March 05, 2017



It's like there are these days when I wake up, and I think about Janis. I can't help it; I think about Janis. Jesus, it was a voice, and a decade, like no other:

For my parents, it was Enrico Caruso; for me, it was Janis.



Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Maybe that's why our political class keeps prattling on about "freedom" to the rest of us.

Did you ever listen to the original version of "Cry Baby" by Garnet Mimms (1963)? Certainly worthwhile too:

11:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Too sweet! Janis' raw, desperate energy would be hard to duplicate. If there was ever a gut singer, it was her.

As far as freedom goes, I think a lot of folks who had 0 left to lose voted for Trumpi. There's a lesson there...


2:29 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

With all the talk about the role of the media lately, I think one of the central prog delusions is that journalists are somehow these heroic figures. Journalists just play a pre-defined role in the ecosystem of power, and work to make people like Obama - AND people like Trump - look good. The media created the Trump phenomenon, no doubt about it, and now they are benefiting from it enormously. The NYT is even using it as a fundraising opportunity. Heck, people are even starting to watch CNN again because they have melodrama and an "enemy". The 24 hour news cycle is now really a 24 hour news cycle with this loose cannon in charge.

I think you can stand up for free speech and Enlightenment ideals and still see journalists as a marginal force for good at best. Somehow journalists keep investigating the power structure and somehow it keeps lying.

More enlightened times have placed the profession of journalist as more akin to that of gossip columnist... maybe we are finally coming full circle to that understanding.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The media contributed to Trump, but they certainly did not create him. Other, more important factors were in play for that--something Trumpi saw and the rest of us did not. But it's certainly true that for the NYT and progs in general, there is now a new enemy they can fume against. This is the American Way, w/deep roots in our history. It's called negative identity, and it means you don't hafta look at who YOU are and how YOU have contributed to the situation. It also ultimately means you have 0 to affirm, because the whole thing is empty at the center.

Are journalists investigating the power structure? That, for the most part, I don't see. Looks to me more like they are obfuscating it. And then, if such folks--Hedges, Chomsky, et al.--do lambaste the elites, they somehow manage to forget who made those elites possible: not just progs at the NYT and Wall St., but progs in the streets, now carrying signs like "Not my president." But he IS your president, douche bag; YOU turned politics into trivia (pol. correctness); YOU wanted globalization and the fruits of empire as much as anybody else; YOU didn't give a shit about the poor and the disenfranchised (not sexy enuf 4u)--etc. So now, your mirror image is staring at you from the W.H. In short, yr a moron.


8:21 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers;

In 100% agreement on Janis Joplin. She was the best of her time. This person may the best of our time:

On our way down, this may be a rest stop for some.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Funny there is talk of Janis, I got to photograph her famous flower pants. This is actually my photo someone posted on pintrest:

she was a small (in size) woman!

Anyway, trying to keep my head down and mouth shut being in a situation much like Jason from Portland (previous post). Frankly, most Americans are a lost cause. "Progs" that make $150,000 a year, but somehow a pink hat makes you part of the resistance? Lunatic right wingers who are too stupid to know a Sikh from Osama bin Laden. I just don't have the energy my friends. Respect to those who do!

10:32 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Pearl, we hardly knew ye.

May I tout my favorite? Dusty Springfield (Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien; 16 April 1939-2 March 1999)

Two songs I especially like:
"I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself"
(Burt Bacharach/Hal David)
Released October 1965

"Losing You"
(Clive Westlake/[Brother] Tom Springfield)
Released October 1964

If she appeals, check out "Dusty in Memphis." Released on 31 March 1969, this is considered by Rolling Stone and other music periodicals as one of the greatest albums ever produced..

11:46 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

According to Gallup, only 31% of Americans say the U.S. spends too much on its military.

And, if one looks only at registered voters, such as the Fox News poll mentioned in the article below, the value drops to just 25%.

Jimmy Dore recently did a piece on this where he blamed the news media for misleading and confusing the American people. Alas, while there may be some truth to this claim, he can’t seem to see the real and obvious problem.

Also, check out the first graph in the Gallup poll to see how much worse things have gotten. The graph begins in 1970, the year Janis Joplin died.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Speaking of progs in denial, the Democratic Party's anti-Trump antics are working so well that the party's favorability rating has taken a steady dive and is now down 8 points since last fall:

It is particularly interesting to note that the downward trend began not with Trump's election but right at the end of September, around the time when the p-grabbing tape was released and the Democrats started really whipping up the anti-Russia hysteria. Yet now they are patting themselves on the back that Trump's approval ratings are mired in the low 40s at a time when he is STILL more popular than they are.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, here is a symptom of why they lost that formerly blue state as a mother is arrested after her 6-moth old baby tests positive for meth, heroin, ecstasy and THC:

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Chaz Homz said...

For anyone suffering the symptoms of Janis-withdrawal, or just needs an antidote, I would recommend the album Middle Cyclone by Neko Case. Compared to Janis, Neko's voice sounds like a warm soft kitten purring in your ear.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Mike Burgess said....

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Here is an interesting news report that suggests for some here in America, family relationships have really deteriorated. One has to wonder what sort of mother-daughter relationship there must have been for the daughter to act to save the two dogs that KILLED her mother and to say her mother MUST have provoked the dogs. The kennel attendant says the dogs will attack without provocation (one has to wonder what sort of relationship the daughter had with her dogs, too) and should be humanely put down. People who have such dogs should not be allow to have dogs. Ah! America!

3:02 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Thanks for the post on Janis Joplin. Too funny, but I’ve been playing her music and trying my best to sing along with her over the past few days. Impossible, I know, but it gives me joy.

I just read that Trump cabinet members have a combined wealth of about $11 billion. Of course, Republicans will ignore this, along with his many egregious actions. Democrats did the same with Obama (and never, ever tell these Democrats that Trump’s victory was their own damn fault).

Thanks to one of the previous post comments I’ve started reading Matt Taibbi’s “Insane Clown President,” and really had to chuckle over Dennis Kucinich’s sister voting for Trump saying “His demeanor is a little out there…” This was second only to his assessment of Trump as a “figure of supernatural shallowness.”

BTW, as I look back over my life I always thought differently than others. The incident I mentioned happened when I was 15, and I think it was the first time I ever actually put into words how I felt. It’s just my nature and couldn’t be beaten out of me.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Pat Mcgraw said...

aww Janis...she seemed like such a sweet tiny little person who was in a whole lot of trouble and had a much larger person screaming out from within...I guess the same could be said of the 60s, your right-- 10 years of flower children playing w/ daisies right down the gun barrel

5:46 PM  
Blogger plbodden said...

that's really cool. morris! and i say we don't beat it to death... although, i will say that, at its finest, popular music is one of the usa's finest contributions to the world; a gift, really, that could have only come from here. janis joplin was simply amazing. peace, man!

7:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What a moron:

7:59 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

It would have been interesting to be the fly on the wall when Bill Bennett (yes that one) was out on a date with Janis Joplin. You don't see much of range in types in the U.S. these days or interesting juxtapositions. The Israeli author/historian Yuval Harari (a precocious young man) has interestingly raised the issue many of us in my particular racket have long maintained as important--managing experience/consciousness. So much effort in devising government, the economy, some baseline upon which to compare present selves to past selves. Its to a large extent in the brain if you well and though Harari is quite bright (yes, yes we Jews etc) he has nothing on Victor Frankl--you can carve out meaning very dire circumstances. At core an optimist and perhaps even delusional I would posit that maybe 1% of the U.S. population approaches happiness or possesses some strong sense of meaning in their lives. A few more are groping around and the rest through means mysterious are in a constant sense of stupor and are at best reactive lumps. Does the context create these creatures or do the creatures create the context? A colleague often reminds me that the rational behavior and reward system has been broken by media and myriad distractions--even reptile level brain reactions disrupted. But there in is perhaps a signifier, Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Caruso, John Coltrane, were not agents of distraction like say Kardashian and snoop dog (is it lion now) but rather sources of inspiration, subline experience--now rare.

9:21 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Didn't this guy know that if you move orange construction cones in America that it would lead to one of the construction workers unleashing a Death Blow to your Cranium? Everyone knows's written in the American rule book.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

The American character - selfish, impatient and violent - really comes out when Americans get behind the wheel. I walk most of the time, and often when I'm crossing the street in a crosswalk drivers waiting to turn almost run me over. The look in their eyes is truly scary. It's like they're offended that I'm holding them up for ten seconds.

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Did coffee give us the Enlightenment?

A very *stimulating* read

7:34 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

I was born in 1952 so my memories of the 1960s remain quite vivid. I was never into Janis Joplin but I was a fan of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. Jim Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin all died within a couple years of one another.

My father was a "hip" psychologist in the 1950s and 1960s and met Grace Slick (in 1968?) on an airplane coming back to his Hollywood hills house after visiting the Sausalito houseboat community (Maybe he visited Esalen too?). My father might have spent some time there with Alan Watts. I can't remember. A few years later my father did some physical therapy on Alan Watts, telling me "Marc, his liver was hard". Watts was an alcoholic, something the public was not aware of, and it contributed to his early death.

I have a lot of other stories to tell, but I'll wait 'til my future comments.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Manol said...

Scott, I don't remember if I saw a documentary on TV or had read before that alcohol was the drug of the Middle Ages while caffeine was the "drug" of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.
I guess cocaine and heroin are the perfect drugs for hustlers and the stranded left-behinds these times.
I assume in the coming Dark Ages, the first impact would be diminishing life expectancy and the return to bad liquor.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


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


12:50 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Mike Burgess said....

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

If you take James Howard Kunstler's predictions in his most recent blog post as likely, many if not most of us will be left without a sustainable way of life, much less endless consumerism. Good thing I am pushing 70, unless I can get work at a local farm for food and find some shelter, an end of life for many (including myself) is approaching and I don't find the predicted abyss particularly inviting.'

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...


Boy is that ever true. I have had motorists scream at me for having the nerve to be a pedestrian. Even bicyclists can be rude sometimes. It has gotten to the point where I try to avoid crossing big streets when I take walks.

Americans seem like they are ready to explode at any minute. I used to have a boss that would just swear and yell every minute while driving even if nobody was doing anything wrong. It was like he was offended that he had to share the road with anyone else. I have seen adults have tantrums over a slight mistake made on a sandwich order. It is truly bizarre.

Another thing that I dislike about Americans is how we treat service workers. I have people in my own family that will treat waiters like garbage over absolutely nothing. One thing that I noticed in France and Italy is that workers won’t put up with this kind of ill treatment. I think perhaps this is one reason why Americans think Europeans are rude but I see it more as people having self-respect and not tolerating bullies.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Bullshevik said...

Check out Beth Hart some time. In some of her songs, I think she may be channeling Janis.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Michael B -- if you're pushing 70, I wouldn't stay up nights worrying about Kunstler's predictions. Ever since The Long Emergency was published back in 2005 he's sounded like a broken record, so desperate is he to be able to say "I told you so," before he himself goes to his final reward. Meanwhile, I read just yesterday that U.S. oil shale production set yet another all time high. The quick ramp up of unconventional oil production was the biggest development the peak oil community really missed with their predictions back in the 2006-2008 time period when prices soared to over $100 a barrel. Don't get me wrong--I think peak oil is a sound theory, it's just that in the next decade economic collapse (helped along by political class paralysis), accelerating climate change and nuclear war look to be much bigger potential threats, in that order.

Tom S - Your assessment of so many Americans as cauldrons of rage is spot on. I, too, have experienced being yelled or honked at while in a walking in a crosswalk with the light. I also make an effort to always act decently towards service workers, provided they don't come on with an attitude. I can't imagine facing dealing with so many shit heads day after day. How they do it without throwing themselves off a bridge is a mystery.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

Re the moron. It takes quite a bizarro political class (or a Molière comedy) to experience this level of absurdity:

1st, run for president,
2nd, after quitting the race declare yourself not qualified to run federal government agencies reporting to the office you just applied for,
3rd, end up running a federal government agency.


