September 07, 2019


One of the most iconic American films is Shane, starring Alan Ladd, which came out in 1953. I remember seeing it around that time, or maybe shortly after, although I cannot now recall what I thought of it at my tender age. Oddly enough, I ran across a copy of the book on which it is based in a cafe in Mexico City a few days ago, and read the text for the first time. I don't know how faithfully the film follows the novel--66 years later it's hard for me to remember much of the details--but I think the basic narrative is the same: a quiet, rugged, handsome cowboy comes into town, rids it of the bad guys, and then rides off into the sunset.

I call the story "iconic" because it seems to encapsulate key elements of the American value system. First, the basic plot line--the story of America, as it were: Good Conquers Evil. There is no complexity here, no character development; most of the dramatis personae are cardboard figures, and indeed, the tale is told from the viewpoint of a young boy.

Second, Shane is the ultimate loner. Nothing is revealed of his past, and nothing is said about who he actually is. He is self-contained and silent: the rock. He comes out of nowhere, does what he has to do, and then disappears into nowhere. He has no family or community ties, and doesn't really want any. He offers support to the boy's parents, but he himself depends on no one. He is described in almost animal terms: alert, powerful, always ready for action. Shane represents the radical individualism of the American West, the ultimate self-made man.

Third, no one in the story has any intellectual interests whatsoever. No one reads, no one owns a book, and no one has any interest in the world around them beyond their immediate physical environment.

What the narrative tells the American reader or filmgoer is that this is what a true hero consists of. The boy is starstruck by Shane; he wants to grow up to be just like him. I imagine films with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood have had a similar impact on the American psyche. But exactly what is it that is being idealized? Shane might as well have landed from the moon. He is a one-dimensional character, bereft of all human ties. His horse and his gun are apparently the only serious attachments in his life. He's a kind of atom, floating in interstellar space--an ideal millions of Americans aspire to. From inside the narrative, Shaneworld is dignified, heroic (and very masculine). Looking at if from the outside, however, it comes off as a species of insanity--alienation taken to its logical conclusion.

Joe Bageant used to say that Americans lived in a kind of hologram. I have, on a number of occasions, likened American life to a sphere lined with mirrors, such that American values are constantly reflected back, and where no light (or air) from the outside ever gets in. Shaneworld is very much like that, and in the end it can only suffocate, and implode (which is what is going on today). For this America--our America--is a mythological construct, and very few of its citizens manage to get beyond the myth, which is essentially a form of (very successful) indoctrination. Shane is probably the myth in its purest form.

"Don't go, Shane, don't go!" the boy cries at the end of the film. But Shane goes. He has, in effect, been apotheosized as a god. To stay, after all, would have been human.

(c)Morris Berman, 2019


Blogger Pulverized Concepts said...

It's just a book or movie. Most living Americans have never seen or read it and couldn't explain it if they had. Of course it does have some relevance to America in that it takes place there but really not any more than any other American fable, say "The Wizard of Oz" or "Tom Sawyer" or a really seminal piece of literature, Melville's "The Confidence Man".

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Artemus Gordon said...

Nice observations about Shane. I worked at a video rental store in my mid 20s when I went back to college to try getting away from crappy jobs (afterwards I discovered most all jobs are pretty crappy, it's just a matter of degree). Anywy, I saw Shane at that time as well as many other westerns and various movies.

I'd like to add another American western movie standard I noticed beyond the lone stranger who comes and goes remaining unknown to those he encounters. The character is the loner who shows up in a town and has enthusiastic, loyal friends from the past. The past is only light touched upon as needed. Once defeating the bad guys, for which there is no gray area as to who is good and bad, the loner goes back to being a loner who apparently moves on to the next town of loyal friends troubled by bad guys. They are part of a community for mere moments, then move on without really being part of a community

Movies along this line include:

Rio Bravo
El Dorado (these two essentially are the same movie, but I still like Dean Martin's character in Rio Bravo)

Smokey and the Bandit: Burt Reynolds as the Bandit was the loveable passer-thru.

The Blacklist: James Spader as Raymond Reddington has loyal, connected friends in every neighborhood of every town around the globe.

There are more, but I don't want to go over 1/2 a page.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Alan Ladd was very self-conscious about his shortness. Elevated heels would help, but easier was to have taller actors walk next to him while they were in a trench. Can you imagine
such a sight in the movie! What does this mean for a true 'mur'kan, tall, virile,
patriotic, and a killer? The only trustworthy movies about 'mur'ka were the ones written
by blacklisted Jewish reds.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous CWell said...

Just went to a pow wow today – the contrast between the collectivist Native American culture clashing with the individualist culture of Shane is stark – even now. Once my Native American supervisor and I were looking at a social skills curriculum for children and found that the Native American kids in our community scored low on the assessment because they were not competitive and individualistic enough – not wanting to dominate others and win was labelled as unhealthy or defective - so we threw out that program and made our own!

The kind of cultural appropriation I despise is when I see white people running “vision quests” and sweat lodge ceremonies – and charging for it. As if genocide wasn’t enough, now they want to loot the culture for profit - and sometimes kill the customers in the process!

3:18 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Albert Narvaez, 28, douses prosecutor w/urine during his own murder trial:

I tell ya, there's nothing like a gd urine soak!


8:36 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Did anyone notice Canadian Bianca Andreescu saying "sorry" to Serena for beating her in the final of the US Open?

That's our girl (although I've never watched tennis before this week).

8:43 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Shane is the myth, Blood Meridian by Cormac Mccarty the reality (imho). I'm not a great reader, not even sure how much I retain, but I had a visceral reaction reading that book. The brutal gutter violence left an impression on me that I've never forgotten and remember thinking at the time "this is probably how it was."

Any Elton John fans the bio-opera Rocketman is worth the price of admission. Taron Edgerton is Captain Fantastic.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@MB--here is a video of the real Bill Hicks using the famous Jack Palance scene from "Shane" as a metaphor for arming Saddam Hussein before the first Gulf War. "Pick up the gun."

Once again, a notorious example of how every institution in America is thoroughly corrupt and needs to be raised to the ground has come to light as the MIT Media Lab has been caught taking millions from Jeffrey Epstein after he became a convicted pedophile and deliberately covering it up: "The that the lab was aware of Epstein’s history—in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution—and of his disqualified status as a donor. They also show that...lab employees took numerous steps to keep Epstein’s name from being associated with the donations he made or solicited." Even every dumbass prog's favorite billionaire was involved: "In October, 2014, the Media Lab received a two-million-dollar donation from Bill Gates; Ito wrote in an internal e-mail, 'This is a $2M gift from Bill Gates directed by Jeffrey Epstein.' Cohen replied, 'For gift recording purposes, we will not be mentioning Jeffrey’s name as the impetus for this gift'.”

And lastly: 18-year-old accidentally shot by mother after returning from college. Actual advice from the PO-lice: "Chief Norman said he tried to think of what advice to give in such a difficult case, 'If you realize someone has a gun for protection, and they're not expecting you -- announce yourself when you enter the home, or even if you're getting up to get a drink of water in the middle of the night, just announce yourself'." Hey, MOM, it's just ME getting a drink. Put the gun down please. Fucking insanity.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

Great missive on Shane. I barely remember the movie, but I think you've captured the essence of the American personality.

On that note, and on how obnoxious and hubristic the US is in world affairs, I offer the following from the Saker in

With this from the last part: "Thanks to the ceaseless efforts of Obama and Trump the Empire is collapsing even faster than it normally would..."

Can't happen fast enough.

2:54 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

It is interesting that Americans love solitary heroes like Shane but also love shows about people spending time with family and friends. I was never a big fan but apparently the TV show Friends is still very popular, especially with young people, and not just in the United States but globally.

I think people crave deeper connections with others but these are becoming harder to obtain due to technological changes like the advent of smartphones. That Friends was created by Americans is interesting because even in the 1990s social life in the United States had already declined significantly. This decline was also likely due to technology, specifically television. Jean Twenge pointed this out in a FAQ response to the common argument that “things were always like this.”

It amazes me that so many people refuse to believe that change happens and that sometimes it is not for the better. People don’t like the idea that the system they are living under is in decline and could possibly collapse. They want to believe that the system is eternal. This is especially true of Americans. I imagine that the Romans must have felt the same way about their empire. I guess decline is too depressing to think about but I think living in reality is better than just pretending that everything is fine.

3:54 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

As Bowie put it in 'I'm Afraid of Americans'

No one needs anyone
They don't even just pretend

Fun video for the song, the level of violence behind every scene-

Trump is in this tradition of Shane. Except for his addiction to celebrity adoration (of him by others). So he will never ride off into the sunset after his work is done. The US can't even get this part of its mythology right any more. As with everything these days, what is tragic in something like Shane is now farcical in something like Trump.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

We're "poised to bounce back!"-


8:08 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Worse than Shane is the movie Will Penny in which a 50 year old cowhand has a chance to settle down with a beautiful woman (Joan Hackett) and a boy who loves him like a father. Instead, he leaves them to continue as a cowhand. He has lines such as "It's too late for me", "I wish you luck", "I'm too old to have a family". He also says, "What would I do if I broke my hand?" Joan replies, "Love us. Isn't that what love is for?" He not only leaves but leaves them to handle a brutal winter alone in the wilderness. Oh, he tells a sidekick to give them the $50 he is owed; how typical to think money can take the place of love. The boy is so heartbroken he can't even manage to wave goodbye to Will. Comments say how touching the scene is. Better to say how insane the scene is.

8:12 AM  
Blogger dharmahum said...

glad despite all the gloomies seen in the rain
america is still your "we"
in our us

9:01 AM  
Anonymous PJ Reece said...

Who is the real hero of "Shane"? Would it not be the boy, whose p.o.v. the story is told from? And does he turn out to be heroic in any way. I'll have to revisit Shane and see for myself. I've actually been thinking about the short novel lately. I have a copy buried in my crawl space. Thanks for bringing this up. Cheers.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Pilgrim said...

@Bill Hicks...

>> ...he sounds like a typical clueless Hollywood asshole <<

Except that Hollywood's not a monolith. Shannon was born and raised in Lexington, KY; flyover country. He's like many, many actors and professionals who have flocked to Hollywood from Middle America.

I have sympathy for the aggrieved (and liberals had a hand in this mess). Some of these folks want to "burn down the house" in order to build something better for everyone - but many do not; they're after something sinister.

