November 19, 2019

Fanny Trollope

Some time ago someone asked if the US was always as bad as it is today, or whether the contemporary condition is something new. An answer comes from Fanny (Frances) Trollope, mother of great English novelist, Anthony Trollope, who visited the US during 1927-31. Her book, Domestic Manners of the Americans, was publ. 1832. She basically regarded the nation as a collection of hustlers and boors, profoundly nasty, and self-deluded. A sample:

"every bee in the hive is actively employed in search; neither art, science, learning, nor pleasure can seduce them from its pursuit."

"there is no charm, no grace in their conversation."

"however meritorious the American character may be, it is not amiable."

"I never saw a population so totally divested of gaiety; there is no trace of this feeling from one end of the Union to the other."

"rude so remarkably prevalent in the manners of American children."

"they never have the air of leisure or repose."

"they never amuse themselves--no; and their hearts are not warm...and they have no ease, no forgetfulness of business and of care--no, not for a moment."

"The want of warmth, of interest, of feeling, upon all subjects which do not immediately touch their own concerns, is universal, and has a most paralyzing effect upon conversation."

"The poor of great Britain, whom distress, or a spirit of enterprise tempt to try another land, ought, for many reasons, to repair to Canada; there they would meet co-operation and sympathy, instead of malice, hatred, and all uncharitableness."

[On the American obsession with money:] "This sordid object, for ever before their eyes, must inevitably produce a sordid tone of mind, and worse still, it produces a seared and blunted conscience on all questions of probity."

"[Americans] believe themselves in all sincerity to have surpassed, to be surpassing, and to be about to surpass, the whole earth in the intellectual race. I am aware that not a single word can be said, hinting a different opinion, which will not bring down a transatlantic anathema on my head."

"...what I consider as one of the most remarkable traits in the national character of Americans: namely, their exquisite sensitiveness and soreness respecting everything said or written concerning them....these feelings, if carried to excess, produce a weakness which amounts to imbecility....they wince if a breeze blows over them, unless it be tempered with adulation....The extraordinary features of [this is] the excess of rage into which they lash themselves [if criticized]."



Anonymous James Allen said...

On the social justice front, the following item:

(Hashtag #Paultoo? Hashtag #who’snext?)

“Museums are reassessing the legacy of an artist who had sex with teenage girls and called the Polynesian people he painted “savages.”

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Dr. B and Wafers:

I really enjoyed reading Fanny Trollope's quotes. Her writings would be good ammunition in a discussion about decline, but with who in America would you find to discuss decline? Maybe if you throw in a chicken sandwich...

Dr. B, Miles, Pastrami, thank you for your input on my health. I am so fortunate. I have medical insurance, and it just so happens I had used up my "out of pocket" limit for 2020, so my trip to Memorial Sloan Kettering was free. They removed a big sarcoma in my pelvis that sprang from prostate cancer that had been managed for years. They think they got it all, and I have a pretty good prognosis compared to the eight weeks I was given to live before my surgery. I just got extremely lucky with insurance and the doctors at Sloan. They saved my life, and I'm not exaggerating one bit. I'm in a good place now, but the next illness could bankrupt me, just as illness bankrupts many Americans. Right now, I'm living the life of a retired man with few cares. I don't expect that to last.

Here's an article from the Atlantic that explains my dilemma:

PS: Dr. B, I would miss the next Wafer Summit for all the tea in China.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Dr. Berman:

I was fascinated to go on the blog this afternoon and discover the excerpts from Fanny Trollope on America. Just the other day I wanted to share this quote from de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (1835):

"I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavouring to procure the petty and palty pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them, but the does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power ... [seeking] to keep them in perpetual childhood; it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing ... to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living" (Bernard Crick, Democracy (Oxford UP), pp. 63-64)

I also have a question: how did you come to terms intellectually with the place of Karl Marx's work in the social sciences? I have read Social Change and Scientific Organization and your consciousness trilogy.


-Northern Johnny

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Nikolas said...

US tourism #s are dropping?? Gee, I wonder why! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) More foreigners r indeed catching on 2 Amerikkka's steady downfall. The comment section is a goldmine, w/ gems like this:

"Lots of reasons not to visit a xenophobic country with armed insurgents & some dreadful airports."

(Add over-processed "food" devoid of nutrition, a paranoid, angry and vacuous populace, soulless architecture, etc.) Then there was the usual scapegoating from USians too dumbed-down & defeated 2 c their own part in the downfall. They always blame politicians. Talk about a nation of overgrown kids. Ever seen truckloads of Belgians, Swiss, Dutch, etc. lining up to move here? They know Amerikkka is a joke and that there's far more interesting places 2 explore

2:39 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Check out the Gramsci chapter in "Genio."


Heartiest congratulations! May you live well into this century, to witness the full blast of the American collapse. I personally will croak in 2045. ps: I assume you meant 'wouldn't'. It won't be for a while yet, however.


2:52 PM  
Anonymous Silva said...

As the decline of the US continues unabated, it's good to keep in the mind the bigger picture: the fall of civilization in general. Here's a pretty interesting presentation summarizing the energy shortfalls leading to collapse. Happy viewing!

3:16 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Of Course They Did...Why Wouldn’t They?

A Texas mother and father were sentenced Friday for their roles in dissolving the remains of their 2-year-old daughter in a tub of acid after the child's death.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Susan W. said...

Dickens didn't like America either even though he was idolized here. In Martin Chuzzlewit he satirized Americans and later wrote a piece explaining that he did the same thing to Englishmen and women but they understood comic portrayals and didn't require apologies. Here's an article you might find interesting:

“I never knew what it was to feel disgust and contempt,” Dickens said, “‘till I travelled in America.” When he departed in June, he left behind all notions of an Arcadian realm he now regarded as “a vast countinghouse” full of nothing but “humbugs and bores.”

3:45 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

As the mother of an author, it's too bad Fanny Trollope isn't around today. In stark contrast to the 1800's, she'd be astonished by this functionally illiterate, dumbed down culture of ours. She wouldn't be able to decipher what most Americans with their first grade compostion level and myriad spelling errors would write. She'd wonder why every single male refers to the other in every conversation as “Dude”. And she would get a chuckle at all the fake sincerity shown by every retail establishment with their usual, “How are you doing?” greeting; as well as the rampant suggestive selling to which she would be subjected ( courtesy of Madsion Avenue) at the time of purchase, while they try to extract as much money from her as they possibly can when she went to buy something.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Mike - love your idea for a Fast Food conference. When civilizations fall into decline, they begin to focus on minor issues and minutia, like who wins Dancing with the Stars and Survivor and who's ahead in the Democratic Presidential campaign. Major issues like global warming and species extinction, the ones that matter to the quality and quantity of life, are ignored. People sleep-walk through their lives until they are woken by catastrophe only to wonder "why didn't anyone tell us".

Nesim - The possibility that Jews would annihilate the Palestinians in a 21st holocaust gives new meaning to the word "hypocrisy".

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

America faces a rising death toll from tainted cocaine.

Meth is making a major comeback in America.

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check this out Wafers:


5:07 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

Marianne is still trying; here's a 3-minute clip from the California Democratic Convention this past weekend-

6:04 AM  
Blogger disposium said...

Dear Doctor B: Wikipedia entry for Fanny:

"all the ways she tried to support herself in America were unsuccessful. She found the cultural climate uninteresting and came to resent democracy. Furthermore, after her venture failed, her family was more in debt than when she had migrated there – forcing her and her family to move back to England in 1831"

I guess she just didn't wanna hustle enough!

