November 15, 2015

NB Is Back, at Long Last

Dear Wafers:

Yes, Neurotic Beauty is available from Amazon once again, after theft of royalties, hiring a lawyer, getting pulled offline, and other horrors:

http://www.amazon.com/Neurotic-Beauty-Outsider-Looks-Japan/dp/1621342190/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447617858&sr=1-13&keywords=morris+berman

Currently they've got the Book Description wrong, the Author Bio wrong, and omitted 2 of the 4 endorsements, but hopefully that'll all get corrected over time. Meanwhile, I thought I should give you folks an update on my other work.

Water Street Press, who republished NB, will also be republishing Spinning Straw Into Gold. I'm hoping it will be back online before the year is out. Coming to Our Senses went out of print a few weeks ago, but the good people at Echo Point Press will be bringing it out pretty soon, they tell me. As for my volume of poetry, Counting Blessings, it too is out of print, and I'm currently searching around for a new publisher for it.

And then there's my new novel, which I knocked out last month. A political satire, very timely for the present election cycle. This is now sitting on the desk of about 5 publishers; wish me luck.

That's about it. Well, I'm researching the possibility of a book on US-Mexico relations, but that's at least 5 years away. In the meantime, we'll soon be celebrating the near-total massacre of the entire indigenous population of North America. And we wonder why people are angry at us!

mb

198 Comments:

Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB - one thing that has made little sense to me in recent years is that people around the globe do not seem to harbor nearly as much anger and resentment towards America as it seems they should. Certainly, it is much more restrained than it was back in the 1960s and 70s. For example, I recall a few years ago when one of the Daily Show correspondents went Iran to do person-on-the-street interviews at a time when tensions between the two countries were particularly high. The people interviewed were all quiet friendly and even went out of the way to say how much the liked and admired America.

America was better off when it was restrained by world opinion and by (for example) the threat that OPEC would cut off oil exports if our foreign policy became too aggressive for their tastes. Of course, that was back in the bipolar world of the Cold War days and there just isn't an equivalent of the Soviet Union for other countries who want to be free of American meddling to turn to for help.

Meanwhile, even our allegedly socialist presidential candidate wants to "bern" ISIS, just in a kinder, gentler way:

"U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont has previously said ISIS poses a real threat, and that he fully supports the notion that the group needs to be stopped. Sanders believes the U.S. can't lead the effort to defeat ISIS on its own, and that a coalition with countries in the Middle East leading the effort is the best way to combat the group."

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/heres-where-the-democratic-presidential-candidates-stand-on-isis/

3:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

They came.
They saw people with heads in their rumps.
They went back home:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/opinion/sunday/america-the-not-so-promised-land.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

Dr B, thanks for that article. Also thanks for the return of your recent book because I can't wait to buy and read it.

Here is the perfect quote from your article:

“I do not see any great wealth in store for me here unless I were to live as an animal. To live in misery or to kill myself in order to save a grosz, no, I am not that crazy to work myself to death,”

As I grow older in America, I feel the same feelings in the above passage. For most of the working people in America, life is endless bills and more bills to pay. Even when you pay off the mortgage in your house, you still have to come up money to pay monthly taxes, water, electricity, and gas. In fact, somebody told me that even when you are dead and buried in a grave in America, you still have some bills to pay. This is what worries me the most. It really does not worth it to spend your youthful years and energy wasting away in America.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Frank Rotering's latest:

http://nomoreillusions.org/suzuki-ecocidal-role/

I wonder if Rotering is fully aware of the risks involved in promoting systemic change. Those questioning capitalism can be quickly marginalized, ridiculed, threatened and even attacked by established institutional forces such as the mainstream media, universities and governmental departments. An intellectual actively promoting the dismantling of capitalism will likely run afoul of the USA's modern version of some sort of "Stalinist thought police", to use a phrase recently employed by James Howard Kunstler.

An example that comes to mind is that of the Roman political philosopher Cicero, who ended up murdered because he wanted Rome to remain a Republic, among other things.

David Suzuki is a wealthy man with several houses. As such he can be expected to hedge his bets a bit. He's part of the "1%" to use a term from the old "Occupy Wall Street" movement. David Suzuki also has several children. As such he probably would hesitate to take anything close to a radical stance on controlling human population growth.

What Rotering's suggestions will run afoul of is what Julien Benda mentioned in his "La Trahison des Clercs", which is the tendency for intellectuals to become comfortable in their position within the established political and economic order, and as a result to betray the truth about what is happening to their society and what must be done to reverse course if necessary.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Pauliya said...

what do you make of this one:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/a-grand-bargain-with-putin-against-isis_b_8570252.html

2:19 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Come on, Dr. Berman, America has one great advantage over most countries I've visited-the bottomless cup of coffee. Free refills! Now really, what other country has that?
I have recently witnessed quite a few times something you mentioned in WAF- not saying thank you to the person bagging your groceries because the buyer was on his or her cell phone. It's grotesque since in many cases there are many items to bag and if you notice there is a kind of system to bagging items-liquids, dry goods, etc. It truly represents a death of a thousand cuts. And if I see one more time a child trying to get his or her parents' attention while they are on their phone I may truly go postal.
Anyone see the TV ad for a new Google ap which shows about 30 people dancing under a tree all wearing head phones? A woman enters, views the area and is confused what to listen to. But she now has the Google ap which can direct her to "Dance Music"-a labor saving device. Otherwise, she'd have to waste valuable time scrolling various tunes some of which might not be appropriate to dance to with her fellow morons under the tree.
So France has now launched air attacks in Syria. That will surely solve the problem. Off for another visit to the 6th grade nightmare. The teacher frequently uses the word "hell" but students need to remember that Umm is not a word. Oh, yes, only 70% of high school students can locate the Pacific Ocean but Umm is not a word.

7:49 AM  
Blogger Abbot Primate said...

Bill Hicks - When traveling, it has been my experience that people are generally very forgiving toward Americans. Certainly, with the number of citizens who actually leave the United States being minuscule, most around the world have not had the distinct displeasure of having to deal with anyone here.

I have been living the nmo for several years in amerika, it is getting much worse on the ground. People (past friends, etc.) now actively attack me verbally for not pursuing the hustiling/douchenugget lifestyle. Very disheartening.

Regrettable link of the week: www.elitedaily.com

My eyes are bleeding.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Regarding Paris, I think Charlie Pierce (who also wrote the WAF-er book "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free") says it well:

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/33522-there-is-only-one-way-to-defeat-isis

1:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle.

mb

2:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

Natasha West, 27, arrested after attacking a waitress over an all-you-can-eat pancake deal at a Chicago Denny's:

http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2015/11/natasha_west_arrested_after_dispute_over_denny_s_4_all_you_can_eat_pancakes.html

Huckabee's response to the Paris attacks: "It's time to wake up and smell the falafel."

http://fusion.net/story/233696/mike-huckabee-paris-comments-falafel/

Jesus, would it be inconsiderate to "nuke" Mike, already?

Miles

5:13 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Come on, Dr. Berman, America has one great advantage over most countries I've visited-the bottomless cup of coffee. Free refills! Now really, what other country has that?

Probably what I would miss most. I love eating breakfast at greasy spoon type coffee shops where I can get 5 cups of coffee.

Also, hotels. Having travelled quite a bit in Europe I really appreciate that for a reasonable price in the US I can get a room without having to specify that it have air conditioning, a bed I can sleep in and not be in the fetal position, have a shower and toilet included that isn't communal, free soap, etc etc.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

WAFers--

Move over, Shaneka Torres:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/natasha-west-flips-out-over-all-you-can-eat-pancake-rule-police-say_564a1cb9e4b045bf3df03178?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

O&D--

Brian

6:24 PM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Love to see something from you on US-Mex politics. Hope you decide to write it.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

turn-

I did actually write a precis of the topic a while back, but have not yet posted it. Stay tuned.

Jeff, Brian-

Natasha is my kinda gal. I abs. adore her, and wd support her candidacy for pres any time.

mb

9:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Did someone already post this?:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/11/16/war-west-cannot-win

mb

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

@Dr B, yeah someone posted it at the end of the previous thread - here:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/11/14/paris-attacks-andrew-bacevich-war-west-cannot-win/UVlV0AsL8ddnE8L5gJaTXO/story.html

Also, consider this:
Glenn Greenwald: It's 'Irrational' To Blame Paris Terrorism On Snowden
"Many large scale terrorist attacks have been successfully perpetrated well before anyone ever heard the name Edward Snowden."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/glenn-greenwald-irrational-to-blame-snowden-leaks-for-paris-terrorists_564b4005e4b08cda348a7d00

I can't say what I am thinking concerning blaming Snowden for Paris attacks. Here is what I can say: Bush and then Obama started destroying Syria and other Middle Eastern nations. What is good for the goose should be also good for the gander. Of course, there are 300 million Americans sleeping while their government destroys other peoples in other parts of the world. So then, as long as others are being destroyed why should the selfish Americans care about it?

1:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Frank-

Last poll I read said 62% of Americans approve of drone strikes (which regularly kill unarmed civilians) and more than 50% approve of torture. I'm guessing that nearly 100% believe that if someone attacks us (or France), that we are completely innocent, had 0 to do with it. That Bacevich article is quite gd, and Hollande's response cdn't be dumber. It's amazing, that we can't wake up to the fact that if you retaliate, you guarantee further attacks. What a farce.

mb

2:22 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

I submitted the Bacevich article after the Paris attacks, and at the end of the previous thread. Incidentally, in the comments section of that article, Bacevich has been characterized as *cowardly* by a variety of American dunderheads.

I tell ya, MB, the West's response to terrorism is the definition of insanity. 9/11 was orchestrated by 20 men, and the US spent over 3 trillion and slaughtered countless Muslims over it. It looks as if Hollande is leading France down the same road as the US. Jesus, if there's ever a time to do something different, the time is now. How long are we gonna keep making the same mistakes? As great as the tragedy of Paris is, it's still a conventional form of terrorism. A greater worry, it seems, is as the West escalates its war against ISIS, it will incur larger, more creative, and more provocative ways of retaliation. This process will have enormous consequences. Not to sound too hyperbolic, but this thing could trigger an intra-civilizational war which could result in the destruction of complex societies w/in a span of weeks.

Miles

4:14 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Privet MB, Wafers,

I saw something at the gym today I bet none of you Wafers have seen so far: a douchebag bringing his cell phone into THE SAUNA. I thought it was music coming from the gym class on the floor above first, but no, the douchebag actually brought his cell phone with him to play music on loudspeaker in the sauna! Oh well,what's surprising anymore?

Yes the hypocrisy around Paris terror attacks - notwithstanding the horror of it - is truly sickening. This is a nice take on it:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/13/the-age-of-despair-reaping-the-whirlwind-of-western-support-for-extremist-violence/

I started reading Turtle Island by Gary Snyder today otherwise. What a great book. Helps to make sense of it all.

Kanye

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

And, although Orlov has gone a bit off the rails recently (conspiracy theories), he did bring up a good point. Where's the 24-7 coverage, memorial services and candlelight vigils for the 224 Russians killed (and 25 children) in the Egypt plane crash? Oh right, we aren't supposed to care about our manufactured enemies ... but hey! the stock of defense contractors is going through the roof, and oil is cheap and, OMG, Payton Manning got benched! God bless Amerika.

Anyway, I'm trying to clean my brain by reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

More voices are joining the chorus. Paul Craig Roberts isn't the only former "conservative" now calling BS and hypocrisy on the policies of the US Government.

David Stockman: Blowback—–The Washington War Party’s Folly Comes Home To Roost


Selected passages:

But the everlasting truth is that the relative handful of suicidal jihadi who have perpetrated murderous episodes of terror like 9/11 and this weekend’s carnage in Paris did not exist in November 1989; and they would not be marauding the West today save for the unrelenting arrogance, stupidity, duplicity and mendacity of Imperial Washington.

That is, the gates of hell have been opened by Washington’s senseless destruction of regimes in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere that refused to do its bidding. Yet not one of these backwaters of tyranny and economic and military insignificance posed any threat whatsoever to the safety and security of American citizens in Lincoln NE or Manchester NH.

That the middle east and the Arab/Islamic world in particular is now a burned out zone of failed states and an incubator of barbaric religious and sectarian fanaticism is because Imperial Washington made it that way.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, in the Bad Is Gd dept., the more cell phones, and the more stupid responses to terrorism, the faster we'll go into total collapse mode. One thing that shows up in the studies of declining civs is that in the final phase, the civ typically accelerates the decline by doing more of exactly what caused the decline. As dumb as the US is, its stupidity is not without precedent. (So much for exceptionalism.)

Simple analogy: guy is told by his doctor that he has lung cancer and may live another yr if he quits smoking rt now. So he doubles the # of cigs he smokes per day, and dies in 3 mos.

Kanye-

Try this (I'm curious): ask the management of the gym if they have a policy regarding phones in the sauna. Tell them that 4u, sauna time is one of quiet meditation and relaxation, and you object to gym members bringing fones in and disrupting the silence. Pls let us know what he says.

mb

7:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

America on the Move!:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/sheriff-6-killed-at-texas-campsite-man-charged-with-murder/2015/11/16/e44a1fe8-8cbe-11e5-934c-a369c80822c2_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_ap-campsite-620pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

I wonder what % of the American public can say who Dylann Roof is? More than 0.1%?

mb

7:38 PM  
Blogger Chad In Chicago said...

Kanye -

Ic an tell you cell phones are par for the course in the sauna at my gym. Loud music from iPods as well. It's the one place for some quiet, or a low key conversation at least, but the douche waffles have to ruin that too.

On the brighter side, that humid air will warp their electronics.

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B & All:

Another great advance in our 400 years of hustling- they are now putting ads inside the shopping carts at the local grocery store! One ad is in the child seat area, and the other at the front of the cart; it's called "cartvertising." You can't help but see and read them when you grab a cart...

10:11 PM  
Blogger Yossi said...

France has killed more innocent people with bombs in Syria in the last few days than died in Paris on Friday.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

With America you have the possibility of the best comforts, but you're trading that for happiness.

Now some people will say comforts and things are happiness.

When you spend your life hustling and shopping, you have to convince yourself that this is the best way to live.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB & fellow Wafers:

The Guardian published the second in its series on poor American towns, it's here : http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/15/poorest-town-in-poorest-state-segregation-is-gone-but-so-are-the-jobs#comments

Think about a culture that allows these conditions to exist for decades, about a system of power which condones and encourages this to continue. It's a massive crime against humanity. America today and its future.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

It is sad and interesting (in a pathological sort of way) to follow the responses in the US to the Paris attack. Here are some of the more nutty ideas expressed, all in no particular order.

1. Edward Snowden compromised American intel that made the attack possible.
2. Obama’s handling of Benghazi encouraged this attack—it seems everything can be tied in with Benghazi if you follow the trail long enough and go through a maze of mental contortions.
3. The attack wouldn’t have happened if France had a Second Amendment.
4. We have to “secure our borders” (whatever that means) before the same thing happens here.
5. Related to the point above, if we accept refuges we’ll be accepting terrorists in our midst and it’s only a matter of time before a similar attack happens in the US.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro (Peace Be Upon Him) said...

