January 22, 2021

A Nation Going Nowhere

Good Day, Waferinos-

We watch the progs jumping up and down with joy over Biden, while we know that none of the changes he is proposing are structural ones. And unlike the progs, we understand that only major structural changes can save us, and that these will not come to pass. Of course it is good that he is fighting covid (unlike Trump), and all of us want to see this scourge defeated (although I predict that viruses and lockdowns and masks will be with us for a long time to come, especially as mutant viruses emerge). But as I said at the end of the last thread, Biden is no FDR, and even Roosevelt's structural realignments were fairly mild, all things considered. I keep coming back to that line from W.H. Auden, "We would rather be ruined than changed." Well, amigos, we are going to be ruined; we will be the cause of our own destruction; and the possibility of reversing this downward trajectory is nonexistent.

Pain is a great teacher, said a Buddhist monk to me years ago. For a very few Americans, our disintegration will be a significant learning experience. For 99% or more of the population, it will be no learning experience at all, just rage and hurt and violence--the tantrum of a spoiled child, although so many are taking the route of drugs (coke, cell fones) and suicide. At every stage of our ongoing defeat--Vietnam, (the mess we made in) Iraq, 9/11, 2008--we could have learned something and failed to do so. There is no motivation for us to do anything different, and we lack the intelligence to do so in any case, so our national suicide will continue on its sad and perilous journey. I can only echo what I imagine Native Americans have said for so many years: "I told you so, but you just wouldn't listen." (Sitting Bull: "Possessions are a disease with them.")

"Have a nice decade"--mb

188 Comments:

Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
How about this latest episode of The Keystone Cops! Ya gotta love it! LOL! A miscommunication up the chain of the authoritarian command in our de facto police state here in the good old "U.S.A.! U.S.A! U.S.A.!"
“Go sleep in the garage, young soldier.”
And to top it off, many members of both the Capitol Police and the National Guard caught the Covid virus from Don Trump’s “patriots” on his and their Insurrection Day, January 6th.
What a hilarious joke this country is.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/national-guard-members-allowed-back-into-capitol/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/38-capitol-police-officers-and-150-national-guard-members-test-positive-since-capitol-attack/

8:43 PM  
Blogger illini said...

Thanks MB for all you do. Could be more on the existensial threat of global heating. You and several others point to 2030 as a pivotal year.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I just finished an hour of watching Bill Maher not being funny, which made me want to share this with you. Here's an old Jeremy Hotz bit: "Canada & USA."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebbh-BF7V5E

I've read here a few times that people around the world are now laughing at the USA. I have a newsflash: we've been doing so since at least the Nixon administration (I don't really remember if we did before that).

11:06 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

illini-

Yeah...my problem is that I really have no expertise in environmental issues, and there are so many folks out there who write abt it very well, and very frequently. So I tend to stick to the things I know, such as deli meats, how the Jews rule the world, and how insightful Americans are. :-)

mb

12:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Covid won't be the end of it:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/22/coronavirus-variant-biden-strategy-covid

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Ted's Handle said...

MAGA Conspiracy Theory Suggests Donald Trump And Joe Biden Are Doing Face/Off - LADbible
https://www.ladbible.com/news/latest-maga-conspiracy-theory-suggests-trump-and-biden-are-doing-faceoff-20210118

LOL

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Tate Gioia said...

Meet Madison Cawthorn, youngest member of Congress, wheelchair user, enthusiastic supporter of American fascism, and serial liar about his quest to become a Paralympian. By disabled journalist Sarah Luterman. https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/madison-cawthorn-paralympics/tnamp/

8:35 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

This liberal friend of mine was waxing endless on Biden's inauguration. 'It's a historic day', he proclaimed in his FB post. And after lamenting that there is little hope because nearly half the country does not recognize Biden's victory, he goes on to pontificate why the stupid ppl behave the way the are doing. That's because, unlike him and his ilk, they are not trained in science. So they do not have an open mind, they do not have humility (gimme a break) like him, and they are soul-free. I was LMAO.

Do they see the destruction in the life and world of so many ordinary Americans (I am not even talking about other ppl) that the past four-five decades have caused? Do they see how the CEOs of the corporations got rewarded for the fraud they played on millions of ppl? Do they see the utter disdain with which ppl like him treat the rest, his post included? Do they see whom their decency and humility have ultimately benefited?

I know the libs and the progs will never get it. But this is what they get when you dehumanize both the material and spiritual lives of so many ppl.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Hello Dr. Berman and Wafers:

Any recommendations about the best and easiest way to learn Spanish? I am hoping to visit Mexico for the first time this year. I am also hoping to emigrate from America. I haven’t done much travelling and now with the COVID situation, it might get more difficult to do so.

These quotes from Freud seem more relevant than ever: “America is a mistake, a giant mistake.” “I have found little that is 'good' about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think.” Quoting from Dr. Berman’s article https://bit.ly/3oY7t2T “The one thing critics are not supposed to say--it being so politically incorrect--is that the core of our dilemmas is the American people themselves. Somehow, The American People are sacred, untouchable, a kind of mystical entity; whereas if they are seen for what they really are--gullible, not very bright, blinkered, egotistical, and actually quite violent in nature--then there is very little hope for any major social or political change.”

The foolishness continues …
Saagar: Biden FOOLISHLY abandons $2k checks and going for immigration instead
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnnWRw6AKzw

10:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Noura-

You can, and shd, take classes in Spanish, but they will only take you so far. The key to fluency is immersion; and for that, Guatemala is your best bet. Check out the language schls there, and spend a month lvg w/a family. The Minerva Schl in Xela (Quezaltenango) is a gd bet. As for the 2K stimulus payment: I don't think it's been abandoned, yet.

Laila-

Sorry, wasn't able to post it. We have a half-pg max rule on this blog. Suggest you divide yr post into 2 parts, and send them to the blog in 2 installments, 24 hrs apart (that's another rule). Finally, always, always, capitalize Wafer. Thanks.

mb

11:13 AM  
Blogger Lobster Goldmine said...

Noura, hello, I'm living in Mexico and have been living in Central and South America over the last 7 years but this time is for good(if I can help it). Best decision I ever made. I recommend the Michel Thomas spanish courses - you can find them online. But on top of that, living in a place where you don't have a choice to speak English is the best way to learn. I'm not sure if there's an easy way but the Michel Thomas course is good and a month of private tutoring in Mexico if you can find one which shouldn't be too hard. Saludos!

11:16 AM  
Blogger Laila said...

Wafers:

I would like to introduce myself to this community. I am not, as of yet, a Wafer as I haven't read MB's books, but I have them coming in soon enough through an interlibrary loan. In the mean time, I've been reading a few of Berman's past blog posts and watching a few interviews. For some reason, it never occurred to me that America was an empire just like Rome. It also never occurred to me that it could fall, like any other empire.

So, a little about me: I'm a senior in high school. I'm interested in how the media shapes us, so I've read (and am reading) Neil Postman and Marshall McLuhan.

How did I find out about MB's work?

Well, I was researching about why America was so intensely individualistic. You see, it always struck me as odd that there was little sense of community here. I wanted badly to live in a community where people cared about each other and went out of their way to help each other. The hustle culture, instead of making me realize the deeper problems of our nation, made me feel not good enough because I wasn't working as hard as the next person over and was taking what I had for granted. I felt guilty for taking life easy. How weird is that? And I've always felt so privileged to have been born in the US, if only because most of my extended family lives in a third world country. As I researched about our dysfunctional society in the US, someone online suggested MB's work. So here I am, in all my glory.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Laila-

Welcome to the blog. I'm very glad you found us. You are indeed glorious, but then so are we. :-)

Here's a rec 4u: go to college in Europe. Do not remain in the US. America will rot yr soul, and this is *not* hyperbole.

mb

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Karl said...



Seems Biden is already repaying his donors. He's frozen Trump’s Lower Cost Insulin and Epinephrine Rule. Same ol' story....

https://www.swfinstitute.org/news/83900/pharma-biden-freezes-trumps-lower-cost-insulin-and-epinephrine-rule?fbclid=IwAR0K1-0HCMQgMsjSfZc59v4HHLL7H0lCRO4fqrvlgtwCyzxYufJNTIjvmck

1:17 PM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Laila,

Speaking as someone who also cares about community, and bends over backwards to help people, eventually you'll find yourself in tattered ruins, like I feel much of the time after 5 decades in this ridiculous culture. Dr. Berman likens it to being a "lotus in a cesspool" which is pretty darn accurate.

Wafers,

Here's a couple more editions of "This week in culture" to see where we're at:

https://rumble.com/vd4uvf-this-week-in-culture-28.html

https://rumble.com/vcuuob-this-week-in-culture-27.html

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hello Laila:

Welcome to the blog from a long-time Canadian follower (I first discovered Berman's work in a used bookstore in 1997 and it has been central to my thinking about America and the world ever since.

In my final high school years I was passionate about McLuhan's work (I only got to Postman a few years later). I even tried to translate this passion into a focus at university when I took Comparative Literature. McLuhan's final theory was published well after his death in The Laws of Media (1992), assembled by his son Eric: https://www.amazon.ca/Laws-Media-Science-Eric-McLuhan/dp/0802077153. There have been many books since attempting to re-read and re-interpret McLuhan.

Postman was a liberal humanist and McLuhan a Catholic humanist (though the latter kept his faith out of his books in any explicit way). A couple of media and communication theorists writing from the Left: Noam Chomsky and Edward J. Herman (Manufacturing Consent), Jodi Dean (see her books and articles from the 2000s), and Christian Fuchs (whose work is contemporary and widely cited). There was also Jean Baudrillard, who struck many as a nihilist more than a Leftist, but his fascinating speculations are worth taking in too.

-Northern Johnny

1:34 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Karl-

Many thanks for the ref. It's quite interesting (instructive?) how the bubbas understand that the US is a con, and the progs don't see it at all. So the former wanna overturn the gov't, and the latter think they can fix it. Man oh Manischewitz.

mb

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian Musician said...

“Twerk on Washington is a declaration of freedom and healing”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LP7uZeVsTBE&feature=emb_title

I am not sure if I want to laugh or cry.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Thomas Strimpel said...


Lalia-

Welcome to the blog and to the Wafer community! It’s nice to hear your own story about how you discovered the blog. I myself wasn’t much older than you, just a freshman in college when I came upon this lovely video below featuring MB in an interview with Collapse Chronicles. Since then I couldn’t get enough of the authentic, intelligent analysis brought up in Dr. Bs’ books, online interviews and blog. I especially recommend The Heart of the Matter and Why America failed.

I wish you luck on your path to Waferdom!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJXYfBfn7aI


2:56 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

Laila,

Welcome to the blog. For what it's worth, I'll tell you my story. I bent over backwards to help my ex for many years, and she literally destroyed my life. I can't prove it, but lots of circumstantial evidence suggests she was planning to kill me.

Americans have no capacity for loyalty or gratitude, so it is not uncommon for them to behave this way. If you are altruistic in America, you're going to be taken advantage of at best, and destroyed at worst. America is a country ruled by the law of the jungle. You'll never find a place with a sense of community here. Prevailing social conditions won't allow it.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Andalus-

Gee, whatever happened to BLM, girls? This twerking is iconic of what fills the American mind, and how most Americans define 'freedom'. I said it earlier: the country is a joke.

Laila-

Let me 2nd the recommendation for "The Heart of the Matter," a collection of short stories. Many of them are pretty funny, and in these dark times, we cd all use a gd laugh. In T.S. Eliot's poem, "Mr. Apollinax," wh/is abt Bertrand Russell, he says Russell laughed "like an irresponsible foetus." I'm not sure what a responsible fetus wd look like, but if you read "Heart," you will laugh like an irresponsible one.

