November 14, 2013

On My Way to Ol' Virginny

Well Waferinos, this is it: on Sunday I'll be Virginny-bound. For those of you within striking distance of Lexington, my lecture will be Nov. 19, 5 p.m., on the Washington & Lee University campus (Northen Auditorium). Word has it that they'll be serving crab cakes rather than chopped liver canapes, but inasmuch as I spent two years in Baltimore during the era of my wasted youth, I'm hip. I look forward to seeing a few of you there, in any case, and hope you enjoy it. Just keep in mind at all times that there are Wafers, and then there's everybody else.



Blogger GregJS said...

Dr. B,
The high level of craftsmanship in WG comes through every bit as much as it does in the fine craft objects from centuries past. Reading it produced exactly the same deeply satisfying sense that “Someone really put his whole being into this,” which true craftsmanship always elicits (and which is almost always followed by the thought, “Too bad hardly anyone does this anymore – and that we don’t live in a world that supports or appreciates it.”)

As for the plagiarizing journalist, her karma definitely caught up to her. As I said so astutely and eloquently just before (#200), “She is to be pitied, because to her, it is the appearance of being an original thinker that is important, not the substance. Her soul is hollow, if it is even there.”

Oh all right - it was Publius who said that. But I agree totally. Having to be our own stinky self is the main karmic price we pay for our hustling – and what a price it is.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous joe hohos said...

Dr. B, Wafer's,

Thought you all may be interested in this. Wonder if our government could pull something like this off.

Then is similar news, Andy Kaufman may have faked his own death. This is a fascinating story whether he's alive or dead. Comic genius, I tell ya!

6:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for yr appreciation. As I said earlier, that's how I try to approach all my work. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century. The bk I am currently writing on Japanese culture talks a fair amount abt that type of dedication: swordmaking, flower arranging, calligraphy, the martial arts, crafts of all kinds. All of this was as spiritual as it was material. I shd call the bk "From Craft to Crap," but I probably won't.

Yr rt abt that journalist, and people who get, as their karma, a crummy life, and it is indeed a high price. I seem to remember that James Baldwin wrote abt this somewhere in his work. But the thing that bothers me is that she and her ilk--or most of them, I'm guessing--never realize it. They hustle, they cheat, they turn everything into a commodity, and they conclude they've had a great life! How many Ivan Ilyches are there (Tolstoy), who figure out during the last 3 days of their lives, that the whole thing was a mistake? Not very many, probably. Well, I'm sure Tolstoy would tell me that that's up to God, not me, bothers me that neither Bush nor Obama will figure anything like that out, any more than the plagiarizing journalist. Speaking of journalists, remember the heroic one a few yrs back, who threw his shoes at Bush and called him a dog? That's my idea of responsible journalism. The problem is that Bush was merely amused; he never imagined that there might be something wrong w/ murdering all those Iraqis, fucking up an entire country for his ego ("kicking some ass," is how he described his motivation). That's why I believe that peeing on Guccis is akin to a religious act.


7:13 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Dr. B--

You wrote, "How many Ivan Ilyches are there (Tolstoy), who figure out during the last 3 days of their lives, that the whole thing was a mistake?" As I see it, herein lies the big crisis with respect to the aging boom that will unfold over the next few decades. There's so much emphasis on "optimal aging" and attention paid to physical and physiological processes, and yet I'm trying to envision an entire generation wallowing in their own later life realization that--as you said--the whole thing was a mistake. Sounds like a public health crisis extraordinare . . . complete with the endless screams of remorse.

Sucks that I won't be able to hear you speak in Lexington, although I still fondly recall hearing you speak in the People's Republic of Vermont last fall. Thanks in advance if there's any way you can provide any transcripts or audio feeds to your VA presentation, much like you did with your recent presentation in Canada.


8:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The folks at Wash & Lee U. told me that they plan to video the lecture, wh/means that probably a week after that I'll be able to obtain a link from the A/V Dept. there and post it on this blog. I can also post the text of the talk as well, of course (wh/I may do); the problem is that the text doesn't have the Q&A from the audience, wh/can sometimes be interesting. Anyway, stay tuned; I wd never leave my fellow Wafers high and dry.


