April 24, 2020

Mrs. Fletcher


I wouldn’t ordinarily recommend a bad book, but it’s possible that there is something of a hidden “metatheme” here, one relevant to the Waferian perception of America:


The story (not much of a plot, really) takes place in middle-class suburbia, focusing on the lives of a woman and her teenage son, both of whom are basically boring. Almost all the characters are pretty shallow, like cardboard cutouts; their lives, their preoccupations, are banal. The only thing that seems to interest them is sex, which shows up in some fairly weird expressions. Plus gender issues, and a good dose of pornography. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, the book goes nowhere, ultimately says nothing. Admitted, it is something of a page-turner; but when you finish it, you wonder why you even bothered to read it. (In my case, I’m a fan of Tom Perrotta.)

Unless the point of the whole thing is the shallowness of American life; that this is the “metatheme” Perrotta was trying to convey. In other words, that this was intentional on the author’s part, to show how empty and clueless Americans are; how most of them are on autopilot, living lives that can only be called stupid and meaningless. Now wouldn’t that be a curve ball!

I’m only guessing, of course. In the case of my own fiction, I don’t sit down with a specific intention, or “syllabus,” in mind. Rather, I literally go into a trance; the stories or novels are “channeled,” as it were, and the ending is organic, i.e. emerges from the text itself. The writing just pours out; I have no idea what I’m going to say until I’ve said it. It feels like my hand is writing the text, not my brain. I just lay down one sentence after another. Hence, the unconscious factor is pretty large.

So what was going on with Perrotta when he was writing Mrs. Fletcher? Did he explicitly, deliberately, want to paint a portrait of the emptiness of American life, or did that fall out unconsciously, in a trance? One might argue that it doesn’t matter, but if the answer is the latter, then the book strikes me as a very powerful statement. It means that the author was not trying to prove anything; rather, his unconscious “imbibed” the social context of American life, as a result of living in it, and then spat out an X-ray of who we are: nothings, sad and pathetic beings, narcissistic beyond all imagining. If that is the case, this rather tedious book might be regarded as a classic of declinist literature.



Anonymous Flyingspaghettimonstr said...

Speaking of books, I just finished reading Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's Indigenous Ppl's History. I think the chickens have definitely come home to roost 4 the Amerikkkan experiment. It's not even 300 yrs old yet it's already crumbling, since amerikkka was built on shaky foundations (the delusion of limitless growth). I reckon this fate was predestined. "Land of the free" my @$$.

P.S, the Indians seem to have had a craft tradition of their own akin to the Japanese

10:36 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

In reading the different sources I consult each morning, I came across a quotation from a favorite aphorist (I think he would qualify as such), Oscar Wilde. This one would seem to be relevant in multiple contexts and with regard to multiple individuals:

“Do, as a concession to my poor wits, Lord Darlington, just explain
to me what you really mean.
I think I had better not, Duchess. Nowadays to be intelligible is
to be found out”.

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan

11:35 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Mrs Fletcher was adapted as a series on HBO, only survived one season so you may be right, it isn't very good.


1:24 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

I watched "Mrs. Fletcher" on the tube, MB. I was pretty underwhelmed by it, except to say that Mrs. Fletcher had done America a great service by birthing her self-absorbed human turd of a son. Sure to speed up our collapse, yes?

And speaking of collapse, yesterday Trumpola suggested that we inject bleach or other disinfectants into our bodies to kill the virus. Or expose ourselves to massive doses of ultraviolet light through our skin or somehow internally:


I tell ya, you can't make this stuff up!


2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Jeffrey st. Clair is his usual acerbic self over the counter punch today.

"The USA is proving day after day that it’s the stupidest nation on earth and that we’re extremely proud of our singular achievement."


2:43 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

I have been following this blog for a couple of years now. It is the best resource I have found for realistic content about the idea/myth of progress, the true character of modernity, and similar topics.

This is my first time posting here. I just wanted to share what I discovered today. I know that Truthdig is not highly regarded here, but a Truthdig article from a few years ago about “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment,”, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, reveals what both liberals and conservatives do not tell us: the purpose of the Second Amendment was killing Native Americans and controlling slaves.


4:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Glad to have u w/us. Just to set the record straight:

1st, Truthdig is no longer a going concern, but I never had any quarrel with its reportage per se. My quarrel was w/Chris Hedges endlessly declaring that the masses wd hafta rise up against their corporate masters. When he managed to get off that absurd hobby horse, he cd occasionally turn out a decent essay.

2. I'm a major fan of Roxanne's. flying: yes, a terrific bk. If you establish yr nation on genocide, you won't have a moment's peace (just look at Israel). The skeletons will haunt you, and eventually exact revenge.


6:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Trumpi is now telling people to drink bleach and disinfectant. I'm guessing millions will follow his advice. My own preference wd be for chocolate syrup enemas. Alternatively, to coat their cell fones w/Vaseline, and ram them up their asses. Wafers are encouraged to suggest other possible anti-virus remedies, for the masses to insert in various orifices.


8:38 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I refuse to listen to the constant COVID fear-porn broadcast by the MSM. There’s so much conflicting info you can’t possibly know the truth. I do check out alternatives, but again info varies widely. It’s said that you can be re-infected, so I was wondering how any vaccine could be effective? Then I ran across this:

“Vaccines won’t work because it will not be one drug that can treat the COVID-19 disease but a combination of many. Unlike other viruses, every (novel coronavirus) change on its genome as it passes from host to host results in numerous mutations, treatment needing to address their individual characteristics.”

Huge amounts of money will be made w/vaccines and people will clamor for it even if it destroys what little freedom we have left. COVID 1984.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Cohen said...


Good COVID-19 news: Monkeys given an old-fashioned, inactivated virus vaccine made by China's Sinovac fended off SARS-CoV-2. It also didn't cause harm. Researchers not connected to work have cautious optimism. Human trials underway.


Poor monkeys but possibly good news

11:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Oh surely not:


5:48 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...


6:12 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Good day MB and Wafers,

I like Bill McKibben. I know he is not 100% Wafer material, but he's getting there slowly but surely. The article below reminds us that we have plenty of work to do post-coronavirus, and it takes on an almost NMI tone of degrowth:


Bill lives up here in my neck of the woods somewhere close by. I may send him the Wafer trilogy free of charge.

Meanwhile, I saw my rabbit friend yesterday. After a short conversation, he headed to the front yard to eye my ornamentals. I had to remind him the poppies and tulips are not for him to eat. So far he's heeded my call. I left him some carrot and lettuce scraps instead.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You all know how I worry that Schmiden might defeat Trumpi in Nov.: a horrible scenario, to be sure. Hence I derived some comfort from this article:



10:42 AM  
Anonymous Jim Eget said...

Michael Moore’s “Planet Of The Humans” Skewers Renewables but Delivers Same Old Anti-Human Malthusianism https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbryce/2020/04/23/michael-moores-planet-of-the-humans-skewers-renewables-delivers-same-old-anti-human-malthusianism/amp/

This was one of the worst researched documentaries I've ever seen

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Joe sixpack said...

To mb,

Do you think the dotcom bubble was a precursor to the 08 crash?

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Gillen said...

Hawken5:45 PM

"'In a truly free society, economic rights must be considered human rights.' Bernie Sanders (Schmernie) in his Twitter handle yesterday

Nothing he says really even means anything "

It's euphemisms all the way down. No different than any other American politician. What he (and AOC) really means is just at the other pole than what someone like trump says: if I take your money using the coercive power of the state, that's really, if you think about it, a way of being nice to you.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

These are frightening times to be sure, I've never experienced anything like this in my 55 years - cashed my stimulus check via app so I could keep it, promised it to my 20 year old nephew as a collectors item. 50 years from now I wonder what it will signify. I'm hearing allot of talk of people loving on each other, I'm with it but to have a fighting chance let's follow the example of native Sioux and their regard for bravery, you can't purchase it online,



4:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No idea.


4:42 PM  
Blogger Sorry Im Normal said...

Chris Hedges just admitted on the JimmyDore Show youtube channel (when asked about hope for America) that "I kinda think we are finished". Timestamp 1:29:50

5:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not much elaboration of that admission, however. More like a passing thought.


5:58 PM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Has anyone read "They is Us" by Tamara Janowitz? Another sample of weird American declinist Literature.

Seriously. Could any writer have invented Trump?

