February 17, 2021

419

Well, nothing new under the sun, as Ecclesiastes told us. Trumpi acquitted, maintains hold on many politicos and a large % of the American people; covid destroying many of those people, along with the economy; QAnon alive and well; and the sad, pathetic trollfoons continue to take the bait I taunt them with. And then the larger picture: the country continues to descend into violence, meaninglessness, and stupidity. Decline is clearly on the rise. Wafers watch, shake their heads.

-mb

194 Comments:

Anonymous John S said...

We’ll we’ve all heard the news - the great propagandist of our era Rush Limbaugh passed away today. Hyper douchebag that he was, but a true American, he lived in a big empty house like Citizen Kane when he died…. But how is he different than thousands of trendy progressive celebrities like Oprah Winfrey or Ellen DeGeneres, in the end it is only about the stuff you collect in the end by any means necessary.

https://nypost.com/2021/02/17/the-50m-florida-house-rush-limbaugh-left-behind-for-his-wife/

And like Kane’s wife, his marriage probably was a sham, all that glitters does sometimes turn to gold, his wife stands to get it all now that the great Limbaugh has departed the earth…. She was only in it for the cash too apparently all along….

https://heightline.com/kathryn-limbaughs-cheating-divorce/

https://affairpost.com/kathryn-adams-limbaugh-wiki-career-marriage-divorce/

Another chapter of a great American life closes.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

The impt pt abt Rush is that millions adored him, and agreed w/all the poison he exuded over the yrs. The guy was just an icon of our sick value system.

Meanwhile, Ellen has been exposed as having a really dark side, and from evidence I can't repeat, because it's hearsay, so does Oprah. But you can read abt how phony Oprah is in the bio by Janice Peck, and in Nicole Aschoff's bk, "The New Prophets of Capital."

It boils down to how we actually live, and yr rt: for Rush, and Oprah, and Ellen, what stands out is wealth and celeb status. I've said it repeatedly: the elite are trash. The real conflict of our time is not left vs. rt; it's ego vs. decency. Check out the ch. on Machiavelli in "Genio," for further elaboration.

mb

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

John S,

Indeed, Limbaugh was a true American. He thought human life was worthless; why else would he have loved war and death as much as he did? He also spent his entire life accumulating money and spouting lies. I doubt it ever occurred to him that he couldn't take his fortune with him when he died. In fact, I wonder whether he even knew he was mortal before his terminal diagnosis.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

I seem to remember a few years ago, something abt his being addicted to prescription drugs, + accompanying fraud charges:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rush_Limbaugh#Prescription_drug_addiction

The guy was one of the greatest scumbags in American history.

mb

6:59 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

More antisemitic morons taking the bait. Does it get dumber than this? All I hafta do is say something abt Jews, and they go postal. Whee!

mb

8:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

No limit to the corruption of American institutions:

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/feb/17/sfo-unfairly-sacked-prosecutor-after-doj-sabotage-tribunal-finds

9:09 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: More trollfoons! No limit to them either! Shit for brains! Will they get tired, go to another blog? No fucking way!

10:33 PM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

Facts of empire burlesque decline.

(Dr. B - I'm glad the troll-foons are keeping you grinning). Yes, DAA and DA-Tejas as it declines and messes with Mexico, too. My Mom and brother live together in Houston; so they are freezing and thirsty now. But what can I do about it in this uphill sister shithole state? I've got electricity, natural gas, water(and mule deer to boot). Plus NMI solitude. The pre-link starts by calling Tejas guv Greg Abbott what he is - a "shithead".

https://theslot.jezebel.com/texans-are-dying-without-power-and-heat-while-their-gov-1846286717

(prefaced "big time dicks") Welcome to the greatest shit show on earth.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

gene-

Texas is probably a major trollfoon state, and Abbott is a major douche bag. But yr rt, I do get a big kick outta these guys. Imagine the life: sitting around, beating your meat, and sending out hate mail. Honestly, if this were my life, I'd go out, get a .357 Magnum, and blow my brains out. Talk abt shitheads! What, exactly, do these pieces of antisemitic dreck contribute to society? They lash out at me, and probably others, because they have no souls, and because they are hurting so badly. So they don't know what else to do. Human garbage at its worst.

[NB: pretty gd bait, eh? This is really poking the hedgehog w/a sharp stick. Just wait for the response. Stupidissimo!]

mb

5:46 AM  
Blogger nonager said...

Hi Morris . Just wanted to say hello . Glad you are thriving intellectually . Keep up the good work . Regards Mark Forstater

7:08 AM  
Anonymous Karl said...


Dr B,

Not sure if this has been discussed here before, but the madness and self-delusion of Progs has never been displayed to me more clearly than in this interview with Chomsky a few months back.

NC: Did you hear anything about his being the worst criminal in human history?

INT: The worst criminal in human history? That does say something.

NC: It does. Is it true?

INT: Well, you have Hitler; you have Stalin; you have Mao.

NC: Stalin was a monster. Was he trying to destroy organized human life on earth?

INT: Well, he was trying to destroy a lot of human lives.

NC: Yes, he was trying to destroy lots of lives but not organized human life on earth, nor was Adolf Hitler. He was an utter monster but not dedicating his efforts perfectly consciously to destroying the prospect for human life on earth.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/noam-chomsky-believes-trump-is-the-worst-criminal-in-human-history?fbclid=IwAR3hOnITBNOnSomf0_gfK0If6mg6Z6POaF-GyV1LRgvCGO8EWNVV72c-vC0

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

https://www.postguam.com/the_globe/nation/report-share-of-us-workers-holding-multiple-jobs-is-rising/article_21032250-71a1-11eb-b54b-ef30ef9f8845.html

More american "exceptionalism"--having multiple jobs to eek out a living.

And more 'brilliance' from another dumb as shit american (redundant):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFNj5sireDo

9:18 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

Under the heading “Mark Zuckerberg was never really your FRIEND,” this from the website nakedcapitalism.com:
“Facebook has decided to go nuclear in its dispute with the Australian government over a plan to require the media giant to share revenues with content providers and has barred all news content. And yes, this is a big deal...”

One individual whose tweet is cited in the article says that Facebook’s action affected, among others, the following:
- All news media (local and global)
- Health authorities (and their pandemic/vaccine updates)
- Police and emergency services
- Weather bureau (during bushfire/flood season)
- Domestic violence helpline
- Politicians' accounts

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2021/02/facebook-bans-news-in-australia.html

9:46 AM  
Anonymous BB Communications said...

Professor Berman and Wafers:
First time here and frequent visitor to this excellent blog over the years. I read Dark Ages shortly after it was published, it truly changed my perception of what is going on here in the US. I am part of the “machine” if you will, yet I try to put things in proper perspective-your work and this blog helps tremendously. Scroll several photos in on the below link and there is one where a furniture outlet in Texas has opened as a warming shelter for people in need. A blanketed elderly woman with a walker is shuffling past the store marquee which reads, “We need freedom to shape our future. We need profit to remain free!” An example of freedumb if ever I saw one. Like “from my cold dead hands”.
https://weather.com/photos/news/2021-02-17-texas-power-outage-photos

10:19 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

BB-

Welcome to the blog. Don't lurk; live! As for stupidity of that store sign: check out some of the essays in QOV as to what is virtually sown into our DNA (also check out WAF). The US has been about profit from Day 1, and is hardly going to shift gears now (wh/it has no interest in doing, in any case). It's why I keep hammering the pt, that (a) we have no future, except for a bleak one, and (b) the primary reason is the value system of each and every American, Wafers and Native Americans excepted.

Jas-

If there is one person who needs the Wafer Slapping and Urine Treatment (WSUT), it's Mark Zuckershmuck.

Dr. Shit-

As the system grinds Americans into the dirt, the one thing they won't do is look in the mirror. It's like a man stuck in traffic and complaining about the traffic jam: if yr in the jam, then yr the traffic! It's not being caused by some outside force (except for Jewish Space Lasers, of course). Americans don't look in the mirror and say, "I bought into the American Way of Life. I, I am responsible for this, as P.T. Barnum told us long ago."

Karl-

Poor Noam.

Mark-

Nice hearing from you. BTW, on this blog I am addressed as Mr. Berman or GSWH (this for future reference). Thanks.

mb

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Why Freedom Became Free-Dumb in America: What Americans Don’t Understand About Freedom — That Europeans and Canadians Do
By Umair Haque https://eand.co/why-freedom-became-free-dumb-in-america-4947e39663f2

QUOTE Intellectual poverty is ignorance and superstition. Social poverty is mistrust and hostility. Cultural poverty is cruelty and aggression. Americans are poor in all these ways now, and when the world shakes its head at them, and condemn them, saying, “My God! Has the world ever seen such backwards, stupid people?” what it, in turn, doesn’t understand is that this is what a society becoming poor is. America becoming a place of stunning cruelty and stupidity and callousness and selfishness, so much so that mass death swept it, and more or less, it shrugged. That’s what poverty really is.

Freedom — the real thing — versus free-dumb. Now let’s connect the dots. The European and Canadian idea was that giving everyone the basics would free them. Not just to have medicine and money and so on — but to be intelligent, kind, loving, decent human beings.

The American idea, meanwhile — descended from slavery — was just the opposite: only the strong should survive, and the weak should perish. Therefore, nobody deserved anything at all — even the basics — because human life had no inherent or intrinsic worth. Only the strong deserved such things — and they were the ones who could dominate and exploit and control everyone else. UNQUOTE

11:13 AM  
Blogger Xair said...


Mb,

How wonderfully American of him.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=s8vTd3kCEII

12:14 PM  
Blogger Dan Hanrahan said...

Howdy MB,

Just a quick note to say thank your for all your work and that I appreciate being able to dip into this blog of late. Bastions of sanity seem to be be harder to find these days, particularly in US America... I wrote a short poetic meditation reflecting on your Dark Ages America trilogy and it became one of my more popular blog posts. In the piece, I trace the root of the discomfort with the American hustle that many of us many experience and end up looking at our origins in the original primal soup of this planet.
https://danhanrahan.blogspot.com/2021/02/meditation-on-morris-bermans-why.html

12:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dan-

Neat! I'm really flattered. Thank you.

Xair-

Cruz is a true American. I.e., trash.

mb

12:48 PM  
Anonymous MAngelo said...

On Marcuse:
https://taibbi.substack.com/p/marcuse-anon-cult-of-the-pseudo-intellectual-1d3

1:58 PM  
Blogger Ajay Singh said...

Dr. Berman,

Greetings from the city of smoggy angels. Speaking of the "American way of life," as you quoted P.T. Barnum as saying, did you know America once had thousands of public swimming pools that it closed down, filled with earth or, who knows, used the air force to bombard? All because Civil Rights legislation forced the pools open to all, and the majority schmuck community, much or most of it in the south apparently, decided it made better sense to destroy the pools rather than share them.

