March 15, 2017


Well, Wafers, time for a new post. Only problem is, I have nothing to say. My mind is as blank as that of George Bush. But let's look on the positive side of things (despite my creeping senility). We are slowly coming up on post #300; on 11 years of blogdom (in April); and on 3 million--count 'em!--hits. Could anything be more splendid? When I 1st began this blog, everyone laughed. "Forget it!" they cried. "It'll never get up off the ground!" To which I replied: "But they told the same thing to the Wright Brothers. They mocked Galileo. And look at how history regards them today." "But you aren't the Wright Brothers," they countered; "you aren't Galileo." "No," I responded; "but I am a Wafer with a blog!" And as they say, the rest is history. Waferdom proved to be the only enduring force on the planet, the only--only, mind you--force for good. The highest form of consciousness. And in addition, after nearly 11 years of waging war with them, we defeated the trollfoons. Crushed them out of existence. They have crawled back under the rocks whence they first emerged, beaten and humiliated. So all in all, my critics proved to be wildly off base.

A salute, then, to us: the finest people on the planet (all 171 of us), the only ones working day and night in the interests of Truth and Beauty.



Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Interesting article on the amount of holiday time medieval peasants had.

I wonder if subjectively speaking medieval European peasants were happier than modern people. Their entire lives were filled with meaningful events and rituals around which they based their lives. The author mentions the holiday time demanded by occasions such as weddings, wakes and births. Even though these peasants suffered from more physical ailments and had a shorter life expectancy I doubt that they suffered from the rates of depression, anxiety and social isolation that afflict modern people. Studies on the mental health of the Amish and other people living a more traditional lifestyle seem to bear this out.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The great French historian, Marc Bloch, once wrote that there was simply no way to prove that, say, a businessman in Paris in the 20thC was happier than a Provencal peasant in the 12thC or 13thC. For all we know, the latter might have been much happier. And the measure of any society, he added, was whether it delivered the goods. By which he meant not material goods, but the good of a society that rendered its citizens happy. There is so much nonsense out these days (Steve Pinker, e.g.) abt how much better off we are, but much of it has been refuted by substantive reviews and critiques. The truth is that modernity carries its own propaganda of 'progress', that later is better. I'm with Bloch, that we cannot know that for sure.

As for shorter life expectancy, that too is a tossup. The conventional wisdom is that, e.g., hunter-gatherers died at 30, on average, or medieval people at 35. The problem w/this is that these figures include infant mortality, which was high until recent times. If you exclude that data, it turns out that the average lifespan in earlier times was much greater. In other words, if you managed to make it past age 3, you were likely to make it to 60 or 70. In which case presenting earlier life spans as 30 or 35 on average is meaningless; these are, in effect, abstract figures--or, if you will, fudged.


3:56 PM  
Blogger librarian@play said...

"An alternative explanation, advocated by the cognitive anthropologist Harvey Whitehouse of the University of Oxford, is that enduring collective painful experiences creates a salient shared memory that serves as the basis for a kind of ‘social glue’, bonding members together."

Perhaps, in the absence of a true culture, this is why America's violent society turns to all thing militaristic? Chicken, meet egg...

4:21 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I saw "Get Out" yesterday and I thought it was an entertaining movie. I also felt that instead of mimicking long-standing American tropes that portray black men as perpetrators, the film skillfully reverses the paradigm and tries to portray black male fear and vulnerability in suburban white America. It was just so refreshing to see this.

In other news, besides the brutal and accelerating decline of America's institutions and citizenry, why is this country so painfully boring? Americans just seem to have checked out mentally, no wonder the "Walking Dead" is so popular in this country ! Get-togethers, parties, festivals, these things are just absent in American life. Of course, assuming they did exist, could we really trust Americans to be civil towards one another ?....probably not !!

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

I'll give the trollfoon invasion credit for one thing however, it brought the idea of Hegel's Negative Identity to WAFerdom (both here and in AQoV). I for one had not heard of it before and humbly nominate it as one of the GSWH's best contributions.

In other news I really, really hope the Netherlands (one of my favorite places on earth) don't vote in the proto-douche Geert Wilders ... we've got enough trouble with El Douche here in the US! The list of places to move to after I get my student loans paid off is small enough as it is.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm quite sure parties still exist; I'm also sure that what Americans say to each other at these parties is pretty banal. 1st, Americans as a whole aren't very bright. 2nd, historically speaking, Americans aren't interested in ideas. 3rd, for a long time now, Americans have been depressed, which means their affect is blunted. Put all 3 together, and you've got dullsville.


Actually, my reference to defeating the trollfoons was an attempt to bait them. They're pretty stupid people, as we've seen. Rather than ignore the bait, or shrug it off, I expect them to come roaring out of their holes, in full douche bag mode. God, I love a good trollfoon!


5:50 PM  
Blogger Jasper said...

Well its looking good over here in the Netherlands, Pastrami. Now we need to form a coalition of 4 parties. Basically the people said:

1: little bit less left please
2: work it out together, centre, left and right please.

Im happy.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I hafta be honest. I'm glad Geert took a large zucchini up the rear end, but I was kinda hoping that Lorenzo Riggins would run in the Dutch election. I'm aware that he's not a Dutch citizen and that he speaks no Dutch, but I still think, given his strong stand on burgers, that he wd have made a fine candidate. Just my 2 euros.


7:15 PM  
Blogger Arthur V. said...

A carry over from the last post concerning Mr. Hedges. It seems to me that the problem with at least some progressives is that they will not admit the only way to really change things (if indeed things are that awful) is to pick up a gun and fight. Marches and petitions are fine, I guess, but until someone is truly threatened nothing will change. If picking up a gun and fighting is impossible today. . .well, then progressives are simply whistling past the graveyard. Thoughts, please.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I always wondered abt that as far as Hedges went...Does he himself own a gun? When he was calling for revolution in article after article, did he include himself on the barricades, revolver in hand? But then, he was advocating nonviolence, civil disobedience. That was probably his moral position on the issue; and also, coming after the US govt w/guns wd mean a whole lotta dead progs, as I'm sure he was aware. But as you point out, what was civil disobedience going to change? Our situation is not one of Gandhi and the British, by a long shot. Either yr talking seriously threatening the establishment, or yr jerking off. Ultimately, the whole thing was no more than hand-wringing, whistling in the dark. I'm guessing he's pretty depressed these days. Like Trump, he wants to save America. Rotsa ruck.


8:05 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

On the scared women issue-
75% of Latino and 95% of black women voted for Hillary. Just because 53% of American white females identify with the values of the oppressing class to which they have been subjected to more intimately than the rest of us - since they sleep and live with mostly white males- it doesn't mean that women in general aren't scared of Trump and his far right liaisons.
Feminism failed long ago when it didn't pay attention to issues that effect women economically - like paid maternity leave, equal pay, free childcare, and nationalized healthcare which would do far more to liberate women than telling them that the point of feminism is that any choice is equally empowering. I call that self esteem feminism- any choice will do so long as it agrees with your notion of who you are. "Slut and proud of it! 3rd wave feminism's victory was making cleavage,short skirts, heels and lipstick empowering. Look at how TV journalists dress up and compare to decades ago- like comparing cocktail waitress dress code to that of flight attendants.
Liberalism and feminism embraced identity politics as Wafers know. It doomed both. I do agree that small talk is all you can get out of speaking to American women. They fear looking dim witted and avoid intelligent conversation. However, I have spoken with immigrant women and they have less fear of approaching difficult subjects. It is my experience that mostly white American females are a vivid reflection of the males they surround themselves with. They reflect mostly their husband's points of view. The working women hustle just as much, compete amongst themselves for the best mommy award, have a penchant for projecting perpetual happiness and are extremely self conscious. However I must add that according to many scientific studies men feel threatened by intelligent women. Will insecure men want to elevate their partner's level of conversation? Women dumb down just to keep an insecure male around. That would make anyone self conscious around intelligence.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

Russia is definitely trying to bump America from the front row seat in the Global Freak Show (

From 1,649 factually untrue reports published by pro-Kremlin media outlets over the past eighteen months:
- European children sleep with Hitler dolls.
- Angela Merkel is the daughter of Adolf Hitler.
- Osama bin Laden is living in the Bahamas, sponsored by the CIA.
- The German government buys Czech prostitutes to satisfy the needs of young refugees.

Not sure which one of those is my favorite, but I am glad to see that Germany still plays a prominent role. Somewhat reassuring.

This one is still being fact-checked: "Westerners marry dogs, pigs, and crocodiles."

Next, the German economist Wolfgang Streeck correctly called London a "second Rome." In the March edition of Harper's Magazine, the English journalist Tanya Gold describes what the City has become in her eyes. The essay paints a stark picture of a hollow, economically polarized place, where the rich buy space and, besides decorating it with infantile nonsense, keep it empty. It is worth reading. Being a habitually rule-compliant German, I outsourced my favorite quote to in an effort to obey the 1/2 page maximum here.

Otherwise, check out the March issue of Harper's Magazine:

8:26 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As new and improved restrictions on travel to the United States are about to be imposed starting Thursday, we know what Canada's Girl Guides organization thinks of them. Thanks but no thanks. Until further notice, no trips to America for these ladies.

And a recent story about a returning NASA scientist being obliged to surrender his phone and provide his password to CBP caused me to wonder whether a citizen can lawfully refuse such a request. Short answer: no.

For those interested, this article from Truthdig based on research by ProPublica setting out what your rights at the border are.
Short answer: virtually none

8:30 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Oy vey, Hedges' writing has become tiresome and uninteresting. Many years ago, I was quite complimentary about his knowledge, range, and narrative skill. Now, however, I don't know what to make about his ideological perspective other than to say he seems to be waging a holy war that's literally going nowhere. There's also a kind of weird *optimistic* conservatism at work here as well: consistently drumbeating about how Americans are unique individuals, i.e., City on a Hill; infinite in their faculties and possibilities; in deep need of some kind of renewal before it's too late. It reminds me of a more conventional Emerson, but Jesus enuf already! It's as if in all of his self-righteousness, Hedges has managed to forget the facts of American history. I don't know if it's a case of wax in his ears or concrete in his cranium, but somebody should strip him of his weary moral grandiosity. Anyway, I'm delighted to see MB expose his many intellectual limitations and his persistent tone-deafness to the fact that Americans should't be saved.


8:40 PM  
Anonymous Quercus said...

This is a succinct and insightful summary of attitudes in "flyover" Christian White America - why this group often votes against their best interests, and why you could not convince them otherwise. And it is not about being "temporarily embarrassed millionaires." It is more a matter of group identity combined with fear of the "other". I grew up with these sort of people in Michigan and the analysis is spot-on.


9:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, it's possible that those 53% don't see themselves as oppressed! In addition, maybe they saw Trump--as millions of others did--as being real, and addressing real issues, while they saw Hillary (correctly) as talking from script, and utterly full of shit. They aren't terribly scared, in other words (altho obviously, many other women are).


Osama isn't living in the Bahamas. He runs a small deli on the Lower East Side. Word has it that his matzoh ball soup is terrific, and that he is definitely not a soup Nazi.


In a way, I feel kinda sorry for the guy. Personally, I'd hate the pressure of having to crank out an article every week, esp. when I had nothing new to say. Hedges has become a guitar w/one string, really. How many times can one invoke Sheldin Wolin, or utter the word 'revolt'? The essays just recycle old themes. And the moral grandiosity is by now quite tedious, as you say. To what end, all of this verbiage? As a one-man cottage industry, he's become quite boring; and he has no real solution to our no-exit situation, try as he may.

