August 26, 2014


Dear Waferinos-

I guess it's time for a new thread. Unfortunately, I have no great insights to offer at this point; my mind is as empty as that of Rom Mittney's. At least he has his haircut to fall back on.

It is thus difficult to counsel you in any way, assuming you would want or need my input. All I can suggest is that you consult your post-it every morning; it's a good way to start your day. You might also want to read Dave Egger's book The Circle, for a depressing/astute portrait of America today.

Wafer on, Wafer on, Voltaire, Rousseau! (Blake)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Wafers,

Following up on the Sopranos discussion in the last post. It's very hard to find any insights from the man behind the show - David Chase - online. He sticks to a "the show speaks for itself" attitude in his interviews and doesn't say much. He did say this however in a Daily Mail article I found:

"The Sopranos was ambiguous to the point where, to this day, I'm not really sure whether it was a drama or a comedy. It can be both, but people like to reduce it to one or the other. I know there are the two masks, Comedy and Drama, hanging together. But that's not the way American audiences seem to break things down."

It sounds like the waferism of the show isn't so unintentional after all...

6:01 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Dr. Berman, glad you're enjoying 'The Circle'. I really enjoyed it too.


9:02 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It would have been nice if he had gone the extra step, and just flat out said that Americans were morons. Their inability to do nuance, as opposed to clinging to B&W categories, is staggering. I saw that in the case of ch. 4 of WAF, on the Civil War. They just couldn't grasp the paradox of the antebellum South, so 'clearly' I was racist and pro-slavery. What can one do w/a population like this, who are little more than pathetic jokes?


You remember that from time to time, Mae had this feeling of a tear in the fabric of her chest, w/voices screaming; wh/she wd silence by running to her computer. I think Eggers may need to do a sequel in which the voices finally rise up and overwhelm her. Tho it probably wdn't sell; Americans are too doped up on screens to let that sort of awareness in. (I'm in fact amazed that Circle did so well, tho Eggers' reputation undoubtedly helped.)


9:58 AM  
Anonymous Tim ukeman said...

Interestingly, David Chase's use of mafia figures as symbols of American business & dysfunction goes back to his days as a writer on The Rockford Files -- another series that often used the framework of genre television to examine American life & its failures.

I'm with Buck on The Sopranos -- while recognizing its not-so-hidden message, which most of its viewers missed, I'm at an age where I just can't stomach too much onscreen violence & ugliness any more. When I was younger, I could. Now, I just want more beauty & tenderness. That's what I actively seek out & try my best to cultivate. It helps immensely that my wife feels the same way.

Jake, I can see younger members of my family tending in the same direction as your brother. For some reason, those who came of age during Reagan's awful reign seem especially susceptible to such (non)-thinking.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Constance said...


Like the old comedy routine, "Take my family (wife, in the original). PLEASE."

Jake and Luke-

The cruelest sneerers are those that are most prostituted into the 'system', most dependent on that system continuing as it is -- indeed, who would be best rewarded if that system (nothing wrong with it) could go on in perpetuity. What's frightening is that most of them *aren't* stupid, but willfully self-deluding, so that when the lid does finally pop off, there's going to be a howling like nothing ever before.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It was Henny Youngman. "Take my wife. Somebody, please, take my wife!"


Yr brother's shoes are too dry. Urine?


11:59 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

Another real life anecdote: My first-cousin's son has worked overseas as a high school history teacher for a number of years, though he's back now. We got into a discussion that I thought would be a dialog, but it was not.
I tried to explain my view that the USA is on a downward spiral: that it is not just our current state (which is bad enough), but the trajectory that is really bad. I also brought up the fact that all civilizations decline/collapse, and the facts of peak oil, the police state monstrosity, etc.
Surprisingly, despite his extensive travels, he never once addressed my ideas.
I would even appreciate a true dialog in which my interlocutor thought about my positions, but then said that they were absurd. He didn't even do that, he just repeated cliches and talking points, like, direct quote:
"The US, like most other countries, (even with many flaws) are far better now than they were 50 or 100 years ago."
"There is a reason that the US is by far the leader in net immigration in the world by over 5x over Germany. The lengths people will go to to get here (US) in many instances are astounding."
Now, there is some truth, or at least plausability to these statements, but I stopped responding, because there was no dialog. Just a repetition of such "facts" and statistics. I didn't understand what was going on, but I think that people with a WAFer viewpoint induce non-WAFers to attack or respond robotically with cherry-picked talking points.
We are just an annoyance to them.
I had this awful feeling, though, that I was communicating with a machine. The "tone" was flat, there was no affect or passion, just a deadness of soul.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm not sure that it requires a Waferesque viewpt or topic of conversation to elicit that mechanical response you describe. I've observed this w/many, if not most, Americans, whatever the subject: they don't really know what a dialogue is. Their idea of a conversation is that they deliver a monologue, and if you try to get a word in edgewise, they wait patiently 4u2 finish so they can get on w/their monologue. You cd replace yrself w/a cardboard cutout of yrself and they wdn't miss a beat. I have the sensation that the mouth is on automatic pilot, operating w/o any connection to the brain; it's purely Pavlovian. But it's also extremely narcissistic, if not solipsistic; and for the recipient of this 'conversation', it's quite exhausting. I tend to fall silent, just let them get on w/their diatribe, and then (if there's a breather) make my escape. It's just more robopathology, really, and there is abs. no getting thru to them. Finding Americans who really understand what the 'dia' in 'dialogue' means is a rare event. I shd add that it was not always this way; this behavior seems about 2-3 decades old. I did have real conversations w/people prior to that time.


1:48 PM  
Anonymous Constance said...

Tim Lukeman-

Sorry to have addressed you as Luke. Just thoughtlessness. Perhaps influenced by the euphony of 'Jake and Luke', eh.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

I think a major component of ‘dialog’ (and listening) is curiosity. Most of the Americans I meet just don’t seem curious in any meaningful sense of the word. I used to ask of various folks in politically sensitive contexts why, having discovered their own ‘voice’ did they apparently think it was no longer important to listen to anyone else? Worse, there’s almost a kind of social force-field which pushes us in that sort of direction. I’m not immune to it myself - be it the surroundings, constant grinding pressure just to keep food on the table… I catch myself just hunkering down, just trying to get through the day. By contrast when I’m in Mexico (it’s been too long) people frequently bring up things I said ten years ago or more… as if they were actually paying attention. A couple I’ve known for 20 years here in the US repeatedly asks ‘your wife, what’s her name again?’, even after more than ten years.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

An article in CP regarding our recent TV discussions:

4:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Mexico is quite remarkable in that respect. There are a couple of cafes I go to here, maybe once every 1-2 mos., to order cappuccino. The waiter never fails to say, "Without cinnamon, right?" In one instance, it was a cafe located in a large supermarket. It even happened one time in a cafe that I hadn't visited for 6 mos. Talk about courtesy...For Americans, on the other hand, other people are just obstacles, 'things' that get in your way (to where?).


5:17 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's an interesting item:

One wonders how many Americans are jihadists, and what led them to fight vs. the US.


5:28 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

MB, I found it interesting that you chose two Enlightenment figures to quote as your envoi.
You have previously argued that this era was the germination of our current ills.
Of course, Voltaire is a hero to any WAFer, but Rousseeau advocated a totalitarian state after his split with Diderot, et. al.
Although daunting in their length and scholarship, I strongly recommend Jonathan Israel`s trilogy: Radical Enlightenment, Enlightenment Contested, and Democratic Enlightenment.
Israel makes an interesting - and well supported distinction between those philosophes who advocated for the "enlightenment" for the elite and those propagating for the same for the masses.
(I`m probably over my alloted space, so I`ll stop here).

5:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I was just having fun. Keep in mind that Blake was putting these Enl. figures down.


6:24 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

daily taken out dept.:

The morass of ignorance in America is now total.


6:39 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Kneel Jung

Unfortunately, in the Clocwork Idiocracy realm we live in,
"smart and edgy" Tarintinoesque tv dramas are mostly
violent thrill rides for viewers who need the ante upped
on a regular basis... most people identify with and not
against these noxious characters portrayed as "complex
anti-heroes". As long as 'sumptin' gits blowed up real good"... On another note, reading The End Of Absence
by Michael Harris, I highly recommend it !

7:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Hard luck for the instructor, but I hafta say that I think it's impt for 9-yr-old American girls to know how to fire Uzis, Kalashnikovs, and so on. Then later, drones. For American children to not be fully equipped with arsenals of their own is, well, un-American. I also like the "Burgers and Bullets" idea--*very* American!

O&D, amigos; O&D.


7:05 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...

I recently listened to a radio interview of Dmitry Orlov. He basically is saying the same thing that we are: America needs to collapse so the rest of the world can attempt to deal with their own problems instead of defending themselves against American aggression, whether it be bombs, sanctions, or vicious propaganda. He also said that America is the only truly dispensable nation, and this is probably the biggest put-down one can say about a nation. Indeed, like Morris, I have no desire to save America, and I wouldn't save America even if I could. It needs to collapse to provide the world with an excellent example of the consequences for attempting to destroy and enslave the entire world. It may resemble Zimbabwe in 30 years; I'll grieve only for those few Americans that aren't sociopaths.

We should also be talking about the fact that Obama recently made it illegal to protest peacefully, as long as a "government employee" is within something like 2,000 ft. This means that it is illegal to protest anywhere except in the middle of absolute fucking nowhere, like the sprawling desert outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Nobody cares; it doesn't make a dent in their consciousness.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Buck Bugock said...

That is a DAMN good article, it hits the nail right on the head.

I liked these two parts:

1)"People who are addicted to this series manage, somehow, to rationalize their attraction by referring to how incredibly well produced and acted it is. I don’t care how well acted it is. It is grotesque, a vehicle for gratuitous violence and the demeaning of life, an assault on human sensibility. My advice — which no one will take — is to spend a few minutes asking yourself what a celebration of murderous psychopathy might be doing to your own mental state. While you are at it ask yourself what your limits are: what level of human depravity exploration would finally compel you to switch channels?"

2)"I don’t know if watching such series actually does any lasting epigenetic damage but an appeal to simple self-respect and social consciousness should be enough to launch a boycott of this ugly entertainment. Why? Because this sick amorality isn’t just on TV. It is everywhere — in too many politicians (Stephen Harper, Tony Blair, Benjamin Netanyahu, Dick Cheney come to mind), too many CEOs, and if you watched The Wolf of Wall Street (all of which was based on true accounts) virtually all of Wall Street, and in too many of our institutions (like the RCMP). And it’s now in popular non-fiction literature and on the internet".

It's everywhere in America, all right. From the dipshits who trample each other on Black Friday just to get the latest PlayStation to the cop who shoots a 90 year old lady in her own home, and everyone in between.
It's garbage and I'll not waste a minute of my time watching it. And not because I just want to see the beauty in life, because ugliness is a part of life too, but the deliberate, contrived ugliness that Americans create to get their sick gratification from is something I have NO interest in.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

I think The Sopranos approaches satire. I think clearly calling shit so is the braver choice, but bravery is hardly a universal human attribute. And while the creator could hardly have expected the success it ended up with, he could reasonably expect to make some dough with the show. MB will vouch for the pecuniary benefits of the straight dope. Chase's comments about the uproar over the ending also make me think he skews misanthropic, a view which would again make a satirical work logical. I think the evolution in popular drama is another indicator of the direction of our society, eg Sopranos vs Breaking Bad. (granted only a further slip in the already marked decline) The Sopranos ending was and is fairly unpopular because Tony got exactly what was coming. TV execs learned. Walter White went out on his own terms. Its all exculpatory now. Systems broken, so individuals are justified and obligated to do whatever it takes. Modern manifest destiny.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Val said...

Jake, it sounds as though, like me, you need to leave the States as much to get away from your family as from the country as a whole. They encapsulate it for you.

My mother and sister have been watching hours and hours of TV every day for years, and I think it's turned their brains to mush. My sister in particular thinks that television personalities like Charlie Rose or Diane Sawyer are her dear personal friends, and becomes reflexively hostile and angry - even *enraged* - at the slightest perceived threat to her viewing schedule. It's like religious ritual to her, to be deprived of which is an existential threat.

I really need to buckle down, find that Spanish discussion group, and work out a way outta here. I wish it could be easy, but that doesn't seem likely. Another problem is that my family do depend on me in various ways, and I feel guilty about bailing on them. But I can't piss away the rest of my life in this place.

About the Tony Soprano discussion - I've never liked mafia movies or TV shows, in the same way that I've never liked cop shows. Cop's-eye POV, hood's-eye POV, it's all the same: all the little people are either suspects or victims, in actuality or in potentia, never fully-fledged actors with agency of their own apart from the sphere of influence of the far more powerful "real" people - viz., those who have guns, and are connected with wider organizations of colleagues who also have guns. I'm like the poster in the previous thread who said he'd rather watch some good sci-if or fantasy.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Leaving Tony aside for the moment, I hafta tell u guys that I just got an email from someone in Nigeria, telling me that if I provide them w/my Soc Sec # and all personal details of my life, they'll be sending me $20 million. I'm so excited!


8:37 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Biddly Spop,

Further to my comments a few days ago about the possibility of finding sensible extreme right-wing Americans (for lack of a less straight-jacketing & for many, pejorative term)...From time to time I will see someone on TV (don't watch much, really, but here & there) or in a blog comment mention the name of General Smedley Butler. Surprisingly often, many of the people who drop his name appear to be military vets. Back when I used to watch Olberman on Countdown, I'm pretty sure one or more of the Veterans Against the Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan mentioned Ge. Butler by name on more than one occasion.

I have not gone out and looked for the sorts of folks you are looking for, but if Butler's name is becoming even remotely well-known among combat vets, that's where I would go if I were in the market to meet them. Use Butler's name as a dowsing rod of sorts, maybe.