"In a dark time, the eye begins to see"--Theodore Roethke

mb

3:58 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Laila-

Welcome. You are growing up in an... uh... unique!!! time. Some slightly off-kilter reading I would suggest: in the 'know your enemy' group- 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand, and 'Capitalism and Freedom' by Milton Friedman. 'Blood Meridian' and 'The Road' by Cormack McCarthy. On a positive note- anything by Doris Lessing, but especially 'Memoirs of a Survivor,' 'The Golden Notebook,' and 'Canopus in Argos' series. In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizaki, available here-
http://wwwedu.artcenter.edu/mertzel/spatial_scenography_1/Class%20Files/resources/In%20Praise%20of%20Shadows.pdf
The View from the Back Row, interview of Chris Arnade- https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/05/the-view-from-the-back-row
'Island' by Aldous Huxley. 'Utopia' by Thomas Moore. 'A Room of One's Own' by Virginia Woolf. 'Cyborg Manifesto' by Donna Haraway- http://users.uoa.gr/~cdokou/HarawayCyborgManifesto.pdf Dig into feminism because you are going to need it. Search the following terms: 'Mutual Aid' 'Degrowth' 'Syndicalism' All are being widely discussed among people your age as they see what is coming and are looking for better ways. Look for 'Food Not Bombs' in your area. Although media studies have your attention, be careful- it can be a trap if you confuse the map for the territory. Dr. Berman's books will be very good expansion of what you have started. Keep posting your findings and thoughts here if you wish.

And seriously, get out of the USA.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

A widdle ditty about Joe Biden.

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere:

Knees seem stiff
Wood won't lift
Brain waves appear to doze
Making all you plans for nobody, Joe
Get your mind off of a better time
You ain't goin' nowhere

Because I've heard that same old line
Repeated against the songs of time
You ain't no new FDR
Inside the Bell Jar
And I will remind you
That you ain't goin' nowhere

I can guarantee that your dreams
Will fade into thin air
Pick up your money
Pack up your tent
As sure as I am living and breathing
You ain't goin' nowhere

4:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan, Laila-

I have an essay on Tanizaki's work in AWTY, wh/you might enjoy.

mb

5:12 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Thanks to Lobster Goldmine for the language course advice. Just looked at the MIchel Thomas website and it seems great. Anyone tried another language besides Spanish? I am most interested in Hindi. It’s my dream to spend some serious time in India if travel ever becomes possible again.

Noura, Mexico is a great choice! Just go for it and don’t look back. Even if your Spanish is extremely limited, you can get by in Mexico at first. My husband and I spent about eight months traveling around Mexico in a beater car early in our relationship. Still like to visit whenever possible. My Spanish is total crap but he is fully fluent and worked as a journalist for a Latin newspaper. We focused on the border regions for some research related to his work, the most “dangerous” and least visited region of Mexico. This experience made me realize how hyped the fear of Mexico was. We experienced nothing but kindness and hospitality. We even stayed on a remote ranch with some Mexican friends in Sinaloa for a month. I have no phony “near brush with death” stories like Hillary Clinton or Brian Williams to share. I just came home with some seriously cool cowboy boots!

As always, Dr B is right. Emigrating will be the best thing you ever did.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Laila, as you know the us empire was a lost cause, and toxic. You need to treat it like 'cancer.' One can complain about their cancer, the unfairness of the cancer, how it screwed them etc...OR one can take action - remove the 'cancer,' heal, and go on with a life well lived.

Please read the archives blog posts and comments. They are a wealth of information, commentary with evidence, book suggestions, movies, etc...And emigrate as soon as you can.

You will find many countries that have a soul, a community, and a zeal for things other than monetary acquisition /endless wars/imperialism.

7:28 PM  
Blogger futuroexpat said...

MB, the bubbas' understanding of the con must not be deep enough to overcome their ignorance (or being enamored by the cult of personality 45 was/is). They continue to vote against their own interests. Look at this report on Gillette, Wyoming:

"Gray told me that his call to CNN was influenced by how things fell apart with the oil and coal industries shortly before and after 2016, the year US voters elected President Donald Trump -- who'd promised to bring back "beautiful, clean coal." Nearly 90% of Campbell County [Wyoming] residents voted for Trump again in 2020. But you won't find too many people in Gillette who believe Trump kept his promises to coal workers..."

What explains voting a second time for someone who obviously lied to you and left you out of work and broke? Even though bubbas supposedly understand the con, the only thing I can think of is an irrational devotion to 45: a "cult of personality"

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/23/opinions/biden-climate-change-gillette-wyoming-coal-sutter/index.html

Merida, Yucatan?

8:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

futuro-

The notion that they are voting against their own interests, an old liberal saw, is fundamentally incorrect. It wd be true if their major interest was economic, but it's not: it's cultural. And on that basis, they understood, in 2016, that Trump was on their side, and Hillary wasn't ("basket of deplorables"). It is also why 74 million of them voted for Trump in 2020. Biden was not "one of them," and they understood that.

mb

8:35 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Wafers,
I left a comment somewhere that the minimum wage in the US should be higher, and this is what someone replied:


"Leftys don't understand basic economics.
That's like saying a bulldozer took the job of 100 men with shovels.

What happened to baggers at checkouts?
Don't need em 🤷🏼‍♂️
What happened to people that pumped your gas?
Don't need em 🤷🏼‍♂️

Those people are employed in other ways in our society.
..or keep the minimum wage lower, and jobs like that might still exist, and they'll exist for otherwise unemployable people.
Progressivism is really regressivism."



My response to this is both laughter and fury... any advice on how to better leave the laughter part and dump the fury part. My heart sometimes feels like it can't take much more of this "critical thinking".

11:04 PM  
Anonymous FerQ said...

Hello Laila:

Welcome. I live in Mexico and I will tell you that getting out of the US is the best thing you can do. When I was in High School, I knew on a subconcious level that the US was not for me and 1 yr after I finished it, it became clear as water that I was living in the wrong country. I worked and saved as much as I could and began exploring and finally moved to Mexico permanently. I do not plan to live in the US ever again. I am praying that my family gets out of there too.

So my advice to you is to get out as soon as you can. Decide which country/ies you are interested in and start making plans. You do not want to waste your life in the US. Looking at what you wrote, you don't seem like a person that fits in that country anyway and you will not be happy there. So find a place in another country and move there as soon as possible. I wish you luck.

12:23 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Great article, this lady's parents busted their asses for her, meanwhile my American parents even while I was underweight and skipped many a meal, never missed one and were overweight. Result: She went to Harvard and I could not afford to finish high school nor college. I can't even be mad at my parents, they were just products of a really shitty culture. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/01/25/waking-up-from-the-american-dream?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Noura: S. America is a patchwork of Spanish and Portuguese so don't make the mistake Richard Feynman did. Also, it's possible in the US to watch Spanish TV, read Spanish newspapers, and hang out in places where it's at least 90% Spanish being spoken. So you can do a low-budget immersion. You can join a Spanish-speaking church and get immersion that way too.

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Lily said...

Amsterdam Is Embracing a Radical New Economic Theory to Help Save the Environment. Could It Also Replace Capitalism?
https://time.com/5930093/amsterdam-doughnut-economics/

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Glans Butterworth, III said...

Laila, welcome!

To add to the Wafer's and the Great Seer's advice, it is almost impossible have authentic friendships (including, "family" members) in the US. Most relationships are transactional. What's in it for me ($-hustlers/hucksters)? How can this person benefit me ($)? What can I do for them to give me $?, What can I say to influence the situation ($), etc...

Anecdotally, at parties, events, meetings, you will talk to US-ians and w/i 10sec their eyes are glazing over and they're looking over your shoulder to see if there is someone more "worthy" ($) to talk to. If you cannot help ($) the US-ian, you are basically dead to them as they say, the empty: "have a nice day..."

Please look into leaving as soon as possible. Please do not play analysis paralysis, and-or overly talking things out etc...(most that do this, never move, as it's never the "right" time).

Do your pragmatic research and MOVE. Moreover, do NOT go to another Anglosaxon country--it's US empire 2.0.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Duke said...

Well, that explains Musk's sudden interest in carbon capture! Haha!

Elon Musk plans to drill for natural gas in Texas https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2021-01-22/spacex-plans-to-drill-for-natural-gas-next-to-texas-launchpad

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Helen said...

NPR has a lengthy piece on "multi-racial whiteness" right now.

The other evening they were discussing a rap song about Janet Yellen.

Can we get any dumber?

10:06 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Helen-

Yes (have no doubt).

Lily-

This looks like a gd example of Dual Process (see last essay in AWTY). Thanks for the ref!

mb

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Thank you so much Dr. Berman, Lobster Goldmine, and Alex Carter for your recommendations about ways to learn Spanish! Jaimie, thanks for sharing your experience in Mexico. I appreciate everyone’s insights :) If anything else comes to mind, please don’t hesitate to share.

Laila, welcome to the blog! I am currently living the US. It’s been 20 years since I graduated high school. I wish I had realized then that America has no future. I echo the recommendations to emigrate as soon as possible. Capitalism, the religion of America, has no moral center. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that it’s impossible to build a decent, viable and sustainable society on a value system based on the accumulation of wealth (consumerism) and nothing else.

Love this video with a message from Native American elder, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, about how America has come and is destined to go. It’s a clip from a show that wasn’t produced in America. Not surprising as this message is hard to hear for anyone still invested in the American dream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7cylfQtkDg

Iran's🇮🇷 Ahmadinejad on Biden's Presidency: 'It Makes No Difference Who The US President Is'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmZtkaARR7I

11:37 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

And our Karens just keep rolling along. Check out this week’s special Karen in our latest episode at the 4 minute mark until the end. This arrogant crazy Karen just wouldn’t shut the heck up! LOL!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vptbsocRIGQ

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Grey Fox said...

JIMMY CARTER: THE U.S. IS AN “OLIGARCHY WITH UNLIMITED POLITICAL BRIBERY”

https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/

Can always count on Jimmy. Was sad he couldn't make the inauguration, I hope his health is well...

2:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Grey-

And to think that the American public chose Reagan over Jimmy! What does that say abt our fellow citizens?

Laila-

Wasn't able to run it. We have a half-pg-max rule on this blog. Suggest you divide it in 2, then post 1st half, then wait 24 hrs and post 2nd half. Thank you.

Noura-

Great clip from Red Crow. What does the US consist of now? 175 Wafers, a handful of Native Americans, and 330 million clueless morons. Yes, the future looks bright.

Speaking of bright, here is an excerpt from Pindar's Eighth Pythian Ode:

"Man's life is a day. What is he, what is he not?
Man is the dream of a shadow. But when the god-given brightness comes
A bright light is among men, and an age that is gentle comes to birth."

Assignment for Wafers: Is the 'bright light' Pindar's speaks of, this blog? I look forward to your reactions.

mb

3:09 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

I think a lot of Wafers might agree with Caitlin Johnstone's latest. Here's the last paragraph

"The political/media class likes to keep everyone focused on the differences between each president and his immediate predecessor, but we can learn a whole lot more by looking at their similarities. Biden’s warmongering is going to look a lot like Trump’s–just directed in some different directions and expressing in slightly different ways–despite all the energy that has been poured into painting them as two wildly different individuals. Once you see beyond the partisan puppet show, you see a single oligarchic empire continuing the same murderous agendas from one sock puppet administration to the next."

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/01/24/what-bidens-warmongering-will-actually-look-like/

4:22 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

It's not all bad. Brazil offers up...

cookie monster!

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/geologist-finds-cookie-monster-rock/

(but of course people rush to offer the geologist money, so the story remains true to form for the US)

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Laila---this WAS the us empire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQHQIhJbeFo

5:08 PM  
Anonymous down we go said...

MB and others - before the Southern banner was carried by Trump, it was carried by the KKK, redneck hooligans, and lynch mobs. That does not mean that antebellum Southern civilization was not worthy of saving or that the Southern cause was illegitimate. Only that following the War what was good and gracious and worth preserving of Southern culture and what made it in some ways superior to Northern culture fell into the hands of persons unworthy of its values.
And it is they - the white supremists, parodies of Southern culture - who carry on the culture war.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

down-

Sad to say.

Mike, Laila-

This is what Americans are concerned about. Shd we wonder that we're going down the drain?

mb

6:50 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Here's a terrific book: "The Cold Millions" by Jess Walter. Best book I've read so far this year. See review from NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/27/books/review/the-cold-millions-jess-walter.html

Miles

7:09 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Dr B,

I’m currently reading Neurotic Beauty. Wow!!! What an incredible book and I’m only in Chapter 3. Simply exceptional and perfectly complimentary of the WAF trilogy. How the hell do you know so much? I think I may like this book even more than the trilogy and that is saying something. Now I’m even more excited for Genio to arrive.

