September 28, 2012

Land of the Rising Sun

Dear Wafers,

I fly to Japan early Monday morning, and will be there for six weeks. I don't know what the Internet cafe situation is there, esp. since I'll be spending two weeks in the wilds of Northeast Honshu; plus, I'll need to concentrate on my research while I'm there. So as of Monday, things will be kind of iffy on this blog, touch and go. I'm telling you this so you know that messages might not get posted for a while. But never fear: I'll be back, and hopefully everything sent in will get preserved.

Meanwhile, I wanted to ramble a bit about how I got into this project, and what my thoughts are about it at this point in time.

One of my early books (1981) was The Reenchantment of the World--the only best-seller I ever had. I guess it hit the market at just the right time, when there was a lot of interest in holistic healing and nonscientific systems of thought. The book generated a lot of interest because of its central, radical thesis: that in their own terms, these nonscientific thought systems were true; that they described a world that did, to a great degree, exist. And that if the scientific world view was also true, it was so in its terms, i.e. the parameters of the modern world. This didn't mean that I believed (for example) that arrows fell to earth in a straight line (Aristotle) prior to the Scientific Revolution, and that they changed their trajectory to a parabola around 1600 (Galileo). (Man, wouldn't that be a hoot.) Rather, that in the rush to modernity, the baby got thrown out with the bathwater: a whole world of learning, an alternate sensibility, got lost. This, I still believe, and I believe that we are much poorer for it, despite the very real benefits of the modern world. (A theme, I should add, that is echoed in Ursula Le Guin's brilliant novel, The Telling.)

(Much to my surprise, I still get letters from folks out there saying, "That book changed my life." This not from folks who took too much acid back in the 60s, but from philsophers, therapists, and people who have their critical faculties very much intact.)

I wouldn't call it my best book, and if I were to rewrite it today, I certainly would change a lot of what I originally wrote. As Noam Chomsky once remarked, if you are a professor and are giving the same lectures 20 years on from the same yellowed notes, it might be time to start thinking about retirement. Any scholar worth his or her salt is not going to agree with everything s/he wrote 31 years ago. And yet, there are a few themes that remain more or less consistent within the body of my work, and one of these is the costs of modernity. Modernity certainly has its blessings, and these are continually celebrated both in academic works as well as in the popular press. The costs of modernity, on the other hand, the aspects of the premodern era that were really valuable (as well as true)--well, these are things that most writers are not terribly interested in; and in the US, of course, at least 99% of the population is not even aware that there is an issue here.

My interest in Japan was born many years ago out of a fascination with its craft tradition, which is one of the most breathtaking the world has ever known. I remember my high school English teacher, Harold Sliker--this around 1960, when teachers were dedicated and students paid attention in class, and were still able to read--talked about the Japanese tradition of sword making, and how the artisan would fast and meditate for three days before beginning the work, and then would forge the hot steel by repeatedly folding it over, and tempering it, until the result was a brilliant blade. I was fascinated by this, but never followed it up. Well, not as a teenager, at any rate. Years later, however, when I was writing the Reenchantment book, I found the same sort of dedication in the Western alchemical tradition. Care, dedication, tradition, craft, community, infinite patience--this was the baby that got thrown out with the bathwater.

Of course, I realize that there is a socioeconomic and political context here that makes the whole subject tricky. It is perhaps not an accident that Heidegger joined the Nazi party, and that the Nazis got involved in a weird amalgam of tradition and modernity that the historian Jeffrey Herf aptly calls Reactionary Modernism. Or that the world of the medieval alchemist was one of feudal-organic hierarchy; or that the samurai tradition, including the mingei, or folk craft tradition, got cleverly channeled into the militarism of the 1930s, culminating in the attack on Pearl Harbor. And as far as contemporary Japan goes, young people are for the most part interested in landing a job with Mitsubishi, making a ton of yen, and sticking the latest iPhone up their noses. Things like the tea ceremony, in their eyes, are for squares and tourists. Which is not all that surprising, given the impact America has had on that nation.

The first impact came in the form of Commodore Perry, who sailed into Edo Bay in 1853 and threatened to blow the place to kingdom come if the Japanese did not open themselves up to commercial trade with the US. This was the catalyst for major turmoil within Japan, culminating in the overthrow of the shogunate in 1868 and what is known as the Meiji Restoration. While England, e.g., had more than a century to adjust to capitalism, Japan had to turn itself on its head in the space of a single generation. The result is a society that is extremely neurotic, still torn apart by issues of tradition vs. modernity. I wrote this recently to a Japanese friend, an anthropologist of about 50 years of age, who wrote back: "I struggle with all of this on a daily basis."

The second impact came in the form of General MacArthur, and the Occupation of Japan during 1945-52. The Americanization was fairly relentless, and the Japanese got on the bandwagon in a hurry: Coca-Cola, jeans, American movies, the whole nine yards. "Irresistible Empire," Victoria de Grazia called it for the case of Europe being steamrolled by the US, and one can say that it was even more irresistible in the case of Japan. (Check out Oe Kenzaburo's Nobel acceptance speech, 1994.) In any case, the land of green tea and ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) is still reeling from the double whammy delivered by the United States. (By the way, this does not mean that I think Japan should have won the war; I don't. I'm just vainly trying to head off that accusation, like the one that surfaced in the wake of Ch. 4 of Why America Failed, in which because I said that the antebellum South had certain nonhustling characteristics that were admirable, a whole bunch of readers took this to be a defense of the Confederacy and of slavery. mother told me I should be a plumber instead of a writer, but did I listen? I keep saying on this blog that Americans are not very bright, and I have no doubt that when my book on Japan appears, the same crowd will be jumping up and down and screaming that I want Japan to have been the victor in WW2. Too many people in this country with lobotomies, apparently.)

Anyway, all this by way of saying that Japan and what it represents, historically and culturally speaking, is a very complex subject, and that whenever one asserts X about it, there is always a non-X or anti-X that needs to be taken into consideration. That being said, let me return to Harold Sliker, Japanese sword makers, and the significance of the craft tradition. On craft in general, Octavio Paz wrote in 1973: "Between the timeless time of the museum and the speeded-up time of technology, craftsmanship is the heartbeat of human time." Or to quote Alan Watts (The Way of Zen), "people in a hurry cannot feel."

Here is Watts on Zen art:

"The aimless life is the constant theme of Zen art of every kind, expressing the artist’s own inner state of going nowhere in a timeless moment. All men have these moments occasionally, and it is just then that they catch those vivid glimpses of the world which cast such a glow over the intervening wastes of memory—the smell of burning leaves on a morning of autumn haze, a flight of sunlit pigeons against a thundercloud, the sound of an unseen waterfall at dusk, or the single cry of some unidentified bird in the depths of a forest. In the art of Zen every landscape, every sketch of bamboo in the wind or of lonely rocks, is an echo of such moments."

(If you want to get an idea of what Watts is talking about on film, check out Enlightenment Guaranteed and Cherry Blossoms, both by the German filmmaker and Japanophile, Doris Doerrie.)

Bernard Leach, England's greatest potter (who lived in Japan for many years), says that shibui is an aesthetic ideal in Japanese craft, referring as it does to the austere, the subdued, and the restrained. This element, he remarks (A Potter's Book), gave the work a religious and psychological basis--something quite different from the hi-tech products being turned out by Japan today. During its integrated periods, adds Donald Richie (A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics), Japan presented the spectacle of a people who made art a way of life. All of this got lost in the rush to modernize, to Americanize. Yet one wonders whether any society, be it ours or the Japanese, can sustain itself without this kind of religious or psychological foundation. In this regard, the Japanese reaction to the Tom Cruise film, The Last Samurai, when it was released in 2003, is rather instructive (I need a stronger word here). The film is not really historically accurate; it is a romanticization of the last samurai rebellion, led by Saigo Takamori in 1877 (a folk hero in Japan to this day)--a shorter equivalent of our own Civil War, and fought, perhaps, for similar reasons (see the infamous Ch. 4 of Why America Failed). On blogs, newspapers, radio programs and whatever, there was this huge outpouring of emotion in response to the film, to the effect of: "This is us; this is the real Japan." Shades of Ursula Le Guin, once again: a corporate-commercial reality had been rammed down their throats, pasted over a deep, spiritual reality, and suddenly, the Japanese came out of the closet and declared: We're not having it; modernization tried to destroy our soul, but ultimately that soul still exists, and it will have the final say.

Well, I don't know how real (i.e., lasting) that outpouring of emotion was; everybody eventually went back to Mitsubishi to put in 14-hour work days, I'm guessing. But it does seem to me that there is a kind of 'magical' substrate that simply won't go away, and that we should be grateful for that. Can human beings really live without meaning? Japan tried to do it since the Meiji Restoration, and it hasn't worked out very well. America tried to do it since the late 16th century, and it seems to me that that is why it failed. In the last analysis, meaning is not a luxury.

Still, the US, as well as Japan, are too far gone to embrace the substrate voluntarily; this much seems certain. But the modern world will pass, as I've suggested in previous writings, and as we transition to a more austere world--by necessity, not by choice--certain things may come to the surface once again. I'm thinking of my earlier post on Ernest Callenbach, and his posthumous essay, in which he wrote the following (please pardon my duplication of part of that post):

"All things 'go' somewhere: they evolve, with or without us, into new forms. So as the decades pass, we should try not always to futilely fight these transformations. As the Japanese know, there is much unnoticed beauty in wabi-sabi--the old, the worn, the tumble-down, those things beginning their transformation into something else. We can embrace this process of devolution: embellish it when strength avails, learn to love it.

"There is beauty in weathered and unpainted wood, in orchards overgrown, even in abandoned cars being incorporated into the earth. Let us put unwise or unneeded roads 'to bed,' help a little in the healing of the natural contours, the re-vegetation by native plants. Let us embrace decay, for it is the source of all new life and growth."

Mono no aware, the Japanese call it: the somewhat melancholy awareness of the impermanence of things. There will be something of great value on the other side of the Great Watershed we are facing, I'm convinced of it. Perhaps, Japan offers a clue to what it might be.

(c)Morris Berman, 2012


Blogger Morris Berman said...


I finally got the thing to work by putting in a code break two times after every line break. What a pain in the neck. Another case of modern technology driving innocent people nuts. But--at least it worked.


12:50 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...


As always, well taken.

Japan has always facinated me, if only through Kurasawa films, a much too short visit, macrobioic cooking/ philosophy, and the writings of that most unusual American, Lafcadio Hearne, who became totaly immersed in Japanese culture.

Could you recommend further reading ?


1:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, depends on what aspect yr interested in. For starters, maybe: Ruth Benedict, "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"; Jun'ichiro Tanazaki, "In Praise of Shadows". (Of course in Japan, it's Tanazaki Jun'ichiro.)



ps: Hearn was Greek-Irish, as it turns out, tho basically Japanese by the end of his life (Koizumi Yakumo).(I've been trying to think of a good Japanese name for myself, just in case I go native.
Moritomo Bermazaki, perhaps; I mean, Bermazaki Moritomo.)

2:02 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Reading The Reenchantment of the World was a transformative experience for me as well. I was in college at the time (1986?)and a professor gave me a copy. I have a memory of finishing the book in the lobby of the university library and immediately rushing off to find my professor in order to tell him that reading it had made me aware of deeply important questions concerning modern life that almost no one was asking. After that, I set about working my way through your bibliography (especially the works of Gregory Bateson)and (eventually) changed my major from anthropology to philosophy. I think what gave Reenchantment its power was the palpable sense of something vitally important that had been lost (a sense of the sacred), and an awareness of the need to mourn that loss. I have followed your work ever since that first encounter, and always look forward with great anticipation to a new book. Have a wonderful time in Japan.


7:19 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Have a good trip MB, I'm jealous!

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” B. Pascal

10:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I misspelled Tanizaki.


Thanks for telling me that; I appreciate it. In many ways, I've approached the writing of each book as an exercise in craftsmanship: slow, careful, deliberate, 'sacred'. This has meant that I reach a very small audience of a very unusual nature (I'm guessing). Which is fine with me. Someone (I forget who) once said that if what yr doing appeals to a mass audience, you've done something terribly wrong.


10:41 AM  
Anonymous Chad in Chicago said...

Reading about your upcoming trip to Japan made me think of a book I read about the Hikikomori phenomenon a few years back. It's called "Shutting Out The Sun" by Michael Zielenziger, and I'd be more than happy to mail you my copy if I can get your mailing address (although you probably won't be getting it until you return).

The book deals with more than just the Hikikomori. It also discusses Japan's high suicide rate, rigid corporate life and the "liquid modernity" you described in DAA. I found the book fascinating in a number of ways, but mostly in that it describes a society that is reacting against the modern world in a way the Japanese only could, that these same issues exist in all Western societies, but because of the the way Japanese culture is constructed they react in a completely different way than an American would.

For example, as an experiment they gave a camera to several American and Japanese college students and asked them to take pictures of things that were important to them. The Americans came back with pictures of friends, girlfriends, etc. The Japanese did the same. The important distinction was that while the American pictures were all close-ups, the Japanese always took pictures in wide angle, encompassing the environment they were in. It showed that they viewed themselves less individualistically than Americans and more a part of the larger Japanese society as a whole.

Anyway, I'm rambling here. in short, it's a great book. Description can be found here.

Also, I'm really mad I can't post a picture here. I wanted to include my snapshot of the I LIVE AMONG DOLTS post-it note I have on my bathroom mirror. You're right. It helps.