Very, very good article on the ISIS conception of history here:

http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/features/state-of-terror

1:53 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

Here's something:

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2015/nov/16/paris-attacks-isis-strategy-chaos/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=What+ISIS+wants+free+speech+and+race+on+campus&utm_content=What+ISIS+wants+free+speech+and+race+on+campus+CID_7fc2005903c840ffed66c75a7b3f4a85&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=Paris%20The%20War%20ISIS%20Wants

and:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/14/us-usa-election-paris-idUSMTZSAPEBBETE6GMR20151114#VJJ800BG4aQAKR1J.97

Go Trumpster! Wafers are pullin' for u!

Miles

6:12 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Regarding the use of cell phones, before I retired last year I used to ride the Washington Metro subway system to and from work. Though it could be a hassle at times, I always enjoyed having nearly hour a day to read a book. Twenty years ago, I would see people who would spend the entire train ride just sitting and staring into space (a majority of the riders) and used to think of them as commuter zombies. By the time I retired, of course, most of those former zombies were texting, tweeting or twiddling when not actually yapping on their damn phones. As for me--I still had my book everyday, and I'm sure many of them thought I was a Luddite.

On anther note, the most hilarious (not to mention accidentally honest reaction) to the Paris attacks yet was from the Texas congresscritter who wants to ban all Syrian refugees from his state because it is too easy to buy a gun there. Personally, I think every Syrian refugee should be resettled to Texas and given a free gun with 100 rounds of ammunition upon entering the state. It's what Jeebus would want--don'cha know.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

"The white manager of a unassuming Conway, S.C. eatery enslaved a mentally handicapped black man, beating him in the head with a frying pan, burning him with hot tongs, and forcing him to work grueling hours, largely without pay, a federal lawsuit claims."

http://www.courthousenews.com/2015/11/18/eatery-said-to-treat-disabled-s-c-man-as-slave.htm

I've reached out to some of my high-level contacts in Moscow, asking if President Putin might consider extending airstrikes to certain parts of the US. So far no response, but fingers crossed.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Chad In Chicago said...

Kanye, MB -

I took the challenge, and after tonight's sauna session which featured a guy on a cell phone and a guy blasting music on his phone, I nicely asked management on the way out if they might consider putting up a sign discouraging those activities.

And, predictably, I was met with an uncomprehending stare followed by a I don't know, maybe.

Bill -

You should start posting song selections here like you did on your blog. The music was excellent, a true soundtrack for Wafers.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jesus, what a douche bag dept.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/18/ben-carsons-campaign-made-a-u-s-map-and-put-a-bunch-of-states-in-the-wrong-place/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_wb-carsonmap-1205pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

10:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

O Goody! dept.:

https://www.thefinancialist.com/us-consumers-are-on-a-shopping-spree/?utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=the_financialist_main_newer_content&utm_content=47507470&utm_term=1487150

5:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Duh! dept.:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/18/obama-drone-war-isis-recruitment-tool-air-force-whistleblowers

6:04 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Chad, MB,

It happened only once so far so I think it was an exception but I'll definitely raise it if it happens again. I am not very hopeful though.

In the meantime Wafers, I challenge you to find a better headline than this!
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/vomit-covered-drunken-duty-cop-rams-womans-car-tries-bribe-her-not-tell

10:27 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

More in The Guardian about the life of a Merican drone operator:
"Ever step on ants and never give it another thought? That's what you are made to think of the targets - as just black blobs on the screen. You start to do these psychological gymnastics to make it easier to do what you have to do - they deserved it, they chose their side. You had to kill part of your conscience to keep doing your job every day - and ignore those voices telling you this wasn't right."

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/18/life-as-a-drone-pilot-creech-air-force-base-nevada

And people wonder why there's blowback - warfare reduced to a savage video game.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

No need to wait; just ask them what their general policy is. You cd say it happened once in the past, and caught you by surprise.

mb

11:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: re: the drunken cop: I'm surprised he didn't just gun her down like a dog.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Hi WAFers--

Putting my pastrami aside for 32 seconds to share some musings on the college campus shenanigans of late . . .

Well, first, thank *goodness,* my very own institution of "higher learning" has just announced that, indeed, it will be hiring its own "Chief Diversity Officer." Grand proposition (and how proactive!): thank goodness we can find yet another way to beef up bureaucracy and strip even more resources from what actually occurs in the classroom (*when* [if?] it occurs)?

My own hunch is that, as much as the youngins' and their much ballyhooed "demands" appear on the surface to be about race and race relations, I can't help but think that the broader, tacit issue here is generational blowback. The "elders" on campus have enjoyed their administrative careers, funded in large part by creating debt serfs out of the vaunted Millennials, and yet I do sense that this younger generation is possibly (??) starting to realize that it's been sold a big ol' bag of bullshit to support a system that worked "just fine" for their parents' generation. Again, I think the power inequities between the generations is the bigger, unarticulated story as such, but it seems taboo to even "go there" (after all, weren't the Millennials and their Boomer parents proud of being "best friends" with one another)? It's been amazing to watch administration kowtow to these students' "demands," simply so they can hold on to their jobs.

Among other things, we don't really do "age" or "aging" well in Amurika, do we? The protesters at Amherst College had a lovely, exhaustive laundry list of "demands" (equity based upon race, gender, disabled, etc, etc) . . . and yet combatting ageism (or ageist attitudes) is never mentioned.

O&D--

Brian

11:32 AM  
Blogger librarian@play said...

Here's an idea, Kanye and Chad: Let someone snap a nekked picture of you in the gym's sauna (make sure it's identifiable as that gym's sauna), have it posted to the Internet, sue the gym for trauma, take over the gym, and institute your own no-douchebag policy. Much like a bar without TVs, a no-douchebag gym would be a rare and wonderful, if unprofitable, thing.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Imagine if across the nation, all gyms, hospitals, libraries, offices, grocery stores, bowling alleys etc etc mounted a large sign at the entrance:

THIS IS A DOUCHEBAG-FREE ESTABLISHMENT.

It would mean that every single place of business or whatever in the entire country would be completely empty.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Help me out here: Am I the only person in America who finds this face grotesque?:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/19/politics/hillary-clinton-isis-speech/index.html

And what a brilliant plan! Let's just keep escalating a war we can't win! Thank u George Orwell.

mb

2:37 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

MB,

Thanks for quoting David Shulman on your reply. It isn't hard to see how war begets hatred and more violence- but the business of war has no ethics for business is the new conquest. (Or perhaps conquest has always been about business) Dunno. I just know that whenever the war tune is played Wall Street receives it with cheers. Investors are pleased. Hypocrisy is now also at an all time high: Madeline Albright - a war criminal herself- was talking about how ISIS wants us to deny the entry of refugees and how that is exactly what they want to divide and conquer- but she never asks herself what exactly do we want over there. And how we and the other contributing western states divided that region for decades. It makes me cringe when I hear any of them with their human rights exhortations.

Wafers and MB,

53% of Americans are confirmed douchebags; another 11% are semi finalists douche bags according to the latest Bloomberg survey results on the number of Americans who don't want any Syrian refugees.
That adds up to 64% unabashed douches. Will a xenophobic, racist crackpot capitalize on that potential amount of douchebaggery to gain entrance to the White House next year?
Every time I read the news I can't help but remember your name, Morris Berman. Your books are now more relevant than ever. Congratulations on nailing the disease that is the American douche.

JC

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/americans-against-accepting-syrian-refugees-in-us_564ceccee4b00b7997f90565

2:44 PM  
Anonymous marianne said...

Check out the interview today on DemocracyNow with Glenn Greenwald. I suspect most readers on this blog will appreciate his commentary.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jul-

Even a broken clock is correct 2x/day. He's not exactly one of my heroes, but Henry Kissinger said 2 memorable things:

1. If you insist on playing a hegemonic role, other countries are going to try to topple you from your position.

2. Americans have a very hard time grasping the viewpt of the Other.

Jesus, no shit. This utter failure of self-awareness, of transparency, sealed the fate of Rome, and it will seal our fate as well. Check out the foto of Natasha West, and then compare it to that of Hillary. What's the diff, I ask you? And is Hill really smarter than Natasha? Myself, I don' see it.

mb

2:57 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Golf Pro-

Burke's article is good, but I want to push back on it a little. It's become part of western discourse to link modern terrorism w/Islamic history, and it serves as a useful diversion, no? Blaming the history of Islam for the rise of modern extremism, is essentially projecting crimes committed by the US onto the world's 1.6 billion Muslims. The US is mostly responsible for creating Islamic terrorism by a) using it during the Cold War (mujahideen), and b) ravaging Islamic countries pre/post 9/11 (coups, Iraq War, torture, drones, etc.). The US invasion of Iraq, of course, was *key* in fomenting *global* Islamist terrorism; a prediction made by learned analysts well before the war began, in fact.

A case can also be made that the entire war on terror is bogus; a neocon creation. I'm intrigued by the argument that much of the world believes ISIS is a product of western intelligence services for a number of strategic reasons. This is not too much of a stretch given our history with the Islamic world. More to the point, think of the CIA aiding and arming Sunni extremists in Syria; McCain in Syria posing for fotos w/known terrorists; and the fact that Russia and France (now) have, in just a few days, destroyed more ISIS strongholds than Obama has in years. I don't know if I've officially went off the reservation, but a google search about all this will turn up a cascade of info.

Miles

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Concerned French American said...

Mr. Berman and friends,

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/17/jihadism-western-policy-jeremy-corbyn-isis

Some sobering thoughts.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Voix N. Wilderness said...

Both sides are probably saying "Good riddance."

More Mexican Immigrants Leaving US Than Entering, Report Finds
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/us/more-mexican-immigrants-leaving-us-than-entering-report-finds.html?_r=0

We're gonna need border controls to keep people IN the US.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Are any of your poems available online? Until the book is available again, I'd love to read some of your poetry. Thanks.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Voix-

Well, it's the intelligent Americans who wanna get out. Most Americans think: "We're No. 1!"

French-

I fear I'm in the camp that believes we have sown the whirlwind; as is David Shulman (see earlier comment). The history of Western 'meddling' (to put it rather mildly) in the Islamic world is quite dramatic, and if the same had happened to us, we wdn't react kindly to it either. (Cf. War of Independence, 1776) Nor can it be argued that there's something inherently evil abt Islam, because, after all, we meddled with Japan and China, say, and they haven't struck back--because they *have*. Check out my Japan bk. Japan reacted to Commodore Perry not with a military response--which they wd have lost--but with the Meiji Restoration and the strong economic catch-up to the West. And of course, eventually, there *was* a military response, viz. Pearl Harbor. And after the War was over, Japan went back to their economic catch-up-and-overtake mode, such that they now hold the American debt to the tune of $1 trillion in US securities. As for China, they too are smart: avoid military confrontation, and instead conquer the US economically (they are now No. 1 in the world, in terms of GDP, and hold $2 trillion of the debt in American securities).

Plus, I'm no expert on Islam, but I have read a # of scholars of the religion who say that it is inherently peaceful, and that jihad is generally meant in a spiritual sense--unless one is attacked. The word Islam, after all, means 'surrender'; the Koran is no more bloodthirsty than the New Testament (and consider how bloodthirsty Christianity has been, historically speaking; there hasn't been much turning of the other cheek, and we see this pattern of vengeance in Hollande's response to the Paris attack, as well as in ours to 9/11, etc.). Jihadism, say these scholars, is actually a deviation from the religion, not what the religion is centrally about.

In any case, as Jeff and so many other intelligent folks have pointed out, if u.r. going to continue randomly killing women and children in the Middle East via drone strikes, the chances are that Muslims are going to resent it just a tad, and finally take action against it. These policies have fomented terrorism, and since most Americans (and French, apparently, at least at the govt level) aren't terribly bright, we shall continue to go down that path. The voices that argue that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy will continue to be ignored, certainly, because the pattern of American history is unrelentingly to find an enemy, a force that is inevitably outside of us. We are by definition innocent; those who oppose us are by definition evil--a perfect Manichaean formula, as I discuss at length in QOV. Without an enemy, the US wdn't be able to function, and again, history bears this out quite clearly. (Think of how we floated, directionless, during the Clinton yrs, when the USSR had vanished and radical Islam had not yet made its appearance. Our lives were suddenly empty, to be filled with crap such as Monica and O.J.) Our identity is thus what Hegel called a 'negative identity'--i.e., based on opposition, not much else. We have no idea who we are, and this makes endless war attractive to us.

(continued below)

6:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Is the whole thing bogus, a neocon invention? I wonder. Calling for war, or 'standing tough,' is an automatic formula for American politicians; just think of Nixon's career, and attacks on his opponents as being 'soft on communism'--an endless GOP rallying cry. Because the American people are dupes, and can easily be riled up to a high level of self-righteous rage by means of a few buzzwords, this is a strategy that Hillary and anyone in power or seeking power is going to draw on. After all, it works! The only postwar president who suggested that we look at ourselves, rather than at external 'enemies', was Jimmy Carter; and while most Americans regard Reagan as a visionary hero, they see Jimmy as a bad joke. In fact, just the reverse is true; and if the US had any hope whatsoever of saving itself at this pt (not bloody likely), it wd take exactly this 180 degree reversal in perception to do it. Instead, we will go to our national demise completely asleep.

mb

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

@Miles Deli

It's become part of western discourse to link modern terrorism w/Islamic history, and it serves as a useful diversion, no?

Yes, this is true. But also, Islamic history is extremely bloody, no?

Blaming the history of Islam for the rise of modern extremism, is essentially projecting crimes committed by the US onto the world's 1.6 billion Muslims.

Actually, no. I think that my own country, Britain, was far more oppressive towards "Muslims" than any actions by the USA. You guys are amateurs compared to us.

A case can also be made that the entire war on terror is bogus

Very true, but ISIS are not really responding to this, which is why their principle victims are Yazidis and Iraqi Shia.

I'm intrigued by the argument that much of the world believes ISIS is a product of western intelligence services for a number of strategic reasons.

I don't dismiss this idea at all, but I personally think that this is a product of a general Western pseudo-intellectual tendency not to accept what people mean by their own words. Islamic State say, very clearly, that they want an Islamic Caliphate, and that they want to slit the throats of non-believers. I take them at their word. If you want to interpret their statements otherwise, that's up to you.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Well, the Palestinians say much the same thing: they want their own nation, they want to push Israel into the sea, etc. You seriously don't think that's a reaction to what was done to them from the late 19C on, and then esp. in 1948? What does 'word' really mean, here? I think we hafta dig a bit deeper, go behind the words to the history.

Again, if Islamic history is bloody, so is Christian history--and much of it against Muslims. As for UK vs. US: doesn't matter. We, the US, are the latest manifestation of this oppression of the Middle East, and we, not England, are doing the drone strikes. In addition, there's this:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/619371/Islamic-State-ISIS-Britain-London-Paris-attacks-Twitter

and let's not forget the terrorist attack on London of July 2005.


