August 01, 2015

The Tec Interview

Dear Waferinos:

The link below is to an interview I did a few weeks ago with Hrvoje Moric, who is a professor at the Guadalajara branch of the Tecnologico de Monterrey. Unfortunately, his own voice doesn't come through very well, so you have to guess at the questions from my answers. Also, I don't really say anything I haven't said before, so I apologize for the redundancy. But on the off-chance that some of you might enjoy it, I post it here for your listening pleasure.

http://guadalajarageopolitics.com/2015/07/31/morris-berman-reflections-on-the-decline-of-american-empire-010/

138 Comments:

Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

There was something new in this interview. I can't remember hearing you mention before that Mexico, particularly Guanajuato, is becoming corrupted by the techno-gadgets, specifically smart phones, that originated in the USA. This is also the 1st time that I have heard you mention that Mexico is likely to disintegrate along with the USA, at least up to a point, because so many Mexicans have become enthralled with the Faustian bargain represented by the incorporation into Mexican society of US culture and its trappings.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanajuato,_Guanajuato

As you mentioned, after degenerating into squalor and corruption, Mexico may recover after awhile because of its crafts tradition, but the USA cannot recover because it is basically a society of hustlers, and based around a mercantile fragment of European bourgeois society.

I was amused by your suggestion that it might be necessary for you to live awhile in Japan in order for you to find the motivation to write a book about Mexico. That's my kind of humor!

3:30 PM  
Blogger John Border said...

Dear M. Berman

I find myself confused by this interview, because I agree with just about all you say, I like the general direction of your thinking- and yet...

Throughout the interview I was taken aback by your body language, which I can only describe as pointlessly rude. Especially at the beginning, you often looked out of the window or into the cafe and studied your fingernails, mostly not looking at your interviewer. This was strange behaviour in one so perceptive in social comment.

It is a trait found in southern English middle class people, buttoned up and repressed - and if it becomes chronic as your behaviour was beginning to be, they risk future exclusion from the table. Which is not good for all concerned.

I don't doubt you'll reject all this. However, consider it please. Something's wrong.
I have no wish to annoy you or be seen one of your trollfoons.

3:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

No, I think yr rt. It was the wrong locale for an interview, because the cafe has no walls and there was a ton of noise in the street, including one woman who was screaming. I found it hard to concentrate. But I assure u, I wasn't being rude, just sort of out of it. In addition, the interviewer was delayed and showed up just as I was getting up to leave. Anyway, I felt kind of listless, which I don't think is typical for me.

Marc-

Problem is that Mexico is sadly caught up in the neoliberal formula of "growth," with predictable results: between 2012 and 2014 2 million more people fell below the poverty line. I'm frustrated, watching this. In any case, I may indeed do a book abt Mexico, but probably not from a library carrel at the U of Tokyo.

mb

6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Here's a great film: "As It Is in Heaven" (Swedish).

6:19 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

This morning I flipped on the set to see what was on CNN. Fareed Zakaria's show, GPS, was in progress. He stated, point in fact: since 9/11, the US has spent over $800 billion on Homeland Security; invaded two Islamic countries; bombed several others; wildly violated major Constitutional protections; and generally have acted like shitheels. This, while only 74 Americans have died as a result of terrorism. He went on to report that since 2001, over 150,000 Americans have died as a result of gun deaths and we have done absolutely nothing about it. This is essentially the equivalent of three Vietnam Wars. I clicked off the set, and went to the bathroom to excrete the contents of my bowels...

MB-

A beautiful interview, MB. I can tell u this: I never tire of being told how royally fucked the US is by you. As Kojak usta say, we loves ya, baby!

Arriba!

Miles

6:52 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...


"People often turn to her when they have a broken heart, have lost a job, or have been feeling down. They often tell her, “I love you.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/science/for-sympathetic-ear-more-chinese-turn-to-smartphone-program.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Your mention about Japanese consensus reminded me of when I was teaching a group of about 6 Japanese housewives. After the class we decided to go out to lunch. 5 wanted to go to a certain place but one wanted to go to a different place. Where did we go? To the place the one wanted to go. Why? Because the women did not want to break up the group.
Nothing, of course, is funnier than watching a Japanese businessman singing karaoke, especially My Way. There is not a nano-second in a Japanese man's entire life where he is able to do anything his way. "I did it your way" should be the more appropriate last line.
Finally, I have a Vietnamese girlfriend who grew up in Saigon during the war. As a result, she was unable to attend college and thus pursue a decent vocation. She arrived in the US in her 30's and has worked in nail salons ever since. Not to boast, but had she had the opportunity to go to school, she could have been a success in the fashion industry, so good is her aesthetic sensibilities (I can hear Wafers now. If she has such good aesthetic sensibilities, why is she with you?). As a nail salon technician, she is constantly being reminded of her less than perfect English and is often stiffed tip wise from crass American women who demand perfection. Great life. First, the US destroys her country so she is unable to fulfill her talents and then she has to come face to face with the same ignorant Americans who probably think that with enough gas in the car you can drive to Vietnam.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marc-

Too soon, amigo. You may wanna start jotting down times in future.

Dan-

Sintiao! Bring her to Wafer Summit Lunch on Sept. 6. We are VN-friendly. Ho Ho...

Jeff-

I really think I need some visuals. Next time I do a video interview, I'm going to bring a large zucchini with me, and say, "The US is taking this right up the ass, without benefit of K-Y jelly." That shd be a gd conversation starter, I'm thinking.

mb

12:47 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

I can't remember when my last post was. Has it been 24 hours? I'll see about saving this one just in case.

I was musing about your (Morris Berman) decision to move to Mexico back in 2006 and a somewhat frivolous question entered my mind:

Would you have preferred to move to Costa Rica or to Uruguay if those small nations were bordering the United States, rather than Mexico? It seems that Mexico has a lot of flaws. Income and wealth inequality are rather high. Corruption and drug kingpins run amok make the news.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2172rank.html

Mexico is number 24 on the GINI list, not so good. Check out the nations at the bottom of the list.

A little question:

Does it bother you at all that philosopher John Gray spent some time in the 1980s as a Thatcher-esque conservative?

It unsettles me a bit. I start to wonder how much of Gray's cynicism about human nature, civilization, humanity's future, the nature of human "progress", etc., is nihilistic negativity. His writings are very interesting but they seem to be characterized by accuracy and insight in the absence of passion.

Maybe there just isn't much to be passionate about in human society today. Maybe that's what it's like to live during a time just before a civilization collapses.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dear Wafers and MB,

The interview was quite interesting despite all of the background noises. I particularly enjoyed the mentioning of how films and TV shows reflect the backstabbing hustling that has become a steady main course of American life. As I noted on an earlier post I have met quite a few of Americans who have sued their own family members. This is a country that settles everything with a lawsuit. Another sign of how central becoming wealthy is and also of what Dr. Berman calls our polarization and the collapse of dialogue. If family members themselves can't settle a grudge with a dialogue what is there to be expected of conflicts at the workplace, or even between friends?

I am saddened to hear of the Californication of Mexico. Is it getting harder to strike a conversation with strangers in public places, Dr. Berman? Have the invasion of the cell phone zombies taken away from the pleasure of spontaneous conversation in Guanajuato? You noted, and I agree, that technology transforms culture- it is never neutral . Isn't the smart phone single handedly robbing the world of the public space without physically removing or even altering the public space? It is sad how a small apparatus that was designed for connection is contributing to the disconnect from our humanity.

I know this is a rhetorical question but I often wonder: Isn't the aim of globalization to convert every citizen into an American. A tumbleweed whose only sense of purpose is to hustle and whose only sense of place- where he feels most at home- is at work?

JC

5:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, here's a lovely story:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/08/03/lawsuit-alleges-7-year-old-quizzed-on-religion-ordered-to-sit-alone-at-lunch-for-telling-classmates-he-didnt-believe-in-god/

Read my next bk, "How America Got to Be a Large Collection of Douche Bags."

Meanwhile, I've been rdg Terry Eagleton's little bk, "The Illusion of Postmodernism." Lotsa gd stuff in it. Consider this passage; he's talking abt premodern societies as compared with modern ones:

"On the whole they have a richer sense of place, community and tradition, less social anomie, less cut-throat competition and tormented ambition, less subjection to a ruthlessly instrumental rationality and so on. On the other hand...they are often desperately impoverished, culturally claustrophobic, socially hidebound and patriarchal, and without much sense of the autonomous individual. Modernity has precisely such a sense of free individual development, with all the spiritual wealth that this brings with it; it also begins to hatch notions of human equality and universal rights largely unknown to its forebears. But we also know that this is the more civilized face of a barbarously uncaring order, one which sunders all significant relations between its members, deprives them of precious symbolic resources and persuades them to mistake the means of life for the ends of it....It is this, surely, which the utopian narrative of a condition which combined the best of both worlds is groping for. It may not be a feasible future, but at least it issues a salutary warning against both despair and presumption, blinkered reaction and callow progressivism. To dream of blending the best of both worlds is also to refuse the worst of both....It is hard to imagine a more desirable human condition, quite regardless of whether it could ever come about."

(I think of this quote in relation to my vision of the antebellum South without slavery, or of what might develop if Dual Process really takes off.)

mb

6:30 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Happy Birthday, MB. I wish I could send u a corned beef sandwich and a Cel-Ray. Jesus, the WP story about the atheist boychik is outrageous. America is truly an epic fail. Anyway, here are a few Biblical Riddles:

Question: Who was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?
Answer: Moses, because he broke all 10 Commandments at once.

Q: Who was the most constipated man in the Old Testament?
A: King David, because he sat on the throne for 40 years.

Q: What did God say after he created man?
A: I can do better than this.

Cheers,

Miles

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

Just sat down and watched the interview. I have to say, I didn't find your body language or manners an issue. The whole conversation had a casual tone to it. Don't see what could possibly be construed as rude. Enjoyed it, format and all.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Beyond said...

