June 13, 2015

244

Dear Wafers:

Well, every day brings more news of the American collapse: the cops shoot more unarmed civilians, the citizenry gets dumber and dumber, the media get increasingly excited about a meaningless election that is nearly 1.5 years away, and the progs predict that revolution or dramatic, positive social change is just around the corner. As Wafers and NMI's, we sit back and enjoy the show.

I have been doing interviews here and there, and was hoping to provide you guys with some links by now. But these things always take longer than anticipated, so let me just label this post 244 and hope that I can deliver something more substantive within the next month. Meanwhile, those of you in the NY area might want to mark September 7 on your calendar (Labor Day), when I'll be speaking about my Japan book at the Bluestockings Bookstore at 7 p.m. Also, I have been accumulating names for the Second New York City Wafer Summit Meating & Lunch, tentatively for Sept. 6, time and place TBA (possibly Madison Square Garden, but we'll have to see what attendance is like as the date approaches). Those of you who are interested should contact me via e-mail, and I'll add you to the list.

Other than that, I hope you are all having a good summer. If you keep in mind that Americans have fried rice in their heads, you can't go wrong.

-mb

155 Comments:

Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I'm sure you all realize that "Summit Meating" was intentional. You know what I'm talking about.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Don't think I can make this year's summit. I should be gallivanting around SE Asia around then but if things change I wouldn't miss it. Let's get ready for this one. I know a family who had twin girls 21/2 years ago. To pacify them the parents gave them all kinds of techno-crap. They also have an 11 year old daughter who is addicted to her laptop and has literally not said 2 words to her sisters and has rarely held them. The twins, as a result, still can't utter a single word. One can only surmise that this situation is being replicated by middle class and upper middle class households nation-wide. I therefore think we should get ready for generations of native born Americans who can't speak their first language with any meaningful competency. I wonder if Chomsky still holds to his idea of an innate Language Acquisition Device.
By the way, retirement is just around the corner. What a hellish year. From being told first graders should not be coloring ( it's a "low level cognitive skill") to being severely yelled out for having the temerity to ask why the Teacher Appreciation lunch did not provide anything to drink ( the principal still refuses to talk to me. Yeah!). Of course, next year more standardized tests, more data entry, and God forbid anyone should enter the office without permission from the secretary. Of course, the principal's informers get in without asking. So now I leave knowing I can get a job at a test taking company like Kaplan. After all, that's all I've been doing for the last 10 years.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

We'll miss ya! But congrats on yr retirement, and good riddance to that ridiculous schl. As for Chomsky: I never bought the theory, myself, instead believing that babies acquire language by being among people who speak it. Norman Malcolm makes this argument, if I remember correctly, in his book "Wittgenstein: A Religious Point of View." That was written a long time ago. Since then, some researcher in the Amazon lived w/some tribe, I can't remember what the language was--he wrote it up in "Current Anthropology"--but his study of the lang. also suggested Chomsky was wrong.

mb

mb

9:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Can anyone find out if the document quoted in this article is real?:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/14/bilderberberg-group-meeting-sinister

8:06 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...



correction: that would be flied lice, in honor of engrish.com

My idle reflection about your possible future book "Bozo Nation" ---

"Bozo Nation" might very well include a forward by James Howard Kunstler about cheese doodles, happy motoring, magical thinking, train accidents, tattooed men wearing baggy pants, abortions so abhorrent that they bring on the drought in California, and the most recent celebrity transsexual.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous DeadThoreau said...

America in a nutshell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGJSI48gkFc

10:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dead-

Yeah, I think that already showed up here, but it's always gd to be reminded that America is abt hustling, and not much else.

And where did it all lead? To a Cadillac? Actually, 2c the future of the country, there are 2 places where it is impt to look:

1. Deep inside Kim's buttocks
2. Deep inside Shaneka's eyes

O&D, amigo-

mb

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Fried rice in their heads doesn't do it for me as well as " I'm surrounded by dolts." I have tried " I live in Shitland" to help cope but that hasn't worked either. I mean how can I tolerate seeing people yesterday walking though a beautiful tree - lined park (really a forest) wearing head-phones? What music could they possibly be listening to that is more beautiful than birds singing, water rushing, and leaves rustling by a slight breeze? SO I actually stopped a man my age and asked him what he was listening to. I forget what he said, but I did say is your music more beautiful than nature? Of course, in typical American fashion, he started to curse me out with a barage of FU's. SO please let me know doctor and fellow Wafers how do you cope with so much moronic behavior. I know you suggest emigrating but I fear techno-buffoonery is world wide,right? Wasn't there a couple in S.Korea who devoted more time to a techno-baby than to their own child who, as a result, died from neglect? Finally, after my ride through the park, I had lunch with my 90 year old mom, my brother and his daughter who spent almost the entire meal texting. Not a good day.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

The general vector of society now is that of increasing unreality, creating greater distance between individuals. A virtual 'community' is no community, tho the techno-buffoons are unable to see it. Even close friends of mine are caught up in this shit, and my explanation for my own nonownership of this portable techno-crap--that it is socially destructive and even immoral--makes very little difference for them. Nor does any suggestion that technology is not neutral; they see their activity as value-free, innocent, and not in the context of the larger impact this activity might have. (And I'm personally not up to handing out copies of Marshall McLuhan at this pt.) I've managed to get most of them to stop using these toys when we are together, but like u, I still hafta move w/in a society that is largely robotic, oblivious to the natural or social environment. (In the last few yrs this small town in Mexico has turned into Zombieland, sad to say, and Mexico City is just as bad.)

It has meant that I don't go to movies anymore, or to concerts, or lectures/bkstore readings, or to any public events, really. When I myself give a lecture or rdg, there is typically a fraction of the audience on laptops and smartfones, paying no attention to anything I'm saying for the entire length of the event (why attend, for chrissakes?). When I work out at my gym, people are typically texting or talking while exercising. For now, at least, all I can do is concentrate on my own activity--whether it is pumping iron or giving a lecture--and leave the rest of the world to the techno-buffoons. I have no other solution, since engaging people abt it (at least in the US) provokes reactions of extreme rage. Which is a sure sign of addiction.

The infection represented by this, such that indigenas in Guatemala or the Maori in New Zealand are all on cell phones, originates in the US. Yes, I know: Nokia is based in Finland; but the whole impulse of globalization and late-phase capitalism is primarily an American phenomenon (i.e., we are the cutting edge). And the poison that America spreads is one of hyper-individualism and distance between people: increasing abstraction. This is the vector of modernity as well; the only consolation I have is that I genuinely believe that capitalism and modernity are coming to an end, in this century. Gary Shteyngart, in "Super Sad True Love Story," depicts a situation abt 20 yrs from now, when the ethernet breaks down, and all of these techno-toys are no better than paperweights. I suspect that day is coming, a post-capitalist world in which people will return to direct communication, no-growth economy, handicrafts, and a recovered relationship to the natural world (if indeed the latter still exists by then). This is why I shake my head sadly at the progs, who foolishly believe revolution is possible when what is on the agenda is a form of devolution. Socialism, after all, is still abt cell phones and an expanding economy, which is why I remain unimpressed. In the case of the Roman Empire, or feudal Europe, what had to happen was a gradual falling apart of the system, and the concomitant emergence of a new alternative. This is what I've called Dual Process, and as our lunatic hi-tech way of life becomes more dysfunctional, other ways of life will emerge to take up the slack. Hopefully, it won't take several hundred yrs this time around. And as I explain in my Japan bk, we are all, finally, Japanese: underneath the glossy consumerist world of super-expensive techno-toys there is a basic human longing for craft instead of work, community instead of virtual 'community', deeper meaning in our lives as opposed to substitute satisfactions, friendship; love. We live in a loveless world, and I don't think that can last forever.

(continued below)

12:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The May 25 issue of the New Yorker has an article on the massacre of 69 people in Norway on 22 July 2011 by a man named Anders Breivik. It seemed inconceivable that this could happen in Norway because the whole country, more or less, is one big village, Oslo included. Practically everyone knows everyone. And yet, says the author, even Norway has gone thru a process of alienation that has increased the distance between people in the last 2 generations; and it is precisely this--the factor of distance, esp. psychic distance--that makes mass murder possible ("the banality of evil"). While Breivik was not using a cell phone, he had created a kind of private bubble in which other human beings were just objects, ciphers on the horizon, so to speak. And altho the author doesn't talk directly abt the US, it is not hard to figure out why we are the world's leader in homicides, police murders of unarmed civilians, drone strikes, and Sandy Hook-type school massacres. One thing that a study of the history of technology demonstrates is that altho society is changed by technology, the technologies we create are reflections or products of our society, of our way of life and world view. And in the US, that way of life--the "collective effort to live a private life," as Lewis Mumford once put it--is above all one of distance, hyper-individualism, and abstraction. So it shdn't come as a shock that in terms of random, abstract murder, we are No. 1.

It also means that every time someone flips open a cell phone or a smartfone, s/he is contributing to that way of life, which is finally the destruction not only of our humanity, our spirituality, but of other human beings. For now, however, there seems to be no way of stopping it, beyond the personal decision to refuse to engage.

mb

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Doctor,
I know I'm breaking the 24 hour rule but thanks so much for your more than generous response to my missive. Though your words don't, and I don't think they were intended to, help me cope in our deranged world, at least they did provide me with valuable insight. When-ever someone tells me what a genius Steve Jobs was, I remind them of the number 14: 14 year old girls, working 14 hours a day, making 14 cents an hour. But, on one level, Jobs was a genius. He knew you could always make money if you could provide an excuse for people not to socially interact with each other. And technology, of course, allows just that. And, on a deeper level and I believe you talked about this before, technology obliterates silence which is, as any serious artist knows, the font of all creativity. I believe there was a study a few years ago in which American men said they would prefer to feel pain rather than be alone with their thoughts. No surprise there. Being alone with your thoughts risks realizing that your life has been a complete and total fraud. Woe that we have to live through such a horrific time in human history.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Indeed, tho walking around NY for me, when I'm there, is like (I imagine) walking around Rome in A.D. 300. All that decadence...but there is a perspective from which it is entertaining. Wafers and NMI's have little in common w/the large mass of Americans, but the reversion to inner silence and observation--writing bks, for example--is not w/o its enjoyment. And then, of course, there are fellow-travelers out there, wh/I meet by accident from time to time, wh/makes u realize it's not you who are insane (an impt function of this blog, or so I've been told).

Check out Sarah Maitland, "A Bk of Silence," or Susan Cain, "Quiet," for 2 interesting fellow-travelers. I also enjoy New Yorker cartoons from time to time, that ridicule American behavior. One I've got on my wall shows some woman talking to a friend on the phone, and she's saying: "Oh yes, I've got a few people coming over tonight to stare at their screens." Another has some woman also on fone, and she's saying: "Oh, Tuscany was divine. The cell phone reception was perfect, and Wi-Fi was everywhere." The % of Americans who understand how demented and sick this culture is, is of course very small; but it may be that many people are potential Wafers--they want out of all this dogshit, they just don't know how to accomplish that.

mb

ps: Jobs was truly an evil man, accumulating $8.5 billion while those 14-yr-old girls were jumping out of windows in the Apple factory, to their deaths. But even at the level of technology, many genuine technologists have weighed in to the effect that he was all frills, all design; he didn't contribute anything to real technological innovation, they say. But since Americans don' know shit from shinola, they held candlelight vigils in his honor after he died. Could we *be* more moronic, as Chandler Bing was wont to say?

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Dan, MB,

Thank you both for verifiing my own refusal to engage in that
so-called culture of connectivity... It's more a culture of avoidance
through shabby narcissistic "entertainment", which seems to
flatter participants with a false sense of "empowerment". Sad.
Thanks again for your eloquence and insight,

Kneel Jung

2:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kneel-

I think it was Ralph Nader who said that these tech toys were the perfect pacifier, because if the citizenry had these little gizmos in their hands, and thought this gave them power, then they would never learn what power was really about, and never create problems for the Power Elite. In terms of social and political awareness, you can't do better to anaesthetize yourself than own one of these gadgets. Certainly, if I were made dictator, I wd require every American, of every age, to own (a) a cell phone (b) a bottle of Prozac (c) a pet (w/exception of aardvarks).

mb

4:00 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris, I sometimes wonder if articles like the one about Bilderberg are written to make fun of and thus delegitimize any and all suspicions about the attendees and their agenda. Somehow I can’t imagine that the elites are busy discussing how to improve life for the great unwashed.

Life in these United States:

A few times a year my husband and I drive a half hour to West Hartford Center for restaurants and shopping. I’m 69 and confined to a wheelchair; my husband is 73.

On a Saturday night in April we drove there to have dinner with cousins after my mother’s funeral and couldn’t find handicapped parking. Since it’s impossible to get into my wheelchair in a regular space or to negotiate curbs - and because we aren’t overly familiar with the area - we had to use a handicapped spot in a bank parking lot and put up our sticker. For this egregious violation of the law we received a parking ticket.

I wrote a letter to the town explaining the circumstances and asked that the ticket be dismissed, but they refused and so we had to attend a hearing…I guess they think if you’re seriously disabled life still isn’t hard enough. Anyway, it would’ve been much easier to pay the fine, but we couldn’t let them get away with it and in the end the ticket was finally dismissed. But heavens forbid that they do the right thing to begin with – like no ticket, or at least no hearing.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

I wouldn't say anyone feels that cell phones give them power, it's more that it gives people so much access to entertainment, shopping, and information that they become passive. If you have everything you need to stay amused, who needs political power? Most people are apathetic and they may well concede that the have no power, but they'll be plenty happy as long as they have game of thrones, Amazon, and a paycheck that can pay for regular meals out. Turn off the internet and make people cook all their own meals and most people will go nuts.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

No, I think the idea of these elites, supposedly, is how to keep taking advantage of the great unwashed, and how to keep them in line. Benevolence is not part of the agenda.

lack-

There's one company, perhaps Verizon, that runs ads for cell phones saying: "You are in control!"

mb

6:22 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Brian,

a couple of years ago I was meeting a lot of new people at a potluck, folks that initially seemed unusually pleasant to be around. This one guy asked me what I do, and I had become so sick of hearing that question that I cringed on the inside. So in trying to avoid a meaningless conversation I tried to reply with, "Oh, you know, I just am," in a way that didn't come off as New Agey. Needless to say, everybody looked at me like I had just peed all over his shoes (which is what I really should have done), and they didn't really want to talk to me anymore. You've succeeded, Dr. Berman, because this blog is about the only time I don't have that feeling of utter loneliness. Other times include when I'm interacting with kids, when I'm interacting with non-humans, when I am out in nature, and when I'm reading.

Rusty Snag,

good smells? I'll never forget the wonderful fragrance of New Orleans.

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Rosegarden said...


Dan,

I hope by this date in June you are retired from public education and enjoying peace and serenity.

It is impossible to get inside someone's head; so I really don't know what your principal was thinking, but here is my take on your situation. The principal was not interested in making you a better teacher. However, she actually got a lot out of this.

1. She felt the hormones secreted into her brain when she demonstrated her power. I think she identified you as a moral person who would be hurt by her evil – and she liked it!
2. Her actions blasted fear into the minds of all the other teachers who are not able to retire or leave. I bet they self-censor now!
3. She has a carrot and stick that she is now holding over the head of the Tattletale.

