January 27, 2020

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Waferinos-

Update on short story situation: I now have 17 of them, or 175 pages, so hopefully it won't be too long b4 I can pitch it as a bk to publishers. Meanwhile, thought I'd entertain u guys with a rather short one; as follows:

Good evening, my friends. I hope I am not intruding. I promise to take only a minute of your time. My name is Jean-François Champollion. I died in Paris in 1832, at the age of forty-one, from a stroke. I am writing to you from beyond the grave. To you, who might want to listen.

Do you know me? I am the decipherer of the Rosetta Stone. Yes, the one that has been sitting in the British Museum for more than 200 years now; that one. I cracked the code of Egyptian hieroglyphics. I made the Egyptian language, and Egyptian civilization, accessible to the West. Me, le jeune, as my friends used to call me, in contrast to my older brother, Jacques-Joseph.

But this was not some exercise in “Orientalism”—not at all. First, because I regarded Egypt as a great civilization. Not, as the British believed, some boring slave civilization centered around a death cult. Now that was Orientalism. No, I saw Egyptian civilization as a vibrant, complex, and long-lasting culture, with values and purposes different from our own, but no less superior for that.

And second, because my real goal was to demonstrate the opposite of Orientalism, which is empathic understanding. It is not difficult to see that the great curse of mankind is a failure of empathy. Everything has to be viewed through the lens of our Self; the Other is merely an (inferior) other. We can never seem to grasp that the Other is a Self all its own. We do not seek to understand or explore that other Self—not at all. All we want to do is paste labels on it. Why? I wish I knew.

So know that I am an Orientalist in the positive sense: my goal was to understand Egypt from the inside, as well as to demonstrate the principle, and the benefits, of empathy. I hope I succeeded.

There is one thing, however, that I am not proud of; it haunts me to this day. In terms of the Stone, and cracking the hieroglyphic code, I wanted all the credit—la gloire—for myself. And so rather than talking about “standing on the shoulders of giants,” I deliberately played down or ignored the contributions of those who preceded me, in particular the British doctor and physicist Thomas Young. Looking back now, I realize that this is just another form of denying the Other; which means that it too is a form of oppression. I just said that I didn’t know why we typically seek to denigrate the Other, or impose the Self on it, but maybe the phenomenon of plagiarism makes it clear: if I am insecure about my Self, then it is very tempting to try to obliterate the Other; and grabbing all the credit for one’s Self is one way to do this. Human insecurity, in short, is ultimately at the root of violence.

I confess, that really depresses me.

The content of the Stone itself is not very important. It’s just a pharaonic administrative decree, fairly banal. So the translation of this text is not my legacy. My legacy was to make translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics possible in general, which then allowed scholars to find out what Egyptian civilization was actually about. Equipped with the key in the lock, which I had provided them, they translated one carving, one papyrus, and one wall inscription after another. Thus we learned about Egyptian history, mythology, burial customs, and belief systems. We discovered that these people had a sophisticated knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, and architecture. All of this would have been a closed book if not for me. And for me, this was the “honey in the rock,” so to speak, what Nicholas of Cusa called “the sweetness of truth.”

Shall I go on, my friends? Shall I tell you how I did it? As with Young’s formulation of the wave theory of light—mon dieu, what a genius that man was—these “aha!” experiences are a combination of sweat and spark, of deep background information plus some inexplicable click in the brain, when everything falls into place. Roughly twenty years after I died, my fellow countryman Louis Pasteur declared, “chance favors the prepared mind.”Et voilà, mesdames et messieurs! There you go.
The Stone was discovered when I was nine years old, in the course of Napoleon’s expedition into Egypt. The expedition, as is well known, touched off an “Egyptomania” among the educated classes in France, and I got caught up in it. When I was sixteen, I wrote to my parents: “Of all the peoples that I love the most, I will confess that no one equals the Egyptians in my heart.”Zut alors! You have to be an adolescent to say things like that. In fact, I didn’t get to Egypt until 1828.

My great breakthrough occurred in 1822. For starters: What, exactly, does the Rosetta Stone contain? For those of you who haven’t been to the British Museum, let me spell it out. It consists of three texts, all of which say the same thing. The upper part is written in hieroglyphics, and the bottom part in Greek. The middle text is written in what is called the demotic script of the Egyptian language, and is related to Coptic, a modern language—one which I had studied extensively (it’s the latest stage of the Egyptian language, and written in the Greek alphabet). So the trick became to match the bottom two texts against the top one, eventually yielding a translation of the latter.

My friends, I don’t wish to bore you with the technical details, but let me just summarize by saying that the point I discovered that ran through all three languages was the verb “to give birth.” This broke open the hieroglyphic text. In my own imitation of Archimedes (albeit fully clothed), I ran down the street to my brother’s office at the Institut de France, and yelled “Je tiens l’affaire!”—I’ve got it! Subsequently, I was able to establish an alphabet that applied to all epochs, and I deciphered grammatical words along with the names of kings and private persons. This opened the door to Egyptian civilization. This was my legacy. Ten years later, due to poor health, and probably the stress of unrelenting work, I was dead.

What did I do in the interim? I worked on other hieroglyphic texts, and published several books on my discoveries. I traveled to Italy, visiting collections and monuments there. I met the pope, who helped me to obtain funds for an expedition to Egypt. In 1826, the king appointed me curator of the Egyptian collections of the Louvre; in 1831 I was made chair of Egyptian history and archaeology at the Collège de France. The next year, I was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery, a kind of national hero. I am, to this day, regarded as a major figure in modern French history, the “Father of Egyptology.” Recently I learned that a lunar crater on the far side of the moon was named after me. It all seems like a dream.

I don’t know why the Fates chose me for this purpose, this opening up of the richness of Egyptian civilization to the West. I don’t know why they gave me the gift of languages, and I don’t know why they took me from the earth at so young an age. I was married, and had a beautiful daughter, Zoraïde, whom I loved dearly. That I had to leave her prematurely was the hardest part of dying. You’d think there would be a code book somewhere, something like the Rosetta Stone, that could be deciphered to explain all of this; that could explain the workings of the human heart. But there isn’t.

Reflecting on my life now, I have to ask myself why Egypt in particular was my “laboratory” for exploring otherness. Part of it was the national “Egyptomania” already referred to. But it went deeper than that. If Egypt was the oldest human civilization (or one of them), then it promised to tell us the most basic things about human beings; or so I believed. The other factor was the sheer unfamiliarity, the opaqueness, of the script. It made Egypt the most Other of Others. What I was really exploring, I can see now, was myself. Egypt is my mirror; is me.

It has been said that we can never truly know another person, but some psychologists have added that we can never truly know ourselves, as well. I tell myself that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. That I don’t count for anything, despite all of the national tributes. What counts is a rock sitting on display in the British Museum. And yet, what is it all for, if not for human beings? What is a rock, compared to a beating heart—mybeating heart? On cold winter nights, here in the spirit world, I think about these things, and wonder.

©Morris Berman, 2019

183 Comments:

Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Hello MB, Wafers,

Listened to an interview of French anthropologist & sociologist Emmanuel Todd on French radio today where he said "Progs' only raison d'être is to vote against Populists because their core is empty". Sounds pretty right to me. Also learned that he wrote a book on the decline of the American Empire back in 2002 already. I am going to check it out. Here's the link to the English translation:

https://www.amazon.com/After-Empire-Breakdown-Perspectives-Criticism/dp/0231131038/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=emmanuel+todd+empire&qid=1580150390&sr=8-1

Kanye

1:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

K-

I think I drew on that bk for DAA.

mb

4:27 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Well done, Doctor. If you ever find the Rosetta Stone for deciphering the human heart, please contact me at "The unexamined life is not worth living."

From what I can witness on my daily errands around the city, Americans must lead the most unexamined lives in human history. First, silence or quiet conversation with a friend is necessary and neither are to be found. Second, there is hardly anywhere one can go to escape the ubiquitous screen. And third, we have so many "others" to degrade and slander and ridicule we don't have time to look within. Besides, what we found would probably scare the shit out of us.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Rachy said...

You Are Now Remotely Controlled - On how surveillance capitalism now controls the truth ... https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/24/opinion/sunday/surveillance-capitalism.html

Good book on this: "Data and Goliath"

8:11 PM  
Blogger disposium said...

Worthy Doctor! I enjoyed your story. I wonder: at any point in the writing of the tale did you experience yourself as Champollion?

I must check further into your work. I expect it to be hilarious but now I see it may be truly very thoughtful as well.

I am trying to form my own religion, a church which has but one member, me. No one else is permitted to join! It is a sort of personal work of historical reconstruction wherein I try to piece together recovered fragments that were broken apart long ago, and revivify them into a functioning mythological whole in my own life. I suppose it is my own version of the New Monastic way you and so many Wafers are following. Hopefully we can make things a bit easier for any Champollions who come after us...

Thank you, Doctor.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Flyingspaghettimonstr said...

Just revisited the chicken lady post, which reminded me of this incident from early this month:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/2-toddlers-dead-in-chicago-after-woman-stabs-father-and-jumps-from-building-police-say

So I guess "having it all" wasn't paying dividends?

10:25 PM  
Anonymous J.R. said...

J.H. Kunstler rips into a book on cities by Alex Krieger (Harvard) and gives modern urbanism an alternative reading more closely fitted to reality. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/urbs/why-americas-urban-dreams-went-wrong/

6:17 AM  
Blogger Rook said...

Absolutely wonderful, Dr. Berman. The French have their moments. If the US was a psych patient, what would the diagnosis be? I guess sociopathic narcissistic borderline personality disorder. Vive la France! Mort aux Etats Unis!

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Kachiri said...

Apologies looks like I sent this to the last post in error:

review of Joker

We Live In An Anti-Society

https://americanmind.org/post/we-live-in-an-anti-society/

6:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dis-

Not really, tho my grandfather did attempt to teach me cuneiform. I dunno where these stories come from. They just seem to float into my brain from the ether, as it were.

