbaum! Mandelbaum!

Meanwhile, I've been thinking how sad and empty Schmendrick's life must be, w/o a scrap of love or sex or friendship in it, that has driven him to focusing in such detail upon me, you, and this blog. Poor shmuck. And then it hit me: why not fix him up on a date w/Shaneka Torres? Conjugal visits involve the best sex, after all (as Jerrry once told George).

As for Bernie: what a joke. Eventually he'll fold into the Hillary camp, around which all the progs will rally; but I guess he and his followers never saw or understood that 1960s graffito that says it all: "If elections could change anything, they would be declared illegal."

mb

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

IIRC it was R. crumb's Mister Natural who said "you never know where it's gonna come from." Here's a possibility: http://www.vocativ.com/culture/uncategorized/dark-enlightenment-creepy-internet-movement-youd-better-take-seriously/
ala Mussolini the journalist- watch for the March on Sunnyvale.

1:43 AM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

MB, Wafers:

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip, Dr. B.

I had a wonderful time last month at Richard Wolff's global capitalism update in NYC. If anyone's interested, he always uploads the full lectures onto YouTube. It was a little discouraging to see mostly older people in attendance (considering these talks are held pretty much in the heart of NYU), but at least now I can say in true Wafer spirit — THERE'S NO HOPE!

Kanye,

Thanks for the article. I'd say our beloved Kunstler is overanalyzing a bit there, although I do think he raises some interesting points. I'd argue that "Peak Transgender" is mostly the result of extreme narcissism and hyper-individualism. I'm not quite sure why it has become off limits for anyone to merely suggest that opting to undergo hormone therapy and genital mutilation in an effort to change your sex could potentially be a mental disorder, especially as this (unlike homosexual behavior, which Kunstler seems to be conflating it with) is largely unprecedented in human history. Aren't we opening a Pandora's box of sorts?

Personally, I view this bewildering tolerance for gender reassignment surgery as a testament to the kind of Manichaean thinking so prevalent in America ("Well, if you're gonna act like a girl, you damn well better become one!"). Reeks of thinly veiled homophobia, too.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

brain-

Well, no hope in the short-term; and probably no hope for the US, period. But long-term, on a world scale, I think there is reason for hope, esp. since, via Dual Process, the outlines of an alternative socioeconomic formation are already starting to appear. Things will probably be quite different by the time I die, and since yr young, *very* different w/in yr lifetime. Emigrate now, amigo.

mb

6:43 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As with so many other things, the YouTube clip embedded in Ms. Cash's link above put me in mind of George Carlin and his bit identifying people he thought ought to be killed. The folks who agreed to sign the "nuke Russia" petition would surely deserve a spot on an updated list, if George were only here to add them. And let's not forget those who are now endorsing our sending American troops back into Iraq.

From George's 1992 "Jammin' in New York," his favorite HBO special:

http://youtu.be/tVlkxrNlp10

11:52 AM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Thanks Doctor Berman, for that welcome and the link. Putin is a thug, but Obama isn't. Because Obama is one of the good guys and he means well. Putin is a menace. Our bases all over the world don't mean a thing- it only means we are safekeeping democracy all over the planet. And that is the extent of the knowledge most Americans have when talking about both: Russia and the US empire. I know because I have naively tried to engage in conversation with a few and that's the feedback I get.

If an American president wanted to do a pre- emptive nuke strike on Russia he wouldn't find much opposition at home.

Here's a video of today's blockbuster on Facebook's news feeds: two women and a child fighting in the shampoo aisle of a walmart while folks comment and document the fight like sports commentators.
Enjoy!

http://m.primerahora.com/noticias/estados-unidos/nota/secaenagaznatasenunatiendaynadiehacenada-1087865/

JC
PS: no blog will accept that the USA is a lost cause. Most people won't give up the hope that some revolution somehow pops out of thin air.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Miles, GVSWH, WAFers ... Vidal once famously said, " Don't vote, it only encourages them ! ".
Sanders, I suspect, is playing the game. He's already been portrayed as a delusional kook, but for opposite reasons than some of us might.
I heard Sanders give a talk in 2003 ( I think ) at "Fightin' Bob Fest" in Baraboo, Wis. He was decidedly more WAFerish back then, concerning the stupidity of at least some Americans. I had the feeling he didn't care for most of the Democratic field that were contemplating presidential runs. He might not have mentioned any by name, even fellow Vermonter Howard Dean.
Sanders sounded genuinely fed up. When he finished, he trudged off by himself with none of the audience of lefties following to ask questions or hob-nob.
I might have, but was in the middle of a conversation with Greg Palast.