Eagleton's "Culture and the Death of God" is also great. I believe John Gray even reviewed it at some point for New Statesman, or something like it.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Good f*cking lord, this is it, the end, the last straw. Everything is now commodified:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2015/aug/04/je-suis-cecil-the-lion-roaring-trade-commemorative-merchandise


1:19 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B, talk about educating 7 year old kid on God. Check out this one:

an 8 year old and a 9 year old were handcuffed with their hands at their back. Their crime? They were misbehaving in a class of 3rd graders. The teacher was heard saying, "if you misbehave, you must face the consequences" - something like that.

ACLU says this is illegal and they want to sue the teacher, not the school.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/watch-ky-handcuffs-8-year-old-disability-article-1.2313908

the video is here:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/08/kentucky-school-cop-handcuffed-8-year-old-boy-mental-disorder

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hola, WAFers. Conan o'brien has rolled out a set of podcasts ("jibber jabber.") the're longish interviews, mainly entertainment types. He did one with Michael Lewis, who's written on the American financial system. He was promoting his book Flash Boys about high speed trading and the leverage that milliseconds of speed gave to a bunch of predators. The book''s apparently about how a trader in a big firm noticed this and what he did to "remedy" it. Lewis points out tha all of the people who noticed this abuse and did something about it were foreign nationals living in the USA. Lewis seems like a very good diagnostician. He concludes that "the market" is rigged.but he then somewhat incredulously asks whether America teaches ethics anymore. One solution he sees for this is the teaching of noblesse oblige to our current and future rich. He at one moment seems extremely well informed and intellectually competent, at another moment astonishingly myopic. He talked about the vitriol that has been directed at the protagonists of the book and at himsef by finance types. Waiting for the penny to drop.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Edward-

It's not clear to me why we don't just start clubbing school kids with a lead pipe. Why pull our punches, at this pt?

Meanwhile, this is pretty gd (Americans are so sophisticated):

www.iflscience.com/technology/hitchhiking-robot-manages-two-weeks-us-being-destroyed

mb

4:18 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

"The Illusion of Postmodernism." How is postmodernism an illusion? That title is a winner. You keep recommending more reads, and that keeps me adding more books on that wish list pile. I am on Becker's Denial of Death right now. Will I ever catch up, Dr. Berman?

Woke up to the news of the Trump surge and couldn't be less surprised. If anyone has all of the attributes of a real American that would be him. He embodies the arrogance, narcissism, exceptionality, racism, greed, superficiality, vulgarity, and obnoxiousness of a real American. He reflects their mirror image back at them which is why they are so fascinated with him. I was reading the group psychology portions on Becker's book and I couldn't help but wonder if this is America's Weimar, Germany moment? He has them hypnotized.

This is a news excerpt from NBC news:

"Trump also has widespread ideological backing from Republicans - as he gets the most support of any candidate from moderate, conservative and very conservative GOP primary voters."

I guess we will have to wait and see if the hypnotic effect will make them disregard his big mouth or if the big mouth is part is his charm.

JC

9:59 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Hey Dr. B

How are you? How in the heck have you been Amigo? Me, I'm doing well. Debating trollfoons online and wasting my energy. They're as doltish as ever. I think I'd be better off smelling roses, eating turkey sandwiches and washing them down with a Cel-Ray with Miles.I wish there were real delicatessens here in Atlanta like in New York. In New York, they pack the sandwiches a mile high with lots of meat. One can't even finish it in one sitting.

Anyway, looking at the hitchhiking robot, I have to say this tells a lot about the countries it hitchhiked in. Do you know what's really weird? Americans harp so much about property rights but when it comes down to it as evidenced by this they don't care about someone else's property. Go figure! I feel bad for the robot though.Looking at Xiaoice, the sympathetic ear, It may be possible (although fantastical) things may become more sophisticated and as they become more sophisticated they may discover the malaise of America and the technology may attempt to fix America for our own good. America could be saved by its own technology by the technology saying "No, you're not going to go this way." Similar to the "I Robot" series.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

It's been so long. I wept when I saw yr name. Come to Wafer lunch in NY Sept. 6, eat corned beef.

Wafers-

Swedish film, "As It Is in Heaven," is an allegory of Waferdom. It's about the Life Force (singing, in this case, or Wafer energy in ours), and how the trollfoons try to extinguish it (Siv, Conny, and the Pastor). But in the end the Force (choir) is too great for them, and they self-destruct. I identified with Tore, the retarded idiot savant. An inspiring parable of the greatness of Waferdom, and the inevitable triumph of the Life Force.

mb

3:46 PM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

I watched a Frontline episode last night on the NRA. Even after the horrible rampage in Newtown they wouldn't give an inch on any gun control. There's been another shooting in Louisiana today and the "also reads" list beside the article was unintentionally ironic. Here it is:


1. Police: 3 dead in movie theater shooting, including gunman Associated Press

2. Lafayette gunman cased theater prior to rampage, but motive remains unknown Yahoo News

3. The Latest: Jindal says 'not time' to discuss gun control Associated Press

4.No 'satisfying' explanation for movie theater shooting: Gov. Jindal Reuters

5. Lafayette, Louisiana, Movie Theater Gunman ID'd as John Russel Houser, 59, of Alabama ABC News

It's only a matter of time before someone opens fire in a kid's movie. I dread the day. I listen to politicians bloviate about our "freedom" but what kind of freedom is there if kids can't go to school in safety or people can't attend a movie?

Jimmy's Hall is a movie I'd like to recommend too. It's a true story but since it involves the British elite and the Catholic church it doesn't have a happy ending.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

This just in:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/05/us-usa-shooting-tennessee-idUSKCN0QA2B320150805

The place is rapidly descending into a war zone, Wafers...

Miles

5:33 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

SW,

Do you really think the problem is guns? Most people I know in Israel keep guns at home (machine guns in some cases), there is no effective gun control in Russia and plenty of guns and of course Swtizerland where every fit adult male has an automatic rifle at home. They don;t go around killing people on a regular basis. Its an American thing and they would find other ways to murder each other--clubs, knifes, running over people etc. As a practical matter gun control is a non starter as there are about 200 million guns in the U.S. and its actually not that difficult to make one (after all a revolver is 1860's technology a half decent machine shop could crank out an armory if so inclined. There is also the matter of government incompetence. Surely you noticed that the tens of thousands of people deployed in spying and the like have yet to capture a bona fide terrorist, stop pedophiles and human trafficing. See the point is that its a nation of douchebags and they would rather chase imaginary hobgoblins, celebrate the goodness of gay marriage and new cell phones but don't kid yourself that anyone in power and even the ordinary americano is guided by higher motives and basic decency! Or at risk of being too blunt--its a nation of douchebags and idiots that is established so why bother adding more evidence? On to more interesting matters--how much does Hillary weigh?

7:06 PM  
Blogger Abbot Primate said...

Great interview, I enjoyed it very much. Current television programming displays the hopeless times we find ourselves in, narcissistic actors/actresses portraying sociopathic characters that most amerikans wish they could be.

Ninety-nine percent of Amerikans I have ever met trip over themselves finding new ways to out-cruel each other. This blog is one of the only sanctuaries I have come across.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Chris-

Pls send messages to latest post; no one reads the older ones. Thanks.

Abbot-

I hear from time to time that people read other blogs, but I just can't understand why they wd do that. Makes no sense, really. We are, of course, cruel to trollfoons, but since they are the carriers of hatred and the anti-Life Force, we feel this response is fully warranted, if not absolutely necessary.

Jeff-

An axe? Fuckin' A. Was his drone in the garage for repairs, or what?

mb

10:48 AM  
Anonymous SW said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

COS - I have no illusions that easy access to guns is the root cause of all the violence in American but it sure doesn't help when any 18 yr old or up can go to a gun show and buy automatic weapons. "Doing something about it" should have happened 50 yrs ago and didn't. Now it's too late. With 200 million guns circulating through the country there's no legislation that would effectively address it.

I don't know how much Hillary the Anointed One weighs. Since getting a direct answer to a direct question is completely out of the question, we may never know.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

SW-

True, but I have it on gd authority that she has a lot of fat between her ears.

mb

12:49 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

COS, SW, Wafers-

This clip speaks to COS's point about Americans w/out a firearms will resort to running over people:

http://ktla.com/2015/08/03/police-release-graphic-video-in-hopes-of-finding-attackers-who-ran-man-over-with-his-own-car/

MB, Wafers-

A few points about tonight's debate:

1. I'm sad that Shaneka or Melissa of the Poop and Bacon Party didn't make the cut to be in the top 10 on stage for the first debate.

2. Is there still time to add an 11th candidate? How about Christian Betts? Betts, a Florida McDonald's employee, though it good idea to urinate on his pregnant girlfriend during a domestic altercation:

http://rollingout.com/2015/07/16/400-pound-man-jailed-allegedly-urinating-pregnant-girlfriend/

Miles

1:34 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Wafers,

The gun is the weapon of choice but it is the culture that is trigger happy. Lack of common sensical gun control laws is part of the symptoms of being trigger happy.

This article must have been written by a Wafer. On Donald Trump as a symptom of a culture with no public consciousness. And no brains either. http://www.salon.com/2015/08/06/donald_trump_is_america_why_the_bloviating_billionaire_is_the_national_embarrassment_we_deserve/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Enjoy the circus tonight! I am rooting for Trump- the man of the times!

JC

4:17 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

I just finished watching "As it is in Heaven". What a great movie. Thank you for the recommendation MB! Really makes you wonder whether a few Daniels can turn the world around and convert all douchebags into Wafers!