Carrot – You are my good buddy, and I acted right away on your sweet information.
Stick – You know what will happen to you if you ever turn against me.

I am sad for the twenty-five six-year-olds who may not be so lucky as to have a kind, compassionate teacher next September.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tear-

A gd portrait of Americans in action, thank u. Urine really is the only answer.

mb

9:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good evening MB and Wafers-

You guys already know this stuff, but here's a good article by Alfred McCoy, Chair of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176007

ps: Enjoying the conversation regarding the destructive nature of techno-buffoonery, fones, and the near obliteration of social cohesion. I've nothing to add, except that most Americans are colossal douche bags.

Miles

9:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Gd essay, tho yes, the story is quite familiar to Wafers.

Cartoon in a recent New Yorker has a woman being operated upon, during wh/she is using her cell phone; and the surgeon, who has a knife in her gut, asks her if she would pls stop texting during the operation.

I've always had the hots for Tina Fey; but when, in one episode of "30Rock," she said: "I will not tolerate douchebaggery," I fell madly in love w/her.

mb

10:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: It suddenly occurred to me that Madison Ave. has failed to come up with a style called "Jihad Chic." I'm sure there are tons of $ to be made from this, in clothing, housing, parties, language, and so on. Wafers are encouraged to offer their ideas as to what Jihad Chic might look like.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dear Dr. B & All:

I doubt that few living Americans have ever read the works of Lucius Morris Beebe (1902-1966) "an American author, gourmand, photographer, railroad historian, journalist, and syndicated columnist," per Wikipedia. This partial paragraph from his 1947 book, "Mixed Train Daily," stood out to me-

"...Until the year 1920 the population of rural America had, by an ever-decreasing margin, been in excess of the population of its cities, but the first year of the third decade of the twentieth century saw, for the first time, more people living in urban midsts than in the countryside. the life cycle and subsequent decline of short-line railroading coincide with startling fidelity with the transition of the United States from an agricultural to industrial nation. The short-line railroad, with its overtones of individualism and even eccentricity, flourished as personal individualism flowered in a nation of self-contained, self-sufficient, conservative and suburban people. It mirrored their essential tranquility, their simplicity and independence from the society, economics and politics of the great world. Its decline commenced with the appearance of the Model T Ford, woman suffrage, game wardens, the income tax and the elm blight. It has small chance of survival in a society bent on the thousandfold increase of its own ills and confusions and inspired with a genius for chaos."

I doubt that few kids play "Monopoly" any more, or could even tell you that "Short Line" is one of the four railroads on the game's board. Beebe was wealthy, so it's no surprise that he had over-the-top conservative views, but I love that last sentence...

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

I'm back to northern New York from my short visit down south. Indeed, the air does smell different down there. One thing I noticed this trip is that more and more people down south drive like maniacs. It's as if they've taken lessons from New York cabbies, or maybe they're trying to emulate their favorite NASCAR drivers. This phenomenon is true even in the small towns where there is no readily apparent reason to hurry. Douchebaggery abounds in my beloved Southland, and to think that I believed that maybe that region would somehow escape the insanity. Is there any place left in America where there are no douchebags? This of course is a rhetorical question as I already know the answer as do all Wafers.

Tear, I agree that New Orleans smells wonderful. It's one American city that I cannot help but love.

Finally, Torres 2016 bumper stickers will be ordered this week. Thanks Dr. B and Miles for your helpful suggestions. I will try to incorporate your ideas into the final design.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Dan,

I don't post here as often as I used to, because my wife & I are spending more time in our local parks. Right now Spring migration is ending & every creature in sight is starting a family -- we've been blessed with watching a pair of orioles feeding their young in a nest that's an architectural wonder; we've seen baby screech owls from just a few feet away, sitting on branches no more than 6 feet high; osprey parents are teaching their young to fly & to hunt; woodchucks are producing charming little roly-poly balls of curious fur; mockingbirds are feeding their young on our front stoop as we toss out peanuts to then; chipmunks show themselves to lure us away from their burrows full of newborns; barn swallows, turtles, deer, great horned owls -- well, the list could go on & on! I already know dozens of species by a quick glance, and even recognize some by their songs alone.

Meanwhile, my wife & I are completely & happily out of the loop re: Twitter & Facebook & Instagram & all the rest, though other family members & friends urge us to get involved in them. "Involved" of all things! The digital world is a way of avoiding any human involvement while maintaining the facile appearance of it. We also find that we simply can't stand any discussion (i.e., rant or rave) about celebrities, politics, ideological party lines of any stripe, etc. Instead, we're pursuing creative work -- my wife on guitar, myself with collage, both of us with sketching -- and watching quality films -- currently enjoying our way through the Jacques Tati boxed set.

And all those harried, frazzled, overscheduled family members & friends? They can't figure out why we don't join them in the digital world so we can have as much "fun" as they do!

8:28 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

This type of thing is probably not news to US Wafers, but this is the first time we're hearing about this in London: "Nursery Consultants" are now charging parents £300/hour to put their toddlers in the nurseries that will best prepare them for a life of hustling. I wouldn't be surprised if nurseries start teaching kids how to code a couple of years from now. Learn Java before the alphabet kids!
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4e504c28-f8a4-11e4-be00-00144feab7de.html#axzz3cZfkgQvH

About techno-morons, I was sitting by the pond in Hyde Park last weekend and a girl in front of me, about 20y/o, spent 2 HOURS taking selfies of herself in different poses. Selfie with sunglasses on/off, selfie with the duck by the pond, inclined-phone selfie etc... This isn't a hyperbole. 2 hours. She wasn't by herself even, a friend was there with her, but god forbid having a conversation or playing chess with her! Whereas I am used to seeing people take selfies everywhere, I've never yet seen such a display of narcissism and douchebagery in my life.

O&D

9:25 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Attn: Design Committee
Ref: Jihad Chic

Jihad Chic attire is not substantially different from the day's typical attire.
It just has to be bought a couple of sizes too small.
Remember, it's all about the struggle to squeeze into them.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

A quote from the woman who libertarians worship.

"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men".

Ayn Rand


Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aynrand147957.html#YuquPDIZukLgK7Gi.99
Are our cell phones giving us the "freedom from each other" that Ayn Rand equates to real freedom? Is our ultra individual existence the epitome of freedom?

I can't help to see how we are now more dependent on a centralized corporate system which has the ability to produce every single one of our material needs- which at the same time has made us feel truly civilized at least by Rand's standards- given that we appear to have achieved total freedom from one another so long as we have the money." ( rand thought that money is some sacred tool by which we gain access to freedom and the elimination of it is to ask to be overruled by brute force and a reflection of our lack of values. In her world if you have wealth you must have great values.) according to Rand then we have never been this free. This is Rand's utopia. She would have been pleased.

;-)

JC

2:00 PM  
OpenID vwclown said...

Hello Wafers and Dr. Berman.
As always, some great reading here on the only worthwhile blog. I trust, Professor, you enjoyed your recent travels. I missed seeing your smiling face, as well as the rest of my favorite virtual community sharing their interactions with the US butthead collective. Happy to have you back.

I raised my Wafer flag on Flag Day. I marked the sacred term onto an old pillowcase and let it fly (in the backyard). It was pretty pathetic, but certainly made a statement since it was a flowered pillowcase...

-Rusty- While you're still thinking about your bumper sticker order, you might want to consider using the name "Shaneka", since the two main candidates' campaigns see first names as more electable this time around. Just an idea.

-Dan, Dan, Dan- Teachers are irreplaceable. Good teachers are gods. You have my deepest sympathies for the way you've been treated by your 'boss'. We all generally struggle with your same discomfort over the poop-brained population at large. Kubler-Ross has helped me. Having the light shined on the failure of this country by reading Morris Berman's books can be difficult to process; like receiving a horrifying diagnosis from a doctor with a hopeless prognosis. We'll get through it, the best we can, but probably alone. I'm, personally, working on the NMI option and checking out regions of the country with existing dual-process potential. (Thank you for that advice, Dr. Berman.)

-Fellow Wafers- Thanks again for all your commentary, reminding me I'm in the right place here.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

vw-

Truly, this is the only blog you'll ever need. Why people read other blogs: I simply can't understand it. But yr adventures make it clear to me that we need a Wafer Flag. I'm no design expert (tho I'm famously proud of the front cover of my Japan bk, I admit), but possibly: drawing of a man w/head rammed up his ass, and superimposed on that, in red, a circle w/a slash thru it. Caption: Wafers Rule!

Jul-

She was a pretty sick chick, a profoundly cruel person, who had Alan Greenspan as her protege. Her bks remain best-sellers, after all this time. Her influence on the US has been enormous, and it continues. Result: we live in a society that is sick, and profoundly cruel.

Ty-

I was thinking more along the lines of T-shirts showing beheadings, or aggressive Arabic poetry, or ALLAH AKBAR! (not to be confused w/Jeff and Akbar), etc. And think of throwing a Jihad Chic party: what wd that look like? What wd people wear, do, listen to for music, etc.? Wd they behead each other, and make videos of it? The possibilities are endless.

Kanye-

Every day, the # of techno-douchebags per hectare rises exponentially.

mb

6:52 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Orange & Black ISIS Jumpsuits & Rompers available now at Macy's Herald Square!

Here's the jingle:

Dancin' by the Nile,
The ladies wuv yr style...
(Jihad Chic, Jihad Chic)

Hey, how'd you get so funky?
Did you do the monkey?
(Jihad Chic, Jihad Chic)

Miles

7:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

At last, someone who gets what I'm talkin' abt. Un-dos-tres cha cha cha.

mb

9:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: We just hit 165 registered Wafers! I'm peeing in my pants. What attracted this new person? Cd it be Jihad Chic?

Here's more on fones:

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2015/jun/15/time-eyes-glued-to-our-iphone-cameras-the-less-we-see

mb

10:13 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB, WAFers ... One can only imagine the unforeseen consequences of supposed technological advances looking backwards ...but here's the deal: everything new is a weapon, or quickly becomes one.
Take radio; it's first great accomplishment was to facilitate the rise of Hitler.
Then the A-bomb, whose use should have been to prove the horrors of war, any war; but instead we have had constant war ever since... Cold and Hot.
There is no such thing as 'humanity', just human existence of collective self-loathing, hate, and the voyeurism of celebrity that has never done anything worthwhile.
The electro-toys are simply replacement therapy for actual thinking.

I recall Vance Packard wrote "A Nation of Strangers" in 1972, but in it he attributed mobility as leading to alienation. One wonders how he would observe and comment on the apotheosis of stupid today.
[This has some WAFer material: http://jaysanalysis.com/2013/05/29/the-apotheosis-of-the-stupid/ ]

One thing that works for me when a dolt ignores me rudely with one of their NSA tracking devices is I reach into my pocket , pull out a harmonica ( I'm a pro harp player ) and begin playing. The dolt usually looks surprised and upset, and if they say anything with objection, I say, "Well, YOU'RE doing what YOU want. I want to play the harmonica." That or I'll blurt out " PENGUINS ! " as mentioned before. Very rarely does the zombie get the hint.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JS-

Larry David has some clip of himself in a restaurant next to a techno-buffoon talking on his cell phone. So Larry starts talking loudly, to himself. The TB gets upset, asks him What r.u. doing? Larry says, Same thing yr doing. TB says, But I'm talking to an actual person! Larry says, But the effect is exactly the same. TB just doesn't get it. Perhaps we shd call this condition Zomboidosis.

mb

2:42 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

I ran across the following article and thought to myself - "WAFers" (and perhaps Morris Berman) might like this :

https://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/23/1196435/-Conservapedia-Disproves-E-mc?detail=emailclassic

Other articles by the same author :

https://www.dailykos.com/blog/AlyoshaKaramazov/

Anyone named Alyosha Karamazov is probably interesting anyway.

I had never heard of Conservapedia. Now that I know about it I will be diligent in avoiding it, although it's a tossup which reaction would predominate if I looked at it --- nausea, disgust, loathing or giddy amusement.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marc-

There was a large movement in Nazi Germany to reject Einstein as "Jewish physics." I can't remember the particular studies of this, but there are a # of bks abt it. Conservapedia is just recycling this, or (more probably) is ignorant of the historical background.

BTW, I too am a Wafer!

mb

4:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And it turns out that Salman Rushdie is a Wafer. In a recent short story, he asks what it is to be an outsider. His answer: "It is to be vulnerable to the world when the world believes itself invulnerable, to understand its mutability when it thinks itself immutable, to sense what's coming before others sense it, to know that the barbarian future is tearing down the gates of the present while others cling to the decadent, hollow past."

Q.E.D./O&D

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Re Einstein- I read an interesting essay recently arguing that Einstein was partially right, but did make some errors. Basically the author argued that relativity is conceived of as an actual distortion of time and space, whereas it is actually a distortion of the *data* we receive from great distances. The objects themselves, in their "local" space, are just as they would be if local to us. Just like the Doppler effect.
The paper was very layman friendly. It can be found at mileswmathis.com under his science category.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I always thought Ivan was the interesting Karamazov.

Regarding "jihad chic," I dunno, maybe it's been done before. Back in 1989 (the year of the bicentennial of the revolution) I bought a t-shirt at a Paris souvenir store that featured an image of a row of people dressed in the garb of aristocrats on the front. All that was missing from their attire were the three-cornered hats...and heads on which to place them.

I also bought a kaffiya from a street vendor in the Louvre métro station that day.

On the dolt front, a couple of my neighbours (well, they come from my town) were busted for engaging in selfish, stupid behaviour overseas.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/malaysian-mountain-stripping-2-canadians-2-others-get-prison-time-served-to-be-deported-1.3110576

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Shmendrik the (not so) Magician said...

Existential strain?

This article relates an interesting detail re the Indianapolis Walmart fight of last week.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/14/indy-walmart-brawl-charges/71213176/

Apparently, the combatants came to blows only after one party said to the other: "You must hate your life."

I'm not suggesting that the speaker was a Wafer. In fact, I seriously doubt it. Rather, it seems that the speaker unknowingly stumbled upon the "third rail" of American life.

P.S. Dr. Berman, thanks for all you do. This blog, and your writings, are a public service.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shmendrik-

A more accurate portrait of America, you cannot find. Except perhaps Kim's rump. But I worry abt existential strain catching on as a concept, because America turns everything into popular slogans. Imagine T-shirts saying: ARE U SUFFERING FROM EXISTENTIAL STRAIN? Plus coffee mugs, range of pasta sauces, etc. (Linguini with Existential Stain Bolognese wd be esp. popular, I'm sure.)