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Piero said...

“In the Hammurabi Code, if a house falls in and kills you, the architect is put to death.”

I love how ⁦Taleb⁩’s analysis of 21st century globalism has such a hinterland...good points here re: the global sys https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-pandemic-isnt-a-black-swan-but-a-portent-of-a-more-fragile-global-system

6:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1st name Tama.


7:21 PM  
Anonymous Agendas said...


12:18 AM  
Anonymous Eric Jensen said...

Thanks for that link. I'm still struggling with my admiration of Hedges. He seems clear in this clip that it is a loosing battle. I belong to the Unitarians who are "boutique liberals." They are fighting for causes that have already been unquestionably lost and they cannot listen to things that preclude hope. For us here at least, the demise of America is a given. (I'm sure you have discussed Alfred W McCoy.) Isn't it worth fighting back, at least for the joy of being a public nuisance and maybe proving that we are right?

Has anyone read Zizek's "The Courage of Hopelessness"? I'd love to hear.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Just my opinion, but fighting back depends on context, and can only be judged on a case-by-case basis. Hedges never did that; his approach has consistently been that of a shovel, not a scalpel. No nuance at all, in short; very much a Manichaean thinker. Basically, he's a revolutionary fundamentalist: revolution is always the rt path, even if it's only a gesture; even if it has no hope at all. He has said this is the highest form of spirituality--a statement so stupid that it beggars the imagination.

What that kind of blind ideology does, is give the ideologue a psychological life-raft, a meaning for his existence. In "The Golden Notebook," Doris Lessing describes very typical 30s Marxists, who ran around shouting (in effect), "I am making the revolution and therefore I AM!" This is Hedges' "spirituality".


Well, I'm not big on conspiracy theories, and the guy strikes me as a lunatic. Seeing Zionism behind this...Jesus, enuf of this, already, por favor.


2:06 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More bad news for the state of mental health in America.


2:18 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers,

I do agree that fighting back can take many forms. One thing I do to fight back is to try and divorce myself from the capitalist system as much as possible. Keep in mind that is nearly impossible to do in America unless you are a hermit. Every time I go to NYC, which isn't too often, I am amazed and distressed by how much it's become just one chain store after another. You might as well be at the mall:


However, there is hope on this front:


11:25 AM  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

RE: movie Big Eyes...thank you MB ...I enjoyed this one. Any more?

RE: Chris Hedges
MB wrote:
Basically, he's a revolutionary fundamentalist: revolution is always the rt path, even if it's only a gesture; even if it has no hope at all. He has said this is the highest form of spirituality--a statement so stupid that it beggars the imagination.

While I agree that Chris offers one action: revolution I interpret his spiritual justification to be "we have a moral imperative to fight evil". And that resonates with me. And I think I have a moral imperative to keep myself out of harms way (which is how I interpret Jesus's "turn the other cheek" ). So moral decisions are rarely easy or black and white in my experience.

A big difference is I chose flight over fight (well fight with whom? lol) and left the USA but the evil keeps spreading beyond it's borders and I feel it's creep, even here in Mexico.


12:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A moral imperative to fight all the evils of the world, all the time? Really? Because that is Hedges' position. Heroic, or moronic? Just grandstanding, imo.


1:04 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Wanderer and MB... I sometimes grapple with similar questions/dilemma. My question is this. Do I jump into a fight right away, even if that means I myself and my family may have to pay a heavy price? I did so in my younger years (in terms of fighting right-wing ideas/ideology). But now my sense of responsibility towards those who depend on me does not give me that spontaneity. Also, things have evolved over the last couple of decades. Now chances of succeeding is much less. Or do I keep my physical integrity and mental sanity, and ensure (and this by no means is a trivial task when I look around) that I do not, in any way, become a part of the right-wing project. What do I do?

On a lighter note, I absolutely loved the way the Italian writer Severgnini described Trump's handling of the pandemic: 'the sea is stormy and the captain is dancing on the deck'. read it here: edition.cnn.con/2020/04/25/europe/beppe-severgnini-italy-coronavirus-intl/index.html

1:30 PM  
Blogger Hallvard N. Jørgensen said...

Yeah, I should mention:


3:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Wanderer: Knives Out; Money Monster; The Banker; and a series called The Night Manager.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

The decay & disintegration of this culture is quite amusing if you're emotionally detached from it


4:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...



Why do I have the feeling that some people are walking behind me with a notepad (for the last 20 yrs)?

Meanwhile, Packer's description of Trumpi is rt on; what he fails to understand (not being a declinist) is that this is *exactly* the gov't we need. Meanwhile, it appears for certain that the rot is systemic, long-term historical, and that there is no way to reverse it. (Again, a Berman original)

Trumpi! You will go down in History (as will the US)!


This is just a foretaste of things to come. (Not an exaggeration)


5:24 PM  
Anonymous Wasabi Addict said...

“As Sartre himself noted, it was not his alleged pessimism that outraged people so much as his powerful optimism: his insistence that we are free to act, free to change the world, and hence that we are responsible...” https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/04/jean-paul-sartre-communism-algeria-oppression

8:07 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Back in the day the Howard Johnson Strawberry Milkshake douche was quite popular in certain circles (sorry, no link).
I'm one of the fortunates than are cashing out bigly on unemployment checks, making twice as much sitting in the recliner as I did sitting on a forklift. I'm actually using the effective UBI to garden and read and pay attention to the here and now at a level that's hard to reach when involved in the hassle of the wage slave economy. What astounds me is the number of reopen the 'cominey articles (like this one https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/24/us/georgia-coronavirus-reopening-businesses-friday/index.html ) basically equating saving america with tattoos and hair dye. Morons, the lot.

I thought about Biden, too, and how Creepy Joe might actually like to have his shoes peed on. Whadya gonna do?

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Larson said...

China’s greatest poet, Du Fu.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In the postwar period, Sartre didn't outrage people; he inspired them (greatly). For more on this, check out Essay #18 in AWTY, on Transference. After the events of 1968, however, Sartre's optimism was rather eclipsed. Folks like Lacan and the structuralists made a gd case that there were definite limits to our freedom to act, or change the world; see Sherry Turkle's bk, "Psychoanalytic Politics." Still, when he died in 1980, 50,000 people mobbed the hearse as it made its way to the cemetery; one newspaper wrote, "France just lost its conscience." Even DeGaulle rebuked those wanting to arrest Sartre during the Algerian conflict when he (DeG) said, "One doesn't put Voltaire in jail."

There's a lot of gd stuff on Paris after the liberation (wh/occurred 16 days after I was born, as it turns out; I have often wondered if there was a causal influence there). Simone de Beauvoir's novel, "The Mandarins", for example, or the (4th?) vol. of her autobiography entitled "The Force of Circumstance". Plus Beevor and Cooper, "Paris After the Liberation." Heady days. Sartre's rallying cry at the Club Maintenant (Oct. 1945) launched huge #s of Parisian youth, stoned on Existentialism, sitting at Deux Magots or the Flore in black turtlenecks, smoking Gauloises, muttering phrases like "existence precedes essence," and generally being cool--until the failure of May '68. (Hilarious satire of this by Boris Vian in "L'ecume des jours".) As Wordsworth put it abt events in France 156 yrs earlier, "“Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive. But to be young was very heaven.”


Sorry: I wasn't aware that America was abt anything more than tattoos and hair dye. Did I get that wrong?


8:57 PM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

A bit of humour (if you like cartoons):


And a quote by Kurt Vonnegut shortly before his death:

My country is in ruins. So I'm a fish in a poisoned fishbowl. I'm mostly just heartsick about this. There should have been hope. This should have been a great country. But we are despised all over the world now.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


He also said, "There's a shit storm coming." No question abt that, Kurt.


8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

As America goes into another frenzy over its presidential nonsense I reflect on the first time I became aware of American politics beyond the drivel of Time magazine. It was 1972 and I was just out of my teens reading Hunter S Thompson Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail every couple of weeks in Rolling Stone.

One quote shows his genius as a pre Wafer:

"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes and all his imprecise talk about “new politics” and “honesty in government,” is one of the few men who’ve run for President of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for. Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?"

It's worth a read even today

9:09 AM  
Blogger Crow T Robot said...