7:36 AM  
Anonymous cubeangel said...

Dr. B

I'm still in China and it is cold. Burrrrrrrr!! The locals treat the foreigners well. And, they're very helpful. And, the women there are stronger then they look.

The last paragraph you quoted from Fanny Trollope vibes with me and I know exactly what she is talking about. You ask questions even in a friendly and innocuous way simply to understand things better and they lose their shit. It's like you attack their very soul.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


What souls?


She correctly ascertained that the country was a nation of degraded buffoons, who were constantly praising it to one another. Fast forward two centuries...


She and Tulsi: my heroes.


Most gurus are full of shit. Sex usually figures into it.


Have a nice day!


Also check out the America section of Pickwick Papers, which is quite funny. (Buffoons on parade)


I tell ya, that's just downrt rude.


9:07 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Sorry, I'm coming thru as Unknown once again, for some reason.


9:14 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

And there you have it:


9:28 AM  
Blogger Cj said...

Hi Professor, have you seen the BBC adaptation of Trollope's 'The Way We Live Now'? It stars David Suchet and is quite good.

Hope all is going well,

9:34 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Why do people do this to themselves???

Amazon gets closer to getting Alexa everywhere

"...Mr Prasad discussed plans for Alexa to both become smarter and to follow users wherever they go. This is known in the trade as ubiquitous ambient computing, and Amazon hopes to corner the market... In the US, it already sells an Echo system that plays Alexa through a car's speakers. And Mr Prasad says he also wants the virtual assistant to accompany users as they walk about too... To achieve this, he explains, the tech needs to get better at contextual reasoning... "If you are in a store and you say, 'Where are the tomatoes?' it will need to have the context," he says..."You are actually looking for the aisle so it may need a store map... "Or if you are in a hotel room and you ask for the swimming pool hours, it should give you the hours for the hotel and not the community pool." To pursue this goal, the firm recently launched its own Alexa-enabled earbuds and is testing other wearables including glasses and even a ring with select customers...."

Is it really too much to ask another person for help if you can't find something? Then again, given the nature of my fellow citizens, not talking to them might be the best way to get through the day.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Luddy said...

'Philosophy has long recognised death anxiety. It is time to acknowledge the mystery and trauma of being born'

Just thought of Nabokov's account of fearing death until one day he was looking at an old photograph of his mother and older siblings that had been taken before he was born. It brought him a great peace. He didn't exist, and it was alright. Pretty profound.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

One of the things I enjoy about the blog is going back and reading the introductory essays that you've written over the years. One that seems especially relevant to the theme of this thread is Playing Taps

Mrs. Trollope certainly could see the selfishness of the American way of life. But she was writing before the full flowering of their power after the second World War. As you noted in Dark Ages America George Kennan made explicit the true motives of America:

"As the “liberal” and “dovish” imperialist, top State Department planner, and key Cold War architect George F. Kennan explained in “Policy Planning Study 23,” a critical 1948 document:

We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. … In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. … To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. … We should cease to talk about vague and … unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

Unfortunately we all have to continue in living in that reality.

10:52 AM  
Blogger dermot said...

Thomas Moore
from 'Poems Relating to America' (~1840)

Oh! Freedom, Freedom, how I hate thy cant!
Not Eastern bombast, not the savage rant
Of purpled madmen, were they numbered all
From Roman Nero down to Russian Paul,
Could grate upon my ear so mean, so base,
As the rank jargon of that fractious race,
Who, poor of heart and prodigal of words,
Formed to be slaves, yet struggling to be lords,
Strut forth, as patriots, from their negro-marts,
And shout for rights, with rapine in their hearts.
To think that man, thou just and gentle God!
Should stand before thee with a tyrant's rod
O'er creatures like himself, with souls from thee,
Yet dare to boast of perfect liberty;
Away, away - I'd rather hold my neck
By doubtful tenure from a sultan's beck,
In climes, where liberty has scarce been named,
Nor any right but that of ruling claimed,
Than thus to live, where bastard Freedom waves
Her fustian flag in mockery over slaves;
Where - motley laws admitting no degree
Betwixt the vilely slaved and madly free -
Alike the bondage and the license suit
The brute made ruler and the man made brute.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

Back in Lugano, snow on the mountaintops.

Paul Craig Roberts had a link to a most interesting and strange article, at, which I'd never heard of. Basically, it says that Trump actually knows exactly what he's doing, that he's using the perception that he's nuts and mentally unstable to outsmart everyone and tear down the current global system. Whether you believe this version of reality or not, either way, Trumpi is performing his historical role!

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Lovelight said...

All of the colonial countries were peopled by second sons, misfits, paupers, and hustlers. Why should the brutality of the resulting cultures be any surprise? Canada and Australia are no different than America, just more hypocritical; all founded on genocide. And it's untenable to assert that there's any essential difference in people anywhere. Previously there was just more social repression among the sorriest classes, to keep them in their places, which doesn't work any longer, with aggressive equality everywhere. The US has/has-had no commonly socially acceptable equivalent of the Daily Mail.UK for vulgarity, nor of Weimar mass-sicko-isms for perversion. Druggies pooping in San Francisco are more drearily hopeless than debauched. Sweden. Socially pious Sweden is my vote for the most horrifying culture on the planet. It's not just America that is failing. It's everyone, everywhere, the inevitable culmination of 'democracy'. 'Culture' requires elites and assured leisure for a very few, and willing deference to and respect for exceptionality. Rotsa ruck achieving any such consensus again.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Some evidence for yr views wd be helpful. This blog is not that impressed with pure opinions or 'lectures'. Opinions are like assholes: everyone has one. Eh!


I doubt it, but any way he gets the job done (dismantling the country) is OK by me.

Dan D-

I just wrote Bezos, suggesting that it be mandatory for every American citizen to have Alexa installed in their recta, rt next to their heads.

Hi Chuck-

Gd to hear from you. No, I haven't. But I recommend to all Wafers to read the Barchester series (6 vols), which is fabulous.


3:27 PM  
Anonymous Ennio said...

Here to report that I'm back in Italy, among folks who actually have an inner life & who can hold interesting conversations. I don't see myself returning to the USA, especially not long-term, it's a shithole.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

All - Afraid I attached the wrong link in my email about Trumpi!!

Here's the correct one:

So sorry!!

3:42 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...




I didn't bother to watch the Dem debate last nite, but apparently Tulsi got Schmulsied. WHAT a douche bag. Does anyone know what happened to Bernie-Schmernie? Biden-Schmiden got exposed as a boring jackass.


8:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Whatta Turkey Dept.:

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Matt S. said...

Dear Dr. Berman,
Thank you for sharing this gem, as always. Fanny Trollope's writing is so poetical and utterly ruthless at the same time. I wish I could write like that.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Rook said...

Dear Prof Berman, Wafers,

I hope you are all well. Thanks for many interesting/amusing/shocking posts. As a European, I fear US "culture". I hope malignant US global influence collapses soon. Has anyone else watched The Man in the High Castle? I found it quite subversive. I would also be interested in any recommendations on readings about the faculty of intuition.

Regards, peace and glory to you all.

Rook (like the shabby crow, lol)

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Quiet Desperation said...