Anyway, thank you for your thanks; I appreciate it greatly. Why this blog hasn't yet received a Pulitzer--well, I just can't fathom it. But pls do me a favor and change your handle, since it is far too close to Schmendrick, wh/is the name of Jeff's trollfoon--a very sad, lonely little turkey who does, w/o doubt, hate his life (esp. since he doesn't appear to have one).

mb

2:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers: I just started rdg "The New Prophets of Capital," by Nicole Aschoff. Looks pretty gd--skewers Oprah and the like as pseudo-progs who are really expanding the reach of capital.

mb

3:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This from a friend in Vancouver:

"I was just talking to a guy in CA who went to a Techno Detox camp where people met for 5 days to engage in real conversations and to not use technological devices. Though its ridiculous that we are at this point, at least there is a resistance brewing. The techno-oblivion of Facebook etc... is a new process that's less than a decade old so I can only hold out optimism that people see the social desolation that the unconscious use of these devices is having on our lives and society. Glad to see that more people are becoming ok with turning their phones and access to email off for days at a time. I've been doing that for the last year, along with quitting Facebook, and its made my life infinitely more rewarding. I've yet to experience any downside from disengaging from the technocomplex for a few days a week."

5:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A buffoon talks to buffoons dept.:

Just before the economic collapse of 2008, Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media guru, gave a TED talk in which he said:

"Stop crying and keep hustling. 'Hustle' is the most important word ever. And that's what you need to do."

I tell u, folks, I abs. adore morons. I just love them to pieces! For me, the phrase "too many morons" makes no sense at all.

mb

6:18 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Vus Machs Da, MB & Wafers?

MB-

Oy, gevalt! One fercockt little dude, that Gary.

Shmendrik-

Nice contribution... Jesus, how did the US wind up w/so many dumbshits in it? How about Kishefmakher or Mossik for a handle?

MB, Wafers-

Americans Travel Abroad Dept.:

http://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2015/06/15/43284/americans-white-fat-loud-slovenly-binge-drinking-o/

*Be sure to watch the video.

a=mc2 (americans=morons for all 2c)

Miles

7:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, I finished rdg “The New Prophets of Capital,” by Nicole Aschoff. Terrific bk; I recommend it highly. The only problem is a flirtation w/the belief that things can be radically changed via some (undefined) type of social organizing (perhaps she is hoping we can fly such people in from Mars, I dunno); but as w/most serious critiques of the American system, she is at her best when she shows how utterly fucked we are. I sense a potential Wafer here, in any case.

mb

8:03 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Marc, thanks for the pointer to Daily Kos. While checking out the recommended article, I found another article about something I was trying to find the words to post about and can now let the blogger describe something I found too staggering to articulate. Make sure to follow the link to the Washington Post article he is citing, btw.

Daily Kos: Wealthy Americans learn money does not change rainfall patterns; outrage ensues

---quote---
As a Californian, I would put our state's wealthiest people up against any others in the entitled asshole department. Most of the enclaves for the well-off in California are small rural, mostly coastal or near-the-coast cities of large houses on large lots carefully manicured by gardeners whose names may or may not ever come up. There are no apartments, and certainly no less-than-desirable neighborhoods, and if there are shops they are of the unnecessarily expensive sort. In short, a wealthy person in a wealthy Californian town may go for years without seeing one poor person who hasn't been specifically tasked with making their own lives easier, and in that environment the residents frequently find themselves baffled when someone suggests the rules that the rest of the population live by also apply to them...
---unquote---

Also, Jeb is running for President. This was as predictable as Hilary, but now it's official. And someone else did a little Photoshop work to express something about this development better than I could have, as well.

Voter Choice 2016

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Sean Kerrigan said...

I'm working on a new book right now, basically a rewrite of Yablonsky's Robopaths with contemporary examples. In my research, I stumbled upon a specific sentence in Genesis, where God tasks Adam to name his creatures. Genesis 2:19 says, “Whatever the man called each living creature was then its name.” Read it more carefully. “Each living creature was then it's name” means the animals conformed to their descriptions. In the western world's most well known creation story, words shaped reality, not the other way around. I think this is not just a story but a very accurate depiction of how the west really thinks reality works, that words create the reality.

Technological society has exacerbated this belief system. (How I'm still trying to figure out). But when I see all these news stories of people trying to define themselves as "black" or as a "she" or whatever in defiance of reality, I basically see it as a confirmation of my thesis: that we are desperate to find some kind of meaning and purpose, and since we (apparently) have no control over the world, we try to create some kind of new reality through words.

It seems everywhere I look I see absolutist tendencies. For a life that doesn't make sense and has no meaning, rules themselves can provide a kind of meaning and purpose.

4:26 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I wonder what corporation funded this study justifying engagement in those "activities" that will deepen our alienation from each other:

http://rt.com/news/267619-video-games-kids-activity/

Exactly what we need to hasten our free-fall into the abyss.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[S.Kerrigan]

"...that words create the reality."

There's plenty of evidence to support this view. One fellow, Frank Luntz, a U-Penn and Oxford-educated Republican consultant, made a considerable living advising politicians on how to shape their messages so as to maximize their chances for victory by exploiting humans' tendency to elevate emotion over logic. He gave us "death tax" (vs. estate or inheritance tax), "climate change" (vs. the more menacing global warming), and "government takeover" (of healthcare) (vs. healthcare reform).

Interestingly, it appears that in recent years he has had a change of mood, perhaps recognizing the extent to which his advice had helped contribute to the widening split in the country over all manner of vital public policy questions. Last year, he sold his consulting company, left Northern Virginia to reside in Las Vegas, and has receded into the background.

Here's an Atlantic magazine piece from January 2014 ("The Agony of Frank Luntz":

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/the-agony-of-frank-luntz/282766/

WAFers may also find profit in reading/rereading George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language."

Finally, from Through the Looking Glass, this:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master--that's all."

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hello MB and Wafers everywhere,

Sean Kerrigan - It occurred to me this morning as I walked by a television tuned to the Weather Channel that indigenous peoples named themselves after objects in nature (e.g. Sitting Bull). Conversely, modern man names objects in nature after himself (e.g. Tropical Storm Bill). I very much agree with you about modern man's need to control. I think that is why the smartphone is so attractive. When the rest of your world is falling apart around you, your little screen stands faithfully by, waiting for your commands. The movie Artificial Intelligence portrayed this artfully. A little robot boy, encased in ice and immobile for thousands of years, sprang to life and resumed exactly where he had left off: searching for his mommy. If I leave my computer and walk back to it a year from now, it will still be awaiting my next inputs.I am not a technobuffoon by any means but I do find it amazing how reliable these little pieces of junk have become and how ubiquitous they are in our lives, whether we want them or not.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

I'm slowly, but surely, cutting technology out of my life. At networking (i.e., hustling) workshops back at uni, they would emphasize the importance of maintaining "weak ties," especially via social networking sites. That's certainly what a civilization in decline needs! No, not strong family ties or community engagement found in all the world's "Blue Zones" (see Dan Buettner's excellent book), but we need to instead surround ourselves with opportunistic hustlers—and now, virtually. Indeed, this is what life is all about to the avg American.


http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/opinionator/2012/09/22/america-the-anxious/


Older column I think Wafers might enjoy.


I'm really interested in compiling a Wafer reading/watching list. I know the footnotes of MB's books are a great place to start, but there's also a ton of works mentioned in the blog's archives that seem worth checking out. Would anyone else be interested in taking on such a project?


MB, I'll definitely email you closer to the date of the Summit Meating. I'm not too keen on deli meats, but I gladly make exceptions for special occasions :)

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Joe from Chicago said...

Sean (and Dr. Berman and all the other wonderful Wafers),

Really good point re: Genesis. I've concluded that what you're describing is the preeminent or defining tendency of the Western mind - the inability to distinguish between words (or, more broadly, "abstractions") and the reality from which those abstractions are drawn. By the time Western Civ gets to Baudrillard and company, the difference between the two is explicitly denied - there is no non-verbal reality, there are only networks of signs and despite what you may think, you don't really exist. It's dangerous nonsense and a sign of the culture's terminal insanity. I highly recommend Alfred Korzybski's General Semantics - Science and Sanity being the main work - but you can just look online for his "Structural Differential," which illustrates the difference between the level of soma - of interconnected electrical, chemical, physiological processes - and the levels of labels and inferences. He coined the commonplace "the map is not the territory." To my mind, Korzybski obviated post-structuralism about forty years before the fact.

Marx's whole body of thought also rests on this theme, by the way, as reification, commodification, elevation of exchange value over use value, etc. all follow from a civilization that can't tell the difference between symbols and their own beating hearts.

Coming to Our Senses really crystalized a lot of this for me, by the way. I could talk about this stuff for weeks as it's the bread and butter of my NMI-ness, but I don't want to run too long.

Thanks for being Wafers!

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

Prof. Berman, you wrote-
"...I suspect that day is coming, a post-capitalist world in which people will return to direct communication, no-growth economy, handicrafts, and a recovered relationship to the natural world (if indeed the latter still exists by then)."

I am seeing a slightly different scenario crop up from several in the alt media-- There is the idea of a rising "technocracy," a "rule by experts," as a challenge to the old capitalist system. In this view, there is a kind of breakaway operation going on secretly (e.g. within think tanks, and elite roundtable groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations), that foresees an end of capitalism, and a transition to a completely technocratic control grid, with "smart" cities and energy use, and an even greater and more total control over the individual (Brave New World style, updated of course.) Actually the process has been underway for decades, with many features of technocracy already in place; but, it would seem, is accelerating rapidly. We seem to be in fact "between two ages," or within the transitional phase between these two mindsets (I suppose they are both facets of modernity?)

Of course the outcome is not certain-- such a feat has never been brought off, at least not in known history-- global technocracy I mean. Perhaps within the oligarchic class, there are still adherents to capitalism, who resist the technocratic vanguard? Even so, it seems that, if there are, they must be dispirited, since the rising tide seems to be with the technocrats, as we see their agenda ever more clearly being implemented around us every day.

I guess my question for you is, whether you think the technocrats are indeed strong contenders for capitalism's crown, or whether they are just a last gasp of modernity or something of that sort?

1:44 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Picasso was an odd duck, but he did say this: "What do you think an artist is ? An imbecile who only has eyes if he is a painter, or ears if he is a musician, or a lyre in every chamber of his heart if he is a poet, or even, if he is a boxer, just his muscles ? Far from it: at the same time he is also a political being, constantly aware of the heartbreaking, passionate, or delightful things that happen in the world, shaping himself completely in their image.

How could it be possible to feel no interest in other people, with a cool indifference to detach yourself from the very life which they bring to you so abundantly ?"

This is precisely what the world of the buffoons brings ...with all of their calculated engineering prowess, and techno-fulfillment. It is a world of detachment, indifference, solipsism, and sociopathy.
To exist in that world, one must devalue art of all forms, to the inevitable hate, and ultimately life itself.
We are surrounded by these Hollow Men in a land of waste.

WAFer ON !

2:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hack-

Well, no one's got a crystal ball, and my guesses are just guesses, really. But technocracy has been around for more than a century, and meshed neatly w/capitalism. I can't imagine any substantive tension between the two, since they wd largely seem to coincide. I do imagine a tension between them and genuine alternatives, esp. a homeostatic, no-growth economy, however; that will be a *real* fight.

Joe-

One reason I stopped going to concerts is that it became hard for me to sit among people who were holding up their cameras and watching the image of (e.g.) the pianist instead of actually watching the pianist. If this isn't dementia, I dunno what is. As for CTOS, glad it was of value 2u. Frankly, I've been fighting this issue of the increasing abstraction of social and natural perception, and the loss of somatic awareness of the world, my entire professional life, and things have gotten worse in direct proportion to my publication history. This is why I'm so unimpressed by socialism and purported left-wing change: it doesn't address these issues at all, and is just more of the same. (Old slogan from 60s: "If I can't dance, I don't wanna be part of your revolution." How grim the progs are; how single-minded!) It's also why I see any positive change occurring 40 or so yrs down the line, because in order for people to really see that smartfones etc. have robbed them of their life, they have to run the 'progress' model to its natural conclusion, i.e. failure and destruction. We not only need a new civilizational paradigm, as I've been arguing since 1978 (my 1st bk); we need a very different type of human being. Any radical social change that wd happen rt now, in our times, cannot produce either of these things, and so wd just reproduce what we've got, but w/a new set of labels. Hard to get very excited over that, imo.

brain-

2nd NY Wafer Summit Meeting will not take place in a deli. I've got a great surprise in mind, if everyone agrees to it, but will not spring it on you all till 2-3 wks b4 the date. In the meantime, u might wanna send me yr email, 2b on the list.

mb

3:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: The following is a pretty gd summary of the Wafer position (note that they stole the title from Lewis Mumford):


http://www.theonion.com/article/experts-say-best-option-now-keeping-nation-comfort-50617

3:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Who else but an American wd do something like this?:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/17/travel/japan-tourist-faux-pas/index.html

6:33 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings all,

MB-

I just ordered up a copy of Nicole Aschoff's "The New Prophets of Capital"; many thanks for the recommendation.

J S-

"We in America are living among madmen."
~ Lewis Mumford, 1946

Sean-

I'm inclined to agree w/you. Adam: The original bureaucrat! A sweeping start down the robopath, yes?

Miles

ps: The Onion story: as Ralph Kramden usta say, POW! Right in the kisser! I recall MB once remarked, "that satire is now reality in the US." Truer words were never spoken...

6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Makes sense to me!:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/Decoder/2015/0617/Trump-Oprah-2016-A-match-made-in-reality-TV-heaven

If there are 2 people in the US whose Guccis need a heavy drenching in urine, besides Obama, it's these two.

Jeff: Note that Aschoff has a particularly gd chapter on Oprah, altho to all u guys, I recommend the biography by Janice Peck.

mb

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Miles, MB,

Started reading "The New Prophets Of Capitalism" today, and now have a new favorite term, "Bonoism",
found in the footnote on pg. 10. I've been saving a special batch of the yellow stuff for that dillweed for a
good 33yrs. or so... And how about that other Neil all upset about D. Trump using one of his popular anthems
for his campaign announcement yesterday? Dr. Berman, now is the time to write your magnum opus,
"The Unbearable Rightness of Peeing".

KJ

10:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kneel-

The time is long overdue for Wafers to rent large U-Haul trucks, fill them with 6-packs of Bud Lite, and fan out across the country, drenching the shoes of our fellow countrymen. In 99% of the cases, these deluded folk will react w/rage; but 1%, I predict, will see the light, shed their soggy shoes, and migrate to the Wafer camp. This will, in turn, give new meaning to the 1%/99% distinction we have heard so much abt in recent yrs, for Wafers, *ca va sans dire*, are the true elite.

mb

10:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Holy Shit! Do u fucking believe this?:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/multiple-people-shot-historic-south-carolina-church-n377436

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

DR B,

Yes I believe it!
In fact, I thought something like that was overdue since the lives of Blacks in America have been so devalued by the police and the powers that be. I blame Obama for these latest assaults on Blacks in America.

Obama is so flaky and so weakling that he makes the life of every Black person in America meaningless. He has no guts to do what is right - to engage in bold actions to make all lives better. Instead he makes race relations in America worse. He woke up the white racists in America. For example, he helped the bankers who duped the homeowners, but he did nothing to help the homeowners - as a result, lots of Americans became homeless or lost their homes - most of them the working poor. Compare to Franklin D. Roosevelt who fought the bankers to a standstill during the 1929 Great Depression.

I now wish Obama did not win the presidency - lots of Black people would be alive today, and some white guy would have worked like Franklin D. Roosevelt.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Jack Meredith said...