In spite of the decay in the system, their numbers still offer them some democratic possibilities to address their situation. But they have surrounded themselves in a toxic narrative that tells them that organizing and protest are unmanly and feminine; that's for bed-wettin' liberals. That wouldn't be Shane-like. They have a contempt for learning and education, so they're unable to creatively handle nuance. Without being able to handle nuance, they have no agency. With no agency, they seek a powerful Daddy figure. Paraphrasing Eric Hoffer: "there is no hope for the impotent in the actual and the possible". It's becoming clearer every day that democracy is not what these folks want.
We've seen this before. We know where it's headed.

As for the "blue dildo" vs. the "red dildo" thing, to me it's a false equivalency - by an order of many magnitudes. I can't equate the progs with the folks I describe above.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Reich is a dunce, a middle-of-the-road Democrat. He never has anything new or surprising to say.


"Friends" was and is wildly popular, because people could vicariously experience the friendship and community that was lacking in their lives.

red pill-

A bit over the half-pg limit. Pls compress and re-send. Thank you.


Who gives a shit who Meghan was cheering for? This is news? Then I pee on her shoes!


I guess he thought it would help his cause...


Yr way off base, amigo, but I'll leave it to other Wafers to set you straight.


2:08 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

Morris! (@mb) The plaintive words at the beginning of your last paragraph are a coda for America on its deathbed. It's as if the starstruck boy (and one of the worst actors in Hollywood history) has grown up and is begging the U.S. of A. not to die. That cry, "Don't go, Shane, don't go" is so patently pathetic it's unforgettable—and has stayed with me ever since I saw Shane in a UCLA screenwriting class taught by a Wisconsin cowboy with five divorces.

2:14 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Isn’t that what bowling balls are for? To smash peoples heads? What he should have used was a sledge hammer...maybe next time.

Man smashed in head with bowling ball fighting for his life, suspect still on the run

3:01 PM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

Apropos (American psyche by way of Hollywood), I came across this review for Lana Del Rey's Norman Fucking Rockwell (2019, Polydor/Interscope):

Lana Del Rey's Obituary for America

Lana Del Rey (aka Elizabeth Woolridge Grant) may have been mentioned here before--I don't know how into popular culture the blog is (I'm pretty disconnected myself). But when I saw that headline, I wondered if this is another case where artistic endeavors speak to forbidden subjects (e.g. American decline).

The Atlantic review is mentioned in another article by NPR critic Ann Powers (for the record, Ms. Del Rey hated this review):

Lana Del Rey Lives in America's Messy Subconscious

"...NFR! is Del Rey's revenge against those who would misinterpret her, a fully realized...album offering a critique of 21st-century 'obituary for America' that still extends some hope that [it] can be redeemed."

Yeah, lots of luck with that.

The ambition of the record--clocking in at just under 70:00, this is double-album territory--makes me curious. I'd be interested to hear from other Wafers about this or other pop culture that reflects the zeitgeist (overused word, I know).

3:15 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Some films come close to expressing just how foul the rank soul of America is, but I find that most of them end up pulling their punches.

Some films get it absolutely right.

'Killing Them Softly' has the single most powerful 2 minutes of critique of America I've ever seen. Everything you need to know about how to survive in this spiteful, vile culture is contained within:

2 minutes of unvarnished truth.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Jonathan Franzen on the coming climate apocalypse:


4:34 PM  
Anonymous Democritus said...

Shane is certainly a classic tale about American exceptionalism—we seem to be the only people on the planet who believe in such an extreme form of individualism. Perhaps the best western I’ve seen that reflects American values is Michael Winner’s “Lawman”. Burt Lancaster is a small-town marshal who comes to a Texas town to bring back half a dozen or so miscreants who shot up his town weeks earlier and killed an old man. It turns out this Texas is a company town—the company being the local cattle baron, a man named Bronson (played brilliantly by Lee J. Cobb). The town’s sheriff (played by Robert Ryan in one of his last roles) happens to be an old acquaintance of Lancaster and he tells Lancaster plainly that neither the men nor Bronson will surrender. After all, Bronson’s rich and the town knows who puts food in their mouths so no one will help him. Lancaster, being high-minded and simple, doesn’t flinch; he apparently runs into this all the time. The rest of the movie comprises various attempts on Lancaster’s life, the good town folk refusing to help him, and Bronson’s crew debating how best to kill him (even though they know that the most they face is a fine for the old man’s death).

There are three very good scenes that encapsulate the American ethos. One occurs when Ryan and Lancaster talk about gunfighters and the utter stupidity of revenge. You get the sense that these two men understand quite well the trash culture they live in yet feel powerless to change it. Another occurs inside a saloon where Ryan expresses to Lancaster his disgust of the locals because they completely ignore Lancaster even though he is the one who is upholding the law. Ryan says that if Lancaster were a gunfighter, everyone would be buying him drinks. “They need you, but they hate you. They want you to enforce the law, but only so long as it doesn’t burn a hole in their pocket.” says Ryan. The third scene is a conversation between Bronson and his son Jason. Jason wants to kill Lancaster because what happened in another town is none of their concern(!) Bronson admits he wants no more killing, but just like Ryan and Lancaster, he seems unable, or unwilling, to make any sort of change. Lee J. Cobb does a terrific job portraying the tired, worried, yet determined Bronson who won’t be intimidated. Needless to say, the film ends in a big shootout, which only Lancaster survives. To me, the movie becomes more relevant each year as Americans scratch their heads trying to figure out why their society is dying, yet are unable to see what is in front of their eyes—just like Ryan, Lancaster, and Cobb.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the US Open final unfolds and the Spanish Bull takes down yet another prey to win his #19th Grand Slam.

Whereas not a lone cowboy, Nadal embodies the Gladiator of collapsing Rome entertaining the masses with sheer brutality on the tennis court. As Meghan Markle and Michael Douglas applaud in the stands watching the spectacle unfold, society implodes outside the arena.

Nadal is a great champion and an example of sportsmanship on and off the court, but the guy has ZERO charisma whatsoever and is full of nervous tics and unresolved issues. He is the embodiment of what it takes to "make it" in the modern world: bottle everything up and be as brutal and efficient as possible.


5:35 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Yeah,pulv, what I liked most about mark twain's books was their mississippi river setting.
Why don't you remove the circle and slash from your avater? Bozo was a great actor.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

More Trumpi's for decades. Enough to warm the cockles of every Wafers heart.

And if all the Trumpies aren't enough then there's always the limitations of we homo sapiens.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

When will somebody start a draft The Rock campaign isn't it time already? His stature is of an Egyptian Pharaoh he would rule over his people fairly but harshly, our benevolent dictator I say rise!

Another scientist appears to be headed your way MB, first realization then declinism.

12:03 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Idiot Legal Theory:

"My yelling fire in a crowded building didn't put any obligation on people to go stampeding towards the door."

I really don't know if it gets any worse than American lawyers. At least business types just want to rip people off. American lawyers want to rip people off while also destroying any basic sense of sanity that may still remain in the population. They want to get you to believe utter nonsense.

I think part of the problem is the myth of the efficacy of the law in general. The founders wanted to correct bad humanity with a legal structure (Constitution). In truth, the more a society depends on written laws the more likely its values are total bullshit.

Give dumb, aggressive, pathologically evasive people beautifully formulated laws and they will use them to explain how everything is actually *your fault* for assuming their liability.

12:22 AM  
Blogger Tim2 said...

Good day Dr M B and fellow Wafers

I dare say Clint Eastwood’s 4 Academy award effort
called ‘The Unforgiven’ might not be a bad and
more current version of Shane? It only
grossed over $100 million.

1:13 AM  
Blogger David said...

again spot on comments on the American psyche. Speaking of Eastwood didn't he graduate from the Mt Rushmore School of acting? The more I look into the American character the more I find that the Lone Ranger never left town and continues to live in the deepest recesses of the American mindset.

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

For anyone who is unfamiliar with it, I would like to give the highest recommendation for Jacques Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence." I read it around 17 years ago, and have recently begun listening to it on CD. (You can get the unabridged version on CD at Amazon for 15 dollars or so, and the narrator is pretty engaging.) At any rate, it is one of those truly rare and wonderful books that don't cross your path too often, and I think it will appeal very much to readers of this blog.

Barzun traces the West's decline from the high point of the Renaissance, down to the present day. Just about every page is packed full with brilliant observations and shrewd insights about the great figures of Western cultural life. Another thing that makes it such an intellectual feast, are the countless other books that it leads you to. Every few pages Barzun will say, "The book to read is", and then he points you to, say, a work on the Medieval artisan, the Gutenberg Revolution, or Milton's Satan (Just discovered this last book by by William Emson, and it looks quite fascinating.) Barzun's recommendations have already given me a several foot high stack for my "to read" pile!

Unlike Dr. Berman, Barzun focuses more on the West as a whole, and its gradual decline into decadence. But America certainly gets adequate attention. In any case, it complements quite nicely the various overarching themes that we discuss here. Incidentally, I'm astonished that Barzun completed the book when he was over 100 years old--an impressive achievement by any standard. Of course, whether Jacques could still have withstood the rigors of an Arctic copulation with Sarah Palin at that advanced age is perhaps doubtful. (Perhaps with Viagra and no meese watching? The meese can be distracting!) Still, what a man and what a book!

1:44 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

I watched this last night:

Excellent little docu on Hungarian Gypsies circa early 1970s, notice they are absolutely obligated by their social norms to share, no ifs ands or buts. They're horribly poor, living in the kind of wasteland it's supposed major war would leave us in.

Just now I watched the movie "Threads" about a theoretical atomic bomb attack on Britain, which is on archive dot org for now; it's rare to get to watch it. The assumption in Threads is humans, by which is meant British humans of course, will at the soonest opportunity become hyper-individualistic brutes.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Pilgrim--Just because Shannon was raised in KY doesn't mean that like so many in Hollywood he hasn't forgotten where he came from. It's right there in his own callous words: "I can't get a job." Yeah, because progs and Dems, led by Obama and the Clintons, abandoned the unions an enacted "free" trade policies that allowed tens of millions of good paying factory jobs to be shipped overseas only so their rich Wall Street buddies could get richer. I grew up in Middle America as well, but unlike asshole Shannon, I'm appalled by what the progs have done to my hometown, where the economy has been utterly destroyed and the only jobs left are prison guard, Walmart greeter and meth cook. I knew a lot of good people growing up--and many of them got utterly fucked starting with NAFTA.