Best wishes on your trip.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'd love to read that bk. Do me a favor, write me at, and I'll give u the address of my US mail drop. It will then sit in my box until I return, whereupon I can read it.

Many thanks,

1:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: speaking of living among dolts, the Assoc Press ran an article today about attitudes of American people toward the domestic use of police drones. It seems that the FAA is currently working on a program for the routine domestic use of unmanned aircraft. The ability of these craft to spy on citizens and collect data of all sorts is quite enormous. 44% of those polled support allowing the police to use drones; 36% said they were not concerned about potential loss of privacy. David Eisner, president of the constitution center in Philadelphia, said that he had assumed that the use of this technology by the police, which is the same tech as used in Afghanistan, "would garner an almost hysterical response." But no: a large % of the public couldn't care less.

The reason Eisner is surprised by this is that he doesn't understand that he is living among dolts. As a result, he doesn't have a post-it on his mirror, which would remind him on a daily basis that the American public has its head firmly embedded in its buttocks, and therefore that polls such as this are not surprising at all.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous JSRANK said...

Dr. Berman...Six weeks ? WOW ! Have a wonderful time, and with that much, you won't have to rush things.

Of course, this means that you will miss out on alot of the election fervor here in the good old USA ( nyuk, nyuk ! ).

I lent a book out many years ago and have not received it back as yet I figure it is a type of 'paying it forward'. I hope so, and not that it is lying on a shelf.
Anyway, the book is "Letters To Strongheart" by J. Allen Boone; who later truncated the chapters to form his more popular "Kinship With All Life".

I mention this because there was a chapter in LTS concerning the author's visit to a tea ceremony on the slope of Mount Fuji that I feel you would find compelling. Book is long time OOP.

I am sure your stay will be full and memorable!

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Don't forget your Geiger counter when you go to Japan. Rumors are rampant that Japanese "conformism" is allowing all sorts of contaminated food to get accepted into the public food supply.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Samule Harper said...

@Chad in Chicago: “It showed that they viewed themselves less individualistically than Americans and more a part of the larger Japanese society as a whole”

The camera story is truly the right metaphor for what has been happening to the people of the USA, especially to the American citizens in the middle class. Someone provided the following link about what is happening to job opportunities, middle class, and American dream in the USA:

Upward Mobility In America Now

There is a fascinating quote in the NPR’s radio broadcast above: The American dreamed worked when everyone else around the world was sleeping.

Once other people started to wake up and demand their own share of the greed and resources, the American dream was hard to achieve inside USA. For example, only about 1000 USA workers contribute to the brain power in designing iPod and iPhone; the rest of work (manufacturing, servicing, etc), were done outside USA. Hence lots of jobs were lost so that more profits would accrue for top managers at Apple. The top US managers “viewed themselves MORE individualistically, NOT as a part of the larger American society as a whole”

5:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Not good! How can I check on this?


At least I'll miss Mittney's concession speech, wh/will break my heart. In Japan they call him "Lom".


5:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I guess it's a question of whether there ever *was* an "American society as a whole." More like a hole, I wd think. If the ethos is hustling and competition, what cd possibly be the glue of such a 'society'? As far as the US goes/went, Margaret Thatcher was rt.

Meanwhile, here's a neat sort of haiku from Richard Powell, author of "Wabi Sabi for Writers":

The old school
Same floor wax
Different kids

!!--I love it!


6:27 PM  
Anonymous Reverse Engineer said...

"Land of the Rising Sun" now published also on the Doomstead Diner.

The Morris Bergman Fan Club on the Diner hit me right away this time to get it published same day. :)

Added some Multimedia to Dinerize it some. :)

Folks interested in this article might also be interested in the article "Mr. Peabody Visits Japan" on the Diner


6:53 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

The credibility of both the government and the "whistleblowers" is a problem, of course. Radioactivity is such a powerful issue that it is a metaphor all in itself for extreme emotional reactions. So claims of contamination can be motivated by all sorts of ulterior motives. But governments are not known for honesty on extreme issues, either. All I can do is point you to a source. They claim to be reporting findings by people who know how to use scientific instruments. You'll have to evaluate it for yourself.

Fukushima Diary

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Reverse Engineer said...

"Hearn was Greek-Irish, as it turns out, tho basically Japanese by the end of his life (Koizumi Yakumo).(I've been trying to think of a good Japanese name for myself, just in case I go native.
Moritomo Bermazaki, perhaps; I mean, Bermazaki Moritomo.)"-MB

I don't think this is an ideal moment in History to be Turning Japanese. Their Overshoot problem is worse than the Chinese and Fuk-U-shima is poisoning the entire archipelago.

While Amerika certainly Failed, the Nipponese are EPIC FAILURES. Those folks are TOAST.


8:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Jesus, I was *kidding*! Tho I doubt the Japanese are more toasty than we are, truth be told. (Have u actually looked into Rom Mittney's face?) Also, my name is not Bergman.


8:53 PM  
Anonymous bart said...

Here's wishing you a bon voyage, sensei.
As far as protective gear goes here are a few options:

As far as which country is more toast.... I don't know... A toss up?

A book reviewed yesterday in the Times on Rocky Flats, which is smack dab in the middle of the south Denver suburbs and where plutonium deposits in the soil in a 1970 report were the "highest ever measured near an urban area, including the city of Nagasaki."

Also... watch out for this:

Not to mention the yakuza! Enjoy the sake, Bermazaki-san. Ars longa, vita brevis.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The deadly blowfish is called fugu, and I guess it's a macho thing in Japan, to eat a plate of it and see if you live (Japanese roulette). Supposedly 50% of fugu-eaters die from it. (Much worse odds than Russian roulette.) Between fugu, Fukushima fallout, and the yakuza: hell, *I'm* the one that'll be toast. I'd opt for taking a bath in sake, but figure that wd be kinda pricey.

Yours in Mittney,

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...


Have a good and safe trip!

And here is something to amuse you over the weekend:


12:40 AM  
Anonymous carlos l. said...

have you read "the japanese brain"?

It looks that they have their brain wired in opposition with the rest of the world --they process enviromental sounds linguistically, a quality in the west comes only after musical training.

I's studying japanese for three years and i find it fascinating and find lots of parallells with what that dude termed e-primitive. Do you know that blog, click opera? has lots of interesting insights about japan

Now i know you're writing that book i'm eager to read it. Yeah, your books have changed my life too :D


carlos l.

5:59 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

I found this referred to in a sports column about people in Japan putting a needle in their heads and attaching a saline drip. A bump swells up and a thumb print gives the impression of a Bagel.


Really tho I hope Dr Berman has the best trip of his life and brings back many great anecdotes. I worry about the radiation, but, what the hell, that is a problem everywhere on the planet.


The undecided voter gig was hilarious. Thank you. Did that come from the Glennie Beck show?

9:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Bagel heads are gd, but I'm hoping they'll also start working on a Corned Beef Sandwich Head.

Yours in Mittney,

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

I'm looking forward to bulletins from Japan and the finished product too. The first book I read by you was Twilight of American Culture. While I knew something wasn't right in America, I had never read anything that explained it so clearly and honestly. Your work is valuable even if it can't hold back the tide. Or maybe tsunami is a better term.

Basho sends a welcome to Japan--

Come, see
real flowers
of this painful world.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's a pretty good one. As for the tsunami that is now washing over the US, I prefer to call it a Buffoonami. Historically, no civilization ever recovered from a Buffoonami.

Ja mata-


12:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I wasn't able to locate a bk called 'the japanese brain'.

Yours in Mittney,


5:24 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers,

Although I have read and kept abreast with this blog for some time, I am a first time poster. I truly enjoy reading everyone's perspectives and points of view on the range of issues discussed here! I also am looking forward to Dr. Berman's discovery, perspective, and research on Japan. The thesis, if I am understanding it correctly, that we and world might be able to learn something incredibly valuable from Japan's pre modern past to help us survive on the other side of the collapsing "hustle" sounds very intriguing and enlightening. Have a safe and great trip Dr. Berman.


Jeff T

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Morris, may you have an enjoyable & creative visit! Like everyone else here, I eagerly look forward to the new book.

Meanwhile, a short poem by John Fowles that I stumbled across today:


They do not come with furred caps,
Smelling of maresmilk, scimitared,
Dour, as tellable as kites.

They live quietly next door,
Speak almost the same language,
Wear almost the same clothes.

Inside the walls. But
Do not think they lack
Precisely the same intentions.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Bartleby the Scrivener said...


If they offer you the fugu just say, "I would prefer not to."


Saturday Night Live. I assume the audience was handpicked from the cream of Beck's audience.

Bill Maher's take on the undecided:

May the Mittney be with you,

8:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for writing in, joining the conversation. I dunno exactly what I'll find of value in Japan, but I'm hoping this isn't it (copying contribution of Shep, above):

This might lead to a whole new angle on the Japanese craft tradition. Or else, the J's have a lot more time on their hands than I was led to believe.

Yours in Mittney,

9:18 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Maestro is leaving on a jet plane on Monday and I wanted to get this in.

I think I remember in my raisin brain that someone has referred to Phillip Appleman on this blog.

Well, I received a magazine from a friend in early 2011 and just picked it up again and read the following essay.

Seems to me to be one of the best essays I have read.

Anyone agree?

9:50 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

By the time you get back, chaos will reign in Ohio and Florida thanks to massive voter suppression by Republican governors. Millions of non Mitney voters will go to the polls and find that their names have magically vanished from the voter lists. Heavily Democratic precincts (esp. black/hispanic) will have one or two broken down machines creating discouragingly long lines, while heavily Republican precincts will have dozens of beautiful new machines. I grew up in Florida, I know. So, expect much more fun than the 2000 election as it could be many weeks before the final vote is known in these states.
And when this kind of turmoil happens Dems always capitulate, so we should definitely not give up on the possibility of seeing a grinning Mittney holding up a newspaper with the headline, “Willard Defeats Millard.” Even better, a growing ‘Draft Berman For President’ movement is certain to be well underway by then, so be prepared, you may have to buy a stovepipe hat for the inauguration. Enjoy the trip, I’m sure it’s going to be glorious.

I saw this book, you might like:
Drifting Toward the Southeast: The Story of Five Japanese Castaways Junya Nagakuni

10:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I choose not to run. But if drafted against my will and I wind up in the Oval Office, my 1st executive order will be to close the country down completely: hospitals, airports, gas stations, port cities, libraries (nobody in them anyway), schools and universities (another waste of time), TV stations, newspapers (in particular the NYT), the Pentagon, Wall Street, the NYSE and NASDAQ, public parks, Wal-Mart stores, and all restaurants except those serving corned beef sandwiches with cole slaw and Russian dressing. Anybody using a cell phone or laptop in public will be decapitated, w/head placed on a pole. All US citizens and residents will be required to buy wallpaper consisting of Mittney's face and Kim Kardashian's ass, and redo the interior and exterior of their houses/apts w/it. Anyone who voted GOP or Dem in 2008 election will be required to have Japanese bagel surgery on their face (see link posted above). As president, I will make lengthy apologies to Iran, Guatemala, Vietnam, Chile, Honduras, Iraq, and all the other countries we fucked over (this might take several days of public address, nonstop).

2. 2nd executive order: everyone currently resident in the US has to move to Idaho. The other 49 states are to be left completely empty, for the time being. Interviews will then begin in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world for Decent People to come and restart the United States. Qualifications include: no ownership of electronic toys; an A grade on a very difficult exam in history/sociology/anthro/psych; no interest in making lots of $; proof of empathic behavior; ability to pronounce the word 'nuclear' correctly.

3. My 3rd executive order: Obama returns to the W.H. for a short visit, whereupon I urinate on his Guccis; Bush Jr., Cheney, and Bill Clinton extradited to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes. Also, Sarah Palin required to have sex with a moose, with Ed Meese present; and last but not least, Barbara Ann Nowak made head of W.H. janitorial staff, and Herman Cain appointed Head of the Library of Congress and President of Harvard.

4. And finally: large foto of Ronald Reagan placed face up in Times Square; airplane with 6 tons of cow pies flies over, unloads the whole shebang on the foto. Tourists are encouraged to take pics.

Hey, you know, I might really be able to get into this president thing after all! Since all Wafers will be my de facto advisers, you are all hereby encouraged to add to the above list.

Yours in Mittney,

10:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: this just in from a friend of mine in Tokyo, in response to the bagel surgery article:

dear morris,

i have never seen those begel people...
i will try rice ball instead.

(My kinda guy.)

11:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Then there's this:

Yours in Mittney,

4:27 AM  
Anonymous carlos l said...

mr berman, here it is: link

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Have a great time in Yippon. As I wrote, I lived and taught English there for nearly 10 years so I am intimately connected to the country even if I just barely scratched the surface. Yes, Basho's journey should take you to some fascinating places. Do see a lovely town called Morioka and of course don't miss Akita which is famous for its beautiful women. Though the bullet train is amazing, try taking local trains where you can see well-mannered Japanese school children and sincere public displays of respect for the elderly. Also, if you have time try to get a copy of The Japanese and the Jews but Isaiah Ben-dasan in which he make some amazing comparisons. Oh, by the way, did you see Bibi and his chart at the United Nations? The entire state of Israel must have cringed in embarrassment. Finally, don't give up hope for a Mitney win. There will be 2 more jobs reports before the election and they should be dismal. As James Howard Kunsler (Sp) wrote, the American people don't even deserve the lowly state they are in now.
Ja mata.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Possible executive order number 5.