For now, he's a stalking horse to keep the 'idealists' in tow, and provide some media buzz away from the Republican clown machine.

**** Meantime, here's a local story: http://www.calcoastnews.com/2015/06/who-is-breaking-bank-windows-in-slo/
Will be as effective in the impending 'socialist revolution'.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

MB, Wafers,

Has Kubrick's The Shining ever been discussed on this blog? Especially its references to the genocide of native americans?
http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0052.html

Kubrick was perfectly aware of the destructive nature of the american psyche and made a truly terrifying movie to illustrate it...

5:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Juliet-

Pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks. Meanwhile, if you can grasp that 320 million Americans have their heads wedged in their recta, and are rolling around like donuts, this will clear up any political confusion you might have. Maybe it's time to change yr post-it:

WELL WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?!

(I recommend a freshening of post-its at least once every 2 mos.)

Or:

SO MANY SHOES, SO LITTLE URINE! (This wd also make a great T-shirt.)

You get the idea.

mb

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Kanye- yes it has been discussed. I suggest the documentary Room 237 as a reference for just that, as wells the Holocaaust. Comments were a few threads back.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Major Spaulding (I think you deserve a promotion.) -

Re: Scott Walker – realist about the humanities for Americans.

It appears that the overwhelming majority of Americans only want vocational training from schools, and the joke is on them because there are unlikely to be ‘good’ jobs for most of them.

I’m glad to hear that there are still one or two students in a class who consider being an educated person anything other than a waste of time.

About two years ago I remember posting the following: “The majority of students come from such environments, and even if they haven’t been brain-damaged, they have little desire for learning. In the past, teachers could try and teach them, and in a candid moment might tell you that they occasionally ‘saved’ one or two. Now, with No Child Left Behind, coaching for standardized tests blocks even that.”

I hope it’s still possible for you to save one or two now and then. Remember, the only important difference between Americans is between Wafers and everybody else.

Over the years I’ve occasionally run into young people in the US who seemed to value education as an end in itself, and I always advised them that learning comes primarily from their own active minds, and not just from schools. Moreover, it’s a lifelong project.

Although very few Americans are open to the idea, I suggest that they go to university overseas – perhaps in Europe or Latin America, where they’ll be more likely to find something other than vocational training. If they’re smart and lucky they’ll find a way to stay there. Be careful, however, and don’t get fired for saying that to your public school students.

Keep trying,
David Rosen

10:48 PM  
Blogger Sanguillen39 said...

More troubling news in these troubling times:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-dangerous-cocaine-cheaper-big-015300626.html

8:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sang-

Something else for us to worry abt, I guess.

mb

10:11 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

Man shot by cops for 'walking with a purpose':

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2015/06/10/fatal-officer-shooting-ryan-bolinger-dancing-man-vanessa-miller/71010592/

CNN can't find New York on a map:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/trending/CNN-mistakenly-labels-Pennsylvania-as-New-York-in-on-screen-map.html

1:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Eric-

Well, walking around w/any kind of intention is suspicious, it seems to me, and hopefully US police will shoot many more such offenders. Meanwhile, Wash Post reports that police in the UK have shot and killed a total of 2 people over 3 yrs. How primitive! The failure of other nations to be like the US is indeed disturbing.

mb

10:12 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Humph, a metal frontman says the right stuff (despite being almost incomprehensibly written):

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jun/03/slipknot-corey-taylor-pop-culture-stupid-aliens-youre-making-me-hate-you

12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jwo-

This guy's a Wafer, no doubt abt it.

mb

1:29 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

JWO, MB-

Ha! I love it!

Possible post-it notes:

FIGHT MEDIOCRE DRIVEL!