A Sunday NY Times article by a Brooklyn resident and economics think-tanker thought-provokingly plumbs this "draining pools" mentality—and if anyone reading this who hasn't seen the piece does nothing else about it than take a sneak peek at the article's accompanying photo, I cannot recommend that enough (taken decades before photoshopping, it's one of a kind):

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/13/opinion/race-economy-inequality-civil-rights.html

2:17 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see this picture; it was copied from a Facebook page. ( Try a “control” click perhaps to see it). And I admit I’m a registered Democrat, and this was taken from a pro Democratic page on it that I frequent. However, it sends a great message about how corporate capitalism runs things in this country and is immune from a tragedy like this ongoing one in Texas. It shows that with Ted Cruz at the helm in that state, their dominion and luxury is assured. And it shows what a farcical joke Texas, and the rest of the United States for that matter, really is.

https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats/photos/a.517901514969574/4828586890567660

3:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Angelo-

Already discussed in previous thread, thanks.

Joe-

That is, indeed, the face of America; the real America, as it were.

Ajay-

A very famous foto, in fact.

mb

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Seneca's Cliff said...

With regards to Zuckerschmuck. A couple of years ago I was in Hawaii visiting my wife's family. I was walking through the lobby of a big hotel and a forlorn looking local guy had a display set up and was selling Hawaiian crafts. The sad look on his face made me think that he was not really a hustler and detested the idea of selling bits of his Hawaiian heritage to tourists, but he had no choice to make ends meet. I noticed, in a glass case, he had a Leiomano, which is a traditional polynesian weapon which looks like a sword studded with sharks teeth. I eyed the weapon with curiosity and said, " I hear there is one of these with Zuckerbergs name on it." The facebook CEO is famous in Hawaii for his huge estate on Kauai which involved his lawyers using sneaky tricks to cheat the natives out of their ancestral lands. The guy gave me a huge smile and said, " you got that right Bruddah."

4:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: This American Life:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/18/us/mom-shot-gun-kids-trnd/index.html

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Mike R. said...

Joe--thank you for the picture of the TX city all corporate lit up while 5M are people are w/o power.

One commenter in that picture still delusionally writes: we need to "vote" 'them out' and that somehow will make a difference....I keep hearing this bullshit voting thing over and over, as if they really think that "voting" matters? One thing that cannot utter is: We're US-ians and we fucked ourselves.

Talk about psychosis (loss of contact w/ reality).

4:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Seneca-

The elite are trash. Keep that in mind, always. Zuckershmuck and his ilk are degraded life forms.

Mike R-

I think it was Emma Goldman who said that if elections cd chg anything, they wd be declared illegal.

mb

ps: Trollfoons continue to attack w/full venom. Doesn't matter how many times I say that I delete their messages unread. Stupid, stupid. Talk abt trash.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Here is another topic that I’ve been thinking about. I found my old copy of Walter LeFeber’s book “Inevitable Revolutions, The United States in Central America” published in 1983. Back then in the 1980’s it seemed that it was inevitable that the US would always be involved in overturning governments south of our border that didn’t provide the right climate for US business interest without pretext or justification whatsoever going way back to the era of President Monroe. Back then, the contras, Noriega, Cuba, Castro, the Falklands, etc. etc. dominated the news cycles. While Trump did build the wall, put children in cages, and did indirectly contribute to the climate that resulted in the collapse of Venezuela through preventing capital from flowing into markets, all reprehensible actions of course. But still, notice that now things are only done indirectly, not specifically and militaristic as it used to be in the past.

While it is always possible that there will be a new round of interventions in the future, I get the sense that one of the legacies of US collapse as an empire is the lack of energy for starting new wars south of the border, partly because the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan practically bankrupted the economy. This used to be front and center in the newspapers as well as foreign policy, but somehow it has disappeared. Nobody frames their politics around Cuba or fighting Latin American “communism” anymore, it isn’t even a topic that comes up except for south Florida around election time.

This sort of collapse is a good thing for the world of course, let’s hope it continues.

Here is a short history US interventionism in Latin America up to the present.

https://www.veteransforpeace.org/files/7815/5130/4069/US_Acts_of_Aggression_in_Latin_America_Timeline.pdf

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz7Z4Ye0p2E

This, too, is the true face of America. I wonder if the next Republican president will order the homeless to be shot on sight. The way things are going, it doesn't seem that farfetched.

Noura,

That's an excellent analysis of America. Social Darwinism really does lie at the core of the American psyche. As far as deserving things goes, Americans think people who say everyone should have basic housing and health care are entitled whiners, but don't see their desire for world domination as a manifestation of entitlement. Cause, ya know, feeling entitled to other countries' land and resources and slave labor isn't a manifestation of entitlement...or so they think. No, they think world domination is their birthright. Only psychopaths think this way.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

Hustling Mexico style: https://truthout.org/articles/profiting-from-desperation-oxygen-tanks-become-an-underground-market-in-mexico/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=5eb70442-c7ea-483f-89bd-41691ecf4071

Dr. Berman, are you seeing this on the ground there?

6:03 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

A great historian; I've read several of his bks. The sheer butchery of US foreign policy!

Nadine-

I keep wondering what wd happen if all Americans except for Wafers and Native Americans were shot, or at least shipped out to some remote South Sea island, and we started the country over again. Wafers are invited to suggest possible scenarios.

Trollfoons-

Jews rule the world, and you are but untermenschen, a collection of impotent buffoons. Ha ha.

mb

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Rollo Dice said...

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/donald-trump-faces-a-huge-number-of-lawsuits-harvard-expert-larry-tribe-151741167.html
Why not establish a legal defense fund from Wafers?

8:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rollo-

Not a bad idea, except that Wafers tend not to be rich. I cd probably contribute $10, myself. As for Trumpi: the poor shmuck. He'll be the target of many lawsuits, all probably justified, but this misses the larger question: Who is going to sue the US for being the US, wh/is basically a criminal organization? The country is basically a genocidal war machine run by a plutocracy and cheered on by imbeciles.

mb

8:26 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: The absurdity of American politics: Does anyone remember Joe the Plumber, from the 2008 McCain campaign (which is when I fell in love w/Sarah Palin, wanting to copulate w/her on an ice floe in Alaska, among the meese, with Ed Meese watching)?:

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

8:47 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Shit-for-brains dept.:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/18/politics/ted-cruz-cancun-texas-disaster-electricity-power-water/index.html

ps: Trollfoons! Where are you, you pathetic pieces of shit? Show yrselves!

9:23 PM  
Anonymous CogDissident said...

Definitely a poor Wafer-er here. Why? Why would I want to work for any of these pathological corp state institutions? Like G. Carlin eluded - "Watch the freak-show" - spectacle. As a social creature 90% of the time even that's a drag. People waking up - to what? There is no power or solidarity or hope.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Cog-

Stay on this blog, and you will find power, solidarity, and hope. Guaranteed, amigo. We are the creme de la creme.

mb

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Pastrami and Coleslaw said...

This may have been posted already, but:

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/covid-19-end-of-american-era-wade-davis-1038206/

"Today, the base pay of those at the top is commonly 400 times that of their salaried staff, with many earning orders of magnitude more in stock options and perks. The elite one percent of Americans control $30 trillion of assets, while the bottom half have more debt than assets. The three richest Americans have more money than the poorest 160 million of their countrymen"

I'm stuck here for a job that pays my $100k a year medical bills, but if any of y'all, trollfoons included can get out of dodge, do it!

10:43 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Seneca's Cliff - Indeed Hawaiians tend to not be hustlers. The culture is pretty much the opposite of blustering, bullying, hustling American culture. In one poor neighborhood I lived when growing up, we had a Hawaiian neighbor who used to carve the most wonderful little tiki statues out of pencil sea urchin spines, you know, the thick ones. He only did them when he really needed money. Hawaiian culture is about caring for family and community and sharing. You go to a real lu'au, you not only eat but you take food home.

MB - The snow/ice situation in the middle of the country reminds me of a passage in one of Ayn Rand's awful books, how winter utterly defeated the society because they weren't covetous and grabby enough.

The first time I heard the idiots chant, "Jews will not replace us" my first thought was, Hell no they won't; they don't want your job washing dishes at Arby's.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

Esp. since Arby's isn't kosher. But working at Arby's is the best these trollfoons can hope for. After putting in 10 hrs a day at minimum wage, they go home, beat off, and then send hate mail. Where are you, trollfoons? Show up, you pathetic little pieces of dogshit! You have no testes.

Pastrami-

Great article, thanks. I esp. liked these lines: "Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country."

He comes pretty close to saying what needs to be said: America is a nation filled with buffoons, with selfish, violent morons. I also like the fact that as a Canadian, he feels free to say what almost no Americans (regardless of IQ) are willing to admit: the country is finished. It has no future at all. History is punishing it for its sick value system and destructive way of life.

mb

11:55 PM  
Anonymous FerQ said...

To MB: About your post to Nadine, "I keep wondering what wd happen if all Americans except for Wafers and Native Americans were shot, or at least shipped out to some remote South Sea island, and we started the country over again. Wafers are invited to suggest possible scenarios." I believe that if there is any justice in the World, then the Americans, their culture and their rotten country would disappear soon. A scenario I thought of is getting all the Americans locked up and sending them to all the countries that have suffered from American imperialism/aggression and having the people in those countries use the Americans as punching bags. We could have a field day punching, kicking and throwing all kinds of objects at the American buffoons, Karens, douchebags, douchebaguettes, etc.

I wish the Wafers and Native Americans well and I hope you all get the ability to get out of the US soon. I wish the same on the few immigrants who realized what the US really is and regret pursuing that life but all I will say for now is that the mere existence of the US is a tragedy and it will be great to see it gone.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Foller said...

Interesting excerpts from Marcuse here, I am starting to agree w/ Taibbi on his points.

https://twitter.com/mtaibbi/status/1362247649261420544

These excerpts from Taibbi's essays are good:

"Marcuse's 1965 essay Repressive Tolerance might be the most impassioned argument against individual rights ever written. It makes the Directorium Inquisitorum read like Dr. Spock on Parenting."

"Nothing about Herbert Marcuse was American, except his most important quality: he was a quack, which makes him a figure of respect and influence in our society:"

I'm still an admirer of "One Dimensional Man" though

9:44 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Foller-

I really don't know what got into Taibbi, even to write this essay. Marcuse was a lot of things, but he certainly was not a quack. That's kooky talk.

mb

9:57 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

@ GSWH, Foller -

All things-Being-Equal-Department?

Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, paddles like a duck, flies like a duck, quacks like a duck - are all ducks quacks?

Just for fun, substitute "schmuck" for "duck" -

"Hope is that thing with feathers." - Woody Allen

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Noura said...

From the article “The Unraveling of America” by Wade Davis shared by Pastrami: “As a British writer quipped, ‘there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid’”.

Nadine - A truly horrifying video. The sheer cruelty and stupidity in America are mind boggling. This echoes the many articles shared here about the disastrous handling of the Texas crisis by government officials. This criticism of Milton Friedman is a fitting description of America “If you say, as an individual, ‘My only interest is to maximize my advantages,’ which is what they say at the corporate level, you’re a sociopath.” Jeremy Grantham https://bit.ly/3k2Xd83

I suspect that many years down the road, American stupidity will be the stuff of legends. Future generations will shake their heads in wonder and gasp in disbelief. If not for all the evidence collected by historians like Dr. Berman, social media, and all other media, they would be inclined to believe it was all made up. At times, I still have trouble believing what I am seeing. There are Americans with the right mindset, but not enough to save the country.

Overall, what was purpose of the American experiment? What was the point of it all?