1st, run for president and declare you want to eliminate the Energy Department
3rd, forget said department's name.
4th, end up in charge of that very department.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Just in from CNN:

After HUD secretary Ben Carson's recent comparison of slaves as immigrants, Morris Berman has offered to perform emergency surgery on HUD secretary Ben Carson's brain. Berman stated he's "unequivocally" up to job of "permanently scrambling Carson noodle forever" and that the latest Carson flap is "demonstrable evidence that a person can be an utter moron and a brain surgeon simultaneously in America." Berman is, of course, Minister of Advanced Demolition (MAD) w/in the Trump administration and working closely w/ Ivanka Trump to solve America's problems. Minister Berman also indicated that anesthesia should and will be administered during the operation. And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

5:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A sure sign that America is unraveling is things like this. Things are not only chaotic, not only make no sense, but have slid into the region of the surreal. I'm telling you, urine is the answer.


5:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's odd: here I thought I had said the last word on slavery in WAF ch. 4, only to discover, thanks to Ben Carson, that the slaves who suffered and died during Middle Passage were actually immigrants like my family from Eastern Europe, optimistically seeking a new & happy life in the New World. How cd I have missed that? I'm actually having 2nd thoughts abt the anesthesia.

Meanwhile, as part of my new duties as Minister of Advanced Demolition, I'm thinking we need our own publication--MAD Magazine. Cover story for 1st issue will be abt Ben, but am currently seeking submissions from Wafers in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and light opera.


6:02 PM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

It's odd: here I thought I had said the last word on slavery in WAF ch. 4, only to discover, thanks to Ben Carson, that the slaves who suffered and died during Middle Passage were actually immigrants like my family from Eastern Europe, optimistically seeking a new & happy life in the New World.

Dr B, Carson is exhibit A in your case that in the US, even the smart ones are stupid. The guy is a neurosurgeon and yet is a complete idiot.

Re: Kuntsler, I wish he would elaborate on why he thinks the debt ceiling wont be extended. My guess is it will be extended and rather quickly to boot.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Living in the most Expansive City in Canada! With Homelessess reaching epidemic proportions and nuance... for a local paper has revealed the two (maybe more)worlds of Homelessness! The best understood world of Homelessness, living on the streets and sleeping on a park bench at night! But their now is new kind of Homelessness that takes the form of working poor who can't afford to rent an apt. so they instead live in their Vechile (Car, Minivan, Camper-trailer/RV)in Walmart parking lot or parked on street by a city park at night. Much of this is off-shoot of what took place after the crash in the USA at Walmarts across the USA. Professor Berman you'll remember Joe's Coffee Shop on Commercial Drive in East Van.. well every night you will find two CamperVan/RV in the back parking lot and two Minivans parked on William street(side street besides Joes) all homeless white men between 35-68. All have income of over 2000 Cdn month or more but this is not enough to live on when one bedroom cost 1700-2000 a month. See this Blog about the situation:

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, I do remember Joe's on Commercial Drive. A pity Canada can't do better than the US in terms of social safety net.


How many Americans will now start to say, "Oh, there really was no slavery in America. Those folks were actually immigrants, coming here of their free will in search of a better life." Ben Carson: friend of the black man.


7:22 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Song for the current age:

Comedian doing a joke on Ben Carson:

8:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


He's no dummy, Alonzo; that's fer sure! Great gig.


9:56 PM  
Anonymous creative-destruction-chumpeter said...

Homage to IT outsourcing:
(poor guy was a little too US culture in the end - he did mention money laundering though).

O. Hatch was lobbying for a 150k h1b's for one state for "economic growth".
Nader called these politicians traders.

Plutarch talked about wealth inequity and class warfare by importing foreign labor.
The corp masters know class warfare no question and profit from chaos and debt.
Capitalism amounts to destroying competition - global flattening process of full spectrum control. David C. Johnston a new fav hero:

10:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pussy hat dept.:

12:17 AM  
Anonymous creative-des-chumpeter said...


please edit I meant traitors Freudian slip of Nader quote

Thanks if possible otherwise please delete.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Ben Carson is what Malcolm x called "house negro"

12:31 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Is this Wrong? Maybe it's just a new fad among American teenagers.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous I'm History said...

Society as organism requires adaptive government____

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I highly suggest we Wafers do everything possible to repeal the 23rd amendment, the one limiting a president to two terms. The collapse must continue unabated in other words. Certainly by the end of Herr Trumpf's first term, Europe will be begging to be part of the Russian sphere of influence, likewise Asia vis a vis China and Central and South America will more or less be out of the US orbit. By the end of a second term, I predict most of the planets will be in search of a new solar system.
Yeah, rage is everywhere and not only on the road. Twice this week I looked confused about something and instead of a pleasant "Can I help you?" I got the mean version of "Can I help you?" as if I was a nuisance. Then God forbid I should say, "Excuse me, I'm sorry I didn't hear that. Could you repeat that please?" you'd think I asked the person to carry a set of barbells up to the third floor. "I said...!" And I'm supposed to be living in a blue state. Just shows that authoritarianism is contagious.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As the House of Representatives dissolves into feuding factions over the proposed replacement for Obamacare, this item. Demonstrating the compassion for which his party is renowned. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told CNN that the new plan will require citizens to decide between paying their healthcare premium and buying that new iPhone.

Reader "ShadowPryde" responded to the account of Chaffetz' remarks as follows: "My wife got a single procedure that resulted in $524 bill from one hospital and a $468 bill from another part of the hospital (because that makes sense). I’m going to assume he meant the 256gb model. Otherwise I’m already in trouble."

Within a matter of hours, Chaffetz was "walking back" his comments. A common phenomenon these days, this walking back business.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


She probably forgot to put fruit on his cereal. Heck, I'd be angry myself. This 'trend' is known as ISIS-chic, and might spread like wildfire across the country. Another reason why gun control laws don't matter.


9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Dan ... no need to let Trump take a third term, most likely the damage done in eight years will be so great, that no member of either major political party will be able to undo it.

Y'all may laugh when I say this, but I really, truly believe that that Ted Nugent is going to be the GOP candidate in an upcoming Presidential election.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

A good opinion piece in the New York Times by Charles Peters on West Virginia changing from a solid Democratic state to a Republican one. Peters discusses some of the cultural changes from the New Deal era to the present and the indifference of elitist liberals to the problems of working-class people.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cd be, but my money is on Lorenzo Riggins.


2:37 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

'The Himba people of Namibia can see fine details and ignore distraction much better than most other human beings – a finding that may reflect the many ways that modern life is changing our minds and abilities.'

The Australian aboriginals come to mind, who can see certain stars and planets that we cannot. Or the Dogon, the hunter gatherers associated w/ the well known "Sirius mystery". White anthropologists discovered these backwards people seemed to know the properties of the star system in a detail that couldn’t be explained by normal astronomical knowledge and the technology that they had available to them, before modern astronomers knew of these properties thru empirical research themselves.

Not to get spooky, but the Dogon believed they had been clairvoyant w/ fish-like beings in the sky, who live there. In any case, the aboriginals, the Dogon, the Himba had connections to the fabric of things, in ways we have lost. The enchanted world, like you've said MB.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous J. Hayes said...

Stephen Carter of Yale and author of "Civility" on some current college identity politics and he explains how the ghost of Herbert Marcuse animates this year's student protests:

"Today’s campus downshouters, whether they have read Marcuse or not, have plainly undertaken his project. Probably they believe that their protests will genuinely hasten a better world. They are mistaken. Their theory possesses the same weakness as his. They presume to know the truth, to know it with such certainty that they are comfortable -- indeed enthusiastic -- at the notion of shutting down debate on the propositions they hold dear. Marcuse, as I said, was a brilliant philosopher, but on this question he was simply wrong. My own old-fashioned view is that a “truth” that will not debate is a truth that deserves to lose."

4:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Modernity was ultimately not such a hot bargain, it turns out. Cell phones are just the latest nail in our spiritual coffin. Check out obscure bk called "Wandering God," also one by Thich Nhat Hanh called "Silence." Certainly in the US, there are very few people left anymore who can legitimately be called human.


4:40 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Please accept my submission for one light opera: "Swans Reflecting Carson." Visualize a two-act ballet, accentuated by surrealist imagery and a grand danza final (possibly an Aragonese jota) set to the music of Chopin and Schumann. I need a great pianist, tho; too bad Vladimir Horowitz is no longer around...


ps: Enjoy a bit of Horowitz:

5:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mr. Hayes-

Somewhat dishonest characterization of Marcuse, imo. He hardly claimed to know the Truth with a capital T, and was not opposed to open discussion of his own views. His work raised the question of science having an ideological dimension (i.e., posing as absolute Truth), a logical continuation of McLuhan. While I'm not a big fan of the "Repressive Tolerance" essay, it is not, as Carter argues, his best-known work. That would be "One-Dimensional Man," along with "Eros and Civilization." Blockbusters indeed.

It's also very poor intellectual history to link political correctness (and campus intolerance) to Marcuse. As Carter says, today's students probably have never read Marcuse. To find them ideologically rigid, and argue that Marcuse was ideologically rigid, and then say QED here's the source--kind of nonsensical, it seems to me; altho admittedly, a lot of bad intellectual history has been written in this vein. Political correctness hardly needed Marcuse to flourish in the US, and it has many sources. As Christopher Lasch astutely noted in "The Culture of Narcissism," in the 60s we learned that we had no power to change the things that really mattered (i.e., relations of power), so in the 70s we turned our attention to changing the things that didn't. Political correctness, and the obsession w/language, wd be good examples of this. Beyond that, self-righteous Manichaeanism in America goes back centuries in our history, as I discuss in "A Question of Values"; it hardly needed Herbert Marcuse to find inspiration today. Good vs. Evil is how Americans (not just contemporary college students) tend to think, which is to say they don't think at all. Marcuse, on the other hand, was one great thinker.


5:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: You might want to have a look at Jackson Lears' (terrific historian) review of Stephen Kinzer's latest bk, "The True Flag," in the NYRB, Feb. 23. Manichaeanism clearly antedated Herbert Marcuse--tho, as I've shown, by longer than 120 or so yrs:

"Apologists for empire acknowledged the importance of foreign investment opportunities, raw materials, and markets, but more commonly they traded in euphemisms masquerading as concepts--destiny, responsibility, civilization, progress--the ancestors of such contemporary banalities as 'globalization.' This habit of mind arose from a faith in a providentially decreed American mission to regenerate the world, accompanied by a fervent belief that the rest of the world desired regeneration....The chosen nation could hardly acknowledge that other nations might choose other ways of life, might create a multipolar world."

If students now are espousing Truth, it wd seem to be the case that this way of viewing the world is very much embedded in the whole of the American enterprise.


6:54 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I mean... if you gonna say there's a better health care bill, Imma punch ya in the nose and call ya a snob.

This kind of cognitive breakdown... it's clear that the Trump Molotov is going to do its part to break down the rational rules-based bureaucracies, which were becoming untenable anyway among illiterate people that can't follow rules.

But there isn't even a deeper emotional core of pesant feeling to catch us as the rational state collapses. I guess we have heroin...

8:33 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Mohamed ali - and Malcom X added that the difference between the house negro and the field negro is that the latter didn't cry when the house burned down. I'll say this for ol' Bennny C, he may be totally ignorant in any field other than brain surgery, but he's no idiot. He saw how pizza barron and all around hustler Herman Cain cashed in on his own fraudulent 2012 presidential campaign to the tune of millions in book advance and TV pundit money and sad to himself: sheeeyit, I can do that. Hell, Obama carried the water for his masters in the defense, finance and medical industries for 8 long years and is now ca-ching cashing in. A house negro to the end.

