February 24, 2018

Charge of the Anti-Turk Brigade

"Turkeys to right of them/Turkeys to left of them/Turkeys in front of them/Volleyed and thundered/Stormed at with shot and shell/Boldly they rode and well/Into the jaws of Death/Into the mouth of hell/Rode the 172 Wafers." (With apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson)

For Wafers still trapped in the US, every day is like the Crimean War. The Brave 172 face down 325 million turkeys, sometimes trying to explain things to them, but mostly just trying to avoid them. Also trying not to blow our brains out when the turkeys speak (i.e., gobble).

Trumpi recently gave a State of the Union address (SOTU), which praised the country and himself. A few weeks later, it is time for a similar assessment from the Greatest Blog on Earth (GBOE): This country is a fucking disaster, and every day brings more horror stories about who we are and what we are doing. So onward, into the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Have a nice day!



Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Sad--I have to take issue with you that the article you linked shows that Bloomberg is starting to "get it." The author is NOT referring to America with his "long, painful unraveling" statement but the Republican party. The author's superficial reading of history is that Trump (former Democrat turned Republican) as president = John Tyler (former Democrat turned Whig), while Mitch McConnell (Republican Senate leader from Kentucky) = Henry Clay (Whig Senate leader from Kentucky). The feud which has developed between Trump/McConnell supposedly = that of Tyler/Clay because it risks destroying the Republicans the way the Whigs were eventually destroyed. The kicker is that the author cites Tyler's repeating Andrew Jackson's veto of the national bank (precursor of today's Federal Reserve) over Clay's objections as his prime historical example. I know this might come as a shock to Bloomberg and the hustling douchebags who read it, but Tyler was CORRECT. The national bank WAS a huge threat to American democracy, as the Federal Reserve and Wall Street have become in the 21st century.

Tyler likely hated the national bank because he was a SOUTHERNER (and the only president to side with the Confederacy), and the bank was an organ of the type of Yankee hustling that predominated in the northern states. It is the political descendants of those who favored the bank (who now read Bloomberg) who helped create an American economic system that is indeed undergoing a long, painful unraveling, along with the rest of the country.

11:53 PM  
Anonymous BrotherMaynard said...

I second the recommendation of Andrew Sullivan of the opioid crisis. Finally, some dares ask why Americans WANT to take so much opioids in the first place. Sullivan's answers is escapism from the day to day awfulness in American life. He also notes America has no alternative tradition to fall back upon unlike Europe. A future Wafer?
Money quote: "We consume 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone and 81 percent of its oxycodone. We use an estimated 30 times more opioids than is medically necessary for a population our size."

Throw in alcohol, pot, coke, acid and you'd have to conclude we are a nation of drug addict psychos.

Sullivan's other essay is good. Trumpi is driving people insane (as if they weren't already). Besides destroying our government, Trumpi's main contribution is that he is destroying what remains of our civi society.


12:17 AM  
Blogger Alogon said...

>Relatedly, the armed "deputy" at Parkland has now resigned after it was revealed that he stood out in the parking lot instead of going into the school to face the shooter. Everyone is demonizing this guy, but in reality he was in a no-win situation.

Apparently he had company in three or four others who did likewise. If they are younger than their forties, should we be surprised? How were they raised? It has been customary for some time now to expect boys to act like girls and to drug them when they don't.

No one said it as well as C.S. Lewis way back in 1943, in _The Abolition of Man_: "All the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible... In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful."

Has education done anything but further deteriorate since?

1:03 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Dear MB,

I have been thinking of asking you this question for a while. Some comments (Kuhn & Fleck et al) in your last post reminded me. Is there any work on the relationship between scientific community/enterprise and the political and/or religious power over time (and place)? e.g., the Royal Soc in the initial days were definitely not part of the power structure. But in the present time S&T is very much a part of the corporate capitalist power structure. Is it a question even worth exploring?

6:57 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Royal Soc was part of the power structure. In any case, there are a ton of bks on this subject; I wrote one of them, in fact: "Social Change and Scientific Organization." You can buy it used off of Amazon pretty cheaply, I believe. Problem is, I did that research so long ago, I can't remember any relevant titles, but rest assured, rels. between sci and society, esp. for the 17C, have been explored in detail.


8:25 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear MB and Wafers i'm a frequent reader but this my first time posting. I would like to submit my application for the position of Wafer #173. Meanwhile here's a discussion of the rot of US society. youtu.be/Qig9B_MBpyk

8:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: pras: Also check out ch. 2 of the Reenchantment bk.


