January 07, 2020

Project X

Waferinos-

As I mentioned earlier, I have been working on a collection of short stories. I have 14 of them now, for a total of about 135 pages. Probably, when I have 50 pages more, I can start approaching publishers. But I work very slowly, so it may take several months before that day arrives. There is much to think about, and edit. The following story is not the best of the 14, but I enjoyed writing it, as in the case of "The Wire Cage Experiment." Hopefully it might give you guys a few laughs.

At age forty-four, with an IQ of 182, Sonia Butterworth was director of the most prestigious neurological institute in America, the Cerebral Investigations Unit (CIU), which was physically housed in the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). Sonia was of medium height, fairly attractive, with dark hair and gray-green eyes. She was married to a US senator, Felix J. Butterworth, who was also chair of the Committee on Domestic Intelligence (CDI). At the moment of this writing, she is sitting in her office and staring at the blinking cursor on her computer. The cursor is located next to a top secret research file that Sonia had originally labeled "Project X," but which she now wished to rename and hide in her computer, so that only she had access to it. She finally decided on "Horvath Index," which sounded both boring and innocuous, locked it, and created a password for it: KAKA2020. But in her mind, it would always be Project X.

It must also be stated that the funds available to the CIU were enormous, on the order of a billion dollars. The reason for this was extremely well-hidden: Felix held the purse strings of the CDI and could allocate funding at his discretion. Hence, Project X was awash in money. It was conceived at some point in the late nineties. Data began coming in regarding the intelligence level of the American public that were hard to believe. Something like 20 percent of the population thought the sun revolved around the earth; another 9 percent said they had no idea which revolved around which. 45 percent believed the earth had been visited by extra-terrestrials during the past year; 72 percent rejected the theory of evolution. 86 percent were not able to locate Iraq on a world map, although they were perfectly happy to have the government send troops there to take over and destroy the country. And so on.

There was also anecdotal evidence, such as collected by Jay Leno and other comedians. A man in his early twenties claimed that a tree, located twenty feet away, was a mile away. Female students emerging from classes at the Women's Studies Center at UC Santa Barbara, asked by a man with a clipboard if they would sign a petition opposed to "women's suffrage," were only too happy to oblige. People of all ages had no idea as to the significance of they year 1776; some said we had gained our independence from China. Others identified the Civil War as having occurred in the 1960s. Watching all this, Sonia couldn't figure out if she was looking at stupidity or ignorance; but when Donald Trump, a horse's ass of the first order, was elected president in 2016, she decided to launch Project X. With a billion dollars at her disposal, she figured she could do whatever she wanted.

The project was so extreme, so radical, that it required lots of hush money to keep it under wraps. Between December of 2016 and Trump's reelection in November of 2020, Sonia hired dozens of thugs to kidnap people--just scoop them up off the street at random--and bring them to her lab. These guinea pigs covered the entire spectrum of age, color, race, religion, socioeconomic group, etc. Once in her lab, the victim would be subjected to an fMRI plus a brain biopsy; and during the period in question, Sonia performed these operations on exactly 10,000 Americans. The results were absolutely astounding, though they went a long way toward explaining how a young woman might sit through a class at UCSB on the suffragettes and then sign a petition protesting "women's suffrage," thinking that suffrage meant suffering. Or how a young man might think that twenty feet was equal to a mile.

It turned out that to varying degrees, the 10,000 subjects had excrement in their heads--actual excrement. There was gray matter as well, of course, but in terms of fecal content, the lowest amount was 15 percent, and the highest 65 percent. And if this were true of all 10,000 subjects, what would be the point of going on to victim #10,001? If the sun rises in the East 10,000 days in a row, what do you think it's going to do on day #10,001?

If the US government had no idea what it was doing in Viet Nam, or Afghanistan, or in any of its misguided, self-destructive wars, how could such a population have the resources to evaluate this, let alone protest it? If the water supply of Flint, Michigan, was poisoned, who was going to care? How else could Kim Kardashian, or Donald Trump, be loved and respected by millions, unless the American population had shit for brains? The Horvath Index was a volcano, and Sonia Butterworth was sitting on top of it. And she was, at this point, the only person in the world who knew the contents of this file.

What should she do with it? Should she tell her husband? As Americans go, the shit content of his brain was probably lower than most. But what about the other senators, who voted to acquit Trump? Or the NSA, the FBI, the CIA? The crap content of these people, given their historical and political records, was undoubtedly high. The media? The New York Times was little more than a joke (just read the columns of David Brooks or Thomas Friedman, she thought to herself). How do you take a database showing that the country consisted of buffoons and present it to those very buffoons?

Maybe, she thought, she should leak the file to the Guardian, or Le Monde. But then it would be dismissed as a foreign plot to smear the US. No, the only way was to start with Felix: present the evidence to him, and get his opinion on how she should proceed. That evening, after dinner, she took out the file, which she had printed off of her computer, and handed it to him.

"Felix," she said, "I'm sitting on a land mine, and I don't know what to do about it. Take a look at this file, and tell me what you think." The senator took the file, put on his reading glasses, and slowly read through the data. When he finished, he looked up at his wife. "Jesus," he exclaimed, "this certainly explains a lot. How do you think all that shit got there?"

"I have no idea," Sonia replied, "but I'm not sure that's the most important issue we need to address right now. The crucial issue is, What do I do with this information? With all that shit in their heads, I doubt most Americans would even be able to understand it. What's the point of your taking this info to your colleagues on the CDI if they are basically a bunch of shitheads?"

"Sonia, this is the most explosive bit of data to hit the United States in its entire history. I doubt a Martian invasion, à la H.G. Wells, would be more earth-shaking than this. Maybe we should just bury it."

"Let's take twenty-four hours to think about it," she decided. "By then, we might have some idea as to how to proceed."

* * * * *
The next evening, Sonia announced what she had come up with. "Let 'er rip!" she declared. "Let's e-mail the file to the editor-in-chief of the New York Times, and see what happens. I'd also like to append a note, that if anyone wants a brain biopsy to determine the shit content of his or her cerebrum, they should just show up at my clinic and I'll do the operation free of charge." Felix agreed, so she sent the file the next morning, and waited for the reaction. Would this be included in "All the news that's fit to print?"

Twenty minutes later the phone rang. "Dr. Butterworth? This is Hotair J. Blowhard of the New York Times. Is this file you sent me your idea of a joke?"

"Not at all," she assured him. "What you have in your hand is the result of four years of careful scientific research. In fact, if you want to fly down to Texas and visit my lab, I can show you precisely how these results were obtained."

"I just might do that," said Blowhard. "The more important issue at hand--assuming these data are really real--is what the impact would be on the American public if this material were released."

"You're the media expert," Sonia replied; "you certainly know more about that topic than I do. But I will say this: the most outstanding characteristic of the American people is apathy. We can wage a useless war in Afghanistan for twenty years, have the Washington Post expose it as a complete farce, and the American people don't give a damn. And the excrement content of their brains explains why. So it's an even bet that if this file were made public, there would be no reaction at all."

"Hmm," said Blowhard; "you make a good point. In which case, there really is no risk in releasing the file. For the American public, the news is little more than entertainment--something your data also explain. And I can't imagine too many people showing up at your clinic asking for a free biopsy. But there's another thing that's been on my mind--I suppose I should say, 'shit-filled mind'."

"Yes," interrupted Sonia; "that would be accurate."

"Here it is: have you given any thought as to how to remove excrement from a brain? That could solve a lot of our problems."

"I did, Mr. Blowhard. The problem is that the do-do is not confined to a single place. If it were, we could just remove it with a straw; though I'd hate to be the one sucking on it. But since the poop is randomly dispersed, the straw method would result in extracting gray matter as well; in which case the individual would be just as stupid after the operation as before it."

"So America is doomed, then, is what you're basically saying," said Blowhard.

"Oh, Mr. Blowhard," she responded; "you can't imagine how off-base the 'progressive' New York Times is. To put it bluntly, your entire staff is full of shit. Brooks? Friedman? Give me a break! There is only a tiny handful of writers and political analysts who have been saying, for years now, that the American experiment is over. Why, Andrew Hacker said it in 1970; C. Vann Woodward suggested it in 1953. But they and these other writers have been completely ignored, and my data explain why that is the case. And if the Times began citing their work, or publishing articles as to how and why the game is up, the paper's circulation would drop to zero."

"Well, what the heck," Blowhard exclaimed. "If we're totally screwed, I might as well publish the file. Thank you for your time, Dr. Butterworth. You are probably one of the few courageous scientists left in this country."

"Thank you," replied Sonia, "and have a nice day."

* * * * *
Blowhard put the file, and its depressing conclusions, on the front page of the paper the very next day. Much to his surprise, and Sonia's, the article did not pass unnoticed, as they thought it would. In fact, for the first time in decades, the American people began to show faint signs if intelligence. They flooded the streets, and the most common cry was, "Of course I'm a dummy! I have shit in my head!" Thousands lined up outside Sonia's clinic for biopsies, and she had her staff working around the clock. When the dust finally settled, the Times ran a banner headline:

AMERICA FACES SHITTY FUTURE
The article explained why the excrement could not be removed from people's heads, and that there was, as a result, no way of reversing the downward spiral the US had been on since the greatest shithead in American history, Ronald Reagan, had been elected president. People subsequently went into mourning, but instead of wearing sackcloth and ashes, they hung signs around their necks saying I AM A SHITHEAD. Hard to believe, but the people were finally facing up to the fact that the nation was finished. Progress, of a sort.