9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celine needs to put the hustling aside to concentrate on eating more stuffed kiskha. The old Schwartz's delicatessen on St. Laurent is in my Pantheon of former paradises that should have never tried to go online.
Oy gevalt - the US has already invaded Canada twice; next time they will come north for the deli meats.
... and Montreal Hasidic Bagels are the best north of the Rio Grande (the Rebbe Schneerson told me so)

10:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


W/all due respect to the rebbe, I usta live around the corner from that bagel place on St. Viateur in Montreal, and occasionally wd go there at 6 a.m. when the fresh ones started coming outta the oven. Sacre bleu! Warm and soft--pure sex, mon cher. That was 33 yrs ago, and it seems like yesterday...Taking the bagels back to my apt., devouring them w/cream cheese while listening to Harmonium ("Pour un instant j'oublie mon nom; ca ma permit enfin d'ecrire cette chanson...") My grandfather told me the East European recipe for making a bagel in Czarist Russia, many yrs ago: Take a hole, he said, and place dough around it very carefully. Bake until golden brown. Something metaphysical abt that, je pense.


11:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers Take Note:

New bk by Alice Marwick, "Status Update," wh/is about technology and the social media. Her thesis seems to be that devotees of this crap are hustlers and douche bags. Not exactly a major intellectual breakthru, from a Waferian perspective, but of course it needs to be said, over and over again, and the participants need to be endlessly ridiculed.


12:29 AM  
Anonymous dukie said...

> dukie
> November 14, 2013
> Last night I saw a wall decoration (painting?) for sale of a whale diving, just the tail sticking in the air with an island(?) in the background. Believe it's been around many years. Seen it many times…Anyhoo
> A thought went thru my brain that I would never want to have to look at that painting on a continuing basis. Too sad now.
> 50 years ago I was a Navy chopper pilot. Mission ASW (AntiSubWarfare). Used to train off San Diego. Saw the whales many times close up as they were migrating. Always a beautiful sight.
> For offense against subs we carried programmable (from the cockpit) nuke depth charges. From o.5kt up to max of 20kt. We were told if ever ordered to drop the 20kt be sure to be flying downwind to escape the ocean wave that would follow.
> When I think about all this now, the destruction of mankind seems so inevitable just as Einstein predicted…Anyone have the quote(S)? I mean WTF, we carried depth charges on a helicopter that were equal to the Nagasaki bomb just to blow up a fukkin submarine. ???
> Man has been living on borrowed time re nukes. Kinda weird that a power generating plant gonna possibly do us in.

Check this:
MIC fuks were polluting Alaska long time ago

dukie out

1:07 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


I watched two episodes of a new documentary series called Time of Death yesterday. One of the participants was a Jewish woman named Loraine with cancer. She chose to forgo treatment in order to die in her home as it came. One of her final meals was a corned beef sandwich with cole slaw and horseradish, and she was describing the sort of transccendant experience it gave her as she ate it. She had a very accepting outlook on her coming demise. May we all get to enjoy a sandwich like she did before we go...

3:09 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

The grim Japanese film of the grim Japanese novel is online (with some slight alterations to the original text, apparently, to render it more palatable)for anyone interested:

As an antidote to grim, if needed, I can recommend this very slow and stunningly beautiful Korean film that mesmerised me when I first watched it and has haunted me since. 'Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...and Spring.' A visual treat:

3:57 AM  
Blogger Zosima said...

(As I said earlier, that's how I try to approach all my work. Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century. The bk I am currently writing on Japanese culture talks a fair amount abt that type of dedication: sword making, flower arranging, calligraphy, the martial arts, crafts of all kinds. All of this was as spiritual as it was material.)

A couple of areas that I’ve have seen some impressive books have been Japanese carpentry and Japanese fabric arts. It may not be true, but I read that the Japanese want only raw logs sent from the US because their knowledge and skill in carpentry is far beyond ours, so they’d rather not have us messing up things. It’s a marvel to see the way they can fashion elaborate joinery for home construction sometimes using only hand tools. And of course, the kimonos are works of art. I am struck by their use of colors which don’t seem to exist in America. But this is probably true of Chinese colors as well.
In fact, I have read that Japanese art is derivative of Chinese art, which is much more ancient, and that if you think about it, much of Japanese culture is basically imported from mainland Asia. And thanks to the upheavals in China, their arts and crafts have been relatively inaccessible until recently, whereas Japanese art has been very accessible to the world. I read that in the 1970’s when the Chinese discovered the vast Terracotta Army buried at Shaanxi province they didn’t know what to make of it because the had killed all the scholars and art experts during the Cultural Revolution, so they had to rely on experts from outside the country. But I don’t know how accurate that story is.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


An inspiring story. You see? It *had* to be corned beef (tho pastrami would have been OK as well); tuna just wdn't have done the trick. Personally, I'm hoping my very last words are, "Could you hand me that dill pickle?"