Butler is an important figure that few know about. Google his name and read the long pamphlet/short book titled: War is a Racket.

Anyone who drops Butler's name with respect as opposed to derision is someone I'd presume to be worth talking to and maybe more. Within a few generations at most, my take is we're all going to land on the thermal-climate version of the beach at Gallipoli. If we're toast on a plate anyway, why not go out next to someone you resonate with?

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Bad Idea said...

I was at a going away diner for my German friend, Hans...

Hans: (looks at my 7 mos. pregnant wife) When will you stop working?

Wife: Errr... (looks at me) Around when the baby comes? I want to save my sick leave, we'll need it after the baby comes.

Hans: (appalled) In Germany you must stop working 6 weeks before, you get full pay for that time, full pay for two months after, 65% for ten months after that and they will hold your job for you for two more years if you want to take that time unpaid. My pregnant wife will get all of this starting next month and she started at her new company two months ago!

Wife and I: (sigh)

Hans: But we pay more in taxes...

Wife and I: (sigh)

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Shania said...

Hey, MB, I'll send you my SIN and my retarded crippled cousin's SIN and you can forward them and that will be forty million.... and.... and

Oh my god I pee-ed into my fake Chinese Wal-Mart Guccis....

( %*O , ;^$ , I'd like! to SIN!! with! Stevie! Harper!!!, eh!, huzza, huzza.)

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Constance said...

I propose a new thread for this post: How I Would Spend $20 Million and How I Would Protect It From That Godamned Grasping 99%.

Serious replies only, please.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Regarding General Butler:

The book War Is a Racket, written four years after Butler left the Corps, is available in a couple of different printings on Amazon. You may also be interested in Hans Schmidt's biography Maverick Marine: General Smedley Butler and the Contradictions of American Military History.

At the time of his death in June 1940, he was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history, with five of his 16 medals having been awarded for heroism, including TWO awards of the Congressional Medal of Honor, one of 19 men who achieved that distinction.

A quote from War Is a Racket:

"I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism."

8:09 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

@Val and Biddly etc.:
It is truly disheartening to try to find like-minded friends or family, or even emotional support here in the USA. Coworkers are too afraid for their own jobs and careers to be "real."
Everything has become more standardized, systematized, and monitored since the 1970's, when the book "Robopaths" was written.
I have about one family member who can call a friend, and even he thinks I am an idiot because of my ideas vis a vis American decline. He actually stated a few weeks ago, "your ideas are stupid."
That was his argument. And get this: he's a trained (but miserable) lawyer.
So instead of processing my arguments and data, his lawyerly response was, "your ideas are stupid." Then he bragged how being in therapy has allowed him to express his feelings and anger, as he had just done.
I noticed in Europe that people are much less afraid of feelings and an honest exchange of ideas.
Here, it's all image: your image is your most precious possession, and must be maintained, even if it leads to misery, depression, and even suicide.
I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, and that tends to... get me in trouble.
In Finland, my rather distant relations cried when we left.
Not the Norwegians.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


If you can't grasp how terribly damaged Americans are, the whole scene in the US is inexplicable. Chris Rock once said that in the US, when you are talking to someone, you are actually talking to that person's agent.


11:39 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


I just can't get over the full name of the American militant who died fighting with ISIS: Douglas McAuthur McCain. Jesus, it's as if the entire US is in the middle of a Woody Allen screwball comedy. Who will be the next American jihadi... Bob McNamara Strange, William Jennings Bushe? Alas, the crushing vise that is America, her imbecilic history, has come round full circle, yes?


12:22 PM  
Anonymous Michael P. said...

1. An interesting completely out-of-context use of Blake here, since he despised Rousseau and Voltaire.

2. David Chase's second-best work was "The Rockford Files"--infinitely superior to the overblown "Sopranos" in every way.

His best work, however, is his script for the horror movie "Grave of the Vampire"--an excellent movie, but Tim Lukeman will want to give it a miss, since it is rather short on tenderness and (conventional) beauty.

(By the way, Tim, whose wife *doesn't* feel the same way? Find a woman who loves horror, and you've found one of the rarest gems on the planet).

1:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm fully aware of Blake's views on Voltaire and Rousseau. Just having fun. You need to relax a bit, amigo. Therapy, perhaps?


1:57 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

James Allen,
Thanks for the additional info on Gen. Butler.
I always liked (speaking of The Sopranos) the line a few sentences down from your quote that says,
Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Et al,

Was combing thru my YT Faves list looking for a clip to send to a friend. Came across this thing I saved some years ago. This is what Google glasses would work like if David Foster Wallace (RIP, of the "This is Water" commencement address) had been on the design team.
Sure, Americans have heads full of dung, but as romantic as it sounds and might actually be to do, we can't use guns to legally put them out of their misery unless we're wearing badges.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think whether or not Sopranos was an intentional satire, you have to take your hat off to David Chase for having Wafers comment on this show for the majority of the comments section of the last two blog posts on the only real blog out there. To me, that definitely means he's a Wafer.

If Chase would have played the "Americans are morons" card in his show more than he did, his show would never have had that much audience and The Sopranos wouldn't have become as popular as it is today. This means that he may have sacrificed integrity for the sake of financial benefits and fame, but in a collapsing civilization, it's not necessarily the most stupid thing to do. If the ship you're on is going to sink, you might as well enjoy having a last cocktail on the deck.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Biddly Spop said...


It is true that Ron Paul and the Libertarians have very different views about imperialism than the average American. However, the American Dream is as important to them as any American - getting rich at the expense of others. Hence, I can't really support them in any capacity whatsoever, even though I acknowledge that they are not really "enemies" in the traditional sense of the word.


That's just how Americans are. They confuse their own personal feelings and desires with reality, and their idea of discussion is vicious ad-hominem attacks to which the other person meekly submits.


Suggesting therapy to Michael is an ad-hominem attack, and wholly unjustified. Reading someone's tone over the internet is notoriously difficult to do; all he did was point out historical fact. He doesn't appear need therapy any more than you do. If you don't like ad-hominem attacks as a means of communication, how about not resorting to that sort of behavior yourself?

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


That's quite all right. My late father was called Luke on occasion, and seeing it your post brought back some good memories of him.


Actually, I know wives who love splatterpunk & such. By tenderness & beauty, I don't mean hiding my head in the sand & thinking only fluffy-bunny thoughts. I enjoy darker, emotionally complex films as well. It's just that I don't have any particular desire to watch a lot of ultra-violent films & TV shows that revel in their "coolness" while pretending to condemn it. Already saw enough of that in the past, and see too much of it in the news today. I do agree with you about The Rockford Files though.


Have you noticed how debased therapy has become? Where it was once about doing hard, painful work on one's own psyche, and facing a lot of unpleasant, unflattering truths, it's now more about reinforcing self-esteem (or the illusion of it) & denial of anything that questions the status quo of "reality" -- or else diagnosing a syndrome & drugging it out of visible existence. Ask your doctor about ExpensiveNuDruggia!

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

For Bad Idea:

We just had a baby here in Germany, when on parental leave, a company is required to hold your job for 3 years not 2.

I've been here 5 years and still cannot believe the benefits we now enjoy.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, u cd be rt, but I don't think so. It seems to me he was making a big deal outta nothing, and that's what I wanted to pt out. I think he cd probably use some form of therapy, esp. that wh/might help him relax a bit. You need to relax as well, I'm guessing. (Speaking of ad hominem attacks, what abt yrs on me?)


Pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks.


6:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This just in:

6:37 PM  
Blogger Metagnathous said...

I think part of the issue is that Americans develop what I think of as perceptual filters early on in life in order to be able to deal with all of the contradictions and distortions of their society.

I'm sure that very learned and accomplished people have investigated this idea over the years. If so, I didn't read them. Instead, it occurred to me some time ago that I personally was largely lacking such filters, and that this went a long ways toward explaining why I spent so many years as a fairly messed up individual who always seemed to be in the grip of some kind of existential pain.

Once I realized that, I gradually came to understand that only I could control my own emotional responses, and that it was very crucial that I learn to do just that (still working on this.) I had to step outside of the inner workings of my own thought processes, decide how I wanted them to function, and build on that. Very difficult to do, at least for me.

The supreme irony here is that as I began to get a clue, so to speak, about some of these issues, American society has only become uglier and more insane, both foreign and domestic policy driven more and more by brutality and a profound lack of respect for life, pursuing the almighty buck at all costs.

Michael P.-

Big fan of weird fiction, here, though of the written variety (and no, the wife isn't a big fan of it.) I highly recommend Joe R. Lansdale. I just finished his collection Bleeding Shadows which has some sublime moments of what I can only think of as redneck absurdism. All the best stuff, regardless of the form it takes, tends to transcend its genre anyway, I think.

For true horror, of course, there's always the news.

(Shivers uncontrollably.)

6:37 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

American fantasy merges with American reality in Omaha as cops kill a member of the Cops television camera crew along with the robber, armed with a pellet gun.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I am hesitant to raise the topic of GMO's once again, but there's a very gd article on the subject (pro-GMO's) by Michael Specter in the New Yorker of Aug. 25, "Seeds of Doubt." Check it out.


7:35 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,

Next up in my movie cue is "Nebraska," recommended by Jeff & al-Qa'bong. Alexander Payne's latest, it comes a decade after his directorial debut "SIdeways," (now hustled into view again to capitalize on its 10-yr anniv.):

"Sideways" has one of my favorite in-character movie lines, btw. It follows the travails of two former college roomates Miles (Paul Giammatti) & Jack (Thomas Haden Church) through the Santa Ynez wine country (Cali). As one reviewer noted: "Miles, as the best man, wants to take Jack on a weeklong bachelor party in the California wine country, which makes perfect sense, because whatever an alcoholic says he is planning, at the basic level he is planning his drinking. Jack's addiction is to women. "My best man gift to you," he tells Miles, "will be to get you laid."

By week's end, crack's show in the friendship and (along w/ the impending nuptials) will come a flash of (self-) reckoning for each of them (leading each of them to what Tim referred to above as "painful work on one's own psyche.") For Miles, the crushing blow arrives during a wine-tasting tour at "Frass Canyon" (frass’ is fly shit) via the news that his novel won't be published. Just before this scene, Jack asks him if he likes the wine there. Says Miles, not hiding his disgust:

"Now they probably didn't de-stem, hoping for some semblance of concentration, crushed it up with leaves and mice, and then wound up with this rancid tar and turpentine mouthwash bullshit."

Anyhow, it's one of the first movies I watched w/ my girlfriend. We've seen it at least 3 times now. And, as Wafers *don't* have to imagine, we often refer to some aspect of American (ahem) "society" as not being real. "What did you think of it honey?", one of us might ask. "Turpentine mouthwash bullshit."

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Mack The Knife said...

Here's a video of a happy, healthy American family:

8:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Real Normal Rockwell stuff, thanks. I just cdn't figure out why he also didn't run over the kid.


9:34 PM  
Anonymous Constance said...

Mack, and you others-

Can that Youtube clip be real? It certainly seemed convincing to *me*.

Jesus. I've been reading pre-1965 stuff for so long I seem to have got isolated in Never-never Land. If that behaviour is growing-up-in-America, I'm glad I'm Lost in Space.

I begin to understand the daily news.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

The YouTube video of the suburban father massively mulching his progeny's massively multiplayer online game CDs may be real or it may be staged. Whichever it is, it's amusing and for some reason satisfying.

Also interesting--but within a circumscribed use of that term--are the comments, some 12,000 plus when I watched. Reading only a handful and only the ones most recently added leaves me reassured on one score and unsettled on another: reassured to see that the strongly-held view that morons are multitudinous is correct and unsettled to realize that one or more of such folk could be living right down the hall or just across the street.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Repeatedly, on this blog, or when I've given lectures (and even in one of my poems, I think), I've said: "These are yr neighbors." When I tell u guys that u live among dolts, I'm not referring to people 6 or 600 miles away. I mean, you live *among* dolts! (Just try having conversations w/them.)


9:22 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good day MB and Wafers,


Pre-1965 stuff is good, but you hafta check out "A Hologram for the King" (2012) by Dave Eggers. It's hands down an absolute masterpiece.


Yes, indeedy! Hope you guys enjoy "Nebraska." I saw it as an immensely political film...

MB, Wafers-

Speaking of an American dolt:

God help us,


12:46 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Interesting discussion of The Sopranos (and American TV in general). The show was no doubt a brilliant exposé on the American character, but I think it's extremely naive to assume that David Chase is some kind of Wafer. I don't have any quotes on hand, but I've heard/read several interviews with him over the years and it seemed as though he viewed the show as a depiction of one specific class of Americans, never intending it to be representative of Americans writ large.


Nebraska is a pretty good commentary on a nation of brainless douchebags who are only capable of talking about money and zoning out in front of TV screens. Enjoy it!

Here a few other Wafer-friendly shows/films I'd recommend:

Deadwood - A great revisionist Western of sorts that cuts right through the romanticized John Wayne/Clint Eastwood narrative about the glory days of the open frontier to reveal a country chock-full of angry and violent hustlers willing to cut anyone's throat to make a buck (Al Swearengen is America incarnate).

The Counselor - Set on the Texas-Mexico border, it follows a young opportunistic lawyer whose life quickly falls apart after he acts out of greed and makes a deal with the devil. Written by Cormac McCarthy (a true Wafer), it plays like a dark poem about the nihilism of Western "civilization."

Killing Them Softly - Probably the most honest American film I've seen in years (which just so happens to be written and directed by an Australian). In stark contrast to shows like Breaking Bad, House of Cards and The Sopranos, there's nothing even remotely glamorous or likable about the sociopathic thugs at the center of this story; indeed they're not even successful hustlers. At one point, the film's lead character points to a TV screen playing Ovomit's 2008 acceptance speech and delivers a monologue that could've been lifted straight out of WAF: "This guy wants to tell me we're living in a community? Don't make me laugh. I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business."