Seeing that this is the only place I ever comment online, albeit infrequently, I hope my fellow Wafers find this acceptable, a slice of my America one day this week. Returning from a visit with my oncologist my neighbor called me to the fence line in tears. She moved here to our city in the Pacific Northwest from the desert (Henderson, NV) for the trees and the green. She said a man in an excavator was in the greenbelt behind the house and told her he has bought the 5 acre strip (163 ft wide) and is building 14 houses. Apparently the strip lost its environmental protection because of a wood duck (the ducks moved on) and was rezoned for residential use so 26 years (for me) of beauty and natural splendor will be clearcut and developed. I am crushed. I have watched the destruction, especially the last ten years, in this pretty harbor town across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and now it has inevitably come to my own back yard. I am tired of fighting. I knew they would eventually come for me, to take and ruin and exploit. The idea that one must "own" something to protect it in this degrading culture has finally broken me. Degraded and crushed, just another day in America. The stages of grief await...thanks for indulging this selfish account...Quiet Desperation

12:27 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Here is a blogger with the moniker "K-Dog" and his website has links to a wide range alternative news and views websites, including yours, Dr. Berman. Scroll down to "K-Dog's Reading Room", his occasional essays are good. The one dated November 18, 2019 pretty confirms that this person is a Wafer.

1:55 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

To Fanny Trollope's point, apparently the whole history of copyright law differed between US and Europe. Europe recognised both commercial and ''moral'' aspects to authorship; in the US, it was all about the commercial value, the author be damned. Says a lot really - Marx had a point about 'egoistic calculation'

3:36 PM  
Anonymous cyrilliajuniper said...

Thanks, Michael Burgess for the link to K-Dog. The essay on the Monarch butterflies is also very good. They came through here (Roundup Central) on their way south in September. Such beauty. I stood motionless on my walk to watch groups of them flitting through the cedars in the shelter belt. They were here only for a day or two. A good reason to plant milkweed...

I'll repeat the link so people won't have to go look for it:

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Quiet: Sorry to hear that about your green space. That sort of thing happens all the time up here in Minnesota. A 10 or 15 house subdivision is worth waaaay more in taxes for the city and county than green-space, so not surprising.

In other news, gotta love those Dumb-ocrats as Bill used to say:

5:00 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

It took me a long time to realize that the Holocaust was not unique - I guess not being raised with my nose stuck in the Bible where there are at least small-scale genocides galore, but it appears there's a general "recipe" for genocide. A leader picks out a group to wipe out, tries it with a few members of the group and cocks his ear, listening for world opinion. 99.99% of the time world opinion is that this is just fine, so then it's game on. An outstanding documentary on this is at

Fellow Wafer Dept: Crime pays but botany doesn't.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@Quiet Desperation- a sad and tragic story, still happening all around the US. I can see it all around the area I live in, Vermont. Farm land being graded and filled and capped and septic-tanked and paved beyond any redemption.

@Michael Burgess- thank you for the link. Quite a collection of links, along with the author's writings.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Jayne said...

Hi Dr. Berman,

I'm a HS senior in Santa Monica, and also a new poster after lurking for some time. Over the past yr I've been noticing a general ennui or decay (can't put my finger on it) about this society. There's been a string of suicides in my area, and the kids in my school all seem to be shallow & materialism-oriented. Mind you, I'm a big reader and enjoy writing poetry, which I tried discussing with other classmates but they don't have an interest. Is it just me, or is something amiss?

9:20 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

Do the pigs get away with murder everywhere or is it another example of american exceptionalism?
"A Louisiana police officer who crashed a speeding car while off duty in 2017 will face no criminal charges in the death of a child."

Anyway, I'm now working in a place filled with people yakking all day long about what's on tv, video games, and fastfood eats. I swear to god they went on about chicken sandwiches for a half hour! I can't believe these are adults... it sounds like a elementary school playground during recess. where's my Post-It Note
I'm surrounded by morons!
Thankfully I go to night shift next week... only a skeleton crew to tune out.

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

A critique of the concept of green growth.

A review of a book about the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. The article contains a good description of how the illegal drug trade reflected and fed off America’s culture of greed.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can it get more ridiculous than this?


6:22 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I tried to listen to bits of the Democratic primary debate. Did not get far.

A clever five year old knows they are all up there lying like there's no tomorrow. And yet the turkeys cannot get enough.

Aristotle said we all desire by nature to know. I think Americans desire by nature to be deceived. They just love the phonies and can never get enough. They want more Obama, more Trump, more spectacle and more nonsense. Everyone is nostalgic for Bush and Clinton now. I suppose that after a certain period of acculturation lies are preferable to truth.

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Nezir Hotic said...

How liberalism became ‘the god that failed’ in eastern Europe

After communism fell, the promises of western liberalism to transform central and eastern Europe were never fully realised – and now we are seeing the backlash.

“A core idea of contemporary illiberalism...populist rage is directed less at multiculturalism than at individualism and cosmopolitanism”

Excellent article,it really conveys the sentiment.Irony is that those very parties who have power and popular vote on anti-EU values sentiment in their own countries,are exactly the same parties that use the EU funds and claim to be the guardians of Europe as we know it globally.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Also amazing is the fact that nearly 100% of the population thinks that the Dem debates, and impeachment proceedings, mean anything at all.


They also fill their lives with crap like this.


I once compared green growth to diet cheesecake.


It's either scary or hilarious. And either they are children or buffoons.


Welcome! We are cannibals, so are always searching for new blood. As for your question, you might check out my Twilight bk, written in the late 90s, for some perspective. It only got worse after that.


Actually, it was. Only time an 'enlightened' nation carried out the systematic, industrial murder of a large % of its population, as well as those of other nations (France, Poland, Netherlands, etc.).


9:38 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Hola MB and Wafers,


Great news you are well.

MB, Wafers-

I will keep my remarks on the Democratic debate very brief as I am working hard on perfecting my chopped liver recipe. The one thing I think all Wafers can agree on is that the Democrats will not defeat Trumpo if they *bore* the electorate to tears. Which seems to be what they are all doing. I propose nominating Pet Rock for president in 2020. This would be more exciting than watching mayor Pete, Yang, or Tulsi duke it out on stage in front of the hoopleheads. At least Marianne was somewhat entertaining. Additionally, we're a nation of paranoid freaks. Anyone people don't like is suddenly a Russian operative. This shit is downright scary.



ps: Campaign slogan for Pet Rock:

"You Want A Friend In Washington? Vote Pet Rock!"

11:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Also viable might be "Rock Around the Clock!"


4:15 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

A ray of sanity in a very dark land:

4:46 PM  
Anonymous CCM said...

French museum announces it has "probably" found long-lost remains of Michel de Montaigne! The French philosopher who was so famous in his life and continued to be so well-known you'd think they wouldn't have misplaced him:

/v ArtsJournalNews

5:22 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

The corruption and destruction of language and grammar leads to a public set adrift in what I call " a sea of intentional linguistic confusion." We no longer know who we are or where we are headed, because we cannot form the answers in words that communicate to ourselves or others.

Yes, Comrade, the police, like Bond, James Bond, kill with immunity. Badges should carry the warning, "License to Kill".

Miles is right about the Dems. Elections in America can't be won by boring politicians. If a candidate is not able to entertain a populace with a 3" attention span, forget it. One of the things that made Trump attractive.

Mr Rogers' Neighborhood opened today in theaters across the nation. Reviewers are hailing it as a return to civility and kindness. Maybe, but only for the middle and upper class. Rogers' fictional neighborhood was an illusion. The real world, not far from his studio, was just like all big cities, riddled with crime and racism. He gave white, middle class kids a way to escape the realities of their cities and permission to believe that his always peaceful, kind neighborhood was the real thing.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Foster said...