But in some ways, he's in good company. Like Chomsky (whom I respect immensely) or Michael Moore (who has, after all, made some impt films), he thinks we are (somehow) going to get thru all this, and see happier days. To me, this is a failure of nerve, of real courage. Garrison Keillor once wrote, "Here in Lake Wobegon we can look reality right in the eye and deny it." Well, that's what these guys are doing. Jesus, what more evidence do you need, guys, beyond what's rt in front of you, to recognize that we are going to hell in a basket? And--crucial pt--that this is simply not a population worth saving? This is not a populace that has been 'raped' by elites; what happened here was consensual sex. For 400+ years, these people have consistently chosen hustling and empire and selfishness over decency, fairness, and cooperation. For 400+ years, they ignored, laughed at, or marginalized not only the poor, but also those alternative voices that told them there was a better way to live, to organize society. Ever hear of the word 'karma'? It means you reap what you sow. Capisce?


9:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, some truth to what he says, but he is certainly off-base on the economic issue. There is no question that this population recognized the fact that the Dems had sold them down the river, that Hillary was more of the same, and that Trump was addressing issues that were real rather than ones of language and political correctness. To declare that this is b.s., is the real b.s.

He also doesn't understand that the position of "These people vote against their own best interests" is also off-base, because it depends on how you define 'best interests'. It's not a question of group solidarity, altho I'm sure that plays a role to some extent; it's that for this group, 'best interests' means not being patronized, not being told what's best for you by East Coast elites--or anyone, really. The very long history of 'rugged individualism' in this country militates against that. These folks see social safety nets as handouts, things that degrade their dignity; and also see having others tell them what to do--even if it wd benefit them economically--as equally degrading. So quite reasonably, it's in their best interests, as they define the phrase, to tell the neoliberal establishment to fuck off. Not so hard to understand, I'm thinking.


9:45 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Just like in the last Seinfeld episode...This is America!!...and that means you don't have to HELP anybody if you don't want to.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

It amazes me anyone talks about "revolt" anymore. Revolt? To what end? At this point it would be like staging a mutiny on the Titanic after it was holed by an ice berg.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Hedges and other progs might have toned it down to "Resist!" by now; more modest aims. "Split" wd be a lot more intelligent, of course. Check out the link posted by jj, above. In a few years, passersby will probably join in the beating, just for the fun of it all.


6:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually an old story:


7:06 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

MB... Curious how you got the number 171.

A note on jj's link. When we were teens in India (~30-35 years ago), in most cities anybody in the slightest trouble would find more than ten people gathered around offering free advice and help. Today, in all big cities, people just walk/drive by, or record it on their smartphones. Reminds me of your discussion on how digital technology has killed our empathy in "Why America Failed". Lack of empathy seems pretty global.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Polk said...

+This will be my last post about Hedges, I promise. From Hedge's RT interview show via Truthdig - an interview with the author of "Postcards from the End of America". The interview is entitled "Irrevocable decline of the American Empire". That title makes me wonder if Hedges has finally abandoned all hope of a revolution to turn the tide and accepted that the tide cannot be turned. That it is too late to do that. I think that is what his interviewee thinks. That the despair, anxiety, stress, poverty and hopelessness of a majority of Americans is too great and too entrenched to be changed. Hedges' "hopeful" side emerged toward the end of the interview when he asked why the author had such a bleak view of where America is headed. As if bleakness were not a defining characteristic of much of Chris' work. Anyway - the author hopes the end comes soon so we can get on with the aftermath, which he hopes is better than what we have now.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some fellow Wafers have found out an interesting way of shutting out noise in their life and creating silence. I think I might buy a pair! Will come very handy in the office.

Maybe the master's tools can dismantle his house after all ;-)


10:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


He did an essay a while back saying that it was all over, which surprised me: 1st glimmer of intelligence I had seen from Hedges in a long time. But he subsequently reverted to the usual 'revolt' bullshit in later essays. Perhaps he is slowly coming around to reality, who knows.


11:00 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

In the You Couldn't Make This Up if You Tried department, a study showed that only 1 out of 5 Oklahoma City school students aged 6-12 know how to read a clock:

And in the Our Political Class Has Lost its Mind department, cretinous old warmonger John McCain claimed Rand Paul is working for Putin because the latter opposes allowing Montenegro to join NATO:

McCain has become increasingly deranged in recent years, but I'll bet most of the Washington establishment would still wet themselves if he could somehow replace Trump in the White House. The only positive is that the warmongering old troll has lived long enough to be beaten out for the presidency by dimwitted Bush and neophyte Obama, and now has to grit his dentures over the spectacle of the orange haired one "disgracing" the office he lusted after so hard for so many years that the strain caused his brains to leak out of his ears.

11:09 AM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Power to the Wafers, man, power to the Wafers!

American moronism in advertising Dept:
The radio ad was dialogue of different people relating stories of exceptional teachers they have had, and how that motivated them to become teachers themselves. The Pay it Forward meme, y'know. Except that the voice over at the end said "Play it Forward... Missouri Lottery".

11:41 AM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

I actually physically broke up a two vs. one street fight last year in Chicago, the two wanted the one´s basketball shoes. It was in a bad neighborhood, but my educated guess was that no one had knife or gun, so I stepped in. Probably should not have though, cuz much like the whole rising up and saving America idea, for whom was I taking a risk? But I got away with it. Very happy not to live there anymore.

For the United Statesian Wafers reading, do ya'll have the same general impression that for whatever material comforts we enjoy, being american just *feels* really bad? I am alone in this? Aside from being symptomatic of depression and anxiety I mean? I find non-americans aren't aware of this (assuming it is a real phenomenon) as much as we are.

For the non-american Wafers out there, what have you noticed in your dealings with (even enlightened, Waferesque) americans?

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Navi said...

re: Kitty

hmm, found a couple interesting tidbits from that Wikipedia pg.

"In September 2007, the American Psychologist published an examination of the factual basis of coverage of the Kitty Genovese murder in psychology textbooks. The three authors concluded that the story is more parable than fact, largely because of inaccurate newspaper coverage at the time of the incident.[14] According to the authors, "despite this absence of evidence, the story continues to inhabit our introductory social psychology textbooks (and thus the minds of future social psychologists)." One interpretation of the parable is that the drama and ease of teaching the exaggerated story make it easier for professors to capture student attention and interest.[60]

Psychologist Frances Cherry has suggested the interpretation of the murder as an issue of bystander intervention is incomplete.[61] She has pointed to additional research such as that of Borofsky[62] and Shotland[63] demonstrating that people, especially at that time, were unlikely to intervene if they believed a man was attacking his wife or girlfriend. She has suggested that the issue might be better understood in terms of male/female power relations.[61]"

12:29 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Well, Geert the Crusader meme looks dead for some time now. Le Pen is a smarter figure, but I think she also will be forgotten in short order.

Meanwhile, look for the next gen of Euro leaders to end austerity and complete the project in some kind of fiscal union. This also allows smaller like Catalonia to secede as independent units in a new super state. It will be really delicious when EU extends dual citizenship to UK and encourages Scottish independence. Clemency and expansion will defeat angry retributionism.

There is a reason why it is the English speaking world that is terrified of Muslims. When your society has no culture but numbers, every deviation IS a threat. Meanwhile, Greece is abused, bankrupt, and has a border with the hostile Turkey, yet even their far right is not primarily oriented against Islam.

Maybe fundamentalist religion isn't such a threat if you have some degree of social cohesion and enlightenment in your OWN society. Crazy idea.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

I saw Hedges' interview of that author as well this weekend. I especially appreciated how Dinh challenged Hedges' 2D interpretation of nationalism, as it relates to the Trump movement.

I truly believe that urban liberals/progs are completely incapable of understanding, much less relating and responding to, "fly over" country. Now that Trump's approval rating is north of 50%, I think you can expect more evidence of liberal mind meltdown, along the lines of the Rachel Maddow "gotcha(?)" on Trump's tax return. How bizarre was that?

Just as the propreitarians on the libertarian right have safely ensconced themselves in the margins of an Ayn Rand novel, I think liberals/progs are going to need to find somewhere they can be intellectually safe from reality. And, pronto.

2:10 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Have look at Hedges recent On Contact with poet Linh Dinh. Perhaps he is, certainly Dinh seems to say there will be no revolt but a form of regionalism which to my mind may lead to communities way, way down the road that are craft based. For this to happen and perhaps I am being extremely optimistic here, will require immense suffering and learning for some American people. The ones who survive.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

And now an important message from President Trump

I'm thinking 'Kermit the frog' as a Democrat in 2020?

...I'm scraping the re-runs barrel here...

J. Belushi
G. Carlin
Sam Kinison
Bill Hicks
J. Seinfeld

even Baldwin is getting old...

Shaneka Torres as a great cabinet post would pick things up....

Donald's got to get off his duff and ratchet up the bizzaro factor. His whining is getting very tiring...

everybody's depressed trying to figure a way out of this mess when there isn't one.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Bullets fly because of wrong pizza topping:

Americans in stores dept.:




6:14 PM  
Anonymous Matt Siri said...

Hi Dr, B and Wafers,

I just came across this highly viewed TED talk on YouTube by a Thai farmer-activist, Mr. Jon Jandai, who has been pioneering a self-sufficient and bucolic life style in that buddhist kingdom for over a decade. I think it's amazing that his simple ideas and views about the 4 necessities of life effectively manage to debunk capitalism as failure. The basic of what he said reminded me of what Jesus said in Sermon on the Mount.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr B.

You said "...Americans aren't interested in ideas..." I can absolutely concur with you on this. When I talk about the ideas of personal responsibility and competition it is like talking to robots who spout out the slogans. Competition entails that there will be winners and losers. Personal responsibility entails that one's circumstances are the results and outcome(s) of the choices one makes. Competition predestines that some has to lose. I ask the question if competition entails there will be losers then how are one's circumstances are always the result of one's choice? When I ask this sort of question people just lose their shit or I'm called a moron. Logic to the average American is like Garlic to a Vampire.

7:12 PM  
Blogger CB said...

Hi MB and everyone-

Kanye - Since the Grifter in Chief's victory, I try to make my world as silent as possible. The television stands silent in the living room. NPR , done. I will not subject myself to this lunacy. When I am actually subjected to the blaring idiot box, usually at the gym , it is shocking how mentally challenged all the talking heads seem. People who come to work out MUST turn the television on, if by some miracle it is off. They may have ear buds in , they may be chatting with someone , or staring at their phone. But the TV MUST BE ON. simultaneously. Many things have taken our society down , but I believe television has helped ruin this society. It is called "programming" after all.

8:04 PM  
Blogger CB said...

MB- I know I am breaking the 24 hr rule , but congrats on your blog milestones .


8:06 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

What's wrong with me? I know bad is good, but I still cannot feel good about this.

Do I need professional help, Wafertherapy? A Nazi-Cyanide pill hidden in a hollowed-out tooth? Or at least a Propofol-line up a vein?

"The Budget also proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies, including:
the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission;
the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade
and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for
the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment
Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council
on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars."

By the way, having worked for 25+ years in the Chemical Industry (yes, I repent!) and having seen first-hand the corporate respect for the CSB, number 3 above is almost funny. Certainly a great testament to the effectiveness of the art of big money lobbying!