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Manolo Cabeza de Huevo said...

The comment on comments is very interesting. Long ago I recall that getting a letter to the Editor published in even a middling paper was an achievement of sorts. If nothing else it has to be reasonably well written and vetted by a few adults. This is not to say that the letters to the editor to some rag in Vicksburg were particularly brilliant but they were in the main perhaps better than 99% of the comments out there in newspapers and the political blogs. Reading them makes me anxious. I picked up and read why America Failed and decided to look in here.

Mr. Jake/Publius you seem in need of connection. At some point you surely realize that trying to connect on a real basis with people (even family i.e. in the U.S its really assholes you share DNA with) is hard to do in the U.S. Convincing people like your brother is also pointless. Stop, and dont worry about getting validation or making others see the light. Its like teaching algebra to a horse. You waste your time and annoy the horse.

If I were to list 5 books I have read in the last 35 years for making sense of the world today it would be:

Brothers Karamozov

Montaigne, Essays

Water Lippman Public Relations

Brave New World

Why America Failed.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cabeza de huevo??!-

You've got to be kidding. Sorta like Hans Schmaltzkopf, I guess. But thanks for the compliment, tho I have a feeling I'm probably not in the same league as Dostoyevsky or Montaigne (sad to say).


My bad: the New Yorker article I mentioned above, on GMOs, is *pro*-biotechnology. I meant to write that it was anti-anti-GMOs, and somehow an anti got lost. Good essay, tho; I really recommend it.


3:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't post it. We have a half-page limit on this blog. Compress?


4:29 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

@Prof. Berman, on GMOs, to help beat a dead horse. The article gives an initial impression of being objective, or if not objective, balanced and written by an non-idiot.

I created a 2x3 matrix that displays GMOs via 2 variables, with possible outcomes below each:
GMO effectiveness at supporting a larger human population
* GMOs will help support a larger human population
* Neutral
* Lower (due to health effects, environmental effects, social effects, loss of biodiversity, etc.

GMO effect on human health:
* No effect
* Mild negative effect
* Large negative effect

Only one of the nine positions in the matrix can be argued to support the use of GMOs: No effect on human health, and a large human population. However, what is good here is actually bad. The fact is that human population is a dependent variable. The article talks about the "need" to feed ever more people, as though the population is an independent variable that will happen, and that human ingenuity must simply figure out how to feed these mouths.
(By the way, Dmitri Orlov mentioned this point in a recent talk online)
Anyway, the fact is that we are near or at the human population peak. We've hit the wall. The earth is full. Once fossil fuel use goes down due to peak many things plus climate change etc., the human will crash. Standard cycle.

GMOs will actually therefore allow us to devastate the environment even more, leaving the post-collapse ecosystems able to support even fewer humans (and other life forms) than before.
Again, I won't even get into the fact that GMOs are an assault on human freedom, biodiversity, and small-scale agriculture. Ivan Illich would be against GMO, because it is by its nature dependent on Big Science and centralized systems. The faster we cease our dependence on Big Anything, and go back to tradition and localism, the better. And there is always the chance of a Black Swan GMO event that wipes us out, as Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote about recently. Final idea: GMO-worship is one of the saints of the modern religion of scientism. It will carry on its crusade until the industrial system dies, and perhaps help kill it.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Honestly, I'm no expert, and u cd be rt. But article has lots of testimony from responsible scientists, and organizations that are clearly not 'on the take' (corporate payroll), showing that millions will die, or did die, w/o the biotechnology; and that it does look like GMO food is safe.


4:50 PM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

I support degrowth and human powered organic farming, but I also understand this won't work to feel all people all the time.

If the option to feed a bunch of starving people is a shipload of imported GMO food, probably better to eat that than to starve. Seems like vitamin A rice is good too.

I'm sure everyone would like to have local/organic/affordable food, but it's not so easy to have that.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, cdn't post it; rule is, post only once every 24 hrs. Thank you.


6:01 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

My fellow Americans...

You've got to read the comments section...

7:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

What Americans consider a worthwhile activity:

Has there ever been a population this dumb in the history of the world?


8:18 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Dr. Berman, Jake, Wafers,

I haven’t seen the New Yorker article, but I’m inclined to agree with Jake’s take on GMO’s in general.

Two thousand years ago the question on everyone’s lips in Jerusalem was, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” I ask, “Can anything good come out of corporate agribusiness – not to mention Monsanto?” As a veterinary microbiologist who has studied agriculture, and is a refugee from rural Iowa, I would say, “When Hell freezes over!”

In the 1960’s the Earth’s population was 3 billion, and the “Green Revolution” enabled it to increase to 7 billion – but it’s completely non-sustainable, requiring huge inputs of petroleum and natural gas. Back then, Norman Borlaug who won the Noble Prize for the Green Revolution vainly warned that it only bought a little more time to get population growth under control.

If it’s true that GMO’s will allow the population to grow several more billion, it only means that even more people will perish, the Earth will be even further degraded, and survivors will be left with Soylent Green. I think Jake and Dmitry Orlov are right that population is a dependent variable.

Also, I don’t see how a scientist can ‘do science’ and not be ‘on the take’ in the Western World today. Doing science is extremely expensive, and whoever’s paying surely wants their money’s worth. Academic scientists depend on research grants, which in today’s Agriculture and Food Science departments are almost all from corporate sources, with much of the research aimed directly at a commercial product.

Finally, each GMO is a unique organism needing its own ‘proof’ of safety. Disastrous unintended environmental consequences may not be known until too late, while to demonstrate that a food product is safe for humans may require a lifetime. Many untoward effects of fetal or childhood exposure to toxins take decades to manifest themselves.

Therefore, avoid GMO chopped liver!

David Rosen

9:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, u might wanna read the article. BTW, lots of scientists are not on the take. The majority, for example, are making corporations unhappy by confirming the reality of global warming. They also confirm that cigarettes kill. Etc.


10:29 PM  
Anonymous Mark Fuller Dillon said...

Hello, everyone!

Tim Lukeman's comment about seeking out beauty and tenderness bring to mind a story by Sarah Orne Jewett from 1886, "A White Heron."

The girl in the story must make a choice between two ways of life, and her decision makes me think of Morris Berman's "other paths" away from the hustling culture.

It's a beautiful and tender story, very short, and easy to find online or in bookstores and libraries. I recommend it!

10:31 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

To balance out the damage from viewing the stun gun photo shoot video, Wafers may wish to watch the following movie:

Henri Cartier-Bresson : L'amour tout court (English subtitles)

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Wafers,

Do any of you live/know other wafers who live in Amsterdam or Brussels? Any idea what life in those two cities is like?


8:29 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

@Prof. Berman: Let me be a bit more blunt.
You stated, "showing that millions will die, or did die, w/o the biotechnology; and that it does look like GMO food is safe. "

I am claiming that the coming population bottleneck is a certainty. What that means is that most of the humans on one side of the bottleneck will not be squeezed out alive through to the other side.

All increases in agricultural efficiency will therefore end up causing more suffering, as the number of people who will be starved, killed in resource wars, die of over-population induced pandemics, etc. will be much greater.

Humans think only short-term, so there is no chance that GMOs and industrial agriculture won't be used to get that peak population as high as possible, and therefore maximize the horrible human suffering to come. However, if wisdom could prevail, it would be wise to not allow GMOs to give a final boost to future suffering.
One might also value non-human values such as species diversity, the value of low-pop density quiet spaces, and ecology.
Finally, the article does not really address the value of human freedom: freedom from patent regimes, freedom from dependence on corporations, etc. Shiva herself mentions it, but the author does not adddress it. I believe that the short-term suffering of immediate population loss is outweighed by future freedom, a culture of anti-corporatism, agrarianism, and spiritual connection to the land. It's hard for the modern mind, schooled in quantity versus quality, and materialism vs. spirituality, to comprehend such a choice. (I know you do, BTW)

12:53 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,

Erratum: in a previous post responding to Mike's comments, I incorrectly referred to *Robert* Whitaker as 'Richard." Here's the correction... A Conversation with Robert Whitaker: The Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America":

Jake, Tim-

A couple posts back, as Publius, you mentioned ''talking'' to a benighted soul abt the book 'Robopath.' As it so happens, on that same day I was reading Tim Lukeman's review of the book on amazon dot com (but what led me to his review I can't recall?: yep, proof that screens turn your brains into frass & goat turds). Now if I find this all just a tad 'serendipitous,' that's b/c I'd been reading the Counterpunch article that Mike was citing here, too, within hours of each other. Anyhow, Tim's review of Yablonsky's book is listed under the 1972 Pelican edition. Tim: not sure if you'll want to re-post that review under the current (iUniverse, 2012) reissue edition b/c the only review listed there now is inconsequential (a few sentences/3-stars). I'd not heard of this book before now, but maybe need to get hold of my own copy, and now MB just used the word 'robopathology.' Btw Wafers, while I'm at it, I also recommend Tim's review of Debord's 'Society of the Spectacle,' at amazon.

Thanks to those of you who offered me additional input re: my comments on 'Nebraska.' I no longer watch many movies, but always make it a point to follow up on any recommendations made here: on the only blog worthy of our attention.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, I know all that; the problem is that if you or I were starving, we'd want the food, and wd probably not find discussions of demography or the 'larger picture' very filling. And if it involves millions, not just you and me, then there's certainly an argument to be made for biotech. What I found most persuasive abt Specter's essay is that this is a very complex issue; it's not B&W, and he shows that very well. And of course, there are zealots on both sides of the arg.


3:31 PM  
Anonymous Manolo Cabeza de Huevo said...

For a bit of hilarity for the Spanish speakers here.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I'm seriously wondering if we ever had a bigger shmuck in the White House:

Millard Fillmore had better PR than this.


Ay, muchacho! I understand that you have a cult following. Andele pues!


4:53 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Jake and MB and any others who might've joined in the GMO exchanges]

May I just say thanks to all for the civil tone that's marked your comments on and responses to the posts on GMO. I read a few other blogs and have become increasingly put off because for every comment/post worth reading/considering, there seem to be dozens even within the same thread that are little more than vituperation and ad hominem. Much vitriol but no value.

Thanks again.

6:10 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

Oh come on, lay off the guy! He's only here to make us feel good, not actually do anything good. Let's focus on more important things -- he's wearing a new tan suit!

From Time, "In Defense of Barack Obama’s Tan Suit"

6:20 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers of the World,

Imagine there's no ISIS
It's easy if you try
No Obama shuckin' flim-flam
or wearing tan
Imagine all the people
Living for potato knish...

Imagine there's no Uzis
placed in 9-yr-old hands
no mamzers, machers, or meshugaas
and no hockers too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... (kyfe)

You may say I'm a Wafer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one


6:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I pee on his suit. I pee on Time. And while we're on the subject, what color suits did Millard Fillmore wear?


Keep in mind that all those people are Americans, so vitriol and stupidity are the order of the day. They don't really know how to do anything else, really.

A couple of days ago I was attacked once again by a trollfoon (just when u think it's safe to go in the water...). The pt was to insult me personally. I decided not to bother w/a response. Ultimately, what is there to say? If I say, "You mean you have nothing better to do w/yr time than insult some no-account minor intellectual who isn't even on the radar screen in the US?", the honest answer wd probably be "Yes." If I tell him, "I understand that you hate me, but living well is the best revenge. Why not study French, or learn to draw?", the poor shmuck wdn't even know where to begin.

You know that poem by Robinson Jeffers, "Shine, Perishing Republic," when he talks abt America "settling into the mould of its vulgarity"? We need an update, that refers not to America but to its citizens. Perhaps "Shine, Perishing Douche Bags." God, how empty we've become! Meanwhile, the garbage of late-empire washes up on the shores of this poor, irrelevant blog.

O&D, my friends; O&D.


6:58 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I wept at the last stanza, I confess. But we need to work the phrase 'alte cockers' into the song, somehow.

Just imagine, if the trollfoon:Wafer ratio were reversed!!


7:59 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Found a couple of decent wafer movies, both written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwaite. "God Bless America" and "World's Greatest Dad." The latter film stars the late Robin Williams. The first one is more overtly waferish, but both are rich with wafer themes and sentiments.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

Dr. B, indeed for someone to remember a coffee order here months later, it would be necessary for them to still be around months later at the same coffee shop! Another thing which may relate somehow and I don’t know if it will jibe with your experience, is the matter of ‘tolerance’. For all the purported valuing of ‘tolerance’ in the US, it’s full of the most intolerant people I’ve encountered. From the ‘right’ I get the ‘you must have voted for Clinton or Obama the socialist’ because I don’t belong to the NRA. And from the ‘left’ I’m suspected of fascism because I’m not a vegan radical feminist composting urban chicken fancier. I don’t think I had encountered a genuine ‘live and let live’ attitude until I lived in Mexico.