Are armored vehicles what the American suburbs need? Musk thinks so!
An aesthetic of barricades, stockades. Each individual "builds the wall", retreating into their speeding armored shell.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Mr bear said...

Musk has read the writing on the wall. His preemptive marketing is preparing for whats ahead for us in the next 6 years. Cultural, social and spiritual collapse. I can already se the beginning here in Los Angels lots of crime homeless, drug addicts and poverty.

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Need a passport?? said...

Mr. Berman

I have a question? What do you feel needs to be done to hopefully survive this climate catastrophe that is rapidly approaching us as Australia burns just little after a month after California.

While meanwhile in this failing empire that no one wants to admit, which is completely bonkers to me, the Democratic party proceeds to fulfill their ultimate destiny as being the praetorian guard of the new Rome.

My final question to you is whether or not Canada is a good option for immigration considering that I am a recently graduate nurse looking for a place to actually care for people at the age of 26? I only speak English at this present point and Canada just seems to be the quickest place to immigrate, could be the American in me always looking for an easy way out.

1:11 AM  
Anonymous al- Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

RE: corruption of language.


Not that it's terribly interesting, but here's what I played as a tribute to "The Chickening" a couple of weeks ago:

Under the Chicken Tree – Earl McDonald’s Original Louisville Jug Band March 30, 1927
Chicken Supper Strut – Triangle Harmony Boys August 22, 1927
I Get The Neck Of The Chicken - Cab Calloway July 27, 1942
Chicken Rhythm – Slim Gaillard and his Orch. March, 1946

10:27 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

@ sane - My feeling is Rodgers assuaged the fear nervous housewives had of negative effects of tv on their children.

Face of ‘Merika -

She had a right to pull her gun and he was within his rights to kill her - what a clusterfuck -

Is Bill Maher trending Wafer? I didn’t know he was a history major @Cornell I enjoyed the interview...

11:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I'd avoid Anglo countries. The US is the worst, but the 'growth' ideology is endemic to them all. You can get a foreign language up to intermediate level in abt 3 mos., unless it's Chinese or some Mayan dialect.

Gd luck!


12:03 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Borat blasts The Zuck.

Sacha Baron Cohen received an award from the Anti-Defamation League, and took the opportunity to criticize Facebook, Google, and YouTube.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


This is gd. What an awful human being Zuckershmuck is. Pure American.


2:20 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Myriad camera shots that last a few seconds at most; all done of course to satisfy the viewing audience's attention-deficit span when conversation occurs. The main character always slovenly clothed, his hair disheveled, and, of course, unshaven with that ugly scruffy look. The typical 21st Century American male presented in the movie “Yesterday”. And the kicker in this sad excuse for a movie in this United States dumbed-down culture: wanting to change the wording of a song from “Hey Jude” to “Hey Dude”. To paraphrase Doctor Berman, “How dumber can it get?”
But an award should go to Kate McKinnon for the character she portrayed. It is so emblematic of the average American citizen. Her respective world is all about money, nothing else.
p.s. Don't waste your time seeing it.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I loved it, actually. I thought it was very funny. Also great to hear all of those Beatles songs again. Wafers: don't miss it!


6:09 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

“In Trump’s Washington, the rogue actors are the real players — and the experts are increasingly irrelevant.”

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Colt said...

The United States Is Starting to Look Like Ukraine

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

The internet perpetuates job market inequality.

A new study on the impact that screens have on young children. “The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, shows that children who have more screen time have lower structural integrity of white matter tracts in parts of the brain that support language and other emergent literacy skills.”

5:34 AM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

With Zuckershmuck, I 'd like to nominate another American billionaire as an "awful human being": Jeff Bezos. In the interview below, workers talk about the work environment at Amazon warehouses which causes many more injuries than the average.

In the world according to Bezos, workers exist to serve the bots with whom they must keep pace. If they can't keep up, they are either fired or injured. Bots are more important than humans. Humans are expendable. Workers are forced, as a condition of employment, to sacrifice their bodies to the gods of Speed and Efficiency.

None of this is new, of course. Frederick Taylor "invented" the assembly line for Henry Ford in the early 1900s. Since then, the goal has been to eliminate as many human workers as possible in favor of bots who need not be listened to or paid. Which, I imagine, is Bezos' ultimate goal.

9:45 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

mb - Ya got me. While Goldhagen's documentary (and apparently a book) on genocides was,to me, very eye-opening, you're right: places like Cambodia or Turkey were not really modern technological states, but the Germans were and moreover, if they'd won, they had an "eliminationist" stance which meant worldwide genocide which sounds like a rap album but really isn't funny at all.

I was out busking last night and saw an SUV leave the parking lot with a (Wa)Tulsi sign taped onto the door; bet those people are fun at parties.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Thank you for your response concerning Israel. I'm so thoroughly disgusted by its behavior. Ironically, Israel needs to believe in a non-living God as surely there will be retribution and I don't mean celestial. I think the Palestinians have taken a page from Mohammed Ali and have decided to play rope a dope like he did against Foreman in Zaire. Once Israel becomes exhausted (financially, militarily, spiritually) trying to maintain an occupation, the Palestinians will respond and with a fury.
As for your recent post, what bothers me these days is the near impossibility to have an uninterrupted phone conversation. The other person is either eating, putting away or washing dishes, on the computer etc. The result is some inane non-sequitur to something I said. I then find myself trying to get the conversation back on track which is actually a waste since the person was never actually listening in the first place.
PS. Thank you to the person who introduced me to It makes Counterpunch moderate Republican.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Hopefully demographics will finally do Israel in, but it's gonna take a while. In terms of decline, however, Bibi did so much damage to the country, I doubt it will ever recover.
As for 'multitasking' on fone etc.: there are a # of studies showing that it lowers efficiency and makes people dumb(er). But this too contributes to our incline.


Just wait: the political system will soon flush Tulsi out like a turd; which is essentially what she is. Bernie, Schmernie. As we approach Thanksgiving, think of all the turkeys living in the US.


We need to form a Wafer Urine Team (WUT): fly to Seattle, pee on his shoes.


1:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


1:17 PM  
Anonymous Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers,

It's winter up here on the frozen tundra of Northern New York, where we welcome all climate refugees. It is interesting to me that some of the newcomers here are Amish people. They had the least to do with our climate disaster of any people I know. I sense that their connection to the land tells them things that most of us can't begin to know. There is a place near me where you can pass a few Amish farms practicing (and succeeding) with 19th century agriculture, but when you go to the top of the hill, you can see windmills all the way to the Canadian border. Interesting juxtaposition. My money's on the Amish lasting longer than the windmills.

Jayne - I was so happy to hear from a teen almost-Wafer. After you read all of Dr. Berman's books, try the Mandibles by Lionel Shriver. She tells the best story yet of where the USA might be headed in the next decade or beyond. Almost any book, website, movie or any other recommendation by your fellow Wafers on this blog are worth checking out. I think we'd all like to know about your progress toward full Waferdom, so please keep in touch. Good luck with it and practice those NMI skills or learn another language for your eventual emigration. Those are the only two ways we're gonna survive.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Tori said...

Hah! Pipe dream!

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Fritzidler said...

"Take a look at this piece to understand the very real consequences of gerrymandering. In Asheville, NC, we see what happens when district lines are drawn for maximum partisan advantage: It mean citizens’ voices are diminished. It means more polarization."

Former President Obama

Obama & the DNC really don't have much room to talk here no?

