August 14, 2020

402

Wafers-

Poor America. Stuff like this seems to be happening almost every day now: the murder of innocent children:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/13/us/north-carolina-boy-killed/index.html

The killer was arrested; nothing is known of the motive so far. A life snuffed out, and for what? We do need to think about what may lie beyond the national collapse, but clearly, the transition is going to involve a lot of tragedy.

-mb

182 Comments:

Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Oh my God, this is terrible. I shouldn't speculate but to me it seems such a clear case of somebody with a severe case of psychosis, schizophrenia possibly, having a fit. Obviously, the US has a health system worse than many 3rd world countries. People don't have access to care but they do have access to guns. You can just go to Walmart and buy one. This is the completely logical consequence of that.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers:

I have been hunkered down in Connecticut following the latest tropical storm. Nearly 1 million people were without power, some up to nine days. At my son's house we had no power for seven days. I am so happy to now be back home in my little town in far upstate New York, far from the coastline. Here's a good account of what happened in CT:

https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-news-tropical-storm-isaias-outages-legal-action-20200812-zzeabydmybbojntajlh5xmqrwe-story.html


No Internet and no Dark Ages America for seven days! Imagine the horror!

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

A friend lent me two of Ian W. Toll's books on the Pacific War, which inspired me to order your book, "Neurotic Beauty." It arrived in the mail earlier this week, and I'm already into Chapter 3, very much enjoying your look at Japan.

By coincidence, I just came across this interesting online photo essay of 1930s Japan-

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2019/may/17/the-lost-metropolis-1930s-tokyo-street-life-kineo-kuwabara-in-pictures

10:20 AM  
Blogger Tim2 said...

Dr Berman and Wafers

No place is safe anymore. Wonder how BLM will view this up here.
His only saving grace was he was not in the USA because they
would have shot the sucker.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/red-deer-doctor-killed-walter-reynolds-1.5681955

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Seneca's Cliff said...

A very Wafer-like rant today by a guest writer on The Automatic Earth.

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2020/08/the-gerontocracy-strikes-back/

Nice point of view by someone who spends most of his time other places in the world and is back in the USA for a short time on family business.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Ibsen said...

First, a book recommendation. North Africa was mentioned. "The Tremor of Forgery" by Patricia Highsmith is one of favourite novels. It takes place in Tunisia and is a bit like Antonioni's film "Blow-Up" in a way. Highsmith is well known, but still underrated. Though I didn't like the other novels I have read by her nearly as much.
Corona and conspiracies: I understand people have their conspiracy theories. It all seem like an extreme over-reaction to a virus that's not dangerous to most people. Here in Norway the average age of corona deaths is 82. The mortality rate is very, very low. It absolutely makes no sense. And so-called liberals don't care that our freedoms are taken away. I am sitting in a graveyard in Oslo with a book and a beer, next to Ibsen's grave actually. I hid my beer as a man sitting quiet with his dog and a beer was told to pour it out by a policeman, a law they didn't care about just a few days ago. Because of the virus, you know!

1:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ibsen-

Norway! How in hell did u find us?

mb

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Good article Seneca. And I quote:

"... U.S. liberals will be left haunted and terrified by the spectre of Russian agents stealing their precious bodily fluids. Meanwhile, the virus will continue to rage, and corporate feudalism will further entrench itself as the benefits of imperial citizenship rapidly fade. The only thing that’s certain is that huge swaths of Americans still won’t actually understand what is happening to them and continue to blame the opposing factions of management, figments of their propaganda, the dispossessed and the marginalised. I don’t believe the specific outcome of the American election is all that relevant anymore."

Meanwhile, now there's this disaster to contend with: https://www.startribune.com/can-shortage-threatens-minnesota-s-craft-brewers/572112322/

2:28 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman & Wafers,
This is one book on Don the Con Trump that may...I stress “may”…be his undoing. But that remains to be seen obviously. His base, which is comprised of tens of millions of narrow-minded, functionally illiterate conservative dittoheads/conspiracy theorists/QAnoners/Boogaloos/Fox News watchers/Bible-thumpers/ et al., isn’t going to abandon him anytime soon. They could give a hoot if he runs this country like the boss of a crime family. Nor could they care less if he cleans himself up by taking “golden showers”. LOL. And the closing of the Post Office and other forms of voter suppression aside, who knows what new dirty tricks the RNC is devising in the inner sanctum of the Heritage Foundation to keep “the Don” in power.
This foreward by Michael Cohen of his upcoming book is a very interesting read. And needless to say, “the Don”, even though he doesn’t read, certainly is going to be very angry at Mr. Cohen. LOL.
https://disloyalthebook.com/download-the-disloyal-foreword-written-by-michael-cohen/

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

A new CDC survey finds elevated levels of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders, substance use and suicidal ideation among U.S. adults. Young people, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and caregivers of adults were found to be especially at risk.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/08/13/covid-19-takes-mental-toll-youth-minorities-essential-workers/3365719001/

4:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Birn-

Great fotos, thanks. As for NB, it may be my best bk to date. My explanation for why we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima is actually unique; I have not found anything close to it among the writings of other historians. Anyway, enjoy!

Joe-

I doubt his base will give a shit. They also, like Trumpi himself, don't read. Certainly not critiques of Trumpi.

mb

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Westley said...

Less is More
How Degrowth Will Save the World

Jason Hickel

https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/111/1119823/less-is-more/9781785152498.html

New book on post-capitalist possibilities just published.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Westley-

Looks gd! Thank you.

mb

7:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

V. gd essay on Joe McCarthy and the Cold War in the Aug. 3/10 New Yorker. 10 yrs of madness, abuse, and disgrace that we have never really recovered from. Author argues that Trumpaloni is a McCarthy resurrection.

mb

8:00 PM  
Blogger moresoma said...

moresoma said

The Unraveling of America - Anthropologist Wade Davis on how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era

"In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. At the height of the crisis, with more than 2,000 dying each day, Americans found themselves members of a failed state, ruled by a dysfunctional and incompetent government largely responsible for death rates that added a tragic coda to America’s claim to supremacy in the world."

"Over the last months, a quip has circulated on the internet suggesting that to live in Canada today is like owning an apartment above a meth lab"

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/covid-19-end-of-american-era-wade-davis-1038206/

10:09 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Morris's chapter on Hiroshima in NB is fascinating. Kishore Mahubani has a section in his new book (https://www.amazon.com.au/Has-China-Won-Challenge-American/dp/1541768132) where he refers to a conversation with US diplomats who say 'Japan is our most difficult relationship' and their totally different way of thinking.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I studied classical guitar for 3 yrs. One of my heroes just died:

https://www.theguardian.com/global/2020/aug/14/julian-bream-obituary

I have a lot of his music on vinyl LPs. A great man.

mb

2:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"Some say that a host of horsemen,
others a host of foot-soldiers,
others a host of ships
is the most beautiful thing on the black earth.
But I say it is that thing,
whatever it is,
that one loves."

-Sappho

3:14 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Requium,

To answer your earlier question, I can't think of much that is worth saving with regard to the American experiment. Though we do have some great writers from Melville to JD Salinger that we can be rightly proud of.

As for a spirituality that picks the best aspects from the various faiths and schools, I'm skeptical that such a rarefied product could ever have much of a hold on men's hearts. True spirituality and religion grow out of something far more primordial than the surface rationality. Dostoyevsky and a few others had a good grasp of this fact. It's probably an Enlightenment fallacy to think we can ever have a perfectly rationalized, intellectually coherent spirituality--or that such a thing would even be desirable.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Voidisyinyang said...

Morris - how much Noam Chomsky have you read? You seem to define "America" in a naive way? We have 900 military bases in OTHER countries. I call what's going on now as "Imperial Implosion" - the two headed depleted uranium babies of Iraq IS the future of "America." As George Harrison sang, "Within You, Without You."
thanks

7:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Void-

Actually, I've read a lot of Noam's work, and when I referred to 800 military bases, of *course* I meant other countries. This is a well-established fact, and many writers besides Noam have cited it. You really thought I meant 800 bases in the US?! As we usta say when I was an undergrad, Jesus H. Christ!

mb

10:54 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Thanks MB and moresoma for sharing two great articles. The RS article was quite Waferish.

Megan, we had a rather long discussion in an earlier post on the issue of what's worth saving from America. There are a few things for sure. And tho I enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye, The Us has better writers to be proud of imo.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

A somewhat waferish article from Solon. I have my philosophical differences with Buddhism, but I've also always respected the religion for its uncompromising pessimism.

Our "happy gloom": Living a good life in a dying world

"In the Tibetan Wheel of Life, the Three Poisons are the driving force, a nuclear core fiercely pushing the Wheel's motion. If there is fascism, if there is racism, if there is genocide, if there is manmade climate disruption, the Wheel has only this to say, "Are you surprised?" After all, five of the six "realms" on the wheel are occupied by demons: the billionaires of the God Realm, the Wall Street types among the demi-gods, and the hungry ghost consumers, eager to eat everything that comes before them. As if that weren't bad enough, there are also the angry residents of the Animal Realm, just on the other side of Hell, all dressed up in their MAGA hats and their blood-red Trump finery. They're destroying the world, because of course they are, what did you expect?"

3:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Indian-

Check out a film called "Rebel in the Rye."

Sybok-

Americans loved Reagan, esp. when he said "the gov't is the problem." So he destroyed it, and then a lil ol' virus comes along and guess what? We can't coordinate a coherent response, have no unified health care system, and are #1 in deaths and infections. Are the American people aware that they caused this situation? Are the American people aware of *anything*? Let us replace IN GOD WE TRUST on legal tender with WE ARE A COLLECTION OF SHITHEADS.

Honestly, sometimes I think that mass lobotomy is the only answer.

mb


3:55 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Dr. B wrote- "Honestly, sometimes I think that mass lobotomy is the only answer."

