October 18, 2016

Nach Deutschland, Meine Kinder

Notice to all Waferinos-

The University of Mainz has asked me to give some lectures during Nov. 1-15, so I'll be taking the big silver bird into the skies on Oct. 31 to Frankfurt. This is just advance notice: PLEASE don't post to this blog during that time, as I probably won't have blog access and will be rather busy during that time anyway. I'll send you all a 2nd reminder b4 I leave, but I just wanted to post this right now. I know that many of you suffer badly in absence of the blog--hives, rashes, a few psychotic episodes--and I apologize for being away. I mean, where else are you going to check in to reality? The New York Times? Ha, that was funny. But just hold your breath, we'll be back in action on Nov. 16.

-mb

157 Comments:

Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

I haven't been to Germany since 1986. I probably wouldn't recognize the place now. My relatives that still live there tell me much has changed and most of it for the worse.

In other news, I see that one of John Podesta's emails confirms that Hillary holds the people she wants to vote for her in complete contempt. I always knew that to be the case, her body language and tone gave that away a long time ago. Interesting to have it confirmed though.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

I will miss the WAFers and especially Prof. Berman during that time, my only sanity these days. What is the speculation on the sudden cutting off of Wikileaks' Internet access? Do people really believe that there was a spontaneous decision by Ecuadorian authorities? Are Americans really this gullible? (This is a rhetorical question; I think we all know the answer.)

12:31 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

On the one hand, we have Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. advocating "pitchforks and torches," while on the other hand we have whoever it was that firebombed the Republican party office in North Carolina (assuming that wasn't a false flag operation). Call these events coming attractions for what will happen after this horrid election is over.

My wife was dismayed recently to see that some normally sensible friends of ours posted a story on Facebook about an illegal immigrant who was responsible for a fatal car accident in Nebraska. The posters are a family whose twenty-something son was made a paraplegic by a drunk driver when he was an infant, but their outrage just shows how effective propaganda can be. Over 30,000 Americans are killed in car crashes every year, but let's demonize this one illegal immigrant.

Almost simultaneously, my wife saw another Facebook repost put up by a normally apolitical relative of hers that said America should accept NO refugees so long as even one American child goes to bed hungry. No doubt the douchebag responsible for writing that little bit of "wisdom" could donate half of their earnings to feed dozens of the poor American children they claim to be so concerned about, but has never given so much as a nickel.

In both cases, the Facebook posters in question are not raving Trump supporting lunatics, but just the kind of "silent majority" types whose support could ultimately put an authoritarian regime in power. Strap in folks, it's getting ugly out there.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

MB-

University of Mainz

This is wonderful news. Didn't Attila the Hun obliterate the city of Mainz at one point? In any event, the Germans should be so lucky to experience a dose of Attila the Berm.

Alles Gute,

Miles

ps: Here's a great American, BTW:

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Cops-Neighbor-s-car-targeted-with-dog-feces-9964020.php

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Mike R said...

Safe travels Dr. Berman.

Socrates (paraphrasing) stated--that the first step to learning is not acknowledge you know nothing.

americans are incapable of acknowledging that they don't know, what they don't know.


Hence, Dunning-Kruger effects (illusions/delusions of self importance even though they are profoundly incompetent).

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Ram Gana said...

MB, the hiatus will be tough for me to endure. This place is pretty much my sole oasis of sanity any more.

Anyhow, thought for the day:

From my perspective, one great problem with technological societies is the manner in which they push all "truth" toward a single corner. For such societies, phenomena not both predictable and reproducible tend to become ignored over time -- much like the rising of the sun -- when in fact all of the other three quadrants in the relevant matrix comprise observable phenomena about which some valuable appreciation may be made (yes, even unpredictable/reproducible, depending on the weight one affords such things as intuition and guile -- the subconscious mind in general; this always threatens to become a semantic argument). In other words, if it's not reproducible there's no point, and all things reproducible are predictable of necessity. Wiser souls find that there are great swaths of learning devalued by this pinheaded "vision."

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

I think this election has been a real eye-opener. People say that they dislike the major candidates, but are we ordinary Americans really so different from Trump and Hillary? As George Carlin said, where do the politicians come from? They come from the American population! They aren’t from some other dimension. Maybe they are the candidates that we deserve, but I do feel bad for the few good-hearted Americans who will suffer under either Trump or Hillary, whoever wins.

Anyway, on a happier note, I found an interesting video on the Roseto effect. Based on a study of the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania where researchers found that a close-knit community of Italian-Americans promoted good health despite the residents eating a lot of unhealthy food, smoking cigars, drinking a lot of wine, etc. A good study revealing the benefits of having a strong community life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC65tHjdpGg

6:57 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/health/us-suicide-rate-surges-to-a-30-year-high.html
http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/04/28/americas-suicide-epidemic-is-a-national-security-crisis/
Number of emergency department visits for self-inflicted injury: 836,000
42,773 people died from suicide in 2014, compared with 29,199 in 1999.
Bill, this too is the Mexican's fault!! Who shall we bomb for this?
Today a friend called to say that she was very sad; a colleague's father came to the work to report that her friend had 'quit the charade'.

Smile or Die:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo


7:11 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


Dr. Berman :

While giving your lectures, maybe you can convince a few Germans that it's not the wisest thing for a nation to be a vassal of an irreversibly deteriorating empire. I think that's an important message for typical German citizens, although my best guess is that only a tiny minority of German citizens are interested in hearing that message. Most Germans still regard the USA as an ally and the Russians as an enemy. It is debatable whether this posture is good for Germany.

Here's a video from a few days ago in which Thom Hartmann interviews Dr. Richard Wolff :

"Great Minds - Richard Wolff - The System-wide Crisis of Capitalism" :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c_GmLNXetc&feature=share

part 2 :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExhK15D8XJg

My best guess is that capitalism will survive all sorts of horrible individual events within nations but that it will not be able to survive for long within failed states. That's what I think lies in humanity's future, a gradual increase in failed states until it becomes a global epidemic, and only then a global collapse of capitalism itself.

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

What do you think?

4:08 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

WAFers are no doubt laying in refreshments in anticipation of tonight's third and final presidential debate. May I offer the following as a sort of amuse-bouche, courtesy the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The Democratic National Committee issued an apology Tuesday after a bus it chartered was seen dumping raw sewage in Gwinnett County [Goergia]."

http://www.ajc.com/news/local/dnc-apologizes-for-dumping-raw-sewage-from-bus-gwinnett/aMiR4qSmnDyZnMkJhvvLpM/

Book recommendation: The End of the American Era, by Andrew Hacker, professor emeritus at Queens College. This book was published in 1970, but if you didn't know that you couldn't tell. Several of his books are currently available, including this one, on Amazon.

MB: hope if any video or audio of your talks is made while you're in Germany that you'll share with the group.

Gute Reise!

6:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Hacker was teaching at Cornell when I was an undergraduate there. I remember the bk well; it was really the beginning of a series of bks on the decline of America that have been coming out with great regularity since that time. I also remember attending a lecture there around 1965 in which he asserted that everyone in America was trash. Very few of us understood that he was not kidding. This guy was clearly a visionary.

Marc-

Thanks for all the info. Pls watch length, thank you.

Tom-

Yes, the 7 or 8 good-hearted Americans. BTW, I discuss Roseto in an essay called "Love and Survival." It's archived on this blog.

Ram-

I understand how you feel. This blog is the highest state of consciousness available on the planet today, if not the entire universe. Many people have called me, threatening suicide if I close the blog for 2 wks. I just hope their Prozac kicks in by Nov. 1st. 2 wks without this blog is like a permanent eclipse of the sun.

Jeff-

Apparently Mainz recovered, so I'm looking forward to the visit. My hosts have promised me a tour of deli meat establishments, on the days that I'm not lecturing. As Goethe once said...well, actually, he said a lot of things. Meanwhile, I like the dog feces article, but wonder if the feces were hot or cold. It makes a big difference, obviously.

mb

11:55 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/19/us/new-york-police-shoot-women/index.html

12:09 PM  
Anonymous al Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

If Little Bobby Zimmerman deserves a Nobel Prize, shouldn't Jerome Kern have received one? Bob Dylan wrote nothing that approached the lyricism of this:

"When you dance you're charming and you're gentle
Especially when you do The Continental
But this feeling isn't purely mental
For Heaven rest us! I'm not asbestos"

I'm now waiting for Superman comics to become required reading in English 101.

O and D

4:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

How abt Johnny Mercer?:

Jeepers Creepers
Where’d you get those peepers?
Jeepers Creepers
Where’d you get those eyes?
Gosh all git up
How’d they get so lit up?
Gosh all git up
How’d they get that size?

mb

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Welp, guess they figured over there at ol' Nobel that if they are going to jump the shark and give Obama a preemptive prize, they might as well turn around and ride it too. Poor Bob had resorted to doing TV commercials to remain relevant. It was a mercy prize really.

Speaking of mercy and folk singers and literature, why not Leonard Cohen? He actually, you know, wrote literature (prose and poetry) and his songs play on you much more novel-like. Plus, he's not a pretentious, preening, attention coquette, grump douchebag.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Well, I sure wish I was in the Distrito Federal for yr analysis of the last debate, MB. A rack of smoked ribs and a few beers sounds good right about now. Iced tea, tho, would do in a pinch. Anyway, have fun!

MB, Wafers-

Indiana pastor, Bobby Slagle, is in custody after he threatened to shoot a couple of kids riding their bikes near church property:

http://cbs4indy.com/2016/10/13/police-indiana-pastor-threatened-to-shoot-children-if-they-didnt-leave-church-property/

O&D,

Miles

7:11 PM  
Blogger Mercury4 said...

MADONNA PROMISES TO GIVE FANS BLOW JOBS IF THEY VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON
https://www.conservativeoutfitters.com/blogs/news/watch-madonna-promises-blow-jobs-for-fans-that-vote-hillary-video

Ain't democracy grand?

7:39 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Here’s an article to temper Bernie-borne progressive hopes in the up-and-coming Millennials.

http://thebulletin.org/why-americans-love-drones9804

“lack of information led respondents to consistently overestimate the capabilities of drones, which they thought were far more capable of carrying out a much wider range of missions than they actually are. This phenomenon was especially strong for Millennials, the demographic that was most likely to support unmanned air strikes but also the least knowledgeable about the capabilities of these aircraft. In general, this may be emblematic of a growing societal belief in the value of technological development and a perception that machines are more capable than humans.”

“our survey indicates that the US public’s support for unmanned warfare is not only strong across political parties, but is also a preference that will grow in strength as Millennials come of political age.”

11:39 AM  
Blogger pg said...

Gruetzi miteinand--
Dr B-- the title of this post reminded me of that old "Muss i denn" song. Nana Mouskouri does a sweet rendition of it available on YouTube.
But on a bibliographical nite, I thought this might add a tiny bit of background to your impending trip:
Oswald Spengler, who was pretty much ignored for decades in Germany, had a one volume reprint of Der Untergang des Abendlandes in 2014, Berlin, Albatross [no kidding] Verlag.
I know this because I asked my retired history teacher sister to see if she could find me a second-hand copy of Spengler. She loves used book stores, old things, etc. as much as I. Both of us did Anglistik at Uni Bonn.
So, somebody in Germany thought it is a good time to resurrect Der Untergang des Abendlandes. Cheap paper, one volume, but nonetheless.
Gute Fahrt!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

k_

Over and over, I hafta keep stressing that Americans are sick, violent people. The same %ages are in favor of torture.

Merc-

That's great, but I'm still waiting for Sarah Palin to weigh in.

Jeff-

Yeah, it went pretty well; I was on a panel with a senator from Chiapas, very nice guy. Plus a bunch of my friends showed up, and we porked out on brisket soaked in BBQ sauce and draft beer. As for the pastor: better to shoot 1st, apologize after. I do hope his church is stocked with semi-automatic weapons. Note that 5 yrs from now, the cops will be arresting the kids, not the pastor.

mb

12:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This just in from Michael Gerson:

"With the final debate over, two points are particularly evident. First, a serious GOP candidate would probably be winning this election, which was forfeited the moment Trump became the nominee. And second, an authoritarian populist with serious abilities might have a disturbingly large audience in 21st-century America. Imagine a Trump-like figure with the political skills of Bill Clinton or Tony Blair, feeding and riding the backlash against rapid economic and social change. It is the first time in my political lifetime that I have seen fragility at the heart of American democracy. And that glimpse should shock us back to a more civil and responsible politics."

This is what I've been saying in terms of our upcoming Weimar period: all we need for fascism to take over is a smooth Trump. Our present Trump is a jackass who shoots himself in the foot. Meanwhile, his followers will not crawl back into the woodwork. Sooner or later, during the Hillary years, a skillful Trump will emerge, and will carry the day. That this is the 1st time Gerson sees how fragile American democ is, I find absolutely amazing (I predicted fascism coming to America in CTOS, 1989). That he thinks we might adopt "a more civil and responsible politics" attests to how deeply his head is embedded in his rump. (Or in the sand, like an ostrich)

mb

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

"America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization." Clemenceau. Merry Christmas america.