7:35 PM  
Blogger jml said...

hillary with kim and kanye:

https://twitter.com/KimKardashian/status/629502260607725569/photo/1

6:51 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Just a brief note on some reviews of "Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation" written by Samuel Alexander:

review by Samuel Alexander himself:

http://steadystate.org/entropia-life-beyond-industrial-civilisation/

Other reviews:

http://makewealthhistory.org/2013/07/01/book-review-entropia-by-samuel-alexander/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18062209-entropia

http://www.greeningofgavin.com/2013/06/entropia-life-beyond-industrial.html


I just wondered if the ongoing deterioration of industrial civilization will eventually result in an epidemic of failed states, with the larger nations (USA, Russia, China, Brazil, etc.) and perhaps many of the mid-size nations (Japan, England, France, Germany, etc.) being unable to hold themselves together.

You (Morris Berman) and also James Howard Kunstler hold out some hope that Japan might experience a post-capitalist rebirth. We can all hope that this is true, but maybe Japan is "too large". Once our familiar experiences of easy transportation and lightning-fast communication have disappeared, maybe only tribal-sized communities can be maintained.


9:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons. Pls pick a real handle and re-send, thanks.

Kanye-

Yeah, I loved it. The anti-Life forces were so clearly trollfoons. It was great, seeing them go down to defeat. May it be thus in real life, as on this blog.

mb

10:52 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Well, el Trumpo survived round one. Wafers rejoice!:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/07/republican-debate-donald-trump-was-garbled-incoherent-and-dominant

Here's something:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/opinion/roger-cohen-incurable-american-excess.html?_r=0

What about incurable douchebaggery?

Have a wonderful day, Wafers.

Miles

12:39 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Greetings, Wafers

Snatched this article published by The Intercept on how Trump asserted he can buy politicians and no one denied it:

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/07/donald-trump-buy/?utm_content=buffer156b7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

No one questioned Trump last night on buying politicians and on his remark that "the system is broken." Isn't it funny how the corporate troll on the political showroom is the one who points the root causes of the political dysfunction and the politicians and the moderators miss the chance to address it?

Anyway, one of the comments where I got that article from - Naomi Wolf's Facebook wall- represents the cultural anointing of the behavior of our businessmen:
"Get off your high horses, everyone can be bought."
Which is to say: Americans are okay with bribery. HUSTLers will be Hustling!

Which reminds me of MB remarks on George Carlin's comedy: " Where do you think they come from, from Mars?"

JC

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Al B. Tross said...

Wafers,
I just wanted share a quick story. Recently, I was watching a game one evening with some friends at a bar. Two young couples come in with their children in tow, and take a seat near the bar. As the night progresses, the kids, all under 9, proceed to run around the bar and cause a ruckus. At one point a patron peppers his language with curses words near one of kids. The “Helicopter Mom”, with a beer in one hand says, “Please!!!“, followed by a dirty look.

My question is: How did we get to this point where society needs to adapt to the individual, rather than the individual adapting to society?

I just feel that this woman was completely blinded by her own narcissism that she can’t see that she should be embarrassed for exposing her children to this environment, and therefore, others need to adapt because her children at there.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...


@Juliet Cash - thanks for the article at http://www.salon.com/2015/08/06/donald_trump_is_america_why_the_bloviating_billionaire_is_the_national_embarrassment_we_deserve/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Here is a good quote from it:

"While Trump is a great embarrassment to America, and is about as presidential as Archie Bunker, he is also a reflection of the current state of our culture — a culture that embraces mindless materialism and entertainment, while shunning deep thought and intellectualism. It is a culture that has been ransacked by consumerism and corporatization, where our universities have been transformed into careerist trade schools rather than places where young people go to broaden their horizons and learn how to question things, including authority."

Then here is another article that goes with the above - and should be reread by those who think that Trump is the problem of America:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/09/congress-corporate-sponsors

7:51 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. Berman and all Wafers worldwide:

Today, I bring to your attention an amazing website which keeps score of the shootings and murders in the city of Chicago. In 2015, so far, the City is averaging a shooting every 3 hours and a murder every 18 hours! There are plenty of other interesting statistics well. And, yes, the website is named "jackass".

It's all here : http://heyjackass.com

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Gulliver said...

WAFers, MB :


Thought the retiring of Jon Stewart this past week would be kind of relevant here. I'm not really a fan, but he certainly was the most known satirist in America's culture. Certainly no Jonathan Swift, more a silly prankster, but still, a satirist.

What did you all think of Stewart? Who is today's great WAFer satirist? Or some WAFer favs ?

12:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of douchebaggery, check out the 2012 remake of the film "Red Dawn." I can't tell you how wonderfully awful, and American, this movie is. I haven't groaned this much since I had sex with Sarah Palin on an ice floe in Alaska, among the meese, with Ed Meese present.

mb

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Pali James said...


Take your time, and read some of the comments under these two articles:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/anti-war-group-has-already-withheld-83-million-from-chuck-schumer-and-iran-deal-opponents_55c511a0e4b0f1cbf1e51761?kvcommref=mostpopular


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/07/1409712/-Chuck-Schumer-is-running-from-TV-cameras-for-first-time-in-his-career-after-rejecting-Iran-deal

Samples from comments:

1) by Ralph Hill
He is voting his religion and his loyalty to Israel, he is showing his true colors, he was elected to represent America not Israel's or his Jewish heritages best interests, hopefully this will end his career, I am a democrat only voted once for a republican old Nixon and this fellow will forever be tainted in my view now!

2) He is an idiot controlled by people like Bibi. Let's PRIMARY him and stop his colleagues from allowing him to push his way into the leadership.

Hell no, Schumer must go!
How could he be so stupid?

3) This New Yorker is disappointed and ANGRY that Schumer appears confused about whom he is supposed to be representing. DISGUSTED.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

I rather like Steve Lendman, and it doesn't hurt that he's an old Jewish kvetsch. He pulls no punches. How he can continue to write around a dozen weblog articles per week at his age is a mystery. Every one of his articles is filled with vitriol, about 90-95% of it quite accurate:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2015/08/political-debates-theater-not-substance.html

a short segment:

"Campaign promises will be prove empty. Endless wars will rage. New targets will replace old ones. Social justice will keep eroding. Fundamental freedoms may disappear altogether.

America will be even less fit to live in. Nuclear war on Russia may loom closer than ever. Bipartisan lunatics in Washington make the unthinkable possible - no matter who serves as America’s next president."

4:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is pretty interesting:

http://seattleglobalist.com/2015/03/19/mexican-immigration-american-dream-us-jobs-border/35008

Only thing I don't understand is Cesar's complaint abt not finding Chinese and Japanese food in Mexico City. I have a favorite of each, and when I eat in those places the food is so good I sit there crying into it.

mb

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Great interview, plan on listening again on my next run. A few threads back some WAFers were debating being "plugged in" during bike rides. I'm guilty as hell of that, and I get where they're coming from (nothing as nice as listening to the birds) but it's just a good way to get some edutainment in along with the cardio. I jog the same trail nearly every day, I need stuff like this to keep me going! Maybe I am a typical American, incapable of quiet reflection without my headphones. But lets face it, no one even looks at me when I'm outside here, let alone speaks to me. Hell, I've tried making eye contact and saying hello while jogging, it terrifies them! So I'll stick to MB, Chris Hedges, John Michael Greer, etc while I exercise, it's far better conversation...

In Descent of America news, another shooting in Texas left five children and three adults dead. It barely broke the news. Neither did the one year anniversary protests in Ferguson, at least not until the police shot and killed a black protestor. Come to think of it, I didn't see anything about the #ShellNo protests either, outside of the Rachel Maddow show. Less said of the GOP debate, the better - though I can't decide if it was a good or bad sign that none of the three bars I went to were playing the freakshow.

And Benedict Cumberbatch is blowing up the internet for begging audience members to put their phones away during Hamlet. I thought it must be a first for a Shakespeare play, but apparently James McAvoy had the same problem during Macbeth. I'm looking forward to watching a live simulcast of BC's Hamlet at my local mall's theater in a few months - what are the odds other people will be there, let alone their phones?

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr B, thanks for the the excellent article:
http://seattleglobalist.com/2015/03/19/mexican-immigration-american-dream-us-jobs-border/35008

This sums up everything:
“One can earn more money there, buy more things, but feel more alone”

Plus this one:

"Sometimes he could barely move his hands"

4:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Zeke-

Yeah, this is pretty grim, tho I think we're running out of adjectives:

http://www.khou.com/story/news/crime/2015/08/09/multiple-people-killed--home--falling-oaks--n-harris-county/31366765/

As you say, it's barely 'news' anymore. I'm waiting for the 'disturbed loner' thesis to get trotted out again, as usual. Nothing abt the culture that's generating these events--oh no, cdn't be that.

As for Ferguson: did anything change in the wake of that, substantively speaking? America seems to be engaged in the politics of outrage, which is basically momentary--not politics at all.

Edward-

That was the 1st of 3 articles by Alysa Hullett, who lives in Oaxaca. It turns out that during 2005-10, 1.4 million Mexicans came *back* to Mexico, and 90% of that was voluntary. Things have certainly changed. A Pew Trust poll of 2014 revealed that 65% of Mexicans said they would *not* move to the US, if given the chance. On Mexican vs. US values check out the Costner film, "McFarland, USA."

mb

6:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/one_year_on_what_weve_learned_from_blacklivesmatter_20150809

6:48 AM  
Blogger Keith Elder said...

Apropos of nothing, a dog dancing the merengue: http://boingboing.net/2015/02/02/no-big-deal-just-a-golden-ret.html

7:39 AM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

@ Frankistan
Thanks for the mother jones link:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/09/congress-corporate-sponsors

I was surprised at how small the defense lobbying is. It looks like Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate make the bulk of the donations. Wall Street is King.

Wafers and MB,

Trump is once again on the lead even in the aftermath of the Megyn Kelly vs Trump war

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/new-nbc-news-survey-monkey-poll-donald-trump-still-lead-n406766

And he is leading by 10 points. Is a Trump/Sanders showdown in the future? "Don't ever under estimate the stupidity of the American voter."