Television, the internet, and smart phones have made actual lobotomies unnecessary.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Too true. It's already occurred, just in slo-mo. Screens are probably a major cause of American stupidity, and not just ignorance. There is some research suggesting that they actually alter the physiology of the brain. (E.g., Maryanne Wolf at Tufts University) In 1947, only 1/3 of American households had a TV. 10 or 15 yrs later, nearly all of them did. Now, there are more TVs than households. This is a long discussion, involving a biology that is over my head; but the factors are epigenesis and neo-Lamarckian mimicry, indicating that acquired characteristics *can* be inherited. (An expt at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NY, abt 2 yrs ago, demonstrated this--the inheritance of tendencies, or memes, from grandparents to grandchildren.) Americans are significantly dumber than, let's say, Europeans, probably because the exposure to screens has been much longer and much more intense. 2nd possible factor is CO2 emissions, again longer and more intense in the US than elsewhere. Apparently, exposure to large amts of CO2 in the air damages cognitive abilities. All this is indeed 'American exceptionalism'!

mb

4:45 PM  
Blogger moresoma said...

Aug 13th 2020

"The U.S. is surely losing the war on COVID-19, but it did not have to be this way. Of the G-7 countries—the U.S., the U.K., Canada, France, Japan, Germany and Italy—only we have an outbreak that continues to spin out of control."

A failure of political leadership at all levels; a distrust of scientists, the media and expertise in general; and deeply ingrained cultural attitudes about individuality and the values placed on life have all combined to result in a horrifically inadequate pandemic response compared to what are traditionally considered the U.S.’s peer nations.

That the U.S. federal government has failed in its duty to protect Americans’ health and well-being in a time of crisis is, by now, abundantly obvious."

https://time.com/5879086/us-covid-19/

6:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

more-

Thanks for yr input. In future, be sure to allow 24 hrs to elapse between posts. Thank you.

mb

7:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I've been listening to Artur Rubinstein playing Chopin. Whew! I guess there *is* a god. Two quotes from the master:

"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back."

"Of course there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings."

-mb

7:47 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course he did...he and his cult members are strategically planning it all out...


https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/trump-says-it-could-take-months-or-years-know-election-n1236878

8:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I've been thinking lately, as I crossed the 76-year mark a couple of weeks ago, about what life finally consists of. Here's Shakespeare (Twelfth Night):

"Then come kiss me, Sweet-and-twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure."

No kidding. The bard got that right, all right. It's like this: I was 26, and I blinked, and in that moment 50 yrs went by. 26 feels like yesterday. Where in hell did all those decades go? It just seems like one big blur, now. Clearly, youth's a stuff will not endure, but I didn't know that when I was 26. I guess what bothers me is that for the most part, I was not aware of what was happening, while it was happening, during those 50 yrs. Too late now. I plan to die at 101. All I can do now is try to be aware of the next 25 yrs. What else can any of us do, really?

mb

11:21 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Sad news about Julian Bream. He was a true virtuoso that gave listeners an out-of-body experience. I absolutely adore Rubinstein. Have you read his autobiography, "My Many Years"? It's a wonderful read. What wit and intellect! Here's a great piece by the maestro:

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

Miles

12:43 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Hello again Dr. Berman & Wafers. Tomorrow, Monday, starts a brand new week. For any of you out there who are as old as I am, you probably remember closing out your week and weekend by watching Bonanza at 9 PM. Well, that famous show is long gone. But in its place, please enjoy the new way to close out a weekend. Have a few laughs at the newest episode of Karen Sunday!
Today’s episode is a little unique. The first two parts lead into one another. That is to say, our Karen from Act I segues into and continues her Karen antics in Act II. LOL.
In Part Three we don’t have a young Karen, as some other folks who also put out this video under different handles claim. We instead we have a rude, inconsiderate, idiot loudmouth street preacher, Darren, vociferously spewing out his religious “repent or perish” bullcrap that is so annoyingly rampant here in various American cities. The rudeness aside, it also is part and parcel of our dumbed down American culture where, as Dr. Berman writes in the early pages of Dark Ages America, “the triumph of religion over reason” has occurred. Kudos to the little girl here. She is telling this Darren to, in so many words, “take a hike”. LOL.
Part 4 probably is the funniest of them all in today’s episode. We have women themselves calling Karen, “Karen”, as well as someone offering a bribe to Karen so that she’ll exit the premises and leave everyone alone. LOL! Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w4J9XRMhpE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY-tSEINCdw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiW5aOPCaas

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

1:45 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Wafers, here is a bk you may find interesting. Came across the review today.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/aug/16/reaganland-review-rick-perlstein-jimmy-carter-ronald-reagan
One can argue that the tragedy of the Carter administration is that its underlying analysis was correct. As Perlstein writes, “One of the bizarre things about the new conventional wisdom concerning American softness is how closely it resembled what Jimmy Carter was saying – even though Carter himself was being held up as the exemplar of how American leadership had failed.”

Remember WAF. MB discusses Carter quite in detail.

And some photos that capture the recent weeks. All will be part of history years from now.
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2020/aug/15/20-photographs-of-the-week

3:08 AM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Great essay by Curtis White.
Curtis could be called a Wafer. He was mentioned on this site way back in 2013 re his book The Barbaric Heart. If I remember rightly Morris had some kind of direct acquaintance with him.

4:13 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

From time to time I find myself asking whether I would be willing to take on the debt burden today’s students accept when they decide to attend college. I say “decide” as though there’s really much choosing involved: young people are told early on that “to get a good job, you need a good education.” I question whether that’s really the case, even in the face of statistics that seem to support this position. When I graduated from college in 1973, I left with no debt because my parents had been able to pay for everything I needed—4-year total at a public university an estimated $50,000–with marginal contributions from my summer jobs.

This NYT article reveals the growing sentiment that today’s education is overpriced, certainly within the context of the pandemic and “remote learning. I ask whether the price isn’t grossly inflated under any circumstance. GSWH, your view on the price of education today? If the prices are indeed inflated by any reasonable measure, wouldn’t that itself be a reflection of systemic decline and American collapse?

As Colleges Move Classes Online, Families Rebel Against the Cost
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/15/us/covid-college-tuition.html?referringSource=articleShare

7:17 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

WAFers--

This newly-published text caught my eye; thought it might be of interest to WAFers (Dr. Berman's passages on Wittgenstein in Wandering God are still some of my favorite from the trilogy on consciousness).

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/14/books/review-time-of-magicians-wittgenstein-heidegger-wolfram-eilenberger.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage


O & D--

~Brian

8:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Brian-

Thanks for the ref. I did run across a review of this bk a short while ago, but I can't remember where.

Jas-

Possibly a gd job if yr degree is in business or computers; lib arts, probably not very likely. Of course, what young people need to do is leave the country. But failing that, they wd be better off learning a craft, and studying philosophy on their own. Problem is, most of them can't read anything complex, and aren't motivated to do so in any case.

Fred-

A link might help.

Joe-

Gotta love dem Karens! Salt of the earth, backbone of the 'real' America.

Jeff-

Many thanks. I've been listening to his renditions of Chopin.

mb

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Just a book recommendation: Cuentos De Eva Luna, by Isabel Allende. I haven't been able to find an English translation, so perhaps another good reason to learn Spanish...

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

@Dan Daniel and Dr. Berman,

Many years ago, Robert D. Putnam concluded that television was a likely culprit in the huge decline of civic engagement in America.

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper/DETOC/assoc/putnmtv4.html

Jean Twenge, a prominent critic of modern screen time, points out that many people were right to worry about television.

http://www.jeantwenge.com/faq-items/havent-older-people-always-complainedworried-younger-generation/

I personally think the rise of television, smartphones and other screen-based tech plays a large role in our current predicament.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Requiem said...

Megan, I think the basic ideals as stated in the Declaration of Independence are worth saving: freedom, equality, pursuit of happiness. No doubt few Americans, including the Founders,were ever serious about abiding by them, but that alone does not diminish their historical worthiness.

What I meant regarding spirituality is that individually we might choose from among the practices that are meaningful to us. For example, it is important for me that spiritually include an ethic of justice and non-violence; that it offer offer paths into the soul; that it express concern for others. I am saddened on recalling that none of these can be found in typical American spirituality which is focused on winning, domination, wealth, and violence.

On screens, see also Neil Postman's "Entertaining Ourselves to Death". In the introduction to his book, Postman theorizes that our world is better reflected by Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, whose public was oppressed by their addiction to amusement, than by Orwell's work, where they were oppressed by state control.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Tom, Putnam was right of course. As was Neil Postman and Jacques Ellul. TV, and now computers, phones, and tablets have been disastrous for public discourse and civic engagement. But to point this out is to be labelled an elitist or a technophobe. As Putnam says in the essay, one of the main culprits here is simply time displacement. When you're sitting on the couch watching TV, you're not reading a newspaper or participating in a local club.

Putnam says that unless unless there is an upsurge in civic engagement, then by 2010 Americans will be less engaged, vote less, and trust other people less. Well here we are 10 years after that date and his prediction has come true. There was no upsurge in engagement, no surprise there, and US society has continued to disintegrate.

What needs to happen in every country is a nation-wide discussion about the effects of technology, what it does to society at large and what it does to people's brains. I'm not optimistic this is going to happen. https://www.medicaldaily.com/neural-pathways-watching-tv-human-brain-reading-book-389744

6:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wudu-

Terrific article in Medical Daily. Screens *do* alter the brain for the worse, and Americans have been exposed to them longer, and w/greater intensity, than any other country. They are apparently a mechanism for changing near-reasonable human beings into drooling morons. I also got a kick out of one ref cited: "Cerebral Cortex"--!! Perhaps Wafers shd start a journal called "Medulla Oblongata".

Req-

The problem w/a lot of spiritual practice, such as meditation, is that it is content-neutral, and can be bent to any purpose. I read somewhere that "Mindfulness Practice" is now a $5 billion industry in the US, much of it being directed toward being commercially successful (greater awareness, greater hustling). For an elaboration of this pt, see "Neurotic Beauty," ch. 1 and Appendix III. BTW, "pursuit of happiness" in the 18thC was code words for "acquisition of property," and the Founding Fathers were very serious abt abiding by this 'ideal' (all died rich). Democracy actually meant hustling, and historically has been a cover for the latter.

mb

8:07 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Years ago, any reference long lost sorry, they did brain scans of people reading a good novel and people watching videos. The readers' brains had a variety of 'active' regions. The video watchers' brains showed almost all activity in one area of the brain only. I mentioned this a friend who is a jazz musician, and he quickly responded, well, sure, it's the notes you don't play that bring the music alive. The room to, and need to, create and flesh out the word in writing. Well, lots more could be said but others have pointed to many sources.