Will there be ever be a Jose Bove type individual in the failed state? J'aime ca!

1:00 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I've been reading Paul Craig Roberts for a few years now, and generally enjoy his different take on what's happening in the world: This despite the fact that he periodically praises that amiable dolt, Ronald Reagan. But PCR was under-secretary of the treasury under Reagan, so it’s understandable that, like just about everybody else, he has his blind spots.

Lately he’s been throwing his support behind Donald Trump. PCR nails it when he talks about how corrupt the Clintons are. No argument there. But he also ignores the fact that Trump is a vicious, vulgar, narcissistic boor and, in spite of all Roberts has written over the years, he seems to think that things will change if Trump gets elected.

I’m really not surprised by very much anymore, but I did find this comment from him sort of staggering:

“As for Trump’s womanizing, no male believes it who has seen Trump’s wife, clearly the most beautiful and elegant woman on earth who is highly intelligent and speaks five languages. A man with a woman like this does not need any other woman. It is strictly impossible for Trump to improve on his wife. He has The One.”

Fact of life 101: Just because you have a beautiful wife doesn’t mean you can’t be a pig on the side.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous al Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

With credentials like this, Bob Dylan ought to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, not the prize for literature:

The invasion of Lebanon was a calamitous war, widely opposed even in Israel where it was likened to the US quagmire in Vietnam.

Yet Dylan sang these words [in the song, "Neighbourhood Bully"] exonerating Israel even after the world had witnessed the horrifying massacres of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by an Israeli-allied militia during the occupation of Beirut.

Today, the lyrics read like a prelude to the racist nationalism embodied in the politics of today’s Israeli leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett.

Deeper into the tune, Dylan betrays an ignorance of the enormous support given by the US government to Israel, notably the huge influx of military support provided by the administration of President Jimmy Carter shortly before the release of the album.



https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/michael-f-brown/bob-dylans-embrace-israels-war-crimes

4:07 PM  
Anonymous The Craw said...

Miles and Dr. B

Re: Pastor Slagle

Spare the "rod", spoil the child.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


HyperNormalisation BBC Documentary -by Adam Curtis

Optimism is a hubris in a zero-sum-gain system that is sustained on the fuel called exploitation. When there are no new frontiers left to exploit it leads to a strange kind of desperation, as we witness in the liberal western "democracies," where the hustler unknowingly becomes the sucker.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ9DridFLCE

The difference between slaves in Roman and Ottoman days and today's employees is that slaves did not need to flatter their boss.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjBjtedCwaY

"For so many, instead of looking for “cause of death” when they expire, we should be looking for “cause of life” when they are still around." -Nassim Nicholas Taleb

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Jahari said...

Anyone catch the debate on Democracy Now w/ Hedges, he makes the Weimar moment comparison and predicting trump's candidacy is a "dress rehearsal " for fascism

Sounds like borrowing from Berman analysis

11:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

Sorry, cdn't run it. We have a half-page maximum rule on this blog. Suggest you compress by 50% and re-send. Thank you.

Jahari-

Yes, I've been talking abt Weimar for several mos. now. Hedges is a great one for "borrowing," as I've found out over the years.

mb

10:07 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Bob Dylan is yet another rock star whose artistic legacy would have been greatly enhanced had he been a member of the "27 Club" (that is, the uncannily large number who died when they were 27, including Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix & Kurt Cobain). By the time Dylan reached that milestone in 1968, he had already written and recorded about 90% of the worthwhile songs he would ever produce. During his artistic heyday from 1961-1967, he indeed wrote an astonishing number of truly great songs, most of which still hold up a half century later, but over the ensuing decades he descended into inane mediocrity--not unlike other rock careerists such as Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Pete Townshend. Sometimes, it is indeed best to die before you get old.

As for Gerson, the reason he and so many other liberal commentators are surprised by the Trump phenomenon is that they don't spend any time in the huge swath of America that had been devastated by the effects of neoliberalism and globalization. Had the offshoring of manufacturing jobs been accompanied by strong social programs and tight immigration controls to assist those who would be losing their jobs and to keep overall salaries stable for the working class, the dry tinder of economic discontent that right wing demagogues need to be politically successful would not have been piling up for the past four decades. It was another rock'and'roller, the Texan James McMurtry (sone of novelist Larry McMurtry), who dramatically illustrated what was happening a decade ago with his devastating song "We Can't Make it Here Anymore":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTW0y6kazWM

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Kia ora!

In the 1800's, the Pakeha (white folks, not native folks like Maoris or Morioris) in New Zealand were lured by the similar British propaganda/marketing/PR bullshit as Dr. Berman and WAFERs have discussed regarding bringing a 'slice of Britain' to america.

NZ immigrants dissatisfaction was compounded by the misleading propaganda that the Company’s London office had put out. They had been told that NZ was a fertile Eden; plethora of opportunities...., economic prospects were unlimited and at every turn for the hardworking man; that almost every form of agriculture, manufacture, and commerce was possible, and certainly would yield high returns by working hard.

The Company had depicted the natives as very eager for the white man’s ways and merchandise purchases. They had glossed over the difficulties of pioneering, assimilation, culture, language, and suppressed all negative reports of NZ to those Brits licking their lips for all that opportunity.

By the mid 1840s, the four New Zealand Company settlements had similar problems: The immigrants were angry. Many regretted their decision to come to NZ and damned the Company for its propaganda-marketing strategies. They began leaving the settlements in droves, and by 1848, only a fraction of the original 430 or so Wellington colonists remained.

Mo a roto i (over and out)


6:17 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Morris,

In my opinion, Trump destroyed his candidacy because he couldn't get his negative identity under control. After he had amassed huge popularity attacking the people American conservatives hate - Muslims, blacks, liberals - he went after inappropriate targets, like women and the Khan family. I agree that Trump doesn't have the smoothness and savvy necessary to lead a fascist revolution, but I think that the failure to discipline himself was the true cause of his political self-destruction. The American people are so stupid that they are perfectly willing to have boor with a first grade reading level sit in the Oval Office. Trump's stupidity and boorishness didn't contribute to his political failure - I would argue that they enhanced his popularity tenfold.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


​There has been some recent newfound appreciation of how nice the Canadians are. As though the natives of that land willing and graciously relinquished their land to the marauding settlers. ​As though Canada didn't vote along with US on all UN resolutions and joined the coalition to appease the empire. Think Canada is a progressive paradise? That’s mooseshit!!
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/21/canada-politics-progressive-liberal-trudeau

It was more than "cultural genocide."
https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/06/10/cultural-genocide-no-canada-committed-regular-genocide.html
http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/out-of-sight-out-of-mind-2/

Canada, as harmless as the tiny Pacific island nations of the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Palau.
http://www.cjnews.com/news/canada/trudeau-government-opposes-annual-un-onslaught-against-israel

Meet some nice Canadian, Kevin and his amigos...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAhHPIuTQ5k
https://news.vice.com/article/right-wing-extremism-is-thriving-in-canada

Canada is Amerika, the same hustler breed -maybe even slicker to have evaded condemnation.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

1. David Mangus arrested for soliciting prostitution from an undercover cop. Magnus showed up w/a bag of McDonald's cheeseburgers and fries as a from of payment:

http://trib.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/casper-police-arrest-five-in-undercover-prostitution-sting/article_59ca2900-75ad-538c-81ee-2c07476272f0.html

2. Cara Greer accidentally handcuffed herself. Greer called the police because she couldn't find the key. Police showed up and arrested Greer for an outstanding warrant and felony burglary.

http://www.wcsh6.com/news/local/woman-handcuffs-herself-gets-arrested/338548800

Miles

8:40 PM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

Re: Michael Gerson, I'm not at all surprised by his lack of foresight (e.g. "[this is] the first time in my political lifetime that I have seen fragility at the heart of American democracy"). He was George W Bush's speechwriter for a number of years, and he's been writing this kind of nonsense in the Post for much longer. Basically he's one of the unreconstructed neocons, which of course comes with a heaping helping of ridiculous neocon utopian thinking (e.g. transforming Iraq into the suburban US, complete with miles and miles of concrete and McDonald's). In this case, the magical thinking is exhibited by the familiar last-minute hat-trick a la Berman: Presto! Rabbit pulled from the hat! Somehow we will get "a more civil and responsible politics"! (Not a snowball's chance in hell of that one).

By the way, Gerson's lament is not terribly original. I've read any number of these hat-trick op-eds recently, so it's definitely part of the zeitgeist for the chattering class.

As for Hedges, there is yet another of his unattributed passages at the end of the otherwise excellent "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt". As I recall, he says that we must create "monastic enclaves" in order to "preserve the values being destroyed" and "create self-sufficiency". And as noted here, Hedges was just on "Democracy Now!" discussing America's "Weimar moment". Why does this guy do this?

11:37 PM  
Blogger Jacob James said...

Dr. Berman, I can say that on one hand I'm grateful to Hedges, because he introduced me to your work. Then on another hand I can say that I'm embarrassed for him, because he's made himself into such a clown. While I myself have had brief lapses in sanity (praise the Great Seer and Chapo Trap House for returning me to reality), Hedges has really been running towards a cliff for a while now. When I read the piece on his blatant plagiarism I didn't know how to feel. Here was someone spreading the truth, but doing it while stealing. And he didn't have to. Academic standards are so low, you just have to mention where you got your ideas. For him it all seems about ego. Why is being original just as important to being right for him? I understand part of it must be competition, but how can you claim to compete if you're just stealing? Chris, if you're listening, in the words of Chapo TH, "do better."

3:26 AM  
Anonymous Taylor said...

professor Berman,

Just getting down to the meat of your American trilogy for the 1st time. In the 80s I followed your consciousness series and somehow missed most of these more political musings.

I'm just a small town junior high history teacher, but the scholarship you've always displayed is unbelievably impressive.

1 question: you present at the base of your thesis the notion that the rot goes to the heart and roots of the country, which I can totally grasp, but you seem to emphasize that this is exceptional to all the great countries of Europe for instance. Given our relative constitutional infancy, is that not being overly critical of such a fledgling country?

I'm sure I've already overlooked the answer to my own question in ur books, but that was the only [tiny] dissonance that I felt reading along.

Thanks for your vision and insight

9:12 AM  
Anonymous John said...

Enjoy your time in Germany, Dr. B

More signs of the times :
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-boy-13-has-leg-amputated-after-alleged-slam-by-school-contract-worker/

10:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Truth Hurts-

Thank you for the links to other, previous refs to Weimar; we wd all appreciate having them. Obviously, I am one voice among several regarding this issue (as I mentioned earlier, I did find a recent ref to it in the Wash Post). However, you can't get on this blog if you insult it. Therefore, I'd be grateful if you could re-send your message with the links, but with the editorializing left out. It wd be gd to have that info, for sure.

Taylor-

Thanks for writing in. Histories of Europe vs. US very different: we were born bourgeois, they had a feudal history that was not esp. oriented to hustling, and in fact had traditions of social support and safety nets. They had other values, in short. Check out WAF: hustling was *the* way of life on the American continent, and this began in late 16C. Also helpful is Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, "Indigenous Peoples' History of the US." George Carlin once said that if you are born on this planet, you enter a freak show; but if yr born in the US, you get a front row seat.

Jacob, red pill-

An impt issue, and hardly limited to Hedges. My guess is that people plagiarize because they want to have all the "goodies" (acclaim, influence, reputation) for themselves. It's just another form of hustling, really. But the drive to be king of the dunghill goes deep; it's abt our insecurities, our fear that we are not enuf as is, and therefore that we need to show to ourselves and everyone else that we are the Big Cheese. It's pretty sad, actually, and it's as endemic on the Left as it is on the Right. I have had a # of dealings with progs and left-wingers, and discovered that being dishonest or unethical is not much of a problem for them; they typically go into denial (see, for example, Hedges' "rebuttal" of Chris Ketcham's expose in the New Republic--transparently false, and the NR editors backed Ketcham up, inasmuch as Ketcham had reproduced the incriminating texts, esp. the plagiarism of his wife's work, which was practically verbatim). They often talk of coming from a moral center, but the real agenda is self-aggrandizement. We have to ask why left-wing regimes reproduce the regimes they overthrow or replace; and the answer is that these folks haven't dealt with their inner demons, the "hungry ghost" (Buddhist term) that keeps crying out for More. I certainly don't believe it wd be a better world if any of these folks, Hedges included, were running the show, and for that particular reason. This is why the political slant of my recent novel, TMWQ, is about authenticity, not abt left or rt. Wilhelm Reich said the real issue came down to body armor, and that cuts across the political spectrum. "If I can't dance, I don't wanna be part of yr revolution." You get my pt.