(JUNE 16, 2015) "THIS month, the headlines were about a Muslim man in Boston who was accused of threatening police officers with a knife. Last month, two Muslims attacked an anti-Islamic conference in Garland, Tex. The month before, a Muslim man was charged with plotting to drive a truck bomb onto a military installation in Kansas. If you keep up with the news, you know that a small but steady stream of American Muslims, radicalized by overseas extremists, are engaging in violence here in the United States.

But headlines can mislead. The main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists. Just ask the police.

In a survey we conducted with the Police Executive Research Forum last year of 382 law enforcement agencies, 74 percent reported anti-government extremism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdiction; 39 percent listed extremism connected with Al Qaeda or like-minded terrorist organizations. And only 3 percent identified the threat from Muslim extremists as severe, compared with 7 percent for anti-government and other forms of extremism."

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/16/opinion/the-other-terror-threat.html?_r=0


(Mon July 28, 2008) "KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- A man accused of fatally shooting two adults and wounding seven others at a Knoxville church told police the church's liberal teachings prompted him to attack, according to court papers. Jim David Adkisson told investigators all liberals should be killed and admitted he shot people Sunday morning at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church... According to the affidavit requesting to search Adkisson's home, the suspect told investigators liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country. Adkisson also blamed Democrats for the country's decline, according to the affidavit."

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/07/28/church.shooting/

9:04 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

MB,

Re: "Who else but an American wd do something like this?:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/17/travel/japan-tourist-faux-pas/index.html"

The idiotic behaviour and immaturity of guys in their 20s and early 30s goes WAY beyond the US. I can guarantee you that such douchebagery is prevalent in Europe too. I've distanced myself from a lot of my male friends because of this.

A good take on the issue:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704409004576146321725889448

Kanye

9:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

If we needed any more evidence that this is a failed society, this massacre in SC is definitely it. We are now eating ourselves alive, and are a nation in a state of irreversible disintegration.

I assume the killer will eventually be caught, and what will he say, if anything? One of the creepier aspects of this killing was that he apparently joined the study group for an hour before he took out his gun and opened fire. What in the world was he thinking?

I feel great sadness for the 9 innocent victims, who just went to a Bible study group and thanks to racial hatred, wound up dead.

mb

9:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This off of Reuters:

"A man who identified himself as Roof's uncle said he had recently been given a .45-caliber handgun as a birthday present by his father."

Isn't that nice? What a lovely birthday present, esp. to a kid who (apparently) has a criminal record.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...


He has been captured.
Consider his name: Dylann Roof

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/18/dylann-roof-captured_n_7612986.html

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

It is with a very heavy heart that I read the news from Charleston. Those poor people were gathering to add some meaning to their lives.

Meanwhile, I've been following the news about the two escaped convicts from upstate New York. The prison was supposed to be an inescapable fortress. As the country and its infrastructure falls apart, you will see more and more of this. All around me I see kids growing up like the two escapees. America is breeding a whole crop of amoral, violent people who would just as soon kill you as look at you. The death by 1000 cuts surely must be halfway there, if not more. I wonder when they will institute martial law across the land. Some neighborhoods already feel like they're living under martial law with cops armed to the teeth. I wish my kids would emigrate.

Here's a great story about those two escape convicts:

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/13/nyregion/richard-matt-david-sweat-broken-boys-thieves-killers-and-now-escapees.html

12:18 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

Ha! I love that Onion article. Saw it a few days ago and immediately thought of you, Dr B, and this blog.

Sometimes I wonder if folks are exaggerating events here but I have to report regrettably that a few days ago I participated in a no-doubt ill advised internet discussion on the news about the scientist who made comments about women in science that many have taken exception to. I had thought it might be a reasonable exchange of folks searching for a genuine understanding (maybe I was running a fever). I saw what certainly seems to me like mob mentality, paranoia, recrimination, anger, people ‘blocking' each other from their ‘streams’, and an almost pathological inability to hear differences or self-soothe. All this from a group a phd physical scientists…

Years ago, before my sojourn in Mexico, I studied to be a family therapist. Now I’m debating entry into that field. Certainly seems like plenty of job security, not necessarily doing the work of family therapy but mollycoddling a bunch of over-educated hot house flowers… Of course I’ll still have to get through a modern HR department with a straight face. It is a dilemma though. I mean, on one level, who would want to help these cretins? (my fellow Americans) At the same time I guess I’m not surprised. Even as an intern almost 20 years ago it seemed like lots of people didn’t want to consider their lives, or change, or anything… mostly they just wanted to continue their screwed up lives but feel OK about it. I suppose that’s only gotten worse.

Oh well, one more data point for the growing survey of American douche-baggery.

Take care, all!

12:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers:

I greatly hesitate to bring up the topic of the Civil War again, because it will inevitably evoke or provoke an army of trollfoons; but a friend just wrote me abt my take on Charleston, and I thought I shd share my reply w/u, trollfoons be damned:

I tell u, the one thing that cannot be spoken publicly, ever, is what is implied in ch. 4 of WAF: the Civil War never really ended, because the North insisted on humiliating and vilifying the South. It got painted as being = slavery, nothing else; its nonhustling way of life was ridiculed rather than honored. So what happened next was inevitable: the War went underground. Lynchings occurred down to 1950 or so, and now we have this massacre in SC.

Of course, the kid is seriously fucked up, and of course all hatred of blacks cannot be assigned to the vilification of the South. There are lots of factors at play here that keep racism going. As the American Dream falls apart, and the economy worsens, people start looking for scapegoats; Jews may be next. And then there is the general culture, operative certainly on the level of the federal govt, that problems--including ones of US foreign policy--can and shd be solved by firepower. (Hiroshima was exceptional only in choice of weapon.) But this inbred tendency to make all enemies Evil, having abs. 0 to say to us, has cost us dearly, and I am convinced that the legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction is still w/us--resentment that won't go away.

mb

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Old Me said...

My brother and i disagree vehemently on politic and world affairs, he sent me these. Not that I necessarily disagree w/ some of these facts, the context is missed completely. WAFers -- way in, if u like:

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116253/edward-snowden-glenn-greenwald-julian-assange-what-they-believe

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2015/04/u_s_drone_strikes_civilian_casualties_would_be_much_higher_without_them.2.html

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Hi MB and WAFers--

Here's a gem for you: Bruce Rittenhouse's "Boom or Bust, Consumerism is Still America's Religion" (from a publication out of the U Chicago Divinity School). Two WAFeresque quotes from the piece to whet your appetite (beyond that for deli meats):

http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6b2c705bf61d6edb1d5e0549d&id=8c9b29ba28&e=e593de4df3

"My own research on consumerism supports the conclusion that the reason Americans remain attached to a consumeristic form of life is because it performs the religious function of providing them with an answer to the existential problem of meaning."

"The religious nature of consumerism also explains why consumerism is extraordinarily difficult to change. Abandoning consumerism means abandoning what gives a person assurance that his or her life matters. This is only possible if the person who lives in a consumeristic culture can nevertheless secure his or her significance in a different source of meaning."

He goes on to cite Ernest Becker, another of my faves (and, of course, another "taboo" topic Americans can't discuss: death and mortality)

O&D--

Brian

2:25 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Events such as the Charleston shooting should be the subject only of grainy film footage of the 1960s civil rights struggle, and heard about only in documentaries of the distant past.

Maybe you're correct, Dr. B, and the Civil War never ended.

I've been reading the comments section of the cbc.ca article on this massacre, and what I see isn't encouraging. Obama is blamed; black people are blamed; racism isn't a problem; had people in the church been packing heat they could have killed the gunman, and &tc.

Maybe that kid was just angry because he was teased about his name. Dylan Stormfront? Dylan Storm Drain?

2:37 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

American Face to Palm department:

http://tktk.gawker.com/charleston-newspaper-puts-gun-ad-over-shooting-massacre-1712249260

But a little deeper there it the thing about the flags on his jacket:

http://time.com/3926593/charleston-killer-flags/

meanwhile the big story of the day is which haircut is going to replace a different haircut on a TV news show...

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

A review of a book Wafers might like, the book includes an analysis of the Wafer favorite Idiocracy.

"Heath gives us an interesting analysis of the classic underground movie, Idiocracy. In Idiocracy, most of the world has been reduced to blithering idiots who amuse themselves with fast food and commercial violence. In the movie, it’s the stupidity of the audience, brought about by dysgenics, which explains the stupidity of the commercial appeals. Heath reverses the causality “it isn’t the stupidity that causes commercialism, but rather commercialism that causes stupidity.” (p. 209) Our limited ability to concentrate is being sapped by mind-viruses that under the competitive pressures of profit-maximization are rapidly becoming more and more effective."

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Felled Tree said...

http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/what-will-morality-look-like-100-years-hence/

This is kind of creepy, and probably inaccurate?

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Deborah said...


I just stumbled on an interesting documentary on youtube titled "Decadence - Meaninglessness in Modern Life". It is six 1/2 hour parts, but if you don't want to watch all six parts I recommend the parts on education and family (as well as the first part). It was made in Australia and illustrates what I already suspected - Australia is just as screwed up by run away consumerism as America is. Nothing is sacred and everything has a price. I was shocked to hear Australians work the most hours of any western country as when I lived there in the 70's it had to be the most laid back, hedonistic society in the western world. It was changing by the time I returned in the 80's but has truly become totally Americanized today. It disturbed me when you described your Mexican town as zombiefied, Mr. Berman, as I'm now beginning to worry there will be no place to escape to in the near future.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Dr. B , I think I disagree with you, in part, re: the US Civil War. The fact that it never ended and continues to this day is that the traitors of rebellion were NOT summarily hung as they should have been.
Slavery is / was an ultimate form of hustling... with people as property, a form of labor/machine to be used and disposed, and a store of wealth; BY the lazy, rich hustlers of the time in the 'dear old southland'.
The South just had a different method for hustling than the North had. The 'dual process' of the time that never went away.

The hustling just adapted, and now we have a nation of submissive and compliant slaves ( the buffoons ), that can only react with violence much of the time, when they confront who and what they are.

Please disabuse me of this if I have misinterpreted.

WAFer on !

4:59 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

MB, Wafers-

I'm absolutely numb regarding the appalling massacre that was perpetrated against the black community of Charleston, SC. I heard a news report that Roof reloaded five times in order to finish off the wounded while they were pleading w/him for their lives. He responded by saying, "I hafta do this," or something like that... What possibly explains such cruel indifference and naked hatred? What kind of society produces an individual that would sit w/welcoming parishioners for an hour and then begin to murder them? I tell ya, I'm at a loss for words... Jesus, we really are, as Freud pointed out, just a collection of barely evolved primates suffering from a multitude of mental aberrations waiting to explode! Courtesy of an American system that's been a titanic failure, of course. Jesus, It's all too terrifying and horrific to contemplate...

Miles

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Marcos6 said...

"the Civil War never really ended, because the North insisted on humiliating and vilifying the South. It got painted as being = slavery, nothing else; its nonhustling way of life was ridiculed rather than honored. So what happened next was inevitable: the War went underground. Lynchings occurred down to 1950 or so, and now we have this massacre in SC."

In other words, the South was morally justified in using Africans as slaves to nourish their insatiable thirst for wickedness. Well, you are right in one thing - your constant justification for evil created the civil war and more war to come - your hero says it too:

“He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler said. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

http://abcnews.go.com/US/charleston-shooting-closer-alleged-gunman-dylann-roof/story?id=31865375

5:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JS-

It's an argument I am not eager to go over in detail yet another time, but basically, the South was a hustling economy but not a hustling society--a major pt of Gene Genovese. For more detail on this, see WAF ch. 4, n.41. The North was both, and it ridiculed the South before, during, and after the war, as a bunch of lazy inbreds etc. The whole thing moved w/in the larger constellation of capitalism and hustling shifting into high gear, in wh/non-hustling--stopping to smell the roses--cd never be seen in a positive light (it still isn't, in the US). Remember that slavery was not the original motive for the war; that was added only in 1863. The real issue was a clash of cultures, as Genovese, Woodward, and even Macpherson and Foner, have demonstrated. Hence your language--"traitors of rebellion"--is very much an anachronism, and part of the problem I'm talking abt. Hanging them wd have made it only worse.

Southerners do it, of course, but I believe it is technically illegal to display the Confederate flag. Blacks are justifiably angered when it is displayed, because it is a reminder, to them, of slavery. Yet white Southerners keep doing it, not to offend blacks (I do not think), but because the South means something to them in larger terms: a whole way of life, one to which they remain spiritually (which is to say, nostalgically) committed. So for them, the symbolism is not the same as it is for black people. This is another way in which the war never ended, if light-yrs less violent than going into a church and killing people.

And it means to me that we shall never solve the problem of race in America. This for a whole # of reasons, but a major one is that as we turned into the ueber-hustling society, we lost the possibility of separating out 'South' from 'slavery'. This too is part of our Manichaean style of thinking, and the scorched-earth policy that began w/the destruction of Native Americans, seeing them as savages. Then the Mexicans were savages (1848), the Russians were savages, the Vietnamese were savages, the Iraqis--anyone who didn't equate our hustling form of life w/civilization was a savage. In order to heal the problem of race in America, the 1st step wd be to sort these things out; wh/wd mean that North apologizes to South, the US apologizes to Mexico/Russia/VN/Chile--etc. Not gonna happen, quite obviously.

I shd add that you can't become a popular author by trying to make a society transparent to itself, as my meagre bank acct wd attest to. You make money by feeding it the myths it loves, i.e. by keeping it self-deluded: Glory, glory, hallelujah!

Deb-

I was invited to speak 2x in Australia, at the U of Western Australia in Perth, 1996 and 2003. I loved it the 1st time around; it had a relaxed, leisurely feel to it. By 2003, the place had seriously changed: harsh-looking women with attache cases and lacquered nails strode around in an LA style, appearing very business-like, e.g. During that 2nd visit, I went to a craft sale out in the countryside around Perth, and asked one gal, selling pottery or whatever, what the hell had happened in the 7 yrs since I had been there. She smiled at me and said, "We lost our soul." 4 words, says it all.

As for Mexico, yes the zombification here is depressing, but you'd still be surprised: Mexico City has these quiet, leafy barrios where u can walk around, and think yr in the 19thC. Hustling is clearly destroying the world, but there are still a few niches of sanity left.

mb

6:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marcos-

Yr precisely the reason why I was hesitant to discuss the Civil War once again: Americans are capable only of Manichaean, Good-vs.-Evil thinking; nuance and paradox is quite beyond their intellectual range. If u actually read WAF ch. 4 (have you?), you'll see--if you bother to turn on yr brain--that I condemn slavery and say that the War had to be fought to root it out. In fact, I say it several times. But initially, the war was not abt slavery, and in no way am I justifying evil. (To analyze or understand a situation is not the same as justifying it, altho I understand that for you, such distinctions don't exist.)

Wafers, I can only sigh at this. Americans are just so fucking dumb. Marcos can't see that *he* is the problem, not me; that if we had, post-1865, acknowledged what was *right* abt the South, instead of simplistically painting it as total evil and nothing else, we might have made a start on healing a wound that never healed and (thanks to folks like Marcos) never will.