The foreign media were delighted. A NATION IN THE TOILET, blared the London Telegraph. MERDE, MERDE, ET MERDE declared Le Monde. TOTAL SCHEISS AUF AMERIKA! exclaimed Die Zeit. And newspapers in China, India, the Arab nations, and actually most of the world, came out with variants of GOOD RIDDANCE! It seems that America hadn't made a whole lot of friends in its relatively short history--the price of exploiting everybody else for your own ends.

The president, of course, denounced the report as "fake news," and ordered a full investigation into its sources of funding; which ended its sources of funding. Much to his surprise, however, the American people rose up as a whole and demanded that Sonia be allowed to continue her work. As one Iowa farmer put it, "For many years I knew I was an idiot, but I never knew why. Now I have a rational explanation for it. The New York Times expose also led to my looking into why the United States is going down the drain, and I've been reading Morris Berman's trilogy on the American empire with great interest. I can't believe how I was running around wearing a MAGA hat, declaring that we must make America great again. The country is finished, and just as well. I'm thinking of moving my entire family to Bulgaria."

One unexpected visitor who showed up at the CIU for a brain biopsy was Sarah Palin. It was no surprise, of course, that the shit content of her brain was over 90 percent. This woke her up. As a result, she and Sonia toured the country together, explaining the results of Sonia's research and telling the crowds that America was at an end. Mass emigration followed in their wake, as millions of Americans left for Canada, Mexico, and the Canary Islands. Hotair J. Blowhard fired David Brooks and Thomas Friedman, instructed Paul Krugman to stop trying to save capitalism, and then left for Antarctica, where, dressed in a tuxedo, he joined a colony of penguins.

Basically, the US imploded. Native Americans, who (it turned out) had almost no excrement in their heads, took over the administration of the country, declaring that there would have to be a complete change of values, from hustling and ignorance to cooperation and intelligence. Eventually, as the country emptied out, it was restored to its pre-Plymouth Rock days. The deposed president was guillotined, and his remains buried at Wounded Knee; although there was a rumor that his head was kept behind, for use as a bowling ball. Sitting Bull's great-great-grandson was elected president; his inaugural address was very short: "If instead of the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock had landed on them, America would have turned out much better." He ordered a complete reconstitution of the country along Native American lines.

Felix J. Butterworth, along with all of the other senators and congressmen, was rounded up and shipped out to Sri Lanka, where they were incarcerated and forced to break rocks all day long. (These were life sentences without possibility of parole.) As for Sonia, she took a vow of silence and entered a monastery in Tibet. Shanti was the last word she ever spoke.

* * * * *
(c)Morris Berman, 2020

147 Comments:

Anonymous Muffly Merkin said...

well you've done it now - the shit's about to hit the ventilation device - decapitation is nice, but what, no disembowelling?

9:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Muffly-

Well it's just fiction, after all; you don't think I really believe all this, do you? Of course, the gov't might not make that distinction, and may ship me out to Guantanamo to be waterboarded 185 times. I do enjoy Hotair J. Blowhard--my favorite character.

mb

ps: no disemboweling; just bowling.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Yossi said...

You've channelled Sid Perelman and nodded to Cole Porter. Kudos.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

"If it were, we could just remove it with a straw; though I'd hate to be the one sucking on it. But since the poop is randomly dispersed, the straw method would result in extracting gray matter as well [...]"

If I can give my honest opinion, whereas the content in itself is funny, I thought you could have been slightly less vulgar with the form of the story MB... I've known your writing to be more refined than this... Sucking on poop with a straw? Really?

Kanye

4:24 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Yossi-

How do you get Cole Porter?

Kanye-

As I said, the stories need a fair amt of editing. But pls keep in mind that I'm old, and getting increasingly senile. Half the time, I dunno what I'm saying--as most of my critics have often pointed out.

mb

6:24 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Terrific short story. MB. Let's hope it all comes to pass. Meanwhile, I'm searching for a mantra to offset my anxiety regarding the American situation. Something along the lines of shanti will work, but I'm also not opposed to "shithouse shine-olah" or "ceramic defacatorium." As for Cole Porter, the only thing I can make out is "Anything Goes":

Times have changed
And we've often rewound the clock
Since the Puritans got a shock
When they landed on Plymouth Rock
If today
Any shock they should try to stem
Intead of landing on Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock would land on them

Miles

12:30 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

If the subjects were all Texans the shit content might b slightly elevated compared to other regions of US. Doesn’t change the outcome much, if anything those with lower shit content will hate themselves for putting up with the shitters. “I knew we shld’ve flushed those assholes a long time ago,” they’ll lament. Probably won’t b many but alliance w/ Natives wld be welcomed, and they cld contribute to reconstruction provided they’re never allowed to hold elected office or power over anyone ever again.

Thanks MB, nice way to begin the day!

1:38 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

The most distressing part of the story is the emigration thing. The US spreads its shit in so many ways, but at least the shit for brains people think that they have it better than everyone else so have no interest in going elsewhere except on cruise ships.

And maybe the shit for brains doesn't need to be so literal. More of a change in dominance between the brain and the gut. You want dumb people, let the gut take the lead-

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/gut-sensations/201608/there-is-more-butterflies-in-your-stomach

1:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

I knew I heard that line somewhere, but I never imagined it was from Cole.

mb

4:48 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Like Pete Townsend of The WHO....maybe Krugman was just doing “Research” and got caught? Or maybe he really was hacked?


https://www.mediaite.com/print/nyts-paul-krugman-says-hacker-downloaded-child-pornography-using-his-ip-address/

6:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dief-

You shd know that I don't read hate mail, which is usually recognizable by the 3rd word. It probably won't stop you from continuing to write in--for many folks like you, attacks on me are cathartic; all they have in their lives, really--but I just wanted to let you know that your missives won't be reaching their target. But what the heck, knock yrself out, muchacho.

mb

6:37 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: If there's one thing you don't have, it's the truth. What a shmuck you are. Ever think of getting a life?

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Levy said...

Some news from John Gray:

What The West Gets Wrong About China https://unherd.com/2019/12/what-the-west-gets-wrong-about-china/

The recurrent dream of an end-time
A Point of View
“Whatever humans do, the world is not going to end”, writes John Gray. “Humankind cannot destroy the planet any more than it can save it”. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000c8rz

8:31 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

"Far from being a universal law, middle class support for liberalism looks like a brief historical accident." - John Gray in the article.

I posit that brief accident may be explained by the industrial revolution, where for a good while there, a guy could literally start out sweeping the floor and end up running the company. WWII also did this: took an awful lot of kids from literally behind a mule to going as far as they'd like in business or education. People who've come up like this have a hard time ignoring the little guy.

We're just returning to the norm.

3:36 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

And the douchebag crown - no pun intended - of the year goes to:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/09/prince-harry-meghan-two-most-spoiled-brats-in-history-pundits-provoked-by-royal-rupture

Kanye

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Doctor,
You don't need to edit a thing. I sat in my car in front of a convenience store laughing so hard people thought I was having a heart attack. My favorite Jaywalking is when Jay pointed to an American flag and asked how many stars were on it. The person said, "I don't know. I can't count because the wind is blowing it."
By the way, do you think Trump's refusal to retaliate is our long awaited Suez moment?

9:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

That Meghan is a douche baguette is beyond question. There is little in her head beyond air, and she badly needs to have her shoes (and her absurd hats) peed on. But the real db's are the public that fawns over royalty, both here and in the UK. "Pathetic" is probably not too strong a word for this.

Dan-

Thanks. I probably won't include it in the final collection, because it is quite raw (obviously) and this cd easily put prospective publishers off. But as I had such a fun time writing it, I thought I wd post it here, for the enjoyment of Wafers and Waferettes. It probably did spoil my chances for copulating with Sarah Palin on an ice floe, among the meese (with Ed Meese watching; is he still alive?), however.

As for Trumpi and Iran: I suspect that launching a war wd have been the Suez moment, as we wdn't be able to wipe the floor with Iran as we did with Iraq. Trumpola always seems to back away from the brink, as he did with N. Korea, but this may not reflect intelligence. He rules by impulse, then just suddenly changes his mind. Which might mean that sooner or later, there will be an impulse that totally backfires, and we'll be into Suez. Meanwhile, 2 possibilities: the murder of Soleimani was the inspiration of Mossad; and/or it was done to distract Americans from the impeachment crap, which goes on and on. Either way, the country has no goals, the president has no idea what he's doing, the American people are clueless abt just nearly everything, and we continue to beat off, waiting for another 2008 crash, or a Suez moment. Most of the world no longer takes us seriously anyway, and were they to read "Project X," I suspect they would publicly condemn it and privately agree.

mb

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Yet another classic American's (not) finding things on maps survey:

https://morningconsult.com/2020/01/08/can-you-locate-iran-few-voters-can/

12:52 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

By ordering the murder of a foreign military officer, Trump most likely committed a crime against international law, says the author of this article:
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/01/09/assassination-and-international-law/ 

Will he be indicted and made to state trial? An answer in the positive would require a belief in horses that can calculate the distance to the nearest star and goats able play the violin. Or that Bush and Obama will be prosecuted as well.