Jim-

Yr rt, but only up to a pt. The boorishness finally got to be too much, and what works at a political rally doesn't nec work in a debate, or for the country at large. What sank him is that he's a jackass. If you want to win, you don't attack a military family, or an 18-yr-old girl, or call women 'slobs', or say you may not accept the results of a democratic election. Don't kid yrself: this stupidity and boorishness certainly cost him the election. As I said earlier, during our Weimar period, which will begin in January, a smoother, savvier Trump will arise, and I'm guessing he will win.

mb

2:10 PM  
Blogger Alogon said...

I see increasing evidence of incipient WAFERhood among people who probably have not read Dr. Berman. It constitutes independent corroboration.

See a summary of an address from Philadelphia's Archbishop Chaput appearing Thursday on theamericanconservative.com. He respects Muslim women in hijab or burqa in that they are saying: “I’m not sexually available;” and “I belong to a community different and separate from you and your obsessions.” Later: "we need to help Catholics recover their own sense of distinction from the surrounding secular meltdown".

Then there is this reader's comment: "America and all her glory and history was and is such a poison to the Christian faith. The idea that you can have it all if you work hard enough or smart enough is poison to the reality of suffering. The Protestant/Puritan heritage is a poison on every other culture, and seeks to undermine traditions and history that underpin the old world cultures that have given birth to great civilization.

"The sooner we shed such foolish pretensions about America, the better. If those other people want to fight each other over a decaying carcass, let them."


4:19 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Well, the US and Canada are both the unwanted children of the granddaddy hustler of them all, the UK. One of the children (US) was just totally shameless in taking it all the way and overtaking the parent in a yet more vicious empire. Canada just keeps more of the proprieties, and isn't obsessed with driving out and overtaking the parent.

If there is one bit of Ur-American feeling in me, it is the anti-British sentiment. The world has gone straight to hell in the post WWII period of unchecked Anglo-American influence. The British have created every intractable mess in the world today, including letting Zionists hijack British Palestine and create a state of endless war in the Arab world. They then sat back and let dumb, overconfident Americans try to deal with the consequences.

Of course, they can cover up all this bungling and the miserable Dickensian financial system they have inflicted on the world by pointing to the Nazis and Soviets as the alternative they defeated, and this is, of course, a valid point. The only real hope is that some more Mediterranean sensibility again arises to give voice to the global south.

4:23 PM  
Blogger dale said...

#1 Politicians speak in focus group tested platitude + doublespeak where every word is parsed and equivocated. Trump's unconstrained id, is not that at least. So all the typical lies can be forgiven, but not bad manners? It's alright to drone people as long as you are nice about it.
#2 Progressives are now stupider than Conservatives. Conservatives overthrew the Repub establishment + it would be impossible to now write "What's the Matter with Kansas", while the Progs are "nice" above all, so they rolled over for Clinton. Their only m.o. is passive agressivity("I'm not going to talk to you")--not too effective. Prog websites, like Alternet are wall to wall Trump fear and loathing, There are comments like "Trump is the worst candidate ever!". Somehow did they forget his opponent + the last several Presidents we had? I don't know if I can actually get myself to participate in this farce, but if I do I'm all in for Trump just as a way to stick up my middle finger. And I actually agree with 1 out of every 6 or 7 things he says. That is a tremendously high ratio for a polit. I'm not under any illusion that Trump or any prez could do anything worthwhile. The US Gov't is the problem, not the solution.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Here's a story that makes me want to slap another Support the Troops magnetic ribbon (can't risk damaging the paint job. don'tcha know) on the back of my car. It seems the great State of California is now clawing back reenlistment bonuses of thousands of National Guardsmen who weren't eligible for them but were conned into agreeing to extend their enlistments (after which many ended up in Iraq and Afghanistan) by corrupt California Guard officials. The Pentagon can waste $135 million on a single nearly useless F-35 fighter, but god forbid a California Guardsmen gets to keep the $15,000 bonus he signed up for in good faith:

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-national-guard-bonus-20161020-snap-story.html?really&utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

Meanwhile, retired UK Ambassador and peace activist Craig Murray is among those sounding the alarm about the dire threat a Hillary presidency poses to world peace:

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/10/blanket-corporate-media-corruption/

7:34 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

To MB's last comment: watch out for Ted Cruz. Not far behind is Paul Ryan. They're both sociopaths - the crazy is packaged nicely, and they're slick, smooth, and, of course, utterly vile. Incredible to think that Trump will still get 35-40% of the vote. It really won't take much for one of the two noted above to build that into winning in 2020. I don't think we'll see HRC for 8 years. It will be Ryan or Cruz in 2020.

Life in the United States continues to get more and more hollow, more and more shallow. It is shocking, methinks. I continue to realize just how deep the rot goes, how difficult any true change would be to achieve. SO MUCH is dictated by economics. I also wonder about the extent to which our fate was baked in given our geography. Jared Diamond makes a strong case, I believe, for geography as the reason for the technological and military dominance of Europe on the world stage. Anyone read Diamond and have an opinion on his thesis?

Regards,
DTE

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Jim_Jardashian said...

Morris,

I think you're right about Trump - you can't be *that* stupid and not suffer politically as a result. I think I didn't recognize the difference between stupid strategies and ordinary boorish behavior; the former will kill your candidacy, while the latter isn't very problematic in a country like America where manners are a thing of the past. Trump simply said whatever came to mind, and paid no heed to the consequences, and that will always kill your campaign.

Also, I do think the world would be better if Hedges were running the show - he would end the wars and finally deal with environmental degradation and much of the poverty that afflicts the planet. However, saying that Hedges would be no different than Obama, Putin, Orban and all the other psychopathic kleptocrats is much too extreme. Left-wing regimes are usually no better than right-wing regimes because individuals that want to rule are usually psychopathic, not because your average liberal citizen is no different than your average fascist. Hedges has never expressed any interest in taking power, so he is probably not a psychopath; his plagiarizing of other peoples' work doesn't make him equivalent to Hillary or Trump.

Nevertheless, I do see some glaring problems with a Hedges-dominated world - institutionalized radical feminism leading to the oppression and exploitation of men, the forbiddance of meat-eating (even the likes of fish and shellfish, and even for people that need to do so to survive, due to medical conditions), a crippling degree of Affirmative Action leading to the near-banishment of white men from the workforce, and open borders leading to significant destabilization and chaos. In short, I think Hedges would institutionalize corrective policies in such an extreme way that it would create new problems (albeit much less severe ones) that would replace the old problems.

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I think that Jim has a point in saying that Trump's boorishness is his main asset. If the "next Trump" wants to win, it's true that he will have to make some adjustments. But I think it's wrong to suppose that these need to be anything more than finely calibrated micro-adjustments. It's true that he's an utter jackass. But let's not forget that he was in a statistical dead-heat until the P*ssy grabbing video. This is not insignificant. Trump was SO close, that we miss the bigger picture if we suppose that the next guy has to be THAT much different. (Yes, Americans really are that dumb.)

Plus, as Jung pointed out with Hitler (whom he once called a "Black Magician"), the appeal to intellect or reason has little or nothing to do with these types. People follow Trump or Hitler because they exude virility and "alpha maleness", and their masculine energy is supposed to counteract the decadent and effeminate trends in society. Sophistication often comes off as "beta" and weak. Heidegger and Spengler fell for the same nonsense with Hitler, and "smoothness" and polish had nothing to do with it. Ditto the 100 million American men who feel emasculated and powerless, and see Trump as their Alpha Savior. The fact that Trump has never read a book, and couldn't pass a six grade Civics exam, means nothing to these people. They support him because he touches something primal, sub-rational and atavistic in them, and a degraded culture is infinitely more susceptible to the lure of this kind of brute phallic energy. The mistake that the Trump cultists make (As Heidegger and Spengler made before them) is thinking that these degraded avatars of dumb bestial force can turn a dying culture around. When in History has that ever worked out?

2:14 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Hello Wafers, MB,

Highly recommend you watch the latest season of Black Mirror. It's like watching Dave Eggers' The Circle on TV!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDiYGjp5iFg

Kanye

12:38 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I saw the LA Times article linked by Bil Hicks above. The thought occurred to me that perhaps Donald Trump would be willing to discharge these California guardsmen's debts. After all, Trump has said many times that he loves our veterans.

But then again, he says lots of things that his apologists say he doesn't mean/believe. WAFers would have found it delicious if they had happened to see today's CBS Face the Nation: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus twisting himself into pretzel form trying to explain to host John Dickerson that Trump wasn't really jeopardizing future elections by suggesting that the fix is in, the game is rigged. Good fun.

To close, an excerpt from The End of the American Era (Andrew Hacker):

"The successful majority continue to feel that the unemployed and the unemployable have only themselves to blame. And hence the judgment that those who have brought failure on themselves should--at the very least--be deferential and unobtrusive." (Trump's peeps, eh?)

4:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

Too simplistic. Yr putting all this down to "atavism." It's a factor, but easily as impt is class war. Trumpites recognize that the world of Hillary--neoliberalism, Democrats, globalizers, the intellectual/financial elite--won't do shit for them, and that this is their enemy. (She in fact referred to them as "a basket of deplorables.") And they are rt! Hence, a lot of this pro-Trump fervor is quite rational. It's also the case that boorishness is no minor factor in his decline. Hillary was leading him all along by 3 or 4% pts (with exception of 1 wk), occasionally more, and the real pt at which the needle moved in 8 of the the swing states was after the 1st debate, when he came off like an overbearing jackass. But I agree, the pussy tape didn't help his cause, quite obviously.

Jim-

Not so: boorish behavior will sink the ship, and it has in Trump's case. Style, coming across as presidential, remains a crucial issue in elections. On the subject of Hedges etc., I'm wondering what you thought I was saying. I never said he was a psychopath or a fascist or a kleptocrat, and hardly believe he is. You are also quite wrong in thinking left-wing regimes are no different because their leaders are psychopaths. I mean, that is sometimes the case, sure; but my pt is that if one is driven by self-aggrandizement (of which plagiarism is an obvious reflection), then that has a strong tendency to reproduce the formal properties of the previous regime. Insanity is hardly necessary. Nor did I say that plagiarism makes Hedges equivalent to Trump, but only that it is an indicator of the Hungry Ghost syndrome, and when folks with that kind of hunger acquire power, what you typically get is more of the same. But they clearly hafta be *in* power to reveal this, or for it to flower in a strong way. (Lord Acton: "Power corrupts.") From everything we know, Hillary started out, long ago, with the best of intentions. Now, she is clearly in the grip of the Hungry Ghost (it's a progressive disease, in other words--a form of addiction). Anyway, you have seriously misunderstood my discussion of this topic.

mb

4:57 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that America's Weimar won't have a right wing conclusion, as plausible and likely as that may seem at the moment. America doesn't have a peasant conservative class, living in places where generations of ancestral tradition were overturned in modernity. We were born bourgeois. Nativism can never be a governing doctrine for the ultimate melting pot society. We can never match the angst of Germans who felt they had been ripped from the soil and forced into cubicles and debating societies. The modern condition is our baseline condition. Even your most hardcore Trump supporter would find actual Nazi anti-technocratic and anti-capitalistic ideas to be hopelessly hidebound and irrelevant.

I think the general non-ideological decay and psychopathy of late Rome is where we already are, and how we will continue to function. All we can say is that a dark age with nuclear weapons, mass digital communication, and huge technical demands in the face of widespread illiteracy is a problem sui generis that cannot really be mapped out before it happens.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Jacobin has a great article on neoliberalism and the Michigan water crisis.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/10/water-detroit-flint-emergency-management-lead-snyder-privatization/

I would also like to suggest the first “RoboCop” film from 1987 as a great WAFer film. “RoboCop” was actually a pretty biting satire of neoliberalism and technomania even though on the surface it looked like just another violent Hollywood action movie.

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

I know sports are far from a big thing here, but most I'm sure have heard the Chicago Cubs have made it to the World Series for the first time in around 70 yrs. I grew up a fanatic Cubs fan. Interest waned as I got older, with the whole steroids era as the coup de gras.

Didn't watch the game; but heard about it just as I was going to bed. I tossed and turned like I used to back in my fanatic days over a tough loss and briefly started to wonder if my love of the Cubs and the game had just been sublimated into my deep cynicism about near everything. Was I ready to jump back on the bandwagon?

But alas, no excitement could be mustered. Until, that is, my thoughts stumbled upon the scenario of Putin nuking Chicago when the Cubs were one win, maybe even one out away from winning the series for the first time in over 100 yrs. Well, that did it. I quickly tossed one off and proceeded to sleep like a baby. Murmured musings about whether such an event would humble US of Americans any little bit faintly on my lips.

