June 21, 2015

The Salon Interview

Wafers: Here it is. Enjoy!



Blogger Unknown said...

That Salon interview was good - the interviewer seemed liked they were actually familiar with your work and had solid questions. A lot of great food for thought. You mentioned karate and karate has actually been shown in recent history to be useless in practical combat sports. MMA ( Mixed Martial Arts) and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship, an American enterprise) have exposed karate as useless versus wrestling/grappling. A karate master would have no chance fighting a run of the mill athletic wrestler. It reinforces your thesis. Japan has karate which is beautiful but lacks utility. America has UFC which is utilitarian (it figured out which fighting styles actually worked and then perfected them) but lacks beauty and a spiritual component.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Good article. The interviewer, David Masciotra, did a good job of asking relevant questions and allowing you to explain, rather than interjecting opinions from others or his own invention.
The only mistake is the title that includes this " What Japan can teach the U.S. about averting disaster " , which you never say directly. I imagine these words were done by a clueless copy editor who might not have even read the article.

I realize that you are comparing the broad differences in culture and history between Japan and the US. The US did have a craft tradition among the aborigine with a trading network of specialists producing various goods: baskets, pottery, weavings, etc. , before and after the European invasion. Pockets exist today in marginalized fashion. There was also the Arts & Crafts movement typified by Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters among others, along with an agrarian response to industrialization, and other quasi-religious enclaves such as the Shakers and Amish. These are / were miniscule as compared to the mass-production conformity of the masses, and so are relegated to cult status or simply ignored.

End result is that the US is now an economy of scale that churns out massive quantities of junk, or now imports such, conspicuously overconsuming energy in the process. This is reflected in all aspects of American 'life' and whatever could be classified as the American psyche...and why when this bubble of buffoonery and artificiality ultimately collapses after such an extended build-up, the fall will be swift and great.
99.99% will be scratching their heads wondering what happened, because there's nothing to fall back on or adapt to when so much phony 'wealth' goes poof !

Thanks for the read, Dr. B

WAFer On !

3:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Yes, the Shaker stuff is wonderful, and has a lot in common w/Japanese woodcraft, actually; but economically spkg, it didn't amt to much. As for the title of article: not mine or David's; I doubt the US is able to learn anything at this pt. It tends to broadcast rather than receive.


Well, I studied Aikido for a couple of yrs, a while back, and it is both beautiful and utilitarian.


3:34 PM  
Anonymous SrVidaBuena said...

(note to Dr. B: re-sending after missing the switch to new post)

@Tim Lukeman,

I love ‘A Stop at Willoughby’… "Willoughby, where a man can slow down to a walk, live his life full-measure” Can you imagine if Gart Williams had been around now? He’d have cell phones and a laptop, email, texts, and twitter instead of just two hard wired desk phones to manage.

There’s an episode of Andy Griffith where he, Barney Fife and Gomer take a bunch of kicks camping. Barney boasts about his skills as a backwoodsman then proceeds to get himself and Gomer lost. When Andy finds Gomer he remarks that the laughs will be on Barney after all his bragging. Then Andy points out that this could really hurt Barney’s feelings and he has a better plan to lead them both back to camp. It’s funny, sweet, and sensitive to Barney’s dignity. Imagine how that would go today… wouldn’t even be considered funny if he weren’t subjected to derision and utterly humiliated for his boasts...

4:33 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

In case someone was not sure about whether or not Morris Berman is a true public intellectual, this interview (and commentary to previous weblog posts) gives strong affirmative evidence, even if you have not read his books. There are a number of authors he mentioned off the top of his head who are worth reading and who I had not heard of before:

Ruth Benedict - “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”
Ernest Becker - “The Denial of Death”
Haruki Murakami - “Underground”
Gar Alperovitz - “Atomic Diplomacy” 1965

Alan Wolfe - "At Home in Exile"

Credit Morris Berman for introducing me to Lewis Mumford and John Ruskin.

This was a case in which the interviewer, David Masciotra, is an intellectual of a sort as well. Hence the interview was quite fruitful.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Hey, MB, did you notice how most of the articles on Salon.com covering Dylann Roof are also saying "the Civil War never ended"? Maybe you could talk to someone at Salon about WAF and the controversy about chapter 4? They seem like intelligent people who could handle the complexity and nuance.

Meanwhile, Americans are busily preparing to resume their civil war(s). Armored vehicles, drones, and of course plenty of guns in everyone's hands.

NY Times: Privately Owned Armored Trucks Raise Eyebrows After Attack on Dallas Police

Jeff Funicello is selling his black 1975 GMC truck on Craigslist. It would be perfect for a thrifty bank. Or a low-budget SWAT team.

The body is armored, and the windows are bulletproof. It has sliding portholes to point rifles from and a sprinkler system inside. Long ago, it transported money, and it was once the target of a shootout in the 1980s. But now it sits, pockmarked from splotches of automotive-repair putty, on the driveway of Mr. Funicello’s home in Mesa, Ariz.

Why does he own it? Mr. Funicello, who runs a mixed martial arts gym called the Spartan Academy, said the question should be: Why not?


5:20 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, here's a joke abt "Gunsmoke." The sheriff is sitting in his office when Chester bursts in on him, breathless.

"Mr. Dillon, Mr. Dillon..." (pant, pant)

"Slow down, Chester. What's going on?"

"Well Miss Kitty asked me if I wanted to go on a picnic with her, and I said yes, so she made up a basket and I hitched up the wagon and we went out to the field beyond the town..." (pant, pant)

"Easy, Chester. What happened next?"

"Well, Mr. Dillon, she got out the blanket, and then she took her clothes off Mr. Dillon, and she lay down and said, 'Go to town, Chester'...SO HERE I AM, MR. DILLON!"

Equally funny is this:


I think they are planning to call the lane Douche Bag Way.


5:34 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Vida-

I remember that "Gunsmoke" episode, it was called "Navel Pastrami."



5:55 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

[Under the heading, "I'll know HIm when I see Him"]

“And say unto them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” (Ezekiel 37:21-22)

Listening to my local NPR station today, I learned of something that had totally escaped my notice: the existence of a so-called "Moschiach clause" in (some) Jewish rental contracts, especially in Jerusalem. This clause, also known to goyim as the Messiah clause, requires renters of property--houses, apartments, condos--to vacate part or all of the premises in favor of the returning landlord in the event of the Moschiach's arrival. How soon these renters must do so can vary from two weeks to several months. (Any WAFers considering extended stays in the Holy Land, but most particularly ones involving property rental, may wish to look into this subject further.)

Because my mind operates in a decidedly twisted fashion, this story--presented on the NPR program "Interfaith Voices"--caused me to immediately think of one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies, "The Life of Brian":


Shalom, y'all.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

Dr Berman, thanks for the interview – I will definitely buy your new book because I think it will be very interesting to read. The ideas in the interview (and hopefully in the book) are fascinating. For example, consider this: “One sees, in contemporary Japan, an endless conflict between East and West, between tradition and modernity; and when modernity fails, as it surely will, the Japanese at least have their traditions to fall back on. America has no such fallback position; it floats, not between tradition and modernity, but between modernity and collapse—which we see all around us today.”

I reported here in the past about a friend of mine who has been in America as long as I have been in America, but who knows nothing nor cares about a blog like this one or about a book like WAF. On the contrary, he thinks such books and ideas are overrated and a waste of time – because in his words “America will always bounce back as she did in the past”. He always brags about how America gives him more opportunity to become a millionaire more than where he came from. After I told him that I prefer not be a millionaire, he was almost in tears – telling me I lack the ability to dream like Americans. Also, I reported here about hunting nightmares I had after I saw an elderly white woman sleeping on wet grass outside a huge football stadium funded partially by tax payers’ funds. I used to debate with some of my friends that America has no culture/tradition. But then I realized that the word “culture/tradition” is by definition a way of life of a people – which means America has a tradition/culture – which is whatever way of life they are currently living. So then, to say that America has not tradition/culture is confusing to me. Living like capitalism and democracy are inseparable is also part of the American culture/tradition.

(sorry I posted it in the old place - I am reposting here - the right place)

7:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The US has a culture in an anthropological sense, but not in the sense of a high culture. It gave us jazz and Hollywood, of course, but there is no American Beethoven, or Shakespeare, or Rembrandt. Its real tradition/culture is hustling; I think WAF makes that pretty clear. The problem w/that is that u can't hustle forever, tho most Americans think they can, and think that is what life is about. Which is why our vaunted happiness is skin-deep, pasted on--like a smiley face. Having no sense of depth, of the tragic dimension of life, America is unconsciously living out its own tragedy.


8:09 PM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Alright! Masciotra gave Dr. Berman a decent interview. The comments showed how difficult it is for most people to grasp that the world is not purely either/or. But there were some receptive readers out there. Maybe the Wafer count will increase a bit. Salon has quite a few readers.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I doubt the interview went viral, but it felt gd to be interviewed by a very intelligent person who had actually read the bk, and then not have the text abridged by the editor. Of course Americans can't grasp that the world is not purely either/or, as evidenced by trollfoons attacking me on the Civil War. The Japanese have no problem understanding this notion; perhaps it's one other thing they can teach us, except that Americans don't have the ability to learn anything--they know it all. Everybody shd listen to us, instead, esp. since we are now going down the toilet.

Meanwhile, here's the news on the latest massacre-of-the-day:



6:38 AM  
Blogger jml said...

Regarding lack of American high culture:

There's a wonderful quote from Gore Vidal that I can't find right now that says something like "the only art form created by America was the television commercial." If there is a craft tradition here it was borrowed and, most often, not respected. The television commercial is our contribution to Western Culture.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Morris, check this article out, it's right up your street. What a country, eh?


8:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Gd essay. I particularly like the idea of toddlers packing heat, because it shows how robust, how healthy, we are as a society. But my ultimate vision, perhaps only a decade away, is that every American between the ages of 2 and 92 be equipped w/semi-automatic weapons, and just walk down the street mowing down everyone in sight. This wd definitely show our strength.


9:10 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

One thing about American culture -- by & large, the genuinely good stuff has always been created by the outsiders, the marginalized, those who don't or won't fit in with the American mainstream. It really has been a counterculture of sorts, going against the grain in order to express something honest & true & meaningful. Because those are the very qualities the mainstream, the obsessed, fevered dreamers of the American Dream, don't champion or acknowledge or respect. Or so it seems to me.

SrVidaBuena -- I do remember that episode! That quality of respect & consideration for others has pretty much vanished in the Age of Snark, when deliberate nastiness & cruelty passes for "humor" among the public. I'm not going to idealize the past, as it had plenty of flaws -- what age doesn't? -- but its better qualities seem to have been cast aside completely in our pursuit of money, power & status. Now it's considered remarkable if someone acts in a civilized, decent way to another person, rather than going unnoticed as simply being the norm. If you show people a little human consideration these days, they're often stunned because it's so uncommon an experience for them.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

This was a good essay, KNOW 1. I like this part:
Toddler shootings range from the two year old who killed his mother in a Walmart in Idaho with the gun she was packing in her purse as 2014 ended to the three year old who discovered a gun in a purse in an Albuquerque motel room in February and wounded his father and pregnant mother with a single shot. Such a list for this year would have to include the Florida two year old who found his father’s gun in the family car and killed himself with it in January, the three year old who picked up an unattended gun and killed a one year old in a Cleveland home in April, the Virginia two year old who found a gun on top of a dresser and killed himself in late May, and the four year old who, at about the same time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, picked up a shotgun at a target shooting range and killed his 22-year-old uncle. Toddler killings have been commonplace enough in these pistol-packin’ years that they now significantly outpace terror killings in the U.S.


I read that FBI Chief refuses to call Charleston killer a terrorist. Reflect on that for a moment and try hard (like a typical American) to come up with the rationalizations and justification why Muslim killers are terrorists while Christian/American killers are not terrorists - why the members of Muslim Brotherhood are terrorists while the members of KKK and white supremacists are good people. What of guns at the hands of toddlers? Also, try coming up with good/American rationalizations (like most American politicians) why guns do not kill people. Try hard to justify that Dylann Roof has no political motivations, no intention of causing fear and terror in the hearts of people in the church and in the community where he did his evil deed.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I don't doubt that Roof is a terrorist, but if you look carefully into his eyes, from the fotos made public, you'll see that he's also a douche bag. And that ain't gd either.

Not that it's a very different look than one sees in Kim's eyes, or Shaneka's, or Hillary's, or Chris Matthews'. It's a look that says: America!

Meanwhile, this development in Toddler Terrorism is really very edgy, very happening. I wd like to ask Wafers to submit letters along the lines of proposing to the NRA that they open a Toddler Division. Say that we feel toddlers have been unjustly neglected as agents of homicide, and it is time that they be given their due. Most toddler shootings to date have been rather accidental; but if the 1-2 age group were deliberately equipped w/assault weapons, we wd see more outstanding results in the homicide category. Furthermore, one might add that *not* to do this is discriminating against toddlers as an identifiable class in society, and that this wd be very un-American.


11:38 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

A short review here of a book Wafers may like:


MB, Kunstler, et al. have spoken about the infantilization of US culture, but this is the first I've heard of babycore. Now I wish I hadn't.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Possible Wafer Anthem:

"Poor, Poor America"

Toddler terrorists, on their teeny-weeny feet
Gunning down the Dream in the blighted streets
(Poor, Poor America)

Rachel's black, no she's white!
Hey, girl, where'd you get yr hairdo?
(Poor, Poor America)

Kim's a star, Kim's a star
No matter where u are
Even on NPR!
(Say, Hey!, Poor, Poor America)


Shaneka's got eyes...eyes on the prize
A presidential run from her bitch ass smokin' gun
(Poor, Poor America)

Dylann goes ballistic
adds a few more statistics
Driving Dixie down... Driving Dixie down...
(Poor, Poor America)

Lindsey tells Killary it ain't about the damn Rebel flag
I'm a son of the South, u C
jus' like ol' Braxton Bragg.
(What say U?, Poor, Poor America)

Gimme pastrami, chopped liver will do
A U-Haul and a sixer
Wafers to the rescue
(Poor, Poor America)



1:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Brilliant entry. I wept.


2:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I discuss this famous foto in SSIG:


This is what America does to peasants, to people of color, to people in the 3rd World; to the defenseless and dispossessed. This is how we make the world 'safe for democracy.'


3:44 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB, WAFers... Had to laugh at some of the comments on Salon, re: MB being a sunny optimist concerning the destiny of US ! ( I suppose a cataclysmic disintegration where there are a few survivors is kinda hopeful ! ).

Anecdotally, are there any here that follow 'The Walking Dead' ? I have compared it as a contemporary analogy of the 'American' condition. The Walkers have only enough brain function to make them mechanical and dangerous consumers. The only thing the writers have not keyed on is having numbers of the zombies still wearing headphones or bluetooth's.
Money is obsolete, but power and control of resources and remaining 'survivors' is the economy.

AFA American cultural invention, we have Blues along with Jazz, which led to Rock & Roll. Its no mistake that the originations came from the black / slave experience ( and so has roots that pre-date an American exclusivity ); and some of the successive forms have been corrupted by many euro-copyists.
Yeah ...the US has no Shakespeare, but it does have Poe w/ the detective story and the horror genre ( though I guess those could be traced to the Greek tragedies, biblical fables, or Beowulf ).

Been thinking that the 'hustling' culture is not just a product of capitalism, but capitalism combined with expansionism: ever increasing 'markets', exploitation of raw materials...other 'tribes', and an unsatisfied, Midas-like, accumulation ethos.
Obsessive compulsive, or compulsively obsessive ?

...Name for the Toddler Terrorists: not baby-boomers, but baby-bommers !

3:45 PM  
Anonymous troutbum said...

Dr. MB and fellow WAFers worldwide:

James Kunstler, fellow traveller nailed it in this mornings blog post:

For the USA in particular the signs of bankruptcy have been starkly visible for a long time outside the bubble regions of New York, Washington, and San Francisco. You see it in the amazing decrepitude of the built environment — the cities and towns left for dead, the struggling suburban strip malls tenanted if at all by wig shops and check-cashing operations, the rusted bridges, pot-holed highways, the Third World style train service. Most sickeningly you see it in a population of formerly earnest, hard-working, basically-educated people with hopes and dreams transformed into a hopeless moiling underclass of tattooed savages dressed in baby clothes devoting their leisure hours (i.e. all their time) to drug-seeking and the erasure of sexual boundaries.

It's all here : http://kunstler.com

4:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fucking nuke the entire cosmos, I say:


9:07 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

"Hear me, people: We have now to deal with another race--small and feeble when our fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule."

--Sitting Bull, speaking at the Powder River Conference in 1877

[Quoted in The Great Shark Hunt: Gonzo Papers, Volume 1, Strange Tales from a Strange Time, by Hunter S. Thompson]

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Just read the texting lane story. As a result. I nominate Ms. Chelsea Meza,22 for 2015 Douche Bag Award for her insightful comment: It's kind of funny. You walk down the hallway and instead of saying hi, everyone is walking and texting." Doctor, I'm almost inclined to think that in the next Holocaust ( I mean all records are meant to be broken, right?) Jews or whoever will be texting on their way to the gas chamber.
Wafers, please tell me what are people listening to? What music is better than the sounds of everyday life? And then purely from an aesthetic point, why would anyone want to have white wires hanging from his or her head? The one thing I do enjoy though is passing rather expensive outdoor cafes and noticing usually the woman on her phone while the shmuck sits there drinking his $15 glass of wine. Darting eyes usually told the guy she wasn't terribly interested in him. Now she spend the entire meal talking to someone else. At least in that sense the cell phone brings clarity. Nevertheless, I'm only in my 60's. Please don't tell me I have to endure another 20-30 years of this shit.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Chances are, it's going to get worse. Wm Gibson, in "Neuromancer" (1984), predicted that eventually people wd have fones and other devices implanted in their brains, wh/they operated by eye movements. I'm sure scientists and engrs are working on making that happen as we speak (sci-fi has a way of becoming real, historically spkg). I also learned, something like 10 yrs ago, that MIT Labs was trying to develop a kind of full-body hologram or wrap, such that people cd walk down the street interacting w/nothing other than themselves (wh/is now with us, for all practical purposes--a total masturbatory scenario). It's quite amazing to me, that people don't react to all of this "undigested tech-shit" (Ursula LeGuin) with disgust; but no, they really think it's cool. The US is the world capital of this buffoonization, of course, but we have managed to buffoonize much of the rest of the planet. Another triumph for 'democracy', I guess.


3:29 AM  
Anonymous Sean Kerrigan said...

Dr. Berman, your concerns w/ regard to implants is well founded. DARPA has already developed tech that can read your thoughts and Google is working on consumer applications. Basically, it works like a band-aid you put on your throat, right where your voice box would be. Your voice box automatically mimics the motions of whatever you are thinking (you just don't push air through it and so there is no sound). The device can detect those movements and determine what is being thought. Those transmissions can then be sent to a phone or other device. It's probably no less accurate than direct voice commands, which are pretty sketchy sometimes. Military applications are obvious, but soon you will be able to send text messages without typing or opening your mouth. You could think you're having a conversation with someone and they could be texting the entire time.

