June 16, 2016

273

Wafers-

What r.u. folks reading these days, besides massacre reports? I'm currently wading thru Brothers Karamazov. Stay cool, watch empire tumble into its grave.

mb

199 Comments:

Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

I'm currently reading:

1. "Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper" by Art and Laurie Pepper. It's an autobiography of the great jazz alto sax player. It's quite good. Here's a bit of Art:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5utT5yiQAOo

2. "The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power" by Steve Fraser. Most highly recommended.

3. "The Girls: A Novel" by Emma Cline. This is Cline's debut novel. I just cracked it and can't really give u guys any feedback yet, but it looks promising.

Miles

10:06 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

This evening I'm midway through Neil Postman's "Building a Bridge to the 18th Century." Just finished the excellent collection of short fiction stories on "love of the old and the middle-aged" by Isaac Bashevis Singer.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Not reading, but I see a movie is coming out on reconstruction

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/movies/free-state-of-jones-a-film-with-footnotes.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=wide-thumb&module=mini-moth&region=top-stories-below&WT.nav=top-stories-below&_r=0&referer=

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Recently I read Deep South by Paul Theroux and I highly recommend it as a picture of what I think most of America is going to look like in the near future. Then I read Sugar Barons by Matthew Parker. Talk about hustling. Those early sugar producers were brutal. Then I read Gardening When it Counts by Steve Solomon and Notes from the Garden by Henry Hohmeyer. Both are excellent references for honing your monastic skills. Finally, I decided to take a break from the heavy stuff and am reading an Elmore Leonard novel to be followed by a John Le Carre novel. We have a used bookstore in my town that I swear is better than Amazon. Oh yeah, somewhere among all those I read Neurotic Beauty. Awesome book of course. I also want to tackle A couple of Faulkners this summer, if I get brave enough.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

I just read The Other Side of Silence by Phillip Kerr, which is the latest book in the Bernhard Gunter series of detective novels. The most recent entry in the series was probably the weakest, but I highly recommend Berlin Noir, a trade paperback which packages the outstanding first three books in the series into one volume. Imagine Phillip Marlowe as a PI in Nazi Germany, for Kerr really is a good enough writer to earn the comparison with Raymond Chandler.

I also recently finished the Preacher series of graphic novels by Garth Ennis, which is just now being turned into a television show. I haven't watched the show, but the books are subversive and wickedly funny. Ennis was born and raised in Belfast and takes a rather dim (but often hilarious) view of what people do to each other in the name of religion. It isn't for the easily offended or the politically correct, but that just makes it all the better.

11:03 AM  
Blogger David said...

Currently in the rotation:

_Dark Mountain #9_
A. Huxley's Collected Essays vol. 6
V. Woolf's Collected Essays vol. 4
Tainter's The Collapse of Complex Societies
Edmund Wilson's To the Finland Station
Highsmith's collected Ripley novels (need some downtime, c'mon!)

I recently read Frederick Cottrell's Energy and Society: The Relation Between Energy, Social Change, and Economic Development. Amazing, amazing book. Plus some Wallerstein & Arrighi & even this old book called The Reenchantment of the World by some dude named Berman.

11:05 AM  
Blogger librarian@play said...

Just finished Girl Through Glass, a debut novel by Sari Wilson, about, in part, a girl's obsession with ballet and her attempt to discover identity through dance. I began reading it through a distinctly Wafer-ish lens, which worked well, because the novel does a nice job exploring the seedier side of ballet training. Even in pursuit of art and beauty, Western society is acquisitive and superficial. It's quite good.

Now onto Tribe by Sebastian Junger. It's a slim volume and highly readable in Junger's direct, economical prose. Halfway through, the basic argument is that wealthy Western society is fundamentally bad for humans on multiple levels, not least of which is the lasting psychological harm it inflicts. It's not meant to be an academic piece, but he does a good job reporting on psychological, sociological, and anthropological research.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Solid, k_pgh! I was going to play "Opera in Vout" anyway this weekend (last year a guy called to request it, as when he was a kid on 1946 or so they played it over the PA system at one of the local swimming pools...and the outdoor pools in town are opening this week), but I can squeeze in "Communication," too. I hadn't picked up on the Morse Code reference in the song before, so thanks, Gate.

I'm reading "Moby Dick" these days, because Kerouac said everybody talks about it, but nobody's read it. Ti Jean was also my introroonie to Slim Gaillard.

Yes, James Allen, that story about the Regina homeless guy/seat-belt trap sting is messed up. I have my own stories about Saskatchewan cops.

As for the decline in schools, out provincial government (composed of the most backward-thinking, corporate-loving, oil company thralls you'd ever want to meet) didn't allocate enough money in their recent budget to cover school boards' costs. They told the school boards to find a way to pay teachers regardless. I heard today that our local board just laid off 14 teachers and some teacher aides.

Someone recently posted that Canada was "behind" the USA, which ticked me off at the time, but Saskatchewan, once famous as the home of Medicare and "Agrarian Socialism," seems to be at the vanguard in leading Canada into whatever swamps the USA is sinking.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Books I recently finished: Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat,New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, and Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Generally doing more writing than reading these day, but the books I do have on the go at the moment include:

-Re-reading J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Wanted something literary but not too heavy. First read it when I was 17 or 18. Then again when I was 22. Taught its latter half to Gr. 12 students in Edmonton a few years ago. It reads a lot different once you're older.

-And slowly working my way through noted Canadian historian Ian McKay's Reasoning Otherwise: Leftists and the People's Enlightenment in Canada, 1890-1920: https://www.amazon.ca/Reasoning-Otherwise-Leftists-Enlightenment-1890-1920/dp/1897071493

On the issue of Canada being twenty years behind the United States - It was said that Harper was our Reagan and that Justin Trudeau is our Bill Clinton, but this isn't really accurate. Federally, Canada was run by liberals from 1963-1983 or so (Pearson, Trudeau Sr.) and during this period America went from Democrat to Republican to Democrat to Republican (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan). Then, Canada had a short Progressive Conservative phase (Turner, Mulroney, Campbell), roughly 1984-1992, with the dominant figure being Mulroney. Reagan and Mulroney had some things in common - Free Trade - but the latter was more complex. Jean Chretien and Paul Martin were our Bill Clinton and did many of the same things exactly parallel to Clinton - like gutting the welfare state, among other things. Neither were 'sexy' like some considered Clinton to be and in this sense, Trudeau Jr. was actually ahead of Clinton for being a sexy celeb who also was a head of state. Harper undoubtedly had a lot in common with Reagan, but equally with Bush Jr. So, exact comparisons between USA and Canada aren't really possible.

It's also essential to note though that Canada has never merely echoed the United States. It is always balancing American and British influences. We look to the British still as much as to the Americans and that pattern goes back to the 19th century.

-Northern Johnny


3:13 PM  
Anonymous Derek said...

Currently on book #2 of Elena Ferrante's 4 novel series "The Neapolitan Novels." If you want to be plunged into the world of southern Italy post WWII this is for you. Highly recommended and probably the best book I've ever read from a female point of view. The blurb on the front cover describes it as "the book Jane Austen would have written if she got angry."

4:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Pls note that I don't post Anons. You need to come up w/a real handle, like gefilte fish.

Derek-

Splendid series, yes.

As for films, I just saw Michael Moore's "Where to Invade Next." First-rate. Shows what Americans are, as compared to Europeans, quite clearly.

mb

5:14 PM  
Blogger Ed-M said...

Hi!

New to the blog (actually I've been reading it for a couple o' weeks). I've read your Dark Ages America many years ago. Very interesting, well-written book. Right now I'm reading Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips, and Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. My SO is also reading Pedagogy upon the recommendation of a job training program he's going through (his choice) and in that program the leaders/teachers managed to turn that book upon its head!

Next up at bat will be your Twilight of American Culture and after that, Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Shades of Shaneka:

http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2016/06/16/police-coralville-man-threatened-shoot-up-dominos-pizza/85985184/

Police raid NY brothers' home and find gun cache, Nazi materials, and bomb instructions:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/17/nyregion/weapons-cache-and-bomb-making-instructions-found-at-long-island-home.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

MB-

Any word from Christian and Elizabeth? It's been nearly a yr now since we've heard *anything* from them... I tell ya, I'm rather worried about it; particularly in light of what recently happened to Shep. Jesus, I hope they made it home safely from NYC.

Miles

7:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Christian usta sign in as NearFar, and disappeared off the map after the Wafer Summit in NY. I was, and remain, puzzled by this. I do hope they're OK.

mb

8:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"Don't worry; birds do not belong to the nest where they were born, but to the sky where they fly." (Mexican proverb)

"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you." (Sartre)

9:20 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

Plato at the Googleplex by Rebecca Goldstein. Fun and thought provoking!

10:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

2 problems: one, I don't post Anons, so you need to get a real handle; two, please send messages to latest post, as no one reads the old stuff. Thank you.

mb

5:29 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

I'm chuckling my way through "The Man Without Qualities". The Dullness Institute is a good fit for the decline of western culture. Just what we need.

Over the past couple years, I read a lot less. Mostly listen to podcasts and watch internet video. A lot of the people I know have pretty much stopped reading books.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

turn-

Glad yr enjoying it. I've put out some feelers as to whether I'm going to be nominated for the Nobel in literature, but so far have received no response. These people can be so rude.

mb

7:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/16/cia-chief-just-confirmed-war-terror-has-created-lot-more-terrorists

So the 'solution' is to keep doing what doesn't work. Will someone tell me how Americans became a collection of morons?

mb

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

I don't know if she's reading it rn, but Clinton has said that Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" is her favorite book, Professor! You two could be a cute couple ;)

But in Dostoyevsky-seriousness, this looks like it will be pretty interesting:

www.hollywoodreporter.com%2Fnews%2Fgerard-depardieu-star-russian-brothers-899286&h=9AQHM4LSh&s=1

10:25 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

@ Prof. Belman

"Where to Invade Next" is easily Moore's best movie. Sure, he sculpts his examples to show idealized scenarios, but he makes the point that yes, quite a few people are doing things better than the Americans. More importantly, adopting a completely different set of premises won't make the roof crash in.

I'm currently reading The Great Mortality by John Kelly, an historical overview of a different apocalyptic era. This covers some of the same ground as Barbara Tuchman's excellent A Distant Mirror. Also reading The Muller-Fokker Effect, a stoned-out 1970 sci-fi novel about, among other topics, a guy who has been accidentally downloaded onto computer tape. Sladek hated basically everything about modern society and treated it accordingly.

I'd suggest that Vidal's United States: Essays 1952-1992 is required reading for Wafers -- he warned us about all of this -- but unfortunately this hefty tome may be hard to track down.

Will tackle TMWQ here at some point.

11:19 AM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

"Will someone tell me how Americans became a collection of morons?"
There's a three volume work on that somewhere...:-D

Currently wading through Gilgamesh as a homework assignment for JMG's Archdruid report. Just finished Stuart Kaminsky's "Porfiry Rostnikov" series.

2:25 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Wisdom, Information and Wonder
by Mary Midgley

I've been going through a bunch of her books. 'Are you an Illusion' is a great attack on epiphenomenalism and a defense of Free Will. It's great to read a philosopher who writes so clearly, without jargon.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Wisdom_Information_and_Wonder.html?id=kDUGSf7YyI4C

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Midgley

QUOTE: Midgley strongly opposes reductionism and scientism, and any attempts to make science a substitute for the humanities—a role for which it is, she argues, wholly inadequate. She has written extensively about what philosophers can learn from nature, particularly from animals. A number of her books and articles have discussed philosophical ideas appearing in popular science, including those of Richard Dawkins. She has also written in favour of a moral interpretation of the Gaia hypothesis. The Guardian has described her as a fiercely combative philosopher and the UK's "foremost scourge of 'scientific pretension.'"

2:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Comrade-

You might check my discussion of Gil in "Wandering God."

Michael-

I'd probably hafta have my face Botoxed, b4 she'd go out w/me.

mb

4:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I just can't get over the fundamental intelligence of the US:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the-us-will-be-seeking-billions-more-from-other-countries-to-help-support-afghanistan-efforts/2016/06/17/3b6bb0b8-2f3d-11e6-b9d5-3c3063f8332c_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_afghannato418pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

mb

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Chocoflan said...

This made my day:

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/national-international/NH-Dealer-Offers-Free-AR-15-With-Car-383463951.html???