Of course, what professional class liberals don't understand is that in Trump's America, THEY are the house negros while the field negros out in the flyover states aren't shedding any tears right now. I managed to get away from the immediate DC area today and spent a relaxing afternoon with an old friend just down I-95 in Fredricksburg. From the number of women clerking in the antique shops and charming little boutiques--not to mention the funky hippie-vibed coffee house we visited--today's so-called "women's strike" was nowhere in evidence. No doubt those women were probably more concerned about paying their bills and such to participate in any pussy-hatted nonsense.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Vincent in Auvers said...

Hello Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Just wanted to contribute my own personal experience in post-Trump America. I’m part Italian, part British, but I do not “pass” as white, apparently. I was raised by Anglo parents and grandparents, so I never really thought about race much until I moved to a large city to go to school. What I’ve noticed in people’s reactions to me over the past year and a half has been a gradual shift from overall pleasantness/indifference to what you might call a living nightmare today. I used to get into random conversations with whites, exchange pleasantries, etc. Then I started noticing they would avert their eyes whenever I was in their presence. Now they struggle to hide their hatred/suspicion of me before I’ve even said a word. I’m talking visceral hatred. People I’ve seen daily and who I thought I was on good or neutral terms with now treat me like I’m subhuman. It’s fascinating but also a bit terrifying to see how the mass mindset has shifted in so short a time. Taking a class on modern European intellectual history right now, and the professor mentioned that Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism” was a bestseller in January. Was thinking of going to Europe, but now I’m not so sure that’s a good idea. How is it in Mexico, Dr. B? Maybe I should take up Spanish and start planning my escape.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's interesting to watch how America is getting increasingly polarized, and tearing itself apart. As far as hitting the rd, Latin America in general wd probably be a gd bet 4u. But given your ancestry, why not Italy?


3:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

5:25 AM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

"Irresistible" looks like an interesting book, I'll watch for it at the library. Sometimes I wonder what the world will be like when people who grew up with the Internet outnumber those of us who didn't. Americans have never been great conversationalists (they use talk mostly for hustling), but cell phones and the Internet may be entirely eliminating the ability to communicate in person. One more sign of the spiritual death you wrote about in DAA, I suppose.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Also this:

I've been wondering abt all these pussy hat demos, what they hope to accomplish. They seem very vague, very general--no clear focus, really, just 'feel-good'. Can't imagine they'll hurt Trump in any substantive way. This article talks abt the problem that feminism (and I wd add, civil rts) are really abt getting *into* the (capitalist) system, not challenging it in any serious way. (Recall MLK's remark to Belafonte, abt herding people into a burning church.)(I think Herbert Marcuse was the 1st to suggest that capitalism was so flexible, it cd absorb anything, including opposition to it.) Thus feminism can be "Lean In"--be successful in a market economy; or nude selfies as a 'statement'; or tits on the front cover of a magazine; or staying at home and raising kids. Not exactly cutting-edge politics.

In general, it's interesting to view daily events in the US thru the lens of declinism. All that rage, all that pain. Americans shooting up McDonalds, desecration of Jewish cemeteries, pussy hat marches, feeble repeal of Obamacare, Black Lives Matter petering out, feminism turning into pablum, and so on. Also, now, the general inability to know what's real. The recent WikiLeaks dump revealed that the CIA routinely plants its surveillance origins in Russia, suggesting that the whole flap about Trump and Russian influence may (as he has insisted) be bullshit. An important dimension of civilizational collapse is the slide into incoherence, and I think that is what we are witnessing today. It's like watching the nation turn into minestrone soup, with various unconnected letters floating to the surface, like meaningless messages.


6:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Also check out works by Sherry Turkle.


7:16 AM  
Blogger Patrick D. Fitzgerald said...

What a frustrating thing to have to see a day justifiably worthy of distinction (Women's day) turn into such a joke in the hands of U.S. feminists. I know that I dare not ask this on any other forum, but why exactly is "the future female" ? This has been a poster appearing at these marches, but I think it speaks to our cultural norm of repeating baseless and haplessly formed cliches without giving much thought to it. I guess because the past was male (patriarchy) and "progress" is a real thing (it isn't of course), then the future is matriarchy?? huh? But such is trying to understand American progs...
I have my doubts that the future on planet earth is even *human* let alone male or female, but if we have a future of women role models like Hillary, Sheryl Sandberg, or (first female member of Augusta National Golf Club) Condoleezza Rice, I will go ahead and cast my vote for the rise of the planet of the apes already. Hey, maybe even real life turkey populations will explode and we can live MB's and Ben Franklin's dream of our truly representative, republican avian finally take its rightful place in our illustrious national story.

There simply is not enough good wine to make enough good urine for all these shoes, (sigh).

8:13 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Unlike the kid in North Carolina who chopped off his mothers head, this guy just went with the clean stab wounds to kill his mother. He didn't want to deal with all the mess, and I don't blame's a very messy process chopping a mothers head off...When is Mother's Day again?

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Hello Dr. Berman and Wafers Worldwide,

Now that the elections are over and my girl Shaneka lost, I must re-channel my sadness to new endeavors. Therefore, I am working on a compilation of Wafer-appropriate bumper stickers. I submit for your approval:


Any other suggestions?

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Matthew said...

Dutch historian on a loss of western imagination and realistic utopia

10:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




When I watched Hillary's concession speech (24 hrs late; I assume she had been heavily sedated), I realized what a dumb bunny she was. She continued to tout exactly what did her in--political correctness. "I hope I will be a model for little girls," she said. Apparently, in the p.c. world, little boys don't count. It's amazing that feminists, and the p.c. crowd, just can't see that this backfired on them, and will continue to do so. 53% of white women voted for Trump, because they are not interested in a "female future"--which is indeed a meaningless phrase, but one designed to get marchers in pussy hats all riled up. Personally, I'm no more interested in a female future than I am in a male one. I *am* interested in a decent, nonhustling, cellphone-free culture, however. Meanwhile, Condi Rice is a war criminal, Margaret Thatcher sent millions of Brits into poverty, and millions of American women are indecent hustlers on cell phones.

Janis Joplin talked abt the end of the road: one gd man loving one woman jus' one time...I think that's true. But I think that today there might be another end of the road, a political one: a woman in a pussy hat, wearing a Resist button, staring at herself in the mirror and saying: "Jesus, I'm a total douche bag." Cry, baby!


11:13 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Well, so much for the less interventionist foreign policy the Trumpinator campaigned on. Fighting troops just arrived in Syria. More in the pipeline for Iraq. All indications are that military action is going to happen in N. Korea. Tillerson has telegraphed intervention in Venezuela.

I suppose it makes sense. Imperialism and the material rewards of it are the only things that unite US of Americans across the spectrum. Take away that sense of superiority/entitlement and the tangible adornments that reinforce it, what would remain? What would become of the deluded personnas that stand in for a coherent consciousness?

Wide-scale war may be the only thing that can save US from social and political implosion, or at least postpone it for awhile.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Think of Rome, and the whole notion of imperial overextension. I was worried, given the campaign rhetoric, that Trumpi might follow a sane foreign policy. Now, I think declinists can rejoice:

"But you tell me over and over and over again, my friend,
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction"


12:07 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Some weekend inspiration from one of my heroes:

Alaska is a touch too cold for me, I wonder if you could do something like that in Uruguay?

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

To melt all those politically correct brains, it would be great if Donald Trump were to wear a pink pussy hat. Perhaps it should become The Official Head Wear of the President of the United States (TOHWPOTUS).

3:10 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As a new contingent of American troops heads to Syria to bring death and democracy to the locals, on the domestic front, the following item courtesy Trump's environment secretary. We might title this one "Gravity, magnetism 'need further study.'"

"Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has dismissed a basic scientific understanding of climate change by denying that carbon dioxide emissions are a primary cause of global warming.

Pruitt said on Thursday that he did not believe that the release of CO2, a heat-trapping gas, was pushing global temperatures upwards.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” he told CNBC."

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...

Experiences in the U.S. often remind me of this lyric by Robyn Hitchcock.

In this city of wolves
Vegetation and dimes
Let's pretend it's fine, honey
Let's pretend you're mine, honey
In this city of lies
Real life is a crime
What are we waiting for?
A big grim reaper in a long black limousine?
Call this toll free number
1-800-REAPER, ask for Dean.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Baron Von Strangeknight said...

I saw this quote from Brian Eno today--it reminded me of what you discussed in Wandering God.
"I’m not a cosmic optimist. I’m an optimist, just not a cosmic optimist. If you take the ego out of the way, you start seeing the world differently, and valuing the difference. You acquire alertness, you know you’re not in control anymore and that makes you more alert."

4:49 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Eve of destruction dept.:




Meanwhile, a good article about WikiLeaks and the vast CIA network:


5:31 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

It's global, Wafers.

If aberrant behavior is an indicator of the decline, it would seem that the U.S. does not have a monopoly on it. The cultural corrosion is pretty much global. This calls for the formation of the 1st Wafers International. Ranking-wise, however, America may still come out first place though. Having sex with a fence is pretty hard to top!

So, the medals this week go to: Gold - US; Pakistan - Silver; Bronze - Japan.

From Harpers Weekly Review (

An intoxicated man in Austin, Texas, was arrested for allegedly “having sex with a fence” while a woman filmed him, three men at a bazaar in Pakistan were caught masturbating to the rhythm of a beating drum, and the body of a Japanese man was discovered on top of his six-ton porn-magazine collection, which he had fallen on after suffering a heart attack.[23][24][25] A woman in Fort Pierce, Florida, found marijuana inside a couch set she bought online, the owner of a charity store in Wales discovered plans for a British nuclear sub in the briefcase of an anonymous donor, and veterinarians in Bangkok removed 915 coins from the stomach of a turtle named Piggy Bank.[26][27][28] In the Chinese province of Jiangsu, villagers divorced en masse after discovering that they could claim more money from a government buyout of their homes if they were single.[29]

8:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Geo Carlin said that if u.r. born today, you get to see the world's greatest freak show. But if u.r. born in the US, you get a front row seat. BTW, check out a previous blog: there was a news article about a guy fucking his van. (tail pipe?)

Note to Free-

Cdn't post it; we have a half-page max limit on this blog. Thanks.


8:39 PM  
Blogger remo26 said...

I came across this new film which is a profile in hustling. It's called, "'Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer."


Here's a review.

- remo

9:59 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

I've been listening on Librivox to G.K. Chesterton's book on the literary legacy of Charles Dickens. In it he quotes Dickens as making the following observation during his first visit to the United States in 1832:

"...I do fear that the heaviest blow ever dealt at liberty will be dealt by this country, and by the failure of its example upon the earth..."

Chesterton himself remarks shortly after this on Dickens in America:

"... the chief complaint he made was a complaint against bad manners..."

It seems Dickens was somewhat prescient, no?


I can just remember the Sixties, and I *loved* the hippie counterculture. Practically every major social, political and cultural development in the USA since then has been a variation on the theme of shit, IMHO. Long live Janis, and may we all repudiate with scorn the consumerist anti-culture.

1:16 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Sorry for the double-post, but I need to make a correction. Dickens first went to the USA in 1842, or thereabouts, not 1832.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Bk just appeared, a study of trollfoons, called "The Internet Warriors." Author writes that he discovered "that many, many people are lonely – they feel society has left them behind – and that a lot of those I met are former victims of bullying themselves.” The Guardian refers to the phenomenon as "the dark world of online haters."

Sad folks, trollfoons. Haters gonna hate!


