December 24, 2014


Dear Wafers (and Waferettes):

Well, here we are, at the end of another year. I have nothing profound to say at this point; I'm going to leave that up to you. We spent 2014 watching the U.S. slide further into chaos and self-destruction; it's a good bet we'll see more of the same during the next twelve months. As a group, we Wafers could retard the process, if the American public would only listen to us; but as we all know, there's not much chance of that. Onward and Downward! That's all we can say.

Happy New Year!



Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hi Dr. Berman,

You asked me in the last post where in upstate NY I am from. I believe you grew in Rochester, so it's easy to understand your interest. I have lived for 20 years in a town north of Albany and south of Montreal. I am not going to state the name of the town just now, because I am an elected official there. I did not start public service as a Wafer, but after reading your trilogy, the facts are inescapable. I used to be a progressive; now I'm a Wafer. My public service has now become a job of figuring out how to help my little town escape the madness of the collapse of America and maybe remain a decent place to live. I and some of my colleagues are doing little things every day to move our town in a more NMI direction. We banned fracking in our little town before Governor Cuomo did the statewide ban. We're going to pass legislation to prevent our water supply from being privatized. We are going to de-militarize our police force and ban surveillance cameras. It ain't easy. I can't tell the public I'm a Wafer. They'd hang me. I am so grateful to you and the folks who post regularly on this blog. I get good ideas from you every day and look forward to more in the future. Have a happy 2015 everyone!

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another shooting in the St. Louis area last night followed by the usual Internet hate fest. It is Christmas Eve and we are closer to the Great Unraveling than anytime since the Civil War. I am almost beyond grieving to becoming numb. I've spent the last four years in the Federal civil service watching every last vestige of civility and ethics die. I have little left to give. All I can hope for us wafers is to find some kind of personal peace, some way to shut out the madness and find whatever beauty and decency that is left for us. We can't save a society bent on suicide. I've tried and am tired of getting kicked in the teeth for it. At least we can all watch the world burn together.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...

Speaking of motorcycles... Does anyone have any suggestions for star gazing sites in the US? I live in Chicago, have been struck with a deep longing to contemplate a starry sky. I thought I could make a relatively easy run up to Wisconsin, maybe even take my Triumph, but the bit of Googling I did seems to indicate that light pollution in WI is still quite bad. Alaska is top of my list but thats a more major trip. I read that the Headlands in Michigan is a good spot. Suggestions wanted!

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Happy (almost) New Year to you too.

Per Zehner & alternative energy technologies, I agree with you that new cultures will experiment with/employee some of the technologies as industrial capitalism disappears (assuming that the dark age humanity goes through doesn't have a profoundly anti-science bias, no sure bet). However, my point - and I believe Zehner's too - is that, to be effective, these uses will need to eliminate the current underlying drivers, e.g. the capitalist imperative to keep growing energy production. Unfortunately, almost all current alternative energy projects are undertaken, as JHK says, to keep the "Happy Motoring" culture going (or perhaps we should now say the "Happy Cell Phoning" culture). Investing in these projects as they stand is an opportunity cost, one which those emerging "alternative socioeconomic formations" can ill afford to make.

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Martha said...

Battle Hymn of the Republic (Brought Down to Date)
Mark Twain (1990?)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the launching of the Sword;
He is searching out the hoardings where the stranger's wealth is stored;
He hath loosed his fateful lightnings, and with woe and death has scored;
His lust is marching on.

I have seen him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded him an altar in the Eastern dews and damps;
I have read his doomful mission by the dim and flaring lamps---
His night is marching on.

I have read his bandit gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
"As ye deal with my pretensions, so with you my wrath will deal;
Let the faithless son of Freedom crush the patriot with his heel;
Lo, Greed is marching on!"

We have legalized the strumpet and are guarding her retreat;*
Greed is searching out commercial souls before his judgement seat;
O, be swift, ye clods, to answer him! be jubilant my feet!
Our god is marching on!

In a sordid slime harmonious, Greed was born in yonder ditch,
With a longing in his bosom---and for others' goods an itch---
As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich---
Our god is marching on.

*In Manila, the Government has placed a certain industry under the protection of our flag. (M.T.)

5:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks, but in future keep in mind that we have an informal half-page limit per post. This is just a tad too long (tho I enjoyed it).


Yes, but, etc. Too long a discussion to have rt now. I do deal w/the issue of 'greenwashing' and nonprofit in the final chapter of my Japan bk. You might also check out Joel Magnuson, "The Approaching Great Transformation."


You'd think the cops in Missouri wd wanna keep a low profile these days. But no...One thing it does underscore to the black community, as well as to everyone else, is that there is fuck all they can do abt it. (Except march and demonstrate, which changes 0)


2:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I remember Dr.B saying that technology is not value neutral. I agree. A friend of mine put solar panels on her roof a few years ago with the promise of getting off the grid. That never happened and she, like many others, are in disputes with these companies. She still has a high electric bill + a 20-yr note. First the company told her, "Maybe there is too much shade."(We live in the Palm Springs area). Then they suggested she buy more panels. I told her, "Dawn, you're running out of roof." Bottom line: Its another scam. They put cheap shit in, charge a fortune ($25k+) and it doesn't work as promised. And you can't sell your excess k/watts back to the utility as in other countries.

Conversely, my folks and I visited Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates in March. Sometimes called "The city of the future", the facility was built jointly with M.I.T. and operated by the Masdar institute of Science and Technology. The world's only zero carbon, zero waste city runs on solar, wind and other renewable sources. It currently houses over 400 staff, students and researchers. This is what some of those "A-rabs" are doing with all the $$$ we send them from powering our Escalades. Japan's Tsukuba is a similar scientific research city.

Germany has the highest residential utilization of solar energy. It recently set records in this area, despite having as much anual sunshine as Alaska. It did so, in part, because it uses fewer but more sensitive panels in a given area and has significant mandates/subsidies. Some countries are doing interesting things with renewable energy. The US uses technology largely for marketing crap, spying on, and killing people. It's a question of values. (Sorry Dr.B, I couldn't resist)

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Troutbum said...

To Dan Henry,

The International Dark Sky Park is located near the top of the lower peninsula of Michigan, just west of Mackinaw City. There are less than a dozen of such designated parks world wide. Website here :

7:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


In the US everything is abt hustling, so it's common that one gets scammed. As time goes on, and things get worse, the teeth of the sharks get sharper...

To All Wafers-

Ho Ho Ho.


8:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This is kinda neat:

8:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's been interesting, these past few mos., watching the American media beating the drums for a renewed Cold War. This country is so predictable. But here's a letter to the editor in the Dec. 14 issue of the NYTBR:

"In a display of heavy-handed sanctimony, the cover of the extended poison-pen letter described as a 'special issue' on Russia contained letter S's that unmistakably resembled swastikas, as well as the black, white and red colors of the Nazi-era German flag.

"Granted, Vladimir Putin is a tyrant and a nationalist who presides over a corrupt system--but he is not Hitler (or even Stalin, for that matter), and contemporary Russia is not Nazi Germany. The special issue is yet another example of the age-old, exceptionalist American tendency to impose this country's will and values on the rest of the world, and to vilify and demonize all nations and cultures--Russia, China, Turkey, Venezuela, Islam, etc.--that do not subscribe to those values and kowtow to the United States. And that attitude is a large part of the reason so many millions around the world viscerally dislike the United States and reject its efforts to secure global hegemony."

This guy's a Wafer, to be sure; the NYT is a collection of douche bags.


12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seasons Greetings Dr. Berman, Wafers and Waferettes!
In my very tiny alternate universe, tiny nuclear family, in the dry hate state of Arizona, we are having a most fabulous capitalist holiday! I hope you are all finding your way to give and receive what few gifts are left for those of us who have had our kindness and decency, not to mention intellect, sucked out of us and trampled under the feet of morons and brutes.
I love this blog, "the only blog worth reading", and I am so grateful for all the comments and links Wafers, Waferettes, and our beloved Professor Berman have shared over this past year.
As we all take our front-row seats with our supersized bowls of buttered popcorn to watch the accelerated demise in 2015, I want you to know you are all appreciated and admired here. All of the stages of grief can be processed at this site with empathic friends who won't try to talk us out of our emotions; just another feature of this blog I enjoy during my visits here.
Thank you, Dr. Berman, for your patience as you act as our tour guide through the worst America has to offer. Happy New Year to everyone!
PS I got the Morris Berman trilogy from Santa. :^)
PPS trying a new handle; aka Louis May... "fruit woman"

1:47 PM  
Anonymous Dana said...

To all wafers,

Happy continued existence regardless of the day and hopes that your life is as painless as possible.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"...and to vilify and demonize..."

It's interesting--a more appropriate word doesn't immediately occur, sorry--to note that despite the demonizing and vilifying the United States, its people and its government, have reached an accommodation with otherwise objectionable people and countries for the sake of (relatively) harmonious global trade.

We despise the repressive regimes and the human rights violators but have decided that condemning behavior "in the strongest possible terms" will have to do, since what must be served above all is commerce and not conviction.

We know whence cometh our consumer goods, among other essential things, and grasp clearly who calls the shots. General Butler knew it, too, early in the last century.

2:41 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

The collapse isn't coming's here. It just hasn't reached the ultimate yet.
The fraud, shell, and pretense of America will suddenly, shockingly, and seeming magically( to most ) be revealed when the currency is 'discovered' to be worthless.
The great dystopia will start with a bang, not a whisper, to those unprepared.

Thom Hartmann's excellent "The Crash of 2016" ( MB is mentioned, early, p.27 ) outlines this in the intro: Canvas Moon America; from a science fiction short story where the moon is found to be nothing more than a stage prop by astronauts.
I'm also reminded of the parody TV show from the 60's, "Get Smart"; where the protagonist is spy Maxwell Smart ( played by Don Adams ). Smart is actually a dunce. He and his boss share their idiotic 'secrets' and plans under a 'cone of silence'. Smart only succeeds against various plots because his enemies are as dumb or dumber than he is.
That is the condition of practically all Americans today...they think they're smart, but they're really stupid.

After the fall, some type of society will continue, but it promises to be miserable for the masses. The already dispossessed and poor will get along the best, as they have become accustomed. A few that have stored some hard currency may be able to survive better for a time.
Those that thought they were 'rich' or soon to be with phony bank statements and bankrupted 401K's will suffer the worst, and many will 'opt out'.
The Economic Royalists will hole up in their bunkers or flee like rats and vultures to tropical climes and fortress states, like they always have done.

Post getting long. Will follow up later.

Best to all on this day, and many thanks to MB for providing this forum.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JS, Fruit Woman-

Yr welcome, and thanx 2u for ref to Thom's new bk. I like Thom, but the online description of the bk says he is hopeful, wh/I find very disturbing. Further rdg, however, indicates that his hope lies in the American people choosing morality over the profit motive. Wha?? Which Americans is he talking abt? The 147 Wafers registered on this blog? Kooky talk! We have indeed entered fantasy-land. I do like the front cover, the paper airplane crashing; but the back cover shd have been a sketch of an American w/his head rammed up his ass.