Bull-

Unfortunately, no, and it's going to take me a while to find a (re)publisher for it, I fear (I may hafta even self-publish it, if push comes to shove). However, one possibility is that a fellow Wafer might lend you their copy for a while. Suggest you put your email address out here (or send it to me, if that feels better), and you can get connected to someone who can send it 2u in the mail. Best option rt now, I think. And thanks for yr interest.

mb

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B,

You are one of the very few authors I genuinely cherish. You are a great person.

So I'm not going to argue with you about details, because I realise I'm a guest here.

(Cheers mate)

7:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

I agree, that I am the Great Visionary of the Western Hemisphere (GVWH); of that, there can be little doubt. But there is a confusion that got spawned (speaking of 'words') on this blog, perhaps because blogs lend themselves to flaming and other insulting behaviors, a belief that we don't tolerate dissent or aren't interested in debate or conflicting viewpts. This is not true. What we don't tolerate is rudeness or peacock behavior or insults (to me or the blog in general), and this is the stock in trade of the trollfoons. Over and over again, I have said, Drop the attitude and just state yr argument and yr evidence, and I'll be glad to engage you. But can they do this? No! Why not? Because they are trollfoons!

Anyway, yr not a 'guest' here, yr a Wafer--the highest form of life on the planet. And you are, in my experience, truly courteous. So pls, argue with me abt details. This debate--as in the case of our Charlie Hebdo argument, you may remember--is not Just One Thing, open and shut. I personally lean toward the karma argument (we reap what we sow), but there are certainly gd args to be made on the other side as well. (For one thing, I wd never condone the slaughter of innocents.) Full speed ahead, and damn the trollfoons!

mb

8:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"History is one with science in its methods and with poetry in its vision. Like science, it is a discovery; like poetry, a new creation. By contrast with science and poetry, history does not invent or explore worlds; it reconstructs, refashions the world of the past....Situated between ethnology (description of societies) and poetry (imagination), history is empirical rigor and aesthetic sympathy, a mixture of pity and irony. Rather than being knowledge, it is wisdom. That is the true historical tradition of the West, from Herodotus to Michelet, from Tacitus to Henry Adams."

--Octavio Paz, "The Flight of Quetzalcoatl and the Quest for Legitimacy" (1974)

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Rorschach said...

Hey Morris, I have a question. Based on the experience of your life, and knowing the lives of the friends/family around you, how true would you consider this quote?

"Men should not marry. All the older guys I know, guys that are 55 and older are telling me the same story; don't do it. It just turns to crap no matter what you do. They'd rather be independent. At best it's a tedious bore. At worst a living hell with financial ruin thrown in for good measure. The problem is that when you're young, you just naturally fall into this mind set where your whole self image is based on how women regard you, and so you spend all your money and energy trying to make yourself acceptable to them. Then later on in life, the shine wears off and you realize that you've wasted yourself on a bunch of crap.

In regards to children.....I couldn't even begin to list all of the older folks i know from work or through my family with kids they either don't get along with, are disappointed in, or are so distant as to not even be a factor in each other's lives. How many friends do you have with little or no meaningful relationships with their parents?"

8:46 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

To the question of whether or not ISIS is a neocon creation (btw - if 99% of Americans are neocons, why bother using the term as if it refers to only a small segment?), it seems hard to argue at this point that it isn't. The model of US intervention in M.E. is always the same - train/arm/fund terrorists, get them to eat away at the target country's infrastructure, resulting in the complete destruction of the state, not just merely "regime change."

ISIS is only the latest - though perhaps most extreme - de facto mercenary of the US, and we've put them into Syria (along with al-Qaeda and al-Nusra - which the US is *openly* backing btw http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/31/petraeus-use-al-qaeda-fighters-to-beat-isis.html) to bump off the Evil Barrel-Bomb Butcher Assad (whom 72% of Syrians support).

From what I gather, the US is essentially using ISIS as shock troops to capture land away from the Syrian govt, then when ISIS moves on the next place, US sends its Kurdish proxies to take control of the land previously held by ISIS, as the US knows the Syrian govt won't attack its allies - ultimately culminating in the partition of the country (we initially wanted 100% of Syria, but as a result of Russia's intervention we will now have to settle for 50%). The liberal thinking in the US (from ppl like Glenn Greenwald), is that terrorists come about as an "organic" reaction to US imperialism; a notion which ignores, of course, the reality that these groups are all either directly or indirectly funded by the US & its Gulf vassals (which Putin stated bluntly at the recent G20).

9:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ror-

I doubt I'm the best person to be giving advice on this matter, since all I have to show for 7 decades is a string of failed relationships. Of course, it depends on one's defn of 'failure'. I certainly don't regret a # of those relationships, even some of the short ones. Beyond some great sex, there were some terrific women involved, from whom I learned a lot. But yes, like most young guys, I did spend a shitload of energy trying to get loved or sexed, and 90% of this was indeed a colossal waste of my time. Thank god for a (slightly) lowered libido.

I'm also not sure where length fits into this. I mean, we don't regard a painting as fabulous just because it's large. (Van Gogh did some spectacular small ones.) Back in my late 20s, living one summer in Boston, I had a relationship with a woman that was absolutely ecstatic, and which seriously changed my life forever. Not important, that it lasted only a few wks; so what? And I've known a gd # of long-term marriages that I wdn't wanna be in for all the tea in China. (Harold Pinter does a gd job of describing some of these.)

I do suspect that most relationships suck, however, and probably for women as well as for men. The good ones: I agree w/Woody Allen, that it's largely a matter of luck. Recently I met a couple--he 64, she 56--who found each other 9 yrs ago and have been very happy since. I envy that. I mean, I'm fairly happy by myself; if I never have another romance in my life, it won't be the end of the world. But I suspect that if someone came along with whom I was compatible, I'd be a bit happier. I also have this feeling that at root, we are all still 18 yrs old, knowing that love (in one form or another) is a major factor in a successful life. (I think it was Laurence Olivier who said that no matter what our age, we still had red lips!)

And female energy is such a fabulous thing, n'est-ce pas? There are a few terrific, younger women in my life rt now whom I don't sleep with (for one thing, they all have boyfriends), but there is something so healing abt having large doses of anima around--restful to the soul. When women are smart, they are *really* smart; which is to say, wise. Too often, the cliché abt men being obtuse, I've found, is correct. On the whole, my experience is that men are fairly predictable. With women, I have no idea what's gonna happen.

Anyway, there u have it. Told u I didn't know much abt the subject!

mb

9:56 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

Maybe I'm reading my own views into it, but perhaps a more WAFer-ish film than I realized upon first view: Scorsese's much maligned "The Departed" - it depicts a world where every institution is either predatory or meaningless, almost everyone is purely self-interested, and while Mr. Scorsese spares a couple of people from complete moral turpitude, they are unable to escape the maelstrom. As Jack Nicholson's villain suggests in the film's opening, against the backdrop of the Boston busing riots, "I don't want to be a product of my environment - I want my environment to be a product of me." In other words, America's leaders have pitted its own citizens in a Hobbesian struggle that no one can possibly win.
The institutional critique is most obvious in that law enforcement and crime have become populated with indistinguishable thugs ["when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference?"], and the pointed references to the Boston Catholic Church's peadophilia scandal. But perhaps the most trenchant is Alec Baldwin's heartless careerist cop describing marriage as "an important part of getting ahead...it lets everyone know you're not a homo, you have some cash and your cock works." A more cynical, transactional view of marriage could scarcely have been dreamed up by George Bernard Shaw.

He's not much in vogue with "progressives", but Mr Scorsese is one of the most talented chroniclers of America's decay, whether he knows it or not. To my mind, few portray the spiritual corruption of single-minded material pursuit as well as he does, or lament the loss of family and community as poignantly.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Rorschach,
When I think about marriage I immediately think of the line from 1984. It went something like, "If you want to have a vision of the future, imagine a boot stomping on your face forever." Just substitute marriage for future. I was actually married twice. I last divorced in 2000 at the age of 49 and I wouldn't marry even the reigning beauty these days. And certainly if you have any artistic bent, marriage kills it. Imagine you are a writer, for instance, and you suddenly have an inspiring idea that you need to at least write down and maybe even develop. But your wife is angry at something you said 3 weeks ago and now feels a need to express herself. Try developing that idea after that conversation. Of course you could ask her to wait a bit but that would most likely result in 2-3 days of the silent treatment(which may not be so bad actually).
Kanye,
Although I am a member of LA Fitness I haven't gone in years. I used to go regularly years ago before techno-crap. It was a good place to meet people or renew old contacts. Now the place is full of techno-morons who feel a need to listen to music while they exercise. I once asked a trainer why people feel a need wear earplugs and I was told that the music helps motivate them. It suddenly reminded me of what George Carlin said-If anyone feels motivated to buy a self-help book on motivation then you don't need to buy the book. So if people were already motivated to go to the gym why need an additional source of motivation? Because they are morons!

10:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

El-

For a drop of love in a world of sickness, check out "The Choir" (Dustin Hoffman).

mb

10:11 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

a fine representative of an American male (55-year-old Tyrone Paul Ponthieux):

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/11/fck-america-in-the-las-vegas-man-indicted-for-threat-put-obama-into-a-wood-chipper-and-start-ww3/

Ponthieux wrote:

“I think we all need to get our guns and shoot all of these out of control congressmen and senators and Obama! Any survivors, hang them, then try their dead bodies for High Treason! Then after they hang in the streets for a week, run over them then to the tree chipper to finish the job and use them for fertilizer for all of Monsantos GMO bullshit, then feed it to the Monsanto fucktards and do the process over and over and over again until they all get fucking regurgitated by this fucktard earth of ours! FUCK EVERYONE WHO SITS ON THEIR FUCKING ASSES AND DO NOTHING ABOUT OUR PRESENT SITUATION! FUCK AMERICA IN THE ASS!”

Maybe this guy is the type of "troll" that it is best not to provoke!

10:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marc-

He's his own type of trollfoon, I guess. Meanwhile, check out that face: again, I see the future of America in it. With Tyrone as pres, and Natasha West as VP, our future is assured.

Dan-

Well, maybe music ain't so bad, if no one else hasta hear it. The problem I'm having with the gym is that every so often, someone on a machine hasta be having a conversation on their cell phone while they are working out. This is where we wanna call in Tyrone Paul Ponthieux. Or perhaps the Wafer Urine Team (WUT).

mb

1:47 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Thanks Dr.B, aka GVWH

I think my view is that though The West and Christianity have indeed committed many historical crimes, I think there is a taste for bloodshed and power that infects all mankind, to a greater or lesser extent. It's certainly possible that Western nations harbour this to a greater degree than other nations, but it still appears to be a feature of mankind generally.

I've always been struck by the example of Easter Island, which despite being isolated managed to divide itself into seven kingdoms that were constantly at war. The warrior ethos seems to be a major feature of many cultures, Western or not. I also don't think that the response of the West to the events in Paris will be reflective or peaceful (it already hasn't been) so I think that the killing on both sides will go on and on until one or both sides tire. I think Muslims in Europe are going to be in for a very rough time indeed. However, I also think that when Western culture and Christianity have faded away, human beings will still be conquering and killing each other. That's not a very hopeful picture I know, but that's the way I see it.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Well, you cd be rt. Aztecs were pretty blooodthirsty (literally) as well, of course. But history does record folks who are or were peaceful--you mentioned Vietnam, for example. I was struck, when I was there last yr, at how completely forgiving they are toward Americans; how outgoing, and friendly. They just put the whole disaster behind them and moved on w/their lives. And of course, there are numerous studies of relatively peaceful tribes and hunter-gatherers. Religion and warlike tendencies arise concomitant with social inequality (check out my bk Wandering God); they are mostly reactive rather than inherent. Finally, there's no reason to single out Islam as particularly violent; as I mentioned, numerous scholars of Islam wd disagree.

What I think I show in WG is that the thing that is unfortunately inherent in human beings is some degree of fear, a fear that arises ontologically with the baseline perception of otherness, i.e. of the outer world. Some hunter-gatherers, being intuitively aware of this, developed 'leveling techniques' for seeing to it that politics, so to speak, didn't get out of hand. But once you have food storage and administration and finally sedentism, that's when problems really arise. The potential for the other to become genuinely fearful is stronger, and power becomes a major issue. This is just a thumbnail sketch, obviously, and a lot more can be said (e.g. the issue of population density as a factor). Anyway, you might check WG out, see what u think.

mb

8:47 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Islam: peaceful or violent? Each person will have his own views on the question, I imagine. In my view, the religion suffers from faulty founding documents. And consequently is confusing, which leads certain adherents to interpret literally passages that were not intended to be taken so. (If only the scribes had had the Iron Age equivalent of emoticons, eh?). Emending these texts to resolve ambiguities or expunge patently offensive bits would be very difficult, and would require the Ummah to convene a worldwide convention of Imams and scholars to undertake the task. As you might imagine, only slightly less challenging than getting Americans to agree on whether Certs is a candy mint or a breath mint.

My modest proposal: until such a textual revision could be set in train, why not offer them a substitute? How about All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum?

As for marriage, another thorny issue:

"Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed." (Albert Einstein)
"Love. A temporary insanity curable by marriage." (Ambrose Bierce, The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary)
"Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There's no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance, your wife is bound to interfere." (Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx)

11:53 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Well, how rapidly the world shifts around us, yes? One problem is replaced with another, w/scarcely a moment to contemplate in between:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/gunmen-storm-luxury-hotel-in-mali-in-hostage-standoff/2015/11/20/8c2cefd4-b86f-4d86-892d-4d7b3c2a0811_story.html

Golf-

Check out Zachary Karabell's book, "Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence." Here's a review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/books/review/Goodwin-t.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&8bu&emc=bu

You know, one way to look at this is that we are in the middle of a *severe* episode of religiosity, or excessive religious zeal. A grotesque example of this is Ben Carson's recent characterization of Syrian refugees as "rabid dogs":

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/19/politics/ben-carson-rabid-dogs-refugees/

Some Christian, eh?

Anyway, if we cast the net out wider, over the past 14 centuries, we can see some remarkable examples of peaceful coexistence among the monotheistic faiths. There's hope. Lots of hope. Hope for a better future together. In terms of Christianity, or Islam for that matter, fading away-- they probably won't. Religion, in some form or another, is a common human psychological need; an innate feeling of oneness and solidarity w/the entire human race, despite its violence and escapist tendencies. Freud called it the "oceanic feeling," and will likely be w/us as long as bipeds are around.

Bull-

I have a copy of MB's "Counting Blessings" and would be more than happy to loan it out to U. Let us know if yr interested.

Miles

2:28 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

From Marshall Mcluhans Mechanical Bride,

The ordinary person senses the greatness of the odds against him even without thought or analysis, and he adapts his attitudes unconsciously. A huge passivity has settled on industrial society. For people carried about in mechanical vehicles, earning their living by waiting on machines, listening much of the waking day to canned music, watching packaged movie entertainment and capsulated news, for such people it would require an exceptional degree of awareness and an especial heroism of effort to be anything but supine consumers of processed goods.