Pls note: we have an informal rule here, namely post only once every 24 hrs. Thank you.


4:43 AM  
Blogger ROL said...

Dr. B –
My wife and I just returned from a fantastic 2 ½ week vacation in China. We are your basic quasi-adventure travelers who like to get off the beaten track, go places not everyone else is likely to go to, see things that are not on the standard tourist itinerary. And we like to eat good food. We achieved those basic objectives many times over.
The objective I did not achieve was to track down your translated book, WAF, in Chinese, not because it wasn’t available, but because time and tide (of humanity) did not permit (the bookstores we saw were crowded). Alas, alack…
But… BUT ! It would seem you have not gone unnoticed in the Big Chi. We did travel with our “smart” phones in order to have internet access whenever wifi was available (every place we stayed) for email, news, diversion during the many wakeful hours in the dark owing to jet lag. I tried on numerous occasions to access your DAA blog/website, and every time got the standard message one gets when trying to access the NYT, Facebook, or other websites deemed too “subversive” or dangerous by the govmint there. Curious, I thought. Have you had any other feedback on either the accessibility of your blog over there, or the reception your book has received? Perhaps it’s too soon to tell, unless of course the book is flying off the shelves like Chinese hotcakes.
What hear you ?

9:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sounds like a great trip. All Wafers are accordingly jealous. Yes, I had been told by another Wafer that he cdn't access my blog in China, tho I don't feel particularly singled out, since Chinese censorship casts a very wide net, or so I've heard. Mandarin WAF appeared in Sept. from the Beijing World Publishing Co., and as far as I know, my agent never received a copy. The thing I'm really curious abt is the Preface I wrote for that edn. I said some things that were not very complimentary toward the Chinese regime, and wondered if the Preface got censored accordingly. Problem is, I don't know a Chinese person who has a copy and who also speaks English, so I'm guessing I'll never know what happened. In any case, I can't imagine it will be a best-seller over there, but ya never know.


11:47 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,


May the perfect pastrami sandwich, delicious dill pickle, and spellbinding bouquet of a fizzy Cel-Ray tonic elixir find you, guide you, and keep you...

Have a great trip!

MB, Wafers-

An extremely interesting interview with Oliver Stone on the Tavis Smiley show last night. Check it out Wafers and have a dy-no-mite weekend!

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Ariel Ballesteros said...

Lexington is aways from Bahia de Kino, Sonora, Mexico. Any chance you might be lecturing a bit closer this way Dr. Berman? Anything sheduled for the north part of Mexico? Happy travels!

5:01 PM  
Blogger likebike said...

Hello WAFers, in our crackpot world I can't but agree with the wag who defined pessimists as those who fear that things are as bad as they can be while optimists know that things can always get worse, so I come here often to cheer myself up. Thanks Morris for running this blog site, it's a real service to many, including those who may remain silent.

I'm very glad to have read WG in the original, and in a similar vein would like to recommend 'Don't Sleep, There are Snakes' by Daniel Everett. He translated the Bible for the Pirahã into their tongue, hoping to save them. Eventually, he realized they were not lost. His own faith evaporated in their midst. He tried to bring Jesus to the Pirahã, but ended up bringing them to us.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Everett's a gd man, and the 1st serious challenge to Chomsky's theory of language; which personally, I never believed.


ps: Daniel Clausen: did I delete u accidentally? Pls advise.

8:11 PM  
Blogger wthcha said...

I am without a car right now, but I have to say I would be honored to attend any lecture you host. Or even to be taught by you.

I've taken so much from this blog. The funny thing is that when I mentioned Sorokin to a past Sociology prof, she had no idea who he was. But then again, I am only working on my Associate's right now.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks for your kind remarks, much appreciated. Lexington VA is a bit outta the way, in any case, but I hope to be posting a video of the lecture within a couple of weeks, if all goes well.

You might try Durkheim or Weber on your sociology prof, see if u have any greater success. In my experience, most academics don't have a very broad view of their fields. (Knowledge is almost incidental to careerism.)

Anyway, welcome to the blog, and we hope to 'see' u again.


1:36 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to the maximum 10 years yesterday for the Stratfor hack and subsequent exposure.