As for your second paragraph--you're making an awful lot of assertions about people you don't even know. Ever talk to Trump supporters? I do on a regular basis, just like I talk to progs (have to, live in a prog stronghold). Not all are hardcore racist assholes. In fact most are just like the progs: greedy, materialistic, hustling douchebags who live in McMansions, drive big ass pick-em-up trucks and SUVs, frequently jet around the world on vacation, fret about which snooty college their pampered kids will get into, and all usually have a few token minority "friends" in their social circles. The difference between the two is that the Trumpies make no pretense about who they are, whereas the progs think their shit doesn't stink. It should be noted that data from the 2016 election has shown that Trump's strongest support came from well off Republican suburbanites, NOT rust belt down and outers.

And as for whether blue dildos or red dildos are worse, you're right it's a false equivalency: because whereas as both dildos will fuck you if you aren't rich and powerful, blue dildos like Obama and Hillary will whisper sweet nothings in your ear while doing it.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry to have confused you; I shd have put quotation marks around "our." Of course, America is "mine" by virtue of birthplace, but I have no spiritual or patriotic identification with it. Like virtually all the Wafers on this blog, I regard the US as a genocidal war machine run by a malignant plutocracy and cheered on by clueless morons. No way I can identify with any of *that*.

That being said, I do love the Brooklyn bridge. What can ya do?


10:34 AM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

MB and Wafers:
The many pathologies of empire ultimately coalesce into terminal illness. In this sketch, Bill Maher discusses just one of the many:

11:27 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Oy vey dept.:

Delusional quote dept.:

"It is about the capitalists running scared. They know the reigning ideology of neoliberalism no longer has any credibility. Its lies have been exposed. They know the ruling institutions, including the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, are dysfunctional and despised. They know the media, Wall Street and the big banks are distrusted and hated. They know the criminal justice system, which criminalizes poverty and legalizes corporate fraud, is a sham. They know social mobility is, in effect, nonexistent. And, most importantly, they know that the financial system, built on the scaffolding of trillions lent to them by the government at marginal interest rates, is not sustainable and will trigger another recession, if not a depression. They also know they are to blame."

~Chris Hedges, Sep 09, 2019

Can anyone/anything save Hedges at this point? Brain surgery performed by Ben Carson is the only corrective, as far as I can see.


ps: dear Shaneka:

Even after all these years
I miss you when your not here
I wish you were truly near, dear Shaneka

Even if it's just one night
I miss you and it don't feel right
I wish you were here tonight, dear Shaneka

Even if it's just an hour
I wilt like a fading flower
My luv 4 u will never sour, dear Shaneka

Even when I'm Miles at sea
Or sittin' in a New York Deli
Your spirit's watching over me, dear Shaneka

Even when I watch TV
A hole where yr supposed to be
There's nobody lying next to me, dear Shaneka

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Just when you thought American cruelty couldn't get any lower:

‘UVA has ruined us’: Health system sues thousands of patients, seizing paychecks and putting liens on homes

"Florida woman allegedly let dogs kill duckling, kicked mama duck trying to protect baby"

2:12 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Morris!!! You’re IN LUCK!!!!!

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Jansen said...

'Mindless growth': Robust scientific case for degrowth is stronger every day
Vast majority of new income from GDP growth goes straight to the very richest.

Degrowth in the Irish Times

4:19 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

MB: Your big chance approaches. Todd is out of the picture, Sarah Palin is now available, but no word about the status of the meese.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


My own feeling is that every American shd be out to hurt every other American, with any makeshift weapon at hand: bowling balls, frying pans, platters of chopped liver. Any American not out to hurt people isn't much of an American, as far as I'm concerned. I have also written the Mint, asking them to change the slogan on all legal tender: WE HURT PEOPLE.


WE HURT PEOPLE (and ducks). Face it, it's a very sick society.


A beautiful poem; I cried. But next time, pls put in separate post to observe half-pg rule, thanks. (I also urge you to do one for Lorenzo Riggins.) As for Hedges, poor shmuck: one hasta feel sorry for him, I suppose, but this kind of brain damage is actually consistent for him. I recall at the beginning of Occupy Wall St., he said similar things: the capitalists were looking at the demonstrators thru plate glass windows and were quaking in their boots. Yeah, fa sure. What the financiers were actually doing was laughing at the demonstrators, because they knew the difference between power--which they held--and theater, which is all the OWS folks cd come up with. His delusions remain fixed. Repeatedly on this blog, I've asked, What wd it take to wake this guy up? And the answer is obvious: it just can't be done. His stuff now borders on full-on dementia. The progs love it, tho.

Jack, jj-

I need help from you and other Wafers in composing a letter to Sarah. E.g.:

"Dear Sarah: You don't know me, but I understand you are now available. I don't wish to marry you, but I'd like to shag you silly on an ice floe, among the meese. Would that be of any interest? Pls let me know asap. ps: Do you happen to know Ed Meese?"


Oops! We have a half-pg limit on this blog. Suggest you compress by 50%, or send in 2 installments, 24 hrs apart. Thanks.


Compress by 1/3, re-send. Thanks.


Fabulous! Thank you.

A few quotes:

"The love of possessions is a disease with them."--Sitting Bull

"With an immense zest...they begin shopping...They plunge into it as one plunges into a career; as a class they talk, think and dream possessions."--H.G. Wells

"...the people got lost in a mechanical wilderness, like children making over pretty things, gadgets, helicopters, rockets; emphasizing the wrong items, emphasizing machines instea of how to run the machines....That way of life proved itself wrong and strangled itself with its own hands."--Ray Bradbury


6:40 PM  
Anonymous Robbie said...

"Wendell Berry’s essays serve as documents of the bewildering destruction in which our everyday lives involve us & as testaments to those qualities...that resist the destruction": a searching, brilliant essay on the work of Wendell Berry

7:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for the ref. I wanna thank everyone on this blog who takes the time to post refs and biblio. As someone pointed out, the blog has, over the yrs, become a rather large archive for great rdg material. So thanks to u all, and keep those citations coming!


7:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Thos Piketty has a new bk out, more than 1300 pages; as well as Elsa Ferrante. For those of you who haven't read her Neapolitan series (4 novels), now wd be a gd time to start.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Low-income Americans have significantly shorter lives compared to wealthy Americans according to a Government Accountability Office study. Granted the study was commissioned by Bernie Sanders, I don’t think the results will surprise too many people.

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

Taiwan report: Many Chinese -Taiwanese wearing USA-ian logos, t-shirts, brands, etc...Yet, multi-generational families engaged in eating, child care, teaching moments; much less idiot phone use than the US. Reading books about science and philosophy.

Symphony concerts sold out with many younger folks attending (10-30$) unlike the anemic geriatric concerts in the states with elitist rip off ticket prices.

Met some young Taiwanese police who asked why the US is so dangerous, violent, and everyone loves guns? We stated: B/c the US is the world's garbage collector and filled with idiots who enjoy being idiots. Not only do they not care, they do not care that they do not care.

5:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Source? We like evidence on this blog. Thanks.


8:25 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Millenial Realist--thank you for posting that horrific article about how the University of Virginia's health system is vastly overcharging patients and then using Virginia's draconian bill collection laws to file lawsuits that are driving people into homelessness and destitution. They even fucked over one of the own nurses, and seized her house right after she died fighting them. It should be noted that UVA is located in Charlottesville (where the infamous Nazi rally occurred). The place is about as deeply blue as any in the country--and went for Killary by about 85% of the vote. No doubt most of the health care professionals and administrators who are doing these things are good little Dems and progs, and certainly their has been no outcry from the students, the way there was when a few dozen Nazi losers came to town two years ago. Yep, the whole place is just one big ol' blue dildo aimed at the citizens of Virginia, unimpeded by the five blue dildos who run the state as governor, lt. gov, attorney general and both senators.

The UVA story plus this story about a powerful pedophilia ring in Omaha are just two more examples of how every American institution is thoroughly corrupt and needs to be destroyed. This ring appears not only to have had substantial political protection locally, but also in Washington that may have reached all the way up into the Reagan and Daddy Bush White Houses. Given how that latter evil old fuck couldn't help but grab every woman who came near him in his dotage, is there any real doubt that he was also, like Clinton, a big time sexual predator? The difference between this case as the Epstein saga is that the FBI apparently engineered the coverup and there is at least circumstantial evidence that witnesses have been murdered to keep them quiet. Red dildos, blue dildos--either way you get it in the end.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

The photographer Robert Frank died recently. For those who don't know his book 'The Americans,' you should. I know this blog is more literary and academic (and youtube idiotic behavior!), but the photo book is probably one of the best WAFer summations you can find. And shot in the mid-1950s. Racism, militarism, dumb empty gazes, cars going nowhere fast, drugs, flag-waving, Hollywood, advertising, sexism, he saw it all at its peak.

I often say that with climate change, we are simply at the 'fill in the blank' stage now. Arctic permafrost melting? 2017, check. Reefs bleaching, 2015 check. Climate refugees, 2010 check....

Franks's book is like that- it's all just filling in the blanks for the last 60 years. Do try to find a copy of the actual book, The Americans. He went on to do films and in many ways the isolated images lose much on their own. Like pulling sentences out of a well-crafted essay. Still, here is a video of someone flipping through the book to give you a sense.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous birney zouave said...

Dr. B-

Some interviews with people from "Pennsyltucky," along the I-81 corridor from the Mason-Dixon Line to near the Southern Tier of New York-

10:47 AM  
Blogger Pilgrim said...

Read my text.

1) >> ... Not all are hardcore racist assholes... <<

I agree; that's why I referred to a subgroup of Trump supporters...

Some of these folks want to "burn down the house" in order to build something better for everyone - but many do not; they're after something sinister.

2) >> ...because progs and Dems, led by Obama and the Clintons... <<

Uh huh. Again, read my text; I specifically alluded to this very issue...

I have sympathy for the aggrieved (and liberals

I'm in excellent company when I say that there's a deep strain of authoritarianism running among Trump's supporters. But at this point, I'm happy to let us agree to disagree.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

This from Andrew Bacevich, retired Army colonel, on how the US will likely repeat abandoning their Afghan allies as readily as they did their Vietnamese allies. This quote really gets close to the root of what Americans are about:

"Near the end of his famed novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald described two of his privileged characters, Tom and Daisy, as “careless people” who “smashed up things and creatures” and then “retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness” to “let other people clean up the mess they had made.” That description applies to the United States as a whole, especially when Americans tire of a misguided war. We are a careless people."

11:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sure, send me yr email (to, and if the 'librarian' shows up again, I'll ask her to do the same.


Not quite rt. 'Callous' is more like it.


3:36 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Another tragic story of food shortages:

And going full Orwellian, thugs are now referred to as "prospective diners" ! What's not to love?!