This blog has been running for 8.5 yrs now. I think one thing Wafers appreciate is having a place to go for a reality check. 'Progressive' fantasies of how a dying civilization is going to escape its inevitable fate is definitely not part of the daily fare here, and I think Wafers in particular appreciate this.

Merry Xmas!


5:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Americans in action!:

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Martha said...

There are lots more than 147 Wafers in North America (I would eschew 'Waferettes', as using a feminine version to refer to females only points out that 'Wafers' was/is meant to refer only to males). But we're such a vanishingly small fraction, it's lonely here! Recommended Twilight to a friend whose take on Amur'kan culture is no less black than yours, MB---his response: "I disagree with it being hopeless! So I wouldn't read that book!" My reply, "If I read only things I agreed with, I wouldn't have much perspective on things" was lost on him. Merry Christmas, all!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls get off the feminist bandwagon, por fin; we just don't do identity politics on this blog, and generally regard it as tedious and trivial. All of us will continue to say "Waferettes," rest assured of that. In any case, it's gd to know that there are more than 147 Wafers and Waferettes in North America. (And 318 million douche bags and douche baguettes)

Regarding identity politics: I'm getting annoyed that the cops have designated young black males as some sort of privileged class, singling them out for killing. It's the 21stC, time for the police to adopt a multicultural approach. Why only young black males? Why not old Jews, or middle-aged Asians? Nor is there any reason to exclude whites, quite obviously. As we slide into 2015, I suggest that cops across the land all make a New Yr's resolution: We're gonna kill everybody!


8:32 PM  
Blogger k_pgh said...

Wafers (many of whom are surely already familiar with it) may enjoy this song by Tom Lehrer.

Tom Lehrer – A Christmas Carol

10:15 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

k_pgh and everybody:
The sad and ironic thing about Tom Lehrer's songs is that they are as relevant today as they were in the mid-60s when he sang them. War, consumerism, racism, environmental degradation, etc. etc. are all still with us. It's as if we have learned nothing in the intervening half-century.

12:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Martha-

Well, OK, if you want to start signing in with a male handle, that's up 2u, but I don't think it will make much difference: we're just not into identity politics here, and it seems that that's yr particular area of concern. If u were a man, I'd tell u the same thing. I'm guessing there are a ton of blogs that deal with gender, color, religion and so on; they might be better suited to yr needs. Gd luck!


4:50 AM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

I thought this poll on the attitude of American Christians toward torture was appalling, but not in the least surprising:

I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and at 19 left the church when I learned about the Spanish Inquisition and the Borgia pope (thanks to the novelist Samuel Shellabarger and research at the local library). It became obvious that the church had zero moral authority, an observation that has been reinforced untold times over the years. Even as a Waferette I’m always amazed that anyone, knowing the truth, can find comfort and refuge in such a corrupt institution. (Sigh) there really is no limit to the douche-baggery.

I’m not an atheist, nor do I believe in a personal god (the Old Testament god Yahweh is clearly a psychopath…which goes a long way toward explaining the casual acceptance of violence by adherents of the Abrahamic religions). The closest I could come to describing myself is as a monist - there is only one thing - and was relieved to read Spinoza and find that I’m not so weird after all.

So, as we approach the end of the year, I’d like to thank Dr. Berman and my fellow Wafers for keeping things in perspective and helping make life bearable.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have to scratch my head every time a US citizen looks down on Russia with disdain as being corrupt. Where do they think they live? Denmark? Congress is a gentleman's club, mostly millionaires. Its the Roman Senate with legalized bribery. The average American is swindled so much, but in such subtle ways, he/she is largely unaware of it. Sugar-coated with a smile, and the latest industry hustle, "How's your day going sir?" In that sense, maybe Russian corruption is more honest?

As a 10 yr old in 83 I became familiar with a character while visiting then Leningrad. A "sameezdat"(to copy), a black marketeer whose inside overcoat pockets were stuffed, not with consumer electronics, but photo copied texts from the West. Manuscripts, news papers, classics, you name it. THESE PEOPLE READ. A highly educated, cultured and traditional society with a contemplative, ruminative soul. Like Dr.B said in comments suggesting Japan's consumer culture is a thin veneer on a more traditional society, I suspect the same is true of Russia. Kind of a citadel of anti-western values. I'm sure the US would love to pillage the country as it did in the 90s. (See also, Ukraine, 02/14). But like much of the world now shedding its US influence, Russians know better, and why Putin has a high approval rating. I think Wafers know the only thing keeping the US from going absolutely ape-shit on the entire planet is the moderating influence of China and Russia. Without them, we're fucked. Putin is a little too easy to caricature though and aids those "negative identity" associations. So maybe they should flip Medvedev back in? Same team?

P.S. I like Hartmann too. His RT show is where I first saw Dr.B. But he is a little too "rosy". Total buzz-kill.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

Indeed its all distraction and its all a hustle. My dad used to like to point out that a new major controversy is always contrived prior to holidays to crank up TV ratings and internet clicks. Also, he noted that news is idiotic and manipulative and should be avoided lest your brain be turned to noodle kugel. Indeed it is tragic that the police in recent days have killed three young black men. Its on the news everywhere and indeed getting everyone in a lather. Of course the more than 300 young black men killed by other young black men in Chicago alone is ignored. That 97 percent of the thousands of young black men killed in the U.S. are killed by other black men is horrific but alas--does not get ratings and clicks like being killed by a white cop or even by a "white hispanic". Tragedy being manipulated for gain--only in U.S.A. As crappy as many cops are, imagine if they did indeed go on strike for a week--would the flower of human kindness bloom in America?

9:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Problem is, most whites are killed by other whites, so I don't know if yr stats of black on black is really significant. We tend to kill people we know, generally spkg.


9:57 AM  
Blogger Earthwalker said...

Dr Berman,

I dropped out of college in the 70's after failing to grasp the fine points of Econometrics, a truly heartless branch of the dismal science. My last campus experience was an evening talk by E.F. Schumacher. That set me on another course. Your books over the years have provided more course material. The Notes sections are invaluable. I don't like what's happening, but at least I get it. Thanks and Happy New Year!

1:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You make some gd pts, but I don't allow anybody to personally attack someone else on this blog. Do me a favor, leave the attack part of it out, and just state the stats and facts, which Wafers wd appreciate knowing abt, I'm sure.


Well, getting it puts you out in front of abt 318 million Americans, if that's any consolation. Be sure to read the "New Monastic" section of the Twilight bk, which might be of some help 2u at this pt.


6:25 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Greer's weekly post is hopeful but only in an NMI way:

6:50 PM  
Blogger Val said...

Happy Birthday to Mithras, the savior of mankind. Re President Stepin Fetchit's recent gesture of dubious rapprochement to Cuba: I've just learned from Ray Jason (theseagypsyphilosopherDotbogsplotDotcom) that Cuba has a significant offshore oil deposit. Could come in mighty handy when the fracking bubble's just gone bust thanks to tanking oil prices. I bet the financial sector can hardly wait to sink its mosquito-like proboscis into those juicy succulent wells. The Pope's intercession should help to bring millions of lapsed commie Catholics back into fold, so it's win-win for his Popiness and President Mint Julep.

Concerning the revival of the Cold War: it is indeed the stupidest thing we could we could be doing, which I've no doubt is why we're doing it. Now that I think of it, we started down this path as soon as the USSR went kaput, triumphally trampling on millions of impoverished Russians in the 90s when we could have lent them a hand and cemented excellent relations with that country. This seems to me to mark an important inflection point in the truly epochal dumbness that has sealed our doom.

What can a Wafer artist do to help conserve the art of painting? I ponder this question as I don my Phrygian cap and prepare to sacrifice a bull. Constructive suggestions are welcome.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

Around the middle of this year I'll have paid off my debt. I've been wanting a different life for years, and it will finally be a possibility.

What is some advice for some first steps in moving to an alternative way of living?

7:46 PM  
Anonymous DicklessAmericanFucks said...

Yes, we kill who we know, but what's significant is that a big deal is only made when a white person, cop or not, kills a black, but nothing is done in response to the numerous murders of blacks by blacks, thus proving that the "Black Lives Matter" slogan is nothing more than acoustic fecal matter orally defecated through the second anus that distinguishes Americans from other mammals, the one under their nose. It's just another of the countless methods to stir up trouble, create division, promote and prolong the hatred that is now overflowing throughout American society.
In America, ALL life is meaningless, regardless of the colour of the skin that covers the body. The upside to this is that they'll go extinct eventually, which is their only redeeming quality.

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Rudolph the red nosed reindeer said...

Shame on the US and the UK for crimes against the world.

Shame on their media for turning a blind eye, constantly.

And such hypocrisy to criticise other countries on 'democracy' (haha) and such imbecilic populations who are shuffling sheeplike to their fate.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Professor, Wafers/ettes:

I'm wondering if anyone here might be up for a mini blog topic as we close-out the year, 2014...

I'm thinking we could post incidents where we have personally resisted the urge to tangle with, injure or otherwise put an end to a douchebag/ette experience. You know, moments WAFers should be proud of. OR maybe we didn't resist, which could be even more entertaining.

I resisted the urge, again, as I have for the past 20 years, to NOT 'accidently' back my car over my friend's husband when I was picking her up to go out for a cup of coffee. Another time, I also resisted the urge to 'accidently' floor it when he was standing with his contorted assface in front of my car... I'm especially proud of that moment.

He's of the American cultivar "brutus sociopicus" that sees women and children
(and defenseless animals) as objects for his personal board-game called, I Got Mine, FU! USA, USA!

(I may just be venting... Hope no one minds.)

12:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fruit Woman-

Use urine, not yr car, to attack him.


Yeah, but once again, nothing is done in response to the numerous killings of whites by whites. Time to retire this topic, I think. Except to add that the real problem is that the police are not militarized *enuf*. Specifically, they have no nukes. What they need to do is obtain nuclear warheads and then just nuke random communities around the country that they don't like. This is something I think we can all get behind.


Step No. 1: Emigrate!


3:17 PM  
Anonymous Shmuley O'Botox said...

Every restaurant should be forced to deploy these on site:

Only in America. Or as an italian might say: "Questa e' un'americanata".

Delicatessens, of course, must be exempted.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

There was a recent discussion of Viet Nam here in the forum, so when I ran across a copy of Robert Olen Butler's novel The Alleys of Eden I bought it and read it over the holiday. The protagonist is Clifford Wilkes, who signs up for intelligence work during the Viet Nam war - as did Butler himself. Wilkes however, deserts after a botched interrogation (involving a water-boarding). He flees to the back alleys of Saigon, where he learns to love the city, its culture, and its people. He also falls in love with a local girl, and the two of them live together for four years, all the while hiding from the American MPs. The novel opens while Saigon is falling, and Wilkes must decide what is the best course for he and his girlfriend as the North Vietnamese approach the city. The rest of the novel deals with the aftermath of his decision. The novel was published in 1981. Butler won the Pulitzer in 1993.