Chris Hedges gave this interview to the Real News Network shortly before the sentencing, elaborating on what this portends regarding the criminalising of dissent. Worth watching:

Barrett Brown is next up, an anarchist, whistleblower journalist facing a possible 105 years for posting a link online.

I found a sane and well reasoned quote from the Everett book linked by likebike (me, too) that made me want to read the rest. It encapsulates the paternalist attitude of cultural imperialism, colonialism, exploitation, capitalism etc:

"'The Pirahas know that you left your family and your own land to come here and live with us. We know that you do this to tell us about Jesus. You want us to live like Americans. But the Pirahas do not want to live like Americans. We like to drink. We like more than one woman. We don't want Jesus. But we like you. You can stay with us. But we don't want to hear any more about Jesus. OK?'"

6:03 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

There ought to be someone here in Ann Arbor / U of Michigan who could get a copy of the Chinese edition of WAF. I'm curious too about the preface. Did the Chinese gobble it right up? Or did they smooth it out first. I'll see if I can get somebody to find out.

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Egads, WAFers, here's the Transitional Object article du jour . . . because building relationships with others of our species would require vulnerability and sacrifice.


8:30 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Oddly enuf, I just yesterday got a message from an American living in China, who said he'd be glad to read the Preface and check it against the English original. I'm assuming he can get the bk w/o too much trouble, so we'll see. I'm very curious to see if it got censored, or whether the publisher had the nerve to print it as is, and the censors missed it. Stay tuned, all will be revealed. Remember, you heared it first on the Wafer Channel.


I heard that the British Atheist Society was buying ad space on the tube for notices like, "There probably isn't a God." So far, no riots down at Piccadilly. I think it wd be great if the American equivalent wd buy ads on the NY subway system w/notices like, "For heaven's sake, enough with the Jesus crap already!" I have a feeling the reaction wd be rather interesting.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, 19-yr-old girl goes up to porch of house (unarmed), gets blown away by resident w/a 12-guage shotgun. I guess they don't do a lot of, "Hi, can I help you?" in Detroit.



9:05 AM  
Blogger likebike said...

Unfamiliarity with how to comment and not being sure if I had succeeded caused me to post the same comment twice, Morris. You published it, but somehow my name, David Clausen, was stripped.

Likebike, your tag for me is apt: my claim that I like cycling so much that I'd do it even if it were bad for me is backed up by my continuing in spite of having been decked by a right hook and the occasional black ice.

ellen: a well chosen quote, the Everett book is so rich it can be strip-mined for ideas and information. No cherry-picking is needed to make it seem better than it is. Everett is a modest man whose love, candour and work are monumental.

David Clausen aka: likebike

12:52 PM  
Blogger GregJS said...

I have to get in on the Everett/Piraha quotes. Of everything I’ve read on aboriginal peoples, this is one of my all-time favorites. The set-up to this quote is that Everett is getting frustrated with his inability to convert the Pirahas to Christianity (quote begins here):

I decided to tell them something very personal about myself – something that I thought would make them understand how important God can be in our lives. So I told the Pirahas how my stepmother committed suicide and how this led me to Jesus and how my life got better after I stopped drinking and doing drugs and accepted Jesus. I told this as a very serious story.

When I concluded, the Pirahas burst into laughter. This was unexpected, to put it mildly. I was used to reactions like “Praise God!” with my audience genuinely impressed by the great hardships I had been through and how God had pulled me out of them.

“Why are you laughing?” I asked

“She killed herself? Ha ha ha. How stupid. Pirahas don’t kill themselves,” they answered. (end of quote)

Just imagine: people so unfamiliar with the concept of suicide that they genuinely don’t understand that urge and therefore have to assume a person would only kill herself out of sheer stupidity! Beautiful.

This is what I love about reading about such peoples. How else could we see how abnormal we’ve become? We take suicidal ideation so much for granted that it’s considered normal. Unfortunate, but normal. It never even crosses our minds that true normalcy means not even being familiar with the concept.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


You said, “My head spins after reading attempts to redefine a simple word with so many words. The word ‘stealing’ is the best summary of the word ‘plagiarism’, and that is the end of the story. If we cannot understand this, how can we understand such complex words as ‘justice’, ‘constitution’, ‘the rule of law’, 'racism', 'ethnocentrism', ‘democracy’, ‘communism’, ‘socialism’, ‘capitalism’, etc.?”