Sarah will have to change all the monograming on her towels but I'm sure she won't mind a bit. And you'll be the proud stepfather of 5 (or was it 6?) well educated, well behaved children and countless grandchildren. I wish you joy and really, you must promise to post a link to the wedding album on line.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Wexler said...

Judge Promoted by Trump Administration Threatened a 2-Year-Old With an Attack Dog
“Want me to go get the dog?” the judge yelled at a Guatemalan boy. “Do you want him to bite you?”

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Dominico said...

“True freedom lies in the free enjoyment of the earth”

Gerrard Winstanley died 343 years ago, on 10 September 1676.

He was one of the Diggers, who occupied and cultivated common land in Surrey in 1649 and called for an egalitarian society free of the chains of property, wealth and authority.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Movies like Shane surely contributed to the extreme individualism rampant in American culture today. What is it about a strong silent type that goes quietly into the night?

American decline continues dept:

Disney obsessed asshole banned from Disney:

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Matt S. said...

Dear Dr, Berman,

Thank you for an interesting analysis of Shane. Traditional American household items are guns and the bible. I suspect that the latter is kept in their house to disguise the fact that these people don't read or that they despise learning. They never understood what they read anyway. The ignorant and evil welding of faith and firepower has turned this country into a (white) jihadist nation, hopelessly addicted to violence. And I have no doubt that it will only get worse.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


One of my favorite bks:


Just look at that face. America needs more like her, imo.


Plus, Judge Couch is also my kinda guy. We need more of him too.


And, as you might have guessed, I'm on the side of the thugs. There can't be too many thugs, imo. Jeff: pls write a poem abt thugs. For example, that song from "South Pacific": "There is nothing like a thug..."

Disney buffoons, vicious judges, Popeye thugs...all raw material for the Great Hedgean Revolution. Get me a front row seat! Wahoo!


5:24 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Bill, Franklin cover-up: Supposedly Daddy Bush had “rent boys” at the White House.

Then there’s the Jimmy Savile case from GB: It’s worth noting that Savile was close to the British royal family. Being that no one can get within a mile of the royals without Special Branch knowing how many times a day they fart, it does make you wonder.

As far as Epstein is concerned, my take is that his job was to entrap and compromise the powerful for the intelligence services (Acosta: “I was told Epstein 'belonged to intelligence' and to leave it alone,” ...) so they could be blackmailed. It seems that the whole world is a cesspit.

On another note, here’s Paul Craig Roberts about 9/11 and Bldg. 7:

5:52 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Ode to Lorenzo:

Georgia moon was almost hidden
Stars were beginning to dwine
Lorenzo sat in his pick-up truck
Destination bovine

Chartreuse suit, paisley tie
Hands in his back pockets
Bette Davis style

Gimme 7 McDoubles
One chicken,
One fry
This bag's outta order
I've been shorted a cheeseburger

Frustration starvation
masturbation temptation
Ended up at the police station

Lorenzo's advice:
Check your bag
not once, but twice

6:06 PM  
Anonymous When Not In Rome said...

Six centuries ago in Bohemia, a dissenter army led by a one-eyed warrior waged war on the Holy Roman Empire. The story of the Taborites

6:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A great tribute to a great man. This is as gd as anything Keats ever wrote, or T.S. Eliot. (I smell hints of "The Wasteland" here.)

Lorenzo Riggins! It's all slim pickin's.

But then: what cd be worse than the firing of John Bolton? He is a horrible human being, just the type of person needed for a country going down the toilet. Bolti, there's so much damage you coulda done! The Waferhood will miss you.


6:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Brexit, Schmexit:

It suddenly occurred to me that the whole Brexit crap, which has been going on for several yrs now, is not going to end. It's impressive to see an entire nation endlessly beating off. The US is not beating off; rather, it's committing suicide. Which actually has some odd dignity to it, unlike masturbation; altho one wishes we wd just finish w/it, once and for all. But it wdn't surprise me if Brexit was on the front page of the British newspapers 5 yrs from now.


7:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, we're not into that kind of rabid anti-Semitism, updating of the "Protocols," etc. But there are thousands of anti-Semitic blogs out there, dripping with hatred, and I'm sure they'd welcome any contribution you'd care to make.


8:40 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

You know things are bad out there when something like this happens....

Head of mental health services at University of Pennsylvania dies by suicide...

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

Back in Italy for a week or so with friends from the US.

Found this in a retrospective of Margaret Bourke-White in the Atlantic. One of the pics (#4) is of African American flood victims lined up for food/water, underneath a huge billboard-sized sign that says: "WORLD'S HIGHEST STANDARD OF LIVING / THERE'S NO WAY LIKE THE AMERICAN WAY", with a picture showing a happy white US family driving along in their car, smiling away. The propaganda has been ubiquitous for decades. If you'd like to see it (and the other photos), here's the link:

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think you're wrong on Brexit. BoJo ain't no Theresa and he's going to see this thing through. He *did* say "I'd rather be dead in a ditch" than ask for a further report of Brexit after all...

Progs however, once the UK leaves on Oct 31st, will keep behaving hysterically for the next 5 years, scream for injustice, initiate lawsuit after lawsuit etc... No one is going to care though apart from Progs and I cannot wait to see the look on their faces once Brexit happens.


2:19 AM  
Anonymous Leah said...


Price of oil immediately dives.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Pilgrim--if liberals are so worthy of sympathy, why are all of their elected leaders such assholes and douchebags? Because liberal Americans are still AMERICANS. As for Shannon, I sincerely hope that a 9.9 quake strikes Hollywood and a giant hole opens and swallows up him and every other formerly Harvey Weinstein-worshipping Hollywood douchebag. If that happened, I would dance a jig and sing, "too bad, suckers, should have moved to Manitoba like you promised you would if Trump won." (Sorry, Canada)

Speaking of which: the liberal douchebaguette of the week award goes to wealthy Clinton buttgirl Neera Tanden, who retaliated against the staff of prog drivel outlet Think Progess after they agreed to unionize by firing everybody and shutting the fucking thing down. The best news is that now there will be fewer garbage hopium and We MUST essays floating around on the nets. Thanks, Neera, you vicious authoritarian liberal swine!

Happy "America Gets a Little Taste of Its Own Medicine" Day, everybody. Sober commentators are fond of saying that Osama Bin Laden "won" because of our reaction to 9/11. Give the man credit--he knew how brutish and utterly stupid his opponents were. I remember in the days that followed how nearly every idiot American said we now had to "unite" behind Bush and thinking: "god, we're fucked." When the little punk invaded Iraq while even many progs and Dums cheered him on, I was well on my way to true Waferdom.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Mario said...

"The Guardian forced me to read the new Malcolm Gladwell and I regret to say it did not spark joy"

Ugh made me wince

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Nigel said...

Why western liberals have long picked the wrong historical hero

Woo hoo Spinoza not Locke!

10:07 AM  
Blogger Pilgrim said...

Since we're talking about Western movies, folks here might enjoy a Baffler article on this topic. The earliest films are mentioned, including Shane, High Noon, Red River, etc, as well as Little Big Man and Blazing Saddles. Some interesting points...

- John Wayne and Howard Hawks, who were conservatives, hated the movie High Noon, which was created around the time of the Hollywood blacklist era during McCarthyism. So they created Rio Bravo as a rebuke.

- Thurgood Marshall, while he was travelling throughout the segregated South in the 30's and 40's fighting civil rights cases, loved to watch westerns - in spite of the fact that their protagonists were invariably white.

- The author mentions Support Your Local Sheriff several times (trailer, Bruce Dern). I've always loved James Garner's brains-over-brawn, "Zen-Okie brand of cagey nonchalance". I miss him.

"The great thing about classic westerns is the way they could empower each of us to believe that right could prevail over wrong."

10:32 AM  
Blogger Dellafella83 said...

Well hey, at least Shane didn’t murder thirty innocent people in a Walmart, cuz he sure sounds like the kind of person who might do that!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

With today being the anniversary of 9/11 perhaps a motivational message from
Waferdom would be apt. There's no end to such messages:

MB should include: (1)Do as you are told. (2)Do not question authority. (3)Work hard
to make money for the elite. (4)Trust in Our Lord. (5)Be patriotic in case you are
needed to die for your country to protect mur'kan lives and property overseas.
(6)Do not ask what they are doing overseas (see #2 above).

I recall when "W" won the second time that some wise man advised the three
g's: a getaway plan, gold, and a gun. MB should mention this.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Apologies if this is a repost but I read this and had to share. Incel anyone?

2:11 PM  
Blogger librarian@play said...

Wafers: Apologies for dropping out for a bit. A life change has kept me preoccupied.

I've seeded a Wafer bibliography, which you can find at Zotero is a flexible, feature-rich, open source bibliography manager that, with a little reading of their ample documentation, is reasonably simple to use. The bibliography is viewable by all but editable only by invitation, which I'll happily grant to any Wafer wanting to participate. You'll also have to register to edit.

Dr. B: If you're willing to act as a conduit for email connections, I'd be grateful. If not, we can figure something else out. Either way, I'd like to keep the biblio's business off the blog comments. I'll email you separately to introduce myself properly and answer any questions.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Rosegarden said...

Dan Daniel – thank you for the reference to Bitten by Kris Newby about ticks and biological warfare.

Miles Deli – not only was Fort Detrick involved with LSD and mind control, it was one of the sites for biological warfare.

Bill Hicks – USG is a threat to its citizens.

Pennsylvania has led the nation for Lyme disease for the past seven years. In 2015, I nearly died from Lyme. I spent a week in the hospital where I was diagnosed and prescribed over a month of IV antibiotics, a month in a skilled nursing home, and three weeks of at home care. My neurological version of Lye required physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy. I had to relearn how to walk and talk.

While I tested positive for Lyme, it’s important to know that the Lyme tests frequently produce false-positive and false-negative results. I dare not get bitten again, because my blood has the markers which will make the poor tests even more unreliable.

Did my government do this to me?

Kris Newby’s Navy pilot father warned her to “be careful this book doesn’t get you killed.”

4:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. I already wrote u abt contacting Tim Smith.


A bit too long.


Gladwell is pretty much a charlatan. His 'science' has been debunked by many genuine scholars. I don't have the refs rt now, but check out various reviews. His hip lectures pull in huge sums. More evidence of a collapsing culture.


Time will tell. I stand by my slogan: Brexit, Schmexit.


This is perfect, really, altho I do feel sorry for the guy.


