January 10, 2019


Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore!"

Was Poe predicting the end of the United States? Was he a far-seeing clairvoyant? One has to wonder. Meanwhile, we have Trumpi doing his best to discredit himself and perhaps the country as well. I'm a believer that we get the leaders we deserve, and if he is behaving like a choleric child, so is a good part of the nation. No suaveness, no finesse, no social skills--just acting like a buffoon and throwing tantrums. Which is good, from a declinist point of view: Trumpi was "hired" by history to accelerate our decline and he is clearly doing his job. Rave on, Trumpi; you have 168 Wafers cheering you on. Only 9 days into 2019, and the possibilities for further damage seem endless.

As for the rest of the population, I can't help thinking of those lines from my favorite Christmas carol:"Above thy deep and dreamless sleep/The silent stars go by..."



Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Amphetamine-related hospitalizations jumped by about 245 percent from 2008 to 2015, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Depression in girls linked to higher use of social media.


12:52 AM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

Christ spoke in parables at times, but at other times he made direct statements. I don't buy into the Gnostic stuff, I think all of that stuff was a distortion of the truth. Of course each group thought they had the truth, Gnostics, Arius, etc. so believe what you will. I'd guess most people in the world think Jesus was just some kind of Jewish mystic or guru, and that his teachings were simply twisted later on.

About proselytizing, of course street preachers and door to door stuff is pretty rude, and it's probably why so many missionaries were killed. Like anything, telling your family and close friends at appropriate times is the best way. Like when a coworker asks what you did, and you tell them you went on a retreat, then they ask you what it's about. There's no need to force anything on people, you can drop things in to conversation and if they want to know more, leave it to them to ask.

Conversion into the Catholic church isn't much easier, it's a multiyear process. It's not like the evangelicals where you can be a full member of the church in 5 minutes. Of course I do think the Catholic church makes it too easy, it's basically a social club for 90% of the people, so I'd say they got a bit ahead of themselves in allowing in people who shouldn't be there. I assume all religions will collapse down to the core of the orthodox movements in the next century or two, so it'll just be ultra orthodox jews in israel, monks and priests in seclusion, etc. I see things like evangelical churches and reform judaism as more political movements than religions.

12:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You might check out the chapter on early Christianity in CTOS. It's one thing to say "I don't buy into...," and another thing to have evidence.


4:01 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The 'doomsday' scenario: Here's what happens if the shutdown drags on...


Teacher caught on video dragging student with autism down hallway


Ohio teacher accused of masturbating in classroom 'while students were present'


6:40 AM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...



A mere 3 mins of videos will show how President D(unce) is bring America back to
greatness. All this lack of respect and faith in him will be reverse once you see
the fine working he is doing. Be advised that real estate values are sure to
soar once these videos go viral, so act now for your retirement bungalow.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to check this documentary out Wafers:



2:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


My response (with apologies to Bob Dylan):

How many social media must a man subscribe to
Before you call him a zhlob?
How many buffoons must a Zuckershmuck deceive
Before they ram their heads in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the turkey feathers fly
Before they're forever banned?
America, my friend, is goin' down the drain
America is goin' down the drain.

Wafers are encouraged to compose similar ballads.


4:31 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

@Kanye - I'd rather eat dirt than watch that.

I am watching many of the students in my college town walk to and from campus in below freezing weather from my window at the office. It would not surprise many of you hear to learn that nearly all of them elect to remove their glove and hold their fones in front of their eyeballs so they can continue swiping and surfing and ignoring everything except the tiny screen in front of them. I would not be surprised if this continues even when colder weather comes with the threat of frostbite. What's even worse is how my drivers I notice staring at an illuminated screen while they plow ahead in their steel box of death.

And here's my ballad attempt:

Better check your fone
All the way home
As snow falls and flitters
Can't miss all those twitters
Trump likes to tweet
And I like some sweets
Two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese
A war in Afghanistan, with no end in sight
just what America needs, to bankrupt our might

Onwards and downwards


5:07 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

"Nancy Got Back," by Sir Trump-a-Lot

Trump likes big shutdowns and cannot lie
His rethuglican brothers can't deny
That when Nancy Pelosi walks out in a bit of disgrace
And a subpoena in Trump’s face
Trump get sprung, want to pull up tough
'Cause he notice Nancy’s butt was stuffed
Deep in the pantsuit she's wearing
Trump’s hooked and can't stop staring

5:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mill, Krak-

Bravo! You guys are the best.


5:51 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“How much do you want for the statue of Buddha with a clock in his stomach?”

The Coast Guard Support Program, an office of the CG devoted to assisting employees and duty personnel with mental-health and financial issues, put out “tip sheet” on the Coast Guard website suggesting ways employees could cope with the shutdown: garage sales; babysitting; dog-walking; or serving as a “mystery shopper” (not further defined).

Among the civilian personnel, 6,400 are on indefinite furlough and 2,100 are working without pay, designated as essential personnel. All 41,000 active duty Coast Guard members are working without pay.

The tip sheet that suggested these methods was pulled from the Coast Guard website after the WaPo enquired about it.

Yes, the people in charge really are that dumb.


6:26 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@James Allen--however, notice how no one DARES to suggest that the 2,100 civilian Coast Guard personnel who are working without pay should walk off the job (I realize that those on active duty cannot disobey orders) in solidarity with their colleagues? That's what would likely happen in say, France, where the workers understand that they are all in it together. Federal workers should not only be breaking out their yellow vests and hitting the streets, they should be passing them out to everyone who feels they are getting a shit deal at work, which would be nearly everybody these days. Alas, it will never happen, because in the end it is Americans who really are that dumb.

In this case the headline says it all as far as American cruelty goes: Denied: How some Tennessee doctors earn big money denying disability claims.

Big babies acting like big babies: Teenage girls were caught on camera hurling heavy objects at McDonald’s employees in Moreno Valley after being asked to leave the children’s play area.

And lastly, lotsa Resistance (puke) types are mad because Trump said one of our war criminal former generals "got fired like a dog by Obama." As long as shitbirds like McChrystal are defended by idiot Americans instead of universally condemned, we will remain what we are: utterly fucked.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Poe was far-sighted. I have read that he was the first person to propose the answer to an important astronomical question, to wit: since the universe is filled with stars to its uttermost boundaries, why isn't the sky white? Poe suggested that it is because of the time that their light takes to reach us, which is (I gather) the correct answer.

With this depth of vision, he may have seen the time of Trumpi projected like a foreshadowing of Saturn on history's scrim, and accordingly drunk himself to death at 39.

My favorite Poe story is "The Domain of Arnheim." Apparently Magritte liked it too, as he named one of his finest paintings after it.

9:49 PM  
Blogger CB said...

If there was ever a time for the American slaves to band together, it would be now. All 800k unpaid employees should just stop showing up for work, bringing things to a halt and inconveniencing many. They have nothing to lose. Instead, amazingly, they dutifully, if not resentfully , show up to their job , with no pay. It boggles the mind. Americans can cry "freedom" and cling to their guns dreaming of some bizarre revolution all they want. They are already defeated. Meanwhile, over in France, the yellow vests are fighting for their rights.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

"What's New Pussy Cat"--apologies to Sir Tom Jones.

What's new american, Woah, Woah

american, american,
I've got endless bills,
And I've got no time
To spend with you
So go and buy swill with that cute lil' credit card
american, american,
We are ontologically empty
Yes, we are
You and your cute lil' credit card

What's new american? Woah, Woah
What's new american? Woah, Woah

american, american,
You're so vacuous
And I'm so willing
To take advantage of you
So go and hamster wheel for some cute lil' corporation!
american, american,
We are spiritually empty,
Yes, we are!
You and your cute lil' corporation.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


"Small Fry," by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, contains a devastating portrait of her father, Steve Jobs, showing him to be cruel and abusive--a pretty sick guy, in fact. Which makes me wonder: did the poison in his soul seep into his computer designs, iPods, and other techno-toys, and thence to the American public at large? I have similarly wondered abt Bill Gates, who is simultaneously a cut-throat businessman and a kind of naïve child. These too are characteristics of millions of Americans. Is it possible that the spirit of these techno-nerds made its way, via all that hard- and software, into the sad, tortured American soul? Just a thought.


12:06 AM  
Anonymous Arnold said...

BBC: Brainwashing Britain?: How and why the BBC controls your mind


This looks interesting

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Hickel said...

Good critical review of Mann and Wainwright's "Climate Leviathan." Will climate breakdown lead to a global capitalist state, the rise of anti-capitalist states, a retreat to fascist nationalisms... or something better?


“Drawing on Hobbes & Schmitt, Climate Leviathan imagines how ecological disruption will create the conditions for a new sovereign authority to
seize command, declare an emergency, and ‘bring order to Earth, all in the name of saving life’ —and this time on a planetary...scale”

10:02 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Say, here's a guy w/a working brain: Edward Watts. I'm currently reading his book, "Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell into Tyranny." Here's an interview w/the author:



12:36 PM  
Anonymous Lawrence Evans said...

Miles -

I was reading that Vox article just this morning! Looks like a great read.

Meanwhile I am loving the idea of Trumpi as Cyrus the Great

12:42 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

To Dr. MB & all fellow Wafers:
I bring to your attention another fellow traveler, Mr. Glen Ford who writes ,"Ocasio-Cortez, Socialism, War and Austerity".

"Even in the absence of contrived “emergencies” like the periodic, mostly Republican-triggered federal shutdowns (21 since October, 1976 ), those sectors of government that serve human needs have been systematically starved of funds and otherwise programmed to fail in their missions in order to discredit the very idea of public intervention in the capitalist order. From their penthouse lairs and private island redoubts the Lords of Capital manufacture crises to force wounded publics to choose privatized elixirs for collective pain."

"The end result is gentrified cities, ethnically cleansed of the Black and brown poor, and a citizenry hopelessly mired in debt and employment insecurity, sicker and shorter-lived than their counterparts in the rest of the developed world, yet footing the yearly trillion-dollar bill to keep the U.S. military bombing and occupying much of the planet under the fatal umbrella of a doomsday nuclear terror machine."

It's worth a visit : https://www.blackagendareport.com/ocasio-cortez-socialism-war-and-austerity

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

Once again NPR on last night's "The 1-A" let out some nasty truths about America. All the
migrants at the southern border should get a tattoo "Product of the USA" and instant full
citizenship. US "aid" and corporate investments ended up channeling more wealth upwards,
maintaining friendly governments for these investments, and displacing thousands of poor agricultural worker, who now seek some way to support their families. Did NAFTA allow
cheaper US corn to force five million Mexicans out of growing corn? Did many of them
become marijuana growers to corrupt domestic Americans? After what Castro and his gang
of malcontents did to steal our Cuba, it is no wonder that the word 'reform' is not well
received in US State Department when Latin America is discussed. This is all the "blow
back" discussed by the late Chalmers Johnson. Imperialism is truly bi-partisan.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Puss Killian said...

Hi Wafers,

Found this comment on JHK's post for today. It sums up what working in DC is like. (For the record, I love WHAT I do, just not the context in which I perform it. I hate (and I mean hate) going to work. Not sure what is going to happen to me over the long term.