Noura, glad you enjoyed hearing about “scary” borderland Mexico! I think if Mexico is your destination, there will be plenty of Wafers to help. I finally left the US at the end of last summer. Best decision ever. We are lucky to have the advice of more sage Wafers to guide us in our 30s. Can’t wait to hear more about your future plans. All the best.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Thank you to all the welcoming Wafers!

MB- I have no doubt you all are glorious. I'll post my questions on next week's blog post. As far as going to uni out in Europe, my parents would never let me go there all by myself. Something something you're a young girl something something. I know I'm almost 18 and I can make my own choices, but I want their support throughout my life and they would probably hold a major grudge if I went. We'll see. And please do send me that essay on Tanizaki's work. I ordered your "The Heart of the Matter", I couldn't find it in any nearby libraries. Can't wait to laugh like an irresponsible fetus.

vsoguy- Yea, I'm starting to get that impression too. My friends are unique in that aspect- our friendship is based off of things much more important than money and they are definitely not as self centered as the average American. I have a feeling I'd come across more people like them in other parts of the world. Here's to hoping.

Northern Johnny- So cool that we both had an interest in Postman and McLuhan! I'll check out The Laws of Media, I've never heard of it. Thanks for the other recommendations too.

Nadine- Sad to hear bout your ex. I'm looking into pathways to leave the country right now, but it's hard. I have so much family and friends I really care about here that would never leave.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

MB,

It seems to me the bright light is the opposite of American culture. In other words, a collectivist, compassionate, sustainable, non-materialistic, intellectual, creative culture devoted to the preservation of the natural world and deeply averse to empire. Native American culture was that light, but was extinguished by British, French and American imperialists.

I've looked into Zoroastrianism, and that religion seems like another bright light. It's the polar opposite of the Abrahamic religions; instead of commanding believers to kill unbelievers, it commands them to avoid violence and conflict. It does not say that evildoers will suffer in hell forever; on the contrary, it says that one day, all beings will reunite with God forever, and creation will come to an end. It's a shame that very few Zoroastrians remain.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Robert Bruce Bennett said...

Correct. I was listening to an episode of "Alternative Radio" recently and David Harvey (Professor of Geography and Anthropology at CUNY) said much the same thing about Biden and his administration. He referred to the lack of structural change proposed and said that what Biden represents is "bourgeois reform" which I believe will not create the changes this country desperately needs to remain a viable democracy and a republic.
Sure, compared to the corruption, ineptitude and vile cruelty of the Trump regime Biden is a welcome relief but he is no threat to the real owners and the movers and shakers of the U.S. Wall Street isn't terrified of a switch to their dreaded "socialism". Besides, Moscow Mitch is already maneuvering to be as obstructionist as he can be even though he has is no longer the vile Majority Leader in the Senate.
Actually, Biden, once referred to as the "Senator from MBNA", gave it away in 2019 when he said "There will be no fundamental change if I am elected the next president". So, the U.S. will continue its downward spiral. We could have been so much more than this but as another sell-out Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, said - "We're capitalists, that's just the way it is."

7:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Robert-

Scroll back, read message abt how Biden, who received large campaign donations from Big Pharma, cancelled the reduction in meds costs instituted by Trump in Dec. 2020. It's really just business as usual. The Democratic vision is pretty lame, as both he and Pelosi have affirmed. Even Schmernie, who scared the Dem party, thought in terms of some modified New Deal, not in terms of serious structural reform. That being said, I regard the US as a true democracy because 99% of the American public is hardly interested in structural reform. Once again, scroll back: what they are focused on is Popeye's chicken. Were Leno to stop people on the streets of Burbank and ask them if they favored structural reform, it wd be a bust because the avg American wd not be able to define the term. I doubt more than 10% of them cd even define the word 'structure'.

Laila-

Your parents will get over their grudge, in time. I'm telling you, if you remain in the US you will come to regret it very deeply, and resent your parents for holding you back. Re: Tanizaki: it's in an essay in AWTY, wh/(hopefully) you can also order via ILL.

Jamie-

Really glad you are enjoying NB. It's the longest bk I wrote, and possibly my favorite.

mb

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

Your terminology being used.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPimd9W0jnE

Used even more often if Patriot Party surfaces
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfmNN_PBb1s

11:05 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rollo-

It's a start. My question is: When will this terminology be extended to the population at large? Until we get to that pt, we will not be able to understand what's happening to the US.

mb

11:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Another day, another massacre:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pregnant-woman-among-6-killed-in-indianapolis-mass-murder-2021-01-24/

Wafers are invited to weigh in on the following disaster scale: Where exactly is the US, from 1 to 10, where 1 = the country is in a tizzy; to 5 = it's going batshit crazy; to 8 = in a frenzied orgy of self-destruction; to 10 = ecpyrosis?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekpyrosis

mb

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Geoffrey of Monmouth said...

This is interesting, I think. Have a listen to what this Boogaloo Boy has to say:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZMB9052rEs

1:12 AM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

Two things I have to get off my chest about that ridiculous inauguration:

1) That poem read by that girl was absolute cack. Dreadful. The 'literary' references in it were lines taken from the musical 'Alexander Hamilton'! That's high culture in the US nowadays. And it was lauded as work on a par with Robert Frost. It matters not what art is created in the US: merit is judged by who makes it.

2) The one memorable image from that whole circus was a grumpy Bernie Saunders sitting in his old anorak and wearing oversized mittens. It was a nice counterpoint to the attempts of the US rulers to create a phony TV soap opera for the masses. But it being the USA, the image has already appeared on T shirts for sale. Mugs and pens to follow no doubt.

https://www.inquirer.com/arts/bernie-sanders-meme-t-shirt-mug-jewish-museum-philadelphia-20210122.html

4:39 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

cor-

It's probably the case that when an empire dies, everything turns into theater. Mediocre poetry ranks w/Keats, and mittens become another source of hustling (not even clear what they represent). Twerking is a symbol of 'freedom'; elites are little more than trash. Etc.

A perfect example of theater is the Senate trial of Trumpi. Everyone knows it's just PR, even the Democrats. In order to convict Trumpaloni, 17 Republicans wd hafta break rank. This is simply not going to happen, so why bother? Theater!

mb

8:47 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@ futuroexpat, MB,

Here's a short link to a think tank in Laramie, 100 miles away. It's not the same picture presented by the CNN narrative. For twenty years Professor Robert Godby has been attempting to inform the "cowboy culture", that things have changed. He's pissing in the wind; downwind I would guess. It usually blows. Plenty of wind energy here. I see men like this pickup truck "cowboy" everyday. They are in a pile of horse shit that they will never escape. Decline is the reality.

https://betterwyo.org/2019/10/31wyomings-woeful-response-to-coals-collapse

In June 2020 the guv announced a $500 million cut to state funding. In December 2020 he announced another $500 million cut to state funding. $1 billion total cut during the current fiscal year. Giddy-yup!

p.s. I would say about a #8 - bullshit crazy.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

Laila, if Europe won't work for college, maybe try Canada. It isn't much better than Amerikkka (as our Canadian WAFers will attest), but it would be step in the right direction, a.k.a. getting out of here.

Or, perhaps see if you have any relatives overseas who would reassure your parents.

9:11 AM  
Blogger C. J. Timmins said...

Agreed re: Inauguration poem, entitled "The Hill We Climb."

All style, no substance. Ms. Gorman is a Harvard graduate, and her poem was divorced from any legacy of black literature & intellectualism. Anyone who has read Toni Morrison, Lorraine Hansberry, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Du Bois, et. al., would not have penned those "punny", sophomoric lines. The poem was custom made for the progs to soothe themselves by listening to a young black woman, "hand-picked" for the occasion. This among other "inspiring" & "woke" moments during the inauguration:

- J. Lo interrupting her conveniently abridged, mashed-up version of Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" peppered with her top 40 nonsense ("Let's Get Loud").
- Kamala (self-proclaimed) "Top Cop" Harris being sworn in.
- Barack and Michelle Obamas swooned over by imbecile libs

Ms. Gorman's poem should instead be called "Uncle Tom's White House." All fitting for this perfect moment for this country's history: ludicrous denial.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Sonny said...

A 20% rise in the price of cobalt—a key ingredient in car batteries—since the beginning of the year shows how the rush to build more electric vehicles is stressing global supply chains

https://www.wsj.com/articles/electric-vehicle-surge-sends-cobalt-prices-soaring-11611333538

More extracting and drilling for 'sustainable' EVs

9:50 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

C.J.-

Check out the essay on Pitirim Sorokin in AWTY. At the end of an era, he says, everything turns to kitsch. Of course, if the agenda is collapse, then kitsch is a good thing(!). We drown in crap, and think it's gold.

gene-

Link didn't work.

mb

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Chit said...

"It’s important to remember that Gates has used his foundation to launder his reputation, but there are a lot of serious questions about its activities, including supporting strong IP rights for drugs that make them less accessible to poor countries."

https://www.thenation.com/article/society/bill-gates-foundation-philanthropy/

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

Meth overdose deaths are surging in the United States. The increase was highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives and Black Americans.

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-01-22/meth-overdose-deaths-are-surging-in-america-with-minorities-most-at-risk

11:13 AM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Dr. Berman,

Regarding the disaster scale, I think we're still towards the low end of the scale. After all, I can still go to the grocery store (unarmed) and fill my gas tank, and type this text on an electrically powered device with oil heat pumping through the radiators while it's 20 degrees outside.

Nearly everyone I talk to keeps saying they can't wait for things to return to "normal". I don't dare ask them to define "normal". Because it seems to me that you need to put it in context. For the vast majority of human existence, these modern luxuries that people consider "normal" didn't exist. So yes people, we're headed back to normal, but it's probably not the normal you're expecting.

James Kunstler's latest blog post expands on this idea:

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/flying-blind/

12:39 PM  
Blogger flanagle said...

"I told you so, you just wouldn't listen". Is very close to what H.G. Wells wrote in his 1941 preface to "The War in the Air". Referring to an earlier preface written twenty years before he says: "Is there anything to add to that preface now? Nothing except my epitaph. That, when the time comes, will manifestly have to be: 'I told you so, you DAMNED fools'". (Well's emphasis).
"The War in the Air" was written in 1907 around three years after the Wright brother's first flight at Kitty Hawk. He was already sketching out ideas of hyper-consumerism, the worship of speed, and a mindlessly arrogant industrial militarism leading to a world-wide war with mass devastation from the air. The end of the book looks like the earliest take on a Mad Max/Cormac McCarthy scenario of hardscrabble grubbing around in the muck for food and killing on sight anyone you don't know. He predicted an atomic bomb in 1913.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

Cdn't run it (24-hr rule).

flan-

Clearly, a smart guy. Here's my own epitaph:

I KEPT TELLING THEM, BUT DID THEY LISTEN? NO!

mb

2:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Imagine what the online market wd look like if Schmernie had sat at the inauguration holding a miniature toilet bowl.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hi Laila:

I was just reading Pastrami's suggestion to you that you consider studying in Canada. As a society, Canada is without question a saner, more intelligent, and more balanced society than the USA, so you really can't go wrong by coming her (though they will charge you international tuition). I must say though, if you do decide to study here, I would avoid Ontario, unless you have a very specific reason to study in this province). I would say your best experiences in the country would be: (1) Quebec, especially Montreal (McGill University, etc), though the winter is very cold there; (2) the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island; (3) Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

-Northern Johnny

3:28 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

Because this is a huge problem: Biden will be pushing to release a 20 dollar bill with Harriet Tubman as soon as possible.

Can't make this up.

Not that I am opposed to removing one of the biggest racist Presidents and replacing it with a decent human... But THIS is something you even bother to release as on your agenda at this point in time? Amazing.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/harriet-tubman-20-bill-biden-193133239.html

4:10 PM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

A friend in the UK sent me this quote by H.L. Mencken, apropos to Biden our time:

“The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre – the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” (Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920)

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Glenn Greenwald: Liberals CHEER New Domestic War On Terror

This is going to cause me a perforated stomach or something: progs make me literally sick. I guess it's probably because I didn't expect anything from the bubbas, but having Chomsky prostituting himself for Biden, for example, is the kind of thing that makes me vomit again and again.