WAFERDOM: ANIDOTE TO COSMIC BUFFOONERY

Cheers,

Miles

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So last week I attended a Temple Alumni happy hour where we got into teams to play Temple U related Jeopardy. My team picked an easy question: Which US president visited Temple in 1936. It was not a past president. (FDR of course).I was with one man my age (old) and 4 recent grads. Of the recent grads 3 did not know the answer but one insisted that it was Kennedy. I explained to her that Kennedy was born in 1917 so he would only have been 19 in 1936. But she countered that she heard that Kennedy was very popular so it was possible for him to be president in 1936. I suppose I should have then said that the Constitution does not allow anyone to be president until he or she is 35 years old. But why waste my time? The word constitution has 4 syllables which was at least 2 syllables beyond what she is used to and this is assuming she would know what a constitution was. Now I'm thinking. Since Temple is a state university, could I sue the school? After all, they certainly are wasting valuable public funds.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I came across this article while looking for something else.

"ORIENTAL WET WEATHER Will See No Cessation of Military Operations THE FILIPINOS ARE TO BE EDUCATED To a Full Understanding of the Fact That Americans Can Campaign in Any Kind of Country and in All Kinds of Weather

New 1 . York, May 29, 1899.—A dispatch to the . Herald from Manila says: General Otis says that the campaign against the Filipino insurgents will be prosecuted by the American force* with the utmost aggressiveness possible..."

http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=LAH18990530.2.2&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN-------

This "American exceptionalism" jazz has been around for quite some time, eh wot?

4:22 PM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

JWO, thanks for the article. Sounds like the humorless, sophomoric ramblings of a less articulate Frank Zappa. Can one still be a Wafer while too strongly identifying with a counterculture movement? It's rare that I meet people who live and breathe heavy metal music who don't look like they live and breathe heavy metal music. It simply has to be known—typically with a grotesque adornment of tattoos and piercings. There isn't a drop of self-effacement emanating from many of these narcissistic "tortured souls" and I bet even the comatose "mainstream" can see right through it.

Dr. B, isn't it true that the Japanese otaku are NMI's in the sense that they try to cultivate their own pockets of monastic activity? You've said that the otaku are very articulate. This Corey Taylor guy has proven otherwise with his overuse of profanity to make his point. More heavy metal posturing, imo.

Anyway, Wafers might enjoy this--

http://www.forbes.com/sites/maureensullivan/2015/06/11/snookis-law-jersey-sure-wants-college-students-to-know-what-theyre-paying-for/

Gotta love the alma mater!

5:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

brain-

For my take on otaku, check out my Japan bk, ch. 6 and also Appendix IV.

al-

Since 1630, actually (John Winthrop).

Dan-

B4 he died, Ronald Dworkin wrote an article in the NYRB stating that there wasn't a single institution in the US that wasn't corrupt. No reason to exempt higher education from that list, of course. If they had asked me to write the essay, I wd have said: "...that wasn't a pile of shit." (For some odd reason, they didn't ask.)

Jeff-

T-shirt idea (did I propose this already? my brain is turning into cottage cheese):

Front: WAFER OR DOUCHE BAG?
Back: THE CHOICE IS YOURS

mb

7:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's some gd news:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/12/podemos-backed-anti-austerity-leftist-becomes-madrids-new-mayor

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Men, Americans change everything under the Sun - Americans are always fighting against nature and also lying against nature. Now an American has invented or fabricated this new concept called "transracial" (as in transgender). Seriously, Rachel Dolezal should be given an award as the smartest American ever, who took the American hustling culture to a new level - serious lies and deceptions just to gain good education and material possessions.


She should also get some awards and credits for fabricating such terms as race-hijacking, culture theft, race-faking, race-hating, euro-hating, etc

Here is the quote that captures everything:

"If #RachelDolezal can do it, so can I. I am now a white American. Give me: good credit, the ability to swim, and police NOT beating me"

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/12/us/washington-spokane-naacp-rachel-dolezal-identity/

Listen to her parents: they claim that Rachel disowned them; that Rachel is not always rational in her passional consideration of issues; that she distorts reality and is often delusional:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/12/rachel-dolezal-parents_n_7571918.html

Also, more here on the extent of her lies and fabrications to get ahead academically and professionally:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/12/1392817/-Rachel-Dolezal-and-the-right-to-Self-Identify#

12:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is neat:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42122.htm

From the article: "American police killed more people in the first 24 days of 2015 than the police forces of England and Ireland have in the past 24 years"

mb

1:31 AM  

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