In regards to the slow down of Mexican immigration- well that's to be expected. Eventually they realize this is not what they were taught it was going to be. What might happen is more baby boomers choosing Mexico to retire to be able to stop working.
That's more likely what the future has in store for the aging boomers.

Chase the dream anywhere you can afford it!

JC

10:59 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Jesus, I wuv this fuckin' guy!:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/10/us-usa-election-trump-mideast-idUSKCN0QF1BB20150810

From the article:

1. Trump supports the use of US ground troops to fight ISIS.
2. In reference to ISIS, Trump stated: "I would knock the hell out of them but I'd put a ring around it and I'd take the oil for our country."

Bad is good is beginning to merge in el Trumpo, Wafers! All we hafta do at this point is give history a nudge, so to speak. I propose a new set of T-shirts that reflects this new reality:

1. Steal the OIL, already! Trump 2016
2. War IS always the answer! Trump 4 America
3. Jesus wants u to vote 4 Trump

Miles

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

MB- when you have achieved world domination might you add MegynK to a harem along with Kim and the divine Sarah. The world deserves an answer. Julianne Moore and Tina Fay , alas, still unavailable to be Empress.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Franchesca Lebrón Marte said...

Very good article:

http://www.amren.com/features/2014/05/confessions-of-a-public-defender/

3:08 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Fantastic article, though preaching to the WAFer choir I suspect:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/the-coddling-of-the-american-mind/399356/

"Acknowledging that the other side’s viewpoint has any merit is risky—your teammates may see you as a traitor.

Social media makes it extraordinarily easy to join crusades, express solidarity and outrage, and shun traitors."

and

"Emotional reasoning dominates many campus debates and discussions. A claim that someone’s words are “offensive” is not just an expression of one’s own subjective feeling of offendedness. It is, rather, a public charge that the speaker has done something objectively wrong. It is a demand that the speaker apologize or be punished by some authority for committing an offense."

9:29 AM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers worldwide....

While I won't go as far as the article's headline, ( there's no hope ) I will report a live TV event where the morning host walked off the set refusing to read any more stories on the Kardashians. Now, I believe it was a planned ruse because if it was real, the TV station would have fired the the man and he would have probably faced criminal prosecution.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-11/theres-hope-america-anchor-walks-live-tv-refuses-report-kardashians

12:45 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Responding to a Mother Jones link provided by Frankistan, Juliet Cash wrote:

"I was surprised at how small the defense lobbying is."

Might the explanation for this discrepancy/imbalance [in comparison to the lobbying effort on behalf of finance, insurance, and real estate] lie in the fact that American pols require little persuasion along these lines? Job creation (defense plants) and counterterrorism/national security programs. Who could deny the importance of these things, both for "growing the economy" and for protecting our country, our way of life, and our citizens' precious bodily fluids? Who would dare oppose measures undertaken to strengthen either?

And our politicians are abetted in their efforts by a populace that lives in constant fear. Fear reinforced by a media that screams in X-point type and menacing titles (Otic Ointment: The Threat in Your Medicine Cabinet). For a nation populated by individuals who proclaim our "Number-One-Ness" at every opportunity, a whole lot of shit seems to have us huddled behind our locked doors, many of us armed to the teeth.

So, no paricular mystery as to why there may be fewer defense lobbyists and why they might work shorter work-weeks than some of their finance counterparts.

Any time the subject of American defense and foreign policy takes center stage--ahead of, say, Kim's kardashian or Miley's cyrus--I find it worthwhile revisiting George Carlin's bit on war ("We like war. We're good at it." And "If you've got some brown people in your country, tell 'em to watch the fuck out!"). On a YouTube near you.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Fran-

Well, w/Michael Smith, public defender, fighting for you...you might wanna demand another attorney! You are aware that "American Renaissance" is a white supremacist journal, no? Its founder, Jared Taylor, is a rather well-known white nationalist who has close ties to a variety of domestic and international racists and extremists. Anyway, I would be extremely critical of any person who writes for this publication.

MB, Wafers-

Incidentally, I went to the Bernie rally in LA last night. Jesus, there must have been over 30 thousand people there; mostly young, white, and female. When Bernie hit the stage, the crowd went crazy! No doubt that Bernie has touched a nerve...or a light socket. His hair was as messy as ever. Will it translate into victory over Killary? Who knows? But I hafta say it was a lively event. My evening ended at Canter's Deli. I had my favorite dish: the Brooklyn Ave. (pastrami on rye w/cole slaw and Russian dressing, w/side of potato salad. I washed it down with a Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda. All the while, I was thinking about cube and his fascination w/turkey sandwiches. We hafta get him to Canter's some day. He will make the switch over to pastrami, and all will be right w/the world ;).

Miles

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Insightful said...

Japan Restarts Nuclear Reactor For First Time Since Fukushima Disaster In 2011

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/japan-restarts-nuclear-reactor_55c9cb63e4b0f73b20ba8464?utm_hp_ref=world&kvcommref=mostpopular

Your thoughts, Dr. Berman?..

3:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Insightful-

You know my thoughts.

Jeff-

I've had the Brooklyn, in fact. I also have confidence in cube's future conversion.

mb

5:17 PM  
Blogger Franchesca Lebrón Marte said...

Miles Deli,

"Anyway, I would be extremely critical of any person who writes for this publication."

As a non-American I go by whether or not there could be some truth to the article....NOT whether the founder of the site that published it has been classified by the American populace (a populace of Dolts as I thought everyone agrees here) as a "Racist" or "White Supremacist" or some other knee-jerk(off) catch phrase that sends the infantile American populace into a childish tizzy until their panties are tightly knotted up their ass cheeks.

I lived in the U.S. for a while, and my experience with Americans of all kinds was unpleasant. Because I am mulatto I had a lot of Black Americans try to associate with me all the time. I can literally count on one hand the American blacks I knew who didn't behave like they were retarded. No culture, no respect, stupid to the point where they made the stupid Whites look like geniuses (which they're FAR from).

Although brain-washed American sheep don't want to face it, most of the Blacks killed died because they behaved like idiots, thus unbalancing an already hyped up cop who just can't wait to use his gun. I never had trouble with the police, but I never hit them, bad mouthed them, played the 'knock-out game', etc. American of all races acting like scum is America's main problem.

Black Lives Matter is a joke too, even the reputable Black Agenda Report say so (do you trust them?)? They give Bernie a hard time but Killary and Obama seem to get a pass despite being NO better.

http://www.blackagendareport.com/wheres-the-blacklivesmatter-critique-of-black-political-class



7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Franchesca-

Just a short note: informal rule here, pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks. As for the black agenda article: it raises an interesting question, of whether we have any real politics *at all* in the US. I mean, everything has turned into a brand, whether it's about Bernie or black lives or Trump or whatever, and in the end, it doesn't amt to shit. Sometimes I have the impression that all of it is not even abt power or $, but just abt display, infotainment, and in that sense Kim K. may be our premier 'politician'. Not that there aren't real issues at stake, but they are treated more or less as theater. As the culture collapses, there seems to be a lack of seriousness about it all, which is understandable, but kinda weird. So black lives don't matter, apparently, but then--nothing does.

mb

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Daniel's Lion said...

MB or WAFers have any interesting texts or essays on pacifism or pragmatic pacifism?

Had a frustrating debate w/ my Dad and was interested to see some alternative resolving ideas to violence in the world, to war, etc.

What would a hyper-hypothetical WAFer-type State do about radical fundamentalists committing genital mutilations/acid scarring women, recruiting children soldiers, machete cutting apostates, using chemical weaponry on civilians, withholding geostrategic substances like water gas crop from starving peoples .... Would it be something like a pragmatic pacifism, of the A.J. Muste type? Would it be the same sort of Daniel in the Lions Den that inspired Thoreau, Ghandi, the Danes against the Germans...

Any good books on the subject, MB? Or is war the only inhumane answer in such inhumane wilderness?

10:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

D-

Gd question. I'll let other Wafers chime in on this.

mb

10:22 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Mexico has more than just a crafts tradition to return to after industrial civilization deteriorates and falls.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/four-ways-mexico-indigenous-farmers-agriculture-of-the-future-20150810

"It was the height of the dry season and Martinez’s land was hard, brittle, and gray. The farm was literally etched into the mountainside, with a slope so severe that plowing with tractors or animals was impossible. Yet his storage room was full of maize, beans, dried chili, squash seeds, and fresh fruit that he’d grown right here.

When I asked how this was possible, Martinez explained that he simply farmed in the manner of his ancestors, the indigenous Triqui people."

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hey Dr. B and Wafers:

I believe the people featured in this short video are Waferian NMIers:

http://mountainlake.org/local-stories/outdoors/small-ventures-fresh-ideas-attract-new-farmers/

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Liked that Atlantic article "Coddling of the American Mind", JWO, and certainly agree with that excerpt you posted, but I've seen so many articles in this "students are out of control!" genre and tbh I find the whole concept overblown. College campuses are very silly places but I just don't have a problem with students working to make their institutions more welcoming. Reminds me of someone who programmed their web browser to rewrite "political correctness" as "treating others with respect" - cue hotheaded op-eds titled "This Wave of Treating Others With Respect Is Ruining Our Country".

Often, these articles severely misuse their examples - when you research the individual scandals beyond their clickbaity headlines, they're quite reasonable. Like Seinfield not doing campus gigs anymore - it was all over the media, as if he'd actually been banned. He just decided he wouldn't, because a joke bombed once, years ago! Some censorship, the wuss!

All this hate against "microaggressions" and "trigger warnings". Is it really so silly to teach kids to think about what they're saying, and how it might affect others? And if you're a teacher who refuses to frame the content you're presenting to your students before they read it, what are you even doing? Isn't that sort of your job?

Don't mean to pick on you JWO, like I said I appreciate the link, but there are so many articles like this and they always rely on so many lazy stereotypes about millennials. TBH this lame culture wars shtick just kind of cements Jonathan Haidt as an unserious academic in my book. After all, universities are under attack from so many directions - are anti-rape, anti-racism activists really the ones to worry about?