I still need your help, though...

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Detours said...

What's shakin' DAA bloggers? I came here to post this fascinating article that I read yesterday on Angkor Wat, of which I knew nothing before, except in the movies. And yo, I learned a new word while reading it, "conurbation"---

And how 'bout this as it relates to the recent false consciousness discussion here at the DAA?:

Smart guy, that Wallerstein, wouldn't ya'll say? Maybe another GSOTWH?

Hey, but how goes this Chris Hedges issue? Man that dude surely has got some memory problems as it relates to PTSD. No kiddin', ya'll. I know because my wife has PTSD. And I'm NOT talking memory loss here, Wafers. Not precisely. We're talkin' 'bout the "inability to make new memories," a rarely discussed issue that effects some--maybe not all-- who have PTSD. Yeah, a kind of damaged brain. Unfortunately, all that aside, Hedges seems to be an arrogant prick, or kind of an asshole, and that's not caused by PTSD (!!), but maybe adds to his problems. But who knows? More to say about this little understood aspect of PTSD, but the half-page rule means that's for another day...holler..check..

9:14 PM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

I turn off the tv in the break room at work. I have no cable at home. I turned off the news alert on my iPhone . I turned off notification and stopped following people on Facebook. I only use the Facebook messenger to talk to my family in Africa. Which is once in a while. When they message me I wait 2 or 3 days to reply. Why rush it's not like they are gonna die in those 2 days. When I drive I turn off the radio . Ever since I have done these things my mind feels clear and my anxiety level has gone down.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous BH said...

Professor Berman and anyone else,

My grandfather and grandmother were mature adults when the Great Depression hit. MY grandfather died in 1989 and my grandmother died in 1986. My grandfather said that it was very bad in the big cities. He worked in Dallas and heard stories of people actually starving there--usually the cause was people abandoning children they could not care for or elderly people not able to look after themselves anymore and not having anyone else who could or would help. Was this rather common?

I cringe at the thought of having to go through a huge Depression today which we probably will if the country declines any further.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

From 1,649 factually untrue reports published by pro-Kremlin media outlets over the past eighteen months:
- European children sleep with Hitler dolls.
- Angela Merkel is the daughter of Adolf Hitler.
- Osama bin Laden is living in the Bahamas, sponsored by the CIA.
- The German government buys Czech prostitutes to satisfy the needs of young refugees.

Oh, I don't know. Not as good as the past and ongoing MSM-peddled variants on Russian "aggression" or meddling in the US election.

My favorite remains "Russian agent" Jill Stein. Though McCain did almost top it the other day when insinuating that Rand Paul was working for the Kremlin.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

Does anybody remember the old "Carol Burnett Show" from the seventies? It was a sketch-comedy show that was frequently as sad as it was funny, highlighting as it did the pathos inherent in the American social condition. (Their signature routine was a sketch-series known as "The Family" featuring the characters of Eunice and Ed Higgins and Eunice's mother Thelma Harper, a revised version of this latter character becoming the basis for the "Mama's Family" syndicated sitcom.)

I was trying to put my finger on why I view progs with so much disdain now, and it's not because they are the worst of what's out there, because they're really not. What's sad about them is the fact that they come off as bunch of Carol Burnett Show characters, which I guess is a way of saying that they embody a kind of sad that you can just as easily laugh at, owing mainly to their inability to honestly look at themselves in the mirror. And really, sometimes the healthiest way to respond to finding yourself stuck in a wasteland of nonsense and lies is just to laugh at the self-unaware absurdity of it all!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mister Roboto, I do remember that show well.

And I've also found that humor is a nice mental shell for keeping the depressing dumbness of American society at bay. Though I find that sometimes my laughter begins to get a shrill, desperate, slightly insane quality to it as my environment is increasingly dominated by oil change shops, car washes and fried chicken restaurants. And people who want nothing else.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd article by Wallerstein, thanks.


I'm on the side of the 3 teens. Only thing they did wrong was fail to use more high-powered armaments.


This is essentially my argument abt Dual Process, which I began to lecture on several yrs ago (the essay is archived on this blog). Maybe Hedges will start writing abt it as well, inasmuch as 'revolt' didn't work out like he had planned.


They already *are* insulated from reality. Check out what they are doing these days, on common dreams etc. Everything wd become clear if they understood the truth of declinism. But no: like Trumpi, they want to make America great again. Yeah, that's gonna happen.


Your problem is that you believe unsavable situations can be saved. They can't. As you slowly recognize this, you might contemplate the following quotes:

"Who said that life has to be fair?"--JFK
"History is a slaughter bench"--Hegel

I'm also thinking of opening a chain of Declinist Therapy Workshops, for progs and related folks.


I doubt that interp. will wash, any more than the event was one of black/white relations (attacker was black). But it does seem to be the case that the figure of 38 or 39 witnesses was very inflated. Still, the event was an important one in American culture, altho I don't think much has changed since then. There's a film somewhere of one guy shooting another guy at a gas station in DC (the victim is lying on the ground), and the customers concerned not abt that, but abt filling their tanks with gas. Another of a woman dying in the waiting rm of a Bklyn hospital, falling onto the floor, with staff and folks there just looking on, impassively. Also check out my essay in QOV on "Ik Is Us," or some title like that (I forget). And these are events that had witnesses. I'm guessing this kind of callous indifference occurs thousands of times a day in the US, because Americans finally have no sense of empathy.


I can't reveal my sources, because that wd get certain people in trouble, but McCain was never tortured in Vietnam. That was a fiction he created to advance his political career. He also subsequently treated the guy who saved his life, when he parachuted into the lake, like dirt.

Thank you all for your contributions. Every day it's getting worse, and it's important that we document this. I can't imagine why anyone wd want to live in the US.


11:01 AM  
Anonymous al Qa'bong said...

I used to watch Carol Burnett all the time. Whatever happened to variety shows? My strongest memory of "The Carol Burnett Show" was seeing Gloria Swanson on it in about 1973. At the time I thought she looked incredibly spry for her age.

Your clock story doesn't surprise me, Bill Hicks. Last week in class, while discussing Charles Dickens' Hard Times, and the point he was making about the change from traditional, seasonal ways to measure time to the deadly statistical clocks used in factories and schools, I mentioned how I didn't know how to tell time before I started school, and that I had to ask my mother to tell me when "The Friendly Giant" came on TV.

Wrong move.

Rather than discussing the pernicious invasion of our natural lives my timekeeping mechanisms, the class (first-year post-secondary students) bantered back and forth about Power Rangers, Teletubbies, and other cartoons they watched as kids. They also aren't shy about letting everyone know how much they like watching dreck such as superhero movies. When I was a student, I wouldn't have admitted to a prof that I watched such stuff, even if I did. I'd have intimated that my spare time was spent immersed in Hobbes and Plato, even if it wasn't.

11:10 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Clearly this teacher thought for a brief moment that this student was a pastrami on rye.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I keep waiting for someone, anyone, besides myself to stand up and say, "The entire country is a basket of deplorables." Why is this obvious fact not being addressed?

11:23 AM  
Anonymous K Burgess said...

@Tom Servo and @Morris Berman this link relates to your discussion above, re: subjective living in 1st v 3rd worlds

Is It Better to Be Poor in Bangladesh or the Mississippi Delta?

Angus Deaton: "between living in a poor Indian village or a Milwaukee trailer park, I’m not sure which is better"

I think we here would extend the supposition to it being better in the village

11:40 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Patrick Fitzgerald--the problem is that other than the abundance of material goods, American life is perfectly designed to make people miserable. A fancy car means being stuck in frustrating traffic jams; the vast array of electronic devices help kill empathy and stifle genuine personal interaction; a good paying job means being a drone sitting in a drab office or cubicle doing something you hate all day and never having enough free time. And now even the promise of being able to afford all those great material comforts is being ripped away from many people. Add it all up and you get a pretty combustible mix.

Fran--I spent most of my career working for one of the agencies that is now facing a severe budget cut, and when I heard the news I felt nothing. A quarter of a century ago when I was young and naive, I was excited when I got the chance to work there, but over time I gradually came to realize that it had long forgotten its mission of serving the American taxpayer. It used to be a right wing cliche, but the Washington bureaucracy really has become bloated, sclerotic and self serving. Of course, the right wing never really wanted to destroy the federal government, only ensure that it serves the interests of the wealthy. All Trump is doing is finishing a job started under Reagan that has accelerated under every president since then.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Very good essay:

3:02 PM  
Blogger diogenes45 said...

Once upon a time, when I was a kid growing up in the 50's there were still plenty of irreverent characters, natural rebels left over from the Great Depression and WWII who provided a safety valve of sanity from the post-war efforts to impose conformity on the American people. That irreverence seeped into a lot of the programming in that first decade in which TV joined radio as a major medium of communication. I remember fondly Ernie Kovacs, Spike Jones, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca's Show of Shows, and many other zany and intelligent people who satirized the conformist mainstream. I was also fortunate, living in a suburb of Boston to have bohemian neighbors who showed me that I didn't have to conform to the approved ways. I remember too the time in the early 60's when clever rebellion disappeared from TV and from the culture at large. Post-war America started to take itself too seriously when JFK was elected in 1960. We know what happened after that don't we.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous marianne said...

Not to be missed article today on Counterpunch site.

Our Two Party System is Dead

Fabulous analogy between god is dead and the sham system we have in US elections.


3:45 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

While much of Red State USA waits for Trump to bring back the 1950s factory jobs, some are forming cooperatives and building lives for themselves locally:

5:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out her face. In it, u.c. the future of America.

ps to Fran (I dunno if this will help)-

Here's a 3rd quote, from me: "When an empire collapses, it ain't pretty." The truth is that a lot of innocent people get hurt, and I'm hardly saying that's a gd thing. I'm just saying that it's inevitable; it's what happens in these sorts of situations.

However, there is also another side to this: What if a large % of those people are not so innocent? Someone once said that in the aftermath of WW2, the American people had to choose between creating a democratic-socialist type society on the Scandanavian model--urged by a # of thinkers, such as John Kenneth Galbraith (whom JFK 'disappeared' by making him ambassador to India)--or enjoying the fruits of empire; the hustling life, in short. They chose the latter and wound up with neither. And this kind of choice has a long history. Americans cd have rejected Teddy Roosevelt and embraced Mark Twain. They cd have rejected Reagan and embraced Carter. They cd have chosen Lewis Mumford over Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. But in each case, they didn't. They wanted the extreme individualist, hustling life, and they got it--right in the neck. Trump, the ultimate hustler, will hurt them badly, and maybe that's what they deserve.

The problem is that in order to work, punishment has to be a learning experience; and as Gore Vidal once said, Americans never learn anything. They don't understand that finding Steve Jobs groovy, and Lewis Mumford 'quaint' (if indeed they ever heard of him), is a (im)moral and spiritual statement, and that there is a karmic price to be paid for such a choice. Plainly put, Americans are too stupid to understand this, and so the lesson is lost on them. Which further guarantees our descent into chaos and violence. How many Americans are going to look at the front page of a newspaper, see the shit in which we are embedded, and say, "I caused this"? 5?


5:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Dual Process! Thank you.


5:33 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Re: "I can't imagine why anyone wd want to live in the US."