"Welcome to the America of today, lots of talk and spectacle from the punditry, nothing that actually works gets accomplished. But hey, it’s good for a whole lot of words and debate to occupy the (well-marbled) masses."

... lots of talk, lots of spectacle, lots of emphasis on looking good, yet nothing works (esp. technology), nothing changes, nothing improves ... nothing. The emphasis seems to be on work for work's sake; results that work are not an issue. And don't get me started on the (thankfully) few who work the system, or the bullying, general mayhem, and backstabbing that is the modern workplace.

A dystopia, for sure. Not sure what "well-marbled" means, maybe a typo?

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Regarding Fed workers not protesting. Once you've been beaten down far enough, the will isn't there anymore, nor are the means. This is why if you go to one of these "protests" all you'll see are rich white people or college kids with nothing better to do. You'll never see the poor (of any color). Also, when my state gov was shut down (I work for the state) we were explicitly told NOT to protest or talk to the media in any way.

Puss: Yeah, since I do work for the state, I relate very much to the nothing works and nothing changes and the "bullying, general mayhem, and backstabbing that is the modern workplace." I think "well-marbled" means fatso. I love my job and love going to work, just tired of the BS, I spend 1/2 my time as camp counselor/psychiatrist and the other half trying to make out-dated stuff work. Good luck! And apply for unemployment ASAP! You've been paying into the fund with every paycheck so there's no shame in receiving your benefit.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

"Five sisters molested by same Catholic priest attend first Harrisburg listening session"


"The sisters appreciated the support they felt from parishioners who attended the meeting, but said that church leaders still “don’t get it.“

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Writer Chris McGreal and host Robert Scheer zero in on the book “American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts” in this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence.”

Scheer and McGreal discuss how the opioid addiction crisis is largely an American epidemic. As McGreal notes, “85 percent of the world’s prescription painkillers are consumed in the United States, which has 5 percent of the world’s population.”



6:58 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

How many Wafers read Quillette? It's a source of remarkably courageous essays in the age of Political Correctness. This one seems especially interesting to the Wafer cause against techno-duncery.
In Praise of Boredom, Again
"Is boredom the ingredient our “snowflake” generation is missing?"

7:16 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

The Absurdities Continue....


7:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


American life gets more surreal/self-destructive every day. Myself, I wd have preferred Kim, but Ivanka will do in a pinch.


7:34 PM  
Anonymous DF said...


U.S. approved thousands of child bride requests, lives ruined

1,000s of requests by men to bring in child brides to live in the US were approved over the past decade, according to government data obtained by the AP.

If you’re looking for where wisely to spend immigration enforcement resources

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Gresham said...

The Enchanted HourThe Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction


9:28 PM  
Blogger pg said...

Likely a Kunstler euphemism for "fat" with the added benefit of the "bovine," as in "a well-marbled steak."

9:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem is that this sort of true intelligence works against the decline and collapse. What is needed is more technology and alienation.


Source? Evidence? We need a link, amigo.


9:41 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Pastrami--the way you describe modern American "protests" proves my point. REAL protests are what is happening in France right now, or to go back into American history, when the labor movement fought to establish unions and many workers were actually killed. I doubt someone like Big Bill Haywood would have called off a strike or refused to go on CNN simply because the bosses to him not to do it.

@Puss--yep, you pretty much described my federal career. Occasionally, I'd have a chance to cut through the BS and actually do something positive, but that wasn't typical. It's telling that I consider my greatest accomplishment to have been part of a small group of whistleblowers who actually got a Bush administration appointee removed. Good thing it was before Obarfa came into office since the Great Black Hope cracked down on federal whistleblowers more than any president in American history, as Peter Van Buren found out.

Speaking of Van Buren, here's a recent post on his blog: You can have sex with your sources, get thrown out of one job, and rise again in the Age of Trump. Journalism is great! The "source" was Mattis's douchebag deputy, who resigned over Orange Julius's surprisingly sane decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

Also came across this nifty little item: Costco Is Selling a 27-Lb. Bucket of Mac and Cheese with a 20-Year Shelf Life. I don't know why they are bothering with putting in all those preservatives when many Americans would consider this to be a single serving size.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous FerQ said...

I have a question for all Wafers, what do you think about those Ancestry DNA kits that are constantly being advertised in the US? Do you think it has any credibility or it another Yankee scam?

10:28 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

@Jeremy-- Unreal. "...the FDA gets 60 percent of its income from the drug industry." And "The drug industry spent $2.5 billion lobbying Congress over the past eight or nine years." Those are some fine American institutions.

@Lawrence-- Chilling...

@FerQ-- Probably harmless for those curious enough, but I'd be nervous about how DNA could be used against you in the future.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous Megan C. said...

Because I'm a rather reclusive introvert, I don't always get to test my perception of how bad this country is verses the actual reality. But occasionally something brings me out of my hobbit hole, and I'll, say, meet up with and old friend, go on a date, or get invited to a party. When that happens, I'm almost always shocked as it gradually dawns on me that the reality is even worse than what I'd conceived it to be! Have any of you guys had this experience?

I always thought the idea of "culture as a virus" was a bit simplistic. (I think Sam Harris speaks about Islamic Civilization in these terms.) But I was at a party last week, and it struck me that there is some truth in this. I mean, it really is hard to find someone these days who isn't infected with "The American Culture Virus". I mean, everyone was just speaking in the most horridly superficial terms, like how "Trump is an idiot, but at least he's 'shanking things up', and has got the economy roaring again! Plus, my 401 K is doing great!" (And this was an "educated" group. Four Doctors, two lawyers, and three other advanced degrees.) Can you imagine having to spend four hours with such people? But that's the virus, no one escapes it. I'm in Pittsburgh, but I'm sure people are repeating the same banal foolishness in Maine, Iowa, and Oregon. I went home deflated and depressed, and promised myself I'd never do that again!

Every time I venture out, it's always the same realization: Things are worse than I'd thought.

3:09 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


I am also fascinated by Gates, largely because of how even his technological perspective now seems relatively mild. Gates expected people to be using computers to do boring office work and limited personal browsing. The idea that the internet would someday mediate every social experience for adults and children was still way out there in the 90s.

Also, he was dragged before a court for bundling a web browser with Windows. Again, compared to the complete invasion and destruction of social life Facebook and Snapchat have gotten away with, this seems relatively mild.

What I find incredibly horrible about him is it must be obvious to someone of his expertise what a scam Web 3.0 is, with all the AI sensationalism and fake social media. Yet he has never said a word to that effect. He must not ultimately think very much of his technological vocation if he sees nothing wrong with it becoming little more than third rate grift. Which, of course, reflects right back on him.

4:14 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Megan C & MB -- I have had similar experiences with colleagues in US. I used to believe something is wrong with me, maybe I need to adjust to the World around me and not think something is wrong with others/culture. But I could not adjust to the nonsense and left US 3 years back. Thanks to MB and this blog, I realized i was not alone. But even today many of my relatives and friends think I am mad to have left a nice job and the great US of A. My family/friends keep telling me that I should go back to US and try to adjust. They give examples of how thousands of others are adjusting and doing great in Amrika. And because I come from a good university, I am supposed to look up to Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella, for having made it. If they can become CEOs, something must be wrong with me to have left the greatest country on Earth. I belong to south India, and the people here think the aim of your life must be to become phoney fucks like the Silicon Valley CEOs. Just climb the corporate ladder and become CEO, that's when you achieve peace and enlightenment. And now that Trump has announced that he will make some changes to H1B, my friends are saying I made a very bad decision to go back. As if career is the only thing that matters in life. I have decided to avoid these people as much as possible and limit any conversations to basic formalities. They say its lonely at the top, but I feel its also lonely when you try to do the right thing.

Kneel Jung - Say Hi and Thanks to Louis Brawley, I have watched some of his videos on YouTube related to UG Krish.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous DF said...

MB i apologize

U.S. approved thousands of child bride requests, lives ruined


8:45 AM  
Anonymous Lachlan said...


~So that $20M border wall GoFundMe campaign? Its organizer now hopes to use the money to finance a new nonprofit. Its board includes Kris Kobach, David Clarke, Erik Prince, and Tom Tancredo

I challenge you to find a finer collection of gentlemen

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Bill: I feel you, part of what I said was paraphrasing an interview I heard about Tahrir Square and why Egyptians are not out there now despite el-Sisi being worse in some ways than Mubarak. I couldn't find the interview to save my life so I just paraphrased.

I'll also admit I've totally given up on "change for the good", especially now that I'm stuck needing health insurance and daily autoimmune drugs in order to live. I firmly believe that old Japanese phrase "The nail that sticks out shall be hammered down". I'm a bit like those crazy preppers in Montana in that case.

Sav: great article.

I'm off to see if I can set eyes on a Snowy Owl at the airport, rather ironic don't you think!

10:57 AM  
Anonymous SerpensRubrum said...

America's "border crisis" is self-made, and it has its roots in agriculture—particularly American corn.

Good essay, link here:

12:16 PM  
Anonymous ArtemusGordon said...

Concerning the federal workers still showing up while not being paid; I attribute this stupidity to the Work Martyr Syndrome I have observed over the years and since named. These are the people for whom their job IS who they are. All they know about, talk about, and can bore you to death talking about is their job. They talk about the stupid hours they work, how important their work is, etc... I have observed this sickness in Americans since my teen years in the 1970s. Which brings me to a question for the lucky and wise expats out there: does this work martyr shit occur in other countries? Or is it just an American thing, like so much other stupid shit?

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Madison said...

I still stand by my then-still-candidate description of Trump as just a spicy Ron Paul. What fucking idiots.


12:30 PM  
Anonymous Puss Killian said...

@all, thanks for the updates on working. I've been sitting here for weeks trying to decide what to do. I'm so much happier staying home, but frozen in place for some reason.

@Megan, I'm the same way. I just don't go out, don't socialize, don't date. My son took me to see Aquaman, and of course three young girls talked throughout the entire movie. Everyone was getting pissed. They sat (on the counters) in the ladies room after and called each other "bitch". I think they heard my comment to my son as to "who were the bitches who kept talking throughout the movie?"

@GeorgeC, I grew up wanting to fit in, but realize I just don't. Unfortunately for me, I had a narcissistic mother who told me repeatedly that I was crazy, which led to being unsure who exactly was crazy. Well, call me crazy, but I cannot stand what's going on today, and have little hope for the future. I've "run away" repeatedly in my adult life, but just keep "finding" the same thing. Because I've never left this country. Part of me just says "fuck it and go" but ... that won't work either.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Proprioceptive Pal said...


Published on January 11, 2019 

Is Western Civilization a Thing?

written by James Kierstead


1:35 PM  
Anonymous WAFer Palo said...

Good news! CDC: Americans Aren't Having Enough Babies To Replace The Current Population



2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Movie rec to Wafers: The Square (Palme d'Or 2017).