I have tended to think of the changes in Postman's terms, the different epistimologies of literate/verbal culture versus screen culture. I made and taught film and video for years until I finally realized that it is not capable of communicating so much that I wanted a viewer to experience that I had to stop.

But the physiological changes are real. I would need to look more into the neo-Lamarcjian ideas; I understand most DNA/RNA to be potentialities, not binnary such as brown or blue eyes. I think of Japanese children growing taller on a higher protein diet- that's a potential that needed the right environment to bring it out.

If you can help a brain develop with music, reading, talking, stimulation of all sorts, then obviously you can shrink a brain by denying it certain things and making it work in only narrow channels. Just ask Facebook and their social engineers how to make drooling slobs poking their phones like Skinner's pigeons hoping for feed.

Wudu: what I have found is that most people are simply not capable of having the kind of conversation you call for. THIS is the scariest part of the feedback loop.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"The bigger the unit you deal with, the hollower, the more brutal, the more mendacious is the life displayed. So I am against all big organizations as such, national ones first and foremost; against all big successes and big results; and in favor of the eternal forces of truth which always work in the individual and immediately unsuccessful way, under-dogs always, till history comes, long after they are dead, and puts them on top."

--Wm James, 1899

(Hey, one can only hope)

11:07 PM  
Anonymous DeadThoreau said...

Not sure if this book has been recommended here or not, but this is alternative tradition/Wafer to the core, check out A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros. The following quote sums up what's you always said MB, be against the -ism and walking or as my man Thoreau put it, sauntering, is just that. From the book:

“By walking, you escape from the very idea of identity, the temptation to be someone, to have a name and a history. Being someone is all very well for smart parties where everyone is telling their story, it's all very well for psychologists' consulting rooms. But isn't being someone also a social obligation which trails in its wake – for one has to be faithful to the self-portrait – a stupid and burdensome fiction? The freedom in walking lies in not being anyone; for the walking body has no history, it is just an eddy in the stream of immemorial life.”

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Requium,

I have often wondered if human beings are truly capable of living and following an "Enlightenment document" like the Declaration. Or if, in the spirit of John Gray, things like "race", religion and ethnicity will always win out and undermine these higher projects of abstract rationality? At any rate, people like John Adams presupposed an informed, literate, populace for this experiment to even work. And we are very far from that.

The best book I've read in recent years is Spengler's "Decline of the West" (Along with John David Ebert's excellent lecture series on the same on Youtube). But Spengler (along with Barzun's "From Dawn to Decadence") convinced me that the decline we are currently living through is not just an American one--but rather the slow curtain call for Western Europe as well. Cell phones and social media are wrecking societies everywhere (Read authors like Houellebecq to see the dark, nihilistic shithole that France is becoming, if you have any doubts on this score.). America is just 25 years in the forefront.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

George Carlin usta say that if yr born on this earth, you are born into a freak show. But if born in the US in particular, you get a front row seat. Also check out the final essay of AWTY.

mb

4:18 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

As the hour approaches for the virtual—and virtually meaningless—Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis, may I offer an observation gleaned from The Bulwark website this morning:

“There is something about a national convention that makes it as fascinating as a revival or hanging.” (H. L. Mencken, 1924)

And on the subject of phones and disconnectedness, my observation that its seems every young mother pushing a pram I encounter as I move about my neighborhood—baby decidedly “on board”-is reading her phone. Whether the child is asleep at the moment our paths cross or not seems to make no difference. I would be curious to know what effect this separation—emotionally, if not phyically—might have on the child. I can’t imagine the situation would be any different inside the home, unless the child were making some noise or sign of distress that required the mother to put down the phone to investigate.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Navi said...

Groundbreaking new material 'could allow artificial intelligence to merge with the human brain'

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/artificial-intelligence-brain-computer-cyborg-elon-musk-neuralink-a9673261.html

What could possibly go wrong?

12:01 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Hola Dr. Berman & Wafers. And a very Happy Monday, the start of a brand new week here in the world’s biggest wasteland, the United States of America. The weekend partygoers and rabble-rousers got a little trigger happy ( see the links below for a description) in the nation’s Queen City, Cincinnati, Ohio. What will this week bring and where? Will the Democratic National Convention impel any Proud Boys or Boogaloos to take it out on somebody with firearms to prove a point and win an argument? Or will it be something more mundane like a disagreement over drugs, money, or sports here in this wonderful, “exceptional”, country—the “beacon” for humanity? I guess one can say that there never is a dull moment anywhere here in America as we watch it disintegrate. Dr. Berman, don’t you see what you’re missing not being here? LOL.

https://www.wlwt.com/article/police-18-people-shot-4-dead-in-multiple-shootings-across-cincinnati-on-sunday/33614585

https://www.wdtn.com/top-stories/4-killed-at-least-20-hurt-in-cincinnati-weekend-shootings/

12:25 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of course he did...This is what Psychopath’s DO...


https://news.trust.org/item/20200817152205-rif6e

2:38 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

While watching John Oliver discuss jury duty last night, I saw a reference to this website, which I later found by googling "baptists are the pin in the homo grenade."

https://rightnerve.com/

Declinists ought to love the site; it's both pretentious and mindless.

I still don't know what "baptists are the pin in the homo grenade" means.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous Krakhed said...

@James Allen- I don't think a college degree is worth it anymore. I went that route and found a corporate job which led to about 10 years of unfulfilling work with 4 different companies. David Graeber wrote a book about "Bullshit Jobs" and I think this applies to about 60% of all jobs at various corporations.

https://www.amazon.com/Bullshit-Jobs-Theory-David-Graeber/dp/150114331X

Performing the functions of many of the jobs I had left me feeling like I was just pushing numbers around, updating spreadsheets, capturing useless data streams about marketing and research, i.e: doing the empire's bidding and keeping the gears of capitalism oiled.

I got the impression that most of the bosses, clients, and others I interacted with were spiritually vacant, and could care less how much suffering and destruction the products they peddle created as long as this quarters earnings are up and that fat bonus was on its way. They wanted you to look busy and determined no matter how much work there was to do and it didn't matter if your efforts will be utilized or not.

I feel like this must be a factor in our decline. How many hate their jobs?

I got laid off and the trade off for not doing any more bullshit work means I'm closer to poverty. I'll be fine though.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Krak-

This might interest you:

https://www.amazon.com/New-Prophets-Capital-Jacobin/dp/1781688109/ref=sr_1_1?crid=25W20TMEISGQM&dchild=1&keywords=nicole+aschoff&qid=1597723853&s=books&sprefix=nicole+asch%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

mb

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Karl said...

An American friend wrote this on his experience of trying to watch the DNC:

"A few minutes of the DNC as mere background noise was more than I could stomach.🤢🤮👎 For the democrat politicians, it ALL boils down to cynical pandering to the root vegetables in the “left” SJW crowd we’re plagued with in this asinine country. IOW...we get nothing more from the DEMOrats than an intelligence-insulting smoke screen for the corporate/capitalist CRIMINAL SCUM who, as always, are immiserating everybody who makes less than $100,000 per year and fist fucking the natural world. Of course, we get a very similar smoke screen from the REPUGnicans. It’s just that they appeal to the equally turnip-like “family values” douchebags with a bunch of phony rhetoric about abortion and other stupid fucking issues no serious person gives two shits about. The icing on this turd cake was the monstrously predictable, mundane, phony, mawkish, cringe-worthy, nauseating, fake, and ghey patriotism which no one with an IQ above 1 takes seriously. Needless to say...both PROPERTY PARTIES never fail to diligently shovel that shit with two hands. Eh well...it’s just another tiresome election season in the black heart of a dead Sodom-esque/Babylon-esque empire which has neither the good sense nor the common decency to lay down and rot already😕🙄🤢🤮👎👎👎👎👎 *smfh*"

8:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Woods-

Links? Discussion?

Karl-

Your friend's quote was a bit ambiguous. What does *he* really feel? (haha)

mb

10:19 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

A question for Dr. Berman: Was that you on Amanpour & Co. last night incognito?
If I didn’t know better, I would think this was you talking on television for many people to hear. Everything this man ( Professor Wade Davis) said was exactly things you previously have either written in your books or have said in public to audiences.
The self-made man. The American cult of the individual. Endless wars. How all civilizations and empires ( ours included) rise and fall. The myth of American Exceptionalism. The election of Trump being an indication of the descent of the United States. The lack of social relations and reciprocity in the United States. How China has never been to war and the United States has never been at peace. And so many other things.
Wafers, this is a must see. Wow!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJJTAz5ux-c

12:38 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

In one of my comments in the last post, I think, that I wrote Xi Jinping taking up food wastage as a topic of PR exercise sounds rather suspicious. Something is not going well domestically. Well, here goes The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/18/cai-xia-chinese-insider-hits-out-at-xi-jinping-he-killed-a-party-and-a-country

In other news, Fuckerburg will be remembered as the agent of satan in killing decency the world over. WSJ recently revealed that FB's top policy executive, who has been seen with top ministers of the government in India, declined to apply hate speech rules to members of the ruling party : https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-hate-speech-india-politics-muslim-hindu-modi-zuckerberg-11597423346

And on another front FB fired a whistleblower: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/08/07/reports-facebook-fires-employee-who-shared-proof-of-right-wing-favoritism/?fbclid=IwAR0rUNqLd7UzNzOpl0ZOMAdxvo-yxPQE2Ov5NMpq-TfyjFKbmClH5SgVPJ0

After the dust has settled on the Empire, do not forget the role the Hindu right played in the US decline: https://medium.com/@pieterjfriedrich/when-did-rss-start-funding-sri-preston-kulkarni-ed22ee23f0d1
".. this issue of Kulkarni’s RSS ties is ... an issue of targeted foreign interference in US elections by leaders of organizations whose purpose is to keep the Islamophobic — and generally fascistic — BJP in power in India. That purpose, I would argue, is exactly why they want to get Kulkarni in office."

Trump will be delighted.



1:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Wade's article has been posted here 2 or 3 times, actually. It's quite amazing how the rest of America seems to be catching up to me. Not that I ever get a ftnote. (boo hoo)

mb

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Requiem said...

Krakhed and MB - another good book on the history of capitalism is Empire of Cotton by Sven Beckert. I'm probably a bit behind the curve as it was published in 2014 but I learned.
Such as - prelude to Industrialized Capt. was War Capt.the vicious, violent global system of trade controlled by Europeans (and centered on cotton) that depended upon slavery, expropriation of indigenous peoples (including Native Americans), imperial expansion, trade at the end of a gun.

The beginnings of global capt, therefore, were violent and coercive, rather than "free" as touted today. And the goal, as today, was ever increased growth and profit at the expense of workers, the land and now the climate.

Another important learning - the codependency between States and Capital. States depended on Capt for revenues and Capt on States for protection of markets and laws limiting ability of labor to organize and protest. A hand-in-glove arrangement that benefited the powerful and kept the powerless in subjugation.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Is anyone else disturbed by the proliferation in our stores of those green Manzanilla olives, with their high-tech, artificially-inserted pimientos? Don't you long for a nice meaty Kalamata, a tangy dried Moroccan or a saucy Niçoise?

Yes, friends, black olives matter.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Arthur-

Cdn't run it. Refs w/o links: not helpful.

al-

BOM, I guess.

mb

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian Musician said...



I feel that more people no longer believe in American Dream. It may have held sway 40 years ago. Not today. The world can see Americn for what it is. Especially now with COVID 19, the carefully constructed propaganda is crumbling.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51786.htm

As George Carlin once said “they call it American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it” And now with US provoking Russia and China, both leadership and the people are seeing America for what it is. I am telling you, a day will come, when for US having a faithful ally and a friend among nations will be something that America will cherish above anything in this world.

https://journal-neo.org/2019/08/28/the-not-so-subtle-moral-decay-of-the-us-military/

Read the above article, particularly the end. The fact that this happening in Poland, one of the most pro US nations in the world, it definitely is saying something. Russia may look not in the best shape outside cities, however in my opinion, USA looks in many places way worse. There are no excuses for supposedly wealthiest nation in history to have such rotting third world infrastructure. People come to the US. They see with their own eyes what it has turned into:

https://truthout.org/articles/america-what-happened/

World is not blind! American people have no idea where it all leads to. Once United States loses its might and no longer being able to bully around other countries and the world will turn it's back on America, then Americans will realize value of friendship, loyalty, when there will no friends for the United States. Well, at least the wish has been granted. America wants enemies, well it will get a lot of enemies, and this will not be fun at all.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Only in Amerikkka:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/18/st-louis-couple-patricia-mark-mccloskey-republican-convention-guns

7:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pastrami-

This is gd, very gd; altho I wd also like to have the cop who killed George Floyd speak as well.

Andalus-

Problem is, yr talking abt global politics. I have a feeling that domestically, a lg % of Americans still believe in the Dream--esp. if they are poor. Clutching at straws, in short.

mb

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Woods said...

Renowned for his pessimism, Arthur Schopenhauer was nonetheless a conoisseur of very distinctive kinds of happiness https://aeon.co/essays/for-schopenhauer-happiness-is-a-state-of-semi-satisfaction

9:25 PM  
Blogger Jason Tower said...

Krakhed - thanks for the book recommendation. American workplaces are soul-crushing, because they are filled with Americans. On the first day of my job overseas the employees had a brief party to welcome me, and I was introduced to everyone and genuinely welcomed. At the places I've worked in the USA employees come and go with no explanation. One day you come to work and Bob or Carol just isn't there anymore, and someone new is. It creates a dehumanizing, unstable environment.

https://www.askamanager.org/2010/07/companies-that-dont-announce-when.html (not a news source, but the comments give a good idea what work in the USA is like)

9:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jason-

New (and more accurate) slogan for legal tender in the US: ME, MYSELF, AND I

mb

11:53 PM  
Anonymous Betty said...

"Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked"

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of us are addicted to our phones/doing things on the internet.

“For many, social media presents an ideal mode of expression, but it also holds the danger of becoming a crutch or – as Adam Alter’s brilliant new book illustrates – a behavioral addiction that threatens to undermine our mental health and relationships. Irresistible offers a crucial understanding of how we are psychologically tethered to our devices, along with much-needed solutions so that we can live rich, meaningful and healthy lives in an increasingly tech-driven age.”
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet

8:35 AM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Caitlin Johnstone has some insightful statements in this collection. One I thought summed up much of the Democrats', intelligence services and the military's opposition to Trump is the following:

"Establishment guard dogs dislike Trump not because he’s ending the wars (he isn’t), nor because he opposes establishment interests (he doesn’t), but because he’s a poor narrative manager and all too often leaves the ugly face of empire fully exposed."

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/08/19/saudi-arabia-is-just-an-honest-america-notes-from-the-edge-of-the-narrative-matrix/

8:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael-

I think she's rt. Obama didn't end the wars, nor did he oppose establishment interests. But he was a smooth talker, w/an acceptable style. Trump, on the other hand, is a boor and a jackass, and that's the sticking pt for establishment guard dogs and indeed, a lg % of the American people. Biden doesn't promise anything different; he's just Obama lite. From a declinist pt of view, it's much better to have "the ugly face of the empire fully exposed."

Betty-

I read Cain's bk some time ago. Terrific.

mb

8:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This is so neat:

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/man-accused-eating-girlfriends-organs-fit-trial-72450196

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Marcus said...

EXCLUSIVE: 'Would you mind giving it a crack?' Bill Clinton leans back and smiles while receiving neck massage from Epstein victim, 22, in never-before-seen photos during trip on pedophile's plane to Africa in 2002

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8639501/Bill-Clinton-smiles-receiving-neck-massage-Jeffrey-Epstein-victim.html


“Epstein was a latter-day eugenicist whose interests were tied to a delusional notion of seeding the human race with his own DNA.” Ugh

Some late stage plutocratic stuff in these headlines!

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/jeffrey-epstein-rsquo-s-harvard-connections-show-how-money-can-distort-research/

9:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Marcus-

I have tried to think of a reason why members of the plutocracy shdn't be beaten to w/in an inch of their lives, and then thrown on a dung heap; but I can't. However, the larger problem is that most Americans want the wealth and lifestyle that the plutocracy already has; their goals are no different. Which means an awful lot of beatings wd be necessary.

mb

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Lukas Ryan said...

Marcus/MB:

Today in Reasons to Tax the Rich: A Billionaire Art Collector Is Commissioning a $1.5 Million Diamond-Studded Face Mask
https://news.artnet.com/art-world/collector-commissioning-1-5-million-facemask-1901722/amp-page

10:21 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Another feather in Fuckerberg's shit filled cap.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/aug/19/facebook-funnelling-readers-towards-covid-misinformation-study

And did you see the Bubbas and Karens and Susans at Trump's Arizona rally? Who can stop America becoming great again!

10:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Indian-

Susans?

mb

12:25 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Hola again Dr. Berman & Wafers.
Here is a special mid-week, one-clip edition of Karen Sunday. I’m showing it, not so much for the Karens, but for these two idiot, angry, mean-spirited Darrens at the 1:17 and 3:40 marks. These two jerks are especially so emblematic of the American culture. The first one is your typical “ultimate fighting” testosterone-filled Trumper just itching for a brawl and fisticuffs. He obviously like most Americans can’t reason and think straight. On the contrary, he is programmed by emotion and thus is going off the deep end. The other is like Trump—he’s seven years young emotionally. He epitomizes the childish pursuit of having to win an argument at any cost possible. His rudeness aside, he must win, even if he has to personally and cruelly demean, insult, denigrate and resort to name-calling. Like an ancient Roman gladiator, he is willing to—figuratively in this case—fight to the death, no matter how dirty or how long it takes in order to come out victorious.
These here, folks, are your “neighbors”. They are the ones here in America to whom “thy must love as you love thyself”. LOL.
What an downright pathetic country/society this really is. And many flag wavers here proclaim this country as the “beacon of civilization”? LOL.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_Zl9LValH

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian Musician said...

With all due respect Mr. Berman, it will not be long before people will snap out of American dream. I am not sure if you heard of Johan Galtung, Norwegian Sociologist. He made a prediction that US empire will end around 2020 (of course give or take few years, since no one can really pinpoint the exact moment when empire collapses). There comes a point, where the reality hits you so hard that you simply cannot deny this reality, no matter how much you want to.

When Roman Forum turned into a cow pasture, and when the Roman Senate Dissapeared around the year 600 AD, Romans had to concede that the game is over so to speak. No one at the time would have been able of deluding himself that Rome was all powerful!

2:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Andalus-

Sure, but that's down the road a bit; possibly 10 or more yrs. I was talking (specifically) abt the present domestic situation. In future, pls read what I write a bit more carefully, b4 responding. (In addn, you were talking about foreign perceptions of America, rather than domestic ones; wh/are beside the pt.) Thank you.

Joe-

I got a "video unavailable" message. But let me say, once again, as a declinist, that I abs. love the bubbas and the Karens. I can't get enuf o' dem. They are, like Trumpaloni, History's agents on earth. At this pt in our history, what we need is boors and buffoons.

mb

4:29 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
If you allow me to violate the 24 hour rule, here is another attempt to post the video. If it doesn’t work, oh well. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_Zl9LValHE

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

https://summit.news/2020/08/14/black-lives-matter-mob-demands-white-people-give-up-their-homes/



6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dr. Shit-

Terrific strategy. This will help their cause immeasurably. Good ideology, astute political organization. Clearly, the road ahead is clear for anti-racism.

mb

6:25 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Ha ha ha. Trump appears more and more committed to not accepting the results of the November election if he loses.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/19/politics/2020-election-results-trump-challenge/index.html

I think that might push things darn close to a full-on civil war or simple collapse of any pretense of legitimacy. The baby Bush Supreme Court coup slid under the radar rather quickly because there was still this idea that the US was a functioning democracy. Imagine how much turmoil Al Gore could have created if he had challenged that election. After months of Covid-19 and economic collapse and a return to pandemic with flu added for kicks,most everyone realizes on some level that things are about over and it's every cult for themselves.