I've actually completed the collection, as it turns out: 18 stories, 180 pages. Still a bit too short, but I think I'm storied out. Which means I can now go and beat the bushes for a publisher. It may be a tough sell, as it's not a politically correct bk, as you might imagine. Also contains a fair amt of erotica. But I'd say 5 of the stories are outstanding, and the rest are good reads (page turners, at least). A # of them are funny. On verra, as Champollion would have said.

trying-

Your last sentence is exactly the problem.

mb

10:39 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Doctor Berman,
There's a glimpse of good news. Your upcoming book may be read by many people in the days to come. At the local library no less!
Who said reading is dead? There could be hope in America after all.
See below.
https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/27/us/library-visits-gallup-poll-wellness-trnd/index.html

11:46 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

A program on the working conditions of teachers is airing right now on French TV. A few extracts from the teachers being interviewed on the show:

- "When I speak about 'harsh conditions', I mean that throughout the entire winter season, we had no heating. Students were wearing down jackets in class. Nobody had pens or paper to write on"
- "Nobody is applying to become a teacher anymore. There is a massive recruitment problem in this country nobody speaks about. Students will soon be teaching themselves"
- "I spend 50% of my time on bureaucratic tasks that I don't see the point of and that Macron's government keeps adding more and more"

Kanye

4:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Somehow, I just can't imagine Americans rdg my work.

mb

4:38 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Fitting isn't it that America's first Emperor wld be a Bob's Big Boy Carnival Barking fraud? At least Julius had some class.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

What trying said about unexamined lives is to the point. I remember hearing a lecture given by an Australian monk, who told the audience that when he went to Amerikkka he saw unhappy, miserable faces everywhere. I think this ties in to the opioid phenomenon, as well as the rampant suicides. Amerikkkans were sold a massive bill of goods and are now paying a psychological price

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Pete Kenny said...

Life’s unsolved questions include:
"Does free will exist? What is the ground of consciousness? Why did anyone ever take Ayn Rand seriously?"

Hah! Good one!

7:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sarah-

Not only psychological.

mb

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Hamblin said...

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Nature-Culture-Philippe-Descola/dp/022621236X/
Fascinating reprinted anthropological reading: "Beyond Nature and Culture" by Philippe Descola

Laudatory words from Claude Lévi-Strauss, Latour, and others in reviews

11:29 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Sam Mitchell of Collapse Chronicles interviews Sidney Smith, college math teacher, who says for the sake of the biosphere and life (including human life) on earth, economic collapse should happen sooner rather than later - the sooner, the better. He is an optimist about human adaptability and thinks that from a standpoint of economic and civilizational collapse, those humans who survive the collapse will have a better life, a more fulfilling life than people generally have now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-YQIYWRisg

11:45 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Morris, Loved your short story!

I subscribe to Gerald Celente’s Trends Journal, and read the following under the title “It’s Alive! (Sort Of)”:

“Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder have created a form of concrete that can reproduce and can heal itself if damaged.

“Beginning with a particularly robust strain of bacteria, researchers mixed the bugs with sand and a hydrogel holding water and nutrients to feed the microbes. As the bugs flourished and multiplied, they excreted calcium carbonate – another name for limestone….

“The emerging field of “engineered living materials” is yielding a new class of matter that brings the qualities of life – motion, reproduction, and self-healing, among others – to what has been inanimate objects. New companies and industries will grow out of this basic research now under way.”

Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Jean-Michel said...

https://unherd.com/2020/01/the-rise-of-identitarian-liberalism/

John Gray on Identity Liberalism for UnHerd:

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

American bombings in Afghanistan hit a ten-year high in 2019. Hardly a peep from the progs as far as I can tell. What happened to the anti-war movement? It seems to have completely evaporated.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/us-bombing-of-afghanistan-hits-10-year-high-12361582

9:06 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Lovely story, thanks for introducing this important historical figure to me. I guess it wouldn't be a shock that my public school education in Appalachia never touched on Champollion.

I came across this article and thought it could be summed up more appropriately, Schmexit! https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887

Shmimpeachment! https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/480526-gop-senators-believe-they-have-the-votes-to-block-witnesses

Because he's a world class douchebag. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/29/joe-biden-go-vote-for-someone-else

I agree with a lot of what Kenn Orphan says here, but he leaves out the part that the American people are complicit in the crimes orchestrated by the gov't and the ruling class. https://kennorphan.com/2020/01/29/towards-zero-hour/

10:28 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

@Joe, MB

Good news about library visits.

I was able to get the local library in a really trumperate zone of amerika to get a copy of "Twilight of American Culture" in the collection about four years ago. I don't know what became of it though they ran off the librarian who acted on my suggestion. True Wafers read TOAC back in 2000. And have endured a special estrangement ever since...

So, I do think your books are read by many more than you might think Morris. Okay, they will never be bestsellers. But they mean a lot to some of us out here in the wasteland. I quit visiting that library long ago. I just buy books that I want to read.

O & D!

11:31 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Vermont wants to add emojis to its license plates.

Somehow I don't think that using pictures as part of or in place of text indicates that we are achieving a civilization at the level of the ancient Egyptians.

https://vtdigger.org/2020/01/29/bill-to-allow-emoji-on-license-plates-could-be-a-boon-for-vermont-supporters-say/

And these are the supposed adults in the room.

I think it would be much more fun if all Vermonters were required to wear Disney character pajamas any time in public. Just think of all the publicity and good will! I'll take the Donald Duck onesie, please, with large orange slippers.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Lance said...

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin retaking the streets.”
— With apologies to Henry Louis Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956) https://t.co/fz0Dz1bUat

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

Ethicists, Moralists, Psychologists, and Trolleyologists!: "Universals and variations in moral decisions made in 42 countries by 70,000 participants" just out. Very interesting findings

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/01/14/1911517117

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Oliver said...

“If you’re a philosopher of science, you probably don’t take Popper’s philosophy seriously. But if you’re...a scientist, there is a pretty good chance that you think you agree with Karl Popper.

I am here to explain to you that no, you probably do not”

http://fakenous.net/?p=1239

Hmmph! Well I do agree with Popper… and this is not an accurate reflection of his philosophy. Popper argued that we could never know (for sure) that a theory was true; this doesn't mean, and I don't think Popper argued, "they are absolutely certain to be false". They might be true, we just don't know.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Sarah, No doubt Americans are paying for the "privilege" of living in America with severe psychological and moral consequences. Another price is alienation. In this article, Catlin Johnston, however, argues that alienation is more than worth the cost to avoid be dragged into the madness.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/12/the-cost-of-sanity-in-this-society-is-a-certain-level-of-alienation/

From the article: Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Great quote. Stick it on your mirror.
"And a profoundly sick society is indeed what we have here. The alienation which we experience is an alienation from something that isn’t worth belonging to anyway.
AMEN!!!


Krakhed - that's what's wrong with Hedges' analysis. He can't bring himself to believe (or admit) that the American people want the kind of culture they have.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Manchester said...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-5130485

The butterfly keeper was found dead. Between this kind of some of the stuff Obrador is pulling ; what the hell is going on in Mexico

10:22 PM  
Blogger Janus said...

Hello, all:

I, a millennial Wafer, am seeking your thoughts on an upcoming life change.

I’m giving up my apartment, selling most of my possessions, and escaping the US and Los Angeles (and not a moment too soon, it seems.) I’m making my way to the Netherlands, where a Dutch girl and a blank canvas await me.

I’m looking forward to putting into practice many of the things we discuss on this blog. Decompress. Confront myself. Try to live a different life and experience an existence not quite possible here.

However, I’ve run into a problem: My cultural programming runs more deeply than I anticipated!

As the exit dates draws closer, I’ve become increasingly afflicted by said programming. "What about your job? Your career? What if you fail? You should stay here. Don’t be reckless and take your medicine. You’ll never retire now. How can you leave your family? What if you can’t find work or community?" And on and on.

Do any expats, or expats in spirit, have any advice on how to shank this sudden Stockholm syndrome? I want to put my best foot forward and embrace the next chapter.

Thank you, friends.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Janus-

Try deep breathing. Also keep in mind that this life is not a rehearsal. This is it!

Bernard-

AMLO is proving to be a bit of a disapptment. He's become an Obama-type figure. But then in a # of interviews down here, I've repeatedly stated that change will hafta come from the bottom.

mb

10:19 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

@Janus - absolutely no guarantee things wld work out better in USA. When I graduated from (my third tier) college I sold all my shit and moved to Seattle thinking I’d be better off. It didn’t work out but looking back I’d do it again today just for the memories of Seattle in the 90’s if nothing else. Anyway here’s an article straight from the horse’s mouth. Social Security will be insolvent by 2035 - can you trust these morons to fix it?

https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n3/v70n3p111.html

Best wishes!!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Janus: I’m quite a bit older than you and through necessity have more experience than I’d like in working with the mind. In your heart of hearts do you feel that leaving the US and moving to the Netherlands will help you to live a fulfilling life? If so, then you need to take some steps to get a hold of your thought process, because emotions are where the mind and body meet: we know how we feel because it expresses in our body, otherwise it would just be a sterile thought, one with no impact.

I‘ve learned to be very vigilant about where my thoughts are going and not allow them to dwell where they shouldn’t, which can be easier said than done. There are times when no matter how hard I try, I keep going to the negative. When that happens, I use several techniques: I look for a “window of opportunity" (which usually comes in the form of inspiration) to break out of the cycle, or say to my mind, “ok, go to town…you have two minutes to make me as miserable as you can.” With permission, my mind usually gives it up almost instantaneously. A meditation practice helps.

Morris mentioned breathing, which I also find very helpful. I like this one: https://www.drweil.com/videos-features/videos/breathing-exercises-4-7-8-breath/

Liberation is freedom from the clutches of the mind and emotions. Not the mind and emotions themselves, but their power to control you and make you miserable. Good luck on the great escape.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Giovanni said...

I think we have reached the late stage of Rome where Theodosius removed the "ambiguity of imperial constitutions" from the Senate. Trumpi's done that for the this constitution, clarifying that so long as the executive chief commands 34 Senators, Article II is an unlimited grant of impunity and authority

1:57 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

"In the Halls of Justice, the only justice is in the halls!"
~Lenny Bruce

Not that it's any big surprise to us, it looks like the fix is in. The Senate kangaroo court is apparently ready to shut off the lights and go home in time for the Super Bowl. I don't know if I've ever heard of a trial in which the defendant (Trumpo in this case) gets to indirectly choose who is a witness or not. Meanwhile, a greater darkness grows deeper in the US as the Republicans ram Trump's acquittal through the Senate, apparently w/the collusion of some Democrats. I think what we have here is a fake trial, dressed up in the cloak of democracy, w/a preselected outcome. Well, let's look on the bright side, Wafers: Trump and his oligarchy will be reinstalled for another four yrs! The ultimate screwjob will be fulfilled w/o the benefit of intercourse.