One of the morbid symptoms caused by rapid social change during the 20th and 21st Centuries is that it impacts language. When so many of the words we use change within one lifetime, it makes it difficult for people of different ages to communicate. Languages have always changed, but it used to happen much more gradually.

Moreover, it creates problems other than what linguists call ‘semantic shift’. Because people of different generations grow up in such dissimilar environments, young people feel that they have little to learn from their elders who come from ‘a different world’. Talk about ‘traditional values’; how can traditions be formed or transmitted in such an environment?

This is very disruptive to family life and education since youngsters tend to reject parents and teachers as role models, cut their attachment to adults at earlier and earlier ages, and virtually raise each other. No wonder so many Americans never seem to grow up.

The phenomenon is described in Gabor Maté’s, book, “Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers”. Maté also tells parents how they can either prevent this from happening, or how to re-attach with their estranged kids. As with so many books about social problems in today’s America, I suspect that his diagnosis may be better than his prescription. My solution is to get your family out of ‘the guts of the monster’ as soon, or for as long, as possible.

David Rosen

2:55 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

The undergrad tuition at Wash & Lee is more than $44,000 a year. I gotta wonder why the nation’s future elite desire to hear someone tell them that their country is a useless pile of dreck, and that the world would be a better place if it ceased to exist. Anyway, I wish you success in that endeavor. Jerry’s Falwell's Lynchburg is only about 20 miles away, maybe you can convince them to let you talk about your mystical atheism at Liberty U. Our hope is that you will be victorious and that a future mystical atheist non-hustling republic is just around the corner as a result of Berman’s march on Virginia.

Speaking of shootings, this place is not far from VTech where 35 people were shot dead by one guy, it’s right in the heart of God and Guns country, do you think it’s worth the risk? What if your car breaks down and you hafta knock on someone’s door for help?

10:53 PM  
Anonymous shep said...

"The word ‘stealing’ is the best summary of the word ‘plagiarism’, and that is the end of the story."


This statement is nothing but an opinion.

"We take suicidal ideation so much for granted that it’s considered normal."


Suicide is a wonderful solution in several ways. In politics, for instance, when the opposition is so vicious and powerful that u have no other option to fight the menace.

And, since , when u die, the lights simply go out, one can save ourselves from self induced torture as Kevorkian understood.


Jonathan Lethem is one good writer. I enjoyed his words immensely. Too long tho for my lazy self, tho, this proves that the examples are endless that support his opinion.

Check this out. My hero ‘man in black’ John Cash is a dirty plariarist. I find it interesting that both sides in any of these lawsuits usually try to stain the other party with the term ‘greed’.|obr|cpc|lst

Yourself Lethem and Dr Berman and so smart it is scary. This is over the top but the light is so bright you cannot look on your faces. (pathetically plagiarised from religion)

Yes, Waylon!

Last night I witnessed the luckiest play in ANY sporting event in history: Auburn vs Georgia. Mark Richt (Most honorable coach in footbal) has been touched by God as the Job of our age.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Wafers, try this out. This is from a first grade math book called Go Math which is now used throughout the Philadelphia Public School "System." This problem is from the first grade book. Also mind you that first graders are more or less on the sight word level. Only a very few inner-city children can read whole sentences. Here's the problem:
There are 9 more turtles in the water than on a log. 13 turtles are in the water. How many turtles are on a log?
Student: What's a log?
Anything else we can do to destroy a student's confidence at an early age?

7:33 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Dr B,
That genre of ad has been appearing on the tube for at least the last 30 years that I can remember, but then we are quite a godless lot here. We have a long and honourable tradition of rioting in the streets too, but rarely about which brand of god is best (Ulster being the exception, of course.) Those of us with gods tend not to brandish them in public too much--even the previous Archbishop of Canterbury admitted to a lack of literal belief which did him no great PR harm with the Brit faithful.

Jeremy Hammond's sentencing statement has been published, with court mandated redactions, and makes interesting reading as he seems to have been directed and manoeuvred, via an FBI sting, into the specific deed for which he has now received a 10 year sentence. The 21st century version of the political show trial:

'Break a leg' in Virginia.

8:16 AM  
Blogger likebike said...

Back on the Pirahã thing, another contrast-in-cultures worth rolling around in the back of ones mind is in the difference in attitudes to the corporal punishment of kids: ubiquitous in the USA, (and Canada, where I live) spanking is unheard of by the primitives.