On the subject of psychotherapy as mentioned by others, well, it seems to be in the same shape as every other ‘institution’ in the country - grim… I earned an MA as a psychotherapist about 15 years ago, only to find that with $35K in school debt I was only qualified to give away 2 more years of work before I’d be ‘employable’. At that point I began my sojourn in Mexico. But as an intern I saw rampant anti-depressant use and cookie cutter techniques for addressing folks’ pain. It struck me more as VCR repair than any kind of humanistic discipline. And for the most part, the people I saw just wanted to ‘feel good’ about their screwed up, meaningless lives. I guess I’m suggesting that in the case of ‘psychotherapy’ and the American public, there’s plenty of blame to go around - they deserve each other. Now I’m trying to find some way to come to terms with these things since I’m considering ‘the field’ once again. Beyond my own predicament, though, it raises an important question. How does one not engage in hustling to some extent while immersed in a hustling culture? I’m not sure there is such a thing as a non-hustling livelihood anymore. But a guy’s gotta eat. In my case it would seem to entail trying to help people in a way I don’t really believe in, or even helping people who not only don’t want to be helped, but that in many cases I don’t really want to help either… (unless I can figure out a way to open a practice in Mexico as my wife suggests)

12:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dear Ahole-

Well, I truly hope yr not an a-hole. Yes, we discussed "God Bless America" on this blog a while back; the part where he blew the cell phone users in the movie outta the water was particularly brilliant, esp. since it subsequently happened in real life. (Not that I'm advocating killing BOPs, or Buffoons On Phones, but what *do* you do with them?!) "World's Greatest Dad" was also brilliant, and actually foreshadowed the way Wms died. I esp. appreciated the fact that in that film, Wms explicitly used the phrase "douche bag." Other than that, pls don't call me Berman; we are a friendly crowd here (altho trollfoons don't have an easy time of it, I hafta admit). "O Most Revered One" wd be much better, altho I'll except "Pinnacle of Greatness" as well.


Frankly, if yr not composting yr own feces, I have little to say 2u. Beyond that, I'll give it 2u straight: if you spend the rest of yr life in the US, you won't be happy. This is guaranteed.


2:33 AM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

This seems unfortunate for progressives:

"Liberals' darling Elizabeth Warren defends Israeli attacks on Gaza schools and hospitals"

7:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


How shameful. I guess she really *does* intend to run for president! (Can't do it w/o the Jewish vote.)


9:31 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

My Fellow Americans:

This is a gd 1st step, but only a 1st:

As follow-up steps, I wd suggest:

2. ALL towns and cities require their residents to own a gun.

3. Every American is required to shoot another American, once a day.

4. To shoot 2 Americans, etc.

Wafers are invited to draw up lists and programs for the use of firearms across the land. A very exciting future awaits us.


11:34 AM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Because American schools haven`t reduced IQs quite enough:

12:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is kinda interesting:

We create a climate in the US in which for the police, 'crowd control' = attacking the crowd. We militarize the police from materiel from Iraq etc. We live in a climate of violence, are literally soaking in it; 9-yr-old girls are shooting Uzis. All Muslims are regarded as enemies; this seems to occasionally spill over into how the black population is viewed (some of whom, perhaps not surprisingly, go and join ISIS). And then, we are not very bright, police included (whose training in social relations is roughly zero). Then, the shit hits the fan, the cops behave accordingly, predictably, and then get reprimanded or fired when in their own minds (at least), they were 'just doing their jobs'. One cop in St. Louis (or was it LA?) recently wrote a controversial article in which he said as much. The worldview is 'shoot first, worry abt it later'. I keep wondering how 'progressives' intend to alter the 'anthropology' of America, so to speak.


2:03 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

Biddly Spop,
I wasn't trying to get you enlisted in a libertarian movement. Just likely that Wafers could have something approaching a conversation with *some* of them compared to the average American, even a self-styled progressive one. If we had more time left, I'd suggest that you have a better chance of getting libertarians to downscale their American Dream than getting liberals or progressives to do so, which, if there were more time, might be a way to start changing course, even though as MB says, it'd be like turning around an aircraft carrier in a bathtub. But we, collectively, don't.

Yes, a gun in every hand and a hand in every gun.

But, you need to specify the next term in the sequence after Americans are required by law to murder first one & then two of themselves (eat lead, Sybil!).

If we kick it up to 4, then next would be 16. I'm not sure our ammo suppliers could keep up with that exponential change, not to mention the distribution channels would get thinned out.

I suggest the killing floor for the third day be three bodies. Fourth day, add 1 more. This makes it easy for folks to keep track of their responsibilities, which is important if we want a smooth-functioning society amid all the depopulating. It'd the responsible way to go.

Either third-term raises a question. Presumably the punishment for failing to keep up with your quota would be death, right? So, if you under-perform and the SWAT team comes to 'arrest your development', can you get back up to par if you take out enough SWAT personnel? Or are they a special category. Either way, kudos & thanks for coming up with a way to use one type of overshoot to help correct for the other type of overshoot.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The problem w/SWAT teams is that they have all this protective gear. But then, perhaps all Americans cd start wearing such gear, even when they sleep. But this wd up the ante: guns wdn't be all that effective. Solution: every American must have a drone, and use it every day. Besides, I read somewhere (where?) that the gov't was starting to hoard bullets, in anticipation of the coming riots that will ensue as the American Dream continues to collapse.

Gosh, it's all so much fun, innit?


2:32 PM  
Anonymous Mack The Knife said...

"O Most Revered One"?

"Pinnacle of Greatness"??

Not bad, but I'd prefer:

"Oh Ye Who Tramples Trolfoons".

It has a nice ring to it.


7:10 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Reading Henry A. Giroux's latest, " The Violence Of Organized Forgetting - Thinking Beyond America's Disimagination Machine" ...and our esteemed host is
quoted on pg. 132! I knew there was a reason Iwas
drawn to this book in the store window...
Bravo, Dr. Berman! I went there to find a copy of
Wandering God, but left with MB via HG, go figure.
( The store is getting me a copy of WG from they're
off-site stock sanctum..)

Kneel Jung

7:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Neil Young-

I am indeed flattered. Are you a miner for a heart of gold?


Too wordy. How abt Trollfooninator? Hard to pronounce, but perhaps a tad better than Highest Point of Human Insight Achieved to Date.

On another subject, I never enjoyed shaving all that much, so today I thought I'd find some CD to listen to while I scraped off those relentless bristles. I settled on the Beach Boys. Let me share these moving lyrics w/u:

"Early in the morning we'll be startin' out
Some honeys will be coming along
We're loading up our Woody
With our boards inside
And headin' out singing our song

"Come on (surfin') baby wait and see (surfin' safari)
Yes I'm gonna (surfin') take you surfin' (surfin' safari)with me
Come along (surfin') baby wait and see (surfin' safari)
Yes I'm gonna (surfin') take you surfin' (surfin' safari)with me

"Let's go surfin' now
Everybody's learning how
Come on and safari with me
(Come on and safari with...)

"At Huntington and Malibu
They're shooting the pier
At Rincon they're walking the nose
We're going on safari to the islands this year
So if you're coming get ready to go..."

Pure gold, amigos, tho I don't know what a Woody is, nor 'the nose' at Rincon.


7:44 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

There was a disturbing report on CBC radio this morning. Some guy, a film critic who's been following Chinese cinema, identified something he calls "Bourgeiois Training Films," which are romantic comedies wherein the female lead falls for some douchebag (our term, not his) who has lots of dough, and who will give her every material good she ever wished for.

He actually used the term, "The Chinese Dream" to describe what these films promote, and said that they are based on Hollywood films of the post-WWII era.

O&D, y'all, O&D.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Always glad to be helpful when I can:

Woody: Describes the faux wood panelling that decorated the sides of certain models of American station wagons in the 60s. These vehicles were much favored by surfers since their tailgates lay flat when opened, enabling surfer dudes to slide their boards more easily into the back.

"walk the nose": surfspeak for a maneuver in which the surfer moves all the way forward on his board so that he's literally standing on the front. A trick demonstrating a certain level of skill and proficiency.

Gnarly, dudes! Hang ten!*

* walk the nose sufficiently far forward to permit you to hang your ten toes over the nose.

Ah, nostalgia.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

CRE Dept.:

10:09 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Just watched a Louis Theroux documentary on trophy hunting in Africa. This is honestly the starkest example I've seen of the depths of the American mindset. Truly utterly pathetic. Episode is called "African hunting holiday".

4:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ya gotta love it dept.:

5:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Many thanks. How about 'shooting the pier'?


5:27 AM  
Anonymous gnarly said...

Shooting the pier:

6:01 AM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Hello all,

I haven't posted in a VERY long time, but I still come to this website from time to time. (There just aren't that many good sites.)

I said some dumb stuff the last few times I posted. I offer you an unqualified apology. I am still removing my head from my ass, and I am not quite all the way there. (I may do so again, but I'll try to be more careful and thoughtful.)

After re-reading your essay on Brenda and her family, I was reminded of this Spanish music video I saw a few weeks ago. I think it may be contrasting Mexican and American cultures, but maybe I'm wrong. (The lyrics are below the link.)

Vienes caminando
y no sabes tu destino
conquistando sueños
sueñas llegar a ser deidad
Sigues caminando
sobre viejos territorios
invocando fuerzas
que jamas entenderas
Y vienes desde alla
donde no sale el sol
donde no hay calor
donde la sangre
nunca se sacrifico por un amor
pero aqui no es asi
Vienes caminando
ignorando sagrados ritos
pisoteando sabios templos
de amor espiritual
Largas vidas siguen
velando el sueño de un volcan
para un alma eterna
cada piedra es un altar
Y vienes desde alla
donde no sale el sol
donde no hay calor
donde la sangre
nunca se sacrifico por un amor
pero aqui no es asi
-Caifanes/Jaguares Aqui no es asi

7:28 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...


My motto "ich dien"

Shoot the pier: to surf between the pilings of a pier, either "head on," where you pass directly under the entire pier from the end to the beach, or "side on," where you pass from one side of the pier to the other at an oblique angle to the shoreline before reaching the beach. Not for the faint-hearted, or for those compos mentis.

There's a video of surfing legend Laird Hamilton doing a "side on" at Malibu using the larger swells recently brought to SoCal by Hurricane Marie, should you be interested. It only lasts a few seconds, so don't blink while watching or you'll miss it.

Disclaimer: I'm no surfer, just a product of too many Saturday afternoons spent at the local Bijou watching Gidget (Sandra Dee) and Beach Party movies (Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello).

Correction to my previous: pictures of woodies I've found since my post show surfboards as being mounted on the roof. I saw no photos with boards projecting from the rear over a tailgate. My apologies for the misinformation. Incipient memory loss.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Insightful said...

Morris, from your CNN link, it appears segregation is making a comeback in America. Recall that there were two entrances back in the day; one for whites, one for blacks. Now it's all about class..

11:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Next it'll be Poor and Rich bathrms and water fountains. Whee!

Jas, Gnarly-

U guys have got me all excited. I may hafta buy a Woody, move to SoCal, and start shooting the pier and walking the nose. Whee!


Welcome back. There *are* no other websites worth bothering with; either yr a Wafer or yr wallowing in shlock. Also 2 things in future:

1. Keep head out of rump. CRE is not an attractive thing.
2. Observe space limit: 1/2 page max, thank you.

Nice song.


12:10 PM  
Anonymous Seeking Sanity said...

Of course the dad mowing over his son’s video games was a “get a job” bullying kind of guy. These guys have the solution to all problems and it is “get a job.” These guys are the ones who see people protesting for civil rights or less militarized police and they roll the window down and yell “get a job” to everyone and laugh to their dipshit buddy riding with them. They’re bullies at heart. You see, working a “job” and being a good consumer with a big-assed mower and all the other accoutrements of suburban life is really all that matters in life. That is the only example of success in this country. It’s the only life worth aspiring toward. When not working he will do manly things like watch football, mow the grass or wash and wax the car in the driveway where everyone can see how responsible he is in getting things done. That’s how manly men are you see.

His son’s irresponsibility has nothing to do with the old man’s failures at being a parent and alienating his son by not being there for him in any way beyond providing money and being an example of a typical workaholic, manly man asshole, something the kid and any sane person will rebel against. While this video looks staged to me, it contains all of the trapping of modern American life, including the need to video the son’s humiliation and share it with the world.

The hidden side of these “get a job” guys is that they are usually lousy as human beings. Their ass is so clenched they haven’t had a good bowel movement in years. Their wives often make easy marks for secret affairs as their husband usually is lousy, selfish, uptight and boring in the sack. These women often have a lot of pent up passion when they let loose. Just my own experience from back in my wilder days when I saw that as my little protest against this insane system, those who keep it going, and the kinds of men I’ve come to abhor in this world.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Keep in mind that these are the folks 'progressives' intend to liberate; this is the raw material from wh/positive, radical social chg is supposed to come abt. Hard to imagine a more acute case of CRE.


2:15 PM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

MB -

I posted on this blog recently about the rise in gaming. Today the recent Dota2 tournament is on the front page of The Times. I don't think many people understand how big gaming has become. It's a *far* bigger thing than it was even 5 years ago. Gaming is easily going to surpass Hollywood, the NFL, and the NBA.

This trend is huge. Gaming totally consumes you and you spend massive amounts of time along in front of a screen, far more than any other activity.

Gaming seems to me the ultimate detachment from reality. You're in a completely different world and can absolutely check out from reality. The internet has totally changed gaming from where it was in the 90s.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Seeking Sanity - I saw a video of a cop in Ferguson tell a black woman to "get a job". The woman was actually a well paid financial analyst.

The racism in America is really getting me down. Sometimes it feels like its getting stronger. I know I just need to move to a community with more diversity but I'm really tempted to just pull a Nina Simone and head to another country altogether (though I've heard Europeans, especially the French, can be super bigoted as well).

MB - almost finished with Twilight Of American Culture, very thrilling read. Any suggestions on which of your books I should put on hold through inter-library loan next?

4:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Twilight is the 1st of a trilogy, so if you haven't read DAA or WAF, they wd be the logical follow-ups. Tho I do recommend QOV, wh/fills in a lot of the gaps on American psychology.


5:04 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

Alas, it is not I who is a miner for a heart of gold,
merely an apprentice learning to spin straw into gold.

Although I once had a schnauzer named Carl,
who would bite and scratch and snarl,
while attempting to consume his own dung,
until I'd command, " Heel, Jung!"

Check out "Baja" performed by the Astronauts,
an early 60's surf might just be the
best surf instro of all time.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You need one more line for a limerick, that rhymes w/Carl.
E.g.: "And then he'd curl up into a varl."