Headline presented without comment:


10:11 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Good one by Umair recently:


"Yet the malignant narcissist has come to exist because predatory capitalism has made him a mirror image of itself — it has left nothing in him at all, not even a self. There’s just an absence, an emptiness, where a self should be — which is insatiable. And so it must be fed with aggrandizing myths, that the narcissist is the only one who matters, counts, exists. "

2:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Another guy following me around w/a notepad. Jesus, for how long have I been saying the same thing?


3:39 PM  
Anonymous Benny Winegard said...

Wanderer/MB -- I really liked "Big Eyes", "Money Monster", and "Knives Out"

Thanks for the reference!

Let me recommend Capital in the "Twenty-First Century" Directed by Justin Pemberton based on Piketty's book of course

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Nikolas said...

About The bk, now that you've put a declinist spin on it, I shall seek it out 4 myself, along w/ the author's other works. Any piece of media that exposes the vapidity of amerikkka is a winner in my eyes

7:09 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Another article along the same line.


7:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Which bk? To whom are you speaking?


Gd essay in NYRB, April 9 issue, on Ayn Rand, one of the greatest douche baguettes who ever lived. You might want to read it w/a bucket next 2u.


Interesting article on Israel, same issue, by Ethan Bronner.


10:29 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Credit where credit is due.

Dark Ages America and Why America Failed are in Planet of the Humans (Jeff Gibbs/Michael Moore 2019).

Sheldon Solomon (Social Psychologist, Skidmore College) seemed interested in sharing your work with Mr. Gibbs.

Check the bookshelf at 49:09 and see Dark Ages America being shared seconds later.


11:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks. The problem is that there are a few seconds in which Sheldon is talking abt the bk to Gibbs, but the voice doesn't come thru. Darn! I also didn't see any ref to WAF.


This is a v. impt article, because it's an open declaration for secession--which (again) I have been advocating for a long time now. But to see it in a mainstream publication like TNR is quite amazing. Effectively carried out, it wd effectively mean the end of the American empire (while the rest of the world sighs in relief). The only problem is the last sentence, which strangely contradicts everything that came before it. The author just can't let go of the idea that we can ultimately have a united America, when the case he makes against this is rock-solid. In any event, this ain't gonna happen any time soon, but it is interesting to speculate as to whether it might happen at all. If serious political secessionist organizations could spring up, form networks, ignore national elections, pay no attn to the red states, and--see my essay on Dual Process--start to form alternative structures to capitalism: man, what a wonder that wd be! Of course, we are probably talking 30 or 40 yrs down the line, but what else shd we do w/our time?


2:53 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Calls to poison control centers increase after Trump's comments about using disinfectants to treat coronavirus.


4:17 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers:

I would like to retract my statement a few days ago about Bill McKibben. I watched Planet of the Humans Sunday night and learned that McKibben is just another shill for the so-called "green economy". Shame on you Bill! He did write a wonderful book called Wandering Home that I read a few years back. It spoke about how Vermont and the Adirondacks are reverting back to a more natural state. Here is the link to that book if anyone is interested:


I guess ol' Bill discovered that having a lot of money in your pocket is more important than being an honest person. Just another useless, empty hustler. You can see it in his eyes and in his inability to construct a complete sentence. He's not as slick as Richard Branson, but he's working on polishing his act. The article linked below speaks to this:


"The film shows Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Richard Branson, and Robert Kennedy Jr. speaking to environmentalists, and then clips of them speaking to industry about all the profits to be made.”

Wafer Gunnar: I really did enjoy the secession article. Thanks for posting!

7:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, we can also add Thos Friedman into the mix. This whole thing is known as 'greenwashing'; I've written abt it b4, as has Joel Magnuson. Somehow, we can never get free of 'growth', and the American Dream.

As for the secessionist 'manifesto': it's gd, but we are still dealing w/Americans, even if they are blue-state Americans. Which wd thus include the greenwashers, the NYT, Hillary, Obama, 'growth' ideology, and firm believers in the American Dream. Serious secessionism wd hafta condemn the Democratic party, Bezos, Gates, the notion/goal of unlimited private wealth, and the worship of technology. Its platform wd hafta be one of de-growth, i.e. a steady-state economy, which wd include a mixed economy of controlled capitalism and controlled socialism. It wd hafta reject lives based on chasing $ and self-importance, in favor of community and helping others. It wd condemn Reagan as a sick fuck, and Jimmy as a soulful visionary (see WAF and DAA). It wd enshrine Ayn Rand as cruel and demented. Etc. So I'm v. much in favor of secession, but there's a question of content that has to be addressed as well.

What a shame, abt McKibben. It's almost as if, if yr an American, you are by definition a hustler, and full of shit.


8:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: And of course, #1 on the Blue Nation agenda: firm rejection of political correctness, in all its forms. For example, saying that women are better than men, or that the future is female, wd land you in jail for 50+ years. Same w/rewriting classic texts so as not to offend contemporary sensibilities. It's a long list...

8:35 AM  
Anonymous willy robinson said...


Re: Mrs Fletcher, I believe I had a similar experience recently watching 'A Series Of Unfortunate Events' on Netflix with my children. It's ostensibly a nothing show, a little Wes Anderson-lite style over content thing, and yet...

...and yet, when from a Wafer perspective I can't help but see it as a deeply ironic critique of American society. The three orphan protagonists with foreign names are cultured, verbose, and live screen-free lives and are capable of deep concentration and critical thinking. They are surrounded by a bunch of schemers and fools, where even the well-meaning adults lack basic empathy. Add to that the narrators constant pessimism regarding the orphans' fate, warning viewers not to expect a happy ending or indeed anything but misery for the young Baudelaires, and there's a discernable declinist flavour to the whole thing somehow. Almost certainly not intentional, but it's hard to rule it out...

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Re secession, I believe the last time it was tried there was a civil war with loads of dead people... I tend to think that would happen again. Isn't the real deal the disintegration of the federal government instead? Ok, this is pure speculation on my part, so not up to the standards of the blog, but it might happen that the federal gov could miscalculate some of their money printing binges (possibly combined with an aggravating external factor) and start and inflationary vicious circle. When the almighty dollar is not almighty anymore, the federal gov can't pay the police state and the states have to fend for themselves, then that would be it, wouldn't it? Or is it wishful thinking?

11:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


History never repeats itself exactly. For a non-war secessionist scenario, see the 2nd story in my new book, "The Heart of the Matter"--soon to appear!


11:20 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

"Small islands, not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island.”
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

I believe the same thing applies to a city only ten miles square - let's hope the fed exhausts itself B4 making a cinder of the planet.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Unfortunately the New York Review of Books essay on Ayn Rand is locked for subscribers only.

Thom Hartman wrote an insightful article on her last year. It reveals that one of her Inspirations was a sociopathic murderer.


How people can fall for her shtick is beyond me. But then most of the people who lover are Americans!

11:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry abt that; I've subscribed for so long, I forgot. Maybe it's time 4u 2 subscribe as well? (Just a thought)


12:00 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

'Coronavirus Capitalism'; that's an apt way of putting hustling in the age of this pandemic. MB... this is the America you have been talking/writing abt all these years. Living up to its reputation, I guess.


12:33 PM  
Anonymous Bill Eget said...

Mike Kelley-

See my comment earlier in this post:

*Michael Moore’s “Planet Of The Humans” Skewers Renewables but Delivers Same Old Anti-Human Malthusianism https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbryce/2020/04/23/michael-moores-planet-of-the-humans-skewers-renewables-delivers-same-old-anti-human-malthusianism/amp/

This was one of the worst researched documentaries I've ever seen*

I'll reiterate, one of the worst doc films as far as accuracy I can think of. Mckibben might be guilty of being a bleeding heart progressive but not so sure I'd accuse him of being two-faced.

3:43 PM  
Blogger jml said...

Please explain to me how anyone could take this seriously:


7:05 PM  
Anonymous Nikolas said...

Mb, I was referring to the Mrs Fletcher bk. I shall get it myself & read it, now that there's a possible declinist spin. I also have 2 other titles I wanna grab

7:14 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

That pro-nuke, pro-growth-at-all-costs Forbes review of "Planet of the Humans" makes the film look good in spite of itself. Of course a lot of environmentalism is greenwash, and anyone who has thought of the matter at all has figured out that burning coal to produce electricity isn't going to make electric cars any better than gas-burning automobiles. The problem is automobiles.