5:27 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Shortened version- Saw Shane when I was about same age as little Joey. Identified with him more. From that perspective, many years later, I’ve come to these conclusions:
1. Joey admired Shane and wanted to be like him, because Shane took definitive action when threatened unlike his father who seemed like a coward.
2. Like Joey, I wanted Shane to stay. Shane had the “guts” to confront evil head on – like all true red-blooded American males.
Some other observations:
1. As MB mentions, the film creates a binary system in which the good guys win and the bad guys lose. Another interesting part of that is that the good guys on the sidelines (the father and other homesteaders) seem unable to save themselves, making them dependent on a mysterious force that appears unexpectantly from beyond to protect them against men in black.
That’s also true for the “Lawman”. The myth of salvation/liberation from outside is common in ancient religious literature as well – the Exodus, Yahweh the Liberator, Jesus.

2. “Shane” was shot in 1953 at the height of Red Scare and McCarthyism. Some reviewers interpret the main character as America’s best hope of protecting the world from Communism.

3. As in 1,000s of American films since, whatever problems the protagonists find themselves with can always be solved by violence. Violence in the service of revenge is America’s birthright.

5. Democratis. Thanks for reference to “Lawman”. another common theme in it and Shane and High Noon – towns people abandon the hero who is left to fight evil on his own.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous cyrillia juniper said...

@Megan: I'm with you on your fandom for Jacques Barzun and his "From Dawn to Decadence." Reading that book took me on a journey that led to Dr. Berman and this blog full of wonderfully well-read contributors.

@Wafers and MB: I'm re-reading Doris Lessing's "Shikasta", a romp through the history of the planet through the eyes of an envoy from Canopus. It must be the seventh time I've read it, mostly for the veiled historical references, but also for the trial of the "white man" toward the end of the book. Given the racial animosities of this era, I needed to see once again how she handled that issue. Come to think of it, the book also describes the main characters' involvement in a type of dual process where many of the destructive global forces are tweaked in a positive way by key individuals operating without the sanction or knowledge of the "authorities." Lessing was a flat-out prophet in her later years IMHO. So much of what she wrote about as fiction has come to pass. See also The Four-Gated City, Memoirs of A Survivor, and Briefing for a Descent Into Hell (mentioned here before).

6:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If you just aim for 1/4 of a page each time you post, I think you'll do all rt. Less is more, believe me.


7:04 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Many thanks, MB. Indeed, Lorenzo Riggins is a great man. Meanwhile, here are few more heroes:


7:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I look at these guys, and see the future of America. Altho I too am incensed by cold burgers.

Film rec: "My Days of Mercy." Terrific.


8:27 PM  
Anonymous Artemus Gordon said...

So, my 80-year old mom called about an hour ago and starts telling me about life back in the cornfields of downstate Illinois where I grew up and which is good ol' Trump country. I hear about all of these people, young and old as it doesn't seem to matter, with diabetes, dementia, obesity (400+ pounders who are in their 30s), life savings being eaten up by healthcare costs and nursing homes, outlandishly expensive medications, 50-year old "kids" who do nothing at all to help their decaying and dying parents, people screwed out of pensions, the now 50-year oldish "kids" that grew up with me who died from heroin overdoses and alcoholism, etc... Geezus, I can hardly pick up the phone when she calls anymore. Ironically, when I talk about moving or eventually retiring to someplace outside the US all I hear is "why would you want to do that?" Sorry, no link. Just a front lines report from the Heartland of Hell while trying to processes all of this "exceptionalism".

8:34 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris, Your suggestion to “trying” reminded me of the following: “If I Am To Speak Ten Minutes, I Need a Week for Preparation; If an Hour, I Am Ready Now.”

8:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Talk to yr mom abt cognitive dissonance. Shd be interesting!


9:10 PM  
Anonymous Rufus T(he Original). Schmeck said...


Why Shane? Why that type? From the pt of view of embracing our sick culture, it supports the emotionally lacking... lacking in empathy, connection. But, from the pt of view of rejecting our sick culture (unconsciously, mind you) it encourages disconnection because relationships are so twisted, petty, cruel & just down right painful, that it makes sense to go it alone. We have tended to call this "dysfunctional", but I say, it's functionality the way our culture teaches functionality. If life is a fight to be won, .. get control... Then what would we expect from people? I'm not excusing the America, but I see people... human beings with the same limitations as all human beings.

My fear is that we have so committed ourselves to a mythology of war, of dualism, which, for intelligent, sensitive people is too hard to bear, that we may have drawn from our dna, the traits of the predator & prey. The sensitive folks I know have not had any children. Over thousands of years of this mythology have we rewarded the predator/prey genes, so thoroughly, that it's too late to save the species? H.G. Wells may have been, generally, right!

"What might not have happened to men? What if cruelty had grown into a common passion? What if in this interval the race had lost its manliness [not the modern definition] and had developed into something inhuman, unsympathetic, and overwhelmingly powerful[definitely the modern, U.S., definition]? I might seem some old-world savage animal, only the more dreadful and disgusting for our common likeness–a foul creature to be incontinently slain."

Rufus T(he original). Schmeck

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

18 years later and NONE the wiser:
"The forgotten lesson of 9/11: Political misinformation long predates Trump"
^^ But let's focus on Trump's sharpie for weeks on end.

A lot has been written about America's car-centric infrastructure and mentality at the expense of pedestrians and public spaces. However, few have tied it to our cultural rot (exception: MB and a few others). And like clockwork, most end their analysis with an 11th hour solution (once again, MB excepted). But not this writer....
^^ Key excerpts: "And here, curiously, we find a great undiagnosed cause at the root of our supposed cultural malaise: fragmentation and atomization; loneliness and disconnection; declines in communal values and an absence of interpersonal interaction."
Writer's Conclusion: "I have little hope for change, though."

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Bad Idea said...

MB- For westerns, I would also recommend Oakley Hall's novel Warlock and Butcher's Crossing by John Williams. They turn the American West's mythology on its head. Both are excellent.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

My apologies Dr. Berman for not providing an academic/peer--reviewed reference, or other explicit source/citation for Taiwan.

My post was purely anecdotal experiences after several weeks in the province versus THE shit hole usa. Thank you kindly.

5:41 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

For Wafers wanting to escape and flee the’s a good opportunity....

8:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I hope yr not being sarcastic. If so, yr days here are numbered. I never asked for an academic or peer-reviewed reference. But since you provided what seemed to be more than just personal experience, some sort of supporting link wd have helped. Thanks.


Yes, Wms is terrific.


For those who don't know: I cover the rise of the car culture in DAA, ch. 7.


8:58 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Rosegarden--indeed, the U.S. military and "intelligence" services certainly are. My brother has been battling Lyme Disease for over 8 years and at times has been nearly incapacitated. He's a physician with a fairly Waferesque outlook, but even he was astonished when I told him the story of how the military experimented with tick born diseases in the open air right offshore from Connecticut and Long Island. I recommended Bitten to him--every American should read it.

Of course, this is the same set of geniuses who tested atomic bombs in the open air not far from Las Vegas, rendered inhabited Pacific islands permanently unlivable with the H-Bomb, tested dangerous drugs and chemicals on its own soldiers, allowed its own members and their families to be exposed to cancer causing chemicals via a contaminated water supply, is the biggest source of pollution and greenhouse gases in the world, hasn't won a war in 74 years and got caught completely flatfooted on 9/11, on top of the countless millions of civilians it has needlessly slaughtered and trillions of dollars squandered since WW2. Yet polls continually show that the military remains the only major institution idiot Americans still trust. Even back in 2015 before Trump, nearly 1/3rd of idiot Americans said they would support a military coup.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Here is an instance of hustling on the part of protestant Christian ministries, specifically Imperial Valley Ministries. The Ministry hustled homeless people with promises of a clean bed and food to panhandle for the ministry leaders and forcing them to turn over any cards such as licenses, ids and even taking their welfare benefits, again to enrich the ministry leaders. Pretty ugly situation, very much in line with what American has always (for the most part) been.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If you live in America, everything is a con. Distinguished writers such as Paul Fussell and Ronald Dworkin (both now deceased) came to that conclusion yrs ago.


10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ooh! I'm so excited!:

2:02 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Currently reading this book. I tell ya, I don't know WTF to believe anymore:

Annals of a joke civilization:




ps: Time for some music:

2:21 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Thanks Wafers and MB for your contributions. There's always so much fascinating stuff to read on this blog.

Worlds favorite douche-baguette wants attention:

Billionaires mourn their fellow serial larcenist:

I'd also like to propose a name change to the EPA. Environmental Destruction Approver(EDA) suits it better.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sometimes I just sit on my couch, staring into space, and contemplate the # of Americans that need to be beaten to w/in an inch of their lives, and then thrown on a dung heap. It's exhausting.


Too many missing causal connections, it seems to me. As for Newswk article: just think of all the Americans who approve! We are a brave, intelligent, and courageous people. This cannot be denied.


5:55 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Bill Hicks - Now the lone star tick, that's the tick America may not want, but it deserves:

I met someone with this allergy years ago and I was like, wtf? How can you be allergic to meat? We're made of meat! But it turns out to be "red" meat like beef and pork. Birds are OK and if you do some research you'll find that the reason people don't become allergic to themselves is that monkey/ape meat doesn't have the protein that you become allergic to. Can you imagine the average American without their burgers?

9:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


So tonite is the big debate among 10 Democratic candidates. 10 Democratic turkeys, wd be more accurate. Who gives a shit what these lame-ass buffoons have to say? And what happened to Tulsi Gabbard, and how in God's name did she ever think she had a chance? Does she have Punjabi (Hindu) food in her head? Tulsi had as much chance as Lorenzo Riggins, or Chrystal Walraven. Or Marianne Williamson, a New Age-Oprah clown, who was also disqualified from the debate. What kind of country throws up douche bags and morons as presidential candidates?

Jeff, we need an Ode to Tulsi, commemorating her political demise. Tulsi, Schmulsi.


Tulsi Gabbard
your sword in your scabbard--
off to war you went.
But as there is shit in your head
your campaign was soon dead
and nothing more about your fuck-ass political 'career' was said.
You will vote in absentia
only evidence for your dementia
and on your shoes I will pee;
the progs will be frustrated
because on your Guccis I urinated
for all of America to see.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Speaking of Thomas Piketty, I came upon this article that discusses his new book and there was a brief discussion of Piketty’s theory about why left-wing parties eventually turned away from their former policies and became more elitist on economic issues.

“To a large extent, traditionally left parties have changed because their original social-democratic agenda was so successful in opening up education and high-income possibilities to the people who in the 1950s and 1960s came from modest backgrounds. These people, the “winners” of social democracy, continued voting for left-wing parties but their interests and worldview were no longer the same as that of their (less-educated) parents. The parties’ internal social structure thus changed—the product of their own political and social success. In Piketty’s terms, they became the parties of the “Brahmin left” (La gauche Brahmane), as opposed to the conservative right-wing parties, which remained the parties of the “merchant right” (La droite marchande).”