It ain't easy leaving the Matrix or if you will a life of a mental laziness and rehearsed platitudes and douchebaggery.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

MB, Chad,

So I went back to the gym tonight and I did complain at the counter about the douchebag in the sauna from last time. To my surprise, the guy told me "this shouldn't be happening" and that "he'll pass on my comments to management"! 1 Wafers - 0 Douchebags.

Kanye

5:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

This is a great victory. Next time the bag shows up w/his fone, tell him, "I talked with the management a while ago, and they told me that the sauna is off limits for cell phones. So I'm going to have to ask you to turn yours off."

Since he's a bag, he'll tell u2 go fuck yrself. You then go to the front desk, get the guy to come into the sauna, and tell the bag he can't use his fone there. He will hate u, but you might actually enjoy that. If he chews you out, you cd say: "Over the yrs I've observed that Americans are terribly narcissistic people. Perhaps you've noticed this as well?"

COS-

Great quote, and many yrs old.

Jas-

If I remember correctly, the substitute Fulghum was offering was a polished stick. Why not, really?

mb

6:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Q: Why does the US govt hafta be *completely* full of shit?
A: Beats me!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9xkyfv3oGk

9:40 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


I forgot to mention that, for me at least, Tyrone Paul Ponthieux is not without his merits. He gets some things right. He decries the apathy of US citizenry. His rage is legitimate though indiscriminate. So is his disgust with the US government. His rage at Obama reminds me a bit of right wing mindlessness which is often associated with the gun subculture, which has corrupted civic society in the USA.

By the way, can any WAFers explain what a "fucktard" is? Maybe part of the virtue of the term is that it is senseless, meaningless and vulgar. It reminds me of the abusive high school teenage boys who I remember using the term "retard". It's a lowbrow neologism.

By the way, Tyrone Paul Ponthieux would be on to something if Kim Kardashian's ass made it onto the dollar bill. America would then have an official rear end, and Ponthieux's exhortation "FUCK AMERICA IN THE ASS!” would have some meaning.

4:28 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Miles - thanks for that, I'll check that out.

I'm not trying to make the case that Islam is *especially* violent, just that it is ordinarily violent. I've also become extremely suspicious of "root cause" arguments that excuse (which they do, even though the affect not to) Islamic terrorism when these are not applied universally. Did anyone try to historically "understand" and "explain" the "root causes" of what Anders Breivik did? Of course not.

There's an essay here, which is quite provocative, but I think sums up what I currently think about a lot of this. I'm sure many WAFers will find points of contention with it, but I do think it is thought provoking:

https://thegerasites.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/charlie-hebdo-reaction-part-2-know-your-enemy/

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Kanya,
The check is in the mail and I'll love you forever too. Fat chance the management will do anything. It's a continuous dumbing down. What was unacceptable last year is suddenly acceptable this year. Anyway, why not just call the evening news shows (PBS News Hour, ABC News Tonight, etc.) going batshit? Here we have one of the most geographically safest countries on the planet (allies north and south, oceans east and west) and the Home of the Brave can't absorb 10,000 Syrian refugees. Typical psychotic response to what's basically a humanitarian challenge: build more fences, interment camps, re-registrations and let's not forget what made American great in the first place-racism (Carson's rabid dogs remark). Germany intends to absorb 1 million refugees which will in time make it a more dynamic economy while the US will continue to wallow in techno-buffoonery.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

I believe Norwegian sociologists and psychologists have been busy analyzing the Breivik case, and in fact I seem to recall an article in the New Yorker a few mos. ago, by a famous Norwegian writer (translated, I think), exactly on the subject.

I haven't read your Charlie-Hebdo article yet, but the two massacres, Jan. and Nov., strike me as being v. different. CH massacre was a specific response to specific people whom the terrorists felt had insulted Islam and the prophet. Massacre of last wk was random and indiscriminate: an attempt to terrorize the West--very much like Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up pizza joints in Tel Aviv. Yes, payback of a sort, but somehow very different from the CH variety. These terrorists don't believe they can destroy France, but rather that they can make life very uncomfortable for the French (wh/is also the Palestinian strategy). This wd be similar to 9/11--wh/did, in effect, destroy much of our way of life, in the sense that our reaction was a huge mistake and did us far more damage than the 9/11 attackers ever did. Tant pis, the French have apparently learned rien from our experience.

Finally, I don't think arguments that explain terrorism excuse it; these are very different categories. It is not states that are doing the attacking; terrorists are people who are effectively stateless, and who are not operating under the aegis of "Iraq" (Jesus, what an error that was, on our part) or even Saudi Arabia (majority of 9/11 attackers had Saudi citizenship, I believe). In such a situation, the pt made by the film "The Battle of Algiers" holds, that terrorism is the war of the poor (and stateless), and war is the terrorism of the rich (states, always). But the Geneva Convention principle remains intact, even if neither side pays any attention to it any more, that the slaughter of innocents can never be excused on any grounds. (Which applies to terrorist states--the US being a prime example--as well as to terrorists w/o states.)

mb

9:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Meanwhile, it's interesting to watch American self-destructiveness continue apace. Why not make all Muslims wear yellow stars? Nemesis: Whom the gods wish to destroy, they 1st drive mad. We are well on our way.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers: Sorry, I forgot to supply the link to that ps:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/20/politics/paris-attacks-trump-carson-bush-muslims-refugees-mosques/index.html

10:07 AM  
Blogger Rook said...

Hi Folks!

Bill Hicks, thanks for putting me on to Fargo - addictive stuff. Psychopathy seems to be a motif for our times.

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted." - DH Lawrence

11:25 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Golf-

Well, If attempting to find an explanation for the root causes behind terrorism serves as an excuse for it is ill advised, then it comes down to personal responsibility--which seems to be the focus of the piece you provided. The bottom line is this:

How much personal responsibility can we expect a terrorist to take, realistically?

Expecting a terrorist to take personal responsibility is like asking an alcoholic, sitting in front of a nice scotch & water, to push it away. Post-traumatic stress sufferers (good candidates to become terrorists) for what we have done to their societies, and addicts, for that matter, can't affect what they're doing w/out enormous, sometimes impossible, effort. They're driven to various forms of self-destructive behaviors beyond their control. Jail, punishment, or death make little sense to these people. Meanwhile, the best course of action is: to see if we can't stop antagonizing them, apologize to them, and begin to rehabilitate them.

Anyway, at times, there's little we can do but accept their actions as being beyond our understanding and control-- probably more than we would care to admit.

MIles

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Divas Butler said...

Even Wafers might be surprised by this:
https://t.co/qrl6dRmOca

2:36 PM  
Anonymous concerned french dude said...

Mr Berman and friends! http:// www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/19/isis-is-just-one-of-a-full-blown-global-jihadist-insurgency.html

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Al B. Tross said...

Wafers,

I am no better at the relationship game than anyone else, and I have failed in the past. It could be that I am neurotic person raised by narcissistic mother. However, my theory of some women in their late-20's-30's is that they're seeking sperm donors,rather than partners. It seems some women are only wanting children these days more as "status symbols" or beacons of attention for themselves, rather than being motherly to human beings. For evidence, I would direct Wafers to FB.

On another note, there is going to be some scary times next week in Chad & I's beloved city:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chicago-police-shooting-video_564e4166e4b0879a5b0a4343

3:41 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

MB,

I am currently reading a wonderful book called "Of Water and the Spirit" by Malidoma Patrice Some. It's an autobiography of an African tribesman from Burkina Faso, who was abducted in his childhood by Jesuits and indoctrinated for 15 years, before returning back to his people and undergoing a difficult initiation back into his tribe. It's really a unique kind of a book, written by a man who has both a Native and Western perspective on things.

In WG, you talk a lot about HG lifestyle, but I am wondering what your take is on HG initiation rites, specifically male ones? From what I've read so far on the topic, it seems that HGs considered initiation rites as absolutely crucial to becoming a healthy adult. Failure to undergo a successful initiation typically meant that a person would be "stuck" for his entire adult life. To what extent do you think lack of initiation in our culture explains all its ills? Despite us not living in HG times any longer, do you think it's still possible for men to go through a initiation rite in our culture? Do you have any experience in initiation rites yourself?

Kanye

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

The violence is everywhere. You can kill people by killing their mind. What was that slogan again: a mind is a terrible thing to waste?

Sports At Any Cost
How College Students Are Bankrolling The Athletics Arms Race

"In the past five years, public universities pumped more than $10.3 billion in mandatory student fees and other subsidies into their sports programs, according to an examination by The Huffington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education."

http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/ncaa/sports-at-any-cost

6:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

There is no one "HG"; there are many, and differences between them. Australia was pretty harsh; Namibia, much less. But I confess that when I wrote WG, initiation rites was not my particular focus, so I'm sure the anthro lit on the subject will be much more helpful 2u than I can be.

Modern societies don't have any organized rites, of course; young men hafta find it on their own. For example, being made partner in a law firm. But it depends on what sort of law is being practiced, I suppose; one might feel it's just a pseudo-initiation. Bar Mitzvahs are, of course, a joke (check out the "Serenity Now" episode of Seinfeld for great satire). I have a feeling that most men in American society secretly feel they are not really men; hence machismo, brutality, attraction of the military, misogyny, and so on.

mb

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Speaking of relations between men and women, consider the opera "Lulu," written by Alban Berg in 1937. The Met Opera in New York broadcast it today live in theaters, and I decided to go. It was a bit long- 4 hours, with two breaks.

Attendance was less than usual- maybe 25 old people in the theater. I guess most younger people were watching the latest "Hunger Games." I was surprised that I liked a lot of Berg's 12-tone music. The music is continuous, like Wagner; there's no arias or show-stopping tunes.

My overall impression is that it was a sad commentary on how women in society are always exploited, but that some, like Lulu, become master manipulators and turn the tables at times. A German lady in the audience talking at intermission said that the English subtitles left a lot to be desired; some of the meaning and poetic language was lost, in her opinion. The final act was a reflection on 1930s hustling for riches; something that's in its end game now, in my opinion, with "the market" becoming the sole center of everything. Here's a review by "Opera Teen." Teen or not, it's well written, and I agree with most of the assessment- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/opera-teen/bloodlust-a-new-productio_b_8595718.html

7:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Cdn't post it. Rule is, post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks.

mb

7:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/11/19/glenn_greenwald_shameless_cia_exploits_paris

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/11/19/glenn_greenwald_on_submissive_medias_drumbeat

8:29 PM  
Blogger Chad In Chicago said...

Al B. Tross -

I've been dreading the video release. I think they're hoping to bury the story by rolling it out right before Thanksgiving. But I have been wondering for a long time when the fuse would finally go off. I hope it doesn't happen.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/21/middleeast/egypt-imam-terror-injustice/index.html

4:48 AM  
Anonymous Disappointed Dora said...

Greenwald makes great points in the DN clips, MB. The past couple years I have had to take him w/ a grain of salt, though, I can't stand his public feuds w/ ppl like Sam Harris. Very unclassy use of invectives/ad hominem/weak debatement. Smart guy w/ some unfortunate character flaws, sort of like Hedges after that apparent plagiarism/patch writing debacle.

Best to the blog,

Dora

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Al B. Tross,
No doubt the release of the video will cause civic unrest-shot 16 times as he's walking away. Of course the officer, although he may be indicted, will be found innocent. It is breathtaking to see young black men walking wearing head phones. Don't they realize there is a war against them and that they need to be fully aware of their surroundings? Although obviously a stretch, you might as well be a Jew in Berlin 1935 and wear headphones.
Certainly shameful that this country appears poised not to accept any Syrian refugees. Hell, Chris Christy wouldn't allow even Syrian orphans. Waiting for any of the major media outlets to compare this to the fate of the St. Louis boat filled with Jewish refugees which was unable to dock in the US. Truly shameful.
Dr. Berman, let me also add that those men whom the gods wish to destroy they first make married.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Grim, Dan; grim! (I'm also wondering what the gods do to women.)

mb

9:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Americans: cutting-edge intellects:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/19/us/isis-book-store-name-unintended-consequences/index.html?iid=ob_article_organicsidebar_expansion&iref=obnetwork

10:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

What are the chances that we will follow this guy's advice? 8 million to 1 against?:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/11/16/lets-not-get-it-wrong-time-terrorists-won-after-911-because-we-chose-invade-iraq

mb

10:57 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I have all kinds of things to say about Paris, terrorism, and marriage, but I'll merely point out that Edward Said's "Orientalism" begins with Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in the early 1800s.

Salaam
G

11:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Indeed, a great book; I learned much from it. This is why the arguments on the side of 'Islam is inherently violent' etc. don't wash for me. Even if we restrict ourselves to just the last 100 yrs, that quote from David Shulman simply can't be refuted. Consider the period 1915-2015, and ask yourself, During that time, what harm did Islam do to the West? And during the same time, what harm did the West do to Islam? This is a no-brainer, most esp. if 'harm' includes economic exploitation.

mb

11:21 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

Disappointed Dora,

Its a fascinating thing how in Western culture and particularly the U.S. with its media saturation that critics of the status quo are attacked/critiqued for their style or some character or personal quirk. Greenwald has done more for informing citizens than the entire passell of journalists at the washington post. Why should Greenwald, or Taleb or anybody arguing with charlatans such as Pinker or Harris spare then sharp retorts? As MB will no doubt share going against the grain and doing some truthtelling will get you in trouble. If you go along with the myths and even lies of the times people will overlook all sorts of things. Consider Joe Biden plagiarising an entire speech from a UK politician--all quickly forgotten. Hillary Clinton flunked the D.C. bar exam but alas lets overlook that. Greenwald unpleasant, Hedges a Plagiarist, Berman unpatriotic he fled to Mexico, these sort of soviet style charges have the effect of marginalizing truth tellers. I am not suggesting you are in that camp, even well meaning people when confronted with someone dearting from the anodyne style of NPR or NYT will no matter how poweful the truths (and Greenwald uncovered horrors) uncovered will ignore based on some triviality of style. A shame and why there will never be any change only unpleasant adaptations.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Chad,

Go here instead. chicagosweatlodge.com

11:43 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

A Russian look at America, by way of Crimea:

http://thesaker.is/usa-sitrep-november-21-by-auslander/

"The United States of America is slowly drowning in hubris, economic downturn, disaffection of her citizens, ever growing and repressive regulation, tax levels approaching, for some, confiscatory, arbitrary court decisions, a rampant and steadily growing law enforcement community who more and more equate themselves as a quasi military unit, oppressive laws and regulations for the majority to protect the rights of infinitesimal minorities, arbitrary seizure of citizen’s private property and wealth and a public education system that has totally broken down and has forgotten what it’s primary task is.

"Culturally, America is falling apart. I won’t even begin to speak of Hollywood or the mainstream and not so main stream media, all one has to do is look, not only look but SEE. The numbers of people walking around glued to their I pads or whatever you call them is huge. Going in to average restaurants one sees tables with two and four and six adults, all glued to their little hand portable computers and not conversing with each other. Every single lady whom I spoke to who was not married had a child out of wedlock. Who is raising these children, what will they be as the grow to maturity? It seems that for the majority of families except the gated community both husband and wife work full time. What about their children, who is raising them, who is instilling the cultural values of America in them? I can answer that question for you. No one. Children, teenagers and young adults are walking around looking like either street bums or something from a Mad Max movie, either that or tattooed like some South Seas islander."

12:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Eric-

Perfect description, I'd say. Which is what I've been saying since 2000: It's over, end of story.

mb

1:57 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Bonjour MB et Wafers,

Putin explains how Obama created ISIS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwLufaTK29s

Q: You guys know who's sitting in the White House?
A: A traffic cone w/a Happy Face drawn on it...

Here's a good quote:

"The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have its laws and constitution embraced. It is in the nature of things that the progress of reason is slow and no one loves armed missionaries; the first lesson of nature and prudence is to repulse them as enemies. One can encourage freedom, never create it by an invading force."

~ Maximilien Robespierre, 1792

en avant et vers le bas,

Miles Francois Isidore de Deli

4:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Dan--I feel the need to point out that George Carlin was happily married for decades, even during his fucked up years when the drugs nearly killed him.

In my own case, I'll admit that my marriage of over 10 years was drifting in part because of my ever increasing alienation from the mainstream. But it was when I received my dire cancer diagnosis (originally told I had 11 months to live) that my wife really stepped up and showed her true mettle as a person. Our marriage is still far from perfect, but now she is experiencing a major health problem of her own and surgery after which I will be caring for her for several weeks.

My theory is that so many marriages fail because one or both partners are shallow assholes--in other words typical Americans. But there is value in finding if not the perfect mate at least someone you can stand to grow old with. I'll admit to being very frightened as to the direction in which this country and the world are headed. If I were alone and as frail as I am post-treatment, I'm not sure I could continue.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Traffic cone w/happy face does just abt sum up who Obama is--and also why Americans voted for him. Actually, if we put Kim's ass on the $1 bill, we might think abt the traffic cone for the $5. (And Lorenzo Riggins for the $10, etc.)

mb

6:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

As the year winds down, and we approach Thanksgiving, I'm really aware of how much has changed in the 15 yrs since I wrote the Twilight bk. I was, of course, quite sure that we were in a no-exit situation, but the last 1.5 decades have shown, week by week, just how dire things really are. I predicted that as dumb as we were, we wd get dumber; that as polarized between rich and poor, it wd become even more polarized; that as in trouble as we were economically, it wd get worse; and as spiritually depleted as we were, things wd become increasingly meaningless. All this was predicted in Twilight, and 15 yrs later all of these 4 factors--ones that also brought down the Roman Empire--are now present in neon.

But there was a lot I cdn't have imagined, such as the attacks of 9/11 and their insane, horrific aftermath. The shredding of the Bill of Rights. The militarization of ordinary police precincts. The widespread killing, by the police, of unarmed civilians. The widespread killing, by armed civilians, of practically everybody, such that the count is now a massacre (death of 4 or more) a day. The establishment of detention camps (CMUs) for political dissidents. The Orwellian level of surveillance by the NSA. The climate of fear and hostility toward Hispanics and really, toward anyone who is 'different'. The nationwide escapism into electronic toys. The substitution of political correctness for real politics. The election to the presidency of a black Democrat who rapidly turned into a war criminal and a friend of the super-rich. The rise of 'joke' candidates that no one in their right mind could take seriously: Perry, Palin, Cain, Bush Jr., Trump, et al. And the promotion of a woman as a 'liberal' alternative who has $3 billion in the bank, is a warmonger, and, like Mr. Obama, is a shill for Wall St. and the Pentagon.

As you all know, this is but a partial list; we cd expand it by several paragraphs. (Polls showing that most Americans approve of drone strikes that kill innocent civilians, as well as of torture. Cameras on telephone polls, in elevators, you name it. The statistics of loneliness, distrust of others, and lack of empathy. The specter of a population popping Prozac like candy. Etc.)

Most striking is a kind of pervasive mental smog--what Don DeLillo called (many yrs ago) a 'toxic event'--that we are adrift, a ship w/o a rudder, are heading toward a steep waterfall, and that abs. nothing can be done to reverse this. It seems like every day brings worse news, and this month's killings in Paris are sure to bring on stupidity and repression even greater than that which followed 9/11. There can be no doubt that we are 'slouching towards Bethlehem'. As Philip Roth put it in his novel, "The Plot Against America,": *Can this really be happening?* Yes, my friends; it can and it is.

(continued below)

9:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What I can tell you, in my capacity as an historian, is that this is what 'civicide' (if I may coin a term)--the death of a civilization--looks like. Although there are dramatic 'nodes' in the collapse of a civilization (9/11, crash of 2008), the basic work of disintegration occurs on a daily basis, and the details I have provided are it. Of course, they were different details at the end of the Roman Empire, or of the feudal system in Europe, but they were the same *type* of details, things that people of those times had to live thru. Hence the central argument of Johan Huizinga's classic work, "The Waning of the Middle Ages," is that the dominant mood was one of deep depression. All of this creates a kind of double lens for these events, for those inclined to use it. For example, when Trump says we need to bring back waterboarding, one mode of perception makes us sick to our stomach, whereas the other mode tells us: this is exactly the type of thing that happens when a civilization dies. Or when a clown like Herman Cain is taken seriously as a candidate for president, and announces his verkakte '999 plan' (or whatever it was), one lens leads to hysterical laughter, and the other to a sober assessment of a nation going down the drain. And so on.

The progs, of course, think they can turn all this around. They can't. They too need to be viewed with a double lens (well-intentioned, even admirable, and also pathetic).

Not the greatest time to be alive, as Huizinga pointed out. But as Thanksgiving approaches, I'm grateful that the Fates endowed me, and you guys, with this double-lens capacity, because without it we'd all go nuts; which is what is happening to the 321 million other Americans, who lack this capacity. And I'm grateful to my then (2006) agent, and my editor at Norton, who absolutely insisted that I had to start this blog. I had abs. no interest in doing such a thing, but it turns out, they were rt, most important because it inadvertently provided a locus of sanity for Americans seeking such an oasis. We are coming up on our tenth anniversary (in April) and 2 million hits, if you can believe it; and the one constant theme I get from people on the blog, from folks writing me letters, and from members of the audience coming up to me after a lecture, is basically this: “I thought I was nuts until I stumbled across these ideas, this way of thinking, these bare facts about American culture and society. Now I know I’m not.”

Which is great, but the truth is that it is I who has to thank you. After all, w/o that sort of feedback, I'd probably just be a lonely psychotic. So let's all give thanks, this Thursday, to what we collectively have, and look forward to another year of rolling with the punches.

Amen.

mb

9:45 PM  
Blogger boxcarro said...

probably just be a lonely psychotic. You know, MB, this is a Description of the Hebrew Hobo, Bernays the Strange.

Just listening again, Morris Berman on America as a Failed State Part I - The Soapbox - Episode: 141023 ...

So I must agree totally, Hustling is The American Dream! Nu?

You might use me as a Successful Street Guitarist who Travelled free by Climbing on a Freight Train. I believe this is a Hustle.

Yet to lay blame? Oy Vey! I was adopted into a New Family...Mental Health! Yeah! My extended family is the Mental Health System.

But I rejected that. I was satisfied with "Subsistence" life style.

Being Glad to sleep on Dirt Mattresses, or Sidewalk mattresses,
Being apparently Honoured by Supporters due to my Musical Talents & my flaming rejection of "American's Main Idol," Television.

Now at 66 Years old, in Senior Apartment with Tuxedo Cat. I am extremely glad to have Chosen the "Not In Dreamland" Life Style.

I finally saved enough to get Tri Focal Eye Glasses, the 4 Books you wrote & I bought are now "READ."

"The Twilight of American Culture." !!! Neil Postman was still alive!

Dear Morris, if I had not read Postman's amusing ourselves to death ...years ago, I could never had the "Secret Keys To Wisdom" allowing me to Wait until Your Writings.

Manley P. Hall's Writings, the Theosophy Society, Alan Watts, Jack (ass) Kerovack, alien Ginsberg 9My Granny spoke suchords

disparinger w

My typing got messed up. I can type on a typewriter, but this stupis IBM X201 Lepp Topper Computer cornfusion....CORN FED PORK & BEEF causes STUPID PEOPLE!

I drink mexican beer, Corona I just a Quart, with Medical Mary Jane--Bubba Skunk ...may I am not making sence, cents, SENSE, but YOU DO.

Sorry for baing crazy. I send Donations to Barry Chamish, I can send YOU a little...You got Pee Pool? oops, oops, Freudian Slip!

PayPal.

After all, a Former Homeless Jew now getting SSI? Oy I AM RICH!

12:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Boxcar!

So great to hear from you once again. But pls, limit yr posts to half a page max, thank you. Meanwhile, yr dementia is a breath of fresh air.

We're sort of in the same category. I walk down the st., people laugh and point; little children throw pebbles at me.

Trifocals: gd thing. Just keep rdg and you'll be all rt. Avoid genetically engineered salmon.

hugs,
berm

5:16 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB-

Hmmm, the "Hebrew Hobo"? I don't know about that one, MB. As long as you don't start sleeping inside a large ceramic jar, like Diogenes of Sinope, you'll be just fine, I suppose. Say...how about we start referring to u as Belman of Chilangoland?

You know, word has it that Obama is completing his memoir, "President Traffic Cone: Pimp for Empire." Sure to be a hit, he plans to kick off his book tour in Mexico City; squeezing in a visit w/well known philosopher, Belman of Chilangoland. Obama recently remarked, "good enuf for Alexander; good enuf for me." Perplexed, the White House press corps asked Obama for clarification: "Look, like ol' Diogenes, who mercilessly flogged Alexander the Great w/a knotted plow-line because he was a bang-up douche bag, Belman intends to beat me w/a large Mexican chorizo... Well deserved, I hafta say."

Miles

4:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

All gd suggestions, but I've been drinking 6-packs of Victoria and storing liquids up for the Big Day.

Notice to All Wafers!

On Nov. 30 I take the big silver bird to Chile, where I'm giving some lecs at the U of Temuco. After which, I fly to Peru, and will assault Machu Picchu. Return home ca. Dec. 13, so pls, between Nov. 30 and Dec. 13, DON'T POST! I don't know if there's an Incanet up on M.P., but I'll probably just be trying to breathe in Cuzco (>11,000'), so give me a break and hold off till Dec. 14. Thank you, and inka dinka doo (who said that?).

mb

5:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I feel so much safer dept.:

http://edition.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/11/21/ac130j-ghostrider-gunship-orig-bb-vstan.cnn

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Jimmy Durante said that. But let me tell you my true feelings about marriage. OK, I said enough so I'll leave it to Woody Allen: Marriage is the death of hope.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/movies/review-in-censored-voices-soldiers-reflect-on-the-six-day-war.html?WT.mc_id=2015-NOVEMBER-OUTBRAIN_AUD_DEV-1101-1130&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=AUDDEVREMARK&_r=0

5:58 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"...inka dinka doo (who said that?)."

The (old/great) Schnozzola, Jimmy Durante. (James Francis Durante).

I think I may want to have this song played at my farewell/memorial service (assuming someone wants to hold one, that is):

"I'll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book"

http://youtu.be/kCQ0CUXjADQ

8:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cd Jimmy have been referring to Inca civilization, and Machu Picchu? Will I find a stone copy of his nose amidst the ruins? Stay tuned.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB - reflecting on your Thanksgiving post, I am quite thankful to have come of age in a decade (the 1970s) in which there was still some modicum of sanity left in America. I grew up in a small Illinois town and went to public schools, but still received a relatively liberal education. I was particularly blessed to have a fantastic high school history teacher (whom I had been warned by fellow students was a "hard ass") who awakened in me a lifelong love of the subject. He probably more than anyone else set me on the road to eventually becoming a WAFer by encouraging and rewarding critical thinking in his classes (the unwillingness to do so is probably why so many of my fellow students disliked him).

Moving forward to the present day, I am appalled that the slow slide of America into full blown fascism is now evident on a nearly daily basis. Today's sickening example comes courtesy of CNN anchor idiot Carol Costello, who had the gall to ask the mayor of Hamtramck, Michigan, which has a large Muslim population and just elected a Muslim majority city council, whether she is afraid of her own constituents. Instead of telling Costello to go fuck herself, the mayor instead dissembled.

http://gawker.com/michigan-mayor-defends-city-against-cnn-allegation-that-1744252199

To the credit of the Gawker writer who posted this story, they came up with what would have been the correct answer:

“No, because there’s nothing to be afraid of. If anything I am afraid for them because of people like you asking questions like that.”

11:44 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB & all Wafers worldwide,

Our friend and fellow traveler, Chris Hedges has published a piece which I think is spot on - quoting,

"It is nearly certain that we will endure, sooner rather than later, another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil.....Another jihadi terrorist attack in the United States will extinguish what remains of our anemic and largely dysfunctional democracy. Fear will be even more fervently stoked and manipulated by the state. The remnants of our civil liberties will be abolished.

Groups that defy the corporate state—Black Lives Matter, climate change activists and anti-capitalists—will be ruthlessly targeted for elimination as the nation is swept into the Manichean world of us-and-them, traitors versus patriots. Culture will be reduced to sentimental doggerel and patriotic kitsch. Violence will be sanctified, in Hollywood and the media, as a purifying agent.

Any criticism of the crusade or those leading it will be heresy. The police and the military will be deified. Nationalism, which at its core is about self-exaltation and racism, will distort our perception of reality. We will gather like frightened children around the flag. We will sing the national anthem in unison. We will kneel before the state and the organs of internal security. We will beg our masters to save us. We will be paralyzed by the psychosis of permanent war."

It's all here : http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/states_of_terror_20151122


5:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Trout-

We're practically there already, but I think he's rt, that just one more terrorist attack and we'll go completely over the edge. In fact, I can't think of any other future scenario that is as likely. It does call into question, however, his persistent call for revolution: Who does he think is going to make it, either now or in the future?

mb

10:11 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Durante also had the song, "Every State in the 48 is Great," so don't be in too much haste to pile him up on the WAFer bandwagon.

Say, remember that kid who was arrested for bringing a home-made clock to school? Get a load of this, which more than anything proves his 'Murrkan bona fides:

Attorneys for a 14-year-old Muslim boy arrested after the homemade clock he took to his Dallas-area school was mistaken for a possible bomb said Monday he was publicly mistreated and deserves $15 million US.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ahmed-mohamed-clock-lawsuit-1.3332130

What better way to express his gringo credentials than to say "Gimme da money."

Yrs in scouting,
G

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Best article I've read in a long while:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/11/24/where-does-it-end-left-political-correctness/

my boss called it "smartphone activism", fight the pointless symbols with simplistic arguments to make yourself feel better (and it's the cool thing to do now) while changing exactly nothing about the core problem.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Pete said...

http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2015/11/23/what-killer-mike-said-about-bernie-sanders-in-atlanta/

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/bernie-sanderss-new-deal-socialism

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

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

Reporting from GA, last night in Atlanta, Bernie Sanders started off arguing that we should vote for him, a socialist, because MLK was also a socialist. Moved on to social issues like gender and racial equality are largely synchronous with economic issues, while doing a good job avoiding being an economic reductionist--he didn't suggest institutional racism and sexism are *just* economic issues, or *fundamentally* economic; he simply argued that a program of economic justice--raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing and providing health care and education as rights to all people with no reference to income, etc--would also make significant inroads along social justice fronts. "51% of African American youths are unemployed or underemployed. Is it any surprise there is crime in these areas?" "If we raise the minimum wage to a living wage, there are gonna be an awful lot of single mothers who are gonna be able to feed and care and spend time with and raise their children the way they deserve."