The National Anthem will be replaced with "Do the Hustle" and the new National Motto will read "You Live Among Dolts."

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Andrew Jackson said...

After reading this
@Zosima: "chaos will reign in Ohio and Florida thanks to massive voter suppression by Republican governors... and when this kind of turmoil happens Dems always capitulate"

And this:

the first that comes to mind is anger at both republicans and democrats for making mockery of democracy.

But on second thought, one begins to realize that this is how democracy has always worked in the USA; that democracy in America is not about the will or votes of the people; and that all the noise about patriotism is a trick to deceive people who wish to be deceived.

If the top leaders in both parties truly loved America and if they truly cared about democracy and the voting process, they would do anything possible to defend the American voters and the democratic process. It is not about democracy or about defending the American people, but about self-enrichment through hijacking the machinery of government. This is why bankers and lobbyists have more power in law-making than the American voters. This is why the US government spends more money on guns, police, and military than the rest of the world combined - it is about power and control of the people. And this is why these thugs do not want other nations to have nuclear bombs. This is why pray that Iranians get lots of nuclear bombs to scare the domestic terrorists and their foreign allies into behaving like law-abiding citizens of America.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

I'm telling ya, Mittney will win. It's just a feeling.

I finally found a way to begin my emigration, early next year.

It's an enormous load off one's psyche to "disinvest" in this place and its people. "I live among dolts" ... indeed.

Suggestions for a Berman presidency? Resign immediately! President Mittney will give them what they desire and deserve. NPR was interviewing voters yesterday. Several said, "I will vote for Romney because HE MENTIONS GOD. That means a lot to me. That other guy won't even mention God in his platform."

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Zero said...


I think your 4-step Mittnaic plan is destined for glory. If I may make one suggestion, that would be to select Arizona as point of relocation. Given the high concentration of guns per capita in that state, the 300+ million Americans are liable to drop to 1 (one) person standing in no time at all, and thus rid the Earth of this plague in the most cost-effective manner.

Also, I was hoping you might offer Michelle Bachman a cabinet position—I think she would be well suited for the position of Nazi-in-Chief at a newly established Ministry of Love. The only requirement I am hoping for is that she should agree to large billboards with her in her early 20s, having sex with an elderly Jimmy Swaggart, be placed at all major intersections across America.

Finally, regarding your 2nd executive order about requiring all US residents to move to Idaho (or Arizona), would you kindly consider giving us WAFers a 24 hour grace period to leave the country?

In Mittney We Trust!


1:29 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

MB, Be careful out there!

Mass evacuations as typhoon hits Japan

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Making of the Japanese Sword

46 mn doc -- did you mention this? I didn't notice it being mentioned.

Another one. But wait there's a third that I've actually already seen....

Yeah here it is! Mark Dacascos doc.

I look forward to your take on this Japanese alchemy subject. I contacted you by phone back in 1995 or so about ReEnchantment of the World and you said -- yeah just keep looking in used bookstores. haha. So then my favorite used bookstore in Minneapolis - the owner said to tell you hi as she knew you -- Christine at TheBookHouse.

Yeah then I met a real alchemy master Chunyi Lin who did a month of full lotus meditation with no sleep through now Chunyi Lin is a master healer confirmed by the Mayo Clinic's "randomized controlled" research - I took the classes to finish my Liberal Studies masters degree and my brain was permanently transformed. haha.

I moved into a forest-garden hermit full lotus qigong scenario. haha. Also notice how the New Age psychedelic scene only mentions the San Bushmen in regards to their cave art? New research has shown mushrooms in cave art in Tanzania -- but the San Bushmen rely on trance dancing as the original alchemy training.

Thanks Morris Berman.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Boris the Spider said...

There's a classic book on dying Japanese folkways that I've been meaning to read since it came back into print a few years ago. I think Gary Snyder mentioned it in an interview, which is how I heard of it. Here's a link, in case it's helpful to you:

6:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Spiral and Boris-

Many thanks for the great info, I'll check it out.


Actually, between a bitter labor dispute at Amer. Airlines, and a typhoon abt to hit Tokyo with waves 10 meters high, I have a feeling my plane may never leave DFW. Not gd. But I tell u, better that a typhoon hit the place than a tycoon; such as



7:45 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

May I suggest, that our new President, "Mo Better with Mo" Berman, should also issue an executive order to all schools, to rerun, all day long, Maury "The Glamorous" Povich and Jerry "The Philosopher" Springer programming; especially the fighting and spitting in each other's faces.

10:48 AM  
Blogger jml said...

i know your post was about japan, but i couldn't help thinking about the fate of craft/art in the western world and this article i came across in the nytimes yesterday about an artist who is being given a retrospective at the whitney for making giant paintings on computers. it's difficult to understand what exactly is supposed to be so wonderful or even interesting about this:

craft became a bad word in art departments in the west as a result of modernism. the west has a rich tradition of craft and handmade art that is dying because there are so few people who know how to work with their hands. it's tragic.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Tonight is Mittney’s big night, some say it’s his last chance. He's been advised to be more specific. That would be the worst possible strategy, because when Republicans give the details what their policies will do, they lose in a landslide. No, the model for Mitt must be the 2000 Bush/Gore debate, which is only remembered for Gore’s frequent sighs of frustration. Bush brilliantly lied about everything, especially what his huge tax cuts would do; give tons more money to the obscenely wealthy, squander the surplus, and produce mountains of debt for as far as the eye can see. Of course, this is exactly they did, and Romney’s plan is to replay those tax cuts. His plans to 'voucherize' Medicare and cut Medicare will literally kill many people. But if he sticks to the mantra that his plan will ‘save’ Medicare, enough low-info voters could put him over the top. The same is true on abortion, his convention platform at could have been written by Todd Akin. It's a forced birth law, every raped women must bare the rapist’s progeny, 12 year old daughters, grandmothers, no exceptions. But if asked about it, just keep saying “pro life” over and over again. So Mittney please, if you’re reading this, and I know you are, follow my advice. Remember, in America, fog, not clarity is always the path to power. So, my friend, don't let us down, do what you do best; lie your ass off!

4:21 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

B(erm)anzai !

Suerte en Nipponistan.

Manana tengo que ir a Tejasistan para dos semanas. (Ore por mi.)

For any technophobes out in Waferistan (or musical hardliners who insist that Melanie's music is completely irredeemable), consider...

2:12 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Dr. Berman:

I have never heard u mention Michael Parenti?

Ever met him?

Curious because he seems to be pretty dang sharp, like yourself, and I haven't heard too much about him. Actually thought he must be dead but he still has a very active web site.

9:21 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Get out the sake, MB!

Instant Survey: Mittney Wins

Now he's not an underdog, will you still love him?

1:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Just learned that Mittney won the 1st debate. Can't tell u how excited I am. Can he actually win the election, and we can get on with wrecking the country in earnest? I can barely contain myself.

Go, Mittney, go!


8:21 AM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr Berman,

Lucky for you that you missed the performance of The Spineless Toady and The Lying Corporate Raider last night. While here in The Land of the Setting Sun Romney "won" the debate, watching those two filled me with dread for the future; we're burnt toast no matter who wins. Their maudlin platitudes about the middle class are particularly gag-worthy as both parties have sold them down the river into debt peonage, poor or nonexistent medical care and lousy schools. When I see the corruption, incompetence, and indifference so clearly on display as it was last night, I want to weep for what might have been and isn't going to be.

"There will be something of great value on the other side of the Great Watershed we are facing, I'm convinced of it. Perhaps, Japan offers a clue to what it might be."

I hope you find it and will share it with us. Have a wonderful and productive stay in the Land of the Rising Sun.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Mittney did indeed lie his ass off in the 1st debate, as Zosima predicted/advised. Rom claimed he never wanted to lower taxes on the rich, said he thinks Obamacare is fine (except for the detail that it wasn't passed in a bipartisan manner and siphoned off some funds from other programs), loves green energy, thinks the DREAM kids oughta stay in the USA, etc.

The rest was Reaganesque rhetoric about how govt is no good, free enterprise (have we ever had free enterprise?) is The Solution, etc.

No mention of immigration, defense, offshoring, anything. Millard didn't bring them up, and Mitteny merely grinned.

Interestingly, Mittney wouldn't obey the debate rules. He constantly interrupted and disregarded his time limit. Never made even a nod toward obeying the rules.

Millard looked and sounded like a bored 3rd-rater out of his depth. And Mitteny grinned.

Hail Mitteny!

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...

Hello MB,

Or, should I say, "Konnichiwa!"

Yes, Mittney rocks. During the debate he crushed Droner like a bug. Imagine the headlines: "Locust Crushes Bug"

Next, keep your fingers crossed that Friday's job report is totally disastrous. Pray -- and pray hard -- that the new unemployment rate is at least 15 percent, with millions and millions of new 47% losers starving in the streets like the dogs that they are. Pray even harder that, by Christmas, millions of 47% rednecks shoots one another in the street over a loaf of dry bread.

I just love it, I love it, I love it!

May I say, さよなら

5:44 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Mittney equalled or surpassed our hopes for him, I’m especially proud of the way he lied about his huge tax cuts for the rich, just like Bush in 2000. Millard’s weak performance was also remarkable, I said before he might try to throw the election with a bad debate. It was almost as bad as the first debates in the years 1984 and 2004 when Mondale and Kerry rocked Reagan and GW Bush, who were both left flailing and stammering. If this was 2000 when the economy was great, and the country was fat, dumb, and happy, and felt it could take a chance and do something really stupid like it did then when it let Bush win, then I would say that Mittney is in. But it’s awfully soon to expect people to forget the eight year long train wreck of the Bush reign. So, I have my doubts, esp after reading that Florida and Ohio now have early voting, this makes it much more difficult to use the one broken down voting machine in minority areas trick on election day. A lot of these voters may still find they have been "purged", but the election just may not be as easy to steal as I had hoped.
Plus, Mittney’s hopes in the Midwest are getting slender. Obama’s auto industry rescue kept a lot of factories open in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Romney needs at least one of these states, but he opposed the rescue, so he has to campaign in these states saying to workers they would be better off if their factories were closed. But It looks like, at most, only about 45% agree with Romney that they would be better off starving. I don’t know what’s wrong with the rest of them, I guess they haven’t read Ayn Rand. So, since there are only so many “we want to starve” voters out there, Obama seems to be pulling further ahead in these states. I fear we may have overestimated the forces of stupidity. Sorry to be a such a downer, after our first bit of good news.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous JSRANK said...

They had the fake Mittney show up and debated the real fake Mittney.
Obama looked down and doodled.
Nobody 'won' the joint spin pendulum, but the biggest losers were the media flacks having paroxysms of grief or glee. It really was funny hearing the junk opinions. Critics at a Cub Scout skit show acting like it was serious and had meaning.

Corporations are not people, my friend.
They're airholes.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hello Wafers!

Just had a great meeting with folks in the Philo Dept at the U of Tokyo; they were extremely helpful. Looks like I might be back here next yr to lecture; meanwhile, I'm abt to set off for the wilds of Tohoku.

As for the Great Debate, aka Mindless Buffoon vs. Totally Empty Person, I can only hope Mittney continues to crush the prez with everything he's got. It's time for the American People (=joke) to start learning the principles of Mittnism, and I'm the guy to provide the core texts. The future will be bright (ie dark) once we get Millard Fillmore outta the Oval Office.

Mittney, I luv u!


2:04 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

A little off topic, as usual, but since there is an explosion of Mittens euphoria I wanted to let Doc Berman know I ran across a cartoon illustrating the famous Chapter 4.

Two pilgrims (One of which is Roger Williams on his way to Boston) are having a conversation on the stern of the ship. Roger says, "Religious freedom is my immediate goal, but my long-range plan is to go into Real Estate."

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Jeez, the American public can't even make good decisions based on what they see on TELEVISION ITSELF anymore, if they couldn't see through Romney's lies.

That's a very interesting development, in a negative way. Let me explain what I mean.

Remember the Civil Rights movement? Well, present-day descendants of the activists have this private joke among themselves, "Thank God for Bull Connor."

If you know who Bull Connor is, you might be puzzled as to why anyone would say such a thing. Bull Connor was the commissioner of safety in Alabama, but he was a complete asshole. He would frequently have firemen hose down black people in the streets, or set dogs on black children, etc.

The kicker is that one day, Bull Connor screwed up and started hosing down and setting dogs on black people ON LIVE TELEVISION. The American people found this behavior so monstrous that the fence-sitters (and even a few conservatives) immediately started to side with the Civil Rights movement. That was Martin Luther King Jr.'s strategy; dramatize the tension between our ideals and what was going on, and Bull Connor accidentally proved the Civil Rights movement RIGHT. By being a jerkass on live TV, Connor accidentally gave the Civil Rights movement moral ammunition.

But something like that can't happen anymore. Even if the media actually reports abuse on live TV, which it doesn't always to put it mildly, the public will always think even the innocent protesters got what they deserved, for being "childish."

Romney's chances should have sunk after the debate, given how often he lied during the debate and given his earlier 47% remark. That he can make an ass of himself on live TV like Bull Connor did, and STILL get public support, is another example of how far we've fallen.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello Wafers and greetings from the land of Mittney,

I ran across an excellent book that all Wafers will find interesting, amusing, and entertaining. It is titled "What is America?: A Short History of the New World Order" by Canadian author/historian Ronald Wright. Wright essentially pulls back the curtain to expose how the United States is essentially a danger to the world. Not that Wafers need a lesson about that, or the troubling reality of a future Mittneyland, it is nonetheless a fascinating and lively read. A highlight of the work is that Dr. Berman's DAA is cited as evidence of the danger. Can't wait for the next debate to see if Obama grows a pair.