Sorry to go on, this article kinda puts it better than I could: http://www.themarysue.com/trigger-warnings-arent-coddling/

1:02 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Franchesca-

Actually, it wasn't, as you say the doltish "American populace," that labeled "American Renaissance" a white supremacist publication and Taylor an extremist. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the ADL, among others did, in fact:

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/american-renaissance

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/jared-taylor

http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/combating-hate/jared-taylor-extremism-in-america.pdf

You are free, of course, to believe phony scholarship, long discredited anti-black pseudo-scientific eugenic nonsense, and the Klan if you want to, I suppose.

D-

Well, this is a long discussion. At this point, pacifism will get u killed. Unfortunately, the US has put its chips on the wrong bet for the last 60 yrs. We essentially bet on tyranny, as opposed to real democracy and human rights, to hold the world together for our benefit, sad to say. It turns out that this was a very bad bet. Payback is a bitch, ain't it? My advice: RUN.

Miles

1:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Zeke-

Not what I read abt it, a while back. Seinfeld didn't have a joke that bombed once yrs ago etc. What happened was that he was just getting tired of the slightest politically incorrect joke offending his wuss audiences. Campuses, he said, are not places of humor, and being p.c. works against humor; it kills humor. So he decided not to bother anymore; which struck me as an intelligent move. He said his categories in life are funny or not funny, rather than p.c. or p.i. Sounds gd to me.

mb

2:04 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I'm not sure how to answer Daniel Lion's question, but would guess that Võ Nguyên Giáp would have had some suggestions.

The 70th anniversary of the nuking of Japan just passed, so I thought I'd commemorate it on my radio show last Sunday. I had to search for some tunes from the time (I already had Slim Gaillard's "Atomic Cocktail," which is rather bizarre, so I looked forward to the investigation) and found quite a bit of American Exceptionalism put to music. The hillbilly tunes expressed this best, with The Buchanan Brothers' "Atomic Power" (1946) and Karl and Harty's "When the Atom Bomb Fell" (1945) claiming that the Japs paid for their "sins" and that atom bombs were essentially God's work.

Other songs were more sensible. "Atom and Evil" (1947) by the Golden Gate Quartet, "Atom Bomb Blues" (1946) and the 1948 song, "Old Man Atom" by the Sons of the Pioneers warned about messing with such power and that we have unlocked the potential for our destruction.

Even though the song is beyond the chronological scope of my programme, I also threw in Wanda Jackson's 1957, "Fujiyama Mama," for added weirdness.

"I've been to Nagasaki
Hiroshima too
The same I did to them baby I can do to you
Cause I'm a Fujiyama mama and I'm just about to blow my top"

I don't know how commercially successful any of these songs were (the writer of "Old Man Atom" was blacklisted), but I shudder to think that the "God's work" examples made any money.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

No worries Zeke, it is nice to actually have a discussion on something. I posted it less as a single specific criticism than to add it to the examples of the "Infantilization" of Americans. This affects more than just college students, but it seems to be concentrated there because college is supposed to be where challenging subjects are taught, it isn't the place for therapy.

Sure, a teacher can be courteous and professional about it, but "themarysue" seems to insist that school conform to her, rather than the other way around. She pays thousands and thousands of dollars and therefore expects to get only what she wants and is comfortable with. A campus isn't a car dealership.

You are right that these articles tend to use the most dramatic examples, but every dramatic or otherwise instance of this censorship just further dumbs down what should be a vital education. Homogenized education makes homogenized people.

Anyway, for some reason it reminds me of the self-righteous vegetarian types. They say I refuse to kill animals to eat. But apparently, none of them have ever worked on a farm. Do you have any idea how many animals get killed harvesting vegetables and especially grains?

3:32 PM  
Blogger Agustin Bernal said...

Miles Deli,

And do you really think that the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center are good, intelligent organizations, separate entities from American dolts and thus immune from America's ever present stupidity? Really?? You list them off like their something special.


Jared Taylor is no White Supremacist. He was born in Kobe, Japan and speaks fluent Japanese (Which by itself sets him apart from 99% of Americans of all races). Being that he's a human being, he's no saint, but he also is no David Duke, Tom Metzger, or George Lincoln Rockwell. Not to those who can think, read, and use their brain, anyway (which excludes American dolts, as well as America's doltish ADL and SPLC)
His main fault, that I can see, is that he can't or won't realize that White Americans defecate on their own culture just as much as anyone else. They couldn't give three shits about the music of Bach or Beethoven anymore than an American black does. But his desire to preserve those things is not racist in any way, despite what morons think. Only a worthless moron would think that Hemingway, Steinbeck, Beethoven, Bach, Rembrandt, The Sistine Chapel, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, etc., etc., and the culture those things came from should be discarded and destroyed because they were or were made by "old White guys" (a most idiotic and disgusting term reserved for and used by the lowest of America's asshole populace).



9:19 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

The Obama's, Bush's and Clinton's of the world continue to thrive, but Carter gets cancer: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/13/us/jimmy-carter-says-he-has-cancer.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse”

"It’s a balmy night in Manhattan’s financial district, and at a sports bar called Stout, everyone is Tindering. The tables are filled with young women and men who’ve been chasing money and deals on Wall Street all day, and now they’re out looking for hookups. Everyone is drinking, peering into their screens and swiping on the faces of strangers they may have sex with later that evening. Or not. 'Ew, this guy has Dad bod,' a young woman says of a potential match, swiping left. Her friends smirk, not looking up.

'Tinder sucks,' they say. But they don’t stop swiping."

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating?mbid=social_twitter

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dear Dr. B-

I know that you're tired of the American Civil War, but I was fascinated by this Facebook video of a US Army Colonel (and history professor at West Point) totally trashing the "Lost Cause."

https://www.facebook.com/prageru/videos/923232114386312/

It has nearly 5 Million views, and the comments run the gamut...

I think my take on our civil war somewhat coincides with yours- expansion-minded Northern businessmen were willing to bide their time with the South's foot-dragging on modernizing, but secession was the last straw.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dear Wafers,

I think that for a good 30 to 35 years classrooms have been adopting a failure is not an option and everyone is a winner phony self esteem enhancing techniques that also translates into validating everyone's opinions regardless of how wrong these opinions might be. Micro aggressions and trigger warnings are just a part of that trend of avoiding a clash in opinions in order to favor pleasantries over rigorous discussion. It is no wonder kids are developing more anxieties over constructive criticism. And forget about judgement: that has completely become a dirty word. People are completely offended by being called on their own behavior. "Don't offend me with my own behavior." As to say: I am entitled to misbehave and get away scot free." . Admitting to an error is now considered a character weakeness. As I said failure is not an option in the classroom, the workplace, and in politics. No one can admit to mistakes. Which pretty much tells me that no one can own to themselves- part of owning to ourselves is to admit being wrong.
Take that same type of stance of all opinions are equal and valid and you can see how r relationships based only on mutual praise are as phony as they are fickle- which is why speaking the truth is made impossible and bringing deep subjects into conversations is politically incorrect mainly because one has broken the Pleasantville rule: keep it nice. Small talk fills up the void and then we have Kim Kardashian on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and Demagogues like Trump and Palin running for president. Go figure.

I was reading a satire in The Onion today about a mutual validation binging spree among girlfriends in a Saturday night outing. You can replace the place and time of that satire piece with pretty much anywhere in the USA. That includes social media spaces as well. People walk around with an invisible "like" button. Is it any wonder why people use cyber space to go on a venting/ ranting/ confession spree under a pseudonym? Freedom of speech here is as phony as relationships based on mutual praise. Advice: stick to reading books and intelligent blogs. It is a Brave New World.

JC

10:55 PM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

Well, it may not (yet) be the "Suez Moment" you (and we NMIs) were hoping for, but you might want to check out Matt Taibbi's article at Rolling Stone: Inside the GOP Clown Car

Selected quotes:

"...when you actually think about it, it's not funny. Given what's at stake, it's more like the opposite, like the first sign of the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now, when we're all living like prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks, we'll probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end...

"It will go down someday as the greatest reality show ever conceived...Take a combustible mix of the most depraved and filterless half-wits, scam artists and asylum Napoleons America has to offer, give them all piles of money and tell them to run for president. Add Donald Trump. And to give the whole thing a perverse gravitas, make the presidency really at stake."

Speaking of the uber-buffoon Trump, and the buffoonish nature of most candidates in general:

"The orangutan-haired real estate magnate entered the race in mid-June and immediately blew up cable and Twitter by denouncing Mexicans as rapists and ripping 2008 nominee John McCain for having been captured in war...Both moves would have been fatal to 'serious' candidates in previous elections. But [in the 2016 race], the furor only gave Trump further saturation among the brainless nativists in his party and inexplicably vaulted him to front-runner status...This led to a situation where the candidates have had to resort to increasingly bizarre tactics...on July 25th, Huckabee gave an interview to Breitbart News in which he shamelessly invoked Godwin's Law, saying that Barack Obama's deal with Iran 'would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven'."

O&D!