People complain about text messages and phone records being recorded, but now we are on the verge of thought collection. This tech exist; it merely has to be implemented.

Details: http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2014/01/motorola-patents-device-that-lets-you-send-thoughts-to-your-phone/

4:01 AM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dr. Berman

I am intrigued by the title of your new book. Why did you choose the combination of neuroticism and beauty to describe the Japanese culture? You noted that Americans are polar opposites. And what pair of words would you use to describe American culture?


7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MB, Wafers

The future is already there:

The latest post from Orlov is great by the way. One of his best I think. A nice refresher on our financial/economic system and with a good bit of something unknown to Hedges and other progs: humour! Wahey!


7:58 AM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

troutbum: Yes, that quote describes the world I see growing -- or should that be, disintegrating? -- all around me. The ghastly shoddiness & ugliness of everything, from buildings to clothing to human bodies themselves; and all of it clearly the outward expression of the inward person. I've realized lately that I dress a little better than I used to, even when going out to buy groceries or run errands. I didn't think about it but something in me wanted to look & feel like something more than a slob-minded slob.

But as MB notes above, who cares? We can all be wrapped in a shiny, self-reflecting tech shroud eventually, the digital equivalent of the drug-induced utopian paradise inhabited by the public in Lem's "The Futurological Congress" that millions would happily sell their rotting souls to possess (and be possessed by). per JS above: "The Walking Dead" is absolutely appropriate, as zombies are the emblematic figures of modern culture, just as vampires were in the 1980s.

JWO: Thanks for the link about the Neiman book, which I'll be reading as soon as possible. I think this is one of the things that draws me to older films & TV shows these days -- the emphasis on becoming a mature grown-up. The public has confused retaining childlike qualities (awe, wonder, delight) for the childish (everything must be about ME). There's no sense of developing wisdom, a deeper perspective, in the way old age is portrayed in America. It's all about looking & acting as young as possible -- and by "young" is meant immature & irresponsible, not searching & growing toward something more.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


That's just what struck me abt the Japanese culture, a strange combination (paradox) of incredible beauty, such as sumi-e (top half of the front cover of the bk) and terrible destructiveness, such as the bombing of Malaya (bottom half). The polar opposites I refer to, however, is not within American culture, but in contrast to Japan (hyper-individualism vs. group psychology). As for a description of American culture, the 2 words I used in the Twilight bk were "vital kitsch." But I think "degraded and debased" wd work just as well. Or perhaps "bad joke," I dunno.


10:01 AM  
Anonymous NubaNuba said...

Dr MB,

There is a saying that when the good people do nothing they also help to feed into the evil deeds of the bad people. I read that the whole world did not do enough initially to stop hitler's onslaught on the Jews of Germany. Similarly, I can tell you today that Obama has not done a good job speaking against racial injustice in America because he has no core like his mother. His mother would be more outspoken than Zell Miller. Fighting against injustice often requires that a person be willing and ready to lose hustling mentality and be willing to embrace losses in material/professional gains:

"In May 1992, Miller announced his desire to remove the "Southern Cross" of the Confederate battle flag from his state’s banner, which had only begun incorporating that imagery in 1956. "What we fly today is not an enduring symbol of our heritage, but the fighting flag of those who wanted to preserve a segregated South in the face of the civil rights movement," he declared.

“Miller used to say this: 'I cannot call myself a progressive Southern governor if I’m not out front on changing the flag,'” his former chief of staff, Keith Mason, recalled in an interview on Monday. “He was the forerunner of it. And he paid a big price for it.” "


11:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Thanks fer input. I never know that the CSA flag had been 'updated' in 1956, and I wonder if it applies to all Confed flags. Certainly, an update wdn't have much to do w/the antebellum South.

That being said, I think we can retire the subject of the Civ War and move on to other topics.


12:10 PM  
Anonymous Mark Fuller Dillon said...

Hello, everyone!

This problem of infantilization has been troubling me for a long time, now. As Tim Lukeman says, "The public has confused retaining childlike qualities (awe, wonder, delight) for the childish (everything must be about ME)." Especially in the world of corporations and governments, we have no more grown-ups. Obama? Harper? Abbott? They're all neoliberal children with no concept of a future worth building.

And so I wrote a little poem about this....


12:27 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...


David Brooks on Pope Francis's encyclical:


Pope Francis= one righteous dude
David Brooks= double douche bag

Time for some jazz; courtesy of the Ahmad Jamal Trio:




1:37 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB, WAFers ...Have to teach later and then have an almost immediate gig, so jumping in early.

If anything, I would say that the prevailing superficial shroud that is the pretense for culture in US is 'Glorified Junk'. This affects ( infects ? ) all aspects of existence: education, our so-called markets, financial institutions and methods of doing 'business', politics, religion, everything economic, literature - music - entertainment - all 'arts', food, housing, and of course all the 'things' - toys - and assorted doodads.
The US is a Wal-Mart society of disposability. The concept of ( attributed to Emerson ), " If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, then you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods ( ...the world will beat a path to his door )."... has been replaced with pulp fiction, demagoguery ( and pseudo-science ), and a CHEAPER mousetrap.
The suckers will fall for anything, every time, if it's low enough.

John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" brought up some of this in 1968, and Asimov remarked that the cherished relics of America's future would be Styrofoam cups.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

"This problem of infantilization has been troubling me for a long time, now"

Aaayyy - say it again and again and again.

When people refuse to grow up, well, they are stuck at infant's way of seeing reality.Today, I heard on the radio about 12 minutes ago that the Chinese hackers got personal vital info on 18 million Americans, not on the 4 million originally reported. I was left scratching my head - when people become infants they do not care any more. Can you believe any more that Americans who invented computer chip, internet technology, Apple, and MS Windows are now playing around like retarded children, fidgeting, and fiddling when it comes to info technology relative to the Chinese?

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Bruce Babunn said...

Another kid bites the durst. If these kids are happy and fulfilled, why all these violence by them? I tell ya, Karma is real! That which has been done in secret to others is coming home to roost. Imagine this: "We are scared to leave the house"

"The FBI has arrested a 19-year-old North Carolina man for allegedly plotting an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack — after being tipped off to his disturbing behavior by his father."


"Justin Nojan Sullivan, a self-described Muslim convert from Morganton, North Carolina, was arrested on Friday and appeared in court on Monday. His dad called authorities in April to report that the teenager was destroying religious items and added: 'We are scared to leave the house'"


6:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


It really gets worse every day, doesn't it? Why anyone wd wanna live in the US any more is completely beyond me. When I wrote the Twilight bk, I indicated that the future looked bleak; but I never imagined the scenario that we are living in, in 2015; it's like a v. bad sci-fi movie. We've almost arrived at "Bladerunner."


6:34 PM  
Anonymous COS said...

Hello all wafers! Sometimes the seemingly innocuous points out to deeper tendencies. Is it not peculiar that the United States which was making noises about doing so in the 1960's never adopted the metric system? Seems to be an attitude of being different and not like the rest of the world. They sure held off on soccer until very recently also. Seem innocuous but point to something deeper. Much like the legal system in the U.S. which is based on rules (and a good hustler always knows how to work around rules) versus a principles based system in Europe and most of the rest of the world. As some of you have pointed out, Americans have also given up on ordinary competence and can't seem to do anything anymore. Americans also seem to be sui generis in ego defenses, most cannot see reality and seem bound to some inchoate myth and sense of specialness combined with a deep ignorance with a childish Manichean outlook that is truly remarkable to behold. Its amazing!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


My own feeling is that if you are (foolishly) going to live in the US, the best way is thru rigorous psychological preparation. First and foremost is to imagine that any American u meet is actually a joke dressed up as a human being. Then if u walk around town, and keep in mind that the people u.r. interacting w/are jokes, you can relax a bit, not get too upset. Just think of yrself as an anthropologist parachuted into Jokeland, and u.r. observing the natives w/amusement rather than horror. Be in the culture, but not of the culture, in other words.


6:48 PM  
Anonymous Mo Ronich said...

I wonder if this guy is a NMI president. http://mic.com/articles/92369/15-powerful-quotes-from-the-world-s-most-humble-president

10:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Fabulous profile, thank u. This guy is clearly a Wafer. That 1st quote needs to be sent out to all progs.


10:25 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

“…Market God … gives us the appearance of happiness”

“I have a way of life that I don't change just because I am a president.”

“As soon as politicians start climbing up the ladder, they suddenly become kings”

99% of Americans will consider President Mujica a communist and a loser because of his lifestyle and his beliefs. Is it not interesting that leadership has no meaning consistent with whatever ideals that the American tradition is trying to claim. This has always been true yesterday, today, or in the future. Leadership in America has always been about how to bark orders and amass power and material possessions. I read somewhere that Obama has already secured millions of dollars from his Wall Street cronies once he leaves office. This is why American leaders (political or private) are not interested in solving the problems facing the American society – everything is about enjoying better healthcare, better salaries, better lifestyle than the people they lead. The hypocrisy is part and parcel of the hustling mentality.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

The US not adopting the metric system is one of my major pet peeves. For me, as a scientist, working in metric is standard practice. Yet for communicating with Americans, it all has to be in stupid English units. Even some American scientists submit journal articles or give talks at conferences using English units -- which is really rude and thoughtless. Even though one could say this is a small and insignificant thing, I think it speaks volumes about American arrogance, laziness, and feelings of superiority. Every day at work I am reminded of this.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Who ordered that? said...