9:19 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Yeah, it is puzzling, MB. Elizabeth has Bev's phone #, but Bev does not have Elizabeth's #, unfortunately. Otherwise, we would reach out to make sure they're both OK. Perhaps when we least expect it, they'll pop back on the blog.

We're still at it in Afghanistan, eh? And now we want to drag others down the worm hole w/us. The US is impervious to the most basic form of fundamental logic. The old adage that says that the best thing to do when you've dug yourself a massive hole is to *stop* fucking digging! But, oh, no, let's get some more shovels... Jesus, it's so fucking depressing. Did it ever occur to these geniuses that we need to do the *one* thing we haven't done: stop murdering Muslim people and apologize for what we have done to them.

MB, Wafers-

Just in case you missed it:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/17/could-he-actually-win-dave-eggers-donald-trump-rally-presidential-campaign

Miles

9:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Choco-

I love it! 5 yrs from now we'll look back at the good ol' days, when only 50 people were killed in a massacre.

Jeff-

In the late 60s, after Robt McNamara presented the fact that the bombing of VN had only served to strengthen the resolve of the Vietnamese, he then presented his solution: More bombing! Note that this clown had an IQ in the neighborhood of 140.

mb

9:50 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Many years ago when I was a mathematics grad student, I also was a teaching assistant, held office hours, graded papers and exams and even wrote up some of the exams for upper division Probability Theory. While grading the exams you could not help but notice that a student who apparently did not understand a question would make up some sort of nonsense and put that nonsense where a reasoned answer should have been. You got the impression that the student was driven to a condition of temporary insanity when confronted with a problem that they did not understand.

That's what has become of the USA these days. The typical US citizen is so badly confused that nonsense is considered normal to them, opinion is considered to be on a par with knowledge, and anything akin to actual thought is foreign to them.

Reading "Straw Dogs" by English philosopher John Gray

an excerpt :

"For though human knowledge will very likely continue to grow and with it human power, the human animal will stay the same: a highly inventive species that is also one of the most predatory and destructive."

4:45 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

MIles,
As George Bush I said after the US "accidentally" shot down an Iranian airliner killing about 150 people, "America never apologizes." Great artical in Counterpunch called "Hillary's Agenda
..." by Alan Nassar saying that the elites are bent on making the US an export driven economy. As a result, "American workers will look like the low wage slaves of export dependent poor countries." Needless to say, "Hillary Clinton has hopped on board the immiseration boat." Great. I lived in Japan from 1983-93 when it was primarily an export driven economy. Japanese had a saying: Rich country, poor people. But that's OK because I'm ready for Hillary!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

I am reading:
- "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions" by Ben Mezrich
- "The Dice Man" by Luke Rhinehart

Kanye

9:21 AM  
Blogger Neil 0421875644 said...

Thought Morris would appreciate this reusable 'Edo' article https://theconversation.com/in-the-worlds-biggest-city-the-past-offers-lessons-for-surviving-the-future-59619

10:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Neil-

Many thanks! Too bad they never heard of my bk, tho.

Unknown-

Sorry, you need a real handle.

mb

10:56 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

The independence movement in the state of Texas finds inspiration in the upcoming UK Brexit vote:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/19/texas-secession-movement-brexit-eu-referendum

Another symptom of disintegration to watch unfold over the next decade.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

I'm listening to an audio book of Nomi Prins' All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power.

Gawd! her history of greedy influence shows the lords of finance have been every bit as disgusting as I had imagined. A rich river of detail with almost no absolution for the folks who control the banks.

Makes you wonder if most of the profits earned in finance can be attributed to the guaranties provided by taxpayers. Nomi gives plenty of examples of that. You could believe Nomi, or you could go for Goldman Sachs' CEO Lloyd Blankfein's explanation: He told the press "We're just doing God's work."

1:02 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Northern Johnny

eah, when I made that original comment, it was aimed at the culture, not the politics.

America of the 90s was fundamentally broken, but you couldn't say that the people were largely illiterate. You had a literate middle class that looked out for itself.

Yet literacy in the US has taken a nosedive. Bookstores are vanishing. I've seen at many places classic books sold solely as decoration items.

Meanwhile, in Canada, there are very many thriving bookstores, and books even have commercials on TV.

You can see this reflected in every level of society, but especially in the speech patterns. Americans have Trump-speak. Complete thoughts and expressions optional. This goes for street thugs all the way up to CEOs. Yet in Canada, your waitress will doubtlessly express herself in a paragraphed form.

It's specifically this Brave New techno illiterate World where Canada is 20 years behind.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Regarding bookstores, my two most recent overseas trips were to London and Bangkok, and I noted with some pleasure that both cities still had large, thriving bookstores. In Bangkok we were staying right next door to a mall where a big one was located, and it was a particular pleasure to temporarily escape the city's heat and notorious congestion for a couple of hours of old fashioned book browsing.

The one remaining major national bookstore chain, the atrocious Barnes & Noble, has in recent years given over about half of its floor space to selling board games and other cheap crap. Here in the DC area there are still two decent independent booksellers, but both are located in the city neighborhoods and are hardly convenient for anyone who doesn't live near a Metro stop.

Otherwise, the only bookstores around here are used booksellers and the occasional Christian book store, the latter of which I have never visited but can't imagine are terribly stimulating to the mind. Sadly, Amazon is the only real option for most Americans these days who want to read anything other than crappy bestsellers, but I loathe the thought of giving the egregious Jeff Bezos (note how closely his name resembles "Bozos"--how fitting) any of my money just so he can screw over authors.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Bill-

Go into FNAC, in Paris, or Kiepert, in Berlin, and you see crowded stores w/customers buying piles of bks--real, physical bks.

Meanwhile, there's a review of a bk on the 60s in a recent NYTBR that says that ca. 1969, the SDS was going door-to-door, and person-to-person in the streets, trying to get Americans to organize against the war in Vietnam. They got nowhere, were roundly rejected. Mark Rudd finally had to conclude that Americans were morons. O that our current pack of progs and 'revolutionaries' had that much insight, 47 yrs later.

mb

5:50 PM  
Blogger Dawgzy said...

Hi, WAFers. I am about to finish "The Story of the Human Body" by Daniel Lieberman ('Evolution, Health and Disease') Not quite what I had in mind, but lucid and instructive in ways I hadn't anticipated. I goes through evolutionary history from bipedalism, similarities and differences with apes, hunter gatherers, evolution of our brains mismatches between our bodies and environments, dysevolution, etc. I'll go to "Your Inner Fish" next. Re-reading "As I Lay Dying." This interspersed with bunches of mysteries- highly recommend Colin Dexter. Also reading Michael Connely (I love L.A.) Next by MB probably "Wandering God" then "Re-enchantment of the World." I've already read "CTOS" Gee. I have the opportunity to ask the author whether there's a recommended sequence.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dawg-

Well, preferred order is Reenchantment, CTOS, and then WG. Not abs. nec, but makes a bit more sense that way.

I just started "The Knowledge," by Lewis Dartnell (whom I know personally) and "Station Eleven," by Emily St. John Mandel (whom I don't).

mb

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

These days, whenever I go out in public, I see so many Americans that resemble cavemen. They seem to have defective DNA, as evidenced by their extreme obesity, inability to engage in respectful social discourse, and inability to speak in complete, coherent sentences. Even the sight of these people is so shocking and appalling that I mutter obscenities under my breath, desperately yearning to be within the relatively safe confines of my apartment once again. I can only imagine what living with these monstrosities must be like.

Experiences like these baffle, confuse, enrage, stultify, embitter, and finally numb the mind and heart as they pile up. As a poignant example, take a look at timeline photos of Michael Jackson. In his early years, his eyes are filled with life, but after few decades of living a quintessentially American life, they are filled with emptiness and dread. This is what America and its "superior" culture does to people, both at home and abroad. The greatest country in the world indeed.

When describing America, I'm reminded of a line from Samuel Beckett's play "All That Fall". "It is suicide to be abroad, but what is it to be at home Mr. Tyler, what is it to be at home? A lingering dissolution."

9:13 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I'm about to embark on a comprehensive self study of The Frankfurt School philosophers (Marcuse, Adorno, Horkheimer, Fromm, Benjamin, et al) and all of their writings.

Any advice from anyone on how to go about tackling this project?

3:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

A useful guide is "The Dialectical Imagination," by Martin Jay. Then you might start with "One-Dimensional Man," by Marcuse, and "Escape from Freedom," by Fromm. Adorno and Horkheimer are a bit more dense, altho "Eclipse of Reason" is pretty gd.

mb

8:36 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Thank You Morris! I will follow the path you've outlined.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

At last! A political movement I can embrace:

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/worlds_largest_fart-in_planned_for_hillary_clintons_acceptance_speech_in_ph

While they are discharging hot gas, Hillary will be breaking wind thru the mouth.

Meanwhile, this is nice:

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-court-police-stops-20160620-snap-story.html

mb

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

The fart-in! If only I and my abnormally large sphincter muscle were a delegate to the convention. Not only could Hillary's sycophants be smoked-out, but her shrill call for obedience drowned-out as well. How long will my vast talents continue to go untapped?

...Speaking of organic responses to the issues of the day... I've been picking my way through "Citizenship Papers," one of Wendell Berry's books of essays. He, to my simple mind at least, offers the kind of ground-up, authentic conservative thinking that could have been the basis for a responsible political right counter balance to liberalism. Oh well, what could have been...

Meanwhile, Putin and China might have to come around to the notion that their only hope is to nuke the West. Aspiring emigrants might want to zero in on the Southern Hemisphere. It could be though that they are planning on, and perhaps already, nuking us economically. The US/NATO/Israel recent activities resemble those of a cornered and wounded cat.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dean-

Yes, a pity you can't go to the convention. I think we all might ponder the possibility of projectile diarrhea as well.

Speaking of interesting rdg:

https://www.amazon.com/Station-Eleven-Emily-John-Mandel/dp/0804172447/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466452126&sr=1-1&keywords=station+eleven+emily+st.+john+mandel

mb

3:50 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Shalom MB and Wafers,

It doesn't get any better than this:

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/the-nosher/how-would-you-make-a-bernie-sandwich/

Any Wafers hungry right about now?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_QU391ty50

"Friends" today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DcHnkIqFW0

Miles

3:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Scenes of Canter's made me weep. When O Lord will I get back to LA? I keep waiting for an invitation from UCLA, but nothing comes.

mb

4:46 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Jim J - I often have the same reaction whenever I am out in public, and I live in an upper middle class area where there are fewer obese slobs waddling around than in most of the country. Liberals will tell you that the problem is all the high fructose corn syrup and other fattening additives put in processed food these days. While that is a factor, it still doesn't explain how anyone who is not truly mentally ill can let themselves become a hundred or more pounds overweight. At some point, a person ought to look at themselves and realize that they need to make a lifestyle change.

Relatedly, it is amazing the lengths people will go to trying to avoid even the slightest bit of exercise. I've always made a habit of parking out at the edge of parking lots, even now with a partial disability left over from my cancer treatments (I refuse to apply for handicap tags, even though I would easily qualify). Sure enough, any time the lot is congested there will be at least one mope sitting in their car waiting for someone to leave a close up spot. It's like it would kill them to walk an extra 200 feet.

In his last HBO special, George Carlin did a hysterical bit about people like this, wondering among other things how some bloated married couples could possibly get their genitals close enough together to actually make love. More baffling is that liberal could look at these morons knowing they all are potential voters and see any hope for our supposed democracy, and that conservatives could look at them and think it would be just great if they were all carrying guns.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Reading:

1.The Gestapo on Trial: Evidence from Nuremberg (Bob Carruthers, ed., Pen and Sword Books Ltd,UK)

Not as riveting as an episode of Law and Order, but imteresting for showing the mechanical behavior of those charged with the Endlösung.

Previously read:

2. Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

A portrait of America in the 60s with a California focus

On deck:

3. Four Fish, Paul Greenberg (The Penguin Press)

Subtitle "The Future of the Last Wild Food". Salmon, tuna, sea bass, and cod; fish that this generation's grandchildren may know only as farmed fish.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Say, Jim Jardashian, your description of life as you see it reminds me of that of Ignatius Reilly. "A Confederation of Dunces" ought to be on the WAFer required reading list.