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Pro Kaleidoscope said...

Iran’s Stunning ‘Pink Mosque’ Is Illuminated with a Kaleidoscope of Colors

11:11 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Just for balance, here's an article that is, well, as the title says, In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard-

Certainly a vocal critic of perpetual war in a national candidate is commendable. Of course Gabbard can also be seen as a backhanded confirmation of the idiotic depths the US has sunk to where being anywhere close to sane when it comes to the military, as Gabbard seems to be, makes one unusual.

Tomorrow, How Joe Biden will Save America and Democracy

9:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan D-

She describes herself as a 'hawk' in the (phony) war on terror, and has favored use of torture. She's basically full of shit. Tulsi, Schmulsi.


New post-it for yr bathrm mirror: Bernie, Schmernie.


9:49 AM  
Anonymous Belknap said...

"The prevailing narrative holds that capitalism was a progressive force that put an end to serfdom and set off a dramatic rise in living standards. But this fairytale doesn’t hold up against the evidence.”

11:34 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Dan & MB - So, the shorthand of thinking of Israel as a 51st state it not entirely unwarranted?

LOL on the rope-a-dope. "They kill us; they kill more of us, they kill a lot of us, then we win".

So I guess Israel, being an extension of the US, is not exactly first on your list of places to escape what Henry Rollins calls "The America"?

3:45 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

As promised, today's link about how Joe Biden is going to save Democracy in America!!! I was joking when I wrote that yesterday, as I was with the Gabbard defense. So for kicks I throw 'biden save democracy' in a search engine and here you are!!!!

I guess we are in the age where parody will always be outpaced by the rapid descent into the realm beyond.

8:44 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Bobby Redford is not quite a WAFER yet....

11:46 AM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

Hedges is back with a piece on impeachment. Extensive quoting (as he often does) of a constitutional lawyer's correspondence with Pelosi urging the inclusion of Bush and Obama era violations of the Separation of Powers in articles of impeachment. While I agree that the violations occurred and have worsened under Trump, Chris (again, as he often does) thinks that there’s still time and will to reverse course and restore powers the legislature has ceded to the executive. Chris, baby, that ship sailed long ago. There will be no returning that toy to the store even if you do still have the receipt.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


The guy is a true patriot, what can one say. After Trumpi's election, he urged everyone to vote Democratic. Can you imagine such a thing?

Dan D-

Meanwhile, it's sobering to realize that the country is simply filled with dopes.


12:21 PM  
Blogger Sarasvati said...

Italiana – I had read that article. PCR is a Trump fan and actually once said that Trump would never have cheated on Melania because she was “the most beautiful woman in the world” (I guess he’s not only naïve but into plastics as well). Anyway, I’ve heard these ideas from some Trump lovers before, and it’s only possible to believe if you ignore that he’s a corrupt conman and divisive swamp creature. But both Repugs and Dems somehow manage to filter out the egregious behavior of the president that’s from their “side.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Bruce Bennett said...

Another Brit, novelist D.H. Lawrence, said it well - "All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play, The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. It has never yet melted."
These perceptive foreigners as well as Alexis de Toqueville provided evidence that people outside the borders of the U.S. are better at seeing us for what we really are. Americans are still blinded by their sense of "exceptionalism" to see that we are being passed by other nations and the so-called (by us) "American Century" is dead. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was correct when she said that the installation of this obscene fraud and gangster, Trump, as our president was "not an anomaly but a symptom of something that has gone very wrong with our country."

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Guy said...

People incarcerated in West Virginia prisons will soon be charged $3 an hour to read books and $15 an hour for video visitation with their families.

Prisoners in West Virginia are paid between 4 and 58 cents an hour for their labor.

We're charging prisoners to read, ladies & gents

6:26 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Completely filled with dopes indeed! Especially of the religious persuasion.

Anybody considering moving to Canada should consider that it will probably be swallowed up by the United States within the next 20 years. Given what climate change is expected to do to their farmland and their desert way of life think what they'll do for Canada's water and agriculture.

And there are a lot of people up here who would love to be Americans. Though that number is diminishing rapidly.

9:06 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

A very, very Happy Macy's Day, fellow Wafers! That's right. The parade that formerly was known as the Thanksgiving Day Parade is now the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Actually, more and more people now simply refer to it ( via unconscious programming) as “the 'Macy's' Day Parade”. And why not? We have holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Veterans Day for example. Annual parades are held and named after them in honor and appreciation. Here is one in appreciation of Madison Avenue! The advertising industry cleverly has permeated, infiltrated, co-opted, and utterly brainwashed just about all of American culture. Every float that is shown in this two-mile parade is closely accompanied by ubiquitous signage representing some corporation. The television announcers, having their work cut out for them, have to constantly read from their huge stacks of different scripted cue cards that state which business entity is sponsoring whatever happens to be passing by being shown on camera. It's one big happy three-hour commercial. So give thanks to Madison Avenue; and let the huge annual spending binge begin! Make this year's respective highlight of 4th quarter gross domestic product a memorable one.

p.s. While we're at it, perhaps July 4th can be renamed Halliburton Independence Day. That would be in honor of the military-industrial complex which helps keep our free market, permanent war economy—which also is a large part of our gross domestic product—going in full gear.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Yossi said...

Alex Carter. Israel the 51st state. That's not fair. We (UK) got there first.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good recap of the douchebaggery of the past 10 years:


7:46 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Unlike Steinbeck's Okies slowly drifting West, now the displaced simply drive in circles. Because there is no point going elsewhere, there is no place of hope over the horizon. Dreams are dead.

"3 kids. 2 paychecks. No home.
South of San Francisco, in a fertile corner of California that feeds much of the country, working families are sleeping in shelters and parking lots."

Way to go, Wall Street. Looks like it is time to monetize and financialize any movements on roads. Enough of this socialist welfare entitlement of 'public' roadways.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Daniel Scot-

I think KPFT keeps interviews active for only 2 mos. Sorry!


8:40 AM  
Anonymous Italiana said...

Greetings MB & Wafers,

@Sarasvati - I find PCR's writings on Trumpi to sometimes be confused. At one point he admits the chaos and confusion in the administration, and next he's touting Trumpi as the only guy who can change the system/ foreign policy/ whatever. But I thought that article he referred to was a hoot in that, no matter which way you think about it (con man - which would be my thought - or masterful manipulator - which seems totally beyond his grasp), regardless of which of these Trumpi actually is, he will be 'fulfilling his destiny' to destroy the empire! No matter what, he is the guy to finish it off! Can't happen fast enough!

Meanwhile, no turkeys in Switzerland, going to Milan for the day to the Brera Museum. Have a great day, Wafers.

11:14 AM  
Blogger delete said...

Good day Dr Berman and Wafers

A link to a Herman Daly offering that might be of
interest to some. One of the more sane voices out there
and has been referenced on this site.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Frye said...

Corbyn to Invite Hamas Supporting Muslim Association of Britain to Downing Street if Elected

"The Muslim Association of Britain is a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) front in the UK. Hamas is a jew-killing terror affiliate of the MB in Gaza. If there’s anything I know about in life: it’s these groups. Britain, heed me: Islamists will be at No.10. This is unforgivable. Never Corbyn! - Maajid Nawaz

Why is everything so fucked up?

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Benjamin said...

Giles Fraser has a post on UnHerd on Post-Liberalism which mentioned Gray a couple of times.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Interesting thread from random guy on Twitter:

"The US has always been, and likely always will be, more violent, more religious, more raw and uncultivated, more selfishly anti-communitarian, while also preserving a certain frontier, entrepreneurial genius, than Europe."