5:45 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I attended 2 separate happy hours yesterday and never engaged in so much meaningless chit chat. Not one person could drop their guard and talk at least for a moment honestly about something...anything! It was all resume' crap-job, where you live, schools attended, etc. Hardly met anyone who had done any meaningful travel and when I suggested that living abroad for a time would give you an interesting perspective on life in the US, the usual response was, "I'll have to remember that." Nearly all were in some tech type job or as they were prone to say, "My dream job" which is starting to look a lot like cant. Quite remarkable really- a live devoid of any conceptual thinking. It reminded me of the lines from Gibran's the profit: Laughter that's not real laughter and tears that are not real tears."
By the way, notice that Israel will now bar anyone entre who supports BDS including Jews? Wasn't that Israel's great selling point among the diaspora- Israel can provide a safe haven for Jews around the world suffering from anti-semitism. It already bars Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein from entering by the way. Then it appears that Netan-yahoooo(!) stays quiet about the recent anti-semitism in the US so as not to antagonize Trump vis a vis the settlements. Disgraceful.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

9:59 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

From where does this douchebaggery come? Like all pathologies is likely multifactorial and overdetermined. Its the old saw, diagnosis easy treatment hard or impossible. Fellow Wafer Manolo, I think the drug of post industrial society are the severasl psychoatitive pills in wide use in the U.S. These really started taking off in post war period--the alientated stepford wives...the use has skyrocketed in the us in over the ensuing decades. Data varies but some have 25% of adults on prescription psychoactives. There is a large group reliant on black market pills and the old standbys of heroin and booze etc.... It would seem that such a large scale effort to alter consciousness would lead to reflections on devising a new narrative or myth to live by. Surely the latter is emerging (NMI, emigration, etc) but have as of yet gained broad appeal. As Dan noted, the conversation and interests of people are such that I long for the middle ages.....

10:16 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

What's the problem here? He's just being a Good Capitalist...this is what Capitalism is ALL about...rampant individualism, unbridled greed, dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself, screw-You-I've-got-mine, winner-take-ALL mentality...he is the Poster Boy for Capitalism and should be REWARDED!!,amp.html

12:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Free-

2 rules you need to observe:
1. Post only once every 24 hrs
2. Make sure yr post doesn't exceed a half page.

Thank you.


2:46 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

WAFer book recommendation: I just finished reading Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's "The Leopard." I would definitely recommend it to WAFers. The novel is about a Sicilian noble family that is in decline and the change from old aristocratic values to bourgeois values. I think this theme relates to what Dr. Berman discusses about the United States having never gone through a feudal stage that could have at least provided values to counter those of hustling.

Lampedusa's book was also made into an excellent film in 1963.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I learned of this case from Richard Wolff's March 2017 monthly report on YouTube. The company running the prison for ICE is GEO Group of Boca Raton, FL. This is not the first time this for-profit prison outfit has found itself in the defendant's chair.

"In a groundbreaking case in Colorado, a 2014 lawsuit alleging forced labor at a Denver-area ICE facility run by a private prison company has expanded to a class action suit that could involve tens of thousands of immigrant detainees.

District Court Judge John Kane ruled Monday to give the case a class action certification, marking the first time a private prison company has been sued in a class action suit for forced labor and the first time a judge has allowed such a claim to move forward. Attorneys on the case can now sue on behalf of anyone held at the Aurora Detention Facility (stated capacity: 1,532) since October 2004. Andrew Free, a lawyer on the case, told the Daily Beast that means as many as 60,000 plaintiffs could ultimately join the suit."

3:18 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Just another day in hustling douchebag paradise. First up, the least funny former Daily Show "reporter" thinks a great way to strike back at conservatives that won't backfire on liberals is to make fun of the "Nazi Hair" of a Stage 4 brain cancer patient:

Next up, two Wisconsin men were arrested for stealing 100,000 diapers--which of course were being donated to help needy families:

And lastly, a drunken tourist in Florida (is there any other kind?) was arrested when he flipped a golf cart while trying to run over a rooster:

6:00 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Carl Puia, 74, arrested for destroying several copies of Kim Kardashian's "Selfish" book inside a Connecticut Barnes & Noble:

I just wanna say bravo, Carl. Wafers are w/u 110%.


6:23 PM  
Anonymous Daddy Issues said...


Your pill comment reminded me of the classic scene from "All That Jazz," with Roy Scheider.

"It's showtime, folks!"

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Vincent in Auvers said...


Italy may be an option. I’m thinking of traveling around the southern European countries soon to see how I am received. I was in Germany and Austria some months back and got it in the neck there, so those are definitely out. Paris seemed pretty good.


The reason those people couldn’t drop their guards and exercise candor is because they’d then be exposed as the philistines that they are. One of the advantages of being placed outside of the universal—be it owing to race, class, psychology, appearance, deformity, or whatever—is that you are given the opportunity to cultivate meaning. Most everyone else appears to be on autopilot. It’s like Nietzsche says: The path towards the overcoming of man is both downward and across. There must be a down-going before there can be transcendence. A lack of real suffering usually makes for mediocrity. The types of people you’re looking for do exist, but they aren’t likely to be found at a happy hour. I’ve found a few in academia, but there are a lot of very interesting people who exist at the margins of society. It’s like that obscure young poet in “Martin Eden”—a genius who writes one of the best poems of the century but who lives in squalor and ends up killing himself.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Carl Puia is a great man. Pity Kim didn't print the bk on toilet paper, so that customers cd use the pages accordingly.


9:03 PM  
Anonymous Derek said...

Tom Servo,

What a coincidence. I just read "The Leopard" a couple of weeks ago and mentioned it briefly on the blog as well. Lately I've been enjoying books that talk about the cultural change from aristocracy/feudalism to bourgeoisie, or the differences between the old world and the new world. Some other books I'd put into this category are "The American" by Henry James (he writes a lot on this theme) and "A Room with a View" by E.M Forster. "The American" in particular is really interesting as it shows an American in Paris completely at sea when it comes to concepts such as manners and interpersonal relations. At least check out the first scene when he's in the Louvre; it'll make you laugh out loud.

11:37 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

I believe Dr Berman is trying to say, ''Quit jivin us turkeys!'' (thanks Keving for Chesterton reference: one of my favourite authors)

11:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Speaking of turkeys, we need to address the problem of a turkey military:

7:58 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Turkey Television was a Canadian produced children’s show from the 1980s. Here’s the theme song.

Four score and many years ago, we're talkin' pre-TV
Thurman Turkey strolled along his shores to see what he could see
He sniffed the flowers, felt the breezes, thought a thought or two
As he was quoted later, "There was nothin' else to do"
One day old Thurman Turkey showed up missin' from the flock
He had schlepped to Massachusetts where he perched on Plymouth Rock
A ship he spotted frightened him and made his blood run cold
It was packed with pudgy pilgrims from the bowsprit to the hold
"Here comes the neighborhood"
Now he'd heard about those pilgrims and was ready for their flack
Ever since the Magna Carta they ate turkey for a snack
He invented something drastic that brought them to all fours
And it turned them into zombies, when they settled on our shores
That's how a turkey created TV... That's right!
That's right, a turkey created TV
It sounds stupid but, oh, take one look and you'll know
That a turkey created TV!

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Marianne Thompson said...


Another Wafer article: The Rough Beast We Ourselves Have Created by Joseph Natoli. Find it on the weedend counterpunch site.

"True, Trump may be over the top, more bizarre than the norm, but bizarre is what American culture celebrates, it fits a diet of extremes, of a collapsed attentiveness that can only be grabbed by surprising or reckless jolts with which we are assailed by the rapid fire of our hand held devices, like six guns".


1:42 PM  
Anonymous Steve in So Cal said...

During these last few months I've been periodically Googling Camille Paglia (spelled Paglia but pronounced Palia) to see what she has to say about all of this. She isn't right about everything, but she is one of the only feminists willing to say what needs to be said. She's been under radio silence since Trump got elected. But — ding-ding — she's out of her corner and has come out swinging. Her new book, Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism, drops this week. I am looking forward to a few weeks of outrageous ideas from Ms. Paglia

2:46 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Here's another Good Capitalist who discovered a solid revenue stream, and was just trying to make a living with his "Employee." Why are all these Good Capitalists being punished?

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Re all the hate on the women's marches:
I did not go to any because I'm too lazy, but I think the point of the marches is not to promote some "future female" world, but just to let the powers that be know that women are not about to let any of their hard-won rights slip away. Many women are very wary of Trump and his attitude toward women, his frank approbation of sexual predation. The Republicans are already in the process of defunding planned parenthood and no doubt they have their eyes on abortion as well. These issues probably don't mean much to men, but many women are very much concerned about them.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd pt, thank you. The problem is that I suspect the aim of the marchers is far broader than the issues you mentioned, and in that respect, running around w/pussy hats and Resist buttons is terribly misguided. (Just my opinion)


3:52 PM  
Anonymous COS said...


You are likely not lazy but probably have better things to do than marching. As for the much hyped D.C. marches pretty much anyone with a pulse in D.C. can tell you why the march was a bit silly and had no real coherent message. Many if not most of the D.C. marchers where women who had long in advance made arrangements to attend Hillary's coronation. Hard to switch around days off and so on in the U.S. so many opted to go to D.C. anyway and wear pink hats. I tend to disagree with MB, I think the marches were about less than meets the eye. The republicans beging against women, defunding planned partent hood and taking away rights is the same chestnut pulled out since 1968. Donald Trump or other republican bad with women and sexual predator.. Bill Clinton--he is our sexual predator so its o.k. I keep asking how many people (male and female) have lost their lives due to Trumps decisions? I'd say 0. Feminist icon Mad Maddy Albrigth and Good with women Hillary?--Likely hundreds of thousands no? Why must we adhere to pre-cooked 'narratives rather than basic facts. Whenever people tell me what Trump will do in the future, I tend to ask given their clairvoyance what people are wearing in the future and what the price of gas will be 4 years hence. I always ask them (or anyone) to put money where mouth is. If Trump does anything that substantively affects womens rights (I have 4 daughters) I will contribute 10k to charity of your choice. If he engages in and or their is incontrovertible proof of sexual predation (beyond locker room talk) alsk 10k to charity of your choice.......Alternatively, I will spring for 4 star hotel rooms for up to 30 wafers for the next manhattan wafer summit.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

Suzanne, MB, COS,
I think Suzanne makes a solid point. The Trump administration will likely cut back women's rights, reproductive ones and others. The Deal-Maker-Supreme himself increasingly looks like an empty vessel, reacting to whatever he is being fed last by those around him. The feeders have already succeeded in cutting funding for those international women's health NGOs, whose services include advice on abortion. Planned Parenthood is next on their list.

And why would repressive policies towards major parts of society not be a key element of the decline?

7:24 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

Here's a bit of reality and advice worth noting...

Not sure about the following but it seems familiar to the trolls you have to deal with on this blog or elsewhere who basically are convinced the sky is orange and the sun revolves around the earth.

After running across my nth degree of nutty right wing FB posts about why some 'scientists' think CO2 levels SHOULD be much higher than they currently are and arguing about continuing carbon based fuels as a justification for discrediting EPA findings as a means to do away with that agency.... I have decided to un-follow everybody.... fuck it! life is too short and there are too many 'idiots' vying for my time to waste bugging more qualified people than myself in these matters, hunting down data on climate change stats or whatever else it is to rebut these clowns who continually refuse to extract their heads out of their ass! I have come to the conclusion these people really just aren't worth the trouble anymore... I have tried rational discussions but it is just not worth the energy to try to salvage whatever connection there was with people chained to the railing on the Titanic..... I might as well be on a different planet...

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Quevenzhane said...

Another of my favorite female vocalists from that era:

So why is today's popular music so plastic and soulless in comparison? It's been ruined by money. But it's also almost as though the well of creativity and talent has run dry.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, when it comes to the Confederate flag, looks like *he's* the idiot. Check out WAF ch. 4.


7:02 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Steve in So Cal said...

Here is what Camille Paglia is dishing:

"I was horrified, horrified by the pink pussy hats,” Paglia said. But she did support the Women's March as a form of solidarity with other women.
"It really wasn’t about feminism. It’s really not about Trump. It’s not about any of that. It was all of a sudden, Oh, wow, to be with all the women," Paglia said.

On Milo: “I think that his image has been inflated by a lot of publicity…. All I can see is that he, in his own small way, is trying to keep up that old, bitchy gay guy satire. What he is saying is just a mild version of what any gay guy would have said pre-Stonewall.”