Friend recommended this, a Camus adaptation:


1:11 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

I enjoyed these:



1:19 AM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

WAFers might appreciate Andy Borowitz ---


I'm a fan of president Mujica of Uruguay. If the rest of the world would leave them alone, Uruguay would be a good place to retire to.

If a representative adult in the USA is a joke dressed up to look like a human being, how should we describe a typical citizen of Saudi Arabia? I feel a bout of mild nausea coming on whenever I think of that nation.


3:05 AM  
Anonymous Mooja said...

In California a "proposed ballot initiative authorizing the execution of gay and lesbian people"

"The proposed Sodomite Suppression Act calls for "any person who willingly touches another person of the same gender for purposes of sexual gratification be put to death by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method." The measure also would outlaw advocating gay rights to minors, punishable by 10 years in prison and permanent expulsion from California."


4:55 AM  
Anonymous Zeke said...

My favorite part of this blog are the anecdotes from other Americans of dolts - it makes me feel a little less crazy in a society that normalizes atrocious behavior. Its also why I love this series on Jezebel's Kitchenette section called "Behind Closed Ovens". How stupid and entitled can American customers be? Trick question - there is no limit. I feel so bad for these poor servers. For my money, "Astoundingly Stupid Restaurant Customers", "Unbelievably Dumb Restaurant Customers", and "Restaurant Customers Who Are The Devil" are the best.


Sure, it ain't a cohesive analysis of how capitalism turns brains into mush, but it might as well be. Anyone in food service has stories like this, but most of mine involve cell phones. Customers who walk into things because they couldn't go 5 feet to the counter without staring at their phone. Customers who get angry because their food was late when it wasn't, they were too busy texting to hear their number called out 30 minutes previous. Customers who try to get me fired because I put them on hold for two minutes. And my personal favorite, a customer who took four tries to open the door because he refused to stop looking at his iPhone, blindly pawing at where he thought the door handle was again and again...

9:28 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This bill wd make a lot of sense if it included Jews, blacks, Asians, and anyone else who is clearly undesirable. They shd all be shipped out to Saudi Arabia, the whole damn lot o' them.


9:32 AM  
Anonymous Capt. Spaulding said...

Dr. B. - I've recently re-read your discussion on the "Alternative American tradition" in WAF and was wondering, other than that book, are there any studies that critically survey this tradition? I'm not looking for studies of particular individuals (Thoreau, Mumford, etc.) - not yet anyway - but more of a broader synthesis.


The Capt.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Dani Pol said...

“South Carolina state Rep. Bill Chumley (R) told CNN he thinks the nine victims of a shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, "waited their turn to be shot." Chumley was defending the use of the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol grounds when he made the remarks, blaming "misuse and miseducation of the flag" for the debate over its use. Chumley argued access to guns, not the Confederate flag, is what South Carolina lawmakers should be focusing on in the aftermath of the massacre. "These people sat in there and waited their turn to be shot," Chumley said. "That's sad. Somebody in there with a means of self-defense could've stopped this."

"Why didn't somebody just do something?" Chumley added. "You've got one skinny person shooting a gun. We need to do what we can."”


I tell ya, he is right. Somebody should have pulled out a gun and fired back to kill the killer. Remember, this was a Church and Churches should be loaded with guns and ammunition because Jesus is about love the American way – love flavored with hustling and guns. If the victims had loved this way, we would not be here talking about removing the flag; therefore it is the fault of the victims to love the wrong way, the un-American way.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Dan asked, "What music is better than the sounds of everyday life?" Well, this morning it was the Harry James orchestra. If by "the sounds of everyday life" you mean motorheads honking at each other, dieselburners chewing coal as they muscularly press their sneakers on the gas pedal, or busybody pedestrians yelling at me to wear a bike helmet, allus I can say is "nertz."

The bookstore called to let me know that my personally-printed "Neurotic Beauty" had arrived. Another book I ordered at the same time, "Breaking into Japanese Literature," was also print-on-demand.

This sort of thing isn't new to me, as I often have trouble with libraries being able to handle my requests. Just a few weeks ago, I asked my local public library to add Ben Bagdikian's "New Media Monopoly" to their collection. They didn't, but they found a copy of the book in the provincial system, which they sent to me. Apparently the library in the biggest city in the province can't have this book, but a school library in Île-à-la-Crosse (go ahead and Google it) does.

Back in 2006, I requested that they buy Robert Fisk's "Pity the Nation," and "Hizbu'llah: Politics and Religion" by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb. Once again, they found these books elsewhere and sent me copies, along with a letter saying they didn't think the books had any value to potential readers.

The next day Israel attacked Lebanon. Geez, I guess the library staff wouldn't want their readers to be able to understand how that could have happened.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Titus olala said...

DR B, in reference to gays and lesbians, you said “This bill wd make a lot of sense if it included Jews, blacks, Asians, and anyone else who is clearly undesirable”

I want to be able to marry my mother. I want to be able to marry my sister. I want to be able to marry five wives. I want the law to legalize and recognize my sexual preference. Do you have any problem including my sexual preference to these other sexual preferences you mentioned?

12:58 PM  
Blogger The Chinonomist said...

Estimado Morris,

Truly illuminating interview. Thank you. The struggle between the cultural values of yore and the more contemporary capitalistic (consumerist) ones plays out everywhere. Regardless of how westernized the society is. As for Japan, I don't see this struggle so benevolently as you do. Japan's is committing societal harakiri (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex). To me, this defeatism is not a sign of cultural confusion, whereby to centrifugal forces pull the society apart only to leave space for the true, millennial Japanese culture. It's a sign of despair. I'm talking of an apocalyptic mentality, shrouded with the noises created by a never-before-seen true globalized media (too many Gangnam Style mega hits drowning these ideas to be seriously discussed). When your kids don't want to have sex, that is huge. I am with you 100% on the argument of the un-sustainability of the consumerist model, and its inexorable arrival to planet depletion. In this regard, I consider Japan to be at the forefront of this discovery exercise. A society so advanced, so immersed in a demographic collapse decades before every other major society will experience it, so intimately accustomed to the natural resource deprivation that will eventually visit the rest of the planet (we've only begun to feel the wrath of the climate change monster), that it will be to our benefit to look at that laboratory --if only to see it as a "trailer" of the movie we will experience.

And on that note, I leave you with this post, which talks about this issue in a little more detail> http://thechinonomist.blogspot.com/2013/11/watermelons-more-watermelons.html

Saludos y es un placer leerte siempre. Un abrazo.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Dream Ticket Dept.:


Pizza? Huh? Why not the Rainbow Room at the Rock, Donald? Talk about shootin' yr wad...


1:27 PM  
Anonymous Justinian said...

Guy i work with sent this out in emails to a few of us, apparently Steven Pinker had tweeted the link, saying: "The Pope is no friend of the poor, or the Earth - His despised tech, growth, carbon tax are."


1:29 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dr. Berman

Thanks for replying to my previous comment and clarifying the paradox you uncovered inside of Japanese culture - the hyper- individualism vs the collective polar opposites. I liked that you pointed during the salon interview on a peculiar spirituality that is sewn into the making of crafts. (Sort of a shamanic craftsmanship.)Now, returning to the polar opposites, wouldn't you say that all people have an internal struggle from becoming absorbed by the collective- which is somewhat reflected in the fight of the Right vs Left politics? Unlike the USA, Japan is mainly a producer economy. I don't know if you read it but In Christopher Lasch's, The Culture of Narcissism, he makes a case of a shift in the American psyche - which he called, its "underlying pathology," - from neuroticism to narcissism taking place during the transition from mainly a producer economy into mostly a consumer- finance economy. What is your opinion on his thesis? I do believe that you made the case of our culture being mainly a hustling society from its origins but it seems to me that there was a time- which progressives and right wing alike long for - in which America had a bit more of a proud craftsman- albeit mostly a factory employee. It seems to me that our "degraded and debased" culture of dependent individualism- was less so before the global capitalists threw away our production based economy in exchange of cheaper goods. Progressives, when they focus on redistribution, are really wishing for a return to those "good old days."

What's your take? Will redistribution bring back the American craftsman?


4:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear Dr. B,

Its been a while since I commented on your blog although I have been lurking from time to time. However, I did finish reading Neurotic Beauty (great piece of work!) on the plane during my six business trips to Mexico City earlier this year. Reading NB was an enriching experience. Thank you!

My wife and I became parents about six months ago. One of the vexing questions that we have been asking ourselves is: How do we raise our son in the US so that he grows up to be a wholesome person i.e., how can one raise a child to be a Wafer? My family circumstances are such that I cannot move out of the US yet. We have taken some steps that are not typical to US households such as breast-feeding, one parent at home (therefore no daycare needed), spending as much time as possible in the natural environment (we don't have a TV), playing a variety of classical and folk music, etc. I know there are no easy answers, but I would appreciate any suggestions from you and fellow Wafers.


8:19 PM  
Anonymous CounterFalsity said...

Here is far and away the most astute comment on the interview from the Salon commentators:

"He has never lived in Japan, can't speak Japanese, can't read Kanji, can't review Japanese academic literature, can't understand film, news, or social media...but he saw 'The Last Samurai" and read Benedict, so it's ok, he's qualified to opine on Japan."

9:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, clearly neither you, nor the commenter, have read my bk. If u did, you wdn't find his comment terribly astute. I say explicitly that I'm not an expert, but so what? Anyone can opine on Japan if they want, even u. The real question is, How informed is the opinion, and that is for Japan experts to judge--which I wd welcome. In addition, Benedict didn't even go to Japan (which I did, twice) or read Japanese, and yet wrote one of the most impt bks on the country ever published, justly celebrated by the Japanese themselves. This wd make something of a shambles of your commenter's objection, I wd think. As for me, what I *did* do, besides travel around Japan for several mos., was conduct something like 3000 pages of research, talk with Japanese colleagues, talk at length with Japanese friends, and conduct numerous interviews thru interpreters. The subtitle of the book is not, "A Comprehensive Analysis of Japan"; it's merely, "An Outsider Looks at Japan." It is nothing more than that, and doesn't pretend to be.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get the bk translated into Japanese, and await the reaction of folks more informed, and intelligent, than you and your commenter.

Don't you think it might be time for the commenter, as well as yourself, to wake up, become just a tad more mature? You have not countered falsity; you *are* falsity! Is this an enlightened path 4u, do u think?


Contact Gloria DeGaetano at the Parent Coaching Institute in Seattle, and explain your concerns. Tell her I sent u.


I read Lasch decades ago, so don't remember what was in it. I doubt redistribution can recover the craft tradition. As for recent trends: it was always hustling and b.s. in the US, from the early 17C, but it seems to have taken a quantum leap in the last 40 yrs or so.


You cd be rt, but again, my argument is that Bad Is Gd. What might push Japan into a whole new way of being, a whole new socioeconomic model, is the complete dysfunction of the present one. Again, this is just speculation; it's not prediction.


Sounds gd to me. In addition, if you want to marry yr dog, or a goat, you have my blessing. Go for it, amigo!


David Shi, "The Simple Life."


11:27 AM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

I've just been reading "The Rolling Stones: Fifty Years" by Christopher Sandford.

While reading it I was dismayed by the gradual realisation that Christopher Sandford had never been a member of the Rolling Stones.

How can anyone who has never been in the Rolling Stones, who has never taken heroin, sidelined Brian Jones or screwed Marianne Faithfull, write about the Rolling Stones? What possible insights could they have?

I haven't been so disillusioned since I discovered that Andrew Roberts never actually fought at the Battle of Waterloo. All he did was look at a load of old documents!

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Pete P. said...

Look forward to reading this book. Somewhat off-topic comment, and forgive me if you've dealt with it elsewhere: at almost the same time as I became familiar with your work I was also reading Rusell Shorto's books on the culture of Greater NY and how it relates back to Amsterdam (and the Netherlands throwing off the yoke of Spain and the Inquisition). Shorto seems to acknowledge the "culture of hustling" that you talk about, and traces it to the ascendant culture of New Amsterdam/NY, however tracing its roots, it almost becomes a celebrated thing--a response to zealotry and oppression. (Obviously, left to follow its own course, this "hustling" becomes, as you identify, toxic and ultimately debilitating). I don't really have a comment on that, but thought it might be an interesting counterbalance/congruence to your view of U.S. culture. You mention in the Japan piece that that nation has a kind of "dormant" alternative culture it can draw on; I guess I am wondering if this earlier iteration of the "culture of hustling" doesn't constitute a cultural tradition the U.S. (or certain parts of the U.S., like Greater NY) might revert to after the collapse of the "main line" culture?

1:35 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

MB and Wafers,

The Wafer census has just reached 170! My artist friend Theo in Calgary says he has checked out the blog, which he says appeals because he's always considered himself a pessimistic person. I responded to him that having a clearer picture of reality in itself can put one in a better frame of mind.

Meanwhile, I finished J Michael Greer's novel "Twilight's Last Gleaming" in two days. It's a page turner that manages to cover some familiar themes of this and Greer's blog. Not to give too much away, but I can say the most surprising part of Greer's 2025 world wasn't the defeat of the United States in East Africa by a China-led coalition over a big new petroleum deposit, rather it was the account of the constitutional convention triggered by the course of events. Would the guns of the police and military really stay quiet while such a deliberation were going on?

2:44 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

Titus ( can-be ? ): I agree with the good Doctor, except ...why bother with marriage ? I would recommend George Carlin's solutions in his 'List of people who ought to be killed': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVlkxrNlp10 under the 'where should we put all the perverts section ( I think it was a gulagged Wyoming ), and then you could kadoodle anyone or anything you want.

Him: Include Blues and Jazz ( maybe not Horace Silver too soon ) into Ur kid's music list.

MB: have you ever read J. Allen Boone's "Kinship With All Life" ? Short chapter on his travels to Japan and the 'tea ceremony' in particular. More comprehensive ( w/ additional chapters ) in the much harder to find "Letters to Strongheart".

MB, WAFers : Check this out at convenience; http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/06/23/feds-giant-ponzi-scheme/ ...see what you think. Any # of 'black swan' events could mess up the formula, or accelerate it.
I'm interested in the take of the community here on this crystal ball gazing.
Course, I think Carlin was correct too; that the US is so addicted to stupid shit that it would eventually be a big ball of poo, only he was off by 45-40 years.

Hey ...That's a great idea for a new national flag : a giant, steaming pile ...coiled like the Gadsden flag, surrounded by 50 flies on a green and yellow field !

WAFer On !

3:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I share yr horror. That anyone non-Japanese cd write abt Japanese culture: well, it's scandalous. Or write abt Hiroshima without having been there and been bombed to kingdom come; I tell u, I'm at a loss for words.


4:41 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Bad is Gd Dept.:


Meanwhile, I just received an email about a forthcoming interdepartmental meeting to discuss the "groundbreaking" work of Dr. Derald Wing Sue, and the terrible problem of microaggression on and off campus. Apparently, this and trigger warnings are the new causes celebres of higher education. Here's what a quick search produced:


Jesus, I wanna slash my wrists...



6:04 PM  
Anonymous Presido said...

This is an interesting video on Morning Joe. Senator Clarie McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, says that Sanders is "too liberal" and "too socialist" to win the presidency. When asked to give a couple of examples of policies that Sanders proposed in the past that made him too liberal and too socialist, she could only give one: "Sanders wants every American to have access to Medicare."

This attack came because Sanders has been catching up with Hillary Clinton in poll figures in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The video is here:

9:59 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...


That's why "Mein Kampf" is such a great book. After all, who could write a better book about Adolf Hitler than Adolf Hitler?

There's no point in reading anybody else's books about Adolf, because they didn't have the unique experience of actually being The Fuhrer. They're bound to be less authentic, less objective, more biased and more exaggerated.

Why historians like Ian Kershaw spend decades meticulously researching him in order to provide insights into his behaviour baffles me. The only books Ian Kershaw should write should be called "Ian Kershaw: My Stuggle (For Research Grants)" or "Ian Kershaw: Wasting My Time Visiting Local Archives In Bavaria". Then he would actually be writing about something he really knows about.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I assume therefore that you walk outside wearing headphones, right? That's too bad. You seem like an interesting person and I would enjoy speaking to you but I can't. Since you have decided to be a techno-moron today there's no way I can engage you in conversation. Oh, al, here comes a lovely lady coming your way. But no way for a chance encounter that could change your entire life. After all Harry James is far more important than the possibility of meeting an actual human being. Then, of course, don't forget the person or even the child who appears lost and might need your help. Harry James forever, buddy!

7:40 AM  
Anonymous turnover said...

Heads up-- Kim Kardashian will deliver a lecture on: her book of selfies, her famous family, the business of millennial culture, and the objectification of women in the media. She certainly qualifies as an expert on that last one.

Always worthwhile to keep up with the Kardashian lecture circuit. Lots of guys follow her. Perhaps because the rear view is Kim's best asset.

The Young Turks news show has commentary here:


8:03 AM  
Anonymous JWO said...

Golf: Ha! That was great.

On another note, I would like to wish atearinrain good luck, he's moving out of the city today (or tomorrow, I forget) to a smaller town and possibly out to a farm.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Nice essay here:


"... the free market has slowly become our master metaphor. Its benchmarks of efficiency and profit have become ours. Our capacity to respond to the world and engage with one another as citizens has eroded, and instead we’ve become consumers in all things, rational actors seeking competitive advantage."

9:51 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Ouch! Harsh!


12:05 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

" Oh, al, here comes a lovely lady coming your way. But no way for a chance encounter that could change your entire life."

Danny boy, thanks for the tip. I should want to start paying alimony at my age?

I'm not ever taking those earplugs out.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,


Many thanks for the heads-up regarding Kim's lecture circuit. Incidentally, I just finished Nicole Aschoff's book, "The New Prophets of Capital." A brilliant work, however, I was deeply disappointed that there was not a chapter on Kim.


Didn't Winston Churchill write, "history will be kind to me for I intend to write it myself"? This is good advice, tho not terribly revealing, nor interesting. Even Hitler forgot to mention one of his most mysterious characteristics: his obsession for kishka, and fondness for chopped liver baths.


3:27 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Maybe, but as they say in elementary school playgrounds around the world, "He (al-) started it."
Sorry if I'm breaking the 24 hour rule.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


But what if she were gorgeous, fucked yr brains out, plus was rich and didn't ask u2 sign a pre-nup? Earplugs cd foreclose all of these fabulous options. You cd even ask Dan to be best man at the wedding.


ps: I'm giving a keynote in Waterloo on May 13 (2016). Just giving u a heads-up.


As for lectures b4 that: NY Sept. 7; Chile, 1st wk of Dec.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Things we shd concern ourselves with dept.:


What utter kaka. Meanwhile, I've been thinking abt a SWAT Urine Task Force for my NY visit on Sept. 7. Wafers, armed with 6-packs of Bud Lite, break into the NYT Bldg and pee on David Brooks' shoes. The guy is so stupid, he probably wears Hush Puppies; which tend to soak up a lot of urine. Wafers are encouraged to submit other attack scenarios.


7:45 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I've been waiting 24 hours for this...