Having lived in both North and Latin America, I guess you would like to comment on this.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Americans are dying younger mostly due to deaths of despair like alcohol abuse, drug overdoses and suicide.

The article also discusses some of the social and economic factors that are driving the decline of life expectancy in America.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Sorry, I don't post Anons. You need a real handle. Thanks.

Meanwhile, today, millions of turkeys will be eating millions of turkeys!


8:59 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

As with US politics, there are long periods of ignore-ance, brief periods of hope, and flashes of reality that are quickly pushed aside and covered with cranberries and gravy when it comes to the environment. For me it was the melting permafrost and collapsing insect populations that put the final nails in, but most any look at the day to day behavior of your neighbors should be enough...

Those 'reusable' bags that the grocery store sell you in order to save the world? LOL. They are selling 54 per household each year....

Back when the second Iraq war was starting, people did guerilla sign modifications around the US. My favorite was a 'This Highway Cleaned By' signs in Ohio. The text:
This Highway Cleaned By HALLIBURTON Thanks for the Money Sorry about your kids

Pretty well sums up most greening efforts in the US these days.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Cel-Ray Tonic said...

Good luck surviving Turkey-day to all us WAFers stuck in Amerikkka! And don't forget, tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day.

If there are any Mass WAFers, head out to the 50th day of mourning:

9:48 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Unfortunately the huge Ronald McDonald balloon could not be shown in this year's “Macy's” Day Parade. Darn those high winds!
But the announcers were able to show a pre-recorded video of it from last year's “Macy's” Day Parade. And fear not: Ronald McDonald himself, the world's most famous clown, was shown driving in the “Golden Arches” car as part of the festivities.
Yes, kids. Identify with a brand, not with a parent. Let Ronald, in contrast to a teddy bear, be your transitional object ( from Doctor Berman's accurate term in his book, Coming to Our Senses).
As one marketing guru from Madison Avenue was quoted as saying: “We get them to be lifelong consumers from childhood.”

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

Turkey for Turkeys "celebrate" the murder, torture, rape, and land theft by the Anglos Day." Now, pass the squash- (Berman).

The Annual________"Thanksgiving" Parade, 360 viewing broadcast by________________/w/ corporate logos flashing and rotating signs for hyper consommation black day.

Anecdotal Observations for the 'most wonderful' us time of year:
We're visiting US "family" after travelling from overseas. Immediately getting off the plane in shithole empire, there's very loud bass-pounding boom-boom musak, us kids screaming and screaming, infants starring at screens, tons of TV screens advertising crap, intrusive loud, and overly fake friendly us waiters asking every 3 min how the meal was, & trying to up-sell dessert and wine with rapid speech and eyes darting. Also, us family times involves folks sitting around a table playing with dumb phones or vigorous discussions abt money/work. Doesn't matter if they're immigrants or native-born USA-ers--they are all USA-ers.

Can't wait to get the fuck outta here and return back to somewhat of normalcy.

Ms. Fanny Trolloppe, Alexis deToqueville, and Cleveland Moffet (Illustrated American-believe 1893 or so)- 'called it' with spectacular accuracy.

11:00 AM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Trump destroys everything and everyone he touches...

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Seth B said...

Prof Berman -

What were your thoughts of Alinsky & his social work? Pipe dreamer?


12:23 PM  
Blogger Xair said...

This sums up what Americans are all about.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


I love it. What buffoons! I'm wondering when they will be organizing to overthrow their corporate masters.


Many yrs ago, I read his book and also heard him lecture. This around 1963, when there were still hopes for America (or so many of us thought). I was impressed. Now, his 'rules for radicals' don't really apply anymore. Check out the link provided by Xair, for example.


4:42 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

To answer your question, "Why is everything so fucked up?", Frye, I suppose one place to look would be the Balfour Declaration, although Edward Said goes a bit earlier, to Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.

If your question is sincere, I'd recommend David Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East as a good place to begin.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Formerly a Republican, columnist George Will looked around the party and decided that those people are now batshit crazy. Here, his Thanksgiving meditation on the nuttiness now abroad in the land.

God Help Us, Every One.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

Mayor Pete is doing his job splendidly—

I think he's going to get nominated and single handedly throw the progs into intersectionality chaos, a most poetic justice for years of indulging identity politics.

Also, this dude is just a bizarre phenomenon. Running for office in your 30s and connecting with the (otherwise despised) Baby Boomers...

"Martha Berry, 72, of Mount Ayr, Iowa, said Mr. Buttigieg “looks like he’s really well put together and a well-rounded young man,” favorably comparing him to John F. Kennedy."

Well maybe we can elect him to student council.

I have to be living in a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Hope springs eternal. Discussions of the environmental, social, and personal damages of consumerism have been going in since, oh let's say the last 50 years? And the effectiveness of these calls? Zilch.

This where we are at- even the reasonable ideas have been sucked into that old adage about doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. But try to talk to people about this and you'd think you'd proposed burning kittens for fuel. Those who might have good proposals are using methods that have been shown to not make a difference but they can't stop ranting long enough to see this.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Actually, it's a Fellini movie.

Wafers, the turkeys are out of control!


10:09 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Here are a few witty rejoinders for when some typical hustler here in the United States who wants your money accosts you and asks you that typical disiningenuous, fake sincerity opening line, “How are you doing?”
1) “Why do you ask? I don't know you from a hole in the wall. Do you ask everyone you encounter in public this question?”
2) “Healthwise? Financially? Emotionally? Or just in general? Which one do you want to know? Do you want me to elaborate?”
3) “Lousy!”
4) “Not too good. Do you want me to go into it? Do you have the time to listen?” ( In contrast to #2, look then at the changed expression on the hustler's face as you actually start rambling verbosely about how your day has been so far.)
5) “Wow! Thank you for asking. Are you an altruist or good Samaritan who asks every stranger you encounter wanting to know how his or her life is?”
6) “Okay, I guess. How are you doing, stranger?” ( But quickly walk away before the money pitch arrives.)
7) “None of your business.”
8) ( If in a parking lot) “I don't talk to strangers!”
9) ( To a cashier). “You don't really want to know. I know that you're ordered to immediately ask this question of every customer.”
This last one though should be only hypothetical and never actually should be done. Show mercy here. Retail workers are low-paid, they work hard, and again, are told by Corporate America to ask that silly disingenuous question to everyone.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Matt Taibbi says Mayor Pee looks like an eager woodchuck, so true. Norte Dame professor parents, Rhodes Scholar, veteran, gay, another example of dumb “smart” people.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B:

Marianne outlines her "plan." I watched the whole thing out of curiosity-

I believe Marianne's plan might work if she could figure out how to get 325 million new people...

And Tulsi's still at it; here's a new 3-minute clip-

3:42 PM  
Anonymous NJGuy said...

Maybe Mayor Pete can be called "The Maltese Bippy"
Have to be of a certain age to appreciate this.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

It's a strange feeling being a WAFer.

In many ways, it's a sort of blessed calm. Dare I say it's Buddhist in its approach to the tragedy of American life?

Once you just let go (and I mean REALLY let go) of the notion that America can be saved from itself, you start seeing the spectacle for what it is: An absurd Danse Macabre with special guest conductor Donald Trump.

There's no hate or disappointment in it. No perception that America's otherwise pure soul has been polluted by nefarious outside influences that, if removed, would return this country to its moral roots. It's simply an exercise in observation and documentation for the next generation of societies to learn from.