Notorious (celebrated?) hate-filled, mass murderer of women, Ted Bundy pulled one of his young victims off the street in front of many witnesses who seemed to think that somebody—presumed to be her father—slapping around, punching and manhandling a screaming thirteen-year-old girl into a van was normal, in fact his right and duty. You know what the little snots are like, eh?

When Daniel Everett felt duty-bound to give his daughter a good Christian hiding, he couldn't find the privacy needed to perform the act. His hosts—the entire village—were so amazed by what they saw transpiring that they followed him around, asking him "what are you doing?" He confessed to not knowing. His telling this story is a beautiful alloy of modesty, courage and insight. Mettle metal: durable, user friendly, hard to mine for in an industrial economy.

Years ago, a Prince George doctor proposed that her violent northern BC city become a spank-free zone. She got death threats.

With regard to productive investments in sane adult behaviour: In some cultures little need be taught, in others little can be learned.

David Clausen

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Querent said...

Maybe this is too broad or off-topic a query, but I would like to know what Morris and others here think.

Assuming that you read much science fiction, what books/authors to date, if any, do you find most accurately prophetic, both for current trends and likely extrapolations?

I ask this as a general question, and not just as it relates to the U.S.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

MB -- The last name of the man who shot the 19-year-old African-American girl in suburban Detroit (Dearborn Heights) is, ironically enough, "Wafer." Given his background, however, I don't think he's a fan. - The Capt.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Have a good trip!
Thanks for the anti-social-media book recommendation ( Alice Marwick, "Status Update.)
Man, do I hate social media, and man, do people think I'm weird for shunning it!

@Likebike: 'Don't Sleep, There are Snakes' by Daniel Everett, sounds like a wonderful read.

You WAFers throw out too many great book recommendations (and film) to keep up with!

How about music? I listened to my deceased father's CD of Yo Yo Ma doing a Brahms violin concerto as I came back south from hunting up north. Wow.

Yes, there are WAFers who hunt. You can be into rural/country things, and still be a WAFer, right? And yes, I did succeed in my quest. We'll be eating a lot of free range, organic meat this winter.

The fresh air and lack of distraction made me freak out, in a way: I want out of this place (country).

11:32 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Michael Bay's Pain and Gain...this is America.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Kanye West said...

Hey Morris, I have a question. Have you read any of the books written by David Ray Griffin? I know that you would rather not discuss any alternative theories regarding 9/11 on your blog, and I am not suggesting that there is an alternative theory, I just want to know if you looked into his work or not. Do you consider his books worth reading?

1:04 AM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Chris Hedges on the Hammond case:

'The severe sentence..........was monumentally stupid for a judge seeking to protect the interest of the ruling class.'

'There is no hope, this sentencing shows, for redress from the judicial system, elected officials or the executive branch. Why should we respect a court system, or a governmental system, that shows no respect to us? Why should we abide by laws that serve only to protect criminals such as Wall Street thieves while leaving the rest of us exposed to abuse?'

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger discusses his problems over the Snowden leaks in the NY Review of Books:

'There is no hope, this sentencing shows, for redress from the judicial system, elected officials or the executive branch. Why should we respect a court system, or a governmental system, that shows no respect to us?'

6:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No, haven't read any of Griffin's bks, just bits and pieces of articles, some time ago.


Ursula LeGuin.


Gd question. But I just did a seminar for a philosophy class, and we had a really gd discussion. Only 1 hostile student, who had a hard time handling what I was saying, so was somewhat rude and aggressive. But it was OK; a smart and decent bunch, I thought.

There's a chocolate shop on the main drag in Lexington, but no deli meat outlet.


2:50 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

Dalai Lama fan comes to senses & quits the NFL

Is he ever going to encounter Existential Strain!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Almost in agreement with you. Plagiarism technically speaking is not theft. It is unethical in most contexts.

Auburn seems touched by some external force as evidenced by their victory against Texas A&M. Though I am surprised that you enjoy a spectacle where fundamentally many black young me are exploited for entertainment.

MB, wish I could have broken free of the snares of commitment in D.C/Bmore to attend your talk. If you do pop in to D.C. let me treat you to a Pastrami Sandwich, A cel ray and chopped liver at Eli's or Loebs.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Zosima said...

Dr B said: There's a chocolate shop on the main drag in Lexington, but no deli meat outlet.

Good heavens man, you’re in Joe Bageant hillbilly land! Heck, I shoulda said before, there’s just gotta be a decent barbq around there for yr meat fix, get you some beef brisket or turkey, if you're not into pulled pork. (I can almost taste that salty Virginia ham.) Did you fly into Richmond or DC? Get your deli fix there before you head back.