I've been to Hollywood/I've been to Redwood...


6:31 PM  
Anonymous Louisa May Apricot said...

For Zeke:

7:11 PM  
Anonymous comrade simba said...

Ah, the illusion of choice, as if there is a difference in the level of psychosis between Video Kid and Mower Dad. Personally I think riding lawnmower types should be first in line to be tossed into the hopper.
I moved to town and miss my goats.

-the comrade

8:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, man, cdn't post it. The rule is: post once every 24 hrs. We thank you for your cooperation.


10:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Small problem: I don't post Anons! Pls pick a handle and re-send yr message. Suggested handles:

Cranston Butterworth III
Hans Schmaltzkopf, Ph.D.
Chopped Liver

Meanwhile, here's the latest word from the Techno-Buffoon front:

God, Americans are assholes!


12:00 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Started reading Roszak's Where The Wasteland Ends today.

" the steady advance of science and it's machines a terrifying aggression against precious human potentialities-and especially against the visionary imagination."

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

Dan Henry said:

Just watched a Louis Theroux documentary on trophy hunting in Africa. This is honestly the starkest example I've seen of the depths of the American mindset. Truly utterly pathetic.

I'm guessing that you've not yet seen the Louis Theroux documentary about the people who keep personal zoos then Dan?

That one is mind-blowing.

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Constance said...


Roszak (+ twee sentiments expressed in 'Where the Wasteland Ends'), and Whasisname rapture-awaiting ammunitarian author of 'Survivalblog' (+ bombast therein), are about equally to left and right of ground zero in social criticism. A false prophet is worse than no prophet at all.

10:15 AM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,

Over at Counterpunch today, Paul Craig Roberts writes that: "Labor Day is a holiday that has outlived its time," & goes on to write that "Today the US has the most unequally distributed income and wealth of all developed economies and one of the worst in the entire world." Over at Truthdig, Juan Cole says LD is basically a 'dead metaphor,' going on to say that: "The U.S. has one of the worst records on wealth and income inequality in the advanced industrialized world." Both Roberts and Cole talk & write as if Labor in the US has seen better time, but check out these stats from Sacvan Bercovitch's essay "The Ritual of Consensus":

"...Seen from outside the consensus, mid-nineteenth-century America had a very different look. It was a stratified, conflicted society, rife with ethnic and class divisions. One of every five Americans was a black or an Indian; one of every eight whites was a recent immigrant; in the urban centers, where $1,000 a year was an average middle-class income, only 1 percent of the population earned over $800. During this so-called era of the common man, fewer than 2 percent of the rich were not born rich. Jacksonian democracy was a less egalitarian state than Puritan theocracy. Consider these recent statistics: in 1670, when Samuel Danforth delivered his famous sermon on New England's errand, 5 percent of the saints owned one-quarter of the wealth. In 1770, when Franklin praised the colonies' "general Mediocrity of Fortune," 3 percent of the colonists owned one-third of the wealth. In the 1830s, when Tocqueville wrote his myth of egalitarian democracy, 1 percent of Americans owned almost half the wealth of America."

Anyhow, I appreciate what both Cole & Robert's wrote abt today. But when Roberts ends his piece w/ this admonition: "The American people have been subdued and turned into a flock of sheep." And asks "Will they ever rise again?"...then I gotta ask ya'll something: can you tell me of a time when Americans have *not* been a flock of sheep? 'Cause those stats tell me that (viable Labor movement or not, it would've made no long term sustainable difference) so all consuming is our hustling ethos, the unconscious programming, & our 'ritual of consensus,'...that frankly "nothing had the chance to be good" (to quote the Simply Red song). 'Cause 'income inequality' in 1814 looks like 2014 to me. So 200+ years of degraded buffoonery. Pathetic. F*king pathetic

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

It's labor day, and from 9:30 AM until midnight AMC is playing nothing but war movies. Not a single showing of The Grapes of Wrath, not Office Space, not Modern Times, not even 9 to 5. Nothing concerning the role of labor or labor struggles. Lots of war though. Two (2) back-to-back, full cycles of Rambo (I, II, and III), and one showing of We Were Soldiers.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Wafers,

I greatly recommend you watch this documentary about american hustlers discovering oil in Ghana and all its ramifications on local life:

Western emptiness, douchebagery and hustling at its core.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Wafer Einsatzgruppenfuhrer said...

Ah OK, let me try again. My comment was directed at Zeke, to let him know that he sounds like he's stuck in the quasi-Protestant prog paradigm. Race may be a social construct, but then so is racism. Think of racism as a deep biological and social reality with a solid evolutionary basis; a durable meme to be contained, not some cosmic evil to be eradicated. Maybe your depression about perceived racism is a product of your prog conditioning that tells you it must be the latter?

And here's some advice: moving to a place with "more diversity" is unlikely to solve your problem. In reality, it's precisely those places that have the greatest racial problems. France, for example, is certainly no paradise of post-racial diversity, particularly if you're Jewish (as I understand it, harassment of Jews by Arabs and Africans is becoming something of a sport over there).

Anyway, I think part of this American Dark Age story is the realization that our entire American prog-protestant "all men are created equal" mythos is a religious fabrication. MLK's dream was as much a fantasy as the Jetsons. At least that's how I see it, as someone who has traveled the world and seen how it fails and turns to shit everywhere, and now just wants it to die. But then, I am an innately right wing, non-Jewish white dude, so maybe I'm really just a Nazi who wants all non-Aryans to die. Heil!

6:02 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Two good articles for all:


A quote from the former, "The delusion that striving and building and achieving somehow are important in and of themselves. The duality I feel is that the conscious awake me knows it is all a hologram. I know that this “person” is an imaginary construct. I know this is the dream state playing itself out and I am simply riding in the canoe. But, the Calvinist mental illness that has been brow beaten into all western beings, is the default behavior that rises when the defenses are down."

The latter is a beatdown of higher-ed meritocracy.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

from the guardian:

"Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we're nearing collapse
Four decades after the book was published, Limit to Growth’s forecasts have been vindicated by new Australian research. Expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon"

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Manolo Cabeza de Huevo said...

While the slick prose and high end PR where the "authority" of the New Yorker article on GMO's makes one buy into GMO's or at least consider (the operative) that they are potentially good is very seductive, the Mexicans have another perspective....

A great antidote to the New Yorkers smarmy work...

9:35 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I was thinking that Belman and the Wafers ought to have a cutting contest with their arch-rivals, Narcissus and the Selfies, some day.

I noticed references to Stevie-boy Harper, SCTV and the RCMP in here, which might confirm my suspicions that many Wafers are Canadians. What's our problem, anyway?

Someone asked about Amsterdam. I was visiting with my cousin over the weekend, and she said that she likes living there. She's been teaching English abroad since graduating from university. After stops in Taiwan, Japan and Italy, she settled in Holland and married a charming, intelligent Dutchman who reads Evelyn Waugh and makes Monty Python references. If the rest of the populace is like this guy, the Netherlands is the place to be.

As for "shooting the pier," I'm pretty sure that's a Sopranos reference, as Tony once pulled a gat out of a fish's mouth and shot Chucky Signore while the later was about to put to sea in his motorboat.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Looks like they have found a way to implement your plan, MB. The police departments are "losing" much of this military equipment they are being given. Meaning it is ending up in the hands of civilians. Soon everyone will have machine guns, body armor, and other assorted deadly toys.

Yahoo News: How does a police department lose a Humvee?

One freezing day last December in the tiny town of Palestine, Ark., a young man climbed into the police department’s Humvee, turned it on, and drove off on a joy ride.

“It never crossed my mind” that anyone would do that, Palestine Police Chief Stanley Barnes said Wednesday of the incident. The Humvee, which the town of fewer than 700 people got for free through a controversial Pentagon program that gives old military equipment to local police departments, doesn’t have keys. But it’s easy to look up how to start one.

The possibility that the 5,000-pound Humvee might be stolen was so far from Barnes’ mind that it took a week before anyone on the small force noticed it was missing from the police station’s parking lot.


12:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I can't leave u guys for 24 hrs without 13 messages showing up! Am currently in Mex City, using a computer located inside of a dry cleaner(!). Only in Mexico.


I don't post Anons. Pls pick a handle, try again. Thanks.


Re: quoting text from Reenchantment: please write me with all the info at Thanks.

Gotta run, folks; there's always so much to do in the DF.


1:26 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Golf Pro,

I have not seen that one, will add it to the list.

This clip is the gem of the African Hunting Holiday episode - complete internalization of the rules, rather die (or kill) than change them


Im only a few chapters in yet. No major disagreements with him so far. I did some googling for recent interviews though, as its a dated work. Seemed that he believed self interest in old age would turn the boomers into a society savior... big red flag.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Dan Henry,

I think Roszak hoped (wishfully & deeply) rather than believed that Baby Boomers could still turn things around in old age. Where the Wasteland Ends still has a lot of relevant things to say, especially when you get to the later chapters on the English Romantics, William Blake in particular. If Americans could actually change that much, we'd be OK -- but it ain't gonna happen, alas. I do think much of what he had to say still speaks to the NMI approach to life in this world. Roszak's innate temperament was more optimistic than most, it seems to me, and that colors some of his work. But I got a lot that was good out of it. Still do.

Mark Fuller Dillon,

Thanks so much for recommending "The White Heron" -- just beautiful & quite moving!

My movie latest movie choice: The Hedgehog, which my wife & I saw last week. Can't tell you how delighted I was to see Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows appear early on! An interesting example of someone quietly living the NMI life in the midst of cultural shallowness, among other things.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Constance said...

Blog entry for today at, (Sept 3), infomercial for drug that really looks promising: Petrolify.

All the people involved in the clinical trials apparently swear by it -- the claim is that Petrolify outsells aspirin, all classes of antidepressant drugs, and weight-loss interventions combined, which gives you some indication.

Can't hurt to give it a whirl.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Jake said...

@NearFar: yeah, it's a good book (Robopaths), but doesn't offer any good solutions. I don't think there is a good solution!

@James Allen: You're welcome. I do try to always be civil in my dialogs. Unfortunately, I did recently break down during the Gaza butchery, and my brother and I got into a tiff. He kept taunting me about the dead Palestinian children, calling them all barbarians, etc. I called him a bad name. I did apologize, but in reality, I am no longer really wanting to spend time with him. It was always a chore, as he doesn't really have dialogs or interesting conversations. It's hard to explain the banality that most people exude when you try being together. And he exudes this energy, that I have been learning about in Berman's CTOS book. His 2nd body or energy field sucks the life out of you, and the depression is "catchy," like ebola or something.

Speaking of ebola, it is out-of-control in Africa, according to WHO. They lament the complete lack of aid from the West. The West doesn't really care, does it?
We're one or two mutations away from a pandemic.

Thought of the day: living here in the USA makes it hard to save one's friendships, marriage, or anything. I think I need a pill to make it all go away. More paperwork to help emigration arriving soon! Yeah.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous politically incorrect said...

Success in America Dept...

I'm sure if she had just worked harder she would have 'made it', huh....

12:22 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Something connected to a past discussion quite a ways back:

The *Guns R Us* front:


12:27 PM  
Anonymous PleasedToBeefYou said...

MB -

Any expat tips?

I found this helpful interactive:

I don't have any kids, so I unchecked that, and I also unchecked income (and left disposable income checked). Here's what I came up with:

1. Thailand
2. China
3. Bahrain
4. Switzerland
5. Singapore
6. Cayman Islands
7. Taiwan
8. Germany
9. India
10. Qatar

I'll scratch China, Bahrain, India, and Qatar. Singapore doesn't seem so appealing, neither does Taiwan.

Any thoughts? What's the best way to pick a country? I'm thinking Thailand and Switzerland sound pretty good.

I'm an engineer & a welder, so I have that going for me. I only speak English.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

That Suez moment where the American empire loses its power, that so many WAFers speculated about months ago, seems to be playing out today. The Islamic State, thanks in large part to American support for Syrian rebels and financial support from donors in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, now controls a territory the size of Britain. IS is literally destroying the borders between Iraq and Syria and is a direct challenge to American hegemony over the region and the borders established after the First World War in the Middle East.

And what is Obama's response to this? A week ago he admitted he has no strategy. Apparently all he can think to do is to bomb the IS. An even more idiotic public is clamoring for a full ground invasion and chastising Obama for not using more force. But both bombs and occupation would make IS stronger by increasing their support base and show that no Americans understand the root of the problem.

To the east, Putin has pushed back against NATO expansionism to Ukraine and is supporting the rebels who have made it impossible for the new regime in Kiev to govern the country effectively. China is also becoming more wealthy and powerful and assertive in the region.

What seems to be happening is we have reached a historical moment where American hegemony over the entire planet is being forced to come to an end by diverse actors.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Sean Kerrigan said...

Robopaths is definitely worth reading. I had been asking myself why many people willingly follow rules to such an insane degree that it defy's common sense. Examples are numerous -- like the kid who was expelled for possessing a "level 2 firearm lookalike" or what we would call a finger gun.

You'd think a person who has no control over their lives would want to exercise autonomy whenever possible, but the opposite is often the case. Their self esteem comes from the precise execution of the rules. My friends would tell me that it was because teachers/rule enforcers were afraid of not following the rules, but I knew that was bullshit, but before reading Robopaths, I couldn't explain it. Yablonsky also points out that there is a hidden venomous quality or vitriol that envelops bureaucrats and rule enforcers.

The examples in the book are super tame, but you can see how right he was because things happening today are so much more extreme; its beyond parody.

If you are *really* interested in the anthropological science behind it, "Beyond Culture" by Edward Hall is a good supplement, though a bit boring. Jerry Mander's "In the Absense of the Sacred" is great for many reasons, but it mentions why the written word means so much to industrial societies and how the mere existence of words really does shape perceptions & values.