2:48 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

The whole comedy is financed by the national debt, now close to $22 trillion. Certainly if anything reveals the fraud of FREE enterprise sponsored by tax dollars, it is those trillions
of dollars. The reason the value of the dollar is sacred is that everyone is owed money
in US dollars. Tomorrow's grandchildren will not be pleased when they hear the explanation
for this burden, "What has the future ever done for me?"


3:37 PM  
Anonymous Noah said...

The one thing that worries me about very high taxes on rich people is the idea that they might slow innovation.

Here's a theory paper making this claim:
Taxing Top Incomes in a World of Ideas

Meh. Theory, whatever.

But here's an empirical paper making this claim: https://www.nber.org/papers/w24982

5:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Slowing down innovation is exactly what we need at this pt in American history.


It'll work.


It's an Anglo thing: Canada, UK, Australia, etc. Mexicans don't talk that way, except in the north (ie nr the US).


Fewer idiots, I guess.


6:47 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

I have been reading most of the essays on Quillette for some time now.
It is certainly not a forum that is informed by a Waferist sensibility or the cultural analysis given by Morris in The Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America and Why America Failed.

Some of the essays are interesting enough but most of them are just light weight fluff pieces without any real substance. Hardly any of the featured essays are anywhere near like most of the truth-telling essays featured on Counterpunch - John Steppling for instance.

It is a forum (mis)-informed by sour grapes right wing political correctness. Some/many of the authors are quite keen on Jordan Peterson. And the (renewed) study of the so called Great Books of the Western canon as a proposed solution to the crisis of Western culture. Never mind that the culture extending from the mind-set communicated in those books is now at its inevitable dead end.

The majority of the opinions posted in response to the essays are to one degree or another appalling, both religiously and culturally illiterate. Some/many of them blame all of Amerika's trouble on the so called Social Justice Warriors - SJW's.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Chuck J.-

Just got Shantaram in the mail, have started rdg it. Thanks a mil; it looks like a terrific bk.


7:41 PM  
Anonymous Onward to Dystopia said...

How Americans are hustling to get by now...


This is a video of a man driving from Walmart to Walmart buying up all of the "Monopoly for Millennials" board games he could find to sell on Amazon. Essentially he's working for Amazon indirectly.

When he got home he had driven 765 miles and been up for over 24 hours. He had sold 131 of them at that point, so he had to box up and ship them all that same day -- that took another 12 hours. At the end he'd made around $2,500.

I've seen videos like this before -- people of the permanent underclass scrounging through dollar stores and thrift stores to buy up stuff cheap to skim off a slim profit through online sales. I don't blame them necessarily, this man in particular isn't gouging people for a necessity at least. But it's a reflection of what living in this corporate hellscape is like today. I guess it beats working in the Amazon warehouse or driving for Uber.

I just never got the hustling gene.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This economic system forces Americans into this behavior, if only for survival. Something like 40% of the country lives from paycheck to paycheck, and if they break a wrist or their car conks out, they are basically fucked. Millions go to bed hungry. Pressed to the wall, people will eat rats and insects in order not to starve. Hustling is, of course, in the American DNA, and as I show in WAF, has been with us since the late 16C. Extreme conditions, such as we have today, only increase the pressure to be 'creative', like this guy: do what it takes to make a buck.


9:07 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Artemus--you're definitely on to something. During my time at the State Department, they made a big deal about this one employee who'd been working nearly 60 years and had supposedly never missed a day, which meant she chose to forgo several thousand hours of paid leave time over her career. Someone I knew used to work with her, and said she'd been reduced in duties from professional staff to receptionist because she was unable to keep up with skills needed to do the job. It got to the point where she was given so little to do that'd she'd sleep in her cubicle much of the day. She also (surprise, surprise) lived alone and had never been married. Ultimately, her last day of trudging into the office was on the day she died.

I used to joke that there were two kinds of people in the workforce: live to work people and work to live people (I was always very much in the latter category). Someone in the first category was the absolute worst to have as a boss because they usually had little in the way of a personal life and expected everyone else to be the same way. Unfortunately, people like that have now dominate the American employment landscape.

@Pastrami--I hear you. Post cancer, I am in such precarious health that I feel trapped in the system even though I'm retired. People don't ever realize how fortunate they are to be in good health until they aren't anymore. It really changes your perspective on everything.

10:21 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Can someone please explain to me why, in this day and age, knowing what we know, that the people who run for such a serious and important office of President, the leader of the country, are NOT subjected to BOTH an Intelligence test AND a Psychological Test?

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings all - sorry to have been so silent - been reading, but have a horrible nasty cold/bronchitis. No fun.

@Bill & @Artemus - you are both so right. During my time working for the Navy, I can tell you that to get promoted to the highest levels, you must be at your job for many more hours/day than you are paid for. It seemed to be a game, especially among the active duty crowd (though not exclusively) - competing for who was putting in longer hours. A "badge of honor", shall we say, allowing them to look down their noses at anyone who actually wanted a life outside of their job. So, to get ahead, you either had to be that way or pretend to be that way. And if you pretend, that eats at you so much that eventually you must flee. (Which is basically what I ended up doing.) I've known people like that 60 yr State Dept person - that type dies quickly once out of the office. Sad.

On another note - comments from folks here in Italy about the wonderfully low unemployment rate in the US. Sigh - I've had to explain the manipulation that goes into that bit of propaganda a number of times, and the 'joys' of the gig economy. Lots of stunned looks.

3:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


During the Obama yrs, the official unemp. rate was something like 4%, and the real rate abt 18%, or nearly 1 out of every 5 Americans. Nor did these folks have any hope of changing their situation.


5:46 AM  
Anonymous Trubey said...

White House Sought Options to Strike Iran - WSJ



9:14 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. B and all:

Have been too busy to post here for a while, but visit the blog daily, as I have for years now. Dark Ages America: still the only blog working reading!

Thanks to the person who posted The Nation review of Climate Leviathan. The idea behind this book has been in my mind for a while. Great to see someone further down the academic road than me has pulled it all together for folks to consider.

As far as my engagement with your work goes, Dr. B, my focus continues to be on your Consciousness Trilogy (Reenchantment of the World, Coming to Our Senses, Wandering God). I've read fairly widely, and I consider your trilogy singularly unique as far as cultural history goes.

Look forward to reading your more recent work soon, esp, your book on Japan.

-Northern Johnny

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Wafer Italiana: Had similar experiences with non-usa-ers when they state how "great" the us appears to be, low employment, lotsa opportunities, $, fancy cars, etc..etc..

The silence is deafening when we explain how this is mostly a facade, and that the news is propaganda and/or at the least, advocacy for the empire (AKA: NYT, Wash COMpost.)

To "survive" in the us, many must take on multiple non benie jobs (gigs), drive miles and miles to a job, steal from open houses, slip/fall/fake stealing lawsuits for settlements, selling their furniture online, being displaced from their own bed for a motel gig, drive strangers around in their own car, jobs under the table, tons and tons of bullshit certifications and continuing ed (hu$tle), living with their parents in their 30,40,50+yo, both parents working full time jobs, kids coming home to empty houses and watching porn or videos games, and God help you if you have a chronic disease, or acute trauma, etc.you're fucked. The non-usa-ian faces look like they just saw a ghost when they hear this reality.

Unlike the business enterprise (us "country"), most other countries offer education for free or nominal cost to their populace so they can start from 0 and have a chance at a middle class way of life--not straddled with 5-6 fig debt at 26yo in molec bio, physician, or historian. In the shit hole us, if you want to attain middle class and don't wanna do the army army thing, then, student loans are inevitable, regardless of work study, "good" HS grades, and odd jobs--the us uni tuitions are opportunistic and vile--like 98.7% americans--regardless of the glossies with smiling student faces and massaged stats.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“Caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender” (Jackson Browne, The Pretender)

The discussion of employment caused me to look up the definition.
Here’s what the body responsible for doing the counting, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), says: (1). People with jobs are employed; (2). People who are jobless, [but have been] looking for a job [within the past four weeks], and [are] available for work are unemployed; (3). People who are neither employed nor unemployed are NOT considered to be part of the labor force. (So there! Schmuck.)

When these figures are reported, breathlessly conveyed by the newsreader contingent, and dissected by the punditry, no mention is made of many salient facts whose utterance would be hurtful to the general public and generally distressing. Such as: if you’ve received any money for any work, even for as little as an hour of work during the reporting period, congratulations, you’re employed; however, if you’ve stopped looking for work, you don’t exist.

For an informative assessment on the actual state of the economy, national and worldwide, see any of Richard Wolff’s videos (YouTube, natch), or visit his associated website democracyatwork.org.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd to hear from you. Lurking has its limits, as you know. Keep writing in!


I think it was Miles who referred to this bk by Edw Watts, "Mortal Republic," comparing Rome to the US. I enjoy seeing how various writers are catching up to me, 19 yrs later. But Watts is writing in the Age of Trumpi, and so has a certain advantage over the Twilight bk; altho I've stated his themes on this blog during the last almost-13 yrs. One is that Trump is actually a minor figure in this drama, a transitional figure, because the problem is not (as progs believe) one particular individual, but the broken system that produced him. This massive political failure will persist long after Trumpi is no longer pres. Touche, no doubt abt it. Second, he predicts that the coming decades will be ones of incessant fear and chaos. This I have also stated here, in perhaps more incandescent terms: riots, mass migration, martial law, secession, starvation, the war of all against all. (See also Lionel Shriver, "The Mandibles".) Watts does not say, like so many turkeys do in the last 10 pages of their books, "and here's how we are going to escape these problems." No; like myself, he knows that when an empire collapses, it don' look pretty. Rocky times ahead: no empire has avoided collapse-cum-disaster, and we are no exception.


11:27 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Just returned to the UK after visiting family in the US.
They're liberal, educated, and Democrats to the core.

And they're furious that Trump wants to bring troops home from Syria and Afghanistan.
I said that they would have been delighted if that had been O'Bombers call.

They were livid.

It's as if the whole country has gone collectively insane.
In fact, and as William Casey (CIA head) said:

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"?


12:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It doesn't make sense to discuss politics w/turkeys, i.e. Americans. Waste of yr valuable energy. 'Livid' is pretty much all they know.


Hard to really understand #3, but it is the case that if you work one hr per wk you are regarded as employed.


1:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Ray-

Cd you send me yr own (separate) email address? I need to know what you think of all this. Thanks.


2:03 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Right now I'm not reading a serious tome by any great philospher, but rather the autobiography of 1920s-30s jazz guy and infamous teahead, Mezz Mezzrow.

In describing the reason for his turning away from soul-destroying ofay culture to go live in Harlem in 1929, he cites T.S. Eliot:

"In a world of fugitives
The person taking the opposite direction
Will appear to run away"

Imagine a pop star such as Kanye West or Lady Gaga quoting something similar today.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...


Please indulge this 24-hr violation for the sake of clarifying the ambiguity in my contribution.

BLS considers the labor force to consist of the employed (#1 in my post) and the unemployed (#2 in my post). Nobody else counts. This means if you’ve given up and haven’t been looking for a job within the reporting period (or, lord knows and evidence shows, for even longer), then you are a ghost to the counters.