So I need to put the trollfoons on notice: I don't have the energy to keep repeating these arguments. To all Marcoses (Marci?) out there, you shd know that I'm not going to post any more of them. I tried reasoning w/u guys in 2011, after WAF was 1st published, and I got abs. nowhere. I understand that you need the dominant myth for yr psychological survival, and as I said above, there's no way of making the US transparent to itself. It's a losing battle, and I was already tired of it in 2011. It's futile and exhausting, talking to people who have bricks in their heads.

mb

7:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hand wringing dept.:

Here's an intellectual breakthru:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/18/politics/obama-south-carolina-church-shooting/

One problem politicians are facing is that massacres are happening w/such regularity in the US now, that they are running out of adjectives. Yes, it's all senseless, horrible, barbaric, etc.; meanwhile, we never manage to look at who we are, or figure out why this stuff keeps happening.

mb

7:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Lula-

As I said, I'm not going to repeat a long discussion I had in 2011. Briefly, the paradox I refer to re: the antebellum South was that it was a vibrant, leisurely culture w/much in it to admire, but economically based on a system that was horrendous. Good, in other words, can coexist w/evil and sometimes even be dependent on it. Life is complex; it's not either/or, despite what Americans like to 'think'. Try rdg ch. 4 w/o a lot of emotion and self-righteous prejudice, if that is at all possible 4u.

mb

7:43 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

To all Marci-

Good grief! You know, it's an accepted fact that Dr. Berman was *not* Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina in a previous life.

Miles

ps: Please excuse this 2nd post violation, MB.

7:56 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dr. Berman,

You can't wake up someone who's pretending to be asleep"- and American news media caters to an audience who doesn't want to bothered with structural racism which is why we have presidential hopefuls making the case of SC shootings being an example of persecution against Christians.

http://jezebel.com/fox-news-and-lindsey-graham-lament-hate-crime-against-c-1712327016

But let us not forget that money is the only religion that Americans truly hold dearest to their hearts which is why we can say that Donald Trump is America. You and all of our fellow wafers will enjoy this one article.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/16/garish-tastes-awful-hair-donald-trump-is-america.html

Personally, I haven't found many Americans who have any idea of what structural racism means- most of them think we live in a post racist era. But I have encountered plenty of hustlers who have asked for my spouse and I to be "business partners" just a few days after we make friends with them. Usually we are told to shell out the money while they lend us their "grand ideas."

Another trait that I have seen in many American families is how estranged they are from one another. They see their own family members once a year for the holidays; call each other very seldom; and you don't know how many times they hold grudges for years against their own parents or siblings - even taking each other to court. I have seen this so often it is mind boggling. So, if they do that to their own blood what's to be expected from friends and neighbors?

I know American families who live under the same roof whose members don't even talk to one another for months!

Anyway, just wanted to share that the news keep vindicating your thesis that American culture is pure hustling and Puritanism having an orgy.

The lady who posed as black- a hustler and a con artist- was raised inside of a Puritan family who believed in child abuse from elder siblings to younger siblings as a perfect form of punishment to correct undesirable behavior. I almost felt sorry for the hustler.

http://socialistworker.org/2015/06/18/unraveling-the-rachel-dolezal-controversy


JC

7:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

No way to get thru to the Marci of America, I fear. Now I have equal foolishness from Lula; or perhaps it is just a plain inability to hear anything outside the accepted mythology. The irony is that Gene Genovese said it explicitly in one of his last works: to say anything positive at all abt the South, no matter how mild, was to incur rage and opprobrium. This is a losing battle, wh/is why I don't want to refight the WAF war of 2011 all over again. Part of the struggle is that regardless of what the issue is--it cd be abt tampons, fer chrissakes--Americans believe that emotion *is* reason; that opinion *is* argument; and that if they are all worked up abt something, it's equivalent to thinking. How do you educate the uneducable? It's some sort of accident, that WAF sold all of 6,000 copies in a nation of 320 million?

All this is what the progs miss when they keep on talking about radical social change. The Revolution of the Blockheads? *This* is what they think is going to happen?

And it's hardly a question of IQ, as I've repeatedly stated. Scroll back, read what VidaBuena says abt an Internet 'discussion' among Ph.D.'s, that was little more than a shouting match. This is what dialogue in the US is reduced to: so emotionally desperate is everyone, Ph.D. or not, that their own narrative must be maintained at all costs. It's all 'tribal' thinking now, fighting for one's psychological life, as tho the Enlightenment never existed.

If I cd get but one trollfoon to say: "Oh, OK; now I get it: yr not advocating for slavery or racism, or saying there were no problems w/the antebellum South. Yr merely pointing out that that way of life had some very positive attributes, and paradoxically, it rested on a barbaric form of economy. OK!" This wd require an act of god, and I jus' don' believe in miracles. What we have instead are millions of Marci, just hovering beneath the surface, ready to burst forth with rage and self-righteousness at the slightest suggestion that their narrative might not be quite on pt.

When I say there's no hope for this country, I mean: NONE.

O&D, bro; O&D.

mb

8:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JC-

Gd article, tho I wish author had recommended peeing on the shoes of all of those candidates. As for Trump: what abt Kim Jong-un for haircuts, and why isn't he running for president?

In general, the problem is not Puritanism per se but sheer douchebaggery, wh/, in the US, typically takes the form of hustling. Forget friendship: how can I make a buck?

mb

ps: Be sure to capitalize Wafers; we are the highest form of consciousness on the planet, to date.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: And when I say douchebaggery, I'm not kidding:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/18/republican-presidential-candidates-gun-rights-charleston-church-shooting

9:04 PM  
Anonymous cos said...

Hello Waferinos!

A truly fascinating thing about the South is that prior to the Pogroms and immigration to the North via Ellis Island ca 1900-1915 the South was far more hospitable to Jews--in 19th century many Yekkes came through New Orleans AMD and Galveston. The first Jew in the U.S. House of Reps was David Kaufman of Texas and the first Jewish senator (LA)was Judah P. Benjamin neither of whom could have been elected dog catcher in the "enlightened" north. The Marci and his/her ilk inveigh against the institution of slavery of 150 years ago but don't understand what happened last week. They and most progs repeat slogans AMD posture and spend hours on I phones built by slaves in China and watch porn featuring trafficked sex slaves today.......

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Trulfula said...

Read your Holy Bible - to learn that God favors some tribes over others because some tribes are "superior" and are therefore more loved by God. Yes, God created everybody, but he loves some more than others. This is the paradox you need to imbibe from the Holy Book of Moses.

If you do not understand, then read the life of Baruch Spinoza and why he was excommunicated by his kind. Some truths are so vital that no person dare challenge them without incurring the bloody wrath of a superior race, superior God, and superior guns. Guns talk here, you know. Bulshit walks out there. White is superior to black. White used to be superior to Chinese until recently when Chinese learned to hustle. Your superiority complex is determined by your hustling capacity. No more, no less.

Therefore, oppressed people of the world - learn to hustle and to build big bombs and exploitation factories - then these other people will learn to respect you as their equal - this is how the world has worked for eons.

"This moral truth—“that the negro is not equal to the white man”—is exactly what animated Dylann Roof. More than any individual actor, in recent history, Roof honored his flag in exactly the manner it always demanded — with human sacrifice."

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/take-down-the-confederate-flag-now/396290/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/18/charleston-shooting-confederate-flag_n_7613870.html

9:42 PM  
Anonymous RobinWilliamsRVwassoBADitwasgood said...

Screw the human race. We are, as Bill Hicks puts it, viruses with shoes.

Meanwhile, the technocrats have just declared that it's okay to plop your kids in front of electronic screens instead of trying to engage with them for an hour. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/screen-time-for-kids-is-probably-fine/

1:14 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


“shocking lack of fundamental respect for the sanctity of human life” ---

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/18/us-states-police-use-of-force-standards-amnesty?CMP=fb_gu

"There's never a good guy with a gun around when you need one. And, no, more guns won't solve that." ---

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2015/06/of-course-its-guns-its-always-guns.html


Notice that the clients of the "fans on demand" company are usually Republicans ---

http://www.libertychat.com/2015/06/rent-a-crowd-company-admits-politicians-are-using-their-service/

I always hated canned laughter on tv shows and this is much worse. At least with canned laughter you knew all along that it was fake.

https://medium.com/@GoAngelo/donald-trump-hired-paid-actors-to-attend-presidential-launch-event-7c65e8fadea0

I have referred to Ted Cruz as the demonic clown in a Stephen King horror movie. What hideous figure does Donald Trump remind you of? Wait, maybe he's horrible enough as he is? Could be ...

7:20 AM  
OpenID vwclown said...

Dear Dr. Berman and all Wafers:
I'm so happy to learn here that our dear professor didn't actually own slaves. Whew! By now, you all may know, I'm not particularly brilliant. I do though have an ability to grasp, and even find interesting, Dr. Berman's detailed and thoughtful presentation of his particular layer of focus for reality in the American South. Many, many years ago, I learned in some social-psychology class in college, life presents itself to the human mind in layers. If the human mind is allowed to develop beyond its most basic functions, it will be able to process in layers. If it develops beyond a 6th grade point system for the right/wrong answers, the human mind can actually become aware of the layers. Moving forward, not only can the human mind recognize the layers of life that are as complex as the imagination, it will come to enjoy and spend time with all the possibilities. I think all this is actually just advancing critical thinking. I am discouraged that open conversations have to be stifled here. - Fruit Woman

12:40 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I've been waiting 24 hours to add this addendum to my last post about Dylann "Guns on the" Roof. I have a question.

There are probably dozens of examples, although none come to mind, but have any of these mass shootings ever taken place in shopping malls or banks? They always seem to happen in schools or churches: places that ought to be havens for the innocent.

Why don't mass shootings occur in Wal-Marts or other temples of commerce? Are these places sacred?

12:46 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Dr. B ...Sorry, but I don't buy it. I'm sure that you are familiar with the "Corner Stone" address by Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens of March 21, 1861:
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/cornerstone-speech/

Stephens outlines that the proximate cause for secession from the US and the formation of the Confederacy was, in largest part, the existence of, and projected continuation of, slavery. Though Stephens states other, supposedly compounding differences with the North as reasons; slavery was the causa de jure for them quitting the union, committing treason, and becoming an enemy nation of the US.
The line of Slavery = Secession = War is unbroken.

Beyond that overarching justification, Stephens' speech reads as a 'hustling manifesto' at the beginning and toward the end. Slavery was fundamental to 'their' culture and 'their' society of hustling: where power, business, 'spoils', and wealth ( i.e. 'slaveholdings' ) were all conditional to that institution. Just as much Empire based as the North and what the US commands today.

As for white southerners, or bigots anywhere, displaying the Confederate battle flag: Of course they do it to offend, anger, and provoke those they still consider inferior. Nostalgic pride is simply an excuse. Why else would they vaunt a symbol that was only four years of traitorism in the history of their 'dear old Southland' ? No, the representation of phony victimization is the same that it was during the 'War of Northern Aggression': Superiority, Conceit, Inequality, War, Death. Otherwise, they would pick something else to wax poetically concerning the halcyon days of leisure before that damn Lincoln came along ( perhaps a boll weevil flag ? ), but, they're stuck in their myths.

By NOT hanging those political rebels that deserved the rope and making THEM the example ( most of which are now conveniently forgotten or relegated as merely bit players to the conflagration, such as Stephens ), it created a vacuum that has been supplanted by the lionization of 'heroes' ...Robt. E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and even monsters such as J.E.B. Stuart and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

As for Genovese, his concept that slavery was a 'hybrid' system of pre-capitalist and capitalist is an inherent contradiction ... and one that I consider now as more of an apologia given his later embracing traditional conservatism.

This is a bit long, but thanks for the opportunity.

WAFer On !

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Joe from Chicag said...

Dr. B et al.,

Off-topic. Have you read John McMurtry's "Cancer Stage of Capitalism?" It's right up your alley(s). He uses cancer as an explanatory model (as opposed to a simple metaphor) for the global capitalists' war against life that he says really took off post-Vietnam. He too focuses on the dismantling of Bretton Woods as when the cancer of "multiplying transnational money sequences with no life standard" began to eat away the productive bases and social safety nets worldwide.

"While no trend to the better rather than worse has been managed for over 25 years, still no received paradigm of understanding enables us to explain the overall systemic causal mechanism...At the doctrinal level, economic thought is in principle incapable of recognizing what has gone wrong."

It's not a hopeful work replete with variations on "nobody can comprehend what the is happening." The cure he talks about is only the logical complement of the diagnosis and not really a call to arms. This was a poor summary though, so you should check it out for yourselves. As the systemic understanding of the Wafer grows, so does the insouciance of the anomic hordes.

Hanging out on here is good - I've still got some inchoate prog-hope that needs ironing out.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

Dr. Berman

I like your phrase 'fighting for their psychological life'. It may even be true to some extent, if to 'lose the fight' would means they’d have to almost completely reconstruct their image of themselves and the word (the old ’them’ would really have to die)... I think about this whenever my (prospective) colleagues talk about 'communication skills' and the like. What's the point of that if someone doesn't have the underlying emotional tolerance for what others say anyway?

And not only are more people impenetrable via dialogue, they'll insist on telling YOU what you REALLY meant in spite of anything you say. So why bother?

I think it really burns some folks up when I say the only truly tolerant place I've ever been is Mexico (others must exist). Which is not to say anyone agreed with me or liked me or what I said, always. But nobody ever flipped out or lashed out in rage. Even when we differ I almost always meet with curiosity and what seems like concern for, how might you say, maintaining the relationship. It's just lost in the U.S. If it ever existed: you're not being what I need you to be, that's it. I'm gone. Like switching brands. Maybe another facet of consumerism, hustling, etc...

4:19 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Trulfula-

Well, the world is indeed a big, bad scary place; hence the need for religion and religious identities, tribalism of the inside/outside variety notwithstanding. The drive toward religion is rooted in our need for protection i.e., to pacify our need for protection from the dangers of the external world, our helplessness regarding those dangers, and to be part of a feeling of belonging to the world. Freud called this the "oceanic feeling." Turns out, we all have it. This process begins very early, when we first construct an ego separate from the external world. More than likely it will never go away, as it's essentially a throwback to infancy and derives from a deep desire to find meaning in our lives, and deal with the pain of existence; probably the taproot for politics and why we join groups as well, I'm guessing. It's striking to watch, in the wake of the Charleston shooting, even more of an impulse toward a religious narrative to understand and cope w/such a hideous tragedy. An instinct that Siggy would have understood all too well...

Miles

4:34 PM  
Anonymous brainDecay said...

MB, Wafers:

This is very unsettling. I work at a record shop, which I'd like to think is one of the more low-key jobs around. Well, apparently not. We arrived at work this morning and discovered that someone had slipped several pages of a handwritten 'manifesto' filled with vague, incoherent threats to our employees, as well as cryptic references to Taylor Swift's new album under the doorway. It's written by someone who is quite clearly unhinged and probably in some altered state of consciousness. Even if this is a prank, it's a very, very twisted one.

There really is no hope for American society. This experience confirms for me, (if I make it out of this alive) that I do indeed have to jump ship and emigrate. I've always had a vague sense that I truly didn't have any peace of mind living in the US, but now that my peace of mind is pretty much directly threatened, and for no reason at all-- this is a major turning point.