America is increasingly looking like a psychotic country to be avoided. “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” – George Carlin. More quotes by Carlin: https://inspirationfeed.com/george-carlin-quotes/

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Michael King (real name) said...

Buen Dia Dr. Berman,

I agree with you about Taibbi calling Marcuse a quack. Definitely not so. I subscribe to his newsletter and he has started writing book reviews. He shouldn't. Taibbi is an excellent reporter and he should stick to that. For me, there is no better writer on financial crime, the US criminal justice system and US politics. As this is a blog about the decline of the USA, here is a link to his piece about the passing of Rush Limbaugh. I can't imagine another country that could produce such a tool.

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/rush-limbaugh-who-should-have-stayed?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=cta

12:42 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Noura-

See changing definition of 'virtue' in early America as discussed by Joyce Appleby in "Capitalism and a New Social Order."

mb

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

Dr. B and Wafers: The link below will take you to an essay that recounts some of the great imperial fiascos of the past three decades. Great reading!
https://tomdispatch.com/the-american-century-ends-early/

1:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Pete-

Interesting that more and more critics are now saying stuff I was writing in 2000.

Michael-

Rush was one of the most violent buffoons who ever lived. The crucial pt, however, is that he had millions of adorers; wh/in turn makes them violent buffoons.

Note to trollfoons:

Where are you? Gone into hiding, you cowardly pieces of crap? You have no testicles, that's for sure. ps: Jews are the best, and you are garbage. (You know this, eh?)

mb

3:20 PM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

RE: Taibbi's criticism of Marcuse.

Taibbi seems to have no historical understanding of Marcuse's ideas whatsoever. He claims that the US wasn't a totalitarian state in the 1950s/60s as Marcuse claims: Try telling an African American, a gay person or a communist that. See how far that gets you. He misses the point that has been borne out by Marcuse as well regarding his disappointment over auto workers etc. in the US failing to radicalise. For sure a lot of workers were materially well of in the 1960s and so weren't all that interested in a radical overthrow of the system. However, Marcuse's point was that this material improvement in their lot was provisional. It was a gift to be given within a corporate capitalist structure (a fairly standard Frankfurt school argument) and thus it can be taken away. Which it has been.

Historical understanding is seriously lacking among many nowadays. One reason to read works recommended on this blog IMO.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

MB,

If all Americans sans Wafers and Native Americans were shot, I reckon America would be like Iceland once Wafers and Native Americans rebuilt it. I also reckon the world would be a whole lot less stupid without Karens, bubbas and progs running around and fucking things up.

Speaking of stupid...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3M86dQf6Cj0

Here, Hedges is "calling all rebels" to turn America around. The only rebels he'll find are a few people like Julie Bindel and the late Andrea Dworkin - fascists who call themselves leftists. This small, depraved group of people would seek attention, notoriety and the destruction of demographics they hate rather than positive change, like the Weathermen in the 1960s and 1970s. This is no different than what the bubbas and Karens who stormed the Capitol Building want. It's a combination of political theater and political violence, all leading nowhere. It's the only type of revolution, left-wing or right-wing, America is capable of.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Hear, ye, Hear, ye! Here is a latest important headline from the Associated Press. It involves someone whom our good Doctor considers a very important person and who always should be considered front page news in our smart upped ( sic) United States.
Dr. Berman, we Wafers all would like your opinion. Will our lives be irrevocably changed as a result of this?

https://apnews.com/article/kim-kardashian-divorce-kanye-west-e4af8e4dc42cea3a1a699790a4e4a5e5

5:50 PM  
Blogger Michael Burgess said...

Hi Dr. Berman and Wafers,

Tim Boyd, ex-mayor of Colorado City, Texas, as the story suggests, a harbinger of disintegration of anything like society in the US.

https://www.alternet.org/2021/02/republicans-climate-policy/

And Tom Engelhardt thinks he sees the beginnings of societal disintegration in the US.

https://www.alternet.org/2021/02/united-states-disintegration/

6:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Michael B-

Well, Boyd is a true American. No one can deny him that.

Joe-

Here is my response to that:

http://morrisberman.blogspot.com/2020/11/crossing-rectal-divide-part-i.html

Nadine-

What a career Hedges has had: from 1st-rate journalist to complete jackass. Yeah, calling all rebels. Meanwhile, why isn't Hedges out in the streets, organizing these 'rebels'? Instead, he sits in a large, warm apt. in Princeton. Reminds me of Ted Cruz going to Cancun. I'm beginning to suspect brain damage; this is beyond mere douchebaggery. I said it repeatedly: any 'revolution' that may happen in the US will come from the rt; wh/is what we got when Trumpi was elected in 2016, and also on Jan. 6 of this year. I also predicted that Hedges wd never undergo a wake-up moment, and he hasn't failed to bear that prediction out.

cor-

This is a straw man argument on Taibbi's part, what looks like a willful misunderstanding of what Marcuse was saying. M's argument was not that the US was a totalitarian state, but that something had been created that was like The Matrix--a kind of soft, invisible totalitarianism, if you will; possibly similar to Huxley's vision. Not clear why Taibbi is bothering to bash Marcuse, in any case; has he run out of things to write abt?

mb

7:46 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Two of the most popular board games when I was growing up as a kid prior to today’s video game era were the Game of Life and Monopoly. In both games the sole purpose is to be the richest person at the end no matter how you do it. Interestingly the Game of Life goes back to 1860 was even more treacherous in the past than the most current versions, very similar to Borges Lottery in Babylon story.

https://www.vox.com/2015/1/28/7924487/game-of-life-history

https://wallethacks.com/invisible-scripts-in-game-of-life/

Ironically Monopoly was originally created as an anti-capitalist game but none of the American kids who play it have ever got the memo, winning Monopoly in the game and in real life have always been seen as the almost exclusive goal.

https://theconversation.com/monopoly-was-designed-100-years-ago-to-teach-the-dangers-of-capitalism-112198

These games were so enormously popular because they reflected and reinforced the underlying unconscious intrinsic values of ordinary Americans, all that really matters is choosing the right career and being lucky enough to get rich and enjoy destroying your competition along the way, otherwise you are a loser! I don’t think there have been enough studies about how popular children’s games, toys and entertainment reinforce and reflect social values, shallow and corrupt ones at that.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

Need a laxative or emetic?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRjXC_8DdtE

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Horace said...

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/world/middleeast/erik-prince-libya-embargo.html

Breaking NYT: Erik Prince, the ex-head of Blackwater and prominent Trump supporter, violated a United Nations arms embargo on Libya by sending weapons to a militia commander who was attempting to overthrow the government, according to U.N. investigators.

...Well, of course he did.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Green Gene said...

MB's reply to Foller:

I think Matt Taibbi gets fired up at attacks on free speech, since that's become his hobby horse (and Greenwald's too.) I dunno, I think there hearts are always in the right place but it becomes a sore topic quick with the two these days.

MB's response to Corm:

Well he definitely still has things to write about, he comes out with pretty interesting essays on his Substack and in RS every week. I think he said on one of these twitter posts that he had just picked up Marcuse for the first time recently. His essay on Rush Limbaugh's life and death was great.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

There have been a # of studies over the yrs of the effects of violent videos on kids, but I never saved the refs (sorry).

mb

9:25 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

Nice long read on the way things might go:

https://124-akshat.medium.com/how-a-military-coup-in-the-united-states-could-be-in-the-making-4aea11ca70e5

11:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

Well, of course I'm pulling for the 2nd option, namely secession, but as I've often said, I don't have a crystal ball, and the author cd be rt abt there being 2 other possibilities. However, w/all 3 scenarios, we are certainly talking abt the demise of the US as we know it.

mb

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

Hey, back in the day when I used to live in the US I loved Arby's. I know it's junk food, but what can I say... I'm not Jewish?

Now, this is just my opinion, but I also bet on secession. Alex, that article about Jan 6th sounds a bit like typical prog moral panic, in my view. The author insists way too much on "hyperpartisanship" and doesn't even consider the possibility that many of the "attackers" may have not been "Trump supporters" but bankrupt, sick to their stomachs and fed up with both parties. Certainly it didn't look like they had a real plan to keep Trump in office (or to achieve any concrete objective at all).

The United States may end up like Russia in 1990s or Greece post 2008. A country plagued with a decade-long cycle of austerity, depression and bankruptcy.
"May end up"? It is already plagued with all those things and has been for more than a decade.

Jimmy Dore did an interview with a "Boogaloo Boy" (for which he was harshly criticised) and, although, yes, it's a heterogeneous movement and, yes, this guy might be full of shit, he had absolutely no time for Trump (or Biden or course):

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

6:32 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Malleus-

Keep in mind that you don't hafta be Jewish to eat Levy's rye bread. It's possible that even trollfoons eat it (besides eating shit, those ball-less wonders).

mb

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Allo said...

Nice overview and analysis of Schrödinger's "What Is Life?" as it turns 75 yrs old
https://arxiv.org/abs/2102.04842

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Connie said...

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/02/16/weapons-biz-bankrolls-experts-pushing-to-extend-afghan-war/

Two-thirds of the Afghanistan Study Group, which advised Biden to extend US troop presence in Afghanistan, have financial ties to the weapons industry.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous The Flabster said...

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56131781

“America is back” Hahaha sure, where we offshores our pharmaceutical industry (2010-17) so what are we back to doing? Being assholes, getting Covid, freezing in Texas so energy companies can make more dough?

Yet only a few of my coworkers, friends, etc have the slightest clue how far down the road we are towards falling apart.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous al-Qa'bong said...

Hello Wafers:

Caitlin Johnstone is gold. She succinctly identifies why those who run things in the West support the Zionist apartheid state:

Anyone who moves a sufficient distance to the left of the mainstream so-called “center” will necessarily find themselves in opposition to a right-wing government with institutionalized apartheid. The true left’s inherent opposition to injustice, racism and imperialism necessarily means a leftist will inevitably find their way into that position once they learn enough and move far enough outside of imperialist mainstream indoctrination.

By taking this natural consequence of sincere leftism and labeling it “anti-Semitism”, as the aforementioned IHRA definition of anti-Semitism effectively does, the imperial propaganda engine has given itself a bludgeon with which to attack every part of the ideological spectrum which opposes capitalism and imperialism.


https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/02/17/the-empire-attacks-bds-for-the-same-reason-nixon-started-the-drug-war/

10:38 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

al-

It's a pity that anti-Zionism has gotten conflated w/anti-Judaism (i.e., antisemitism). I suppose most Jews are Zionists (unlike me), but there are a # of Israeli groups (e.g., Yesh Gvul) opposed to gov't policy toward the Palestinians. I assume that most Israelis hate them, however. It's a pretty sad mess. Like Jimmy Carter, I do believe Israel is an apartheid state; I think the only possible victory for the Palestinians is via demographics, wh/is to say, a ways down the road yet.

Connie-

Gosh, I'm so surprised!

mb

11:30 AM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

Regarding Israel. It only functions and exists because of support from the American empire. When the American empire collapses Israel will also collapse. I don’t think it will make it to 100 years. Also there are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and only a few million Israelis how long do you think the can fight us. Before the righteous caliph Omar took back jersulam . The crusaders controlled jersulam for eighty years. I think Israel is only 70 years old. I think time is on the Muslim side. If it takes a billion years to take back jersulam I think Muslims should fight for a billion years.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Mohamed said...