This seems to fit with Thomas Frank’s analysis of the transformation of the Democratic Party in the United States but could also apply to formerly left-wing parties in other parts of the world. It is not surprising that populists are winning elections all over the world today.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Since my 94 year old mother still believes the Democratic Party will save the country (I didn't tell her Chuck Schumer was sorry that John Bolton was fired) I endured last night's 3 hour debate. Oy, everyone was looking for the 10 second sound bite to embarrass Biden's mental faculties. Somehow that worthless piece of puke was able to hold it together making the other candidates look mean. To be honest, I missed Tulsi. She would have continued to attack Kamala Harris's appalling record as AG in California.
Of course, no mention of defense spending, Israel, overthrowing Central American governments which caused people to flee, conditions in the concentration camps (I'm sorry-holding facilities), gutting environmental regulations, the opioid crisis, poverty (In Obarfa's 8 years he did not say the word poverty once), homelessness (there are homeless on nearly every corner in Philadelphia's center city), lack of jobs with benefits, media control, and banking conglomerates. Hair Trumpf is sure to win a second term. Poor Dems, don't they realize the American soul is dark and so long as Hair makes life hell for people of color he's unbeatable? My mom still likes Biden. I had to agree. After all, I can't fight with a 94 year old woman.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

Thank you Dr. Berman--not at all meant to be sarcastic.

Respectfully and kindly, thank you for clarifying my understanding of sources/citations. I learn so much from the folks on this board and planning my escape from this horrible empire.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We cheer on anyone intending to get out. Gd luck!


Mom might be interested in these fire attacks on homeless people in LA:


10:16 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Today is Friday the Thirteenth, what better time for MB to sing an ode to Sarah, to the tune Come Fly With Me:


Come floe with me, let's floe let's floe away
If you can use some exotic booze
There's a bar in Prudhoe Bay
Come floe with me, let's floe let's floe away
Come floe with me, let's float past Todd and wave
In Wafer land, there's a seer that can
And he'll toot his flute for you
Come floe with me, let's take off in the blue
Once I get you down there,
Where decline is rarefied
We'll just slide
Starry eyed
Once I get you down there
I'll be holding you so near
You may hear the Wafers cheer
Just because we're together
Weather wise it's such a lovely day
Just say the words, we’ll see Siberia
Way past the Prudhoe Bay
It's perfect, an Alaskan rendezvous, they say
Come floe with me
Let's floe, let's floe away

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

A nice long essay here for WAFers, not exactly about the decline and fall of Amerikkka, but good nonetheless:

10:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I wept for hours. I just hope Sarah sees this, and contacts me.


10:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

College admissions scandal: probably little or no jail time for colossal fraud and bribery. Do ya think being white and rich might be a factor here? Naaaah...

10:57 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of course...Why wouldn’t this professor use Cancer funds to pay his mortgage? He’s an American...and that’s what Americans’s a given that he would do such a thing.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There really is no upper (or lower?) limit to the debasement and degradation that Americans can achieve. Abs. nothing is off limits. No behavior is too shabby.


11:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

But then there's this:

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the question for our times; is it not?,204,203,200_.jpg

1:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




1:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks mucho for fine review of "Genio" on Amazon. Every little bit helps. I wish Amazon would provide a slice of pepperoni pizza with each purchase. Avanti e verso l'alto! (Onward and upward!)


1:45 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...
(90 secs)

Holy men have been saying this for centuries. None of them came
from 'mur'ka. The last place to have hope is in mur'ka.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@alex carter==now we just need to release about a billion of those meat allergy-causing ticks over the U.S. and Europe and we might be able to "save" the Amazon rain forest from being burned down to create pastureland!

@Dan--bravo, you are a better man than I. I could never watch those "debates" without slitting my wrists--I usually wait for Jeffrey St. Clair's next day roundup, if only for the entertainment value. Your mom's view on Biden confirms what I've read--that most of his support is coming from seniors who seek a return to "normalcy." One of the saddest aspects of our system is that young adults, who have the most to lose, don't usually vote and the one time they did show up at the polls--for Obarfa in '08--they got immediately shafted.

Mark Ames exhumes a little 'Murican history: "US colonials turned Puerto Rico into a gruesome lab. In 1931, Cornelius Rhoads—cancer researcher in San Juan—wrote a letter...calling for extermination of Puerto Ricans, boasting about killing locals with cancer-causing agents." Actual quote from the letter: "What this island needs is not public health work, but a tidal wave or something to exterminate the entire population." Gawd, but Americans are such great people.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Re: Democratic FuckKnuckle Debate (DFD)

Beto: NRA wet dream.
Bernie: I could eat.
Biden: I sat on a rug, *Biden my time...
Buttigieg: I thought the Beatles old manager Brian Epstein had died.
Castro: Tough guy audition for a reality TV program.
Chang: Creepopath w/a bad haircut.
Cory: Guccis need urine.
Elizabeth: Copying Bernie.
Kamala: "I'm with her" 2.0.
Klobuchar: Yammering Klukie.

Ode to Tulsi:

I've been chasing after Tulsi since the day I could run
Charging into Iraq w/her Gatling gun
Beneath the chinaberry tree now sits Tulsi
Pondering fresh tumuli and listening to Debussy


4:24 PM  
Anonymous Yoogoogoolator said...

@dg, MB, and thoughful wafers

The hedgelian revolution has begun

5:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I keep waiting for someone to write in, "Bei mir bist du Shane," but I guess that wd be too cute.

I could say bella! bella!
I could say even Wunderbar...


5:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

14 days? Why not 14 yrs?:

As for Lori Loughlin, I think 50 yrs w/o parole wd be gd; plus a beating.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Néstor Castiglione said...

Fascinating interpretation of Shane, though I must admit to loving that film. (What does that say about me?)

I understand your point about the apparent paucity of an intellectual life in the film as a reflection of contemporary US culture. But given the nature of frontier life, what appeal would it have held for American intellectuals of that era anyway? Most of them gravitated to Europe, after all (e.g. Henry James, Edward MacDowell, et al). The ones that didn’t often faced indifference or incomprehension at home. Which brings me to my next point: the glorification of American individualism cuts both ways. Today we celebrate figures who became “rocks” of the intelligentsia precisely because their genius made them isolated, sometimes seemingly self-sufficient, and often tragic figures in life. Consider Emily Dickinson, H. L. Mencken, Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Henry Darger, or John Barton Wolgamot. I could go on.

Your observations about the American character are spot on. Thank you for your scholarship.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, it's not clear that they *wanted* to be isolated. When it was possible, talented Americans gathered in groups, as in North Beach in San Fran, or Greenwich Village.

BTW, Shakespeare plays were actually very popular on the frontier. "Shane" chose to leave stuff like that out.


6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

A good column by Caitlin Johnson beginning:

"American liberals and progressives talk a bit about white privilege, male privilege, straight privilege etc, but one thing I never hear them talk about is American privilege: the ability their nationality gives them to have a relationship with this world that the rest of us do not have.

American privilege is reassuring yourself that there are problems enough at home without worrying about the trillions your government’s war machine is spending terrorizing the world and encircling the planet with military bases."

And it gets better as it goes on.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Anjin - an entire website dedicated to fuckup Walmart shoppers. Endgame of privilege.

12:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is actually the real America!


2:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:

9:44 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


I love your "Ode to Lorenzo"! Even though you are just messing around, I can see that you must be an actual poet, based on your nice line breaks and the overall flow of the poem. And thanks for the nice new word - I really like "dwine", though had to look it up.

One of the things that made me laugh in Lorenzo's interview was how he pronounced Mcdoubles as "MACKdoubles". Hahaha. Needless to say, I don't mean it at all in a racist way, it just sounds funny to hear him say it like that. So maybe you should write it that way instead of just Mcdoubles!

It would be great if we could combine all of our Wafer mascots, like Lorenzo and Shaneka, etc., into one brilliant song, perhaps in the style of Bob Dylan. It sounds like we have some very talented musicians here, in addition to the many fine writers. Humor aside (and contrary to that one book reviewer who taxed Dr. B with using too many "personal anecdotes"), these people really do personify and crystallize the collapse of our society in a way that no amount of scholarly footnotes could ever quite match.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

While I'm waiting for news from the new school year at Evergreen, I'm foregoing any time viewing presidential schmesidential debates, and instead am dancing the Wah-Tulsi every morning when I get up (out of post-its for the mirror).

11:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Post-Its very impt for upkeep of Wafer morale. I suggest: TULSI IS A DOUCHE BAG. But dancing is also gd.


What I'd like 2c is a Wafer version of Mt. Rushmore. But who wd be our 4 heroes, as there are so many to choose from? Lorenzo, Shaneka, Freddie Watson (guy who fucked a goat), Chrystal Walraven, Brittany Carulli...the mind boggles. Plus, an anthology of Wafer poetry might also be a gd idea.


11:35 AM  
Blogger Emerson Addison said...

Maybe you're already heard the audio, but this is great. Cultural decline. Breakdown in military discipline. Hypermasculinity. Christ.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Somebody posted a report on the depravity of the US military here, a while back. Good grist for the declinist mill, I'd say. Bad is good!


12:11 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

Great posts all. Love the Caitlin Johnstone article, it is so true.

Which brings me to this article I found in Global Research, by S Brian Willson.

He was evidently a draftee to Vietnam, and before going, had been thoroughly indoctrinated, like most folks, into the fictional USA we all know and love. Well, he got to Vietnam and very quickly had the blinders torn off. This article is about "USA Pretend" - the USA Americans like to think exists, vice what actually exists.

After reading about the prosecution of people burning US flags, he had this to say: "Depressed, I pondered how it is that one could be arrested for burning a piece of cloth – even a national symbol – that represented an official policy of criminally burning innocent human beings, including large numbers of young children, while the pilot-perpetrators were commended, and whom, in my duties I was protecting? Initially suicidal, I had difficulty wrapping my head around this dystopian nightmare. I was in psychic shock from extreme cognitive dissonance."

Another quote: "Could it be that virtually everything I was taught by my parents, community, school, church, and political leaders in terms of factual history, morality, ethics, and rational thinking about “America” was the opposite of what had been represented? How could that be?"

Sadly, after a long article detailing the craziness, he ends with trying to figure out how to get folks to rise up and change the situation. After all these years, you'd think he'd realize Americans don't want to know the truth.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous cyrilliajuniper said...