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Chomsky had an interesting take on Black Lives Matter essentially saying when since the first slaves arrived in 1619 have black lives ever mattered except for producing wealth ( a recent study pointed out that if reparations were ever to be paid to American blacks the total would be close to 11 trillion dollars). Only for about the 30 years following the Civil War and the 30 years following WW II have blacks had any decent chance to advance in this society.
Al-Qa'bong,
I was just thinking of General Giap a few days ago. I recall that when he died the major media outlets described him as America's enemy. Amazing how language gets converted. Why should anyone resisting an invasion be considered the enemy? If you are defending your home from attack aren't then the attackers the enemy?
Finally, I was in another American cesspool this past weekend-Atlantic City. I love going there just to watch the American freak show in full display. It's almost hard to imagine how contorted some of these bodies(?) are. I think if I saw an arm growing out of someone's head I wouldn't be surprised. Anyway, I saw a group of about 7-8 young women walking together each one carrying their cell phone. Now why would you need to carry your cell phone if you are most likely with the people you generally talk to on the phone? In A General Theory of Love, the authors state:"...what people want from machines is humanity: stories, contact, and interaction." So why carry your phone (in your hand no less) if you are already with the people who can provide you with humanity? Wafers respond to this if you can.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Thank u all for yr observations. This is all gd evidence of American cultural collapse, in which the word 'culture' has nothing more than an anthropological meaning anymore, and Wafers are the observers of this degraded behavior. There will, I suspect, be more 2008's and more 9/11's, just as the Romans were occasionally rocked by Vandals and Visigoths; but the real death is the daily one, the death of a 1000 cuts: cell fone morons, Atlantic City, absurd presidential candidates, the avoidance of conflict and real discussion, and so on. This will only multiply as time goes on, and the US will turn into a shadow, a caricature of its former self. We are 70% there already.

mb

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Daniel's Lion said...

I'm really surprised that last topic i posed didn't generate more of a discussion for the group....or at least some references....I believed in you guys !!!

:-)

jk I still believe in you guys, just now I suspect your holding out on me. :-)

I know you guys have some interesting books or essays, or have thought about this. MB?

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Moore of that Utopia Talk said...

Re: Fukushima

Environmentalist founding father James Lovelock has very interesting views on nuclear power, as well as criticisms of 'green' power, w/o any naturalistic fallacy claptrap, and w/ full sympathy for our planet to boot:

http://www.nature.com/news/james-lovelock-reflects-on-gaia-s-legacy-1.15017?WT.mc_id=TWT_NatureNews

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jun/15/james-lovelock-interview-gaia-theory

http://europe.newsweek.com/james-lovelock-saving-planet-foolish-romantic-extravagance-327941

His most recent, A Rough Ride to the Future, covers a lot of this in detail


11:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

D-

We are overwhelmed. You've stunned us into silence.

mb

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

Hello Wafers:

Say Daniel's, did you look into General Giap's biography? In any case, knowing something of his story might indicate to you why we guys are hesitant to jump in on coming up with tactics to save us guys from the menace of them thar crazy Islams.

JWO, I'm a vegetarian, grew up on a farm, and have done my share of butchering animals, but after 25 years of fielding jabs from self-righteous carnivores, don't find it worth the energy to get into it with them.

Earlier, there was a discussion here about grits. I confess that for decades, my knowledge of this substance was limited to Granny Clampett's "grits and hog jowls." I didn't even know what grits were made of. Anyway, last week I picked up some hominy grits at "The Bulk Barn," found on-line recipes, and whipped up a batch to accompany my mogettes vendéennes.

Guess what I discovered? "Grits" is nothing more than a fancy name for "polenta."

1:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Agustin-

Well, you may be right that the SPLC and the ADL are not completely immune from American stupidity, but they do provide evidence of Taylor and his views, yes? Views that I feel clearly demonstrate that he *is* a white supremacist. What else can I say? Why don't you give me some data, besides yr opinions, which argue to the contrary? Taylor and his apologists don't count, of course.

AS-

Sad news about Jimmy... In his most recent book, he discusses his family's extensive history of cancer. He lost his dad and 3 siblings to the disease.

Miles

1:14 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Scary article in the WSJ about cellphones destroying Theatre culture.

"“I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore.”"

http://www.wsj.com/articles/theater-cellphone-woes-extend-offstage-1439305997

I think the only wish in my will will be to get buried with my smartphone.

O&D!

1:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/08/13/in-texas-police-stick-hand-up-womans-vagina-to-search-for-marijuana/?hpid=z2

al-

Hominy grits does it take to make 1 polenta? Yuk yuk, that's so funny.

Kanye-

We really are a nation of douche bags. There is simply no way to deny this anymore.

mb

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Camus Call said...

http://www.wsj.com/articles/theater-cellphone-woes-extend-offstage-1439305997

6:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Juliet-

Sorry, posting is limited to once every 24 hrs. Pls wait time out, and re-send. Thanks.

mb

6:08 PM  
Anonymous random fact said...

I've heard you say that most rich people have inherited their money, and this isn't really true, at least not for billionaires: "Self-made billionaires made up the largest number of people on the list with 1,191 positions while just 230 came into their wealth through inheritance"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World%27s_Billionaires_2015

Sorry, the self-made man thing is true, at least for the very tiny number of winners...

9:56 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Wow, here's collapse happening right here, sad. It won't be long now before people are starving, w/ oil prices as low as they are:

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/venezuela-crisis/seven-things-know-about-venezuela-crisis-n38556

10:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

random-

I really shd keep a fact file handy, since there is a lot of data that shows just the opposite. I run across this material from time to time, and fail to note it down, unfortunately. Ergo, while I'm sure that some rich people are self-made, I very much doubt it's the majority. But, can't give u the proof.

mb

1:12 AM  
Blogger Sanguillen39 said...

Daniel's Lion:

In regards to your query about pacifism, I'd highly recommend just about anything by Rene Girard. "Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World" may be his best work. Girard is a literary critic, historian, and philosopher of social science.

His interpretive reading of the Gospels is fairly original and led to his conversion from agnosticism to Roman Catholicism. I'm an atheist, but Girard makes some very interesting arguments in favor of practicing Christianity.

A lot of his stuff is more about why humans are so violent and how cultures handle it. You may not be convinced of his Christian tact, but the dude is flat out fascinating and interesting.

The Front Lines

5:56 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Re: discussion about meritocracy vs. inheritance of wealth, this article has a study link in it according to which in 2011 "the wealthiest 1 percent of families had inherited an average of $2.7 million from their parents"

http://www.salon.com/2014/03/24/death_of_meritocracy_how_inheritance_is_poisoning_the_american_economy/

I think this is not a black & white issue though. Some rich people will certainly have inherited social and financial capital, whereas others will have a more "pure hustler" profile - most being a mix of the two. The larger point as made by T. Piketty, is that Capitalism is built to preserve and multiply wealth in the hands of those who have it once they have it at the detriment of others.

On another note, I discovered an absolutely brilliant Wafer TV series called "Mr. Robot". It was so good I watched 6 episodes in one go last night! I can't believe that a show like that airs on American TV!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4158110/

10:40 AM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

@random:

The self made billionaire makes for a great story if your claim to the heroic is exploitation, and monopoly. Look at Bill Gates and how hard he has fought to supress any competition against Windows through the courts. And you all know about Steve Jobs Foxconn factories, I imagine.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2011/11/21/bill-gates-to-testify-in-1b-lawsuit-against-microsoft/


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9006988/Mass-suicide-protest-at-Apple-manufacturer-Foxconn-factory.html

Trump has left investors holding a debt of over 4
billion dollars from 4 bankruptcies. Yes, unlike you and me his bankruptcies aren't "personal" they are "incorporated." If you or me went bankrupt the pay day loan sharks will be the only ones lending us money after several years with no credit. Billionaires aren't so much more intelligent - they just have less scruples at gaming the system.

Daniel:

Neither Pacifism nor Wars are needed when people live empowered and self sustaining lives. But if you are the ruling class you can make much more money out of war than out of pacifism. War, the financing of war and the increasing security apparatus are the engine of our economy since WW2. The war on drugs is also a proxy war. And a great deal of "self made" Americans are alright with it because they know they benefit from war. A personal note: I worked for a brilliant self made commercial appraiser who wanted the Iraq war not because Saddam was involved in 9-11 or had WMD's - he couldn't care less- but because he knew it was going to bring him a lot of business after the slump of the dot com bust. And it did!! Until the market crashed again in 2008 he did great!

Our economic system's lifeblood are the war on terror, the war on drugs, and the big casino banks!! You betcha!!

JC

Wafers,
This is a jewel from Denis Leary. His take on the everyday suburban American Asshole. Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/-o30wacwdoc

12:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Juliet-

Thanks for post, but be sure to limit future ones to half a page. Thanks.

mb

2:34 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

A collection of douchebags:

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

MIles

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Pali said...

CNN just did a run down of Trump's children and their educational achievements.
I tell you, Trump has done a lot to raise his five children - unlike so many politicians who run their mouth about family values without any concrete family-life-story to back up their claims.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

The source of self made billionaires is fairly suspect. Some like to point out that Warren Buffet is sef made. His Father was a stockbroker and a member of congress--that may have contributed to his success? Bill Gates father Bill Gates Sr was a prominent lawyer in seatlle thus affording Jr the ability and time to dedicate to his pursuits. Jeff Bezos--rich famil ly. In gact, rigorous reearch ( hbr) shows that successful enrepreneurs come from money. Maybe not inherited money, but the socisl capital and time to do their thing. i.e self made is not about inheritance. My father was a multimillionaire who some would say was self made as he inherited no money. He was lucky to have parents and relatives who were well connected, he was provided with means to study, travel and meet people. Some said tonhim you are self made-- he denied it and pointed out if he had been born in Haiti or if his father was a coalminer in vw no way. Tje self made thing is an insidious myth like horatio alger to give people falls hope and the definition used in wikipedia and in cited fluff piece is misleading.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

COS-

I also seem to remember that Gates' mother worked for IBM, or had influential connections there.

Pali-

Whatever gets Trump into the W.H., I'm in favor of, whether it's his kids or anything else.

mb

7:33 PM  
Blogger Val said...

In his book "The Organic Artist" Nick Neddo instructs us in how to make, among other things, our own ink. You gather a few quarts of acorns and simmer them in water for several days, then pour off the resulting deep brown fluid, rich in tannic acid, and mix into it a spoonful of vinegar in which you have been rusting some old nails. You now have a close equivalent to iron gall ink, archivally durable and traditional since medieval times.