On high school education: “This whole new generation of young people have no sense of history, whatever. They know nothing about the world. I’m a classroom teacher — I’m in the classroom. I know what public school education is preparing our students for right now. All I can say is that we have a disaster on our hands because young people are being taught ‘No bullying,’ and are being taught all kinds of proper ways to behave, but they are totally lacking in any kind of historical perspective. I’m getting very, very alarmed about the lack of any kind of historical awareness of young people outside of the present.”

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thank you for your input and you're right. Those people that day live, to borrow a phrase from Existentism, living a life of bad faith, the life of conformity really rather than the life they should be living had they the courage. And it's etched in their faces or to be more exact, not etched in their faces,as these faces seem more or less interchangeable. These poor kids thinking that life is all about tech-crap. Will any of them as they get older realize that they basically wasted their entire life staring at a phone? Perhaps for a nano second as it would be too terrible to contemplate.
Doctor, did you see that Israeli parents are dressing their children as the man who shot the unarmed Palestinian on the ground as part of the Purim celebration? What kind of parents are these? What are they teaching their children? Finkelstein is right-Israel is a lunatic society who happens, by the way, to receive the most foreign aid than any other country. Why? Their healthcare system, for instance, is far superior to ours.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous John said...

I want to recommend the following book that gives first-hand accounts of poverty and just how bad it is in America.

You can also check out the interview with the author:

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER Politically incorrect---the vast us populace is mentally deranged---it is a form of Cluster B personality disorders. And the us props em up as role models, "leaders" etc...Eddie Bernays would be very proud.

Many of them are functional and socialised; able to fly under the radar b/c some think mental illness is some guy/gal talking to themselves, dishelved, and urinating in their pants etc.... however, these socialised ones do not get diagnosed, are obturate and believe they're "fine"--yet they are profoundly mentally ill. Surround themselves with echo chamber cheerleaders and you go girl wastebook postings.

Some Cluster B Cues--bizarre microexpressions, psychomotor agitations, mood shifting at the drop of a dime--happy to deep rage, happy to profound sadness, no to little empathy, if met with a different viewpoint--"drunk uncle" vitriolic rage comes forth, blame shift/gas lighting, stating these generalizations--even tho generalizations are generally true, and points to exceptions as examples for their emotional outbursts. We have seen some of this during Dr. Berman's chats at book stores, lecs, etc... Reality allergy is alive and well.

Life IS very short. unfollow, defriend, whatever you need to do to avoid these mentally ill americans at all cost. Go grey rock. Look it up. Permit them to continue with their endless phone diddling, narcopathic pic, celeb/movie/sports obsessions, and jingoisms. Nothing you say, logic, rationales, etc..don't mean Jacques. NMI, ou emigrate.

12:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's amazing, how much evidence we have now that the country is on its last legs; that we really are in the endgame. And yet all of this has to come out at the margins of the media, of public awareness--like this blog, for example. 99% of the country is living in dreamland. I guess the Israelis aren't doing much better.

There's a terrible sadness in all of this. And there are obvious limits to blaming Trump. The entire way of life is a disaster.


12:57 PM  
Anonymous Smack_Smack said...


Actually, I think the aim of the female marchers is precisely to create a female-dominated world. Many of them have been quite open in their desire for a matriarchy where men are stripped of all wealth, political power and civil liberties. They do, of course, want to defend their reproductive rights and planned parenthood, but these people are (for the most part) pro-Hillary fanatics that have no problem with American imperialism as long as women are the primary beneficiaries.

Cornell West is right about these anti-Trump pseudo-liberals: they had no problem with the cruelty and violence of the Obama Administration. Therefore, their moral authority is weak and their newfound militancy is shallow, to quote West. Remember that Gloria Steinem and practically every other feminist leader voted for Hillary; they did not vote for Jill Stein, despite the fact that she too is a woman with a far more ethical political platform.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Hey Wafers -
I have to disagree about the "matriarchy" takeover. Women are really scared. They see the rise of the Christian right (Pence element) and the alt-right (Christian right lite). Both groups are openly racist, misogynist, into cultures of hypermasculinity and military virtues. I believe that as Trump's ineptness becomes glaringly obvious, this base of his will fill his ideological vacuum.
I am not the only one who senses this. Read author Margaret Atwood's post:

2:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is a gd discussion, and hopefully it will last a while. Atwood's article is obviously very thoughtful, in any case. Here are some problems I have with it:

1. "women are interesting and important in real life." Are you kidding me? Not *American* women; and also, not American men! Americans are *not* interesting people; they are pretty much empty. Dan's experience at happy hour (see above) is typical: they get together and talk about absolutely nothing. If it were an all-women's happy hr, at least in the US, the same thing wd be true. Scroll back to my discussion of listening to 2 gringas here in Mexico, a short while back: 'banal' doesn't even begin to describe it. Just go hang out anywhere in the US, and eavesdrop: it's horrifying, whether u.r. listening to men or women. They might as well be drooling, and in a sense, they are.

2. Marching around w/signs saying "Not my president" misses the point. The correct sign is "Not my country," and the implication is (again, whether u.r. male or female), Hit the road! Just look above, at what Steve or John wrote in. The US is not a place for human beings any more (male or female), and marching around won't alter the trajectory of unmitigated disaster. I realize, of course, that many, perhaps even most, can't get out; which leaves only the NMI option I described in the Twilight bk. But intelligent Jews in Germany in 1935 didn't run around w/signs or hats; they split!

3. It is certainly possible that the Trump admin will do, or try to do, nasty things to women as a whole, in terms of abortion rights or whatever, and I agree: if yr a woman and plan to stay here, you shd fight as best you can to prevent a rollback of Roe v. Wade and so on. I don't know if that will work, of course; and I agree w/Atwood, that things can suddenly flip overnight, as they did in 30s Germany--wh/wd be a disaster for everyone, not just women. At the same time, this is what the collapse of a society looks like, and as I've said on numerous occasions, for the sake of the rest of the planet, the US needs to implode, and get off the world stage. The endgame is never pretty, but I'm telling you: it's in the cards, w/o a doubt. The fix is in. I personally don't want to see women oppressed, vilified, whatever; but that is currently happening to all Americans, as part of a relentless process of cultural disintegration, and I can't imagine the trend will be reversed.

So, I hope other Wafers will join in. Let's keep talking.


2:55 PM  
Anonymous JRS said...

I too, did not attend the International Women's day march or the Women's March on Inauguration day. I really couldn't get myself to go despite the 750,000 marchers here in L.A. Many of my friends went. I felt that it was misguided, corporatized and was going to be more about Hillary than empowering people during a time of trouble. I don't think I was far off. I also hated the infantilism of that damn pussy hat. I was also really angry at so many of these Hillary feminists who were responsible for bringing us Trump in as our president. I went hiking in the wilderness instead and sprained my ankle by stepping in a hole while ogling the moss and lichens on an almost dead tree. I do believe women are truly worried however and should be. But at the same time, many of these same women had no problems drone dropping bombs on civilians in other countries claiming it is better than invading and carpet bombing. I literally had a conversation with a few of them on that matter and that was their stance on it. They say all this with a straight face while condemning Blackwater and the Bush administration, not seeing their own blatant hypocrisy. There is such a huge disconnect or more than obvious canyon size gapping hole of ethical thinking on these feminists parts IMO. I really feel that I don't belong in today's feminism. Perhaps it's my blue collar and agrarian up bringing that really prevents me from joining this particular club. I find that there is such a passive aggressiveness to feminism today as opposed to true empowerment. It is my belief that true empowerment has to come from within first. In academia where I teach part time, there are now safe spaces for students to feel safe if needed. This is community college I'm talking! We never had such a thing. It's so ridiculous. I recently read that one major university on the east coast had safe spaces with coloring books. But I have to say, from my experiences in my undergrad days that in hindsight I saw this coming way back in the 1980's. Where is learning to stand up for oneself, finding out who you are and what you really believe in through self examination? I am finding that much of this endless need to infantilize our culture is coming from Academia. There is no empowerment in these places of anyone, let alone women. I have one feminist colleague who is so neurotic about this safe space that I feel like I'm walking on eggshells whenever I speak. It's actually impossible to have a normal adult conversation with this person. Even the seminars for professional development in academia held at the school are all about being more P.C sensitive, I kid you not. It's more fluff than it is about real pedagogical development.

Anyway, I have too much to say on this and what I've witnessed over the years. Thank you for this blog Dr. Berman. I come here to feel a little bit more sane. I'm not sure what my next action will be. We can't afford to leave the country. But things are crashing at a much faster rate there is no denying that.

On a final and more positive note, I did see La La Land and absolutely loved it. How could anyone see this as fluff? It was beautiful.


4:04 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Are the conversations and interactions--among Americans, wherever they occur--banal and superficial because this is no more than we should expect of the them? In other words, it's because they're actually intellectually incapable of anything more substantive? Or is it because discussion on a substantive level about anything truly important is too demanding? Too time-consuming? Because it requires command of too much information to get a discussion going? Too much dispute over what represents a baseline of accepted facts to permit talk to move forward?

Or are the techno distractions so distracting for these folks that achieving focus is impossible, even if the spirit (to engage in meaningful conversation) exists on some level among some of them? It can't be because they're mentally deficient to a debilitating degree, can it? All of them?

4:05 PM  
Anonymous Vincent in Auvers said...

My own experiences sadly confirm Dr. Berman’s description. I’ve been on the receiving end of racism from American women just as often as I have from the men. Feminists are the one exception, but even they still seem to be firmly enmeshed within America’s anti-culture and are very limited in their outlook. I’ve found foreigners to be far more worldly and interesting than any American I’ve conversed with. I think the movement isn’t so much about creating a matriarchy as it is the women simply clinging to what they know. Rather than looking beyond their borders for a sense of identity and cultivating actual human values, they model themselves after the men in their lives: Frivolous, brash, obsessed with power.

The rise of the alt-right and the global resurgence of nativist fervor is rather terrifying, but the feminists haven’t the ability to seriously resist because they never made that psychological break from the existing social structure. Their aim was always to make the system a little more malleable rather than alter it in any fundamental way. The movement’s devolution into spectacle I think demonstrates the failures of reformism. There are many exceptions to this, of course. Working women—those who don’t come from privilege and have no delusions about ever reaching such a position—tend to be more grounded and realistic about what’s going on in this country and are far more likely to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to forging solidarity with the oppressed. I think they’d all do well to watch something like Ken Loach’s “Land and Freedom” for some pointers on how to move forward:

5:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This wd require a long discussion--very long. Some time ago I came to the conclusion that Americans weren't merely ignorant; they were also stupid. I believe the cause is screens. There is a gd bit of research now on the impact of screens on the brain--including lengthening synapses and other physiological changes. Americans were the 1st to have TV, late 40s, and the phenomenon skyrocketed after that. Now, all they seem to be doing is staring into screens. I know this data contradicts evolutionary 'laws'--the Weismann barrier, soma vs. germ plasm, etc., and sounds like Lamarck; but I always thought this was the weakest part of the Darwinian edifice. J.Z. Young, British biologist, began exploring the plasticity of the brain in 1948, and much research has been done since then. I believe in the possibility of what has been called neo-Lamarckian mimicry, and/or epigenesis; and that the usual examples used to discredit Lamarck are weird ones (if I'm a weight lifter, my son shd be born w/big muscles, etc.). Of course environmental factors are critical: Americans live in a dumbed-down culture and shape themselves accordingly. But this wd acct for ignorance, not actual stupidity, and the data on brain-change wd point to stupidity. Finally, there was a direct refutation of anti-Lamarckian scientific dogma last yr at Sinai Hospital: it turns out that a depressive outlook, generated by external circumstances, can be inherited. I forget the details--look it up on Google--but something like Holocaust survivors' grandchildren were depressed. So much of this is speculation, but some of it is born out by 'respectable' scientific research. But thanks for asking, these are very impt questions.