As for the article's repeated accusation that Moore is a "Malthusian," Malthus would have fit right in with today's alt-Right crowd, in that he saw starving the poor as a great incentive for making them work for subsistence wages for the emerging capitalist class. I don't think that's quite Moore's position.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous BH said...

I think Ayn Rand really did not have a philosophy so much as she had the knack of using terms and words to create a frame that made base instinct look respectable. I have read several books on framing from both a political and business perspective. Some titles I have read are Moral Politics. Dont Think of an Elephant, and How to Manage Spin and Create Demand. These books discuss how to use terms to appeal and arouse wants and needs to make people want to vote your way or buy your product. I was reading an interview transcript Rand gave about debating philosophy and she emphasized the importance of controlling terms and their meaning to make sure you stay in control of any discussion. It sounded the same as what I was reading in these books. She did not so much create a philosophy as create a way to use terms and phrases to try to make what
bad people already felt or thought look respectable. Just my opinion but I did offer reasons for my opinion.

11:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And you cited sources, wh/we always appreciate. But I do think she had a philosophy, in addition to all that. Not a very sophisticated one, beyond radical individualism, but a philo nonetheless. And radical individualism always plays well in America.


5:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:


6:32 AM  
Anonymous Chenda said...

MB: On The Guardian article covering the Moore docu film --

Moore has really fallen. I had some respect for his early work, if flawed at least it was genuine.

This is just bullshit work. And I am very skeptical of green tech more generally.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr said...

Michael Moore responds to criticism of Planet of the Humans on you Tube news show Morning Rising: You Tube?/watch?v=Bop8x24G_oO

"growth is really the death of us." Comes across closely aligned to WAFER ideas, to me.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

PBS' Frontline makes the case for secession though not overtly, more like a logical conclusion one cld make after viewing the episode. It's titled 'The tale of two Washingtons' and compares the response to Covid of Washington Stare vs Wa DC. The first is rational and responsive, DC is the definition of a failed state.


If there was one nation willing to accept my diseased American behind I'd want it to be New Zeland.


11:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Link didn't work.


12:10 PM  
Anonymous Watson said...

Moore's film is the Goop of documentary filmmaking:


1:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I just wrote to the US Mint, urging them to change the legend on legal tender, inasmuch as IN GOD WE TRUST is obsolete and inaccurate. Instead, I told them, it shd be replaced by the following: WE LIKE TO HURT PEOPLE. I'll let you know what their response is, as soon as I have it. Cross fingers.


2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

A recent videofeaturing The Economist Michael Hudson detail just how awful the bailouts are going to be unless you're in the top 1%.


A second video details how the financial imperialism of the United States is just as important as their military.


Both are easy to understand.

I find it demonstrates just how little it matters who purports to be running the show. Everybody but the 1% is screwed.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

The reaction to the "Planet of the Humans" documentary reminds ne of the reactions Dr. Berman gets when he tells people that the U.S. is finished: we aren't going to change.

Dr. Berman's words ring true to this day: "Force is the midwife to change".

The current global pandemic is one of those forces that has temporarily stopped the growth while the planet gets to breathe a brief sigh of relief.

The documentary really just calls into question on why haven't things fundamentally changed. Of course we know why they have not. Growth equals more. And as Dr. Berman has stated, "More is really no way of life at all".

Sustainability has become code for maintaining our standard of living, i.e. consumption, with windmills, solar panels, electric cars, etc.

It would be nice if we could turn things around with just the right technologies. But aren't we forgetting that technology is not neutral? There are trade offs.

I ask you to look around at the current situation. People are complaining that they can't go shopping, out to eat, to the beach, partying, etc., temporarily.

If we will not change now, then when?

By the way, the documentary "Cowspiracy" said pretty much the same thing coming from the agricultural angle.


7:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, it was Marx who said that force is the midwife of change. But I think yr rt: it ain't gonna happen, to the extent that we can avoid it; which I think we can, w/some modifications, for the next while. Articles keep appearing abt how This changes everything! But we remained the same hustling, growth-oriented, life-crushing country after 9/11, and also after 2008, despite similar predictions. Things don't suddenly turn around after 400 years; serious chg would require a total, absolute breakdown, and altho I believe that's gonna happen, I suspect it's at least 10 yrs away. I do concede, however, that the virus might contribute to the acceleration of the collapse agenda.

No one knows for sure, anymore. Corona is now the wild card in the pack. I was pretty sure Trumpi wd win this Nov., but his handling of this crisis has been so absurd, including the rec. of Chlorox, that Schmiden might wind up the victor. Trump is currently trailing Schmiden in the swing states, it turns out. Of course, the US will continue to deteriorate no matter who is in the W.H.; only the speed of it is the question.

Anyway: Vince: next time be sure to stick to half-pg max. Thank you.


9:30 PM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Talking about "Cowspiracy," it seems that the US food system is so "streamlined" to squeeze every last cent of profit out of nature and workers that it can't cope with an incident like the virus:

“Shutting down broiler chicken house ventilation systems means animals die of organ failure due to overheating, as temperatures quickly rise.”

It seems that in Italy, despite all their problems, other approaches are being tried:

So, with the prospect of food riots in the US a distinct possibility, I wonder if we might see a "Tiananmen Square" moment before the "Suez" moment Dr Berman has talked about many times before...

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Marjan said...

Vince - I'm all for degrowth, but let's not compare Moore'e work to MB'S, it's just that MB is a serious scholar, Moore is not.


8:34 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

On the subject of alternatives to growth at any cost ideology, Wafers might be interested in these two documentaries featuring economist E. F. Schumacher. The documentaries feature Schumacher himself and involve his ideas about appropriate technologies, decentralization and environmentalism.



These documentaries were made in the 1970s so there are some references to the 1970s energy crisis, but overall I would say most of themes of the documentaries are still relevant today.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Janet D said...

The US Covid death toll is now the highest in the world. Given that many states are getting ready to reopen, most with only "suggestions" in place, I'm sure the final toll will be much higher. Of course, we may never know, given that even reporting cause of death is now politicized, with Florida being just one state that is suppressing the release of Covid death #s. (https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2020/04/29/florida-medical-examiners-were-releasing-coronavirus-death-data-the-state-made-them-stop/)

And online comments, FB posts, forum feeds, etc. are full of spittle-flecked conservatives (who claim to be "pro-life", lol)- & a smattering of other political persuasions - angrily claiming "let the healthy people go out; those who aren't (translation: the weak) can stay home". Of course, that logic utterly ignores the facts of virus transmission (staying home doesn't mean you won't be exposed if everyone else in your family and/or apartment/condo are going out and in, not to mention you can't stay home if you're employed and the economy is open). And tens of millions of USians are immune compromised (http://bioethicsbulletin.org/archive/how-many-americans-are-immunocompromised). It also ignores that 30 million people without healthcare coverage, who can't afford a million-dollar hospital stay.

I get that we have to balance not crashing the economy with public health. But nothing has brought the underlying American ideology into the open like this virus. As one protestor's comment put it, "If it comes down to you or me, it's me." And, of course, here's the quintessential photo of the TN protestor's sign: "Sacrifice the weak! Reopen TN!" https://newschannel9.com/news/coronavirus/dozens-rally-at-tn-capitol-call-for-gov-lee-to-re-open-state-immediately

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Orbit said...


Ouch. Not sure I can forget all the Cambodians he blew up. Can't understand that.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A truly awful human being, and major exponent of American values.


Truly awful human beings, and typical exponents of American values.


12:03 PM  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

Janet D wrote:
I get that we have to balance not crashing the economy with public health.

In what way is this issue limited to the United States?
And since when is questioning the effectiveness of the lock down strategy limitd to what you describe as spittle-flecked conservatives?
How many poor people are already suffering and starving from lock down and unemployment?

There are many countries on this planet that did not implement medical martial law and so far they appear to be doing the same or possibly better.
Janet...by your logic does my mentioning this fact make me a Trump supporter? lol

Come on Wafers...let's not give up on critical thinking..at least not yet.. please.
PS: I have my fingers crossed for "WE HURT PEOPLE"

12:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Easy, amigo: I think you may be being a bit too harsh on Janet, tho I'm sure she can defend herself. Disagreement, yes; attack, not so much.


1:35 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...