I'm supposed to go with a close friend to Taiwan in November (she's quitting her job and jumping ship), but I don't know if I can wait that long.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

brain-

Now yr cooking w/Crisco. Get out, and do it soon. 40 yrs from now, hell, even 5, you'll be so glad u did.

Vida-

Costa Rica as well. Probably most countries, actually. The US is in a category of its own.

JS-

I doubt I can shake u out of the dominant mythology; it's just too dear to American hearts. But the evidence is hardly on yr side. Most historians of the Civ War recognize that slavery was added on later by the North, to work things up to fever pitch; and even if you read the "Let freedom ring" schl, esp. Foner and Macpherson, you'll see--as I show in WAF--that their actual argument coincides w/mine abt clash of cultures being the core issue from the beginning. But as I said, I can't keep rehashing this argument from 2011; I didn't convince anyone then, and I won't now. I fear you are the one stuck in myth.

Beyond that, you have no idea what's in the minds of Confederate flag-flyers, and your language is loaded: 'traitors' etc.; they hardly saw themselves that way, and they don't today. Why shd the Northern narrative be the correct one? On your say-so? Or because the North won? That proves nothing.

Finally, regarding Genovese: a fine-tuned balancing act that took him decades of scholarly research to work out. Your casual dismissal of him is rather feeble, and I'm guessing u don't really grasp his argument. How much research on the topic did *you* do? Have u ever even read his work?

But as already noted, I just can't do this anymore. Those who get it, get it; there's not much more I can say, and all I can do is wish u Godspeed.

Fruit Woman!-

So gd to have u on the scene. By 'here' I assume u mean the US, not this blog. I'm not interested in stifling conversations, but there are some topics that have become pointless to discuss, and the Civil War is surely one of them, as these recent exchanges (above) wd indicate. Americans are psychologically trapped in the dominant mythology, and in writing ch. 4 of WAF (wh/came as a surprise to me, BTW, when I did the research, since I too began w/the std. belief in slavery as the cause etc.), I cdn't imagine I cd change many American minds. All I can do is put it out there; a very *very* tiny minority might see the evidence, and (like me) do an abt-face. If these ratios were reversed (like the one abt Reagan and Carter, e.g.), we wd have a very different country. Not gonna happen any time soon, I don't think.

mb

6:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Short ps: This just in, 2 mins. ago, from a journalist colleague of mine:

"Much of the Confederate Flag debate reflects the truth of your analysis. Given the understandable level of emotional injury and fear it provokes in black Americans, it should probably come down, but I suspect, many of the people who fly do so for reasons having nothing to do with race. Obviously, some are racist provocateurs, but many, including Southerners I know, feel that, as you say, their culture never had any respect. So, the flag does really represent heritage, culture, and lifestyle."


6:13 PM  
Anonymous Heavy Politics said...

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/krauss-and-pinker-on-the-popes-miguided-climate-change-bicycle/


...Oh boy...quite a bit to react against...

A couple interesting points anyway, I guess...

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Marc L Bernstein thanks for the link.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/18/us-states-police-use-of-force-standards-amnesty?CMP=fb_gu

I love the following therein:

“While law enforcement in the United States is given the authority to use lethal force, there is no equal obligation to respect and preserve human life. It’s shocking that while we give law enforcement this extraordinary power, so many states either have no regulation on their books or nothing that complies with international standards,” Hawkins said.

I tell ya, hustling requires guns for maximum impact. The history of US or Britain is littered with dead bodies murdered by imperialist guns. This is the case of chicken coming home to roost. Americans are now what they have been practicing - enslave and kill other people because your ego and guns are larger, because you think you are superior. Americans are now turning the guns on themselves simply because many people around the world have since woken up – refusing to be exploited and murdered by the imperialist guns and hustling. Or, others have learned your hustling tricks and strategies - to prevent you from pillaging and killing them. As a result, you turn the guns on yourselves. More grease to your elbows! Let the self-inflicted madness continue! Whatever begins to be has a cause and an end.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Levine Davis said...

"In addition to claiming that “many Israelis and Zionist Jews” played key roles in the Sept. 11 attacks, the Minister Louis Farrakhan also recently issued a call for “black soldiers in the U.S. Armed Forces to come home, unite and fight for [their] own lives,”"

"I'm calling on all of the soldiers that fight for America; Come home and let's unite and fight for our lives that the federal government refuses to fight for us."

-- Louis Farrakhan


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/03/05/did-louis-farrakhan-just-call-for-armed-resistance-ministers-fiery-call-to-all-black-soldiers-in-the-u-s-armed-forces-to-come-home-unite-and-fight/

8:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Nuba-

Sorry, I think we finally need to move on, and leave discussions of the South behind. What I learned from the WAF 'war' of 2011 is that no one is going to change their mind, so there is probably no pt to an endless debate. I brought up the Civil War once again only to illustrate the implications of my WAF discussion for Charleston: that Northern treatment of the South made sure that the war wd never end, and that the way things were handled permanently derailed this country. I do believe that. But I was aware that I was poking a hedgehog, as they say, or touching the 3rd rail; and of course, I'm getting sick messages/hate mail from trollfoons crawling out from under their rocks. (What a surprise.)

Levine-

I have a feeling black soldiers won't heed the call, but one wonders exactly what Mr. Farrakhan has in mind...

Edward-

I agree that we have now gotten to the pt that we are eating ourselves alive, but I don't think it has much to do with any sort of foreign resistance. It's a complex issue, and a discussion we shd probably have; but for now I'll just say that as the American Dream goes down the drain, and meaning slips away from most people's lives, it's inevitable that they wd turn on each other--find scapegoats, in a word. I suspect the shock and reaction to Charleston will die down in a while, until the next 'event'; but the overall picture is one of a society having gone insane; in suicide mode, if you will.

mb

9:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to progs dept.:

This is what the US is, in fact, like:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/19/in-the-usa-i-cannot-write/

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

MB,

Thanks for the link to the CP article. I think that I have another book to read.

I had a thought a couple of weeks ago that I believe best describes the typical American mindset, individual, corporate, etc. Picture a baby in a high chair. The baby is safe and secure in the chair and expects to be pleased while in the chair. The baby makes a huge mess for everyone else to clean up. The baby internalizes all of the pleasures of being the center of attention while externalizing all of the costs of those pleasures. However the baby is trapped by the chair the same way our culture / society is trapped by its own mindset.

Peace,
Vince

10:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Vince-

Well, let me load up yr rdg list a bit. I've talked abt the End of the US: mass migrations, hunger, riots, martial law, the whole 9 yards. Like the Pentagon, I do think that day is coming; which is why they are (apparently) doing training exercises in anticipation of The Dark Times Ahead. So while Obama talks about American exceptionalism and Our Great Future, his generals are preparing for the worst. No dummies, they.

And as the US slides into total shit, a # of post-apocalyptic novels have inevitably appeared. The most famous of these (in recent times) is Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," wh/won the Pulitzer. I never read it, but I was led to reflect on it after rdg the 1st few pp. of Sandra Newman's "The Country of Ice Cream Star." It's written in a kind of pidgen English, and gave me a buzz. I sense a gd but creepy read coming on.

Interesting that like Russell Hoban, Sandra is (well, Russ is dead) American born, but lived for a long time in England. Russell's masterpiece--and it really is one--is called "Riddley Walker," written in a very heavy pidgen English that takes at least 30 pp. to get used to. It's the sort of bk u never forget.

Anyway, that summarizes my familiarity w/post-apocalyptic novels to date (leaving Nevil Shute aside).

Yr description of baby in high chair is gd, except that it also has a bazooka in its hand, and is waving it about, while everyone else runs for cover.

mb

11:14 PM  
Blogger jml said...

Just read the first few pages of Russell Hoban's "Riddley Walker." The first thing that came to mind is that the writing resembles the affect of texting on youngsters ability to spell and form sentences with correct punctuation and grammar. The writing reminded me of some of the emails that I used to get from my community college students - no sentence breaks, no commas, bad spelling and the use of numbers for words. I thought that surely that is what he was referencing and then was surprised to discover that he wrote the book in 1980!! He seems to have foretold the coming illiteracy. Wise man.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jml-

Hoban was imagining a situation in wh/a nuclear war had occurred, and the culture had been almost completely destroyed. In a way, that *has* happened to the US via all these tech toys, but in slo-mo. The rise of techno-buffoonery has impacted us like a psychic atomic bomb, as it were. Personally, I don't think the US will ever recover from it. In the case of other nations, it may take decades to get back to their previous level of intelligence. One can only hope.

mb

7:21 AM  
Blogger elizabethrendon said...

Dear Dr. Berman, e terminado de leer su libro (Spinning straw into gold) convirtiendo la paja en oro y e quedado encantada; gracias por compartir un viaje personal con sus lectores, si todos hicieramos un accesoramiento personal asi, no habria guerras, niños muriendo por falta de nutrición, el agüa no estaria contaminada, no habria carceles, habria mas escuelas, no nesecitariamos líderes corruptos, seriamos autónomos y muchas otras cosas mas no existirian, aunque es irrelevante comentarselo a usted por su sabiduría no pude contenerme. Una de mis prioridades es leer Neurotic Beauty, deseo reiterar una vez mas quede encantada, muchas gracias! Doctor Berman, hasta pronto (posiblemente en septiembre, en Nueva York).

Espero que mi comentario en español este bien, si no lo puedo escribir en ingles.

Elizabeth

7:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hola Elizabeth-

Gracias por escribir; muy amable. I'm not sure that books like "Paja" can do all you are saying they might do, but estoy halagado, sin embargo. It would be great to see you in NY, if you are there--enviame tu correo electronico, y voy a avisarte sobre el 2nd NY Wafer Summit Meeting, Sept. 6, si quieres. Con respecto a "Neurotic Beauty": fin de 2016, en espanol. El lanzamiento sera en Guadalajara (a FIL), nov-dic.

abrazos, chica-

mb

7:54 AM  
Blogger Val said...

Andre Vltchek recently spent 2 weeks in California, and it gave him writer's block:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/19/in-the-usa-i-cannot-write/

"I drove on freeways full of patches and bumps. I rode on a primitive rail system. I encountered people who were absolutely not interested in working or improving their country. I was confronted by individualism, by egotism. I saw people who clearly disliked each other, but pretended that they are full of concern and courtesy.

"But one wrong move, and hatred and explosion would follow.

I saw a country where basic positive human instincts and values have already collapsed."

He seems to get it really fast. I love his bitter description of the demeaning trivialities, like being forced to box a package three times by an unhelpful postal clerk - and this from a guy who's spent time in war zones! I feel vindicated by his reaction somehow. And he's dead on target about how Californians won't give up their privileges or their SUVs if it were to save a million lives.

I live in California, if you can call this living. If it weren't for poverty, I'd have left long ago. I wonder, if I ever do manage to escape, will my creative productivity go up, as with him?

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Majisina said...

@Vince
You wrote: “I had a thought a couple of weeks ago that I believe best describes the typical American mindset, individual, corporate, etc. Picture a baby in a high chair. The baby is safe and secure in the chair and expects to be pleased while in the chair. The baby makes a huge mess for everyone else to clean up. The baby internalizes all of the pleasures of being the center of attention while externalizing all of the costs of those pleasures. However the baby is trapped by the chair the same way our culture / society is trapped by its own mindset.”

Thank you for that! One thing MOST INTELLIGENT people around the world know is that the people at the Wall Street are responsible for the financial problems killing America and most of other world’s nations. We know who is in charge of Wall Street – they are mostly educated in the top/best universities in America. Therefore blaming the poor masses for the woes of America is ONLY delusional and scapegoating.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Val-

Well, it's certainly worth a shot. His description of Americans is spot on. One thing abt living outside of the US: you don't hafta talk to them! As for creativity: I moved to Mexico in 2006; between 2007 and 2014 I wrote 6 bks. I never imagined such a thing wd be possible.

mb

12:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Majisina-

What the poor masses want is to be part of the 1%. Pew Charitable Trust poll showed no resentment at all of the elite, only a desire to join it! The ideology (American Dream) is uniform across the board. It's not like the 99% have a different (non-hustling) vision of society. To believe that--now *that* wd be delusional!

mb

12:50 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dr. Berman,

Thanks for the wonderful Op-ed you posted from Counterpunch: "In the USA I can't write", which mentions the following observation:

"There are almost no revolutionaries left in the United States or Europe, just the morally defunct masses, emotionless, insincere, selfish individuals scared to lose their privileges. At least the right-wingers are honest!"

Which means that the consumerist culture has taken over the advanced countries as to breed the type of comfort zone that - as was noted by another fellow Wafer earlier on- a child gets when he is fed up on his high chair. If that is the case- why would that child want to give up his supply of privileges merely on altruistic sentiment? How can altruism grow inside of consumer culture?
Selfishness then becomes our only motivation to change.
Politics as a conduit to enact change becomes less necessary- or irrelevant- in our global capitalism scheme. Consumer behavior- market forces- is then the true arm on the helm. Only when Americans and Europeans are hit in the wallet will behavior change. I don't see us changing until Nature - which is being depleted of its resources- hits us with scarcity.

In consumer culture Selfishness trumps the morality of loving our neighbor like we love ourselves- the cornerstone of humanism. There's no going the extra mile for the customer in the hopes that he will return. ( the article mentioned the awful treatment its author got from customer service in the states - which I have encountered multiple times myself) Instead, I got mine and whatever is left I might offer to my neighbors, is probably the most morality we can extract from that system. Apparently, there isn't much left to give to our neighbors- especially to the ones that go un-seen in the third world.

Human nature isn't too far ahead from animals. We hunt and feed for the day. We don't think about what lies ahead. Industrial civilization has exponentially multiplied our catch of game but it has failed miserably in making us conscious of what lies ahead. And those who can see a bit farther down the road are nothing but anomalies- and certainly not enough to make any waves- which explains the amount of readership you have.

My point is- altruism doesn't grow in the Western world's barren soil and we can't extract from the masses what they lack.

Sorry for my depressing comment.

JC

1:29 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB-

We are literally eating ourselves alive in the US, as you indicate. As of yesterday, the prosecution rested in the James Holmes case; highlighted by the testimony of Ashley Moser, whose 6-year-old child and unborn child living inside her were murdered. Jesus, we can't even conclude one mass murder case before another one hits! We're stuck! No doubt about it.

J S, MB-

I just wanna say that Eugene Genovese was an intellectual tour de force; a Hegelian-like fearless giant in the field of history. When I first encountered Genovese's work as a student in the 1990s, it left me stunned. I had to rework and rethink many preconceived notions about American history, southern slavery in particular. I credit his work w/forcing me to think historically, rather than simply imposing my contemporary values and ideology on human beings that had lived in the past. Avoiding a crude reductionism, Genovese *proved* that the American South was a qualitatively different kind of American civilization, and showed how paternalism was a key component in understanding the longevity of slavery and the complex social relations of southern society, black and white. A paternalism, Genovese argued, that grew out of necessity to justify a system of exploitation. If more Americans read his work, we would be on a different road than the one we're on. He was willing to go, despite massive condemnation, where the data, sources, and the truth led him.