Adding to the conspiracy theories: Suppose Trump approached the leader of Iraq and said: " "I need to distract my people from the impeachment and you need to distract yours from economic hardships caused by my sanctions. In addition, S. is proving to be a problem for you and you want to get rid of him. You let me kill him and I'll let you lobe some bombs on a deserted airstrip and we'll call it even." Deal?

4:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is, as the Brits say, spot-on:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/09/donald-trump-rant-iran-dying-empire-nato

Cd it be that more and more people are turning into Wafers? The only thing missing from this essay is words such as "turkeys" and "douche bags." But this may only be a matter of time.

mb

5:38 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course they did...

Prison 'inadvertently' deleted surveillance video outside cell during Jeffrey Epstein's first suicide attempt, feds say

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/09/jeffrey-epstein-feds-say-video-first-suicide-attempt-deleted/4421007002/

7:07 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

Joanne Mercader, 59, tosses bucket of excrement at landlord:
https://www.mysuncoast.com/2020/01/07/florida-woman-accused-throwing-human-feces-landlord/

Is it wrong to suggest that this act is decidedly Waferish?

Miles

7:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Problem is, the article doesn't say if the feces were hot or cold. Personally, I find cold feces disgusting.

2nd: I wd have liked to have seen a fecal counter-attack on the part of the landlord. This wd make it a kind of food fight.

3rd and most impt: Is it perhaps the case--just a guess, mind you--that as a result of the posting of this article (Project X), more and more Americans are getting into shit as a normal part of their lives? This wd be a Wafer triumph of the 1st order.

Wafers are encouraged to comment on any of these 3 pts.

mb

8:16 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Thanks for the story! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We saw a hot bucket of diarrhea in the comments several blog posts back. I think fecal dousing is a trending topic for 2020 and I wouldn't be surprised to see more of it in 2020.

This link isn't really related to anything we've been discussing, but I found it an interesting read. https://aeon.co/essays/to-know-ourselves-we-must-first-know-the-neanderthals

11:05 PM  
Anonymous door said...

28% of Americans can identify Iran on a unmarked map of the world 72% can't.The interesting and funny thing to me was that about 30 people identified the midwest as a place where Iran is located I guess mideast midwest Iowa Iran what the hells the difference lets bomb the shit out of them.By the way the survey was done by Morning Consult of 1995 registered American voters on Jan.4 2020 they show a map of the world and people put a dot where they think Iran is like pin the tail on the donkey only they are not blindfolded. Thanks








11:58 PM  
Anonymous OTC said...

Here's more evidence that the majority of Americans just do not care about the growing divide created by the runaway culture of hustling and greed....

https://qz.com/1780450/new-study-finds-most-americans-dont-really-care-about-inequality/?utm_source=YPL&yptr=yahoo

5:57 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Re: Megxit, check this out Wafers:

"What it fundamentally reveals is the incompatibility of the modern culture of narcissism with the values of duty, loyalty and self-negation traditionally associated with royal life. To someone like Meghan, who sprang from celebville, who sees herself as the embodiment of right-on goodness, and who loves nothing more than advertising her eco-virtue and performing her PC credentials, life in the British monarchy was never going to be a good fit."

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/01/09/a-woke-wallis-simpson/

Kanye

6:59 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I'm a bit perplexed, Dan, by your asking why Trump didn't "retaliate" against Iran.

That's like asking why Japan didn't retaliate for bombing Pearl Harbour.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Iran subsequently attacked US bases in Iraq, and Trumpi decided not to escalate any further. I believe that's what Dan was referring to. In any case, the attacks on US bases were more symbolic than significant.

OTC-

That's because most Americans believe they can hustle their way to the top.

mb

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Dave Bosland said...

Kama muta is "evoked by the sudden intensification of communal sharing – that is, sudden ‘love’ or kindness"-- based on research in 19 nations/ 15 languages. Compelling read for today on anthropology, psychology, and emotion.

https://aeon.co/amp/ideas/kama-muta-a-new-term-for-that-warm-fuzzy-feeling-we-all-get

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Dora Strav said...

I prefer Winnicott's reformulation of the death instinct: it doesn't need to oppose the life instinct but can serve to modify runaway desire: "Stop, let's think about this...." Capitalism's success, therefore, isn't supercharging the Eros but denying death a place!

Freud Would Know Why We're workaholics
https://unherd.com/2020/01/freud-would-know-why-were-all-workaholics/

12:12 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I’ve been enjoying Matt Taibbi’s Hate, Inc., and referring to Dennis Kucinich, he says: “At the University of New Hampshire in Durham, he refused to dumb down his speech and quoted the likes of Jung, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Thomas Berry, and the sociologist Morris Berman.”

As far as MegHar goes, I cannot understand why anyone supports the BRF, so I hope this indicates that it’s demise is imminent. Why the British aren’t rioting to depose these bloodsuckers is beyond me.

As far as Jerry Epstein goes, on one hand we were told that when he died the cameras weren't working, and then William Barr told us that he personally watched all the videos and that no one entered his cell that night. This dovetails nicely with the current belief that two wrongs do, indeed, make a right.

BTW, regarding the brouhaha about Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein (until Trump killed Soleimani): What no one talks about is that Jimmy Saville, a British entertainer, epic pedophile and necrophiliac, was an intimate of the BRF for years.


1:52 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

In other news, former cannon fodder becomes latest casualty of the dying empire's military industrial complex

https://www.inquirer.com/obituaries/corey-hadley-army-iraq-afghanistan-infantry-died-20200107.html

"Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy"- Henry Kissinger

2:09 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

An excellent example of how the Western mind has been balkanized (through K-12 and higher ed., the media—not just corporate media but just about all of it—and our mindless leaders). The subject is African migration to Europe. I would wager that anyone who has yet to hear this (YouTube) talk would agree with the received wisdom that *poverty* among the poorest of the poor drives migration. It does *not*—if anything, Africans with middle-class incomes do, at least according to the "lecturing" Africanist, who also happens to be a former journalist. One bit of takeaway trivia: Africans who set off for Europe are a minority of the continent's migrants who leave their villages in search of "emancipation without revolution," and the number of potential migrants, currently 150 million, is set to quadruple in the next 30 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAQwinnb7h0&fbclid=IwAR0xwg4BxK2or5vpKSsArJUbNQ_4qCWGESE1BCB_oLVvUsSEjsTwYQH1Jsk

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Mitchell Musgrave said...

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/terrence-malicks-a-hidden-life-and-the-art-of-being-free

Big film recommendation!!

From another review:

"A Hidden Life is exquisite epic, sensual, full-bodied, encompassing forever in 3hrs, human hope in a masterpiece of cinematic beauty. It’s filmmaking as philosophical balm for civilization, landscape for a savior, canvas for mitigating the vulgar through both human & natural good, through love & the sanctity of community, microscopic & macro, through the masses in salute, the smile of one child tucked in a heart or streaming through the skies, across the universe, the eternal in the flicker of the infinitesimal color fiber of one eye. If you have time & patience, please see this paean immediately. Inhabit its emotional fortitude, its visual passion, its verbal daring, & its, at times, filmic perfection. I was honored to watch Terrence Malick in such powerful form. Thank you for this work. It spoke in volumes."

Wow!

6:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sarah-

Well, you can see why Kisstuchus won the Nobel Peace Prize, eh?

Sar-

Why *aren't* the Brits vomiting on the royal family? Impt question, worthy of a long psychological discussion (see CTOS ch. 1).

dora-

On Winnicott, again see CTOS ch. 1 for extended analysis.

mb

6:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Help me out here. Everyone is up in arms abt Meghan. They rejected her because she was black, she wasn't one of us, etc. etc. Only empty, stupid people cd give a rat's ass abt Meghan, but the UK and US contain millions of empty, stupid people. But what bothers me, in all of this 'analysis' and hullabaloo, is that nowhere is mentioned the crucial fact abt Meghan: she's a douche baguette. She's an airhead; there is simply nothing to her. She hasn't an ounce of substance. How is this basic fact being overlooked? I'm sorry, I just don't understand.

mb

7:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/10/us-national-parks-dismantling-under-way

Why stop with national parks? Let's dismantle everything!

8:07 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Dr. B asks, "But what bothers me, in all of this 'analysis' and hullabaloo, is that nowhere is mentioned the crucial fact abt Meghan: she's a douche baguette. She's an airhead; there is simply nothing to her. She hasn't an ounce of substance. How is this basic fact being overlooked? I'm sorry, I just don't understand."

What you are missing is that the everyone under discussion, and all those doing the discussion, are all douches of one form or another. So your question is akin to wondering why every mention of a human being in the news is not prefaced with the phrase. Human John Doe robbed a bank, human Jane Smith had an accident. The human Her Majesty the queen and her human son Prince Charles are seen in a crowd of human lords and ladies.... When all are douches, one loses sight of essential truths.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Yeah, that must be it. But I still can't help feeling that Meghan is in a class of her own: a douche baguette such as has never been seen in all of human history. The Ultimate Baguette, as it were.

mb

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Overdose deaths due to stimulants such as meth and cocaine are on the rise in America.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/1/9/21055113/opioid-epidemic-stimulants-cocaine-meth-drug-overdose-death

The number of Americans dying from alcohol abuse has doubled since 1999.