Dr. Berman,

Thanks for posting my entry. My apologies for the length. I appreciate the thoughtful response. The thing about this pandemic that gets me the most is the increased level of stupid that I am experiencing. I am still working as my industry is essential to the transport of medical supplies, food, fuel, etc. Two people at my location have tested positive and are in quarantine. It's is a bit testing to say the least.

I will say only a few more words about the "documentary". One of the critics was Josh Fox of Gasland. But his last documentary: http://www.howtoletgomovie.com/ seems to beg the question that it is already too late on climate change. All of these reactions remind me of a talk you gave some years ago where someone responded to you quite angrily that you did not offer any solutions.

Thank you.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There is a British documentary of a few yrs ago, "The Age of Stupid" I think it was called, that said the train has already left the station, and that there is 0 to be done now.

Stay safe,

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Check out the photos in this article-


8:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


We can only hope to see many, many more events like this!


8:35 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

I'm just gonna drop this here


10:01 PM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers,

I'm getting a little tired of the Planet of the Humans debate. We're acting like a bunch of Manicheans! The film is neither bad nor good; it's somewhere in between. There are some really good points raised by the film, and there are some really stupid points. One thing I think anyone can take away is that things are fucked and if we're going to survive, things have to change. Growth cannot be infinite, but I doubt that anything will change until most of us have starved to death.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I agree w/Mike that by now, as far as 'Planet' goes, we are beating a dead horse. I'm also bored silly by the corona virus. As a result, I culled 3 articles off of today's Guardian, for us to chew on:





9:18 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Umair Haque in this essay suggests that COVID19 may produce the economic/social collapse that has been predicted by a number of people and that in the near term might have been avoidable (a real government aid package might have put off the collapse that Haque now see as inevitable). It looks like America might be right at the edge of the abyss - makes me glad I am older. I really feel for anyone under the age of 60 and think that life is going to be very tough for a long time to come.


11:41 AM  
Blogger Del Gord said...

In response to Birney and MB...seeing those heavily armed protesters reminds me of a day long ago when California passed the Mulford Act signed into law by Ronald Reagan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulford_Act

Imagine the reaction if angry legally carrying weapons black men stormed the state capitol in Michigan!

Also, who let Travis Bickle into the demonstrations?

12:01 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

oh, if you want to go for distraction and digging in the detritus of a collapsing shithole country, check out this web site by the wife of CNN anchor Chris Cuomo (brother of neoliberal fascist New York governor Andrew Cuomo). Here's a great article on her routine when quarantining with Covid-19 (interesting how she does a 7 day quarantine when Amazon employees need to do a 14 day quarantine... hmmm, any chance she is just posing as a victim so she doesn't feel left out?):


In case you wonder if idiocy is exclusive to WalMart and Popeyes, this is a good example of how vacuous those with money can be. And since I know that Oprah is a crowd favorite here, don't worry, you can read about her on the same site:


12:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Hard not to vomit.


1:30 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

All that and the douchebagette Cuomo infected her kid.


2:47 PM  
Anonymous Krakhed said...

Wow Umair's latest is pretty dark. especially "this is how historic catastrophes are exploited by fools, wise men, and preening monsters — and glittering dark ages are born"

That actually sounds like a good description of today. We are all poor and miserable, but hey Oprah might buy you a car if you're lucky.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

I always enjoy Geoffrey St. Claire's weekly roundup on Counterpunch. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time.

+ In case you’re keeping score at home, here’s an update on Plutocracy Index…

Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
2010 net worth: $12 billion
2019 net worth: $112 billion

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
2010 net worth: $4 billion
2019 net worth: $76 billion

Larry Page (Google)
2010 net worth: $28 billion
2019 net worth: $61 billion

2010 federal minimum wage: $7.25
2020 federal minimum wage: $7.25

+ Florida International University has sent a letter to students and alumni begging them to put FIU in their wills before they die of COVID-19. Here’s an idea: Leave FIU your student loan debt…


4:40 PM  
Anonymous Sheila said...

That article about the tantric sextoy tester was fascinating. Thanks for posting, even if it was in jest.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not entirely a joke. The lady in question seemed to be doing what the nation as a whole is doing: hustling, and beating off. A true American!


11:11 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Aloha shirts are a no-go for me now. First tiki torches now this.


I hope the page isn't too cancerous.

7:29 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

"Through our own example...."

I would replace the last paragraph. Here it is.

"Because of all this and the fact you all like to jerk each other off in a circle jerk we divest ourselves of you. And, we reject the idea of the American dream which worships money, unlimited growth and hustling as gods. We embrace a steady-state ecomony with community and love that uplifts people. Here is a middle finger salute to your pastors Ronald Reagan and Ayn Rand." What do you think Dr B.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Janet D said...

@The Wanderer.....Hmmmm. It's easy to read a tiny blog comment and then let other frustrations spill over. I've done it. I'm human. I think you're reading a lot of unrelated things into/from my single paragraph, one that was based solely on my readings and observations, although I did provide links to support a couple points. (And, for the record, I consider liberals to be spineless pools of worthless goo. So my disdain is dual-partisan. But that wasn't the focus of my post.)

Really, blog comments are not worth anyone's emotional investment, including yours. Or mine.

Your 2nd & 3rd paragraphs...well, you put a bunch of words in my mouth and then used those words to jump to overarching stances on topics I did not mention, let alone summarize. And I'm not sure how doing that relates to critical thinking.

BTW, you stated that "There are many countries on this planet that did not implement medical martial law...", which implies that the U.S. *has* declared it. I searched for when President Trump made that declaration, but could find only articles declaring that the day was near. I also searched if states could declare medical martial law (not really, not in the sense of the military taking over the gov't), but this article is a worthwhile Wafer read about martial law: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/martial-law-would-sweep-country-great-legal-unknown/608773/.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As I mentioned earlier, it's unlikely that progs, even if they secede, are going to reject hustling, growth, or the American Dream. But it's a nice thought, certainly. The real rejection will come when the pain of not changing is greater than the pain of changing...on the brink of starvation, maybe.


Thanks for article on martial law. I've stated several times now, that the declaration of such was in America's future. The only question is when.


10:56 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Newsweek heightens speculation about the origin of coronavirus, reporting that it might have started with a viral leak from Wuhan lab experimenting w/bats as a possible source of a future global plague. Turns out Dr. Fauci's infectious diseases agency was helping finance the Wuhan experiments to the tune of 7.4 million dollars. Fauci declined comment to Newsweek, but I believe we need to know a lot more about how this deadly virus exploded:


If it's ever confirmed that the virus was a leaked bioweapon from the Wuhan lab, Fauci and the NIH could open themselves up to massive lawsuits. Is it any wonder that they're all trying desperately to deny the "accidentally unleashed bioweapon" angle, and call this a "purely natural" occurrence?


11:24 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Anyway, as a little relief from Coronavirus, Stand up comedian Judah Friedlander gives a nice take on general US crappiness. Nothing That hasn't been said on this blog before, but niche to hear another voice:


2:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Wow. That wd be something else. There is also some evidence that the virus originated in Tulsi Gabbard's anus.


2:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd stuff, but I was disappted that I didn't hear phrases like Dregs of Humanity, Degraded Buffoons, Douche Bags, etc. Speaking of which, there's a guy in the background glued to his cell fone, paying no attn. to the discussion. A true American! (But rather ironic in context)


3:11 PM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

That Guardian piece about Seinfeld is great, but it bothered me that the author just **had** to mention an irrelevant gripe (says Larry David spoke in support of Woody Allen). Outrage addiction. When I saw this part I instantly knew such an article was written by a white woman, a group that has become extremely, inexplicably sensitive. Whenever I see an internet community wallowing in "offense", it has to be a group of mainly white women. Even in cases of sexual harassment or rape (whether real or just regretted sex), black women tend to deal with it more strongly, and can shrug off the more minor things like groping or words, whereas a white woman's world just shatters -- she takes to the internet, to courts, to the media, to therapists, to everyone. Yesterday there was a story about Katie Couric being "shaken" from an interview with -- no, not a CIA torturer, with Denzel. The story was everywhere. What the hell happened to this group?

3:22 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I think “The Glass Bead Game” by Hermann Hesse is quintessentially a WAFER Novel....and probably “Steppenwolf” as well.



3:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In future, if you cite an interview, pls supply a link. E.g.:




6:14 PM  
Anonymous irontide said...