So just now I'm walking home with my first score of acorns for the season. I wasn't expecting to find them, so I don't have a bag and must carry them in one hand. In the other I have a water bottle. As I pass down the street, a man comes out of a house and heads for his car. Our paths are at right angles, and on collision course. Neither of us slackens pace. He is obliged to pause momentarily for me. With unveiled sarcasm he says:

"Your hand is full of nuts. That's important."

The moment is over.

Remember how Andre Vltchek, after a recent trip to California, declared that social relations between inmates of the Empire are "cold as ice?" Gratuitous nastiness appears to be part of the national style. In how many other places would you be so likely to experience this just by walking down the street, attempting to mind your own business?

9:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Val-

Human interaction, no matter how incidental, is what Robt Putnam called 'social capital', and he argued that it had fallen off drastically during 1975-2000 (much worse today, of course). What we now have is social anti-capital, as exemplified by this interaction, and which is practically the norm in the US. While these things cannot be quantified (tho Putnam did his best), I am convinced that this huge volume of spiritual negativity is a major factor in the collapse of the US. We are, on all levels, tearing each other apart, and devouring ourselves alive. Put these microevents together and eventually you have a large, destructive macroevent.

mb

9:33 PM  
Anonymous DeadThoreau said...

Hey Waters thoughts I'd stop in and share a couple gems I found.

"The ceaselessly productive worker, with little time for rest, let alone any need or desire for it, stands today as a heroic icon, particularly in the high-strung white-collar milieus of Silicon Valley and Wall Street. The desired persona is one that transcends needs for sleep, care, relationships, and any other obligation that might distract from work and profit.

In this world, legendary figures are the ones who remain in the office for one hundred hours straight, working through their children’s musical recitals and 104-degree fevers. The idea is that workers become superhuman through the refusal of self-care."

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/do-what-you-love-miya-tokumitsu-work-creative-passion/

And this beauty about the importance of leisure.

"The opposite of acedia is not the industrious spirit of the daily effort to make a living, but rather the cheerful affirmation by man of his own existence, of the world as a whole, and of God — of Love, that is, from which arises that special freshness of action, which would never be confused by anyone [who has] any experience with the narrow activity of the “workaholic.”

[…]

"Leisure, then, is a condition of the soul — (and we must firmly keep this assumption, since leisure is not necessarily present in all the external things like “breaks,” “time off,” “weekend,” “vacation,” and so on — it is a condition of the soul) — leisure is precisely the counterpoise to the image for the “worker.”

http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/10/leisure-the-basis-of-culture-josef-pieper/

2:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A face only a mother could love dept.:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-clintons-team-went-from-nonchalant-to-nervous-over-e-mail-controversy/2015/08/14/347f1066-405e-11e5-9561-4b3dc93e3b9a_story.html?tid=pm_pop_b

3:19 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

In case WAFers have never heard of "Rice Farmer" or his links:

http://ricefarmer.blogspot.com/2015/08/news-links-august-15-2015.html

I don't know who Rice Farmer is, but he's a mystery sage of a sort. His comments corresponding to his links are a dead giveaway that he's well educated, insightful and thoughtful.

An example of a link:

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/08/14/bland-monster-jeb-bush-proud-brothers-torture/

An example of a Rice Farmer comment:

"President Obama always bows to Official Washington's conventional wisdom no matter how wrongheaded it is – and then either falls in line behind some reckless neocon policy prescription or turns away just before falling off some geopolitical cliff. His continued Iran-bashing is a case in point."


I learned of Rice Farmer from my faceboook friend John Higson.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Two images, the first of which is featured in The Pentagon of Power by Lewis Mumford.
www.dartmouth.edu/~spanmod/mural/panel13.html
www.dartmouth.edu/~spanmod/mural/panel21.html

In your face images of Christian-ISM as a would be world-conquering power and control seeking meme. Even to the degree of totalitarian control which is now being manifested via right-wing Christians in the USA. As described by Chris Hedges in American Fascists; Kingdom Coming by Michelle Goldberg; Bad Money and other books by Kevin Phillips; The Family by Jeff Sharlett.
And as described by the website theocracy watch, a recent article in Mother Jones by Martin Lee titled Their Will Be Done. And the role/function of opus dei, the machinations of which are described in various essays available at The Open Tabernacle website.

Such right-wing Christian-ism was/is the principal generative force of the various wide scale negative cultural phenomenon described by Morris in his book Coming To Our Senses.

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

Dr B, thanks for this link

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-clintons-team-went-from-nonchalant-to-nervous-over-e-mail-controversy/2015/08/14/347f1066-405e-11e5-9561-4b3dc93e3b9a_story.html?tid=pm_pop_b

Imagine this: "a thumb drive that contained a copy of the 30,000 e-mails that Clinton had turned over earlier to the State Department"

What kind of mindset will force somebody to host government/employer emails in her own private web server? Most people probably do not understand what this means! Imagine you work for a company or for a university (private or public). You decide to take the properties of the company to keep in your private home. Or, imagine this: you are in charge of the fleet of cars and trucks belonging to your company; you decide to build private roads where you use the cars and trucks as you see fit. This is the kind of behavior Hillary is caught in. This is why Donald Trump is surging in polls - because typical politicians are as corrupt as the thieves in the Wall Street. At least Trump depends on his wit and money for whatever he says and does; Hillary has been living like a parasite off the government all her life.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Both are from Tea Party.
Both are married.
Both have children.
Both agreed to create a fake sex scandal story to divert attention from their extra-marital sex rumps.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cindy-gamrat-apology-resign_55ce322de4b07addcb42e7fa?kvcommref=mostpopular

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/todd-courser-cindy-gamrat-cover-up_55c4d3d7e4b0f1cbf1e4bd7b?kvcommref=mostpopular

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2015/08/06/recordings-state-rep-asked-aide-hide-relationship/31269315/

10:54 AM  
Anonymous AS said...

Impoverished factory workers in Michigan rally behind Trump:


A lot of what he says hits a chord with me,” said Hubbard. “Immigration and jobs going to China — this area’s really suffered from that. I just like somebody that stands up for what he speaks about.”


http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/why-donald-trump-makes-sense-to-a-lot-of-voters--even-some-democrats/2015/08/15/cee648f0-42bf-11e5-8ab4-c73967a143d3_story.html

11:33 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

AS-

Economic desperation will benefit a despot like Trump. And like all arrogant despots, Trump is a master at the means of coercion and intimidation, but this is only half the story... Even the most brutal tyrannies, seek some measure of consent, and they usually will get it. Trump supporters seem to admire him for his frankness and audacity, his refusal to backdown. Qualities they wish they could find in themselves during desperate times. This is the great secret of the Trumps of the world. And what better place, Detroit, to seek support and to test out this cruelty? It has been termed a "death zone": a place where entire neighborhoods verge on complete collapse. Indeed, the Motor City, has been the most emblematic of our tragic decline; the place now haunts the national imagination like a weird ghost town: dead, yet still alive. I read that vast swaths of the metropolis, filled w/empty houses, gutted factories has gone completely feral. And with an unemployment rate over 30%, some of Detroit's citizens are so poor they can't even pay for funerals, so bodies essentially pile up at mortuaries. People in this kind of situation will opt for anything.

Miles

4:14 PM  
Blogger KNOW 1 said...

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating

A nation of douchebags, who are unable to relate to one another or communicate unless they use their phones (the photo that accompanies this article speaks volumes too - a social setting, and guess what? everyone on their phones). Kind of worrying we are raising a whole generation of people who are so lacking in social skills that they only way they can speak to one another is via phone.. and when they meet, they have, as the article notes "lost their game".

8:17 PM  
Anonymous teri schooley said...

Dr. Berman,

Just stopping by to say hello and pass on the following link. The first Berman book I read was "Dark Ages America"; I think it is only appropriate and fitting that as we descend deeper into our dark ages, we see that the *bubonic plague* is making a comeback.

http://www.rt.com/usa/312540-yosemite-campsite-squirrels-plague/

Best,
Teri

7:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Teri-

That is indeed appropriate, altho I suspect that cancer is the black plague of the American dark age. For the rest of the world, of course, the US is the black plague; or something like it.

mb

9:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I'm going to vomit dept.:

Once again, I encourage Wafers to look at Hillary's face. Chances are we'll be seeing a lot more of it as of Jan. 2017.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/15/politics/hillary-clinton-snapchat-email-server-donald-trump/index.html

mb

2:11 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Douchebags in Texas...

http://www.seattlepi.com/homes/article/House-for-sale-by-owner-because-my-neighbors-a-dou-6444496.php




2:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kev-

A great sign, tho the folks who are selling may also be douche bags. In general, the # of douche bags in America is reaching asymptotic proportions. According to the latest scientific research, 98.5% of the country consists of douche bags. Compare Denmark: 2.8%.

mb

4:33 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Douche bag ranking in the US:

http://blog.estately.com/2014/03/the-top-u-s-cities-for-douchebags/

We're looking at an infestation of douche bags, Wafers.

Miles

7:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

And these are the people who, according to the progs, are going to make a revolution; or, the people who are going to be liberated by revolution.

Yeah, right.

mb

10:02 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

@ Know,

The vanity fair article on apps and hookup culture is about more than just the smartphone getting in the way of relationships; is about hustling for pussy. And the higher the "turnover rate" the higher the status of the hustler. Women thought that sexual freedom would free the world from hyper masculinity- from men exhibiting their catch to other males. It hasn't. I found that they have a star rating system on their Apps to rate performance quite telling. Now women find themselves more unfulfilled than ever: with zero relationship and with the big SLUT reputation to boot should they choose to imitate the male. Capitalism feeds itself from status over another. Women just didn't know that it doesn't matter how they behave- whether it be as players or as two goody shoe madonnas- it won't change how the system views relationships amongst the sexes - which is quite similar as it views relationships amongst classes: the dominated and the domineering. Men hustle for status amongst their peers whose opinions they value the most just like a manager hustles to gain the respect of his masters and his subordinates. When a man can't achieve status at work sexual conquest is a good consolation prize. And a real all around douche will have it both ways. Like Trump. He is the man!! Or Batman, he claims?