In addition, his conservatism is also quite complicated; it hinges on what one means by conservative. Rest assured, Genovese was no free-market conservative and remained an anti-capitalist till the end. He despised political correctness on the left & the right, and would probably agree w/the southern intellectual tradition that stood opposed to an egalitarian leveling of everything, I'm guessing. This, in many ways, was the focus of much his work. He was willing to take antebellum southern aristocrats at their word: that hierarchy and stratification in society are proper and necessary. Moreover, it doesn't mean that yr a fascist or some kind of extremist.

Miles

1:31 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

I read the following recently from Linh Dinh that reminded me of stuff I have read in Dr. Berman's blog.

"Beyond the racial chauvinism that comes from several centuries of being on top of the world, this attitude also betrays the progressive bias that deems much the past as simply a repository of absurd habits, mistakes and superstitions. Mumford calls it “anti-historic nihilism.” Writing in 1944, he comments, “During the last generation, particularly in the United States, it became popular to say that only contemporary history was important; whereas the truth is that all of history is important because it is contemporary and nothing is perhaps more so than those hidden parts of the past that still survive without our being aware of their daily impact. He who knows only the events of the last generation or the last century knows less than nothing about what is actually happening now or what is about to take place.” In this age of geriatric sex change, Kim Kardashian’s bulbous buttocks and endless porn for everyone, including nuns and tots, your average American doesn’t remember what he half read half an hour ago, much less know anything from another century. He wouldn’t be surprised to be informed that this big, beautiful orb of polluted dirt he’s standing on is only a few thousand years old. Wow, that old?!"

Here the link, in case anyone is interested: http://linhdinhphotos.blogspot.com/2015/06/buffaloes-and-flies-in-south-china-sea.html

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Masser said...

DR B
“Pew Charitable Trust”? Who are the members of this organization? Do you know? Why should we trust or depend on their credibility? Are you suggesting that "they" should be the source of divine truth? Who runs America – the poor masses or the educated elite? That someone wants to be part of the %1 does not make him or her responsible for financial woes of America? Who squandered the American money? I did not! The money I spent all my life is the money I earned. Some people spent/spend the money they stole from others? Poll numbers are funded and cooked up by the same people who plunder every person in America. Arguing otherwise is not being objective. We can dig into articles to verify these claims here.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB... Whew ! Glad for 'moving on' ( though I had a 1/2 page dissertation planned, darn it ! ). Think there are many 'dominant myths' of various perspectives with quite a few conflicting. I mean, maybe the 'flat-earthers' are right after all.

U'r right about my understanding of Genovese. Was attracted by "Roll, Jordan, Roll" way back when I was exploring, but thought he was as full of crap then ( as Rand w/ "The Fountainhead". Never read "AS", determining it was the same codswallop. ), so pretty much dismissed him since. Maybe my bias.
I focused on Camus, Veblen, Lippmann, Wright, Baldwin, Steinbeck, Caldwell, Poe, Packard, Vonnegut, Asimov, Vidal; and just as importantly to me: Will Rogers, Tom Lehrer, Bruce, Guthrie, and later, Carlin.

Heck, I even read the unexpurgated "Mein Kamph" cover to cover to see what ticked w/ Schicklgruber !

I moved from an industrial/urban Stepford/Peyton Place to a northern backwater small town and experienced ignorant racism up close. These people conclusively did not know what they did not know, and didn't care to know it.
I was a freshman in HS that was teaching at a 4th grade level, and the 'teachers' were maybe 6th grade ( my science teacher was still asserting that the craters on the moon were actually volcanoes ! ).
The only way to coexist w/ these morons was to act stupid, or be a comedian. I did both. IOW, I had to make them believe that I was dumber than them to receive any respect, or they would have killed me.

Re: techno-buffoons ... Asimov said, " The saddest part of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom ".

Hope you don't consider me a 'trollfoon' as I really appreciate this truly only worthwhile blog in the universe ( to my admittedly limited understanding ).

WAFer On !

3:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Masser-

Well, you can believe what you want. Pew is a very respected organization, very reliable. It's hardly 'objective' to say that their poll #s are cooked up by the wealthy, amigo; this is simply not true. The bottom line is that the only difference between rich and poor in the US is that one group has $ and the other doesn't; but ideologically speaking, they are identical. Even OWS, w/its 1%/99% slogan, didn't envision a different type of society, but only a redistribution of wealth. Which is not a bad thing, of course, but it does mean that we're all abt $, not much else. Janis had it rt when she said that the American prayer was, "O Lord, won't you buy me/A Mercedes-Benz." The American Dream, indeed.

And there is a great naivete in saying that only the wealthy are responsible for our financial woes. When they were selling sub-prime mortgages, whom do you think they were they selling them to? The reason a con can fool a mark is that the mark thinks he's pulling a con as well! The pt is that it's the entire country that is engaged in hustling; otherwise, the system wdn't work. The 99% are hardly innocent victims or bystanders, being done in by an evil elite. Progs believe that, otherwise there wdn't be much pt to their activity. But it remains a simplistic way of understanding American society.

Of course, Chomsky talks abt "manufactured consent," and some of that is undoubtedly true. But there are limits to the notion of false consciousness, as it were. When John Q. Public says his life is abt making more $, and his aspiration is owning a Mercedes, we need to take him at his word; he's hardly kidding.

Anyway, I look forward to rdg your 'articles'.

Jeff-

In addition, Genovese called the American Way of Life "affluent depravity," and said that altho the slave economy was a horror, and had to go, the Northern vision of what life shd be abt proved to be pretty ugly as well. As you say, he was no stereotypical conservative. He merely saw that slavery was unjustifiable, Communism had failed, and capitalism was a disaster; and didn't know what that meant for the human race. Honest enuf.

JC-

Thanks. Maybe Masser might read it, learn something.

mb

3:31 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

What would happen if Andre Vltchek were to meet Bill Maher?

I've been watching Maher on and off since 2001...whenever I feel I'm in too content a state of mind. There was one episode back then when As'ad Abukhalil was a guest, and Maher and the other little bigots were spewing anti-Arab invective at him, to which "The Angry Arab" responded with admirable rationality. It was incredible to witness. It was as if As'ad was speaking one language and the others were speaking another.

Anyway, Maher hasn't evolved a lot since then. Last night he made some cogent points about comedy and political correctness, the catalyst being Jerry Seinfeld's recent comments on the subject. He said it's OK to make jokes about groups of people (Asians are lousy drivers, for example) as long as there's some truth behind them. Then he made a joke about Muslims exploding themselves into pieces. His rationale was that Muslims "blow stuff up" more than anyone else on the planet.

I'm certain that he sincerely believes this, despite the hundreds of tons of bombs the USA has dropped all over the world since 1945.

Maher has also said, incredibly, that the USA ought to get out of the Middle East and to let the people there sort out their own problems, as if the invasion of Iraq never happened and US sponsorship of the Israeli military doesn't exist.

It takes either willful blindness or a very good propaganda system to blinker someone to this extent.

Bisous.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Daniel James said...


Sometimes it is good to quote some parts of an article. God! If only these wicked things are sent back to their European caves - to leave the rest of humanity alone!:


“Definitely!” I shouted back. “The responsibility and the guilt of the West, of the white race, of Christianity, of the Empire! Collective responsibility and guilt for hundreds of millions of victims defined as un-people. Victims gassed, bomber, starved, mutilated… Collective guilt and responsibility for raping the free will of billions in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. Collective guilt and responsibility for the ongoing global apartheid!”

I was pushing speeches, presentations and talks about what I saw in Africa and the Middle East: perpetual wars, destruction of entire nations, millions of corpses piling on top of the others. I gave examples and showed films. I was offering in-depth analyses about how the West has been antagonizing China and Russia.


source:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/06/19/in-the-usa-i-cannot-write/

4:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JS-

Yr obviously not a trollfoon. Keep listening to Carlin, and u can't go wrong. BTW, it's Kampf! Your Kampf, mein Kampf, everybody's Kampf. Ach Du Lieber, so many Kampfe (umlaut over the a).

al-

Most American Jews, like Maher, can only see Israel in one way, tho some observers have argued that this is changing among the younger ones. But thanks to the Holocaust, Israel for Jews tends to generate the same reaction that race and Civil War does for Americans: insanity. To read two Jews not in that category, check out Ilan Pappe and Max Blumenthal. I also got a lot out of Alan Wolfe's recent bk, "At Home in Exile," one of the most balanced assessments of the Zionist issue I've ever read. For a tour de force by a Palestinian, check out Nur Masalha, "Expulsion of the Palestinians."

mb

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Hackenbush said...

al Quabong wrote-
"Why don't mass shootings occur in Wal-Marts or other temples of commerce? Are these places sacred?"

I think there could be something to that actually. Assuming that Intelligence might have a hand in some of these events, that is. If that were the case, then perhaps such "temples" are avoided because they are indeed "sacred."

Of course by "Intelligence," I mean the spy agencies. One of their largest tasks, if not the largest, is running psychological operations on the public. One of the ways to do that, is to manufacture the news- whether by making it up from whole cloth, or by hanging it on some delusional patsy.

I have no idea of the details behind this latest shooting, for all I know it's just what the news says it is. However, I take nothing the mass media reports at face value. Not after reading papers such as those of Miles Mathis (whose site I mentioned above, sorry to keep bringing him up) exposing many past events as hoaxes. That's too incredible for many people of course, but I encourage the open minded to read a few of his essays and come to their own conclusions.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Samiya said...

This will never happen in USA - where everybody is busy checking textmessages and being selfish to the core:

Hundreds Attack China Police Station In Dispute Over Woman's Death
By AP
Posted: 06/20/2015 10:04 am

"BEIJING (AP) — Police in a southern Chinese township arrested 13 people who illegally detained officials and police officers and stormed a police station and a government building in a dispute over a young woman's death, authorities said.

The violence reflects the public's deep distrust in the local government's ability to properly investigate and adjudicate disputes and increasing hostility toward local authorities.

The Shuangfeng county government in Hunan province on Friday demanded in a public notice that troublemakers turn themselves in in return for leniency.


The violence followed the June 8 death of 28-year-old Cao Hui. The official finding was that she died from pesticide poisoning, but her blood relatives were skeptical and demanded to know if her husband played a role in her death, the county government said.

On Thursday, Cao's blood relatives and supporters attacked and detained government workers who came to the home morgue to retrieve evidence, prompting the town's senior officials to intervene. Yet the officials were hit with bricks and beer bottles, and they were forced to kneel in the mourning hall for Cao, the county government said.

The government deployed more than 150 police officers and negotiated for the release of the detained government workers by late afternoon, according to the statements.

But the violence escalated when hundreds of local residents stormed the local police station, blocked a road, and flattened the tires of a police vehicle, preventing the police officers from leaving, the statements said.

Early Friday morning, the crowd threw rocks and stones and sprayed pepper water at the police that tried to make a forced exit, the county government said.

In a late Friday update, the county said police arrested 13 people and public order was being restored."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/20/china-police-station-attack_n_7627468.html

6:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Samiya-

Gd article, but pls observe 1/2-page posting limit in future. Thanks.

mb

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Ida No (formerly I dunno) said...

Hi Wafers and Dr B,

This is my first comment since my last attempt when I couldn't read the gibberish that I was supposed to replicate to prove I wasn't a zombie. Thank you Dr B for the format change.

Well, yesterday as I shopped for B-Day cards for my son and his brother-in-law (both were born the same day, same year), I came across an American Greetings card that read:

"I know that you're not the only one born today."

Open card:

"But you're the only one I give a crap about!"

Nice, huh?

O&D

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Lula Cha said...


Good pics - America, the land of the "rational"

http://tinyurl.com/nz2chyl

http://tinyurl.com/na7aa9p

http://tinyurl.com/arqxh

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Woman said...


"Most people think of Pew Charitable Trusts as a centrist, nonpartisan organization committed to sanguine policy analysis and agnostic number crunching. It's an odd reputation for an organization that was the legacy of J. Howard Pew, president of Sun Oil (the future Sunoco) during its early 20th-century petro-powerhouse days and a kind of australopithecine precursor to a Tea Party leader. Pew had all the symptoms: an obsession with the New Deal as a threat to free society, a keen appreciation for unreadable Austrian economist F.A. Hayek and a hoggish overuse of the word "freedom.""

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/looting-the-pension-funds-20130926?page=3

8:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And then there's this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/20/bill-maher-pc-comedy_n_7628188.html

8:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Woman-

Well there's an eye-opener; thank you. Pew remains a very respected polling source, much like Gallup, for example; but maybe its reputation for neutrality is undeserved, I dunno.

Pew or no Pew, however, I do think there is a lot of evidence to indicate that the aspiration of Americans is to follow the American Dream and become rich, or at least successful. Studies of college students, for example, overwhelmingly show that this (wealth) is their goal (nor are they shy on this pt). Bks on how to become rich, or be successful, are instant best-sellers (7 Secrets of Successful People, etc.). And places such as soup kitchens and tent cities are hardly hives of festering rebellion or left-wing political agitation. To the contrary, they ironically fly the American flag above their bldgs. The Dream lives on, and this is what most Americans believe--and want to believe. Progs, of course, want to believe that there is a particular culprit, namely the 1%, oppressing the 99%, because that gives them a 'revolutionary' agenda, something to do--Meaning. But surely it is obvious that the huge majority of Americans demonstrate no interest in such an agenda; their goal is to make it in the system, and most subscribe to the mythology of the self-made man, myth tho it is. The Dream is surely The Greatest Story Ever Sold, and the success of this has meant that left-wing politics in the US is feeble to nonexistent. There is every reason to believe that the 99% buy into the agenda, ideology, and world view of the 1%--it's what keeps the system going.

mb

10:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: The following research report pretty much nails the issue, it seems to me:

http://sociology.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/3858/PrisonersoftheAmericanDream.pdf

This is a 2014 comprehensive NYU sociology study of the hold the American Dream on the American people. From the Abstract:

“Three decades of rising inequality, combined with clear evidence of wage stagnation for the majority of American households, have produced what has been widely described as a “new gilded age” in which the benefits of economic growth and increased productivity have gone primarily to those at the top. We show that in spite of these trends, Americans have not increased their hostility to either inequality or the rich, nor have they increased support for redistributive taxes in recent decades.”

And here is the conclusion:

“In view of these findings, it is appropriate to note in conclusion an irony in the growing scholarly and journalistic literature focusing on the failures of the U.S. economy to produce results matching the ideals of the American Dream (see e.g. Bartlett and Steele 2012; Reich 2012; Smith 2012). These commentaries stress how the emerging economic order is at odds with the premises of the American Dream, yet they appear to simultaneously miss its underlying power as a symbolic filter in how Americans reason and think about inequality and redistribution. It is, of course, possible that the power of the Dream, and its tensions with respect to Gilded Age realities, will erode if, as many now predict, the era of high inequality persists over an extended historical period. But at the present time, scholars and political commentators alike would be well-served by taking seriously the power of the American Dream metaphor for how the public reasons about these issues.”

Q.E.D.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to "Manitoba"-

Shit, man; I am *not* glorifying evil. How dumb can you be? Will u fucking wake up?

mb

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Pauliya said...