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-01-08/alcohol-fueled-deaths-double-in-us-over-past-20-years

More Americans are committing suicide at the workplace than ever before.

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2020/jan/10/suicide-on-rise-in-the-workplace-202001/

2:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tom-

And here I thought we were all livin' the Dream! I keep wondering if there are any historians around who have pointed out that maybe it hasn't worked out all that well...

mb

2:58 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course they did...This is what Americans DO...


https://abcnews.go.com/US/teenagers-assaulting-deer-video-charged-animal-cruelty-officials/story?id=68204178

5:18 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

@MB,

"Ultimate Baguette" sounds like a good title for a short story in your new book? Maybe a story about how you end up dating Meghan for a month and your thoughts on the experience?

Kanye

8:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

I'm just wondering what we wd talk abt. Her hats?

mb

8:39 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

The next 6-figure hustle — diversity and inclusion.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/02/demand-for-diversity-and-inclusion-professionals-set-to-rise-in-2020.html

I can't think of a better way to ensure that society stays balkanized than to create a corporate bureaucracy dedicated to inclusion.

When you leave the US this is one of the first things that feels very different. In any Western liberal democracy, it would be absurd to worry that someone may pull a gun on me over a traffic dispute, or to think that some entire segment of society may be excluded from access to healthcare.

Really nice ambiance to know that your company has to put up an entire division to force your coworkers into pretending to respect you despite your minority status. Great vibes.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Your "neighbor" in Mexico, Fred Reed, shares his experience of visiting the US (DC) over Christmas:"Random Thoughts from the Heart of Darkness - Washington at Yuletide"

https://www.unz.com/freed/random-thoughts-from-the-heart-of-darkness/

Fred says: "Going back to America every nine months or a year is like watching something decay in time-lapse photography. It can be a shock."....Arriving in the Virginia burbs of the Yankee Capital, I turned on CNN with the attitude of a forensic pathologist. Gawd. It was sickening. A lynch mob. Endless raving against Trump by talking heads who seemed to have a high-school mentality, asking each other leading questions to elicit scripted answers. International coverage was slight and mostly Neocon twaddle about the Russians are coming and Iran may kill you at any moment. No attempt at impartial coverage of the news. Yes, I understand: If you are an American this is normal and you think me naive for being nauseated. I get it.So I go to Fox. Maybe, maybe, just possibly, the Zorro Channel will be better. It can’t be worse, I figure. The thought provides momentary solace. But no. Fox is as crooked, calculated, partisan, and embarrassing as CNN. It just does it in the opposite direction. Tedious. Stupid. It is the intellectual analog of a Ugandan bus-station latrine. Why do people put up with it? I conclude, once again, that journalism no longer exists in the United States.Perhaps worst about it may be the contempt it displays for the public. It is not the respectful manipulativeness suitable to an intelligent audience, but seems to regard the public as retarded rabbits."
I love the phrase "retarded rabbits".
Himanshu

10:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A movie called "Hustlers". At the end, Jennifer Lopez says something like, "The whole country is one big hustle."

I have a feeling that popular culture, a lot of it, is starting to understand what the US is, and that it is dying.

mb

11:27 AM  
Anonymous J Chase said...

What a shitshow

'U.S. officials warned Iraq that it risks losing access to its account at the New York Fed, where international oil sale revenue is kept, if it forces U.S. troops to leave'

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-warns-iraq-it-risks-losing-access-to-key-bank-account-if-troops-told-to-leave-11578759629

12:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Chase-

A new post-it for yr bathrm mirror: I LIVE IN A ROGUE STATE RUN BY THUGS AND APPLAUDED BY MORONS.

(No exaggeration--not even slightly)

mb

1:22 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

The best reason to watch the Golden Globes is to hear host Ricky Gervais skewer the assembled glitterati. This year was his 5th appearance, which he says will be his last. Of course you don’t have to watch the show at all, you can just wait until it’s over for someone to post Gervais’s bits.

I found the following YouTube version to be the most complete, though you’ll have to suffer a bit: it’s presented in split screen by two radio “personalities” whom I’ve never heard of before. Still, if you can ignore them and listen to Ricky, you may enjoy his comments. And, to pick up a topic I raised months ago, Ricky has a barbed comment on actress Felicity Huffman, who spent time in the big house for her involvement in the college admissions scandal. Hope you enjoy.

https://youtu.be/YZEK54MhY3c

1:50 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Dr. B- re Meghan Merkle as the ulitmate douchette or whatever: I wonder if you are missing perspective due to your time away from the US. I live in a university town, and there are hundreds of Meghans roaming the streets. Financially secure with no effort, attractive from a combination of good genes, good diet, good skin care, good clothes budget, and good surgeries. Raised to consider anything that emerges from their mouth to be significant. Witness the number of Instagram accounts, blogs, etc.

Or your distance is giving you a more penetrating perspective.

Maybe Meghan being so removed from her typical habitat makes the doucheitude so glaring. Like a specimen of a common species raised up into the world media spotlight. I don't see her as unique or extreme. As befits the British Royal family, she is actually a rather mundane and boring version of a very common type these days. Now this should scare you! There are thousands, hundreds of thousands of Meghans driving their SUVs all over the US. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Here's a recent example bubbling up from the pool. She's a disrupter!
https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/dec/29/glossier-cult-beauty-brand-founder-interview

7:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

You cd be rt (just consider the daughter of Lori Loughlin, e.g.); in which case, for the Wafer Douche Baguette Counterattack (WDBC), we are going to need more urine than the 7th Fleet might be able to supply over a 6-mo. period. And yet, I still see Meghan as a douche baguette in a class of her own. The absurd hats, the inability to say anything meaningful at all, the faux feminism--I dunno man: as we usta say on certain prize-show giveaways, "No more calls, folks; we gotta winner." A major turkette, gobbling across the landscape.

mb

8:39 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Check this out Wafers. Not so sure Meghan is the Ultimate Baguette after all. We have a serious contender here:

"The breastplate – or “muscle cuirass” – has been used to craft an idealised version of the body since Greco-Roman times, protecting the torso while creating the illusion of muscles. Its much-later incarnation in fashion serves a similar purpose."

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/jan/10/gwyneth-paltrow-suits-up-for-the-new-high-fashion-fad-boob-armour

Can you even make this stuff up in your wildest dreams?

Kanye

5:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kan-

But at least Gwyn has some talent. What does Meghan have (besides hats)?

mb

8:33 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

With some regularity, Wafers cite The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver as a book worth reading. This essay by Shriver from Harpers touches on some themes that recur in the blog. Shriver’s essays appear also in The Spectator, for those interested in more from her.

“Propelled by digital technology that spreads rhetorical fads like herpes, this decade’s lengthy left-wing lexicon has impressively penetrated both mainstream media and everyday speech, while carrying ideological baggage so overstuffed that it wouldn’t fit in an airplane’s overhead compartment.”
https://harpers.org/archive/2019/12/lefty-lingo/

And here is a link to Shriver’s appearance at the Oxford Union:
https://youtu.be/0xZ6tCl1AqU

3:36 PM  
Blogger Greenthink said...

I haven't been posting much of late, but I have been a daily reader. Thanks to all the Wafers and MB for your contributions. I recently read a book about the IRA and the "Troubles" in Ireland called Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. I remembered Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes from my youth. This book reminded me of those heroes and helped me more deeply understand why there will never be violent revolution in the United States unless it comes the right. We don't have anything to believe in, and even if we did, we wouldn't have a clue about how to organize. It may be of interest to Wafers.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/new-book-claims-to-reveal-the-killers-of-jean-mcconville-1.3681771

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Half-assed "prevention" attempts, pt deux.

https://www.bradenton.com/news/local/article239161053.html

Are they going to just put barriers on every bridge & overpass whenever some1 does themselves in? Do they not think there's more places and more methods? This society is so laughable.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I thank you all for yr stimulating contributions. Documentation of how the country continues to shoot itself in the foot makes for fine weekend reading. But I'm in the dark here regarding what cd be the most impt news story of all: the current activities of Tulsi Gabbard. I dunno what they are, but I'm sure they're crucially impt to the future of this country. Is it true that she will be asking Meghan to be her running mate, and to wear special hats? Meanwhile, I continue to work on my 5-vol. biography, "The Wit and Wisdom of Tulsi Gabbard," plus my popularization of her deep philosophical writings, "Tulsism for the Masses." Someone also wrote regarding a cryptic graffito that has been appearing all over Hawaii: "Tulsion, Emulsion." What cd this possibly mean? Wafers are encouraged to speculate.

mb

6:26 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

OK, Dr. B, you are trolling us now, yes? Gwyneth Paltrow and talent?? Given her family of course she could pretend to be anyone an idiotic script put in front of her face. Paltrow leaves Meghan in the dust when it comes to today's douche culture. I dare you to spend fifteen minutes on her lifestyle web site without needing a serious deep colonic irrigation from all the crap just blown up your rectum. And she'll have a web page telling you the best place to get one in fifteen different cities...

https://goop.com/

And as people like to do here, LOOK at these faces!! Have you ever seen such an example of generational decline and decay, Darwinian decadence at its prime? Look at the young one, how easy it is to see this face at a Popeye's smashing a window for a chicken sandwich. Can you blame anyone for wanting to get away from this family??

https://www.thedailybeast.com/buckingham-palace-releases-photo-of-queen-with-her-direct-heirs-charles-william-and-george

8:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Actually, I think she's a v. talented actress. But hey, that's just me.

mb

9:08 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

MB, Tulsi is getting lots of alt. news airtime bashing the warmongers. I still think she could move into first place among the 'crats running for pres if she would show some tit for the mouth breathing deplorables. A kind of Wonder Woman suit would do well. Gotta have something to break into the MSM.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Brashear said...