Thank you for your contribution. All one can do is sigh, I suppose. This p.c. crap is killing the country, but again: Bad Is Good, if you want the empire to be over. So bring on the pussy hats, and the ridiculous people! Wafers love you! Above all, never, ever, think.

ps: In future, pls watch length: 1/2 page max, thanks.


5:26 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

It looks like all of us WAFERS are WRONG...America can and is putting itself back together, so says James Fallows in his Atlantic article.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well that's a relief. I guess I can stop worrying now.


6:19 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Suzanne said: "Women are really scared."

That is an extreme over generalization given that 53% of white women voted for Trump. I know one in particular--she's in her late 40s, a successful professional (six figure salary, supervises two dozen people) who never married but is engaged to a friend of mine. She's a political centrist who was repelled by the message coming from the Hillary campaign that as a woman she *had* to vote for her. This gal was appalled by the idea that (I'm paraphrasing) someone whose success was largely tied to her husband--a sexual predator himself, no less--would try to vote shame her when she herself made it where she is today entirely on her own merits.
She is in fact the very kind of "suburban Republican woman voter" whose vote idiot Chuck Schumer and the Democrats thought Hillary would pick up by blowing off the Sanders voters and the union vote.

Personally, despite being quite politically left of center on most issues, I was also repelled by the subtle anti-male and even anti-white messaging of the Clinton campaign. Yes, I realize that many whites and especially many white men are responsible for a lot of evil shit. But I refuse to feel guilty about the actions of others simply because they share my skin pigmentation and also have XY chromosomes. And while it is true that given Hillary's abysmal record there is no way I ever would have voted for her, I doubt I'm unique in feeling this way. The Dems need to flush the PC shit pronto or they'll never win another national election.

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...


Thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely check out those books, they sound right up my alley.

Another novel that I would recommend is The Quiet American by Graham Greene. The novel is about the growing American involvement in Vietnam and has an interesting perspective on American-style foreign policy.

In other news, drugs are killing so many people in West Virginia that the state can’t keep up with the funerals


West Virginia is a state that Donald Trump won by a whopping 68.7% of the vote, a 42.2% margin of victory over Hillary Clinton.

9:33 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

FIX OUR OWN MASK FIRST I don't think anyone wants to see societies fall apart. However, I see Dr Berman's point. It's like the in-flight instruction to fix your own mask before you help others, especially children. America appears to be a danger to herself and worse the whole planet. It needs to get off the stage. In between, we do what we can to help honest Americans survive?

10:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A great novel; I read it twice. BTW, Alden Pyle is based on Edward Lansdale.


10:29 PM  
Blogger Gigalax said...

"The Dems need to flush the PC shit pronto or they'll never win another national election."

I think Americans have finally realized that the Dems have nothing to offer. PC is just a method of totalitarian control when you get down to it.

Of course, the Repubs have nothing to offer either, but I do not think that truth will sink in anytime soon.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, is Trumpi really seen as GOP? If so, he's a very renegade version of it. The Party continues 2b torn apart over him, on a # of issues. Meanwhile, the repeal of Obamacare is apparently screwing the very people who voted for Trumpi. If this is a trend, then what?

Trumpelina, Trumpelina tiny little thing
Trumpelina dance, Trumpelina sing
Trumpelina what's the difference if you're very small?
When your heart is full of love you're nine feet tall!


11:30 PM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Morris. When did u realize something is wrong and decided to write your triology?

2:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Long discussion! Let's talk about imperial collapse instead. :-)


6:59 AM  
Blogger jml said...

The problem with current "feminists" is that they have confused bullying for strength. The latest Samantha Bee debacle is the best example of this. I imagine there will be more of these incidents and it will become obvious that there is actually very little substance behind all of the rallying cries and marching.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Mike Burgess said...
Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Now here is a book by an economist no less of Indian origins who insists that the world has been possessed by Eurocentric modernism for the past 400 years (starting with the Enlightenment) and that rather than a social contract, we need what pre-modern societies always had, social contact and connection with community and family. Immanuel Wallerstein praises the book but it is expense and apparently unavailable at the moment.

Here is an AlterNet article on the author and his book (though he has written at least one other book in a similar vein).

10:31 AM  
Blogger Grille said...

"That is an extreme over generalization given that 53% of white women voted for Trump." - Consider widespread political dementia praecox here. I think it is quite possible that some percentage of these 53% Trump voters are scared about what he is going to with regards to women's rights. Similar to those Trump voters, who hated Obama Care but are afraid of losing the coverage they obtained through the Affordable Care Act, not realizing that they are one and the same.

"...for the sake of the rest of the planet, the US needs to implode, and get off the world stage." I continue to fear that a rapid collapse, an implosion, will result in a global catastrophe. It makes the idea of leaving - which I will still do - somewhat of a moot point. If it would have had the required means, in the face of its own demise, the Hitler Empire would have destroyed the world rather than merely accepting defeat. Hitler could not do it to all of humanity, so he ordered Speer to annihilate the German people by eliminating all infrastructure survival depended on. The American Empire has nukes and can tilt the climate into run-away global warming rather than giving up center stage.

Given where we are historically, shouldn't we be detecting by this stage of the decline an inkling of what might be next? China, maybe? Russia? A multi-polar world of 3-4 plutocratic, authoritarian centers?

10:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd article. Why do I have the feeling that a # of people are slowly catching up to me? I was saying this stuff back in 1981 (Reenchantment bk) and beyond (CTOS, WG).


10:58 AM  
Blogger Christian Schulzke said...

Personally, despite being quite politically left of center on most issues, I was also repelled by the subtle anti-male and even anti-white messaging of the Clinton campaign. Yes, I realize that many whites and especially many white men are responsible for a lot of evil shit. But I refuse to feel guilty about the actions of others simply because they share my skin pigmentation and also have XY chromosomes. And while it is true that given Hillary's abysmal record there is no way I ever would have voted for her, I doubt I'm unique in feeling this way.

Well said, and no, you aren't the only one who feels that way.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's possible that Hillary is actually a sociopath. That laugh of hers is pretty scary. I would recommend that she get sent to a therapy camp in Northern Cal for 10 yrs, round-the-clock sessions; but I doubt it wd do any gd. In any case, like Trump, she reflects the sickness of most Americans.


2:56 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Greeks with mythology and theatre, Egyptians w/ architecture, america w/ mind control--("invisible govt.") The term, Insidious propaganda-(Eddie Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud and inventor of modern "public relations"), has never been more apt.

"False reality" requires historical amnesia, lying by omission, debt white noise, Operation Mockingbird-ish "news" scripts, sports/celebs, and the transfer of significance to the insignificant (TV shows mocking serious issues---reducing everything to a joke, nothing is impt, misdirect is formed, dust/fog, and tap those troubles away--basically, eat more shit america.

Political systems promising security, community-spirit, and social justice have been replaced by piracy, propaganda/mind control, "austerity" and "perpetual war": an extremism dedicated to the overthrow of real democracies. This is a psychopath, this IS america.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Maybe supply a few ftnotes in future?


3:35 PM  
Anonymous KamilLPollack said...

Two very intriguing pieces from the last couple weeks.


5:50 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Hello Wafers,

Mike R is on to something. Bernay's "Public Relations" does indeed lay it out. Adam Curtis in video "the Century of the Self" does summarize it nicely (its free on your tube), though with a bit of dramatic flourish. More modern treatments can be found in Cialdini's (emeritus professor psychology Ariz)famous little book, "Persuasion". There is of course Chomsky's basic "Manufacturing Consent", treats with the propaganda function of U.S. media. The Swiss Novelist (and family friend) Rolf Dobeli approaches this from a cognitive function approach in his notion of the "news diet" (which a find works with my patients who will adhere to it). People do consume 10k or so media impressions per year and in retrospect none of that "information" really did much to influence your life....Reviewing the news of 5 years ago say is instructive. Now while MB may not find DeBotton a scholar his book on the Media a Users manual does have insights that elude people engaged in quotidian life struggle--namely that most news stories are contrivived and wall between propaganda, opinion and "analysis" is no more. Its one thing to benefit from a report of an impending snow storm or laugh at the antics of somebody having sex with Ronald macdonald in a Baltimore macdonalts but its quite another to derive meaning from what the air brushed talking heads offer up on state of the world or meaning. Morevoer, due to tighting budgets there is less emphasis on actual reporting of events (expensive) and more on douchebags like Tom Friedman and other pundits and "thought leaders" explaining the world to the rubes.......

6:42 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

jml -- bingo! It is indeed ironic that people who loudly condemn bullying are so quick to resort to such tactics when the fail to get their way. Just imagine if a 6th grader had taunted a classmate going through chemotherapy the way Samantha Bee did that cancer patient. There would have been hell to pay for sure.

Another big reason why I have no sympathy for most feminists who are "scared" by Trump is how they've shown zero concern about the plight of women (and children and men) living in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other places where their glass ceiling-shattering hero Hillary Clinton helped unleash so much wanton death and destruction, and the mockery and contempt many of them have shown for women struggling to get by in flyover state communities devastated by the effects of globalization and unfettered immigration. Let these sheltered upper middle class twits experience their daughter's wedding ceremony being bombed and seeing their whole family burn to death, or try scraping along as a single mother working two or three minimum wage jobs afraid to take a sick day for fear of being fired and evicted from their shitty apartment. Their lack of empathy for anyone who is not like minded and of their own social class is truly appalling.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You have not understood my objection to De Botton. It's not that he's not scholarly--there are lots of valuable, insightful, nonscholarly bks--it's that he offers up clichés as profundities. Somehow, his 'insights' tend to follow the conventional wisdom. Not all the time, of course, but in my experience, most.

2nd, I think you are overemphasizing the Chomsky-Bernays-brainwashing thesis. It's partly true, but the position is analogous to saying the American people got raped, when it's more a case of consensual sex. Americans have bought into the hustling, consumerist, imperial program. This is truly what they want--a Mercedes Benz (speaking of Janis)--and this whole notion of false consciousness has definite limits, imo. In addition, most Americans are actually hostile to learning, knowledge, and critical thinking, w/o which one can't mount any sort of critique of our way of life. So if someone comes along who *is* critical of that way of life--Emerson, Thoreau, Vance Packard, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lewis Mumford, Jimmy Carter, et al.--well, they can be easily dismissed or marginalized in various ways. After Jimmy's "spiritual malaise" speech, several congressmen took to the floor of Congress to declare that he must have lost his mind. When Vance Packard published "The Status Seekers," putting down that whole way of life, he got tons of letters from readers wanting to know how they might improve their status! The pt is that brainwashing is hardly total; there's lots of material out there of a dissenting or critical nature--you just hafta be open to it. And there is, imo, a severe limit to the position that "this is not what you *really* want, you are deeper than that." The whole Chomsky (et al.) position is that the Bernays folks have pulled the wool over our eyes, and if we cd just remove it, Americans wd see clearly and want socialism, or some liberated alternative to capitalism. My ass. The truth is that the wool *is* the eyes; there may be no 'essential layer' underneath it all. Isaiah Berlin wrote a lot abt this, in fact--the problem of insisting on an 'essential layer' that may not exist.

Have you seen the film "Nocturnal Animals"? The husband keeps telling his wife that she is optimistic and potentially, a creative artist. She keeps telling him that she is a cynic, and that she doesn't have what it takes to be a good artist. His insistence on an 'essence' that is different from her actual behavior finally blows up in his face, in a rather brutal way. It may be that what I have called 'existential strain' was too much for her, causing her to snap. On the other hand, the husband was refusing to hear what she was saying: This is who I am; I just can't be this other person whom you want me to be.

Anyway, I agree that cultural brainwashing exists; I just think that it's more complicated than you seem to believe.


7:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: In the case of students (and some faculty) at Middlebury, for example, is there an 'Englightenment' part of their minds just waiting to come out? Wd a skillful professor be able to get them to see 'the light'?:

For more on this issue, check out my essay in QOV called "Tribal Consciousness and Enlightenment Tradition."

8:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

And yet more data on screens:

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Dr. Berman,
I love it when you mention Vance Packard,
I happen to work with his grandaughter, a graphic designer at a book publisher.
She has fond memories of him and loved him dearly, and once told me one of
his proudest achievements was his house with its 27 or so bathrooms. So much
for "The Status Seekers", eh?

As for wool over the eyes/wool is the eyes, I would call it steel wool!

- kneel jung

10:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I discuss Vance at some length in WAF, in fact. Pls give his granddaughter my regards. As for bathrms and status: maybe he had a very small bladder.


I have long been a fan of Iain Pears, and recommend his novels 2u. Latest, "Arcadia," is terrific; it includes the thesis that civ is in decline, and that NMI's will preserve what is best in the culture for happier days. Enjoy!


10:39 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

This is just a normal Sunday drive in America today...

12:37 AM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

The soul of Amerikkka...

who said it can't happen here?

12:50 AM  
Anonymous xypeter said...

Cher Mauricio, sorry I have not posted lately. I read this font de brilliance every day, but as you know, living in DC has destroyed my will to write and to live. That is not too easy a situ for a magazine editor, bt on the plus side, a survey claims DC among the 10th happiest cities in the country! (and its hanger-on Arlington to be the third!!) WHAT cd be wrong with me that I don't FEEL it, Dr B?

And they say the media get a bad rap for fake news . . .

3:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think we are gonna see more Americans gunning each other down, as time goes by. Meanwhile, this was also on cnn:


4:52 AM  
Blogger jml said...


Re: "Another big reason why I have no sympathy for most feminists who are "scared" by Trump is how they've shown zero concern about the plight of women (and children and men) living in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other places where their glass ceiling-shattering hero Hillary Clinton helped unleash so much wanton death and destruction.."

I don't believe that many of the pussy-hat marchers are even aware of these atrocities. It is curious to me that during the Republican presidency of Bush 2, it was much easier to find commentary about foreign policy and there even seemed to be more of an awareness of it in the general public, especially after the anti-war demonstrations leading up to the Iraq invasion. Yet, after 8 years of being fed nothing but stories like those about bathroom privileges for a tiny (.6%?) segment of the population and all the other moral outrages found by identity politicians, public awareness of the actions of the US on the world stage seems to have decreased during the Obama years.

For a glimpse of how strange our world has become, here's a video of GW dancing on the Ellen Degeneres show before discussing with her his new career as an emerging contemporary artist:

His book which features portraits of wounded soldiers is #1 on Amazon. (Not kidding.)

It's a good time to become a hermit.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Interesting that Ellen wd host a war criminal, think nothing of it. I wonder how many Americans know what a war criminal is. How many wounded soldiers was Bush responsible for? How many dead Iraqis?


10:56 AM  
Anonymous Marjan said...


12:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Revenge of the mummy! I love it. The mummy curse might have also led her to inject botox into her face. But one thing I do know, from that weird, tight laugh she was given to display during the election campaign: Hillary is suffering from some form of dementia. Whether it was mummy-induced, I dunno; but check out pics on the Net of her laughing: can there be any doubt that she is partially insane? There is also some data on how shamanic mummies can render people who view them, douche bags. Obama may have also viewed a mummy.


12:46 PM  
Anonymous Old Geezer said...

I would like to recommend J.D. Unwin's book Sex and Culture. He says that when societies are sexually chaste they are built up into great empires but when their sexual restraints are set loose they lose energy and disintegrate.

I think people underestimate just how much the crazy sexual situation is contributing to America's decline. You can't have people fucking like wild animals and expect civilization to function. How much damage has divorce done to children? Unfortunately in our "PC" culture you can't discuss this without being labeled a misogynistic bigoted old geezer. But the simple fact of the matter whether anybody likes it or not is that we had a far healthier society when families stayed together and sluts were shamed.

1:57 PM  
Blogger MadeiraPlains said...

I guess now's as good a time as any to take up alcoholism as a pastime. I'm in Canada but the rot has spread here too, somewhat. Our fate is sadly tied to that of the USA.

Monks have historically brewed some fine elixirs. Off now to do some research on recipes!

2:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't run it (24-hr rule).


Sorry, cdn't run it (half-page-max rule).


As it turns out, stats have it that Americans are having much less sex than previously. Instead, they overwork. Which is also part of our decline, I think.

Note to Mike R.-

I'm having a problem w/yr posts, because they come across as generalized 'broadcasts' about the state of the union. Not that I disagree; it's just that we are trying to do something else on this blog. You often sound like yr talking to yrself, and rarely discuss a specific topic or provide specific evidence. This blog is not a dumping ground for opinions; we make an effort to have discussions of particular events or trends, provide links or references, and so on. If you can fit into that format, we'd love to hear from you. But as of now, you seem to be doing something personal and 'declarative', and that gets old very quickly. I'm hoping you get what I'm saying.


4:00 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Old Geezer said: “You can't have people fucking like wild animals and expect civilization to function. How much damage has divorce done to children? Unfortunately in our "PC" culture you can't discuss this without being labeled a misogynistic bigoted old geezer. But the simple fact of the matter whether anybody likes it or not is that we had a far healthier society when families stayed together and sluts were shamed.”

I agree that a family staying together is optimal. However, when you refer to women as “sluts,” you’ve made an excellent argument that you are, indeed, what you seem to deny: a misogynistic bigoted old geezer.

Here’s one outcome of thinking of women as sluts, courtesy of the Roman Catholic Church, which historically has extended its hatred of unwed mothers onto their unfortunate babies:

Perhaps, since sexuality goes into overdrive during puberty, we should simply insist that boys and girls get married in their early teens and, no matter how abusive the relationship or how miserable or immature the participants, divorce is verboten. Sort of like Jean-Paul Satre’s “No Exit.”

At the risk of repeating myself, men (especially American men) would do well to look at themselves in the mirror.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Good pt, obviously. However, I'm not sure all or even most American men wd agree with MBOG (misogynistic bigoted old geezer).

I also think we need to clarify the meaning of 'slut'. Unfortunately, in our culture it's a derogatory term; it refers to a woman who will sleep w/just abt anyone. Which wd be a kind of desperate, lonely condition. But surely there's another possible meaning: a woman who really enjoys sex. In which case, it's a compliment. This can come as a welcome surprise, for many men. You know, yr dating someone and she seems very straight-laced; perhaps she's a lawyer or a teacher or whatever, and gives off a professional vibe. And then finally you sleep w/her, and she's an animal. Pretty lucky guy, I'd say. (Isn't there some old saw about a lady in the salon, and a whore in the bedroom?)

This cd even extend to whores, depending on the circumstances. Prostitution is obviously pretty ugly when women are forced into it, economically. But what about those courtesans or geishas who choose it as a/the (oldest) profession? In many cultures, the courtesan is held in high regard for her talents, both in and out of bed. That she had the ability to drive a man loony w/desire was only 1 part of her repertoire. These were often women w/great intelligence and sophistication. You have this sense when you see the ukiyo-e woodcuts of an artist like Utamaro, who liked to depict beautiful geishas.

America probably needs a SLF--Slut Liberation Front (or maybe we cd call it Sluts Over America). Now that's a march many men would happily join, so long as it didn't involve pussy hats. On the other hand, candidates for a MBOGLF--Misogynistic Bigoted Old Geezer Liberation Front are probably few and far between. Well, let's hope so. As for the Catholic Church: when it came to the mind-body relationship, they were/are definitely in the pits.


7:12 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

jml--what was even more sickening about Ellen's lovefest with GWB is how she conveniently seems to forget the cynical gay bashing he did in order to whip up his support among evangelicals. The fact that she is held up as a feminist icon just demonstrates how the movement has lost all the moral authority it once had.

Meanwhile, a dingbat Democratic state representative in Texas decided to "educate" people about the assault on planned parenthood by introducing a bill to fine men each time they masturbate and make them undergo a rectal examination before getting a vasectomy. Not withstanding the entirely predictable and counterproductive political backlash, if more men got vasectomies and masturbated away their urges, fewer women would even need abortions or prenatal care:

On the other hand, count me as one who believes that there is a huge difference between women being able to control their own sexuality as men always have, and the culturally corrosive garbage spewing forth from the likes of Miley Cyrus and the Kardashians. Families fall apart not because women are being treated as equals but because a great many Americans, male and female, are shitheads.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

For the record, please consider me pro-slut.


American education dept.:

1. Substitute teacher Judith Richards-Gartee gets hammered on wine and vomits in class:

2. Teacher Alisha Largent gets caught fucking a student:


8:22 PM  
Blogger Grille said...

While we are on sexuality, the other day I saw a report somewhere suggesting that our closest evolutionary relatives are actually Bonobos not, as typically claimed, Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees readily kill each other, certainly when you are the unlucky lonely specimen accidentally wandering into a group of strangers. They don't like that. Or one group infringing on the territory of another.
Bonobos on the other hand use sex as a valve to effectively resolve social tensions before they go violent. This theory, or hypothesis, stipulates that establishing Chimpanzees as close relatives was intended to provide evolutionary support for homo sapiens aggressiveness and industrial belligerence. Peacefully screwing your tensions and aggression away does not make for good mass war volunteering, I guess.

8:38 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

I named my kitty "Mao". Took him to the vet today and the receptionist pronounced him "Ma-yo". I corrected her with an "as in Chairman". Blank stare. Same thing with the vet's helper, ant the vet herself blank stared at a further clarification of "comrade kitty".
One more data point for americans are morons.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Got a kick out of the Alisha arrest: she was teaching 'consumer sciences'. WTF? How to shop? *That's* what she shd have been arrested for. In any case, no one is learning anything in American high schls, so we might as well have the teachers barfing in class and humping their students. It's probably more educational than 'consumer sciences'. Give me a break.

Also wanna announce my forthcoming bk, soon to be released on Amazon: "Sluts Are Good." A bk like this is long overdue. After so much slut-shaming in our culture, it's time for a little slut-praising, it seems to me. In addition, I'm planning another trilogy. Vol. 2 in the series will be called "I Love Sluts," followed by "Could There Be a Slut in Your Future?" I have a feeling that at long last, I'm going to actually earn some royalties.


8:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You wd have gotten similar reactions if you had named your kitty Dwight Eisenhower, or Franklin Roosevelt. I'm abs. sure of it.


The notion of chimps as killers is a myth propagated by Jane Goodall. The expt she did on this was rigged (a timed-feeding situation that doesn't occur in the wild). I discuss this at some length in WG. I also ran into a woman in Canada many yrs ago--I think she was an anthropologist, but I can't remember for sure--who was also aware of this, and who wrote Jane 8 times abt it; Jane never replied. I myself wrote a letter to the New Yorker on the subject, yrs ago, after they did some article abt chimps (maybe it was by Jane, again I can't recall), and of course they didn't print it.


9:11 PM  
Anonymous The Craw said...

Dr. B and Fran

Re: Chimp killers

This looks legit.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, they say the incident was rare. Also, no mention of Goodall. I can't recall my own sources in WG, but in general, her setting up a phony situation has never made it into public awareness. Had the New Yorker had the courage to publish my letter, that wd have been the 1st time.


10:42 PM  
Anonymous Vincent in Auvers said...

As a student at one of these elite universities, I’m a bit conflicted about safe spaces and political correctness. I did mention in one of my classes that I believed the incessant discussion about race in this country is detrimental in that it distracts us from our shared humanity and hasn’t had any effect on the prevalence of racism. My fellow students, of course, became emotional and disagreed, so I eventually dropped it. I think it’s imperative, however, that detractors understand just how poorly those who aren’t in the majority are treated in this country. There are a lot of minority students at the school I’m attending, and the university is the one place where they can go and not openly be treated like a piece of shit because of how they look.