I could go on to say that, in that fantasy, through the haze of nuclear winter, amidst human wailing and moose calls, off in the distance, I saw Our Good Doctor on an ice floe shtupping Sarah Palin, with a gaunt (and envious-looking) Ed Meese present nearby; but that would just be weird, wouldn't it?

6:57 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


Wouldn't being truly mindful be to just walk while you walk? Eat to eat, read to read and talk to talk?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/moments-in-mindfulness-walking_us_580778bfe4b0b994d4c2bfa0
What is all this new-age obsession with ulterior motives behind mundane activities? Did the previous generations miss out on something spectacular that the yuppies have recently discovered? Why don't the Mexicans or Trinidadian care for all this mumbojumbo? They would rather go piñata or liming with family and friends, I know that for sure.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/23/cult-of-quiet-in-pursuit-of-silence-movie
Silence my ass! All these solitary pursuits are to checkout from the real world which by its nature is messy and nuanced. These loners seek simplistic non-participatory gimmicks where you create your own world of fantasy. Because to create a boisterous mariachi party instead you'll need more than you yourself -and that's too much for these anti-socials raised watching purple-dinosaur and Mister-Roger alone on the idiot box.
Then as overgrown toddlers......SEE MAMMY, IT IS SO EASY !!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tony-robbins-morning-ritual_us_57c4ae57e4b09cd22d922f78?section=&

Navel Gazing: The ego constantly looks for ways to bend the benefits of the practice back toward the self and its selfish needs. Green hustling.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lewis-richmond/is-meditation-narcissistic_b_2543901.html

Ironic Effect: You can't be mindful or silent or anything if you insist on being.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69ajDYBUsuo

7:44 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Alogon - Chaput is worse than horrible.
He is a member of the ultra-misogynist Opus Dei.
As such he is the ugly double-minded face of right-wing "catholics" in the USA.
Check out a set of essays on the behind the scenes machinations of Opus Dei both in the USA and on the world stage altogether on the website titled The Open Tabernacle.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Dr. Berman,

Fair enough, I won't belabor the point. But I do think that from now on a certain level of boorishness will be prerequisite. Trump has charisma, and the goal of the "next Trump" will be to exhibit just the right amount of boorishness--but not too much. Unfortunately, the envelope has been pushed so far in Trump's case, that the "right" amount of boorishness and philistinism will probably be much greater in eight years' time. After Trump's hard porn act, the old lingerie ad in the Sunday paper will fail to titillate.

I agree with Diogenes the Elder that Cruz is loathsome, but I disagree that he will ever get close to the presidency. That's because the man is utterly void of charisma, and in the Spectacle Civilization, lacking charisma is a death sentence. (I love that joke: "Why do people take an instant dislike for Ted Cruz?" Answer "It saves time!") And Paul Ryan has now made himself hated by virtually everyone. The Troglodytes hate him for turning on Trump, and the "sensible conservatives" hate him for being a coward and NOT turning on Trump. In my opinion, he deserves whatever political oblivion awaits him.

As for Chris Hedges, I think he'd make a wonderful and fascinating friend--if you only had to see him once a month. (Just kidding!) He's certainly flawed like all of us, but I think he's a fundamentally decent man. And I tend to cut him a break for some of his recent excesses. He can be a bit strident and annoying with his Savonarola-style fulminations, but the guy did give us "Empire of Illusion". For me, that book is one of the best indictments of this degraded American culture ever written. And that alone covereth a multitude of sins.

(Hope I don't sound too opinionated here. I'm in a foul mood today!)





2:15 AM  
Anonymous Celery Tonic said...

Great argument for not voting at all in 2 weeks: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/24/why-im-not-voting/

"Choosing not to vote is not actively fighting, but withholding consent. This has the result of delegitimizing a government that does not represent your interests. It demonstrates that this government does not have the consent of the governed. It is a legal, non-violent, effective means of non-compliance. Non-compliance can take other forms such as not paying taxes (illegal) or creating alternative systems, but these do not delegitimize the government. Since governments derive their powers from consent of the governed, withholding consent is the only non-violent, legal means to delegitimize a government that fails to represent us."

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B,

Are Kim K's buttocks a kind of hungry ghost?

10:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dio-

Well, to begin with, we are not a melting pot society and never have been. It's part of our self-admiring mythology/propaganda, but sociologists say otherwise: our "multicultural" society actually lives in hermetic enclaves, on the social level; stats show, for example, that very few white Americans have black friends, and vice versa. Down to 1945, if a Chinese person in San Francisco wandered into North Beach, the Italians wd kick the shit out of him. Etc.

2nd, as far as matching the angst of the Germans, Americans are doing a terrific job, thanks to the crumbling of the American Dream. They are bitter, fiercely angry, and this makes Trump attractive.

Finally, I suppose it cd be misleading to talk about the emergence of American fascism in the context of Weimar (which I also did in 1989), but the truth is that fascism doesn't have to follow the Nazi example in exact detail, such as its anti-capitalism or anti-technologism; and even in the Nazi case, modernism was an important factor, as Jeffrey Herf has demonstrated. American fascism will be particularly American in nature: check out Roth's novel, "The Plot Against America," or Sinclair Lewis, "It Can't Happen Here." What I think we can expect are things such as fiercer law enforcement, internment of dissidents (already happening, in the CMU's), people reporting on their neighbors (already happening), and so on.

Of course, in terms of future scenarios, I don't have a crystal ball, and can't tell you exactly what our increasing decline will look like; all I'm sure of is that we will continue to decline. Personally, I think a fascist scenario is quite likely, but if we keep on electing Obamas and Hillarys, I suppose we cd slowly decay into complete stupidity and total irrelevance. The fascist formula is just much more rapid, is all.

Dean-

As far as fantasies go, I still do have the one of Sarah and me on the ice floe, but with the added touch, that as she reaches her climax, she cries, "O Great Seer of the Western Hemisphere (GSWH)!" Hey, a man can dream.

Esca-

On the other hand, you might wanna check out the Teaching Co's set of DVD's called "The Science of Mindfulness," or something like that. Very enlightening!

Megan-

Hedges has done, and written, some terrific stuff; but that wd seem to be a # of yrs ago. He's quite a different guy now, or so it wd appear, and we've discussed that at length--no need to rehash it. My pt is that we all have tendencies toward self-aggrandizement; I was amused by various spiritual groups when I lived in San Fran, in the 1970s, who wd proudly announce to others: "Our guru is holier than your guru." Jesus, give me a break. It's not just that power corrupts, but that too much attention corrupts; and it's then quite a short step from being motivated by a moral center to having that center become a cover for ego, for self-aggrandizement. As I said above, Hillary probably started out with the best of intentions, maybe Obama as well. Self-importance is a heady wine, sad to say, and if (for example) yr plagiarizing other people's work, it's quite easy to deny it or think it doesn't matter. But it matters--not just to those being ripped off, but to karma of the plagiarizer, and to the structure of his or her personality. At the very least, it's a sure sign that one is no longer operating from a moral center.

mb

10:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

This is perhaps the most profound question ever asked on this blog. Clearly, millions of American males yearn for Kim's buttocks; this is beyond dispute. The Hungry Ghost problem is that there is no end to desire. Kanye has attained those buttocks; now, he is endlessly in pursuit of fame and glory. Or maybe he will aspire to Sarah Palin's buttocks; who knows?

mb

11:07 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I sadly note the death of a great American, Tom Hayden:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/tom-hayden-key-1960s-social-activist-and-political-partner-and-husband-of-jane-fonda-dies/2016/10/24/adc6d5da-a828-11e5-8058-480b572b4aae_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_ob-hayden-220am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

Bishop Chaput isn't anyone you'd want to quote as being open minded. He's just the opposite always trying to protect dogma and Catholic tradition especially the one's connected in any way with sex. He has an abysmal record and the people of Denver were happy to see him leave; he's now inflicting himself on another diocese. In general if the clergy could get over their sex hangups they might be able to make more of a healthy contribution to the people they serve.

Marianne

11:53 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Re: Tom Hayden

"He was a man, take him for all in all.
I shall not look upon his like again."

~ Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

Such depressing news... An incredible voice for peace, equality, and sanity is gone forever, sad to say. I actually had the privilege of meeting Tom Hayden. He was on a book tour for "The Whole World is Watching" around 1996. A good friend of mine, Tim Carpenter, was a close friend of Hayden. We both went to his talk and book signing at a community bookstore in Santa Ana, CA. He discussed a range of issues surrounding the anti-war movement, Vietnam, 1968, and strategies to achieve peace and equality for the better part of two hours. All this w/out notes of any kind. The evening was not w/out drama as the bookstore received a bomb threat about half way thru the lecture. Hayden dismissed it w/a joke about how he's had to put up with stuff like this since the late sixties. Simply put, he was fearless and brilliant. I would rank him as one of the greatest figures of the 20th century.

Miles

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

The question remains: why is Hedges selling lotsa books, many paid speakers tours/honoraria, and more "mainstream" etc...whereas Dr. Berman who speaks reality, promotes authenticity, no BS, is marginalised and the mute button pressed?

Perhaps, Hedges sells a glimmer of hope, and a someday, somedaze fairy tale of us folks suddenly waking up and calls for change? Then the perfunctory--must dos, action plans, and shouldas that way it gives the populace something to raise their heads from the pillows each morn?

Just have a kernel of rainbows and unicorns/plans, the american lips start lickin' and the books start a sellin. Tell folks what they enjoy hearing, and make em pay for it. Winfrey, Orman, Kiyosaki, Friedman, Osteen, Robbins, etc.... sell hopes, dreams, and somedays. Composer John Adams stated re: the failed state-- "whadda expect from a country founded on venture capitalism and religious zealotry"--he too, is now trivialised among the "progressive" elite.

The narcopathic delusions remain a severe mental derangement that the populace cannot possibly extract their heads from their arses. They truly live underwater (Berman), or in this case, their rectums whereby the daily living is war (Berman)--war is life, life is war, and the fish is the last to know it's in agua.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Refuse said...

https://web.archive.org/web/20160304034958/http://timothycomeau.info/w-warren-wagar-letters/

Odd and stimulating correspondences w/ Wm Warren Wager Author of "A Short History of the Future" ... Wager reveals his indebtedness to Jean Jaures and Substantialism ... don't know all that much on those subjects, what do the WAFers think? What did everyone think of Wager's work in general?

7:51 PM  
Anonymous Botticelli said...

"In history the way of annihilation is invariably prepared by inward degeneration . . . Only then can a shock from outside put an end to the whole."
Jakob Burckhardt, Force and Freedom.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

https://www.rt.com/usa/363980-man-mother-unconscious-taco-bell/

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dr.B,

Personally, I see Kim's buttocks as a mirror of Kanye's soul. In a real sense, when Kanye looks at them, he sees himself. Some would say that this makes Kanye a grotesquely inflated purveyor of poop, but I see him more as an expansive orb of creative brawn that is repressively constrained by the control pants of his limited musical ability. In this sense, Kim's buttocks are indeed the hungry ghost, and her Spanx are the reality principle that keeps the hungry ghost in check.

But I hope I'm not overthinking this.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Golf-

Hmm...yeah, you might be, I dunno. But it's also possible that when Kanye examines Kim's rump, he sees his own divided soul: the person he could have been, and the shmuck he turned out to be. Kim, however, is not experiencing any existential crisis, beyond the loss of her jewelry.

Eric-

I tell ya, if someone deprived me of Taco Bell, I'd be completely outta control.

Botticelli-

Historically spkg, fascisms are very stable, and it does take an outside force to overthrow them. So if fascism does come to the US, it may require a coalition of Russian, Chinese, and maybe even European forces, to invade the country and possibly put it on the track to elementary decency. An unlikely scenario, I suppose, but then so was Trump, a yr ago. ps: I admire yr art.

Refuse-

Don't refuse; embrace! I usta assign Wagar's bk to my classes, when I was a prof. Very gd in terms of stimulating discussion. He had the misfortune to publish the bk just as the USSR was collapsing, but otherwise, it's a very creative effort. I trace his sources to Ursula LeGuin, e.g. The Dispossessed, Left Hand of Darkness, etc.

Mike R.-

Well, Hedges has written some v. gd bks, and I personally am happy that there is an audience for them. While his prognoses are off base, his analysis is often right on target. But you cd be rt: it may be the fantasy-laden prognoses that attract Americans, who are always hoping against hope. After all, what am I telling them?:

1. History is complicated and unpredictable; the future cd well be worse than the present, for all we know.
2. America has no future, except a very bad one, and if you have half a brain you'll emigrate. (Hedges, like Trump, wants to make America great again; my response is Rotsa ruck, amigos. Besides, its purported greatness was always material, nada mas.)
3. The only possible way we can dig ourselves out is via Dual Process. This will take the rest of the century to accomplish, and is more likely to be successful in Europe and Latin America than in the US. Left-wing revolution is not a real possibility for the US; there simply are no short-term solutions.