I got my Islamic history confused.I’m so ashamed . It was saluhdin who took jersulam from the crusaders. Caliph Omar to jersulam in 637-8 .

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Video: Steven Hill, author of "Raw Deal" - Seattle, Dec 7, 2015 https://bit.ly/3dzCwiC
Grim outlook of the American workforce. Hill started his talk by apologizing if he ended up scaring anyone. Then he went on to saying that there were two chapters in his book about solutions, reforms, etc. At the end of the talk, he shared some ideas about how to fix the situation. In theory, these ideas are great and sound possible, but the reality is that the cooperative mindset that’s needed to implement them is missing. When I listen to talks like this, I find it easy to imagine America’s future as a wasteland. I think it’s fascinating that Hill makes a really good case as to why the problem of America is the American people, but he doesn’t seem to realize this. This reminds me of Dr. Berman’s discussion about the difference between intellectual knowing and ontological knowing.

An Amazon Review of Raw Deal https://amzn.to/3k7TRQZ
“Book offers a good rundown how our world as we know it may be headed off a cliff. No pensions, fewer jobs with benefits. Gigs, freelancing and winging it are the future. Hill outlines the issue as a growing army of ‘freelancers, temps, contractors, part-timers, day laborers, micro-entrepreneurs, gig-preneurs, solo-preneurs, contingent labor, perma-lancers and perma-temps.’… Really, it Is the American way...as a capitalistic society money is our god. If we were bees or ants we could be communists. Can you imagine bees or ants as greedy capitalists? They would be extinct. Self-centered, greedy humans cannot be successful communists as the result is worse than capitalism. Someone mentioned a universal allowance to give to people. Well, that is a start. The other option is free tents...as the future outlook is dim.”

12:05 PM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Hello Wafers, found time away from my daily dose of following the Indian farmers' movement after a long time. That one is going on slow and steady.

Hit upon this piece today: https://thewire.in/world/lula-de-silva-brazil-cia
that throws more light on the US involvement in the jailing of the former Brazilian president Lula da Silva, and the eventual election of Bolsonaro. It says, "Although US involvement in the once heralded anti-corruption investigation operation Lava Jato has been publicly known for some time, leaked conversations between its prosecutors like Tessler and Dallagnol and Judge Sergio Moro have revealed a level of collusion that has shocked even the keenest observers." Iran 1950's, Chile 1970's, etc. up to Afghanistan & Iraq 2000's, the stormy remains the same. In the name of democracy, freedom, anti-corruption, whatever suits you, get rid of governments if it doesn't suit the corporate interests. I am wondering when the global corporations' role in the the Indian electoral politics will come to the front in a more precise form.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Indian-

Also check this out-

https://www.amazon.com/Overthrow-Americas-Century-Regime-Change/dp/0805082409/ref=sr_1_1?crid=105LR3T3AS1VP&dchild=1&keywords=overthrow+stephen+kinzer&qid=1613842807&s=books&sprefix=overthrow%2Caps%2C406&sr=1-1

as well as DAA.

Mo-

Saladin. As for US support for Israel: the annual Israeli budget is $500 billion; US sends 'only' $3 billion annually. Most Arab countries have made their peace w/Israel; not a ton of support for Palestinian cause, sad to say. Plus, it will take a while for the US to conclusively disintegrate. In general, things aren't as pat as you suggest. In the meantime, you might 'enjoy' this:

https://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Cleansing-Palestine-Ilan-Pappe/dp/1851685553/ref=sr_1_1?crid=35TWA60ADIUWB&dchild=1&keywords=ilan+pappe+the+ethnic+cleansing+of+palestine&qid=1613843384&s=books&sprefix=ilan+pappe%2Cstripbooks%2C241&sr=1-1

mb

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Doris said...

Dr. Berman,

I discovered your blog over a year ago and have recently acquired copies of Twilight of American Culture and Dark Ages America. Have you seen this Facebook post from the Mayor of Colorado City, TX? If this isn't a sign of decline, I don't know what is. Do you think Texas might be circling the drain especially quickly?

https://twitter.com/breaking_et/status/1361839021878607875?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1361839021878607875%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fpublish.twitter.com%2F%3Fquery%3Dhttps3A2F2Ftwitter.com2Fbreaking_et2Fstatus2F1361839021878607875widget%3DTweet

1:23 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Doris-

Thank you for writing. Don't lurk; live! Also thanks for buying those bks. The 3rd in the series is "Why America Failed"; wh/is why we are called Wafers. As for the mayor: a true American, w/o a doubt. Which is to say, a real piece of dreck. Texas tends to collect these types of people, but it's hardly unique.

mb

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Shithouse said...

Doris, pretty sure the troops (US war mongering imperialists) are warm, air conditioned, well-fed, decent living residences in their 1000+ oversea bases around the world, while Texans are w/o heat and have to boil water.

Trumpo WAS (partially) correct regarding shithole countries; however, the US was THE shithole.

How ANYONE with a working brainstem would even thk of emigrating to the us empire needs a full psychiatric eval.

It's bad enough that many Europeans still "like" us-ians b/c of memories of WWII and hence, thk americans are good, great, and wonderful...

3:42 PM  
Anonymous down we go said...

At the Munich Security Conference meeting Bodin boasted "America is back". To which 90% of the world responded with cold shivers down their backs in anticipation of more mayhem and destruction. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/02/19/remarks-by-president-biden-at-the-2021-virtual-munich-security-conference/

Ajay - on segregated swimming pools. I grew up in a mid-size town in Louisiana in the 50s and 60s. One year the mayor responded to demands that the public pool be integrated by having it stocked with catfish and opening it to white fishermen. Which was much appreciated by the town's anglers.

"Caste" has some chilling stories of segregated pools in the South and North.

Recently participated in a small group discussion of America's involvement in the Middle East. One participant was a member of the US ARMY who had just returned from Iraq. She told of her boredom and lack of purpose - no one knew why they were there and few had anything meaningful to do. Masturbating on the Tigris.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

This is a pretty frank blog I must say. I've never seen anything quite like it. We are in what Susan Jacoby calla in her book the Age of American Unreason in a Culture of Lies." Has anyone here read it?

7:46 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rick-

Welcome! We are always looking for fresh blood. Yes, candor is our middle name. We also go by GBOE--Greatest Blog On Earth. I haven't read Jacoby's bk, just the reviews, a few yrs back. A more appropriate title wd have been The Age of Beating Off, because that is exactly what America, and Americans, are doing now. You go to other blogs, or the MSM, and they are talking abt how to get America 'back on track'. But this is masturbation: we have as much chance of turning the country around now as we do turning around an aircraft carrier in a bathtub. One thing that becomes obvious is that even the folks w/a high IQ--e.g., the staff at the NYT--are dumb as a bag of oranges. A million blogs out there, and only 1 tells it like it is. We have only 1 agenda: reality. Stay tuned, you won't regret it.

mb

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Robin Oste said...

"This is great news! The Interior Department has withdrawn its case to disestablish the Mashpee Wampanoag reservation: https://mashpeewampanoagtribe.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/9C025F49DDADAAF92540EF23F30FEDED/1CDC54596CFB8F851726EA5DA1051479

Elections matter. If Trump had won, he would have certainly tried to take away our land until the bitter end."

Great news.

I claim to be a declinist in the long view, but the process of it sure can make life a lot worse for people who deserve none of it.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Robin-

This makes me really happy. Now we need some international body to lodge a case to disestablish the United States. Long overdue.

mb

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

The headline from Indi Samarajiva's OpEd today: "Cosmetic Changes Won’t Stop American Collapse- America has already hit the iceberg. It’s going down" Check it out-

https://indi.ca/cosmetic-changes-wont-stop-american-collapse-e770ee04e13a

9:55 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Birn-

The level of beating off that the US has now attained is astronomical. Gd article, thanks.

mb

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Ďò said...

Gwyneth Paltrow is selling a double-sided vibrator that she says is 'more intellectual' than other sex toys

https://archive.is/h2J7F

PEAK STUPIDITY DEPT.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Chris Hedges program On Contact has an informative discussion on Sophocle's play Philoctetes. Guests are a Classics professor and an ex-inmate.

It begins with a excellent quote from T.S. Eliot on the importance of the Classics.

I am no scholar but I found it fascinating and relevant.

https://youtu.be/r1AmlxnweFE

10:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Anjin-

On Philoctetes, check out Edmund Wilson's bk "The Wound and the Bow."

mb

10:32 PM  
Anonymous McNeil said...

https://patpalbooks.wordpress.com/2020/01/24/laurent-binet-civilizations/

https://www.amazon.com/Civilizations-Novel-Laurent-Binet/dp/0374600813

There's a translation of Laurent Binet's prize-winning alt-history novel coming down the pipe. It's about the Inka stealing Columbus's ships and using them to mount an invasion of Europe :

Wafer material, fore sure.

10:51 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

I’ve been puzzled for a long time as to why the US still remains the reserve currency of the world? What the US dollar as the reserve currency amounts to, is the rest of the world is propping up the US economy artificially relative to the rest of the world, and disguising the true state of the US economy by buying US treasuries and stocks, not just via governments but private individuals around the world in degrees that defy rational sense. I think that one of the major reasons that the US can both be in a sense a completely collapsed state and disguise this fact by appearing perfectly functional at the same time, is the power of the dollar wielded as world reserve currency.

When is the rest of the world going to realize they are being scammed by the US dollar? You can maintain grotesque levels of income inequality in a country, if you are simultaneously able to flood its markets with endless supplies of cheap goods than would otherwise be available. If and when the dollar reserve currency status ends, you would might see the collapse of the stock market, hyperinflation, devaluation of the dollar, debt default, and all the social collapse that follows. We are in for a very long overdue rude awakening if and when the rest of the world collectively wises up and decides to ditch the dollar for something else.

If the dollar had to stand on is own, like all other currencies, I’m convinced we would have collapsed a long time ago.

https://palladiummag.com/2020/12/05/why-the-us-dollar-could-outlast-the-american-empire/

11:16 PM  
Blogger futuroexpat said...

"Of course, there can be no certainty about America's ability to overcome current problems, and here contingency and human agency comes into play. Ultimately, elite and popular beliefs, policy choices, and leadership remain critical in shaping outcomes. In this sense, the challenges facing the United States are at least as much ideational as they are material. However, there may be a paradox working in America's favor. It is that the worse the crisis, the greater the sense of urgency and the more likely that policy makers, regardless of their prior inhibitions and beliefs, will find themselves having to respond effectively." --ROBERT J. LIEBER This is an excerpt from an essay adapted from his book, "Power and Willpower in the American Future: Why The United States Is Not Destined To Decline"

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/power-and-willpower-in-the-american-future/53F7E6ABF9ED850EB942343E3AA486D9

Robert Lieber wrote his book in 2012 (New York, Cambridge University Press). So far, I am not impressed by "America's ability to overcome current problems" ... that ability has not been in evidence over the last eight years.

I doubt Joe "FDR-reborn" Biden will be able to get his "go big or go home" legislation through without it being substantially altered.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

futuro-

The notion that US policy makers will respond effectively has, since 2012, been rendered a flatulent joke.

mb

3:07 AM  
Blogger alex carter said...

If blacks can swim in the public pool, then no one gets a public pool, fill it in!