JJ - A few years ago a lovely woman gave me a copy of "Narcissus and Goldmund"
(1930) which I had somehow never read. It might be his most Wafer-ish

9:21 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Are USAins too stupid to recognize the extreme dangers of censorship? Duh!


8:07 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

JJ, I read "Steppenwolf" as a teenager and it had a profound effect on me. I learnt that hopelessness is part of the human experience. The story of the protagonist somehow overcoming that hopelessness, in spite of living in Germany just before World War 2 and being perfectly aware of the inevitability of what was coming, can be called many names, including NMI, Wafer, etc. I must read "Narcissus and Goldmund" following Dr Berman's recommendation. And then there is, of course, "Siddharta," which is particularly problematic, in my view, because it may be perceived as easy to read (many Flower Power children did and later went on to become like their parents and buy SUVs) but needs as much attention as the rest of Hermann Hesse's work.

Re current affairs, from "Believe all women" to "Believe Joe Biden": we might yet get Queen Botoxia as prez, yippee!

8:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Cdn't run it (24 hr rule).


12:59 PM  
Anonymous Dulouz Jr said...

Recently read that City Lights book store in San Francisco is in danger of going out of business. So I ordered a few books online. One of which is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's San Francisco Poems (San Francisco Poet Laureate Series No. 1). Thought you might like second to last line from "Challenges To Young Poets": Wake up and pee, the world's on fire

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

This speaks for itself-


1:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I just don't get it. When I tell people that the American public consists of little more than clueless buffoons--they laugh! Exactly how much evidence do these people need?


ps: But then maybe these sneaker-buyers are really the vanguard of the Hedgean revolution! Someone told me he was down in Atlanta, rousing the masses.

2:46 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Great Documentary....

Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality | On the work of Ernest Becker


11:06 PM  
Blogger took_the_red_pill said...

More from the Signs o' the End Times department:

Flint, MI security guard killed in confrontation over mask

"...investigators are looking into reports that a Flint dollar store security guard was fatally shot Friday after an argument with a customer who refused to wear a mask in the store...[He] was shot in the head at about 2:15 p.m. Friday...later died in an area hospital...

"A GoFundMe page was created in the guard's honor...He leaves behind a wife and eight kids..."

A few more details in the NYT:

Masks Become a Flash Point in the Virus Culture Wars

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Norm said...

The Seinfeld one is an interesting piece. How do Wafers feel of Frasier? Always felt like that show was the "dual process" of Seinfeld: Highlighting the intelligent and cultured refugia embedded w/in a giant narcissist culture. Always felt it captivating.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


What I liked abt it was the major theme, which was popping the balloon of Frasier's and Niles' intellectual or cultural pretensions. One of my favorite lines came from Niles' jealousy of some guy who was dating Daphne: "He's got community college written all over him." (The brothers went to Harvard.) The father also served as their down-to-earth foil.


4:39 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I'm glad so many here appreciate Hermann Hesse. I routinely list Hermann Hesse as my favorite author, and Narcissus and Goldmund as my all time favorite novel. That said, every book by Hesse is well worth reading. Lesser known titles like "Knulp" "Gertrude", "Peter Camenzind" and "Beneath the Wheel" are all deeply moving stories, and more than worth your time.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

A fun rumination about what it means to be productive in the midst of this pandemic of lazy worthless people sitting at home doing nothing-

"Animals Are Pointless, And We Should Be Too"


"....We cannot imagine making a graph of people’s “relative contributions over time” and suggesting that a 75 year old who simply wants to potter about the garden is not living meaningfully. ([Rahm's brother Ezekiel] Emanuel speaks disdainfully of the way life “comes to center around sitting in the den reading.” My life already centers around this so I am somewhat offended to hear him classify it as a form of decline.)..."

6:50 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Speaking of Seinfeld - this morning I'm watching a great art film by LJ Frezza called "Every shot from Seinfeld (1989-1998) where nothing happens" - a response to "everyone I met in NY who said they would love the city if only there weren't so many people in it"


10:41 AM  
Anonymous JoeMcIlnen said...

Dr. Berman & Wafers,
Here is further proof of the United States becoming more irrelevant on the world stage. Perhaps this example of “American exceptionalism” regarding its absence of funding for finding a vaccine for the virus can be included.
Oh but we're so kind. We're sooooo good.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Krakhed said...

Dan - thanks for that link, good read. I prefer sitting around and doing very little so i can appreciate that outlook.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Flyingspaghettimonstr said...

Amerikkka is exceptional. I can prove it.

I. Largest # of idiots in a single geographic locale

II. Only industrial nation w/ no real healthcare

III. Leads The globe in antidepressants

Yup, we're #1 alright!

2:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


IV. Highest # of incarcerated prisoners (25%, globally).


I'm beginning to wonder if this is the Suez Moment we've been waiting for. American behavior during the virus has been fairly shabby; we will emerge from the pandemic w/a rather tarnished image, globally speaking. "What is the US good for?" may be a question everyone will be asking. The 1st Suez Moment (1956) was abt transfer of power; this one might be abt loss of prestige, reputation. Who will take us seriously?


4:31 PM  
Anonymous Yoogoogulator said...

Teach them young. Teach them well. America bright young minds:


5:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And when I tell people that Americans are a collection of degraded buffoons--they laugh! Time for Wafers to renew their bathrm mirror post-its. Perhaps, simply: TRASH.


PS: We are on the very edge of the Hedgean revolution!

5:27 PM  
Blogger anderszornpalette said...

Hola Wafers!

If this doesn’t symbolize the state of decay in my country, I truly don’t know what does. Showing up to a supermarket in a Klan hood for your ppe Is definitely sending the right message if you believe in being a piece of garbage. Aim high America.



5:28 PM  
Blogger Himanshu said...

Dear Dr. Berman,
On the National Level:
We’re Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholders’ Republic - The pandemic has brought the latest battle in the long American war over communal well-being.

Excerpts: "There is something about living through a deadly pandemic that cuts open the shell, removes the flesh, and finds the very core of American existence: the slaveholder clamoring for his freedom to infect, and the enslaved clamoring for our freedom from infection."

On the Global Level:
The deeper roots of Chinese demonization - Hegel saw history moving east to west – ‘Europe thus absolutely being the end of history, Asia the beginning’
Excerpts: "Hegel thought that history must be evaluated under the framework of the development of freedom. Well, China and India being ahistorical, freedom does not exist, unless brought by an initiative coming from outside. And that’s how the famous “Oriental despotism” evoked by Montesquieu and the possible, sometimes inevitable, and always valuable Western intervention are, in tandem, totally legitimized. We should not expect this Western frame of mind to change anytime soon, if ever. Especially as China is about to be back as Number One."

5:49 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

An interesting article stating that a considerable majority of Americans refuse to go back to work and refuse to open up public and private spaces - out of fear of COVID-19 no doubt - in defiance of both federal and state governments. 'Your money or your life' and at least at this point people are choosing their empty lives over money - the author believes this is grassroots in its origins. I guess even an empty life has value over production or work. Whether this alone could be a Suez Moment depends on whether 'leaders' can get in front of this.

Of course this author could be dead wrong!


6:50 PM  
Anonymous Shumer said...

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Maybe medieval people practised charity not solely because they were selfish or cynical, but because they actually believed this.

A proto-capitalist site b4 the capitalism we know&hate

6:54 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

"Wait, I just (un)willingly walked into a core meltdown and you say 'thank you?' We'd appreciate it if you'd cool the reactor for us, thank you."


7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, someone once said that charity was the bourgeois form of justice; wh/is true. Still, this story of Cambridge is impressive. You know, capitalism per se is not evil, any more than socialism is. The problem is when these things are taken to extremes. When social democracy turns into Soviet communism, you've got disaster. And as for capitalism, it's really a question of scale more than anything else. Some degree of trade/marketing is necessary to survive. When hustling becomes an end, and not a means, that's when you eventually get large-scale corporate exploitation. This bk makes the case for that brilliantly:



That sounds abt rt. Mao (not one of my favorite people) said it long ago: "The East wind will blow over the West wind." I don't doubt that the power vacuum opened up by America's collapse will get filled by China, altho honestly, I'm not sure that that will be such a great improvement.


Time to update yr post-it (see above). Of course, HUMAN GARBAGE wd also work.


7:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...



7:48 PM  
Anonymous Modesto said...