Huge and young crowd. Still, the guy won't get the older crowd, who do vote.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pastrami-

Terrific article. I fear that most young people on campus today are nothing more than superficial, politically correct buffoons.

mb

2:12 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

“I thought I was nuts until I stumbled across these ideas, this way of thinking, these bare facts about American culture and society. Now I know I’m not.”

That matches my experience.

I was watching an interview of Chris Hedges on youtube and noticed the search I did also turned up a talk by some Morris Berman guy. After listening to his lecture on “The Way We Live Today” I knew I had to buy his WAF book. From there it was DAA and then TOAC—I’m not sure why I read them in reverse order.

Three things really stood out for me. One, a willingness to look at US culture as a system with many interlocking pieces, not just as a collection of variables that exist independent of one another. Two, the sheer honesty of the analysis, from going to the root of the issues, no matter how unpleasant, to not trying to snow people with false optimism on the prospects for fixing things. Three, the sheer breadth of interesting supporting material that shows up. Lewis Mumford, Sacvan Bercovitch, Joesph Tainter, Morri’s books have been a jumping off point into some pretty fascinating work I would have otherwise never encountered.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Our team was on a conference call this evening from Europe with the US head office. When the call ended, our CEO said: "Have a good evening in Europe. US team, let's make some money!".

The first thing I thought about as the call ended after this sentence was this blog. What a better peek into the American soul than this?

Kanye

3:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

It's really amazing, when one looks thru the telescope from the opposite end. Then a cutting-edge guy shows up as a douche bag.

Christian-

Thank you for yr kind remarks. I'd add Stephen Kinzer (whom I drew on in DAA) to that list:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/11/24/blame-wests-interventions-todays-terrorism

You know, it's quite amazing, that it just doesn't matter how often Kinzer or Hedges or Berman or some prof. at Evergreen State or David Shulman say it--that the Islamic response to our meddling in the Middle East is not something that emerged out of a vacuum--the perception of the American people and govt is that these are evil and/or insane people and we need to continue attacking them. It's as tho 99% of the country never heard of Newton's 3rd Law of Motion. Also as tho there is no upper limit to how far we can ram our collective heads up our collective rear ends. Our motto will be Flame On!, until the inevitable occurs: yet another attack on American soil, after which this country will become totally unrecognizable. And that, my friends, is just a matter of time. I have for a long while now predicted the declaration of martial law across the country. Can any Wafer seriously doubt that that's coming down the pike? Is it clear now why the division of the US into 168 registered Wafers and 321 million imbeciles is not an exaggeration?

mb

6:07 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings all,

MB-

Pisco sours are good for Andean altitude sickness, MB. Have a great trip, and don't get too lost on the Inca Trail.

MB, Wafers-

I give thanks to:

1. MB, Wafers, Waferettes
2. The greatest blog on the planet
3. Latreasa, Lorenzo, Shaneka, Tracey, Natasha
4. Store trampling videos

Later Alligators,

Miles

6:31 PM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

http://www.wcax.com/story/30589049/ny-launches-terrorism-prevention-app

Good news, Shaneka Torres now has an app for that. What will New York do when they start getting flooded with complaints about McDonald's burgers and Waffle House orders? And what about that Indian guy who works at Safeway? Looks suspicious to me. An Indian is sort of like a Muslim, right?

7:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Eric-

This is really gd news. Frankly, anyone who isn't white shd be reported on this app, so that the govt can get out there and gun them down with drones and other protective technologies. I just feel one can't be too careful, and it's to Gov. Cuomo's credit that he feels the same way. Here's to a safe society! Kill, kill, kill!

mb

ps: Fuckin' towel heads.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

There isn't enuf urine dept.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-thin-skinned-students-we-have-nobody-to-blame-but-ourselves/2015/11/24/613a815c-92e9-11e5-a2d6-f57908580b1f_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-e%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

10:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And this too is gd:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/?hpid=hp_no-name_graphic-story-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

10:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I esp. like this:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/page/ct-donald-trump-gop-president-ben-carson-1125-20151124-story.html

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Deadthoreau said...

This is what cultural collapse looks like.

http://www.businessinsider.com/bodyguard-bulletproof-blanket-for-kids-2014-6

10:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dead-

Shit, I really miss living in the US, I tell ya.

mb

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

In response to your Thanksgiving post,
During the impeachment proceedings, Nixon was asked why he simply didn't resign. He answered by saying that he was "indispensable to statecraft." Whether that was true or not I think its safe to say that you are indispensable to many of us here and that without your presence we would surely feel adrift.
Cicero said that those who don't study history react to events like a child; that is,wholly surprised. Your work not only helps us view events with intellectual maturity but even helps us to sometimes predict the next outrageousness.
So let Trump or some other clown be president, let the violence continue both domestically and internationally, let the economic immiseration continue and those most affected declare "We're number one!", and let all future televisions be equipped for surveillance. For us here, under your tutelage, it's all hilarious as the US continues to be the greatest joke who ever hit the big time.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Many thanks for your kind appreciation, tho I'm not sure being compared to Nixon makes me feel all that great. (Sort of like praising with faint damnation.) At least I can't be impeached, despite the longing of the trollfoons for my imminent departure (or demise, who knows). In any case, as I said, it is I who thank you guys, for making this, nearly 10 yrs later, a going concern (as well as loads o' fun).

mb

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Montaigne said...

WAFers: let's all start sharing some Thanksgiving history stories. i'll be bedridden w/ walking pneumonia the next few days, would be the chicken soup for my history major heart. seems like a blog where we could easily well a bunch of those up.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Montaigne:

As the Germans say, "Gute Besserung."

Your nom de WAFer appearing on this day in these pages comes just after I had read Gore Vidal's essay entitled "Montaigne," this in the essay compilation The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal, edited by Jay Parini.

You and the other WAFers may enjoy this quotation from Montaigne; it is timeless wisdom, you may agree.

"Lying is an accursed vice. It is only our words which bind us together and make us human. If we realized the horror and weight of lying, we would see that it is more worthy of the stake than other crimes...Once let the tongue acquire the habit of lying and it is astonishing how impossible it is to make it give it up."

Unfortunately for us, we seem to be surrounded by would-be leaders for whom lying and dissembling is second nature.

[Vidal notes the two translations of Montaigne he used: the older, The Complete Works of Montaigne by Donald M. Frame; and the more recent one by M.A. Screech. The essay by Vidal appeared on 26 June 1992 in The Times Literary Supplement]

3:28 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Wafers, and dear MB,

I appreciate this blog for quite a long time now. I love the commentary here- mostly quite intelligent. Thanks again to Dr. Berman for allowing us a place where the word douchebag can be placed right after American without getting blacklisted. Freedom of speech is my religion and it appears we are all quite religious around here. Cheers!

i have two American acquaintances who are getting closer to dying. They dread going to a nursing home, yet they live alone, have no friends who are able or willing to help them at home, and are losing or have lost their mobility to the point of being in danger of falling and not being able to get up again. Isn't the nursing home dreaded in part because it smashes the ideal of individualism and independence that lays at the heart of industrial capitalism and consumer culture? Most Americans feel that nursing homes- a place where most will end up in the end- is where the discarded and useless go to die. Where we give up our precious independence and individuality. That one must never depend on anyone else is after all the illusion we are sold when we live in a system where the state, business, education, health institutions ,supermarkets,, etc- provide most of our needs, leaving us with only selling our labor in order to buy those things that are readily made for us by total strangers. This independence is what's hammered into us from the moment we have use of consciousness; wealth also being the optimal state of this independence. The very rich die surrounded by their paid help and the vultures who are salivating over their estate, but they usually die at their homes. They would never set foot on a nursing home. For many Americans the only time they will truly experience community life will be at the nursing home- yet they rather risk a fall and dying alone than go to one. What do you think?

I enjoyed the comments on marriage. Another institution where most couples try to maintain an illusion of independence from one another. Marriage and family can be said to be the last remaining community life before most Americans step right into the nursing home. Maybe that's another reason why it is becoming increasingly less popular. It messes up with our sense of "independence." Truly dreadful.

JC

PS: Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinners prepared at Costco or Walmart or in any of those mass production places- and remember that Black Friday presents itself as the best opportunity to smash down those calories!! ;-) just my sense of humor. It is black too.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Juliet--I think your comments about marriage are spot on.

There is a woman in my neighborhood who is probably in her 70s who lives alone and has cut herself off from all of her family and friends. She's retired and has paid off her house, but otherwise her life is a complete disaster.

She doesn't drive; instead she walks the half mile to the nearest CVS to buy groceries or other necessities. Worse yet, she is very angry and fearful and tad off her rocker, sometimes screaming "terrorist" or "foreigner" at neighbors while waving a small American flag at them. She's actually been arrested a couple of times for doing damage to community property and for stealing packages off of people's front porches, but they always let her go because the system is not designed to help the borderline mentally ill in any way.

She'll be spending Thanksgiving and the holidays all alone as she always does, and sooner or later she's going to die in that house, alone and frightened, surrounded by big piles of crap (I'm told she's a hoarder), her passing unlamented by anyone. Her life is a perfect representation of just what big a dead end the pursuit of the American dream leads to.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

That description apparently fits a huge # of Americans. For a scholarly study of the phenomenon:

http://www.amazon.com/Lonely-American-Drifting-Twenty-first-Century/dp/0807000353/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1448500731&sr=1-1&keywords=lonely+american

mb

8:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I love a gd flash mob. I've also heard them described as smash mobs. If they invade a swimming pool, is it a splash mob? Wafers are invited to suggest other types of mobs.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/flash-mob-hits-designer-store-in-georgetown-steals-13000-worth-of-goods/2015/11/25/dd12d38e-937e-11e5-a2d6-f57908580b1f_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Concerned French American said...

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/sam-harris-the-salon-interview

I dunno, Mr. MB, like look here, for instance, Sam Harris makes some damn good points, re: we haven't sown any whirlwind...It is Islam.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

WAFer film recc: 99 Homes
Michael Shannon's character has some great dialogue.

http://imdb.com/rg/an_share/title/title/tt2891174/

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Montaigne - this should be what the doctor ordered.

https://newrepublic.com/article/124633/thanksgiving-says-america

Since I work at a shopping mall atm, I'm getting a fresh perspective on Black Friday this year. Turns out, most of the deals are entirely fictitious. Prices are raised months in advance to make discounts look tantalizing, or the products don't even exist in the store at all. Putting on my game face to deal with the insane crowds, though. Maybe I can let a few customers know how prison labor made all their purchases - what could go wrong?

Had a thanksgiving day miracle in class the other day, though. Less than half the class were using their iphones during lecture for the first time! Okay, it was one less than half... of the half of the kids that even showed up... but you gotta focus on the small victories.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

French-

The trouble w/Sam is that he is antagonistic to religion in general and Islam in particular, and this has been true for some time now. He sits down to write having already formulated his thesis; there's no willingness to learn or reflect, no openness. (There is such a thing as atheist fundamentalism, after all, or anti-Muslim fundamentalism.) Hence, for me at least, it's hard to give his arguments much credence. Anyone who can look at the last 100 yrs of West-Islamic relations, and not recognize the disparity in treatment, hasta be living on Jupiter.

mb

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dunno if this story has already been posted, but I did enjoy this example of Turbo-PC:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/mad-mad-world/Yoga-class-banned-over-cultural-appropriation-in-Canada/articleshow/49910798.cms

That said, kebabs and curry must surely be looking vulnerable now...

3:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Well, it's nice to know that it's not just American students who are fucked in the head.

mb

3:42 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

This week, in light of that idiocy over yoga in Ottawa, I've been telling my students to refuse to perform algebra, on the grounds that it has been appropriated from Arabs.

The students seem to like the idea.

I also tell them that their bungalows are soon to be confiscated. They couldn't figure that one out.

Salaam.
G

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Voix N. Wilderness said...

French

Soulless Harris fails to understand the subtle point that all major problems are ultimately the fault of white goyim and their sick Enlightenment project, their sexual hangups, their stuck-up ways, their table manners, their cold, cold societies, and above all their atavistic racism.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Hello Wafers,

The theme of loneliness and post-industrial alienation in the West is brilliantly illustrated by Michel Houellebecq's novels, notably in "Platform" and "Atomised". For those of you that don't know him, he's probably the most influential contemporary novelist in France. He's widely translated in other languages as well but not sure if he's that big in the US.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Houellebecq

Kanye

4:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Voix-

Well, that may be as simplistic as Harris, just from the other end of the spectrum. Besides, some of my best friends are goyim.

Meanwhile, ALL WAFERS NOTE:

I'm in South America Nov. 30-Dec. 13, so please don't post during those 2 wks. I know this will be difficult, as this is the only blog worth paying any attn. to; but duty calls (along w/Inca civilization). Thanks.

mb

6:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Buffoons-in-Action, or What life is abt in the US:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/shoppers-flock-to-stores-thanksgiving-day/2015/11/26/5354e84a-949f-11e5-a2d6-f57908580b1f_gallery.html?hpid=hp_no-name_photo-story-b%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

8:01 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone-- The headline is: America Is Too Dumb for TV News"

http://tinyurl.com/pdw6fll

Among the more enjoyable paragraphs-- "This is a horrible thing to have to say about one's own country, but this story makes it official. America is now too dumb for TV news.

"It's our fault. We in the media have spent decades turning the news into a consumer business that's basically indistinguishable from selling cheeseburgers or video games. You want bigger margins, you just cram the product full of more fat and sugar and violence and wait for your obese, over-stimulated customer to come waddling forth."
------------

Dr. B, Peru is a bit intense and rough, but it's rich too. The country side around Cuzco is beautiful. Pretty cold after dark. Looking forward to your descriptions.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

turn-

I guess American dumbness no longer has any upper limits. I'll get to that in a minute, tho the following comments re: Sam Harris touch on the topic as well. Check out the NYTBR for Nov. 8, p. 43, a review by Irshad Manji of a dialogue between Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz entitled "Islam and the Future of Tolerance." Remarkable essay. Irshad (female) notes how hard it is now to struggle thru the 'crude certitude' of our times. Maajid, meanwhile, struggles to give Sam an education in nuance, laying out "the difference between Islam and Islamism, as well as the fascinating distinctions among political Islamists, revolutionary Islamists and militant Islamists." But Sam ain't really listening, she notes; or rather, "He is listening to reply rather than to understand." And if he is opposed to "the emotional comfort of belonging to tribes with a clear-cut enemy," he doesn't seem to grasp the religious nature of his own atheism. Irshad writes: "Even secularism's better angels have trouble defeating the tribal mind-set. Last year, I attend a Sam Harris event where a crush of fans trailed him, mob-like, around the venue. Oy."