I hope this clarifies things. Thanks for the indulgence, if granted.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

A reply to FerQ about DNA tests. They are valuable for these reasons: (1)They establish
that one has authentic, American, Protestant white genes; (2)they reveal if one is Asian
so as not to bother enrolling in Harvard; (3)they answer the question if your sexuality
is what is stated on your birth certificate; (4)you will know if you will ever be a
professional basketball player; (5)you will know if you were born in Cleveland; and
(6)some money from the Howard Hughes estate could be yours.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Just to add to MB's thoughts on "Mortal Republic," the beauty of the book so far is how clearly Watts chronicles the ways in which the Roman Republic tore itself to shreds by growing wealth inequality (he really hammers this home); courting and encouraging violent political rhetoric (Tiberius Gracchus, others); ignoring and undercutting political norms; and the influence of corrupt and pandering politicians (a long list). He also persuasively argues that the people of Rome *chose* to let their democracy die by not protecting political institutions and traditions. Consequently, the people eventually turned to strong men for a kind of perceived stability in a rapidly unstable and destitute situation. All of it, very gd stuff.

W/this in mind, however, I also see the issue of skyrocketing economic inequality to be the number one issue facing us in the coming years. And it will probably get even worse in the coming downturn. Everything else, save the environment, is just a distraction. I consider this, probably like MB and many Wafers, the defining characteristic of late capitalism; and the goal of the elite is to exacerbate this trend and make us all into the lowest paid "contingency" workers. Brass Tacks: we're fucked six ways to Sunday. It would have been nice 2c Watts connect these kinds of dots, but he hasn't so far, sad to say. I'll let you guys know if he does.


6:42 PM  
Blogger David said...

Wars at home and abroad
a king's ransom poured daily
into weapons of war
while a fully armed public
performs its weekly slaughter
to the staccato of AR-15s
the mirage of a shining city
dissolving into dust and ramshackle
demaguoges rant and rave
as the state sinks further into the void
while the brainwashed sheeple
toil to their master's whip
never once questioning
their journey to insanity

7:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sounds abt rt. Yr poem?

Degraded buffoons
Wallow in kaka
While the plutocracy laughs
Picks its teeth with a golden toothpick
Pockets another billion
Laughs all the way to the bank.
I write books like Cassandra
Standing on the shore
Bidding the ocean to recede.
Progs pursue various causes
Nonentities declare their candidacy
Tulsi Gabbard! Can you imagine
Such a thing? Trumpi chortles:
"Stormy Daniels would have
A better chance." Kali
The divine protector(ess)
Bestowing moksha, liberation.
"Not bloody likely," says the head
Of the DNC, faking a British accent.
What does he, or any American
Know of Yeats, of Eliot?
We slouch towards Bethlehem:
Shantih shantih shantih.


8:07 PM  
Blogger David said...

Thanks, my attempt at poetry. As you can tell I've pretty much deserted the camp of "things will get better".cheers

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Brian Louis said...

MB (and all),

One thing that's been on my mind for quite some time is how Europe and America seemingly diverged post WWII. I'm curious what your thoughts are on it.

Without painting with too broad a brush (because Denmark isn't Italy and vice-versa), I'm amazed at how parts of Europe adopted components of social democracy post-1945, while America turned itself into an orgy of brutal hyper-capitalism.

My own take on it is that Europe experienced WWII, while America participated in it. Consequently, it seems like WWII left such a deep scar on some European cultures that they resolved to keep the seeds of authoritarianism from taking root again. It's obvious in the northern European countries, especially.

Obviously, America's been too busy doing victory laps for the past 70+ years to see its own wealth gap explode, but some of you are probably better read on this subject than I am. I'd like to know what your perspectives on it are.


9:25 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

MB & Wafers,

First, it is clear that the unemployment statistics have been "fudged" for quite some time - certainly this didn't begin with Trumpi! (Thanks to @James Allen for laying out the basics for us all.) The BLS stats are used to lull the turkeys (and anyone else in the world listening to the propaganda) into thinking all is well. Allows the system to blame the unemployed themselves for their predicament.

@Jeremy - the folks I was talking to weren't Americans, but Brits whose media parrots the same propaganda as that in the US - and we had the same discussion about Syria! Their question - but what about the Kurds? Well, we'll drop them like a hot potato once they outlive their usefulness to us, just like we have in the past. Most people have the memory of gnats. (ps - I love that Casey quote - so true - the sheeple just get in line and follow along!)

@Brian Louis - that's at least part of it - the US never experienced total war (except in 1860s - too long ago for that gnat memory span). Europe set up these systems trying to keep the various tribes from going to war with each other again, as they have done for thousands of years. Unfortunately that horrible memory is fading in some.

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Mansell said...

In Search of Lost Screen Time via https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/31/opinion/smartphones-screen-time.html

10:07 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Next evolutionary step from Tiger Mom to Batshit Crazy Mom Kentucky mom drove drunk to teach her son a lesson

Please Wafers fundraise $7000 for me so I can buy this awesome toilet. I am unable to take a shit in a regular toilet after having come across this marvellous innovation. Kohler's $7000 smart toilet has an Amazon Alexa speaker
For the hefty tag of $7,000, the Amazon Alexa-enabled Numi 2.0 toilet plays music, automatically opens, closes and flushes and can “clean yourself in a way people aren’t typically used to,” said Kohler Marketing Manager Nicole Allis. "The bathroom is a hardworking space,” Allis said. "People typically start and end their day there, and we know people want additional conveniences.”

10:38 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

A few days ago, using the wiki as my source, I estimated that the incidence of homelessness per capita of population in the United States is 5.13 times greater than that in Mexico. The total figure of homeless people in Mexico dates from 2010, whereas the same figure for the United States is from 2017, so there may be some discrepancy; but I'm assuming the incidence of homelessness for the USA is still roughly five times that of Mexico.

So in one country with a per capita income of a little over $62,000 (according to wikipedia), we have five times the rate of homelessness that exists in a country with a per capita income of a bit over $9,600 (ibid). Which country is worthier to be described as a third world shithole, the rich one or the poor one? Personally I feel it's the one where most people don't give a damn about each other, and speculators & the Fed are delighted to drive the cost of housing out of sight.


12:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Put enough shitty people together, and you get a shithole.


Gd article, but yr dealing w/buffoons, so there will be no chg in behavior whatsoever.

Meanwhile, there's a gd article abt Elizabeth Anderson in New Yorker for Jan. 7. Highly recommended.


1:34 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Wafers--The longer the government "shutdown" lasts, the more peculiar it seems. The Rethuglicans in CONgress had two years of total control to pay the relatively piddly cost of the wall--the stated price tag of which is around 5% of the ANNUAL increase in war spending under Trump that has been so enthusiastically supported even by most Dumbocrats. The Rethugs even had the first three months of this fiscal year, which started in October, to allocate funds for the wall and pass a full budget, and there would have been nothing the Dumbs could have done about it. This whole "crisis" could have easily been averted, yet it seems like most of the Rethugs, not just Trump, wanted it and are willing to keep it going as long as he's willing to take the political heat. It should also be noted that both the military and the intelligence community have their budgets--so the "deep state" is humming along just fine.

I'm not sure what the endgame is here--to make the government so small it can be "drowned in a bathtub" as that douchebag Grover Norquist used to say? Even Trump himself is apparently sitting alone in a relatively empty White House (half of the executive mansion's staff are on furlough from what I read). Meanwhile, TSA officers are calling in sick in droves--and it is now be reported that airport terminals around the country are being shuttered for lack of staff. Just as oddly, in previous shutdowns there was constant dialog between the White House and Congressional leaders, but neither side seems to be showing much urgency this time despite the shutdown now affecting air traffic. Like I said, very peculiar--I'm beginning to wonder if this is our true "domestic Suez" moment?

3:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, it wasn't just a question of $, I don't think: that wall is a very controversial/sensitive issue, w/lots of implications as to how we treat immigrant populations (legal or illegal). As I've said b4, American politics is largely theater. But let's hope Trumpi sticks to his guns, because this is doing a lot of damage, and that's what we need, as a dying civilization. The domestic Suez moment occurred when he got elected; everything else he's done is now just a 'subheading' to that great turning pt in American history. Go Trumpi! We love you.


3:56 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

No one at all discusses having a sensible and enforceable immigration plan that actually addresses the problem. I guess b/c that's hard and appearing on MSNBC, Fox, PBS, etc, etc is a lot more fun. Meanwhile, the circus goes on. At this point, it's such a mess and has turned into such a farce that it could be the last nail. It was funny to see The Senator from Citibank (Schumer) and the Zombie Queen (Pelosi) attempting a "rebuttal" to Trump's Presidential "speech" and none of them having an ounce of dignity. Nancy looked liked she had OD'd on Xanax and Chuck apparently can only speak in cliches. We might lose our medical care, retirement, and future generations to a polluted environment but we must not lose our sense of humor.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

This just in from CNN:

Trump reveals that he's actually a drag queen named Anita Wall.



I'm thinking about writing a sitcom called "Lewis & Snoots." First Episode will be titled, "Public Milk."

O&D, Wafers, O&D...


5:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What mugs! Those 2 cd be Mr. and Mrs. America. Meanwhile:

"Thomas Lewis, 58, was seen receiving oral sex from Penny Snoots, 56, in the middle of the road, according to the affidavit....Witnesses told deputies that after the oral sex Lewis and Snoots began having sexual intercourse on the hood of a vehicle.Both suspects were seen pulling up their pants by deputies when they arrived on scene, according to their arrest affidavits. Deputies say they saw Snoots' butt."

Some random observations:
1. Penny Snoots? Ya gotta be kidding me. Who wd believe such a name in a novel?
2. So Ms. Snoots gave him a blowjob, and then they began some serious copulation.
3. Why aren't *we* allowed to see Snoots' butt? Where were the video cameras, fer cryin' out loud?
4. Penny may have outdone Brittany, Shaneka, Lorenzo Riggins, Tracey McLeod, Latreasa Goodman, and Laquisha Jones. But NOT Freddie Wadsworth.
5. Democratic slate, 2020: Pres: Tulsi Gabbard; VP: Penny Snoots. Wafers are encouraged to come up with campaign slogans.



5:40 PM  
Anonymous Virginia Schutte said...

This article has a Wandering God era feel to it.

"Our species did not, in fact, spend most of its history in tiny bands; agriculture did not mark an irreversible threshold in social evolution; the first cities were often robustly egalitarian."

Are we city dwellers or hunter-gatherers?
New research suggests that the familiar story of early human society is wrong – and the consequences are profound.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thank you. But I'm wondering what article u.r. referring to.

Imo, WG is my best bk; perhaps tied w/the bk on Japan. However, both of these bks are long, dense, and complex, wh/is why (I suspect) sales were very limited. WG did get a v. favorable review in the American Anthropologist, but other than that, the academic community didn't undertake to address the challenges it posed to the conventional wisdom on human origins--probably because it posed serious challenges to the conventional wisdom on human origins. What can ya do? I'm not sure what this 'new research' is that u.r. referring to, but if the academic community is catching up to the arguments made in WG 19 yrs later, I suppose I shdn't complain. (Old story, for me.)