One of Butler's writing professors said of Butler "because, with all its troubles, Vietnam seems to him to retain more of its integrity, its sense of self, than the America he has left behind."

Butler himself says "My greatest pleasure in life was at 2 in the morning to wander out into the steamy back alleys of Saigon, where nobody ever seemed to sleep, and just walk the alleys and crouch in the doorways with the people," Butler told The New York Times in 1993. "The Vietnamese were the warmest, most open and welcoming people I've ever met, and they just invited me into their homes and into their culture and into their lives."

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

ennobled little day,

Here’s my delayed half-page response to your request for information about education. It’s something I’m very interested in, but I’m no expert.

First I would caution you against equating education or learning with schools or schooling. For this see Ivan Illich’s “Deschooling Society” and John Holt’s “Instead of Education.”

In any case, learning is the product of the student’s active mind, and the quality of schools can’t be better than the quality of the students they receive. This is argued cogently in a short essay by John Kozy. Check it out at:

COS has already recommended John Taylor Gatto’s “The Underground History of American Education,” and I second it. Gatto describes the efforts of industrialists to ‘reform’ America’s school system to produce obedient workers suited for stupid, mindless work. I also recommend Harry Braverman’s “Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degredation of Work in the Twentieth Century” for an explanation of Talorism or ‘scientific management’ from the point of view of its effect on workers.

Then I recommend Mortimer J. Adler’s “The Paideia Proposal” in which he describes the school system America *should* have. Such schools would be too late now, since the US has become a nation of morons, but the book is valuable to homeschooling parents or people trying to educate themselves.

All of the above is in addition to the two books by Paul Goodman I already mentioned, and to which I would add his “New Reformation: Notes of a Neolithic Conservative” – if you can find a copy.

Finally, please note that – in spite of my college BA and two graduate degrees – nothing written above did I learn about in any kind of school. People must take responsibility for their own education.

David Rosen

12:23 AM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

The pope is set to write a rare encyclical on climate change. He's said we need an alternative to capitalism.

“An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it."

I can't remember ever hearing a world leader talk like this. What do you think could be the outcome here? How do you think US Catholics will react?

7:47 AM  
Blogger Mister Roboto said...

'Progressive' fantasies of how a dying civilization is going to escape its inevitable fate is definitely not part of the daily fare here, and I think Wafers in particular appreciate this.

Yes. Those silly folk who still support the Democratic Party at this point have pretty much become the equivalent of a religion, and like many religions, the only real purpose it serves is to keep the minds of the believers existentially intact. Oh yeah, and also to keep at bay the realization that they are first-class losers not only in the evaluation of the dominant society but also in the evaluation of those who are really paying attention to what's going on. But since what is going to happen is simply going to happen, I suppose they may as well continue to indulge their threadbare fantasies.

What does the acronym "NMI" mean?

7:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You know who has more oil than Cuba? Russia. Depending on how you measure, it's the #1 or #2 exporter and the mother load of minerals. During the development of the SR-71 spy plane in the 60's, the CIA had to use anonymous buyers to purchase titanium from the USSR to build the planes. Cuba and Russia still have very strong institutional ties, and Rosneft has been negotiating with Cuba regarding those oil reserves. All roads lead to Russia (and China, but it's already been pealed open to US multinationals and doesn't have the mineral jackpot that Russia has). Keep your eyes on the prize! If there's one thing US politicians/business know instinctively with their snouts, it's how to accrue power to the empire. Like a sixth sense, America good, everyone else bad. Interesting how Obama concedes sanctions didn't work with Cuba, but insists on maintaining them with Russia. The US does not tolerate a rival. Moreover, there's already about 2 billion USD a year going from the US into Cuba and that could be tripled easily if sanctions were lifted. So it's a net boon to US business, and if JP Morgan etc. could skim a little off the top, even better. US business has been in China and Vietnam for years. They know they can hustle in these countries, communist or not. The road to Moscow runs through Havana, pealing away the Russian sphere piece by piece with a little loot in the interim. Like a big pinata.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous rudolph said...

MB said ''What they need to do is obtain nuclear warheads and then just nuke random communities around the country that they don't like. This is something I think we can all get behind.''

Yes! how about a bumper sticker based on the Pope's medieval killings in Albi 'Kill them all; God will know his own'-oops it's been used in Vietnam. They are practicing for this nuking with drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Who knows the other countries which benefit from being bombed? But it's a cleansing operation - those wedding parties etc need thinning out. The body count must be kept up in the war on terror. I am reminded of Vietnam and the millions of people slaughtered there. But it was for freedom and their own good. They might(not) have been reds, but as dead people they avoided living in a bad way;now we call this 'added value'. Of course this is old news so the media doesnt say much about it - it might waken the sleeping population who pay for that very final solution -and we cant have that.Anyway who wants to read of bad news and murder all the time? -it's a drag. But there are real gains in all this copshooting stuff - soon the killings will be automated by drones, much reducing risk to police officers. You cant be against that; might be cheaper too,reducing taxes.Face recognition technology will help identify you quickly and cheaply right at home.

As for emigrating, I've done that within the EU (despite its Lewinsky position)from an Anglophone country to a non Anglophone, poorer one. It was the right move.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Simulacra said...

Status report NE DC: in the season loosely dedicated to "The Prince of Peace" we find ourselves rumpled and perfumed with cheap wine after absurd struggle with a drunk outside one of our ubiquitous corner stores. Said drunk was belligerent and threatening to a gentle Ethiopian store owner who then was clumsily assaulted when he asked the drunk to please be drunk somewhere else. Your humble reporter stepped in to the fray to minimize the damage to our gentle shopkeep. Our drunk was escorted away by some of his friends but not before poking this reporter in the eye and ripping the collar of his favorite navy blue pea coat. Thankfully, the shopkeep was unharmed.

My question: Who is more absurd in this drama? The shopkeep who thinks he has a toehold on the "American Dream"; The drunk who has checked out of the dream; Or the reporter who can't just let it all go? (full disclosure: I really had the urge to just watch the episode unfold and laugh hysterically)

PS: Thank you Dr. Berman. I just binge read the WAF trilogy and loved it!

8:50 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Sorry folks, I believe I meant to say "peeled", "peeling". I'm sure sound doesn't factor into the issues discussed. Thanks.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I always wonder what a southeast Asian person coming into JFK feels when they have to pay for the small cart to put the luggage on. It's free in most SE Asian countries I've been to so I think it must be quite a shock for them to have to pay the 4-5 dollars to secure one.
Saw a pathetic sight yesterday indicative of what depths a person is willing to go to make a few bucks. I passed Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum in Atlantic City yesterday.In front was a man hawking the place. Besides hawking he was able to do some bizarre thing with his eyes as if to give a real life version of the grotesque things you can encounter once in the museum. I mean did he say to the proprietor " Look, I cannot only hawk the place but I can twist my eyes as well"? Parenthetically, there is a picture of one of the long neck women of northern Thailand. I met this particular woman in fact. Imagine her reaction if I told her that her image is being used to sell tickets to a freak show. I think we can all surmise as well that she is not receiving a dime from the Ripley organization.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hello MB and Wafers!

It's good to be back on the greatest blog in history... Here's a little warning from Jared Diamond in today's LA Times. Sadly, he eschews American stupidity as a critical factor in our collective downfall:

Mazel tov,


1:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Why people bother to read any other blog mystifies me. This is a one-stop shop.


Binge rdg is gd. We need to launch a few WAF binge rdg groups around the country, to do rdg marathons while porking out on pastrami.


I think it was the Bishop of Beziers: "Kill 'em all; let God sort 'em out."


New Monastic Individual. Check out the Twilight bk.


I believe John Paul II said similar stuff; it had no impact whatsoever.


A bit long; pls compress in future, thanks.


That was my impression of VN also, when I was there last May. Be sure to read Graham Greene, "The Quiet American."


2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your question, "As crappy as many cops are, imagine if they did indeed go on strike for a week--would the flower of human kindness bloom in America?" reminds me of a wonderfully Waferish quote by the wise old Wendell Berry:

"It is certain, I think, that the best government is the one that governs the least. But there is a much-neglected corollary: the best citizen is the one who least needs governing."

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Berman, Wafers,

Merry Christmas to you all and may 2015 bring us even more trolfoons, front page magazine covers with Kim's rump and more Black Fridays!

Meanwhile, it looks like there are Wafers in hiding in the NYT:

5:21 AM  
Blogger CB said...

I don't think the Catholics I know like the new pope and his "radical" suggestions. My own brother was bellowing that he is a "commie" last holiday. I think he ripped that one off from Rush. Painful.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Well, Waferinos, here we are, careening toward 2015. May the new year bring a surfeit of trollfoons, and further collapse. Here's a line from Lionel Shriver's bk, "The Post-Birthday World." She's talking abt Americans in London (where she lives), and describes them as "loud, aggressive, and overweight." Pulling her punches, I guess.

This from an episode of "30Rock": Jenna says to Jack (Alec Baldwin), regarding Liz Lemon (Tina Fey): "You've got to coddle her, lie to her, protect her from the real world." Jack responds: "I get it. Treat her like the NYT treats its readers."


12:10 PM  
Anonymous Seeking Sanity said...

Concerning the collapse, I have noticed that nearly every major intersection this past month or two has someone holding a sign asking for money...anything. These folks have always been around, but their numbers have grown quite a bit the past month or two, at least here in Colorado Springs.

It seems the homeless numbers increase daily, yet the city governments and their austerity-minded capitalist serfdom keep striving to find ways to paint over them and hide them anywhere but in public view. They are fighting a tidal wave since this system is built to create such an outcome. It's the American Dream come true!

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Chaz Hōmz said...

The late-great George Carlin wrote, “If you’re thinking of committing suicide, my feeling is that you probably should just go ahead and do that” (I assume he meant just keep on thinking—not actually kill yourself).
If you’re actually willing to leave the USA, but are unable to do so for whatever reason, my prescription is to follow a variant of the 3-step plan originated by the late, but maybe not-so-great Timothy Leary; turn-on, tune-in, and convert to the rural life. Basically, quit your job, sell-out, get adapted to your new camping equipment, and then find a campsite far away from residential houses, but not too far from the edge of town. Oh, and mountain-bicycling helps a lot. – Happy camping.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Happy New Year, MB and Wafers. I'm glad to report there's something for all of us to look forward to in 2015, trollfoon battles notwithstanding. Please check out the link/movie trailer below:

It's nice to see deli meat getting the respect it deserves.