I recommend starting your toilet paper stockpile now.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Andalus-

Sorry, we have a half-pg-max limit on this blog. Pls compress your message to that length and re-send. Thank you.

mb

9:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is charming:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/19/amazon-removes-shirts-derogatory-slogan-kamala-harris

mb

9:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, this is the 1st time I know of that a major politician (Schmernie) has compared the US to the Roman Empire:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/bernie-sanders-says-trump-a-threat-to-democracy-in-america-compares-him-to-nero/articleshow/77607903.cms

You tell 'em, Schmernie!

mb

11:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers: Don' miss this one: Julie Orringer, "The Invisible Bridge"

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian Musician said...

With all due respect I apologize for any misunderstanding. I wanted to make a point that Americans should not delude themselves thinking that the rest of the world admires America or think that America is a country to be emulated. With obnoxious behavior that disqusts and shocks even closest American allies, rotting infrastructure, election which is a joke, the rest of the world does not regard US with admiration.

I think collapse will come sooner than 10 years. American people will be hit with reality hard, whether they want to deny or not. This is what I wanted to say. Take care.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Tomiris-

Cdn't run it, as we have a half-pg-max rule on this blog. Cd u compress just a bit, and re-send? Thank you.

Andalus-

You still seem a bit confused. It remains the case that perception from the outside is not the same as from the inside, i.e. by US citizens, a (very) lg % of whom still believe in the American Dream. And most Americans don't care all that much what other countries think of the US, and are largely ignorant of it anyway. As for when they will abandon the Dream, if they do at all--this is rather hard to predict. As a # of writers (Herberg, Bellah, myself) have observed, for most of the population, America is their real religion, regardless of what religious denomination they belong to. This is not given up very easily.

mb

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

On the subject of screens, a Canadian study found a link between screen time and depression/ anxiety among teens and adolescents. Social media and television were especially linked to depression and anxiety.

https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2020/01/09/social-media-anxiety-depression-teens

The number of Americans who suffer major depressive episodes is far higher than previously thought.

https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ysop-mde073020.php

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

About BLM demanding white people's homes, there is some logic to it, even if it's twisted. I start with a disclosure: to me, reparations for slavery are a no-brainer; it simply should have been done long ago (now it's probably too late). After centuries of abuse, black people have a bellyfull and some of them are "mad and not taking it anymore" and, in true American fashion, saying "I don't give a fuck, I want mine too." I won't be the one to blame them, sorry. America is too corrupt and unjust; paraphrasing Nietzsche, "beyond good and evil".

Btw, gentrification is a real thing and a subtle form of ethnic cleansing:
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2019/08/07/472617/systemic-inequality-displacement-exclusion-segregation/

Nowhere are the effects of gentrification more noticeable than the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Between 1970 and 2015, Black residents declined from 71 percent of the city’s population to just 48 percent. The city’s white population increased by 25 percent during the same period. From 2000 to 2013, the city endured the nation’s highest rate of gentrification, resulting in more than 20,000 African American residents’ displacement. Today, almost 1 in 4 Black Washington residents—23 percent—live in poverty.

6:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Malleus-

Gd pt; the problem is that rage is neither an ideology nor a political strategy. Ultimately, it goes nowhere, and solves 0. So it depends on what protesters really want, and too often, it's just to emote. Where are OWS, or the pussy hats, now? Demanding white people's homes is just theater, when you get down to it.

mb

7:12 AM  
Blogger k_pgh said...


Ver a los yankees a salvo en casa ♪ ♫


Today, August 20th, is the anniversary of the Battle of Churubusco. Am currently reading Saint Patrick’s Battalion by James Alexander Thom. The book is dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut who encouraged the author to write it. The Intervención Estadounidense en México (1846-1848) has many parallels in today’s world. Americans must really enjoy repeating this stuff again and again and again.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Tomiris said...

Apologies, Dr. Berman!

Wafers, I decided to go back home for some time because I couldn't handle being surrounded by delusional people.

When such "cultural" products come up like the latest Cardi B clip, it's no wonder that America feels crazy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsm4poTWjMs

The "song" is called WAP, which the genius of the lyrics tells us is short for "wet ass pussy." Of course the greatest newspapers of the land rushed to say how liberating and edgy all of this stuff is. Definitely in line with Pinker's "better angels of our nature" and "enlightenment now." Check out these dumb articles:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/18/style/wap-cardi-b.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/18/wap-is-completely-filthy-we-could-use-lot-more-pop-culture-like-it/

9:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Tomiris-

Obviously, a gd decision. You correctly note that in the US, garbage and vulgarity pass for culture, while major media praise it. This is what happens in the end times of a civilization.

mb

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Sybok said...

Excerpt from Obama's speech to the DNC yesterday:

This president and those in power -- those who benefit from keeping things the way they are -- they are counting on your cynicism. They know they can't win you over with their policies. So they're hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote and to convince you that your vote doesn't matter. That's how they win. That's how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That's how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That's how a democracy withers, until it's no democracy at all.

Yes, Trump's counting on our cynicism, Mr. Obama, kind of like you counted on our hope & good faith to get into office only to sell us to the banks when their ponzi scheme collapsed. I can't speak for anybody but myself, but I credit Obama for my loss of faith in the democratic process, not Trump.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

MB, here are Karens n Susans: https://www.facebook.com/Delusions.of.Reactionaries/photos/a.410837599502830/704124026840851/?type=3&theater

Wudu, Thanks for the great article in medicaldaily.

I was a little surprised that the Senate Intel Committee report on Russian interference/influence on Trump's election campaign did not receive as much attention.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/18/us/politics/senate-intelligence-russian-interference-report.html

How significant is Bannon's arrest? After all, he is far more potent as a right-with agent than trump imo.



12:21 PM  
Anonymous Requiem said...

On Janes and Rush - I'm old enough to remember that that kind of behavior would have been totally unacceptable 60 years ago. Hyper Individualism, crudeness, selfishness and un-neighborliness have been part of the American character from the beginning, but never as part of everyday life like they are now.

Trump was elected to free his followers up to be thugs, sexists and racists. ANd he's doing a great job. Millions rejoiced that they could now be their worst selves without recrimination; that they could proudly be part of a movement that awarded thugery, prejudice and villainy. What a relief to no longer have to pretend that one was in favor of integration, fairness, and equal rights. What a breath of fresh air. Thank you, God, for choosing the Donald to be our Most Exalted Leader.

12:23 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Another one bites the dust!!!

Everyone Trump hires and is associated with has been arrested at some point!!

Steve Bannon arrested on charges of defrauding donors in wall fundraising scheme...

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/former-trump-advisor-steve-bannon-arrested-on-charges-of-defrauding-donors-in-fundraising-scheme.html?__source=iosappshare%7Ccom.apple.UIKit.activity.CopyToPasteboard


Nothing would please me more in life than to see Fat Donnie the Orange Megalomaniac in Prison some day!

2:09 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

In case anyone was concerned that a Biden victory would lead to any significant changes, take comfort. Today John Negroponte, a right-wing war criminal, Baby Bush's Director of national Intelligence, and much much more before and after, an all around pile of poo poo, endorsed Biden. And Biden did not reject the endorsement.

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/512931-negroponte-endorsing-biden-he-beats-trump-on-character-compassion

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/08/negroponte-honduras-nicaragua-contras-reagan-clinton/

Once Henry Kissinger speaks up, there will be no lower Biden can go. But he's close to it now....

In many ways, Biden will be more destructive because people will stop paying attention.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This I like:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/20/bone-idle-german-university-offers-grant-for-best-inactivity

mb

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Dan,

In many ways, Biden will be more destructive because people will stop paying attention.

Indeed. I can't express how depressed it's making me the prospect of that walking heap of dung becoming president.

This is now beyond the beat-off cycle. US politics is a giant whirlpool of faeces. Here is Bernie asking for a "popular front" to elect the senator for MBNA, the prison-industrial complex, the military-industrial complex, and a war criminal, in order to "save American democracy." Talk about existential nausea...

https://truthout.org/articles/in-dnc-speech-sanders-urges-popular-front-to-defeat-donald-trump/

5:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Malleus-

Like the bubbas and the Karens, progs aren't very bright. They actually see Schmiden as a potential savior of the nation. Where was he when Obama was personally picking out drone targets in the Middle East? And it's amazing, that none of these folks, Schmernie included, see the problem in structural terms. The focus has narrowed down to 1 person, and if we only remove him from office, all will be well. Do any of these jokers understand how empires work, and how they collapse?

mb

9:43 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

As bad as Biden is does anyone look forward to President Kamala Harris? I agree with Sybok, when Obama came to our town people filled the street chanting sí, se puede (yes, we can) ashamed to admit it but I had goosebumps and nearly cried. I expected a black Roosevelt new dealer and we got Bush lite. When the orange madness got elected I knew it was over, prob should thank him b/c I discovered DAA and haven’t looked back since. no fucking way my vote goes to Biden, fool me once...

12:08 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

@Dan Daniel: Your comment about stockpiling toilet paper got me wondering what gringos would do were they to experience something like the seige of Leningrad. Probably use corpses as TP.

Here's a fun take on the DMC:

Krystal and Saagar: Kamala, Obama, Hillary, And The No Good, Vapid, Identity-Obsessed DNC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=At8WDrBdZW4

12:34 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

@Requiem, on your last post 'Millions rejoiced that they could now be their worst selves without recrimination' ... seems the thing that makes the demagogues thrive everywhere. I have been thinking about this lately, and what worries me, more than destruction of 'democracy', is the trashing of basic human decency in everyday life that these guys have normalized. After all, in most societies people know that all are not equal, and 99.9% or more that their chances of getting the top political jobs are only theoretical. However, making casual misogyny, making racist comments shamelessly, disparaging anybody who does not agree with you, lying as if facts don't matter, these will damage us much more. Trump, Modi, Bolsonaro et al. have all made their contributions to the muck helped no less by Mr. Fuckerberg.