1:02 AM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

Going back a bit

Al Qabong -

"There was a disturbing report on CBC radio this morning. Some guy, a film critic who's been following Chinese cinema, identified something he calls "Bourgeiois Training Films," which are romantic comedies wherein the female lead falls for some douchebag (our term, not his) who has lots of dough, and who will give her every material good she ever wished for.

He actually used the term, "The Chinese Dream" to describe what these films promote, and said that they are based on Hollywood films of the post-WWII era."

To the Sacvan Bercovitch thesis that our esteemed blog proprietor loves so much, I think the "Americanism" that the Chinese are trying to capture will either fail or morph into something else.

American character is innate and unconscious. Artistically sterile bourgeois films will not turn Chinese into Americans anymore than Middle European drinking and dueling clubs turned Jews into Junkers.

Now of course there are commonalities, ones that the Chinese leadership no doubt wishes to encourage to help beat America at its own game. The good doctor might disagree, but I frankly think that Chinese view of their role in the world is every bit as messianic and dangerous as Americans. I will grant that is grounded in a more stable traditional culture and has been tempered by the ups and downs of history, neither of which have taken root here in the New Jerusalem. But the Chinese gameplan for over a century has explicitly been to learn from the west to eventually overtake it, while retaining the features of Chinese culture that are still "useful".

I think this will fail in way or the other. Scenario A: China eventually out-Americas America and become a directionless superpower randomly terrorizing the world for reasons it doesn't even understand while grasping for bygone values it can't recreate. Scenario B: The century long identity crisis causes a mass re-evaluation of China's place in the world and it settles into a more sustainable, though still hugely influential and role.

I realize I kind of went off on a tangent here, but my conclusion is that I don't think China can entirely discard its millennia-long tradition because they have their own "unconscious programming" that's every bit as strong as America's. Mao used the writ of the state in conducting the greatest social engineering experiment in all human history, and ultimately did little to uproot tradition.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

I don't intend to hijack this blog with squabbling over climate change, but I've noticed a couple of references to Guy McPherson here recently, and I can't resist putting in my two cents on this matter. Other meticulous climate observers think McPherson is a crackpot, at least as far as any claim he makes of being a legitimate scientist:

McPherson is more like a New Age psycho-babbler who selects evidence from suspect sources to construct his doomsday theories. Is it possible we'll all die in the near future? Sure, and undoubtedly we'll go extinct at some point. All species do. But claiming to have incontrovertible proof that it'll happen by a particular date (2030) puts McPherson into the framework of a larger sociological phenomenon.

Another guy whose name appears here frequently, John Michael Greer, labels this type of hooting about our eminent demise "apocalypse machismo" and notes that it appears fairly frequently among decline theorists, particularly American decline theorists. He argues that American male intellectuals are frequently burdened by doubts about their own masculinity, so to demonstrate their alpha-ness they resort to making authoritative pronouncements that we're all toast. Certainly, the infamous death cultists of recent years (Luc Jouret / Jim Jones / Harold Camping / etc. and I would be inclined to put McPherson into this category as well) all seem to originate from one country... and it ain't Finland. Another form of hustling?

12:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yr bro is a sick fuck. Pls urinate on his shoes.


Go spend a mo. in each country, see how you like it.


It's more like Death by 1000 Cuts, which is what happened to Rome. There is such a thing as karma, and the US is now reaping what it sowed. Meanwhile, Obama is a poopie-head (you may quote me).

Desert Fox-

A bit long. Please post one-half page maximum, thanks.


12:56 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Sean Kerrigan,

The late John Holt once said, "Beware the man who feels himself to be a slave. He'll want to make a slave of you, too."

He was originally writing about American education, but his later books expanded to explore American culture as a whole, as seen through the lens of the educational system.

One paint he made many times was the fact that so many people who feel themselves to be worthless, to be slaves, don't want to raise themselves up -- they don't want increased awareness or self-awareness, they don't want inner autonomy, they don't want to learn -- instead, they want to drag everyone else down to their level, misery apparently not only wanting company but doing everything impossible to create more of it. Anyone who deviates from the lowest-common-denominator norm is seen as an oddity, then a danger, an existential threat. Why? Because that person is refusing to buy into the illusion, and by so doing is calling attention to the fact that it is an illusion. Which of course makes them face the fact that their lives have been based built on a lie -- and many simply can't face that. So, kill the messenger rather than hear the message.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

I went sailing last weekend. It was a glorious experience, being back holding a tiller, and feeling the power of the wind. Moving over the planet without using fossil fuels, and harnessing the power of nature caused a deep feeling of satisfaction.

At the marina, there were poor sailors like us, with small modest boat, and of course, rich sailors with half-million dollar boats, and everything in between.
The most annoying guy, an obviously rich businessman from Minnetonka (a well-known center of wealthy annoying a-holes in Minnesota) had a hyper-fancy yacht with a name that seems symbolic to me:
He ironically named his boat in a way that underlines the immense pain and suffering that life in America (and evidently his life) entails.
Another guy shocked me by bragging about how he called the cops on his own son for smoking weed. Wow. Do that in the city, and you're liable to get your kid killed. WTF? By and large, the more bohemian and ragtag the sailors, the nicer they were. I met a the leader of the folk/bluegrass band Sans Souci, and had a private house concert, basically.
The marina was a great sampling of what is good and bad about the USA. Mostly bad in terms of numbers, but still able to find a bit of joy and spontaneity here and there.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Blair said...

Hey, MB - You were quoted in this piece by John W. Whitehead today.
None of this is news to WAFers, of course, but the murky video of police entering a home without a warrant, handcuffing the unresisting occupants, pepper-spraying them, and leading them to a "Paddy Wagon" is a must-see.

3:52 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Ya know Wafers, if you happen to be wandering the streets of your downtown district, you might want to stay clear of Shit and Shanola Streets, because at the corner there, you'll find Melissa Harris-Perry standing on her soap box declaiming this complete and utter nonsense:

You aren't kidding around Melissa? If you had a sense of humor, then maybe 'The Onion' would publish this too (but I doubt it). Geez. I'd rather be locked in a room with Bunmi Laditan. So there you are, Melissa, smugly standing there while we're destroying (eating, devouring) our own children alive, and passing off this shit garbage? Hey Melissa, remember Baghdad Bob (Comical Ali), the Information Minister in Baghdad during the 2003 US invasion, telling us that US troops were committing suicide by the thousands in the streets of Baghdad? He has more honor and credibility than you, Melissa. And shame on "The Nation." I pee on all of your shoes.

At least there's this, maybe as a kind of 'corrective' or antidote, to get some of that bad taste out of my mouth:

7:34 PM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

I can really relate to what you said about the quality of social life changing in this country during the past 20-30 years. To my way of thinking, the country this was when I was a sixteen-year-old lad in 1983 became a different place ten years later when I was a young man of twenty-six. The change probably began when the culture of making more money and getting ahead regardless of the consequences became ascendant with the beginning of the Reagan Era in 1981, and our transformation into "Meanieland" was complete by the time the iconic movie Glengarry Glenn Ross was released in 1992.

As long as I'm being honest, the hyper-abusive motivational speech delivered by the Alec Baldwin character in that movie pretty much became our culture. As a matter of fact, a piece based on this famous movie-speech recently went viral as an inspired work of wisdom around which all the little zombies should endeavor to construct their lives. How do you like them apples?

That's the country in which I've been living as an adult for the past twenty years. The only way to deal with it is to learn how to be okay with things being very much not-okay socially and politically, because if you fail to do so, you will end up as insufferably bitter and butthurt as Dave Cohen at the now-forgotten "Decline of the Empire" blog. (He used to have a readership, but his personality drove most of it away in pretty short order.)

So it goes.

2:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls post only once every 24 hrs, thanks.


Either become an NMI or emigrate, amigo.


11:49 AM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

I am far from a Reaganite, but I'd like to dispute the notion that Ol' SuperPatriot Ronny magically turned this country from a cozy nest of civic-minded communitarians into a soulless hellhole of greed and consumerism. Or that Jimmy Carter was a great father figure who guided the nation down a path of self-reflection and vulnerability.

We are putting the cart before the horse. In the 70's, the US was struggling economically and dealing with the revelations of Cold War skulduggery. America elected Jimmy Carter for this exact reason. Carter also lost in 1980, paradoxically, because conditions continued deteriorate, which they did well into Reagan's first term, during which his approval rating plummeted into the 30's. Monetary stability from Volcker's previous hawkish actions, technological advances in the banking sector and lower world oil prices helped re-generate the idea of the American dream, however faulty, which caused a sea change in the culture.

It wasn't Reagan's sleaziness that caused Americans to become focused on material gain, it was the fact that greed, which was a dead end in the 70's stagflation, now seemed to pay off once again. America has been a nation of commerce from the very start, and only pauses to consider alternatives when the opportunities for material advancement seem to abate.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Here's an article you're going to love:

"Kardashian represents the pinnacle values of late-stage American-style capitalism: opportunism, effortless celebrity, obsession with wealth and image, narcissism, and above all, making a fortune doing nothing useful."

4:46 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Well, everyone. I have a doozie for you all.

Be warned, it is graphic and disgusting. Would people in other countries do crap like this even as teens?

8:38 PM  
Blogger Val said...


Today I met my new neighbor who just moved in across the street. I figured the new owner of that place would turn out to be a jerk because of the way he tortured everyone in the neighborhood for weeks on end with the incredibly obnoxious noise of the unnecessarily elaborate remodeling job he had done on the place before ever showing up. Today my expectations were abundantly confirmed. He accosted me as I returned home from the library and initiated a conversation in which he proved himself to be the most arrogant interfering litigious-minded sort of self-serving busybody asshole that can be imagined. I won't go into specifics at this time, as I'm too annoyed and (for other reasons) exhausted to elaborate. I am not the current target of his busybodying, which is a good thing and I mean to keep it that way if I can. It's clear that he imagines that he is a nice reasonable person, but in this he is most severely mistaken.

Once, when younger, I would have cut such a person some slack and held back from leaping to conclusions about his character. Now I am far more prone to snap judgements, and you know what? I can't recall the last time I was wrong, except by erring on the side of too much charity and forbearance. Is this because I am living among Americans?

Jake, I am soooo jealous of your sailing experience. I love sailing but haven't been able to afford it in most of a year. If I get lucky I might be able to scrape up enough dosh to build myself a cardboard boat out of discarded packing & cereal boxes and sail it to Tahiti, but I'm not rich enough for that yet.

Perhaps I should mention that among the books I brought home from the library were two by MB - Wandering God and WAF. I'm about to start in on them right now.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Obama has become a sock puppet on the hands of some crazy neocons who now have him taking on Russia.

While the American media is nothing but propaganda, you can still find things worth reading in India. Check out M K Bhadrakumar’s September 4, 2014 article, “Obama’s West Berlin Moment” on “Indian Punchline” at:

On his way to the NATO summit (appropriately enough at a golf course) in Wales, Obama stopped off to deliver a speech in Tallinn, Estonia.

Bhadrakumar writes:

“Obama made a valiant attempt to imitate John Kennedy’s famous ‘Ich-bin-ein-Berliner’ speech of 1963. But even as he spoke, news came in regarding a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government forces and the separatists in eastern Ukraine. Of course, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin’s hand in the development was unmistakable.”

“Putin again stumped Obama. Obama narrowly missed his West Berlin moment”

Then Bhadrakumar explains:

“Indeed, if Obama’s speech turned out to be a damp squib, it is because the US policies are not reflecting the ground realities in world politics. Obama spoke in Tallinn more like a man possessed, out of the Cervantes classic, than as a contemporaneous statesman leading the charge of the Western brigade, which was how Kennedy succeeded in looking.”

“The crux of the matter is that Obama cannot purge his obsession with the US’ exceptionalism, whereas his country simply lacks the capacity to impose its will on the world community. One is reminded of the Victorian poet Matthew Arnold’s immortal description of Percy Bysshe Shelley — ‘a beautiful and ineffectual angel beating in the void his luminous wings in vain.’”

Indeed, as the US Empire dies its death of a thousand cuts, this one may turn out to be a rather deep slash – in a number of respects.

David Rosen

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...


Since you are accepting recommendations for things to watch, I thought I'd recommend the Netflix show The Killing, which is about the investigation by a Seattle homicide detective of the killing of a young teenager. The show is very suspenseful and skillfully weaves together different stories in an entertaining way. With each episode it's like you're peeling back another layer of the onion.

4:25 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Hi Wafers,

@Sean, Jake - thanks for the feedback on "Robopaths". The library is going to try to find a copy for me on 'inter-loan'.

I've just finished reading a terrific essay called "Eradicating 'Poverty' or the Poor" (link below), by Majid Rahnema, a writer (& thinker!) I'd never heard of before today. So many things I could cite from it that deserve further thought & discussion. But here's an (almost) random quote that's potentially 'congenial' to the Waferian outlook (imo, of course):

" All in all, until the Industrial Revolution, to have few things and to live modestly with whatever was available was possible thanks to a subsistence economy that was still producing for the household and the community. That is why poverty had been, to quote the French philosopher, Joseph Proudhon, “the normal condition of humankind in civilization”. It was a mode of living based on conviviality, sharing and reciprocity, a mode of relating to others and to oneself, respectful both of others and of the larger social and natural environment. It represented an ethics of living together and building relations, an ethics of defining one’s needs according to what one’s community could produce at a particular time. The unalterable riches of the poor lied in their regenerative ability, trying to make the best out of whatever they could have, share or master in life.