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/17/968638759/sum-of-us-examines-the-hidden-cost-of-racism-for-everyone

The problem of hyperindividualism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TjOX9clhwM&feature=emb_logo

Hearing on the radio about people having to buy water to keep a hospital going is some real Octavia Butler stuff.

Meanwhile the rest of the world is looking: https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202102/1215889.shtml

3:17 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

Regarding that last link: obvious conclusion: the US is a turkey country filled w/turkeys. The population has been weaponized, monetized, digitalized, buffoonized, moronized, virtualized, atomized, individualized, de-eroticized, desensitized, and in general, ized.

mb

4:16 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Thank you MB for the bk ref. This whole thing reminds me that I often used to joke that we are lucky that we (India) happened to be closer to the USSR rather than the US during the Cold War, unlike Pakistan. Had it been the other way round, our democracy would have been dismantled long ago. Not that the USSR was a morally superior force, but just that they were less powerful, and the two balanced each other in a way. Given that Pakistan was taken care of long ago, its our turn. And we are going through that hell. By this I do not mean that the Indian fascism is a US export, it is pretty much a home-grown thing inspired by the Nazis. But, like everywhere else, corporate America and their political buddies will play along.

6:01 AM  
Anonymous Danny Kadzick said...

36 years after it was written, the 4th volume of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality is finally available in English—because the philosopher’s nephew decided to ignore his uncle’s prohibition of posthumous publication. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/601928/confessions-of-the-flesh-by-michel-foucault/

6:47 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Ho Hum Dept.: Shootings nr. New Orleans and Philly (listed on cnn.com). So what else is new?

And in tennis: He's not djoking around!:

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/21/tennis/australian-open-final-novak-djokovic-daniil-medvedev-spt-intl/index.html

8:36 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ATTENTION ALL WAFERS: IMPORTANT NOTICE

As of Feb. 23 I have to shut the blog down for a few days, as I try to work some things out between the fone co. and my computer. Please hold off on all posts during Feb.23-27. You can try again on Feb. 28, and hopefully everything will be functioning again. HOWEVER, if things are not functioning, the blog will have to be shut until March 14, when I'll be back home and using my own computer. Cross fingers that that won't be necessary, but at this point it's rather hard to predict, esp. when one is dealing w/large bureaucracies. I thank you for your patience. Meanwhile, the blog will be open Feb. 21 and 22.

-mb

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Noura said...

In addition to this article shared by Alex earlier (https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202102/1215889.shtml ) here is more about the U.S. crumbling infrastructure:

America's Infrastructure Is Crumbling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdvJSGc14xA

Why U.S. Roads And Highways Are So Bad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixL3mDejAYU

The article below was shared in the previous thread. It is a sharp contrast to the crumbling infrastructure, and the Texas crisis.

Why is America getting a new $100 billion nuclear weapon?
https://thebulletin.org/2021/02/why-is-america-getting-a-new-100-billion-nuclear-weapon
Quote from Article: To put that price tag in perspective, $100 billion could pay 1.24 million elementary school teacher salaries for a year, provide 2.84 million four-year university scholarships, or cover 3.3 million hospital stays for covid-19 patients. It’s enough to build a massive mechanical wall to protect New York City from sea level rise. It’s enough to get to Mars.

“Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.” Arnold J. Toynbee

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPhnkOYK9Is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN3B_q40RyY

Noam Chomsky has signed a letter defending free speech. At least he's not one of the progs who wants to ban offensive speech. He said "If you don't believe in free speech for those you despise, you don't believe in it at all." He's living up to that quote.

Meanwhile, many progs are calling for massive restrictions on speech, as these videos explain. They literally can't handle people expressing ideas they don't agree with. It seems Americans have become very fragile. Maybe this is partly due to America's worsening economic crisis, because the American Dream is no longer viable? I reckon all the toxins in America's air and water have something to do it with as well. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

Dr. Berman,
I hope everything comes out okay with the blog maintenance repairs. In the meantime, here are some more wonderful Karens to enjoy! LOL!

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSpwi4Ss3Rc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP62m7Ls9AQ

12:32 PM  
Blogger futuroexpat said...

Dr. Berman, en México son igualmente populares los teléfonos iphone y android? Si no es una pregunta demasiado personal: ¿A qué pueblo vas cuando no estás en el DF? Se supone que, por lo menos en las ciudades, México tiene una buena infraestructura cibernética, ¿no? ¿O no tanto fuera del DF?

1:33 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

futuro-

Thanks for yr concern. I don't use cellular fones, but in any case, I've got the situation covered. Vamos a ver.

mb

2:06 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Benjamin Studebaker on Taibbi / Marcuse & cancel culture:]
https://benjaminstudebaker.com/2021/02/17/misreadings-of-marcuse-and-the-confused-cancel-culture-debate/

QUOTE: In this context (1950s Red Scare), Marcuse makes the argument that the left cannot rely on democratic liberties to level the playing field. Under capitalism, public discourse skews right-wing because increasingly public discourse occurs on private platforms owned and operated by capitalists. He argues that the left cannot unilaterally disarm and must therefore compete for control of private platforms and institutions with the right. In a society in which the discourse runs on blacklisting, true tolerance has broken down, and the discourse becomes a struggle for control of platforms and institutions among various forces.

In this way, Marcuse’s point has much more in common with Taibbi’s critique of cancel culture than Taibbi realizes. The problem, in both cases, is that first amendment rights no longer guarantee true tolerance, because public discourse is increasingly in the hands of private actors who are not subject to it. Marcuse focused on the institutions and platforms of his own period–the unions and traditional media. Taibbi focuses on the internet and social media. Taibbi worries about cancellation in part because it turns the public discourse into a power struggle rigged in the interests of wealthy elites. He accuses Marcuse of encouraging this power struggle, but for Marcuse the left was already stuck in this situation. It was placed there not by its own choosing but by the emergence of totalitarianism in the 1930s and beyond.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Tom Servo said...

More than 83,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending June 2020, the most ever recorded in a single year.

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/pharmacy/a-record-number-of-people-have-died-of-drug-overdoses-during-the-pandemic-cdc-says.html

Among young Americans aged 12 to 25, 35% said they had taken a prescribed psychoactive drug in the past year and 31% of those said they had misused that drug.

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-02-03/1-in-3-young-americans-prescribed-a-psychiatric-drug-misuses-them-study

6:50 PM  
Anonymous FerQ said...

To Ordinary Indian: With everything that is going on in India, I would like to know, is Indian society being influenced by American/Western style feminism? If so, how is it being manifested? For example: do you see that man-hating, girls only attitudes, fat acceptance, etc. among the Indian youth? Would you know if this is happening in other S. Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc?

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Art Baker said...

If you blog is not working by Feb. 28, perhaps Wafers should
plan ahead to get tickets for:
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/trump-address-cpac-republican-party-215314596.html

7:32 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Now here's a big surprise:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/21/malcolm-x-death-family-letter-nypd-fbi

mb

8:07 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Re: Taibbi/Marcuse

Well, I believe Matt Taibbi is a very confused person, and missing the forest for the trees on Marcuse. Marcuse was not only a striking analyst of politics and culture, but also a writer of towering intellectual authority. I also think it's quite en vogue now for boutique journalists such as Taibbi to castigate the New Left of the 1960s for the mess the US finds itself in. Say what? I had a similar reaction upon reading "Fantasyland" by Kurt Andersen. The level of criticism Andersen directs toward the New Left in general and Marcuse specifically is simply flawed and incorrect. Essentially, Andersen unconvincingly argues that the hippies evolved into gun-toting Trumpites and survivalists. This is a completely absurd notion. Seems like Taibbi is piggybacking on Andersen's work, IMO.

Miles

ps: Good luck with the fone company, MB.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Foller said...

Miles:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=KEq_1eKcph8&feature=youtu.be

Here's a lengthy debate Taibbi just had about Marcuse. Fair if you disagree, but he's certainly not a boutique journalist. He's a fine writer and was asked to read and review Marcuse by his readers. He admits he never read him before. I think he's smart and honest, whether mistaken or not.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Forester said...

Biden’s Surgeon General Nominee Made Millions Advising Companies During Pandemic. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/02/surgeon-general-vivek-murthy-millions-consulting-pandemic.amp

7:59 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Forester-

Yeah, the Biden admin is going to be so different from previous ones, rt? Real social chg, w/o a doubt.

mb

9:59 AM  
Blogger Alan said...


I think I like this guy. I'm expecting youTube to demonitize his channel soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoQM2-E_ZW4

11:11 AM  
Blogger meangenekaz said...

Hola a los Waferes,

Mexico News Daily Covid Performance Index, February 22, 2021. Trouble all around the seven oceans. Thinking about "Moby Dick", a great pandemic read recently mentioned on the blog, to the latest news story about the stranded humpback whale in Brazil. Caring humans responding is encouraging.

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/coronavirus/index-of-covid-pandemic-response

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/breakingnews/stranded-whale-is-rescued-in-brazilian-beach/vi-BB1dt5eA

I haven't been able to follow the Marcuse/Taibbi discussion with a lot of gusto. The links above are core reality, Wafers. We're all in the same boat.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Ordinary Indian said...

Another example of US democracy so that the affected farmers' unions lend support to the Indian struggle 40 years on: https://thewire.in/agriculture/usa-farmers-unions-msp-protests-reagan

"Citing damning examples of Reagan era policies that have led to irreparable damage to the US’s farmers, 87 farmers’ unions in the country have extended solidarity to the ongoing protests by farmers in India." ...

The unions called the ongoing protests at Delhi’s borders “one of the world’s most vibrant protests in history.”

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

I read "Fantasyland" for a book discussion group I moderate a few years ago. Don't remember the Marcuse discussion specifically but overall liked the book. Very WAFer analysis. Will need to look back. (I did correspond with the author because, given the theme, I was particularly irked that it isn't footnoted!)

I read the Taibbi piece and find it insightful and convincing. Similar to much in "Cynical Theories," which, by the way, is careful to note the value in the Frankfurt School and postmodernism but recognizes how ideas have been taken to extremes. (I must admit that much of what Taibbi cites from Marcuse fits nicely into the absurd examples of various "critical theories" today.)

I'd also recommend Thomas Frank's recent book on populism, "The People, No." Interestingly, he cites Richard Hofstadter and others who did good work as also shifting political emphasis to the current "elites rule" default of the blue tribe. So intellectuals can have important insights but their work can be taken up in many, many ways. Perhaps the same with Marcuse.

Here's today's post by James Howard Kunstler on this topic - much better than his recent mental gymnastics to defend Trump: https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/repentence/

12:20 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Here’s a nice quote from the book “This Life” by philosopher Martin Hagglund and a youtube presentation. Similar in a way to Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death, how do we make a life given our finitude. Very Un-American sentiments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urXw0RfBP-o&t=690s

“What I do and what I love can matter to me only because I understand myself as mortal. The understanding of myself as mortal does not have to be explicit and theoretical but is implicit in all my practical commitments and priorities. The question of what I ought to do with my life—a question that is at issue in everything I do—presupposes that I understand my time to be finite. For the question of how I should lead my life to be intelligible as a question, I have to believe that I will die. If I believed that my life would last forever, I could never take my life to be at stake and I would never be seized by the need to do anything with my time. I would not even be able to understand what it means to do something sooner rather than later in my life, since I would have no sense of a finite lifetime that gives urgency to any project or activity.