7:06 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

I've been so depressed after hearing the news of Jeff Bezos's divorce. And to add insult to injury, that big orange meanie Trump called him Jeff "Bozo."



^^ In all seriousness, these 2 Turkeys are one and the same. Their appearances are different -- one is a bloated, orange windbag while the other looks like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. But their value system (or lack thereof) is the same -- "more."

In other news:

"Trump jokes that Elizabeth Warren should do campaign commercial where U.S. massacred Sioux women and children" https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/bje945/trump-tweets-elizabeth-warren-campaign-commercial-wounded-knee-native-americans-murder

"Franklin Co. man arrested after pursuit, allegedly shooting an arrow at a deputy"

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Prime said...

i think Virginia is referring to this artcle, I googled the title. Terribly fascinating but I am not well read in this


8:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Watch length, por favor. Thanks.


8:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks. I'm a tad swamped rt now, but plan to read it later on this wk.


8:51 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Prime, great article. I'm writing a book on composition at the moment, so I am interested in how human culture develops. There seem to be all these accretions which build up like sediment . Interesting bit about the Scottish Enlightenment and conjectural history. I love history, but nuanced history, it seems to me, should have a balance of myth, conjecture, inter-disciplinary flair, literary skill and story-telling as well as facts and events.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

George Galloway, a former MP in the UK, had this piece published on the RT News website - Western empire collapse might be imminent - he could be right.


11:44 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Another article on the link between depression and social media use.


Drug use is becoming such a problem that Starbucks is installing needle-disposal boxes in some bathrooms.


1:29 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Only in Amrika : Prowler spends 3 hours licking doorbell at California home


8:47 AM  
Anonymous Rowman said...


pinker responds to objections to his most recent book. i just finished a critical reading of the book myself. Pinker's really is an incredible popularizer writer of the ideas, yet one doesn't need counter graphs of the data to grasp the grift contours of Pinker's optimism personal branding game. i put the book down with the same feeling that i had after finishing his previous Hobbesian treatise "The Better Angels of Our Nature." it's what MB said about Gates being "simultaneously a cut-throat businessman and a kind of naïve child", i feel the same of Pinker: simultaneously a cut=throat scientist and a kind of naive child (to the myth of techno melioration)

Some critical thoughts:

Steven Pinker’s ideas are fatally flawed. These eight graphs show why ...


9:33 AM  
Anonymous Puss Killian said...

@Bill, I think you've nailed it. Besides the simple fact that our "leaders" have failed to pass a budget on time for many years, this feels very different. Given that most of us have been labeled as non-essential, I have a feeling some of us won't be going back to work. Part of it is also that Trump is getting the blame, so Congressional sinecure is secure and reelection is not threatened, so that part of government can wait indefinitely. There are so many layers of corruption, it's hard to untangle. Starving agencies of necessary funding has been going on for years. HUD comes immediately to mind, as I've dealt with their data in the recent past.

One of the many things that brought me to Waferdom was also empirical observation that products are getting smaller over time. First noticed this back in 2008, but apparently it's been going on for awhile. Most recently, my cracker sleeves for my home made chili are now inches below the top of the box. The box is the same, the length of the cracker stacks is much, much, much smaller.


9:39 AM  
Anonymous Landon Olivier said...


It is a proto-WAFers birthday today. MLK - you were an exceptional American!

9:47 AM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Pummellings continue! The target is an 11 year old girl this time.



12:36 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

One has to wonder what the average American thinks of his president being investigated
for being a crook and a traitor; of his nation's government not functioning; of his
taxes still allowing an annual $trillion Federal deficit; of the rich getting massive
tax reduction; of what were once allies wondering about America's lack of sanity; about
his children going into debt to get jobs being consumed by artificial intelligence and
automation; and what will happen once he gets old. We have MAGA caps, so maybe there
will be BIG sellers Waf caps?

2:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Campaign slogans for Gabbard/Snoots, 2020:







3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't know about Collapse, but France and the UK will without a doubt be in a very different place 6 months from now. Theresa May has just suffered the UK's worst Parliamentary defeat in 100 years with the rejection of her Brexit deal. France is speaking to its citizens and holding a "people's assembly" after 2 months of protests by the Gilets Jaunes. It might all be smokes and mirrors, but living in France, it certainly feels like people have had enough and are not just going to swallow it this time.


4:51 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

What shut down? usa, usa!


6:42 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

America's "noble poor": Someone has been throwing dirty diapers from windows of a public housing complex on Essex Street on the Lower East Side. "It's disgusting," resident Robin Stucker said, to which fellow resident Shawn Stucker adds: "Sometimes the diapers come down and almost hit you."

Mugshot of the year: Mom charged after kids found with rotted teeth, living in house with feces everywhere.

Yet somehow, presumably because they were both white and well off, the cops managed not to open fire: 16-year-old girl calls police on her dad for taking away her cellphone.

The beautiful "Ugly American": Miss USA apologizes to Miss Vietnam and Miss Cambodia after she mocked them for not speaking English.

And lastly, is there a more perfectly American story than Trump serving the Clemson football team McDonald's french fries in little cups with the presidential seal on them and blaming it on the Democrats for the shutdown? Seriously, This Loser Gave Clemson French Fries In Little Presidential Cups.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous The Chase of the Dragon said...


China begins beating US Pentagon in military advance

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Teri Schooley said...

Dr. Berman and all,

Just some fun facts that I discovered about The Wall, which has caused this government shutdown.

The land border between the US and Mexico is 1954 miles long. (I am not including the 18 miles that extend out into the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf, because one would not build a wall in those places.) In 2006, Congress approved funding for 700 miles of fencing/wall, and we have completed 650 miles of that approved length. The reason Congress was not much interested in fencing the rest of the border? Glad you asked. Turns out the remaining 1260 miles runs right down the middle of the Rio Grande River. Can't build on the Mexico side because it isn't our land, can't build down the middle of the river for obvious construction issues, and building on the US side would shut off access to water that ranchers need for their herds. Plus, most of that land is privately owned, which means the gov't would have to "eminent domain" it. They did some of that in '06, and the ranchers are still fighting it in courts. Since a lot of them never actually got paid for their land (hence the court battle), the ranchers in Texas get pretty pissed when the gov't starts talking about more land-seizing for a stupid wall that ruins their livelihoods.

Trump shut down the government for a wall that is already built in the places it can reasonably be built. I don't know what is more pathetic - that he has done this, or that the Democrats and the media can't just point out that fact.

- Teri

5:47 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

Here's one of my personal favorite kinds of American douchebag, namely the shallow pretty-boy who thinks he's so deep. Introducing fashion-model and lifestyle-guru Dre Drexler and his "epic" morning routine! I especially like the way he annotates his Power Thoughts book. :-D

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Liza Comber said...

Prime, Virginia, Neil, MB,

That essay has some v interesting and counterintuitive anthropological insight.

Thanks for spreading the insight

9:41 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Refrain of the powerful and the privileged: “if you’re poor, it’s your fault”; “if you’re addicted, it’s your fault”; “if you’re..., it’s your fault”

Members of the Sackler family, which owns the company that makes OxyContin, directed years of efforts to mislead doctors and patients about the dangers of the powerful opioid painkiller, a court filing citing previously undisclosed documents contends. When evidence of growing abuse of the drug became clear in the early 2000s, one of them, Richard Sackler, advised pushing blame onto people who had become addicted.
“We have to hammer on abusers in every way possible,” Mr. Sackler wrote in an email in 2001, when he was president of the company, Purdue Pharma. “They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

“Sacklers Directed Efforts to Mislead Public About OxyContin, New Documents Indicate”

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Roger Clarke said...


I'm so excited that you are writing a book on Italy. Is it also a socio/psychological study as the Japan txt or more about your time there?

It's only Jan and i've already seen a beautiful Italian film this year, Alice Rohrwacher's Happy as Lazzaro - it has some real magic alongside social acuity and ghostly Italian eccentricity, which is one of the reasons I so deeply love Pasolini.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Francois said...

Bill, I love your posts. I only wish those dirty diapers had hit Chris Hedges in the face on his way to film On Contact, or on his way to watch a play.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We can probably let Hedges rest in peace, by now.


Bk is actually finished. It's a study of Italian creativity. Stay tuned for publication info.


3:19 PM  
Anonymous Jan Freedman said...

Appreciate the shout out to the article about Elizabeth Anderson, Mr Berman

I'll admit I am not familiar with her work. Is there something of hers you would direct a person to start with. Looks like she has a new book on Private Government/Indentured Work coming out in a couple months.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Talk abt sexist legislation!:


Not a word abt downpantsing. Hrrumph.


3:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I finally managed to read the Graeber-Wengrow essay on human prehistory, cited above. It's what I wd call heuristic or suggestive; it certainly isn't definitive. The major problem is that the accusation G&W level against the traditional version of human prehistory and the origins of social inequality, viz. that this version has no scientific basis, can also be leveled against their argument. They repeatedly refer to "overwhelming evidence" for their alternative version without giving the specific details of what it consists of. The essay contains not a single ftnote, and often refers to "researchers" without naming them. One might argue that the essay is overwhelmingly speculative.

To see what historical research on social inequality, based on footnoted evidence looks like, check out ch. 2 of my book "Wandering God." But here, I confess a handicap: once I finish a bk, I never reread it and I never look back on the topic (the collapse of America being the obvious exception). I was writing WG in the 90s; I really don't recall much of what I wrote, 20+ yrs later. So my brief critique of G&W (below) is nec. hampered by this limitation.

Problem 1, already referred to: constant refs to "overwhelming evidence" while not providing very much at all. No ftnotes, and v. little in the way of specifics as to what this overwhelming evidence consists of.

Problem 2: when some research is mentioned, it is then claimed that "this suggests that...", when in fact the research is provisional and any implications drawn from it are nec. speculative.

Problem 3: authors make a big pt outof saying there was no agricultural (Neolithic) revolution, and that agriculture was not the big turning pt that the traditional view says it was. This is a straw man argument. The traditional view was abandoned by scholars many yrs ago, a fact wh/I emphasize in WG. One of the sources I used, for example, was a French author (I can't remember his name) whose bk had the title: "Hunter-gatherers, or the origins of social inequality." Such authors, myself included, argue for agricultural evolution rather than revolution.

Problem 4: G&W argue against the use of the "ethnographic present" methodology across the board. But a number of anthropologists have used it to convincing effect, and the whole subject remains a pt of continuing debate. It can't just be dismissed out of hand. G&W also, themselves, use this methodology when discussing the Great Plains Indians of the 19C.

Problem 5: They are certainly rt abt evidence for social inequality showing up in jewelry and other grave goods. But it is not clear what this amounted to in practice. It is not, for example, evidence for economic equality, or even social control, but only for social deference. This opens up a whole field of psychological research, it seems to me, which I discuss in WG and also CTOS.

(continued below)

5:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Problem 6: There are hunter-gatherers and hunter-gatherers; they are not all the same. The Australian variety was very hierarchical; the African variety, far less so (if at all).