Yep. I think the time has come for us to launch an International Adopt-A-Wafer Program (IAWP). March, in fact, could be the official IAWP month. Wafers, would contribute greatly to the life of any potential adoptive person or family, tho a few Wafer requirements should be met, of course:

1. A douche bag free environment
2. Truth, beauty, and intellectual stimulation
3. Quiet time w/lotsa hugs and snuggles
4. A good delicatessen close by

Wafer adoptees would be really no trouble at all...


6:12 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

wow Morris I am not going to say good job-that's for the American corporate world" but you saw it coming all the way back then-very advanced for your time indeed-just like many before you. I just wish everything would just speed up. It seems its taking forever

7:25 PM  
Blogger Arthur V. said...

The past few days I've run across a few articles on 'progressive' sites that seem to finally be getting it: Trump and the rightwing agenda wants to kill people. Get rid of 'em. To quote 'A Christmas Carol', "decrease the surplus population." These writers then seem to be at a loss as what to do about it, though.

For my money, I really think that bloodshed is unavoidable at this point. I make no prediction as to when it will begin. (Though many would say it already has.) And I really don't know how it will come out at the other end. My guess would be that the country will break up like the Roman Empire. All this, of course, could take quite some time. Anyway, that's my two cents. Take care.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

MB - please make the Declinist Therapy permanent Clinics rather than just Workshops.
Thank you for the extended explanation. It does help - at least somewhat. Life is not fair and history - for the most part - a bloody mess. People who chose aggressive individualism, egoism and greed are now getting what they signed up for. No argument there.
Yes, it's about the innocent people that get hurt in the collapse of an empire Those who did not get to make the choice, who were not born yet or too young to chose Lewis Mumford over Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, but nevertheless have to face the consequences now. Born to disciples of consumerism, poorly educated and then handed an iPhone. They believe the puppets' shadows on the cave's wall are the real thing… and now the cave is crashing in on them. Probably, I am just at the beginning of the five stages of mourning over this.

Bill Hicks - I think what you are describing applies to any large organization. Few stay 'agile' as they age. They tend to develop internal cultures, ways of communicating, often become bloated and gradually less effective. Goes for government agencies, the apparatus of political parties, large companies. The consulting industry could not survive without it, management stars would not be born, fewer people would be fired. Unfortunately, the response typically is binary, either to let it go and get worse or to create senseless chaos in the hope of something better coming out of the rubble. Intelligent reform - like Napoleon in France, Stein and Hardenberg in Prussia after 1806 etc. - is difficult and therefore rarely happens anymore. Maybe that's another symptom of late-stage Finance Capitalism.

Final point: Non-Wafer-World authors continue to shed some light on different parts of the cultural elephant in the room, without ever seeing, much less describing the entire animal:
The Increasing Significance of the Decline of Men

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Bert said...

What is a "wager" in this blog's usage?

What does O&G mean?


12:17 AM  
Anonymous Bert said...

Re:I keep waiting for someone, anyone, besides myself to stand up and say, "The entire country is a basket of deplorables." Why is this obvious fact not being addressed?

I think if the word "deplorables" were used, it would seem as though you shared Clinton's perspective and values, which of course you don't.

I think Chris Hedges and Paul Craig Roberts, in different ways, and among others, pretty much would agree with you. Roberts in particular bluntly says Americans are brainwashed.

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Interesting essay from back in 1995 about the philosophy driving Silicon Valley.

I think the authors were too sanguine about the prospects of what they call hypermedia technology but I suppose they can be forgiven since the article was written in 1995. Still, I think Barbrook and Cameron were correct in their seeing Silicon Valley tech-utopianism as a mixture of the hippie New Left and right-wing libertarianism bound together by a kind of technological determinism and belief in progress.

And in other news, new research has found that the bottom 50%’s share of income in the United States is collapsing.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

reply to: Servo, Burgess, Berman,

It wasn't just Greece: Archaeologists find early democratic societies in the Americas

Perhaps again, someday...

10:10 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

This is pretty neat.
"My sister just brought the news to me. I didn't want to believe what she said initially," Albasheer Adam Alhassan, a Nigerian banker who wrote the poem in college, said. "I posted those things when I was back in school, over 10 years ago. I never thought it would get to this level."

"Maybe I shouldn't have been a banker, maybe I should have been a poet all my life!" Alhassan added.

The poetry enthusiast, who lives in Katsina, is a business manager at First Bank of Nigeria.

So, ignore the proggy laugh-at-Trump stuff, and wonder at the fact that we have Islamic poetry coming in through the backdoor.

Perhaps next week bank managers around the world (non-American bank managers, of course) will quit their jobs and devote themselves to poetry.

Wafers wishing to get a headstart on this new trend may want to create web pages containing the “Mother’s Day Sentiments” of Mohsin Hamid and Nizar Qabbani.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Jon Poulos said...

lol interesting

11:38 AM  
Anonymous AS said...

Gunfire Erupts Outside Funeral Home During Viewing for Shooting Victim

"Illinois father kills twin daughters, shoots wife in both legs and tells her 'to live and suffer' before killing himself"

Argument Over Doughnuts Leads to Fatal Shooting in Pinellas

12:23 PM  
Blogger Edward Miessner said...

Formerly Ed-M here!

Congratulations on your upcoming milestone, Mr. Berman!

Oh, and I found something that happened in Florida from off the interwebs.

The mum's a disgusting creature, isn't she?

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Dr B.,

I think it's possible that more people get, on some level, the macro reality (decline, collapse, extinction) than you fear. Yes, it would be more enlightened and graceful if everyone would just grab their violin and play the Titanic down; but, with no clear end in sight yet, it isn't feasible for most — myself included.

So, we (I) get caught up in, bide time, within the day-to-day, micro realities which while meaningless are, unlike the macro reality, unsettled. These exercises in futility can be, or appear to be, pathetic, stupid and weak. I would submit, however, that they can serve as a useful means for engaging in the process of bearing witness, which really is all you can expect and hope for when it comes to a conscious species meeting it's own self-inflicted demise.

Rest assured, when the time comes, my violin is ready and waiting to follow your cues, Maestro Berman.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Lee T. said...

"The playwright Anton Chekhov once famously wrote, "If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off." No one knows where Chekhov's gun will go off for Trump -- in Syria, or Latvia, or North Korea or the South China Sea. But it will go off."

1:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hard to keep up with you guys. I'm doing a ton of lectures across Mexico during next few mos., so busy working with my translator etc. Anyway:


No need to wait: start now with Schwartz's "Sonata for Pastrami and Chopped Liver," in E-minor.

AS, Ed-

This stuff is now happening on a daily basis. Down the drain we go!


Liberals are so full of shit. Bernie is now taking big corporate money, and I believe has a hugely lucrative book deal. Everybody is the same in the US; what they say is not important. Hustlers all.


No, because I regard the Clintons as deplorables. Also, Hedges doesn't say this at all. He thinks Americans are basically noble folks who have been brainwashed and deluded by the elite. Like Chomsky and Moore, his goal is to remove the wool from Americans' eyes. He hasn't yet figured out that the wool *is* the eyes. Roberts, however, might agree with me; not sure. But almost no one else wd, as it's politically incorrect to do so. The only people who agree with me are H.L. Mencken, Gore Vidal, and George Carlin, and they are all dead. Meanwhile, I have to guess at what your quoted terms mean. Let me try. A Wafer is someone who is a fan of the book Why America Failed (WAF). O&D means Onward and Downward--i.e., the direction in which the US is going.


I'm not sure the young are all that innocent, either. They too chose for empire, when there were other sources of info around. They booed Hedges for denouncing our destruction of Iraq. Etc. As for social critics, they all describe or analyze different institutions (individually), and then propose solutions (ha ha). What they *never* do is connect the dots, because once you recognize that it's one big systemic illness, and buried in the soul of every American, you hafta admit that all that awaits us is cultural death.


Not to worry; it will speed up.


3:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: what a turkey!:

3:54 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Conservative pundit Grover Norquist says Trump's recent budget and tax cuts will usher in a New Reagan-like economic boom and guarantee his reelection...

4:48 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Here are two good blog posts by Ian Welsh and Michael Krieger--independent voices who were willing to take a wait and see approach before issuing blanket condemnations of Trump's policies. For Welsh, the jury is in, as Trump is now breaking his core promises to his base on domestic policy while Krieger is raising the alarm that Trump is heading in the opposite direct from a less interventionist foreign policy, particularly in Syria:

It's pretty evident now that Trump's true colors are beginning show. As Welsh concludes:

"In one sense, this changes little. It will continue the loss of faith in the political system, continue America’s decline and continue on the glide path to the age of war and revolution our world is in. It will happen faster than it would have under Clinton, and more Americans will suffer sooner, but the trend lines remain intact."

5:47 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

This one's for you, Trumpo:


12:41 AM  
Anonymous Neil said...

bye bye to American Pie

1:04 AM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

For all the merits of Roberts' work, he still views the Reagan era as a golden age which pretty much disqualifies him from WAFerdom, if I understand the principles correctly. While you might say he's just saying that because he served in the Reagan administration and was a major architect of its economic policy, the same could be said of David Stockman, who had the decency to resign in protest and warn that Trump will essentially repeat all the same mistakes.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Rook said...

There will be no revolution in America. Every fool knows that firearms are only to be used to kill and maim family members, neighbors, and fast food workers who get orders wrong.

2:18 AM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...


From the Piketty article -
"They say the findings suggest “policy discussions about rising global inequality should focus on how to equalize the distribution of primary assets, including human capital, financial capital, and bargaining power, rather than merely discussing the ex-post redistribution through taxes and transfers.” They also call for policies to improve education and access to skills, reform labor-market institutions including the minimum wage and worker bargaining power, and “steeply progressive” taxation."

I am thinking this has zero chance of happening here (maybe why the one-percenters are making plans to bug out - no more stones from which to squeeze blood):

12:08 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

The innocence (or lack thereof) of the young: If we look at it through the lens of the German legal system, guilt requires, among other conditions to be met, an awareness of right vs. wrong and intentionally choosing wrong. If 99% of Americans are dumb, how can they raise and educate their kids so they not only see right and escape the dark side but also start working against this decay? In the absence of being taught 'right' it takes incredible genius or many years of life experience to have at least a chance of seeing the fundamental faults in the norms around you. Especially, when almost everyone else follows them. No?

When - not if ! - the next Renaissance comes, I hope I can spend my days with friends, studies of music, philosophy, natural sciences, Latin, un-researched documents from the Middle Ages, experimental and underwater archaeology, wood work, cooking, brewing beer and baking bread. In the late afternoons, we assemble in an hall with good acoustics and celebrate another wonderful day. Somewhat like this:

I suggest we make sure we have good musicians, singers and dancers among the Wafers and find us some Viols, Tambourines, Citterns etc.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous tam said...

Being dissatisfied is pretty-much a pre-requisite to being American. Very few folks get to this soil just b/c things were/are wonderful in their nations of origin and they just want an adventure. They make the journey b/c they’re desperate. Cellular memory is powerful and the dissatisfaction/desperation is present even in those Americans whose families have lived here for generations.

It’s a messed-up crowd. The blank eyes are spooky. I pity them.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Universal Health Scare said...

"The point of universal coverage is to pool risk, for the maximum benefit of the individual when he or she needs care. And the point of having the government manage this complicated service is not to take freedom away from the individual. The point is the opposite: to give people more freedom. Arranging health care is an overwhelming task, and having a specialized entity do the negotiating, regulating and perhaps even much of the providing is just vastly more efficient than forcing everyone to go it alone.