I never thought this would happen to me, but on my way home from the ol' factory yesterday, with Dapper Dan's words of advice still rattling 'round my cranium, I found myself portaging my bike on the walkway along the train bridge that spans the mighty Saskatchewan River. This isn't my usual route, but I take it sometimes because it leads to bike paths, not downtown traffic. To cross, one must carry one's bike up the stairs to the top of the trestle, then carry it back down on the other side, so it's a bit of an extra hassle.

Anyway, I had my ear buds shoved even deeper than normal into my head, as an extra precaution against any sirens that might beckon me to the shoals of marital infidelity. Nevertheless, I found myself pushing my war pony along the walkway...right behind a cute little cycliste, who suddenly started talking to me. Despite my aural defences, I found myself engaged in light chit-chat with the fetching lass. What the what? I must have the Qa'vorka! When she said that this was her first time (meaning crossing the bridge) I panicked, thinking I had stumbled into a Conway Twitty song (I could tell she'd never been that far before) and so hopped upon my steed and pedalled away as fast as I could.

Needless to say, I don't think I'll take the train bridge again soon.


1:51 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ay, al!

Here Dan and I do our best to get u laid, and what do you do? You run! Not only your loss, but loss for the blog as well. Given your (unrealized) success, we cd have advertised: "Become a Wafer and spruce up yr sex life!" I beg u, go back to the walkway and wait for her return. Meanwhile, we need a fleet of Wafer stories, on How I got laid by joining the Wafer blog. Then our ad campaign to attract more Waferettes and launch a full-service dating facility can move into full gear.


ps: Meanwhile, I thought u all might enjoy this, as well as the bk "Idiot America":


2:04 PM  
Anonymous Frankistan said...

These past few days and weeks have been full of interesting events. The following article and comment capture the entire thing for me:

1) Article

Ten Days in June

2) Comment

Tides a Turning
The collapse of Southern Conservatism is on. At long last. This week in June 2015 is the fault line.

God is gone…. The Pope is against the fossil fuel brainwashed conservatives on climate change (most pundits have been leaving this little tidbit out of the Progressives' good week). Obamacare is here to stay. The gays are legally supported. Is that fireworks or right-wing heads exploding that I’m hearing. The confederate flag is history (moving to museums where it belongs). Now it’s time to take away their guns. And yes, even time to take away their grits (as obesity is putting pressure on Medicare/Medicaid).

Source (trying reading most comments before and after - you will not regret the effort):


More - full

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

RE: al-Qua'bong-"I'm never taking those earplugs out."
Amazingly, I happened to meet al- a few days ago and here is the transcript of our conversation:
Dan: How are you?
al-: What?
Dan: I said, how are you?
al: What?
Dan: We are fellow Wafers.
al-: What?
Dan: I met Dr. Berman last year.
al-: What?
Needless to say, a highly stimulating conversation, transformative in fact. Next time I'll interview sheet metal.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Tristam Shandy said...

John Gray gives a positive review of David Graeber's new book, The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy ...

Maybe Graeber learned something from his visits here after all...


10:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I had a favorite uncle who, for some reason, thought the word 'grits' was hilarious. He would periodically tell 'jokes' that began with, "Hominy grits are there..."


12:17 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB, WAFers ....Have enjoyed Charlie Pierce's "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free" for over 5 years now.
Here is an archived comparison of "Idiot America" with Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death": http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/06/11/741342/-The-Three-Great-Premises-of-Idiot-America by arendt. The comments are also a gd ( if long ) read. In short, the 3 Great Premises are: 1. Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units. 2. Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough.
3. Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.
( Also, the field of play has moved from the brain to the gut. )
Postman, "Americans no longer talk to each other; they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas; they exchange images. They do not argue with prepositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities, and commercials."

I wonder what Minow would have to say today, or if he would agree with this statement of his in the "Great Wasteland" speech: "Some say the public interest is what merely interests the public", ( which he did not at the time ).
This too: " ...so will history decide whether today's broadcasters employed their powerful voice to enrich the people or to debase them."

I contend that today, the intellectual landscape in the US - certainly as demonstrated by the media and 'popular culture' in all its manifestations - has been transformed from a 'vast wasteland' into an open sewer, from sea to polluted sea.

In other important 'news', Trump says that if elected prez, he'll have to change his hairdo, as he won't have time to maintain it.
Brother, is that a compelling reason to vote for him or what ?Or to vote at all ?
I think all candidates now should be challenged to promise to change something in their looks just as dynamic, should they win !

I would make it a Constitutional requirement for any or all of them to wear, every day, an "I'm with Stupid" T-shirt with arrows pointing to each side and straight up.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous David G. said...

Just read an interesting article that succinctly describes so much of what we discuss here. The responses at the bottom are pretty good too, especially the one by Michael Austin. (I don't think anyone has posted this article already.)

Anti-Intellectualism is Killing America

4:18 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

File this story into the "Asshole American neighbors" file:


Asshole number one thought it would be cool to fly an unmanned drone around his neighborhood.

Asshole number two blew the drone out of the sky with his shotgun (again in a residential neighborhood).

Asshole number one sue for damages, won $700.

Moral of the story? I wouldn't either one of these assholes living anywhere near me.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

JS et al.-

Good evidence that we are mired in dolts, douche bags of the 1st order. People sometimes tell me I'm generalizing from a few bad apples, but the truth is that the US can be characterized as having a few good apples, not much more. The rot is pervasive throughout American society. I pegged this in 2000, in the Twilight bk, and since then the stats of violence, lack of empathy, ignorance, and stupidity, have all gone thru the roof. 320 million buffoons limping toward oblivion. What a sight.


7:48 PM  
Anonymous David Graeber said...

Tristam -

I wouldnt assume David Graeber has been here. You can type anything in the name box.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Marc L Bernstein said...

just ran into this article written by David Masciotra, have not finishes reading it -


This should be interesting -


Maybe Naomi can sneak in a pro-contraception remark while the Pope is open to suggestion.

I just recently came up with a new idea of a mechanism by which global human population can start to decline. It is through failed states. I got the idea by reflecting on recent events in Yemen. When states fail, the poor begin to struggle to acquire vital goods and services. Starvation and disease are the expected result, along with a stream of refugees. In addition, for those who cannot relocate or choose not to become refugees, psychological disorders would be expected to increase along with accompanying increases in self-destructive behaviors. An increase in substance abuse is likely for those who can acquire alcohol and narcotics.

Simplicity and insight from Samuel Alexander of The Simplicity Institute -


It is easy to see that the earth is already severely overpopulated with people, just be using simple reasoning along the same lines that Samuel Alexander uses.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Graeber makes a gd pt. Problem is, how do we know *this* is actually Graeber? But I have a feeling it is, and also that the lengthy exchange we had with him on this blog a while back was him as well, altho it sure didn't do him a lot of credit. I haven't had the pleasure of rdg his new bk, however, so I can't say if he indeed got anything out of visiting this blog. But John Gray is a hero of mine, so maybe he did. (One can only hope.) In any case, David, it's nice to know yr rdg this blog, so let me take this oppty to wish u success with yr new bk.


1:31 PM  
Anonymous Dawgzy said...

Hola, WAFers. I've been away for almost 2 weeks. The sort version: Driving across 5 large western states. So many people on casual contact are sweet, decent and beyond "nice." We have a lumpenproletariat that's all out of proportion to Marx's estimations. The West is the land of jumbo vehicles, beyond the working variety, e.g., ranchers', farmers', land owners', pickups Lived most of the days very simply, away from all media and devices. Spent at least 1/2 hour per eve doing nothing but looking at the moon, planets and stars, woke to silence except for river sounds, savored that until it was time to "wake it and shake it. wag it and shag it." Got to know some fine people who were on the same expedition, re-connected with others. I'd forgotten how much clarity camping could bring. Utter simplicity.

Re. microaggression and Dr. Sue: I looked at a Psychology Today article by him. Harmless enough, and common sensical. But wait until the PC police get ahold of it. I follow events at the college where I learned a few things in spite of myself, and it gives me a window into the rigid codification for behavioral norms that tend to get set in the academy. I don't know whether there's been a thread devoted to "Political Correctness." Despite the phrase being a cudgel used by reactionaries who don't want to be told to act decently, there is such an animal, and it thrives in "progressive" circles. Some of it goes back to the wave of Maoism that affected many in the 70s. "Where do correct Ideas come from? …"

"Idiot America's" Charles Pierce is a wicked funny and dead-on observer of the American (political for the most part) scene. He's at Esquire.com, of all places. He has a lot in common with WAFers. Today he highlights a micro trend of reaction to the Confederate flag kerfuffle. There has been a surge of buys at Amazon of the CD/video of Gone with the Wind in reaction to "concerns" that it might be censored/ banned, whatever. Perhaps it shows a migration toward soothing reminders of a tradition, more likely out and out paranoia of a Southern variety.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...


I've noticed that about prophets of unlimited progress -- for all their dazzling futurism re: technology, they don't seem to have a clue about anything else. I recently saw an interview with Michio Kaku wherein he extolled the incredible advances awaiting us in the near future ... but his vision of that future was basically the present, only with flashier tech. For example, his takeaway on ever-improving computer tech? Everyone can be his/her own broker now! Because of course rapacious capitalism will continue to be the status quo, as he obviously thinks it should be. And we'll consult computer MDs built into our walls for diagnosis & treatment, so much better than fallible human beings -- wonder how they'll program them for compassion & empathy, though?

Came across an interesting graphic novel, Everywhere Antennas by Julie Delporte, about an unnamed narrator who finds herself sensitive to the all-pervasive radiation of the digital age, and moves to a small cabin in the woods of Canada. Whether her condition is actually physical or psychological, it touches on the problem of living simply & apart from the increasingly overwhelming shroud of digital tech.