Problem 7: The authors take on anthropological popularizers such as Jared Diamond and Francis Fukuyama (a 1st-class moron), who never did a day of fieldwork in their lives. They do not take on the genuine article--heavyweights like Richard Lee, for example, or Megan Biesele and others cited in WG--who spent decades among (e.g.) the Kung Kalahari.

Problem 8: The authors have a whole discussion at the end abt seasonal variation, and how this probably led to social variation and self-conscious expts with diff types of governance. This strikes me as very speculative; the evidence is only suggestive, at best, or even wishful thinking. I kept writing "proof?" in the margins of these pages.

However, it's just as well that G&W wrote the article, if only for its heuristic value. Myself, I'm not equipped (or inclined) to do the nitty-gritty research nec. to validate or refute their arguments. But we have many such scholars who *are* capable of taking on these issues, and I hope they will. Given all of the problems listed above, I doubt the essay holds much water. But I cd be wrong, and time will tell.


5:58 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Something completely different.

I get the sense that some Wafers suffer from chronic, even debilitating ill health problems

And of course it is a well known fact that most Amerikans suffer from chronic ill health too, including obesity, diabetes, and depression too.
Despite the fact that the Amerikan "health"-care (sickness) industry is enormously huge by world standards, with no discernible positive results.

All because they eat the very sad (SAD) standard amerikan diet which is ironically recommended by various government agencies, and of course hugely influential phood industry groups.

That having been said I am half way through reading a book by Steven Gundry titled The Plant Paradox : The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain.
Gundry is highly qualified and has also done his homework. The book features numerous case studies which prove his thesis.
He writes very well and is very witty too.

His exstensive hands on experience proves that almost all of our health problems are caused by LECTINS - its lectins all the way down.

There is an old maxim re how food should be your medicine.
Gundry confirms this proving that health begins and ends with the quantity and quality of the bugs in ones gut or intestines.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Puss--I have also noticed the shrinkage of package sizes over about the last ten years or so. Yet government statistics claim there has been very little price inflation. The fact that Social Security benefit increases (as well as federal retiree pension increases) are tied to the cost of living index has NOTHING to do with it. It's a lie as laughable as the one that claims we have "full employment" when there are more homeless people on the streets than ever. And speaking of homeless people, NIMBYs in super-liberal Hollywood are showing their true colors: "It's Worse Than It Has Ever Been": Venice Beach Residents Upset As Homeless Crisis Intensifies. Title I just love the quote from the douchebag complaining how the tires on his Land Rover keep getting slashed.

And speaking of how the real goal of the federal shutdown is to get rid of government employees (the last bastion of stable middle class employment left in America these days), there's this: IRS orders 36,000 furloughed employees to return to work without pay. The plan is to keep as many idiot Americans as possible from being inconvenienced by the shutdown, even though processing tax returns has NOTHING to to with public safety, which are the only jobs that are supposed to be deemed "essential." Every IRS employee who shows up for work while the shutdown continues is ultimately cutting their own throat.

And lastly, this caught my eye: Florida Board of Health suspends health care licenses over student loan defaults. Makes perfect sense--they can't afford to repay their loans as it is, so let's render them unemployable. Brilliant! The move was, of course, pushed by the student loan industry--or Joe Biden's favorite campaign donors.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Brian Louis said...

@Bill Hicks,

The examples of cultural decay you list are all fundamental components of a disintegrating society.

I don't want to derail the conversation TOO MUCH, but Pier Pasolini's film "SALO" is important in this regard because the POINT he was trying to make was that fascist Italy was a land of logical inversion. Up is down, left is right, morality is immorality, etc.

Pasolini took it to its extreme logical conclusion with the "dinner scene" in that film. In the interest of keeping this discussion in good taste, I won't detail the finer points of that scene, but Pasolini's intent was to leave the viewer in a state of repulsion.

If you feel a sort of disorientation/dissociation from reality right now, it's because you've managed to retain your moral center in a society that is no longer capable of validating your morality. The 'death instinct' has now taken over America, so those of us who still believe in ideas like basic human decency are now strangers in a strange land.

You're now the viewer of degeneracy in a Pasolini film. :)

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Good morning MB & Wafers,

Still pretty hard down with this chest cold - thanks for all the diversions!

@James Allen - yup, blame the poor for all their ills - what a great system!

This in the NY Times book review today, about the corporate surveillance state - who needs the CIA & NSA when you've got Facebook and Google?


2:56 AM  
Anonymous Wilson said...

"The greatest mathematician and natural philosopher of her day stripped, flayed and dismembered. Not one of Christianity’s finest moments"


The Killing of Hypatia
A fight over all things visible and invisible, featuring practical magic, empire, and terrible men.

By Soraya Field Fiorio

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Ruby said...

ICE almost deported a U.S.-born Marine veteran, says ACLU

This place is bad

8:30 AM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

James Allen - I posted this a while back. The Sackler's are typical Amrikan hustler assholes, anything for $$$.

Richard Sackler is part of the family that owns Purdue Pharma, the company that is widely blamed for helping cause the opioid epidemic through its marketing of the opioid painkiller OxyContin. But now Sackler, who was previously the president of Purdue, is poised to profit from one of the solutions to the crisis.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous PJW2K said...

Jamie Wrate on Jordan Peterson>> He "demands that people think for themselves, while spoon-feeding them bad science, junk philosophy and neoliberal political ideology"

I learn Peterson is Canadian, when he always seemed so American ^^^ to me


8:51 AM  
Anonymous Professor Holmes said...


Jordan Prterson has announced a debate or series of debates with Slavoj Zizek

"Jordan Peterson Announces Debate with Slavoj Zizek" on YouTube

Might be the more interesting of his engagements. MB has recommended a small book on Hegel by Zizek in the past that my book club found quite illuminating, regardless of how belligerent he at other times portrays himself to be

11:54 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Dr. Berman, I remember you stating that the Stasi (East German secret police) spied on 1 out of 7 people in East Germany but here in the United States, our intelligence agencies spy on all of us. Well here is a presentation from 2017 by William Binney, former technical director for the NSA, on how the US intelligence agencies and other foreign intelligence agencies (who have adopted US techniques from our intelligence agencies)spy on us all. I especially this comment, "the NSA tracks them and the CIA wacks them".


12:13 PM  
Anonymous Small Brown Bat said...


Michael Cohen says he paid tech firm to rig online polls 'at the direction of' Trump
"I truly regret my blind loyalty to a man who doesn’t deserve it," Cohen said in a tweet.


I'm sure Clinton was up to the same shit. But who really knows -- maybe Trumpi was a big enough moron to get himself kicked out. The American World is pure theater. Someone once said in these posts that culture-less America never had its own true theater until it began w/ a bang at Watergate. But then the performance never stopped. It's been perpetually performing this theater at an always accelerating tempo, until it dies on the stage, and the lights go out.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

One had to have lived in LA in the 50's to know how great America truly was. Those were the
days when a youth could be corrupted by refugees from MAD magazine who created just two
issues of TRUMP magazine.


1:28 PM  
Anonymous Liv from exBethesda said...

Dear Wafers,
sorry for the loooong break but southern Spain is totally anti-technological. We still don't have internet in the house but enjoying the new life-style by being very social. After US life we were socially deprived.The life in Spain is complete opposite of the USA. The people really know how to enjoy life and their motto is "make enough money to survive and then enjoy life....."
My daughter loves it here. She goes to public school has Spanish, French and English. Kids play outside, nobody is glued to ipods and fones. Actually is disrespectful to bring your fone with you to social gathering. It is not a perfect life but those problems are existential or linguistic ....Life in Amrika was just one big mistake.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Janice Ableton said...

A great poet has departed. MB has referred to her poems one or two times on the blogosphere, as examples of a more beautiful life-affirming perspective than the American one. In fact, I think he posted her text on wild geese.


I've also learned the eccentric Australian modern poet Chris Mann departed a few mo.'s ago :-/

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Matthew PB said...


Bases, Bases, Everywhere … Except in the Pentagon’s Report


5:50 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...


There's a scene in Adam Mckay's movie The Big Short when, after cashing in on shorting the American economy, the startup kids from Boulder are laughing, high fivin', exubarance all `round. The character played by Brad Pitt severely disabuses them of their conquest. He lays on 'em the stats of who suffers and who will die b/c of the crash, 'just don't fucking dance,' he tells them.

MB, I get it, I do. 5% world population, 95% world fuckups/genetic detritus. But I just can't get behind cheering Trump's success. This shit is getting very real for me, I'm entirely exposed, housing, SNAP, disability (I have just been selected for a full medical review and there have been SSA rule changes), scary shit. What we have visited on the rest of the world is coming home to visit us. I read The Mandibles and do not believe it to be too far fetched, imho this shutdown is either the beginning of something huge, or a dress rehersal for when it comes, either way the poor will b the first to suffer the most, shit doesnt roll uphill. Postpone celebration until Bezos, Gates, and Buffett go down.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

@Dr. B-Thanks for that analysis of the Graeber-Wengrow essay.
@Wilson - Fascinating story.

I’m reading “A Short History of Progress” by Ronald Wright and this passage near the end of the book stuck out to me.

“Hope drives us to invent new fixes for old messes. Hope elects the politician with the biggest empty promise; and as any stockbroker or lottery seller knows, most of us will take a slim hope over prudent and predictable frugality. Hope, like greed, fuels the engine of capitalism.”

The only thing that will give me hope is further evidence that America has become a failed state.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Ruby--I think that Marine just learned an important life lesson: that maybe he has more in common with the innocent civilians he was sent out to slaughter than he does with the scum who sent him out to do it.

@James A/George C--the really maddening part is how the Sacklers' evil was so unnecessary. Their company developed a medication that, while highly addictive, is also highly effective (I've been successfully taking it for several years to help control crippling nerve pain resulting from chemotherapy-induced neuropathy). Had they been up front with doctors and the public about the risks so as to allow for careful usage and minimize the possibility of ruinous addiction, it would have been a huge benefit to society. But no, that strategy wasn't profitable enough. Instead, let's deliberately get people addicted and then demonize THEM for their own addiction. Even more maddening is that no one has yet been prosecuted for killing tens of thousands of people and ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands more.

And speaking of the medical profession, this is my headline of the year so far:
Man self-injected own semen to 'treat' back pain. "It was then the man disclosed that he had intravenously injected his own semen in an attempt to treat his back pain. The IMJ report said he devised the 'cure' independent of any medical advice."

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

"It’s Official: Wall Street Topped $100 Billion in Profit"
^ Hurray! As the poor in the U.S. would say, "they worked hard to deserve it!"

"Gillette faces backlash and boycott over '#MeToo advert'"
^ Apparently being respectful to women is an assault on one's masculinity.

"Porn viewership spikes in DC during government shutdown"
^ What else are they going to do? Read? Participate on this blog? Organize and protest?

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Thomas said...

MB, I met a woman tonight (and this story is common), that she feels her life has no meaning, that her family doesn't have morals, and she just doesn't have motivation for improving her own life. Her life is completely full of trivia and noise. What can you tell someone to inspire them and to help snap them and their family out of it? Do people have to come to realizations on their own, or do you have something you can tell them?