Miles

2:24 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Janus- Look into mushrooms. Not in some New Age shaman sense. But psychedelics, used deliberately and wisely, can be very helpful to break patterns. A couple of friends (a baby sitter is helpful especially if traveling around), good food, good drink, fresh air and a new country. Let the healing begin.

I think there is recent work with PTSD and mushrooms (and Ecstasy) being very effective. Because that is what you are about to have, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Celebrate the Post part- it will soon be behind you. Those of us here remain in straight Traumatic Stress Disorder, with Stockholm Syndrome being one adaptive mechanism.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

MB, Wafers,

Today marks Britain's official departure from the EU after 47 years of membership. We talked a lot about Brexit Schmexit on this blog, but BoJo pulled it off. The UK is out and Progs received a big slap in their face. They'll of course never understand their defeat and keep blaming the Russians, try to impeach BoJo etc... for the next 5 years, but Progs aside, this could be a real Suez Moment for Europe. Scotland will likely secede from the UK, civil war is also likely to return in Ireland, and other European countries are likely to follow suit. Considering what's been going on in France (where I live) for the past 3 months, the future certainly does NOT look bright for Europe.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/01/31/a-glorious-victory-for-democracy/

Kanye

4:38 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Janus,

“I’m making my way to the Netherlands, where a Dutch girl and a blank canvas await me.”

That brought a overjoyed smile to my face...you have no idea just how poetic, romantic, and adventurous that sounds...and I ENVY You!

Go for it, and ENJOY this absurdly short life!

5:28 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Janus - my advice for leaving the US is:

Luckily you're young. This means physical limitations and medical problems should be at a minimum. This is good, because to make it you'll have to be willing to do the work the Dutch don't want to. This means Dirty, Dangerous, and Demeaning. The kind of work I did plenty of as a "haole" in Hawaii where I grew up. You need to buckle down and do that shitty work while you build up connections and hopefully gain citizenship.

I plan to retire to Hawaii myself because simply, it's home. I will probably be homeless, will clean bathrooms and wash trash cans for spare change, etc., but I'd rather die in my home than in the cold part of the Deathstar I am now.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I don't have anything of substance to add, other than to note that my baby cousin moved to Holland a few years ago, met a Dutchman who speaks perfect English and whose favourite writer is Evelyn Waugh, and is now married and settled in Amsterdam.

Then there's this, which I just came across while doing research for tomorrow's show:

SID PHILLIPS TRIO: Sid Phillips, cl / Bert Barnes, p / Maurice Burman, d / The Greene Sisters and an unidentified male vocalist. London, February 2, 1940. "Yodel In Swing "

Get a load of the drummer's name Does this blog need a theme song?

O&D Alligators.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Harry Andruschak said...

Kanye,Wafers,MB -

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/business/economy/european-union-eurozone-economy.html

European Economic Growth Slows Almost to Zero

"Unexpectedly bad data leaves Europe with little margin for error as Brexit takes effect and the coronavirus looms."

Thoughts?

1:02 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings Wafers everywhere from Cascadia,
We haven’t heard much Tulsism of late, so time to check what’s out there:

In Keene, New Hampshire on January 22, Gabbard complained of the lack of media coverage of her campaign as compared to the campaign of Pete Butrtigieg:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/tulsi-gabbard-criticizes-her-coverage-compared-to-fellow-veteran-buttigieg

Another report from Keene had Gabbard polling near the bottom of remaining Presidential candidates as she tweeted on January 21, “I like Bernie”:

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/479277-gabbard-knocks-clintons-jab-at-sanders-this-isnt-high-school

As Gabbard’s campaign verges on going dark, there’s still time to put that post-it on your mirror, and do the Wah-Tulsi!

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr said...

Janus
Here's some advice from Henry Miller. "It may be that we are doomed, that there is no hope for us, any of us, but if that is so then let us set up a last agonizing, bloodcurdling howl, a screech of defiance, a war whoop! Away with lamentation...let the dead eat the dead. Let us living ones dance about the rim of the crater, a last expiring dance. But dance!"
Take Kierkegaard's leap of faith in yourself.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

Dear Mr. Berman et al.,

If I might intercede, I am a fellow millennial who finds myself in a somewhat similar position as Janus.

I am currently enrolled in a History graduate program and am looking to complete my doctorate within 2-3 years. Upon which conclusion, however, I am extremely tentative about my future. The humanities, as we're all aware, has long since entered its twilight stage in America, and outside the halls of academia the wider society is a cultural and moral blight. I have cultivated scarcely any social life outside of my church community, I feel estranged from many of my peers, and I have no relationship prospects as far as I can determine. I'd like to think I could still carve out an intellectual and spiritual niche here, but I'm doubtful that I'd have anyone with whom to share such a life. To call it an existential malaise would not be inaccurate, but such is the situation in which far too many men of my generation find themselves.

I qualify for Hungarian citizenship and, by extension, an EU passport; assuming that I can find a university position in Europe, should I invest in such an escape option? Is there really no way to build a life and share it meaningfully in the U.S.?

Thank you, Mr. Berman, for your honest, bracing perspective. Your pessimism, paradoxically enough, has been therapeutic.

Respectfully,
Nicholas

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

Been reading,just not commenting lately. But I have to comment on @Janus's situation.

You're younger than I am, I'm in Switzerland as a retiree, which makes it easy. I wasn't ready ( or aware enough!) to leave beforehand.

The biggest issue - learn Dutch as soon as possible (even though most Dutch speak excellent English), and ensure you have some skills that are in demand. Until you learn Dutch, you will be somewhat relegated to @Alex's 3D kind of work. But, the Netherlands is a great place, clean, egalitarian, and many places still have lots of small shops - it's a place you can still live and work on a small scale.

Remember that the culture of the US is designed to suck you in and guilt trip you into staying stuck in the downward vortex - most of the US doesn't even see that downward trajectory. I can't tell you how liberating it is to get away from the propaganda and view the US from afar. What you'll see will surprise you, even though you are already a Wafer.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nich-

The blight exists within academia as well. Do yrself a favor, and emigrate. BTW, pls post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks.

Jack-

My desire to pee on her shoes has never been stronger. Honestly, what a joke that woman is.

mb

1:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Once or 2x a month I get a reminder that I'm not living in the US. I once lightly rear-ended a car in DC; no real damage involved. The driver was beside himself; I thought his head wd explode with rage. 2 days ago, I watched a similar accident happen in Mex City. The 2 guys got out, looked at the cars, then chatted in a friendly way and hugged each other. This is the difference between a culture that is gracious, and one filled with violent buffoons.

mb

1:39 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Janus,

Sounds like a dream! But if you miss an opportunity, it won't be your last.

Krakhed

2:29 PM  
Blogger flanagle said...

Ground Hog Day greetings Professor Berman and fellow WAFers. Once again I'm reminded why I got the hell out of the Exceptional Country with this article today:
esquire.com/news-politics/G3-734613/frankfort-kentucky-gun-owners-red-flag-law-protest-photos/

The photos are really worth a look and I can't possibly imagine anyone but native-born white Christian males being able to pull this off while the police look fondly on. (they were even invited to step around the metal detectors!) Truly a 'brownshirt' moment with likely much more to come.

Janus: I escaped nine years back and now live in Montenegro. My only regret is I didn't leave fifty years ago during Vietnam for Canada or Sweden. Take the plunge young fella! Where you're going is a great place and along with what Dan advised you might look into their 'philosopher's stones', legal there and very highly regarded. I grow them myself. Good luck!

3:21 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I watched Joker last night, to describe it in one word - raw. Taxi Driver meets Fight Club set in a bleak Gotham landscape it isn't the typical superhero movie and Joaquin Phoenix is amazing. "What do you get when you cross a loner with a mental illness who has been abandoned by society? Exactly what you fucking deserve! (headshot, blood splatter on national tv)." Highly recommend. For referance check out what happens far to often to people experiencing a mental health crisis in 'Merica.

https://www.denverpost.com/2020/02/02/colorado-officer-involved-shootings-2019-database/

There was never any way the Orange was going to be plucked from the tree but now with Trump's exoneration how long B4 more nutcases like this come out of the woodwork?

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/02/02/montana-lawmaker-rodney-garcia-constitution-says-socialists-get-shot/4639722002/


4:05 PM  
Blogger Liv said...

Liv.
Nich, I come to this blog often and actually thanks to Dr. Berman I did emigrated from the US almost 2 years ago. Now I live in Spain. I can honestly tell you it was the best decision ever. I love my life and so many things happened. I met wonderful people made friendships learn a new language and got creative again. I regret living in the US for 16 years before it was not a life worth living. Trust me. Run.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

The North Carolina Dept of Education has decided to make mandatory for all high school students a semester long course in how to balance a check book, pay rent, and manage credit cards. In order to make room in the schedule, American history courses will be scaled back. Students who now know next to nothing about history and civics will now learn even less. BUT they'll be ready to participate in America's consumer culture.

Trump is now assured acquittal (if it were ever in doubt). The message for adults and young folks alike is that you can bribe foreign leaders, corrupt the political process, and lie to everyone in sight and not ever be held accountable. If he can get away with it, why can't we? You think America was corrupt in the past, hold on to your shorts. It's going to be a bumpy ride. (With apologies to Bette Davis)

5:46 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

We visited one of the museums in Egypt. Our tour guide told us every year Egypt asks for the Rosetta stone back and Britain says no. The ppl of Egypt see the British as thieves for this.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Doctor Berman,
You often like to say most Americans can't locate Iraq on a map. Donny Dumbdumb outdoes them. Our “leader of the free world” right here in America doesn't even know basic United States geography. LOL!
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/02/super-bowl-trump-kansas-110446

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Loneliness is on the rise in America, especially among younger Americans and heavy social media users.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/23/loneliness-is-rising-younger-workers-and-social-media-users-feel-it-most.html

A new CDC report finds that the suicide rate in the United States increased by 40% between 2000 and 2017, with blue-collar workers most at risk.

https://www.inquirer.com/health/suicide-risk-mining-oil-study-20200127.html

3:32 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Very recommended movie for Wafers:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706620/

Kanye

3:48 AM  
Anonymous Roland said...