Wanted share this with Wafers. Written in the Indian context by one of my fav public intellectuals, can be easily applied to any country/society that have run out of ideas.
https://epaper.telegraphindia.com/imageview_339181_173540306_4_71_21-08-2020_10_i_1_sf.html

1:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

A parade of buffoons. How can anyone take these people seriously? "Plans." Yeah, plans my ass. I have a plan: take these clowns out into the street, beat them to w/in an inch of their lives, and then throw them on a dung heap. Now *there's* a plan! This dreck is the creme de la creme of American society.

mb

2:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Req-

We have a rule on this blog: post no more frequently than once every 24 hrs. Persistent violation of blog rules usually results in removal from the blog--a fate worse than death.

mb

2:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Piece of trash gets 5 mos. in jail. The trashette, his wife, will get 2 mos. Both of them shd get 50 yrs, no possibility of parole, and urine on shoes every evening. Shoes may not be removed for any reason.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2020/08/21/lori-loughlin-mossimo-giannulli-sentencing-college-admissions-case/3358449001/

2:34 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Our long national nightmare is over...well, one of them anyway.

Having been scooped by GSWH on the Lori Laughlin Massimo Giannulli sentencing in the Varsity Blues affair, I can only offer a ref for those who want to review the full charge sheet for the whole sordid business. College admissions officials, a sports team coach, SAT test takers, a full cast of characters, comme il faut. Varsity Blues had ‘em all. A microcosm of the wider society. I would simply add a footnote to the Laughlin story, that the pair spent $500,000 to get their daughters into USC as rowing crew team candidates, neither having ever rowed before. Admissions officials were provided with pictures of the girls in rowing apparel, holding oars in front of sculls. Laughlin’s Hollywood experience helped immensely with the staging and execution.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/college-admissions-scandal-list-operation-varsity-blues-every-charge-plea-accusation-facing-parents-2019-05-16/#app

4:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

The 'elite' of American society = the dregs of humanity. What trash these 'beautiful' people are, for whom everything is a hustle.

mb

5:45 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course they didn’t do anything....Like the last Seinfeld episode...”This is America, and in America, you don’t have to HELP ANYBODY!!!”


https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/L-A-officials-blast-callous-bystanders-who-15504532.php

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. B and WAFERS:

Was just reading over this Guardian article on now the election campaign in the USA stands in Iowa: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/21/iowa-us-election-trump-biden-voters Apparently, "45% of Iowans approve of Trump’s handling of the pandemic," and the general orientation of the article is that the state may not go Republican. But what I find striking is that 45% approve of Trump's handling of the pandemic ... pardon my French: but how fucking stupid are these people? All this tells me is 45% of Iowans are degraded morons. Full stop.

I am in the process of making dinner and I usually listening to music when I do this. Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto" came up in my playlist. I was struck at how this song basically diagnosed the suffering of many young black men in America way back in 1969, when it was first released. It focuses on social class, poverty, deprivation, hunger, and the relationship with anger and violence and killings. We can details, but basically it's all right there in Elvis in 1969. And here we are, over 50 years later, and not one thing has changed. Give a listen again folks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6am8V5KNJ4A

-Northern Johnny

6:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Johnny-

Time for you and other Wafers to renew yr post-its: DEGRADED MORONS. (and not just in Iowa)

As for Elvis etc.: rest assured nothing *will* chg. BLM is actually becoming chic. Meanwhile, police depts. are same now as b4 George Floyd, but hey, the word 'Black' is now capitalized in the newspapers!

All in all, a nation of turkeys. Once you realize this, the whole socio-politico-culture scene is no longer an enigma.

jj-

"Johnnie Chiles" added: "That's what this country is all about." (A little accurate cynicism from Larry David) I'm actually surprised that bystanders didn't join in the assault.

mb

7:20 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

THIS is a crime of the highest order: Tulsi gabbard won delegates in this year's primaries. By tradition, any candidate who wins delegates is given a speaking slot. BUT, horrors of horrors, Tulsi Gaabrd was not offered a speaking slot.

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1296591920538550273?s=20

al-Qa'bong- when the Great Toilet Paper Run started, I mentioned to people that I was simply saving all those local newspapers and flyers I get in the mail. If I run out of the 'real' stuff, well, I'll have something. The looks I got from some people were amazing. You'd think I had said that I was planning to simply skin all the road kill raccoons I could find and use the fur (which isn't.... ok, enough).

8:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

Bottom line: w/o Tulsi, and Tulsism, the nation is lost.

ps: jj: Sorry, it's Jackie Chiles. I was thinking of Johnnie Cochran, on whom the Jackie Chiles figure was based. The actor is Phil Morris.

mb

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Jean said...

The Philosopher Queens: The lives and legacies of philosophy's unsung women

https://www.amazon.com/Philosopher-Queens-legacies-philosophys-unsung/dp/178352801X

This looks pretty good, actually.

9:37 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

'cause it's very chic

Tom Lehrer (1967)

10:38 PM  
Blogger Nesim Watani said...

Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality in practice https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2020/08/portland-man-beaten-during-downtown-protest-what-a-new-32-minute-video-reveals.htm

Notable Anti Racist who is being championed by such mags as the Nation admits to wanting Race-based discrimination as a means of "equity" in his "how to be an Anti-racist" book. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lZLlXcA8Cc&t=300s

Here is that argument for Moral Reparations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsFHTpJUx9w

These people are going to build the road to power for White Supremacists. This is not isolated opinions. This crap is held as sage ideals by much of the Woke. Nicole Hannah Jones of the 1619 project has already said that non-black minorities are unfairly advancing at the price of Black people. so... yeah. The next Conservative leader will probably be a Richard Spencer type.


1:42 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

The suicide rate in America has been increasing and rates are higher in rural areas than in urban areas according to a CDC study. "From 2000 to 2018, suicide rates in rural areas in the United States increased 48%, while in cities they grew by 34% over the same period, the agency data showed."

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2020/08/19/CDC-Suicide-rate-spikes-in-rural-US-amid-nationwide-increase/1941597842447/

The CDC warns that people should not ingest hand sanitizer as some Americans have become ill and even died after drinking hand sanitizer.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/05/health/hand-sanitizer-cdc-warning-study-wellness/index.html

3:46 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nesim-

1st link doesn't work.

k-

Great stuff!

mb

4:01 AM  
Anonymous Megan said...

I've been reading a book called "Coming Apart, The State of White America, 1960 to 2010", by Charles Murray. It's an entertaining and sometimes amusing read. It ties in with many of our favorite themes here, and I think people will enjoy it. Mainly, it details the vast cultural and physical separation between America's upper class and the rest of the country. You can get the unabridged CD version for 20 dollars.

Also, has anyone read Joseph Tainter's " The Collapse of Complex Societies"? If so, is it a good book? It sounds intriguing, but the paperback version is 42 dollars, so I want to make sure it is worth it beforehand.

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Here's historian John Meacham endorsing Biden-

https://youtu.be/hCNgL5tmuPI

(A prog friend urged me to watch it.)

Meacham wrote "The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels," which I haven't read.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Remind me again how the Democrats are any better than Trump?

'Immoral, Criminal, Inexcusable': Climate Groups Furious as DNC Drops Support for Ending Fossil Fuel Handouts From Platform

I know Dr Berman doesn't approve of conspiracy theories, but you do have to wonder if the DNC is in reality some sort of satanic cult which demands that initiates undergo public ritual humiliation. How else can you explain Elizabeth Warren giving a speech asking "what has the covid fall-out done to our babies?" and saying that Joe Biden has "really good plans" to "bring back union jobs" and to "make our bankruptcy laws work for families instead of creditors"? Say what? And why didn't he come up with these plans when he was vice-president for 8 years?

It's been a long time since I've seen such a gruesome spectacle as this DNC convention.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Malleus-

For one thing, he wasn't president during those 8 yrs, and typically the VP voice counts for nothing (Dick Cheney being the only exception I can think of). It's possible he had such plans, and they got quashed. We really don't know. But that the Dems will, if in power, toe the corporate line--that, I grant you, is very likely.

Megan-

I think I discuss Tainter in the Twilight bk, and I know I discussed him here, many yrs ago. The only problem w/his bk is that he attributes decline to a single cause, wh/strikes me as unlikely. Nevertheless, it's worth the read, but not $42. See if you can't get it out of the public library.

mb

9:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

Follow up to my original post here:

https://www.odt.co.nz/star-news/star-international/officer-suspended-after-saying-boy-killed-shooting-should-have-ducked

mb

11:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Megan: with regard to Chas Murray, the thesis sounds rt, but is hardly new: Michael Harrington made the argument for the existence of 2 separate Americas in his bk of the 1950s, "The Other America." JFK carried it around during his election campaign, made a big deal out of it; then of course forgot abt it, once elected.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Megan, may I also suggest that you listen to some of Tainter's lectures on YouTube before you decide whether you wish to spend more time reading him. There are many. I remember watching his ~1.5hr lecture on collapse of complex societies.

A good resource for Dick Cheney as the VP is his biopic Vice. It reveals Cheney's machinations post 9/11 andhow easily he got away with those.

1:10 PM  
Blogger moresoma said...

Joseph Tainter "The Collapse of Complex Societies" (PDF)

A must read if one wishes to understand the systemic nature of collapse.

https://wtf.tw/ref/tainter.pdf

"Energy has always been the basis of cultural complexity and it always will be." —Joseph A. Tainter

There is no American empire (or this blog) without all that oil underneath US soil. Think, 'Guns, Germs & Steel'. Nothing interesting at all happens without energy. The economy is an energy economy. Money is just abstract tokens that represent a future claim on energy/resources. This is why all empires,kingdoms & nations who've attempted to print or mint their way to prosperity ended in ruin. Can't print energy.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Requiem said...

MB - Sorry. Thought I had waited the required time period. And I thought this was my first violation. But your note sounds like it may have happened before? Sorry if it has.

Malleus - Breaking News: This just out. Examination of DNC DNA reveals DNC to be love child of Dr. Immanuel and Satan. No, this is not a conspiracy.

You heard it here first: Trump wins because Americans love spectacle.
Trump supporters stage massive flotillas throughout North Carolina. Thousands join in.

https://abc11.com/pamlico-sound-river-trump-boat-parade-atlantic-beach/6258912/

Can you imagine Joe doing the least bit thing entertaining? Since Reagan (a professional entertainer), to be elected, candidates must be able to entertain voters by playing the saxophone, telling jokes, making fools of themselves, singing like Percy Sledge. Neil Postman - Amusing Ourselves to Death. Joe may be the best candidate but he's boring.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

This guy is a Wafer for sure.