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Michael in Oceania said...


As for Chris Hedges' comment: "The severe sentence..........was monumentally stupid for a judge seeking to protect the interest of the ruling class."

I wish that were true, but history suggests that the people will never turn on their rulers, but only on convenient scapegoats.

Here is what Edmund Burke had to say to a French Assemblyman about the events of the French Revolution:

"There is a dilemma to which every opposition to successful iniquity must, in the nature of things, be liable. If you lie still, you are considered as an accomplice in the measures in which you silently acquiesce. If you resist, you are accused of provoking irritable power to new excesses. The conduct of a losing party never appears right: at least it never can possess the only infallible criterion of wisdom to vulgar judgments - success.

"The indulgence of a sort of undefined hope, an obscure confidence, that some lurking remains of virtue, some degree of shame, might exist in the breasts of the oppressors of France, has been among the causes which have helped to bring on the common ruin of king and people. There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief. ...

"I find that some persons entertain other hopes, which I confess appear more specious than those by which at first so many were deluded and disarmed. They flatter themselves that the extreme misery brought upon the people by their folly will at last open the eyes of the multitude, if not of their leaders. Much the contrary, I fear. As to the leaders in this system of imposture,- you know that cheats and deceivers never can repent. The fraudulent have no resource but in fraud. They have no other goods in their magazine. They have no virtue or wisdom in their minds, to which, in a disappointment concerning the profitable effects of fraud and cunning, they can retreat. ...

"As to the people at large, when once these miserable sheep have broken the fold, and have got themselves loose, not from the restraint, but from the protection of all the principles of natural authority and legitimate subordination, they become the natural prey of impostors. When they have once tasted of the flattery of knaves, they can no longer endure reason, which appears to them only in the form of censure and reproach. Great distress has never hitherto taught, and whilst the world lasts it never will teach, wise lessons to any part of mankind. Men are as much blinded by the extremes of misery as by the extremes of prosperity. Desperate situations produce desperate councils and desperate measures. "

Sorry to rain on Chris' parade, but he needs to listen to his buddy MB!

4:02 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Ever alert for news items that serve to highlight the continuing collapse of what passes for American society/culture, I offer this piece from Huffington Post; it enjoys the added virtue of involving one of our guru's (swami's?) favorite subjects, namely delis and deli meats:

Hoping to have contributed in some small way to the general malaise, I remain...

A WAFer in training

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Holzwege said...

First time here after reading the entries for a couple of years.

I read the American trilogy. Impressive and insightful, particularly Dark Ages America.

But Why America Failed is very important to help us to navigate not only America's treacherous waters, but also many aspects of the world at large.

Just finished Wandering God. A major book, that, for me. Although I thought that the last two chapters did not have the density of thought exhibited by the rest of the book.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Feel free to refer to me as Swami Pastrami.


Will be going up to NYC tomorrow, and will be sure to pork out on deli meats. (Yes, I know: pork is not a deli meat.)


2:48 PM  
Anonymous shep said...


Shoot, I have salted 'country' ham!



"A WAFer in training."

Right there with u.



Phew. Thanks. You are one of the few that understood what I was saying. "It is unethical in most contexts."

My father attended the U of Ga for one year and I have always pulled for them. He was an honest banker. Black people are always exploited. This is ever my point. I do not 'enjoy' spectacles. I pull for Mark Richt because he is possibly, the only, principled individual in sports. The guy cannot get a break. God must have touched him to be JOB.
I'm not sure why I even watched the part that I did. College spectacle football should be banned like the U of Chicago did a long time ago because it was detracting from academics. They had the first John Heisman winner too, I believe.

I think u form opinions of people too quickly. There is no way to fully asses a person in the context of a blog. I think it takes a person to person relationship. I'm sure (almost) I would like you if I were to spend some time with you. You are apparently extremely bright and well read.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous ellen said...

Michael in Oceania,

History suggests almost the complete opposite, in my reading.

What was the Arab spring about if not people turning on their erstwhile rulers? We Brits have topped a few monarchs who fell out of favour as did the French and Russians to their ruling caste. Ceaușescu and his wife were shot when they got too brutal and repressive for the people to further bear.

What followed all this toppling might not have been utopia (what is?) but that isn't the same as 'people will never turn on their rulers but only on convenient scapegoats.'