Quite different was indeed the condition called destitution ('miseria' or misery in Latin or other European languages), a condition well expressed by the original meaning of the Arab-Persian words of 'faqr' and 'faqir,, a person whose spinal column is broken. As long as the poor could rely on their 'potentia,' as long as they could still lie on what Ivan Illich has called their “cultural hummock”, it was their poverty “bed” that protected them from falling into the murky mud below, into the pitiless world of misery and destitution. This dreaded world has always represented for the poor the breakdown, the corruption and the loss of one’s 'potentia.' "

Source ~>

5:33 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Apologies for the 2nd post in 24 hrs, but the essay is called *Eradicating “Poverty” Or The Poor?* by - Majid Rahnema. Note that I forgot the "?" in the title above (exclamation point). That's one hell of an important punctuation mark to leave out (exclamation point, exclamation point). The entire meaning and 'heft' of the essay is nearly ruined (certainly undermined) w/o that diacritical (sort of) marking off in the title, so that's why I'm breaking the 24 hr rule. Again, my apologies MB (period)

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@John Cougar Melonhead,

may I ask you if u remember a concrete post in which Mr.Greer does the masculinity argument?

many thanks

7:21 PM  
Anonymous AS said...

Something worth reflecting on:

This man was a serious candidate for the presidency:

10:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Desert Fox-

Yr certainly wrong abt Carter. Check out Carter sections in DAA and WAF, just for starters.


1:43 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Prompted by Dovidel's comments on Obama as sock puppet, on the neocon response* to everything that makes them cross, and on taking on Russia:

"One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting…It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front line trench, except on the briefest of propaganda tours...Perhaps when the next great war comes we may see that sight unprecedented in all history, a jingo with a bullet-hole in him.”

[George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia]

* WWJD: What Would John [McCain] Do
(Sorry Jesus)

2:30 PM  
Blogger Eric Green said...

@ Yamato Kusoatama

Certainly, here you go:

American priorities:,36855/

7:09 PM  
Anonymous El Alamein said...

MB -

I don't doubt that Carter was and is a sincere and reflective man, I'm just arguing that he (and Reagan) were reflective of the larger mood in the country rather than forces that changed the culture.

The Americans wanted a period of reflection and consideration of alternatives, only because the halt of endless forward economic progress forced them to re-think things.

The Iran crisis revealed how shallow this desire really was. Once our Empire was threatened, and Iran was such a key piece of the empire that it its loss has obsessed the foreign policy establishment to this very day, then the time for reflection was over. It was time to put on our best Arnold Schwarzenegger accent and KICK...SOME...ASS.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

Really attacking CTOS this weekend. Great book.
I remember studying the Cathars/Albigensians as an undegrad, when I was actually studying in France. What a tragedy!
I think the "war on terror" is a modern crusade. The same focus on thought-crimes. The hysteric fear of an impending attack by "ISIS." The war on terror crusade, of course, is never-ending, for as the West kills more innocents with drones, more people are radicalized. I'm even skeptical of that, however: I think it is almost entirely driven by Western hysteria and propaganda... The West even funded and armed ISIS to begin with, to try to overthrow Assad. Brilliant: create the boogeyman that use to scare the public into supporting ever more war and weapons and surveillance.
I think we can safely say that there will be no end to the current paradigm until it exhausts itself in ruin: financial, economic, cultural, and military ruin.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's pretty much what I wrote in DAA, in fact.


12:15 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings Dr. Berman and Wafers,


Yes, there will be no end to it. Here's the marquee issue for us: In order to *not* examine who we really are, we must always be seen as destroying the other out there somewhere.


WWJohnD is good. How about WWJoanD? Can we talk? Jesus, if ever there was a person who would live forever, it was Joan Rivers. Ya know, it just may be curtains for America after all...


Many thanks for the Herman Cain video. Ain't he something? Cain once remarked that America is run by stupid people. I couldn't agree more... I just wanna say that I'm gonna walk some precincts for the Godfather of Pizza, come 2016.


Are you still in del Distrito Federal? Any word about a publishing date for your Japan book?


1:30 PM  
Anonymous Ricardo said...

Hi Everybody,
This is my first post although I appreciatively read most MB books yrs. ago and am fellow expatriate in Mexico (Xalapa, Veracruz).
Re. the Beach Boy song: "Woody" I think refers to station wagons which had wooden boards on the sides. "The nose" refers to standing on the nose (very front) of a surfboard while riding a wave. Rincon refers to a surfing spot south of Santa Barbara on the county line with Ventura famous for having a very long break of "perfect" surf which allowed long rides, good for nose rides.
Recommended movies for WAFers could include some film noir from 40´and 50´s, especially if you ignore the obligatory happy endings in some cases. Double Indemnity (the sarcastic humor could be understood to deepen the despair), Force of Evil (with John Garfield and written by Abe Polansky-- noir heaven!), and Kiss Me Deadly (weird beyond words)are a few to get you started.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check previous posts: we already covered Beach Boy symbolism, but thanks anyway for the reprise. We had fun till daddy took our T-Bird away. As for movies, you left out Kiss My Tushie, perhaps my all-time favorite. I keep recommending it to trollfoons, but (being trollfoons) the pt of it seems to escape them. Another rec: Jonathan Franzen, "The Corrections." Jesus, what a sad and accurate X-ray of the American "soul." I have to grit my teeth to keep rdg.


I adore Herman Cain. I think a Cain-Lorenzo Riggins ticket wd be unbeatable in 2016, altho a Latreasa Goodman-Bunmi Laditan ticket wd be formidable as well. So many fabulous choices! Yes, I've been in the DF for a week now, having an absolute ball, but still (from Internet cafes) working w/my publisher on the Japan bk. We almost have a final pdf, now hafta tackle the illustrations; tho my foto expert is outta town for another wk, so things are temporarily held up. Then comes the Index, copyrt pages, etc. A Thanksgiving release might be possible. It's a long fucker, I tell u: something like 500 published pages. Japan will never be the same.


6:29 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...


In the British “New Statesman,” the first paragraph of John Gray’s review of a historical novel based on the life of Caesar Augustus really hit home with me. See it at:

It goes: “In one of the fictional letters that make up much of John Williams’s novel “Augustus,” a friend of the emperor voices a striking contempt for moralists. Corresponding with the great historian Livy, Augustus’s friend writes: ‘The moralist is the most useless and contemptible of creatures. He is useless in that he would expend his energies upon making judgments rather than upon gaining knowledge, for the reason that judgment is easy and knowledge difficult. He is contemptible in that his judgments reflect a vision of himself that he would impose upon the world.’”

Wow! What an apt description of “Boobus americanus,” a moron who finds knowledge hard and judgment (opinion) easy. Over 300 million dolts who know nothing but who have opinions about everything – opinions they think they have a manifest destiny to ‘impose upon the world.’

Tim L.,

John Holt, along with Paul Goodman, was one of my favorite critics of American education. You’re right that he branched out into criticism of many other aspects of God’s own country. Although I don’t recall him using the expression, he had a lot to say about ‘wage slavery.’ I remember him saying that nothing infuriates a slave in chains more than a slave who has broken his chains. “Get him a set of chains!” he screams. That would be the equivalent of today’s expression, “Get a job!”

Quite a while back somebody posted a reference to an article by an anarchist, Bob Black about work in America. I had read it decades before, and one line that’s always stuck in my mind is: “There is more freedom in any moderately de-Stalinized dictatorship than there is in the typical American workplace.”

David Rosen

7:26 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

Do you recommend any books/videos on shamanism/psychedelics?

8:51 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...


Thank you for the suggestion. I quickly scribbled it down in my little memo book (3 x 5 in. 'Made in Indonesia') where I keep track of Wafer's book & movie suggestions (ie., date, who made the suggestion, (if) relevant context). Also just added "The Corrections" today (already been picking away at Franzen's "Freedom," since mid-July, as time permits. MB has mentioned it a few times already & also in his "In Praise of Shadows" talk I believe: tho I didn't verify that before posting, so don't quote me).


I thought of you all when I read this poetry/prose citation from poet Robert Kelly, as it echoes an ongoing 'theme' on this blog (as Jeff's & Jake's latest comments can attest):

"Rebels are walking the streets. “Anti-government forces, Boy Scouts & others who make up the rebel core.” Militant Buddhist youth organization. Her body in the sun. I dont want to look at gentle ease or suntanned knees. I want a gun. I dont need a gun, I want an enemy, I want a war. Kill the elms with soft green. Italic day, signature of the earth."

(from "Robert Kelly: An Alchemical Journal" ;

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Manolo Cabeza de Huevo said...

Funny you are reading the corrections. Years ago it was on the Oprah book club. Author, J Franzen invited to the show. He made comments about how his appearance not in keeping with litarary tradition and the banality of TV and popular culture. he was disinvited to show and the whole literary establishment jumped on him and he was labled arrogant etc... I think MB and most of us WAFERS can identify with his experience. Old man Jose Ortega y Gasset must be laughing in his grave somewhere in Spain--the masses have totally taken over.

As an aside-to the poster living Xalapa Veracruz, its a nice place and little known. I am Monterrey born and bred and did not go there until recently. I live in the U.S. as my wife is American but I go to Mexico frequently to visit family and keep a bit of mental health. I just finished living for two years in Puerto Rico and it was the most depressing place on earth. Essentially, U.S. consumer culture takes over what was always a fragile culture and out comes a very nihilistic and materialistic culture of dependency and passivity. Its funny how Americans seem to think all Latinos and their countries are the same. I feel badly for the carribean and central american nations which are under strong sway of the U.S and have little to counterbalance. In counterbalancing the Brazilians and argentines are to be commended. In mexico we are not doing so well and a lot of the society is under the sway of U.S. culture but a lot of local tendencies seem to still prevail.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

My wife and I went to a dinner where Herman Cain spoke. I had to literally take a shower afterwards to clean the crap off of myself.

All he did was spoke the same rhetoric about the American dream and welfare programs was the cause of our national problems.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

And now, from America's police blotter:

1. A North Dakota 20-year-old using Facebook on her phone rear-ends another car, killing an 89-year-old passenger:

Interestingly, and with little sense for irony, the Huffington Post corrects its copy, noting that an earlier version had used the phrase "distorted while driving," whereas they should have written "distracted while driving."

Reading this same story on another site, I was not surprised to see that some commenters, while acknowledging the general inadvisability of using social media under highway conditions, chose to point out that the car that had been rear-ended was making an illegal turn and had slowed down to do so. An argument that any courthouse lawyer could find sufficient to mitigate culpability in these Untied States of America.

2. A single mother leaves her 2-year-old in the care of her boyfriend so she can go to work, an opportunity the boyfriend seizes to see how well the child can cope with a few turns in the family clothesdryer, just for yucks, presumably.

A cautionary tale illustrating that girls should probably listen to the opinions of their mothers when choosing whom to consort with.

And finally, referring to Jeff's comments on Herman Cain, who believes America is run by stupid people, who better that Brother Cain to join those ranks?

Stupid is as stupid does, said one of our lesser philosophers.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Hi Jake - when you were in France did you manage to visit Montaillou? When I was an undergrad I read Emmanuel Leroy Ladurie's book on the Cathars and was smitten.

Many years later, while my missus was planning a trip to Carcassonne, I leapt at the chance to visit Montaillou. Our family takes weird vacations. We like to visit ruins. There isn't much to see at Montaillou (two walls of the castle are still standing), although one can imagine Medieval peasants and their flocks wandering the surrounding hills easily enough. On that trip we also drove up the side of Mont Alaric to see his ruined castle, and walked through Oradour- sur-Glane, a village destroyed by the SS Das Reich division in June, 1944. All the inhabitants were either shot or burned alive in the village church.

Now that's douchebaggery!


12:06 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

I went to the Reuters site to read a story about Russia & Iran, and saw this headline at the top of the page:
Breaking News: Pre-orders for new iPhones will begin Friday, September 12

Doesn't that pretty much encapsulate it? Consumerism and gadgetry is our religion. Nobody but a few geeks or engineers understand how they work, so it's magic. People fondle their phones and devices, so there's a religious talisman/idol element. Emotions of deliverance and self-worth are imbued in the holy relics of technology. Salvation now just depends on the right technology, or the progress of technology. The ascent to the 7th heaven, as Prof. Berman talks about in CTOS.
Why does technology leave me feeling so empty, as a user and creator of technology?
My wife wants me to hold in to the job, hoping the company "goes public," then I can quit and retire to the woods.
I'm still planning the emigration, and the escape. You can't put your life on hold forever, waiting for some external entity to deliver you.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out Dave Eggars, "The Circle," and also article by Douglas Haddow, "Datacide," in latest issue of Adbusters. Also ch. 3 of WAF.


u.c. why I want him to be our next president (tho Lorenzo Riggins remains #1 on my hit parade).


I keep hoping Oprah will invite me so I can say: Yes, on one condition: I get to pee on yr shoes on nationwide TV.


No, previous refs to Franzen were to "Freedom," actually a better bk than "Corrections"; tho the latter is terrific as well.


No. Wrong way to go, imo.


9:17 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

The really telling point about these articles, I guess, is that we aren't outraged or even surprised anymore...

22billionenergyslaves - On Being Misinformed

When you consider the immense challenges and problems that lie ahead of us, which include climate change, peak energy and resources and ecological overshoot, you might begin to wonder why this isn’t front page news day after day. Indeed, after flicking through a few newspapers and surfing a few television news channels and finding not much beyond celebrity news, sports updates and political commentary, you might indeed begin to wonder whether the issues discussed in blogs like this one are not merely something for people with too much time on their hands to contemplate, or worse, a paranoid illusion. This naturally begs the very reasonable question: if our civilisation is indeed circling the drain then why isn’t it in the news very often?