And I have to say, it's the most mentally healthy approach available.

What are you going to do, otherwise? Tap into the online outrage faucet? Befoul your state of mind by telling yourself that you're surprised a nation of fools continues to behave foolishly?

Of course not.

If you're here on this blog, consider yourself lucky. :)

And always remember, the chicken sandwiches are on me!

6:05 PM  
Blogger comrade simba said...

@ Joe, Be careful when in proximity to strangers. You never know what minor jest might make them snap and do the Chicken Sandwich on your ass.
When cornered I always say "Tired, my Mom died last night."

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Ibsen said...

A comment to a post Ordinary Indian made a while ago about the middle classes in India abandoning old traditions very fast. I'm in Mexico at the moment. It's strange how similar the world looks almost everywhere these days. American, or really Californian, culture has spread everywhere. What's so appealing with this culture, that probably can't be called specifically American anymore even? The easyness, the rejection of death and suffering as parts of life? I remember being shocked by how fast Russia changed when I visited Russia twice more than 10 years ago. That being said, I like Mexico. Mexicans seem to have good values, and they have strong traditions in some areas, like their food, that will never be replaced. But I guess there are cultural differences still, they are just not that much in your face anymore. Languages seem to be the last frontier. I notice Norwegians starting to replace Norwegian words with English words more and more.
There are loads of Americans here. They fascinate me. I was relaxing alone in a secluded beach when suddenly three boats full of noisy Americans arrived out of the blue. I tend to agree with what the liberals say most of the time, then they just say something crazy, like Russophobic nonsense. And they often have this aggressive undertone beneath the relaxed surface. I talked to one of them who said that a friend of him who went to Iraq did "a great job for a country I love". I wanted to ask: "Which country? Mongolia? Burkina Faso?"

11:49 PM  
Blogger Sal Monella said...

Fanny Trollope, the name in particular, the acerbic comments by extension, always strikes me as something that might have appeared on the Victorian stage, if they had drag queens back then. As for today , I expect we will have our own, very unfunny, Tranny Trollope, a libertarian with a bumpersticker which reads: Don't tread on my bathroom.

5:01 AM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

The author of this article bemoans the use of lies and deceptions by W and Trump to convince the American public to support them personally or particular actions and policies. She fails to include Obama, as if he spoke the truth 100% of the time. Or 45% of the American public which is aware that Trump lies daily but doesn't seem to care. The truth may be important to the author, Arendt, Orwell and others, but most Americans could care less. Americans have been lying to themselves for centuries. Why would we be surprised that we have elected Presidents who lie to us?

6:15 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

A spring Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by two Villanova professors complained about a newly instituted teaching evaluation form that asks students to comment on the professor’s “cultural awareness” and sensitivity to “individual differences” and “social identities.”

An English professor from Lewis and Clark College wades into this meshugge academic environment—from microagressions to the tyranny of personal pronouns—in this piece from Quillette.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

A short and succinct article that Thai perfectly captures much of what this blog is all about.

Pogo's Walt Kelly was prescient all those years ago.

3:36 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Yet more evidence it'll be a landslide for Trumpo in 2020. As I type, NPR is running a show about how mean ol' Trump's turning down tons of H1B's (visa that allows replacing Americans workers - often made to train their replacements - with cheaper foreigners) and it's full of "waaaaaaah" at how sad and tragic and etc it is. This is a clear case of out of tough liberal elites, because something like 98% of the country is against this displacement of Americans and the rapacious behavior of the US's oligarchs, refusing to educate Americans and instead importing cheap, inept, foreigners. I guess I feel this especially strongly being here in Silicon Valley, but it's happening all over the country.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

“O! This is ridiculous! I'm moving to Mexico. I've had it. I'm getting away from this wasteland!” ( I was thinking of you, Doctor Berman, when I vociferously said this).
The bank teller, a woman who seemed close to my age, commiserated a bit. She said she was told that's what they ( the higher ups) want done. I then said, “And we're on camera everywhere we go!”
This happened today when I blew up at my bank. I was there to make a simple credit card payment in cash. But since it was in cash, I had to present my driver's license and have its bar code scanned by the device that was supposed to show a red dot.
“ Now just look for the red dot. Then just have the bar code face it.”
The red dot never appeared at the angle I put my “enhanced” New York State driver's license.
I just wonder what the reason is for all of this. Is it so that when I'm driving on I-95 and my cell phone points out my GPS position, an advertisement for Capital One Bank will appear on the large electronic billboard as I approach it? Or maybe the powers that be in our Surveillance State USA think I may be a drug dealer.
God, what a country!

7:46 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

I had the honor today to sign two petitions. One was to get Tulsi Gabbard on the state ballot for the Democratic primary. The second petition was to get Marianne Williamson on the state ballot for the Democratic primary.

I figured what the hell, the more clowns the merrier. And the guy standing in the cold trying to make $1.25 per signature will get cup of coffee from my time...

In case people haven't seen the proof, Trump has been sent by God to be more powerful than a King and move America forward. If I believed in a God I would agree with the people in this video, but for a somewhat different reason than they think. They all seem to presume that God wants America to lead the world and keep growing. I think many here agree that Trump is serving a purpose but not the one some dream of...

9:29 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Will You Be Locked up If Trump Is Reelected?

Will America’s billionaires start a second Civil War to protect their wealth and power?

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Tigis said...

You’d think with Trump’s record on human rights, (see Erdogan;MBS;Sisi) he’d find a nominee for State’s top human rights position who was completely untethered from the torture issue.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

Greetings Wafers, here is your news roundup from Cascadia:

Evergreen College enrollment has shrunk to 2,854 this fall, a decrease of 40 percent from 2009. A Press handout says the college has been more aggressive in marketing itself and is adding more courses in psychology and computer science. No word on whether a graduate course on Gabbardism will be available during spring quarter.

Meanwhile, prog activists are orchestrating events to commemorate the 20th anniversary of WTO protests in Seattle, featuring the obligatory downtown rally, all-day “movement-building workshops”, and capped by a Dec. 7 Saturday night address by economist Joseph Stiglitz on “better managing globalization.” I think yours truly will pass on these activities:

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Austin said...

Biden's sucking on his wife's fingers now? He's an infant! Just imagine it's going to be Biden VS Trump! Trump will mop the floor w/ him!

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Marce said...

The article of the year against the scourge of public housing. Tons of quotables, not even a very long read. Whenever I blog about urbanism I have talked about this: small plots of owner built and owner ocupied in dense human scaled, decentralized towns and cities is the surest way to build individual wealth, from the ancient Greeks till modern days. Public housing is a form of cancer, imho.

11:05 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Zakaria: The presidency will be an elective dictatorship if this happens

How America Ends....

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Shinichi said...

Dr Berman-

I've caught up on Adam Curtis's documentary oeuvre. They seem very appropriate for your readership. Have you viewed any?

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Driven by the frequency of school shootings, American students are increasingly under surveillance.

Yes, this is a very normal country.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


No. Send us all a link, thanks.


A Post-It for yr bathrm mirror: Biden, Schmiden.


That's gd news. Of course, getting such a kick in the ass won't affect their politically correct policies one bit. These aren't folks who learn and grow. Hopefully, they'll lose another 40% over the next yr or 2. Meanwhile, seminars on Advanced Tulsism wd certainly pull in the crowds.