So very few voices left worth listening to (apart from Dr Berman) and it's kind of interesting that Glenn Greenwald moved out of the US many years ago...

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Ruby M.I. said...

Sorry to hear you guys are getting the Sputnik vaccine from Russia, MB.

Hope AMLO gets well soon. Can't really tell how I feel about the guy but he seems to have a good heart.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Saturday said...

Canada sucks - it's a poster child for the first country to embrace neo-liberal "progressive" policies. The country is completely cucked to their 3rd worldization.

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Mallets,

I too find it astonishing that Chomsky still holds onto the chimera the that "grass root activism" (as he still says in most of his "quarantined" videos on YouTube) can make a difference. It's like a kind of madness, that even someone as sharp as Chomsky could still possibly believe such a thing.

Dr. Berman really is about the only person saying outright "This thing is finished. A nation of buffoons will never recover or be great again in any conceivable way". This is so painfully obvious to me that I'm amazed no one else seems to grasp it. It really is an existential need in most people, I fear, to constantly hold out for " the happy ending". If it were merely a matter of I.Q. points, it would be impossibe for someone like Chomsky to believe it in any way.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

This highlights the difference between intellectual and ontological knowledge. I met Noam many yrs ago, and of course have always admired him as a voice crying in the desert with respect to US foreign policy. Truth be told, we didn't get along v. well. What was so astonishing was his ontological blindness. His mind was like the space between 2 parallel lines, 4" apart: infinite in one direction, extremely narrow in the other. This patriotism for America, this notion that there is still hope that things can be turned around: it's actually embarrassing. Meanwhile, most hi-IQ Americans do believe in such nonsense, and fill pages and pages w/ink that wd better be saved rather than spilled. Progressive and left-wing heroes, such as Noam, Michael Moore, Hedges et al. may have very high IQ's, but ontologically they are quite stupid. The one thing they can't do is look reality in the face, and for them, there will never be a wake-up moment, of realizing that yes, empires do die (all of them), and that this is our time.

Ruby-

This is a long discussion. I was interviewed a few times down here at the time of AMLO's election, and I said that while I was happy that a left-leaning politician finally got elected, real chg in Mexico wd have to come from the youth, esp. if they cd manage to abandon the American Dream. (A long shot, I added, but at least worth discussing.) In other words, for a variety of reasons, real chg cannot happen in Mexico from the top down, but certainly AMLO was a great improvement over his presidential predecessors. However, as time passed, certain things swam into view: he seems to have abandoned his semi-socialist program; he botched the covid situation almost as badly as Trumpi did; he made overtures to Trump, and was one of the last national leaders to congratulate Biden (a terrible political mistake); and so on. He certainly hasn't confronted the problem of a small elite (abt 34 families) controlling most of the wealth, while half the country is at the poverty line or below it. In short, he has begun to look like any other politician, even if his personal lifestyle is modest.

Saturday-

cucked?

mb

7:43 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

The Anglo world continues its path of self-annihilation.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/british-economy-post-brexit-and-pummeled-by-covid-is-worst-in-g-7-11611589082

It's quite astonishing how the UK and the US decided to engage in synchronized death spirals. Really adds weight to Dr. Berman's thesis of 'fragment societies'.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

Megan,

I remember browsing Amazon for books and stumbling upon a book by Ralph Nader called "Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State". I felt ashamed for Nader when I read that title; it literally made me cringe. The left and the right ARE the corporate state, and will defend it to the death. You have to be quite stupid not to see that.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Jaimie, congratulations on your move to Mexico! I am still working on my emigration plan and Mexico is at the top of my list for places to relocate to. I am inspired and encouraged by all the Wafers who’ve already made their move. I hope to do the same soon.

Wafers, the videos below shed some light on the economic and financial decline in America.

Elizabeth White, author of 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal, discusses financial crisis in the videos below from the context of the retiring population in the US. This was a few years ego. The situation is probably much worse now due to the pandemic.
How coming clean about financial struggle -- and counseling others -- became a calling - 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWsLvCqAyDA
An honest look at the personal finance crisis | Elizabeth White - 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxz68bDIHCw
Rev. Dr. Sharon Anderson Interviews Author Elizabeth White - 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQYhBaBYv3Q

Chris Hedges interviews author Michael Hudson about his book:
Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy. These two videos make a compelling case as to why Wall Street is a parasite!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4ylSG54i-A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMuIoIidVWI

8:52 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Noura-

A bit over the line. Pls watch length. Perhaps shoot for 1/3 of a page, in future. Thanks.

Louis-

Actually, the 'fragment societies' thesis was 1st advanced by Louis Hartz. As for England: all you hafta know is Brexit, Schmexit.

mb

9:12 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Nadine,

I listen to Nader's "radio hour" on a regular basis (IDK why). In it, he reports on corporate crime, interviews muckraking authors, and then follows to make exacerbated statements like "Why do the people tolerate this" or "why do the politicians not do X"?

His hour then concludes with the usual answers which are to 'buy the book of this author for the local library', 'civic education is the answer' and 'pressure your representatives'. He's become a broken record of an old man from another era trying to say "Folks, we got to bail out this boat before it's too late".

Sad Sad Nader :(

9:52 PM  
Blogger Tim2 said...

Good Day Dr Berman and Wafers

In these times we all need a little levity right?
Take a listen to the link below discussing Biden’s inaugural speech.
A good entry point is at about the one minute mark but hang in there
to the 5 minute mark were the good laugh
happens. A Scholar of American English in top form 100
years ago. Even worth hanging in there up to the 10 or 12 minute
point. Thomas Frank ….What’s the Matter with Kanas
author is always a great listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFpw-ioM3dk&list=PLL0ooGQ0asg4upSXzZA1Oinn3ALqVCndA&index=1

10:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Brian-

Another example of a hi-IQ critic w/his head rammed up his hi-IQ ass. Nader's heart is in the rt place, but his head is in his behind. My question to him wd be: "Why can't you see what's patently obvious?"

Meanwhile, an advanced case of beating off: the punch and judy show in the Senate, where a 2nd impeachment will yield the same result as the 1st. Jesus, these people are a joke. And whatever happened to the 3rd stimulus payment, BTW?

mb

11:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: More beating off:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/jan/25/how-to-make-bernie-sanders-inauguration-mittens

11:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps2: Speaking of beating off:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/tsa-agent-convicted-tricking-woman-showing-breasts-lax-airport/

11:51 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

I found a really good article quoting MB and I'd say a real go-to if you want a friend or colleague to understand that which is WAF:

https://comradefinnegan.home.blog/2019/05/11/can-american-culture-be-changed-for-the-better/

12:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

Thanks for the ref. Not something I wd have noticed.

mb

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

Foretelling the future for the larger destiny of America? There's
a rash of videos like this on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez90rXhMWjE

2:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

This American Life (speaking of a nation going nowhere):

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/01/26/joe-biden-first-dogs-white-house-moos-pkg-vpx.cnn

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/26/business/billionaire-wealth-inequality-poverty/index.html

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/25/us/bernie-sanders-crochet-doll-meals-on-wheels-auction-trnd/index.html

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/ella-emhoff-inauguration-fashion-star/index.html

mb

11:47 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...


Hey, at least they’re not American douchebags.. For a change.

A wealthy casino executive and his B-movie actress wife from Vancouver charter a plane, fly to the Yukon, and get COVID vaccinations intended for First Nations inhabitants of the tiny town of Beaver Creek.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/01/26/yukon-vaccine-couple-ekaterina-baker/

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

Dr. B and Wafers: Here's a thoughtful article from historian Alfred W. McCoy.

https://tomdispatch.com/while-america-was-sleeping/

2:41 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Was thinking about how glorified the military is in the US while listening to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History and he mentions how in World War 2 the soldiers who experience combat came back changed.

From the podcast series Supernova in the East.

James Jones (A Chronicle of Soldiering)-- "It has its excitements and compensations. One of them, since you have none yourself, you are relieved of any responsibility for a future and every thing tastes better..."

"Some men like to live like that all the time. Some are actually sorry to come home and see it end. Even those who hated it found it exciting sometimes. That is what the civilians never understand of their returned soldiers in any war. Vietnam as well. They cannot understand how we could hate it and still like it. And they do not realize that they have a lot of dead men around them. Dead men who are walking around and breathing. Some men find it hard to come back. Some never come back at all. Not completely."

With the number of unending wars and churn of recruits coming and going into various military branches in USA. This has to be a contributing factor in our decline.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pete-

Gd article, thanks.

Jas-

As I've said b4, the elite are trash.

mb

5:21 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Black chic dept.:

https://people.com/style/amanda-gorman-signs-with-img-models/

Hype and hustling ueber Alles! The revolution will be featured in the pages of Cosmo. (I remember in the late 60s, Revlon cashed in on the 'vogue' of revolutionary fever by running an ad entitled "Revolution in Deodorants!" As Marcuse said, capitalism can absorb anything.)

Meanwhile, I read Amanda's poem. It's not really a poem; it's (political) prose broken down into fragments, so as to look like poetry. Keats it ain't, but it's politically correct. Whoopee!

How can people not see thru this? Oh wait: they're Americans!

mb

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Malleus, Dr Berman

I think this insane need to believe in America at all costs, has something to do with the "death of God", and the corresponding need to believe in something larger than oneself. Especially for people like Hedges, who seems to have taken his loss of traditional faith rather hard.

Fortunately, I've never felt this myself. Even in the midst of a lonely, collapsing civilization, smack dab in the middle of the Kali Yuga, I still walk around with a feeling akin to ecstasy most of the time. I find this world to be an infinitely deep, infinitely fascinating place, and the unfathomaby improbable fact that we are even here at all, in this moment, is enough to keep me from ever feeling truly bored or depressed. I don't need to tie myself to any larger, fake social causes for my life to feel meaningful. (No need to "Occupy Wall Street!") The world feels so meaningful and rich to me most of the time that it's almost like a kind of sensory overload.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Megan-

This is gd; keep up the gd work. Meanwhile, I don't think Hedges lost his faith. A few yrs ago he was ordained as a Christian minister; his writing took a (sharp) turn for the worse after that. Altho that's apparently not enuf, hence his stubborn/foolish intention to fix the US. Yeah, that'll work. It's also why, as I have said a # of times, there will be no wake-up moment for him. To allow that wd be to court psychosis.

In QOV I have an essay on America as the 'civil religion'. This follows the work of a couple of authors such as Robt Bellah and Will Herberg, who said that regardless of what religion Americans profess to believe (Judaism, Christianity, etc.), their *real* religion was America itself. This is why, when you criticize the country to another American, they go batshit with rage. I also think that this 'death of God' explains why the nation is coming apart: on some level, most Americans probably understand that the game is up. So they live in a kind of repressed, hysterical frenzy.

mb

7:45 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@ Dr B.

This link is good re: my previous post on the reality of fossil fuel energy production declination in the pickup truck cowpoke state:

https://betterwyo.org/2019/10/31/wyomings-woeful-response-to-coals-collapse/

The people hereabouts, being god-fearing patriotic amerikaner trumpkins, are not smart. Merely fearful and intensely tribal. As you've said, dumber than a pile of doobie doo. A question of culture? Perhaps.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

Dr. Berman,

I had no idea Hedges was ordained. I'm surprised, as he seemed pretty intensely atheistic for a long time. I'm not surprised Christianity ruined his writing, though. It's ruined a whole lot more than that over the centuries. I guess his newfound Christian faith is why his writing is so preachy and tiresome these days.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Yuma said...

'Wealth increase of 10 men during pandemic could buy vaccines for all' - BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-55793575
"The combined wealth of the world's 10 richest men rose by $540bn during the pandemic, according to Oxfam.
The charity claims this amount would be enough to prevent the world from falling into poverty because of the virus, and pay for vaccines for all."

What a world.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

I don't think his faith is newfound; I think it's in his family background, tho I'm not positive. The ordination was merely the icing on the cake. And his writing has been pretty preachy for a # of yrs now. I think it was Sam Harris who called Hedges 'sanctimonious', and vowed never to debate him again. If yr religious, you can't afford to lose (too much at stake). Which means yr not really in dialogue, tho you might pretend to be.

mb

9:41 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Question for Dr. Berman and other WAFers.