How many Americans, do you think, wanna hear this? 170 registered Wafers, I'm guessing. The remainder want Reaganesque, Disneyan fairy tales, and Hedges' optimism probably feeds into that. This is true for a # of other authors as well, of course. I can't get published by mainstream publishers because they figure, quite correctly, that my stuff cd never turn over a buck for them. Their 'ideology' is money, and I fail the test.

Jeff-

I cdn't agree more. I also believe he wrote most of the SDS' Port Huron Statement of 1962, an astute program for radicals seeking to right America's wrongs. The Occupy movement had nothing like it, that I ever found online, at least.

mb

10:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I can't help it; I love Americans!:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/10/25/n-j-dad-jumped-with-his-sons-from-a-highway-bridge-he-died-they-miraculously-did-not/?hpid=hp_hp-morning-mix_mm-bridge%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

11:04 AM  
Anonymous AS said...

Kanye Cyrus-

I happened to catch an interview with Charlie Brooker, the creator of Black Mirror, on NPR; when questioned about the show's supposed fear of technology, Brooker was quick to reassure Terry Gross & the listening audience that he in fact loves technology and is excited by its potential. At one point he went even further, admitting that he had given up his cigarette addiction only to replace it with cellphones, saying that he is now unable to wake up in the morning without instantly reaching for his device (he didn't seem to think that this was a major problem). Anyway, it's another good reminder that even those who appear to be critical of tech secretly (or not so secretly) adore it.

2:35 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Have you all seen the story of the professor with the solid track record predicting a Trump win? Is it really possible?

https://www.google.com/amp/ijr.com/2016/10/719775-why-a-professor-with-remarkable-election-prediction-record-is-literally-putting-money-on-a-trump-victory/amp/

4:40 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Fellow Wafers,

I know there are many articles attempting to compare Trump and Hitler but I just read an interesting and informative one that highlights eery similarities in the rhetoric they both use. It's also a warning about how these figures ascend to power and the societies that make it possible.

"Thanks to Trump, We Can Better Understand How Hitler Was Possible"

http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/u-s-election-2016/1.749153

5:32 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Re: Hedges' plagiarism ... The one who's been most victimized by it is himself. I've watched I don't know how many videos of him on youtube, and he repeats the same damn lines every single time. He's fresh out of ideas, his own or anyone else's.

On a totally different note, I teach philosophy at the undergraduate level, and each semester I begin with a philosophical puzzle that requires a correct answer to a question. The first time I did this (back in 2009), I asked a student, "Who is the current vice president of the United States?" He didn't know. I've used that very same question each semester since then. Each time, the student I called on couldn't answer.

College students don't know who the vice president of their own country is.

We're completely and hopelessly fucked.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Be sure to check out "The Durrells in Corfu" on Masterpiece PBS:

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/pbs-masterpieces-the-durrells-in-corfu-is-charming-and-addictive/

BTW, I'm rereading Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" and ancillary studies regarding the work. I stumbled across a great quote from Lawrence Durrell about Miller and the book:

"American literature today begins and ends with the meaning of what Miller has done."

Jesus, his quote could also be applied to MB's American Empire trilogy:

"American history today begins and ends with the meaning of what Berman has done."

Miles

6:31 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

Wafers may find the Summer 2016 One Book One Community choice informative. (A box of about 20 copies of the same book arrives at the 16 libraries in the county on a three week rotation. There is a book discussion at each library, and then, the box moves on to the next library.)

Heat and Light is a book by Jennifer Haigh. It traces the history of families in western Pennsylvania and the energy that is in the ground. It starts with Drake at Oil Creek (boom and bust), continues to coal mining (boom and bust), then to Three Mile Island (boom and KABOOM), and focuses on the current Marcellus shale drilling (boom and bust.) One of the few good paying job is as a guard at the state prison, where some of the inmates are the children of neighbors. The only other good paying jobs went to people with Texas license plates. The despair, frustration, lies, swindles, cover-ups, greed, poverty, poisoned water, black lung, and addictions to alcohol and meth ooze out of the pages. The tone is just like in 1859, “Rock oil was considered a local nuisance, a malodorous black gunk that floated like rumor down the creek, filthening whatever it touched: a farmer's overalls, a cow's hide, a child's shoes.”

One of the moderators leading the discussion was pleased to note that our group (the last in the county) was the only one where the participants were NOT disappointed that the book had no sappy-happy ending. All the other groups pointed this out as a flaw in the book.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Dr. B:

Your message about the current order of things may be bleak, but Dual Process also contains hope in the creation of new ways of living. Fleshing out these ideas ought to give people a book they would want to buy.

An example. I am currently reading "Our Renewable Future: Laying the Path for One Hundred Percent Clean Energy" by Richard Heinberg and David Fridley. This is not overly simplified propaganda (as much of the material from environmental groups is) but rather a realistic assessment of the daunting challenges lying ahead. There is bad news in here, in that our old energy-profligate ways have to go, and we have to transition to using less energy, leading more modest lifestyles, and having a smaller and more localized economy. Although this may sound like a sobering outlook -- one that I am sure most Americans do not want to face -- what we must transition to can actually be better, once one embraces it. And the authors are apparently selling books!

This, then, I think is kind of like Dual Process -- the old fades away as we simultaneously find new ways of being. It should engage Americans if they really have the can-do attitude that they claim to. I think there is at least some hope here.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

This is really good:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/how-democrats-killed-their-populist-soul/504710/

9:12 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

OMG Wafers, WHEN ARE WE GOING TO LET THE HEDGES TOPIC GO?

I am sorry but it's really trying to sound like a broken record. Let's just let the guy do his revolution and rest in peace. He's probably going to think to himself on his deathbed "I knew it all along, I wasted my life. I should have moved to Mexico with MB".

AS, are you sure Brooker wasn't being sarcastic in the interview? Either or, I'll say again after finishing the season how much I recommend season 3 to you all. There's only 6 unrelated episodes of about an hour each covering different "dark sides" of technology like cyberbullying, attention seeking or trolling. Episode 3 "Shut up and Dance" and 6 "Hated in the Nation" really left a chilling impression on me. A real punch in the face.

Kanye

5:52 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

One more on the topic of Hedges' plagiarism ...

Seemingly, he's now scraping the very bottom of the barrel, plagiarizing David Icke of all people.

https://twitter.com/JamesOKeefeIII/status/791264713250336768

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enx54BtF0wE&t=13m5s

5:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Chris-

Actually, Hedges' quote is from someone named Michael Ellner. It's also not verbatim, if that's impt. But I agree w/Kanye: time to stop beating a dead Hedges. I suggest we switch our attn. to Brittany Carulli, whose situation is perhaps a bit more poignant. She shd be on the ticket w/Hillary, not that other guy.

Meanwhile, All Wafers Note: DON'T POST DURING NOV. 1-15! I'll be in Germany, won't be able to do any blogging during that time. I'll give you another annoying reminder just b4 the silver bird streaks off toward Frankfurt. I have visions of thousands of German Wafers (Waferen) meeting me at the airport with signs like

WIR LIEBEN DICH, MORITZ!
WIR SIND ALLE WAFEREN!
WIR HABEN DELICATESSEN FUER DICH!
BELMAN, BIST DU SCHOEN!
DU LIEGST MIR AM HERZEN! JA, JA...
SHE LOVES YOU, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH...
(Etc.)

mb

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

Aljeezerah documentary on opiod epidemic in America. I posted it because it relates to the hustling culture we talk about herehttp://youtu.be/s78wlqbSuYc

7:09 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Pastor James David Manning on Hillary:

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

MB-

Brittany Carulli is gd, but we hafta track down these gals:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxRotQ9QSxE

Miles

7:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

This guy is utterly demented. I like the gals, tho; they need to meet Hillary, get themselves appointed to cabinet posts.

mb

11:22 PM  
Blogger Manol said...

Hello Tio Mauricio,

I think in this post-cold war years, George Orwell's classic essay "You and the Atomic Bomb" is still pertinent reading (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0300011h.html#part33). His basic idea is that since atomic bombs are so expensive, people would not be able to defend themselves against the threat of a minor elite, which would make the world descend into a new dark age. Doesn't it ring a bell?

I also read this book "SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome" by Mary Beard. Many interesting stuff in here. Most interesting, though, is that she ends the book when Rome decided that anybody could be a Roman. Probably, that would be the end of the American Empire. Not when another country invades America, but when an American President decides to make all citizens of Latin America, Europe, and Asia, American citizens.

Hugs,
Manol.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Ray said...

Morris wrote: "...I have visions of thousands of German Wafers (Waferen) meeting me at the airport with signs like

WIR LIEBEN DICH, MORITZ!
WIR SIND ALLE WAFEREN!
WIR HABEN DELICATESSEN FUER DICH!
BELMAN, BIST DU SCHOEN!
DU LIEGST MIR AM HERZEN! JA, JA...
SHE LOVES YOU, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH...
(Etc.)..."

Actually Morris, it will be more like just me and my wife Dorothea with yellow signs in Frankfurt that will be reading..."BELMAN!." We have organized a diversionary operation so that the screaming masses think you will be landing at Nürnberg, where they will be free to scream "UNTERGANG DES ABENDLANDES, G.S.W.H!!!!!" as "your" Junkers Ju 52 taxis to the landing zone after its wings have hovered ominously over the city's medieval skyline in glorious black and white, courtesy of Leni Riefenstahl.

To get the full picture of the ACTUAL welcome and airport meetup details awaiting you in the freie Reichstadt Frankfurt, and the even more intensive archepiscopal festivities in our ecclesiastical stronghold of Mainz, you need to READ THE EMAIL I sent you three days ago. Hope you got it, getting a bit concerned that you have the detials of the AIROPRT MEETUP so PLEASE KINDLY CONFIRM that you got it. Letting us all know here would be neat. I can send it again (or throught Doro's email address) if you still don't have it.

Auf jeden Fall, in palpitating anticipation and love from Mitteleuropa, let us know.

Ray

10:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ray-

Have yr message of Oct. 8, to which I replied; never got message of 3 days ago. Will Nuernberg involve Klieg lights? Will it be the Triumph of the Will? Shd I bring Donald Trump along? Bin gespannt!

Dein
Moritz

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Snail climbs Mount Fuji Slowly, Slowly said...

http://www.cntraveler.com/story/seeking-haiku-history-on-the-100-mile-basho-trail-in-japan

Basho!

I've always dreamed of following these paths of journeys he made to view particular views of the moon etc

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Ray said...

Hail, Saving Grace, Light from the Western Reaches of Heaven and Last Hope of the Eastern Hemisphere...

Just re-sent you the arrival meet-up details via Doro's university email address. PLEASE USE ONLY HER EMAIL ADDRESS FOR COMMUNICATING WITH EITHER/BOTH OF US UNTIL YOU ARRIVE. It seems stuff sent from my email address is having some problems getting through. Thanks.

As to your inquiry about Klieg lights, the normal Hollywood kind will not be sufficient, particularly "in light" of you GSWH'ness. What you would need as a fitting frame are the actual anti-aircraft searchlights used to create the Lichtdom (Cathedral of Light) effect at Nürnberg in 1936. At the very least, the anti-aircraft searchlight known as the Flakscheinwerfer-34 with 990 million candlepower and 150-centimeter-diameter parabolic glass reflectors (the FlakSchW 37 of 120 million candlepower would actually be better for highlighing your distinguished yet craggy profile). With a detection range of about 8 kilometers for targets at an altitude of between 4,000 and 5,000 meters, 130 of these lights at intervals of 12 meters around the Zeppelin Field could effectively limn your divine descent through the clouds. to then turn discreetly away for a moment as you put on you cape and riding boots, only to re-focus on your erect form as you strode to the microphone. To cover your trip between the air defence zone of Luftschutzgau Mainfranken and Luftgaukommando Mainz-Süd, the system could be made mobile using two sets of Special Trailer 104 units, one for the searchlight and one for the generator. However this solution would required a crew of seven people to operate each light, and inquiries at the University here in Mainz indicate there simply arent't enough funds to cover the upkeep and feeding of so many people for the time they would be needed.

So i'm afraid its just goinjg to be the two of us at Frankfurt Airport with our signs saying..."BELMAN!"

Thrilled, anyway.
Ray

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Mike R said...

I believe Germany has >@33 american military bases.

That's the great thing about america, you're never away from it. Besides, FATCA, IRS BS confuscatory reporting, non stop wars, americanization fast food shit houses, corporate mega , maisons, imperialistic military, and the monolinguistic anglo thing, most are never alone! go usa!

12:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ray-

If only Albert Speer were here to assist us! Schade. Except he wd probably want to sing the Horst Wessel song, wh/I'm not particularly fond of.