Review: It’s a wonderful afterlife in "The Good Place" bittersweet finale. A spoiler-y homage to what just might be the best sitcom ever, as we bid farewell to the Soul Squad. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/02/review-its-a-wonderful-afterlife-in-the-good-places-bittersweet-finale/

Cheers to a great run of a fine television show! To think an American sitcom based around philosophical ideas and morality and ethics actually became popular!

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

MB: I had the same experience last month, was in CDMX, Roma Norte, having supper on a second-floor balcony, and witnessed a sideswipe in the roundabout below. The drivers got out, talked, laughed, exchanged information, and drove off. Every trip to Mexico confirms to me that Mexico is one or two orders of magnitude more civilized than the US.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Artemus Gordon said...

Here's a question for those you who now live, or have lived, in other countries: do they parade out war veterans before "The Big Game" sporting event like the U.S. did before the Super Bowl? Or do they have fighter jets fly over as they do at so many other similar events in the U.S.? When I saw them parading out these 100+ year old WW II veterans on TeeVee before the Super Bowl last night all I could think is how pathetic is our search for meaning in ths insane asylum?

5:03 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

In all fairness, years ago in Phoenix I was in the line of sellers at a swapmeet, where we pay for our spaces. The guy ahead of me (bead up pickup truck with a camper so he couldn't see behind him) started backing up. I'd have beeped my horn but no horn on my own beat up pickup truck (there were a lot of things it didn't have). So for all my waving, BOSH! - he banged right into me. Out comes a guy who looks like Grizzy Adams + 100lbs, we both see it's no damage, and we're hugging and slapping each others' backs and having a good old time laughing it up when someone else yelled at us to get moving - party over.

But yeah, "fists of rage" is more the norm in Anglo-America.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Afrim said...

Hello MB, wafers.

Back in Albania now. I decided America wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Some glaring contradictions that always stuck out to me was the mythology about "freedom". America still seems to believe that it's the "land of the free", yet one can get thrown in a cage for smoking a plant. One can get thrown in a cage for not buying insurance from a sick-care system that doesn't work & wasn't designed to work. (My wife died from the cocktail of meds the professional druglords prescribed her.) Lastly, this live-to-work treadmill doesn't leave much for travel or adventure. I have 2 European buddies who're travel bloggers & are more free-spirited. They actually realized that you get one life & should therefore make the most of it, something that escapes most Americans until they're old or going thru a midlife crisis. I think any nation that sees prison/jail as its salvation has gone off the deep end. Your blog is a breath of fresh air

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Owen said...

One American town (Lake Wylie, S.C.) has had enough growth (tripled in size in twenty years) and stopped new developments. They now have something unique: a chance to become a real town, a real place. I hope they get the help they need with this next step. https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-southern-town-was-growing-so-fast-it-passed-a-ban-on-growth-11580738467

This Southern Town Was Growing So Fast, It Passed a Ban on Growth

Degrowth/Dual process

6:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Progs must, and will, be crushed:

1. Iowa a disaster for Democrats
2. Trump will be acquitted

The outlook is bright, folks. :-)

Onward to November!

mb

9:31 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Re: Iowa

Gotta luv it. Way to go Iowa! Pathetic, debacle, fiasco, fucked up beyond all recognition. I tell ya, the DNC could fuck up a cup of coffee. We can't do anything right anymore. America is hopelessly corrupt and frankly unworkable. Corporate Democrats would rather lose to Turmpo than win w/Sanders. Please allow me to congratulate Donald J. Trumpola on his victory in Iowa last night.

Meanwhile, Jane Faulkner, 41, smeared dog feces in her boyfriend's face during a domestic altercation:

https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/woman-arrested-argument-with-fiance/67-9c483769-d97c-4a88-aba2-34b59648c9b1

Goodnight Irene,

Miles

11:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Impt question: were the feces hot or cold? I detest cold feces. (ps: check out Jane's face)

As for the US, there may be a "Suez moment creep" going on at the cultural level; i.e., most of the world (correctly) regards the US as a joke. This will surely contribute to our collapse. What intelligent person, or nation, cd take us seriously anymore?

mb

4:21 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

LOL. A Democratic PAC, Acronym [sic- I mean, really, sick isn't it?], owned the company that developed the 'app' that bombed in Iowa last night. A firm named 'Shadow.'

Seems they are using Marvel Comics for company names these days.

Anyway, now Acronym claims that is simply hired Shadow, not bought it over a year ago.

https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/1224561674679488513

@flanagle- thanks for the gun nut photos link (easy enough to search for if the link doesn't work). This is Trump's base. It's almost over. One good 'terrorist attack' and the shit show will become completely unhinged.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

@Afrim - good choice, glad you're back in Albania. I'm so sorry to hear about your wife. I learned from my mother's death at the hands of the "professional drug lords" not to trust any conventional medical doctor in the US.

@Artemus - We haven't seen such displays before rugby matches (6 nation contest going on now) or Soccer matches here. Although in contests like 6 nations or world cup, they do a lot of anthem singing. Since most countries in Europe were devastated by wars, probably not much enthusiasm for any reminders.

Meanwhile, did everyone catch that video of, first, Trump not shaking Nancy Polosi's hand, and then her ripping up her copy of his speech? And Rush Limbaugh got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Way to go, Trumpi!

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/trump-awards-medal-to-rush-limbaugh-at-state-of-the-union.html

4:30 AM  
Anonymous Bluestein said...

Stopping by the submit a reading recommendation from great historian Jackson Lears for "The Enchancements of Mammon" which won support of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies last year.

“The Enchantments of Mammon is a beautiful, stirring achievement. In a bold new synthesis ranging from early modern Europe to the contemporary United States, McCarraher challenges the received wisdom regarding the meanings of modernity and rationality, allowing us to look at familiar concepts in fresh and fruitful ways. This is truly a game-changer―the history of capitalism will never look the same again.”―Jackson Lears

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0674984617

9:37 AM  
Blogger Xair said...

Wafers,

This poll is a few years old, nonetheless it is a good indicator of how the rest of the world views the US. I guess we are exceptional!!!!
https://www.google.com/amp/s/nypost.com/2014/01/05/us-is-the-greatest-threat-to-world-peace-poll/amp/

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Ital: I watch rugby and soccer too and the farthest extent they go (as far as military "worship") is to wear poppies in November.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Preston said...

Kanye/Roland: thank you very much! Will view both of those this wkend. Hear great things about "the Good Place"

Bluestein: I've read the book "No Place of Grace" after discovering it in MB's references. I'd trust that Mammon book is a solid text if it got laudable comments from Lears.


PT

2:29 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Iowa, Schmiowa, let’s move on to New Hampshire where there’s still time to indulge in Tulsism. For example, Gabbard is sending her love to cancer-stricken Rush Limbaugh:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/best-wishes-tulsi-gabbard-sends-rush-limbaugh-love-after-cancer-diagnosis

Three, count ‘em three, Gabbardizer events scheduled in New Hampshire for Feb. 4-5!

https://secure.ngpvan.com/gAs798qaoUmd7TwIKlh82g2
https://secure.ngpvan.com/73UdzZPZSk2qSI3XZfWmGg2
https://secure.ngpvan.com/9rsLUOnzAE69Rnsxcs5IKg2

And she will conclude her New Hampshire activities with a “Stand with Tulsi” event (Tulsi’s last stand?) on Feb. 11:

https://blog.4president.us/2020/tulsi-gabbard/

Here in Cascadia, instead of standing, we continue to stare at post-its as we dance - do the Wah Tulsi!

2:52 PM  
Anonymous We're Number 37 said...

Thank you Professor Berman and the Wafers (sounds like a 60s group) for this site's wisdom. We're escaping the war corporation masquerading as a country very shortly. Unfortunately, wherever we travel, the "US embassy" (empire monitor) appears omnipresent.

Huge buildings taking up multiple city blocks, fenced off sidewalk diversions, multiple armed guards, multiple guard shacks, spiked fences, tall walls, warning signs....so much for all that US "freedom" propaganda. Never have seen this with other (real) country embassies. A thinking person, would say: what the f has this country done that they need such overt 'security.'? Also, How can a 'host' country allow such menacing and large foreign country structures occuphing THEIR country. Moreover, all the US military bases in Germany and Japan as if the US empires owns these countries. It's a f--g joke. Are these countries even sovereign or US marionette puppets.

Thank you for the great site and it's a respite as there's VERY few Americans that understand the topics you discuss, nor want to understand.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Sad news:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/03/books/george-steiner-dead.html

Miles

3:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

One of my heroes. I loved "In Bluebeard's Castle."

Xair et al.-

It really is difficult to grasp that the US actually is what it is. Equally hard to grasp that it's finished. Progs are patriotic (and blind): somehow, they think they are going to turn things around. The whole thing is amazing. 329 million fools, and 170 Wafers. What can ya say?

My agent from 20 yrs ago recently wrote me, "It's quite remarkable how you predicted it all, way in advance."

mb

6:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Trumponi acquitted. Now there's a surprise. The whole thing was theater. When a country is dying, it doesn't have anything meaningful to do; so it beats off. This will continue in various forms. Meanwhile: do you believe this?:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/05/media/barnes-and-noble-diverse-editions-trnd/index.html

More beating off, really. Rush Limbaugh gets Presidential Medal: more beating off. Tulsi Gabbard a presidential candidate. Etc.

mb

6:18 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

@MB

"It was twenty years ago today maestro Berman taught the band to play,
He's been goin' in and out of style but he's guaranteed to raise a smile
So let me introduce to you the only blog you need to read
It's Twilight Time in old amerika. . ." (enter orchestra)

8:51 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

MB,

Too bad you aren't fluent in French, because Emmanuel Todd is your intellectual cousin from France. I am reading more of his work lately and there are many parallels between your analysis of the US and his analysis of France and Europe, specifically around the points of the Spiritual Death of Empires and the drop in Education levels across the board. In his latest book, he says that Macron and his peers at the top are unconsciously and sadistically taking their revenge on the people with repressive laws because the elite finds itself in a spiritual and political vacuum. Not bad huh?

He studied in Cambridge though and is fluent in English, so you guys definitely need to find a way to meet or exchange! And I am not joking! I don't have his email though...

Kanye

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More American students are homeless than ever before.

https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2020-01-30/more-students-are-homeless-than-ever-before

Firearm-related mortality rates have increased in the United States. “In order of magnitude, the rates of homicides, suicides, and unintentional deaths incurred in the United States are 25.2, 8.0, and 6.2 times higher than rates occurring in other developed countries.”