My Slim Gaillard mini-festival on last night's radio show went OK. I even managed to work in a plug for our Morris' blog.

While weeding the garden the other day, the music of Mojo Nixon's "Elvis is Everywhere" kept running through my head, except instead of "Elvis," I kept hearing something else:

"Who built the pyramids?
Belman!
Who built Stonehenge?
Belman!"

I tell ya, future generations will look back on the 21st century and wonder at the magnificence of Belman. Was he a great king? A founder of one of the world's foremost religions? Some kinda damn foodie?

7:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

As the millennia unroll, people will peer back thru the mists of time, trying to penetrate the secret of the Great Belman. Who was this seer, who guided the lives of millions to safety, in a time of utter insanity? Hundreds of scholarly tomes will be penned on the subject, as in days of yore they were written abt the identity of Shakespeare. Many will claim he was but a mythical figure, on whom so many projected their hopes and fears--similar to the thesis of Strauss in "Leben Jesu." But others will suggest that the constant refs to chopped liver and deli-meats suggest a living, breathing entity. "Stoiki muzhik!" they will cry; "stoiki muzhik!" (стойкий мужик) In the last analysis, only contemporary Wafers know the truth.

mb

7:37 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Nowadays I just read bad news online about the future, particularly that of the USA. Tho I did recently listen to H. R. Haggard's "She" on Librivox, which I love. They've got some A.E. Poe in Spanish, and it was quite entertaining to hear The Masque of the Red Death, one of my faves, read in Castilian. I hope within six months to understand every word.

My big focus now is doing everything I can to prepare my departure from these dreadful shores. I won't be posting much on this greatest of all forums, because my task is to launch a business that can travel with me, & that's going to take some serious concentration in these times of global economic contraction. Much mojo is called for.

Dean, I think you may be right about the southern Hemisphere. If climate predictions prove accurate, sea level rise may eventually put a good many nuke power plants underwater, & most of them are in the northern hemisphere. Rio de la Plata looks pretty good to me now.

As for The Hillary victory celebration: every time I feel that wind is about to break, I dedicate it to the American Dream.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Rendar said...


Reading and enjoying The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen:

"The progress of the sciences toward theories of fundamental unity, cosmic symmetry (as in the unified field theory) - how do such theories differ, in the end, from that unity which Plato called 'unspeakable' and 'indiscribable,' the holistic knowledge shared by so many peoples of the earth, Christians included, before the advent of the industrial revolution made new barbarians of the peoples of the West? In the United States, before spiritualist foolishness at the end of the last century confused mysticism with the 'occult' and tarnished both, William James wrote a master work on metaphysics; Emerson spoke of 'the wise silence, the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal One...'; Melville referred to 'that profound silence, that only voice of God'; Walt Whitman celebrated the most ancient secret, that no God could be found 'more divine than yourself.' And then, almost everywhere, a clear and subtle illumination that lent magnificence to life and peace to death was overwhelmed in the hard glare of technology. Yet that light is always present, like the stars of noon. Man must perceive it if he is to transcend his fear of meaningless, for no amount of 'progress' can take its place. We have outsmarted ourselves, like greedy monkeys, and now we are full of dread."

11:59 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Morris, quick question...

Is "Political Correctness" the bad and insidious thing that all of the Conservative Right Wingers make it out to be?


I see tons of online articles against it, and hardly any defending it.

Also, I'm seeing lots of people blame the Frankfurt School for the PC movement and what they consider to be "Cultural Marxism," which apparently is another insidious thing...or Conspiracy Theory...I don't reality know as I'm pretty new to all of this stuff. Thanks

3:35 AM  
Blogger Neil 0421875644 said...

Nice! Woolf a genius coming into her own re the subjective? Someone mentioned Beats. Kerouac and Burrows an extraordinary duo - cf Cobain's "The Priest They Called Him"

4:17 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

You need not be mentally ill to be overweight. It's just one of many reactions to life in what the German philosopher Hans Juergen Syberberg calls "the joyless society". Addiction is rampant and written into the very DNA of capitalist society. Food addiction is just one very visible such reaction.

I overeat because I learned from a young age that everything in this society would leave me unfulfilled. I think Orson Welles suffered the same. Deprived of true art in America, he took refuge in more concrete pleasures.

When one is constantly misunderstood and marginalized, of course you will take comfort in comfort food. Hence also the higher obesity rates for the poor and minorities. When civil society has screwed with you to the point that trust in human beings is near impossible, the cheap and plentiful flow of American food is often your only friend.

Of course, it need not be said that the whole weighting schema is highly arbitrary in the first place. It's simply a product of mass media conditioning as well as the success of the industrial revolution in making 'thin' a rarer commodity.

Go look at statues of Bach, or the paintings of Rubens, or the Italian director Sergio Leone. There was and can be an expression of vitality in larger people. Screw modernity and its attempts to make us soulless, standardized health machines designed to live and die on schedule with health insurance projections. People that don't fit the mold tell us much more about what the system failed to deliver.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

PC is everywhere, esp. in our universities and govt agencies. So no matter how much you read against it, the odds are definitely in its favor. I don't care to discuss it much on this blog because I find it tedious and stupid; but then, I hafta admit that it is making a big contribution to the American collapse. Since Americans can't change what's really important, they pour all their energies into trivia. Trump is the backlash against all of this, and more's the pity: that a fascist has to be the one to say, "Enough of this mishugas!" As for the connection of the Frankfurt Schl to PC, I wdn't worry abt it; just read the classic works, that will keep you busy enuf.

Dio-

America is a terribly sad society, and most Americans don't realize it because of the constant propaganda abt how we're the greatest. Yes, the greatest in obesity, incarceration, poor schooling, social inequality, etc. The culture renders almost everyone depressed, but w/o their knowing it, wh/is a perfect setup for addiction. The list of candidates is quite large by now: food, drugs, alcohol, TV, Internet, cell phones, smartphones, "love," sex, money, fame, compulsive busyness...you name it. All because we are hurting; all attempts to fill the Void. Standing outside of it, looking in, one sees a culture that is grotesque.

mb

10:23 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

Interesting take on "Where to Invade Next":

The Intercept

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Fisher said...

Yea many thanks for ref.ing Comrade to the Gilgamesh analysis in Wandering God. I just went back and reread that section and it is just fascinating. The whole book MB, it really is too bad it has been so overlooked in the MB catalogue, I have to say. I always thought that it should have been received in the same way that it seems ROTW was. All your books should, but that one is probably my fav.

Give us another book soon :)

2:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fish-

Yeah, I always thought it was my best, tho the Japan bk comes in as dead heat, perhaps. I don't think it sold more than 2000 copies, and I can't imagine Neurotic Beauty will do much better. This is America, after all.

mb

4:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

MB-

Re: latest Supreme Court shredding of the Fourth Amendment

Well, now we have an answer to what Michael Hayden specified as "the problem of the not-yet-guilty."

MB, al, Wafers-

Let's see here, we now have:

The Great Belman
The Great Woseribre (alternatively know as Senab Berm)
Great Seer of Western Hemisphere (GSWH)
Attila the Berm
Belman of Chilangoland
Stoiki muzhik

If it's not too much trouble, I'd kinda like to add:

´Ultimo Hombre!

Arriba,

Miles

ps: I'm kinda blue that we're never gonna get an official Bernie sandwich. Jesus, we're stuck w/a Killary or an el Trumpo...

5:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I can only say that my munificence knows no limits.

Meanwhile, how abt this for Dual Process, muchachos?:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/21/closure-diablo-nuclear-plant-signals-dawn-renewable-energy-era

mb

5:42 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Heyyy fellow Wafers, please keep the book recommendations coming !! By the way, I love the Frankfurt School, in particular, two books by Adorno, Negative Dialectics and Minima Moralia...I'm currently in a southern state in the US where anti-intellectualism and cold indifference are omnipresent. Here's a quote from the "Letter to the Editor" section in the local newspaper concerning the Orlando massacre and gun control:

Obama and Clinton should imitate the Republican Congress, which has wisely given up on stopping mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers, that's what we need. Sure gun control has worked in every other industrialized nation in the world. But America is exceptional.

The good news is that I am one step closer to returning to higher education south of the border !! Lo quiero ya !!

6:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

Two things you might wanna put on yr post-it, on the bathrm mirror:

1. The US is basically a collection of idiots
2. It's much better south of the border.

Amigo, don't doubt either of these for a minute.

mb

6:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/06/21/we-left-upper-class-suburbia-to-become-amish-and-learned-you-can-be-both-socialist-and-capitalist/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories-2_amish-840a-stream%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

6:47 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

To al-Qa'bong

You did a great show on Sunday. I was stunned to be able to perceive all the words. Even with my expensive digital hearing aids, I have trouble understanding the lyrics of current songs. I do not know if it is the difference between analog and digital recording, mic placement, compression, or some other technical problem. I need to get some old music for listening pleasure.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to infernall-

Pls send messages to most recent post. No one reads the older stuff. TY.

mb

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Bill,

Indeed, practically all Americans, whether liberal or conservative, believe that America is the greatest country in the world and that its illiterate, obese, character disordered citizenry could easily turn the country around if only they voted for the right candidate. They also suffer from self-induced historical amnesia: America never got any better under any president, whether Democratic or Republican, since the days of FDR (who only gave a few handouts to the lower class to prevent socialism from flowering in America). If they were willing to acknowledge historical facts, or even open their eyes to the present reality in America, they wouldn't be able to maintain their optimism. But as we know, the American psyche depends on blind optimism for its very survival; take that away and you'd have nothing but mindless rage.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Viscount-

Sorry, cdn't post it. We have a half-page limit on this blog. Please compress by 50% and re-send. Thank you.

Jim-

Well, in terms of general prosperity and consumer gds, the US did get better after the War and in fact entered a kind of golden age. This expansion was finally crippled by Nixon's repeal of the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971 (see DAA), and by 1973 things began to go south--materially and in every other way. Reagan, of course, finished the job.

mb

9:55 PM  
Blogger Dawgzy said...

Hola, todos! Re. miles latest post: Dos Equis beer is currently without a "world's most interesting man" for their ads. The last one was a gray haired, bearded and very nice Jewish boy. Ideas, anyone?

10:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Viscount-

Pls send yr message to most recent post. No one reads the older stuff. Thank you.

Dawg-

I thought that was for Levy's rye bread. No, wait: that was a Native American. As for me, what I drink down here is Victoria.

mb

11:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Viscount-

Once again, pls send messages to most recent post. Also, post no more than once every 24 hrs. TY.

mb

12:32 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

https://www.mgtow.com/the-flakey-chick-phenomenon/

It's incredible to be living in times where such a basic degree of respect in human interactions is absent.

What's amazing is that "flaking" and "ghosting" always occur after things go WELL. The article is right to suggest that it's a defense against what would actually be good for the woman.

Case one: we go out, have a lot in common, share laughs, and generally animated by each others' presence

Almost 100 percent likely to flake after a few more dates, when it becomes clear I'm consistent, not abusive, and would actually be good for her.

Case two: we have very little in common, and the experience is generally tense and boring. She will never give up, and you are almost guaranteed to have her want to see you again. She can't stand your rejection, even if it should be mutual.

The moral universe is clearly turning itself on its very head. Bad is now good and good is bad.

Nobody wants good, because it would overturn the decades of cynicism and exploitation that have been heaped upon them. Having a sane, respectful relationship would be a revolutionary act.

10:03 AM  
Blogger C. J. Timmins said...

To the original question (sorry I've been off grid for a little while): I just finished DeLillo's latest, Zero K, which I highly recommend to this group of WAFers. His handle on language is gorgeous as ever, and it tackles some interesting territory regarding technology, ambition, and mortality.

Also, I'm about halfway through Neurotic Beauty, after finishing TMWQ. Brothers Karamazov has been on my list for quite some time. I'll definitely give it a bump to the top.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

This is neat:
"Nearly 50 000 students attending the largest public university in the United States are homeless and many more go hungry, according to a new study made public this week."

http://www.news24.com/World/News/thousands-of-california-college-students-homeless-and-go-hungry-20160622

Kanye

11:43 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Well this is just great. Culturally, we aren't as far "behind" the USA as we like to imagine.

London, Ont., police make arrest after attack against Muslim woman

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/london-police-arrest-superkmarket-attack-1.3647211

Check out the photo of the attacker.

...time to make an occasional cheese dip...