He hits almost every note.

And it's pretty funny too.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/08/21/trump-isnt-the-worst-president-but-he-is-the-most-american/

5:59 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

At the risk of sounding like an old schoolmarm, Anjin-san, I think Ms. Reid needs an editor, regardless of her politics and her attitude. I paused at "in tact," and quit reading when I saw that she wrote "throws" instead of "throes."

D. Belman has cited spelling errors on public signs as an indication of the decline in US culture. Such errors in a published article are worse, if'n you ask me.

Something else in that article bugs me: she says that Obama is beloved by the left. I disagree. Obama may be beloved by liberals, but liberals are merely right wingers with a slight edge in hypocrisy over the boogaloo types. They aren't considered as "left" anywhere but in the USA.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

I agree nothing gonna change, you’d think these dipshits would know better...11 shots!

https://www.tmz.com/2020/08/22/police-shoot-black-man-in-back-lafayette-louisiana/

10:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Gunnar-

Optimism and talk of positive change makes sense in certain contexts, but it makes no sense when a nation is collapsing on a daily basis. Not clear if this incident will rise to the George Floyd level, but the notion that BLM or protests or general outrage cd lead to serious changes in police depts. has got to be one of the silliest around. What delusion! Just elect Schmiden, he'll make it all rt. Etc. Fitting, that prog rhymes with fog. Regardless of what happens on Nov. 3, there will never be a wake-up moment, when the light enters their poor brains, and they grasp what I've been saying for 20 yrs: It's over, fer Chrissakes; deal w/it.

mb

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Ordinary Indian, Moresoma,

Thanks a lot for the info on Tainter and the PDF link. I will definitely check him out on youtube. At any rate, I'm glad I asked since it saved me 42 dollars!



5:30 AM  
Blogger Systems Crash Go said...

Yeehaw!!

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/08/21/trump-isnt-the-worst-president-but-he-is-the-most-american/#gsc.tab=0

I don't read too much but American affairs but when I do its gotta be stuff like the aforementioned link at Counterpunch or of course the mecca of Wafers i. E. DAA.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

al-Qa'bong-

my favorite mistake in the article was 'reeks havoc...' Has a certain poetic resonance to it. Havoc as a smell permeating the whole of a civilization... Maybe each country should have its own national odor. For the US, I propose a rich combo package- the assorted smells of shopping mall food court: the synthetic Orange Julius stand, heated rancid oil and egg rolls, a layer of burnt tomato sauce. Add in the smell of a frat basement, stale beer and vomit. Now THAT is America.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Lukas said...

"Has Africa's green revolution failed? https://dw.com/en/has-africas-green-revolution-failed/a-54581028 Study finds that the much-hyped work of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)—co-founded by the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations—is actually counterproductive"

https://www.dw.com/en/has-africas-green-revolution-failed/a-54581028

9:58 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Hola Dr. Berman & Wafers. I hope you all are enjoying a nice quiet weekend. Here are a few different Karens doing their things. They range from their usual prejudiced racial insults; to yelling at the repo man; to getting angry at public displays of affection while at her job; to acting like a shouting drill sergeant.
It’s all part of Karen Sunday, Season 1, Episode 5. Enjoy! LOL!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAb49F6deuQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myFlzja44AE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIviUByB7T0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ru-fwEgEk

10:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Lukas-

Gee, what a surprise.

Joe-

I love 'em. I can't help it; I love 'em.

mb

11:19 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Trump fan clobbers Biden supporter over lawn sign obstruction:

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/volusia-county/os-ne-debary-fight-biden-sign-20200819-5dwokhxlbzfwtbocrwmegsahqu-story.html

Is this guy a genius or a clueless buffoon? Wafers decide!:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/21/opinion/sunday/giorgio-agamben-philosophy-coronavirus.html

Miles the Muddled

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Vanessa Romo said...

Washington Postal Workers Defy USPS Orders And Reinstall Mail Sorting Machines

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielcassady/2020/08/22/washington-postal-workers-defy-usps-orders-and-reinstall-mail-sorting-machines/

Some decent human beings out there, I'm surprised! Dual Process, perhaps?

3:14 PM  
Blogger Cyrillia Juniper said...

Miles, MB & Wafers:

Agamben makes an interesting argument:

"Rich, atomized, diverse, our society has a weak spot, and the coronavirus has found it. 'For fear of getting sick,' Mr. Agamben writes, 'Italians are ready to sacrifice practically everything — their normal living conditions, their social relations, their jobs, right down to their friendships, their loves, their religious and political convictions.' "

I listened to a Matt Taibi and Katie Halper interview with Thomas Frank today regarding his new book about populism, "The People, No!" Here's the link to the interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvxyEta01EU&feature=youtu.be

Frank makes some of the same points that Agamben makes. He posits the theory that we are now ruled by technocrats who do not want us to think for ourselves, and who will crush any "people's" movement that arises, just as they crushed Sanders' campaign. It's an interesting conversation and the book sounds good too.

5:10 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

I’m thinking this has to be the number one song that truly defines the essence of the 60’s....I was born in 1963.


https://youtu.be/kZcyRLtwUVY

1:17 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

@ Cyrillia:

Thanks for that link to the Thos. Frank interview. That was great. For people interested, "In Our Time" is a BBC radio programme that discusses lots of interesting topics. One that I found fascinating (as someone who hasn't been schooled in much US history) which may be relevant to this blog was a discussion on the presidency of Ulysses S Grant and the racial issues that persisted (and in some ways worsened) after end of the Civil war.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005f2k

4:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

jj-

Well...it was a very complex time, w/many sides to it. That song is one side. For a different view, check this out:

https://www.amazon.com/Sixties-Big-Ideas-Small-Books/dp/0312427212/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1TATDK9Q4T5G6&dchild=1&keywords=jenny+diski&qid=1598267506&s=books&sprefix=jenni+diski%2Caps%2C246&sr=1-5

There's also one w/same title by Todd Gitlin.

Jesus, so much more I cd say!

mb

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Sam Burmest said...

John Gray reviews The History of Magic: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present by Chris Gosden in The NewStatesman:
https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2020/08/realism-magic

9:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Cdn't run it. We have a half-pg-rule max on this blog. Pls compress and re-send. Thanks.

mb

1:52 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I was born in 1960 and so my experience of the sixties was something like that of Sid Vicious, who played with his Action Man during the decade. My memories of the music weren't very hippy-dippy either. When I want to get nostalgic I listen to stuff like this:

Abergavenny - Marty Wilde https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VwRgd_Koj8

Al Hirt - Cotton Candy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onWRny-yriM

Percy Faith - Theme From A Summer Place https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSsiS-v6_6M

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 - Mas que nada https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05w5ch9l6zI

You get the idea...

2:08 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Hi Dr. Berman & Wafers,
It’s just a normal mundane start of another week here in the World’s Wasteland, otherwise known as the United States of America. Here is a clip of just another ordinary occurrence, a shooting by the cops of an unarmed person. In this case the brave “boys in blue” shot him in the back.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-PK8t8vtSM

JJ, regarding the 1960’s: I was born in 1953. And so I remember vividly the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis; the daily televised news reporting of Nikita Khrushchev’s diatribes about President Kennedy; the Vietnam War quagmire on everyone’s minds and discussed at the dinner table every evening; the demonstrations against it; Martin Luther King marching for civil rights; the Beatles invasion that changed pop music; the fall in the sports world of the decades-long New York Yankees ( which for a kid like me growing up a diehard Yankee fan in New York was heartbreaking) dynasty; and the happier time of Woodstock and the moon launch.
I feel this one song below ( I’m interested on the Doctor’s opinion) better describes the 1960’s. It came out in 1965, the middle of the decade. Some of the lyrics in it are so trenchant and prescient and epitomize today’s American society:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I98KeKV_F9g

2:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Yes, a great song...then and today.

mb

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

A new study on the lifetime risks Americans face from threats like drug overdoses and death by gunshot. I thought it was telling that for Americans the lifetime risk of being killed by a gun is slightly greater than that of being killed in a motor vehicle crash.

https://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2020/08/one-in-66-americans-will-die-from-a-drug-overdose-during-their-lifetime-study-predicts/

5:39 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

So you can buy a system to program your window shades to go up and down on a schedule, to lighten and darken as you move from dinner to TV time, to adjust to the changing times of sun rise and sunset.

How sad does your life have to be that you need to buy a full computerized electronic system to open and close your window blinds??! Or what is wrong with me that I actually enjoy opening and closing my blinds and curtains by hand, looking out at the changing light and seasons, feeling the different temperatures at the window, etc.? In my bedroom it’s the ‘official’ start of my day as I finish the dark of sleep and pull the curtains to let the plants have light.

But hey, if interested, here’s a video showing you the wonderful life of programming your windows...

https://www.hunterdouglas.com/operating-systems/motorized/powerview-motorization

The sooner this culture collapses, the better.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Unknown-

Sorry, I don't post unknowns. You need a real handle to participate.

Dan D-

The American notion of 'progress', I guess.

mb

4:18 AM  
Blogger Cyrillia Juniper said...

@ Cormorant
Thanks for the BBC tip. Ya gotta love a country that still feeds the public brain in spite of the Tories' attempts to kill it. I'm leaving the heartland for the PNW again where I will be across the Strait from Vancouver and can tune my radio to the CBC. It's such a rollicking mix of comedy, news, real discussions about issues, analysis of "our neighbor to the south" (I can't imagine what they're saying today) and even drama. I remember being riveted by the drama Afghanada, the story of a squad of Canadian soldiers, led by a woman, serving in Afghanistan. Radio drama at its finest. Here's a link to the episode page.

https://www.cbc.ca/afghanada/

NPR never even thot about being this good. Or relevant.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I don't listen to CBC as much as I used to in the 70s 80s and 90s, when my radio dial was welded to their frequency. There used to be titans behind the microphones whereas now a race of media pygmies chatters forth. For example, weekday mornings used to feature Peter Gzowski, who could talk about any subject with intelligence and humour. Now his former time slot is divided between a show called "Q," which is essentially interviews with singers and guitar players, and another show which every day seems to have the same story about a Rwandan refugee trans-sexual single mother describing her experience as a survivor of sexual abuse in a residential school and how that impacts her ability to deal with her leukemia today.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Adrian H. said...