The sense of my own irreplaceable life, then, is inseparable from my sense that it will end. When I return to the same landscape every summer, part of what makes it so poignant is that I may never see it again. Moreover, I care for the preservation of the landscape because I am aware that even the duration of the natural environment is not guaranteed. Likewise, my devotion to the ones I love is inseparable from the sense that they cannot be taken for granted. My time with family and friends is precious because we have to make the most of it. Our time together is illuminated by the sense that it will not last forever and we need to take care of one another because our lives are fragile.”

12:35 PM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

A very happy new week to our good Doctor and everyone here. What better way to start things off than to read about a couple of shootings that occurred this past weekend in this, “the greatest country in the world”. And talk about apples and oranges. One occurred at a gun range; the other occurred in an American ( an apropos word) Legion.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2021/02/21/3-killed-2-injured-in-shooting-at-Louisiana-gun-range/4271613933899/

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2021/02/21/1-dead-4-wounded-in-shooting-at-Mo-American-Legion/8681613957393/

2:01 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

Kevin-

Somewhere on this blog I did a review "Fantasyland." I've no idea where. Truthfully, I've mixed feelings about the book. Andersen makes some good points, but here's my problem: He's a great polemicist, but a bad historian. I seriously question the objectivity and depth of his research. His tendency to lump the entire New Left (Woodstock Generation) into the whole silo of American craziness and unreason is a snarky cheap shot w/o any real research. I also felt that he kept building straw-man arguments to debunk any version of reason that he deems illegitimate. I also recall that he blamed Marcuse and other sixties icons (similar to the way Taibbi did) for the political correctness we see running amok today. Even Tom Hayden and SDS are attacked for being engaged in a form of extreme magical thinking. I disagree w/that. An example of narrow thinking don't you think? It also became quickly apparent to me that he's no expert in matters theological as well. For instance, do all Christians deserve to be lumped together and tossed into the dustpan of delusion? In any case, I hope you see my point.

Miles

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Galen said...

"Donald Trump reported making more than $1.6 billion in outside income during his presidency. It's clear one of his biggest priorities while in office was helping his bottom line--and by that measure, his presidency was a huge success."
https://www.citizensforethics.org/reports-investigations/crew-investigations/trump-reported-making-more-than-1-6-billion-while-president/

3:10 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

In addition, folks like Andersen and Taibbi are anachronistic; they lack historical imagination. They fail to take into acc't the context in wh/Marcuse, Tom Hayden, and others were operating. It's so easy to make facile judgments from 'on high', from the present vantage pt. Let me give you an analogy. British studies of the Cambridge Spies typically condemn the 5 men as traitors, and in a strict sense, they were. The problem is that (a) Russia was an ally during WW2; thus (e.g.) John Cairncross (a communist who had infiltrated Bletchley Park) intercepted Nazi messages, passed them on to the USSR, and Russia was able to defeat the Germans at Kursk--a crucial WW2 battle. (b) The consciousness of the 5 was forged during the 30s, when Russia seemed (and proved to be) a bulwark against Fascism. The 5 were loyal to that anti-Nazi vision, and after 1945, to their desire to maintain a balance of power between Russia and the US. If you write a bk on them in, say, 1990, and ignore the political environment in wh/these men lived, it becomes easy, and formulaic, to castigate them. On a smaller scale, condemning Marcuse et al. 60 yrs after the fact, w/o taking context into acc't, is a similar type of error.

mb

ps: To complicate things further, the biopic of Alan Turing, "The Imitation Game," claims that an anti-Churchill faction w/in MI6 knew Cairncross was a commie and deliberately planted him among the Bletchley (Enigma) group, so that he wd pass vital war info on to the Soviets--! Churchill was rabidly anti-USSR, and cd not see gradations in the situation, such that it might be useful to help Russia out. He was, like Andersen and Taibbi, a 'lumper' (wh/is a form of Manicheanism). His "Iron Curtain" speech of 1946 was a major factor in fomenting the Cold War. George Kennan, who warned the State Dept. against this kind of 'lumping', was pushed aside by Cold War fanatics.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

Nadine,

I think the assault on free speech is one of the many symptoms of Manichaean thinking, which is a coping mechanism against facing the disintegration of the American Dream. Quote from article by Dr. Berman: https://morrisberman.blogspot.com/2006/04/force-that-gives-us-meaning.html

“Manichaeanism makes things very convenient for us; at the very least, you don’t really have to think a lot, which can be an enormous relief. But even beyond that, it enables us to harden our ego boundaries; to fill ourselves with anger, rage, or self-righteous virtue, and thus never have to look at the secret parts of ourselves that are fearful, that hurt, that make us feel ashamed. In his book The Forgiving Self, psychologist Robert Karen writes:
The binary, black-and-white mentality offers the shelter of simplicity. There are good behaviors, bad behaviors; good people, bad people; right thinking, wrong thinking; righteous nations, wicked nations. The potential to live [this way] . . . represents a significant part of our psychic life, for many people the most significant part. It is associated with blaming, revenge-seeking, scapegoating, xenophobia, warmongering, the draconian treatment of prisoners, as well as idol worship, cult phenomena, religions of the ‘one true faith,’ and chauvinism.”

Manichaean thinking is rampant and will probably worsen as the collapse continues. I see this all around me as well, which is one of the reasons I am hoping to emigrate soon.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Kevin, MB-

I need to rectify an error on my part in my response to you. I rechecked, and in terms of Tom Hayden, Andersen writes that Hayden's Port Huron Statement in the early 1960s was actually grounded in reason and truth, but when SDS splintered, a kind dam broke which resulted in a horror show of fantasy thinking that took over the New Left. In any case, I believe my criticism holds, but I wanted to be accurate. Please excuse this 2nd post violation, and I hope MB can post this before his departure.

Miles/Jeff

8:35 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jeff-

Thanks for the clarification; that helps.

WAFERS-

Pls remember my earlier notice abt the blog schedule. Shutdown Feb. 23-27; please don' post during this time. Try again on Feb. 28. If all goes well w/the fone co., we shd be back in action. If this screwup continues, however, I won't have access to the blog until March 14. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

mb

9:23 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

I am just finishing up a book by Rutger Bregman called "Humankind A Hopeful History" and I felt like his ideas in the book challenge conventional thinking in a lot of different areas. I will temper my expectations that it will have a meaningful impact in the American empire collapse situation. But I do feel like there are some powerful ideas that could be beneficial in the dual process situation. I recommend it for those who feel like they've been reading too much cynical stuff. It's a great one to ask your local library to purchase.

https://www.npr.org/2020/05/30/866059164/in-humankind-rutger-bregman-aims-to-convince-that-most-people-are-good

https://www.amazon.com/Humankind-Hopeful-History-Rutger-Bregman/dp/0316418536/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&qid=1614048411&refinements=p_27%3ARutger+Bregman&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Rutger+Bregman

Oh by the way this is the same guy who caused Tucker Carlson to flip his lid after being called out. I was already a fan of his for his comments at Davos but these short clips gives you an idea that he's no coward to speak truth to power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8ijiLqfXP0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_nFI2Zb7qE

9:55 PM  
Anonymous cormorant said...

And just when you think USians can't go any more nuts, away they go!

"Conspiracy theorists are actually trying to claim that the snow in Texas is fake"

https://www.indy100.com/news/texas-snow-fake-conspiracy-theory-b1805476?utm_content=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR2c9WJFacTBqBegbYOThIMueh2bqVydiUoF_hWuyDR6qqgJUTQUlu_iVUU#Echobox=1614005906

I must admit, I don't think the collapse of the Roman Empire was this watchable.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Kelvin said...

Lawrence Ferlenghetti passed away today at age 101. Here's an hour interview done with Amy Goodman 13 years ago. Prick up your ears near the end to hear Ferlenghetti read his poem, Pity the Nation. Nothing new for wafers, but good to hear affirmation from a kindred soul.

https://www.democracynow.org/2007/9/3/legendary_beat_generation_bookseller_and_poet

3:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ATTENTION ALL WAFERS!

GOOD NEWS! The fone co. fixed the hitch in my computer system re: accessing the blog. You don't hafta wait until Sunday, as I originally thought. It's working rt now. Arriba!

Kevin-

He was a terrific guy. I don't think I ever met him...I lived in SF so long ago...but he was good friends w/a # of my friends. I also read "Coney Island" when I was an undergrad.

cor-

Turns out, it wasn't snow, it was Sugar Frosted Flakes. That's why Ted Cruz went to Cancun.

mb

5:25 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

"The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship."--Wm Blake

Wafers-

I always get a kick outta how American social critics catch up to my work (of wh/they are unaware) 20 yrs after the fact. Mark Danner, in the NYRB for Feb 11, compares the current collapse of the American empire w/the Roman one. (Gee, do ya think?)

"[Is] not our republic, too, beset w/maladies its feckless leaders had proved powerless to remedy? Infestations of grasping and illegitimate foreigners. Obscene inequalities of wealth and power. Long-stagnant incomes. Senseless and unending foreign wars. Dispossessed and desperate veterans. And most of all a corrupt political class that had lost the confidence of the people. What was preserving the republic worth when set against such mortal ills? What was that supposedly noble cause but an excuse to maintain the rotting status quo?"

The question of why bother preserving the US is, of course, the crucial pt. Later on Danner refers to "our degraded institutions and corrupted politicians," and adds:

"The genocides of the 1990s, the 'Supreme Court election' of 2000, the attacks of September 11, the war of choice in Iraq, the torture and endless drone assassinations of the 'war on terror,' the economic collapse of 2008, the election of Donald Trump, the hundreds of thousands dead in the Great Pandemic--and finally, the Stupid Coup [of Jan. 6 of this yr]."

Trump, he concludes, might later be seen as the beginning of something, not its ending.

mb

6:14 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Here is something I found - a reenactment of George Patton’s famous speech to the 3rd Army. It is not the sanitized one in the George C. Scott film, has to be heard in full to get the complete impact. What does this say about us?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maD6wlpS-0Q&t=606s

Here is how it starts:
“Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit. Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight. When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.”

Something else - Manifest destiny – changing map of American expansion through time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNkI6xhKfmg

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Kai said...

THE US MILITARY IS EVERYWHERE

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-YR2TxHkb4c&feature=youtu.be

imperial overstretch wheeeeeee

7:01 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Kai-

America never learned the difference between force and strength. The former is external; the latter, internal. When a person or nation lacks strength, they try to compensate w/force. America has no strength; it's actually hollow. Do a soul biopsy on any random American, and what do you find? Hustling.

mb

7:57 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Here's a man who's thoroughly full of shit:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/25/joe-biden-student-debt-american-students

At one pt, some yrs ago, Schmiden wanted to cut back Social Security. But hell, he's made all these diversity appointments!

mb

8:02 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

John S - What Patton was talking about, unknowingly, was external goals. There are external and internal goals, like in "The Inner Game Of Tennis". Long ago I was in a sport frankly I drove my "team" mates nuts (it was an individual sport like archery or the individual time trial in cycling) because their goals were external and mine were internal. I just wanted to see how good I could get, and never hated another athlete for beating me. There was so much jealousy and spite and dirty trickery it was crazy. Anything but actually practice/train and work on your actual skills. They were doing it the American Way and I was approaching it in the spirit of this book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_in_the_Art_of_Archery

I drove 'em nuts though. Play a friendly game of pool with "the enemy", a current world champion and joke around with 'em, then beat 'em the next day (I emphasize, I had a very good day and they had a very bad one) and I'd freely share my tips and techniques with anyone because I felt knowledge ought to be shared. Then I'd beat 'em anyway and they'd think I was giving out bogus tips. Aargh! It's so hard to work with fearful, spiteful, Americans.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Naomi said...

https://aeon.co/amp/essays/how-popperian-falsification-enabled-the-rise-of-neoliberalism

How Popperian Falsification Enabled The Rise of Neoliberalism

This is very good.
"Moreover, we have to protect some theories for the sake of getting on at all. Generally, we don’t conclude that we have disproved well-established laws of physics – rather, that our experiment was faulty."