Jeff T

12:46 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

The debate, pocket hanky or crib notes?

4:50 PM  
Blogger Hector Wort said...

Disculpa no tiene nada que ver con el tema amm Soy estudiante de Preparatoria vivo en Ciudad de México, cuando vendrás a a dar alguna conferencia o alguna presentación de algún libro. seria genial conocerte, quiero estudiar historia y haber si puedes firmar tres libros tuyos que tengo. Gracias.

2:22 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Again, you are being far too harsh on Millard Filmore. Although he is consistently ranked at the bottom 10 of US presidents, at least he believed in somethings such as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the extension of slavery in lands taken during the war with Mexico, opposed Lincoln during the civil war and was later active in the Know-Nothing movement. Obama, on the other hand, has not one set conviction( other than being re-elected) a fact which came out quite clearly in that recent joke of a debate.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Your use of the term, I, Mittney, a while back made me laugh. It’s interesting because your stance of rooting for the worst outcome for America is very similar to Robert Graves’ idea in I, Claudius. Claudius supports a restoration of the republic, but soon after becoming emperor he sees that the people are too craven and greedy to do the right thing and restore the republic, so he decides to be the worst emperor he can, and even contrives to make sure the despicable Nero succeeds him rather than his noble son Britannicus. Of course, his hope that the example of rule by the worst would bring the people to their senses and cause a change of direction didn’t work. And it doesn’t look like it’s working in America. The election of I, Mittney will prove how quickly Americans forget their bad emperors. It helps that the Republicans did such a good job of destroying all the statues of I, Dubya. I hope we get what we deserve. Rooting against Americans so they will be punished for their stupidity is the only fun we have left. But, I can see why you want to move on to other things.

May the will and blessings of Mittney be upon us.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hello Wafers,

and thank u all for writing in. I am still in Tokyo, but leave this morning for Yamadera and Sendai in the north. So far, a great trip.


There is no way to bring Americans to their senses; they don't have any.


Yr rt: Millard did believe in things--like Mittney, really. Obama is a zero, a Nowhere Man. He has no content whatsoever. He tries to look chic, but he's just a meaningless douche bag. Personally, I have made a deal with God: if, during my lifetime, I get to pee on Obama's shoes on national TV, then I'll believe in Him. If not, I'll remain an atheist. This is much better than Pascal's wager.


Hola, amigo, y gracias por escribir. Mi proxima conferencia estara en Guadalajara, a FIL, el 29 de noviembre. Por el momento, no tengo planes para el D.F. Abrazos, chico.


Mittney did hose the American people down, but only metaphorically. I think this may be the crucial difference. However, he has promised to bring back waterboarding (I doubt it ever went away), so maybe there's hope. I tell u, I adore this man.


The historian Oscar Handlin once wrote that the Americans found liberty along the way, but it was not their particular goal. (In fact, real estate was.)

Ja mata, tomodachi-

In Mittney veritas-
(actually, this should be the ablative case, but I don't know how to render the ablative of Mittney)


7:21 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

USA Congressman Broun sits on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He is running unopposed for reelection in Georgia, USA. He is a medical doctor.

Mr. Broun put his core philosophical thesis as follows:

"'All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.'"


Continuing the story:

"Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days."

9:17 PM  
Anonymous JSRANK said...

Dr. Berman ... this has bugged me some time : your description of Obama as Millard Fillmore.
Fillmore was an unelected president, the last Whig ...succeeded Zachary Taylor.

I get the analogy: a nobody.

I would compare a Martin Van Buren, that had such high hopes after the racist Andrew Jackson.

Van Buren failed miserably. Thirty years of bureaucratic and judicial hop-scotching ensued; which culminated in the Civil War.

Oh, you know this history!

Why America Failed is because the revolutionaries were not Revolutionaries. Most of them were rich men that felt cheated by their Royalist cousins in home England.
They should have killed or exiled the Tories...the 1/3 Royalist-Anti-Democrats that would have shot or hung them all if they had the opportunity.
Only Franklin may have been that brave, and he was already an old man.

Today, there are too many fascists that could be thrown out of airplanes at 10,000 feet without a parachute to make any difference.
Eliminate one sociopathic criminal...another one takes its place.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Limbaugh grew up in a southern state (Missouri) like me (Florida), he knows early voting eliminates some of the old tricks that lowered the chances that minorities and workers would vote, like making people stand in long lines in the rain on election day and the sending minority voters fliers telling them to vote, but putting the day after as the date. If he’s against something, then you know it’s good.

As you know, some of the most astute observations about America are from foreign sources, this one is from Taiwan. Since you wisely skipped the debate, this summary shows what you missed. The expression of the animated Obama is spot on, with all that has come before, Dubya, the 2010 congress, how could he not expect Romney's bald lies?

10:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It cd be that I just like saying the name Millard Fillmore.


I love Mittney, and now I love Broun. These are my people.


6:30 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

"...the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced...Go search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival."

Frederick Douglass - July 4, 1852

Add all the atrocities between 7-4-1852 and

11:05 AM  
Blogger boxcarro said...

Reenchantment Without Supernaturalism:
A Process Philosophy of Religion
Front Cover
David Ray Griffin, Kathleen E. Smith
0 Reviews
Cornell University Press, 2001 - 426 pages
The process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne has made many distinctive contributions to the philosophy of religion. David Ray Griffin now offers the first full-scale philosophy of religion written from this perspective, discussing such topics as the relationship between science and religion, the validity of religious experience, the nature and existence of God, religious pluralism, creation and evolution, and the problem of evil. Griffin's clear and comprehensive book also serves as a valuable introduction to process philosophy itself.In his vigorous defense of a worldview that is fully naturalistic and fully religious, Griffin shows not only how this position reconciles naturalism with freedom, genuine religious experience, and even life after death, but also how its naturalistic theism "reenchants" the world in the sense of providing cosmic support for moral values.Highly original and sometimes controversial, Griffin's book develops its stance in conversation with influential proponents of other philosophical positions, including William P. Alston, Jürgen Habermas, John Hick, Colin McGinn, Alvin Plantinga, Hilary Putnam, Willard Quine, Ninian Smart, Jeffrey Stout, and Bernard Williams.

I heard a Radio Host speak of this work on "" a Oregon RePrimitivit.
Have you heard of this book?
I read your "Reenchantment of the World" and Loved it

12:49 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

MB said, "These are my people."...

...Nearly spit my food out...It just sounded so sincere in my mind...8)

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Sorry you had to miss Columbus Day and all the sales but as you proudly put on your flag pin remember some of our more stirring accomplishments. From Reflections on Columbus Day on Truthout:

"I love Columbus Day because the veneration of this man makes clear how George Bush a self described "compassionate conservative" can torture people and have a library built in his name. Barack Obama can win the Nobel Peace Prize as he authorizes summary execution of people through drone warfare and authorizes indefinite detention without trial of American citizens. Madeleine Albright, when confronted with the deaths of up to 500,000 Iraqi children during sanctions, can declare: "We think the price is worth it." She is now an author and a sought after speaker on the lecture circuit where she describes her life as "devoted to human rights." This self-delusion and ideas of grandeur poison us as we impose the same tough sanctions on Iran and call for that nation's people to be brought to their knees. Medicines dwindle in Iranian hospitals and prices skyrocket due to hyperinflation, the currency losing 15 percent of its value overnight. It is only a matter of time until children starve."

Sounds like the trip is going well. Be sure to write.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Following on from Wright's What Is America, and also Gregory Bateson too, and your work Morris, I find the set of essays re the genesis of the current world situation and its possible prospects to be found at this site to be very intersting.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous FatCat! said...

FatCat here! Have you missed ME? Let me make one thing clear: this is MY country now, this is MY government, and this is MY planet. I am FatCat, owner and ruler of Wall Street and the Universe. Is that clear? I own this country and I own all of you. So bow down and worship ME right now, or else!

I don’t like to repeat myself, so listen up and listen good! I have been informed by MY FBI and by MY NSA about your great adulation toward MY Mittney, and your fanatical devotion to MY plan for America, which MY Mittney shall promptly bring to pass once elected. And he shall be elected, because I and I alone have decided so. Is that clear?!

I do not usually show kindness or mercy to MY 47%ers, but given your commitment to MY philosophy, I have decided to grant clemency to you, Mr. Berman and to your 47% WAFers. As such, I and I alone have decided that after I shut down the Internet, I shall allow this site to continue to operate. I shall also allow your books to continue to be printed, but only after you rewrite chapter 4 in your last book, to clearly state: “Slavery good, freedom bad.” Better start writing right now or else! Is that clear?!

Furthermore, I shall bestow MY grace and mercy upon all MY 47% WAFers by hiring all of you to work as “reeducators” in MY soon-to-open FEMA concentration camps. Your duties shall include torture and humiliation of those who do not show love toward ME. You must make them love ME! Your salary shall be one loaf of dry bread per week for you and your family. Is that clear?!

You shall hear from ME shortly.

This is FatCat! I have spoken!

10:37 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

Take heart Brave fellow Wafers, there are over 100 Presidential candidates to choose from. Even "President Emperor Caesar (Independent - Florida)"!

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Zero said...

Latest polls indicate Mittney is 4 points ahead of Obummer. Uraaa!!! Uraaa!!! Uraaa!!!

As our victory is now assured, it is time for WAFers everywhere to start drawing up a plan of action for their beloved leader. I propose these 8 Mittnaic goals for his first 100 days in office:
1. Bomb Syria back to Stone Age
2. Bomb Iran back to Stone Age
3. Bomb your mother
4. Privative Social Security
5. Privatize Medicare
6. Privatize the Post Office
7. Privatize Guantanamo Bay
8. Privative your mother

One more time: Uraaa!!! Uraaa!!! Uraaa!!!

11:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hello Wafers-

Spent last night in a Buddhist monastery high up in mtns (Haguro San). Cold, slept on floor (practically). Had satori, saw Mittney's face. Is this an omen? I tell u, if he loses, I just may stay in Japan.

Yours in Mittney,


12:41 AM  
Anonymous Smith said...

In a strange way I'm not surprised that Mitt Romney is now leading in the polls.

The "unwritten social rules" of this country actually favor the blowhards and the ones who "make up crap." It's no wonder people become misanthropes while they're living here; virtuous behavior actually HURTS you because it allows the non-virtuous to control "how reality is perceived."

Which, irony of ironies, actually drives people to become brutal and cruel as a survival tactic. Not just in America, either: there's a British scholar named Celia Green who was horribly mistreated in school because her peers couldn't stand her having any intellectual ability or commitment to "non-mundane affairs", such as astronomy or philosophy. But her experiences drove her into RIGHT-wing arms instead of left, because the right-wing ethos allowed her to feel like a superior human being to everyone else. So in a way she became arrogant, looking down on others...because the British school system accused her of being "arrogant in advance" since she liked to pursue the life of the mind. And that's how the right-wing ethos perpetuates itself: it sets up situations where you can't win if you have superior ideas, but the only way to make sure your ideas get heard is to join the right-wing halls of power, which requires a renunciation of the very leftism which might have treated you with dignity.

The whole "personal responsibility" meme has a lot to do with that, because it's a way of "poisoning the well", so to speak.

Look at what the Republicans managed to pull off, for example. They "declared in advance" that any criticism of Bush's policies was "blaming it on Bush." Which effectively meant Bush's mistakes were erased from history, because the only way to be objective about our historical situation is to at least gather the "raw data" of what Bush did, in addition to the "raw data" about Obama of course...but gathering that raw data has been branded "in advance" as "blame-shifting", which actually allows Bush and the Republicans to get away WITHOUT taking responsibility, since their mistakes never get put under the microscope.

Another example of poisoning the well: remember that liberal group I mentioned I had to leave? One member accused me of not taking responsibility for my faults and mistakes. But the trick is, at the time he thought it was a "fault and mistake" to point out that American society is going down the crapper. That set up a no-win scenario for me: if I insisted on facing the facts and pointing out that we're in for rough times, I was declared "in advance" to be avoiding responsibility for something that "isn't actually a fault". But if I allowed the group to believe America is exceptional and miraculous, that really WOULD be irresponsible, since I would be refusing to face reality for the sake of group attention.

This, everyone, is ultimately why the American people can't solve anything: they declare things to be true in advance, so any attempt to show them raw data and evidence is doomed before you EVEN BEGIN.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

I hope it isn't rude to single out (from a superb field) a comment that has special resonance for me personally and that I value a lot. Smith, thanks. If it is rude, apologies and please don't post this.

11:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, I dunno what yr talking abt.

But I do wanna say that despite the recent debate, and the national figs that Mittney has caught up to Douche Bag in W.H., it still looks like DB will win. This because of the electoral college system. There are 10 swing states; Mr. O is leading heavily in 9 of them.

O Mittney, Mittney, I despair 4u.

I luv u, Mittney.


2:50 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

The article says this photo is famous and that we’ve all seen it. Well, I’ve been paying close attention, and I’ve never seen it, have you? I’m dumbfounded that Mittney hasn’t made it the centerpiece of his campaign. Maybe he thought the people would think he was performing some LDS rite, since so few know anything about that mysterious club. But, I think it captures the spirit of America, and it may be our most patriotic image since Washington Crossing the Delaware. After he wins, I would like to see a giant statue of it put in front of the US Capitol. It also shows his efficiency, as he only needed half the number of disciples as Jesus. School children should be made to reenact this historic event. After seeing this photo, how could people not be overcome with a passionate desire to make him president? It wouldn’t surprise me at all, if you cancelled your Japan visit, flew to the US, and spent the next weeks zealously campaigning door-to-door for Mittney.