On a not dissimilar note, let me recommend another graphic novel, The Walking Man by Jiro Tanaguchi, a series of vignettes featuring a Japanese salaryman who finds more to life by simply taking unexpected paths through his environment, stopping to just observe & contemplate tiny but beautiful aspects of the natural world around him.

I'm grateful for the recommendation of Why Grow Up? by Jill Neiman, too. Just got my copy & I'm thoroughly enjoying it. A thoughtful little volume about the importance of the Enlightenment & the need for philosophy, particularly in the matter of becoming a grownup rather than remaining a perpetual adolescent.

Miles Deli,

The whole Social Justice Warrior mindset has gone beyond absurdity at this point. Its original goals of diminishing bigotry, going back to the 1970s, were humane & reasonable; what it's become since then makes a straitjacket seem like leisure wear. We used to worry about being reduced to numbers; now we're being reduced to labels & required to monitor & police our every thought before uttering a single word -- which of course must be carefully chosen from an extremely limited list of acceptable phrases. If we're to be nothing more than an ever-narrowing construct/embodiment of categories & sub-categories, what happens to simply being a human being, contradicting ourselves & containing multitudes? Just one more reason to distrust & avoid ideological purity & dogma at all costs.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a nice read:

Irvin Yalom, "The Spinoza Problem"


5:18 PM  
Anonymous Edward said...

It is not that technology is inherently bad. Rather, how your culture/tradition teaches you to think about family life defines how you apply technology. Japanese tradition gives them some touch on how to invent useful things:

1. In a Japanese bathroom, three people can clean up at the same time.

2. You can wash yourself before getting in the tub.

3. And there's a control panel for water temperature.

4. After a bath, you can re-use the water for another bath or for laundry.

5. Oh, and you can dry your clothes in the bathroom, too.


7:08 PM  
Anonymous mo ronich said...

Here is a passionate article by Rebecca Solnit, she criticizes some of her allies on the left for being too negative and diminishing the value of positive changes with unproductive grousing. To me, it seems she subscribes to an idea of change as a series of small victories arising from the engaged action of positively focused progressives. Do we think her message is still that there's hope that we can have a transformative future, rather than something along the lines of dual-process? It's a criticism I've seen before in different forms.

"So here I want to lay out an insanely obvious principle that apparently needs clarification. There are bad things and they are bad. There are good things and they are good, even though the bad things are bad. The mentioning of something good does not require the automatic assertion of a bad thing. The good thing might be an interesting avenue to pursue in itself if you want to get anywhere. In that context, the bad thing has all the safety of a dead end. And yes, much in the realm of electoral politics is hideous, but since it also shapes quite a bit of the world, if you want to be political or even informed you have to pay attention to it and maybe even work with it.

Instead, I constantly encounter a response that presumes the job at hand is to figure out what's wrong, even when dealing with an actual victory, or a constructive development. Recently, I mentioned that California's current attorney general, Kamala Harris, is anti-death penalty and also acting in good ways to defend people against foreclosure. A snarky Berkeley professor's immediate response began: "Excuse me, she's anti-death penalty, but let the record show that her office condoned the illegal purchase of lethal injection drugs."

Apparently, we are not allowed to celebrate the fact that the attorney general for 12% of all Americans is pretty cool in a few key ways or figure out where that could take us. My respondent was attempting to crush my ebullience and wither the discussion, and what purpose exactly does that serve?"

9:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


As I explain in NB, the way the Japanese handle technology is quite exceptional, and doesn't fit the usual McLuhan formulation (only partly). Other countries do, it seems to me. Plainly put, it's not neutral and it's not a question of how it is used.


Well, she cd be rt, and it's at least worth a discussion. My honest feeling is that while there is some hope for Europe and Latin America, there is none for the US: not thru Dual Process or any other process. The fix is in; we are simply too far gone. Nor does it help that we are clueless, a nation of sheep.


11:50 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Dr. B., there's something I've wanted to ask you for quite some time. You mentioned in your talk that "Alternative Radio" recorded, that Tocqueville noted how gringos react violently when they are challenged intellectually. I skimmed through "Democracy in America" a couple of times, and did an electronic search, but couldn't find that passage. Would you mind directing me to the chapter in which Tocqueville wrote this?

Did Tocqueville cite a reason for this behaviour? My guess would be that being raised to think that one is uniquely selected by God as a holy being would be an explanation. This sense of being a "chosen" person might account for many other phenomena. Gringos are notorious for being unable to recognise irony, for example. I've never come across a theory to account for this, but perhaps the absolutist cast of mind that causes the violent reaction to criticism is the reason for this as well.

Did Tocqueville have anything to say about irony in the land of the fee, home of the slave?


3:32 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Hello Wafers

Technology isn't neutral at all. My 11 year old doesn't have a smart phone . I don't allow it- but his peers are teasing and pressuring him to get one. They all communicate via text and Instagram and Twitter. Hardly any of them talk over the phone. My son is an exception to the rule but not for much longer because in order for him to be able to fit in and "socialize" he will need to acquire the communication behaviors of his peers. Adults hardly make phone calls anymore. If people who were exposed to the real use of the phone hardly use it for its intended purpose what is then to be expected of kids who grow up on smart phones?

Technology promises leisure but it seems that the trade is always in exchange of creativity/imagination. It empties / hollows humans out.

Btw, wafers and Dr. MB I enjoyed the indie Sci-Fi movie Advantageous playing on Netfix. There's a pretty good review of it on Alternet. It has lots of parallels to our present state of affairs.



6:13 PM  
Anonymous Solace Face said...

Funny/awkward Steven Pinker spot on the HGTV network, for some reason:


You know what, I think HE is a "cube"...

7:16 PM  
Blogger Yossi said...

'some hope for Europe". Not if you include UK. We are the 51st state, and in addition have monarchy, UKIP and soccer.

2:00 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Essential reading for all Wafers, more documentation of the United States as truly a world outlier:


Merican police kill more people in days than police in other country do in years.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No, England ain't Europe. Not much hope there.


In wake of yr message I just wrote the Dept. of Technology, suggesting that by 2020 all American residents shd be required to have a cell fone surgically inserted into their recta. Dialling wd be accomplished by sphincter control. Will keep u posted on reply. (e.g., "We'll look into it.")


I know there is a French pdf of the original text, since a friend of mine used it to scan for something else. You might give it a try, using various keywords.


10:59 AM  
Anonymous tristan t said...

Al,... here's a passage from de Tocqueville, although I don't know if it's the one you had in mind or the one MB was referencing.

"There is nothing more irksome in the conduct of life than the irritable patriotism Americans have. The foreigner would be very willing to praise much in their country but would like to be allowed a few criticisms; that is exactly what he is refused.

So, America is a land of freedom where the foreigner, to avoid offending anyone, must not speak freely about either individuals, or the state, or the governed, or the government, or public and private undertakings, indeed about anything he encounters except perhaps climate and the soil both of which, however, some Americans are ready to defend as if they had helped to create them."


Note that iphones, ipads and various techno-marvels are promised to be superseded as chief techno-buffoon Mark Zuckerberg announces the advent of virtual reality headsets and soon to come: telepathic communication.

"One day, I believe we'll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directly using technology."

All that seems to be missing, it appears, are the full rich thoughts.


2:33 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB, Wafers-

Good Idea Dept.:


See armed pastors:


I couldn't agree more with these cutting-edge pastors. Yes, what better place than a house of worship to pop of a few rounds... Instead of a fellowship moment, why not have a free-fire zone moment where congregants simply blow each other away? That being said, I just wanna say that I support the shooting deaths of as many Americans as possible. Guns, in fact, should be carried by everyone at all times and used at will. A day w/out shooting someone should be construed as worse than a day w/out sex. Just *think* of the planetary benefits of such a policy: resource stress modulation; a free Shaneka; permanent removal of literally millions of douche bags. Jesus, the possibilities are many. I'm preparing notes, which I have titled the "Shoot at Will Program" (SWP), to present to my local city council this evening. I call on all Wafers to join w/me in this effort.


3:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I like the idea of a free Shaneka, roaming the countryside in search of McDonald's restaurants.


Kramer was way ahead of Zuckershmuck. I think it was in the episode in which he and Newman were competing for holding a millennium party, that he predicted that future communication wd be completely telepathic.


5:46 PM  
Anonymous Tim Lukeman said...

Interesting article by Scott Timberg on the forthcoming Steve Jobs biopic & what it says about the arts:


Full, rich thoughts ... yeah, we used to have 'em, but now there's an app for that.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Eric Green said...


Yet more evidence that "smart" devices make you stupid, in particular by allowing people to avoid remembering things, which in turn presumably atrophies the neuronal centers that act to form memories. What do you think is the prognosis for a culture that lives on iPhones and tablets 24/7?

Some other "highlights" from the study:

"Reliance on digital devices, and the trust we place in them, can resemble a human relationship. The feelings are established in the same way-through experience. Repeated experience with a reliable individual builds a 'schema' or association for that individual in our memory, telling us that this person can be depended on. If a digital device is continually reliable then we will build that into our schema of that device."

"There is an argument to be made that looking up information online, instead of trying to recall it ourselves, makes us shallower thinkers. Past research has repeatedly demonstrated that actively recalling information is a very efficient way to create a permanent memory. In contrast, passively repeating information (e.g. by repeatedly looking it up on the Internet) does not create a solid, lasting memory trace in the same way. Based on this research, it can be argued that the trend to look up information before even trying to recall it prevents the build-up of long-term memories, and thus makes us process information merely on a shallow, moment-to-moment basis."