12:25 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

John Mauldin is an economist and draws attention to a rather interesting theory. That of "generational crisis." According to this school of thought there are 4 generation archtypes and as the fourth generation gives way you restart the cycle. Thus a complete cycle through represents around 80 years, roughly the lifespan of a human being. The ending is usually marked, according to this theory, by some serious existential crisis that must be overcome. According to this theory we are right in the middle of the "fourth turning" with the worst yet to come. I'm not sure what I think of it all, but it is an interesting theory. I must admit, his characterization of gen-x (the Nomad archtype) hits uncomfortably close to home.



http://www.mauldineconomics.com/frontlinethoughts/generational-chaos-ahead

1:02 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[mb: "...Levy's rye bread. No, wait: that was a Native American."]

"You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's Real Jewish Rye." A slogan created in 1961 by Doyle Dane Bernbach. Copywriter Judy Protas died in January 2014. There were multiple ads using this slogan, one of which featured an America Indian.

Another notable ad campaign slogan from the firm Scald, McCabe, Sloves for Hebrew National hotdogs in 1972: "We have to answer to a higher authority."

Relation to today's conversation/events? Everything's a product. Every man a potential mark.

Keep Kool with Coolidge. I Like Ike. Nixon's the One. "It's morning again in America." "Where's the beef?" "Yes, We Can"

Trump loves "low information voters." As well he should. "Lyin' Ted [Cruz]". "'Crooked Hillary." "Crazy Bernie."

No need to have a position developed by study and discussion; the voters have no time for that noise. Slogans are good enough for us. Keep the bandwidth low, the bit rate slow.

Make America Great Again.

Sounds good to me.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

DioGenes,

That's about the most astute, succinct and relatable summation of the Western, or at least US, dating/romantic relationship landscape one could imagine ever being proffered. Ditto on your obesity observations. Thanks.

All I need now is a short reading from the Gospels of Belman, a WAFer of pressed pastrami and a sip from the chalice of cole slaw juice. I may levitate.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Christian-

That theory showed up yrs ago:

https://www.amazon.com/Generations-History-Americas-Future-1584/dp/0688119123/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466619713&sr=1-1&keywords=howe+generations

I think there was a lot of debate abt it, and that it didn't hold up; but I've forgotten the details.

al-

Is this the face that launched 1000 ships?

Kanye-

You'd think they wd all be rdg WAF, but no such luck. How much punishment can Americans take, b4 they figure out what's what? (Try infinity)

CJ-

Add these:

https://www.amazon.com/Station-Eleven-Emily-John-Mandel/dp/0804172447/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466620032&sr=1-1&keywords=station+eleven+emily+st.+john+mandel

https://www.amazon.com/Existentialist-Caf%C3%A9-Cocktails-Jean-Paul-Merleau-Ponty/dp/1590514882/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466620062&sr=1-1&keywords=at+the+existentialist+cafe

Dio-

Jerry Seinfeld once said that men know what they want, namely, women; but women have no idea what they want. Hence, problems.

mb

2:29 PM  
Blogger Viscount Flyte said...

one of america's problems is the subjectivity/opacity of its elite college admissions. that is, france, the uk, japan and ne asia in general also have elite and non-elite universities and "the old school tie" thing...

the HUGE difference is that admissions are based solely on objective cumulative tests/exams.

this means that so far as elite status is mediated by elite education/credentials in the US, the US elite is much DUMBER than that of these other countries and much DUMBER than that of many developing countries.

furthermore, the emphasis on short term, idiosyncratic, subjective "grades" i believe is unique to the US and canada, and this rewards pushiness, striving, unreflective conformity, obedience, and a certain kind of social blindness.

and as thomas frank has noted the elite IS mediated by elite education/credentials in the US more than ever.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Andy Borowitz strikes again:

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/cash-strapped-trump-campaign-auctions-chris-christie-on-ebay?mbid=social_facebook

Here's an interesting book review written by Jerry Brown:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/07/14/a-stark-nuclear-warning/

If u guys have a few hrs to kill, allow me to suggest Ezra Edelman's "OJ: Made in America"; a fascinatingly in-depth look at the life of O.J. Simpson, the murder trial, and the absolute frenzy that it created. O.J. even spawned Kim Kardashian, sad to say. You can live stream it here:

http://espn.go.com/30for30/ojsimpsonmadeinamerica/

Miles

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Dio,

Indeed, the moral universe has been turned on its head. Where I live, in NJ, women are quite open about their desire to be with thugs, gangsters and bullies. They regard these types of men as exciting, revolutionary, and free; in contrast, they regard stable, reliable, loving men as sniveling doormats who don't have the balls to do anything other than conform.

What these women don't realize is that their preferences *are* rooted in conformity to the wider culture, and have been shaped by pernicious influences from television, movies, the mainstream media, and their fellow countrymen. They also don't realize that thuggishness is rooted in deeply destructive psychological needs, like the need for constant conflict, and that thuggish men are slaves to these needs rather than the free-wheeling revolutionaries they believe them to be.

Personally, I think this destructive attraction to thuggish men is primarily rooted in the need for emotional numbness. A loving, healthy relationship opens people up emotionally; one becomes more aware of oneself and others in such a relationship. However, if one has so much emotional baggage that increased emotional awareness would uncover tremendous emotional turmoil, a healthy relationship unconsciously appears to be a dire threat. Such women reject decent men, making up all kinds of excuses for why they do so year after year. Worst of all, because these women are committed to avoiding any sort of self-understanding or self-awareness, they never break out of this destructive pattern.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Finished reading "neurotic beauty" just before my first trip to Japan. What a wonderful country! My wife and I were constantly surprised by how kind, generous, and considerate everyone was there. Just one example was when I tried to mail something with a form I thought was pre-paid and easy became a difficult debacle involving three kind and patient clerks working hard to help me understand everything (drawing pictures, using clumsy phone translations, etc) - bowing over and over again, apologizing, and trying to find new ways to help me understand their language! I was so grateful for their help.

While getting a drink in Kyoto we met a prominent artist who arranged a private showing of her work to us the next day- expecting nothing in return. We were given a long presentation of her work and even a free hardcover. I was pretty confident she knew we were not buyers (she mostly does very large scale architectural washi paper installations) but treated us with the utmost respect and generosity.

At one street corner near a major temple in Kyoto and older gentleman came up to us while we were looking at a map and asked "may I help you?" -not trying to hustle anything or trying to ask for money -he just wanted to help. Small things like that were unexpected as about every time I get approached on the street in the US it is for money or other requests-not often to offer help. I know there are good people here too but the lengths people would go to in Japan to be considerate of others was humbling. I learned to be quieter, more patient, and that I don't really need napkins (ha ha!) thanks for your insights on the country and their history. As an artist I especially enjoyed the attention to detail in their arts, gardens, and interiors.

While there, we got news of the Orlando shooting. The Newspaper that day noted how gun deaths in Japan are usually in the single digits each year. It was depressing to read the comments online on US news sources -with gun nuts still advocating for more guns no matter how many people die. I wanted to just stay in Japan. Perhaps the that may happen someday. There are so many times I don't feel like I belong in the US.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nathan-

Thanks for the report, and I'm glad my bk was helpful 2u. Anyone w/half a brain doesn't belong in the US.

mb

11:28 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

WAFers--Ever wished you could turn on a light switch or your coffee maker by using your "smart" phone? Well, you're in luck because nowadays they have devices that will allow you to do just that even if they don't always works so well:

http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/43486.html?view=1707230&posted=1#cmt1707230

I particularly love the first comment (which I swear I didn't write):

"We have hardware solutions installed here. This consists of a special device on each electric socket called an 'on/off switch'. There are no issues with software, security, complexity of set up or GPL violations. In addition it helps reduce obesity by encouraging users to get up and walk across the room to operate the switch."

12:05 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Scanning my usual websites this morning, I came across an article that may interest WAFers: a selection of George Carlin's comments on various topics, politics and general societal stupidity among them. The title of the piece, which appeared on Carlin's birthday May 12, is "George Carlin Foreshadows Trump vs. Clinton: Recall the Comedian's Words of Political Warning on His Birthday." One sample, then a link to the article itself:

"The Illusion of Choice

"The things that matter in this country have been reduced in choice, there are two political parties, there are a handful insurance companies, there are six or seven information centers, but if you want a bagel there are 23 flavors. Because you have the illusion of choice."

http://www.twcc.com/entertainment/galleries/2016/05/george-carlin-foreshadows-trump-vs-clinton?cid=nv_phtgll_et_tab_dt_ag_160111#0

8:37 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

@ Viscount Flyte

You're right, but I think college admissions is a symptom of America's insistence on categorization, another symptom of which is standardized testing.

In most countries, "testing" at school means having to understand and explain the concept as opposed to picking one of four pre-determined answers. That has enormous implications for how people think. Ironically, if you do understand the concept being tested, you'll realize that more than one of the pre-determined answers may fit the question, in which case you might flunk the test.

The American Renaissance is right around the corner:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORCL6bDS71w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1XLzoaMwAs

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/millennials-engage-with-their-smartphones-more-than-they-do-actual-humans-2016-06-21

More Americans checking out:

https://www.rt.com/usa/347935-us-heroin-use-un/

9:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Eric-

You might enjoy a film called "Anesthesia."

mb

9:49 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Mike B. said:

Hi Dr. Berman,
I read this blog every day (one of the lurkers), sometimes more than just once. I have read your trilogy of books on the decline of the American Empire and have started Reenchantment of the World", intending to read the trilogy on consciousness as well. Thank you for writing these works.

Ted Rall seems to get what is happening in the US:

http://www.alternet.org/activism/mass-shootings-are-new-normal?akid=14374.1923546.W4Q0tE&rd=1&src=newsletter1058809&t=7


10:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mike-

Thanks for coming out of the shadows. Don' ferget my new novel, "The Man Without Qualities." You deserve to have a gd laugh. Well, we all do.

mb

11:50 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


Since we live in an image-base culture now, as opposed to a print-based culture, how about this? :

Orlando Shooter’s Lover Comes Forward :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXN7GqcD41o

As Dr. Berman might say, check it out!

"When I asked him what he was going to do now, his answer was 'I'm going to make them pay for what they did to me'"

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Miller_ said...

Environmentalists shouldn't cheer closing of California's last nuclear power plant (link: http://bv.ms/28MTJFY)

I dunno, Professor. .. Pragmatic environmentalists like James Lovelock & Jim Henson endorse eco-minded municipal enriched uranium programs etc , really can be the cleanest option..... when intellect is intact.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Miller-

Seems hard to endorse nuclear energy, after Fukushima; yet even the Japanese are doing it--well, some of them, anyway.

mb

12:53 PM  
Blogger Ed-M said...

Just found this: The National Weather Service's GFS weather data collection, modelling and forecasting software is behind not only other countries' similar softward, but even a version of the GFS that was tweaked by a private-sector firm, Panasonic, to get into the global weather forecasting business. The version the NWS is using on the other hand, is SO BAD not even the US Military will use it!

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2016/06/us-numerical-weather-prediction-is.html

3:45 PM  
OpenID atearinrain said...

Northern Johnny, I recently re-read The Catcher in the Rye for the same reason. I was on vacation, taking the train across the country, and wanted something relaxing. I didn't enjoy it as much as I figured I would—a darn good book, but probably doesn't deserve to be as popular as it is/was. On the way back I made it halfway through Pride and Prejudice. Now that is a great book—funny yet highly informative of the life and mindset of the wealthy Brits of that day, at least for me anyway. Thanks for the Ferrante recommendation, Derek. If and when I finish Pride and Prejudice, I'll make it my next fiction read. I'm reading some esoteric meditation stuff at the moment, as well as learning Spanish so as to get the duck out of this country. Sticking myself in an American intentional community has got to be one of the stupidest life decisions I've ever made, and I've made plenty.

Before my vacation I finished Neurotic Beauty, the first book on Japan I've read. My God was that interesting. Nice work, Dr. B. It's a wonderful blend of so many subjects, new and old. What I liked most about it is it left me with that "the truth is stranger than fiction" feeling. Particularly the pattern of intense acculturation followed by withdrawal, as well as the hyper speed at which Japan adopts new social programs. There's a nice continuity on the theme of your American decline trilogy, which is a good segue into humanity's future (i.e. departure from Americanization). I would suggest doing it again with another country, although if you were to write about Mexico I guess it would be more of a "it's gonna get a lot darker before dawn" thing. I wasn't all that keen on the very casual tone, especially at the beginning of the book, but that's probably just a matter of personal preference.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tear-

Glad you enjoyed NB. Casual tone is something I actually strive for, in all my work. I want the reader to feel that I'm sitting w/him-her in their living rm, just chatting abt stuff. Now casual content: that wd *not* be gd!