"Societies endure only when they are devoted to future generations, and they collapse like the Roman Empire when the pleasures and fancies of the living usurp the inheritance of those unborn" A Political Philosophy

RIP Roger Scruton

9:17 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Well, we are finally hearing in this article that the ecological consequences of extracting the minerals for use in alternative energy technologies might actually be as bad or worse than fossil fuel extraction. I like the quote "The only truly clean energy is less energy."

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/06/the-path-to-clean-energy-will-be-very-dirty-climate-change-renewables/

There is an energy angle to industrial civilizational collapse by 2030 - primarily because exploiting petroleum deposits that are smaller, more remote, more expensive to process and distribute will reduce the energy return on energy invested to a point that makes industrial civilization unsustainable in the very near term. (Sorry if this is too long)

http://energyskeptic.com/2019/net-energy-cliff-collapse-by-2030/

11:51 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings Wafers,

We put up our Cascadian periscope to look for the latest stirrings of Tulsi and found this flotsam:

Dozens of Tulsi tees are available for purchase, soon to be collectors items:

https://www.redbubble.com/shop/tulsi+gabbard+t-shirts?msclkid=5e14a14680301052d89dff5a30912027&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=G.DSA%20RLSA%20%5BG.USA%5D%20%5BNB%5D%20%5BL.ENG%5D&utm_term=shirt&utm_content=T-Shirts&gclid=CMP-4peVgecCFY-bxQIdiyMD7A&gclsrc=ds

Tulsi jumped in the Atlantic Ocean on new year’s day, about as noteworthy as a description of Meghan’s hats:

https://tulsi20.com/2020/01/02/tulsi-gabbard-makes-a-splash-surfing-in-freezing-new-hampshire/

Tulsi’s “present” vote in Congress on January 5 was a profile in courage? Read the latest Gabbardgobble at Tulsi20:

https://tulsi20.com/2020/01/05/tulsi-gabbards-present-vote-in-the-house-impeachment-was-a-classic-profile-in-courage-moment/

Do the Wah-Tulsi!

1:12 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

@MB,

No matter how talented an actress she is (or was), Meghan doesn't go that far:

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/jan/13/why-is-gwyneth-paltrow-selling-a-candle-that-smells-like-her-vagina-goop

Kanye

2:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack-

Jesus, what a turkette. The problem with writing an exposition of Tulsism is that she is fraudulent, dishonest, and self-contradictory. 'Anti-war', but OK with torture and very much a proponent of the so-called war on terror. "Present" on impeachment. When will she finally exit the political stage, already? When will the political process flush this turdette (sic) out, once and for all?

mb

2:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kanye-

Well, give her time!

mb

3:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Note that the candle has sold out:

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/jan/13/why-is-gwyneth-paltrow-selling-a-candle-that-smells-like-her-vagina-goop

Q: did Meghan buy one?

4:04 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

I think we all agree that the nation is in unalterable decline and inevitable dissolution. The only question is what it will devolve into. In his latest, Hedges predicts facism. Comparing the situation in the US with that of 1932 Germany, he makes a strong argument that we are well on our way to being a fascist state.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/how-democracies-die/

The part played by the German Church (with the exception of the Confessing Church - Bonhoeffer et al) has been given to the Christian Right. Teamed with extremist conservative political operatives and corporate money, the network elected Trump and is on target to turn the US into a fascist theocracy. (the book to read is "Shadow Network").

I doubt we have much time left. Much work toward that goal has already been done. It's only left for Trump and company to complete the transformation.

5:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

trying-

It's possible, but it's only 1 scenario. There are a lot of differences between US today and Germany in the 30s.

mb

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@ DioGenes,

Good article. Thank you. Adolph Reed touched a bit on the issue of diversity professionals in a 2018 article. Here is a good quote from the article:

“Diversity as a norm of fairness pervades the professional-managerial strata and ratifies an ideal of social justice that harmonizes seamlessly with market-driven neoliberalism because it combines celebration of difference and aggressive pursuit of equality of opportunity, to the exclusion of economic redistribution.”

https://nonsite.org/article/black-politics-after-2016

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Terence said...

'Some 300 vomiting, defecating vultures have made a United States Customs and Border Protection radio tower in South Texas their home. The agency is not pleased.'

How heavy-handed do you like your symbolism?


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/us/vulture-border-protection-tower.html

9:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Terence-

In this particular case, let me go on record and say that I am in favor of vomiting, defecating vultures.

mb

10:11 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Hi everyone,

An update from the east. Cows are safe in India. As for humans, they are in a strange predicament. The wise government has decided to confer citizenships to non-Muslim refugees and illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries while the people who voted them to power have to prove that they are areal citizens of India. And for that, none of the identity docs generally used, including the voter registration card, will suffice. But the people being unwise, as always, are unwilling to accept this. So they are protesting on the streets and in the university campuses. This has caused the wise government to get enraged. They sent their police and peacekeepers to teach the transgressors the right lesson. But even then ppl, particularly women, are sitting on streets for nearly 3 weeks now at more than a few locations in the country. Worried that the great patriarchal bastion is getting challenged seriously, and new history is being created, the wise is getting even more enraged.

The wise in the West is only just murmuring in the meantime abt the 160+ days of lockdown in Kashmir. Because, if and when things become normal, there are tremendous growth opportunities. So the envoy from the USofA, and 14 other countries, (none of the big powers though) like wise hustlers, went on a ‘guided tour’ of the area arranged in their honour by the Indian government. One of them, the one from Vietnam, (poor soul Ho Chi Minh) found everything to be ‘normal’.

These are giving me some thoughts on change. Will come back with that later if we survive.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Margaret Omero said...

https://thelibertyherald.com/2020/01/11/vermin-supreme-wins-the-new-hampshire-libertarian-party-state-convention-nomination-poll/amp/

Vermin Supreme Wins the New Hampshire Libertarian Party State Convention Nomination Poll

Haha, wowz...Libertarians...

10:37 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

I tried to read Infinite Jest but didn’t get very far. Maybe I’ll have better luck with some of his essays.

In any event, I came upon the following YouTube clip in which David Foster Wallace discusses his view on consumerism and the American malaise. Sounds Wafer-ish to me. You may agree. He’s being interviewed for German TV (2003).

https://youtu.be/P1PC1sArw70

12:38 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

From the annals of Gabbardgobble – January 8

Tulsi criticized Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian general Soleimani because … wait for it… it undermined the fight against ISIS in Iraq:

https://tulsi20.com/2020/01/08/gabbard-trumps-decision-on-iran-has-undermined-our-national-security/

A more thorough documentation of Tulsi’s love of drones and her focus of “radical Islam” can be found in the May 2017 issue of Jacobin magazine:

https://jacobinmag.com/2017/05/tulsi-gabbard-president-sanders-democratic-party

All the more reason to stop what you’re doing and start doing the Wah-Tulsi!

2:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack-

She's not only a douche baguette; she's fucking mental.

mb

4:16 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

MB - what's your best guess as the form US government will take post-collapse? I, too, doubt it will be exactly like Germany of the 1930s. There are some cultural and religious parallels but the major systems (economic and political) are different. Not to mention the absence of a Hitler, unless you consider Trump a clownish copy. I imagine, however, that there will be violence on a large scale during collapse and that all those but the very rich will suffer like they have never suffered before. When empires fall, the ground shakes not nor the great buildings fall, but the bottom of the pyramid is crushed nevertheless.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

trying-

I don't think there will be a US gov't; or at least, I hope not. The scenario I personally favor is secession: the breakaway of various parts of the country, so that the (former) US becomes decentralized (balkanized): Vermont, Texas, the South, Northern Cal, Pacific NW, Manhattan Island, etc. Our imperial ventures wd thankfully be kaput. Balkanization of course has its own problems, but one thing small states can't do is wage global war.

mb

5:06 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

How Absurd...Sure, Bernie, and Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus should run for office too...because they’re all SO qualified.


Bernie Sanders says it would be 'great' if Cardi B runs for office...

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/14/politics/bernie-sanders-cardi-b/index.html

6:44 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@trying to stay sane-

A guiding principle for our times, from Hegel via Karl Marx: History happens twice, first as tragedy, second as farce.