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/01/us-firearm-related-mortality.html

6:58 AM  
Blogger FarmerBrown said...

Hello Mr. Berman,Wafers,

This beating off business.....After rubbing its belly,by way of quantitative easing and other shenanigans a financial illiterate like me cannot wrap my head around,and finding out that it offers but a temporary relief from its insatiable hunger,what is 'Murika to do but go ahead and beat off relentlessly and with no climax at hand?
Meanwhile, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/goldman-asks-is-curing-patients-a-sustainable-business-model.html

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Orbit said...

"If Trump were really Caligula, he'd have Nancy Pelosi dress up in a Hooters uniform and serve him at table...Only when that happens will you know for sure that America is Rome." Ancient historian Tom Holland

Now THAT'S something I'd like to see

11:52 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

In the 'Gee, who'd a thunk?' department, turns out that Hilary and Chelsea Clinton's newest book on Gutsy Women has no footnotes, no citations, no bibliography.

As a critic puts it-

"It nicely encapsulates what the Clintons’ brand of feminism is all about: even when they’re unearthing genuinely radical histories of struggle, they can’t help reproducing the system in which, for a couple women to succeed, a lot of other women — cleaners, secretaries, scholars, biographers — have to be exploited."

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/02/hillary-chelsea-clinton-gutsy-wome-liberal-feminism

Welcome to today's Democratic Party, kids.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

You might be interested, We're Number 37, in Chalmers Johnson's books, especially Sorrows of Empire, in which he discusses the proliferation of US military bases around the world.

My sample size is likely too small to count, but I once attended a French pro football game, and they didn't play a national anthem before the match, which I thought was great.

One fall I was at Taylor Field in Regina for a Roughriders game, and during the pre-game playing of "O Canada," a "V" of Canada geese did a fly-over. Everyone cheered; it was magical.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Ty Tagami said...

Syrian woman's Aleppo documentary takes top British award, up for Oscar

https://www.almonitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/for-sama-forces-international-awards.html

So well deserved! Go see it!

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/sep/15/for-sama-review-documentary-aleppo-syria

"simple human interactions that really hit home – the day-to-day comradeship of women stoically preparing food while fire falls from the sky; the resilience of children who still smile and play even as their lives are threatened."

The world is dangerous and beautiful.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

mean-

Where is Sgt. Pepper when we need him?! Also note that there is going to be a show tonite on trampoline, for the benefit of Mr. Kite. Quick quiz: what was Desmond and Molly's last name?

Kanye-

I don't have any trouble rdg French, and I drew on Todd's work for DAA. My frustration is that I haven't been in France for abt 8 or 9 yrs, so my conversational fluency is a bit rusty. Merde alors!

mb

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Rustic Squash said...

The world spends nearly $3 trillion a year on arms, and the United States drives the bulk of the globe’s weapons trade — about 79%, according to figures compiled by the U.S. State Department.

Here's a link to the article:
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/04/global-military-expenditure-and-arms-trade-report.html

So must of the weapons trade and spreading of arms in the world is from the US.

7:34 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Intermediate Beatles quiz question: Who is Vera, Chuck, and Dave?

Miles

8:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Grandchildren on yr knee, on the Isle of Wight.

mb

10:15 PM  
Anonymous JUS said...


Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

I don't think Mayor Pete is who he says he is. Not to be too conspiratorial but do we have CIA Manchurian candidate?

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/30/coup-plotters-cia-agents-mayor-pete-endorsers/?fbclid=IwAR1GsU6HlFOmPxZOfYL_xqhYnmru0hvNZrpIsLl8lIrmDK9C9Hj1DzC75EI

JUS

10:58 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

@MB

24 hour rule - but, it's

Jones, of course; like Brian, who probably killed himself about the time the song was being written by McCartney. Those were high times in London. Not that I have ever been there.

For me Sgt. Pepper is just a cd shuffle shot away. I'm old school and keep the music close at hand, cd and lp. It's much healthier to own a turntable than a television.

Even better yet is to have an instrument or three nearby to entertain oneself with when the realization roosts that this is a country that needs to pump up the soul factor regularly.

11:02 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Vera, Chuck, and Dave are the grandchildren of the narrator in the song "When I'm 64".

An' it were Desmond an' Molly Jones, guv.

I rode the bike downtown this evening, more empty store fronts, zero buskers (it was actually kind of warm and I could have been out if I'd known it would be) little life/culture at all really.

It's probably a whole different city for the 1% but for the rest of us it's just deadening and stark.

1:55 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, alex-

Correct. Good work! "When I'm Sixty-Four" tracks back to the Beatles earliest days. Paul composed it on the family piano at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool when he was 15-16. What 16-year-old is thinking about such things? Pure genius. Meanwhile, here's what young Americans are doing:

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article239943513.html

Miles

3:25 PM  
Blogger Xair said...

Wafers,

At the end of the day this is what America is all about.

https://www.cato.org/blog/poll-82-americans-say-billionaires-should-be-allowe

6:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Xair-

Cdn't locate it.

mb

7:17 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Xair's link-

https://www.cato.org/blog/poll-82-americans-say-billionaires-should-be-allowed-exist

"The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch,[6] chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries." (wikipedia)

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Hans Castorp said...

Hi Dr. B & Wafers -

This looks like the link from Xair's post:


https://www.cato.org/blog/poll-82-americans-say-billionaires-should-be-allowed-exist


What's the Steinbeck quote? "All Americans think of themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires"

9:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hans-

Which is something I've pointed out for a long time now. So much for the revolutionary potential of the masses. Most Americans sit around waiting for their ship to come in. Which another way of saying that they are dumb as shit.

mb

10:17 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

I like this Tool song, 'Rosetta Stoned' - not quite the stone but the feeling https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnlhVVwBfew ... John Ruskin's discussion of the Psalms and the Poor in Age of Iron is really something

1:18 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

Professor - There must be something seriously wrong with these Wafers; these misguided, vicious, shifty people who discuss music, social dysfunction, books, dogs, love, hate . . . and reality!

Speaking of which. It all goes back to a chance encounter in Ketchikan, Alaska with the book "Limits To Growth." Pretty dry stuff in a rainy, wet place. Which has led me, years later, to "The Uninhabitable Earth". I can't be the first Wafer to have been caught reading this book -

goodreads.com/book/show/41552709-the-uninhabitable-earth

Vaya con dios amigos!

5:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

mean-

Yr focusing on the wrong things. This is what shd be on yr mind:

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/kanye-west-kim-kardashian-home-ad/index.html

mb

9:24 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I thought this had to be satire... "weaponizing Greek columns"...

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/arts/design/federal-building-architecture.html

If there's one thing you can say about the US in 2020: No new ideas. Even the 'modernist' alternative is already quite dated.

In truth, we have no clue how to build anything because don't even want to create spaces in which we are together. Will this be a Dem safe space or a Repub safe space? Does it even matter when I can just check out onto my phone anytime anyway?

You have the technology to build it all, in any way you want, but never with any meaning.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dio-

Personally, I won't rest until everything is weaponized, digitalized, monetized, and moronized. Shdn't take too long.

mb

11:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out whether the American people are degraded, or debased. Wafers are encouraged to weigh in on this crucial matter.

mb

11:56 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Good weekend Wafers,

In response to MB's question, I think I would shade toward the Merican peoples being debased. Degraded implies that once upon a time they were a higher quality, whereas 400-plus years of history and many observers would offer proof otherwise. One of the definitions of debased is a fall from significance, and I think we have a Wafer-wide consensus that Merica and its culture are on a sinking trajectory of importance worldwide.

So I would recommend a post-it on your mirrors this week with the suggested wording "Mericans are debased", along with a few minutes this weekend of dancing the Wah-Tulsi while there's still time and relevance.

1:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack-

Gd observations, thanks; altho I do remember a time when some Americans read books of quality; or even, read bks. As for the Wah-Tulsi: it may last forever, tho she won't. What a clown.

mb

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Quiet Desperation said...

Dr. Berman, To answer your question, I think debasing occurred over the course of our lives in small increments ie: the transfer of wealth, dumbing down of consumerism, advertising of the American Dream (TM) ect. The degrading aspects of this current existence occur in a constant assault of daily injury whether they be the blatant subversion of a political election, the shooting gallery of innocents or the exponential growth of Americans forced to live under a blue tarp or in a van down by the river. On a personal note, my wife and I occupy opposite ends of the house, in separate bubbles of our own creation. Hers consisting of the constant "blue light" diversion of Hallmark Channel perfection and MSNBC Maddow Madness to my preferred bedroom corner consisting of vinyl music, WAF trilogies and a medicine chest of chemicals supposedly keeping me alive...the bulldozers have begun the flattening of the greenbelt behind the house...alas, this is what we do. Onward and downward.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Tia said...

Dio/MB :

What's the satirical part? Out of all the insane ideas coming from our politics in this country a return to classical architecture instead of bizarre monolithic modernism like the new Obama presidential library in Chicago is a glimmer of real culture. I agree w/ you about our having no interest in building public spaces for community/ being together, though.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Meanwhile:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/08/harry-meghan-sussexes-jp-morgan-miami

Kanye

5:12 PM  
Anonymous liv said...

Here a very interesting article that summarizes the shitty life in the US. I am glad reading it from Spain.
https://medium.com/@erikrittenberry/the-american-life-is-killing-you-9e7e68135f4a

5:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

liv-

But look at Meghan, or at Kim! Surely they've got things rt, no?

mb

6:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: you had another message, but sent it to an old post (which no one reads). Also remember, post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks. But after 24 hrs, you can send that other message to this post, if you want.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

An interesting interview with writer Michael Lind on the topic of class war, power dynamics and the rise of populism in the West. While Lind is not a Wafer, I think he makes some interesting points.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3WL8KSymbg

6:41 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Trump impeachment trial: Is US politics beyond the point of repair?


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-51417722

8:11 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@ GSWH aka MB

Maestro, I feel the word you are thinking of in this crucial matter is "delusional".

mean

9:10 AM  
Blogger Xair said...