What passes for an American health care system today certainly has not made me feel freer. Having to arrange so many aspects of care myself, while also having to navigate the ever-changing maze of plans, prices and the scarcity of appointments available with good doctors in my network, has thrown me, along with huge numbers of Americans, into a state of constant stress. And I haven’t even been seriously sick or injured yet.

As a United States citizen now, I wish Americans could experience the freedom of knowing that the health care system will always be there for us regardless of our employment status. I wish we were free to assume that our doctors get paid a salary to look after our best interests, not to profit by generating billable tests and procedures. I want the freedom to know that the system will automatically take me and my family in, without my having to battle for care in my moment of weakness and need. That is real freedom."

1:18 PM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...

Listening to rock n roll legend Chuck Berry (RIP) this morning. One of my fav. singles is "No Money Down," with a lyric that comments on 1950s consumer America.

In my youth, my dad used to say rock n roll "noise" and especially "those Beatle boys" would cause the downfall of western civilization. One Christmas, he honored a gift request when he bought me a rock album, but then he wrapped it in a garbage bag. Despite this, I appreciate that he introduced the idea of decline to me at an early age.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Moe's Art [my imaginary art bar] said...

MB, small tangent to the blogs topic, but wanted to share my appreciation of the small section in CTOS focused on the arthritic condition of sorts in Mozart's creativity during his later period. With interesting little facts like Don Giovanni was Freud's fav opera, or the only one he liked, it really tickles a Mozart enthusiast

Is he a fav of yours too? Seems 2b the musician you give the most time to in the trilogy

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can't make that stuff up: "In 2015, there were more deaths due to selfies than shark attacks."

7:28 PM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

Another nugget from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel:

"He felt, rather than understood, the waste, the confusion, the blind cruelty of their lives — his spirit was stretched out on the rack of despair and bafflement as there came to him more and more the conviction that their lives could not be more hopelessly distorted, wrenched, mutilated, and perverted away from all simple comfort, repose, happiness, if they set themselves deliberately to tangle the skein, twist the pattern."

Yet another alternative voice ignored & marginalized.

Bill Hicks,

A friend of mine recently got hired by the State Dept. as a means to (cleverly if you ask me) actually get paid to live overseas, so kudos to him for that. It will be very interesting to watch just how the purposeful disintegration of the executive agencies contributes to the collapse though. What do you foresee, having worked in that world?

10:57 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

Honorable WAFer membership for Debbie , the "sane progressive" (but really a radical) :

She doesn't even bother with makeup in preparation for her videos.

"Our country operates as a terrorist empire at this point. We have become the terrorists".

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Report from the American Empire: I got yelled at over the phone by a crazy american the other day. The only other person in my office at the local university, who reads books is a Jewish Communist bloke. I used to be a left wing activist until i realized that americans really don't give a shit about anything, not even themselves or their families.

Movie Recommendation: Paterson, it's about a bus driving poet called Paterson who lives in (you guessed it) Paterson, New Jersey.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Miles, where do I sign up for the Adopt-a-Wafer program? It sounds great. I need a nice quiet douchebag-free environment to paint in, and there ain't no such place around here.

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So happy to see Oshitforbrains having fun as his DACA kids are being deported. Now he can spend the next 20-30 years in absolute luxury, reward for being the waterboy for Wall Street, the Pentagon, and the National Security state.Hell, George W.'s Small Business Administration lent more money to black own businesses than Oshit's yet how many black families have his picture next to King's and the Kennedy brothers?
This in from Cambodia. Apparently, visitors to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum have been playing Pokemon Go "searching for virtual characters." Said Chhay Visoth, director of the Toul Sleng, "This is a place of sorrow, not a place to play games." Needless to say, to refer to these visitors as techno-douchebags is more than an understatement. You're right, doctor. Let Trump do his damage. Such people aren't worth saving anyway.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Only partly rt. The info is out there, by the ton. Younger generation just isn't interested in it. I doubt they are interested in anything. Limits to blaming 'culture' for all this. Students at Rockford College didn't hafta boo Hedges off the stage in 2003; they cd have challenged him instead. To his credit, College President Paul Pribbenow suggested to them that it was impt to listen to different pts of view.


3:05 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

ran across this data set, remarkable that none of the majors managed to avg a 700 verbal. americans cant read

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...


Trump certainly didn't waste any time. Neither did Obama. Shows how confident they are regarding the stupidity of the sheeple.

It still looks like Trump is going to be hung out to dry before long. The trick will be to pull it off without Trump's true believers getting their wool in a nit and getting in the way of the next phase: the rise of the theo-feudalcons (Pence, Cruz, et al).

I've always thought if there could be anywhere that turns out more United States of American than the United States, it could be India. Looks like we could be on parallel tracks:

Good thing we have the globalist fascists on the "left" to save us.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Patrick D -- The State Department appears to be in for a very rough time. If your friend is a recent hiree who doesn't yet foreign service tenure, he'll be in danger of losing his job if Trump's budget cuts go through. It also has to be a heavy psychological burden for people whose job is to sell American exceptionalism to do so when Trump is now the face of what they are selling. I don't know the backstory, but it might have been a factor in why this guy got his ass kicked:

Beyond the politics, even during the Obama years the foreign service was having a problem with talented mid career officers getting frustrated with the calcified Department bureaucracy and bailing out for the private sector. I wish your friend luck.

MB -- I grew up near Rockford, Illinois, and the ironic thing about Hedges getting booed offstage at Rockford College is that few cities in the country have been hit harder by "free" trade and the offshoring of factory jobs. Those kids should have been siding with Hedges against Bush, not the other way around. Incidents like that one ware why I totally agree that Americans are willing accomplices in their own destruction.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dear Dr. B and All:

Lots of great posts. Miles's "Boy From Mar-a-Lago" link is a real hoot. Moe, I have to turn to YouTube occasionally for a dose of Mozart or Bach to escape everyday noise; their music helps in keeping me sane. Is it just me, or does the conductor in this short Mozart clip look a bit like Dr. Berman?

Kanye, the "killfie" article was interesting. Here's a particularly haunting "killfie" posted on the Union Pacific Railroad's web site-

5:56 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I don't know if this has been posted already but check this out, China did its own Human Rights Report on the United States:

"China issues report on U.S. human rights"

6:35 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...


Only partly rt. The info is out there, by the ton. Younger generation just isn't interested in it. I doubt they are interested in anything. Limits to blaming 'culture' for all this. Students at Rockford College didn't hafta boo Hedges off the stage in 2003; they cd have challenged him instead. To his credit, College President Paul Pribbenow suggested to them that it was impt to listen to different pts of view.


Most young Americans are only really interested in hedonism and in taking consumerism to ridiculous extremes. I am an American in my late 20s, and I see it all around me.

In response to Fran, I would say that most Americans are raised on a Manichean worldview. The view the world in purely binary terms. Now, black and white do exist, but they exist on a scale. This scale-based nature of moral reality is too complex for Americans to accept because they do not like critical thinking.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Smack_Smack said...


You're right - the younger generation isn't interested in anything. They feel deathly bored no matter what they are exposed to. I suspect they know on some level they have no future, and have a corresponding unconscious death wish.


Paterson, NJ borders my town. It is the most vicious place I have personally ever seen.

10:18 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

''Interdependence has mitigated but not erased historic Mexican resentment of domineering American  behavior.  Mexicans have not forgotten that the United States invaded their country and annexed 55 percent of its territory in 1846 – 1848''  

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...


Yes, I don’t think Americans want some kind of social democracy/New Deal 2.0 either. Too many Americans think they are going to be rich someday so they don’t support the kinds of policies that might actually reverse the collapse of the American working class. American culture is one of delusion.

The United States is a decaying empire. Some areas are doing worse than others. For example, suicide rates have been increasing all over America but they have increased the most in rural areas.

In other news, research suggests that kids are better friends when they spend time away from screens.

4:10 AM  
Blogger Polk said...

The we-still-have-time-to-save-the-nation-if-we-act-now Hedges (as opposed to the its-all-over-but-the-shouting Hedges) emerged again last week in a column in Truthdig:

"A Last Chance for Resistance
Unless we act now, Americans will remember 2017 as the year their naive belief in the recovery of democracy died under the heel of despotism."

Getting whiplash trying to keep up with him. Or, like watching a tennis match between a player and his clone.

4:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I deleted u by accident. Sorry. Pls re-send.


Cdn't post it (24-hr rule).


Talk abt a divided consciousness, eh? Poor guy.


Our descent into dog excrement is assured. If you keep in mind that Americans are not really human beings, but jokes dressed up to look like human beings, a lot of puzzling phenomena become clear.


10:51 AM  
Anonymous AS said...

Gigalax -

"Most young Americans are only really interested in hedonism and in taking consumerism to ridiculous extremes."

Very true; as a 24-yr old, I can attest to this. Entertainment and money-making are the only things of interest. There was a wonderful film that came out last year - "American Honey" - which is probably the most honest depiction of US millennials (and the American landscape in general) I've seen in some time. I think one Wafer mentioned it on a previous post.

Clint Eastwood World:

"The chief of police in Taft, Texas will face a grand jury after being recorded running a homeless young man out of his small town. He received a blanket trespass warning for the entire city before being forced to leave on a bus.

Texas State Rangers have concluded an investigation into the actions of Chief Klaus 'Bill' Mansion after he ran a young man out of town like a sheriff in an old Western movie. The 21-year-old man, Devon Armstrong, was snatched off the street in Taft while he at the library. As a result, he is claiming his civil rights were violated."

11:10 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

The thing going on out there that I continue to find the most weird is the absolute, steadfast prog refusal to take even a passing glance at the nearest convenient mirror. There's this prog comedian named Amy Schumer who recently released a video of her latest stand-up routine on some Internet commercial venues, and it bombed. It sounds as though it simply wasn't particularly funny, insightful, or creative, and it was also crude to the point of dismaying in some places. The feedback she received on the Internet reflected this, as you may well imagine. Schumer responded by blaming the poor reception off her not-entertaining routine on an "alt-right" conspiracy!

It really seems as though it has gotten to the point where if a prog burns their toast in the morning, it's all the fault of Trump/Putin/the alt-right, never mind the fact that they were using a fifteen-year-old toaster that was turned up all the way. And this is exactly why there are so many sites on the Internet that I used to read all the time that I now avoid as though they were the proverbial plague.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

my mistake, forgot the url

12:19 PM  
Blogger C. J. Timmins said...

Very much a Wafer video from School of Life: "Why Humanity Destroyed Itself" -

It touches on the source of much that is discussed on this blog: Tribalism (identity politics), Short Term Thinking (Everything's Fine), Wishful Thinking (distraction & fantasy), and how our institutions tried to prevent these qualities from destroying our species and where they fell short.

1:41 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

"Ooooh Say Can You CRUMBLE..."

2:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The fact is that we are a nation of turkeys rapidly heading toward Thanksgiving.


Not all humans behave in a reptilian fashion. Americans have honed it to a fine art. In their case, it wd hafta be called the turkey brain.


Amy is a gd example of the turkey brain. She's also constantly talking abt her pussy, for some odd reason.


I wd have expected Texas to have awarded the Chief a medal of valor. That may be 2 yrs away.