Why do I have this feeling that the convulsions we're seeing in American society really started in earnest more than 20 years ago? If we believe that art tells truth when simple language fails, than I have to say that my age group grew up with absolute creative savagery. Even in pop art.

I was 18 when "The Downward Spiral" album peaked ATOP the Billboard charts. It's an album of relentless brutality and nihilism. There are no happy ballads, no optimistic songs of human potential, and no paeans to muses. None of its messages are hidden or back-masked.

While I worry it's a narcissistic exercise on my part, I do sometimes think that Gen-X might have been the first in American culture to take a good look at what was presented to us and say "Fuck this shit."

Again, music that TOPPED the charts:

https://youtu.be/hhvza-_2ox8

- He flexed his muscles to keep his flock of sheep in line
- He made a virus that would kill off all the swine
- His perfect kingdom of killing, suffering and pain
- Demands devotion atrocities done in his name

10:01 PM  
Anonymous WuduFugel said...

Megan, the question of how does a person form an identity in the absence of a religious creed is one of greatest tests put against the modern world. And in my mind, its been one of our biggest failures. In the western world religious affiliation began its decline in the late 19th century, and that decline has slowly marched on until today. In the U.S., over the last 70 years, the percentage of people answering "none" to the question of their religion has gone from a few points to 20 percent.

Most of us here on this blog probably have an identity shaped in large part by books, and reflection, and at least some amount of serious thinking, if I may be presumptuous for a moment. But saying to the average person "Just read and think about things for a few decades to figure yourself out" doesn't work. Societies without some larger sense of purpose, that goes beyond the individual- simply don't last.

If what we call modern society is going to survive in some fashion, we are going to have to figure out a definition of meaning that goes beyond watching TV and buying a bigger house. I doubt it will happen, but surely its one of the things that needs to happen.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wudu-

Rabbi Hillel, one of the great sages of Judaism, lived in the 1stC B.C. At some pt, a Roman soldier, wanting to know what the bible (5 bks of Moses) was all about, but who didn't wanna spend a lot of time studying it, asked Hillel if he cd summarize the teaching "while standing on one foot"--in other words, for the length of time he cd balance himself, probably about 30 seconds. (I don't know if the discussion was in Aramaic; in Hebrew, the expression is "al regel echad".) Hillel said to him: "That which is hateful to you, don't do it to other people. That's the gist of it; the rest of the text is just editorializing" (i.e., elaboration on that single pt). In terms of a secular belief that is larger than oneself, I doubt we can improve on that.

mb

10:56 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

I thought this had to be a parody of some sort-

Doctor Pimple Popper
https://drpimplepopper.com/

Best as I can tell, this is real. A TV show devoted to a dermatologist popping pimples, draining cysts, etc. Not as education but as entertainment.

“So the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Take for yourselves handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and let Moses scatter it toward the heavens in the sight of Pharaoh. And it will become fine dust in all the land of Egypt, and it will cause boils that break out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt’” (Exodus 9:8-9).

And let it come to pass that who so ever monetizes this plague shall prosper in the belly of the beast until their time will come to be shat out like a rabbit drops a pellet....

There really is no bottom to this pit we are falling down, is there?

5:13 AM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

"To serve God in fear is good; to serve Him in love is better; but to be able to grasp the love in fear, that is best." — Meister Eckhart

@B.Louis
From my observations, Gen X is definitely the generation really "getting its hands dirty" when it comes to advancing social collapse. Boomers want to kick the can down the road as long as they are alive, and Millennials are sort of their discontent but docile pets.

Tho the Gen Z (children of Gen X) may overturn all that. The kids today are like angry, confused lab specimens loosed on the world... "Let's see what happens if we replace normal social development with social media..."

5:20 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

No Comment dept.:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/26/business/goldman-sachs-ceo-david-solomon-pay-cut/index.html

mb

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Rodel said...

The “iconic pursuer of justice in Chile”/ Juan Guzmán Tapia, judge who battled Chilean dictator Pinochet, dies at 81 https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/juan-guzman-tapia-judge-who-battled-chilean-dictator-dies-at-81/2021/01/23/3d51a1f8-5d00-11eb-a976-bad6431e03e2_story.html

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Karo said...

If you liked Spike Lee's "Blackkklansman" check out his new Netflix original "Da Five Bloods" about black infantry vets returning to Vietnam.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...

Hello Dr. B and WAFERS:

Previously I suggested parallels between the official 9/11 narrative and Jan 6. I just did a Google search for the two together and got 270,000,000 hits. Some headlines: "9/11 and 1/6: America Resilient"; "Everything is Different Now" (The Atlantic); "Why We Need a January 6th Commission to Investigate the Attack on the Capitol" (Rand Corporation); "9/11 and January 6: The Enormous Cost of Intelligence Failure" (Counterpunch).

What is unfolding here is a new Big Lie (again, I am only making a comparison with the official 9/11 narrative) designed to replace the now displaced Big Lie(s) of the billionaire and populist Right. Either way: lies and authoritarianism. Biden's Big Lie is being used to further securitize America and to consolidate the institutionalization of the Orwellian "Authoritarian Progressive Neoliberalism" I mentioned previously. We are now well beyond 'political correctness' and in the realm of enforced radical identitarian liberalism. All of this is being aggressively consolidated in Canada in parallel with America, I must add.

Lastly, a further point for Laila: Canada may be a saner society than America, but only by comparison. The only Big Capital has enjoyed and 'freedom,' 'dignity,' 'rights' in the full sense in Canada. The social sciences and the humanities here - which have always had a powerful liberal/conservative bias - are now so corrupted by enforced Authoritarian Progressive Neoliberalism that I would wager it is now impossible to study history in this country in any meaningful sense. The Commissars have prevailed.

-Northern Johnny

9:37 AM  
Blogger Jack Lattemann said...

From the Cascadian “Of Course They Did” department: The Seattle Times yesterday published an investigative report of the Seattle-area Overlake Medical Center making preferred appointments to receive Covid-19 vaccine available to donors of $10,000 or more. This became public knowledge when someone who had received the email from one of the donors sent it to the newspaper. The medical center claimed its intent was only to be “efficient” in distributing the vaccine after its computer system for appointments became overloaded, but drew a rebuke from Washington Governor Jay Inslee. Bad elite! Bad elite! You mustn’t do these things! But of course they did, just standard operating procedure for the Merican medical system. As MB has pointed out, the people who make decisions like this are trash. PS – My spouse and I are still on a waiting list at our clinic to receive the vaccine, no dates given to us yet.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/times-watchdog/special-access-to-covid-19-vaccine-for-overlake-medical-center-donors-draws-inslee-rebuke/

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Seneca’s Cliff said...

The only thing more crazed and deadly than an American is an American in an automobile. My favorite part is when the citizens had this guy cornered after he crashed in to a tree ,one of them shouted out, “ You probably killed a lady back there.” The motorist said, “ Aw that’s too bad.”

https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2021/01/police-accuse-64-year-old-man-of-murder-in-deadly-southeast-portland-hit-and-run-rampage.html

10:43 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check it out:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/27/proud-boys-leader-enrique-tarrio-fbi-informant

11:06 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Dr B,

In Neurotic Beauty you states civilizations are package deals. Do you think this applies to religion too? I am not religious but wish I could be. That said, I really enjoy attending religious services, especially mass. The ancient rituals are soothing and I envy the believers. I enjoy the since of community and friendship when I go to a mosque. I used to play my cello occasionally at an episcopal church for special events where I felt the congregants were the “real deal.” They emphasized concepts like “blessed are the meek, the weak shall inherit the earth, the eye of the camel, take up your cross, abandon worldly goods, etc.” I’ve read through the gospels a couple of times and feel the actual message if quite different from what became Christianity. To me it reads more like joining a hippy commune.

I very much agree with you in the comment above about being unable to debate once you are religious. You identified the feeling I have when talking with people who believe but could never quite put my finger on until I read your comment. I also agree with Malleus that the average person needs a belief system. In NB your Japanese friend said they need Christianity (not literally) or when Jefferson and Adams see Christianity as a way to teach morality to the masses even though they don’t “believe.” Of course for Wafers, consumerism and the American Dream/hustling are the real issues. Maybe true religion (Edwards and Finny over Falwell like Postman says) would have helped instead of hurt. Just trying to unpack and clarify all of this in my head. As always, thanks for the brilliant insights.

1:10 PM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Wafers,

Reality check on the political scene:

https://www.https//pagesix.com/2021/01/27/former-rhony-star-barbara-kavovit-enters-nyc-mayoral-race/

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Gabe Keehn said...

Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Developing Female Kurdish Militia Drama for TV

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/hillary-and-chelsea-clinton-developing-female-kurdish-militia-drama-for-tv

This can't be real....

1:35 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Nadine Bupkis - You can't listen to Hedges for 5 minutes w/o him mentioning he's ordained. And yeah it's in his family background. The guy's really walked the walk and I admire him for that but if he thinks Americans are going to get up from their TV sets and Krispy Kremes and make revolution ...

B. Louis - I remember those days. Out of any 10 people, at least one would have a NIN T-shirt on. Grunge (K. Kobain) could be pretty depressing but NIN was like ... suicidal Radiohead. Depressing as it was, it had a sort of "we're in this shit together" feel. You could open a conversation with a fellow NIN fan and know you'd not be told that things were your individual problem, to just buckle down, etc. any of that shit. People are much more atomized now and you *will* get the bootstrap shit.

Jack Latteman - Same thing happened here in Los Gatos, preferential treatment of rich/connected by one hospital.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

The video below explores the threat and possibility of nuclear wars. When I watch videos like this and see the stupidity that’s paying out in America right now, it makes me really nervous.

A $1.2 Trillion Plan Could Kill 90% | Stephen Fry
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbZqleGOVPw&feature=youtu.be
The US will soon review its nuclear weapons program. Should it spend $1.2 Trillion extending and updating it?

4:30 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

Does Hedges really walk his talk? He exhorts for revolution, but he himself is hardly in the streets, organizing the masses. This is armchair socialism, directed from a large, warm apt. in Princeton. Some walk. And then, once a yr, he does talk the declinist line, saying the US is finished (an insight that for him is very fleeting). But if you really believe that, you leave the country; you don't keep trying to save it. Failure to leave is hardly walking one's talk. Rather, it's cowardice. Not a whole lot to admire, either way. The bottom line is that the guy is a bundle of contradictions, wh/is why he appears depressed and confused, when u.c. his face online.

vso-

Link doesn't work.

Jamie-

Any system, any ideology, has at least one major Achilles' heel. But the rest of the leg might be useful, for some. In any case, 2 things might help: "Heart of the Matter," story #16; QOV, essay #12. Enjoy.

mb

4:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers: I'm hoping Schmernie and Amanda team up, create a program of radical chic called Pile o' Crap. Mugs, dishtowels, T-shirts, DVD's, the works.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous June said...

To Karo:

Spike Lee’s ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Named Best Film Of 2020 By National Board Of Review

https://deadline.com/2021/01/national-board-of-review-2020-winners-list-da-five-bloods-1234680677/amp/

It was just stamped as Best Film of 2020.

I thought that while it wasn't as polished as Blackkklansman it was deeply moving. Delray Lindo's finest role of his career, IMHO!

Also check out "The Trial of the Chicago 7" on Netflix, great depiction of Tom Hayden et al.

June

5:56 PM  
Anonymous down we go said...

On religions of various kinds - none are pure. All are human institutions and thus fatally flawed. Each of the major ones teach an ethic of love and compassion. Unfortunately, most of their adherents don't follow it. Especially in the US. Where the religion incarnated by most is of a secular nature - patriotism (allegiance to country comes before anything else including "god; financial growth - more hours are spent on making money than practicing religion. It is not difficult to understand why so many young adults are abandoning institutionalized religion - its fraudulent and hypocritic. Leave it be. Standards to live by can be found in the ancient texts but you have to look for it. Don't depend on the institutions to teach you.

My younger son was struck by a car while walking across a street 2 years ago. Every attempt to get the help and services the government is supposed to provide the disabled has been a battle. His experience is that the "safety net" is in taters and that the purpose of state and federal social programs is to erect barriers to assistance. Talk about kicking people when they're down. America may be the most cruel modern nation on earth. Get out before you need serious medical care.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Another "No Comment":

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2021-01-27/amanda-gorman-super-bowl-poem-tom-brady

7:30 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

In a way, advertising can be the most incisive form of art.