We are deep inside the farcical these days. A drug addled tin pot dictator for the 'greatest country on earth'?? I usually look to Reagan as the tragedy. Hitler is almost too easy, having collapsed the farce inside his tragedy almost concurrently. Look to Pinochet instead, maybe? I agree with the Dr. that Balkanization will be most likely, but I wonder if people will even care as long as the Amazon trucks are running?

Facebook becomes the news, Amazon becomes the post office. Some people care but who will listen?

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/01/we-must-save-and-strengthen-our-precious-public-assets

7:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Is Trumpi really on drugs? I had no idea. Give us a source, pls.

Updating Marx: first as tragedy, second as Farsi (language of Iran).

mb

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Dalton Springer said...

US military investing in night-vision facial recognition devices: tech that clearly has no possible detriments or potential for abuses in society at large

https://onezero.medium.com/amp/p/4f752fa713e6

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Gareth said...

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/fashion-waste-clothes-recycling

Everyone needs to get used to the idea of renting, not buying, clothes

If we want to stop fashion becoming one of the most pollutant industries in the world, we need to change our minds about what is 'new'

8:28 PM  
Blogger Quercus said...

I just came across this:

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/01/an_introduction_to_q.html

I though it was in reference to the "Q" in biblical studies as a source of the Christian Gospels. But no, it is the current mother of all conspiracies, and at the end it quotes:

" We know what happens in the end. God wins. Many times, Q has asked us to pray. He’s quoted the famous Biblical lines of Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We’re living through monumental times. It’s comforting that Q believes that if we work together, God wins."

Crackpot stuff (Americans love this kind of thing),but it is obviously quite big. For a wider analysis, see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAnon

Quercus

9:19 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

"beware false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves"

https://youtu.be/hMlXW1ITjmI

He's been at this schtick for many decades, fairly senile now but his son Stanley Jr is a hot commodity. He's considered an intellectual in Evangelical circles (yikes!)

USAFA honor oath (how have we avoided a mutiny?)

https://images.app.goo.gl/FPuokSKkzdDdWACg6

12:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

How is it that Tulsi was not included in yesterday's Democratic party debates? O the shame, the horror.

TULSI COME HOME! AMERICA NEEDS YOU! AND IT NEEDS TULSISM!

Where is she, our Tulsi?

mb

4:11 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Trump and drugs: of course one reason people suspect this (yes, no videotape of him snorting Adderall in the Oval Office) is because he is such a schlub that people want a reason, a causation other than George Carlin's "if you have selfish ignorant people, you will get selfish ignorant leaders... Garbage in, garbage out..."

Here he is at a recent statement (note the emergence from the light entrance- either descending from heaven or matching his TV show, not sure which)-

https://youtu.be/7ljQ58nQk4c?t=6m43s

If you were waiting for a bus and someone was sniffling and breathing hard and not able to pronounce words like this you'd wonder what he was on..

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/01/what-drugs-is-he-on-trump-sparks-concern-by-slurring-and-sniffling-through-iran-remarks/

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/11/17/1900107/-Could-Trump-s-drug-habits-have-contributed-to-his-sudden-visit-to-Walter-Reed

http://polipace.com/2018/03/01/trump-medical-records-show-worrisome-addiction-drug/

6:01 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Jacob Bacharack tries to bring Paul Krugman back to reality.
"In the aftermath of the assassination, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman rushed to assure his readers and likely himself that Trump’s bullying violence represented a fundamental break with American history." Paul - time for a remedial course in American history, especially the part about American wars and overthrows. Almost all American wars are commercial wars. Read your history.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/paul-krugman-in-imperial-fantasy-land/


And Tom Engelhardt on "our dying empire". Not nearly thorough enough and, as always, this article could use a good editor, but Tom gets it in the end.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/welcome-to-our-dying-empire/

6:50 AM  
Anonymous Fred Scott Ridgeview said...

Trump Ratings Remain Low Around Globe, While Views of U.S. Stay Mostly Favorable
Trump foreign policies receive little support

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2020/01/08/trump-ratings-remain-low-around-globe-while-views-of-u-s-stay-mostly-favorable/

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Rosia said...

Harry and Meghan, the royal family of surveillance capitalism

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/harry-and-meghan-royal-family-surveillance-capitalism/

"The house of Windsor built itself on the rock of racist tabloid nationalism. Harry and Meghan are leading it to the world of international instagram influencers, argues Adam Ramsay"

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Daisy said...

Losing my religion for equality

By Jimmy Carter

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/losing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html

1:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Daisy-

Gd guy. Check out the Jimmy sections of DAA and WAF.

mb

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Krakhed said...

Good Day Wafers,

Tulsi deserves better, she's our only chance of having Lorenzo Riggins and Chrystal Walraven in Cabinet positions where they belong.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/jan/10/how-the-us-helped-create-el-salvadors-bloody-gang-war

A look at the mess the US has made in El Salvador, only exacerbated by the continued deportation policies.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/alabama-man-james-bond-grandmother-mother-arrested-kids-cages

They were keeping kids in cages. Check out the mugshots, faces of the empire.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Krak-

Gd pt. I am majorly committed to Tulsi, Lorenzo, and Chrystal.

Meanwhile: Bernie, Schmernie; Biden, Schmiden; Warren, Schmarren; Brexit, Schmexit; and impeachment, schmimpeachment. I love watching the country beat off, rather than do anything remotely related to reality.

mb

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Just out of curiosity, has anyone seen that new film, "Joker" What did you think? I just watched it the other night, and I have to say, I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I was mesmerized from the first scene to the last, and thought it was flawless. It perfectly captures the contemporary zeitgeist, of just wanting to "burn it all to the fucking ground."

I can't believe I'm even saying this, because I normally hate movies about superheroes or comic book characters. But this isn't like that. I enjoyed the first Batman movie, The Dark Knight, with Christian Bale, but more in the way of good entertainment, rather than for the sake of any artistic value. But, damn, the Joker movie really hit home with me, and I found it completely riveting. It takes very much the same standpoint that you see in "Going Postal" i.e. the little guy who gets trampled on by our cruel American culture, finally starts hitting back.

Not sure if this would be your cup of tea, M.B, but since you are also a big fan of "Going Postal", it seems to me that you might like this. At any rate, if someone hated it or thought it was stupid, that would be interesting too. Because the negative reviews stuck me very much the same as the negative reviews for "Going Postal", which is to say, very shallow. Pretty much the brusque dismissal, saying that it was "just a lot of nihilistic trash".

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Bernard said...

Whoa! Barcelona declares a climate emergency that gets straight to it: "The current economic model is based on endless growth, consumption & a permanent race for profit. This economic system threatens the ecological balance of our planet & has multiplied inequalities."

https://www.barcelona.cat/emergenciaclimatica/ca"

The climate emergency should spur us to make changes to achieve a development model that respects the ecological limits of the planet and ensures a dignified life for all."

Context in English: out.https://www.barcelona.cat/infobarcelona/en/climate-emergency-declared-in-barcelona_902739.html

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Jack Goody said...

Brazilian Secretary of Culture Plagiarizes Goebbels in Official Statement, with Hitler's Favorite Opera (Wagner's Lohengrin) Playing in the Background. https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/amp/ilustrada/2020/01/em-video-alvim-cita-goebbels-e-provoca-onda-de-repudio-nas-redes-sociais.shtml



Seriously! Putting aside the justifiable outrage, how politically delusional and out-of-touch do you have to be to post white nationalist propaganda in a country like BRAZIL!? Campinas isn’t Charlottesville.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan, Bernard-

The really depressing thing is that no one will pay attn. to these messages. After 400 yrs of hustling, how do you change course? The usual pattern is that ya hafta 'hit bottom'--i.e. crash. Then, you start to think of alternatives. Anyway, I think this will be the crucial decade for America.

mb

10:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Why can't an American say this?:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/17/middleeast/iran-supreme-leader-friday-prayers-intl/index.html

'Clowns' is gd, but I wd also like to hear 'buffoons', 'turkeys', and 'douche bags'.

mb

10:09 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

In the meantime, Jeff Bezos was in India pleading Modi to make it easy for his business. Just two days ago the government had ordered an antitrust investigation against Amazon in India. Bezos is now begging Modi. Has promised a billion dollars of investment and to create a million jobs. Still Modi is not much impressed Modi only cares for his cronies Ambani and Adani (remember the opposition to Australian coal mine.)

In the meantime, the west thinks locking down an entire population for abt 170 days now is an internal matter for India, and is not something they want to worry abt. what if the market slips away, like it did for Amazon because the WaPo is critical of Modi? So none of the western powers criticised India at the UN Security Council.

Wasn’t the western banks/institutions equally indulgent of Hitler till he set his sights on France and England ? Pl correct me.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Megan, I'm with you. A great movie with a wonderful performance. The Joker is the embodiment of the typical Trump supporter as well - the little guy who thinks he's being exploited by powers that be (he is, he just doesn't understand how) and will vote for anyone who promises to tear it all down. A role which suits Trump perfectly. A Wafer's dream. And I agree with MB - we have 10 maybe 15 years at most to prepare ourselves for collapse. "Fasten your seatbelts,
it's going to be a bumpy night."