All in all, I doubt many people will read it, tho it might slowly infiltrate the culture. When I was at the U of Waterloo in May, I was surprised that one of the other participants in the conference, a Cdn anthropologist, had read it and found the concept of 'archaic modernism' very useful in his own research.

mb

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Just now, I have realized that the disease that is afflicting humanity runs far deeper than Americanization; I think it could be described as "human supremacy", or the idea that the natural world is irrelevant. The cultures that have a different view of the world, like that of the Northern Native Americans and the Ainu, have been almost entirely wiped out. The remaining cultures are all guilty of embracing the ideology of human supremacy - even traditional cultures that value family and community, like that of Mexico. Americans and Mexicans, Muslims and Jews, whites and blacks all agree on one all-important thing: everything that isn't human only exists to provide gratification to human beings. Human supremacy is all we have left, and that's what's killing us even faster than Americanization.

Beyond this, I think humanity has unconsciously succumbed to what I would call "temporal supremacy", or the idea that the future is irrelevant. The wellbeing of future generations simply isn't valued anymore; once again, this problem has infested traditional and nontraditional cultures alike. When an impoverished Mexican couple decide to have eight kids they know they cannot afford, an that these children will themselves be afflicted with poverty, one can say they have succumbed to the ideology of temporal supremacy.

The narcissistic urge to reproduce ourselves as possible is what is doing the human species in. And this isn't limited to children; industrialized nations where the population has more or less plateaued reproduce themselves via Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy said...

Really looking forward to some Berman Brexit analysis over the next couple days, what a bizarre scenario...

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Desmond said...

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/19/texas-secession-movement-brexit-eu-referendum

Secession movements ! Not the WAFERIAN kind tho

8:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Des-

I'm all in favor of Texit, tho I wdn't wanna live in Texas either now or after. The American empire needs to break up, so it can't control/destroy other peoples' lives. It's coming apart politically and economically; next, geographically.

As for Brexit: unexpected! I was disappted when Scotland didn't break away; maybe now, they will. 'Brexit' sounds like a waffle; something you'd have for breakfast w/maple syrup.

Jim-

Mexico has lots of traditional cultures left. The country isn't a monolith. Lots of them don't even speak Spanish.

mb

9:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Further on Brexit: one of my favorite films:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passport_to_Pimlico

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Hiryana said...

Wow im reading up on Passport to Pimlico right now, how does it relate to Brexit Mr. MB?

9:19 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

With Brexit and Orlando shooting, Donald Trump is seeming more likely to be the winner in November. It seems the leaders in politics and media are missing the changes happening now.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-24/trump-issues-statement-brexit-they-took-their-country-back-we-will-take-america-back?page=1

Two very similar phenomena. Indeed, Trump and Farage both fit in the unique historical category of "nationalists with foreign wife (ves)".

There will come a point where both are successful, which will be a good thing, because at that point a certain older Anglo/Anglo-American demographic will finally have nobody to blame but themselves.

With the UK gone, the EU can finally expel the London/NYC financial cartels, write off peripheral debt, and claim its own independence from the persistent ghosts of the British empire.

So, this will strengthen the reform of the EU, which will strengthen the EU.

If Britain's final fate is closer ties to the US...

Russia is also a winner. Now the EU will stop antagonizing them, and leave the idiot Americans and Brits to poke the bear. This is the death of American policy by the self-imposed irrelevance of its EU proxy.

Very interesting that Greece said it's staying in the EU, end of story, debt be dammed. The UK, by contrast, left simply to make a point, without being in the currency, even. Clearly was never really committed...

Is the UK now a state example of an American style, BPD "flaky chick"? :)

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Brexit! I'm stunned. Maybe there is hope for humanity after all.

I've been in the decentralization school of thought for a long time...going back to the Tofflers. Even before that, I remember arguing with my high school government teacher, back in the mid 80's, that we would have been better off running with the Articles of Confederation.

Most people on the political left just don't get it. How are you going to de-consolidate wealth with highly centralized authority structures? We can see the absolute power that comes with that combo of centralized authority and consolidated wealth. It's a vicious cycle. Congrats to the people of the UK for trying to break it up.

Of course, the vast majority of US libs are going to really be doing some major hand-wringing over this. Trying to talk decentralization with them is impossible. They immediately smear you as being pro-slavery or states rights (with all the negative baggage that entails). A mindset I'm sure you are quite familiar with encountering, Dr. B.

Now you also get deemed anti-immigrant as well. That's the only response I get when I ask how can highly centralized authority, an expansive welfare state, and open borders be sustained with anything resembling effective governance. I suspect they want to counter with their utopian fantasy of a benevolent, egalitarian one world government. Maybe it's time they go back to the drawing board?

10:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hir-

Suggest you order the film on Netflix, see for yrself.

mb

10:26 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

Thanks, MB, I watched "Anesthesia" last evening. Brilliant film, and damning, although not without some flickers of hope. All the Wafer themes are certainly in there, aren't they?

May I recommend some other films -

* They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
* Glengarry Glen Ross
* American Psycho

- on the grounds that they condemn hustling culture? Actually I suspect you've seen them all, MB, but other Wafers may enjoy them.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

1. Brexit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTJ2CU13bq0

2.. Is it me, or does the lead singer Danny Rapp kinda look like Donny Trump?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3KjDpvmtwU

and, finally:

Texan Michael Shannon Thedford, a 33-year-old unemployed high school teacher, put his baby daughter in a refrigerator after he left her in a hot car. sadly, the child did not survive:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-texas-death-child-idUSKCN0Z82KZ

Wishing MB and all Wafers of the World a safe and sane weekend,

Miles

2:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Let us look forward to Texit, Vexit, Flexit, Orexit, Califexit, and so on.

mb

3:27 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Dean - I suspect a lot of the unabashed mainstream liberal support for centralization despite the fact that it makes possible so many things they profess to hate comes from their fear that the decentralization will lead to more financial chaos. They would never admit that, of course, but because so many of them benefit economically from the stability of the current world financial order they don't want to see anything upset the apple cart. No doubt that many of those who support Hillary are doing so in part hoping that she can maintain the Obama economic "recovery" even though the inequalities of that recovery are what are fueling the voter anger that led to rise of Trump and Sanders.

I've been saying to people since early in the year that whether there is another financial crash before November is likely going to decide which party wins the White House. In that regard, the instability the Brexit has injected into the global financial system is indeed bad news for Hillary. Just as the pollsters underestimated the anger of the British working class in their Brexit calculations, they are likely underestimating Trump's current level of support here. Like Romney believing he would win in the final days before the 2012 election because he would only listen to Fox News polls, it is easy to ignore data that conflicts with what you want to hear right up until the moment that reality bites you in the ass.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

People getting tired of gov't by douche bags:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/06/24/brexit-blow-establishment

5:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What a con globalization was:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-brexit-globalization-future-20160624-snap-story.html

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...


Dr B,
I read something a couple of days ago about 65 million people being displaced in 2015. My first thought was globalization is the problem.

U.N. Says a Record 65 Million People Displaced in 2015
http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2016-06-20/un-says-65-million-people-displaced-in-2015-a-new-record

Also, recall Sir James Goldsmith Interview in 1994 in Charlie Rose. If you have not watched it, watch it now - because everything he said about globalization turned out to be true. They laughed at him as they laugh at you now:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwmOkaKh3-s

10:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Frank-

Many thanks. I tell you, I'm getting a little tired of being laughed at.

1. In 1981, in the Reenchantment bk, I predicted the break-up of nation states. People laughed.

2. In 1989, in CTOS, I said Americans were "the driest tinder imaginable for fascism." People laughed.

3. In the 90s, I called globalization a con game, little more than a secular religion that wd make the rich richer and the poor poorer. They laughed.

4. In 2000, in the Twilight bk, I showed the similarities between the US and the Roman Empire, and said we were going down the drain. They laughed.

5. In 2011, in WAF, I pointed out that we had been hustlers for 400 years and had done ourselves in by ignoring non-hustling voices. They ignored me.

Meanwhile, all of these things have proven or are proving to be true. I'm just a tad annoyed at this pt. I have written the Nobel Committee abt the need to establish a prize in Prediction and Humor, with myself as 1st recipient, but again--I'm being ignored. Can you believe it?

Meanwhile, what is going on here? The collapse of the US is tucked into a larger collapse, that of capitalism in general (check out my post on "Dual Process"). It has no future; and things like Brexit, or the rise of Trump, are inevitable manifestations of the disintegration of an unworkable system. Fasten yr seat belts, Wafers, and try not to overeat.

mb

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Morris,

You have the right to be angry that people have dismissed your predictions out of hand, even after they have proven to be true. I feel the same way in my personal life; my parents arrogantly dismiss everything I say, even though I have always been proven correct as events have unfolded. Americans are so arrogant than even their sense of reality is undermined; if someone else proves to be correct, they view it as some irrelevant fluke, even if this happens over and over again. They are right by definition, and others are wrong by definition, no matter what happens in reality. All of this stems from a massive superiority complex; after all, because they are so grandly superior to all other people, how could they possibly be wrong about anything? They believe, as Reagan did, that "facts are stupid things".

I'll look into the cultures you mentioned in Mexico that don't subscribe to the idea that the natural world is irrelevant. I'm sure they exist, but I'm equally sure they are marginalized and oppressed so fiercely that their very existence is threatened. That's what globalization has done to the remnants of these cultures all over the world. Techno-gadgets like cell phones only exacerbate this problem.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jim-

True; and yet, they persist! 22 separate Mayan dialects, just for starters.

mb

12:41 AM  
Anonymous John S said...

Brexit basically shows that mass insanity can break out anywhere from time to time, and nations can effectively throw hissy fits for no particular reason, perhaps hatred of Cameron for the austerity measures that they voted for, combined with Nativism, who knows, although the Brits still don't have an equivalent to a Trump yet, not even remotely close - Johnson at least speaks in grammatically correct sentences for one thing. Essentially Britain is going to have to renegotiate every trade deal they have with every other Euro country, and in the end after those massive costs and disruptions, it will be at best a return to things as they already are.

I do agree and await with eagerness, Texit, Alaxit when inevitably as Dr. MB predicts, there will be massive secessionist movements in the US in the future. Probably for the sacredness of gun rights.

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Vusnamefo said...

The elite and their enslaved politicians love globalization, and here is why:

"The wealth gap keeps growing as the world's richest get richer at the expense of the poor, according to a new study released this week by an alliance of major organizations.

The World Wealth Report from Oxfam, Greenpeace, and other groups found that while the total number of millionaires in the world jumped to 15.4 million—up by nearly 5 million since 2009—more than 702 million people remain in poverty around the globe.

"For every person with more than $30 million, there are over 4800 people living in extreme poverty," said Jenny Ricks of the Fight Inequality Alliance. "This gross inequality is a symptom of an unjust and unfair economic system that allows the rich to get richer at the expense of the poor.""

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/24/standing-backs-global-poor-filthy-rich-getting-even-filthier

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

U wanna learn to hustle ? Watch this guy on YouTube https://youtu.be/X60cpFTAT2s . 8 years ago I would hav subscribed to this guys channel.

4:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

Well, I doubt that Brexit was "for no particular reason," any more than Trump emerged for no particular reason. The reasons are solid, and quite obvious. As for secessionism: it will have a variety of motives. Those of Texas won't be the same as those of Vermont, for example.

But I'm hoping that some clever British chef whips up a recipe called "the Brexit." Then next time I'm in London, I'll go into some trendy restaurant and say, "I'll have the Brexit with a side of chips."

mb

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

I think most Brexiters would like to thank your President Obama, whose "back of the queue" snark girded many a loin over here. He's definitely one of the heroes of Brexit.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

What was the remark? I missed it. Keep in mind that the guy is a punk.