Mittney: Now, more than ever!

5:48 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Just want to say thanks to Frederick for that link.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...

The collapse of the West is getting more hilarious every day:

That piece of comic relief material was brought to you courtesy of the same clique of cretins that awarded Droner with the “No-bull Piece Price” after 2 weeks in office Let me guess, next year they’ll give that to Hitler, post mortem – after all, didn’t Hitler too try to “unify” Europe? He should get one too.

This goes to show just how shallow and void of any value, meaning, or respect the so-called “western institutions” have become. China, Russia, and Latin America must be laughing their asses off watching these Western pussies squirm in their own humiliation and disgrace.

Oh, how disgraced the West has become! How humiliated! How impotent! How pathetic!

Oh, how lovely! How delightful! And most importantly, how just!

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Curioso que alguien que cree que toda vida es sagrada tiene una actitud despectiva hacia muchos seres humanos (los "dolts")

Tambien el entusiasmo por Romney es curioso. Los americanos van a sufrir mas con Romney que Obama, aunque es verdad que Obama esta matando civiles en otros paises con los "drones" ...

En fin, la vida es sagrada? Los seres humanos son sagrados, como los seres humanos tienen vida

Porque tanto pesimismo y tanta burla de otros seres humanos. No todos son tan inteligentes como Ud., pero muchos tienen buenos corazones u otros valores que se puede apreciar.

-- Asoka

2:12 AM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Hey, MB --

Looks like this guy was bewitched in Japan. Be careful!

11:43 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Thanks to what I like call Obama’s ‘concession debate’, we all could be treated to the dream scenario of a disputed election leading to civil war, the end of empire, and the breakup of the US. Here’s how this glorious chain of events happens. Obama’s concession debate has dampened enthusiasm so much that he is all but guaranteed to lose the popular vote. But Romney’s anti-auto bailout stance means he can’t win any of the midwest states that he needs, so he will lose the EC by one or two states. This will be unacceptable to the right wing base of racists, religious fanatics, and Ayn Rand zealots who will embark on a reign of terror not seen since the Inquisition or Kristallnacht. President Muffley’s debate makes me wonder if he’s not a secret waffer, since he making our dreams come true. As you will note, the brown shirts have already begun to practice for the coming November revolution.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem is that u.r. coming into this long-term discussion "in medias res," and don't understand the context of my remarks. Unfortunately, it would take a long time to unpack it 4u. But very briefly, I don't believe all human beings are dolts, but I certainly believe most Americans are. The stats for that are by now overwhelming. U can read them in Twilight and Dark Ages, but there are by now a slew of books documenting US stupidity. The depth and extent of it are mind-boggling.

As for Romney and my alleged pessimism: again, a very long discussion that u missed. Given the fact that "the fix is in," and there's no saving the US at this pt (partly because of the dolt factor), we have to look to the long term for optimism--maybe 30 or 40 yrs down the line, when the US has collapsed and capitalism is soon to follow. As a result, in the short term, bad is good; why prolong the agony, really? Obama has done the country a ton of damage, but since he's more or less a clown, it's been random, desultory. Mittney wd get down to cases, no two ways abt it; he knows what he's about. I wd have preferred Sarah or Michele or Herman (Cain), but Rom will do in a pinch. The fact is that we can't escape our current process of collapse. Nothing can alter our current trajectory--u.c. how lame Occupy Wall St. finally proved to be, for example--as a result of which The way out is thru. When an empire collapses, things get a lot worse b4 they get better; that's simply the historical record. Mittney will accelerate this process, it seems to me.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel; it's just a very long tunnel.

I don't know if this helps. As I said, this has been a long and continuous discussion on this blog, and I'm guessing u missed most of it. But thanks for writing, in any case.


5:08 AM  
Anonymous Mikbeth said...

At the risk of totally dumbing down this blog I offer this as a brilliant parody of the state of our culture full of self-importance and nostalgia. Enjoy!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Mittney continues to make all the right moves. Many Evangelical Christians fear Mormon competition. This is understandable because the evidence is strong that Mormons are even better liars and hucksters than ECs. I read that up to 20% of ECs will not vote for a Mormon. If that happens, Mittney's chances appear doomed. So he desperately needed this Billy Graham endorsement. Mittney's famous charitable heart probably was the deciding factor. Will we ever know the size of the hefty wad of cash donated to Graham’s “ministry?”

11:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Curiously and surprisingly, two recent New York Times op-eds, Sunday the 14th and Monday the 15th, featured MB-like and Wafer-like critiques about the future, or what's left of the future, United States. I nearly fell out of my chair while reading the Monday, October 15 op-ed titled "No More Industrial Revolutions?" by Thomas B. Edsall. Edsall, using the work of Northwestern economist Robert J. Gordon, essentially argues that the U.S. is running on empty w/o any real prospects for a turnaround. Indeed, the article states, the future of the U.S. is one of "epochal decline." I'm sure that will make Mittney's day! I don't know, has the editorial staff at NYT secretly been reading DAA and WAF in between their Thomas Friedman and David Brooks comic books? The Sunday op-ed titled "The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent" by Chrystia Freeland was also enlightening if not a bit predictable. It may provide a bit of wet powder for the now defunct Occupy movement.

Have a Mittney day!

Jeff T

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Smith said...

Something else I'd like to reflect upon:

This actually started all the way back to British culture, before America, but did you ever notice that our mainstream Western culture is so effective at replicating itself that even its CRITICS sometimes feel the need to "be merciful and forgiving" to it (unlike realists like you, Berman)?

For example, take anti-intellectualism. Us on this blog would think of Mark Twain as a harsh but accurate critic of the low intelligence of the American people and to some extent he was...but one of the most frequently-cited passages (Huckleberry Finn's father calling him a traitor for the heinous crime of reading) was actually meant to be a subversion, as Twain actually intended the father to be (partially) sympathetic for feeling that reading was a slap in the face to the working class (!!!).

Or take Jane Eyre: it's harshly critical of British class-based hypocrisy (not to mention of child abuse, as depicted with the titular character's aunt favoring a mean, much-less-virtuous cousin over her), and yet simultaneously the character "achieves growth" by "forgiving" them all, rather than continuing to point out how SCREWED UP British society was that it would allow girls to starve to death in boarding schools, for example.

And then there's Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility: in my opinion, Marianne's critique of British hypocrisy and its tendency to prize image over truth was right on the money, yet Austen actually intended Dashwood to be a completely unsympathetic, selfish crybaby. Given the state of British's colony-turned-empire, maybe we needed more people like Dashwood and not less...

And then there was that example I cited earlier from J.D. Salinger regarding Holden Cauffield.

My point is, what chance does Western civilization have in hell of changing course, when even ITS OWN FRIGGIN' CRITICS (you excepted, Berman) lack the courage to face squarely how rotten it is?

2:51 PM  
Blogger Horatio Nelson said...

i know you won't publish this because it's 'anon y'mouse', but you need to beware Asoka. there's been a long-time troll by that name haunting the blog comments of J.H. Kunstler's website for a long time now. he's a cornucopian, "all is well and as it is meant to be--peace, love" type there, but really just seems to be largely about posting contrarian to whatever the 'followers' of any particular philosophy/theorist are discussing in their own little inlet of the internet. i hope none of the other trolls from there follow him here (nasty racists and selfblog link spammers, for the most part).

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

There are so few crafted products left in America, and those that remain are considered very expensive. I am most familiar with pipe organs, although other classical musical instruments are probably in a similar position. Aside from the use of power tools, and sometimes electrical parts, (although purists eschew many of the latter), organs are still built with essentially the same materials and techniques as obtained in J.S. Bach's time three hundred years ago, when they were the most complex, hi-tech mechanical marvels ever made by human hands. And today's prices reflect it: a sizeable pipe organ can easily set one back a million dollars.

But relatively speaking, it may ever have been thus. The question to ask is not "why are organs so expensive?" but "why are other things so cheap?" Mass production is a mixed blessing when we are captives to industrialists' decisions as to what to mass produce (and what to stop mass-producing). In many consumer goods, cheaper materials have been substituted for more durable materials. We may assume that small filing boxes, for instance, haven't gone up much in price-- but try to buy metal ones such as I still have from college days, and you will find that prices have gone through the roof if you can find them at all.

So have the prices of precious metals. It seems to me that the price of pipe organs has only risen with that of gold.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


I hope that your trip is going well. I ran across a 3 part documentary the other day titled "The Power Principle". It deals with the U.S. foreign policy, especially in terms of the NSA.

You are featured in the second part of the documentary. Your segment deals with the surprise of visitors to the U.S. at the level of conformity exhibited by Americans. It was produced by Metanoia Films.

Here is the YouTube link.


5:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Am currently in Tokyo, tried to play that link, but sound wdn't come thru, so guess this will hafta wait till I'm back home. I had no idea of the existence of this documentary. BTW, it's 90 mins long; any idea where I enter the picture?


Thanks for tip on Asoka. I didn't feel like blowing him off, because he sounded so sincere; tho I wondered at his ignorance of the discussion we've been having here. So the guy is a troll. OK, I've been warned. Meanwhile, pls pick a handle; I recommend Rufus T. Firefly.


Yeah, my work gets paraphrased all the time now; the writers just leave my name out. What're ya gonna do, eh?

Yours in Mittney,

4:27 AM  
Blogger J. P. CAZADOR said...


You appear at 1:15:46 in the YouTube video called The Power Principle.

6:23 AM  
Anonymous Vince said...


Here is a link directly to the producer's website.

You are in part 2 approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes into the segment.


5:52 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Fascinating article here about the deliberate destruction of higher education in America:

Don't be caught thinkin'! It can & will be used against you.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

A comment on an article about the second non-debate between mittens and the turd in the punch bowl.

"Last night when I watched the Presidential Debates I wondered if these two men were the best we could offer. I suspected they were not."

Go Dolts!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Joe doesn't know said...

Suprisingly stark and realistic article considering it was on mainstream news page:

a small excerpt:

the focus of this so-called "new economy" has turned from using technology to enable advances in a wide variety of fields to simply improving entertainment and communications devices. We're seeing intense innovation and investment in a very narrow area of questionable benefit. The voyeurism of Facebook and the ability to watch snarky YouTube videos on your smartphone pales in comparison to the miracle of human flight

hope you are having a kickass trip, Dr. B.

1:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Vince and Hunter-

Currently in hotel in Tokyo, this computer won't provide sound for the video. But will shift back to apt. of my friend Naomi tomorrow, so maybe her computer will be more cooperative. Hope I didn't come across as too demented, in any case.

Tim, Shep, and Joe-

Three things to keep in mind at all times, and to tell anyone who will listen (i.e., nobody):

1. The US is finished, and no fancy rhetoric or allegedly hard stats can alter that reality. Historically, when it's over, it's over; and boy, is it over.

2. The nation is composed of morons. Americans have shit for brains.

3. The two presidential candidates are jokes.

Yours in Mittney,

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Live from the Death Spiral said...


Thanks for the Sherry Turkle rec --what an excellent book! Much to my chagrin, upon returning "Alone Together" I noticed that my hometown library has capitulated:

"Cell phone policy: Please turn off the ringer on your cell phone. Keep your voice down and your conversations short."

(If I can figure out how to use my phone then I'll send you a picture of the sign.)

3:51 PM  
Blogger Horatio Nelson said...

book recommendation:

The Kimono Mind
Bernard Rudofsky
Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1965
ISBN 4-8053-0274-7

wherein it is written that the Japanese don't even use a numbering system on their homes. multiple reasons are given, but one of them being to eliminate uninvited guests.

is this still true, Doc?

4:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, it's kind of complicated, but perhaps it was to confuse the enemy in time of war. Didn't work, I guess.


Imagine a library allowing fone conversations! What douche bags Americans are. You know, I expected a hi-tech society like Japan to be on cell fones constantly, but it's not so. There is a sign in subway cars showing a cell fone, with the word OFF (in English) superimposed on it. The reason is that unlike narcissistic American morons, the Japanese are sensitive to disturbing others in public. So you see a few people sending text messages on the Tokyo subway, but no one talking on their fones; and not that much in the street,either. This proved to be something of a relief.

I luv Mittney,

7:18 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

MB! Am I the first? Am I the first? To let you know Gallup has the Beloved up by 6 points (outside the margin of error)!

11:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem is that these overall national %s don't mean much. All that counts are %s in the swing states, because that will determine the electoral votes. How is Mittney doing in OH, PA, FL, etc.?

I luv Mittney,

2:14 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

It’s over. You can forget about Ohio. I’ve already applied for a job as official White House horse brusher for Rafalca, Mittney’s Olympic prancing horse. If you’ve got kids, I suggest you train them for these type neo-feudalistic “jobs of the future”, cause there ain’t going to be any other kind for the 47%.

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

The results will be as I predicted months ago- a Romney win and it won't even be close. Good- I've always been envious of those who lived during the 6th century AD.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings from Mittneyland!

Have no fear, Honey Boo Boo is here!

It ain't over till it's over!