2:07 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Give em a side of crack while you're at it - 21 century version of 'let them eat cake.'

https://a.msn.com/r/2/BBZ4ce8?m=en-us&referrerID=InAppShare

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Up to a third of opioid overdose deaths might be suicides.

https://www.register-herald.com/news/up-to-a-third-of-opioid-overdose-deaths-might-be/article_5381047f-7e96-502b-bf52-5955490f8198.html

The federal government might be undercounting the number of overdose deaths due to certain drugs.

https://www.usf.edu/news/2020/federal-data-undercounts-fatal-overdose-deaths.aspx

5:39 PM  
Blogger Xair said...

MB,

So I was discussing the article posted below at a get together and watched these people tell me the author was crazy, stupid, and should leave the US as he must be an anti-American extremist. Someone actually said that all we needed was to get a Democrat in and everything would change.The funny thing is, the article is fairly tame, but i guess any questioning of the empire is too much. Oh well.

https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2019/11/05/american-empire-decline-and-were-not-ready-what-comes-next

1:28 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Xair - Welcome to "(X) fragility" whether it's race (white) or nation (USA, I suppose 1930s germany, 1020s/30s Italy, Victorian England etc.) or even what prep school or college you went to, whoever it is whose values you question, acts as if your very word could cause the edifice you question to crumble.

People who are confident about their race/college/system of gov't/culture/etc. don't act like this. They're not running scared.

3:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Xair-

Yeah, well, I've been saying this stuff for years now. Nobody told me to leave the country; I was just smart enuf to do it, and I've never looked back. But the author is asking the rt questions, in any case. The one thing that every single contemporary critic of America omits in their analysis, because it is extremely politically incorrect to say so, is--as your 'friends' at this party demonstrate clearly--that Americans are dumb as shit. Even the smart ones are dumb. Let's just get rid of Trump, and all will be well. If you criticize America, yr crazy. Etc. The pt I continually make is not merely that the country consists of 329 million morons, but that this incredible stupidity is a major reason for our decline. My predecessors in this (obvious) analysis--H.L. Mencken, George Carlin, Gore Vidal--were largely ignored, precisely because Americans *are* dumb as shit. There is no way out here. My "Project X" article may as well be literally true, not just metaphorically true, for all the difference it makes. In that article, in any case, there is a wake-up moment, where Americans recognize their stupidity and start wearing signs that say I AM A SHITHEAD. This could never happen in real life.

I'm expecting that after the collapse, we'll have lots of pundits telling us why the country went down the drain. The cause will be the corporations, the 1% elite, Trumpi, corruption in gov't, and so on. I venture to guess that not one of them will say, A major cause was the stupidity of the American people. Even the post-mortems will be asinine!

mb

3:35 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral and of more post-Great-Fire churches, is bured in the southeast corner of the Cathedral’s crypt. On the simple plaque marking Wren’s remains, his son wrote “Si monumentum requiris circumspice.” If you seek his monument, look around you.

Along these same lines, if you seek evidence for MB’s “Americans are stupid” thesis, take a look around you when you’re out and about.

Some Carlin wsdom: (1). The planet is fine. The people are fucked. (2). Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. (3). In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem. (4). Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are stupider than that.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

*What* the US is, is becoming clear to the rest of the world, if it wasn't already. 1st, the Wash Post reported that our 18 yrs in Afghanistan was a joke. We had no idea of what we were doing, and we accomplished 0. It's v. likely that ISIS will outlive us there, as has the Taliban. Then there's this:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/18/middleeast/iraq-iran-us-troops-analysis-intl/index.html

Our destruction of Iraq was a misguided farce (Iraq was never involved in 9/11), we killed or displaced millions for 0, and now we're being kicked out as we were from Viet Nam (another misguided farce). All of these ventures received enthusiastic support (for a while) from a clueless populace. The bottom line, as I analyzed it in QOV, is that the US simply needs to be at war with somebody--could be the penguins in Antarctica--for its own sake. Historically speaking, it can't really function w/o an enemy. Iran is merely the latest guerre du jour, and when Khameini said our politicians were clowns, I wonder if he understood how accurate that remark really was. It's worse, tho: the potential violence of a dying empire is typically off the charts. Meanwhile, the implosion we will be facing at home during this next decade will be a sight to behold (preferably from a distance).

mb

10:06 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greeting MB and Wafers,

MB-

Indeed. We're too dumb to work out what we've done and continue to do wrong. It's as if the entire nation is frozen in blundering stupidity. Zero is being achieved up here. I've said this on numerous occasions, and it bears repeating: If one fancies living in a despondent world of unending, delusional bullshit, I really can't recommend the US highly enuf. There's simply no point in trying to justify America anymore. Sometimes you just fuck up, and you hafta hold yr hand up and admit it, I suppose. This is something the US is unable to do.

Miles

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Bjorn said...

Paris Museums Just Released 321,178 Works of Art Online for Free

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/akwvde/paris-museums-have-released-321178-works-of-art-online-for-free

Wafers: if it's a dreary rainy day where you are; here's some beauty

11:24 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Jack Goody: Well, many Nazis found a post-WWII safe haven in Brazil. So, while the Brazilian Secretary of Culture might be out-of-touch with much of the population, it’s very possible that he has the backing of others – you, know, the people who truly hold all the power. On a similar note, many USAers don’t know about Operation Paperclip, a U.S. secret intelligence program that brought over 1000 Nazi scientists to America, among them Wernher von Braun: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Paperclip (Wikipedia is occasionally good for something.)

The Vatican and Red Cross were very helpful: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/25/nazis-escaped-on-red-cross-documents

MB: regarding the stupidity of Americans, I got a laugh out of Caitlin Johnstone’s post Why Everything is Fucked:
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/12/22/why-everything-is-fucked/

Of course, they’ll be no miracle.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sar-

Geo Carlin liked to say that if you were on this earth, you were born into the greatest freak show in the universe. But if you were born in the US, you got a front row seat.

mb

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Here is my contribution to the dufus parade. FBI arrests "man" suspected of orchestrating dozens of swatting calls. "Swatting" is sending a local police goon squad to someone's house under a false premise that some sort of emergency is occurring, such as a home invasion and/or hostage situation. People have died because of these "pranks"... but look at the mugshot for this twit. I think he fits the hall of fame pretty well.

Ars Technica: FBI arrests man suspected of orchestrating dozens of “swatting” calls

In other news, someone placed a prank "plaque" at Jeffrey Epstein's Mansion. Looks like a simple paper sign printed to resemble a brass plaque. Dunno how long it stayed up...
In context: Front Door of Jeffrey Epstein's mansion
Close up: Details of the mock plaque, apparently posted by @TGCNYC

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Schabbi said...

John Gray's survey of the political scene has him firing off very good aperçus

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2020/01/why-left-keeps-losing

"Political monotheism – the faith that only one political system can be right for all of humankind – has given way to inescapable pluralism. Progress has ceased to be the providential arc of history and instead become a prize snatched for a moment from the caprice of the gods."

"The single most important lesson of the previous three and more years is the abject incompetence of Britain’s centrist political class."

"Ineffably the candidate of the woke bourgeoisie." (John Gray on Keir Starmer)

"Unending discussion of the break-up of the UK is a talking cure for depressed progressives, not realistic analysis."

"There is not much call for Rand or Hayek in Blyth Valley."

"Singapore is a success story of managed capitalism, not the free market."

"By over-enlarging the university system, Blair created the constituency that enabled the Corbynites to displace New Labour. No longer mainly a cult of intellectuals, as in Orwell’s time, progressivism has become the unthinking faith of millions of graduates."

2:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Schabbi-

Thanks, but in the future, pls watch length (half pg max).

mb

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Mills said...

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2020/01/17/napalm-girl-n2559675/print

"I was in agony. Naked. So ugly. I wish that picture wasn’t taken." Phan Thị Kim Phúc’s life changed forever when she became known as “the napalm girl” in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph.

*She offers her Brief But Spectacular take on forgiveness and that girl in the picture.*

Scroll down and watch the video interview. What an incredible people, the Vietnamese. What a remarkable individual.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Kelsey Moore said...

"One lawmaker plans to hide in a safe house in advance of what's expected to be an unprecedented show of force by gun-rights activists."

+https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-international/gun-activists-gear-up-for-show-of-force-in-virginia/2201526/

Our well-regulated militia is going strong I see

5:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mills-

Agreed. I discuss that foto briefly in "Spinning Straw Into Gold."

mb

6:20 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

On the latest episode of The Thomas Jefferson Hour TJ (as portrayed by Clay Jenkinson) is informed that only 39% of Americans are able to define tripartite government. To which Mr. Jefferson replies, “if this is true then I’d say it’s over.’
https://jeffersonhour.com/episodes

Hillary positioning herself for when all the dem candidates flame out (she shld take audience along to Botox doc) might need a trash can size barfbag
https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/hillary-clinton-hulu-documentary-trailer-939622/

Our exhausted traumatized country inches toward civil war
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/americas-great-divide-from-obama-to-trump/





9:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Stuff we shd all be concerned abt:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/18/uk/harry-and-meghan-hrh-trnd/index.html

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/megan-rapinoe-interview-loewe/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/11/everything-you-need-know-about-next-democratic-debate/

mb

10:44 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

@ Gunnar

Thank you for the link to the most recent PBS Frontline. I watched both nights with my brother. He takes the Wafer view (though in some ways he is not a Wafer) that DAA asserts. That is, the re-election of Drumphy is likely.