Welcome to the blog. Lurking is fine, but posting is living! As for becoming #173, I don't know how to register on the blog, but perhaps other Wafers can give you the directions for that. As for the arg. that guns aren't the issue: of course they aren't. Americans are so violent and stupid, that if guns were outlawed they wd just come at each other w/knives or clubs. The core issue is a turkey country filled with turkeys. How we are going to change that...Well, we aren't.


9:48 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...


Excellent quotation! I may add that we see such perverse people incubating in American schools because they aren't really schools. We know that most adults can't focus on anything for 45 min any longer, and yet we pretend 'class' is going on for 45 min. Students would learn more if the school day was cut in half and actually involved shorter periods of intensive schooling, but then it would create problems for working parents. Capitalist daycare, built for profit and not for quality.

It's amazing to compare the American work schedule with continental Europe, or even the UK to a lesser degree. Relaxing is 'bad', so everything has to be overplanned with constant activity. But of course it is not possible to live up to this schedule, so the workday is a mix of work and sitting around playing with your phone. Likewise students aren't ever given 'free time', so they just offer only superficial attention to the schedule of constant work. In Europe, people actually work for shorter bursts. Much less fake.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

WAFER Diogenes--you may consider the 1981 bk: "The hurried child," by David Elkind regarding american children and their parents.

Cleveland Moffett described this baseline restlessness in 1895 regarding american society.

americans simply cannot sit still and think critically. The "pathnogmonic" american restlessness was seen as "productivity," "hard work," "and/or getting ahead."

It's always fun to play-spot the american at international airports and in other countries!

Toxic sickos.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Dystopian technology in the workplace.


Thomas Frank on the hysteria over Russian trolls.


Texas high school teacher records brawl instead of stopping it.


Now I understand why some people homeschool their children.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Esca Dreg said...

@Student, In the anonymity of the cyberworld you could have sneaked back in reincarnated as ConfuciusRedux, but you had the courage to keep your original name. You could have sulked in self exile, banished by your own making, but you chose instead the high-road of humility to apologize unconditionally and of your own recognizance. Culture and history be the judge, in American parlance it is meek to submit. In the kingdom of Waferland however, it is considered brave. El hombre caballero. Welcome back!

"A samurai warrior once was charged with avenging a noble's death at the hands of a rival warlord. He trained for four years, studied the warlord's every habits and moves, and planned his attack. When the day came, he stealthily approached the warlord when he was alone, and cornered him. The samurai held his katana aloft, poised to strike the final blow, when the warlord, utterly defeated, spit in the face of the samurai. The samurai sheathed his sword and walked away, rather than kill the warlord (out of anger)."
Tell this tale to an Amerikn, and you'll get one of the two responses: a drooling huh or calling the Samurai a stupid to have let gone the opportunity. Even if you give away the punchline in the last 3 words, they still won't understand. The reason they don't is because they live in Pinker's Age of Reason.

@Child, There are only 3 public intellectuals, aka GSWH, in this universe who'll take time to respond (not always to your liking) to you individually if you maintain honor. They are Jesus, Belman and Chomsky. Honor or lack thereof is the only position to enter or exit Waferdom. Welcome onboard!

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Fry said...

what r u guys reading lately? MB?

need to pick something up

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Tammi said...

Which country has the best work-life balance? You can see information about each of the 35 OECD countries in the ranking here: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance/

4:54 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pls chg yr handle to Stir Fry, or Wok Man; much more distinctive. Try the Neapolitan quadrilogy by Elena Ferrante.


5:10 PM  
Blogger wthcha said...

Hi Dr. Berman,

Given the topic for this post, I should illustrate a recent experience in Barcelona on a night out with my much younger classmates in our university study abroad course.

A classmate and myself were speaking to a woman from Argentina whose job was to entice customers to the pub. When my classmate said we were Americans, she corrected him by noting that she is also American, since America is a continent. I agreed with her, and cognitive dissonance episode number one became apparent in my classmate. The topic then shifted to the subject of the US empire. My classmate became livid when I noted that the term American to describe we USians was a byproduct of that imperialism. He left after the woman and myself began talking about the number of bases we have around the world, all the while screaming that we were not an empire.

Now that we were alone and could have a reasonable conversation, we were able to talk about the costs of empire paid by everyone, in both a spiritual and monetary sense, and what could be done about it. When we were talking about a solution that was akin to the pullback of the former British Empire, she remarked, "This conversation would be exhilarating if only we both spoke Spanish." Mine was not good, but was enough to get by. I still have the nasty habit of switching languages when I forget a Spanish word. But fortunately, everyone was quite forgiving with, "Perdon. Soy Americano."