"Just as Trump’s presidency and the white ethnonationalism it has empowered together represent an irrational response to the loss of white privilege in an increasingly diverse, multicultural United States, so, too, does Trump’s foreign policy — especially toward China — represent an irrational response to a similar loss of American privilege in an increasingly multipolar world."

https://supchina.com/2020/08/21/white-privilege-american-hegemony-and-the-rise-of-china/

Sharp insight into Trumpo's China policy

11:51 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Wafers, have generally been seeping in the decline all around. Nothing very special to mention. Was watching RNC on CNN. What struck me is how similar the narratives of the right are everywhere. Only the details change. 'Biden is a socialist who's gonna take your freedom away (of death, if I may add).' Here also the right-wing propaganda machinery has coined a term which essentially means a Maoist insurgent. Many long-time non-partisan social activists have been put behind bars on that pretext. Then the GOP is trying to spin Trump's handling of the pandemic as a success story. No different here. But honestly, if this is the convention of a major political party seeking re-election of the incumbent President, something is so fucking wrong that its beyond fix.

Just watched the documentary 'Echoes of the Empire' on BBC abt which there has been quite some discussion on this blog. How culpable Churchill was for the 1943 Bengal famine....

@Dan, technology fetish. I know ppl who swoon over car seats that remember how much pressure you put on each butt while you sit, and ppl who change their cellphones every time a new model comes to the market. Then there are those who put on these 'wearable' gadgets to check if they are having enough exercise. They are so detached from their own bodies that can't understand its signals any more than they can understand Nature outside.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Quiet Desperation said...

Dr.Berman, Just received my copy of THOTM from Borders (fuck Bezos) and was overjoyed to read the first story dealing with whacking the naybas over loud noise. I've killed most of mine many times over the years, hypothetically of course, but the noise has just become much worse as self centeredness reigns. A neutron bomb perhaps?
T. Servo: your predilection with suicide rates and the myriad methods 'Muricans resort to in whacking themselves keeps me informed and determined as ever to exercise the last remaining act of self determination when the time is right and Howard Beale invades my dreams,(if I don't stroke out first),so thanks in advance of my demise and keep the data coming.
To all my fellow Wafers still hand wringing over the "election" just stop. As the Great Seer says, it's all theatre, just millions beating off in one massive circle jerk resulting in bupkis. Please, just stop. You'll feel better. We live in a shithole country currently burning to the ground. The tomatoes are coming in nicely now, gonna make a Wonder Bread(TM), real mayo and beefsteak sandwich for lunch and continue reverting to my childhood. I'd just like a little peace and quiet. Onward and downward fellow Wafers...in decline we marinate.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

I think we all agree that what we are witnessing at both conventions is a massive orgy of beating off. I love it, as much as I love the Karens. Carry on, morons! Ignore what's real, and destroy the fucking country!

mb

3:33 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Book Overview - After Trump and Brexit, the Coming Progressive Wave.


https://theconversation.com/after-trump-and-brexit-the-coming-of-the-progressive-wave-133200

4:13 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Raising a stink dept.:

Nicole Dozois, 40, beat up her own father over his relentless flatulence.

https://cbs12.com/news/offbeat/florida-woman-accused-of-attacking-father-due-to-his-relentless-farting

Miles

5:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Check out Nicole's face: the face of America. Actually, it's not clear to me why she didn't go out, get a .357 Magnum, and blow him outta the water.

mb

6:23 PM  
Anonymous McGinn said...

New Video Shows Largest Hydrogen Bomb Ever Exploded - The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/25/science/tsar-bomba-nuclear-test.html

Tsar bomba was on a different level of destruction

6:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to turkey who sent hate mail-

You poor shmuck. I can spot hate mail in 2 seconds, and I delete it w/o rdg it; as I did yours. But what the heck: keep on sending them; you obviously have 0 better to do w/yr empty life--might as well fill it w/hatred. Jesus, what misery: yr a sad piece of trash, and you'll die a sad piece of trash. Is this really what you want for yrself? (How proud yr mother must be, boychik.)

mb

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Gregory said...

"DALLAS - Following 46 cases of bleach ingestions in the North Texas Poison Center region since the start of August, experts are again warning people that drinking the chemical won’t prevent COVID-19.”

https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2020/08/24/almost-50-north-texans-drank-bleach-this-month-poison-center-warns-stop-it-wont-cure-covid/amp/

Americans!

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Sebastian said...

Brilliant essay by ancient historian Tom Holland:

The end of secularism is nigh
The West's ability to market this culturally conditioned assumption is dying

https://unherd.com/2020/08/the-end-of-secularism-is-nigh/

8:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Greg-

Was there ever, in the history of the world, a dumber people?

mb

9:50 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

This is near-unbelievable. Refer to my story in "Heart of the Matter" entitled "Sweet Honey in the Rock," and then check out these sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/aug/25/discovery-of-scholars-notes-shine-light-on-race-to-decipher-rosetta-stone

https://www.amazon.com/Riddle-Rosetta-Polymath-Discovered-Hieroglyphs/dp/0691200904/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=diane+greco+josefowicz&qid=1598407425&s=books&sr=1-1

Who cd have imagined that there were undiscovered mss. in the British Museum relating to the Rosetta Stone?!

mb

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

I finally know who I'm voting for this fall:

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/08/25/rapper-west-qualifies-for-presidential-ballot-in-minnesota

10:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pastrami-

Forget Kanye. What we need in the W.H. is Kim as pres, with Tulsi as her V.P. As part of their campaign, Kim wd show her buttocks videos, and Tulsi her workout tape.

mb

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Gobble-Gobble said...

Having a bad day Turkish?

https://brandnewtube.com/watch/the-fatalistic-youth-and-gamers_ZMUfNQRx7AHJPHR.html

1:37 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Under the heading “Black Lives Matter, Yours Not So Much,” this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/08/25/dc-protesters-blm-diner-confrontation/

SJWs, reacting to the Kenosha shooting, assemble in DC and confront diners who aren’t yet onboard with the program.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Happy midweek Dr. Berman & Wafers. Or as they call it on some local rock-’n’-roll stations, “Humpday”. Maybe it’s an accurate term with all the humps in this country. This juvenile “hump” tried to act brave with his automatic weapon last night in Kenosha gunning down a couple of people. A future cop perhaps. The violent disintegration of the United States continues.

https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/social-media-videos-photos-show-deadly-shooting-scene-unfold-in-kenosha/2328836/

https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/8/26/21402877/kenosha-shooting-arrest-antioch-jacob-blake

2:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Joe-

Cops shot Blake in back 7 times, w/a revolver. This is absurdly primitive. Had police depts. been issued nuclear weapons, as I have been urging Trumpi to do, they cd have launched a missile into his back, plus used other missiles on protesters. When will Trumpola man up, and make this possible? We need to start using nuclear weapons routinely, for everyday conflicts. Perhaps after he's reelected, he'll listen to me.

Jas-

Well, that shd help the BLM cause immeasurably. It does show how politically well organized, how astute, and how ideologically coherent, the movement is. How can they lose?

Gobble-

Folks like Turkish are so predictable. I say, "Of course you'll be back," and then, instead of doing something productive w/their lives--they come back!, even tho I am making good on my promise, that I'm not reading their messages. Can you imagine living these kind of lives--the life of a professional shmuck? Of having nothing better to do than attack an extremely minor intellectual figure who has no clout whatsoever? Tolstoy's Ivan Ilyich, at the end of his life, realized that his whole life had been a waste. In Turkish's case, I doubt he'll have the benefit of any insight at all. He'll just drift into the Void, a pathetic asshole to the end. And there are so many of these people out there. Sheesh.

mb

3:49 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I'm reading Matt Taibbi's Hate, Inc. these days. Our Belman is mentioned on p. 109. There's also a chapter on how Trump plays the media in a manner that's almost identical to professional wrestling. That's what I've always thought. Trump reminds me of villains like The Brute, who I used to watch on "All-Star Wrestling" on Vancouver TV when I was a kid.

Saagar tells it like it is about Republicans for Schmiden:

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

"Lowest life-forms on this planet."

4:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

Does Matt say anything in particular (I haven't read the bk)?

mb

4:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: That discussion is rt on target. Altho Krystal says 'like' too often; for which I wd recommend a mild slapping. Nothing severe; just what I call a wake-up slapping. But they are rt when they quote Schmiden, that 0 will chg. This is what FDR promised the ruling elite, in fact, and he delivered on his promise: what you'll have is a slightly modified capitalism. What we'll have if Schmiden wins are cosmetic changes (see my post, 'Bupkis'), plus a much more presentable leader. And inasmuch as the American people don' know shit from Shinola, they'll be fine w/cosmetic chgs. Meanwhile, the country will continue to tank. Myself, I prefer a faster collapse, and a complete asshole in the W.H. (Much more entertaining, for one thing)

mb

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Millennial Realist said...

Karen shouting at the RNC Convention:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo6nKT37JN0
^^ I'm torn between her and Tulsi for Kim Kardashian's VP pick. Tough choice.

Karen's Road Rage -- Shouts "I hope your kids get cancer"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RROG3lNeoOM

I keep hearing from progs that we need to vote Biden in order to save the planet. They've got to be the dumbest people on the planet, nearly tied with the Bubbas: https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/401356-dnc-passes-resolution-on-fossil-fuel-donations

I'm not sure what the consensus is on Oliver Stone on here, but this was a pretty insightful interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6D2Rqz8aJU (Oliver Stone on challenging Hollywood convention & film as a "disappearing" art form). He seems to be one of the very few in Hollywood to truly understand just how delusional the American Dream actually is and how barbaric our foreign policy and military adventures really are. I enjoyed his nuanced view on the characters he created in his movies.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mil-

One critic wrote that her speech came off as a parody of an SNL skit. WHAT a douche baguette! And there is an ugliness to her that is rather scary--truly American.

mb

8:53 PM  

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