In any case my fellow Wagers I question whether the smartphone creates douchebags or it just compliments and exalts the behaviors of the already infected.

JC

11:08 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Check this out everyone. An example of one more microevent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lGD8APASh8

11:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jul-

douche bag + smartfone = super douche bag

mb

11:20 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

MB and Wafers,

This weekend my spouse and I watched a DVD of the 1984 made-for-TV production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, this version by the German director Volker Schlondorff. Dustin Hoffman is brilliant in his portrayal of Willy Loman, the burned out salesman who never gives up his singleminded pursuit of the American Dream. A young John Malkovich plays older son Biff, the ex-football star turned unemployed moocher who's come back home and disappoints Willy because he's just not cut out to become a businessman. I enjoyed the periodic ghostlike visits of Willy's older brother Ben, who appears in dreamlike sequences that repeat the story of his claimed success as a weathy diamond tycoon in Africa at age 21, repeated so much that you begin to wonder if Willy imagined the whole episode. Wafer themes abound in this play, whose set of the rundown Loman household amid apartment buildings is genuinely creepy. There's even an infatuation with technology, when Willy's boss Howard shows Willy his brand new wire recorder that he's used to record inane squeals and confused words of his kid and wife. Anyway, this version of Death of a Salesman is well worth revisiting.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cube-

One wonders if there has ever been a more degraded race of beings than Americans.

Jack-

So Americans watched it, then went back to doing the same ol' thing depicted in the play.

Douche Bags Rule!

mb

12:33 PM  
Blogger KNOW 1 said...

@Juliet Cash

Good comment.

Which begs the question : which came first - the douchebag or the phone?

The douche, obviously.. but the phone turns us into even bigger douchebags.

The whole online/mobile dating thing leaves me cold. I'd rather meet someone the normal (old fashioned) way rather than via the internet. Dating/relationships are hard enough as it is without technology poisoning the well and making things between men and women even more complicated than they already are.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB and all Wafers worldwide:

Today, I'd like to bring to your attention an interview with Eric Foner, in the Jacobin magazine.

Quoting Dr. Foner, "I call the Civil War the Second American Revolution, as historian Charles Beard did, and as abolitionist Wendell Phillips did. But the Revolution is the destruction of slavery, that’s the revolutionary quality. That’s Du Bois’s point.

I call it a capitalist revolution. I don’t know if that’s the same thing as a bourgeois revolution. It destroys a system that is both capitalist and non-capitalist in ways that are quite difficult to explain, but the consequence of the Civil War is capitalist hegemony throughout the entire United States.

But that’s not the cause of the Civil War, because the capitalists were perfectly happy with the slave South. They made a lot of money off the slave South and there was no reason for them to go to war. But the consequence of the war was certainly the hegemony of Northern industry and finance throughout the entire country."

There's much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/eric-foner-reconstruction-abolitionism-republican-party-lincoln-emancipation/

2:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

trout-

This is kind of odd, considering what Foner says in his published work, and which I pointed out in ch. 4 of WAF. True, the consequence of the War was the victory of a hustling culture throughout the US; no argument there. But if capitalists were economically happy with the slave South, they were definitely not happy with a nonhustling culture. This is the crucial pt Genovese makes between economy and society: they are not the same thing. The clash of cultures that Foner discusses in his published work, along with Genovese, Woodward, Macpherson, and myself, is the crucial pt, and North and South despised each others' cultures as decadent.

He does hint at the answer, however, when he says that the system was "both capitalist and non-capitalist," and he's rt that it's difficult to explain. Certainly, a lot of my reviewers (esp. trollfoons) failed to grasp this pt that Genovese et al. were making: capitalist economically, noncapitalist socially and culturally. This is why I spent several pages (ftnote 41) trying to sort out whether the slave society was truly part of the overall cash economy. Foner cd have been a lot more explicit here, because what you quote from him is rather misleading.

mb

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I attended a performance of Death of a Salesman sometimes in the 1990's with Brian Dennehy as Loman. The ghost of Reagan must have been in attendance that day since the line that got great applause was Ben's response to Willy.
Loman: Oh, Ben, how did you do it? What is the answer? Did you wind up the Alaska deal already?
Ben: Doesn't take much time if you know what you're doing.
That got the audience moving. Not Biff and Hap's scene in the bedroom,not Willy's scene with the techno-moron Howard, nor the final confrontation between Willy and Biff. No, the audience basically viewed the play as a self-help manual on how to get ahead. Yeah, great guy that Ben advising Biff never to fight fair."You'll never get out of the jungle that way."

9:51 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

Dan - this is the brilliance of Scorsese's much maligned Wolf of Wall Street, which ends with people attending Jordan Belfort's sales seminar; Whereas an earlier [slightly] more sensible generation watching Goodfellas was fascinated by gangsters and their power and riches, they had the good sense not to want to emulate them; today people are lining up in droves to learn how to steal and get away with it; The contrast between these two films is a great illustration of how much worse things have gotten in the last 25 years

11:47 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Paul Craig Roberts writes so many articles based around the same theme of the depravity of the US government that you can become numb and forget that the message is accurate and profound, and pieces of new information are being added to the story.

"The view on NPR is the same as Washington’s — that if only Assad would resign and hand Syria over to Washington, everything would be fine."

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/08/17/gullible-americans-forever-paul-craig-roberts/

At the beginning of the article is this quote attributed to Mark Twain:

“Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”

Perhaps it is true that one of the weak spots of hustlers in general (and a culture based around hustling) is the capacity that hustlers possess to fool themselves, to believe their own lies. In the long run this leads to an inability to distinguish fact from fiction, or genuine narratives from fabricated ones. In times requiring clarity and vision this weakness can be fatal.

James Howard Kunstler has referred to these days in the USA as a low point in the nation's ability to discern what is happening to it. As Winston Churchill said, the USA eventually does the right thing, after 1st trying everything else. The nation might not be able to afford such an extravagance at this time in history.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marc, El-

Check out the 2014 film, "Nightcrawler."

mb

5:49 AM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Dr. B,

"Neurotic Beauty" is no longer available on Amazon, and Powell's doesn't have it either. What's going on? Will it be available again sometime?

David G.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David-

A kind of depressing story. The publisher was stealing royalties from me since Feb. I tried to reason with her; she refused to write back. Finally I hired a lawyer; at which pt she dissolved the company(!)--so One Spirit Press no longer exists. Amazon pulled all 3 of my OSP books offline, to stop her from collecting any more royalties, and now I'm faced with republishing all 3 of these books under my own imprint--which will probably take a few weeks. So stay tuned, it's going to be back; but meanwhile the bk lost momentum just when it was taking off, and I'm out several grand (and I ain't rich). Sometimes, people are shitty and life sucks, and there isn't much you can do about it. Yes, you can quote me.

Thanks for asking, in any case.

mb

9:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: My mother told me to be a plumber, but did I listen?

9:36 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Dr. B,

Boy does One Spirit Press suck! You publish your work for a small audience and then get treated so poorly. Makes me wish I were a powerful publishing attorney so I could hassle that lady on your behalf. Who needs unpleasantness like that!

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Divas Butler said...

Disgusted to hear about your former publisher stealing from you, but hey,if you wanna make some real money, why not shoot a black kid and then become an painter?
It worked out pretty well for this guy who apparantly sold his last painting for a cool $100,000 on ebay:

http://www.rt.com/usa/312715-confederate-flag-Muslim-gun/
http://floridagunsupply.com/george-zimmerman-confederate-flag.html

1:46 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

Re: Neurotic Beauty

MB-

Jesus, what a shame! Sounds like you were sabotaged and they ran off w/yr royalties. Doing business in America, at any level, is a racket, I guess... Glad to read yr fighting the bastards.

MB, Wafers-

Well, yesterday was my first day back at school. Here's a quick anecdote: I was going over my cell phone policy: turn them off and put them away. Within 15-20 mins., I could see students getting antsey and nervous. One of them, a woman, reached for her purse, hunted around for her phone, and immediately began fiddling w/it. I slowly stalked over, held out my hand, and said, "Your device, please." She reluctantly handed it over. I raised it up, so the entire class could see it, and said, "They call these smart phones, but only dummies use them in my class." After class, she retrieved her phone w/out saying a word to me. I just received confirmation that she dropped my class. Hopefully, it ends there...as I might be called before a tribunal and accused of microaggression.

Miles

2:34 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

priorities.....

"The federal government on Monday gave Royal Dutch Shell the final permit it needs to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's northwest coast for the first time in more than two decades."

I always wonder this: if we've known for about 50 years that we needed to change (assuming 1968 was a global awakening), and we haven't done anything up to this point to make any change, why are people so optimistic that things will suddenly turn around? If anything, it seems like people were much more open to change from the late 60s to early 80s. We're waaaay beyond the point where meaningful change is possible, looking on the global scale.

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html#three

http://kuow.org/post/us-tells-shell-it-can-start-arctic-oil-drilling

3:24 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

I think your depressing story proves your point even more so about American culture and American society which is full of dolts and dregs who will try to steal your money. You may have to just self-publish as you said.

By the way, I think we should put "Caitlyn" Jenner on the $5 bill.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I heard of one teacher who wd take the student's fone away and then smash it to bits. My kinda guy. Yr student was a douche bag. Wd u have gotten into trouble if you peed on her shoes?

mb

5:18 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

"It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas"

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/26/first-state-legalizes-armed-drones-for-cops-thanks-to-a-lobbyist.html

Prepare for drones armed with guided missiles flying over your homes shortly Wafers! This is really becoming one big joke.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Agent00Soul said...

Dr. Berman -

I just finished listening to this. I was curious as how easy it is for an American citizen to emigrate to Mexico. I know that trying to emigrate to the UK and Denmark was virtually impossible without a marriage of convenience so I gave up. How were you able to do it and stay?

Thanks!

2:46 PM  

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