The rage against austerity in Spain/Greece/Portugal, or behind Brexit, or Trump, is all of a piece. What is neoliberalism, if not an arrangement to promote social inequality while covering it w/a veneer of supposed freedom and democracy? Too many people, in the US and Europe, have begun to see neoliberal capitalism as a shell game, and the politicians who promote it as friends of the ruling class, not of the man in the street. As Gene Genovese once said, we live in a regime of affluent depravity, what is actually a barbaric social order. The pro-Trumpers have various motives, but one is surely that the neoliberal order is a con, and that traditional politics (e.g. Hillary) means more conning. Obama, after all, amounted to little more than lofty speeches. In the end, he was just an empty dickhead. Hence there has been an awareness in the US, UK, and much of Europe that the establishment spokesmen are there to protect establishment interests, nothing more. What we are seeing is a reaction against a violent, and selfish, social order; and the representatives of that order are basically morons with high IQ's.

mb

7:42 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

John-

I think you mean that Brexit won for no particular reason in the sense that Brexit was not the solution to the real problems motivating it.

The British are highly diminished as a people, no doubt, but blaming a few EU food quality laws for their demise is more than a bit insane. They are not in the common currency, and they are not in the Schengen border agreement, so all their financial and immigration turmoil of the past few years is their own problem, not an EU problem.

The Anglo American empire now really needs some scapegoats. They have only tolerated the continental, Catholic perspective for so long and now want to smite it in their failing wrath. It's Henry VII all over again.

No Mexicans, Remain voters, or Papists allowed.

The UK and US are the insecurely attached on the international dating scene. No true allies, at the end of the day. Interact at your own risk.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Humorist Humanist said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=17&v=T72TopWbXJg

Government releases film held in reserve for times of crisis


hahahahaha

9:53 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

@ Bill Hicks

Oh, definitely, Brexit and Trump are products of the same sentiment. Is it necessarily rational? No. But when people get pissed off, their thinking shifts from "let's pursue enlightened self-interest" to "let's get the bastards who did this to us".

Meanwhile, Bernie sheds whatever dignity he had left:

https://www.rt.com/usa/348192-sanders-vote-clinton-election/

Berniebros not liking Hillary:

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/06/nearly_half_of_bernie_sanders.html

10:34 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Humorist-

Hilarious!

Eric-

Honestly, I consider the violent reaction to the ruling class rational: they know who the enemy is, and they act accordingly. Of course, the election of Trump wd be self-destructive; but it's not like those many millions who have been screwed have any positive political avenues they can pursue. There's no reason for them to believe that Bernie, running w/in the Democratic establishment, wd really help them.

The prediction that Bernie would finally be groveling to the Democratic establishment like a degraded buffoon was 1st predicted here, several mos. ago; altho anyone w/half a brain cd have predicted it. Anyone except the progs. Poor progs. I guess they are now looking forward to 2020, when they will find someone to "challenge" Hillary--Schmernie, perhaps. Feel the Schmern!

mb

11:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: What are the odds?: Rt now there are 169 registered Wafers and 322 million morons. But God sends down a lightning bolt, thru the heads of the morons, after the 2016 election. The morons can suddenly read books that contain polysyllabic words, and difficult concepts. They read the Berm's American trilogy, and they realize that they have been defending the wrong values, living the wrong lives, and that the nation has to be turned upside down. They manufacture small copies of WAF, complete w/red covers; and when it's time for the 2020 election, they fill the Smithsonian Mall, Times Square, Golden Gate Park, etc., waving their little bks and crying, not "Belman!", but "Bermie!" "Feel the Berm!" they cry. As in the story of "The Man Without Qualities," the gov't is backed into a corner. Will Hillary step down, and let the Berm take over? Or will she order the troops to shoot on the crowds? Time will tell.

-Bermie

11:31 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Capitalism at work:

WAFers may remember that in April, German carmaker VW reached an agreement with the U.S. on the emissions-results-doctoring kerfuffle. On Tuesday (28 June), the settlement terms with affected car owners will be announced. It is expected that the settlement will cost VW some $10.2 billion dollars. This figure will not take into account any fines VW faces in the Justice Department lawsuit in connection with the company's violation of the Clean Air Act. Estimates of possible fines in that suit could rise to $48 billion. And VW is being sued by its own shareholders for having damaged the share price: VW shares have fallen 40 percent in the past year.

Of course, Germany is a major trade partner and NATO ally, so maybe there will be nothing more than a stern talking to in the Justice suit.

Richard Wolff, economics professor emeritus at U-MASS Amherst believes the solution to capitalism's woes is its replacement with a Marxist model, with the workers deciding what to produce, where to produce, and what to do with the profits. His model still depends on and perpetuates the growth and consumption themes inherent in capitalism. On a planet with finite resources and growing population. Who all want, as our GSWH points out, a Mercedes Benz.

Environmentalist Derrick Jensen thinks the whole civilization model is fucked. Premise 3 (of 20) in his 2006 2-volume work Endgame says that our way of living--industrial civilization--"is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence." (Sound like a country you know?)

Brexit, schmexit. When you get to a fork in the road, as Yogi said, take it.


11:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

I like the idea of Schmexit: next on the agenda. As for Rick W.: an acquaintance of mine, and a very smart guy. But yr rt: the similarities between capitalism and socialism are too great to ignore, esp. where it counts--as in the case of the concept of unlimited economic and technological expansion. This wd hardly produce a better world. It wd also spell ecological disaster, and I very much doubt it would change the psychology of the people/nations involved. "Growth" is not a spiritual path; it's a delusion, a dead end.

mb

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B,

The remark is here: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/22/barack-obama-brexit-uk-back-of-queue-for-trade-talks

On hearing it, half the population of the UK immediately thought "well, let's see if you're still saying that in two months' time."

Two months later: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36626660

He really is a cock.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

A serious problem for Obama is that he has no idea *what* he thinks, and his foreign policy is completely ad hoc. I lived in England for 3 years, and I know a wanker when I see one.

mb

12:42 PM  
Blogger Ed-M said...

MB,

I found a little nugget from The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft that one Avalterra posted on this week's article of the Archdruid Report:

"Living side by side with people whose natural impulses and criteria differ widely from ours, gets in time to be an unendurable nightmare. We may continue to respect them in the abstract, but what are we to do when they continue to fail to fulfil our natural conception of personality, meanwhile placing all their own preferential stresses on matters and ideals largely irrelevant and sometimes even repugnant to us? And don’t forget that we affect alien groups just as they affect us. Chinamen think our manners are bad, our voices raucous, our odour nauseous, and our white skins and our long noses leprously repulsive. Spaniards think us vulgar, brutal, and gauche. Jews titter and gesture at our mental simplicity, and honestly think we are savage, sadistick, and childishly hypocritical. […] What’s the answer? Simply keep the bulk of all these approximately equal and highly developed races as far apart as possible."

Mind you Lovecraft, a New England brahmin, was referring to white people in general, but I think it applies even more to the huge majority of Americans.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

I saw another article about douchebag Obama's lecturing the Brits about what would happen if they didn't vote Remain, which had the tracking polls showing that Leave almost immediately gained 5 points after he opened his arrogant fucking yap. So indeed, the Brexit supporters should all be sending Obama thank you cards given that he essentially provided them with their margin of victory.

Relatedly, Obama keeps flogging the TPP despite the obvious rising anger towards "free" trade and globalization here in the U.S. It is like he is TRYING to lose the election for Hillary, who at least has been forced to dissemble about her support for it. Of course, this is Obama showing what a sociopathic grifter he really is. He could just ride out the last few months of his presidency, but instead he is attempting to ram one more red, white and blue dildo up the asses of working people on behalf of his Wall Street paymasters.

It's almost enough to make me wish I were religious, and could believe there is an especially horrible corner of hell waiting for him in eternity.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

This just in from CNN:

President Obama is now ready to address the American people. Let's listen in...

My fellow Americans, I've recently awakened to the fact that I'm a boner; not just an ordinary boner, mind you, but an honest-to-god, certifiably large boner. Indeed, I'm the kind of boner the great historians warned you about: one who sports a pair of Gucci shoes and thinks he controls the destiny of the people of the world. Worse still: I'm an establishment douche bag to boot; I did Wall Street's bidding; I blindly followed the Pentagon's mandate; and, yes, I have droned the innocent for no reason. I tell ya, I'm an empty person; a spiritually dead person. I need help...real help...

Henceforth, effective immediately, I am resigning from the office of president. Vice president Biden will be sworn in...at this hour...in this office. As for me, I will try to get right. What else is there for me to do, really? On Monday morning, I will be joining my local Chicago-branch Bermanic Monastery. My goal in life now is to, well, get a real life.

Thank you for your time, good night, and good luck.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

And ps, I'm a wanker and an utter douche bag. I need large doses of Haldol, Stelazine, and ECT. As well as Bermanic Reality Therapy. It wd be better for all if I just killed myself, but I intend to give BRT a whirl. Like most of you, I'm a horse's ass, but I'm sick and tired of it. Wish me luck.

Ed-

Thank you. Be sure to post no more than once every 24 hrs.

mb

2:26 PM  
Blogger Neil 0421875644 said...

What I'm reading - one of the greatest plots read by a very great American Bach: Keyboard Concerto No.6 in F Major (Perahia): http://youtu.be/zuRwipn6Nes

11:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Neil-

It's the 4th Brandenburg; I love it. Thank you, thank you.

mb

2:06 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Brexit is way more smoke than fire. The referendum doesn't enforce anything for now and there are two years of negotiations ahead where anything can happen. The status quo will prevail.

Meanwhile, is this a sign that technodouchebaggery is waning?
http://www.recode.net/2016/6/8/11883518/app-boom-over-snapchat-uber

Kanye

6:49 AM  
Anonymous Wile E Coyote said...

MB

I'm reading Lionel Shriver's new novel. Here's the review: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/08/the-mandibles-lionel-shriver-review-biting-near-future-satire

Also, finishing Gain as per your recommendation. Good stuff.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I always regarded globalization as a fancy word for imperialism. It hurt millions of people, badly, and made the rich a whole lot richer. Brexit shd not be a total surprise.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/25/great-britain-just-killed-globalization-as-we-know-it/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_wv-globalization-335am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

mb

9:19 AM  
Blogger Sanguillen39 said...

I live in Conroe, Texas which is about 40-45 miles north of Houston. The link is about a shooting that occurred in Fulshear, TX (not Flusher) on Friday (June 24th). Fulshear is part of the Houston metropolitan area. This type of stuff is occurring almost on a daily basis in the area.

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2016/06/christy-sheats-gun-lover-taylor-sheats-madison-sheats/

As for what I'm reading : E. M. Cioran's "The New Gods".

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

Reading "Irrational Man" by William Bennett and found this rather apropos quote predicting Trumpian America:

"And yet despite all its apparently cheerful and self-satisfied immersion in gadgets and refrigerators, American life, one suspects, is nihilistic to its core. Its final 'what for?' is not even asked, let alone answered... And Nietzsche's fate might very well prefigure our own, for unless our Faustian civilization can relax its frantic dynamism at some point, it might very well go psychotic."

This book was written in 1958.

O&D -- The Capt.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous John said...


Dr. Berman, I'm just curious, what are your favorite parts of CDMX ? There's an endless array of interesting places but my favorite places are Coyoacan, el Zocalo and la Condesa. When I return to Mexico, the tacos, or pozole, or whatever you want is on me, so are the modelos, vickys or coronas...

You would be happy to know that last month I spoke in a school in Puebla about the elections and American society in general and I had the privilege of citing your work.

Fellow Wafers, keep the book recommendations coming !!

11:25 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

http://fox59.com/2016/06/17/assistant-principal-accused-of-murdering-pregnant-teacher-of-the-year

American school administrators are very unbalanced people. Like in everything else in this miserable society, they are the hustlers who get the fake credentials, have no real idea of actual management, and generally rule by fear.

Whether the military or education, everything reduces to brutal, senseless hierarchy.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Kanye -- no doubt what you are saying is accurate for the moment, but the way the markets reacted demonstrates that the elites were not prepared for what is essentially the first real shot across the bow of rampant neoliberalism and globalization. Ever since 2008, they've been reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic faster and faster in the hopes that the idiot passengers won't notice that the sucker is on the verge of going down. Take the shrieking and howling of their toadies in the mainstream press for what it is, a real sign that the current world economic paradigm is much more fragile than it looks, and that any sign that resurgent nationalism could eventually be triumphant is viewed as a real threat.