Oy indeed. My own problem w/religion is that it never seems to have much reflexivity, or self-transparency; there's only The One Truth, end of discussion. But we need to include in this category the secular religions, including Sam Harrisism. What I always admired abt Wittgenstein is that he understood that by pointing to empty space, he had created a bunch of followers who ran around talking the jargon of empty space, and he in fact commented on this: accolytes at Cambridge who imitated his language, his gestures, and even the way he dressed. Oy, and oy vey.

(continued below)

3:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A few pp. later we have an essay by David Shipler, "Ban Before Reading." It discusses the widespread American phenomenon of reviewing books, condemning books, or trying to ban books (and often succeeding) in situations in which none of the parties involved have actually read the bk in question! He talks abt reviews or characterizations of his own work that don't correspond to what is in fact in the books. I guess most authors these days must have experienced this. A year b4 my bk on Japan was published, I had two 'reviews' of it on this blog(!). I also recall a discussion we had here about Schmendrick, Jeff's trollfoon, who never read the Japan bk but panned it because Jeff (who *had* read the bk) liked it. Does it get dumber than this? Schmendrick cd well be the stupidest person in America, after Michiko Kakutani. I read her NYT rev. of DAA back in 2006 and was absolutely dumbfounded: it had nothing to say abt the content of the bk. I’ve had the same reaction to some of the reviews of my work on Amazon, reviews that are little more than attacks on a caricature of the bk, as constructed by the 'reviewer'. Most of these arise from mechanical reflex self-righteousness (hatred of my WAF ch. on the Civil War, e.g.), or from a strange, bitter antagonism toward me personally. How much things have changed, I keep thinking. I came of age in the 50s, and altho America certainly had its share of morons back then, it seems as tho the % has grown from abt 20 to 85 in the intervening 60 yrs. As Matt Taibbi points out, Americans are just plain stupid.

This stupidity has many aspects to it, of course, but in reviews, what one sees in particular is the confusion of emotions w/ideas. Americans believe that if they feel deeply abt something--whether out of bitterness toward the author or anything else--that this is equivalent to thinking. Another thing that is evident is not understanding the difference between an opinion and an argument. The examples Taibbi gives show that we are awash in a kind of insanity, and it sure isn't going to get corrected soon, if ever.

I have some nostalgia for the days when the moron factor was abt 20%, and reasoned discussions were still possible. At the same time, if America needs to collapse--and I believe it does, for the sake of the rest of the world--then this kind of blindness and utter stupidity is a prerequisite for that, and in a bizarre sort of way, the Schmendricks of this nation are ultimately in the Wafer camp. Politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows...

mb

3:18 PM  
Anonymous French said...

Mr Berman:

My own views usually come out pretty orthogonal to the spectrum of arguments Harris throws out there. I still keep up with his writing though, because he is very good at writing clearly, and to be honest, even though i disagree with his words/actions a lot of the time, he is still so much more involved in the really bad stuff about Islamic religion (acid burning, female genital mutalation etc) than just arm-chair criticizing of it; he even just published a book w/ the founder of a British counter-extremism think tank, the former extremist Maajid Nawaz. He might be sharp tongued and tone deaf if looked at as some kind of cultural attache for atheism, sure, and maybe that does make him part fundamentalist, atheistically. But then he also studied for years w/ monks, and wrote a book on spiritualiy the same year you did. The most intellectually dishonest thing i think he might be capable of is sometimes maybe purposefully playing the rebellious provocateur role. But is interjecting himself w/ shocking topical ideas really THAT bad?

My biggest beef then with Harris is the response he gets from a lot of liberal thinkers, who label him such things as anti-Muslim fundamentalist, like Greenwald and Max Blumenthal have. If you look into some of these correspondences/arguments, you see Harris being obnoxious at his worst, and Bumenthal and Greenwald pulling out some awful invectives and a little intellectually dishonest slander at theirs.

COS:

Greenwald was a channel for Snowden's will. The story of the decade dropped into the guy's lap bc Snowden knew Greenwald would be sympathetic, no? I'm not sure if he is really THAT great of a reporter, mon ami.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

French-

Well, you and I see him very differently, I guess. I hardly think he's striking a pose, so I find a gd bit of what he writes dogmatic, even offensive. The NYT reviewer certainly saw him as blind to nuance. I suspect his monkish studies didn't help him all that much. It's nice to write abt spirituality; living it is more of a challenge.

mb

4:08 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

French,

Greenwald not that good a reported? Who pray tell today is "that good". I think he is a journalist rather than a reporter. Snowden did drop the story on a few laps but nobody ran with it like Greenwald. Plus obviously, as you say Greenwald would be sympathetic given his past efforts at being a true journalist as opposed to the toadies in the media currying favor with the powerful. Yes, in view of obvious facts, Greenwald is that good. I suppose you could say the same about Woodward and Bernstein that the story fell in their lap. So what of it--they ran with it successfully and changed history no? A channel for this will? A bit rich--guess what getting great stories through sources is what journalists do. Pretty much all journalism which uncovered corruption is from a source contacting a journalist no? There is very little investigative journalism left and its plain that most "reporters" merely rework corporate or government press releases or do soft ball profiles. If someone is a reporter and doing work at Greenwalds level with honesty and independence word of it has failed to get out. Please do share who is in your view now "That Good".

As for Harris--he is a douche. I think Nassim's critique of him is spot on:"

You can attack what a person *said* or what the person *meant*. The former is more sensational. The mark of a charlatan (say the journalist Sam Harris) is to defend his position or attack a critic by focusing on *some* of his/her specific statement (“look at what he said”) rather than attacking his position (“look at what he means”), the latter of which requires a broader knowledge of the proposed idea. The same applies to the interpretation of religious texts. Given that it is impossible for anyone to write a perfectly rationally argued document without a segment that, out of context, can appear to be totally absurd and lend itself to sensationalization, politicians and charlatans such as Harris hunt for these segments. So do some, but not all journalists.


7:31 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman,

Zerohedge.com led me to a blog by S.J. Kerrigan where I found an interesting article called “2015: The Year of the American Identity Crisis.”

He is obviously familiar with your work in that his article includes the following paragraph:

“Historian and social critic Morris Berman writes that a negative identity ‘can never tell you who you actually are, in the affirmative sense. It leaves emptiness at the center, such that you always have to be in opposition to something, or even at war with someone or something, in order to feel real.’”

Find it at: http://seankerrigan.com/2015-the-year-of-the-american-identity-crisis/

Also, mozel tov on the blog’s anniversary, and thank you for your all your work.
Have a great trip to South America, and Mexico will be awaiting your return.

David Rosen

8:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB - as an athiest myself I agree entirely with your assertion that there is such a thing as athiest fundamentalism. Bill Maher is an example that comes to mind whose stated views on Islam in particular are pretty odious.

My own views are very close to that of another standup comedian, Marc Maron, who described himself as being not really an athiest but someone who just doesn't care about religion.

8:44 PM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

Well, here's even more from the Signs of the End Times department:

Biloxi Waffle House server killed over a cigarette 'was so friendly'

"She was shot in the head because she asked somebody not to smoke.

"A 52-year-old Waffle House server was doing her job, enforcing the no-smoking policy at the restaurant franchise in the 2400 block of U.S. 90, when she was shot by the customer she told to put out a cigarette...[victim's name withheld]...

"She had already spent eight years of her life as one of the restaurant's beloved servers. She spent some of her last moments asking customers if they had enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday.

"Biloxi police Sgt. Donnie Dobbs said Johnny Max Mount, 45, is accused in the waitress' killing about 1 a.m. Friday after he lit a cigarette in the restaurant. Police believe Mount pulled out a 9mm handgun and shot the woman. She died a short time later at Merit Health Biloxi, shot once in the head."

Oh, yeah, don't miss the little slideshow that accompanies the article. There's a lovely mug shot of the perp, yet another "face of America" to add to the national family album, along with Shaneka what's-her-name (Shaneka Shoot-Up-the-Drive-Thru?) and all the others.

And of course, there's also today's mass shooting at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, but I'll leave that one for another WAFer to discuss.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

COS/French-

I really think that in the case of evaluating any writer, journalist, public or semi-public figure, the crucial question is: Overall, is his/her contribution to society a valuable one? Are we better people for having this person among us, doing what s/he is doing? We've gone over this b4, e.g. possible flaws in Greenwald etc. The bottom line is that no one is perfect, and based on minor issues it's possible to tear anyone down. You can do a hatchet job on any bk, any individual, if that's yr intent. The people who are really pathetic are the ones drawn to do this, because it's clear they don't have very much going on in their lives. Much easier to hate, than create; and since they are incapable of the latter, they become experts in the former. Anais Nin commented on this many yrs ago: "You are not aware that when you paint only cruelly, underlining only faults or weaknesses, you are the loser." America is chock full of losers these days; it has very few honest, courageous thinkers. Just look around.

DR-

Thank you. It's always comforting that when I arrive at the Mexico City airport, there is a crowd waiting for me, cheering wildly as I get off the plane.

Thanks for posting Sean's essay, wh/shd be required rdg for all Americans. Well, for the 0.1% who can understand it. It's so impressive, how we wallow in dogshit and ignore the essential. But this too is a prerequisite for a civilization collapsing, to be sure.

Some random notes to all Wafers-

Once again, pls don't blog during Nov. 30-Dec. 13. Thank you.

You guys may remember my mentioning that when I was in NY last Sept., I ran into Patricia Clarkson at the Korean salad bar on the corner of 6th Ave. and 11th St. in the West Village around midnight. She was very friendly, and I asked her what she was working on these days. "Learning to Drive, with Ben Kingsley," she told me. Well, I just saw it. Not especially profound, but a touching story w/very gd acting. Whip up some popcorn, settle in for a nice evening.

mb

10:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

pill-

What cd be more American? "Nobody tells *me* what to do!" Will ya take a look at this face??!:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/waffle-house-worker-shot-telling-customer-not-smoke-article-1.2448687

This guy IS America, no question abt it. Puts Shaneka Torres in the shade. I have this vision of sitting down with him, discussing Kant, Foucault, Renaissance Neo-Platonism, the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, etc.

Colo Springs:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/27/us/colorado-shooting-probe/

Watch yr step, everybody; yr living among sociopathic morons.

mb

11:19 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

WAFer film recc: Side Effects. Steven Soderbergh film about a young woman who is suicidally depressed. His new period medical drama The Knick is also excellent.

1:47 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

While there may be fragments of worthwhile arguments buried in French's comments, I find it perhaps too easy to dismiss the ideas of anyone who claims that throwing acid or female genital mutilation are somehow tenets of Islam. One could just as easily claim that dropping napalm, waterboarding, and massacring people at abortion clinics were preached by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Did you know that the Ottawa Red Blacks and Edmonton Eskimos are going to the Grey Cup tomorrow to decide the champion of Canadian pro football?

The other day I told a guy that the CFL, in light of the yoga ban at the University of Ottawa, announced that the Ottawa First Nations-African Americans will play the Edmonton Inuit for the Senior Citizen Cup.

He didn't blink, as it sounded so plausible.

O&D, and blessed are the waterboarders.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Deadthoreau said...

Speaking of Colorado MB.

http://gawker.com/there-are-so-many-mass-shootings-in-the-u-s-now-that-s-1744983569

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Concerned French American said...

Mr. Berman, not to press you anymore on the topic, as i really appreciate the thought you put into those incredibly useful replies, but i think we have a spy in our midst: Sam Harris has issued an addendum to his most recent podcast focused on all of this, seemingly in reply to both you and Greenwald. along w/ a return blow aimed at Max Blumenthal, and a few at Chomsky. although i suspect Chomsky is his code for 'Berman'. Starts at 1:55:28

http://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/on-the-maintenance-of-civilization

i don't know if it will change your mind, but it should at least give pause to reflect on Greenwald/Blumenthal and their ethics

1:30 PM  
Anonymous westcoaster said...

I teach in a private school in a wealthy suburb of Vancouver, BC, Canada. I educate children of the global new rich, predominantly from Mainland China, but not exclusively. Materialist to the core; SAT-driven, Ivy League-bound (at least in their minds), and relentlessly pursuing academics and have over-heated vocabularies. Good kids for the most part, but they are intellectually vacuous. I was reflecting with them about the Paris attacks, global terror, and fundamentalisms of all sorts, and the Western "death spiral" of military response. One bright-eyed student freely admitted in his reflection piece that, were it not for me introducing this topic, he didn't really know that there was a "backstory" as he called it, to the Paris attacks. He stated he doesn't read the news and has no concept of what's going on in the world. He said the only reason he knew what was happening was because a few people turned their Facebook profile pics to a French tricolour overlay. These are the future "thought" leaders.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

French-

Dunno what to say; his language gives him away, imo (very ad hominem, which is what people do when they don't have solid arguments). If u really want to believe that violence is inherent in Islam, and that long-term American meddling in the Middle East had nothing to do with 9/11 etc.--well, not a lot I can say. I also think Blumenthal's bk, "Goliath," is 1st-rate, and that Chomsky is a far better analyst of our foreign policy than Sam will ever be. Anyway, I only listened to a few minutes, so I didn't get to the "problem" of Greenwald's ethics. But I think we are beating a dead horse at this pt; we can only agree to disagree. I do find it amusing, that Sam once labeled Chris Hedges as sanctimonious (which I personally think is true), and said he wd never debate him again. Hearing him on this tape, the way he argues, I think one might say the same abt Sam (i.e. that debating him wdn't be a very fruitful exercise). Not much flexibility in that system, that's for sure; he seems to be very, very emotionally driven on the subject of religion and Islam. I can't imagine him being willing to cede a pt; for him, there's only one true narrative, end of story.

I shd also add that some time ago, I read an exchange between Noam and Sam, and thought Sam came off pretty poorly. He was doing a lot of game playing. E.g., at one pt he asked Noam to back up his ideas with evidence, and then when Noam did that, Sam rebuked him for being "overly detailed," or something like that; he never engaged the data Noam offered him, in other words. Noam replied: "Well, you *said* you wanted evidence; what else was I supposed to do?" You get the picture.

Dead-

This is from that article:

"According to statistics reported in The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. represents less than 5 percent of the global population, but from 1966 to 2012, the country accounted for 31 percent of mass shooting incidents."

Astonishing, and yet not surprising. The US also accounts for 2/3 of the world's anti-depressant use. Relationship here?

west-

Yeah, I agree it's pretty hopeless. I usta talk to intro sociology classes from time to time, and often I wd begin by asking how many (out of abt 50) had heard of Noam Chomsky. At most, it was 2 students; and I was abs. sure that the other 48 wd not go home and google the name on their computer. Today's youth are not a curious bunch, and most of them just mimic what they are told; they don't understand that it is only a version of events, and that there might be other versions.

Somewhat relevant to all this discussion is Perry Anderson's recent bk, "American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers." Michael Ignatieff reviewed it in the NYRB (Nov. 19), and had this to say:

"For Truman and every president since, Anderson argues, the dominant national interest of the US has been messianic: to redeem the world in America's own image. Realists have always warned against the hubris and overreach in this approach, but they have argued in vain. For Anderson, liberal internationalism remains 'the obligatory idiom of American imperial power.' Realism is a subordinate discourse, the prudent fallback when liberal internationalism overreaches.