8:18 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Naomi-

It's a long time ago, but I recall that T.S. Kuhn had a running debate w/Popper abt the falsification theory. I can't remember who won, but I do think Kuhn scored a few pts. Popper was on to an impt idea, but he went overboard w/it. The same might be said of Isaiah Berlin, and his concept of 'negative liberty'. Both men were foreigners who became British, and actually more British than the British; and the underlying agenda was to preserve the (British) status quo. Both cautioned abt going politically overboard, but the problem was that they went overboard w/the fear of going overboard. I never met either of them, but if I had, my question wd have been this: What do you guys *affirm*? A gd corrective to the two of them is the little bk by E.H. Carr, "What Is History?"

mb

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Birney Zouave said...

Dr. B-

OpEd of the day-

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/02/25/capitalism-doomsday-machine-or-how-repurpose-growth-capital

"There will likely be survivors—human and non-human—but they may be few and miserable, and unable to mount a meaningful ecological or social recovery, perhaps for many centuries if ever."

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

As far as Biden being thoroughly full of shit is concerned, here are my predictions for the Biden Administration:

1.) The stimulus checks will never arrive.
2.) The minimum wage will never be increased.
3.) Bew wars will be started, and imperial overstretch will be exacerbated.
4.) The progs will blame all of this on Republicans, despite the Democrats having control of Congress and the presidency for the next two years.
5.) A far-right candidate will win the 2024 election.

What do you think of these predictions?

1:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Birn-

It's a gd essay, but I'm impatient w/abstractions such as 'industrial capital'. Only at 1 pt does he tell it like it is:

"Nearly everyone wants more economic growth so as to patch our problems in the short run, even if it will make matters much worse in the long run."

"Nearly everyone" is the American people; so why not come out and say that they are buffoons and jackasses? That's the heart of the matter. And if it's true, wh/it is, then what are the chances of turning things around?

mb

1:29 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

Sounds rt, altho I hafta tell you that I am opposed to Bew wars. If there's one thing I hate, it's Bew wars. Any other kinda wars, OK; but not Bew wars.

mb

1:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Here's a Bew war for ya: Schmiden is a real piece of crap:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/26/biden-iran-deal-diplomacy-syria

4:24 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

Thought of you MB when I read about Biden's predictable Syria attack. Had to use some of those "beautiful weapons" somewhere. Thought that this oaf and his fellow seniles might just be the team to deliver US-Suez moment.

Why has it taken me so long to stumble over Phil Ochs' 'Love me I'm a Liberal'? Guess the fact that he was an actual left-dissident might explain the memory holing. What a song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLqKXrlD1TU

5:28 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dermot-

The real shmucks are the progs who believe he's offering something different, because he makes diversity appointments. The whole country is a joke.

mb

6:14 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Sav-

Cdn't run it. We have a half-pg-max rule on this blog. Pls edit down to proper length and re-send. Thanks.

mb

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Savantesimal said...

Per the earlier reference, I recommend CPAC. It's clearly going to be a real circus this year. Besides the Orange Goblin himself, worshiped by his base in golden effigy:

Marketwatch: This CPAC ‘golden calf’ Trump statue is spurring backlash of biblical proportions
(Visit the link to see a picture of the golden effigy.)

There will be other far-right nutcases present, such as a Japanese 'incarnate god' (no joke...) who seems to be leveraging an association with Il Dufus to build up his own influence back home.

Vice.com: A Japanese Cult That Believes Its Leader Is an Alien From Venus Is Speaking at CPAC
-quote-
“Happy Science is a Japanese cult run by a man who claims to be the incarnation of multiple Gods while pretending to channel the psychic spirits of anyone from Quetzalcoatl to Bashar al-Assad to Natalie Portman,” Sarah Hightower, a researcher and expert on Japanese cults, told VICE News.
-quote-

Sounds like a real kindred spirit for The Great Orange Savior.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Noura said...

The Vietnam War's Agent Orange legacy | Unreported World
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMzJvwG2rsQ

Vietnam's Toxic Legacy: This episode investigates claims by doctors in Vietnam who believe that agent orange is causing life threatening health problems for a whole new generation of children. The toxic herbicide was dropped on Vietnam by US forces during the war over 40 years ago. Reporter Ade Adepitan travelled to Vietnam to investigate the ongoing legacy of Agent Orange.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Malleus Maleficarum said...

You gotta love Biden, he's not sending those $2,000 cheques he literally verbally promised, he's not increasing the minimum wage... and the dems have no excuse, they control both chambers.

Ilhan Omar leads calls to fire Senate official who scuppered $15 wage rise

All in all, you would say that Biden is trying to alienate as much of the populace as possible, but he probably doesn't care (as far as he can remember). It does look like an Alzheimer administration, with the lobbyists running rampant.

PS There have been some comments here about Bitcoin, well, IMHO it's just another hustle:
Electricity needed to mine bitcoin is more than used by 'entire countries'

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Rudy said...

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2021-02-26/beyond-capitalist-realism-the-politics-energetics-and-aesthetics-of-degrowth/

Book of collected essays, Beyond Capitalist Realism: The Politics, Energetics, and Aesthetics of Degrowth.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Rudy-

Degrowth wd hafta be an impt part of Dual Process.

Malleus-

Schmiden is so full of shit it makes one dizzy. As for Bitcoin: I mentioned a while back my desire to start a currency called Bitrump. How wd it work? Would Americans run around biting each other on the rump? Wafers are invited to elaborate on this new exciting development in our glorious march to the future.

mb

10:31 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I wonder what folks think about this. Watch the video and the youtube comments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JPqirvOIYA

Magically abstract statements like "the secrets of the rich is that they ask how much, while the secret of the poor is they ask how much down payment"; also 'you're stuck in the middle class because you are in debt and dont spend within your means'. Somehow this Ramsay guy paints himself as an anticonformist, so by "growing up and working hard and being thrifty", somehow that's anticonformity?

Look at the comment section and all the plebs laughing it off and identifying with the aggressive victor. Look how tilted that like bar is!!!

He has millions of devout followers just by preaching the same thing day in day out.

What doth man do when faced by hundreds of millions of people whose critical thinking is: "the rich are rich because they are better people".

11:08 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Brian-

I guess he never heard of Horatio Alger. He's quite the douche bag, but then he's an American. As for the hundreds of millions: earlier I recommended that the entire population, minus 175 Wafers and all Native Americans, be shipped off to some South Sea island, so that the ones left behind are free to start a new country w/the rt values. It's either that or massive slapping and urine therapy--a man-sized job.

mb

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Terry Saget said...

Women are less enamored of libertarian thought than men, and there is no simple explanation for this. https://spssi.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/asap.12237?campaign=wolearlyview

More emotional intelligence, perhaps, not something most libertarians (or most men) excel in.

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Rubin said...

"Each F-35 jet contains 417kg of rare earth elements, of which between 90% and 95% of the world’s supply is sourced from China. Between 60% and 75% of the world’s supply of finished rare earth magnets is also produced in Chinese factories."

The Age of Empire Is Back
https://unherd.com/2021/02/the-rise-of-green-imperialism/

1:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Check out "The Allure of Mars":

https://www.noemamag.com/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=roundup

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian Musician said...

Mr. Berman, it all boils down to in my humble opinion to the fact that American people are unable to accept the fact that the rich elites on Wall Street along with Washington do not care about the American people, and that most Americans will never live the affluent style of the rich. In addition, Americans cannot emotionally accept the fact that election has been stolen, back in 2000, 2004, 2016, and 2020. As a saying goes "it cannot happen here (US)", and yet it did, and that America resembles a failed third world banana republic. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51786.htm

5:11 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Andalus-

Yes in 2000 (when the Supreme Court simply gave the victory to Bush, instead of doing a Florida recount); no to the rest. The link you cite provides no evidence for yr claim. On this blog, we do not make baseless assertions.

mb

5:26 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

MB - There's always Buttcoin, like bitcoin, but for butts www.reddit.com/r/buttcoin

Brian - like any other preacher then. I've actually heard of people being helped by his gospel, at the nuts-and-bolts level of, If you don't spend $900 a month on restaurant meals, you save at least $600 a month by cooking the same meals at home. But yeah, rich == better people is a crock of shit. Even my boss admits that, given the things he had: A stable place to live, enough food, a decent school system, affordable college, I'd be at least as accomplished as him.

Terry Saget - It's because in modern society, there's a 50/50 chance the woman is going to be abandoned by the man and have to raise the children on her own on a low-paying menial job. Libertarianism = Peter Pan-ism.

Andalus - That's a far-right kook site. Right down there with Zerohedge.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous SDakota said...

Libertarianism is a feckless conservativism co-opted by Koch money etc.

Women like neo-liberalism and cultural Marxism in the colleges because the cancel culture gives them power where otherwise they'd be at a genetic disadvantage like certain races academically. In the Ivy League Asians and European Caucasians are being discriminated against. And if they get in they must tow the neo-communist party line for all lefty propaganda all the time. Elevate the minorities to disempower and destroy and genocide the majority.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGEKt8obwbg&feature=youtu.be

6:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Dakota-

Was this link supposed to be substantiation of your remarks? Unfortunately, the voices were too low for me to hear the discussion. But the problem with yr statement is that you don't provide evidence for 'genetic disadvantage', or for minorities having 'genocidal' propensities. It just comes off as racist bias. I agree that the progs suck, but so does this sort of stuff. And note that we're not into unsubstantiated generalizations on this blog. Pls clean up your act, if you wish to be part of our discussion.

mb

6:54 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Here's a story I found on the dark side of the king of the self-help guru’s – Tony Robbins. The bigger question is why did such an empty suit develop such a cult like following with such a trite message of pull yourself up from the bootstraps by believing in yourself fake it till you make it gospel of how to get rich, essentially the rags to riches story. People incredibly for decades have been willing to pay literally thousands of dollars to attend week long “seminars” to be willingly propagandized, but how many of them are rich like Robbins? What is really unique and special about Tony Robbins- answer, literally nothing. I once watched an interview of Tony Robbins and within 5 minutes I could realize if you take out the common-sense stuff, focus, work hard, have goals etc., that apply to any pursuits, there literally nothing else here except Robbins bizarre hyper emotional antics to make his points. The guy is a schmuck.