Wile E - I read Shriver's chilling school shooter novel, "We Need to Talk About Kevin," not long ago. Incidentally, she was born American but decamped to Europe as a young adult because she found our culture to be repugnant. Thanks for alerting us regarding her latest effort. I'll definitely check it out.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

I see the EU eventually disintegrating back to its former self of individual countries. I see that as a more natural state for Europe, going back to who and what they really are -- individual countries w/their own histories and destinies. The horrors of the 20th-century notwithstanding, it's not the end of the world; it's the end of a particular kind of world. Europe can still be a set of individual countries and still cooperate w/each other. And like MB said, globalization isn't what its presented as and, in many ways, has been a complete and total disaster for the planet and poor people around the world. This is undeniable, at this point in our development. In any event, I think it important to take the long view perspective on this, and support moves that highlights and deal w/the serious shortcomings of globalization.

Miles

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

At some point, nations will have to opt out of globalization just to survive. Perhaps globalization will be very short-lived as nationalist and separatism sentiments proliferate across the world. If other countries quickly follow suit, agreements like the TPP won't stand a chance. It seems that instead of centuries of international corporations crushing the life out of the world, we'll have rapid disintegration of globalization instead. I personally couldn't be happier; nothing could ever be worse than a permanent global corporate dictatorship.

I have begun to think that Hillary may actually be even worse than Trump. The TPP is basically a death sentence for all countries involved, and Hillary is the one trying to ram that document down America's throat. Yes, Trump is a Hitlerian fascist that wants to exterminate huge segments of humanity, but Hillary's plan for global corporate dictatorship would probably kill even more people in the long run. It would also result in far greater suffering, because instead of a portion of humanity being killed off, it would result in the enslavement and brutalization of nearly everyone.

Exactly what does Hillary do better than Trump? Things that don't really matter - feminism, gay marriage, transgender rights, and other trivialities. She also dresses better, has a broader vocabulary, and speaks with a gentle tone, so that we might hear her honeyed words as the global corporate dictatorship crushes the life out of us. This is the best the American Left has to offer, so why are American pseudo-liberals surprised at Trump's popularity? Because they're dumbasses.

3:51 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

al-Qa’bong,

I enjoyed your show last Sunday. Thank you for playing Communication. I’ll be tuning in again tonight.

MB and Wafers,

I’m currently reading At the Existentialist Café, which has been mentioned a couple of times here on the blog.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Chocoflan said...

You don't need a gun:

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/california/Multiple-People-Stabbed-As-Sacramento-Protest-Turns-Violent-384451341.html

Oh, I'm reading E. Fromm's "Man for himself".

5:09 PM  
Blogger dg said...

MB,

No surprise at all.

http://www.johnralstonsaul.com/non-fiction-books/the-collapse-of-globalism/

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

Western institutions loosing credibility . Great article by Glenn Greenwald. https://theintercept.com/2016/06/25/brexit-is-only-the-latest-proof-of-the-insularity-and-failure-of-western-establishment-institutions/ . He almost sounds like Morris . In the article he quotes an author named Chris Hayes who wrote a book called twilight of the elites. Morris it sounds like the title of ur book. I think Chris Hayes copied you. After the brexit vote allot of pundit are saying the order that was created after world war 2 is coming apart . I think the western (white) world order that was created after Columbus "discovered" America is coming apart. It seems like the power structure is moving east once again.

4:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I just did an interview with WBAI in NY, and they will air it online on July 2 at 2 pm NY time, for those of you who want to listen. After which, they'll send me an audio link, and I'll post it here for the rest of you. Here's the link for July 2:

http://www.wbai.org/playernew.html

Mohamed, dg-

Globalization, aka chic imperialism, was invented by the rich for the rich. And the middle class got snowed by it. How many conferences did I go to, where everyone was agog abt it, while I tried to suggest it was just the latest secular religion? Of course, there are some nasty populist and nativist forces behind Brexit and Trump, but there's no denying that these movements represent an awareness on the part of many that neoliberalism is a shuck, and that their lives have become worse as a result of the reigning elites and ideology. I think what I 1st predicted in 1981 is finally coming to pass, and that we are witnessing a tectonic shift.

Jim-

You nailed it, amigo.

Jeff-

Also, in 1981, I predicted secessionist movements *within* the major nations: Alsace, Catalonia, Northern vs. Southern Italy, and so on. It's a few decades down the line, but I suspect it will happen.

John-

I live in Coyoacan, but enjoy Condesa as well. I also may be lecturing in Puebla in August, doing a lanzamiento for the Span trans of my Japan bk, Belleza neurotica.

Capt.-

Bennett's work is a classic, of course. For an updated version, check out "At the Existentialist Cafe," by Sarah Bakewell.

mb

10:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Here's a surprise:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/betraying_progressives_dnc_platform_20160625

I wonder if Bernie will continue shuckin' and jivin' down on the ol' plantation.

mb

10:50 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Regarding that mass stabbing in California yesterday, here is what the "leader" of the counter-protestors said to CNN:

"Yvette Felarca, who said she was a member of the group By Any Means Necessary, told CNN she came out to let people know that racist and anti-immigrant viewpoints would not be tolerated."

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/26/us/brawl-at-california-rally/index.html

So intolerant views will not be tolerated, she said without irony--jeez what an absolute moron. Two things I'd like to say to Ms Felarca: 1). You can be sure the next time the white nationalists march they will be carrying guns to protect themselves and people are going to die. 2). Doing ANYTHING to create a backlash or sympathy for those douchebags is completely counterproductive, so congratulations for that.

Another day, another sign that the Titanic is rapidly taking on water.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Has anyone seen this? I know fellow Wafers won't be surprised.
https://www.sott.net/article/313177-The-cult-of-ignorance-in-the-United-States-Anti-intellectualism-and-the-dumbing-down-of-America

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Interesting take on Schmexit:

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/06/27/brexit-and-diseased-liberal-mind



2:21 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

From one of my favorite sources, the New Yorker, an article capturing the intersection of capitalism's profit motive and the country's proliferating psychopaths:

"Omar Mateen, the killer responsible for the carnage at the Pulse night club in Orlando, two weeks ago, began training to become a corrections officer during the fall of 2006. He worked at a prison in Indiantown, Florida, while attending a correctional academy at a community college. His training didn’t last long. In April, 2007, the Florida Department of Corrections “administratively dismissed” Mateen, and he was kicked out of the academy. Mateen had felt slighted for being a Muslim, warned that a massacre like the one at Virginia Tech could occur at the academy, and talked about shooting his classmates at a school cookout. Administrators worried that he might show up on campus with a gun. Five months later, he was hired by G4S Secure Solutions USA, Inc., to work as an armed security guard. He obtained a license to carry a concealed weapon and, over the years, fulfilled various assignments for the company. At the St. Lucie County Courthouse, where G4S had a contract, one of Mateen’s tasks was screening visitors for guns."


http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-security-firm-that-employed-the-orlando-shooter-protects-american-nuclear-facilities?mbid=nl_160627_daily&CNDID=24465181&spMailingID=9118347&spUserID=MTA5MjQwMjQ4Mjg5S0&spJobID=942630610&spReportId=OTQyNjMwNjEwS0

3:21 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

The right choice dept.:

http://www.onionstudios.com/videos/brain-dead-teen-only-capable-of-rolling-eyes-and-texting-to-be-euthanized-1621

ps: I decided to toss Cline's "The Girls" (too much hype and the author gets the energy of the sixties all wrong) and pick up "At the Existentialist Cafe."

Miles

4:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pastrami-

Gd article. The neoliberal elite is hurt, because they are so "good." Jesus Christ. They grind the man in the street into the sewers for decades, and then can't understand why there wd be a backlash. I've been saying for 10 yrs now, on this blog, that high IQ does not nec mean high intelligence. Meanwhile, I understand that Hillary will not be making transcripts of her speeches to Goldman Sachs available.

mb

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-catalonia-idUSKCN0ZA2VK

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/catalonia-independence-spain-cup-jxsi-podemos-separatists-mas-puigdemont/

Very interesting sir

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Morris,

I think the neoliberal elite is not only psychopathic, but so myopic that they believe their own personal experiences are actually the sum total of the experiences of all of humanity. If they are enjoying more wealth than ever, then that means all of humanity is doing better than ever, regardless of how many billions of people in the world go hungry. If they believe themselves to be good people, then that is the case, regardless of how many lives they destroy. This is where the New Age idea of the Law of Attraction intersects with corporate dictatorship; the neoliberal elite believes that its great fortune is the direct result of great virtue. Feeling good means being good, even if it's at the expense of everyone else. It's an extremely infantile idea, but it has proliferated extensively in the world, especially among the elite, who are drowning in it.

The resulting lack of empathy makes emotional intelligence impossible. The neoliberal elite can't understand what other people are feeling, because they don't regard other people, especially the poor and middle class, as real. Their experiences are abstracted through statistics and business jargon, and made subservient to the bottom line. Having severed their connection to the rest of humanity, the neoliberal elites then immerse themselves in the self-serving ideology of the Free Market, in which this process of accumulating wealth at the expense of everyone else is transformed into a virtue. Through these mental gymnastics, they have found a way to completely discount visible reality and human experiences outside their own little privileged bubbles. As Orwell noted, you actually have to have a high IQ, combined with emotional imbecility, to think like this.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

I'm reading:

1. Democracy Incorporated, by Sheldon Wolin.

Dr. Wolin's premise is that the United States has transformed into an ethos of inverted totalitarianism. Highly recommended...


2. This Changes Everything - Capitalism vs. The Climate, by Naomi Klein.

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time. We ignore it at our own peril. As Ms. Kline said, she essentially did until she was shocked into reality. Also highly recommended...

7:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jefferson-

Be sure to check out the exchg Naomi had with Elizabeth Kolbert in the NYRB a few months ago. Liz crushed her like a bug. Naomi's optimism is quite unfounded; she's not living in reality. This notion that we just have to roll up our sleeves and tackle the job is more Yankee can-do self-delusion. The climate mtgs in Paris last Dec. had no provision to punish nations who violate the agreement...which means the whole thing continues to be a farce. As far as climate change and resource destruction, the train has already left the station. Check out a DVD called "The Age of Stupid."

mb

10:46 AM  
Anonymous The Craw said...

Frankistan:

Thanks for the link to the 1994 Charlie Rose interview of Sir James Goldsmith. What a prescient thinker! An excellent communicator, as well. I was unaware of his advocacy against globalization through opposition to GATT. Too bad nobody paid any attention. We are all worse off for it.

After having seen the clips, a couple of observations come to mind:

1) Charlie Rose has been a douchebag for a long time. Particularly telling was Charlie’s reaction while Goldsmith is speaking. Rather than being a neutral interviewer, while Goldsmith is speaking, you can see Charlie squirming in his seat for the chance to rebut Goldsmith through the use of Clinton Administration talking points.

2) The counter argument provided by the President’s chief economic advisor, Ms. Tyson, consisted entirely of condescension and more talking points. Nevertheless, Ms. Tyson has done well for herself since then. Her Wikipedia entry includes a photo of her addressing the 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an invitation only gathering of 1-percenters.

O&D everybody!

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Devil's Advocate said...

http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-obama-anti-business-president/

Interesting interview w Pres. Obama: Smart, level-headed, non-ideological take on US & world economy.

i know this won't be popular here... eek!

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Gabriel said...

a companion recommendation to your cataclsymic readings, Professor:

The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us About the Apocalypse
By Phil Torres

11:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Devil-

This is part of the propaganda being churned out by the media spokesmen of the neoliberal, globalization elite, to keep the ruling class in charge. Let's whitewash the fact that this has been one of the shabbiest, and most meaningless, presidencies in American history, and instead create a bullshit mythology. Same thing happened after Reagan croaked. Millions will buy this crap, but Brexit and Trump wd indicate other perceptions are at work. Unfortunately, Hillary is leading Trump by abt 6% these days. The old order will limp along for 8 yrs, but it's likely that during that time, perhaps by 2020, a new, more virulent version of Trump will arise, and will finally win.