2:25 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

2015: something ominous about that number, methinks.
I was, again, amazed at the unhealthy looking complexions and bodily proportions of the denizens of my home town. Not everyone, of course. And the eyes that were contradictorily both dead and desperate looking.
I've been trying to be extra nice and friendly to clerks and such this holiday season. I will smile, say hi, ask, "how are you doing," smile again.
Mostly, there is literally no response.
Where does this deadness come from?

2:35 PM  
Anonymous infanttyrone said...

To close out the year, we have Ms. Shields of Chattanooga...unless someone else shoots up their neighborhood between now & the end of the year (and what are the chances of *that* happening in the good ole USA?).

One key datum (t)here: "Clouse did not recognize the driver, but the woman arrested for attempted murder, Julia Shields, 45, lived just up the street at 1504 Cloverdale Drive."


We could use some prophecy here in Waferland.
If only to distract us from the usual "1st baby born in 2015" nonsense in the newspapers (Oh, wait...).

Predictions anyone?
Date/location of 2015's first school shooting ?
Date/location of 2015's first mall rampage ?
2015's first celebrity overdose death ?
Next progressive pundit to jump the shark ?

3:00 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Wafers--please explain....

Saw headline today for a gallup poll. Obama most admired living man anywhere by Americans and Hillary Clinton most admired woman. What exactly have either of them done that is admirable, remarkable or actually interesting? Perhaps Hillary juggles bottles of bourbon or Obama can stand on his head for an hour while singing? Can Hillary do a mean mambo or by memory recite the federalist papers or cite Seneca? What utter and frankly incomprehensible dreck. I returned to U.S.A. after many years to handle some family matters and now read to leave for good--the place has devolved into total incoherence. I don;t mean just the insanity of the media and its constant political droning on but interacting with people and institutions is mind boggling. I did not grow up in Oslo but in Mexico, Israel and long periods in Africa. All those places make sense and are each in their own way coherent. I suppose what has be on edge--the U.S.A. is completely incoherent.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Just bought a used copy of "Wandering God" at Powell's Books (Portland, OR). It is autographed on the first page: "For Lauren -- Best Wishes -- Morris Berman". Wow, a signed copy! I must admit, however, that the handwriting could lead one to misread the name as "Belman". Is that how that joke got started? Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading it.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to pull out of a major funk. I feel like all of my best efforts at leading a simple life and avoiding expensive corporate technological trinkets are being challenged (even by my family). I feel like I'm going crazy, like few people understand the urgency and necessity of extricating ourselves from the corporate consumerist treadmill. It's all just too normal. Where does one draw the line? Right now, I'm drawing a line at the smartphone -- but it seems like everyone has them. Am I nuts to resist? It is probably futile anyway, as smartphones will take over the entire world eventually. I read lots of pieces about simplifying life, but it's really hard to do when the majority of people all around you don't share that ethic.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"They need an enemy...they can't live without it...That's why they need to be stopped...This is a sick society. It needs help." - Mikhail Gorbachev on the US military industrial complex, empire and American psyche.

Great interview with Gorbi from last week on RT. Can honorary Wafer status be extended to foreign nationals? "Mikhail Gorbachev: America needs a Perestroika"

2:29 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Is there an echo in here?

From the 29 December edition of the site, this piece by David Masciotra:

Happy New Year to the WAFerista community.

Sauve qui peut.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David B.-

An honorary Wafer, indeed. We are a truly sick society, but Americans just can't see it.

David G.-

I have no idea who Lauren was, but I guess she didn't think much of the bk. Hopefully u won't feel the need to recycle. As for Smartfone: better a lye enema, imo. Plus keep in mind that Americans are dolts.


It's not rocket science, amigo: Americans are dolts.


Here's a hint: deep in the American soul, there is nothing at all. Literally, nothing.


11:38 AM  
Anonymous Dovidel said...

Wafers & David Bolas,

Re: “THESE PEOPLE READ. A highly educated, cultured and traditional society with a contemplative, ruminative soul.”

Here’s a quote from John Gray’s 1998 “False Dawn”:

“Russians remain one of the best-educated peoples in the world, with levels of literacy and numeracy well in excess of those in the United States and many European countries. A 1996 report comparing children in St. Petersburg and Sunderland found high levels of educational motivation in Petersburg. Russian children ‘tended to perceive education as an end in itself…they wanted to be an educated person.’ Despite Russia’s emerging identity as a Eurasian state, Russians retain a better knowledge and understanding of the history and cultural canon of Europe than most unambiguously ‘European’ peoples.”

“By contrast with Russians, British children value education chiefly as a means to the acquisition of job qualifications. Despite this pragmatic approach, the choice of subjects for study by British children seems guided more by an aversion to intellectual difficulty than by their perceived usefulness.”

What Gray says about British students must be at least as true of American kids.

Also, whatever else you can say about Putin, he is a master chess player, while Obama and the neocons aren’t even playing tiddlywinks.

David Rosen

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

MB, Wafers,

New Years Salutations!

David G,

My wife and I don't have smartphones, we don't even have regular cell phones, and I never tire of the abject shock and disbelief that people exude when confronted with such a notion ("Whaa, how, why?")

Of interest to Wafers - there's an interview on youtube with Patrick McGoohan from 1977 on Canadian tv that's primarily about the "Prisoner" series, but McGoohan has some interesting things to say about "progress" and such. Worth a watch if you can...

Kneel Jung

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Bingo said...

Happy New Year, MB! Thank you for all you do!

Let's hoe 2015 keeps on giving stories like this:

"Woman shopping in Walmart shot and killed by her toddler":

Warm regards,

7:31 PM  
Blogger Frederick Froth said...

Speaking of deli or delicatessen meats the 1991 French movie Delicatessen is a darkly comic must see.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Mark Fuller Dillon said...

In the words of David Cronenberg: "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

Ladies and gentlemen, these are your fellow Americans.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

We had a genuine American turn up at my local pub last night.

He spent the evening dutifully explaining to everybody how and why British people are wimps compared to Americans.

It was brilliant stuff!

6:43 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


I read the news today, oh boy... A toddler takes out his mom inside a Walmart:

David G-

Sounds like yer Kinda Blue. Run out and get yourself a pastrami sandwich w/coleslaw and Russian dressing.


The Portland Lauren was Lauren Hutton. In fact, she credits Belman with her decision to play KC in the film, "The Joneses." Who knew, eh?


12:14 PM  
Anonymous Simulacra said...

Jake and Dr. Bermman

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it's too late
and there's nothing worse
too late.


There is "nothing" in the American soul. There is "worse" than nothing.There isn't even the capacity for a frame of reference. What Bukowski implies but doesn't point to is that there are also "better" things than being alone. The capacity to sense that difference took a dirt nap a long time ago!?

12:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Happy New Yr 2u all. We are being swamped with Dec. 31 messages.


Am a bit annoyed that the toddler was not equipped with a nuclear device, or at least, a drone. I confess I don't know any Lauren Hutton, but where does she credit me for her appearance in that movie? This all seems so...unbelievable.


Oi, mate: where was your urine? After all, you had immediate access to a pint of bitter...


12:38 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I did some investigation into the toddler shooting. The family lives in Hayden, Idaho-population 13,294. Last year Hayden had 36 violent incidences or 2.71 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Or, to put it another way, there is a 1 in 369 chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Hayden. So why did this fuckin' dumb ass mother find it necessary to carry a concealed gun with 2 year old boy in tow into a Walmart? Why do I feel the hand of God in this?

8:13 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Dr. B:
If it is any consolation, Lauren had lots of highlighting and pencil marks in the book, so she must have found it interesting. I bought it sight unseen from the Powell's web site, and I didn't know it was so marked up. I don't like this, so I am returning it and ordering a new unused copy. That way, mine can be clean, as I intend to keep it.

Kneel Jung:
While I don't mind the "abject shock and disbelief" kind of response from people, my wife does. It's the social pressure thing. Some people do not like to be different from what everyone else is doing. Personally, I hate that this is such a thing. So much for "choice" in the "free to choose free market"! I'm glad that smartphones did not exist when my sons were in public school -- I can just imagine the social pressure to have one and the difficulty a parent would have telling their kids they can't have one. It's such a self-reinforcing thing -- and I'm sure the smartphone companies know this (i.e., start a trend + get people hooked = sell lots of phones).

Miles Deli:
Thanks for the delicious suggestion! Also the running part is good -- I find exercise to be therapeutic.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The police didn't take out the toddler? WTF?

Happy New Year Dr. Berman!!!

11:18 PM  
Anonymous Bruce Bennett said...

Just wanted to let you know that your work was mentioned in an article on Salon on Dec. 29. The piece was entitled "No civilization would tolerate what America has done" by David Masciotra. His reference was your assertion that, in his words, the "plutocratic theft of American lives and treasure is not actually a robbery, but a transaction". I responded in the thread section that your book and blog are available to anyone who looks up "Why America Failed". Hopefully, it may generate more interest and result in some more WAFers. Happy New Year, Dr. Berman.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Sean Kerrigan said...

I was hoping someone could make a recommendation on a book about our culture of victimization, which seems to have gone into turbo mode recently. People who describe themselves as victims in this country is coming from all races, religions, sexual preferences, social background and economic conditions, with the only unifying factor seeming to be that they are Americans. Whether they be "new feminists" we've seen so vocal on websites like or white, male, video gamers, everyone thinks they are a victim and its getting widespread enough that I think a deeper study is warranted.

I think there is a sociological explanation for this, but can't quite explain it beyond: "People are looking for someone to blame." Anyway, if anyone can suggest a book, I'd be grateful.

In the meantime, whenever someone starts complaining too much about themselves, I just throw some stories from Living Under Drones ( their way. Like someone saying, "Obama disrespectfully saluting those marines really upsets me!" I just reply, "You know what upsets me? Imagining a mother who has to go scouring a bomb site looking for her children's remains so they have something to bury." A short explanation later and it shuts them right the fuck up, and I recommend you all use this tactic if someone is legitimately being a self-absorbed douche.

1:11 AM  
Blogger fyreflye said...

Two hours to Midnight here in North Coastal California, Turtle Island as Gary Snyder calls it, and I'm going to bed. To Dr Berman and Wafers and Waferettes everywhere, Happy New Year - despite the likelihood that the New Year will be even worse than this one. I hope you all make the best of it and enjoy everything enjoyable that you can find in this enjoyable world.

1:28 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Greetings and HNY, WAFERS. I stirred this AM ( hardly WAKE up anymore ), and a murder of perhaps 500 crows were perched on lines just like they are practically every dawn. I caw back to them, and I'm sure that some reply in crow, "Look at that stupid human, but he does have an interesting accent !".