Cinco de Mayo marked a fleeting victory on the way to a massive defeat and subjugation by the French. Just food for thought for those of you pondering an outing to the bars tomorrow night. IN REAL LIFE I know people drinking at bars for Cinco de Mayo don’t actually care at all about Mexico’s independence. This year’s revelers presumably also don’t care about whether they land themselves or their drinking buddies in the ICU.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Tajist said...

The US president is an international laughingstock. The US has the worst viral outbreak in the world. US leadership is non-existent. A vacuum has been created - and China is trying to fill it. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/time-americans-are-doing-nothing/611056/

Re: a Suez Moment, seems more and more likely

8:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I think most of the world views Trumpi as an incompetent jackass, and an emotional 7-yr-old. Which is gd (also true), so long as his base is loyal to him. Frankly, if he isn't reelected this Nov., I'm gonna cry me a river. Total lack of respect for the US by the rest of the world wd surely be a Suez Moment--IF it is verbalized and widely acknowledged.


8:47 PM  
Anonymous Touf said...


8:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Another guy following me around w/a notepad for the last 20 yrs. This model is known as the 'death of 1000 cuts'. We are probably up to abt 850 of them.

Let me offer another analogy. In materials science, 'integrity' means the ability of a metal to keep bending--its strength coefficient, in other words. Some metals have greater integrity than others. But no metal has infinite integrity; keep bending it back and forth, and eventually, it will break.

Or there's the Seinfield model of how relationships end. It's like trying to topple a coke machine, he says. It doesn't go over w/a single push. You have to keep rocking it back and forth, and eventually, it will fall.

It doesn't matter wh/model you prefer; the bottom line is We're Fucked. And yet the mainstream is simply unable to see this.


9:09 PM  
Anonymous Cherith Cutestory said...

Frasier is a clever, elegant show. It also has a timeless quality, which can't be said about many 90's shows, even the good ones.

Incidentally, regarding the term "Wafer', is it time we changed that? A wafer is a thin, fragile thing. We need a better term, still derived from Why America Failed. Maybe the Faileders? Suggestions welcome of course.

Finally: Chicago’s Jail Is the Biggest Single Site of COVID-19 Infections. A Judge Denied Inmates’ Pleas for Release:

What's with this pathological lust for incarceration?

10:12 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola Waferes,

@Megan - I've enjoyed the comments from all re: the work of Hermann Hesse. At fourteen I began to read him starting with "Siddhartha. At one point in my high high school years I had several of his titles in my raggedy paperback book collection. The rock music group Steppenwolf and "Paperback Writer" led me to that one. It seems I read "Narcissus" as well. Must re-visit that. But most were pilfered from my library. I read "Siddhartha" again two winters ago when I found it in one of my "lost" book boxes. A truly great read. So, thanks for the memories.

@Dan - thanks for the link. My dog, curled into my outstretched legs, is the case in pointlessness. The photo of the duckling brings to mind a fave quote: "Hope is the thing with feathers" - Woody Allen

Happy panda chinese virus pandemic. Happy 4th as well (as in may the fourth be with you!)

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Do not forget:


11:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thin yes, fragile no. Wafer has a transcendent quality, after all: enormous spiritual power. I think we'll stick w/that.


11:10 PM  
Blogger Thomas Strimpel said...

I’m sure the famous words of comedian George Carlin must have shown up on this blog before, but I’ll post for anyone unfamiliar. This bit is possibly the best deconstruction of the ailments of American culture I’ve seen to date.

“It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

11:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many times, amigo, many times. But his words can't be stated enuf.


The real beginning of the State devouring its children (Goya). It turns out that the majority of Americans were not angry at the State for waging an unjust and corrupt war. No...they were angry at the youth, for protesting against it. (And then, it was only a tiny fraction of the youth; most were busy preparing for careers in hustling, and were as conservative as their parents regarding the war.)


2:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Legend on new dollar bill, as per my recommendation to the US Mint: WE HURT PEOPLE


3:02 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

An article on deaths of despair and American exceptionalism.


3:28 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. and all:

I too am a huge Hermann Hesse fan and have been for almost 30 years now, so it is great to see people discussing his work here at DAA. Hesse can easily be claimed as a WAFER Godfather.

My engagement with his work began when I was in high school - a very well read acquaintance told me I had to read Siddhartha. I did so and I've been a fan ever since.

Only later, between 2006 and 2017 or so, did I finally carry through with my plan to read all his novels (to read everything he wrote would be an enormous undertaking, given the number of essays and reviews and letters he wrote). In retrospect, I'd have to say my favourite was Demian, in part because I think his approach to the novel is better suited to shorter narratives. Narcissus and Goldman and The Glass Bead Game, for instance, are intellectually fascinating but also tedious to read.

I then set out to understand his biography in-depth. But I was never impressed with the older biographies. Then I learned about Decker's Hesse (2019). It's impressive but, like Hesse's long novels, not necessarily readable. Did Decker really need to cite literally every letter Hesse and his family sent each other during his youth in order to reconstruct his biography? No. Decker can also be unjustifiably judgmental of Hesse, appearing disappointed at times that the man had human weaknesses, as all of us do. Still, no one is likely to publish a more complete and rigorous biography of Hesse for some time.

-Northern Johnny

9:26 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

“Masks? We don’ need no stinkin’ masks.”

On Friday (1 May), when a Family Dollar security guard informed shopper Sharmel Teague that her daughter would have to wear a mask while inside the store, Teague objected. When the guard told a cashier not to serve the pair, things got heated. Teague and daughter left, and shortly after Teague’s husband and son returned, shot the guard in the head, and left. The prosecutor has charged Teague, her husband, and son with murder; the daughter was not charged. The two males are still at large.

As is the coronavirus.


9:59 AM  
Anonymous Quiet Desperation said...

Dr. Berman, Hope you are well, would love to hear of daily circumstances in your neighborhood. Things are going well here in the PNW, my girls in Seattle are fine but chafing a bit. Thanks again for this corner of sanity. A clip of the boating faithful..and a funny bit from my alter ego Henry. We swam in Walden Pond as kids, Don Henley saved it from development. Slainte'... onward and downward.



11:24 AM  
Anonymous Ren Davis said...

This is why the 1619 Project should not have won a Pulitzer Prize... It's progressive garbage:


A laudatory essay on Ernest Becker:
"Ernest Becker’s masterpiece book, The Denial of Death, is one of the most thought-provoking and life-changing books that you’ll ever read. Try to get your hands on a copy as soon as you can.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I read a lot of Hesse about 40 years ago, when I was young and looking for the meaning of life. I found that his writings helped to mess me up spiritually and psychologically, and contributed to my feeling alienated from the world.

I don't suppose that it helped to have been reading most of these works while 3000 feet below the earth's surface, working in a potash mine.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

No matter what different things you read about the Coronavirus in the United States, it's good to know that some constants always remains, i.e. corruption, nepotism, ineptitude.


4:15 PM  
Anonymous boms boms said...

I read Becker's Pulitzer Prize book 40 years ago when I came upon it while browsing in a book store. (see also his Escape from Evil - almost as good)I had been ruminating about awful position humankind had been put in by evolution, having to live with the knowledge of its own death. Finding the book was like taking a drink of cool water after wandering in a desert for 5 days. I was convinced of his thesis from the first sip.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

More Case Studies in USAian Assholery

Large grocery chain store waiting in check out line. 6 feet, masked, gloved, oxygen tanks, biohazard suits, rain jackets, goggles, gas masks (NOT joking), and of course, gimmick laser lights (supposedly to 'eradicate' Hanks Disease) and many neurotic looking Anglo-Saxon women looking very nervous (eyes darting, agitated bodily movements, rocking back and forth) if anyone came closer than 6ft to their shopping carts. One woman told an Asian guy in line that he was crowding her and to keep space. He was at least 10 feet away. He told her to "fuck off bitch, you have gloves and mask, what more can you do?" Of course the Anglo woman went nuts and The two exchanged it for a few seconds. Then all went to baseline usa with angry, empty eyes.

I believe Dr. Berman had a statistic that the us empire represents only ~4.5% of the world's population, yet consumes @80% of mental derangement meds. Maybe given that 80% US-ers don't even have 1000$ to their name, they went off their meds and the mental illness amongst the general population is even more pronounced.

yet, millions want to still come to the US? WTF?!