Right before the 2008 crash, there was a grab-bag of commercials that REALLY captured the horrific emptiness of American life. They stopped airing once the 3 Card Monte economy imploded, but boy are they hilarious.

Emasculated man gets henpecked into a mortgage:
https://youtu.be/20n-cD8ERgs

Suburban buffoon buries himself in unpayable debt:
https://youtu.be/r0HX4a5P8eE

7:57 PM  
Blogger Tim2 said...

Megan Said

“I find this world to be an infinitely deep, infinitely fascinating place, and the unfathomable
improbable fact that we are even here at all”

Perhaps support for your thought Megan. The Black Swan
by Nassim Taleb. “Imagine a speck of dust next to a planet a billion times the size of earth. The speck of dust
represents the odds in favour of you being born and the huge planet would be the odds against it……..remember
you are a Black Swan”.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Wudu,

You make a good point, and well-put. Speaking of which, Charles Taylor's excellent and erudite work on secular "disenchantment", "A Secular Age" is a first-rate study that deals with several of these same themes (the "death of God", etc.). It is well worth reading alongside Dr. Berman's "Reenchantment of the World".

I was just discussing with my best friend how utterly impoverished my life would have been, had I been closed off to the world of Philosophy and literature. In my early twenties I could have easily fallen into cynicism and "disenchantment", had I not discovered Hermann Hesse, and the entire world of poetry and beauty that he opened up for me. I was so moved by books like Siddhartha and Narcissus and Goldmund (which touched me to the core) that I even joined an ashram for several years, and lived in South India for a time. That said, I don't know how 95 percent of Americans can go through life without reading a single book after college! No wonder they need massive doses SSRIs to get through a single day!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

Dear Dr. Berman,

Your insight regarding Chris Hedges—that "if you really believe that ['Merka going to the dogs], you leave the country; you don't keep trying to save it"—brought to mind an interview I did with a notable professor of education at UCLA 15 or so years ago. He was Canadian and so incorrigibly to the left that he had Subcommandate Marcos elaborately tattooed on his shoulder. So I asked him why he didn't just leave the country he was so hypercritical of and return to the land of his birth (never mind that Canada was largely settled by Southerners too cowardly to participate in the American Civil War)?

His unforgettable deadpan answer: "I'd rather stay in the belly of the beast."

Now, then, if only I had an education in the Classics, I could perhaps write a play ... .

8:25 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

MB - Hm, good point. "Walked" not "walks" the walk. He has gone out in the field in Yugoslavia and some other places including an arguably much more dangerous one, flyover USA. That appears to be long ago now, well before his ordination he never tires of telling us about.

So my impression has been, "Well, at least he's been willing to go out and get shot at" but really, any American these days, in just living their life, has to be willing to get shot at. I've been shot at and you probably have, too.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

Down we go,

North Korea and China have America beat when it comes to cruelty. America comes in third when it comes to cruelty, and first when it comes to stupidity.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

There was also a time that he published a series of articles declaring how moral he was. Oy vey, what *can* ya say! As for me, I'm just waiting for the antisemitic trollfoons to show up in front of the Trotsky Museum with an ice pick, and pull a Ramon Mercader on me.

Ajay-

The reply to his reply wd be: "To what end?" His answer makes sense if he really thinks that things can be turned around, and if he's doing things to make that happen. For the most part, Hedges apparently believes he can Make America Great Again. As I've said b4, High IQ doesn't nec. mean intelligent.

Megan-

Apparently after college Americans occasionally read self-help bks or diet bks. Not much else.

Megan, Louis-

Regarding the emptiness of American life: In 2018, 48,344 Americans died by suicide, and there were 1.4 million suicide attempts. I'm guessing that the figs for 2020 (given the eruption of covid) were much higher. Durkheim wrote that the root cause of suicide was a loss of meaning...what meaning does the nation offer its citizens, beyond the pursuit of money?

mb

10:53 PM  
Blogger Quercus said...

Ajay Singh:

Where did you get the idea that "Canada was largely settled by Southerners too cowardly to participate in the American Civil War"?

Much of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia & Upper Canada (now part of Ontario) was the destination of Loyalist refugees and settlers from the United States after the American Revolution, who often were granted land to settle in Upper Canada. They were loyal to the Crown, and didn't accept the Revolution. And many were from the New England area. I think you mean the American Revolution not the American Civil War. And they were not necessarily cowards - they just had different allegiances.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Canada
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_of_the_Loyalists
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Empire_Loyalist


Quercus

1:04 AM  
Blogger dermot said...

MB QUOTE: He exhorts for revolution, but he himself is hardly in the streets, organizing the masses. This is armchair socialism, directed from a large, warm apt. in Princeton. UNQUOTE

https://medium.com/@class_struggle/aesthetic-communism-8c31db267a28

QUOTE: There’s a tendency amongst people in my generation to ascribe to what I would call a form of ‘aesthetic communism’. By aesthetic communism, I mean people that agree with communism theoretically and will say things like “eat the rich lol”, “fuck the military”, or will even make jokes about revolution. However, these same people will then devote most of their political energy to electoral politics and the discourse of popular media, such as MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, etc. In other words, these people generally behave like liberals, social democrats, progressives, but then will embrace the communist aesthetic.
...this conception of socialism not only negates the reality of imperialism and the history of colonization and genocide in the West, but it also places socialism on the terrain of the capitalist system. This understanding of socialism necessarily accepts many facets of the capitalism system, such as the exploitation of wage labor and the existence of a ruling class.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

Don't be poor, sick, and old in Chicago.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XkYd_RHkQs

3:13 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dermot-

Gd essay. It shd be clear that Hedges has been beating off for some time now. Nor is he tired of it (amazingly enuf).

mb

3:35 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Very impt article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/27/covid-vaccines-new-strains/

3:55 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Move aside, Tulsi! Here come Amanda and friends!

Amanda Gorman signs modeling contract after star turn at inauguration

“I’m a black woman with a powerful pen and a big heart, and I like my look to reflect that pride,” Gorman told Harper’s Bazaar, speaking about her love of style.

Earlier this month tennis player Naomi Osaka, who publicly made a stand against police brutality and racial injustice through her choice of face masks during tennis matches, became the face of Louis Vuitton.

Indeed, no comment required or even really possible... Beating a dead horse, but obviously these people (and most Americans) don't realize they're self-parodies.

“In eternity there is no time, only an instant long enough for a joke.”
― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Ricardo said...

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/farm-protests-in-india-are-writing-the-green-revolutions-obituary/?mc_cid=35a41c801a&mc_eid=b137fabfa9

Notable opinion piece in Scientific American:

“The Green Revolution package secured cheap cereals in exchange for justice and ecological sustainability.”

8:25 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Malleus-

Whether we are talking abt people who are black, or white, or brown, or purple, America's ability to produce clueless buffoons is apparently unlimited.

mb

9:28 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

First they came for the Socialists...
-Martin Niemöller

“Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are no longer in favor in San Francisco, where the school board has voted to change the name of 44 schools it says bear the monikers of people associated with racism, slavery or colonization.” 

https://www.rawstory.com/san-francisco-school/?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6452

10:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Lincoln? Really? Our dementia knows no bounds.

mb

10:27 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

MB-

Re: Enrique Tarrio

This is very intriguing. Who really is Enrique Tarrio? What's actually behind his call for *WAR* in America? I wonder if Tarrio is still under FBI protection given the fact that the he was conveniently arrested and run out of DC right before the insurrection action started. Considering the FBI's long, dark track record on infiltrating and subverting domestic groups, I wouldn't be surprised if many leading members of the white nationalist movement are working clandestinely for the FBI. It's difficult to make sense out of anything anymore.

MB, Wafers-

Check out the title and thesis of this book. Sure to be a best seller:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/01/books/review/mediocre-ijeoma-oluo.html

Jesus, talk about perpetuating stereotypes. I'm thinking about writing one called: "Lazy Morons: The Dangerous Legacy of Blacks in America." or "Schmucks: The Dangerous Legacy of Jews in America." Or how about "Competent but Cold: The Dangerous Legacy of Asians in America"? The dribble that passes for intellectualism in the US is ridiculous.

Miles

11:01 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

@Megan

Agreed,
I had a near spiritual experience when I first read Steppenwolf. I couldn’t believe how close Harry Haller felt to me, at a time where I thought I was completely alone with my awareness amongst a world of morons.

Of course Steppenwolff was taken into the pop counter culture of the 60s because of something like “Steppenwolff is against conformity man, yeah man, I want to be a Steppenwolff too dude, pass the joint, you listen to the band?”.

Herman Hess said it brilliantly when he mentioned that no work of his has been “so often and more violently misunderstood”.

... You mention poetry, any recommendations of poetry that would speak to similar things Hesse's works did?

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Wray said...

No Indictments After a Month of Assaults on Palestinians in the West Bank

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.HIGHLIGHT.MAGAZINE-no-indictments-after-a-month-of-assaults-on-palestinians-in-the-west-bank-1.9484902

2:57 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@ alex carter - Do you ever ride your bicycle around in Mountain View, California? I'm just curious as it seems to be a belly-of-the-beast sort of place now. In the 1990s it was quite pleasant with many lemon, cherry, and grapefruit trees. People were quite happy to let you snag a few grapefruit. Good memories.

Gene

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Rodriguez said...

Question for the professor:

Is modern monetary theory (MMT) a legitimate dual process model or an exorcising of capitalism's corpse?

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

Dr. Berman, WAFERs and lurkers,

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/01/16/fact-check-house-rules-only-changed-gendered-language-one-document/4175388001/

The Democrats in the House of Representatives have voted to strike gender-specific words (e.g., father, mother, brother, sister, etc.) from their rules document. Apparently, they and their supporters are stupid enough to believe this qualifies as societal progress. I mean, why make it easier for people to pay their rent and insurance bills when you can alter a few words in a trivial document nobody reads or cares about? Why strengthen environmental and safety regulations when you can indulge in the same brand of identity politics that tore nation to shreds and led to the election of Trump? Progs are stupid enough not to realize they only discredit themselves and their ideology when they indulge in semantics and claim they are making structural changes to the American system, all the while ignoring the tremendous poverty, substance abuse and social breakdown afflicting America. Progs really are a bunch of horses' asses.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rod-

I don't know what MMT is, unfortunately.

Wray-

Gee, what a shock.

Jeff-

I have no trouble believing that white males are mediocre. The problem is that the author overlooked white females, black males, black females, brown males, brown females, yellow males, and yellow females--in America. I doubt white males have a monopoly on mediocrity, in short.

mb

6:08 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

But these shd save the day:

1. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/28/media/amanda-gorman-penguin-books-one-million-trnd/index.html

2. A crocheted doll of Schmernie sold for 20K.

If you were looking for an upper limit to douchebaggery, forget it.

mb

6:24 PM  
Anonymous DioGenes said...

I find it interesting that the word "power" is so omnipresent in American discourse. The prog 'critique' amounts to nothing more than that some people have power which should be transferred over to others (as if this is some commodity to be exchanged?). Never a qualitative critique of that power, just the suggestion it change hands.

Imagine how different our rhetoric would sound if we replaced "power" with "responsibility" or "authority" (in the earned sense).

@Northern Johnny shoot me a line at diogenesreads at gmail dot com, I have some questions about Canadian universities

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Megan said...

Brian,

Nice to hear that you too are fond of Hesse and Steppenwolf. It seems like several posters here feel similarly. While I can't think of anyone terribly like Hesse, in style or content, the poets Novalis,and Holderlin do have some similarities, and are both quite good.

I don't know if you are familiar with the Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard, but he is definitely a lesser-known delight. "The Woodcutters", and "Extinction" are my personal favorites. But all of his stuff is great. One of the central themes of Bernhard's work, is the difficulty, as you put it, of living in a country of morons. He is also quite humprous, but in a very dark way.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Cullen said...