I just replied to yr email.

Alles klar,
mb

Basho-

Yeah, there was no one like him. Check out my Japan bk, if you'd like.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Doctor B, you owe me some royalty money!

I managed to get a Conservative Republican to order your America trilogy and he is really enjoying them! I always thought the central thesis was something that spans the traditional left/right divide and this gentleman seems to agree with me.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Christian-

I fear I don' make a whole lot on royalties these days, altho it wd be nice. But yr rt: I think the left vs. rt framework is obsolete. We need a whole new way of thinking abt our situation, wh/is what I've tried to do. What a pity, that there's no Nobel for insight/humor/delicatessen.

Mike R.-

We seem to have taken over the planet. Poor planet.

mb

2:52 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Texas A&M student, Miranda Kay Rader, crashes her car into a police vehicle while taking a topless selfie for her boyfriend:

http://www.kwtx.com/content/news/Police--AM-coed-taking-topless-selfie-drove-into-rear-of-patrol-car-398893961.html?ref=961

We wuv u Mirada Kay! Wafers have yr back...

Miles

3:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Today's youth, America's future. Just when you think it can't get any dumber...

mb

4:12 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


Lost in the dangling conversation, And the superficial sighs.
http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/symptoms_of_godless_new_america_surrogate_spirituality_of_body_art_20161026
Joan Baez - exchanging Rusts for Diamond.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEzaXA4lScE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwXO0sbN4pc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwU7fkPnEOI

Substituting God for Shit. That's what our modern counterculture has achieved.
Osho put it the best following Nietzsche's declaration, "God is dead".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D7rWLzloOI

Why New Monastic Individual ? The reason to checkout off 'Hotel America'.
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/opinion/why-do-anything.html?_r=0
First thing when you wake up in the morning yell FUCK-U five times to the world. Your day will be better.

“Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility; it results from some ecological or naturalistic wisdom. -- at an existential level, it is my body rebelling against its entrapment. It is the soul fighting the Procrustean bed of modernity.” -Nassim Nicholas Taleb

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Score one for old media.

"In general, those who got their news from TV news, social networks or internet news aggregators were less informed than those who get their news from radio or newspapers."

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/narrow-casting-news-feed-stupid

8:35 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Not enough urine department: The Stunning Success of “Fail Better” – How Samuel Beckett became Silicon Valley’s life coach. I wish NearFar was still around. I’d love to see his reaction to this.

pg, "Muss i denn" reminds me of some Irish folk songs. Like you, this post made me think of music – specifically, Reise, Reise with its German and Japanese travel and travail themes. The “album revels in the type of paradoxical, multifaceted existentialism which comes second nature to Germans but is persistently untranslatable to Americans.” – (PopMatters) Sidestepping that album so as not to be responsible for jinxing Dr. Berman’s trip, here’s a random video of Dobranotch performing Du Hast. (Click the gear button and disable the annotations to remove the distracting text box.)

On the theme of science fiction that transcends mere violent action, I think Wafers might also enjoy Dollhouse as well as Firefly and Serenity.

Dr. Berman, travel safe.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a school teacher in America these days:

"Students know to keep phones out of sight until the bell rings. But the student at Lee Middle apparently couldn’t wait. Deputies say when the teacher went to grab her phone she grabbed the teacher’s arm and dug in her nails."

But wait, it gets better:

"She started kicking the deputy repeatedly, tried to bite the deputy. We had no other recourse but to charge her with battery on a school official and battery on a deputy and now she faces two felonies — 12 years old,”

And you just gotta love THIS douchebag:

I think that’s a little too overboard ... 12 years old with two felonies, now her career her life is ruined,” says Christopher Aquilar, a parent.

Somehow, I doubt very much that her future burger flipping "career" is going to be harmed too much.

http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/12-year-old-manatee-student-arrested-for-battery-over-a-cell-phone-in-school/341655457?utm_source=fark&utm_medium=website&utm_content=link&ICID=ref_fark

9:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Will Hillary's 1st act of office be to call out the Army on Trump rioters?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/us/politics/donald-trump-voters.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

(Imagine her being flanked by Bill C. and Lorenzo Riggins)

1:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: OK: Bill, Lorenzo, Brittany Carulli, and Shaneka Torres. Now *that* would be a political statement like no other!

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Bill,

As a former History teacher, I can vouch for it being unspeakably bad. The thing I've noticed the most over the past twenty years is the growing tendency towards disrespectful, "schizotypal" children. The average kid today literally does nothing but play video games and stare at screens 24/7. They have no idea how to look an adult in the eye when you're talking to them, or how show the slightest respect. My friend has two boys, and just last week she tried to take the 16 year old's X-box away to punish him. For that he kicked her down the stairs, and went on to smash up her house--to the tune of several thousand dollars worth of damage. It's incredible. Her kids (16 and 14) would be near adults in most other cultures, and yet they act like four year old monsters. (The only words they seem to know are Fuck and You.) No social skills, no charm, blank affect, etc. My experience in Education has shown me that this kind of thing is very widespread. Can you imagine trying to teach a class of these burgeoning teenage psychopaths about Plato or Shakespeare? It isn't fun.

By the way, has anyone heard of the new drug called "Flakka"? Jesus. It had escaped my notice until recently, but it's quite disturbing. However, after watching a number of Flakka video's (see below), it dawned on me that Flakka really is the ultimate symbol of what America has become: Nihilistic, aggressive, and mindlessly rageful. In other words, the difference between a Flakka Zombie and the average hustling American is really not that much. It's just that the average American is slightly better at hiding his true nature.

https://youtu.be/BMJMujPoa4Y (Don't know about the "demon" part, but it's an apt metaphor in any case.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxI9kqFbdTA

1:57 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...


James Petras seems to be continuing in the manner of Chalmers Johnson :

http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/10/washingtons-pivot-to-asia-a-debacle-unfolding/

A new book of his :

The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire Paperback – July 30, 2016
by James Petras (Author)

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0997287055/dissivoice-20

Petras is none too fond of Israel or of Zionism, but that doesn't mean that he's wrong about US empire ---

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

Let's all hope that the US empire declines gently, ending in a whimper instead of a bang. Juan Cole thinks that the danger of World War 3 with Russia, provoked by Hillary Clinton's "muscular" foreign policy, has been blown out of proportion. I really don't know :

http://www.juancole.com/2016/10/clinton-russia-disagrees.html

3:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

This is how a culture collapses from within. Data on loss of empathy among the youth are quite stunning; and if all of this behavior characterizes a large % of them, then America can't really have much of a future, on any level. You might wanna check out recent bks by Sherry Turkle, who has accumulated the stats and analysis of what electronic toys have done to us.

A few yrs ago I was giving a lecture in VT, and my host was the late Thos Naylor. He threw a party for me at his house, and I remember at one pt talking to a local prof--perhaps at the U of VT, I don't recall exactly. We had the following exchange:

"When freshman come to the university, they know nothing at all. We have to put them in a kind of remedial program, so that they can eventually become freshman for real. And BTW, when I say 'nothing', I don't mean 'a little'; I mean *nothing*."

(Me) "Well, what do they talk abt, then? What's their conversation with each other?"

"Video games."

Another scenario involving our youth is done very well by Tina Fey in her film, "Mean Girls." She's a high schl teacher, goes into a video store where some of her students work, and cracks a joke. They just stare at her, uncomprehendingly. I began to notice this lack of affect abt 20 yrs ago, and feel bad for our kids; what a terrifying loss, for them and the culture. By contrast, when I immigrated to Mexico in 2006, I stopped at a cafeteria just below the border, where the personnel were all teenagers. I cracked a joke (in Spanish), and they all laughed, then came back at me with their own jokes. Yes, the US is so superior to Latin cultures, sin duda.

Finally, as far as Flakka goes: I recall, many yrs ago, a bk on 'normal' American business practices, with the author concluding that they were not very different from the typical practices of the Mafia, except that the latter were on steroids. It was a difference in degree, said the author, not kind.

mb

6:21 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Megan's and GSWH's comments on American youths (pace Joe Pesci) struck a chord. I'm currently finishing a book I recommended earlier, Andrew Hacker's The End of the American Era (1970). Chapter 9, "Domestic Dissonance," has some relevant points for this discussion:

"The point is long past when somber head-shaking could arrest the decline of parental authority."

"Today, in the slums and in the suburbs, children encounter varying standards from so many different sources that they soon come to regard their parents' judgment as but one of several valid options.'

"At an early age they begin to understand the importance of their current happiness for their parents' self-esteem."

"Anger, sullenness, even periods of silence on the part of children create parental discomfiture and are construed as symptoms of failure in child-rearing. (Previous generations of parents did not really care whether or not children were happy.)"

"Increasingly beleaguered by their own uncertainties, parents have produced a generation of children who have grown strong by feeding on the insecurities of their elders."

8:25 AM  
Blogger stephanie said...

Morris, I appreciated your illustration of the female at cafes listening to everyone say the same thing, and people labeling her "crazy", because she has no friends! Max Weber was right -- but I would argue that when superstition sets in, in the form of western religions, - the demise of thought pretty much coincides. As a sociologist I would argue that technology is horrific at this stage of industrial warfare and mass illusion and that the system of non-living wages provides the seed for this to set back in. Clearly capitalism arose due to male patriarchal religions! So my reread of Twilight helped me, thank you.
Stephanie

10:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Steph-

Well, in that movie it was a woman (Kristen Stewart), but it cd have just as easily been a man. As for capitalism and religion, Weber only made the arg for Protestantism, not for anything else, and I think he proved to be rt. But I'm very glad Twilight was of value. You might wanna read the 2 sequels.

mb

12:41 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Can't make this stuff up dept.:

http://www.kmbc.com/article/former-wedding-photographer-accused-of-duping-models-into-sex/7157386

Mario Antoine, 33, indicted for tricking dozens of women into having sex w/him under the pretense they were auditioning for porn film roles.

MB-

Re: Trump riot

Well, we might as well get it over with. It's strange: rather than feel discouraged or depressed about the possibility of a post-election Trump Gotterdammerung, the effect upon me is one of excitement and exhilaration. Why do I cry out for more and more disasters, grander calamities, and immense and elephantine failures?

Miles

12:57 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Enjoying the discussion on kids and youth.

What amazes me the most about western culture is how everyone blindly continues to have kids despite the world going down the drain. Even people who're highly educated. I really believe kids for most westerners are just an extension of their own narcissism, the best fashion accessory of them all to take with you to have your latte at starbucks. Corine Maier has written about this, but it's also frightening the reaction you elicit when you say you don't want to have kids. "You'll change your mind one day you're too young", "but you gotta have kids, everyone has them!" etc... Most of these comments are given in a snarky, preaching and passive aggressive tone. I think deep down people KNOW they're screwed and that it doesn't make sense to bring more kids into the world, but since it's too scary a reality to accept, they "kid themselves" (quite proud of that one). This will eventually also be one of the factors that brings the culture down with more consumption, more strain on resources, more "spiritual death" etc...

Kanye

1:37 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

stephanie said:

"I would argue that when superstition sets in, in the form of western religions, - the demise of thought pretty much coincides."

Me:

This is historically preposterous. If "superstition in the form of western religion set in" at any time, it was during the Middle Ages, a time which produced Anselm, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Francis Suarez, and the list goes on. Hardly examples of the "demise of thought."

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Cathy Shirah said...

new poetry anthology released by the Paul Kingsnorth and friends @ the Dark Mountain Project, contains lovely word, image, even soundscape recordings by the wonderful bioacoustician Bernie Krause.

http://dark-mountain.net/blog/the-persistence-of-poetry-and-the-destruction-of-the-world/

http://dark-mountain.net/blog/uncivilised-poetics-the-scythe-and-the-slaughterer/

3:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cathy-

This too is NMI/Dual Process work.

Chris, Steph-

Check out the essay I wrote a few yrs ago on Pitirim Sorokin, which is buried in the Archives here. Relevant to this discussion, I think.

Jeff-

Is the plural of bimbo, bimbi? As for disasters: much more exciting than watching Hillary do nothing on a daily basis, which is what we're going to have.

mb

5:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: check it out:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/america-redoubt-election-campaign-president-1.3816449

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Mike R said...

A potential "remedy"/diversion is to listen to one of the many dozens of military bands, orchestras, rock groups to help tap those troubles away.

america spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year for these military bands and orchestras (60$ million/p.a. for the marines, 198$million/p.a. for the army) to help lift spirits, enroll more suckers, and fortify the illusions of the clueless.

Maybe they can play send in the clowns.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle. E.g., Kim's Rump might be good. Thank you.