Tracking back to my previous post: I have been striving to 'get smart', or get smarter I guess. Not by 'learning' or education, but through a meditative practice ...sort of a self-hypnosis technique where I concentrate on one thought ( could be a problem or a vexing concern, or a pastrami sandwich, or nothing ), then I focus on my index finger while moving it back-and-forth, keeping head still.
What this does is to align both hemispheres of the brain, so the mind actually communicates with itself. It clears the mind, empties psychic clutter, and opens up creativity ( could just be me ). The activity of reading serves similarly. Watching and reacting to stimuli does not.
I've also taken to writing and reading backwards ... I guess it could be termed ambidextrous reading. Da Vinci did this.

This is one of the ways I cope while in self imposed mental exile and physically surrounded by dolts. Seems to work.

Another curious observation: in ordinary conversations with others concerning the state of the US, generally how messed up almost all recognize things are to various extent, I chime in, "Well, you know why that is ? It's because Americans are stupid." I'm getting more and more agreement now ...not a reflex rejection. And the demographic that more likely than not see this are the homeless that I talk with !

Just some thoughts for the new year / day / era to share.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous AS said...

Americans starting off the new year on the right note:

4:18 PM  
Blogger messtime said...

To Chaz Hōmz . . .

Your prescription is a good idea but i have tried that system you recommend, problem is that a lot of teenage type kids will probably find your camping spot and tear things up just for kicks. Might be best to remove your camping gear every morning and have a small self-storage unit where you can store stuff during the day plus use for a place to rest with a table and chair set-up. A lot of self-storage facilities will not allow this type of use, but some will. Best to not sleep in your self-storage unit, but bike to secret camp spot later in the evening and sleep.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous ennobled little day said...

Happy New Year WAFers!

Dovidel, COS and anyone else with helpful suggestions... THANKS!

Just got back from visiting family in Los Angeles. The environment there is nasty. My aggressiveness while there went up a bit. (You kinda have to be a bit nasty to cope, I guess.)

My brother was telling me stories of how the number of homeless has gone up substantially over by skid row, and how everyone just goes about their business like nothing is happening. (If I recall correctly, some of the better off are even disdainful of the homeless.)

And people are dying on the streets!! In one particularly salient example, my brother told me that on a hot summer day, while he was busy working inside a building (he's in construction), a mentally ill man wrapped himself in some sort of thin plastic sheets. Hours later, that man was dead, presumably from heat stroke. As my brother explained to me how he figured out that the man was dead, it reminded me of the dead dogs we would sometimes see while we were growing up in the LA inner city.

My brother is in the habit of giving homeless people spare change, maybe because of the stuff he has seen while working in downtown LA. Although he seems to hesitate while in front of our uber-Republican father.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I have a theory that as the US continues to sink into even deeper degradation, Wafer lives get better, more entertaining. Is this correct? Meanwhile, 2015 is off to a great start, it looks like.

Wishing u all a great year,


6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy 2015 All!
We'll be keeping the hyper-vigilant morons and bullies in charge:

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Holmgren's Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability contains some interesting parallels to The Twilight of American Culture, most notably:

"The second reason for the importance of personal responsibility is the relatively weak and decadent nature of many of our cultural institutions, including the church, parliamentary democracy, and even the legal system. Institutions fail due to cultural decay and the challenge of fundamental change that is too strong and fast for these normally durable but conservative social structures to adapt to. When they fail, individuals and small groups come to the fore to adapt and carry culture into the new age, where new institutions again emerge. The American historian William Irwin Thompson has placed the current opportunity for social change by individuals and small groups of individuals in historical perspective by referring to previous periods in history.

For example, he describes Pythagoras as a radical initiate of the ancient Egyptian 'mystery schools,' who took sacred arcane knowledge from these decaying institutions and set up the world's first university in southern Italy, teaching mathematics and science. His followers, fleeing local political strife, settled in Greece. This was the culturally fertile ground for the germination of what we call classical Greek culture and the origin of Western civilisation. Thompson's own Lindisfarne Institute, which was influential in the philosophical foundation of the counterculture, was named after the libertarian monks of Lindisfarne who converted the whole of the British Isles to christianity well before the institutional church gained its hold."

12:12 AM  
Anonymous New Year said...

"Bin Laden dead, auto industry saved, Great Depression averted, new financial rules in place, climate deal struck with China, Cuba soon open for business, ebola contained, healthcare available to millions who were previously uninsured, marriage and social equality advancing, new EPA standards have teeth, moderate tax increase on the 1%, investments in new energy technology already paying off, outdated marijuana laws changing, BP forced to pay for their oil spill, path to citizenship for immigrants who are contributing to our society, incredible advances in space exploration, our president is no longer the laughing stock of the free world (though, sadly, congress still is), no political or personal scandals (except for the manufactured variety like Benghaaaazziii)...
Nice work, Mr. Obama. Imagine what could have been accomplished with the support of Congress!"

Most of my friends sharing all of these 'accomplishments'...MB which of these would you say we really do have Obama himself to thank for, which are inaccurate or misattributed, which are 'not even wrong'?


9:53 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Sean Kerrigan-

A bit dated now, but a couple of books that you might find interesting are:

1. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., "The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society"

2. Robert Hughes, "Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America"

I think that much of the culture of victimization is an offshoot of multiculturalism and identity politics in general. Anyway, Schlesinger is a good place to start.

Take care,


11:44 AM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB @6:18 --- Totally agree with that.
As ones eyes are opened, one can see the show...the charade and pretense, the farce in its full glory. Then, it can only be entertaining.
It's like the audience at a magic show: even the dull-witted know that it's not real, so they can enjoy it for what it is, and not feel put upon as fools.

I posted on my local idiot-blog ( concerning prospective Darwin Award nominees ) that there are 3 types of Americans:
1. The sociopaths, the big 'C' Capitalists and Randians that think wealth and power belong to an elite few, as long as they are included as an elite.
2.The socialists, what I call Civilizationalists. Dr. Samuel Johnson e.g. Many others we're all familiar with.
3.Those that can't tell the difference between the previous two.

It is this 3rd group that comprises at least a 90 percentile of the total, and they propagate the most.
These are the ultimate Darwin winners, because their inevitable ascendency and dominance ensures O&D, the downfall of whatever 'society' remains, and the probable extinction of the species.
That's real gene-pool sabotage !

12:14 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Sean, you might try "Culture of Complaint" by Robert Hughes.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

New Year-

God, where do I start? What a collection of hokum. E.g., last time I checked, 32 million were excluded from Obamacare because they cdn´t afford it. And who gives a shit any more abt space exploration? Etc.


2:03 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

This seems interesting...

"Seinfeld a study in mental illness thanks to medical school's psychiatry course"

2:31 PM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

MB -

How about this one?

"Japan’s sexual apathy is endangering the global economy"

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it's interesting to see a Rome-like sequence of events unfold before our eyes (history repeating itself), and there's some emotional gratification in the whole "I told you so you greedy power-lust bastards, now you're going down", in the end, all it is is sad. A lot of pain and suffering for the good people who live here. The loved ones, the artists, the kind ... they chose the country of their birth no more than they chose the color of their skin.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Here's a interesting article about the fast-food "restaurant" --

This comment posted in response sums it up:

We are a we-want-it-and-we-want-it-now culture. It doesn't matter how much ugliness we have to create.

And this doesn't even touch on what we do to our own bodies in the worship of this ideal.

I'm convinced most people don't even notice all this ugliness. Once in a meeting on a related subject I mentioned that I deliberately avoid driving on certain roads because they are so ugly, everyone looked at me like I was a kook. What's is ugly about it they asked? The ugliness is so profound I couldn't find the words to describe it, so I kept silent after that.

There are just no words to describe how soul-destroying is much of our built environment.

I've noticed this myself, when mentioning beauty in conversation. The very word makes a lot of people visibly uncomfortable & often angrily defensive, inspiring snarky, dismissive remarks.

Ugliness of environment is simply the outward expression of ugliness of soul.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


By now u know u can't talk to Americans abt anything real; it's completely beyond their grasp.


You come rather late to the party, I fear: this is a discussion we've had in the past, at great length, so I can't get into it now. But briefly, yr wrong; or at least, only partly rt. People are not only born into a culture: they can choose to reproduce it, or not. And boy, do Americans choose to reproduce it. All this is similar to Chomsky and 'manufacture of consent'. Yes, partly true; but the overwhelming behavior is not rape (metaphorically speaking), but consensual sex. As someone once said, after WW2 Americans had a choice between the fruits of empire or genuine democracy; they chose the former, and now they have neither. You reap what u sow, muchacho.


I do cover the "No sex, please; we're Japanese!" phenomenon in my forthcoming bk on Japan; which I wish to hell I cd get published, already! (March, maybe)


I love it! Of course, Kramer isn't intended to be real, and in fact most sitcoms rely on having at least 1 character who is borderline demented (think Phoebe and Joey in "Friends"). They wd be a lot less funny w/o them. Plus, I hafta add that I lived in NJ for 5 yrs, and I can tell u that the entire state is a study in mental illness; no need to mine Seinfeld.



6:50 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

An article from today's (5 January) edition of the blog by Scott Timberg on a social critic who has been cited before in these pages:

Yogi said it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but Neil Postman seems not to have had any problem doing so.

And for those who want to read a complementary book on the media, try Daniel J. Boorstin's The Image: A Guide to Pseudi-events in America.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Hello again and happy new year to one and all. Dr. Berman, you remarked in an earlier comment that 2015 might be a year of increased happiness for Wafers. I just wanted to say that I agree with you.

This holiday season opened my eyes even further to the realities of life in America. Living as I do less than an hour from the Canadian border, we go to Montreal once in while. Having a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz's delicatessen is a sublime experience. Coming back to America at the main border crossing wipes away all of that joy in a heartbeat. Glaring lights and scary checkpoints make the border crossing seem surreal, not to mention the surliness of the customs officers. This is our welcome to our Canadian friends when they are stupid enough to wander across the border. I always get sad when I come back across the border. Canada's no paradise, but it sure as hell isn't as crazy as the bad ol' US of A. All I can hope for is more onward and more downward in 2015.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


When I'm in NY or LA, it's corned beef. In Montreal, smoked meat (le vrai smoked meat, as my Quebec friends like to say). And in London, I go to Selfridge's and have salt beef. The pt is that as the US goes to hell in a basket, there are always deli meats to fall back on.


9:16 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Shampnois said...

Hello Dr. Berman,

I just finished your book "The Reenchantment of the world". Loved it. I could wax floors all day telling you why I liked it. I had no previous knowledge of the Batesons. Very interesting. I was surprised that you didn't appear to be aware of David Bohm's work. Admittedly, his Wholeness and the Implicate Order came out only 1 year prior to your RoW. But I think he was already fairly well known for his views by that time (?). Also, Krishnamurti would appear to be another great example of someone combining a vision of wholeness with a rational approach. Admittedly, Krishnamurti didn't lay out a theoretical framework that could be analyzed very easily. And perhaps Bohm's book came out too late to be considered. How do you feel about them as representing what you laid out in RoW, as a wholistic vision of rationality and science? (And I assume you've heard of Sheldrake also?).

12:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Glad u enjoyed that old timer. Pls note that it's the 1st of a trilogy; you might wanna check out the other two, just 2c how the argument evolved. I knew David during last couple of yrs of his life. Nice guy, but I found his approach too cosmic or vague for my taste. Krish, even more so.


4:15 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB ...Wish I could recommend a place for good deli meats here on the Central Coast, CA.
No such luck.
Best approximation is the hot pastrami sandwich at Garland's hamburger joint in Grover Beach.

Nothing like the old Max's in Glencoe, IL of over ten years ago; with corned beef, pastrami, reuben's to savor in an afternoon.
Or the Swedish smorgastarta sandwiches they served 40 YA in my hometown of Rockford, IL.

I do have a local Latino market just two blocks away where I get quality BBQ meats at 50% of the mainstream grocers...AND IT'S FRESH. I use a clamshell griller and windfall twigs from local parks for fuel.

BTW: Americans are still dumber than a dead dodo.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous DiogenesTheElder said...

David G. (far upthread) - am also reading Wandering God. Perhaps some back and forth, chewing on the ideas is in order? Happy to contribute my thoughts over the next several weeks.

Also, here is one for the ages:

You can't make this stuff up...


7:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Di, JS-

Check out article in most recent issue of New England Jnl of Med, by Hans Schmaltzkopf: "Americans Have Mucoid Substances in Their Heads." Massive empirical data to back this up. Title wd also make a gd post-it for bathrm mirror.


7:11 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

One wonders if Americans have always been this stupid and that we are more aware of this fact due to more media and ease of gathering information (social scientific and anecdotal as evidenced by the frequent links here to articles etc). If you read twain and of course Mencken (he wrote many an essay on the idiocy of americans generally, their religions and political ideas) you get a sense that the country was always populated by outright morons--Obama is a douche but try Warren G. Harding for size. Consider prohibition--is that idiotic? Consider William Jennings Bryan--compared to him George Bush is a towering intellect. Literacy in 1920s USA compared to France or Germany? McCarthyism? LBJ? The Ford Pinto? I guess the question I pose to MB and Wafers as to American doltishness--when has it not been the case? This is the country that brought us scientology and christian science after all folks.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


There are tons of stats showing that we are dumber today, and I reproduce a lot of them in Twilight and DAA. Since those bks, so have a # of other writers. I guess you'll hafta do the research, if you wanna confirm this. Just a typical example: Todd Gitlin examined the NYT best-seller list for 1960 as compared to 2000. What he discovered was that during 1960, about 50% of the bks on that list were quite challenging, fairly deep. In 2000, most of it was fluff. Studies of standardized tests for high schl students show a similar trend, which is to say: down. Etc.


9:35 PM  
Blogger Lobotomy said...

This guy is definitely a Wafer:

1:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Rather a mixed bag. He makes some gd pts, of course, but there's an overall looney-tune flavor to this guy: Sociology and psych are phoney, gays are abnormal, etc etc. Plus, his categories are logically scrambled (if that matters). That American life is basically empty, however, is by now pretty obvious (just not to most Americans!).


5:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life:

5:33 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Money money money:

Tim Kasser's excellent & thorough The High Price of Materialism offers the results of dozens of such studies, conducted over 20 years, confirming what's stated in this article.


Among the books I look for at library sales are discarded children's books & young adult novels. After having read hundreds of them, it's clear that with each decade approaching the present, the paragraph length & complexity both decrease, the vocabulary is simpler, the chapters are shorter, and richness of description (both physical & emotional) is impoverished. Newer books do deal more graphically with formerly taboo subjects, but often in the glib, "edgy" manner so popular today. Clearly young people were once expected to read & understand fiction that might give many adults pause now.

My wife & I both worked as technical writers for years. Again, the required reading comprehension level mandated from the top became lower & lower with each passing year, because what was once considered clear & lucid instruction was now regarded as just too difficult for many younger workers to understand & follow. And these workers had college degrees!

8:56 AM  
Anonymous In Praise of MB said...

Hi guys, was watching a great lecture video of Prof. B from last year, he mentions an Alternet (or something similar) article by Glenn Greenwald on ecological disaster crowd control training going on in the desert as we speak. Can't find it, anyone read it?

9:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Morris. I'll check out the other two books. It's hard to see how K or B could be seen as vague, but it makes no difference: I'll check your books out for sure. Thanks!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Included in the dumbing-down process of bks that Tim mentions is the Hardy Boys series. I believe I discuss this in the Twilight bk: that American teens had become so stupid that in the late 60s (I think it was), the series was dumbed down both intellectually and emotionally, so the new generation wd be able to understand it. My source for this was (I think) an article in the Atlantic Monthly, that discussed the series in some detail.


Again, I'm having trouble with refs; sign of old age, clearly. I don't remember this talk, or if I referred to Greenwald, but Dana Priest at the Wash Post did something along these lines, tho not specifically about Pentagon training exercises. I raised the issue w/Chris Hedges at one pt, and his own reaction was that he wdn't be surprised if this were going on, but he didn't have any confirming evidence. Then I ran across something on the Net, a video that showed such exercises; but it was hard to know if it were real or a fake. I think it's very likely that something of the sort is going on, as the military is probably smarter than the politicos. The politicos still talk in terms of the American Dream, because they wanna be reelected. Meanwhile, the Intelligence community has produced two reports, I can't recall the names, about global predictions for 2025 and after, basically saying we're in deep do-do. Hence, we can probably guess that the Army is doing training exercises in Nevada or wherever, preparing for crowd control, mass migrations, widespread hunger and rioting, etc. But all this remains rumor, at this stage--I think.


9:46 AM  
Anonymous Kneel Jung said...

MB, Wafers,

Regarding the steady decline of book content and such, I foresee a future scenario similar to the final scenes of the film version of F. 451, where people have commited to memory entire written works to create "living books" ; but the books that will be memorized will be crap like 50 Shades of G, or T. Robbins self-help books, etc., etc., .
What am I thinking?!? These people won't have any memories at all at that point...

Kneel Jung

10:48 AM  
Anonymous COS said...

MB: No dispute on the stupidity and its increase in the U.S. My point is that Americans relative to other "advanced" nations have always been pretty stupid. What is interesting to me ( my dad was an economist, I am a pediatrician with a public health background) is the rise of american capabilities post wwII and particularly entering the 1960's and then the decline. The exception to the increase in stupidity say from 1946 to 1970 is actually pretty interesting likely what persons like yourself (and my dads generation) experienced as the norm, whereas it may have been a historical anomaly and what we have is reversion to the mean.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear WAFers, Dr. Berman:

Great topic: The subject of STUPID. For my whole life, when speaking/listening to truly brilliant people and even more so lately when I bother to listen to intellectuals speak, I've been aware that I AM TRULY STUPID! I was, I thought, well educated with a graduate degree and all, but I have always been in awe and fascinated by what much smarter people have to say and what they keep in their heads.

I think what makes me a WAFer is my ability to know this about myself, knowing who I am and where I stand in relation to others who possess much more effectively developed and efficiently superior cognitive capabilities. Also, my awareness that I am NOT stupid in relation to 98% of the population with whom I'm forced to interact; that recognition places me comfortably here, with the WAFers, at "the only blog worth reading".

This country, USA, has continually elevated STUPID on TV and in political debate, in nearly every institution. We have this upside down concept so blatantly in our faces that stupid people actually believe they get to argue with anyone, about anything, including those who are actually educated on a particular subject matter with IQs exponentially higher than theirs. Of course that 'conversation' doesn't work, stupid gets frustrated, violence burbles up and out come the guns.

Stupid finished off the society because people didn't know they were stupid and refused to learn that fact. (IMHO) -- Fruit Woman

12:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fruit Woman-

Well, just think of Kim's rear end, and all the intelligence buried deep in that crevice.


Data don't show an historical anomaly; they show an increasingly downward trend. E.g., small towns in the US prior to 1946 regularly put on lots of Shakespeare plays, at
which attendence was quite impressive. 19C Americans were, on the whole, much more intelligent than 20C ones--esp. in their attitude of respecting intelligence. When Hofstadter wrote "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life" (1963), he was certainly including the period 1946-63.


1:19 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers-


Sure, William Jennings Bryan was a dolt in many ways. Perhaps we can blame his reliance on the McGuffey Reader, the Bible, Presbyterianism, the lack of alcohol coursing thru his veins among other ridiculous things. But I hafta say, you want stupid, I'll show you STUPID:


Corned beef is good, but what about pastrami?


2:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


And chopped liver; wh/dubya clearly has inside his head.


2:30 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

MB mentioned Intelligence Community reports giving "global predictions."

The most recent one, issued in December 2012, looks out to 2030. This is the fifth report in this series of projection-reports. PIt was prepared by the National Intelligence Council*; here is the link:

*[The National Intelligence Council is the Intelligence Community's center for long-term strategic analysis. Established in 1979, it consists of National Intelligence Officers (NIOs) drawn from government, academia, and the private sector who are the Intelligence Community's senior experts on regional and functional subjects and issues.]

4:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Meanwhile, there's this:

4:38 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

A review of a book WAF-ers might enjoy:

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

In the pub tonite I met the UK's No.1 David Bowie impersonator, who, according to his manager/wife is called Paul, and is a big friend of major rock stars + not so major avant-garde rock stars who also sound like David Bowie e.g. Peter Murphy of Bauhaus.

I state this apropos of nothing other than that it is amazing what you come across in my little small-town pub.

I hope to meet Kim K over a Black Dragon cider soon.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

MB -

2015 is already shaping up to be a bad year for the global economy.

How do you expect Americans to handle a global depression as compared to Europeans or Japanese?

9:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Like the children that they are.


9:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The American Value System:

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

I really like Lindy West's article on Chris Kyle that MB recently posted. I'm going to excerpt the last paragraph here:

"The attitude echoes what Miller articulated about Kyle in her Salon piece: “his steadfast imperviousness to any nuance, subtlety or ambiguity, and his lack of imagination and curiosity, seem particularly notable”.

There is no room for the idea that Kyle might have been a good soldier but a bad guy; or a mediocre guy doing a difficult job badly; or a complex guy in a bad war who convinced himself he loved killing to cope with an impossible situation; or a straight-up serial killer exploiting an oppressive system that, yes, also employs lots of well-meaning, often impoverished, non-serial-killer people to do oppressive things over which they have no control. Or that Iraqis might be fully realised human beings with complex inner lives who find joy in food and sunshine and family, and anguish in the murders of their children. Or that you can support your country while thinking critically about its actions and its citizenry. Or that many truths can be true at once."