"The loss or compromise of data stored on digital devices, and smartphones in particular, would cause immense distress, particularly among women and people under 35. More than half of women (51.0%) and almost the same number of 25 to 34 year-olds (48.6%) say it would fill them with sadness, since there are memories stored on their connected devices that they would never get back."

(Apologies for the longish post, but I thought this was worth quoting in some detail.)

7:04 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

MB and Tristan

Maybe Zuckerberg could use MB's idea of rectal insertion smartphone telecommunication and sell it to Americans as telepathy?

In the meantime enjoy the following story of just how stupid an American cop needs in order to be to wear a badge and carry a gun.


8:28 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Thanks a lot, tristan t; that's probably the passage in question.

Merry Dominion Day to you and to all Wafers in the United States and Newfoundland.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I was reading some Mexican newspaper the other day online, and came across an interview with George Packer, of the New Yorker. Much to my surprise, the interviewer mentioned WAF. Here's the relevant section:

P. En su libro Las raíces del fracaso americano Morris Berman explica que Jimmy Carter fue el último gran político americano que creía en una sociedad alternativa, donde el consumismo no fuera lo más importante. ¿Está de acuerdo?
R. ...en realidad Carter era igual de capitalista. Desreguló las aerolíneas, el transporte, las telecomunicaciones… No era izquierdista de ninguna manera.

Translation as follows:

Q. In his book Why America Failed, Morris Berman explains that Jimmy Carter was the last great American politician who believed in an alternative society, where consumerism would not be the most important thing. Do you agree?
A. ...in reality Carter was the same as a capitalist. He deregulated the airlines, transportation, telecommunications...In no way was he a left-winger.

This fascinated me because the interviewer got my argument abt WAF correctly, and Packer immediately funneled the question into predictable, and inaccurate, categories. The interviewer did not say that Jimmy was a left-winger, or that I was asserting that he was. But that's what Packer heard, and immediately went off on the tack that Carter was no liberal. What Packer apparently cdn't hear was that Jimmy was very different, and remarkable, precisely because he didn't fit traditional left-rt categories, and was instead advocating a society that transcended those categories (green, in effect--buddhist economics). How hard it is in America, even for the 'best and the brightest', to think outside the box.


12:16 PM  
Anonymous SeanKerrigan.com said...

Something I've been noticing lately (but haven't been able to explain) is the trend over the last decade or so of people going out to be alone. I can't say for certain, but it seems that people used to be able to stay home if they wanted to be alone and rest, but increasingly people go out to coffee shops or book stores to be isolated, like being at home is a stressful experience to be escaped from.

I liken this to a wraith-like existence, disembodied and unanchored. I blame electronics, but for most people, they can't escape that when they are out either.

In international news it looks possible the Greeks are going to be subjected to a bail-in, taking money directly from their accounts. Though, if you left your money there all these years you kinda deserve it.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,


It is fascinating. It's also terrific; evidence that yr message in WAF resonates in Mexico and elsewhere south of the border. I love the fact that Mexicans are able to understand the subtlety of yr argument regarding Jimmy Carter, but Americans like Packer are incapable of doing so. Yes, Jimmy was the last great American politician because he said, in effect, that Americans were essentially immoral and misguided. Why can't Americans take in constructive criticism?

Meanwhile, Republican voters are apparently rewarding racist Donald Trump in the latest polls. Trump's numbers are surging in the wake of his vicious attacks on Mexican immigrants. The latest polls have Trump in second place nationally and coming in second in Iowa and New Hampshire. While the world condemns Trump's shameful remarks, he is being rewarded by GOP primary voters.




1:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Well, technologically speaking, they aren't really alone; they have their laptops and cell fones to keep them warm.


I'd like to work on Trump's campaign, myself, tho Shaneka remains my No. 1 choice.


1:52 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I would like to participate in these conversations with Morris Berman: I sent a mail and it came right back to me. My name is Olaya Pérez olayaperezs@gmail.com. Please hook me into your Blogger

4:42 PM  
Anonymous lackofcoherence said...

What do you think about the gap between the public and scientists on key issues? Turns out, the biggest gap is on GMOs (not to open up that can of worms again.......)


It's amazing that only 65% of the public believes evolution. Or that most of the public favors offshore drilling(!)

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Vince said...


You are probably right to a great degree about people going out to be alone. However, I would have to say that I might be one of those exceptions, or perhaps part of a silent majority of single people. Let me explain.

I don't take the technology with me, except my flip phone. I pretty much ignore it while I am out. But up until recently, it has been nearly impossible to get any peace and quiet in my neighborhood. I had some terrible neighbors who made it their life's mission to make my life miserable with loud music, barking dogs, slamming doors, constant yelling and screaming, etc: pure white trash.

I have airplanes on their final landing route to Metro Detroit Airport. The state legalized fireworks. Inconsiderate neighbors cutting their grass at 9 o'clock at night. Weed whackers, leaf blowers, loud car stereos, train horns late at night and early in the morning. Kids running around the street unattended screaming and yelling all summer to the point that social services had to be called because they were not being fed.

This is a majority of what I hear when I come home after working on trucks all day, where it is understandably very loud. You see, if I go out to a coffee shop I may get some conversation in. Perhaps it would be quiet because everyone is on their computers or smart phones. The flip side of the technology however is that meaningful conversation is all but dead.

If you can find it.


8:03 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dr. Berman as in the Carter question I take notice that most people want to label politicians as either 100% capitalist and or right wing or a as 100% communist and or Left wing- there's no middle ground. The middle ground is considered spineless after all. Isn't that the perception that as a politician you have to be clearly right wing or left wing or you are doomed for "compromising" your values?

Or could it be that most Americans have to find something to disagree about in order To Position themselves as a separate and unique brand- like what companies do when marketing a product?
(My personal experience is that no matter what I do- disagree or agree with an American they will always find something different to argue about- even when there's a general agreement. Like the sky is blue but they have to add turquoise)

Doctor Berman you might want to look at this link. More evidence for your assertion of Americans envisioning themselves as a Beacon on the Hill. God Bless Amerikuh!



8:37 PM  
Anonymous J S RANK said...

MB - good doctor, I ran onto this: http://www.maciverinstitute.com/2011/09//speakers-suggestion-that-protesters-start-urinating-on-gop-lawmakers-draws-applause-laughter-at-fighting-bob-fest/

IDK...I'm asking. I know you. You've been kind. I'm a 'getting old' searcher, and just finding more frozen or petrified dog turds the more I look. Anyway...
I've talked w/ Greg Palast ( looks like Jimmy Buffet, sounds like could be a WAFer ). Maybe it's a mutual admiration society ? Or like the steam engine ?

Maybe it doesn't matter. Attribution is a side effect. Urine as a universal solvent and fixative for untruth should be enough.

I LERVE the Bernie boomlet ! If only to make the HRC bloomwad deflate. As an editorial cartoonist, bad news is good news for me. BUT, stupidity in any form gives me material. I'm overwhelmed !

DAA - The Only Good Blog in the Universe !

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Golf Pro said...

I'll be disappointed if Trump becomes US President, as I was hoping he would become the first President of an independent Scotland, which he would rename "Golfworld".

Speaking of which, this fella:


10:49 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Dems cd use a whole lotta urine as well. It's the only appropriate political statement for the 21st century. Remember, you heard it 1st on this blog--the only one worth paying any attn to.


If u keep in mind that 99.9% of the American population has its head up its ass and is rolling around like doughnuts, all these issues become astoundingly clear. As you saw, even George Packer is dumb; and his IQ is probably above 150. Think also of Robt McNamara, Bill Clinton, etc.


Being a collection of vampires, we are always looking for new blood. However, I have no idea how you can get onto this blog. Perhaps other Wafers will be kind enuf to provide u with some instructions. In the meantime, here is something to think abt:



3:12 PM  
Anonymous Sean Kerrigan said...

There's this guy I knew from my last job. I didn't know him well and rarely ever talked to him, but I ran into him a week ago and while discussing the usual small talk, he noted that he just broke up with his girlfriend and was feeling extremely lonely as he has no friends. It was clear he was a mess. Really I wanted to just recoil and leave him to his problems, but I thought that I should break away from that "Americanism" and try compassion like your neighbors down in Mexico. I told him he could hang out with me and my friends.

Yesterday, 6 of us met at a bar for dinner and trivia night. About an hour in he disappears without notice, sticking us with his bill.

Like any good American Wafer, I have a healthy amount of Selbstschadenfreude (taking pleasure in one's own misfortune), so I find this all very amusing. But it does illustrate how self-isolation has obvious advantages.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Note to Olaya-

Please post only once every 24 hrs. It's an informal rule on this blog, thank you.


8:11 PM  
Blogger Juliet Cash said...

Dr. Berman

Have you read about Japan's celibacy syndrome? What is your take on as to why Japanese of reproductive age are increasingly uninterested in sex and having kids? Do you think that it boils down to gender inequality as this article asserts?


Also I got this viral video of a Japanese train station. In the USA I have observed similar scenes on Black Friday walmart shoppers- people wanting to get a cheap deal (all wafers know that US' hustlers will do anything to have their precious hands on a cheap item- nothing unusual about that). On this particular video these folks are going to work and are entering the train with a resignation type of countenance- as if they are used to this happening to them often- being pushed into the train carts in a fashion that resembles that of sardines inside if a tin can and or illegal immigrants riding inside of car trunks. Is the Japanese work ethic such that their own lives are immaterial to them?



12:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I discuss lack of sex in Japan in NB. In future, try to send messages to latest post, as no one reads the olds stuff. Thanks.


12:58 PM  

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