Hello, all

I have been lurking for at least 6 months now, so I figure its time I come out of the WAFER closet. I discovered the works of Dr. Berman, believe it or not, through the Michael Moore documentary that was released on Youtube in 2020. There is a segment where Sheldon Solomon hands a copy of Dark Ages America to Jeff Gibbs. I paused the doc to check the title. It immediately caught my eye. I have now read Twilight, Dark Ages, WAF, and Spinning Straw. I cannot express how impactful your work has been during this quarantine period.

About me: I am currently 26 years old. I moved to Los Angeles about 4 years ago now, after studying classical acting in college. I went from Chekhov and Shaw to car commercials and sitcoms. About a year and a half ago I began feeling a deep sense of dread that was unshakeable. I felt as if I was in miserable circus. My daily routine involved driving two hours in traffic to audition for commercials for pizza rolls, car insurance, tech companies, and everything in between. Pursuing acting in Los Angeles is the epitome of endless, mind numbing hustle of the USA. Everyone in the acting "community" is in a constant frenzy; acting classes in LA teach students how to best perform inane network television dialogue that has been focus grouped to have as much broad appeal as possible. You are expected to treat this stuff like it is Shakespeare. I often felt there was something wrong with me for my lack of enthusiasm for the insufferable grind. Thanks to your work and this blog, I now realize I am not crazy, but just starting to wake up. Thanks for your work and the community you created here.

11:37 PM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Dr. Berman/Wafers,

Sorry for the bad link. Just another reality TV star running for office:

https://people.com/politics/rhony-alum-barbara-kavovit-announces-bid-for-new-york-city-mayor-im-the-woman-to-do-it/

And from the paint-by-number department, the Army just announced revisions to its "grooming" policy:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/28/politics/army-grooming-policy/index.html

Let's not review the actions of the military, no no, lets address how they look [while terrorizing the rest of the world in the name of imperial overstretch]

11:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

vso-

Her face scares the shit outta me.

Cullen-

Welcome to the blog. As vampires (of a sort), we are always looking for fresh blood. It seems like you cd use a gd laugh. To that end, let me modestly suggest this fabulous book:

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Matter-Morris-Berman/dp/1635619319/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=morris+berman&qid=1611896054&s=books&sprefix=morri%2Cstripbooks&sr=1-1

As I never tire of telling prospective readers, you will laugh like an irresponsible fetus.But what you discovered in LA is that America turns literally everything to shit. Everything is geared to the lowest common denominator, which is pure dreck. What's a serious person to do? (emigrate! but that's a whole other discussion)

I published some articles, and 1 bk, in the 70s; but ever since I published the Reenchantment bk in 1981, the one steady comment I've received from readers over the last 40 yrs is yours: "I thought I was crazy until I read ____." This blog is an oasis for the very few (tiny, in fact) Americans who have come to the conclusion that it's the US that's crazy, not them. This is an essential, and correct, perception, if you want to survive. One reason I am so angry at the US is that it takes people and turns them into human garbage. It robs their souls, destroys their minds (cf. "Howl," by Ginsberg), and economically drives them into the dirt. It gives them upside down values, so that they strut around like zombies, mindlessly chanting "We're No. 1!" Yeah, No. 1 in sickness, you fucking dorks. Anyway, if you stick around (and I hope you will), you'll find that out of a billion blogs, this is the only one that is seriously interested in reality, and is not afraid to point it out. E.g., the country oozes and creams over a mediocre poet, while this blog notes that she is not John Keats and has just signed on to some modeling agency, where she will be turned into an icon for the masses. (Just one example among many you or I cd cite.) In essence, this country is so full of shit it doesn't know whether it's coming or going. And the direction is assuredly down--wh/no other public forum is willing to admit. Since yr an actor, you can easily recognize that what we are witnessing, politically speaking (e.g., the new impeachment proceedings, wh/will obviously fail) is nothing more than theater. While it is true that a house divided against itself cannot stand, neither can a nation swimming in illusion, or delusion. This is where emigration comes in, but I've ranted enuf for one reply. Just know that I'm being sincere w/u, as you were w/me and the other Wafers.

Brian-

Mary Oliver.

mb

12:15 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

David Remnick writes in the Jan. 18 New Yorker:

"Once the Capitol was cleared, the solemn assurances that 'this is not who we are' began. The attempt at self-soothing after such a traumatic event is understandable, but it is delusional. Was Charlottesville not who we are? Did more than seventy million people not vote for the Inciter-in-Chief? Surely these events are *part* of who we are, *part* of the American picture. To ignore those parts, those features of our national landscape, is to fail to confront them."

And fail we will. Paper over the truth, we will do. Schmiden calls for 'unity'; what unity? This is a charade. That confrontation is what I was arguing for in ch. 4 of WAF. Of course that is not going to happen. Schmiden, and the rest of the country, are lvg in Disneyland, where there is not a high premium on reality. We are being stalked by Jungian shadows, and our only interest is in repressing them. And so our demise is assured.

mb

1:07 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

While one doesn’t have to go much further than trump himself to show that economic status is not always a good predictor of cultural values, speech and identity, his disenfranchised voter base relates to the way he communicates, for sure, merely a symbol to them that guarantees, however wrongly, how authentically he stands with them against economic powers that have short shrifted them for decades, and handed off their slice of the pie to foreigners, welfare queens, free loaders of all kinds and so on etc It is artificial and strictly academic to entirely separate economic status and interests from cultural identities.

3:14 AM  
Anonymous siliconvalleyburnout said...

Haven't been on here awhile though I check in to read from time to time... If you all haven't taken some time to revel in the latest shenanigans with with a few online communities bankrupting multibillion dollar hedge funds who short stocks (an incredibly risky endeavor given that you can lose an infinite percentage of your investment) Then you are missing a hilarious sideshow to the American circus. Taibbi article below. I find him one of the last remaining journalists worth reading.

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/suck-it-wall-street?r=62pm9&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR2iRQ9cCXnBYGiB7zunyCnvS7_a3Q0dn7H8PghbAzvnSL8cW2XryuDprQQ

8:08 AM  
Blogger Xair said...

Wafers,

Can you say hustlers?

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/suck-it-wall-street

8:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Evan-

Yr probably rt, but cd you give us some refs? A link?

mb

9:45 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

To follow up on an item I submitted a day or so ago:

“A millionaire Canadian couple who secretly travelled to a remote community to receive a coronavirus vaccine meant for vulnerable and elderly Indigenous residents may now face jail sentences for breaking public health rules. Casino executive Rodney Baker and his wife, Ekaterina Baker, an actor, were widely condemned after it emerged that they had chartered a plane to a remote community in the Yukon territory, where they posed as local motel employees to receive the vaccine”

The local Yukon authorities have suspended their C$2,300 (US$1,800) fines for violating Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act, contemplating court action that could land the couple in jail for 6 months. Baker resigned his casino executive position Sunday, but will have C$45.9 million profit on stock options accrued over the past 13 months to console him.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/28/canada-couple-covid-vaccine-indigenous-people-jail-time?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Saagar Enjeti: Wall Street Elites DESTROYED, Beaten By Redditors At Their Own RIGGED Game
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ToOGrUQ7ME

The video above covers the same topic in the article by Matt Taibbi shared earlier by siliconvalleyburnout and Xair: https://taibbi.substack.com/p/suck-it-wall-street

Cullen, welcome to the blog. I also used to think I was crazy until I finally realized that American culture is garbage.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Politically Incorrect Russian Spy said...

Just finished 'Coming to Our Senses' and must say the book is an absolute treasure chest. The reading experience was akin to watching a legendary ballplayer in his prime (think Nolan Ryan throwing 100+ mph fastballs, with Professor Berman effortlessly slinging intellectual heaters past any fool looking to bat away his arguments). However sharp MB remains today he was on another level 30+ years ago. The chapters on creativity and fascism in particular are outstanding. It was impossible to read the passages on Nazism without blaring klaxons going off re: current events.

Speaking of, for any imagining we've somehow dodged a bullet by finally dragging Agolf Twitler out of office, Ted Rall lays out the impending Biden administration disaster. Whether it's Trump himself or one of his epigones in 2024, America's plunge into violent authoritarian dystopia has only just begun. As ever, get the hell out if you possibly can:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/01/27/bidens-presidency-has-already-failed/

1:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pol-

Another level? Phht! Check out "Neurotic Beauty." But I'm glad you enjoyed CTOS, in any case. The bk does have a lotta fans.

Jas-

There sure are some disgusting people in the world. Elites, for sure.

Noura-

Gd to see elites suffering. They wear fancy clothes, but they are actually trashy people.

mb

1:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Soul destruction, American style:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/29/us/rejoice-christian-school-expel-student-lgbt-trnd/index.html

2:08 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
Ya gotta both laugh and actually admire the pathetic unconscionable ingenuity of capitalistic hustling. A spate of pandemic movies are in the offing to keep the American public entertained. Anything to make a buck in our “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!” while over 400,000, and rapidly climbing, here have died.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/covid-cinema-songbird-b1790754.html

p.s. To Politcally Incorrect Russian Spy: I wouldn’t compare Nolan Ryan to Dr. Berman throwing pitches that whiz past helpless batters. The accurate comparison ( sorry, Dr. Berman. I’m giving an opinion here after watching this guy in total amazement when I was a kid) instead would be the greatest pitcher of all time, Sandy Koufax.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Liv said...

Hello, Dr. Berman and Wafers, I moved almost 3 years ago from the US (Bethesda) as Dr. Berman recommended and I can tell the best decision ever. I regret not doing it sooner. What a shitty life I had in the US with my 6-fig salary. NOw I live in Spain on $25k a year and I am happier, healthier, and have a very active community in the small pueblo in Andalucia. Which to everyone paradox is a very vibrant, alive community with folks helping each-other, gossiping, and etc. My point is money is useless here because it is all about the people and the relationships. If you don't have good ones, you will be unable to live or survive. In the US, I have never experienced community it was all about me, me, and again me. The suburbia was so depressing. and empty. People hustling for $$$ to pay for every single shit. If they could stop and realize that having a community saves $$$ and you don't have to hustle 24/7 which leads to freedom and happiness. Americans are the only people who have no clue what freedom truly means. EMIGRATE! (to no English speaking country)

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbWn8QDtAnY

The vaccine-resistant South African COVID strain is now spreading in the USA, but the American government isn't doing shit to prevent or slow its spread. By and large, Americans seem to think being optimistic, praying to Jesus, reading self-help books, going to church and believing in American exceptionalism will protect them from COVID. They aren't willing to endure the only thing that will get rid of COVID: a very strict lockdown with real consequences for those who violate it. Many would rather waltz into a store without a mask and start shouting in peoples' faces about their "Constitutional right" to spread a pandemic that has already killed millions. This is what cultural collapse looks like.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

Yr rt; and still, I can't help myself: I love dem Karens. To quote Gore Vidal, "Stupidity excites me."

Liv-

So great to hear from u again, and that yr move to Andaluthia worked out. (Keep lisping and you'll do fine) I do hope you rented a helicopter and peed on Bethesda b4 u left; it certainly deserves a gd hosing. Los americanos are such fools, verdad? Every day they are being punished for their destructive values, and they don' even know it. BTW, when Americans ask me if I have any regrets abt moving to Mexico, I tell them only 1: That I didn't do it 20 yrs earlier.

Joe-

Also Jewish, may I add. (This shd get the antisemitic trollfoons all agog--it's so easy to bait them!)

Wafers-

I think we can all agree that the Wafer Urine Team (WUT) has its work cut out for it, but I'm thinking that we also need a Slapping Team (WST) as well. Shd the 2 be combined (WUST)? I await yr thoughts on the matter.

mb

6:33 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Liv-Wow! I'm so excited to hear about your move to Spain!! I'm living not even 30 min from where you used to live. How crazy! I really want to move out of this country for the same reasons you mention you love Andaluthia. Thank god I'm learning Spanish, Spanish culture revolves around the values I really care about like that same sense of family and belonging. I remember only a few months ago I was into the trap of wanting to get that 6 figure job (to be fair, my plan was to retire early.. just so I could do what you did). You know, I might come to visit Spain, I really want to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. I would love to know more about your life there. Do you think I could email you?