Hey, MB! Maybe we can hire this woman to do the Wafer Rushmore in butter!

1:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Americans are also spineless. Spineless people don't "rise up". They lie down and let the system fuck them over.

Meanwhile, Macron has apparently woken up (is the whole world finally catching up to me?):


Link didn't take me to any woman.


2:31 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Every time. Evrrrry time I shop @ Walmart (I do a fair amount, food stamps all, fuckit I'll comply) it's a freak show. Was recently gifted a Target card where I rarely shop. The market share between the two stores is intriguing. On the one hand you have barely sentient blobs of plasma forever standing in the middle of the aisle talking on the phone when I gotta catch the bus while the Target shopper is ever so slightly on a higher rung of the financial ladder. I saw shiny new SUV's, women who are attractive in stretch pants, the frigging cart actually rolls, shiny floors, wide aisles, prices markedly higher for the same crap, in sum the kind of place for someone disgusted by the typical WM fuckup. When I finished I stood out front smoked and observed. There's a might haughty look on these faces, they're smug, self satisfied and though considered smart they're dumb as rocks. It's the difference between wanton stupidity and ignorance vs willful ignorance and marginal affluence. I can (barely) tolerate the first, the other to me is insufferable and shld b beaten.

The Spy on Netflix with Sacha Baron Cohen in a dramatic role is very good. Who Is America on Showtime is a Wafer must see.

Snuff video of the week:

5:17 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris, Loved the Macron article – thank you!

I have a question about an issue that has long puzzled me: the apparent friendly relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. In my daily wanderings around the internet I stumbled upon the Dönmeh and Sabbateans (followers of Sabbatai Tsevi who claimed he was the Jewish messiah and seemed to be mentally unstable – ya think?). I have absolutely no idea if any of this is legitimate, especially what the first article relates. However, it would go a long way to explaining the inexplicable (much of the info has to do with the Dönmeh in Turkey – like everything else, what a tangled web). Do you know anything about this or, if not, would you give an opinion as to its validity?

5:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Re: shopping at Wal-Mart: you shd be aware that the co. treats its employees like dirt. Google "Walmart exploitation of workers."


5:32 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Italiano - While reading about the awakening of soldier Wilson to the truth of what his world had done to him and what it was really like, I was reminded of "The Matrix" and the need for all Americans to pledge allegiance to the flag by taking the red pill, representing a life of hard truths and difficult realities. The chances of that happening, of course, is less than nil. Americans live in willful ignorance and object strongly when woken from their cocoons. Feelings of safety and blissful ignorance are more important than freedom of thought and reality.

Haven't shopped at Wal-Mart in over 30 years. Not only does it exploit workers but encourages them to make up for what they don't get in benefits and pay by applying for food stamps and welfare. Anyone who still thinks America is a democracy or republic in which leaders are responsive to the public has been taking the blue pill too long.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Zvi was a 17C figure who decided he was the messiah, got a lot of Jews all worked up (quite understandable given the historical context). He finally converted to Islam; the donmeh (I think it means converts, in Turkish) were those who followed his example. I can't imagine any of this has any relationship to current Israeli-Saudi relations, but I'm not an expert in this field. Check this out, in any case:


6:26 PM  
Anonymous Keith said...

"This extraordinary film, Honeyland, illustrates the principles of #degrowth and post-capitalist ontology better than any text could ever hope to do. And it was the most-awarded film at the Sundance festival this year."

Watch "Honeyland Documentary 2019, Trailer HD" on YouTube

7:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Just one of the ways in which America spreads misery around the world:

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...


Italy's government has collapsed. What happens next?
As you say, can't happen fast enough.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers: Bit o' nostalgia here: I usta hang out (1975-80) at most of the places mentioned in this article:

And Larry (Ferlinghetti) just hit 100! (I don't think I ever met him, tho; he was a friend of friends). The guy just knocked out another novel. Here I think I'm winding down, and he's just gearing up.

Great days...I was writing the Reenchantment bk on a wing and a prayer, sitting at the Café Trieste and elsewhere, never imagining it wd make the NYT best-seller list. Yolanda, the owner, wd rest her chin in her hand (elbow on the bar) and moan, "Che cosa faccio!" Gorgeous maritime mural at the back (Sicily?), and a jukebox with opera on it; I usta put coins in to hear "Martha," by Flotow. Here's the most famous aria of it, by the world's greatest singer:

I tell ya, those days were un gusto di miele, tho I didn't realize it at the time. Youth is wasted on the youth, said Shaw.

O tempora o mores!


8:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is nice:

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Another study finding a link between mental illness, young people and social media. “After weighing factors including mental health history, the research found that the youngsters who spent more than three hours a day on social media were more likely to report ‘internalizing’ their problems, including depression, anxiety and loneliness, along with symptoms like aggression and antisocial behavior, compared with adolescents who didn't use social media, according to the study.”

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Good Naomi Klein interview here:

I love hearing things like:

"... this is also a challenge to a left worldview that is essentially only interested in redistributing the spoils of extractivism [the process of extracting natural resources from the earth] and not reckoning with the limits of endless consumption."

"In terms of the carbon, the individual decisions that we make are not going to add up to anything like the kind of scale of change that we need. And I do believe that the fact that for so many people it’s so much more comfortable to talk about our own personal consumption, than to talk about systemic change, is a product of neoliberalism, that we have been trained to see ourselves as consumers first."

9:01 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Many thanks for the San Francisco nostalgia trip, MB. My family and I usta visit SF quite often during those exact yrs. My beloved aunt lived at Pine and Sacramento, and she literally took us everywhere throughout the city and beyond. She even took me to Zim's on Van Ness (?) for burgers, sans Lorenzo! Can u believe it? Halcyon days, indeed.


So sweet. Many thanks, and I'm happy you enjoyed Ode to Lorenzo.


11:15 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Suggested alternate headline: "Richest American Asshole Cuts Whole Foods Workers' Health Benefits to Buy Another Solid Gold Back Scratcher." Bozos is starting out by "only" cutting the health care for the 2% of Whole Foods workers who are not full time, no doubt in order to make this move seem "not so bad." The message ought to be pretty clear to the rest of the workers about where this is headed, however. If they had any sense, they would unionize and organize a nationwide strike. But they won't, because idiot Americans believe unions are a socialist evil. When Amazon bought WF, I immediately stopped shopping there, but why do I have a feeling that most well-to-do lib and prog douchebags, who make up the vast majority of WF's customer base, will keep right patronizing it?

A quick Whole Foods anecdote: I was out walking down in DC about a month ago when I got hit--as we pancreatic cancer survivors sometimes do--with an urgent need to go. It just so happened that I was near a newly built Whole Foods. I walked in and eventually found the restroom--not restrooms, restroom. Even though it had about a dozen stalls, there was only one overall restroom, which was apparently deliberately designed for men, women, and whatever whacked out idiotic third gender could be dreamed up in some prog idiot's addled brain. I actually wondered how comfortable a woman might feel using a stall right next to a man even though the stalls were built floor-to-ceiling. But there you have it in a nutshell: kowtowing to the "gender delusional" is apparently more important to Whole Foods than making sure its own employees aren't bankrupted if they get sick of injured.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

@Ryan - The Italian gov't falling was in August, primarily due to Matteo Salvini, leader of the League (formerly Northern League - anti-immigrant, zenophobic, anti Euro/EU party) pushing to collapse the government in hopes of calling a new election, which he hoped to win. (His party is polling very well.) His strategy failed, at least this time, when the 5-star movement then partnered with the Democratic Party (PD-Matteo Renzi's party) to form a government with none other than Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister who had just resigned, coming back to form a new government. Interestingly, he was first chosen as a compromise between the 5-star and the League. Italian politics are nothing if not entertaining!

12:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think Zim's was at the corner of Polk and Pacific; I rented a large apt w/my then girlfriend at Larkin and Pacific, a block away, w/a view of the GG Bridge, for $275/mo. (I'm assuming the current rental is abt 5K.) Zim's hot dogs were called "Zimdogs," which struck me as being so stupid that I cdn't stop saying it. Probably why Lois and I broke up. What normal woman can stand to hear "Zimdogs" 80 times a day? As a mantra it probably helped with my writing, however. Oddly enuf, I never ate a Zimdog. (That cd be a great song: "I Never Ate a Zimdog/I only wish I had/Now I dream about Zimdogs/And oh I feel so bad." Etc.)


12:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...



Aunt's place was Pine and *Stockton, not Sacramento. Sacramento St. was close by, I believe. Yes, that was the Zim's place! Jesus, probably long gone by now. Please excuse this 2nd post violation.


12:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sacramento is just a few blocks south of Pacific. Zim and his dogs passed into the Great Beyond several decades ago, I believe...perhaps replaced by a Buy-Rite pharmacy, or some such abomination. The strip on Polk St. was called Polk Gulch; very gay, with stores like Hardon Leather, and signs like "All deliveries to be made in the rear." Probably all pretty chi-chi by now. My apt. bordered Russian Hill; if you'd like to get a flavor of that part of town, during that time, check out "Tales of the City," by Armistad Maupin--very funny. (At one pt he's at a party on Russian Hill, and this vegetarian chick asks him if he's "lacto-ovo." "More like lacto-ovo-porko," he tells her.)


2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every time I buy something on Amazon I feel guilty, but what are ya gonna do?

3:45 PM  
Anonymous cyrillia juniper said...

Sorry about the rotten link. Here's a "butter" one.

Apparently butter sculpture is a thing at state fairs and Sarah Pratt is a butter artist who also did a Wizard of Oz theme at the state fair in our town. Only in America. Seems perfect for the Wafer Rushmore.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

If this isn't the PERFECT ad for the season, I don't know what is!

"Vote for me because I drive a Camaro backwards while wearing boots!"

5:09 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Kayne - buy stuff somewhere else (but not Walmart). It takes some looking and you might have to pay more but what's more important. Your values or finding the cheapest stuff. For example, a great place to buy discount books is AbeBook - books offered by hundreds of independent vendors. If you live in a moderately sized town or city you can probably find local vendors for somethings. If Bezos and the Walmart heirs have their way there will soon be no alternatives. And then they can manipulate us like little consumer puppets, dependent on them for everything.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This was a very famous case, popularized by a film, "Fair Game"; which may not be an accurate depiction of events. Plame was outed as a CIA operative by the Bush govt, which cd have gotten her killed. It was revenge for an op-ed piece written by her husband (now ex) regarding Iraq. She says she comes from Ukranian Jews; turns out she authored some quite vicious anti-Semitic stuff on Twitter. In the ad, she comes across as a colossal turkette; various articles via Google suggest she's a shady customer. But the Senate needs more arrogant assholes of questionable character, so let's wish her well on her election campaign.