Wafers,

For any of us that live in the US none of these numbers should be shocking. Jeez, what a fucked up place.

https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8294451-cigna-us-loneliness-survey/

10:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

mean-

Too mild, maybe.

mb

12:20 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

MB, if I may can I ask a question? As you worked on the WAF trilogy were you ever saddened by it all? I ask because on this week's episode of TJ Hour Clay Jenkinson marks the official end of the Republic though we know it hasn't been one for a long time and Clay wld agree. The essay at the end of the program begins with the statement "it's over," Clay is obviously very emotional, near tears, I felt for him. I liked the conversation with Dr. Ellis who says the founders would be surprised the Constitution lasted as long as it has.

https://jeffersonhour.com/blog/1376

Chris Hedges says the only thing we have left is to choose the way we're going to die (Canada Chris, Canada).

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/america-land-of-make-believe/

12:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gunnar-

Hedges is dishonest, one might even say fraudulent. Only abt once a yr does he come up with a true declinist sentiment. For the most part he, like all progs, believes there is still hope for America, and that things can be turned around. In fact, he's a patriot. He talks abt the 'farewell tour', but never actually says farewell; which to me is a form of cowardice. His 'farewell' is essentially endless. So he's dishonest, but also profoundly conflicted, because on a visceral level he does know it's over; he just keeps pretending (95% of the time) that the situation can be salvaged, mostly via a revolution of the masses that cannot possibly take place (which he also must know). And so you see a tremendous sadness in his eyes, his body language--which is the price of dishonesty and self-deception.

As for me, it was by the mid-nineties, during the Clinton era when everyone was celebrating how great things were, that I began to realize that the country had cancer, metaphorically speaking. At that pt, I still had some hope, because cancer is not nec. a death sentence anymore; recovery is possible. But by the time I finished writing DAA, I understood that the cancer actually went back to the late 16C, and that we were in the final phase of empire. I was sad abt that, sad abt the country 'that could have been', but I wasn't going to kid myself. Two months after the bk was published, I left the country for gd. If I did have some sadness b4 that, it was gone by 2006. Do enuf research, and u.c. how cruel the country is to other peoples and to its own citizens; and how cruel its citizens are to each other, on a daily basis (just visit any American high school, for starters). The data on this are enormous, and it was obvious to me that the best thing that cd happen was the collapse of this awful--depraved, really--way of life. I just don't believe one can be a patriot of the US and, at the same time, a patriot of humanity (which is the dishonest act Hedges keeps trying to pull off). So I was sad, for a time, because I had, after all, been raised amidst American propaganda abt itself, and the snow job is so powerful that it takes a while to shake it off. But once you seriously do the research, it's impossible to continue being deluded; unless yr Hedges, I guess.

mb

2:24 PM  
Blogger disposium said...

@Xair: re. loneliness article. Interesting and saddening. But inevitable, I guess, considering how alienating so many features of North American culture are: the technology, whether it's iFones or automobiles, isolates its users from other users. The education system produces illiterate retards that you wouldn't wanna talk to anyway. A rude, uncivil, self-centered, violent 'culture' that deep in its collective mind knows it has long since given up and is now looking for the last kill-gasm to be had from putting a bullet through its own brain.

On the lighter side of being alone, we New Monastic Option types are alone, possibly, yet not lonely. We have our few loved ones and friends, we have Books, and we have our solitude. Bliss!!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous cool o frio said...

I wonder how many states will end up seceding from America.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous goldiloks said...

I think that the end of the petrodollar will make America's collapse go into overdrive.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

New good book for those interested in anthropology and cultural relativism. "Gods of the Upper Air" by Charles King. The title comes from a quote by Zora Neale Hurston, who, with Margaret Mead, Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, were pioneering anthropologists in the early part of the 20th century.

MB - you may have referenced this in your book about Japan, but just in case - Benedict wrote an acclaimed book on Japan shortly after WWII titled "The Chrysanthemum and The Sword".

Gunner - About the trilogy: after reading it for the first time I was angry and sad that MY country was being attached. Later I realized that my anger was a defense mechanism against the truth. I could not face the truth about what America had always been. The trilogy contradicted everything I had been taught growing up about American exceptionalism and patriotism. That's why Wafers will always be such a small group. Very few are willing to make that journey. In one of Paul's books in the bible he says that when he was a child he acted like a child, thought like a child; but when he grew up, he acted and thought like an adult. Most Americans are perfectly find remaining children. And will never rethink what they think about the country. The truth may set you free but it will first shake you to your foundation. And those who insist on honoring it will always be in the minority.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

trying-

Yes, I discussed Benedict's bk at length in my Japan bk, and the Boas circle in WG. Great, great minds. Wafers may be a small group, indeed, but to reply to disposium: we also have this blog, almost 14 yrs now. That we *do* see thru the bullshit, and do pursue the truth, is what holds us together in a deep kind of friendship; and what also enrages the trollfoons who continue to attack this blog (a sign that we are on the rt track).(I can't tell you how silly these people are; I actually enjoy it.) Which raises a question: we tend to have a physical, nonvirtual mtg every 2 yrs or so in NY. Why not expand this? If we can get 5 people besides myself to meet in SF, Chicago, Miami, you name it--I'll go there. Maybe it's time for us to become 'embodied'.

mb

6:55 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

America: Land of the Hustler

Here's a sad anecdote from this weekend.

My car is due for its inspection. Since I had a busted tail light, I figured I'd get it repaired at the same time. 3 hours after dropping my car off, I got a frantic phone call from the mechanic telling me the following:

"Your muffler is seriously damaged. It's a good thing you brought this in because it can't pass inspection like this. You have a number of options available to you, and I can give you a decent deal on a new muffler. Come on in and we'll discuss it."

I drive an Abarth 500. A small little Italian car. This vehicle is literally built WITHOUT a muffler and can't accommodate one. :)

Just to be clear, he might as well have been trying to scam me out of a car's daiquiri maker.

I drove over directly after my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. I literally wore my grappling gi still covered with sweat. Once I arrived, I politely asked him to look up the specs on my vehicle. He was hesitant at first, but with some nasty language, I 'convinced' him.

I literally saw the color drain from his face as he saw the screen come up detailing my car's manufacturing specs. He offered to not charge me for the broken tail light that he fixed and begged me not to call his corporate masters at 'headquarters'. 'Busted' doesn't even begin to describe it.

Not only is America the land of hustling, but it's not even clever hustling.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

B-

Gd story.

Two things:

1. If you keep in mind that almost all Americans are jackasses, it will make yr life a lot simpler.

2. In future, pls adhere to half page max rule. Thanks.

mb

8:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Some interesting stats: There are only 170 registered Wafers, but we are now averaging 64,000 hits a month. Since the blog began 14 yrs ago (almost), there have been 4.4 million hits.

mb

10:06 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

@Tia

I don't know what neo-classicism can possibly mean to a population with zero knowledge of Greco-Roman antiquity, and I also dislike it in itself. For one thing, it is quite literally whitewashed. They would have painted these buildings, or at least the more ornamental features.

http://www.openculture.com/2019/12/roman-statues-werent-white-they-were-once-painted-in-bright-colors.html

Neo-classicism began with a very austere interpretation of antiquity per the Enlightenment interest in stoicism. The Italian Renaissance to my mind got things much closer to the spirit of that culture.

The neo-classical buildings in DC were being put up as late as the 30s. At that point modernism was a breath of fresh air, albeit one that died out quite quickly. The satirical bit for me was the idea that Trump could somehow weaponize il-Duce style architectural revival... of a staid 18th century genre work that became trite decades ago. Where is your new Futurist Manifesto, Orange Mussolini?

10:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

The Trump juggernaut rolls on:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/10/politics/donald-trump-presidency-joe-biden-impeachment/index.html

Meanwhile, the Dems and their foolishly hopeful supporters, in massive disarray, are heading for defeat in Nov. If Tulsi Gabbard has no chance, one might equally say that neither do Biden (Schmiden) or Bernie (Schmernie). The nation is weaponized, moronized (aka buffoonized), digitalized, and monetized, which will set the stage for the ultimate coup d'état in 2024, when Trumpi will declare himself president in perpetuum. Coup d'état, and coup de grace. A nation of hustlers, that put the ultimate hustler in the White House, will finally be staring at itself in the mirror.

mb

4:00 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

@disposium,

Sure, there is comfort in solitude and contemplation, but it still isn't easy living the NMI life when 99.9% of people around you are living with their heads up their asses. Books and yoga classes don't replace human interaction. But then, when even your smart friends are dumb, interaction is even more depressing than solitude. I haven't found a way to cope properly as of yet and don't know if I ever will.

Tips from other Wafers very welcome...

Kanye

4:01 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Another ride around on the bike ... a whole block has been fenced off up the street, so all buildings in it empty - out of business. That's encouraging. Avoided one gibbering zombie, I was quite the little speedster on a bike ages ago, and going quickly helps. By the time they start staggering in your direction, you're gone.

Ebay sales are in the tank right now. I literally just need things to hold together for 3 more years...

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

“Beckett is more important than ever. People are trying to figure out...how to control the narrative & how low can you go to create a populist movement... Beckett does away with all of that...I don’t think he even says no. He sits there stupefied by our inhumanity to one another”

Samuel Beckett & the purpose of culture

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p082d3kc


.....I've always greatly respected his work but never was my taste for some reason. Give me some Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Eliot, Cummings, now we're talkin!

9:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Eliz-

It is pretty stupefying, altho I did provide a possible answer in ch. 1 of CTOS. Once we find out what's driving us, we have at least a chance at pulling back from cruelty. Of course, there is still the difference between intellectual and ontological knowing.

mb

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Mike Morgan said...

" I tried to Express a sentiment specific Korean culture, all the responses from the different audiences was the same. Essentially we all live in the same country...called capitalism. "

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/workers-of-the-world-unite-american-factory-director-echoes-communist-manifesto-rallying-cry-after-oscars-win

Between Parasite’s big wins and the Marx shoutout, CLASS CONFLICT was the theme of 2019! ��

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Here's some typical USA cruelty-

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/01/us/ashley-menser-cancer-shoplifting-pennsylvania.html

The judge did not change his mind, and now she's in the state prison system. Judging by her photo on this site, she looks very unwell-

https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2020/02/04/ashley-menser-pennsylvania-woman-who-needs-cancer-surgery-moved-to-state-prison-after-sentenced-for-100-theft/

As George Carlin once said: "Where do you think our politicians come from? Mars?"

State legislators, judges, and DAs come FROM the people, which makes stories like the one above all too common.