MB- Loving your "Heart" book so far. Thank god my parents don't read the books I buy, at the first mention of anything sex or Jew related they would've thrown it out (religious dogma is strong). I'm becoming more and more open to the idea of moving abroad for college.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Laila-

Altho I'm not a big fan of Nike, I hafta tell u: Just Do It! If you don't, 40 yrs from now, when there are no jobs and no Social Security and we are still at war (with someone, anyone, we don't really care whom), you'll hate yr life and be saying to yrself: "If only I had listened!" Pls, avoid that unhappy fate. (The move seems impossible until you actually do it.)

In terms of contacting Liv: if she sends her address to me at mauricio@morrisberman.com, and you send me your address, I will, w/her permission, send her address 2u.

As far as dogma goes (of any variety), there is an alternative: to be a fully aware and alive human being. Yr halfway there, ma chere.

mb

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

In case new readers want some suggestions...

https://www3.forbes.com/lifestyle/forbes-the-best-places-to-retire-abroad-in-2019-vue/?utm_campaign=Forbes-The-Best-Places-To-Retire-Abroad&utm_source=yahoo-gemini&utm_medium=yh151391n1caj120&lcid=yh151391n1caj120&utm_content=HOMEPAGE_CA&utm_term=ca.yahoo.com

8:22 PM  
Anonymous B. Louis said...

Just to expand a bit on the sub-thread about Nine Inch Nails and art.

In 1994, a 'sequel' to Woodstock was held. To celebrate the original concert's 25th anniversary, the idea was to have "2 More Days of Peace and Music". As expected, the concert was a capitalist gangbang with everything being overpriced. Portable toilets overflowed creating a mud/feces mixture in the crowd.

The promoters decided to have Nine Inch Nails play the headline spot. I guess songs about drug addiction, self-harm, and seething contempt for modern life were in keeping with "2 More Days of Peace and Music".

Nine Inch Nails only played to offset the expenses from their last tour. They hated the gig and they definitely hated the crowd. During their performance, they covered themselves in the "mud" and proceeded to destroy their instruments over an 80 minute performance that devolved into noise toward the end.

My favorite picture from it. Danny Lohner (bassist) backstage covered head to toe, holding a bottle of 'Evian', looking like he'd rather be at a root canal appointment.

https://preview.redd.it/fzckt3sen8ez.jpg?width=960&crop=smart&auto=webp&s=0a946b25edfff62def2b1a07435b21cd9033815c

9:15 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Nadine bupkis - that's why I shop as much as possible in Asian stores. People are polite and there's not that foolishness.

Rolla Dice - I actually read through the whole list and they all seem to require 2X-10X the approx. $10k a year Social Security will give me to retire on.

MB - If I were 40 years younger I could gleefully bug out to just about anywhere and make it, and I agree - gotta get away from Anglo language and culture. I actually had fantasies of converting to become a you-know-who and moving to Israel. But there are just too many things I'd have to convincingly profess to believe in that I just plain don't, and too much going on from the treatment of the Pals to the "hustling" culture that just make it a nope for me. That leaves home, Hawaii, where all my memories are, where I can say "I went to that high school" and "I worked for that company" and so on. While speaking the local patois. It's not ideal, being still part of the US, but how the real people there live is markedly different from the mainland US.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

It worked, as usual. I extend the bait, and the antisemitic trollfoons immediately take it. God, these folks are so stupid! Not a drop of self-awareness. I love it.

mb

1:18 AM  
Anonymous FerQ said...

Nadine- You mentioned how Americans think that being optimistic, praying, attending church, self-help books and their belief in American exceptionalism are going to protect them from COVID. I noticed that even before the COVID epidemic, Americans believed that those things were the answer to everything, depression, loneliness, relationship problems, health issues, life plans, etc. They seem to be totally incapable of talking about these type of issues on a deep level and facing them directly. A good example of how superficial and stupid American culture is. Although I am Christian and believe that prayer and faith are important, I also believe in balanced thinking and that there are things that need more than just prayer and faith.
What I see is that the American way of dealing with problems and serious issues is by escaping, ignoring or denying them. Their methods are positive thinking, religion, self-help, drugs, alcohol, entertainment, sports, consumerism, materialism, over-working, hustling, etc. The results of this are a sick and failed society and a country that is a disaster.

1:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Fer-

There is, at least hypothetically, a way to reverse America's downward trajectory, and that is via surgical brain replacements for 331 million people. However, I consulted a major neurologist, who told me it cdn't be done. I guess, then, that there is only 1 answer: Tulsi, esp. since Norman Vincent Peale's "positive thinking" didn't work out too well.

Question from a reporter to Adlai Stevenson, ca. 1952: "How would you compare Norman Vincent Peale to St. Paul?" Stevenson: "I find Paul appealing, and Peale appalling."

mb

2:53 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Sir, I was brought here by an article/interview in the Atlantic I stumbled upon from circa 2011 or thereabouts re: hustling. Trump a decade later = Apotheosis of that thesis. I preferred the positive approach of that interview that emphasized the laudable competing values that you endorsed over reading this blog not because I don’t agree that the sclerotic political and cultural rot in the US is likely irreversible, but instead that the competing values should should nevertheless be the centerstage crux of your mission despite that fact.

3:45 AM  
Blogger vsoguy said...

Welcome Cullen,

Thanks for your tale of LA. I moved there myself in 2004 in pursuit of my own dream/hustle and quickly found out that LA is the epicenter for everything that's wrong with this culture. And funny you mention car insurance commercials, I was drafting a post on that very subject:

I've had Liberty Mutual car insurance for decades now. Then Geico came along which is cheaper than others. I had contemplated switching over, but their ads were pretty infantile, which didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in the company. Then Progressive Insurance came along with that annoying woman Flo, who I'm sure many of you are familiar with:

https://youtu.be/J4MYhWFUB0E

Well, wouldn't you know it. Liberty Mutual has finally gone stupid:

https://youtu.be/iWXjw7QY7xY

I'm guessing they must have had a meeting or initiative to dumb down their commercials. I would've loved to have been a fly on the wall for that discussion..

6:52 AM  
Anonymous down we go said...

In contradiction to Biden's optimistic assessment of the future of American democracy in his inauguration address, FAIR draws attention to what having 20,000 troops in the Capital says about America's future.

"Media found it “surreal” (New York Times, 1/20/21), “evocative of a war zone” (AP, 1/20/21) and contributing to an inauguration “unlike any other” (CNN, 1/21/21)—but none of them had the courage or clarity to say that military occupation is hardly the sign of a rebounding democracy. Indeed, the scandal of warehousing troops in a parking garage got way more ink than the fundamental contradiction of a democratic government needing war-zone level protection from its own citizens."

https://fair.org/home/you-cant-fight-white-supremacy-with-white-supremacy/

7:21 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

down-

Another way to say "people with ontological blockage" is "buffoons." This is what we have across the nation, including in the MSM.

Evan-

Well, I suspect the blog will continue to make you unhappy. After all, I'm old, senile, and decrepit; the chances of serious change are small. Besides, it's a lot more fun this way. :-)
But ps: we do in fact talk a lot abt competing values.

mb

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Northern Johnny said...


Hi Dr. and WAFERS:

We are seeing the consolidation of the Trinity: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Initially, the three were pushed by managers and administrators in corporations and public institutions. Now they are near hegemonic in the Anglosphere with Social Liberals (who are indistinguishable from Neoliberals).

The Trinity are presented as if they constitute a vast improvement over older conceptions of politics and justice, but is this actually the case? If we are talking about Classical Liberalism and forms of regressive Conservativism (sexism, racism, etc.), then yes, they are a vast improvements. However, if we are talking about conceptions of politics and justice from the true Left (identity politics are Social Liberal, not Left), then they are not.

I would posit that the Trinity are designed to negate both the Left (Communism, Socialism, Social Democracy), the Right (Classical Liberalism, non-extreme forms of Social Conservatism), and the Far Right (Fascism, white supremacy, etc.) so that only a kind of Centre is possible, which I am terming Authoritarian Progressive Neoliberalism, though it is also related to what some academics regard as a new 'moral economy,' which I think is designed to replace equality and potentially even democracy in the sense of one person, one vote).

I don't have space to go into further detail, but consider what is lost when the Trinity is juxtaposed with the French Revolutionary ideals: (1) from liberty to equity; (2) from equality to diversity; from (3) fraternity to inclusion.

-Northern Johnny

10:35 AM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Warp Speed Rip-off:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/28/world/europe/vaccine-secret-contracts-prices.html

Big Pharma greed and immunity from lawsuits knows no bounds:

Good luck, America!

Miles

11:18 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

I always wonder about those who pray to God to help them recover from cancer, hurricanes, earthquakes, and &c. Who do they think caused these afflictions in the first place?

Now, Wafers are going to think this is crazy, but yesterday I was looking up the biography of Cajun musician J. B. Fuselier, and saw he was born in Oberlin, Louisiana. I did a google satellite search of the area and saw that it looked like rather pleasant country. I then did a real estate search of the surroundings and found that prices are really low there. Then I did a search on vegetable gardening in Louisiana (I'm big on gardening) and saw that last week was mentioned as a good time to plant some vegetables, and also a good time to harvest other vegetables.

Last week in was -35 degrees Celsius here. I won't be thinking of digging in my garden for three months still. Louisiana is looking good right now. Convince me otherwise.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

MB, Have been silent for a while. Am still consumed by the ongoing farmers' movement. Learnt a thing or two about mass movement. Things are still unfolding, and will surely have ramifications for the country and the larger world.

Coming to your comment about intellectual vs ontological knowledge, it is so widespread that sometimes I wonder where those ppl have their heads. Chomsky is, of course, a very big name. I am talking of much lesser beings. Still, these are otherwise intelligent, 'high-IQ', 'successful', even well-meaning individuals, accomplished in their own spheres. But you ask them to connect the dots, and they are clueless. That's why they believed that once Trump goes, US will quickly be back to its glorious days; they believe they can beat Modi in the next elections, and they get very disturbed at the slightest hint of violence, unless, of course, it is perpetrated by the state. Some of them had even expected Modi to fix all that was wrong with the Indian economy pre-2014, so that we would all vroom and zoom across the country in our swanky cars and 'bullet trains' much like the ppl in the advanced economies.

There is a proverb in Hindi which very loosely translates to 'your intelligence is shaped by where your bread comes from.' Nothing describes these liberals more aptly.

Talking about the US, what could describe its state of affairs better that having someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene in the Congress?

12:02 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

What the heck, give it a shot. Just don't burn yr bridges to back home.

mb

12:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

The (scary) face of America:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/29/politics/capitol-pelosi-bancroft/index.html

12:22 PM  
Blogger Dan Daniel said...

In the 'Who'da thunk?' department: a vaccination site in a predominantly Latino community in New York City which has been heavily affected by covid-19 is being flooded by... whites from other parts of the city and state.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/30/us/new-york-vaccine-disparities/index.html

Wait until true food shortages hit. The warfare is going to be real.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Sagal said...

https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/money-matters-to-happiness-perhaps-more-than-previously-thought

Money matters to happiness—perhaps more than previously thoughtResearch from Wharton’s Matthew Killingsworth shows that contrary to previous influential work, there’s no dollar-value plateau at which money’s importance lessens. One potential reason: Higher earners feel an increased sense of control over life.


...Hah, research from the Wharton School of Business!

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Dr. Berman, it seems that the elites’ fancy clothes can no longer hide their trashiness. Here is a video update about the GameStop scandal, exposing them further:

Saagar Enjeti: Wall Street Elites REGULATE, DEPLATFORM Redditors Who BEAT THEM On GameStop
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t95Hxz6xioQ

It looks like the class war is increasingly out in the open …

Liv, so inspired to hear about your move. I am looking to emigrate and Mexico seems like the best option for me so far. I also lived in Bethesda many years ago and moved to California where I now live in Napa.

6:34 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

More on the blog subject of decline: "Mass Revenue Loss for County, Energy Downturn Continues"

https://county 17.com/2021/01/25/mass-revenue-loss-for-county-energy-downturn-continues/

The physical reality of this is causing great fear and trepidation. Which is good. Not enough though to derail this backlash from Drumpfi's getaway state:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9200327/Matt-Gaetz-attends-anti-Liz-Cheney-rally-Wyoming-demands-McCarthy-expel-leadership.html

matt

10:49 PM  

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