7:04 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Because this is what “Ugly Americans” DO all over the world....they’re children and barbarians all rolled into one.

2 men facing charges after caught on camera trespassing at Yellowstone's Old Faithful

7:13 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Good luck, trying to stay sane...

Sorry to be the one to drop a turd into the communal punchbowl, but Bezos owns AbeBooks too. (ABE=Advanced Book Exchange). Purchased on 1 August 2008. Headquartered in British Columbia.

In 2018, AbeBooks notified bookshops in countries including Hungary, the Czech Republic, South Korea and Russia that it would no longer support them from 30 November, “citing migration to a new payment service provider as the reason.”

The move prompted almost 600 booksellers in 27 countries to pull more than 3.5m titles from Abebooks’ site, putting them on “vacation” as they cited the motto of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, “Amor librorum nos unit” (love of books unites us). AbeBooks backed off on the threat, agreeing to work out special arrangements for affected countries/sellers.

Other outfits gobbled up by the monster: IMDb; Goodreads; The Book Depository (Europe); Zappos. Here’s a list of 15 acquisitions, from ZDNet 31 July 2017:

7:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Perhaps a new Wafer T-shirt: ANODB. Then when people ask you what it means, you say, "A Nation of Demented Buffoons." If the (unlikely) reply is, "Right on, bro!", you've found a Wafer.


7:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Louis: I wd abs. love 2c a campaign ad in which the candidate candidly states, "Vote for me! I don't know shit and have my head rammed up my ass, but that's true of virtually everyone in government already!"


7:37 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris, OMG, Caruso! How I do love opera, although I must admit I don’t care for Wagner. My mother had a gorgeous soprano voice and was studying to be an opera singer, but when her mother died she had to drop out of high school and singing lessons to take over the family. In spite of this major wake up call, she had a sense of entitlement that wouldn’t quit and was extremely temperamental, so I think she would’ve made an excellent diva. BTW, did you see the movie Pavarotti directed by Ron Howard? I loved it.

Re Sabbateans, this is the article that explains the Saudi/Israeli connection:

For all I know it could be total garbage, but it is an explanation for what to me is inexplicable. What is your take on it? Any Wafers know who this Wayne Madsen is, and if he’s legitimate?

7:52 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Dr. Berman,
Shane and other westerns distill America life down to what it really is about: have no real community ties and use violence if necessary to get what you want. Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider is another example of this. It's scary that this simplistic way of looking at the world appeals to Americans so much. Modern superhero films use this same formula and they are wildly popular.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Abt 20 yrs ago a poll revealed that 24% of Americans believed it was OK to use violence in pursuit of yr goals. If 24% condone actual violence, how many more condone aggressive behavior, violent language, personal attacks, dishonesty, bearing false witness, etc.? Hustling and power-grabbing in the US are not bounded by any moral considerations.


8:24 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I live in an area the USDA labels a “food desert.” I’m limited by income and lack of sufficient choice so I conduct my sociological studies @ WM (I calculated once I save about 15% over chain groceries). If I’m careful I can avoid the processed crap and it’s amazing the techniques WM uses to seduce. They now have online shopping - order online and pay with SNAP card, saves me allot of walking since I shop by bus. That said, I hate the evil fuckers. The employees look like they get kicked in the teeth soon as they punch in. On your way out the door they should be required by law to supply every shopper with insulin. So without being apathetic I just dont care anymore. WM and AmZ are becoming like the old steel worker’s Company Store, I can even see them as future ration distribution warehouses. I’ve always hated the phrase but when in Rome...(until the CH rebellion begins).

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, across the pond, BoJo is comparing himself to Hulk."The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets"

Go BoJo you're da man!


5:28 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

At the intersection of online gaming, youthful stupidity, and hair-trigger policing, the following update to a case from 2018.

Ohio moron Casey Viner gets into a dispute online with fellow gamer Shane Gaskill of Wichita. Reacting to Gaskill’s taunts, Viner recruits an individual to SWAT Gaskill. Viner provides his “Internet muscle” with an address for Gaskill that is no longer current. Wichita police, who respond to the address expecting to be dealing with a shooting incident and a kidnapping, instead end up shooting resident Andrew Finch.

Viner was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment. LA resident Tyler Barriss, the SWATer, received a sentence of 20 years in March (2019); he had a history of making fake emergency calls across the country.

The Finch family is suing the city of Wichita. Good luck with that.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Redd said...

When Milton met Shakespeare: poet's notes on Bard appear to have been found | Hailed as one of the most significant archival discoveries of modern times | Books | The Guardian

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Edwin said...

5 of 5 stars to Zen Effects by Monica Furlong

Zen Effects: The Life of Alan Watts

- Edwin Spiess

3:48 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

James Allen - Thanks for the information about AbeBooks. I am duly chastened. Now where do I go to buy books? Anyone know of a truly independent web bookseller?

I guess at some point in the near future, capitalism will either consume or destroy every remaining business that refuses to be bought out or bent to its wishes. Alternatives will disappear completely. If we want something made by another, we will have to buy it from Amazon or do without it. I hope I'm dead by that point. I would not want to live in such a world.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

The progs and Dums REALLY need to get over the Kavanaugh confirmation, because their continued obsession with it is destroying what little remains of their "credibility." First up you have Blassey-Ford's father telling Kavanaugh's father that he was "glad" he was confirmed Then you have the NYT publishing a hit piece on Kavanaugh this weekend that was totally contradicted by the original reporting of of their own so-called "journalists" who have covered the story.

This is the guy who wrote the legal justification on torture for the Bush administration. That alone should have resulted in Kavanaugh being arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. Yet the progs and Dums instead decided to focus on unverifiable four decade old allegations that even if true were nothing compared to, ya know, WATERBOARDING.

Personally, given the way he renders progs and Dums batshit insane, I hope Kavanaugh serves on the court for 50 years. After all, prog and Dum "hero" (barf), the Notorious RBG, apparently looks at him with goo-goo eyes these days. Quick anecdote on Ginsberg--I actually saw an RBG action figure in a store the other day (Can be YOURS for Only $20!). Just how stupid can these progs and Dums be?

5:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It was John Yoo who wrote the (in)famous torture memos, I believe.


6:57 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

For the record, I just wanna say that I'm very much pro-torture. I can think of many who need to be tied up and flogged against their will. In addition, I've been thinking that there's a confirmed and recognizable sense of rupture in America, and that some colossal reckoning is bound to come, or so it seems in retrospect. The madness and paranoia of America can't contain itself forever, I'm guessing. I wonder what it will be?


8:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I have a vision, which I've mentioned b4: on an appointed day and hour, the entire population of the US stands up and says: "My God, I'm little more than a clueless buffoon. I've just parroted what I've been told. There's nothing but warm dogshit inside my head!"

Probably a long shot...


9:16 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

MB- 24% seems about right. And 90% of Americans lack any sense of empathy, I would imagine, although I couldn't find any studies about that. I typed 'empathy' into Google and got all sorts of results, including the articles "Is Empathy Bad?" and "The Limits of Empathy."

Redd - thanks for the link to the Shakespeare/Milton article. It's a shame I can't discuss those authors with my fellow Americans. I remember seeing in a bookstore a series of Shakespeare's plays that were 'translated' into modern English. I think they were called "Shakespeare in Plain and Simple English." I just shook my head and thought "How dumb are we?"

11:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Very. As for empathy: one study I do remember, from just a few yrs ago, said that empathy had dropped off significantly among young adults, during the decade prior to that. Then there was another study that linked this to the rise of cell fones and social media.


11:53 PM  
Anonymous Archer said...

Michelle Obama charging up to $4,200 for tickets to new tour

9:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


These people are so full of shit, aren't they? Progs will still love them.


9:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More destruction:

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Hans Castorp said...

Trying to stay sane - You could try, I’ve had good luck with them in the past & I believe they have not yet been taken over by Amazon

10:15 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Something appealing, something appalling, something for everyone, a comedy tonight...

A few days after [Shane] Gillis was named to the cast [of Saturday Night Live], the show said that he would not stay on, and that it had been unaware of his offensive remarks

A typical comedy set of the future, when bits are bereft of any offensive humor, cultural appropriation, rudeness, or insensitivities:

“Now folks, we’re pleased here at the Laugh Factory to bring you Bob Smith, one of the true comic talents still working today. Let’s give it up for Bob...
Bob: Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I’m really happy to be here tonight. Just flew in from the coast and boy are my arms tired. (Rimshot)
Hey, d’ja ever wonder why ponies never sing? Cause they’re a little hoarse..
On a dare, I once tried eating a clock. Boy was THAT time-consuming.
How do you fix a jack-o-lantern? With a pumpkin patch.

Hey, you’ve been a really great audience. Thanks for coming out. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.”

And, in the continuing joke that is the America we know and love, you can watch former Presidential press spokesman Sean Spicer—but not for long—dance his heart out on the 28th season of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), Monday nights, 8 PM, ABC.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks. Pls watch length.


11:13 AM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@MB--"As George W. Bush’s White House lawyer Kavanaugh worked on Alberto Gonzalez’s notorious “torture memos,” the flimsy legalistic covers Bush used to justify waterboarding and murdering innocent Muslim kidnap victims at Guantánamo concentration camp and CIA dungeons around the world."

It's true Yoo wrote the initial torture memo, but he didn't exist in a vacuum. Of course the Dum "resistance" couldn't oppose him on torture because they were complicit themselves, as was any senior official during the Bush years who hand a hand in foreign policy. Turns out it doesn't matter--a torturer who doesn't have extremely dubious and dated sexual harassment allegations made against him would apparently be just fine with the @Me Too crowd.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

See at the beginning then at end 05:06.
Ask yourself what is all this nonsense about decline.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

We're no. 1!

More on Macron and Russia:

3:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Not so hard to understand:

4:33 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

I love this bit ... "By psywar I mean a grassroots psychological war against the establishment propaganda machine with the goal of weakening public trust in pro-empire narratives."
Sheesh, she's loonier than Hedges in rise up mode.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What this poor girl needs:

1. A mild (not severe) beating, just to clear the kaka out of her head (to the extent that this is possible).
2. The chapter on Gramsci in "Genio". Gramsci thought abt these same issues at greater length, depth, and maturity than this gal will ever do.
3. Sitting in a corner with a dunce cap for 24 hrs.


9:33 PM  

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