12:29 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

@MB I agree. Deluded (delusional) is too mild. Degraded is just about right. De-moralized is also useful. But there's no plumbing the depths - "mark twain!" - will not be accurate. We are too far down the river of no return. It's just some antics anyway.

I like the idea of simple and low cost. Maybe we could muster a baker's dozen instead of only five Wafers, like last year's meeting. I suggest Santa Fe, Denver or Chicago. NYC is just too tough.

@ Kanye haiku is helpful The river
Has swept the burning sun
Down into the ocean Matsuo Basho

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Liv said...

Here is proof that soon public education will no longer exist in the US. Only elites are allowed to get educated. Anyway, American education was shitty for a long time.

Trump Gave a Scholarship to a 4th Grader ‘Trapped’ in a ‘Failing’ Public Education at the State of the Union:
https://time.com/5780459/state-of-the-union-school-choice-charter-school/

only rich students get help:
https://news.yahoo.com/two-boys-same-disability-tried-081445840.html
The basic quality of life in the US is unsustainable. My friend spends in DC $20k a month just for housing, private schools for 2 kids, 2 cars, food, and health insurance. I spend in Spain for the same without private schools, cars or health insurance because you do not need here 2000 Euros a month. WTF 20k just for basics. The Mandibles are happening. Soon the cabbage head will cost in the US $30.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“Don’t be stupid, be a smarty
Come and join the Nazi Party”
(The Producers)

A high school teacher in Frederick, Maryland has some “splainin” to do: he/she left a Nazi flag being used in a history segment dealing with the Nazis and the Third Reich visible in a window to anyone passing by the school. The school administration is investigating.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/10/nazi-flag-maryland-high-school-investigation?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Mario said...

https://theconversation.com/amp/no-food-no-fuel-no-phones-bushfires-showed-were-only-ever-one-step-from-system-collapse-130600

When complex systems collapse: The case of East Gippsland, Australia.

No food, no fuel, no phones: bushfires showed we're only ever one step from system collapse

4:24 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

MB - I would like to meet with the whole group but maybe regional gatherings would be more practical at this point. I live in Eastern NC and could meet with others in the Mid Atlantic region. Others, in the South, MidWest, Mountains, East Coast, West Coast, etc. Shorter travel distances might mean larger crowds. What think, thee, Professor?

Kayne - If we are to continue living in the US, we will have to adjust to solitude and insanity. The first step, I think, is acceptance of the reality of the sickness of American culture. 2. Find outer outliers 3. Unite for support and companionship. Few if any of us will be able to live as hermits. Most persons need relationships to retain their sanity. Loneliness correlates with depression and anxiety. So we will have to seek out other like-minded critical thinkers with whom to share experiences, stories, and advice, as we do sometimes on this blog.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Willem said...

Native burial sites blown up for US border wall

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/world-us-canada-51449739

This is who we are guys. Cursed!

7:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

trying-

Let's seek them out in the flesh! Anywhere is OK w/me.

mean-

See my reply to trying.

Birn-

I'm amazed John Fetterman exists. I wd expect a US govt official to recommend shooting the woman like a dog in the street.

mb

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

I saw this interview yesterday.

Dr. Charles Murray: "The American experiment won't survive our children" & "America Has Collapsed, Move To A Small Town"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNNRzxlD8iA

1:11 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

MB, Wafers,

Have you ever read "The Case of Mr Crump" by Ludwig Lewisohn? It's apparently considered to be one of the greatest books of the 20th century. First published in English in Paris in 1931, it only got published in the US in 1947 as it initially got refused by all publishers... Freud called the book a masterpiece.

Kanye

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Quiet Desperation said...

Kanye...feeling cornered and powerless, I've lost contact with virtually all of my old friends over the last ten years. Many Wafers have described the conversations on holidays, at work ect. where we realize just how empty and vapid these attempts to communicate something of importance and meaning actually are and we retreat/withdraw into good books, music and such. It is a lonely existence. Whenever I venture out into this cultural wasteland I am repelled by the mutant creatures, rectangular soma in hand, racing about in singular and relentless quest for more. By the time I turn into my driveway I'm usually at wits end telling myself "if I can only get home..."

11:18 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Interesting stats regarding the blog, MB. Hopefully these numbers will materialize into many more Wafers. In terms of an additional Wafer Summit: I'm ready to travel anywhere. It would be great to break out of the American sphere, in any case. My choice would be Antibes.

Meanwhile, Pamela Carr, tasered her husband after revealing he would like a separation:

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-pinellas/69-year-old-clearwater-woman-stuns-husband-with-taser-during-argument-deputies-say

Miles

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Last week's New Yorker had this article about how people who share drugs with their friends can be prosecuted. Only in America.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/02/10/the-wrong-way-to-fight-the-opioid-crisis?utm_campaign=aud-dev&utm_source=nl&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=TNY_Magazine_Daily_020320&utm_medium=email&bxid=5da86d15fbd29764f9531660&cndid=58935855&esrc=Auto_Subs&mbid=CRMNYR062419&utm_term=TNY_Daily

12:05 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Thanks for the reply MB, I guess I came to same conclusion experientially as I'm not very well educated. I agree it isn't as much the death of the nation (was it ever really alive?) as it is the end of an illusion/delusion. I guess Trump's aquital was too much for Clay. I'll spare the details but a two month involuntary stay in an Army locked psychiatric unit in 1989 taught me plenty about the real America. This followed by a decade living with bipolar d/o and without any ability to access care also taught me much (the stories I cld tell!) I remember telling my mom long before Trump even B4 reading WAF that our times are the culmination of 400 yrs of history and it will not do a 180 on a dime on a whim. When I read the trilogy you confirmed what I'd believed all along, WAF filled in the blanks/answered many questions. Thoughout it all a monastic existence was all that saved me. I'm really trying to condense, maybe someday we can continue discussion in person - my vote is Denver, I can't go anywhere else.

This story comes courtesy of Matt Taibi via his Useful Idiots podcast (story is an oldie but a goodie/depraved is another word that comes to mind):
https://metro.co.uk/2013/12/31/andrew-frey-oregon-man-high-on-meth-fights-15-police-officers-while-masturbating-in-bar-4245713/



12:10 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

More in the annals of for-profit healthcare debacles:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/11/utah-cuts-healthcare-costs-flying-employees-mexico-prescription-drugs

one of the drugs I may have to take cost $1000 a dose in 2001. Now, it costs $34,000 a dose. No reason, no shortage, nothing but good ol' makin' money off of other peoples misery.

In other news, for any other WAFers stuck in Amerikkka, prepare yourself for the coming civil war. I read that a few pollsters are predicting a Dem landslide in November. So now, who actually thinks Il Douche will leave if he loses the election?

12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Quiet-

Put this post-it on yr bathrm mirror:

I AM SURROUNDED BY DEGRADED BUFFOONS

(which is, in fact, the truth).

Wafers: pls keep voting on location for Wafer Summit #7. Antarctica might be gd, as penguins are natural-born Wafers.

mb

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr Shithouse, Bored Certified said...

Land of the Hu$tle

Help a non for profit org that helps older folks. Went to bank to update records. 20 something Latino/Hispanic/Chicano hyphenated "American" asks many qsns about our organization and appears enthusiastic and jubliant about its' mission and how it helps folks improve their lives etc...

Then he says: " I have some really good news...(thinking maybe a donation, time assistance etc...), our bank has many loans and other products that can help your organization buy things."

WTF. Predictable, yet WTF. USA=THE land of the hu$tle.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Hans Castorp said...

This article & the comments below it may be of interest to Wafer wannabe Expats:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/02/developing-countries-showing-america-up.html


5:38 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Gunnar - I think you nailed it when you wrote "isn't as much about death of the nation as it is the end of an illusion". Since it beginning, the elite of politics and economics have run a con game on the rest of the nation, sustained by Enlightenment dreams of equality, freedom and wealth.

Pastrami - So true. A republic based on nothing more than greed, hyper-individualism, violence, xenophobia, racism and elite domination "cannot long endure" (as Lincoln said in another context). (See Greece and Rome). It will collapse from within, having nothing of value to hold it up. The only choice its citizens have is to avoid being crushed by either leaving or finding a safe haven. I live in a conservative county in eastern NC. It's not safe here. I am looking for another venue in the US (at this stage of my life, I am not able to leave).

5:57 PM  
Anonymous We're Number 37 said...

There are only 2 options:
Respectfully: 1. Stay in the corporate dump (USA) and NMI-it, or 2. Leave permanently. The rest appears academic and socratic verbosities.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

https://nypost.com/2020/02/10/alleged-bronx-cop-shooter-robert-williams-threatens-to-shoot-more-cops/

What a nice state of affairs.

One thing to comment on — not only is the US violent, it is senselessly so. People using violence is nothing new, but people using it in such a wanton, nihilistic way certainly is.

And the how and why does matter. You can't just abstract everything away and say violence is violence.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dio-

No, but nihilism is nihilism; which means the country is finished. Well, no great intellectual breakthrough there.

mb

7:28 PM  
Blogger Janet D said...

@Kanye, others re: coping...besides NMI’ing it to the best of my ability, an active spiritual life is my only respite. Even that’s tough, because I’m a fringe spiritual practitioner & have very small #s in my local area. Living as a Wafer is an endurance march. It helps to remember that.

@trying..re: regional gatherings. I'm in Columbus, OH. Not exactly your neck of the woods, but heh, at least I'm in the same time zone & with a few others we might be able to find a central mtg spot. Side note: Hubby & I are also looking at venues (we have to keep at least one foot in U.S. due to aging parents on both sides, altho I'm hoping to get the other one in Mexico), but I will stay north of the Mason-Dixon line. E-mail me if ya want to trade notes: sendjanet at yahoo.

@QuietD...re: conversations with Amerikkkans....yeah, every.single.time. I've tried bringing up - even a teensy bit - of reality (e.g. the ballooning interest payments on the U.S. debt, climate realities, underlying cultural truths (400 years of non-stop destruction), etc., all conversation literally stops. And then the person(s) change the topic, the most recent topic *consuming* my local circles has been non-stop outrage (or defense) of: JLo's outfit & moves @ the StupidBowl 1/2-time show. Kill me.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Janet-

As I've said in various ways, yr blood pressure won't rise if you just assume everyone around u is brain damaged. Wh/is not far from the truth. Put up a post-it on yr mirror; you'll feel better. An esp. useful post-it is TAKE ME NOW O LORD, along with THESE PEOPLE ARE A JOKE. HEADS RAMMED IN SHIT is also viable.