5:01 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

American spring breakers chant "build that wall" while partying in Cancun:

Jennifer Hickman, 42, bites husband during sex:

More from the United $Snakes$ of America:


5:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


At least she didn't bite his dick off. Meanwhile, check out her face. Wow!


5:11 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

The Alt-Right’s Inner Migration.

If you are looking for an interesting phenomena, this definitely qualifies. A collection of young, blue collar types rejecting the modern world and re-discovering masculinity. They are called the Wolves of Vinland, a biker-esque tribe of white guys into pagan Germanic myth who pump iron, train, shoot guns and want a close-nit community that promotes the Heroic man instead of Economic man.

Their leader, Paul Waggener, gave an interview to a white nationalist publisher and I found it fascinating to listen to. The dubious white identity outlook aside, his observations about America and modernity could have come straight out of Dr B’s books. It is always interesting when people form completely different outlooks and walks of life see the same problems.

Here is a link to the interview, it wasn’t what I expected at all.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

I had an interesting conversation today with a fellow retiree who finished up his career supervising contract fraud investigations for DOD. He's former conservative Republican who like me became disillusioned with all partisan politics during his time in Washington, and is now appalled by Trump's plan to pour another $57 billion down the Pentagon rat hole. He mentioned the Fat Leonard scandal in which two Navy admirals have already been criminally prosecuted, with dozens of other sennior officers implicated. It's a case my friend described as being the biggest scandal in Pentagon history.

My friend expressed dismay that all the media focus on Trump was keeping the scandal off the television news. That's when I pointed out that its absence as a story is almost certainly by design given that all the big media outlets are owned by corporate conglomerates that also own defense contractors, and they certainly don't want the public to see what a cesspool Pentagon procurement has become. It was a point he had not previously considered, but then he agree with me that for about 98% of the public if they don't see it on TV it might as well not have happened. That's real nature of "fake news" in the MSM--not necessarily making up stories, but controlling the overall narrative to prevent the public from seeing just how corrupt the whole system has become.

Anyway, here's a good summary of the Fat Leonard scandal to date:

7:33 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Amy Schumer and most other progs think they are cleverer than everyone else while in reality they tend to be one-dimensional, simplistic thinkers without any new ideas. Dumb, in other words. These are the people who got in a huff after the election in November and vowed to leave the USA. Months later they're all still here, raving on Twitter and at awards ceremonies. They call conservatives who ask questions "crazy conspiracy theorists" yet they claim Russian hackers, the Koch brothers, and the "alt-right" wield enormous power behind the scenes. Turkey brains is right.

Meanwhile in Florida: when the police raid your house just use the nearest pregnant woman as a human shield.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

"Have We Been Denying Our Human Nature for Four Hundred Years?

Eurocentric modernism has unhinged us from our human nature, argues Rajani Kanth in his new book" :

an excerpt :

"Kanth realized that people are not at all like Adam Smith’s homo economicus, a narrowly self-interested agent trucking and bartering through life. Smith had turned the human race — a species capable of wondrous caring, creativity, and conviviality — into a nasty horde of instinctive materialists: a society of hustlers."

a brief review of the new book :

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

We're starting to get a glimpse of what neo-feudalism is going to look like in practice:

Getting paid in vouchers to the company store, being warehoused and fed gruel in lieu of pay from a labor camporation, toiling as a slave in a private prison. Meet the (near) futures upper, middle and lower classes.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If they had left the US, it wd have shown they were, in fact, smart. But they're still here, talking abt 'revolt'. Trump punished them on Nov. 8; hopefully, he will continue to do so. The trouble is, since they are dumb as dog-do, they don't learn anything. I assume Amy runs around in a pussy hat. God, Americans are stupid.

Meanwhile, check out John Wms, "Butcher's Crossing." A great novel, and a terrific indictment of the American Dream and the myth of the frontier as completely empty.


10:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: turkeys on the move!:

10:17 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

News from the (a)social media front, first Facebook:

A fifteen-year-old Chicago girl is raped by several young men, the proceedings memorialized in a Facebook Live post. The Chicago Tribune story reports that as many as 40 Facebook-ers watched over the course of the assault but none contacted Zuckerberg Central to alert them to the rape.

The attack was at least the fourth Chicago crime caught on Facebook Live since the end of October.

And now, from another precinct of the antisocial universe, Dallas police were able to identify and cause the arrest of a Maryland man whose tweet in December to a Newsweek journalist induced an eight-minute epileptic episode in the tweet recipient. The wife took a screenshot of the epileptogenic tweet, which contained a strobing GIF. There's also a picture in this article of the perp, who sent the tweet because he objected to some post the victim had made on some site (not IDed). As you can see, he looks no different from any other putz you might encounter--or live next door to--as you move about your particular corner of the cosmos.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

She's a rebel dept.:

Another rebel?:

Definitely a rebel:

So much rebellion on the left. It's exciting!


10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark said...

"Movie Recommendation: Paterson, it's about a bus driving poet called Paterson who lives in (you guessed it) Paterson, New Jersey."

You may also like "The Cruise", a movie which follows a tour bus guide around NYC. The guy definitely has WAF appeal. Example quote:

"I am cruising, currently, right now! I am cruising because I have dedicated myself to all that is creative and destructive in my life right now, and I am equally in love with every aspect of my life, and all the ingredients that have caused me turmoil and all the ingredients that have caused me glory. I am the living, whispered warning in the Roman general's ear, 'Glory is fleeting', and in that verb - that active verb 'fleeting' - there I live, there I reside, in this moment. I have dedicated myself to the idiom, 'I don't know.' And I am in love with the frantic chaos of this limitless universe."

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Hello Smack,

I'm sorry to hear that Paterson isn't a great place but the movie itself is very different than most American films, in that it showed an actual working class bloke (a bus driver) who writes poetry. He basically observes things during his day and then writes poetry about different events. He also writes a lot of love poems to his girlfriend. There isn't a lot of stuff that happens in the movie, it just follows one bloke for a few days but I thought it was really great.

I'm not much of a poet myself but back when I was going to school in England during the early 80s. I won a poetry competition. I used to absolutely hate doing homework and ended up doing most of my assignments on my hour long train journey to school. I wrote the poem on the train in about 10 minutes because I had to cram for a French test, I hadn't studied for. I read that poem (about Unemployment-hey it's Thatcher's Britain) in front of about 200 people, it was a really amazing experience.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

Here's a hilarious song-parody send-up of this year's progsteria by YouTube personality Chris Ray Gun.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Mb--what rebels indeed! Sometimes cliché's become by virtue of being true clichés! For example, its not the place its the people! Or somethings cannot be fixed. For many years as a young idealistic shrink I was under the delusion that all problems can be fixed or at least ameliorated (in some cases minimally) Severe mental illness wrought of brain structure, birth defects, trauma and so forth were where I started work...Older moved on to people with issues with a desire to improve and grow--a much better time of my life. In recent years though (prodded by experience and the work of a few clinicians/practitioners committed career suicide but abided by their principles) I have concluded that there are people which don't have anything really wrong with them--they are douchebags with no self awareness or desire to improve. These are usually categorized as being personality disordered and often there is no "reason" for them being this way and they never get better---they 99% do not volitionally seek help, they do so out of some requirement (legal, family court, work requirement etc) What is interesting, is that many of the behaviors of these creatures tend to me most visible in the U.S. Something in the water perhaps. Bill Vega at USC found that fisrt gen immigrants tended to be mentally heatlhy and the 2nd generation had much higher rates of whackiness (technical term). Though in addition to place, I suspect that time and change (cell phones more anomie) have accelerated the rate of growth of maladjustment among people and the presence of the unfixables--i.e typical americans. A study avers that borderline personality disorder is twice as prevalent in U.S. than other places. The classifactions I think are rather broad and useful only as guide to bill insurance companies, but typically in mental health settings we joke you don't treat a borderline you run away. I have pretty much given up working in the U.S.--even the well intentioned patients are dull frankly. I've worked in Israel and started a bit of work in Mexico city and its more rewarding work. The people are more human. I realize this is subjective, but hey I can only live my life no?

3:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Fritz Perls once said that there are certain people who are a lost cause, and the therapist hasta accept this, i.e. give up. I think that attribution wd now describe almost all Americans.


4:04 PM  
Anonymous Derek said...

"AS said...

Very true; as a 24-yr old, I can attest to this. Entertainment and money-making are the only things of interest. There was a wonderful film that came out last year - "American Honey" - which is probably the most honest depiction of US millennials (and the American landscape in general) I've seen in some time. I think one Wafer mentioned it on a previous post. "

AS, "American Honey" was one of the most spellbinding movies I'd ever seen. I remember thinking that I'd never seen the USA portrayed in such an honest, faithful way: strip malls, run down motels on the highway, and a complete lack of culture among the characters, as evidenced by all of them rapping along to songs about money and girls. Being an American, I found the film strangely poetic as I was able to relate to all of these things as I'd experienced them myself. The film is truly an American Epic for the 21st century.

4:39 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

She's smiling because she knows she hit the jackpot...soon the book deal, the movie deal, and the offer from Playboy will come rolling in.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Bruce Bennett said...

Dr. Berman -
I just wanted to thank you for the many presentations of yours that are available on YouTube. Very informative. Recently, I was introduced by you to the concept from Hegel of "negative identity" which does seem to infuse a great deal of American thought and actions. I also agree with you that so much of the American mindset goes back to the 17th century and it looks like we are never going to move beyond much of it. The U.S. seems to be a perfect example of that famous line from Pogo - "We have met the enemy and he is us." Quite frankly, I am deeply ashamed of the wholesale political regression that is so evident in the U.S.. How tragically ironic that the country that created such a comprehensive public education system has now become resolute about being so dumb to the point of being proud of "alternative facts" and labeling anything that disputes their dogma as "fake".
Congrats on the upcoming 300th post!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks, but I can't take any credit. I give lectures; they get recorded; and without any help from me, they wind up on YouTube! Go figure. For more on neg identity check out QOV.


6:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Remember how I keep saying that in the US, even the smart people are stupid? This is going to accomplish a lot, rt?:


6:55 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

Check this out for the latest in what people are using to make their homes

A must read for all Wafers!. Not only must we have i phones but now we must live in smart homes .


7:35 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

The following CounterPunch article is relevant to the discussion of current protests.

“This overgrown play-acting in public spaces carries as much detail and seriousness as the employees at Disney World who behave like they were actual saccharine cartoons. This is a point to be cognizant of because it seems activism of late has taken on a LARP-ing mentality. The notion of activism is not defined by organization, preparation, and delivery of demands as much as showing up at a space, acting like you have done those things, and then going home without having actually made any concrete gains or demands.”
“Simply put, the Left has not fully adapted their political economy to neoliberalism and, as a result, you find individuals who utilize a near-Manichean vision of Marxism or derivatives of anarchism to animate a performance of class war that glorifies individuals who otherwise would be lost without this sort of guiding narrative. One pastor friend [...] has equated this sort of thing with gnosticism[.]”

Now, I wonder how all of this might relate to cosplay as mentioned in Dr. Berman’s Japan book, and how American and Japanese cosplay differ. To that end, here are three articles on the Steampunk cosplay subgenre. I’ve only met a few Steampunkers, and in fairness they were friendlier and more open than most Americans. Still, I think Wafers will spot a number of well-trod pitfalls here. Perhaps the most superficial problem is actually the most telling. At the risk of sounding pedantic, just look at the number of spelling errors coming out of a community that claims to value craft.