... - Down the Memory Hole

The memory hole is working overtime in the USA zeitgeist these days. Shit happens and a week or so later, it unhappens — at least it seems that way as manifested by the front page of The New York Times or the flapping of Anderson Cooper’s gums on CNN


9:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I suppose because it wd be boring. As a freshman at Cornell, I studied Russian for 2.5 yrs. The 1st yr was really grueling, but by the 2nd yr I cd read Pravda w/o a dictionary. Problem: every day the headline was some variant of "Millions Enslaved by Capitalism." Wh/was true, but (a) Why didn't they also mention that millions were enslaved by communism?, and (b) After abt a wk of this, it gets kinda old. Now if I were running the NYT, the daily headline wd be: "99% of Americans Have Heads Rammed in Rumps." Also true, but also gd for abt a wk at most. Maybe we just need better editors, I dunno.
Wafers are encouraged to come up with entertaining but true/lively headlines (to be recycled weekly, of course) for the soon-to-appear newspaper, "The Daily Waferino" (I'm also accepting candidates for titles, e.g. Wafer Times-Dispatch, The Wafer Roundup, and so on.)



10:42 PM  
Anonymous Constance said...

To get back to the subject of bliss: the scent of buddleia. The buddleia is blooming.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

Why are psychedelics the wrong way to go? Are the ayahuasca ceremonies not useful? Or just not useful for dealing with modern industrial civilization? What do you think of Terence McKenna?

I do have to say, I didn't need shrooms to read your books and totally change the way I think about the world.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Important to post only once every 24 hrs, thanks. I don't have much to say abt shamanism because I've already said it, in excruciating detail. It can be a useful detour; for most who get into it, the detour becomes the lifepath, unfortunately. Pseudo-spirituality, as I explain in WG. However, it's yr life, and it's a topic not suited to this blog, in any case.


1:05 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings dearest Dr. Berman and fellow Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

* EXTRA! EXTRA! Get yer Wafer Memory Hole (Thanks Sav) News here!
* When life hands ya lemons, make URINE! EXTRA! EXTRA!

Well, Wafers, the American war path is being paved once again. Total catastrophes are terribly amusing, as Voltaire demonstrated. True enough, but Yogi Berra said it best: "Always go to other peoples funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."

Obama! What a twerp! He makes it an absolute bummer to be a human being. Why mess around, Obama! Let's wreck the whole goddamned thing... blow it all to smithereens. It'll be a barrel of laughs. Anybody got an atomic bomb? Jesus, where's the Tylenol? Better still, where's my pastrami on rye w/cole slaw and Russian dressing? A sixer of Cel-Ray Tonic to wash it all down is also required.


Do tell! How in holy hell did you get that close to Big Brother (thanks James) Cain and his Holding Company? Sounds like it was a prime opportunity to let loose a substantial urine spray.


Solution: "Pearl" LP and a good turntable... Be sure to play it loud!


Many thanks about Japan book details; fingers crossed for a Thanksgiving release. Incidentally, my wife and I watched "Fading Gigolo" a few nights ago. We laughed our melons off! You're right, it's a simple pleasure... Highlights for us were the Rabbinic Court scene, Woody, and the music; one of the best soundtracks I've heard in decades. Wafers must run out immediately and get the soundtrack! Many thanks for the recommendation.

Over and out & au-re-wah-wah,


2:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yeah, that scene w/the rabbis was over the top, eh? I really loved all the shots of Bklyn. And speaking of pastrami, you know I have yr baseball cap sewn to my head. Well today I had to get tog. w/a close Mexican friend here, who lived in LA for 17 yrs (altho we speak to each other in Spanish, mostly), to do a little bidness (Mexican tax authorities; ugh), and she nearly split a gut over the Canter's legend. jaja

I have this image of getting Cain and Obama in the same rm, and vigorously banging their heads together for 30 mins, nonstop, while chanting, "You stupid morons!" Wafer heaven, that.


2:37 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

@al-Qa-bong: No, I did not visit Montaillou. I shall. I love Languedoc and Provence. There is something quite special about the region, despite the fact that no region can escape all the curses of modernity. But perhaps the earth/land/soil itself contains some energy, essence or wisdom that prevails. Regardless, it's a great landscape, and there are still civilized humans there, who somehow still do things a bit differently.

@Prof. Berman: I've already read WAF, and of course remember the riff on tech. It's amazing, though, how tech is no longer just a pseudo-religion, but a real, honest-to-God (irony?) religion.
I had lunch with a coworker recently, and he told me two things that really hit that home:

#1, he believes that the singularity or progress of tech will conquer death, and
#2, all problems and conflicts in the world are just caused by improper management, which computers and tech will solve. That is, there are no conflicts caused by human nature, the tragic nature of life, ideology, or simple incompatible aims.

Crazy, eh? Delusional.
I shall check out that film, Fading Gigolo. I need to laugh.
Regarding Jonathan Franzen, I wasn't so impressed by The Corrections. It hit a point where the characters began to bore me, maybe because they were American robopaths. But I may give Freedom a try.
There so much older, classical literature out there, though! Thomas Mann, Dostoyevsky, Robert Musil, etc.
Thank God for books. They will survive the new dark age longer than iPads.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

One thing the French have over us is their regional identity. Bretons are proud of their "terroir" as much as are Vendéens, etc.

We don't really have that in North America, from what I've seen. The landscape doesn't matter; it's all been bulldozed and excavated and had the same homogenous stamp of modernity forced upon it. Everything here is the same.

On another note, the Wafer bulletin could be called "The Wafer Picayune Intelligencer."


6:18 PM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Fading Gigolo is worth a watch even just for the flirtation at the end. What-a-knockout. They dont make them like that over here...


Listening to too much Joe Rogan lately?!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Sundriedtomato said...

Lack - If you are interested in a gd bk on shamans and entheogens I suggest Graham Hancocks Supernatural it details his exps with Ayahuasca and dmt.

Dovidel - I was reminded of the Bob Black article too and had to reread it. It can be found here for any1 interested.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Annals of Douchebaggery:

8:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is a great country:

Plus, for a gd look at the American plutocracy (NY-style): Jay McInerney, "The Good Life."


10:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, we are not interested in wholesale attacks on this blog or on what we are doing here. If it's not to your liking, best to go somewhere else. But I can't help observing what a shmuck you are (like all the trollfoons who show up on our doorstep). You had the opportunity to participate in the greatest forum in the history of the world, and you blew it. Specific disagreements with our ideas or arguments, stated courteously, are always welcome; that's the lifeblood of debate. But being an American, you were too stupid to do that. You think opinions are arguments, and emoting is reasoning. And now, instead of becoming a Wafer--which represents the highest level of spiritual development in the history of human consciousness--yr nothing more than a banished observer, cast into utter darkness, doomed to hover around the blog but never allowed in. Does it feel gd, to have shot yrself in the foot? Of course, you could apologize to me and the other Wafers, and thus start over; but we both know you don't have the cojones to do that, right?

Bottom line: you have no ideas; you have no data; you have no common sense; and yr a douche bag.


4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you thought technodouchebaggery couldn't get any further than what it already is now, get ready folks!

5:20 AM  
Anonymous Manolo Cabeza de Huevo said...

From your note to the attacking troll several thoughts (not original and probably discussed here by brighter minds than mine) spring to mind about my dear gringoes....

It is interesting that they are always trying to correct things but invariably make them worse--schooling, health care, politics, city planning, media etc....

They have a strange protestant tendency to be incapable of merely disagreeing with someone or something--that someone or something is not only wrong but are perhaps evil or sick and need to be told what to do.

Americans are indeed stupid in the main and also have a strange fear of the truly different or original and can't help attacking and wanting to correct and control.

Its interesting to me that in many spheres americans have no original ideas or ideas of any kind. In say politics, there are no ideas at all--thre are only "perspectives" . the progressives love the trope--people of different races, ethnicities and sexual backgrounds egurgitate the same things but from their perspective and viola paradise on earth--inclusing and progress! Jailing people, droning, ruining education is just fine so long as these things are agreed to by a multicultural group. You can look different but by golly don;t you think differently!!!!!!Better yet--don;t think, repeat cliches and emote.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Good day Dr. Berman and Wafers,


Lemme guess...maile is upset about our views on Obama; our take on ISIS; we wuv Big Brother Cain; Mittney; the fact that you relentlessly document the absurd and imbecilic nature of Americans, perhaps.

The whole of America is essentially a trollfoon factory. All of them, like maile, will eventually make a pilgrimage to this blog, hoping to Christ that the stories they've all heard about it are true: that this is the greatest blog on the marble and salvation can be found w/in its confines. Who could blame them, really. These fuckin' plonkers have been buggered 27 different ways to Sunday and then left to rot in America.

Alas, you have the patience of the Buddha in dealing with these trollfoons... Will they ever get a clue? Will they ever realize and come to terms with their despicable and reprehensible ways?

MB, Wafers-

Only in America Dept.:


12:39 PM  
Anonymous Rufis T. said...

MB what are your real thoughts of Militarized Police Forces? The media seems to be making causation correlation flaws, equipment that is modern does not make it militarized, a muzzle loading musket was “militarized” and or “modern” at the time whether carried by a soldier or night watchman.

The only facts presented in your post of Ed Pilkington’s guardian article where the real life perspectives on the cops on the street, all his counter points were unnamed assertions from an academic or a huckster like Tom Noland a guy who quit the Boston Police 5 years before proper retirement to take up a light weight teaching gig.

In D.J Stevens’s study (1999) Police Tactical Units and Community Response. Law and Order March :48-52. He found in a study of police critical incidents from around the nation, swat teams took a suspect into custody with no injuries or death to anyone involved 65% of the time, while departments with no tactical teams only could take suspects into custody with no injuries or death 44% of the time. Having officers who specialize in tactical situations and be placed on a swat team seems as good an idea as having officers specialize in something else be placed in a crime scene response unit, or a harbor patrol unit, or fingerprint and photography unit etc.

Who are these people who don’t want a “modern/militarized police department”? Do the people who do not approve of tear gas, rubber bullets, and armored officers in formations, want to let protestors and looters run the show? No police = chaos, note the Boston Police Strike of 1919 or debathification in Iraq. Or do they want old school policing of unarmored demilitarized disorganized officers running through crowds hitting people with unmilitarized wood sticks, biting people with K-9 dogs, trampling people with horses and spraying people with fire hoses? The militarized response looks a lot safer for officers and the public.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'm so tired of morons like maile. It's exhausting, dealing with stupid American trollfoons. I wish he'd show up at my front door, as I just polished off a 6-pack of Bud Light and need to unload on his shoes. (Probably hush puppies, the choice of buffoons)


12:50 PM  
Anonymous Kathy Sloan said...

Unfortunately I've been away from the Wafer Blog for a while but it's great to be back! I'd like to suggest a discussion of Noam Chomsky's recent brilliant (as always) piece on "U.S. Plunges the Cradle of Civilization into Disaster while its Oil-Based Empire Destroys the Earth's Climate." As we reach the point of no return, the U.S. corporate state races ahead to access the remnants of fossil fuels deep into Mother Earth, wreaking perhaps the final havoc on our ecosystem in its obscene quest for profits. As Noam notes: " One index of human impact is the extinction of species, now estimated to be at about the same rate as it was 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the Earth. That is the presumed cause for the ending of the age of the dinosaurs, which opened the way for small mammals to proliferate, and ultimately modern humans. Today, it is humans who are the asteroid, condemning much of life to extinction."

Only the indigenous peoples have known how to live in balance and harmony with nature. As the wise Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation, states: "People should understand that there is no mercy whatsoever in nature; there are only the laws. If you follow and respect those laws, you have perpetual regeneration. If you violate those laws, you suffer the consequences. That’s where we are right now."

Here is the link to Chomsky's piece:

I look forward to any comments or discussion.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This time around the asteroid is Kim Kardashian, I guess.


I'm no expert myself, but there has been so much written on the subject by folks I respect, such as Dana Priest of the Wash Post (starting w/articles in 2010). All of these authors note how materiel no longer in use in Iraq got shunted over to domestic police depts. in the US--who have killed more than 5000 unarmed civilians (including teens and the mentally ill) since 9/11.


3:48 PM  
Anonymous dkhinkle said...

Dr. B,

Bud Lite? Isn't it a bit like making love in a canoe? (Stealing a line from Monty Python!)


You might check out Radley Balko's "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces," which gives many examples of how this trend has destroyed innocent people -- and whatever protections the Constitution purported to offer us. It also gives examples of police chiefs who went the other way (true community policing, no heavy weaponry, no "no knock" searches, etc.) with excellent results. He lays most of the blame at the politicians' feet, starting with Nixon's war on drugs and spiraling out from there. Of course, the war on terror is just another excuse...

4:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Quilmes? Urquell?


5:16 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

@Rufis: I do not agree with your assessment. Even if your stats are right, the principle is wrong: destroying our civil liberties in the interests of "law and order" is still destroying our freedoms. Egads.
What was the Founder's quip about security and liberty? You get my drift.
Regardless, it is far too late: the oligarchy is simply conditioning us to tolerate ever greater levels of surveillance, police brutality (aka law and order), and the criminalization of dissent.
Since economic immiseration will continue for overdetermined reasons, the militarization of the police, and creation of a police state, will continue. It's a jobs program for the poor and a great form of social control. Law and order sells. Dead poor people doesn't warrant much concern.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

One thing he said was that if one has a job one can't get on welfare which is inaccurate off the bat. In fact, one has to have a job in order to be on welfare these days due to both welfare to work programs and contract with America I believe.

Another thing he said is that to gain success one has to work hard and that is all one has to do. Bullshit is what I say. Here is why. If one doesn't have the personality employers want you're not getting hired. What employers want are extraverted, salesman types.

A good chunk of the time I kind of dozed off and I felt saliva running down my mouth a bit until my food came which was a baked chicken with potato skins. The food had more quality than Cain's speech.

Mainly he blamed welfare recipients for our country's ills and other politicians but seemed to exclude himself. Until the food came, my brain for the most part was dulled out.

His speech was so damn long to and just kept drolling on and on about absolutely nothing.

12:10 AM  

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