This wraps up so much of what I've been thinking lately. I'm kind of obsessed with Spec-Ops movies (Act of Valor, Zero Dark Thirty, Black Hawk Down) because of what they might say about American audiences. I mean, the action scenes are fun, I guess, but there's something else I've been trying to put my finger on, and I think this new Clint Eastwood movie puts it into relief. Of course, I've been having a real difficult time talking about these concepts where I live right now!

I know the idea that Americans are too stupid to discuss abstractions is old hat to this blog, but since we're all discussing capital-s Stupidity right now maybe its worth revisiting. I have experienced SO MUCH RESISTANCE to just discussing this. The idea that Iraq was a horrible war, and that glorifying any part of it is messed up? No one understands. The idea that, regardless of the content of a movie, its popularity speaks to the culture it exists within? Might as well be speaking Japanese. Separating Chris Kyle, the man, from Chris Kyle, the semi-fictional character? Even that seems to be too much for people! Sorry to belabor the point but my god, their eyes really do glaze over, just like MB says!

Its very frustrating, though I guess I should know this by now.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous brooklynese said...

Screw the human race. It is just pure psychotic behavior if you are unwilling to pay an extra dollar or two an hour, cut back their hours, and hire more people. Apple could just raise the price of their effing phones by a buck, and they'd probably be able to cover that. Governments, corporations, media, and NGOs the world over are completely and utterly corrupt. I have to smoke weed everyday to just get through this shit.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thanks for the Daily Mail piece about Apple. It, in turn, led me to 10 famous Steve Jobs quotes. In a 2001 interview with Newsweek, Jobs said, " I would trade all my technology for one afternoon with Socrates." But I think after one afternoon with Steve Jobs Socrates would need the suicide netting.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Or a bucket of hemlock, clearly.


American stupidity exists on many levels, but one of them (which we've discussed here) is the inability to deal with paradox. Kyle was pretty typical: life is black and white. I saw this full force in responses to WAF Ch. 4, on the Civil War: the South hasta be 100% evil, end of discussion; and if u *don't* hold that view, yr a racist or pro-slavery. In the American brain, the part that normally houses complexity is completely absent. So Americans know either Absolute Love (for ourselves) or Absolute Hate (for Russia, Islam, Japan, or you-name-it), and they call this "thinking."


There was some study, a while back, that indicated that the rich tended to be sociopathic, and not possessed of a whole lot of empathy (which gets in the way of hustling).


2:32 AM  
Blogger Dan Henry said...


Boil it for tea instead; deeper and longer lasting psychedelic effects. 8)

I watched Mystic River for the first time the other night, pretty impressive.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Rusty Snag said...

Hi Wafers and Dr. Berman,

It has been a fantastic couple of days reading all the posts on this blog, about the only one I ever bother reading anymore.

I have tried a little experiment lately. If I post a comment on Truthout with the theme of "Americans are Stupid" I get many more "likes" than with other posts, enough to make me wonder why the trend towards stupidity continues unabated. Then I remind myself that it's a far different thing to change one's behavior than it is to admit that we have a problem. So we're going to continue down the self-destructive path until there's nothing left to destroy.

Speaking of self-destructive, the CEO of my company, a huge technology firm, made a major announcement yesterday. All employees were encouraged to watch the live broadcast, but the web page was unavailable all day. I tried to watch a re-broadcast when I got home. The audio was okay, but the picture was awful. Think of the irony: the big tech firm can't deliver a video, but we have our CEO explaining how we're going to change the world. Sure we are, just a soon as we extract our heads from our collective ass.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I can't tell you how sickened I am by the murder of staff members at Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly magazine published in Paris (their office is near the Bastille). Apparently it was carried out by 3 Islamic terrorists; or at least, one shouted "Allah Akbar" after the slaughter. If these folks think this is going to further the cause of Islam, they are as nuts as the American government (attacking Iraq to supposedly root out terrorism, which in fact generated more terrorists). The trouble w/religion is its tendency to slide into fundamentalism or fanaticism. The magazine's 'crime' was publishing satirical stuff on Islam, including irreverent cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. I remember being interviewed a while back by The Washington Times, and the reporter asked me my thoughts abt Islam. I said something abt how I wish those folks wd just relax, and take a water-off-duck's-back attitude. That if someone came up to me and said, "Judaism is a pile of crap," my reponse wd be: "Well, it's not for everyone." So somebody insults the prophet; so what? Sticks and stones. I guess today's fanatics never read my Wash Times interview, oddly enuf, or did but didn't take it very seriously (oddly enuf). Acts of violence tend to be abt identity. It becomes 'necessary' to murder a dozen journalists if yr not secure abt yr (religious) identity. If you *are* secure, then insults don't affect u all that much. This is an awful day for France, and for Islam as well.


4:34 PM  
Blogger NearFar said...

Check out this piece: "I Hate New Year's Day." It's music to my ears. This author sure can sound the notes, even playing quite a few 'Waferian' chords along the way. And if I'm not mistaken: do I hear the strains of this writer's own 'thought processes' played in the key of "La longue durée"? Maybe. Maybe not. But however he takes his measure, he's not wasting time. In and out, all in less than 500 words, I would guess:

And on *that* note, Happy New Year Wafers.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Didn't Clint, a few years back, make a film about our one-way slaughter of Marxist revolutionaries in Grenada? This was always a safe business opportunity in Reagan's America, but turning a loser like Chris Kyle into a hero is far more sinister; a sure sign of our collective delusion to finally *win* in Iraq. Realistically, what kind of life would Chris Kyle have had in the US if he wasn't a hired gun for empire? I read that he was a failed rodeo rider living in a shack somewhere in Texas b4 enlisting in the military.

Here's the marquee issue for us, Wafers: the US has lost, and lost *hard*, the last few conflicts it has been involved in. I would argue, in fact, that every serious military engagement since WW II has been a net loss for the US. We simply can't achieve any real foreign policy goals anymore. Sure, we can destroy half the planet in an instant, but an immoral and corrupt nation will *never* be a great nation. This is where the US finds itself at this historical moment. Thus, there's a deep need and a quiet desperation to generate new national myths; even ones that elevate a murderer of defenseless Iraqi women and children into a hero.


I share your revulsion about what happened today in France. I heard that Charlie Hebdo had approx. 30,000 loyal readers in a nation of 66 million; hardly what one would consider a threat to Islam...tho the writers and artists of the publication were celebrated/respected in France. It's a terrible day for free expression in France and the rest of the world.


6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charlie Hebdo massacre is an awful tragedy. Unfortunately, like always, none of the underlying causes of this massacre will be examined. The only reaction will be a wave of #Charliehebdo on social networks and people holding hands on Place de la Bastille for a couple of weeks while taking selfies of themselves with Charliehebdo t-shirts on. Zemmour and Houellebecq predicted this would happen a long time ago but people would rather read about who our dear President fucks. Extreme right FN will on the other hand greatly benefit from this and is no-doubt drinking champagne at the moment.

On another topic, can we please stop referring to roosh v as a "Wafer" and ban any further mention of this douchebag from this blog? Despite the guy's understanding of the shithole America finds itself in, he is an absolute douchebag. May I remind you that Mr. roosh v is the founder of the infamous website "Return of Kings" who publishes articles like the below:

7:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Speaking of myths abt Iraq, this bit of CRE is quite marvellous:

There really is no upper limit to how deep the American head can go into the American rectum.


8:28 PM  
Anonymous brooklynese said...

I was going to lay off the weed today. Oh well. I want to move to Bhutan and open a deli.

@Dan I'm going to switch to edibles and teas when they legalize cultivation of plants.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous lack of coherence said...

I thought this was worth sharing from a presentation at COP 20:

"Rethinking Economics in the Age of Climate Change"

At one point, they are discussing the idea that methane releases in the arctic could lead to the end of civilization.

You'd think the public would be concerned or interested in something like this. Most people haven't even heard of this and really they wouldn't care if they did know.

Instead, we get this on the first day of the new congress:

"New GOP Congress, new Keystone pipeline bill"

It seems Americans are absolutely brain dead

9:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Informal rule on this blog: post only once every 24 hrs. Thanks.


9:44 PM  
Anonymous kilo_mega_giga said...

re: charlie hebdo

10:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Very moving, thank you.


11:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Anons. You might try picking a real handle and re-submitting. Thanks.


8:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I really find Americans terribly charming:

8:59 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Kanye, you are exactly right when you said: "Charlie Hebdo massacre is an awful tragedy. Unfortunately, like always, none of the underlying causes of this massacre will be examined."

What I've noticed already is everyone's lack of historic memory! I hear, "Worst attack since WWII", "surely the most severe act of terrorism Europe has seen in a decade" ... and on and on. For crying out loud does no-one remember Breivik killing 70+ people in Norway?

... oh right he is white so I guess it isn't terrorism.

Leave it to Thom Hartmann to be the only person to see this:

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Pilgrim said...

@James Allen … Thanks for the Postman article.

@JWO … Thanks for the Countdown to Zero Day review link.

>> ...I mentioned that I deliberately avoid driving on certain roads because they are so ugly... <<
Yeah, I do that too.

>> We are a we-want-it-and-we-want-it-now culture. <<
"I distrust the perpetually busy, always have. The frenetic ones spinning in tight little circles like poisoned rats. The slower ones, grinding away their fourscore and ten in righteousness and pain. They are the soul-eaters." Mark Slouka, "Quitting the Paint Factory".

As another year begins, this is a good time to once again post the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. In this shit-storm of a culture, it helps one to remain focused on what's truly important. Memento mori.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

More charm:

11:25 AM  
Anonymous he who shall not be named said...

Nice article here:

and a quote from it:

"The processing of information is not the highest aim to which the human spirit can aspire, and neither is competitiveness in a global economy."

Sounds rather like "Reenchantment of the World" MB?

Also, someone stole your title:

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Pascal said...

What do you make of this one?

"Mr Jonchuck was arrested 30 minutes later after driving away. He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Thursday.

Mr Holloway said an off-duty officer had been driving home when he saw a vehicle pass by him at 100mph (161km/h).

The officer, not identified, drove to catch up with the vehicle but it stopped suddenly and Mr Jonchuck got out and moved towards the police officer.

The officer drew his gun but Mr Jonchuck allegedly moved to the passenger side of the vehicle and pulled out his daughter and briefly pressed her head to his chest.

Mr Holloway said the officer "thought he heard the child scream, but he wasn't sure" as Mr Jonchuck threw her over the rail and into the strong current of Tampa Bay.

"The suspect drove off," Mr Holloway said. "He just drove off.""

1:59 PM  
Anonymous SarahPalin2016 said...

Prof. Berman would you say that Mexico is freer than America? The writer of this article does.

America has the highest number of laws in the world. More laws = more restrictions and controls = LESS freedom. Simple logic. Everything is over-regulated in America. Too much regulation takes away freedoms. In contrast, Mexico has one of the fewest number of laws. Ask any Mexican immigrant, and they will tell you that Mexico is way freer than America. No other country has as many laws as America does.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


One thing I like abt Mexico is that nobody bothers you. My experience of the US was that somebody (everybody) was constantly bothering me.

he who-

Jesus; I wonder if they even gave me a ftnote! (Probably not) Actually, the bk is from 2009; I had no idea it even existed.


3:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,

Speaking of Sarah:

What's it gonna take to make Sarah our next president, Wafers?

A recent presidential narrative for all of you:

Clinton= jagoff
dubya= mental defective
Obama= jagoff Maximus
Sarah= gorgeousexy!

O&D, kids! OOOHh and DEEEe!


6:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Altho she's a total douche baguette, my ardor for Sarah is as yet undiminished. I order to gain access to her charms (heh heh), I'm thinking I might woo her w/poetry.

In 1916, at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Surrealist poet Hugo Ball stood up and began reciting a poem as follows:

"Jolifanto bambla o falli bambla"

My question to Wafers is this: Shd I send this to Sarah, as part of my campaign to woo her? If not, cd u guys suggest other poetic lines that will melt her demented heart? I need all the help I can get.


6:44 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: actually, he was Dada, or perhaps proto-Surrealist.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

The massacre in Paris is nothing short of horrendous and my heart goes out to the victims, their families and friends.

However, I would not be so quick to trust the official storyline. Cui bono is the first question to ask. I'm not saying that the official version is wrong - it might be one hundred percent correct - but I just don’t think that’s an assumption that can be made.

Also, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Personally I think that religions are deserving of ridicule, but why provoke the lion? The Muslim world feels under attack from the West, so for now why further inflame an already inflamed population? To prove how clever you are? And I say this as someone who, many times, just can’t refrain from playing the devil’s advocate. But I’ve learned that attacking people won’t wake them up, it’ll just make them more stubborn. Not that I think there’s a chance in hell of most people breaking out of their trance no matter how you approach it.

As Jed McKenna once said, people don't like to have their version of reality fucked with.

Hatred, blowback or false flag, it’s a tragedy, and one that will probably have major repercussions.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Upon learning of the horrific Charlie Hebdo killings, I forced myself to read some of the comments at various news & Internet sites. One thing that struck me was how many Americans linked this incident to liberalism -- "This is what liberals want, kill them all before it happens here" -- "all" referring to liberals as well as Muslims -- in short, the lizard brain response. No glimmer of understanding on the part of such commenters that they had more in common emotionally with the killers than with anyone else.

This reminded me of MB's oft-stated observation that if revolution comes to America, it'll be a right-wing one. The levels of sheer, mindless hate & fear in this country are staggering. A re-reading of two classics, Hoffer's The True Believer & Fromm's The Heart of Man are in order for all WAFers, I think.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It may come down to whether you want the Enlightenment or something else. The fatwa against Salman Rushdie was, in my opinion, a great stain on the face of Islam, but u.c. where these jihadis are coming from: a closed world where not a lot of dissent or even humor is allowed; an all-encompassing system, designed to protect fragile identities. A paranoid world, with not much rm to breathe.


Another thing I have said is that when Americans have a strong emotion, they think they are thinking. There's just no getting around it: we're dumb.


11:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This is pretty interesting:

12:03 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Sarasvati said that Muslims think they're under attack. No foolin'? The West has blown Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria to smithereens, is occupying Palestine, and is routinely bombing Yemen and Pakistan. Where, pray, would Muslims get the idea that they are under attack? What are you, some kinda comm'nis?

It was nice of you, Dr. Belman, to quote Hugo Ball's "Karawane." Once every two years for the past ten years I read that poem to the one class of English Lit. that I'm allowed to teach (I'm the only Lit. instructor where I work, so I can't complain). I mention the Dadaists as part of the one-hour class I teach in which I discuss the split between Enlightenment modernity and the quaint ideas of mystery or "fancy" that inform Western civilization.

I don't know if the students in my tech college get the point (and I don't tell my supervisors what I'm doing), but I feel better about things when I speak out loud about the roots of the absurdity of our age.

Right now I'm watching Robert Alda playing George Gershwin in Rhapsody in Blue on TCM. On my radio show (and maybe even here, once) I've said that 1925's "Rhapsody in Blue" was the apex of culture in the USA. It's been O&D ever since.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Jolifanto bambla o falli bambla.

This is the core of my philosophy of life.


12:35 AM  
Anonymous Tristan Tzara said...

And cartoonists ridiculing Native American religions in the 19th century while the US was massacring them and taking their lands? These cartoonists valiant fighters for free speech?

Or cartoonists ridiculing Jewish religion (as money) while they were being rounded up for concentration camps in Nazi Germany?

Hebdo's France is supporting Palestinians rounded into what amounts to concentration camps, while Obama blasts others to bits with drones and air attacks.... So ridiculing Mohammed in pornographic cartoons isn't a form of hate propaganda? Just as it was whenever cartoons are used to support one side in a war against another. See cartoons of the Yellow Menace in WWII, etc.

Wittgenstein: "The meaning in the use."

These cartoons in the context of a war against Islam were stoking Islamophic hatred and the the far-right. It's preposterous to claim otherwise.

It's one thing to ridicule Mohammed when we're not bombing a half dozen muslim countries (with France's ardent support). Quite another when we are.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It's a gd pt, and worth debating here. But I need to pt out that Charlie Hebdo ridiculed *all* religions, unsparingly. Their target was not Islam per se, but blind faith, lack of any reflexivity. It wd be a different matter if all of their subject matter had been Islam, but it wasn't. Hence, I don't think comparisons of caricatures of Jews in *Der Stuermer*, for example, really hold up. So I doubt Wittgenstein wd agree w/u, in this case at least.


11:23 AM  
Anonymous You Go Bawl said...

You haven't heard "Karawane" until you've seen/heard Marie Osmond recite it:

11:56 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Abs. marvellous; I wept.


12:36 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Also, in the case of "Der Stuermer," calls for violence and *extermination* against Jews were commonplace w/in its cartoons and caricatures. By way of comparison, at least to my knowledge, the French journalists and artists at Charlie Hebdo did not call for violence against Muslims. This is splitting hairs inside the mind of a jihadi, of course. The curious thing about fundamentalists of all stripes and varieties is that they don't do nuance...

Wasn't it Robin Williams, or Seinfeld, who said it's important to know your audience? This was Michael Richard's problem when he made an absolute fool of himself during a stand-up routine in LA a few years back. In other words, we in the west see speech and free expression only thru *our* eyes and don't realize the rest of the world treats speech differently. This, I believe, is at the heart of the issue as well.


1:38 PM  
Anonymous cafe voltaire said...

Here's cartoonist Joe Sacco on the limits of satire:

3:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


r.u. in fact Tristan? If so, pls stick to one handle, and one post every 24 hrs, thanks.

As for Sacco, I don't see that his cartoon really refutes the pt I made above.


3:38 PM  
Anonymous cafe voltaire said...

Hi Dr B,

I'm not Tristan and not attempting to refute any points--way too long in the tooth to bother with that.

I've broken the 24 hour rule myself though--you did ask so I have responded.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

Back to the topic of America as a nation of hustlers, I just recently started reading the book "Empire of Mud," which describes the first 70 years of history of our glorious imperial capital. Interestingly, while most Americans know that Washington was "built on a swamp," very few know that it remained an ugly, disgraceful eyesore until well after the Civil War in part because of two things that are as American as apple pie: namely a speculative housing bubble (that tied up many of the best building sites in litigation for decades) and rampant unpunished fraud.

From the book's description on Amazon:

"...but for decades it was one of the worst excuses for a capital city the world had ever seen. Before America became a world power in the twentieth century, Washington City was an eyesore at best and a disgrace at worst. Unfilled swamps, filthy canals, and rutted horse trails littered its landscape. Political bosses hired hooligans and thugs to conduct the nation's affairs."

5:35 PM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Something in the "is that really real" department to contemplate over the weekend, see y'all Monday!

5:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




6:19 PM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

Bill Hicks - reminds me of the show Deadwood, which while not strictly historically accurate depicted a Wild-West town's transition from mining camp to bustling city, and in the process made more than a few points about capitalism. The show is mainly a character drama with lots of killing and cussing, but I'm sure many WAFers would love it.

As far as DC goes, I've been debating how long until global warming floods the place. And by debating I mean, with myself, because people around me either refuse to believe in climate change or find the topic too depressing to even think about. My personal benchmark for when DC is "gone" - not when water hits the steps of the Lincoln monument or turns the White House lawn muddy, thats going to happen intermittently for a while. Rather, when the Dec of Independence and Constitution are permanently sent somewhere else (probably Philly) for safekeeping. Who knows, could be as soon as a decade.

Don't have too much to say about the Paris Attacks. Except that while I've never read Charlie Hedbo, my understanding is that it is an INCREDIBLY racist rag. Of course this doesn't justify murder, but it does put the whole Je Suis Charlie thing in a new light.

Tho I did hear something very interesting on Chris Haye's show the other day: these terrorists probably aren't conducting attacks to defend the Prophet. They're most likely attempting to polarize French society, in the hopes that moderate Muslims will become radicalized. Who's to know, but I suspect there is much more at play here than some childish cartoons.

2:31 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...


Please listen to school shooter Adam Lanza's analysis of Travis the Chimp.

Read the different articles by different authors in response to what Adam Lanza says. Read the user comments.

With some exception there is no in-depth analysis of Adam Lanza's content of what he says. There is no attempt to at the assumptions he is laboring under to determine if they hold up or not.

This is what I see from various people. They call him crazy, insane, evil, and they don't like his voice. In addition, guns are blamed, liberalism is blamed.

There is no critical thinking whatsoever.

Let's look at the Unabomber as well. Most people just said the same thing.

The only person who did a critical analysis of the content of the Unabomber's manifesto was Kevin Kelly at the Technium.

Even if a person commits a horrific crime why can't some of their points be spot on? Why can't some of their content actually have some validity and soundness to it?

In fact, a number of people in the user comments act so childish and like naughty children who should receive a visit from Krampus and get a spanking.

I'm in the land of dolts!

10:44 AM  
Anonymous inessa armand said...

Morris, it is rather vague to discern how to use your "blog". Trust me I know you would try to administer. But I had typed about a real experience noting my "well of" new relatives. An they were rather rude the entire time. You I checked never posted it. You I have read for years and I love the Ted K I think he may of been used in some fashion, which is what all you so-called lefties leave out that would help us. Are yu afraid of death or what, cause it is coming for all of us. I don't get it. I know Mexico's history and the US drug traffic duh/ what person would not. But I never saw my posts about MY OWN LITERAL EXP there posed. Are yu hiding something Morris??

1:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't recall getting anything from you. The problem may be sending yr message to an older post. Nobody reads the older material, including myself. So perhaps try again to the most recent one. Sorry if I wound up ignoring u, but it wasn't deliberate.


2:32 AM  

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