The Arts and Crafts Movement, Steampunk, and Community
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk Philosophy – Steampunk at [sic] an Indicator of Paradigmatic Shift

7:42 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

Re: the altright piece linked above. I have a suspicion that the altright is mostly populated by millenials living in their parents basement, with no prospects for work or a non-virtual girlfriend, and not bad ass bikers. But I digress.

The quote is attributed to many, but somebody in the 19th century said "anti Semitism is the socialism of fools," meaning that they had correctly identified the major problems of the industrial age, i.e. the extreme disparity of wealth and the destruction of traditional life, yet narrow-mindedly blamed it all on the Jews. Similarly I believe altrighters to be the Waferism of fools. They see just how hopeless the situation is, and unlike the delusional progs, realize that drastic measures need to be taken to change our course. Unfortunately, I don't think ethnic cleansing, however "gentle" will fix much of anything, or that Donald Trump is somehow an antidote to the narcissism of third wave feminists.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

MB--gawd, but the Michael Moore story is depressing. Quite obviously, he's lost his fucking mind. I used to be a huge fan of his work. Roger & Me came out the year I graduated college, and it was a perfect, spot on indictment of what was happening in places like my hometown, which at the time wasn't quite Flint, Michigan, but was heading in that direction. He himself warned Democrats that Hillary was likely to lose the election because of the Democrats thumbing their noses a the working class. For him to now be leading the charge on the Russia nonsense incomprehensible. Meanwhile, the ComPost reported today that only 3% of Trump voters regret their votes, which I think is in part because they don't want to give comfort to the opposition. Can't imagine why not.

Relatedly, I'm waiting for Moore's call for a criminal investigation of John Podesta, and by association Hillary Clinton, for being influenced by Putin:

And, here is the type of garbage anti-Trump story CNN is running instead of reporting on the Fat Leonard scandal:

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Smack_Smack said...


Great points! I love those examples of American "rebellion". It seems to me that in America, "rebellion" is just another commodified self-image marketed to people suffering from extremely acute cases of negative identity. The selling of period underwear to "empower" wealthy white women who lack any sense of purpose in their lives is a perfect example of this dynamic.

This pseudo-rebellion runs far deeper than negative identity and lack of purpose; it stems from an all-encompassing embrace of narcissism as a way of life, and absolute intolerance of those who choose to live differently. It can be very dangerous for Americans to reject the narcissistic way of life. One man was sentenced to more than a century in prison for publishing a list of major banks that had committed fraud on his blog. This unfortunate fellow wasn't even a prominent writer or political activist, let alone a threat to corporate profits; nothing was gained by making an example of him. It seems that his life was destroyed because Americans hate everyone who doesn't embrace narcissism, for I can find no other explanation.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Several people here have mentioned Patterson New Jersey (a place I have never visited) recently so I made a cup of tea and went on Google Maps for a 20 minute street view tour. Yikes. What a depressing place, even on a computer screen. There were no pedestrians or signs of life but many boarded up buildings and desolate streets. I admit it's not the same as actually visiting the place but I kept thinking "why would anyone live here?" And then I realized - this is the future of the whole United States. MB is right - get out while you can. We are already seeing tightening of travel to the US, it's only a matter of time before we see a tightening of travel from the US.

Thanks for the recommendation about Butcher's Crossing - it's on my reading list :-)

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

This is a mordantly amusing piece by a free-market liberal, on the sheer unattractiveness of free market liberalism:

It's also quite good on progressive delusions.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Keep in mind that Allen Ginsberg was from NJ. Perhaps it's time for us Wafers to dust off our copies of 'Howl'. Talk abt prescient works!


Pls provide link to news item abt this guy. There's no way we can judge if it's true.


I'm looking forward to having a smart toilet, which will extract fecal material from my body without my even knowing it, so I can do other 'important' things. 5 yrs away, probably. BTW, smart homes have been showing up in various movies, as of late. In one I saw recently (forgot the name), the woman asks her home if it loves her.

At this pt in the new presidency, I have to register mild frustration. Trump's historical mission is to dismantle the US. Thus, every day, we read abt some new gaffe or disaster he has created, which is gd. But I'm frustrated because to my mind it's not harsh enuf, and not fast enuf. We need greater destruction at this pt. If only he had appted me his adviser, instead of Bannon!


9:43 AM  
Blogger librarian@play said...

Rising "deaths of despair" among middle-aged white Americans:

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...


I'm surprised this hasn't taken off like gangbusters in Amurika:



12:23 PM  
Anonymous Celery Tonic said...

How about a little bit of levity during the downfall of empire? All having to do with one of my tactics for surviving the coming crash, C2H3OH (for all you chemistry types).

2:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's Cel-Ray, not Celery. Humor is a big theme on this blog. Can you imagine a prog laughing? Not me.


2:38 PM  
Anonymous Mitchel said...
Fromm was born today in 1900. This is on his view of a sane society

And then the biggest terrorist attack on Britain in 12yrs -- had the same death toll as one argument in a US bank

3:28 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Can I join u in Trump frustration? What the hell happened? Shouldn't we be underwater by now? Perhaps I'm being too quick to judge, but it's been five months since Trump was elected and *he's* the one underwater already. Jesus, is it too much to ask for complete financial destruction; another war in the Middle East; a coup here/somewhere; brownshirts in the streets; massive deportations; and the Muslim ban? And now, Trump even seems to be losing huge chunks of his white male supporters... I tell ya, I'm sadder than a motherfucker.


4:32 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Here is a college student from Indiana U on The Wheel of Fortune, and he will forevermore be known as "Achilles Man"....He will also certainly will run for President one day.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Free-istan said...

Watch this movie twice (at least).

John Waters' Desperate Living.

A satire on life in the US.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

@ El

Did you listen to the interview? What I think is interesting is that two completely different people, one an academic who taught at Johns Hopkins, and the other, a high school dropout who is actually reasonably well read, have come to similar conclusions. They notice the same problem and articulate it in similar language.

From the interview

"America only exists in the minds of the people who still believe that national entities are really a thing. Everything is moving rapidly more and more towards a corporate monoculture that turns every single citizen into a set of statistics and money and breaks everything down into the cogs of one great big mighty machine that knows no national boundaries.

What it produces, and what it wants to produce, and what it feeds its populace, is distraction from the nobler things in life, the realer things in life. It mediates all activity through television, through the internet. Everything has become mediated like pornography.

The modern world in general, not just America, but certainly because that’s where we live we take an expression against that as well, it creates hollow people. It creates incomplete, broken, shattered, individuals who have no sense of community, who have no sense of roots, who have no sense of tribe, and we feel that that is a sad and ineffective and very unfulfilling way to live and so what we’ve done is decided that something needed to be done about that. And we had to create it, because as far as we knew it did not exist."

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Do not fret, doctor. In the latest edition of Foreign Affairs there's an article titled "A Vision of Trump at War" which states that there is a fairly good chance of open conflict with Iran, China, and North Korea (hence the increase in defense spending). However, my enthusiasm is tempered by an article in Education Week titled "A Call for Fewer Screens" which argues that students should (ready for this revolutionary idea?) read an actual paper book.Needless to say, we must not let this happen since collapse is predicted on producing generations of techno-douchebags. In other words, we must not allow anything to get in the way including this silly idea that students should read paper books. DId you ever hear anything so silly?
Finally, Wafers, you need to contact your congressperson and tell them to vote YES for Trump care. I mean not only is Trump care a cover for a massive tax break for the rich but premiums and out-of-pocket costs with skyrocket, 24 million will lose coverage, and Medicaid will essentially end. Remember, Herr Trumpf is our man. We must not let him down.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Another fine day in Trumpland. First up, an elderly care worker arrested for filming two nursing home residents having sex and sharing it via Snapchat:

A book burning turns into a house burning--how poetic:

Four year old with a gun fetish suspended from preschool:

And finally, female Waffle House employees' fracas caught on video, and not a pussy hat in sight:

11:23 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Just another example of America's finest and bravest:

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

I don’t always put a lot of stock in national happiness reports but I thought that this report on American happiness was interesting. Instead of focusing on economic growth the report suggests that America’s problems are social, specifically a decline in trust and social support and an increase in economic inequality.

World Happiness Report 2017:

Section on the United States:

The Bloomberg link has an interview with Jeffrey Sachs which I found to be pretty interesting. I have never been a fan of Sachs especially considering his support for “shock therapy” in the post-communist states of Eastern Europe but he makes some good points about the United States becoming an increasingly nasty country.

In other news, The New Yorker ran an interesting article about the public relations campaign to get Americans to accept increasingly crappy jobs in the gig economy.

6:52 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

a couple of older interviews just now showing up on youtube (via VulgarTrader):

Morris Berman on the Extraenvironmentalist Podcast (Ep 64) :

Chris Hedges and Morris Berman on the Extraenvironmentalist Podcast (Ep 60) :

6:59 AM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

Regarding what kpgh and Smack mentioned; The Counterpunch quote was spot on. These protests are just about showing up and making a public display of dissatisfaction, which is nothing we couldn't learn from a Gallup poll. There is no organziation, no follow through, no real alternative offering to the way things are (Empire Light vs. Empire as mentioned before here multiple times) and they come of as very self-indulgent. Of course the empowerment of women comes in the form of a marketable, commodified gadget, rather than, I don't know, say paid maternity leave. Only in America.

In the context of a lot of "greenwashed" and other alternatively minded products made by left/progs, these craftsmen and artisans in the U.S. are more craftsmen of a particular marketing campaign (image cultivation is what my wife and I call it) existing to make a profit while looking cool and looking like they care in the process. So much for "shop class as soulcraft" if you allow hustling to corrupt these otherwise noble pursuits. On a related note, MB wrote of "ascetic chic" in an essay a few years back, you might want to check it out if you have not already.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

Mr. Berman-

American "progrssivism" really is a strange ideology IMO. Perhaps it is the ultimate expression of America's dysfunctional culture.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous JRS said...

So what PC committee do we now submit to before a painting can be hung at the Whitney? Is this a case of PC gone nuts or not being empathetic enough? Or is it just another painting that one looks at and moves on to the next? I find it disturbing that artists are calling for censorship. Then again the collapse continues which takes it's artists and free speech with it.


2:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jrs, gig, patrick-

Honestly, so many people in the US need to be slapped silly and have their shoes peed on, I wdn't know where to begin. It's not a nation; it's a joke.


I'm also annoyed that he hasn't rounded up all the Jews and put them in detention camps. Wasn't that one of his campaign promises? I can't remember.


Any American, of whatever age, who is not walking around armed with an AK-47, is clearly a fool.


3:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: As for spiritual death:

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Mediocre Idiot Savant said...

Hello mister berman,

I just read your WG book and found it fascinating. Just reading this article and asking myself what wd be yr oppinion on it.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Revolution has already happened and ​Hedges is still waiting for one.

THE GREATEST BLOG ON EARTH : I just returned from a 3 month long stay south of the Equator. During my travels didn't miss reading not a single blog post. Even in deep Yasuni rainforest somehow-somewhere found a feeble wifi connection to live Waferdom. My gratitude to all 170 of you and a special thanks to ones who post on music and arts. Thanks also to those sporadic interloper trolfoons who add spicy real-life context to the discussion.

For the music lovers...