It actually is very hard to recognize that this country really is what it is, and that Americans are who they are. It's almost like a dystopian sci-fi novel, or a bad dream.

mb

10:13 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Trump and Barr are destroying the Rule of Law in America


https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/482687-harris-demands-barr-testify-over-roger-stone-sentence-recommendation

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

No worries, America will rise to greatness again, once Hillary becomes the nominee in a brokered convention, and chooses Bernie as her running mate. And I think they have a very good chance to beat Trump.

I am not joking.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Americans are drinking more now than when Prohibition was enacted, leading to a rise in alcohol-related deaths.

https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-01-14/americans-drinking-more-prohibition

Hospital closings in rural areas of the United States are associated with rising rural mortality rates.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/rural-hospital-closings-cause-mortality-rates-rise-study-finds-n1048046

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Wana said...

14th c. Mexica sauna--a "sweat bath"--found in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Tenochtitlan: https://www.archaeology-world.com/native-american-14th-century-sweat-lodge-discovered-in-mexico-city/

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Corporate Cringe said...

I noticed the same thing. When I try to bring up anything factual about the US empire, endless wars, employment at will doctrine, FATCA, citizen based double taxation, worlds premier tax, form and penalty club, no real health coverage etc,.....met with caustic eye, you’re so negative, rage and enough already.

The US people appear to be perpetual children who cannot leave their national mythology.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

In the wake of Tulsi Gabbard’s 3.3 percent showing in the New Hampshire primary, I’m dancing the Wah-Tulsi here in Cascadia. In a show of her commitment, she relocated two months ago to Manchester, New Hampshire:

https://nypost.com/2019/12/05/tulsi-gabbard-moves-to-new-hampshire-ahead-of-states-democratic-primary/

Despite the primary results, she did win a push-up contest in New Hampshire on January 16th and got some skiing in:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/tulsi-gabbard-wins-push-up-contest-new-hampshire
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democracy-2020-tulsi-shreds-new-hampshire-slopes-watch

While she contemplates her next move, I have a suggested new post-it: TULSI STRONG

2:53 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Tom , But closings will continue because they are not as profitable as the big, consolidated hospitals. In N Eastern NC there is one medical conglomerate, Vidant, which owns all the hospitals but 2 or 3 and the doctors and nurses who practice in the area. A much needed mental health ward in a town of 10,000 was closed and replaced by a heart center which is expected to much more profitable. Mental health cases commute to a larger town 30 miles away.

MB - "brain damage" includes irreversible neurological harm caused by excessive TV viewing and obsessions with other screens, leading to increase in suicides and that stoned look in the eyes of most Americans as if they had been hypnotized.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Ishmael said...

A couple very good new books on degrowth:


Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities (The MIT Press) Hardcover – September 24, 2019

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0262042835/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

"Economists will tell you we can decouple growth from material consumption, but that is total nonsense."

--Prof. Vaclav Smil, summarizing his new book "Growth"


Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care 1st Edition
by Giorgos Kallis

https://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2019/11/heaven-hath-limits/

https://www.amazon.com/Limits-Malthus-Wrong-Environmentalists-Should/dp/1503611558/

6:05 PM  
Anonymous cyrilliajuniper said...

Excellent article on fossil fuel supplies and decline from Michael Doliner:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/02/12/irrational-exuberance/
"The inevitable conclusion: either “civilization” as we know it, with all the extravagance, goes, or homo sapiens will. Anyone complaining about climate change ( to name just one small part of civilization’s damage) who imagines there is a solution that will allow him to live pretty much as he does now, is delusional, indeed as delusional as those who deny the climate catastrophe completely."

And a Jeremy Scahill podcast with Ralph Nader about how the Dems don't want to win the election:
https://theintercept.com/2020/02/12/its-armageddon-time-for-the-democratic-party/

I vote for Denver: central and easy to get to IMHO. Looking forward to meeting other NMIs.
PS: How does one get to be a registered Wafer? I've tried following the blog, but that's not working.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jack-

TULSI TOILET might be a bit more on target. I'm thinking how great it wd be, after Trumpi is reelected, for the Wafer Urine Team (WUT) to fly to NH or Oahu, wherever Tulsi might be, and hose down her shoes. Altho I can't really find any rational reason for her not to be beaten to w/in an inch of her life and then thrown on a dungheap. Jesus, WHAT a douche baguette. I've decided to scrap my 5-vol. work on the philosophy of Tulsism.

Corporate-

Gerald Celente once said that the avg American's understanding of foreign policy is at the level of a 9-yr-old. I think that's probably true of domestic policy as well; or of anything in general, really. It doesn't hafta be abt politics: ask any American at random what a sonnet is, for example, or an aorta, and you draw a blank. Did Tom Jefferson ever imagine a nation of 329 million morons? I left the US because I literally had no one to talk to. My post, "Project X," isn't really that much of an exaggeration.

mb

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Trying-

Same thing happened in my state- a chain hospital closed a mental health office in our capital city suburb and patients there now have to drive 30 miles for a psychology appointment with the same chain.

At the same time, they expanded the endoscopy department. After all, a good surgeon can do 5 colonoscopies a day at $3,000 a pop; that's $15,000! Whereas- a psychologist who sees 5 patients a day at $150 a session generates only $750. There's just not enough money in the mental health field.

6:47 PM  
Blogger disposium said...

Risking that Doctor B is about to upload a new post so no one will see this. Do you like Thaddeus Russel? I kinda do, because he says things that twist people's brains 'cuz that just ain't right'.

If you've ever thought it was odd that Thomas Jefferson could write that all men are created equal, while owning a substantial fraction of a boatload of other human beings, I invite you to view the following:

https://youtu.be/LqeOI5Bg11o

This is the sort of stuff that makes cognitive dissonance a necessary survival strategy for those souls we interact with frequently. You know who I'm talking about: their eyes glaze over when you provide any evidence at all that our Western democracies are founded on genocide and slavery. And hustle, hustle, hustle!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cyr-

Denver wd be gd. Wd like to have 20 Wafers attend. Need to draw up a schedule of discussion topics. #1: forming a Urine Team (UT) to visit Tulsi. As for registering: I dunno, but perhaps some of the registered Wafers here can give you a hand.

mb

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Yoogoogulator said...

+1 for Denver

10:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

And already the votes are pouring in for Denver!

mb

10:16 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes

@cyrilliajuniper @MB et al,

Just keep posting regularly to DAA blog.

When I drive to Denver I always allow four hours from where I'm at. It is centrally located. Inexpensive as things go. Ft Collins is a cool rendezvous spot. A 50 mile drive from the airport.There are inexpensive shuttle bus services from the airport. Late spring is the best time. Summer is tourist time. And hot.

I wanna see that Gunnar can make the summit. Knowing Pueblo a bit, I think he must be feeling isolated down there...oil below $50/bbl. This is good.

I nominate AG Barr as this week's degraded douchebag, lower the bar, designate. He needs to go on a diet coke diet. Sheesh for brains.

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Wanderlust said...

Ah hustlin' Don't ya love it?
https://www.ebaumsworld.com/pictures/37-depressing-looks-of-late-stage-capitalism/86195627/

12:30 AM  
Blogger Kanye Cyrus said...

Another bathroom mirror post-it idea: PROGS ARE ALL BRAIN-DAMAGED

https://www.ndtv.com/entertainment/92nd-academy-awards-natalie-portmans-oscar-dress-honoured-this-years-snubbed-female-directors-2177645

Kanye

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Denver would work for me.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

We've now got abt 4 or 5 people saying yes to Denver. Let's see if we can get it up to 10, and then talk about when. In the meantime, pls help me w/the following limerick:

There once was a man from Colorado
Who was addicted to espresso cortado.
da da da da da
da da da da da
And he thought he had discovered El Dorado.

mb

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

one day he got blotto
stuck his head up his rear-endo

Doesn't quite fit, but funny anyway.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Hans Castorp said...

Review of Belen Fernandez’s “Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World” -

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/a-personal-journey-on-exile-rejecting-america-and-finding-the-world/

<< As she explains in her book Exile: Rejecting America and Finding the World, she left because the United States is, as she writes, a “large-scale lab experiment on how to best crush the human soul.”>>

12:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hans-

That quote captures the essence of the US quite perfectly. I do wish Belen had discussed how the American population was only too eager to commit spiritual suicide.

mb

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Mary Clark Mascaro said...

https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/video/tv-show/hunger-and-hope

The good gentleman Rick Steve's output has become a type of Dual Process over the years, showcasing meritable and honorable values thru being a decent world citizen:

"A year ago I began production of a TV special designed to show America how foreign aid is a good and practical investment—even if you don’t buy this “love thy neighbor” stuff and just want to live in a more safe and stable world.
Why? Because I was afraid that our president might want to slash development aid from our national budget and that our citizenry would not understand the importance and efficiency of modern development aid work and therefore wouldn’t object.
I wish my timing wasn’t so good. But last week two things happened: President Trump proposed cutting our foreign aid budget and my new program debuted across the country on public television. If you're skeptical about foreign aid, this program--which is 5 minutes of desperation and 55 minutes of hope--will open your eyes (and your heart).
My new 1-hour special “Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Ethiopia and Guatemala” will be airing in your city some time in the coming weeks. To see air times (or to stream the entire show right now) and learn more about this show, click below."

1:18 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Sandy, Thanks a lot for the link to the MLK archive. Enjoyed reading the article. Time we go back to MLK and Gandhi seriously in our public lives.

In the meantime, Trumpi is having a ball here. He visited Gandhi's Ashram (monastery). There he wrote a note praising his friend Modi. No mention of Gandhi. No wonder. Gandhi is beyond comprehension of both.

Now he is in Delhi. And while Trump is in Delhi, parts of Delhi are burning. Muslim houses, businesses are being burnt. Nine ppl dead so far, 70 in hospitals. No visible efforts to calm things down. (https://scroll.in/latest/954278/in-photos-and-videos-day-3-of-violence-in-delhi-after-pro-caa-mobs-clash-with-anti-caa-protestors) Natural result of violent divisive politics. In this backdrop, Trump has signed billions of dollars worth of defense deals. He has assured Indian corporates that the stock markets will boom if he wins again. As I said, it is part of his election campaign. The corporate elites will be delighted to have these two on two sides of the globe.

7:18 AM  

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