Indeed, president Obama may get a bump in the polls as a result of a key endorsement. While recently appearing on the Jimmy Kimmel show, America's newest reality TV sensation, Honey Boo Boo, was asked who she is supporting for president. HBB replied "Marack Obama." She also stated that when she grows up she wants to be "a teacher, a mama and a nurse." I feel so much better.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Polls are often wrong. No need to repeat my prediction, but rumor has it that the Teddy Roosevelt face on Mt. Rushmore will be blasted away to make room - not for Ray-Gun, as previously envisaged - but for, uh, a different Republican.

Meanwhile, an evil heretic lambastes The Great White Hope:

Summary of the above article: Mittney, a high-toned rag and bone man, is out for the main chance: selling off the last pieces of the USA.

What does the writer of that article know, anyway? Who ever heard of him, this David Stockman person?

There is power in the name of Mittney.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone for the ongoing excellent posts and comments. I’ll add one more from the NY Time’s Sunday Review section titled The Opiate of Exceptionalism.


I won’t attempt to paraphrase it but it does lay out pretty nicely the ongoing need for Americans to be treated like children – specifically mentioning Carter’s “malaise” speech and more….

In the meantime, I’m back in Mexico and can’t say enough about how different the atmosphere here is from the US (or Korea). The general day to day friendliness is quite a relief after being back in the NE of the USA. Just flying down on the plane I received two offers of help from people in looking for work and one person at the airport who was from Brazil offered to help me any problems I encountered while passing through Mexico City.

In complete contrast to the news stories coming out of Mexico, the area I’m in is quite successful and I’d say there’s a general air of optimism about economics and the future. All of the people with whom I share a little indoor plaza with come from all over Mexico and Brazil but interact like family. Quite a contrast to the general fear in the US of disappearing jobs, pensions and sanity.

El Juero

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

There are still a few people out there who recognize the circus as a circus...

New York Times: The Opiate of Exceptionalism

IMAGINE a presidential candidate who spoke with blunt honesty about American problems, dwelling on measures by which the United States lags its economic peers.

What might this mythical candidate talk about on the stump? He might vow to turn around the dismal statistics on child poverty, declaring it an outrage that of the 35 most economically advanced countries, the United States ranks 34th, edging out only Romania. He might take on educational achievement, noting that this country comes in only 28th in the percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool, and at the other end of the scale, 14th in the percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds with a higher education. He might hammer on infant mortality, where the United States ranks worse than 48 other countries and territories, or point out that, contrary to fervent popular belief, the United States trails most of Europe, Australia and Canada in social mobility.


How far would this truth-telling candidate get? Nowhere fast. Such a candidate is, in fact, all but unimaginable in our political culture. Of their serious presidential candidates, and even of their presidents, Americans demand constant reassurance that their country, their achievements and their values are extraordinary.

Candidates and presidents generally oblige them, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney included. It is permissible, in the political major leagues, for candidates to talk about big national problems — but only if they promise solutions in the next sentence: Unemployment is too high, so I will create millions of jobs. It is impermissible to dwell on chronic, painful problems, or on statistics that challenge the notion that the United States leads the world — a point made memorably in a tirade by the dyspeptic anchorman played by Jeff Daniels in the HBO drama “The Newsroom.”

“People in this country want the president to be a cheerleader, an optimist, the herald of better times ahead,” says Robert Dallek, the presidential historian. “It’s almost built into our DNA.”


8:42 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

There is some truth in that NYT article, but there’s also a lot of deception and dumbness.

“It is permissible, in the political major leagues, for candidates to talk about big national problems — but only if they promise solutions...”

This is really dumb. Where is the country where politicians can win election by just talking about problems and not offering solutions?

“Mr. Carter, they will say, disastrously spoke of a national “crisis of confidence” and failed to project the optimism that Americans demand of their presidents. He lost his re-election bid to sunny Ronald Reagan, who promised “morning in America” and left an indelible lesson for candidates of both parties: that voters can be vindictive toward anyone who dares criticize the country and, implicitly, the people.”

Here again, there’s a lot of “truthiness” in this statement, and a deceptive lack of acknowledgement how bad things were, he wants us to believe that people somehow only wanted happy talk and not solutions to problems. Does the reporter really believe that if Carter had only tried to out “sunny” Reagan, he would have won reelection? A Lot of bad things occurred while he was President, not all of which were his fault, but does he really think the people would have forgotten all that if only Carter would have gone around saying how great America is more times that Reagan? Was this the reason Hoover lost to Roosevelt, ot GHW Bush lost to Clinton? It’s just dumb, the party in power gets thrown out when bad times occur on their watch, and their policies to deal with it don’t appear to be working.
BTW, when Carter made that speech, his poll numbers were abysmal because people had to wait for hours in gas lines, and they actually went up ten points afterwards. The speech was mostly about energy, it wasn’t just criticism, and Carter did offer a number of solutions.

Might it be that we don’t hear certain problems and solutions discussed because that is the way the corporations and oligarchs that fund both parties want it? This is a question I don’t expect to see the NYT exploring any time soon.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Mittney is the answer. If he enters the W.H., all our problems will get sorted out. There's lots of meaningless chatter out there, and then there is Mittnism.

I tell u, I adore him.


7:56 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

There's an interesting phenomenon occurring in this political cycle that Chris Mathews pointed out last night. Politicians are saying in effect that I can't give you a specific solution for if I did then my opponent would use it against me. Thus Romney has been most careful not to delve too deeply into his 5 point plan and of course continues to dodge just where he'd make the cuts to pay for his 20% across the board tax cut (which of necessity would include eliminating the mortgage deduction). So this is how you win elections in the US-continue to paint a rosy vision of the future and avoid any specific solutions.
Also, this election is a replay of 1980. Bengazie (sp) is being used much like the Iranian hostage incident to demonstrate administration weakness while Obama refuses or is unable to characterize Romney as the monster he is much like Carter couldn't do with Reagan. In fact, Obama by his tepid criticisms has managed to humanize Romney, a man sorely deficient in even what minimally could be characterized as human. It's all a terrible joke but not so funny given the US's lethal capabilities.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

This is another one of those "can't believe it" stories:

Yahoo news: Woman wants ‘deer crossing’ signs moved so deer cross somewhere else

We've written many stories about smart and compassionate animals, but A woman who called into a North Dakota radio show is giving far too much credit to deer.

She called in to Fargo-area station Y94 Playhouse to complain about the "deer crossing" signs being in high-traffic areas and highways after she had been in three car accidents involving deer. She said all of the accidents happened shortly after she saw a "deer crossing" sign.

"Why are we encouraging deer to cross at the interstate?" said the woman who was only identified as Donna. She understands animals need to cross roads to find food, but said, "It's so irresponsible of us to allow these deer crossings to be in areas where deer are so likely to be struck by oncoming traffic, wouldn't you agree?"

Most of us seem to know that the signs are made for drivers so they know to be extra mindful of the animals in certain areas. This is a fact the radio show host told her after asking if she was kidding.

Donna said she has written letters to local TV stations and newspapers in the past, but her complaint has fallen on deaf ears.


4:54 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

That’s right, and Mittney will win, because he’s offering real solutions to our problems, not just happy talk. For instance, under his tax plan, Rush Limbaugh, who makes about $50 million a year will get about a $3M tax cut. Rush will be able to create a lot of jobs, the kind that Americans want for their children. What parent wouldn’t blush with pride after hearing their child just got a job giving foot rubs to Rush? This why I tell my nephews to make sure they go to a college with a good program in Butler Studies or the Footman or Manservant Arts. I want them to be ready for these jobs of the future.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...

In the last week or two I have had several Mittney supporters tell me that I need to vote for Mittney or the country will collapse. Naturally, these were unsolicited endorsements from right-leaning folks who always seem compelled to express their opinions to everyone.

When I told these Mittney folks that Obama has pretty much been Bush's 3rd term they are aghast that I could utter such blasphemy. When I press them on what Obama has done that is so much worse than Bush the answer is always " a lot." When pressed for more details they offer nothing specific except for the usual Socialism, Communist, Marxist crap. So then I offer up things like the Healthcare bill, NDAA, drones over America, keeping us in Bush's wars, not closing Guantanamo, etc, and their eyes light and they say "Yeah! Those things." As if they give a crap about stopping the wars or closing Guantanamo. Oh well.

Not that I care much for Obama, but it does show to me that the Mittney supporters reflect the true, unabashedly and proudly ignorant values of this country, and we deserve someone like Mittney to drive us off the cliff at full speed. Naturally, the crash will be blamed on Obama, not that he didn't contribute heavily.

Full disclosure: This evening I voted for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party on my absentee ballot. That act alone pretty much ensures that my ballot will not matter when the votes are tallied, if counted at all. Sorry, I just could not vote for the Mitnney. I was too weak.

On another note, here's a link to The Ultimate History Lesson in mp3/podcast format. It features former New York teacher of the year John Taylor Gatto explaining hthe hidden history of America and the world. I basically boils down the wealthy and powerful doing everything they can to screw everyone else. Essentially the same conclusion as most of Dr. Berman's work, but it's a nice compliment with some details you might not have run across. the only down side of the these podcasts is that some of Q & A folks have a Libertarian perspective, complete with that haughtiness usually associated with such folks. Still, there is much here to enjoy:

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Stone said...

A quotation regarding George McGovern from Hunter S. Thompson's last article in the series he devoted to covering the 1972 presidential campaign for Rolling Stone magazine:

"George McGovern [was] really one of the few men who've run for President of the United States in this century who really under[stood] what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it -- that we are really just a nation of 220 million used-car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."

Note how Thompson was on to the hustling aspect of American life.

From Pierre, who is very close to leaving the States for good...

4:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Donna reminds me of Latreasa Goodman. What an abundance of fine intellects this nation has. Meanwhile, the more I hear of Mittney, the more I luv him.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...

This would never have happened if Mittney were Comanda in Chief.

And if you wonder why this wouldn't have happened with Mittney at the helm, I tell you why: because no stinkin' 99%-er would have ever got anywhere within shooting range from a 1%-er spa.

Save us Mittney, save us! Please...

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,


From a post by Matt Taibbi:

"But now Romney's finally all the way to the endgame, and he's just letting go. No more being careful, and weighing himself down on debate stages with painstakingly parsed positions (this was frequently the situation in the primaries, where Romney's performances were always restrained and cautious, even when he "won"). Now there's no more future to worry about and he's just casting off from his moorings and being what he basically is at heart, which is a salesman and bullshit artist of the highest order."

Particularly with the death of George McGovern today, the contrast between an honest man and a hustler couldn't be more stark. Or terrifying. Lame as Obama is, I do have the feeling he knows, at least on some level, that he's sold out and is nothing more than a cynical shill; but Romney, no self awareness seems to register--it's like looking into the eyes of a high level Nazi bean-counter who doesn't care if he's literally counting beans or corpses.


When you get that plum job grooming My Pretty Pony I beg you to put a good word in for my daughter to clean the stables.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Speaking of presumed American "exceptionalism" please check out the various references under the heading of Mitt Romney and the "Theology" of American Exceptionalism.
And the integral relation between Mormon Fanaticism and the applied politics of the neo-"conservative" psychotics. Mormonism (moronism) as the fulfillment of Biblical "prophecy".

12:12 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Mittney's 'binders full of women'comment lives on:

9:01 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Honestly: I luv him, I adore him, and I can't get enuf of him. He's what my 'America' trilogy is really about. America and Mittnism were made for each other, and with a hope and a prayer this utter and total douche bag will wind up in the W.H. for 8 yrs.

Mittney, I wuv u.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


You can't have mittens all to ur self.

I wuv him more than u do.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

What's surprising to me is that nobody in the media picked up on Mittney's attempt to send a coded signal to the Chinese 1%ers with his tale of women in binders...but then again, the media is part of the problem these days, so maybe they're just playing dumb in case Ohio gets stolen without a shot being fired.

More troubling is the old paradigm that Mittney's foreign affairs people seem to be working with...don't they know China stopped putting women in binders decades ago ??

What with China's population, many of the women kept falling out of those damned binders and getting, well...
"under-foot" doesn't quite capture the entirety of the phenomenon, but it's a useful linguistic foot-in-the-door (or perhaps a toe-hold) that we can use until Chinese is taught as the mandatory second language in US schools and we can finally forgo restraint and dispense with such semantic short-hands that always seem to fit too tightly or too loosely.
(Lautrec quips and arch, inverted Nancy Sinatra references go here)

Finally, since the poll numbers make it seem as if the race is getting a lot closer, a little election 'soul' music...

Here's the same tune, but for anyone with a polyester allergy...

Last (but not leased) there is this from David Brin's blog. Apparently many of the electronic voting machine suppliers are infested with Republican shareholders and directors. The mailing address for one of them is...
Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S) 11208 John Galt Blvd. Omaha, NE

So, mebbe you'd prefer John Gelt Blvd.?

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Zero said...

There comes trouble for our beloved Mittney:

So, all WAFers better get off of your butts and start working for our guy. So, to ensure victory, I urge you to immediately carry out these 4 actions:

1. Register all your dead relatives to vote. Don’t forget to register your dead and living pets, because they can vote too.
2. If you are a “job creator”, make sure you register all your illegal immigrant employees to vote AND tell them how to vote
3. On election day, set up a phony voting section in your garage. Make sure you post a sign by the curb, reading “Spiks and Nigs vote here”
4. From a payphone, call your local police and inform the officer that your colored neighbors are convicted felons who plan to vote unlawfully. Make sure you include your gay and lesbian neighbors, because they are nigs too.

Victory is ours! Victory is Mittney! Victory! Victory! Victory!

8:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That may be, but Elmer Fudd has both of us beat.

Yours in Mittney,

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Zero said...


Here's somebody else who does not shy away from saying that "America has failed." And that's quite a feat for a guy who used to be Reagan's Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and one of the co-founders of Reaganomics.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I just loved that part of the debate when after both candidates agreed on the use of drones, Bob Shiefer said that 80% of those killed by drones are innocent civilians according to various human rights organizations. Of course this did not happen since this was a debate between 2 right wing candidates. The only difference was the time it took for both of them to bow down and kiss Netanyahoo's ass.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous shep said...



Paul Craig Roberts has some huge deficits too. He is a Pinochet denier (thinks he was wonderful), for instance, and a Milton Friedman worshipper.

These are not the only two examples of twisted thinking.

You just never know it seems, how many closeteers are out in human land.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Zero said...


Thanks for that info about Paul Craig Roberts. I only saw him once or twice on interviews and I read a couple of his articles, where he did not mention Pinochet or Milton Friedman. Maybe the guy is still in denial about what neoliberalism is all about. Maybe he thinks we haven't done enough of it, or maybe it's our fault we haven't implemented it right.

Btw, Eastern Europe got a particularly bad dose of neoliberalism in the '90s, and that continues today, albeit at a slower pace (mainly because Western corporations already stole nearly everything of value). It is utterly sickening to see the IMF still pushing those policies in Romania today, while the only questions Romanian "leaders" and the local corporate/oligarchic media have for the IMF gurus are, "How much austerity would you like us to implement still? What other valuable state company do you think we need to privatize in your corrupt 'auctions'? What other vast gas and oil fields do you recommend that we just turn over to Exxon, Shell or OMV? How many more Romanian cities do you recommend that we allow to be poisoned by Canadian corporations extracting gold with cyanide? How many more Fukoshima-style nuclear reactors should we buy from GE this week? How many more miles of freeway, at the cost of $75 million per mile, should we sign up Bechtel to build for us? Tell us, oh, wise ones, show us the way, show us how we too may sit at the table of imperialists as your equals, we beg of thee, show us the way to capitalist salvation."

I cannot watch Romanian television anymore because of the anger it stirs up. It's sickening. Of course, the Romanian people know whom they are dealing with. I often hear them say that what Romania needs to do is to immediately round up the IMF and Western corporations reps in Romania, give them a summary trial like they offered Ceausescu 22 years ago, and then take them out in the back yard and put them out of their misery so that the country may breathe easier. I heard that often in Romania, from intellectuals as well as common people. Like a Romanian saying goes, "The knife has reached the bone," meaning that the pain is becoming unbearable.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

While I'm so sick of both of these men I could scream, this I have to admit, was pretty funny:

"And then, only a few short minutes later, the Republican candidate for President of the United States of America, in a debate on foreign policy, said exactly this: "Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Willard Mitt Romney - a man who has been running for president since the Mesozoic Age, who has spent an enormous amount of money to surround himself with people who are supposed to explain stuff like geography to him - sat there on national television and showed us all that he still does not know how to read a map. Almost all of Iran's southern border verges on the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, giving them plenty of access to, y'know, the sea...but even if that were not the case, Syria would not be Iran's "route to the sea" because of the giant chunk of land between them called Iraq."

Yes, too stupid to look at the map.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Zero, if Romania does as you suggest, it may expect the same result the USA and its allies handed out to other countries that rid themselves of their oligarchs: reduction to pariah status and eventual military action or threat thereof.

Ultimately the USA doesn't tolerate noncapitalist ideas on the part of its subjects, i.e., Earth's population. "We" in the USA don't like to "lose" countries.

At some point, tho (and some believe this has been reached), the USA's ability to enforce its will abroad will be diminished. Let's hope that's the case, if not now then soon.

There is power in the name of Mittney.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...

Here is a truly scary article about Honduras. It looks like we are officially entering neo-feudalism, complete with corporatist city states.

If I am to guess, it will be built by Bechtel, security will be provided by Blackwater (or whatever they call themselves today), the "last agricultural frontier" will be implemented by Monsanto, and JP Morgan will provide the financing (courtesy of the Fed). Last (and certainly least), slaves will be plentifully provided from planet Earth.

Welcome to the Hunger Games.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

In the first two debates both they reassured us that the rich shouldn’t have to pay taxes anymore, and that we can get rid Social Security or medical care, because nobody needs those when they retire.
The final debate, was supposed to be about which man can better lead us to victory in our wars to conquer the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, and turn their lands over to Israel. Like most Americans, I was waiting for a simple pledge from either man before making my final decision: I pledge to obliterate Iran within 90 days or I will resign my office in disgrace.
Instead we got the most appalling statement ever, by a candidate for high office when Romney said: “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” First of all, I thought there was something in the Constitution making in an act of treason for an American leader to utter these three worlds in a row: we can’t kill. We can kill, we have killed, and we will continue to kill, whether or not it helps us get of us out of messes, or helps us get into more messes! Mittney, you numskull, you just lost my vote, and probably the election!

11:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Recent article in Wash Post--I read it yesterday in the Japan Times--abt drone attacks now being institutionalized, i.e. a permanent feature of US foreign policy. This is not only "permanent war for permanent peace"; it also amounts to a war on Islam, as far as I can make out. Not smart; but then, we aren't.


2:42 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Link for the WP article:

Comment from Glenn Greenwald:

6:24 AM  
Blogger LJansen said...

The phrase "Let go; let God" keeps running through my mind (what is left of it).

The cheery little bon mot does not work for me, since I'm not able to see the big guy in the sky, either for real or in my dreams.

I'm trying on "Let go; let Mitt" -- what do you think?

2:22 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...



2:49 PM  
Anonymous Paul Emmons said...

I hardly expected a 3/4-page obituary eulogy to any scholar even in the New York Times, but such we can find today devoted to Jacques Barzun, dead at age 104. As described in this article, he was even more of a kindred spirit than I'd realized since stumbling onto his "House of Intellect" in my youth. Two few nowadays think subtly enough to find themselves champions of liberalism, and of cultural conservatism, and of romanticism to boot.

The headline hails Barzun as a "cultural critic [who] saw the sun setting on the West". Last two paragrapghs: "He traced periods of rise and fall in the Western saga, and contended that another fall was near... caused by... an internal crisis in the civilization itself, which he believed had come to celebrate nihilism and rebellion. And yet, in the cycles of history, he believed another renewal would come.... 'Only in the shadows, when some fresh wave, truly original, truly creative, breaks upon the shore, that there will be a rediscovery of the West.'"

I'd love to hear Dr. Berman's reflections on this other formidable mind, with whom he is certainly familiar.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...


Many years ago I lived in Honduras and the scars (and fresh wounds!)of imperialism are everywhere.

If I had to guess, I'd say they'll set up shop in the Gulf of Fonseca. Worst case, they'll claim Isla del Tigre and destroy the mountain to use it for fill. Maybe they'll name it Ciudad Milton Friedman, or if we're lucky, Ciudad Tom Friedman.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Try: "Let Mitt Be God." Works for me!


8:15 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

MB: Eureka!

2:20 AM  
Anonymous shep said...

America has, "both beautiful curves and hideous deformities."

8:11 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Of course Mittney and Muffley agree on drones, killing foreigners is usually an area of bipartisan agreement. Whether its drones or napalm, I don’t think Americans care. They believe all unbelievers will be burned is hell anyway, so what does it matter if we shoot them or burn them? What has got them upset is that we’re just not killing these Muslim heathen fast enough, because they know that the Muslims probably aren’t going to conveniently die of disease like most of the Native Americans did before we got here.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dying empires usually go on irrational killing sprees. Cf. England's torture regime in Kenya in 1950s. The important thing is that we not step back for a moment and assess WTF we are doing, and why (no danger of that, of course). The impt thing is that we kill as many 'enemies', real or imagined, as we can. Both Mittney and Turkey are committed to that.


11:21 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...

Here is a very convincing explanation of why we need to immediately start killing more of them 4-year old Ayrab terrorists:

“Time Magazine's Joe Klein Makes a Sociopathic Defense for Killing Children with Drones”

Go get ‘em Mitt!

5:07 AM  
Anonymous TimR said...

Mike Alan - Thanks for link to Gatto interviews. I second your recommendation, hope others will check it out. Curious what MB (and other writers whose work I follow) would make of his ideas, there doesn't seem to be much reaction to him out there, at least where I'm reading.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

I acknowledge that saying this is, shall we say, ignorant, but, how is it possible for Direct TV to offer the worst possible porn? Go to the 590's, if you are a subscriber, push the info button, and throw up at the descriptions. (hideous deformities) It must be in the white house bedrooms for viewing pleasure?

Mittens should sign an executive order authorizing free porn for all people of his stature and foreign back accounts.


8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Mittney will get the nation back on track. I'm sure of it. Good article by Jonathan Schell in today's Japan Times on how Obama is empty, a frozen shell of his previous self. Except he was empty 4 yrs ago, imo.


Pls pick a handle; I don't post Anons. I suggest Rufus T. Firefly.


3:40 AM  
Anonymous said...

I like your blog, I like Coming To Our Senses very much.

But do you know, the name of this site sounds like an obituary - A Blog For Morris Berman.

That 'for' is fatal!!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

A "simulacrum of the old Obama... a hardened Obama... a brutalized Obama" are apt descriptions of our current hustler in chief. Indeed, running America, or being in America, for that matter, makes one depressed, violent, and essentially conservative. It will, or should, slap that dopey silly smile off of anyone's face! Thanks for the article Dr. B.

12:18 PM  
Blogger LJansen said...

Apropos of nothing (I am a child of my culture after all), today I am spending time reading my library copy of WAF, interspersed with rehearsing my part of the villain Potter in a park dept production of It's a Wonderful Life and instructions from the nat'l lawyers guild for being a legal observer at demonstrations. Will I survive these incongruities? Yes, I must. I haven't voted yet.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

More proof that the "modern" lifestyle is killing us.

The New York Times: The Island Where People Forget to Die


Ikaria, an island of 99 square miles and home to almost 10,000 Greek nationals, lies about 30 miles off the western coast of Turkey. Its jagged ridge of scrub-covered mountains rises steeply out of the Aegean Sea. Before the Christian era, the island was home to thick oak forests and productive vineyards. Its reputation as a health destination dates back 25 centuries, when Greeks traveled to the island to soak in the hot springs near Therma. In the 17th century, Joseph Georgirenes, the bishop of Ikaria, described its residents as proud people who slept on the ground. “The most commendable thing on this island,” he wrote, “is their air and water, both so healthful that people are very long-lived, it being an ordinary thing to see persons in it of 100 years of age.”

Seeking to learn more about the island’s reputation for long-lived residents, I called on Dr. Ilias Leriadis, one of Ikaria’s few physicians, in 2009. On an outdoor patio at his weekend house, he set a table with Kalamata olives, hummus, heavy Ikarian bread and wine. “People stay up late here,” Leriadis said. “We wake up late and always take naps. I don’t even open my office until 11 a.m. because no one comes before then.” He took a sip of his wine. “Have you noticed that no one wears a watch here? No clock is working correctly. When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”

Pointing across the Aegean toward the neighboring island of Samos, he said: “Just 15 kilometers over there is a completely different world. There they are much more developed. There are high-rises and resorts and homes worth a million euros. In Samos, they care about money. Here, we don’t. For the many religious and cultural holidays, people pool their money and buy food and wine. If there is money left over, they give it to the poor. It’s not a ‘me’ place. It’s an ‘us’ place.”


6:42 PM  
Anonymous Mike Alan said...


You are welcome. I have been listening to the Gatto interview when I can while working and have found it very interesting. Also, my earlier comments about the folks who go over what he says in detail may have been a little harsh. They come off a little better in the middle episodes. I just grow leery when I hear buzzwords like entrepreneur (in it's various forms), and dismissal of any thought that there might actually be limits to how many people the planet can hold and to the amount of resources we can consume. Still, what Gatto has to say has been very educational and enjoyable.

Dr. B,

I enjoyed your comment about Jonathan Schell's observation of Obama. I'm too am at a loss over what people thought Obama's shell might have contained four years ago. Or maybe it's not us and Mr. Schell bought into the BS Obama was hustling at the time without seeing through the veil. As so many did. The problem with having a good built-in crap detector is that people without one do not understand what you are telling them until much later after the fact and usually after you have moved on to new areas of detection. I am guessing it's a an ailment most here suffer. Hence, why we are compare notes and have comaraderie with the other outcasts.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

I heard an interview on National Public Radio today with a professor at the US Navy academy who was saying we should stay in Afghanistan for another ten years. The reporter never asked him what ten more years of American troops would accomplish, considering the previous ten haven’t accomplished much. When I clicked on the NPR website to look at the story an ad for Exxon-Mobil appeared. I guess that answers the question of why we’re going to keep doing these wars. 41 states had budget shortfalls for 2012 totaling $102.9 billion. This amount could be wiped out entirely by the amount spent on the war in Afghanistan $122 billion in 2011. The war has cost $579 billion since we started it supposedly to get so far Ben Laden and the people who planned 9/11. The war in Iraq cost over $800 billion. Remember this when the politicians tell us we’re so broke we can’t afford teachers and we’re going to have to get rid of Social Security

10:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The impt thing is to keep killing. It's what made America great.

Mike Alan-

"Hell is the truth realized too late." (Thos Hobbes)


It just doesn't sound very American, and that bothers me.