This woman isn't the usual person who is on her cell phone and rude, she seems sad that the people around her are idiots, but she doesn't seem to see the meaning in life and she seems sad. I wish I had something to say that could motivate her, like if there were a certain thing that could cause people to have an epiphany.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Death-from-a-thousand-cuts department:

"Doctors end up spending about 45 minutes per patient visit on tasks like “inputting data codes for the visit,” Nazario says, leaving little face-to-face time with patients."


4:05 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-San said...

Alas Dr Berman some bad news for you. Aeromexico has come up with an ingenious marketing plan to lure Americans to the United States.

The actual ad is ingenious and funny.


10:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's not rocket science: Leave the country.


That is indeed a great loss. Mary Oliver is fabulous.


Great hearing from you, and abt how different Spain can be. America is for buffoons, esp. techno-buffoons. I do hope that b4 u left Bethesda, you rented a helicopter and peed on the place. An East Coast epicenter of turkeys.


You shd read up on Binney; courageous guy.


Also check out his bk on Lacan.


11:01 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

america was great b/c it was good (de Toqueville):


Aaron Thomas--your friend needs to leave permanently. Period. No ruminating, no vascillating, no mental mastrubations, or someday somedaze talk. IF you are in a toxic relationship, you leave. Period. No ruminations, rip off us therapies, or over analysis. Create a very specific plan, and leave.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Puss Killian said...

Wonderful essays, thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the cultural history (noting the problems Dr. B describes) and especially the article about Elizabeth Anderson. Also, the article on Jordan Peterson. I don't believe JP is ignoring logic or rationality, rather he has a narcissist's agenda. My opinion only, just have seen it too many times. When what N people say often has no basis in reality or seems out of character, this to me (right or wrong) signals an agenda.

From JHK's blog today: liminality. Explains why I have been feeling not lethargic but rather so overwhelmed I'm unable to act, rationally or otherwise. I will, however, get some job applications out today.

Anybody know anything about San Antonio, TX as a place to live and work?


1:11 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...


This startup company wants to put huge billboard ads in the sky.


2:29 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. and fellow Wafers:

Just read about a book published in 2017 by Cambridge University Press that might be of interest, esp. for fans of Dr. Berman's Consciousness trilogy: Daniel Chernilo's Debating Humanity: Towards a Philosophical Sociology. In our age of 'Post-Humanity,' we really need to revisit the question: what is human?

The Amazon blurb, at the following link, reads as follows:

"Debating Humanity explores sociological and philosophical efforts to delineate key features of humanity that identify us as members of the human species. After challenging the normative contradictions of contemporary posthumanism, this book goes back to the foundational debate on humanism between Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger in the 1940s and then re-assesses the implicit and explicit anthropological arguments put forward by seven leading postwar theorists: self-transcendence (Hannah Arendt), adaptation (Talcott Parsons), responsibility (Hans Jonas), language (Jürgen Habermas), strong evaluations (Charles Taylor), reflexivity (Margaret Archer) and reproduction of life (Luc Boltanski). Genuinely interdisciplinary and boldly argued, Daniel Chernilo has crafted a novel philosophical sociology that defends a universalistic principle of humanity as vital to any adequate understanding of social life."

-Northern Johnny

5:46 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

How fucking sad is it that during the furlough a lot of federal workers are discovering that they hate their spouses and kids? Shutdown has federal spouses out of work — and on each other’s nerves. "...for federal workers trapped in the void of the shutdown, there is no tomorrow. There is only one long today, with walls inching in around them and nothing to do but annoy the people they love most." I can attest that during each of the shutdowns I lived through, my wife and I spent our time pursuing our various hobbies and enjoyed ourselves immensely. It's almost as if the media is going out of its way to portray federal workers as spoiled, entitled douchebags. Which many are.

Meanwhile--Snowman road rage: Driver who attacked a giant snowman suffered 'instant karma.' "What they didn’t count on, is the massive stump in the center. Life is hard, but it’s much harder when you’re stupid"

Not sure who to blame here: Man Arrested for Using Civil War Cannon in Neighbor Dispute. "Brian Malta was so outraged by the conduct of one of his neighbors that he took out his replica Civil War cannon and fired it across his fence for eight days. The cannon was loaded with powder and wadding, so it was technically no more dangerous than a bird-scaring device. However, the discharge could be heard for miles around, so eventually Malta was arrested and charged."

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Cormorant said...

I just watched a film about Confucius, made in China, with themMovie star Chow Yun Fat in the titular role. It was very good. It was large scale, sweeping epic on the life of the great philosopher, and portrayed key events in his life along with the clash between political and material conditions of his time and his ideals in an intelligent and symapthetic manner. It got me thinking: Could you imagine Hollywood producing a well funded, quality film on the life of Socrates, Plato or Aristotle? Maybe if superheros could somehow be dropped into the plot. But even if it was made, who would go and watch it?

And there we have the difference between a people who have an idea of where they come from and what their values are, who see themselves in a historical context, and a people who's primary use of culture is to provide constant stimuli to keep themselves distracted. And while The US system is literally shut down, China is landing satellites on the dark side of the moon.

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pussyhats are back!


11:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Apparently a lot of these hats are antisemitic; or so I heard.


Clearly China is the future, not us. Someone on this blog went to see the film abt MLK, some time ago, which was playing in a Cineplex across of "Sniper." He sat in the theater with abt 5 other people; Sniper, on the other hand, was mobbed. Americans are douche bags, end of story. They are frivolous, shallow, gullible, stupid people.


"NPR quietly informed me" does not constitute evidence, or a legitimate reference. I ask you once again to follow the guide rules of this blog. Otherwise: you'll get the axe! And you don't want the axe, believe me. It's the worst fate that can befall anyone on the planet.


I'm familiar with San Antonio, at least from the 90s. You won't like it.


12:34 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Stumbled upon this while looking at the guy driving into the stump-filled snowman-


Apparently, kids from an all-boys Catholic school from the "heartland" were in DC to protest abortion and ended up acting rude toward Native Americans near the Lincoln Memorial. How ironic.

These videos seem to corroborate the kids' alleged behavior-



1:00 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

"They are frivolous, shallow, gullible, stupid people" - might also add swimming in an ocean of blood w/o the slightest curiosity of what their govt does or has done in their name. When Soviet Union cratered all their misdeeds were on world stage. Now it's our turn and what imbeciles we are - dripping in oil, obese, diabetic, thoughtless, cruel, and spiritually bankrupt. When I think of who replaced the natives killed I get nauseous. I'm reading the book on the Hebrew prophets, they were consumed with fierce rage at what the people were doing but could still hold compassion and sorrow. I prefer to hold compassion - as for me I'm just a dorky suburban mall rat who hasn't gone hungry or not been sheltered one day in my life. I don't know how to suffer but one thing I do know I'd rather b on the right side of history, on the side of the vanquished than the conquerers. I am where Jesus wld b, I take great comfort in that.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

MB please allow an indulgence on 24 hr rule I meant to add this quote:
"I did not sit in the company of merrymakers,
Nor did I rejoice,
I sat alone, because Thy hand was upon me,
For Thou hadst filled me with indignation.
-Jeremiah 15-17
(apologies for breaking rule)

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Vic Bold said...

Rather than trying to find a link to even more well-known sad news about prezzz D, I'll
send an item about Poe, who will NOT soon be indicted as a co-conspirator.


2:49 PM  
Anonymous Techno Shit Report said...

George Monbiot:
"Very useful analysis here. The urban skyscraper model of Vertical Farming promoted by certain tech-utopians is great for growing skunk. And not much else"

Spotlight on urban, vertical and indoor agriculture


3:58 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

Deja Vu strip club offering jobs to furloughed government employees



4:46 PM  
Anonymous Melissa said...




5:23 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

I am quite supportive of the women's march, though unfortunately nothing much will change because the relentless killing-machine "logic" of postmodern capitalism is almost unstoppable. Most of human civilization (such as it was) has already been reduced to rubble by its relentless momentum

Western civilization (in particular) is based on a profound hostility to the Feminine Principle. One of the best scholars of this all-encompassing hostility is Susan Griffin www.susangriffin.com I first came across her work in early eighties via her books Woman and Nature, and A Chorus of the Stones.

This website puts the situation in a world-wide perspective: www.onebillionrising.org

7:05 PM  
Blogger Janet D said...

I just discovered your blog this week & have read for far too many hours. I finally feel that I have found "my people"! I just ordered 6 of your books, Dr B, and got 3 yesterday (already finished 1)!

I've bounced around the Collapse sphere. I've read a lot of Derrick Jensen, watched a documentary of John Trudell's life - life-changing for me, my first intro to a different story of America (it's on YT for free, FYI), read/follow Paul Kingsnorth/Dark Mountain Project, and a couple of popular bloggers. You're the most balanced by far.

Just thought I'd introduce myself.


8:43 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Drug overdose deaths skyrocket among American women. From 1999 to 2017 the drug overdose death rate among American women 30 to 64 years old climbed more than 260 percent.


6:47 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

MB & Wafers,

Comment on Wllm Binney and Consortium News - Binney was the NSA Tech Director, knew all the secrets, and was not happy about the rise of the surveillance state. Tried to go through official channels with his concerns and was blown off - not surprising. He truly was courageous to go public. He and other retired intel folks banded together as "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity" (VIPS), and they routinely try to educate folks as to what's going on behind the curtain. But of course they get virtually no press. Still, courageous folks, I take my hat off to them.

Meanwhile - did you see this double book review from the LA Review of Books: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-work-of-historical-witness-jozef-czapskis-lost-time-and-inhuman-land/#!

This Polish painter/writer ended up in a Soviet POW camp in WWII. To keep themselves sane, the inmates organized lectures for each other, and Czapskis chose to lecture on Proust's "In Search of Lost Time". The first book contains his lecture notes, the second on how he deals with imprisonment, and his search to learn the fate of his lost colleagues.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Many thanks for sharing that Kunstler article on Liminality. It was very on point and interesting. MB, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about it. Also, is René Girard someone you recommend to read?

p.s. I think it's been recommended here before, but Wind River is a great movie


8:04 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

Jason Tietz, 48, arrested for pulling his pud in public (PPP):



ps: This also could work: Tietz bietz his mietz (TBM).

12:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In current political context, PPP might be seen as a revolutionary act.


Welcome to the blog, the most spiritually evolved blog in the universe. We look forward to yr participation. Meanwhile, enjoy the bks.


Many rave abt Girard, including a friend of mine who lectures on the comparison between his work and mine. I cd never get into him: too much sweeping generalization sans hard evidence. Plus, I doubt that civilization boils down to sacrifice.


Laquisha Jones alert: she will be sentenced in Feb. No further info on Penny Snooks (a hero of mine).


1:34 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

America gets more like the Soviet Union every day. Rapidly aging apparatchik Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who is unable to drag her tired old carcass into the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments, is instead going to try to convince people that she hasn't turned into zombie justice by doing a cameo for the new Legos movie: This is getting really sad. Maybe she should have stepped down 5 years ago instead of awaiting the coronation of her good buddy, Ol' Botoxface.