My doctor acquaintance in the hood says: "Trump's an idiot. That's a given."

My mother agrees with the doctor. The estate attorney's paralegal agrees with both of them. The other hood opinions are mostly pro Drumbo, but guarded, fearful. The beat goes on.

An economic downturn will derail the orange one. The eat a peach trial is a UUGE problema. The Chronicle front page today: Schlumbeger's $10.1B loss may signal trouble for Houston. The hood streets are steadily, eerily quiet. Fracking, etc, is dying, fast and furious.

https//www.houstonchronicle.com 01/18/2020.

A good Wafer read - "The Uninhabitable Earth" by David Wallace-Wells.

O&D!

Anything can happen. Civil war is quite likely.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

mean-

Gd hearing from ya. In future, pls observe half-pg-max rule. Thanks.

mb

11:17 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

MB,
I was all set to totally not give a damn but then here comes Chomsky. Can Declinism go too far?
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/noam-chomsky-makes-the-case-for-the-lesser-of-two-evils/

2:03 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

So I finally got around to watching Joaquin Phoenix's much-acclaimed Joker last night, and I wasn't very impressed. Phoenix clearly tried to do a modern remake of Taxi Driver, but he lacks the finesse, taste and skill of Scorsese. Arthur Fleck ain't no Travis Bickle.

Kanye

4:01 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

@ MB

Apologies re: the half-pg-max rule. I'm never certain what a "half-pg-max" is. I so rarely have anything useful to add to the conversation that I tend not to weigh in.

I agree on a major point of DAA - amerika is dying. And the entire rest of humanity is dragged right along behind the empire of illusion. There is nothing new under the sun.

I return to George Carlin's mantra on humanity. Yet, as you've often proclaimed, "hey, I'm an optimist." Me, too. The soundtrack? Randy Newman's classic "We Love L.A." (we love it!)

No insult intended, but this thread's essay was not one of your best.

mg

5:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

comrade-

Myself, I think this is a gd example of clutching at straws. As Dick Gregory once said, "How come, if we keep choosing the lesser of 2 evils, things keep getting worse?"

mb

5:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

mean-

Another impt rule: post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks.

mb

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Sawyer said...

Meg, Try, Kanye --

I will concur that the film embodies the American psyche pretty well, but beyond that - absolutely one of the worst films I've ever seen in my entire life EVER - it blows my mind that it made the Oscars cut instead of Little Women, which was a genuinely delightful film w/ a full heart of life. Not that I put much stock in the Academy, but I do appreciate a Best Documentary Feature/Best International Feature for the documentary "Honeyland"

GO see Honeyland!

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Rustic Squash said...

The economy in the US is doing quite well, and some people I have talked here in the US do not believe the US is dying. I hope the US empire with it's outright mass murder war machine does collapse soon. What are some reasons you think the US will collapse sooner rather than later?

Also there was a book written by an author who predicted the US would collapse around 2025 from it's internal contradictions. I cannot remember the title of the book nor the author's name, so if anyone knows to which book I am referring to if they could name it because I want to read it.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Partch said...

"Not only did tweens want to be like their favorite YouTuber, they also reported experiencing feelings of friendship." https://frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02781/full
"92% of American 9-12 year olds have a favorite YouTuber"

That sounds like a secular religion to me. Creepy.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Lalo said...

EXCLUSIVE: With a single photo, hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. can learn your name, where you live, and who you know. It will end your ability to walk down the street anonymously.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/18/technology/clearview-privacy-facial-recognition.html

The hyperpanopticon

9:40 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...


The lesser of two evils is still evil. My favorite T-shirt says:
Cthulhu for President
Why Settle for a Lesser Evil

Rustic: The idea that the economy is doing well is propaganda - Wall Street isn’t the economy.

I see four scenarios that would cause the collapse of the United States (and with it the rest of the world): nuclear war, economic crash/chaos, environmental collapse, and if one of these doesn’t get us, then by 2030 if not before, AI surely will.

I know many people think that if there is a decline it’s going to be gradual, and so far it has been, sort of, but like today’s technologies the speed of change has ramped up considerably. This is why I think the USA’s decline will accelerate to warp speed in the next few years. Without a doubt, it ain’t going to be pretty.

Chinese Curse: may you live in interesting times.

12:04 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course he did...This is what American teenagers DO...


Teen arrested after 4 killed in Utah home


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/19/utah-shooting-teen-arrested-after-4-killed-utah-home/4517881002/

12:50 PM  
Blogger Penny Lane said...

Hola to my sweet Wayfaring fellow travelers! For your MLK - holiday weekend listening, may I recommend the New Yorker Radio Hour's riveting piece on mass incarceration.

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/tnyradiohour/episodes/mass-incarceration-then-and-now

Meanwhile, the Bay Area remains an actually decent base for my own internal exile. This past autumn, the venerable City Lights bookstore put on a world-class 3-week retrospective on the 100th anniversary of surrealism. Many wonderful lectures, exhibits and films depicting the surrealist response as Europe transformed from a beacon of culture to one of barbarism.

Speaking of barbarism, in order to make money, I work for people who make money (super star bagmen) as an office adjunct/functionary - and can assure you that the experience is nothing if not surreal; throughout the last year I was bullied until I started to get nose bleeds from the stress (contractors from job to job are easy targets for hostility, especially if you dare fail to conform in any little picayune way. If you speak out, you are targeted.) But from the lessons of the surrealists, I took a bit of courage and faith.

I am enormously grateful for what I have - particularly my forays into pockets of alternatives to our brutalist culture: "houselessness", delightful food co-ops, a kirtan festival here, a library program there, etc. although God help those who are sucked into the darkest parts of the American gulag - against which a single facebook post could end my tenuous livlihood, but which I resist, for now, with my heart.


12:56 PM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

I found this story in the Connecticut Post, the local paper out of Bridgeport near where my son lives. It's so uniquely American, a tale of mass carnage of course. This one happened in a town in Florida called Celebration, and the killer even killed the damn dog whose name was Breezy. Poor Breezy, what did he ever do?

https://www.ctpost.com/policereports/article/Cops-to-release-IDs-CT-family-feared-dead-14977063.php

Another one from peaceful and prosperous Connecticut, just as bone chilling:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/fotis-dulos-attempted-run-wife-years-missing-nanny/story?id=68314473

Happy 2020 and ever onward and downward!

2:13 PM  
Blogger disposium said...

"How come, if we keep choosing the lesser of 2 evils, things keep getting worse?"

Well, the lesser of two evils is still evil, after all.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Rodriguez said...

Hey, this is pretty neat. (+)7hr lecture series by Alan Watts from 1959-60. What a treat!

https://youtu.be/AsfwzZgMSLY

9:05 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...

Here is a tribute to historian and intellectual Eugene Genovese, whom MB has approvingly quoted in the past:

Remembering Eugene Genovese

11:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

disposium, Sar-

Touche, amigos. You win the chopped liver platter.

mb

10:27 AM  
Blogger Janet D said...

I was a dunderhead and mistakenly posted this under a previous blog topic, but I think it's important and so am reposting:

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, within 10 years, HALF of all Americans will be obese, with approximately 1 out of 4 Americans becoming severely obese. (can be found in multiple places, here's one: https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/12/18/half-of-america-will-be-obese-within-10-years-study-says-unless-we-work-together/)

And all those extra health care costs are going to be dragging down our system further as well. Administration of the U.S. health care already costs 4 x as much as Canada: https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-01-07/u-s-health-system-costs-four-times-more-than-canadas-single-payer-system.

Take care of yourselves. Health care in the future, esp. in the U.S., will be even more of a mess & even more unaffordable.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Matt S. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,
I don't know if this article on America's despotic future has been shared on this blog. There has been much discussion on the comparison between the decline of Rome and America's fate. But this last year's piece from NY Mag is quite well-written and is an enjoyable read.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/08/is-there-hope-for-the-american-republic-after-trump.html

Regards,
Matt

10:59 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Doctor Berman, Wafers, and Waferettes,
Exotic betting. Anxiously waiting to watch the commercials; and even betting on them as well as the game itself! Check out all the fun things for folks in the United States to do on Super Bowl Sunday.
As that song by Jay Black goes, “Only in America”.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackjones/2020/01/20/super-bowl-commercials-betting-odds--props-budweiser-old-town-road-trump--more/#5d86a16148d7

11:43 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Yeah, this’ll work:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/cyborg-technology-aims-to-reduce-the-opioid-epidemic-one-chip-at-a-time/ar-BBZ9aOl?ocid=mmx

However seems an excellent population to experiment on.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

Yes, a great historian and man of integrity. See my use of his work in WAF ch. 4. In the great debate between Lynd/Zinn vs. Genovese, I was definitely on the latter's side. I remember those days very well. Zinn: "You can't be neutral on a moving train." No, but you can try to be objective--something very few Americans are interested in, if they even know what that means.

mb

5:26 PM  

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