"The most interesting implication of Anderson's argument is that the long catalog of US foreign policy disasters--the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961, the twin quagmires of Vietnam and Iraq--were more than just errors of judgment. They were the price America recurrently pays for the hubristic embrace of a messianic foreign policy, one that has never disciplined its priorities according to rationally defined national interests."

mb

7:46 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

MB,

Very interesting comment on Perry Andersons book--seems worth a read. Appears to be a more topical version of the ideas of Norman Cohn and John Gray---the U.S. is messianic in its obsession with making the world in its image. A doomed enterprise clearly. What is particularly striking of the U.S. "public intellectuals" of late such as Harris is their incapacity to grasp value pluralism. Multi-culti is a narcissistic indulgence as its about "hey look all these different races and gay people want to be consumers and vote and be like us", its not true value pluralism in any sense.

For you and the handful of true public intellectuals being surrounded by modern day sophists and courtiers must be exhausting. Even the modern day court jesters in the form of comics are a conforming lot. Anyway--my earlier point and that I did not clearly deliver in reposte to French--namely that critics of the regime are attacked personally on the basis of personal style or other human quirks.

Have a great trip!

8:57 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

a video on the madness of "Black Friday" shoppers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA5P4MsNGfI&feature=youtu.be

I was wondering. If this type of frenetic, acquisitive behavior exists now, what will happen in a few decades when large numbers of people are actually hungry or even starving in this country? Are we going to witness mass orgies of looting in the near future?

On Sam Harris:

I have listened to several of his interviews, podcasts on his website, read some of his articles, etc., and I can't recall Sam ever expressing what might be called an ecological viewpoint. Although he's a scientist he doesn't seem to be familiar with some of the basic questions taken from ecology or anthropology, questions such as (1) Is Western Industrial Civilization doomed, and if so, what will its trajectory of decline look like, and what is likely to replace it? (2) Is Civilization itself doomed, and if so, what is likely to take its place? (3) Are humans causing a mass extinction, and if so, how bad is it going to be and what creatures are likely to be left when it's over? (4) Is there going to be a catastrophic mass die-off of most of humanity some time soon, starting perhaps some time this century? If so, how much of humanity will be left when the die-off is over?

Compared to quibbling with other intellectuals over the level of complicity of Islam in today's violence, dealing with some part of these more fundamental questions seems more pressing.

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

This article is one of those stories that's completely puzzling unless you look at it through the lens of Morris Berman's writings: older white Americans are dying in droves, and no one really knows why.

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/11/figuring-out-why-so-many-white-people-are-dying.html

The best answer is through excessive drinking, drug use, suicide, and just plain rough living - though it looks to me like the emptiness of American life is maybe the culprit.

On the topic of Sam Harris, tbh, I find him terribly boring. An excellent example of how narrow intelligence can be in the modern world. A respected neuroscientist, trained practitioner of Buddhist meditation, acclaimed writer: but usually sounds like a complete dolt at best and a psychopathic racist at worst.

There hasn't been a lot of news coverage of racists shooting Black Lives Matter protesters in Minneapolis, but I just learned that the NAACP in that state believes the police to be "behind" it. So far evidence is scant (besides the police purposely delaying their response), but law enforcement are strongly connected to white supremacist groups in that area. Something to keep an eye on.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Pascalle said...

@Concerned French American

Thanks for this link:

http://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/on-the-maintenance-of-civilization

Also, check out this one between Douglas Murray and Dave Rubin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX914A6dbbs

I noticed that Douglas Murray and Dave Rubin are gay men.
I do not know if Sam Harris is also gay - someone here can tell me!

The hate of Islam and religion for these people is explained if you understand where they sexuality lies. They see religion as a threat to their CHOSEN way of life. END OF THE STORY.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

French-

I'm sorry that u.r. not willing to let this argument go. You want to beat a dead horse; I find this discussion, and Mr. Harris, truly boring. We'll go back and forth to no purpose, and speaking for myself, I've got better things to do (like sleeping). There is abs. nothing I can say to change your mind, even slightly, so all I can say is: He's your man, and godspeed.

Meanwhile everyone please note:

PLEASE DON'T POST BETWEEN NOV. 30 AND DEC. 13. THANK YOU!

mb

3:45 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

On Sam Harris,

I agree with MB on this. He is just as emotionally invested as Hitchens once was. Recall that Hitchens was an Irak war backer and apologist. To these new atheists 9-11 was the only argument about Islam they needed to hear. They don't seem interested in anything else. Much has been written about the fact that most of the 9-11 hijackers weren't that particularly religious, neither were the Boston bombers, nor the Charlie Hebdo brothers. I believe many of these Islamists are not religious zealots- they are most likely nihilists - a product of broken communities, hopelessness, disaffection- who have chosen an extreme form of Islam to moralize their deeds. This extremism is a tool to justify their actions but but the motivation is old fashion power, and /or meaning and/ or revenge. In the ghetto alienated youths join street gangs, and in the right wing disaffected men join anti government militias, the KKK, or if unable to belong to a group they become mass shooters. I believe nihilism is far a greater problem in modernity due to the erosion and disappearance of community life and of the public space- (Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls it the melting of the solids- don't know if any of you are familiar with his Liquid Modernity series. I highly recommend it)- than religious fervor could ever be. Sam is unable to realize that the secular west offers its will be nihilists a legalized form of terror: war, which uses an ideology of spreading democracy as a cloak to attract converts who also crave power and meaning- just as the makers of war themselves do. The clash against the Middle East is old fashion conquest of the legalized terrorists against the illegal terrorists in the name of Progress.

@Bill Hicks,
I personally know quite a few women who are estranged from all family members- including their own children- and even friends. These are the same women who want to be wanted all of their lives- they dread being needed or needing someone. They are self sufficient and somehow feel complete without ever standing outside of themselves. old age is unforgiving to them most of all!

JC

3:54 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

This is a nice article to throw in the face of progs:
http://www.fairobserver.com/more/environment/sustainable-development-is-a-lie-90676/

Kanye

4:34 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Wafers,

Here's a great video link I ran into of a 'debate' between economist Paul Craig Roberts who used to work in Reagan's treasury department and libertarian Stefan Molyneux on The Failure of Capitalism. For a Reaganite, he has really done a 180 on his ideas, it is a spot on, tour de force analysis, with multiple examples of what modern Capitalism is really about, the complete monopoly power control by private entities including the acquisition of the government in recent years, and he knows since he lived it inside the whale of the Reagan administration. He also really takes down the absurd almost fairy tale libertarian 'free market' counter arguments of Molyneux piece by piece, it is brilliant. He also explains how private interests have been part and parcel to American so called democracy even before the Civil War. Terrific, sounds like an economic version of the arguments made all the time by yours truly, MB. If you have the time to check this out, well worth the trouble, I might even buy one of this guys books.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_6tQCUanM4

Hope you check it out, it is worth the time.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

How do you feel about the French government using the recent terrorist attacks in Paris to put climate activists under house arrest?

"Paris climate activists put under house arrest using emergency laws"

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/paris-climate-activists-put-under-house-arrest-using-emergency-laws

8:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I managed to find a computer at the house of a friend in Chile. However, once again: pls don't post anything until Dec. 14. Thanks.

mb

4:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I'm still in Chile, but cdn't resist posting news abt the latest massacre:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/us/san-bernardino-shooting.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=span-ab-top-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Reassuring to know that in my absence, it's business as usual in the US, altho this time they are killing people with disabilities. A nice added touch, I guess.

Remember not to post till Dec. 14, thanks.

abrazos,
mauricio

4:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

EVERYBODY PLEASE DON'T POST UNTIL DEC 14 THANK YOU--MB

7:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

OK, gang; I return to Mexico tomorrow. Still in Peru, with nothing to do today except pack, so I thought I'd go back online and catch you all up on My Great Adventure. Feel free to start posting again in a day or 2. My apologies to all of u who posted during last two wks and got cruelly deleted.

Chile: I was there for a wk, staying with a friend and his wife. Gave 3 lectures at the U of Temuco, which I guess went well: at the conclusion, they invited me to come back next Sept. Also did an interview with local newspaper; my comments on Allende, Pinochet, the CIA and 1973 were of course omitted from the article, as the newspaper is owned by El Mercurio, a rt-wing consortium. I guess it's the job of the media everywhere to keep people in the dark.

Then on to Peru. Went up to Machu Picchu 2 days ago. This is beyond description, so I won't attempt to describe it. A high pt of my life. I managed not to get altitude sickness, but found it hard to breathe in Cuzco (11,000' up). Back in Lima, a taxi driver told me to avoid all restaurant recs in guidebks and instead go to Punto Azul and order pescado sudado (fish soup). Which I did, along with a pisco sour (of course). It was divine. I almost lost control of all my bodily functions.

During all this time, I negotiated a contract for publication of my new novel with a high-quality small press in NY. The Huff Post called it "one of the 20 best small presses in the nation." Schedule is to get it out by March 1st; I'm going to ask Larry David to write an intro, but I assume he won't reply. Launching of bk may take place in NY, once again, perhaps during 1st wk in April. If so, for those of you who are interested, we cd do the 3rd NY Wafer Summit Conference. Pls submit possible discussion topics, e.g.: Peruvian fish soup; Larry David's refusal to write back; and Donald Trump as our next prez:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/12/11/channeling-nations-ugliness-trump-more-american-you-think

Anyway, I know u guys have suffered in the absence of this blog, but our long national nightmare is now over.

hugs,
berm

5:09 PM  
Blogger ab645471 said...

Recently from RT:

"New York state of mind: Woman witnesses fatal crash, carries on eating pizza"

https://www.rt.com/usa/325036-woman-crash-new-york-pizza/

10:45 AM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

A few days ago I read a short essay titled “ On campus at UPE: The University of Practically Everywhere” written by Fred Reed (who also resides in Mexico and was a close friend of Joe Bageant). The article is an imagined speech given by Fred’s imaginary aging Professor to a new class of freshmen. A couple paragraphs into the article, I could not help imagine you giving that speech because of how true and direct it is. Please see the link below:

http://fredoneverything.org/on-campus-at-u-pe-the-university-of-practically-everywhere/

Fred uses words such as ‘elucidate’, and ‘loco parentis’. I wonder how many freshmen at universities would even know what such words mean? I was an instructor for some undergraduate engineering courses while I was in grad school at Virginia Tech. I could not believe how much spoon-feeding I was asked to do by some faculty members. I hope you enjoy reading the article.

I am also looking forward to hearing more about your trip Chile (I have a close friend who is a faculty member at University of San Tiago) and Peru.

Thank you,
Himanshu

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Welcome back. I read this a week ago, but saved it to post here ... it has to be one of the scariest things I've read in a while:

http://thebaffler.com/blog/mouthbreathing-machiavellis

9:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Himan-

Terrific article by Fred, thank you. Today's youth are indeed the cutting edge of Dark Ages America.

ab-

Some anecdotes are icons of the entire culture, like this one. Check out the essay I did in QOV on the Ik (Mountain People). Also online somewhere is a video of a few yrs ago, of an ER in Bklyn, with one woman falling off a chair, lying on floor for 30 mins., and dying. Another woman just sits there and watches her; the hospital staff looked in occasionally, also did nothing.

mb

9:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: also check out final episode of Seinfeld.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

MB,

Welcome back to Wafer-dom! Some of us were suffocating under the toxic cloud over the last two weeks, I had to pull out my copy of QOV just for reassurance, but now we are breathing again. I look forward to reading your novel when available.

JL in Olympia

10:20 AM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Dr. Berman,
I have no issues with sharing my email address. Still interested in your poetry, and thanks.
senji@bajabb.com

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Hustlemania said...

Going strong since 1928:
http://phys.org/news/2015-12-jewish-cuisine-paunch.html

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

I recently finished reading The Circle by Dave Eggers and recommend it to all WAFERS! The Circle is a novel that takes place on a large 'campus' similar to those found at companies like Google or Apple. Mae is a newbie at the company and is assigned to answer questions from customers. She's told her main goal is to get high ratings. A special screen at the bottom of her computer gives her instant feedback on how she's doing. Anything under a score of 98 has to be 'worked on'.

And it's a downward spiral from there. The 12,118 circlers are only too happy to take part in the loss of their humanity and become machines, so that there is no privacy left for them as they are constantly being monitored and watched. Work consists of getting and giving frowns or smiles. If a response isn't forth coming immediately, hundreds and thousands of zings arrive from concerned followers.

The really insidious piece is all the workers really believe they're saving the world, helping developing countries, and contributing to the good of mankind all through the worship of technology. Brain washing at it's highest level.

My comment: learn to loose your soul and gain millions of smiles or frowns in less than 24 hours. Such a deal!

Marianne

12:09 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello MB and Wafers!

MB, Wafers-

I tell ya, I've missed all u guys...something awful.

Just under two weeks ago, I began to suffer acute cognitive impairment w/hallucinations, delusions, and an altered sleep-wake cycle. My condition steadily worsened until I exhibited internalizing behaviors: difficulty calming down when upset, rocking back and forth, and refusing to speak. When I finally did utter a few sounds, they were completely unrecognizable; the grunts of a cornered wild beast, I'm told. I was finally diagnosed w/complex post-traumatic stress disorder, hospitalized, and given a haldol drip. It got so bad that I was convinced I'd become Donald Trump...sporting a pair of Gucci loafers w/an orangutang-colored hairdo. All this, it turns out, was the result of the loss of this blog. Anyway, I'm back on the mend, and happy to be back on the greatest blog in history.

Yours in recovery,

Miles

1:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, I know all of you have suffered terribly from WaferBlogDeprivationSyndrome, and I apologize profusely for this. Happily, I won't be on the road again until April, I think, so we'll all have time to recover. If it's any consolation, I too suffered: severe rashes, spontaneous vomiting, and a grotesque desire to marry Hillary and/or Kim. That's all behind me now, thank god.

Bull-

Jeff might contact u to arrange a loan of CB. As for update on bks:

1. CB will take a while to get back into print, but I'll do it one way or another.
2. CTOS shd be out from Echo Pt Press in a month or two.
3. SSIG, the same, from Water Street Press (same folks who did reprint of Japan bk).
4. Novel--"The Man Without Qualities"--is ideally scheduled for March 1st release. If so, I might come to NY again to do a rdg or two. All those interested in another Wafer Summit, pls mark yr calendars, and stay tuned for more info. Perhaps this time we cd meet at Bronx Zoo.

Switching now to new post.

mb

3:25 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Dr. B,
Thanks- Jeff did contact me and arranged to send a copy of the book. I wanted to post this yesterday but couldn't without violating the rule of 1 post per 24 hours. What a nice gesture, to find people willing to lend books to total strangers. I'm looking forward to reading your poetry. That, along with Thoreau, are my antidote to the holiday commercialism. (I also appreciate the Rev. Billy; have any other WAFers seen "What Would Jesus Buy" ?)

12:09 PM  

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