I still miss Spain. A wonderful country. Sad that I had to come back. Who knows? Maybe a miracle will happen and I'll get published.


7:30 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Esca - Beggars can't be choosers. The only person who would be losing out by being mad would be me. I have gotten a lot of value out of this blog and Dr Berman's work, in a sane world he would be the head of the history department at Harvard and be well known instead of Steven Pinker. Sometimes I think Pinker learned too well from Chomsky, specially the part of how the intellectual class is there to serve the elite. I doubt Harvard doesn't have good historians who could correct him but right-wingers don't really have an intellectual leg to stand on, so whenever someone with credentials comes along and says what they want to hear, they make him rich. Jordan Peterson comes to mind too, although I think he actually believes the stuff he says, unlike Pinker. Yale has amazing open source content on the bible with actual historians but it doesn't say what right-wingers want to hear so it's not famous.

Dr Berman, sorry for sending my previous post to the last blog-post but I'd still like a suggestion of something to read on the occult or participating consciousness if there is anything? I'm thinking of reading Thought as A System by David Bohm or maybe I should just study physics textbooks until I understand quantum mechanics?

10:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Pinker believes the stuff he says (sad to say). On participating consciousness, and the occult: I discuss these at great length in the Reenchantment bk. Bohm, quantum mechanics, won't help you all that much.


11:37 PM  
Blogger Bill Hicks said...

@Dio--indeed, during the vast majority of my career I spent at least half of each workday fucking off in some fashion or other. In the latter half, I became a very popular supervisor because I never expected my employees to pretend like they were working as long as they finished their assignments on time. More than one told me that they hated seeing me retire--that felt good.

@Fry--may I humbly present my short list of great modern Wafer novels:

The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
American War by Omar El Akaad
Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack
Zone One by Colson Whitehead
The Water Knife by Paolo Baciglupi

Each are dystopian novels set in America which either show American culture in its death throes, or in the case of Zone One how it refuses to die even during a zombie apocalypse. Happy reading!

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Mcginn said...


Kotzebue, Alaska!!

This place is rotten all the way out to it's fringes

1:53 AM  
Anonymous Zen Citizen said...

Deadthoreau and Brother Maynard —

It may interest you to know that Andrew Sullivan is demonstrably no stranger to Waferism. I say this because he is directly responsible for my discovery of WAF and, subsequently, Dr. Berman's body of work and this blog. I was a regular reader of The Dish, Sullivan's blog, when he posted a passage from a review of WAF by George Scialabba that The New Inquiry magazine had published a week or so earlier, on May 26, 2012.

The two paragraphs that Sullivan pulled from Scialabba's review are quintessentially Wafer. The first speaks of the likely “oligarchic, intensely surveilled, bread-and-circuses authoritarianism” of Western civilization when in full decline; the second paragraph discusses the monastic option that is available to persons who wish to preserve those traditions and ideas that deserve to survive.

Sullivan's blog post and Scialabba's review shared the headline, "How Bad Is It?" Sullivan's only editorial remark was this terse answer: "Pretty bad." Perhaps we can infer from his assent, and from the aptness of the review passage he quoted, that Sullivan was sympathetic to Dr. Berman's analysis going on six years ago.

Sullivan is still interesting, whether he's a crypto-Wafer or not. I don't always agree with his politics, but the fact that he is a gay, Roman Catholic, conservative, British-born naturalized American (who, it must be said, supported Obama and H. Clinton) points to an intelligence that is trying to engage with the world in a non-Manichean, intellectually curious, useful way. In my view he is always worth reading. And I agree that his essay on the opioid crisis is important and strong.

2:48 AM  
Anonymous Transatlantic said...

Thomas Frank on the hysteria over Russian trolls.


Surprising the Guardian published this, given that they were a prime contributor to our new McCarthyism.

Just wait until the full extent of the corruption comes out with the (coming) OIG report -- and not only concerning the Russia hysteria. There are several major scandals involving the Dems/neolibs which have been quietly under investigation for over a year now. Savvy folks who are up to date on the info. revealed in the leaked Podesta and DNC e-mail troves can already guess what is coming. The Nunes memo is the tip of the iceberg.

4:11 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr Berman, we might be related. I was even more suspecting... when you mentioned that singer Julius LaRosa. My grandmother, Lillian Berman (shortened from Hoberman from her parents' generation) gave me some of his music, and that children's song about the orchestra...always was a memory-marker.

I love your work because it validates what I already feel and know. Don't know how I could get through the day without the two or three scholars including you and Chomsky...who tell the truth because you have no choice.

8:17 AM  
Blogger random traveller said...

Pretty well sums up why I left America for good.

2:02 AM  

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