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's 4.2%, and 2/3 of world antidepressant sales in US dollars. Pretty revealing stats, imo. As for millions wanting to come to the US: the US has been a political, economic, and social failure, but culturally a great success. Some yrs ago, the #1 TV show in popularity in the Gaza Strip was "Friends"(!). This has been called 'soft power'. From a PR standpt, America is "the greatest story ever sold." And yet on the World Happiness Scale (something like that), the US does very poorly, and Americans themselves are quite miserable: pressured, harassed, overworked (if employed), depressed, opiated, and w/o any purpose in their lives beyond making $. They don't read, they don't think, they wallow in Kim or Meghan, they are little more than robots. One might even argue that the ones who kill themselves (stats increasing every year) are the ones who actually understand their life situation.


7:47 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Morris, I recently watched an interview you did with the young turks 8 years ago, its on youtube. Its interesting how hostile they were to your thinking. They're a "liberal" left-wing show, but for a few exceptions their answers to your questions would have felt at home on fox news.

Then they asked you at the end if you wake up feeling depressed lol - real professionals!

I get irritated sometimes by conservatives, I dont mean the young turks, just in general, who pretend to be leftist just to try and win debates, but its hard to not see at least some big failures of the modern left if you are willing to take a look. The parties in America have become like beers, we have republican and republican light. Their biggest difference at this point are issues that, in my opinion, are going to have little bearing on the future of the american empire, like prayer in school or transgender bathrooms.

How hard should it have been really to beat george bush and trump in an election? FDR is rolling in his grave.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, the interviewer, Cenk Uygur, was pretty much a bullet-head. He not only hadn't read the bk (WAF); he hadn't even read the promo material my publicist sent him. So he started out by saying that I must be wrong, because aggression existed in the Middle Ages. I had to pt out that WAF wasn't a history of aggression, which went back to the Stone Age; I was discussing the characteristics of capitalism, i.e. the last 500 yrs. It was interesting that he was hostile from the get-go; it's a stupid way to conduct an interview. If he had half a brain, he wd have asked me to present my argument, then to tell everyone what my evidence was, and *then* bring up criticisms and objections. The interview was in 2011; critical thinking had left the media decades b4 that. The 'idea' now is that if I agree w/a bk, it's a gd bk, and if I disagree w/it, it must be a bad one. That I might dislike a bk and yet acknowledge it is well-argued: that the media can't even imagine anymore. This, too, is a major part of our decline.


9:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafer Trivia Quiz (WTQ): How many of these can you answer correctly w/o reverting to Google?:

1. The "Friends" bldg. was in the West Village, on a corner. What were the 2 intersecting streets?

2. Who killed Chandra Levy?

3. After Andrew Johnson was impeached, did the Senate convict him, or acquit him?

4. Who was ‎Publius Ovidius Naso, and who was the emperor who banished him to what is now Romania?

5. What does this word mean?: ευχαριστώ

6. Who was the male lead in "High Noon"?

7. Who died in Cambridge in 1951, saying: "Tell them I had a wonderful life"?

10:18 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Answr-1 (#3)

Isn't this just the face of a decayed and dying order?


11:21 PM  
Anonymous Sean S said...

Hello Dr. B and Wafers,

New Wafer here. Been lurking for awhile and enjoy the blog very much.

(not using Google)

1. Never watched Friends.

2. Don't know.

3. Not sure.

4. The poet Ovid. Augustus Caesar exiled him?

5. "I give thanks."

6. Clint Eastwood?

7. Don't know.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


#4: Correct. #5: "Thank you". #6: Try again.


10:43 AM  
Anonymous Sean S said...

#6: John Wayne?
(my last guess. sorry if I violated 24hr. post rule.)

11:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Close, but no cigar. Gary Cooper.


12:52 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

I'm still here, still chugging along in Switzerland, and following along with the blog. Just had to try at a couple of the questions:

2. A US Congressional Representative was charged (can't remember name without google), but he's never been convicted.
3. Johnson was acquitted.
6. Gary Cooper (and his wife was played by Grace Kelly)
7. Alan Turing?

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Nikolas said...

Classic George Carlin

1:02 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

That's a tough quiz, Belman. I know very few of the answers, but since this is the 21st century, and I'm on the internet, I have to say something, however uninformed:

1. No idea, but who lives at 704 Hauser Street in Queens?
2. JonBenet Ramsey
3. Acquitted, since this isn't talked about much?
4. I don't know any Greek, but thanks to Google and the font-chooser thingy on my computer, I was finally able to translate this line from Leonard Cohen's Beautiful Losers a few years ago, after over 20 years of not knowing what it meant: Είμαι όλα αυτά έχων ήταν, και είναι, και πρέπει να είναι? και το πέπλο μου κανείς θνητός δεν έχει μέχρι στιγμής έθεσε
5. I'm not going to answer, but instead remain strong and silent
6. Some beery swine who was just as schloshed as Schlegel

2:12 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greeting MB and Wafers,


1. Bedford and Grove
2. Levi Libstein
3. Acquitted

MB, Wafers-

Meanwhile, Katrina Morgan, 50, called the police. Reason? She said her pussy was on fire:


If I could bottle Katrina's sexual tension, I could solve the energy crisis.


2:18 PM  
Blogger dg said...

An administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big by merging his non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him. ~ Marshall McLuhan

2:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

OK, you guys:

1. Yes, Bedford and Grove
2. It remains an unsolved mystery. It was not Gary Condit (a colossal douche bag).
3. Johnson was acquitted, just like Bill and Don.
4. Yes of course, Ovid, and Augustus Caesar
5. Thank you
6. Gary Cooper
7. Wittgenstein

al#1: Frank Costanza?

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Eric Jensen said...

Republican-sponsored Trump ad...


4:59 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

I don't have much to add but I want to say with pride that although we've been shut down for something like two months now, my area, the geographically huge, sprawling city of San Jose, California, has 20% MORE traffic fatalities over this time last year. WWII: Keep 'Em Flying. 2020 Covid Shutdown: Keep 'Em Killing.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Why do you think that is?


6:33 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

An interesting look at the trajectory of Trump from a Yugoslavian who watched his country fractured and descend into genocide:


"...What is even more frightening is the hankering across the political range for a magical national correction, the indulging of a persistent fantasy that some essential American quality (decency, reasonability, checks and balances, etc.) will finally kick in and halt the Trumpist madness, thus allowing the country to snap out of its nightmare and revert to its good old national essence. That was never going to happen: The ongoing conflict is not a glitch but a process that cannot be stopped or resolved politically. With the GOP in death-cult mode, a steady destruction of checks and balances previously imagined to be fail-safe, the jelly-spined leadership of the Democratic Party, and the Soviet-grade purging of any disloyalty or disobedience in the federal systems, Trump has effectively destroyed American politics.

What the actual resolution might look like, I fear to envision, but I know it will not resemble anything Americans can remember or dare to imagine."

6:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

I've said it a # of times on this blog: the end of America is not likely to be pretty. In fact, it's likely to be quite violent. The corona virus is merely a preview, pulling the cover off the can of worms underneath. "Good old national essence"? What a joke.

Of course, it wd be great if the country cd go gracefully down the drain, but when has America done anything gracefully? People are walking around w/signs that say "Sacrifice the Weak." This is the American ethos, and always has been (check out Wounded Knee, Japanese internment camps, etc etc and etc). The notion that decency or reasonability is part of the American character is absurd. What I observed in the US from elementary schl to high schl to college to the work place and late adulthood was competition, hustling, one-upsmanship, and schadenfreude--the whole 9 yards. Every institution, every individual, reflects this brutality to some degree. Trumpaloni is merely the apex of it, the ultimate expression.

In 1989, in CTOS, I wrote that Americans were the driest tinder imaginable for fascism. Well Duh!


7:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Is can of worms the best analogy for the US? Jim Kunstler once used the phrase 'flyblown carcass' for Baltimore, or some other typical gutted American city. I kinda like that as well. Wafers are encouraged to weigh in on the issue: can of worms, or flyblown carcass? What say you all? Or might there be a 3rd possibility?

8:38 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Geez. I got acquitted right, no clue on the rest. I don't want to have to change my bathroom post-it note from "I'm surrounded by" to "I am", but it looks like that's how the cookie crumbled.

Enjoyed the Young Turks discussion and interview. For them, "That's Entertainment!"

2:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls send messages to most recent post. No one reads the older stuff. Thank you.


4:30 PM  

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