Wafers-

Historian Alan Taylor just wrote another bk, this one called "American Revolutions." The New Yorker brief review says that (according to Taylor) the unity of white revolutionaries "arose from a sense of superiority to other races." It goes on: "Taylor undercuts the narrative of noble patriots standing up to monarchical tyranny. The Founding Fathers emerge as greedy, hypocritical elites who...set out to put in place a government that would 'weaken the many and empower the few.'"

I guess we are reaping the results of that today. Can't wait to read it.

Meanwhile, the film "Genius" inspired me to read "Look Homeward, Angel." Wow! What a tour de force. When American artists/writers are outstanding, they are *really* outstanding. This is surely one of the most brilliant and lyrical novels of all time. It covers the period of Wolfe's youth, ca. 1900-20, and reveals an America that is truly awful. Wolfe comments on this only rarely; his m.o. is that of any gd novelist, i.e. show, don't tell. And what he shows is how cruel Americans are to one another as a matter of course, w/o realizing it. Cruel treatment is a given, in the category of "pass the salt." It's all abt putting yrself up, and pushing the other guy down. Nearly everyone in the story winds up broken--physically or spiritually or both. Wolfe's escape from this nightmare was to write this novel, which is basically an autobiography. He turned the misery of his life into a literary triumph. He writes on p. 455:

"And who shall say--whatever disenchantment follows--that we ever forget magic, or that we can ever betray, on this leaden earth, the apple-tree, the singing, and the gold?"

Tom Wolfe, the original Wafer.

mb

9:17 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Count Norman Pollock one progressive who "gets it." Not only does he say American is entering its Weimar period and that there is no hope of reversal, he places the blame squarely where it belongs--on the American people:

"Study the faces as the news cameras pan the waiting lines or audiences, smugness, occasional contorted features, feigned innocence disguising certitude. The emptiness of the American public, obediently laying down before billionaire wealth and militaristic narcissism (here self-love engendered through capitalism and assisted by compulsive attachment to the hegemonic purposes of the State). Each side, contemptuous of the other, in reality, brothers/sisters-in-arms, raises to leadership the perfect expression of their own, and hence similar if not identical, needs for recognition to cover their inner nakedness of spirit and purpose."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/28/america-at-the-crossroads-abrogation-of-democracy/

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum idiot douchebag and former Congressman Joe Walsh say if Trump loses, he'll "grab his musket." Of course, in response US government will draw its predator drones, tanks, mortars, missiles, fighters, bombers, etc:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-former-congressman-walsh-musket-tweet-20161027-story.html

9:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anon-

'Gladiator' didn't come thru. Yr doing something wrong here. What comes thru is Anonymous. Sorry, muchacho. The announcing label hasta be Gladiator, and rt now it ain't.

Bill-

Slowly, the world is catching up to what I've been saying for ages. It ain't easy, being the GSWH, I tell ya. We now have 170 registered Wafers. But in my novel, TMWQ, the # rises to 8 million. They are abt to storm the W.H., at the end. But imagine a different ending: the 8 million march silently down 5th Ave, each one of them carrying the following sign:

AMERICANS ARE DOUCHE BAGS

This wd make the original American rev look like nothing more than a tea party. It's only when the non-Wafer population can wake up, and embrace their inner douche bag, that this country will do a 180. Gott mit Uns.

mb

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Chad said...

https://www.amazon.com/If-Mayors-Ruled-World-Dysfunctional/dp/030016467X

Could this be a modality for degrowth? Regional governance ideas

WAFer comments?

10:59 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Christopher, Aquinas (in particular) sucks!
Check out any/all of the extremely boring and pretentious Thomist or more accurately tombist websites that either promote or are "inspired" by his speculations. Speculations which were to a significant degree inspired by the even more boring philosophy of Aristotle.
Most of these sites are quite right-wing an essentially promote a now very archaic back-to-the-past form of "traditional" catholicism. They quite often have either direct links with or open sympathy with the benighted world view promoted by Opus Dei.

Furthermore, contrary to their sometimes seemingly brilliant philosophy the fundamental persuasion of all of these philosophers was DOUBT. It could be said that they, along with Aristotle created the zeitgeist/paradigm which resulted in the dis-enchantment of the world, and the various collective pathologies described by Morris in Coming To Our Senses.

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Dr. Berman,

Thanks for the Sherry Turkle recommendation. I will definitely check her out. Oh, and I also loved "Look Homeward Angel". My favorite author, Hermann Hesse, wrote an enthusiastic essay on Wolfe, and that's what turned me on to the book. I think Hesse called it the most powerful work of American fiction. It's certainly way up there.

James Allen,

The "End of the American Era" sounds interesting. Thanks for that recommendation as well!

Kanye Cyrus,

You might want to read "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race", by that wonderful American, Thomas Ligotti. It's a dark but amusing antidote to all of those people who think that the meaning of life is to bring more bratty kids into the world!


2:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fred-

Actually, the Greeks were quite holistic/organic. Aristotle's explanation of falling bodies was that like knows like, and that a falling body had an "appetite" to "return" to the earth. (The Earth was alive, in other words.) Galileo wasn't having any of that, and the public Newton was only concerned with measuring action-at-a-distance. (The private Newton was alchemical; see my Reenchantment bk.) Marcuse tried to blame disenchantment on the Greeks, but he didn't really pull it off (One-Dim Man).

As for the High Middle Ages, yes, doubt, but always w/in the framework of faith. Aquinas was trying to merge Aristotle w/Christianity. Leaving aside current web sites, this period was a glorious one in European philosophy, abt 150 yrs. Again, check out what Sorokin had to say abt it.

mb

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Curio said...

Fred-
Ya i thought the Greeks had real spirit, so did Aquinas.

@Chad -

I think that is very WAFer like, the idea anyway. I don't know much about the author, I'm assuming he is former mayor himself. You know about this movement MB?

8:02 AM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Megan, I couldn't agree more with you. These men have been emasculated by the so called "Feminist Agenda." I read their commentary in many conservative sites daily. They are not the sole providers anymore, they have to do house chores and if they can't their wives now can leave them. Men feel they have lost control over their economy and over their women and during times of economic distress all societies turn misogynist- especially militarized societies. Trump is the very embodiment of mysoginy and alpha male grandiosity/bravado these folks crave. There's a reason why most of his voters are male and across all economic spectrums. He is putting the dick back in their pants! Sure they hate the establishment; they hate what neocons and neoliberals created with globalized economy - but if their hatred of globalization exceeded their mysoginy and fear of emasculating women why then they didn't vote Carly Fiorina in? She was an outsider. A "self made" business woman who came from the middle class and had a much larger arrangement of vocabulary and certainly a higher IQ than the Orange Orangutan; And Ben Carson didn't seem macho enough- with his calmed demeanor that made most people yawn. But Trump was Gorilla like and unapologetic. He waved his phallus all over his detractors faces- he can bully them with their blessings. That really appealed to their lost virility. Also, if neoliberalism has affected the entire US why didn't the democrats vote Sanders in? He is anti- TPP and for the working class. Are all democrats doing fabulously in this new global economy? Doubtly. Americans don't mind global trade as much for their military is out there opening global markets. They like the idea of global competition- they like their IPhones in China and their consumer items cheap. The prospect of closing down borders is like closing down American values.
Anyway, marriage is the opportunity the state confers man to have his own kingdom/government- it is the center piece of capitalism. Modern Conservatism has more to do with the preservation of male power than it ever had to do with rising working class incomes. That's why evangelicals flock to Trump: he promises to restore its righteous order- men on top. The powers of the little kings within that institution have eroded; the kingdom has two thrones. Trump is deliverance!

JC

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Slakr said...

Dr. Berman and WAFers,

I have been lurking on this blog for several years and just wanted to emerge from the shadows. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that my sanity is mainly sustained only by reading this blog.

In the 1980’s I lived on a coral atoll in the western Pacific but I only experienced culture shock when I returned to the US and clearly saw what a brutal society it is. I have been a culture critic ever since. Part of my response was to get a graduate degree in Cultural Studies, to find meaning by calling things what they are. Kind of a way to make the unconscious conscious.

I saw “The Twilight of American Culture” on a library shelf in 2004 and immediately checked it out. It well advanced a line of thinking I had long been on.
Please up the number of WAFers to 171. Thanks for calling things what they are!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I try to borrow digital books from my local library (I have difficulty handling regular books), and every serious book I’m interested in is, without fail, not part of the inventory. However, I checked and “50 Shades of Gray” is readily available. We are so skunked.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Himan-

Cdn't post it. This blog has a half-page-max rule. Please compress by at least a third, and re-send. Thank you.

Curio-

Barber isn't a former mayor. He teaches political science, and was a Rutgers faculty member at same time I was, in the 70s. I doubt his Rx for America is going to be adopted. Too many smart people just don't get it: NOTHING can save the US anymore; the train has already left the station.

Juliet-

That's certainly a factor, but only 1 among several. The crucial demographic for Trump, besides whiteness, is not having a college education. This comes up again and again in all the surveys and polls taken: this is his #1 constituency. I don't think he does that well with well-off, educated males. In short, the deciding factor is class war.

As for Carly: she didn't represent the lower class well enuf, whether male or female. Not that clear *what* she stood for. And as for Sanders: we discussed this some wks ago. "The Democrats" don't represent a single voting bloc or ideology, and most of them are hardly opposed to globalization or empire; so his appeal was limited in a # of ways. (Long discussion here)

Anyway, I'm sure macho appeal is impt to Trump's constituency, but I think you may have blown it out of proportion. The real crux of it all is class war, and giving the finger to a neoliberal pattern that has been in place since the fall of the USSR. This includes Washington, Wall St., the NYT, and the whole world of the intellectual/financial elite--clearly represented by Hillary. These white, uneducated folks who have been screwed by the neoliberal economy believe they have been betrayed by that establishment--and they're rt!

mb

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Wile E Coyote said...

Morris,

Wish you a great trip. But the way things are going be sure you know the address to nearest Ecuadorian embassy. Better safe than sorry.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Slakr-

Welcome to the blog, and thank u4 yr appreciation. We accept rave reviews w/pleasure, but of course always with immense modesty, inasmuch as I am the GSWH. I began publishing bks in 1978. If there is one consistent thread, one consistent comment I have received in response to these Sacred Tomes, it's this: "I thought I was nuts until I read ___." So rest assured, yr not alone.

Here is a quote from Nelson Mandela; you might want to write it on a post-it and stick it on yr bathrm mirror: "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings."

For us to attain 171, you hafta officially register. I hope that isn't too complicated. Meanwhile, I ask that you keep in mind only 2 things:

1. You live among douche bags
2. Things can only get worse.

hugs,
mb

12:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wile-

Gd idea, esp. since my Spanish is better than my Russian.

mb

1:04 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Violent Crowd Attacks, Insults Homeless Woman Guarding Trump’s Hollywood Star:

"A black homeless woman guarding Donald Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star was the victim of violent harassment by an anti-Trump crowd. Videos of the abuse show people yelling at the woman and knocking her to the ground as the insults continue.

A number of videos titled ‘Crazy 4 Trump’ posted on YouTube show a crowd of people surrounding the woman as she holds up banners in support for the Republican presidential nominee. Her hand-written signs promote pro-Trump messages like 'Twenty million illegals and Americans sleep on the streets in tents' and 'Donald Trump - keeping it real'."

https://www.rt.com/usa/364631-crowd-attacks-homeless-trump/

1:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

AS-

This is gd, but I'm not clear as to why these people didn't just riddle her body w/bullets. After all, Trump is big on 2nd Amendment.

mb

2:00 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Fred,

1. Even if what you said were true, it would have no bearing whatsoever on the point of my previous comment.

2. "Some websites claiming inspiration from Aquinas are bad; therefore, he sucks!" is an embarrassingly poor argument.

3. Anyone who criticizes a philosopher by saying he "sucks" and is "boring," without immediately disclaiming that such language is merely being used in parody of today's uncultured and unlettered discourse, is not someone by whose conversation I can in any way expect to be enriched. Quite the contrary; so let's make this the full extent of our interaction.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@Dr. Berman,

Regarding Trump's working-class support, you are right, it is about giving the neoliberal establishment a big middle finger. Racism and misogyny are part of the mix but not all of it. Also, the Trump phenomenon is not just an American thing. You can see populism exploding all over the Western world. The same demographics that are going for Trump also voted for Brexit. The National Front in France gets a lot of support from blue-collar workers and the unemployed.

See: https://www.ft.com/content/ad9502f4-8099-11e6-bc52-0c7211ef3198

These people used to vote for the Left until the Left abandoned them by adopting neoliberalism and changing their program from one based on class to one based on identity politics and cultural liberalism which was designed to appeal to the professional class and racial/ethnic minorities.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Brandon T Ross said...

@Professor Morris Berman

From the previous posting--"i'm also guessing that there's a small % of the black population that is very rich, and which may be part of the ruling class. There was a bk written on the subject a few yrs ago, I forget the title."