Americans in Action!:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/06/28/police-calif-woman-drives-for-almost-a-mile-with-mans-body-lodged-in-windshield-severed-leg-on-trunk/?hpid=hp_no-name_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

mb

11:08 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Mike B. said:

Just figured you'd like to read what Paul Craig Roberts says about Brexit and the US. He rejects the Orlando massacre due to a lack of video evidence and figured it was a false flag operation - he asked his readers to find video evidence and they found nothing according to him. I think there was a massacre, perhaps - there are at least two reports of funerals of victims from NYC. That Roberts believes that Americans are brainwashed by the media is not an unusual notion on this blog and he clearly is for decentralization of power in the world and against the endless American wars and the seemly ongoing provocation of Russia over Ukraine.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/06/28/report-to-supporters-the-british-woke-up-can-the-americans/

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Ice, ice...baby! Is Iceland where humanity will make its final stand?

We all know Iceland is the only country that sanely reacted to the financial crisis. Jailing bankers, nationalizing banks, tossing out the government that was asleep (or complicit) at the switch. Good stuff!

Now, here in the last few days, they've elected a History professor as president. Could you imagine such a thing in the US? Their soccer team also scored what apparently is a monumental upset over England in Europe's big annual tournament. I'm a little lukewarm on post-rock music, but, hey, relatively speaking, this looks like civilization ascending to me.

Could this be a home for a new monastic WAFer colony? What do you say, Dr. B? I smell at least a book to fittingly follow "Neurotic Beauty" here. And to top it off -- global warming will soon make Iceland a four season delight.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Those of you experiencing a man-crush on James Goldsmith should note that while he was correct in his criticism of neoliberalism while on Charlie Rose, he seems to have neglected that buying companies, sacking workers and selling the bits and pieces off was how he made all of his money. He just as passionately defended what he later decried when it suited him, and only became a critic when he found himself frozen out of the deal making process. Check out the excellent Adam Curtis documentary The Mayfair Set for more details.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jefferson-

Informal rule here: post only once every 24 hrs. Thank you.

Dean-

Brr.

mb

1:55 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

What in the blue hell? Jesus, that's horrific: continuing to drive w/a man u just hit chillin' in yr windshield. Jesus, I hope the poor guy died instantly and didn't suffer... In any event, it's time for Shaneka to move over and make some room for Stacy Sanchez.

MB, Wafers-

I was invited to a cocktail party on Sunday and spent the better part of the evening defending Britain's exit from the EU on humanitarian grounds, and as a glorious rejection of neoliberal tyranny. Furthermore, I stated that my position and hope for the world would be realized when we witness a Synchronized Global Pee-In (SGPI) on *all* international trade agreements. I also attempted to convince those in attendance that a plastic douche bag is more interesting than Hillary Clinton. This generated a a few chuckles, but things got really heated when I suggested that Hillary, if one thinks rationally about it, is actually more dangerous and demented than el Trumpo. I tell ya, *that* didn't go over too well (sigh) as most participants were from the professional classes and thus impervious to my rational arguments, sad to say. My evening ended in front of my turntable listening to "Exodus to Jazz," by Eddie Harris. As I listened, my mind began to wander back to one of the early Wafer proverbs:

"So Many Douche Bags, So Little Time."

Miles

2:54 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Christian, Why must those who critique and are correct have to be pure? Its an odd thing among manyin U.S. thinking that only the completely pure or those with some official perch are worthy of praise admiration or taken seriously. James Goldsmith waa a great business man, was correct about nafta and globalisation, his foundation is anti-gmo and he was an avid environmentalist. Yes he bought companies and yes did rationalise operations andfire workers to make the companies profitable--thats the business game and well ultimately nothing wrong with that. He also had a lot of wives, lovers, highly intelligent and a blast to be around. He was a bud of my fathers ( known as Capo to old time wafers) who shared many of the same traits. The twndency toward either the pure or less pure but select get noticed can be also noted thusly--MB writes great works as an independent intellectual and places like the new york times give him bad reviews. If the exact same book were submitted to the times with the name of some pubah at Harvard and Council of Foreign Relations the accolades would be deafening and the book would be part of the national and global conversation--its the message not the messenger per se. Both MB and Sir James, great original thinkers and correct.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

I am currently reading "The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies" by Robert E. Lane. I have just started the book but it looks very interesting so far. It seems to be aiming at some of the issues discussed here like the rise in depression and loss of community in modernized countries.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Everyone,

I have to say that Morris's link to the people who drove around for long stretches of time with bloody corpses lodged in their windshields is quite the eye-opener. It's something I wouldn't have imagined possible, a level of callousness and depravity that I will never comprehend. I think it would have been less callous to simply murder someone out of spite and drive around with his corpse lodged in your windshield. In contrast, for these people, vehicular homicide was simply business as usual; they had no emotional or visceral response to the fact that someone just died in a gruesome fashion right in front of their eyes.

I have to say that of the three members of my immediate family, two of them have behaved in exactly this manner when similar situations have presented themselves. The people mentioned in Morris's link, and in my anecdote, are not anomalies; they are ordinary, dyed in the wool Americans, typical manifestations of the gruesome American anti-culture that believes itself to be the summit of all human achievement.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Thanks for the positive reinforcement, Rosegarden and k_pgh. I'm mildly, yet pleasantly, shocked that anyone tunes in.

The other day I made the mistake of watching Bill Maher's show. In my defence, I saw that Larry Wilmore was going to be a guest. I had to change channels during the discussion of "Is Islam compatible with American values?" The guests were tripping all over themselves trying to show that they weren't Islamophobes, and that of course Islam is compatible with the good, the true and the beautiful.

Oddly enough, not one guest said that Islam was incompatible with "American values," because American values range between "Anything for a buck," and "Everything has its price," and that if you interfere with these values and you might find yourself being shot, bombed, napalmed, lynched or have your livelihood destroyed.

So no, Islam isn't compatible with American values.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

Maybe it's the lead in their water that makes Americans go crazy
http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/us/epa-lead-in-u-s-water-systems/index.html

6:22 AM  
Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Morris Berman: "Informal rule here: post only once every 24 hrs."

Good morning. Any other rules, informal or otherwise, I should be aware of before I continue?

Thank you for your time.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-06-28/trump-campaign-lining-up-tyson-and-ditka-for-convention

What have we here? Gladiators campaigning for consul?

https://youtu.be/frzIoxTGizI

Listen to this man's lectures on a long road trip. Extremely pleasing and edifying.

That life of Epictetus sounded exactly like this blog. Stoicism seemed to be a response to the problem- "All my neighbors are vicious, petty ignoramuses who couldn't be trusted to run a lemonade stand."

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Dr T said...

https://www.amazon.com/Women-After-All-Evolution-Supremacy/dp/0393239969


Sherry Turkle had a nice review of this book, looks fascinating

9:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Factors behind Trumpism:

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/06/28/7-out-10-americans-agree-economy-rigged-against-them

Jefferson-

Yes. Limit your messages to half a page, try to avoid political correctness, and never insult the blog or the Wafers. (You can certainly disagree, but be courteous about it. On the other hand, if you are responding to a trollfoon, you are encouraged to degrade them as much as possible.) Keep in mind at all times that this blog represents the highest form of consciousness currently available in the entire universe, including Alpha Centauri. That's abt it.

COS-

Many thanks. Capo was a great guy, and sorely missed on this blog. As for me, I'm still waiting for the Nobel committee to wake up to my genius, but thus far they seem to be preoccupied with other things.

Jeff-

In a truly just world, Hillary would pick Stacy as her running mate.

mb

1:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Food for thought dept.:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/06/29/more-than-100-nobel-laureates-take-on-greenpeace-over-gmo-stance/?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-national%3Ahomepage%2Fcard

1:51 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

COS, I don't demand purity, that would be silly as you point out. I was just trying to caution people about judging Goldsmith and his values based on one short clip. The man seems to have had the ability to change his position and act as if he had always felt that way. Also, please don't misunderstand me, I rather like James Goldsmith for all of the reasons you cite. He was certainly unique, and very interesting and charismatic. I particularly like the fact he took care of his ex-wives and mistresses long after he was done with them. Some may think it crass, but I think it actually speaks rather well of the man.

His buddies John Aspers and James Slater were pretty fascinating as well, but Goldsmith definitely stands out among the three.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Miles,

I too have been trying to explain to my liberal/prog friends that that maybe leaving the EU won't be such a bad thing for the UK. The best response I got so far was respectful disagreement. You can imagine what some of the other responses have been. It took a lot of courage to talk about this face to face to more than one person. I hope you were able to imbibe a few of those cocktails during the discussion to get you through.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Jacob James said...

This seems to be political, and not at all scientific. They're not calling for more testing, or caution in the face of relatively new technology. Instead they're telling them to get out of the way of progress.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3424148.html

http://www.nationofchange.org/first-long-term-study-released-pigs-cattle-who-eat-gmo-soy-and-corn-offers-frightening-results-13723

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

I agree with green peace . The title noble laureate has become a joke ever since it was given to Obama . I don't trust anyone who won a noble peace prize. I wonder who is financing these noble laureates. Hunger in the developing is caused by economic policies of dictators who are financed by the beacon of democracy America .

3:38 AM  
Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Morris Berman: "...this blog represents the highest form of consciousness currently available in the entire universe..."

Then it's definitely the place to be... ;-)


Miles Deli: "...things got really heated when I suggested that Hillary, if one thinks rationally about it, is actually more dangerous and demented than el Trumpo."

Truer words cannot be found. One can only hope that the Clinton criminal cabal will be exposed, and prosecuted, some day.


Everyone, enjoy your Thursday...

6:55 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Mike B. said:

If ever there is an article that makes me feel that most of the people here and in the world are screwed, this 2016 article by Thomas Frank is it because I don't know how one can overcome this, some kind of major collapse(s) (i.e., ecological, political, economic, think of one) would be necessary for this community of influence peddlers to be disrupted.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176159/tomgram%3A_thomas_frank%2C_worshipping_money_in_d.c./#more

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Kenneth said...

Dr T- that book on women replacing men looks interesting. Let us hope they are a Tina Fey cut and not a Hillary Pantsuit cut

But seriously i was listening to an interview by the author, he works here in Atlanta at Emory. I might try and catch a lecture on the subject, I hope.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

http://commondreams.org/news/2016/06/30/home-and-abroad-most-people-agree-americans-are-greedy-and-arrogant-jerks

2:55 PM  
Blogger Dawgzy said...

Mohamed- Kissinger! The man who helped sabatoge peace talks with NVN when LBJ appeared to move ,if covertly, toward de-escalation or or withdrawal. This on behalf of the truly vile Nixon.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

About the GMO issue, I'm reminded of the days of the Green Revolution, a massive scaling up of industrial agriculture that was much hyped half a century or so ago. That too was going to feed the world and solve the problem of hunger. As it turned out, what it really did was fuel a massive population boom, while depleting fertile soil in order to generate produce of distinctly inferior nutritional value - or so I have read.

Is this group of Nobel laureates predominantly composed of experts in agriculture and nutrition? If not, what reason have we to suppose that their opinions are of especial import? The climate change denial lobby is fond of pointing out that many or even most scientists do not agree that climate change is happening or is matter of concern. What this same lobby omits to mention is that 97 percent of *climate* scientists DO agree that anthropogenic climate change is for real; and they are the ones whose opinions count, not just scientists as a group.

The whole idea of Nobel laureates being specially qualified to make decisions of great social and economic import outside their respective fields of expertise strikes me as an appeal to authority, which is well known to be a classic fallacy.

The Nobel peace prize became a joke long before Obama, when Henry Kissinger was the recipient; according to Tom Lehrer, that was the day that satire died.

1:10 AM  
Blogger diogenes45 said...

J. J. Rousseau's Emile ou l'education. North of Slavery: Leon Litwack, The Negro in the Free States, 1790-1860; Dao de Jing with original classical Chinese on opposing page (I can read it); Geoffrey Steadman's Plato's Symposium, Greek text with facing vocabulary and commentary (can deal with the Greek); Edward Luce, In Spite of the Gods: the Strange Rise of Modern India. etc. I like to delve into languages during the summer months. And I always pick up Elias Canetti's Auto da Fe for a dose of high surrealism. I've been reading the fine C.V Wedgwood translation. Started reading it years ago but never finished because I want to keep getting new doses. I've followed Morris' advice and live as monastic a life style as I can manage in order to avoid dealing with the degenerate American culture and society. Happily I no longer have to go out to a job, so its considerably easier to keep my distance from the horror.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dio-

Pls send messages to most recent post. No one reads the older stuff. Thank you.

mb

10:46 AM  

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