Meanwhile, Jacobin absolutely nails why the progs are such douchebags: Can I Talk to a Manager? Liberals believe in a society ordered like a restaurant: some eat, some serve, and there is a manager to keep it all going. “Speaking to the manager” is a sort of tyrannical helplessness; it is the haughty demand for intercession on one’s behalf by an array of greater forces you assume are servile. It is worded like a demand, but it is in fact a plea. It relies on a deeply held belief that society has been ordered for your benefit, because you bought it. And by repeatedly reminding those in charge that society is not entirely to your liking, a number of dutiful institutions or solicitous political Jeeveses will course correct and bring things “back to normal.”

7:17 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola Wafers,

@PK - MB is correct.

I just got back, almost home, from a 2-week homage to Texas to testify at the funeral service of my youngest brother. I could write reams about it, but there is little to say other than that Houston, San Antonio et al are not worth consideration as places to live...Texas, period. The best thing about all of it was some decent guitar and viola performance at the funeral service with a man and woman I've heard about from the deceased brother, but never met before.

Of course I was chatted up by a typical Texan, recently ex of Dallas, at the hotel counter in Colorado Springs, proclaiming trumpi as the greatest. Noting that her hubby was not happy to have relocated to "a blue state". Stupid me - I told her she was a fucking moron, in no uncertain wording. I had to refuse her extended hand TWO TIMES. Excuse me... I'm the customer here, so hear me.

The next best thing was visiting the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock yesterday morning. A place I have visited before and which was not crowded in the least by tourists. It's the off season.

Rave On, Buddy! Not Fade Away!

8:21 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Shining City on a Hill


10:22 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...



10:55 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Hello Wafers,

Have been quiet for a while. While we discuss and celebrate decline of the Empire, here is an analysis of the happenings in France. How the Macron fraud is unfolding.


Can France show us way to another revolution? Where is the theoretical base needed for a conscious restructuring of society? But I am sure events are being watched from all over.

What are your views on this MB?


11:40 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Morris 'William Morris' Berman should appreciate this: http://breadprintandroses.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/thenewmaterialism_241112.pdf Tim Dunlop calls it 'tinstugi', making gold in the Japanese fashion .

2:21 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings Wafers everywhere, here are some news tidbits from Cascadia:

A woman and 3 kids are about to be evicted from her subsidized Seattle area apartment and returned to homelessness because her Section 8 voucher covers all but two dollars of the rent, and when she sent the landlord a money order for $2 the loadlord claims they didn’t receive it and immediately produced an eviction notice:


Meanwhile, here in Olympia, Hobbes lives. Are the domicileless hungry keeping the domiciled hungry away at the local food bank?? Business at the food bank in downtown Olympia reportedly has dropped since the city’s formal tent encompampment of the homeless was established nearby. Causation or correlation?


9:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Why are we not hearing from Reince Priebus at this crucial juncture in American history?


10:16 AM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

B/w Macron (the usa-er wannabe), Prince Reince, and Rom Mitt, What happened to John Kasich? He was always spewing that Horatio Alger bullshit to the dipshit usa-ers.

Back in the presidential "campaign", he told his worshippers that he only has coming with only the "shirt on his back." He Dad carried mail on his back, didn't grow up highflautin etc..etc...Played the Joe 6 Pack, regular schmo routine--variant of Eddie Bernays propaganda.

However, for those with a working brain stem, Mr. Kasich's net worth is ~>10-$15million (http://superbhub.com/entertainment/john-kasich-net-worth-ohio-governors-salary-westerville/) and he feels that the time is right for an independent billionaire to run for president. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chicagoinc/ct-john-kasich-0504-chicago-inc-20170503-story.html

So much for the Joe 6 Pack, "independent," po' boy done good, 'got ur back,' schtick.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Antonio said...

Horse fertilizer.

Headline: On eve of MLK Day, Pence says Trump is like Martin Luther King Jr. for ‘inspiring us’ with a border wall


1:30 PM  
Anonymous Stef said...

Man - sitting here reading my stories - I notice how funny it is i'm old enough to remember when The Washington Post reported journalism rather than virtue signaling opportunitistically in a response to fake news. Those were the days!

3:45 PM  
Anonymous George Carlin said...

Racist President : Trump tried to illegally withhold disaster relief money from Puerto Rico

and the racist party: House floor erupts after GOP lawmaker shouts 'Go back to Puerto Rico'

Of course the MAGA Hats follow their dear leader and party : Fuller Picture Emerges of Viral Video of Native American Man and Catholic Students. And as typical it is of right wing junk news media, they start accusing the Native American of lying about being a Vietnam Vet. Whether its true or not, they will do this as they did with Obama's birth certificate.

And I don't get it, there are still lots of people who will say things like , "This is not who we are", "America will do the right thing", "We will win over hatred and bigotry" ... Do these morons really believe this crap ?

5:53 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Everything Old is New Again Dept: Here is a letter from CIA to FBI investigating if MLK was a secret Russian spy.

Speaking of which, the FBI, the NRA and the Marine Corps sent out tweets today "honoring" MLK, which in my mind is even more disrespectful of the man's legacy than the two douchebag local newscasters who "accidentally" called him "Martin Luther Coon" on the air recently.

Not to mention that our glorious idiot mainstream media spent most of MLK weekend totally blowing a minor verbal altercation on the mall all out of proportion and trying to make a national pariah out off a high school kid for the "crime" of smirking https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/1087100286433402881 rather than, say, going out to struggling minority communities and doing some actual reporting on the horrible pervasiveness of poverty in America that hasn't changed since 1968 and is now getting worse.

And lastly, in reference to my post yesterday the new Ginsburg docu-drama sounds even worse than the new Legos Movie: "In On the Basis of Sex, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s problems evaporate almost as soon as they appear through the magic of cinema created by director Mimi Leder, who apparently wants to make sure no audience member feels anything but the tepid glow of constant affirmation." (The author, film critic Eileen Jones, is a treasure)

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Bruenig said...

Two married government workers who've had their pay withheld are surviving entirely on Soylent so they can afford to feed their 6-month-old daughter


Healthy civilization we've got here

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. B. and Fellow Wafers:

Greetings from Toronto.

I just finished watching the recent VICE documentary that features Jeremy Rifkin laying out his vision of a Third Industrial Revolution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX3M8Ka9vUA.

Rifkin offers a fascinating and mind expanding vision in it, one that in a certain reductionistic sense could provide a way forward for humanity and the planet.

Can we really hope for more/better than what he outlines, given the size of the human community and the enormity of the task and transitioning to a reasonably sustainable future?

One can perhaps think of what Rifkin lays out in this video as a kind of base structure for a survival future, on which and within which human beings would need to build a real culture.

But, give the video a try. You've be surprised, as I was, as just how thoughtful and thorough Rifkin's vision is.

-Northern Johnny

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Amacher said...

Re: Neurotic Beauty

release of new short doc from Japan online: Mountain Monks - The Yamabushi in Yamagata practice a once forbidden ancient religion https://vimeo.com/311714692

filmed in the snow cold! Beautiful scenery.

6:32 AM  
Anonymous Hawkins said...

MB, I was reading that you spent some time living/ studying/ teaching in the UK. Was curious if you have any opinion on our Brexit. I was wondering myself if it was in line w/ your predictions about decline in America?

Thanks for your time

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Maybelle said...

Ursula K. Le Guin passed away one year ago today, but she continues to inspire us with her fantasy, poetry, science fiction, and essays. https://massivesci.com/articles/ursula-k-le-guin-science-fiction-hero-inspiration/

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Katherine said...


How Thatcherism produced CorbynismNearly 30 years after Thatcher fell, Britain risks becoming ungovernable

.... John Gray has a new article up on Unherd which tackles Corbyn and Thatcher ....

10:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


See my Japan bk for discussion of "The Telling."


Brexit, Schmexit. I'm getting so tired of endless discussions of the topic, while nothing happens in the real world. My only comment at this pt is along the lines of shit or get off the pot.




10:44 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Question for older Wafers:

Do any of you have any memories of particularly good radio plays/dramas/serial narratives? Was there ever a time when they were part of the popular culture here? The only name I can think of is Orson Welles, and he was run out of town because the turkeys couldn't distinguish drama from reality!

I ask because I now only listen to British and German radio, and you can find narrated Chekov plays in the BBC archives. German radio has some very good radio narratives- mainly aimed at kids, but I'm not a native speaker, so that's fine with me.

It's absolutely criminal what Americans have done with the medium. Radio should be the domain of higher-order entertainment, made and produced for people who are not picture reliant and enjoy the art and craft of words. In Idiotville you can listen to the dry, gutless wonders of NPR, fascist populism as 'entertainment', and 'music' (really car dealership ads).

11:06 AM  
Blogger flanagle said...

Noticed two very minor news items in the last few days or is it daze?
First:"George W. Bush delivers pizzas to Secret Service detail, makes rare political statement"-(Good Morning America, January 19)
Looks like Shrub finally found his calling if fifty years too late. My back-of-the-envelope calculation comes out to more or less 187,344 pizzas he could have delivered during that time span which I like to think may have spared the world many times that number of war crimes. But then again, the Empire probably would have just got somebody else.

Secondly: "Rudy Giuliani's afraid lying for Trump 'will be on my gravestone'"-HuffPost January 22.
Here is my modest effort for Rudy's legacy: Here lies Rudy
Dead as a Nail
Died lyin' for Trumpi
Yet Trumpi went to Jail

I must confess I was sorely tempted to add 'Burma Shave'as the last line but I fear the younger WAFers among us would have no clue about this forgotten and quirky link to our vanished landscape.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Another racedontfuckinmatter pic (sorry MLK)


11:24 AM  
Blogger Tim2 said...

The irony..so little has changed

12:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


War criminals all of them, color or gender be damned.


Reagan went on to win the greatest landslide in American history (in terms of electoral votes). He screwed the poor and the middle class. Today, when Americans are asked who is their favorite president, Ronnie often comes out No. 1. Meanwhile, today's Dems have no interest in Teddy's advice (see my essay on Trumpi's victory, in AWTY).


6:24 PM  
Blogger s.lepore said...

Jesus Claws.
I believe in Jesus Claws
Make way for the American.
The glitter God shroud is
Over this plastic crowd
Be them Republicrat or Democan.
Did it begin in the 80’s with those
700 Club crazies, Zappa warned us all about
Now blossoming into a billion gentrified daisies?
Make way for the American.
Giving thanks to the Sumerian.
Who gave us fulltime priests,
Domesticated animal feasts
And a scapegoat lizard to drop
All our sins upon.
When the mystics all died because of religion,
And religion is really politics in disguise.
We continue celebrating this century of selfish sin
Never able to pacify the tormented little bastard
Bleeding within.
I believe in Jesus Claws,
in that brand stretching far and wide.
Make no mistake your land is ours to take
Conscripted by the Invisible Hand.
The wealth must reign on high from above
To trickle down below, cuz, don’t you know?
God’s dandruff is Christmas time snow…

3:57 PM  
Blogger s.lepore said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:02 PM  

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