Felicito a mi gran Belman por tener la paciencia y perseverancia en "pastorear gatos" durante 11 años. Saludos!!

6:20 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Derek -

"I'd never seen the USA portrayed in such an honest, faithful way: strip malls, run down motels on the highway, and a complete lack of culture among the characters"

I would also recommend Sunlight Jr. (2013) and Killer Joe (2012) - two excellent films that really get to the heart of USA (though I should warn Wafers that the latter is not for the light-hearted).

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Tamler said...

On Environmental Enchantment

7:57 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Here's a good summation of American "justice" in two appalling cases. The first involves a black Florida inmate forcibly pushed by his guards into a scalding hot shower and scalded to death. After four years of wrangling, the State's Attorney in Miami decided not to press charges against the fucking sadists. Note too, that douchebag Obama had plenty of time to order a federal civil rights violation and declined to do so:

On the flip side, a Texas woman who has been in the U.S. on a green card since the age of 6 was prosecuted for voter fraud and received a mind-boggling 8 year sentence. Bizarrely, one of the candidates she voted for was the scumbag who prosecuted her:

It amazes me that even with incidents like this so many Muslim & Hispanic immigrants still want to come to the U.S., when it should be readily apparent that they are setting themselves up to become instant scapegoats for an angry population that is too stupid to recognize why they are being fucked and whose anger is being so easily misdirected.

12:49 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Here's another American Genius on The Wheel of Fortune...This shouldn't be a surprise anymore...Americans are such a poorly educated lot.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

This open letter from a public-school teacher in Oklahoma is currently making the rounds on social media and verifies in spades everything we know about this country. The naivete of the last paragraph can be attributed to the fact that human beings usually need some kind of hope onto which they may hold, even if this hope isn't really there.

1:33 PM  
Blogger remo26 said...

Regarding one of the previous posts on a multiple shooting, I noted a bystander was quoted at the end of the report in a disbelieving, bewildered state.

"Omar Sey, 31, who said he had just moved to the apartment complex, learned of the shooting after he arrived home to find dozens of squad cars outside. Sey, who said he had moved to Wisconsin from Gambia, said he didn’t understand why such things happen in America.

“'This is crazy,' he said. “You have everything at your disposal. Why don’t you make your life better instead of engaging in this.'”

This highlights that to the average outsider the US is like Disney, but they can't see the deep rot within. This is what enables the ones who pull the levers to methodically march forward happily - O&D.

- remo

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Derek said...


Thanks for the recommendations. Will definitely check out "Killer Joe" as I'm a fan of McConaughey's recent work, especially "True Detective." Probably the best TV series I've ever seen, it's another evocative show about America, this time the southern Bayou.


7:05 PM  
Anonymous Abbot Primate said...

I am enjoying the ongoing collapse of the dilapidated and shabby American empire. I am currently reading Gore Vidal's "Point to Point Navigation". In doing so, I was reminded of the 1990's and the filthy dealings of the Clintons and strategist Dick Morris. Their "triangulation" strategy was the final nail in the coffin for the Democrat party; and with it any opportunity for single-payer healthcare or any modest correction to neoliberalism. The only good outcome of this situation was Trump's ascendency to the peak of this Barnum and Bailey charade called America.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Bill Hicks, I am not at all surprised about students being unable to read clocks. I taught middle school students and HS students in early 2000's and a large number of them couldn't read the classroom clock because it wasn't digital. I offered to teach them, but not one took me up on the offer. The middle school's computer teacher said that young people learn differently because of technology, totally oblivious to the fact that quite a few of the more intelligent students were able to tell time the "old-fashioned" way. In addition to being unable to read a clock, many students no longer write in cursive, either (and therefore cannot read it). I was surprised to receive in-class assignments/ essay exams, etc.--even at the community college level--printed rather than written in script. Fewer and fewer schools are even teaching cursive writing today.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

On the Washington Post article on spiritual death...

How come we never hear about these lovely stories coming from the right wingers on Fox News? which I'd suspect they would just blame on Aliens, the Illuminati, Liberals, blacks, immigrants, and/or Muslims.... despite whatever study or evidence there is to the contrary...... well, it ought to be interesting watching all these Billy Bob's clutching their flags taking selfies while they bury their loved ones... I mean it's not so much a political issue but everything has become so toxic in this regard that I can't imagine anyone reading that article and not wondering what the hell is going on - on an individual level? I suppose it's one way of thinning the herd...

...are we 'Great Again' yet?

One thing I ran across recently was an interview with Caroline Kennedy on tapes her mother Jackie made 4 months after the assassination as a memoir considering Jack was never able to write. Audio recording of her telling of the private life and thoughts of some of the acquaintances and people they knew and dealt with during the JFK administration... kind of surprised how demeaning and political traps the Eisenhowers left for them... petty and a damned shame! Ike and the Bay of Pigs...

a few interesting tidbits...

Jacqueline Kennedy In Her Own Words 2011

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The future of the US is in good hands Wafers!


11:58 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

no shit?

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Chesley said...

so cute!

7:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Am very excited abt these riot control vehicles, but was disappted that all they shoot is tear gas and water. I suggest mounting real cannon on top of them, and then just gunning down the annoying rioters with some heavy ammo. The US is little more than a killing machine abroad; time to bring it home!


Watch length, in future. Thanks.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Roboto: thanks for link. When a society falls apart, this is what it looks like.


9:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: This too: good works the US is doing around the world:

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Pjw2k said...

after the fall hmm?

10:36 AM  
Blogger Grille said...

Re This too: good works the US is doing around the world. The day of the London attack where 4 people got killed, an air strike on a Syrian school attributed to the US caused 33 deaths. The London massacre was headline news on German national TV, followed by in-depth analysis, commentary etc. The airstrike was an in-other-news item.

In the aftermath of the Christmas market attack in Berlin (12 killed, many more injured), I suggested to some friends in the city that we may have to ask ourselves why these suicide killers hate us that much. That maybe we have been living too much at their culture/country's/people's expense. Sad to say that from the reaction I got you would have thought I had made a terribly obscene and deeply offensive comment.

As for the Wafer theory that we may be able to stick it out somewhere outside the U.S.: here goes the Paris Climate Accord:

11:47 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Ass.......Just, Ass.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Facebook (I know, boo hiss) there's a video clip making the rounds of Donald Trump, from February of last year, talking about how if he's elected President he'll be so busy at the White House "making deals" that he won't have time for golf. Obviously point being that, well, he lied.

That's pretty good, but what I really love is the first thing he says in the video clip: "I have the greatest stuff."

Pretty much sums everything up, doesn't it?

3:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Of course we will. Political and economic collapse will be much faster than environmental collapse, so there will be plenty of places to immigrate to. Now wd be a gd time to start.


I met Lewis at a conference in Canada last May. Smart guy!


3:42 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

McConaughey was also great in his cameo in The Wolf of Wall Street. The movie, predictably, was slammed by progressives for not properly vilifying its hustler characters, but this analysis of course fails to realize that this type of person is the norm for America, not wild deviation. This is of course underlined when Leonardo DiCaprio insists that "everyone wants to get rich", while a buddy of his retorts "what about the Amish? I knew an Amish guy who said all he wanted to do was make furniture." [A nod to the craft tradition, as an alternative to hustling, as detailed in WAF?]

Final note on the film: The FBI agent investigating him says "You know, most of the Wall Street jackasses I bust were assholes just like their fathers and their fathers before them. But you got this way all on your own!" What a beautifully sardonic view of the American dream, no?

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

You have to wonder how something like this could go on for 20 years-

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

So I went to a performance of Our Town at Temple University. For those of you who may have seen it live, it has 2 intermissions. The first occurs after around 45 minutes. The only people who got up to go out were smokers. The rest immediately took out their cell phones. In fact, a number were texting during the show which was forbidden. The second intermission occurred again about 45 minutes and still hardly anyone got out of his or her seat. Instead, they immediately took out their cell phones. I mean what earth shattering information did they miss in 45 minutes after the first intermission? Didn't they, at least, need to stretch their legs or use the bathroom? After all, they had been sitting for at least 1 1/2 hours. Techno-douchebags nonpareil.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it. We have a half-page-max rule on this blog. Compress, re-send. Thank you.


I never wrote an article by that name. Also, pls send messages to most recent post; no one reads the older stuff.


It's why I've stopped going to concerts, movies, lectures, etc. Turkey City.


9:38 AM  
Anonymous JRS said...

Hi Dr. Berman,

I found this For your Kim Kardashian Files:


12:46 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

I suggested to some friends in the city that we may have to ask ourselves why these suicide killers hate us that much.

Ugh…not this again.

If you want to pretend that attacks against the West are simply a reaction to the crimes of the West, let me acquaint you with the concessions you are going to have to make. If you feel that women should be allowed to go to school and enjoy the benefits of education, from the standpoint of the Islamists, you’ve just made an enemy. If you think it’s not ok to stone women to death for being raped, these people will be pissed at you. If you think halting weapon sales to Indonesia and putting pressure on them to halt the genocide in East Timor was the right thing to do, then you have done it. You made an enemy, you just brought it on. If you think freedom of expression should trump religious insecurity, then, once again, you’ve brought it on.

This self-flagellation and willingness of the left to sell out the very best of what the West has to offer is nauseating. Note, this doesn’t mean the West’s foreign policy is beyond reproach, something I shouldn’t even have to point out or qualify, but I can just picture the mindless retorts I am going to get on this.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Good (but long) talk here with some of our favorites JM Greer, Jim Kunstler, Orlov, Chris Martenson, Frank Morris:

1:18 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

I Can’t Walk Yet – But I Know How to Work an iPad

"Psychologist Adam Alter won’t even get out his smartphone in front of his baby. He claims we are creating a generation of iKids addicted to screens. Should parents be worried?"

New novel by El Akkad finds a futuristic USA consumed by massacres, drone attacks, guerrilla violence & torture:

2:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the ref. There's no question that we are headed for a major crackup. Cf. Lionel Shriver, "The Mandibles." Where else cd a nation of 323 million turkeys possibly be headed?


Kind of interesting that no Americans are into brain enhancement; just asses. Which is what they are. We need a new social media gimmick: Assbook. Perhaps instead of friends, people cd have turds. You don't friend someone; you shit them.


Personally, I have no doubt that attacks on the West are mostly the result of what we have done to Islam over the last century. This is so well-documented that I'm not going to bother giving u a bibliography. I also have no trouble acknowledging this, and at the same time disagreeing with stoning etc.; it's hardly a contradiction for me. Yr argument is the Huntington 'clash of civilizations' thesis, promoted a lot during our destruction of Iraq. It won't wash, as many scholars have demonstrated. Islamic rage is rooted in what the West did to it politically, over the last 100 yrs or so. It's not abt age-old traditions, like stoning.

I shd also add that you seem to have come late to the party. We discussed this issue, abt Sam Harris and Islam supposedly being inherently violent, at some length in the past. Sam lost. But I am not eager to rehash that whole argument once again. You might scroll thru past comments sections.


4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check out this guy's face:

4:29 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

"Personally, I have no doubt that attacks on the West are mostly the result of what we have done to Islam over the last century."

Plus, the official narrative regarding the War on Terror becomes silly once you realize that America has been covertly supporting Sunni-fundamentalist and Wahhabi terrorists for decades. If someone did to the West what the West has done to the Muslim world, we would probably want them destroyed too.

8:27 AM  

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