The power vacuum following a toppling is often filled by nefarious opportunists who might prove worse but Burke is far too defeatist and nihilistic for me--that result does not negate the act of rising up against repression. There is nothing to say that you cannot rise up again against the next lot of opressors--like everything, it gets easier with practice.

Or, you could just do as the oppressor wants and defeat yourself without a murmur because of what some long dead, oft-quoted, Anglo-Irish, establishment nob said 200 hundred years ago. The aristocratic heads rolling across the channel terrified such types then and still sends a shiver down the spine of today's establishment. Why else do you think they reluctantly accepted a form of socialism after the war in Europe? It wasn't because they had read Marx and seen the light, it was because of all those returning working class conscripts with battle experience and no patience or deference left for their supposed 'betters.'

Here's some heartening history, which looks quite endless and cyclical to me:

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

News item from the UK Guardian of November 16, 2013:

“Pennsylvania newspaper retracts 1863 criticism of Gettysburg Address: Patriot-News publishes retraction of Harrisburg predecessor's withering verdict on Abraham Lincoln's ‘silly remarks’.”

We’re all waiting for the day, and I certainly hope it doesn’t take 150 years, when we see the following headline:

“NY Times retracts hatchet job review of Morris Berman’s ‘Dark Ages America’.”

Furthermore, speaking of the NY Times, if you happen to be in Brooklyn, you will find the restaurant critic of the “Borough Park Shopping News”, Max Tisch the great pastrami and gehakte leber mavin, to be a much more truthful and relevant newspaper columnist than either Thomas Friedman or David Brooks.

David Rosen

11:56 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


What a commie-pinko-fag-liberal-bedwetter fuck! Let me go grab my AR-15 with laser sights and extended mag (its for squirrels, they get BIG round here)...

12:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Berman (Swami Pastrami),

It was nice to hear your talk in person yesterday at Washington and Lee. I enjoyed it and also enjoyed our brief conversation.

Do your observations during this visit to US further confirm the "O & D" trend in the US?

Thank You,

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A group of about 7 Wafers are having lunch with Dr. Berman Saturday Nov. 23rd in the West Village (NYC). If you want to join us, send me an email at sirtagioatgmaildotcom.

9:37 AM  
Blogger bowtiejack said...


The Southern Baptist Convention (which originally broke off pre-Civil War from the National Convention when it rejected slavery) finally rejected slavery themselves. Just not until 1995.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

WAF-ers: A nice little snarkfest here to stick it to your LINO (Liberal in Name Only) Obama lovin' pals:

Sounds almost Joe Bageant-ish!

4:31 PM  
Anonymous sanctuary! said...

If anyone is interested in a takedown of Burke's book on the French Revolution, Thomas Paine performed one in his own book The Rights of Man. Paine is in high sarcastic gear, e.g. re. Burke's near-incoherent argument for divine right (an embarrassing paean to power). Nevertheless, Paine was a fanatic & barely escaped "the triumph of reason" with his own head.

Plus ca change...

Today is Revolution Day in Mexico, a holiday, btw.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Capo Regime said...


Thanks--am sure you are a hell of a Mensch yourself.

All communication mediums short of face to face interaction are certainly limiting and lend themselves to miscues and misunderstandings. Hell, face to face is tough enough!

I do not usually post links, but Turchin is a good guy with original insights. Don;t much buy into patterns in stocks or human cycles (I think nature is fractal), but there is something to the overproduction of lawyers. By my lights the overproduction of lawyers and MBA's and web designers say goes to a mentality of incantation and willing--you need not produce anything per se merely be involved in paper shuffling or just talking and hustlng to make a lot of money. I have no problem making money but if there are lawyers its a problem--croynism and legal theft at work...

Enjoy the turchin piece:

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Capo - Thanks for the Turchin piece - fascinating and he identifies some interesting patterns. Like much of this type of analysis, however, it's society-centric and doesn't include the environmental factors affecting societies, e.g. from the mid-70s on the end cheap fossil fuel energy in the U.S.

As William Ophuls says regarding Tainter's work in "Immoderate Greatness": "To understand the world in Tainter's terms is to inhabit a transformed reality...[h]ighly influential, the book deserves the epithet seminal for having inspired or informed later work...[u]nfortunately Tainter tends to downplay or even dismiss alternative explanations for collapse. I argue to the contrary that no single factor can account for the demise of civilizations, which is brought about by many causes that aggregate into an intractable problematique greater than the mere sum of the causes."

10:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home