As for Stiglitz: like Krugman, another "left-wing" economist. Ha! Still pushing for capitalism and globalization. When I say the smart Americans are also dumb...Jesus, man, WHAT WOULD IT TAKE? (Also a gd Post-It, or T-shirt)


10:42 AM  
Blogger Gunnar said...

Is a 300 lb human EVER normal outside of some kind of glandular/metabolic disorder? I’ve heard of blowing hot air up someone’s ass but wtf did they pump into this kid?

“It’s somewhat mind-boggling that it could happen.”

11:32 AM  
Blogger delete said...

Dr Berman and Wafers/Waferettes

Please do not post if off general thrust of blog.
It has been suggested on various occasions to take
a ‘Get out of Dodge’ approach to American culture decline.
I don’t think it has been offered as a fix but more along the line of a reprieve. Should a consideration be given to ongoing climate impact bring more weight into that decision?

A link below may suggest yes and bear more weight on the current generation as opposed to an off load onto the next generation. Searches on current climate impact on say Mexico or Spain may bare this out. I am not advocating to not go but suggest packing lightly and do not unpack immediately upon your arrival.
Civilization may will be moving to a gypsy living style as we
hop from ice flow to ice flow with climate nipping at our heels. The ‘Field of Dreams’ mind set will accelerate.
This well could be our next ‘Bubonic’ plague as society ends up ‘dancing on the head of a pin’ if you will. Perhaps
this is mother natures way of getting us from a potential 10B population to 2-3B.

The bio title of Jim Morrison book “No One Here Gets Out Alive” pops into my thoughts more often than I care to admit these days.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Oratory said...

Cringe factor 100!! Scary exercise bike commercial

3:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


Have u ever sat on yr couch, stared into space, and contemplated how stupid Americans are? This is an impt exercise for all Wafers. The Buffoon Levels rise exponentially, on a daily basis.


3:39 PM  
Anonymous Bergthold said...

Our almost-instinct almost true:   

What will survive of us is love.

- Larkin

3:54 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Oratory & Doctor Berman,
The American audience isn't as stupid as you think. In fact they may be getting smarter! I counted only 23 different camera shots. There usually are 30—one for each second in these half-minute Madison Avenue commercials—that appeal to, and visually hypnotize the United States' attention-deficit general public into buying something that is shown on television.

4:47 PM  
Blogger NeilW said...

Maybe we could change Lenny Kravitz's 'American Woman' to 'Chicken Lady, mama let me be, Chicken Lady, that sandwich's all for me, yeah''

5:02 PM  
Blogger Xair said...

Speaking of cringeworthy commercials, here is one from a few years back that perfectly captures the douchebag American belief system. Enjoy!!!

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Just finished reading Andrew Hacker's End of the American Era. Great read. The best part was that he didn't pull a 180 & claim everything will b alright. He knew early on that this country was fucked and had been 4 awhile. It's nearly 50 yrs old yet sounds like it could have been published today; that's how stagnant amerikkka remained

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Ruth Reichl said...

"The assignment: to conceive, design, and build the grocery store of the future."

"American food supplies are increasingly channeled through a handful of big companies: Amazon, Walmart, FreshDirect, Blue Apron. What do we lose when local supermarkets go under? A lot — and Kevin Kelley wants to stop that."

A long read for this morning, I think with a dual process edge re: US food deserts/insecurity

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Broglie said...

Mars is already deforested, so half of Ikea's work is already done.

Irresistible Interplanetary Empire?

10:01 AM  
Blogger delete said...

Good Morning Dr Berman, Wafers and Waferettes

A reading of Thom Hartmann's book entitled The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America may be appropriate at this time. It would be hard to to imagine that Trump, Graham and Mitch are not keeping close tabs on the health of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and are in a position to replace her for health reasons before November 2020. Trumps reelection in 2020 will complete the dictatorship he envisions and the only
thing left for him to do will be elimination of term conditions on the
Presidential office. This will definitely put America’s downward
decent on steroids.

10:31 AM  
Blogger famousdrscanlon said...

The Horror!

US may face French fry shortage due to poor potato crop: report

No worries, just double up on chicken sandwiches.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We still have it in us ;-)


1:14 PM  
Anonymous trying to stay sane said...

According to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), NYT coverage of the Impeachment Inquires teaches us how not to discuss the end of democracy.
“At the risk of stating the incredibly obvious, I’m going to say that a society in which witnesses have to fear for their safety when they expose government corruption or other wrongdoing is a society distinctly titling more towards authoritarianism than democracy.”
I think you stated it anyway.

Speaking of which, Jarden's Atlantic Monthly article lays the blame for the emergence of an "elected dictator" on hyper-demographic change. Possibly a factor, but concentration of power in the executive is nothing new. It's been building at least since Arthur Schlesinger's The Imperial Presidency.

And this from Michael Stern, former Chair of the RNC and now a MSNBC commentator: the Impeachment Process means nothing; a terrible waste of time. The House will impeach Trump and the Senate will refuse to remove him. And we're back at square one. Nothing will have changed. I wonder why. Maybe it's because what Trump has done, while illegal and revolting, has nothing to do with the real reasons for decline, which wouldn't be stopped by congressional hearings, anyway.

2:57 PM  
Blogger jjarden said...

Well it certainly isn’t America’s kids...we are like 25th in the world in all subjects.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...


You provide no evidence. Let me clue you in: the stats in the direction of dumb and dumber are overwhelming.


I thought after 9/11 they were called Freedom Fries.


Most of us here expect Trumpaloni to get reelected; and most hope he will cancel the election of 2024 and declare himself Permanent President. Honestly, when I think of all the damage he's gonna pen drops (as Fanny Hill wrote in her diary...I always loved her vocabulary...when Mr. Norbert shtupped her, she wrote: "he secured a lodgement"--!).


Yes, a great bk. Hacker was teaching at Cornell when I was there; ca. 1965 I went to a lecture he gave called "White Trash and Black Trash." His pt: everyone in America was trash. And this was in 1965! He's now 90 yrs old and going strong. I wonder if he's added 'turkeys', 'douche bags', and 'buffoons' to his vocabulary.


8:08 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

It looks like the US may be gearing up for regime change in Mexico. Trump designates Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations to apparently create the idea that Mexico represents a threat to US national security. The MSM has started to turn up the heat on AMLO.

"AMLO’s left-wing policies have caused shockwaves in Washington, which has long relied on neoliberal Mexican leaders ensuring a steady cheap exploitable labor base and maintaining a reliable market for US goods and open borders for US capital and corporations."

8:43 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

@ Sarah- Interesting, isn't it, how little some things have changed? If you look at the photography book by Robert Frank, "The Americans," photographed in the early '50s, he saw it all- racism, militarism, empty eyes, autos and celebrities and violence. It's best to find a copy of the whole book, but snippets still give a tstae-

In another vein, I recently re-read Donna Haraway's 'Cyborg Manifesto' and was amazed to see, again, how little has changed. The post-modern jargon has shifted but the underlying conflicts are still alive. I love the beginning: "...Blasphemy has always seemed to require taking things very seriously. I know no better stance to adopt from within the secular-religious, evangelical traditions of United States politics, including the politics of socialist-feminism. Blasphemy protects one from the moral majority within, while still insisting on the need for community. Blasphemy is not apostasy. Irony is about contradictions that do not resolve into larger wholes, even dialectically, about the tension of holding incompatible things together because both or all are necessary and true. Irony is about humor and serious play..."

As Dr. B keeps reminding us, the present madness is simply the death pangs of a beast that has been roaming the earth for far too long.

9:35 PM  

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