Any possibility it has come to mind in interim? That is my focus of my academic life at the moment, a referenced text from you on the subject would be out of this world

All the best!

Brandon Ross

3:19 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...


Mr. Ross:

GSWH may have had another text in mind, but in the interim, perhaps this book would be of interest for your purposes:

Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class, by Lawrence Otis Graham (1999). Amazon link here:

https://www.amazon.com/Our-Kind-People-Inside-Americas/dp/0060984384

3:42 PM  
Blogger Esca Dreg said...


Same time as Pitirim Sorokin predicted the decline of amrika, his contemporary from across the pond, Jose Ortega, read the oracle of the fate of the West. The prognosis of the two scholars were uncanny in similarity.

Wafers may like to read the book 'Revolt of the Masses' -Jose Ortega y Gasset, 1929.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/05/the-smartest-book-about-our-digital-age-was-published-in-1929.html

Tio, nos vamos a echar de menos cuando te va a ir.
Que te vaya bien...
Saludos!!


3:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Brandon-

Try this:

https://www.amazon.com/Our-Kind-People-Inside-Americas/dp/0060984384/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477769069&sr=1-1&keywords=black+upper+class

Tom-

As for Germany, check out article by Thos Meaney in Oct. 3 New Yorker. Truth is, identity politics is a red herring. It gets people all worked up, esp. in the US, because Americans are stupid; but it has very little to do w/real politics, which is abt the ruling class running the show, ethnicity be damned. I think Trump supporters know this, since they are the ones getting screwed, and also hafta listen to shitloads of political correctness all the time from precisely the class that's screwing them--clearly represented by Hillary. In general, of course, Trump can't get elected because he went over the top w/this, e.g. in that 2005 tape on women as pussies etc., but even b4. He's a jackass, end of story. But Hillary attacking his misogyny and vulgarity is a digression from the real issue, namely that she is part of that ruling class; that she gets huge fees for obsequious lectures to Goldman Sachs; that she and Bill have garnered abt $2 billion; that Wall St. and the corporations (and the Pentagon) are her friends, not poor uneducated whites; and that the Clinton Foundation looks like it might be corrupt. Bill sold out the lower classes w/NAFTA, the anti-welfare bill, and the 3-strikes law. Etc., etc. The lower classes would have been shafted w/Trump as president as well, but at least, so they (correctly) reason, he ain't Hillary, who will certainly make their lives worse. Trump hammered away at these vulnerabilities in the debates, but these points get ignored when you are attacking a military family, yelling abt how some girl got fat, and in general shooting yrself in the foot.

There's been a lot of talk in the past by liberals and progs (who are ultimately dumb as a stick) abt how the lower classes persist in "voting against their interests." Really? Might depend on how one defines "interests."

Chris-

I'm still not clear as to whether the Scholastics figured out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin...Just kidding. But yr rt, of course; any university library has numerous shelves of bks on the intellectual richness of the Middle Ages, and their legacy for the modern age. "Dark Ages" is probably a correct epithet in the wake of the fall of Rome (excepting the monastic tradition--see my Twilight bk), but the epithet has been debunked for the later period. It turns out that even their technology was sophisticated. The notion of darkness prior to the Renaissance is a categorization most historians no longer accept as valid.

mb

3:50 PM  
Blogger Presentable Liberty said...

Well in turn of events, I decided to be a poll worker in this election. I ask Dr. Berman what does he recommend for me to take for the next 14+ hr. on that day. No seriously what should be my attitude thoughout the day?

4:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lib-

Prozac?

Esca-

Aww...

mb

5:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to BobR-

2 informal rules on this blog:

1. Don't send messages to old posts; nobody will read them.
2. No more than one message per 24-hr period.

Thank you.
mb

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Mohamed said...

"These white, uneducated folks who have been screwed by the neoliberal economy believe they have been betrayed by that establishment--and they're rt!"
Well they brought it onto themselves. Nobody forced them to vote for Nixon or Reagan. Like most Americans they are idiots and fell for the southern strategy. Many of the problems poor whites face today is because of the policies of republicans. With the exception of bill and nafta. Poor whites were screwed by there own dear leaders. If you look at the areas we're most poor white people live they are run by republicans from the city council all the way to the governors office. I'm not trying to defend democRats, but it's reaganomics that screwed them the most. Poor whites hate immigrants but who gave amnesty to illegals? It wasn't Clinton it was Reagan. He did it so his buddies in corporate America can have access to cheap labor

7:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mo-

Yes, but that's only part of the story. Check out latest bk from Thos Frank, "Listen, Liberal." Discusses Bill C. as the great sellout, but also a manifesto by a prominent Democratic politician, Fred Dutton, from 1971, "Changing Sources of Power." It called upon Democrats to shift from blue-collar to white-collar workers as their constituency; from no-college to college-educated. It meant less emphasis on economic issues, and more on technological ones. This was a great betrayal on the part of the Dem Party, and it is the vision Hillary is seeking to sustain today. It's a vision that feeds the professional classes, and the well-off.

mb

8:08 PM  
Anonymous JM said...

Michael Moore's take on the Trump phenomenon seems to mesh with yours, MB.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY-CiPVo_NQ

And your reply to Mohamed was spot on. America was never a democracy and the electorate really has very little choice, at least at the national level. (Not that things would be any better if they did!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwbKcVy6JWE

9:02 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

I blame both the Democrats and the Republicans for the total disaster that this country has become. There's over 20 million men of prime working age in the US who are unemployed. Approximately 1/3 of them have stopped looking for work entirely. This trend has been growing for nearly a century. When MB says that there's "nothing" that will save this place, he isn't blowing smoke. Therefore, I've decided to do the only thing I can think of -- write in Henry James Burke for President of the United States:

http://www.dawgshed.com/threads/look-at-his-eyes-floridian-peeping-tom-masturbator-busted.204154/

Miles

9:37 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

It's never a poet or philosopher who is held up as the role model for Americans...only millionaires and billionaires...and this one is so special because he he's 18 and dropped out of school...because after all, who needs to get educated when there's technology and money.

http://nbcnews.to/2dRfxlq


10:11 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...



Dear Morris:
Thank you for reminding me of Thomas Wolfe’s "Look Homeward, Angel". I read that novel and its sequels, "Of Time and the River" and "You Can't Go Home Again", in my late teens many years ago (mid-1960s) and was totally taken by them. Great sprawling but poetic and impressionistic novels.

It was Jack Kerouac who put me on to Wolfe. Kerouac raved about both Thomas Wolfe and Walt Whitman as great inspirations in American literature, and indeed they are. In many ways, Kerouac’s “On the Road” is a subversive book, but in the very best sense of “subversive,” essentially expansive and life-embracing literature.

I am now interested to have another look at Wolfe’s novels, not only as a “trip down memory lane” but to see what you note, “how cruel Americans are to one another as a matter of course, w/o realizing it.” I remember a lot transpired in those novels, but perhaps I was too naive to note the underlying theme of broken lives. It would be much clearer to me now.

All the best,

Quercus

10:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

It also says a lot that the headline of that article is grammatically incorrect.

jeff-

Burke wd be gd, but I'm also thinking of Freddy Wadsworth, as well as that guy who was caught fucking a van.

JM-

That little tape may be the best thing Michael Moore has ever done.

mb

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

Hillary Clinton is toast. Even if she wins, she may not survive the mess created by her reckless behavior. What but private interest would make any person to create private email server to host employer's emails.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

GENERAL REMINDER

This blog is closed as of noon tomorrow, Oct. 31. I'll be flying to Germany and will be there through Nov. 15. Please hold all posts until Nov. 16, when I'll be back in action. I know this hurts, but it could be a useful Buddhist exercise in coping with the Void. If not, there are always drugs. :-(

Keep in mind that although my German friends will be stuffing me with Turkish food and deli meats, I shall still miss you.

mb

8:40 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

This Anthony Weiner-Huma Abedin fiasco may well be the final word on what a truly empty dead end identity politics has become. "Ohhh--isn't it just a GREAT example of the American melting pot that a Jewish Congressman and a powerful Muslim American woman were able to put religion aside and get married? And they are both SUCH attractive people too!"

How incredible that Weiner has turned out to be an even bigger sexual predator than Bill and that Abedin may be even more mind-bogglingly incompetent than Hillary. It is also amazing that just as soon as Hillary started closing in her goal of succeeding to the presidency that we're back in the 1990s all over again with one Clinton scandal right after another.

The Weinergate fiasco virtually assures that the partisan warfare in going to escalate to previously unheard of highs even as the economy flounders and the violence in the streets continues to worsen. The whole mess probably also increases the risk of war with Russia over Syria and Hillary will try to "wag the dog," despite the fact that it should be obvious that outside of the tiny band of Strangeglovian neoconservatives, very few Republicans or even independents are going to back her military adventures. So the Democrats will have sealed the deal of being the party of endless warfare and Wall Street while the Republicans will be the "anti-Clinton, all the time, no matter what" party.

Enjoy Germany, MB. At least by the time you return this horrid election will finally be over.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Spooky Lisa said...

Any travel readings in carry on? I'm in Prague on holiday and brought w/ a nice text on the ideas of Milarepa, and Paul: The Mind of the Apostle by A. N. Wilson. I think you would really enjoy book, particularly the scholarship level in the book on Paul, Professor Berman.

Although I did find this charming history in a Christian Science book store day before last [in Prague!?] it might become my companion on my return:

https://www.amazon.com/Theatre-World-Alchemy-Astrology-Renaissance/dp/0771056907/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477849415&sr=1-2&keywords=alchemy+astrology+prague

Lisa Harmeyer

1:46 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I thought I'd get this in before the moratorium.

Michael Moore is dead to me. The other day, on Bill Maher's show, he said that he liked Hillary Clinton because she's a "badass," because of some allegation that she's responsible for the deaths of 46 people. Why not mention her mirthful cackling at Khaddafi's being sodomized by a bayonet? How "badass" is that Mr. Bowling for Columbine?

Apparently,no matter what side of the narrow political spectrum you be at in the USA, you're still on the side of murder.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Have a great time in Germany.

"Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great."
~ Comte de Bussy

MB, Wafers-

My previous post is in error. Regarding the persistence of unemployment, please substitute "the past half-century" for "a century". Thanks so much, and Happy Halloween.

Miles

4:43 PM  
Blogger Shawn-Paul said...

I thought this was a skit of some sort but it's real... I am an African American and I don't support Trump nor Clinton. The way those people ganged up on her is awful. Everyone with their little cell phones, filming and laughing, insulting and watching, no one doing anything. Do we live in the Twilight Zone?
https://www.rt.com/usa/364631-crowd-attacks-homeless-trump/

8:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lisa-

On alchemy etc., you might wanna check out my Reenchantment bk. As for my travel rdg, I need to brush up my German, so am going to read the bros Grimm in the original. Brr!

mb

10:55 AM  
Blogger librarian@play said...

"The crucial demographic for Trump, besides whiteness, is not having a college education. This comes up again and again in all the surveys and polls taken: this is his #1 constituency. I don't think he does that well with well-off, educated males."

You should double-check this statement, Dr. Berman. According to statistics cited during a segment of this weekend's On the Media, a greater percentage of Trump's voters have a college degree than the national average: http://www.wnyc.org/story/on-the-media-2016-10-28. That said, I think the segment reaches the same conclusion: There is fundamentally a class war in process.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Waferin said...

Professor Berman, do you know if there is some kind of announcement posted of your appearances in Mainz? When are the lectures going to take place?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Chocoflan said...

You'll fall in love with her, Dr B:

"She slapped a 16-year-old ice cream store worker because the store was out of the flavor she wanted -- and in another incident she drop kicked a cake inside a Kroger store because she didn't like the way it was decorated".

http://www.10news.com/news/national/kroger-cake-kicker-due-in-court-for-ice-cream-shop-incident

5:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Waferin-

I'm actually giving the lectures in English, because they are being sponsored by the Faculty of American Studies (Fachbereich der amerikanische Studien, or something like that). The uni did make a flyer to publicize the event. 1st lec is on Nov. 4 at 2pm, open to public. 2nd is in a class, with students, a wk later; it's probably not open to the public. Hope you can make it to the Nov. 4 talk!

Choco-

Reminds me of the film, "God Bless America." If I were president, I wd award her the Presidential Medal of Honor for each incident. She stood up for herself: the store was out of tutti frutti, and the cake was poorly decorated. These things are intolerable, and Tricia responded accordingly.

librarian-

I guess it depends on which polls you consult. The one you cite runs against literally every poll I've seen on the demographics of education, so I dunno what to tell you. It also doesn't make a lot of sense, in that class war is abt $ and status, and these in turn tend to be tied to level of education.

OK, Wafers, that's it: I leave for the airport in 1 hr. Please, NO MORE POSTS! Thank you.

mb

5:51 PM  

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