The way I see it, the US is overall a pretty depressing place to be if you aren’t rich or aspiring to be so. It’s little more than a huge commercial cesspit filled with stupid and unpleasant people. Why wouldn’t you want to avoid all of that if you can? The university is no utopia, but it’s infinitely preferable to dealing with the cretins out in society. If the world can’t be re-enchanted, then I’d at least like to make my own little slice of it as pleasant as possible. But then, like many in my generation, I’m an idealist. Political correctness has been taken to an extreme, yes, but I think the intent behind it was admirable. What is the alternative? I don’t buy the idea that these kids just need to toughen up. Many of them are very intelligent and have done a lot of self-exploration. They know who they are, but everywhere they go they’re being treated as though they’re less than nothing. The safe space is them pushing back against this toxic culture in the only way they know how. It’s not a long-term solution, but I think it at least provides the needed buffer if one is ever to be found.

Just my own two cents based on my experiences here. I hope no one will see it as a personal attack, as it’s not intended as such.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd to have yr input. The alternative may be balance, and common sense. Avoidance of Manichaean psychology. Dealing w/situations case-by-case, not by blanket formula. That sort of thing. Just a thought. In any case, I agree w/u that the US is a huge commercial cesspit filled with stupid and unpleasant people. My experience as well.


11:30 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

The April 2017 issue of Discover magazine has an article by Hilary Waterman about war in the fossil record. “This Means War!” The fossils from 2 million years ago to 14,000 years ago reveal evidence of lethal aggression in 2 % of the cases. From 14,000 years ago to now the fossil record shows twice the amount of lethal aggression. “The apparent surge in violence and aggression coincided with humans beginning to settle and create societies with a shared sense of group identity. And with that came a new category and natural foil: the outsider.” “According to Fuentes, (a University of Notre Dame anthropologist), war and other destructive capabilities are merely the flip side of the same uniquely human faculty that has enabled us to coexist peacefully, to innovate... We are both potentially the nicest and the potentially cruelest species on the planet.”

This is echoed by Kim C. Domenico in the March 10, 2017 CounterPunch article, “Either We are Art-Making People or We are Bomb-Making People.”

11:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There is a problem here of not making a distinction between war and aggression. Aggression has probably always been with us. War, on the other hand--which is organized aggression--dates from the Late Paleolithic. (That aggression doubled at some pt is not as significant as that it got organized at some pt.) It's not so much abt group identity as it is the emergence of storage and administration of food distribution. I didn't read the articles, but this notion of 'we are either good or bad' strikes me as rather superficial; hardly some sort of social science breakthru. In any case, I go into this in a fair amount of detail in WG. Of course, I wrote it in 2000, and can expect that there have been advances in anthro and archaeo since then. But this doesn't seem like one of them, I dunno...


12:06 AM  
Blogger centralscrewtinizer said...

Hello. Just read Oscar Wilde's 'The Decline of Lying' and there are a couple passages that describe Trump to a T.
I don't have the piece at hand or would quote a bit. Maybe after 24 hours or so.

12:10 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Why wouldn't he rob the Girl Scout Booth? After all, there's those tasty cookies generating all that Cash the girls are sitting on. He's just an Entrepreneur separating others from their money.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Talking about commercial cesspits, I attended the annual Philadelphia Flower Show a few days ago and the price of admission went from $27 last year to $35 this year. And what did I get for $35? I got the opportunity to buy flower related merchandise from vendors who took up more than half the floor! Sure there were some lovely exhibits but it appeared that the real purpose of this year's show was consumerism. I attended it two years ago during which there were acrobatic shows, musicians, magicians and the like. This year none of that existed. In short, it was a complete and total waste of time and money.
By the way, with regard to American women I firmly believe that they, on the whole, are bigger techno-douchebags than men. Yes, cell phones are a curse, but they do reveal two things about woman. One, they are more prone to carry it in their hand thus revealing how insanely materialistic they are ( I mean committing one half of your upper limbs to carrying a phone is truly a statement) and two, the fact that women expose the phone even with a supposed date shows that they are forever looking to trade up resulting ultimately in a life of profound loneliness as they probably lost someone in the mix who was compatible though maybe not so handsome or wealthy.

3:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's also possible that the fone in the hand is a Transitional Object (see CTOS), i.e. a form of Linus' security blanket. People finger them like rosaries, really. In a scary world, at least I have my fone, is the idea. Also, Americans are scared to be alone, and the fone is reassurance that they can call someone, if nec. Ultimately, of course, the fone has made them more lonely, not less.


4:13 AM  
Blogger Polk said...

On Freud's death instinct and the demise America and the globalized world see Chris Hedges' latest essay here

America is caught in a suicide-spiral from which there is no escape, a thanatos-moment driven by our desire to destroy ourselves and the world, like an insane parent who kills his spouse and children before turning the gun on himself or a deranged lover who murders her paramour so no one else can enjoy his affections before taking her own life

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Dean said...

Ironic that conversations about W and chimps developed simultaneously.

Look at W these days, at public events. The fidgetiness, complete with ever bopping head. The goofy grin. The constant chatter. He's clearly using perpetual motion to try and keep his conscience at bay. I almost feel sorry for the tool. Then again, I don't think chimps would have the gall to paint portraits of and ride bikes with the hostages of their aggression.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Smack_Smack said...


I agree with you: minorities are treated like shit in the USA. However, the problem with safe spaces, as I see it, is that they encourage segregation and anti-majority prejudice. When a college campus has a Chinese-American Student Association, an Indian-American Student Association, a Korean-American Student Association, a Russian-American Student Association, a Japanese-American Student Association, an African-American Student Association, and every ______-American Student Association one could possibly imagine, the result is a university where all the various ethnic groups voluntarily wall themselves off in isolated ethnic enclaves that remain hostile to one another. This kind of environment, which I have experienced at every college campus I have ever visited, is hardly what I could call a "safe space" for anyone. Rather, what we need are many school-sponsored events where students of various backgrounds can share their culture with the other groups, get to know and understand other groups, and (hopefully) form friendships with other groups. If we segregate ourselves and refuse to reach out to other groups, we will never know racial harmony and equality.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is actually stuff I've been saying for years, citing many of the same authors. However, Hedges seems to limit his analysis to elites, which neither Freud nor I did/do. For him, it's always a tiny cabal destroying the rest of us. Good luck w/that! The fact that the 99% want to be part of the 1%--a fact confirmed by Pew Charitable Trust polls--or that roughly 2/3 of the American public approves of torture and drone strikes (according to other polls)--are facts he persistently ignores, and the question is, Why? I have a couple of guesses:

1. Altho Hedges has (happily) stopped calling for left-wing 'revolution', it's still what he really wants. While he was predicting this, I kept saying that if a revolution did occur, it was going to happen from the right--which is exactly what took place on Nov. 8. Well, if most Americans are just seeking to fulfill the American Dream for themselves, then exactly how 'oppressed' they are is thrown into question. Which means that Hedges' 'revolution' is the pipe dream it always was. This wd not make him happy. Better to believe in the notion that our cruel corporate masters are holding us down against our will. Then the progs have something to do; there is Meaning in their lives. Recognizing that it's Game Over for everyone in the US, that the country simply has no future--to stare reality in the face, in other words--requires the courage to find Meaning somewhere else.

2. Somehow, the victims of this elite are noble and long-suffering, in Hedges' view of things. This death-instinct analysis, he seems to imply, doesn't apply to the laboring (and unemployed) masses. But what if Americans aren't noble at all? What if they are basically just a collection of assholes, dumb, rude, and destructive people? Well, that would really blow the whole game, wdn't it? Hedges can't admit this, because it's politically incorrect, and my impression is that he is definitely in the p.c. camp. But even worse, it once again guts his project of revolution. 1st, because it raises the question of where revolutionaries are going to come from. Certainly not from a collection of assholes. 2nd, it also raises the question of Why bother? Who in their rt mind wd want to make a revolution on behalf of assholes?

You don't hafta go to Wall St. to see the death instinct in operation. Just have a look at a typical 5-yr-old staring into his/her smart fone. These kids are our future. I.e., we have none.


11:27 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

Hello! Perhaps a bit Patrician for many Wafers, this introductory essay nicely demonstrates what we are missing and the emptiness of the present.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Steve in So Cal said...

Camille Paglia. Go girl! New book out today.

For example, in my long 1991 attack on post-structuralism, “Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders,” I wrote: “It was from Jews (beginning at T. Aaron Levy Junior High School) that I learned how to analyze politics, law, business, and medicine, how to decipher the power dynamics of family relationships, and how to plan pragmatic strategies of social activism.”

Trump’s victory was fueled in general by an increasing national fatigue with sanctimonious identity politics of all kinds, which became an intrusive state religion under Democratic administrations.

It is an absolute outrage how so many pampered, affluent, upper-middle-class professional women chronically spout snide anti-male feminist rhetoric, while they remain completely blind to the constant labor and sacrifices going on all around them as working-class men create and maintain the fabulous infrastructure that makes modern life possible in the Western world.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Tobey said...

these two pieces are interesting reads, the second is by John Gray

Ian Kershaw’s Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris reminds us of the vital importance of defending democracy.

Dystopian novels of the 1930s and 1940s feel topical once again – but how much do they tell us about Trump and today’s populist upheavals?

3:13 PM  
Anonymous 156 Am i Wry said...

We went 2 see the new Jordan Peele socio-horror film last nite, makes white Americans in2 bitterly funny material.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous J Taggart said...


Lovely thing I saw on 3 Quarks Daily. The feminine body, geometrical, and mystic.

From a Renaissance Madonna to an Indian abstractionist, Rachel Spence takes a voyage through geometry, mysticism and the female figure

3:47 PM  
Blogger Polk said...

Morris, Thanks for responding. I reluctantly agree about Hedges. He seems to want it both ways: Real Americans, those who have not succumbed to corporate rule, need to rise up and resist their corporate overlords but at the same time he has no hope that that will happen. Lately his writings are even darker and more hopeless than ever.

What keeps Americans from admitting the truth about themselves to themselves? Is the future really as closed as you think it is? Is there no hope that we will choose a different future than the one you see as inevitable? I guess there is a part of me, too, that has difficulty accepting your conclusions. I wonder if that part is animated by my fear of death - if my country is dying, what does that say about me? For those who have sworn allegiance to the flag since the first grade and do so at every civic club meeting and sports event, contemplating the demise of the project into which they have put so much time and effort and worship and upon which they depend for so much of their identity is no small thing. What's the alternative. I don't think Americans will admit what's happening to their country without an alternative. What are we now to do? IS there an alternative other than going down with the ship?

6:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


2 alternatives:
1. Hit the rd. Go live somewhere else. You might even find true happiness. You won't find it in the US.
2. The Monastic Option, as discussed in the Twilight bk.

Keep in mind that no empire that was falling apart (and they all do, eventually) ever reversed course. The historical record is that they actually exacerbate the factors that are causing their decline. Trump's presidency is a case in pt (greater military budget, increased destruction of the poor, etc.).

BTW, in future be sure to send messages to most recent post. No one reads the older stuff.


7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Civilization itself is a flop, a dead-end leading to global ecocide through terminal war or ecological degradation. The U.S. and its vapid business culture are merely at the leading edge of the inevitable annihilation. Figures like Chomsky and Hedges blanch at condemning civilization (which largely arose in tandem with agriculture) because without civilization there would be no MIT, no Amazon, no accolades, and nothing to do but hunt and gather and be. MB tiptoes right up to the edge of the abysmal truth, but the obscurity and meager sales of anarcho-primitivist writers like John Zerzan make Berman look like J.K. Rowling. Besides, Why Civilization Failed? No ring. We would be Wcfers, not Wafers!

Just about the only genuinely interesting work being done these days is by Paul Kingsnorth and the wider of Dark Mountain Project. Look 'em up!

7:32 PM  

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