DR B

Thanks for the link:
http://sociology.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/3858/PrisonersoftheAmericanDream.pdf

Still, the problem I have with these academicians is this: Americans are more "educated" than the rest of the world. Either the so-called good education is junk or there is a deliberate design to destroy critical thinking in the American schools. Are teachers and professors not part of the problem? If not, who then spits out dumb graduates from the schools in America who are incapable of thinking? Obama went to the best schools in America. Alan Greenspan got the best education that America has to offer and he spent more than 19 years at the Federal Reserve, and yet he was the dupe of Ayn Rand's ideology and philosophy of trash The Wall Street hires workers from the top schools in America - and the Wall Street is full of psychopathic and useless goons:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/41354100

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704554104575435563989873060

So then, the writers of the article should look inward, rather than blaming their disciples of trash.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous TrueTFoon said...

Interesting stuff - I love the website - a lot:
"1. It proves that Dylann Roof was purely and completely driven by racism. We knew this, but this doubles down the evidence.
2. It proves that Dylann was inspired by other racist hate groups and philosophies.
3. It proves that Dylann was clear-headed, articulate, and knew full well who he was and what he wanted to do.
At this point, calling him anything other than a domestic terrorist is irrational. He was begging to be known as such."

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/20/1394948/-Racist-manifesto-and-selfie-collection-confirms-what-we-knew-Dylann-Roof-a-racist-terrorist

"Dylann Roof's extraordinary hatred of black people led him to murder nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night. As we are learning in the aftermath of this horrific massacre, black people were not the only minority Roof loathed. According to what writers Henry Krinkle and Emma Quangel have identified as his manifesto, Roof approvingly described East Asians as "very racist," declared Hispanics to be "our enemies," and went on at length about how much he despised Jews:"

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/20/1395040/-Dylann-Roof-If-we-could-turn-every-jew-blue-for-24-hours-I-think-there-would-be-a-mass-awakening

8:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pauliya-

I don't think that's what these sociologists are doing, and "looking inward" wd hardly be relevant to their findings. They aren't talking abt the intellectual smartness or dumbness of the American public or of their colleagues (Robt Reich et al.) who are failing to understand the powerful hold the American Dream has on that public; that isn't the pt. What they have discovered is major cognitive dissonance in the public between its economic circumstances and its belief system. Of course, on one level, one might argue that the public *is* dumb, in the sense meant by George Carlin: "They call it the American Dream because you've gotta be asleep to believe it." All of this confirms an old adage, that when myth meets fact, fact always loses (cf. my attempt to puncture the myth of the Civil War, and the bozos that keep writing in that I am endorsing evil; pretty much the same thing, altho the bozos are intellectually clueless as well). What their study shows is the huge gap--wh/I've discussed on this blog b4--between intellectual and ontological knowing. The colleagues of these sociologists can hardly be faulted on an intellectual level; and yet, they miss the real issue, namely that of the symbolic power (ontos, in Greek: being) of the American Dream to filter reality, so that they, as well as the American public, are not seeing what is rt in front of them.Bottom line, then, is that the American public has no antagonism to the upper 1%, let alone interest in rebellion, revolution, or substantive dissent, because their aspiration is to *become* part of that 1%; and the American Dream tells them that if they work hard enuf, they can do it. This is pure baloney, but the NYU study makes the case quite well, that the simplistic picture presented by Masser (above) or by OWS, that we have an elite oppressing the rest of us, is rather off the mark. Truth is, the 99% are playing the same game, at the level at which they are operating, and hence the formula of an 'evil 1%' fails in terms of a sociological or political analysis of what's actually going on. (Put that 99% in the elite class, and nothing much wd change.)

mb

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I've always felt that if the majority of Americans were reduced to living in a grass hut as the price the government claims for combating international terrorism, they would gladly do it. Of course, there would be the 11 or 12 year old precocious boy or girl who would say, "But isn't being reduced to living in a grass hut a form of terrorism perpetrated [my 11 or 12 year old has a wide vocabulary as a result of not attending a public school but this will be dealt with in another entry] on us?" Then, as usual, one or both parents will say those magic words that have stifled creative thought through the centuries:"Stop talking nonsense!"
Yes, I retired on Friday after a year marked by constant abuse and browbeating. Then again the entire public school system is marked by abuse. Downtown abuses the regional superintendents, they, in turn, abuse the principals, the principals abuse the teachers and the teachers abuse the students. Then the bigger students abuse the little students. Gee, think that might be why we have an epidemic of bullying? Let's not get too sanctimonious about South Carolina, by the way. 9 people were shot at a block party last night in Philadelphia.
Finally, back to cell phones. Are black youth the dumbest beings in the USA? 9 blacks were killed in a church but yesterday I still see 90-95% of black youth walking with head sets. Are you fuckin' nuts?! The ruling elites have decidedly determined that black lives indeed do not matter but there they are walking with that insane bovine expression like there's nothing to worry about. Might as well be a Jew walking in Berlin in the 1930's wearing headphones.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

True-

Well, no surprise there, I don't think. White Americans who hate blacks typically hate other minority groups, wh/is part of the psychology of scapegoating. As the economic crunch worsens, people are going to look around for 'enemies', the alleged causes of the collapse of the American Dream; and altho Jews have so far been out of their cross-hairs, it's probably only a matter of time b4 they become targets as well--as Roof's antisemitism suggests. So thanks for the input.

(Besides, it's been well-established that Jews capture and kill little Christian boys and drain their blood, wh/they then use in the baking of matzoh for Passover.)

Of course, at another pt in his 'writings', Roof described Jews as an 'enigma'. I like that; it's really a compliment, imo. Churchill once said that Russia was "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma," and Jerry once called Newman "a mystery wrapped around a Twinkie." So perhaps Jews are in good company, I dunno.

mb

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

MB, just read the interview you did with David Masciotra at Salon -- WAFers, look here:

http://www.salon.com/2015/06/21/america_floats_between_modernity_collapse_what_the_united_states_can_learn_from_japan/

No comments posted yet, but I'll be curious to see what (if anything) is said there. I'll be ordering & reviewing "Neurotic Beauty" shortly.

Re: post-apocalyptic America -- WAFers might want to check out "Glen and Randa" sometime, an independent film from 1971. It depicts a post-nuclear world, but it's nothing like the usual Max Max fantasies, not a depiction of endless violence & manly posturing with big guns & spiky weapons. Instead, everyone is pretty much in a state of perpetual, shocked numbness, clinging to scraps & tatters of remembered civilization that they no longer understand. It's weirdly beautiful & utterly bleak at the same time, with an uncompromising ending.

While I still use email to some extent -- and even that is considered antiquated already, as many family members & friends have complained that it takes too long to read or write complete sentences, as they much prefer to text -- I've begun writing letters again, pen on paper. I also make large postcards with collage art & fill every square inch of text space. It really does encourage a different, deeper style of writing -- one tends to think about what'll be said, and how best to say it -- or even if it's worth saying in the first place.

By the way, I still have people telling me that the art I make is meaningless & worthless if I'm not trying to sell it & make money from it. I get uncomprehending looks when I try to explain that the pleasure of making it is its own reward. No ambition! No hustle! Get with it, boy! (See the old Twilight Zone episode "A Stop at Willoughby" & listen to poor James Daly's boss haranguing him with, "Push push push! It's a push push push business! Push push push!")

9:08 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

I think it's impossible to say hatred of blacks caused him to do this. Plenty of people hate blacks and don't do this. Everyone hates someone, but few commit mass murder.

People largely hate Jews because they run banks and the media. There's plenty of criticism of banks and the media everywhere, and this in turn becomes hatred of Jews. Somehow there's a plot to control everyone thrown in there, and that's the part I can't understand where they're coming from. It's unfortunate for Jews that they're talented at running businesses, that's how I see it.

To connect the two, I recently reread "Nation of Strangers" where he made the point that Jews were the first to leave a neighborhood when too many blacks moved in. Was it PC to say this decades ago? I was surprised to hear him say this.

There are also issued of intelligence and crimes stats here. There's the "Jews are smart" and "blacks are dumb" as backed by studies like "the bell curve"

Yes, hatred and scapegoating will grow. It will be the blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Chinese, Mudlims, liberals, conservatives.....everyone will be blaming someone else. This should turn out well for America!!

Really though, I hear very little outright racism ever. People like to keep it on the down low (white flight works well for this)

9:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Congratulations! Yr finally out of that madhouse. Re: abuse: you might wanna read Jas Joyce's short story, "Counterparts."

Philadelphia shooting:

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/breaking/Ogden-STreet-Shooting-308747231.html

Truth is, there is a mini-massacre somewhere in the US almost every day now. Some are more spectacular than others, but there are 3 things we can be sure of:

1. These events will continue into the indefinite future.
2. After each one--or in the case of the ones that get national attn, like Charleston--there will be the usual outcry and handwringing, accompanied by the usual adjectives ('senseless', 'barbaric', etc.); a call for gun control; and then the hubbub will die down, and abs. 0 will be done to change the situation.
3. Everyone, black white or purple, will walk around plugged into headsets and smartfones, oblivious to what's going on, and not really caring all that much, one way or the other.

I cannot emphasize enuf, what a fabulous country this is. The level of intelligence, compassion, and no-nonsense political activism is abs. remarkable.

mb

9:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tim-

Thanks for the heads-up. I think I'll make that Salon interview the next blog post (= #245); maybe we can finally leave the Civil War behind. (Altho I suppose the trollfoons will be up in arms abt my take on the Pacific War, who knows. As FDR once said, the 3 things we can't avoid are death, taxes, and trollfoons.)

lack-

Someone shd check the actual stats, because my impression is that the notion that Jews 'control' banks and the media is a myth (serving obvious antisemitic purposes). In terms of percentages of who is represented in positions of power in these 2 areas, I suspect it's WASPs, not Jews. Of course, Jews may be over-represented in proportion to their % of the overall American population (something like 1.5%), but that still doesn't add up to anything significant w/in those 2 industries.

As for Roof, I think it's pretty clear that the massacre was racially motivated.

mb

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Dr. Berman,

So glad I dropped by the blog.

I’ve been struggling with much of the reportage about the Charleston shooting. It was a horrific act, but many of the subsequent news stories seem fixated on demonizing the Confederate flag and assigning blame where it’s not warranted. I know it's convenient for most to have a scapegoat, but removing a symbol that stands for more than a racist past won't make shooters go away, or acts of domestic terrorism disappear.

When you referenced “The Rebuke of History,” I had to pull my copy of When America Failed down off the shelf and re-read it. I think it was just as powerful upon my return, as the first time I touched down shortly after buying the book, back in 2011.

This kind of nuanced, thoroughly-researched treatment of one of the most complex (and confusing) periods in American History was a gift to anyone willing to read it, and then go to the sources you thoroughly annotated. Your work is appreciated for how it takes anyone willing to dig deeper, back to the information and writers that you sought out. It might even help some of us acquire wisdom, which seems to be in short supply these days.

Not to belabor the point, but we have some dolt millennial up here in Maine who has a weekly blog in one of our daily newspapers. His blogging is so superficial (and predictable). Why am I not surprised that he retweeted his support for a picture of someone torching the Confederate flag?

Oh, and this kind of grandstanding by nincompoops isn’t relegated to millennials, either. Rom Mittney just came out as anti-Confederate flag. Guess he never read your book, either.
http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/06/20/mitt-romney-calls-for-removal-of-confederate-flag-at-south-carolina-capitol/

Keep up the good work, doctor. It’s appreciated by those of us who self-identify as WAFers (add me to the ever-burgeoning list), and those who aren’t, but who care about history and where we’ve come from (and where we’re headed, too).

Cheers!

9:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

We're now up to 166 registered Wafers. I tell ya, we're set to take over the world.

I appreciated yr appreciation of WAF ch. 4. Jesus, the # of morons who write in to tell me I'm pro-slavery, endorsing evil, etc etc makes me realize that my assessment of the American public is 100% on target. Nothing short of a lobotomy can correct these pathetic 'brains', I fear. It's all emotional reflex, and confusing that emotion w/intellectual analysis. But this blindness will help contribute to the Great Collapse, so I suppose there's a silver lining to it after all.

As for the Confed flag: it shd probably come down, given its extreme offense to black people; but all this furor abt it is missing the larger pt (wh/Americans are so gd at doing). Plus, outlawing its display won't chg the hearts of Southerners, who see it as not being abt slavery, but abt a particular way of life (wh/was unfortunately based on slavery, sad to say). Indeed, outlawing it will probably increase resentment of the North, as well as dedication to it (the flag and the Confederacy). And it certainly won't decrease the level of racism in the US, that's fer sure. We ain't gonna solve our problems by taking down a flag, I don't think, but what the heck. Since we can't really chg the things that matter, we wind up focusing on the things we can chg--but wh/don't really matter. Poor, poor America.

mb

10:44 AM  
Anonymous MeMeMe-First said...

DR B,

Yes, I agree with you that the flag should come down as much as I do not want anybody flying the Nazi Swastika or displaying it in public or private buildings. Although I am not Jewish, the Nazi symbol is offensive to me because it represents evil. What of you? Does the confed flag represent evil to you??

2:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Me-

The Confed flag doesn't stir up any particular emotion for me, but then I'm not black or a white Southerner. When I see a swastika, what immediately comes to mind is a huge pastrami sandwich--the natural antidote.

mb

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

Dear Morris,

From what history I know, commerce has usually conduced to a cosmopolitan and tolerant outlook. This results from the fact that traders and businessmen have been among the first to encounter foreigners and have found it better to make deals with them, rather than fight and destroy them. Understanding those who are different from oneself is a prerequisite for profitable relationships. Two examples are the Dutch, who are cultured, and tolerant at least on the surface (while, in my experience, reminding one frequently of their mercenary standpoint); and the Indonesians, whose form of Islam is more peaceful from having been spread by trade rather than conquest.

However, Americans seem to be an exception to this rule. Academics and eggheads are notorious, rightly or not, for "multiculturalism" (as everyone seems to have agreed to pejorate the concept), and business interests are among those opposed to it.

I wonder whether you agree with this impression-- and if so, whether or where you might have analyzed or enlarged upon it.

3:17 AM  
Anonymous Quercus said...

Dear MB:
How refreshing to be reminded of the Alexandria Quartet, which I read many years ago. It had a strange clarity and sensuality which left its mark. I should get back and re-read it. I also read a number of Lawrence Durrell’s Mediterranean travel books, a mixed bag. His second attempt at a set of novels, the Avignon Quartet doesn’t have the impact of the Alexandria Quartet and I never finished it. He was one of a group of British writers who “escaped” to the Mediterranean after WWII from what was seen as the stodgy and repressed atmosphere in England. John Fowles springs to mind with “The Magus, Norman Douglas (Siren Land), Elizabeth David, who discovered Mediterranean cooking for the culinary challenged speakers of the English language, and Patrick Leigh Fermor, who died recently in his 90’s and wrote wonderful books on what was then remote parts of Greece and his walk across Europe just before WWII started. And not to forget the great eccentric Robert Graves, his poetry, scholarship and historical novels, who lived on Majorca, but he left England for good after WWI. These people all had their senses awakened.
However, much of what they wrote about, the people and their ways of life, is gone now or rapidly disappearing. The power of Western corporate culture (the I-Phones, being hip and distracted ) and junk food (that combination of sweet/greasy/ salty) seduces everything in its wake. The intensity is gone.

Quercus

10:19 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home