Whatever yr questions, Mittney is the answer.


Not clear to me why the guy doesn't just do us all a favor and blow his brains out. Be better for him, too.


Listen, when I'm pushing up daisies, maybe u cd take over the blog and make it an obit, A Blog for MB. I like it!

And now for the bad news: 4 more yrs of The Turkey. He's ahead in all the swing states, and the Electoral College is what matters, as we all knew.

Mittney! I tried 4u! I cried 4u! O Mittney, Mittney.


3:00 AM  
Anonymous satyaSarika said...

Dear MB,

I object to your use of 'turkey' to describe that empty suit. Turkeys are tasty whereas the big zero is the epitome of bland. As Turkey day approaches in the US I would like to enjoy it rather than suffer the nausea any association with Oblahblah brings.
At the moment I am savoring Wandering God. I can see why it took you so long to write it. It is perfectly delectable. Thank you. I hope you are having great times traveling!

3:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Of course yr rt. But I'm glad yr enjoying WG. BTW, I may not be back. If the pseudo-turkey wins, and my beloved Mittney is out in the cold, I may commit hara-kiri (seppuku) and have my friend Naomi chop off my head w/the samurai sword she has hanging around her apt.

Mittney! The Berm worships at yr shrine!


5:46 AM  
Anonymous Zero said...

A little bit of karma can't hurt:

7:50 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

yeah, to paraphrase "Tuesdays with Morrie" its Tuesdays with Obama when he gathers 100 intelligence operators for a conference call where they go over the weekly kill list. Meanwhile again there is no mention of climate change when 3 distinct weather systems join ranks to wreck havoc along the east coast. I mean is the oil lobby that strong that no one in the media still cannot utter climate change or (God forbid) global warming?
Your point about Obama with regard to the Schell article is correct. He was a fraud even before he was elected in 2008, granting immunity to the telecoms when he initially said he wouldn't and agreeing to the TARP bailout the October before the election. Now he's running a virtual international Murder Inc. yet the fools on MSNBC still regard him as "the good guy."
PS. I actually think you should stay in Japan. I am certainly proud to say that I had only to endure one year of Reagan and missed the entire Bush I presidency by living in Japan.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous shep said...


I wonder what the definition of 'poor" is on Ikaria?

8:06 AM  
Blogger LJansen said...

MB, you're so right. Mitt is the answer!

Mitt lifted me! Mitt lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Mitt lifted me!

1:05 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...


One definition of poor on Ikaria might be:
Just off the boat from Samos.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Joss Whedon is onboard! He says Romney is the perfect candidate to bring in the zombie apocalypse:

Youtube: Whedon On Romney

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...


In response to today’s unprovoked attack on New York City by the Ayrab terrorist named Sandy, the President of the United States of America, speaking from a boarded up White House, has issued the following message:

“My fellow Americans. Today, our beloved lower Manhattan financial district has been subjected to an unprovoked attack from an Ayrab terrorist that goes by the name of Sandy. I want you to know that as Comanda in Chief I have swiftly responded to this act of terror, mobilizing all the strength and might of the United States armed forces. Therefore, as of 10 AM this morning, I have deployed 5 aircraft carriers and a fleet of ten thousand drones armed with bunker-busting bombs to the lawless region where Ayrab Sandy reportedly received his terrorist training: The Gulf of Mexico. Our brave troops and drones are making the waves bounce as I speak. In closing, I want to draw a red line and send a clear message to anybody else who may be thinking of disrupting our way of financial life: No terrorist, no hurricane, no tropical storm, no Ayrab, no Muslim, no Occupy Wall Streeter, no homeless, no unemployed will be allowed to ever again interfere with my friends and campaign contributors on Wall Street. Is that clear?!”

7:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But u probably saw Bush Sr's last act in office b4 u left Japan: he barfed on the Japanese prime minister. To me, that was symbolic of his entire presidency.


Try singing "Amazing Grace" by substituting "Mitt" for "Grace."


7:47 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Yes, I was there when Bush Sr. heaved on the Japanese prime minister, a precursor to drone attacks I now see in retrospect.
Hey, don't give up on Rom Mitney. Almost all the states affected by Sandy are heavily Democratic and since Dems are already disheartened by Obama they will just as well stay home and continue to bale water our of their basements.
Interestingly, Philadelphia came out of Sandy rather well while many of the Main Line suburbs are suffering with no electricity. Serves them right since many moved to the burbs to keep their children from having contact with non-white children. "I moved because of the schools" is just more coded racist language.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Interesting article on how capitalism will go down screaming and kicking - it won't be pleasant.

(Seems pretty much equivalent to Greer's notion of "catabolic collapse," just slower and more (if that's possible) unpleasant.)

9:25 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers,

Regarding earlier posts about U.S. Drone activity perpetuating permanent war, check out the following article.

1:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It was disappointing, tho, that when Bush Sr. tossed his cookies on the Japanese p.m., he didn't do it projectile style. That wd have been even more symbolic (and prescient).

As for Mittney: I have this sinking feeling he's doomed. To paraphrase Whitman:

"O Mittney! my Mittney! our fearful trip is done..."


4:46 AM  
Anonymous Bill M. said...

Doctor Berman,

You've predicted that a number of secession movements will come to the fore around 2050s. What lines will these fall into? Do you predict that the "Reconquista" will retake the American southwest? Do you hear people in Mexico talking about Aztlan? There are a number of latino students here at UConn that hope as much. I got into a discussion with one of them recently and I've been hooked on the topic ever since.

I confess to disagreeing with your views of America. The portrait you paint simply does not jibe with my experiences. However, I love to read your articles and hear you speak on YouTube. Your thoughts frighten and, I think, improve me. I hope you find everything you wanted in Japan, a nation I've long admired.

Warm regards,
Bill M.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous shep said...


I see where the DSM-5 field trials are being trashed. Correctly so, I assume?


Anybody have trouble deciphering John Saul's Voltaire's Bastards?

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Stone said...

"Just to be safe, campaign aides reportedly spent $5,000 at a local Wal-Mart on supplies that could be put on display. When supporters arrived at the rally-turned-relief event, they were treated to the 10-minute video about Romney’s life, which was first unveiled at the RNC. The event ended with supporters lined up to hand over supplies and meet Romney. But according to BuzzFeed, this donation process was also staged:

Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, “What if we dropped off our donations up front?”

The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. “Just grab something,” he said.

Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their “donations” to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest 'Thank you.'"

Quoted from: "Romney Campaign Staged Donations At Storm Relief Event," by Aviva Shen, posted at Common Dreams, October 31st.

Ya can always count on Mittney to do the "right" thing: the man is beyond freedom and dignity.

3:48 PM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

Thought the wafers might interested in this. They should have had mb on too!

"There is a sentiment that America is a nation in decline. A superpower that once was. The Agenda examines what is behind the malaise."

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Zero said...


And they put together this DSM-5 under great secrecy – far greater than past DSM revisions. The idea is to lower the thresholds, and to introduce new disorders for the elderly and children, because for those categories it is easier to obtain medication reimbursement. I used to work clinically with the elderly in nursing homes, and I tell ya, 90% of them were on some kind of heavy duty psychiatric drug, but the vast majority didn’t even have a psychiatric diagnosis. But they kept pumping them up with meds because Medicare paid for it. It’s a total criminal scam.

And, just wait to see what will happen to kids next. They already give ADHD kids antipsychotics to almost a million kids and stimulants to almost 4 million more. These kids will be totally disabled by the time they turn 20. Those on antipsychotics will show irreversible parkinsonian symptoms, and will likely die decades earlier. Already, since 1987, when psychiatric meds started being pushed on kids, we saw a 34 fold (3400 percent) increase in the number of children and adolescents on permanent disability due to mental illness (according to Social Security Administration data).

Not only that, but American psychiatry has been very successful in marketing its DSM to most other nations across the world, and drug makers are having a great deal of success implementing the same tactics they employed here in places like Japan, the EU, and many others.

By the way, this whole idea of “chemical imbalance” is just bullshit. There is no science whatsoever behind it. Actually, the term “chemical imbalance” was invented by the marketing department at one of the drug makers. We have an extremely limited understanding about how the brain works. There are hundreds and hundreds of neurotransmitters, we only identified about 50, and studied less than 15. But you won’t hear this from a psychiatrist or the leadership of any of the medical schools in this country (which are largely financed by drug manufacturers).

Psychiatry... the same criminal “profession” that brought us mass marketed lobotomies and Electroconvulsive therapy, not to mention full cooperation with torturers in Communist Russia, Eastern Europe, China, and, last but not least, full assistance to promoters of liberty and democracy operating at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and countless secret CIA sites across the world.

Please allow me: USA! USA! USA!
One more time: Capitalism! Capitalism! Capitalism!
One last time: DSM! DSM! DSM!

8:29 PM  
Anonymous shep said...


For about a decade I spent my life as a Nurse Practitioner in OB/GYN/Colposcopy.

We had a P.A. associate, who was much brighter than most of us and he knew it. (Loved to buzz every where in his long white smock and stethoscope like an M.D.) Never played by any rules. He peacocked around giving "drug seminars" and, was paid of it, of course.

His wife had one of the higher paying jobs as a drug rep. All she did was go around and give out trinkets and provide meals for meetings. In my opinion and jealousy the drug reps were really nothing more than caterers and drug pushers.

This past weekend, my wife and I ran into a former colleague and discovered that the smart ass P.A. had been fired (after I retired) for double dipping on his salary and he had died in a biking accident. Two trucks ran over him. A Karma expert wd say he got what he deserved and then some.

I wasn't the best in Pharmacology but the place I worked let nursing applicants cheat on job application drug tests. We all sat in a room and some of the applicants cheated while working the problems together. It was hilarious. I could not believe it.
Can someone give me a couple of insights to John Ralston Saul.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

What's shakin' Wafers?

A hearty thank you to pinkpearl for providing the Steve Paikin Agenda show, dealing with American decline! I watched it as I was passing out Halloween candy to the neighborhood kids. I noticed a big uptick in Superhero costumes this year. Indeed, Mittneyland is in desperate need of a superhero, no? It is a sad commentary, although not surprising, that this is a Canadian broadcast. We could never expect America to self confront in such a provocative way.

Thanks again!

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Here's an interesting story currently under the headline radar. An Admiral commanding a battle group has been ordered home in the middle of a tour of duty. This is highly unusual to say the least.

North County Times (San Diego, CA): Navy denies Stennis leader removed over Libya

The Navy on Wednesday said that the abrupt removal of an admiral commanding a Mideast aircraft carrier group was not related to the Sept. 11 U.S. consulate attack in Libya, refuting Internet rumors in the week leading up to the U.S. presidential election.

Speculative reports have said that the head of the John C. Stennis carrier group wanted to send help during the deadly attack and disobeyed orders to stand down. One emailed to U-T San Diego was headlined “Obama Fires Top Admiral For Advocating Libyan Rescue?”


The reason given for the investigation was allegations of “inappropriate leadership and judgment.” Officials have stressed that the accusations are not about personal misbehavior, such as drinking or sexual harassment.

On Wednesday, Rear Adm. John Kirby, chief of naval information at the Pentagon, called the speculation about the consulate flat wrong.

“Rumors of this having anything to do with Libya and the Benghazi attack are simply false and ridiculous,” Kirby said.


[The reason this is interesting is that rumors are flying on less "mainstream" websites that the reason for his removal was participation in a literal coup plot. Note the careful phrasing used by the military to describe the investigation. A group of senior military officers may have actually been planning to stage some sort of Seven Days in May rebellion if Obama was re-elected. No "respectable" news sources have confirmed this yet. We'll just have to wait and see what explanation is given for the investigation...]

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Huffington Post reported that American Apparel sent out an E-mail promoting a 20% discount to customers in 9 east coast states "in case you're bored during the storm." The online discount code read "SANDYSALE". Absolutely. There is certainly nothing more boring than watching all your possessions being washed away, having no food, water, or electricity for days, and having to worry about looters. I mean what a yawner. Needless to say, another example of what we have become and what you have so well documented - a nation of cheap petty hustlers.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


A great anecdote. How pathetic this country is.


Ouch! Two trucks. Man, that's rough. Can we find those drivers and send them over to Goldman Sachs?

Meanwhile, Mittney is toast. The handwriting is on the wall. The moron talks abt privatizing emergency aid agencies while Obama looks presidential, assisting the East Coast via governmental aid. Christie, a Republican, praises him. It's all over for Rom; toast, I tell u. In two weeks he'll be as memorable as John Kerry, while we're stuck w/4 more yrs of Nowhere Man/War Criminal/Pentagon and Corporate Shill.



8:01 AM  
Blogger pinkpearl said...

No worries, Jeff T. I had to bail after 20 minutes of that Agenda show though. I couldn't take the guy who kept saying that Americans only *think* there is a decline because life is SO GOOD that their expectations have been raised to utopian levels. He also said that the poorest American is unimaginably (yes, I'm pretty sure he used the word "unimaginable") wealthy compared to how the majority of humans live, i.e. in Third World countries. I found that a spectacularly clueless thing to say, since you don't have to look hard to find Third World-type poverty in the USA. E.g. the tent cities that have sprung up all over the country.

Actually, reflecting on those 20 minutes, only one guest seemed willing to agree with the idea that America is in decline: the Russian guy who teaches Canada & US studies, formerly in Russia and now in Canada. The others all disagreed, at most saying that America has a few problems at the moment, but is still the king.

Ack - I've gone on too long!

10:58 AM  

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