This stuff goes way back though from before the founding of the republic probably- think of Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” written in 1937 which read as a kid and tossed in a dumpster, still sells well today apparently, or Norman Vincent Peale. Tony Robbins is rich and famous because, like L. Ron Hubbard, he has found a successful formula, a Schick or branding really based entirely on Robbins personality, for continually washing out the minds and wallets of his foolish followers – the real one true way to get rich -scam your followers with a message of salvation, or you will get rich if you only listen to me or believe hard enough. But I could say the same thing about so many other self-help gurus who are also empty skulls like Doctor Phil or Oprah or in religion Billy Graham or Joel Osteen, the list is almost endless.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/janebradley/tony-robbins-self-help-secrets

7:36 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

It really is endless. We're back to P.T. Barnum's favorite quote. It's amazing how people can fall for this drivel, but they do--by the millions. And happily, there are a lg # of exposes (not that true believers will read them). I esp. enjoyed Barb Ehrenreich's "Bright-Sided," and two exposes of Oprah: by Janice Peck, and Nicole Aschoff. On Scientology, check out the movie "Going Clear." Or think of the way a charlatan like Werner Erhard (a proto-Robbins, really) got lionized. As for Norman VP: a reporter once asked Adlai Stevenson how he wd compare Peale w/St. Paul. "I find Paul appealing, and Peale appalling," was his answer.

Americans, of course, are douche bags; their religion is hustling, so this is where the money-guru phenomenon is most pronounced. But it does have its adherents in other countries as well; tho the 'salvation' is not nec. abt $. What can one think, when Kanye West, an utter buffoon, swims in a lake in Argentina and people then bottle the water and sell it? Inner emptiness is esp. strong in the US, but it is hardly a disease confined to Americans. "The everlasting hope of humanity," wrote Dostoyevsky, "is to find someone or something to worship." Anything to stuff the hole in the soul.

In "The Future of an Illusion," Freud wrote that religion wd disappear once people intellectually analyzed their neuroses. The astute reply of a Jungian analyst was this: "The greatest illusion is to believe that people will transcend religion." Or give up their illusions, one might say.

Sometimes people ask me what to do abt it. "Meditate," I tell them, "and read the work of D.W. Winnicott." Oh well. I have my own struggles to deal with, but I'm quite sure Tony ain't gonna solve them for me.

mb

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

The Paris Climate Accord is a joke; none of the countries are following any of its recommendations, and none are being penalized for this. It's purely symbolic, just like Biden's diversity appointments. It is, to use MB's phrase, beating off. "Look at how progressive and virtuous we are! We're saving the planet!", say the so-called progressive politicians and their supporters. Meanwhile, carbon emissions continue to rise, the planet continues to warm, and humanity's future looks bleaker every day. And these people could care less; they just want likes and followers on Twitter and Facebook.

MB,

Regarding your idea of resettling most Americans, I suggest we send them to Antarctica, take away their cell phones and arm them to the teeth. We should film what happens and broadcast it everywhere.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

I'm afraid they might start killing penguins, and selling the meat.

mb

10:20 PM  
Blogger Mike Kelly said...

Hi MB and Wafers,

It has been my very unscientific but long-lasting observation that the world's computer systems are struggling to survive. I see more and more outages affecting my daily life. Now we have some proof:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/fed-investigating-outage-interbank-payment-192707286.html

WHen the money machine goes down, the rest of the digital world can't be far behind.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous James Allen said...

For the occasion when your eyes have had it for the day, a podcast you might enjoy.

British-American Andrew Keen may be best known for his 2015 book “The Internet Is Not the Answer”; in it he catalogs “all the ways digital life casts aside basic human virtues in favor of a rapacious, winner-takes-all economy.” [Book review by Michael Harris, 2 January 2015, Washington Post].

Here at lithub.com, Keen interviews Robert Wringham, author of “I’m Out: How to Make an Exit,” a retitling of the 2016 book “Escape Everything.” As British comic Wringham puts it on his website, the book “is a guide to how (and why) people might want to escape the everpresent worker-consumer lifestyle.” Continuing “The personal and environmental costs to working a 50-hour week and then going shopping with the gains are dark and vast.” [wringham.co.uk]

https://lithub.com/it-only-sucks-to-be-a-cog-in-the-machine-when-the-machine-is-capitalism/

10:48 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jas-

Gd refs, thanks.

mb

11:27 AM  
Blogger Joe McIlnen said...

And there’s never a dull moment here in the Dysfunctional States of America with our Karens! LOL!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bjOkF8I_P4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv9rVayVZPs

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Andalusian Musician said...

Dear Mr. Berman,

As per your response to my comment yesterday, I want to say that there is at least suspicion that the votes were rigged.
https://thepoliticalinsider.com/dnc-rigged-stole-election-from-bernie-sanders/
https://www.newsweek.com/clinton-robbed-sanders-dnc-brazile-699421
Remember how last year there was a delay in announcing Democratic Party Candidate for 2020? Doesn't it strike you as odd?
https://21stcenturywire.com/2020/02/04/railroaded-again-technical-glitch-in-democratic-party-voting-app-deprives-sanders-of-iowa-victory/
Also for 2004, please read this
https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1210/S00155/john-kerry-must-speak-out-on-2004-election-theft-now.htm
https://blackagendareport.com/safe-states-strategy-hell-greens-respond-progressive-left-dems
With all due respect, you can read the articles above. I could be wrong, however the matter is worth looking into. Also given the corruption in American Institutions, I will not put it past the American Establishment. You are correct. I should have included the articles above in the first place.


4:43 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Andalus-

You cd be rt abt 2004; I really don't know if it's a proven fact. But the stuff w/Sanders: this is no great revelation, that he was undercut and sidelined by the mainstream Dems; everyone knows that. Plus, he never really did have a chance; Americans are hardly interested in watered down socialism. There is, further, from your links, no evidence for 2016, and as far as 2020 goes: this was a legitimate election, sans fraud, and Trump lost. You presented as fact a series of supposedly stolen elections, based on rather shaky evidence (2000 being the exception). This was very misleading.

mb

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Nadine Bupkis said...

MB,

If we corral Americans in the center of Antarctica where nothing lives, the penguins will be safe.

I hate to harp on Hedges once again, but this is religious fundamentalism:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW8hmhA7J08

The possibility of American salvation is what he can't question. I suspect egotism is what drives his mania for hope. I suspect he wants to be a hero whose name is remembered throughout the ages.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Nadine-

I guess it's an old talk, but he's still saying the same shit. Note the adulation in the comments section. Excellent example of clowns adoring a clown.

mb

10:29 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

The elites are getting ever more delusional. It is not just smarmy self-help gurus like Tony Robbins. Elon Musk who believes we are going to stop global warming through battery powered cars, a delusion apparently shared by investors who have taken the stock to insanely overvalued levels based on the hype, also now into buying Bitcoin as well, also believes an even bigger staggering fantasy - that the key to saving civilization is colonizing Mars. I think Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark museum is a crazy enough delusion, but Musk apparently literally believes that he will literally save humanity through Mars, so he believes in a space age kind of Ark salvation. If he weren’t one of the richest and most influential man on the planet, he’d be wearing a straitjacket. I think the man has smoked too much pot or watched too much Star Trek or Star Wars. Warp drive isn’t real only in the movies, terraforming Mars ain’t never gonna happen no matter how many billion dollars you pour into it except in fiction.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/mars-is-no-earth/618133/

10:40 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

Scroll back to my ref to "The Allure of Mars."

Meanwhile, this looks gd:

https://www.amazon.com/Klara-Sun-novel-Kazuo-Ishiguro/dp/059331817X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1LOP278QAZI2X&dchild=1&keywords=klara+and+the+sun+by+kazuo+ishiguro&qid=1614571620&s=books&sprefix=klara%2Caps%2C216&sr=1-1

Unlike Musk, this guy understands reality.

mb

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Pete Christen said...

Dr, B and Wafers: Don't know if you saw this, but two long-time pro-US entities/institutes (Economist Magazine and Freedom House) are now admitting that the US is in less than tip-top shape. After decades of slavish devotion to plutocracy, what made them admit the obvious?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/02/04/democracies-backslide-myanmar-india-united-states/

Even though Trumpolini is out of office, he is still the point man for the forces of destruction. I struggle to find a historical precedent.

12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anjin-san said...

Edward Curtain meditates on writing and art and family and making sense of his American story while living in the madness of America of the last 70 years.

http://edwardcurtin.com/the-pine-eyed-boy-escapes-from-the-belly-of-the-dark-night-in-the-fishs-tale/

5:05 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Wafers-

More on the Mars question:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/02/mars-is-no-earth/618133/

Bottom line: Musk is a buffoon, a techno-jackass of the 1st order.

mb

ps: Relevant to this is WAF, ch. 3.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Hans Castorp said...


Biden, Schmiden...

"When a Republican is president, Democratic politicians, pundits and activists will tell you that the presidency is an all-powerful office that can do anything it wants. When a Democrat is president, these same politicians, pundits and activists will tell you that the presidency has no power to do anything"

"In the Tanden situation, in fact, the Biden team is acting like a White House’s power of persuasion and legislative arm twisting can potentially move votes for something a president cares about – in this case, the nomination of a Washington insider to a fancy White House job.
The real story, then, is that Biden seems unwilling to use the same influence to push as hard as possible for a minimum wage increase that would boost the pay of millions of Americans during an economic emergency."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/mar/01/joe-biden-minimum-wage-democrats

12:27 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Hans-

Clearly, the man is shit-filled. But what, in the US, is *not* shit-filled?

mb

12:35 PM  
Blogger Krakhed said...

Hard to imagine a future without a paradigm shift to degrowth.

Author Samuel Alexander writes about the need to abandon capitalist realism "Beyond Capitalist Realism: The Politics, Energetics, and Aesthetics of Degrowth."

http://simplicitycollective.com/beyond-capitalist-realism-the-politics-energetics-and-aesthetics-of-degrowth

from the essay:

"In other words, capitalist realism is unrealistic, non-viable, a dead end – literally. The system is full of internal contradictions that the system cannot resolve, most notably the myth that through market mechanisms we can purchase and consume our way to sustainability. At the very hour when modern humanity has arrived at a self-aggrandising pinnacle of triumph – a global market economy promising riches for all – the skies have been darkened by the terrible spectres of ecological degradation and social decline and polarisation. The climate emergency is only one of these storm clouds, but this alone has the potential to lay waste to our species, as well as most others.

At the same time, vast oceans of debilitating poverty surround small oceans of unfathomable plenty, exposing the violent betrayal of the capitalist growth agenda, euphemistically (or just deceptively) known in public discourse as ‘sustainable development’. This is a race leading towards an abyss, both enabled and entrenched by a sterility of imagination called capitalist realism."

1:11 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Hello Wafers and Dr Berman. It’s been awhile since I posted but this is just too good not to share. I recently came across Disrupt Texts, a movement to question how/if to teach the classic literary canon. As with everything in America, this group of four English teachers is clearly in it to make money off speaking fees and educational conferences as they disrupt dangerous books like To Kill a Mockingbird. Each teacher has a slick personal website in case you want to consult with them on how shitty Hamlet is. True American patriots who will make a buck wherever they can. Several of the teachers appear to be immigrants or children of immigrants. Just further evidence of how Dr Berman says American society corrupts even the most recent arrivals. I attended American high school within the last 20 years. I vividly remember reading Ellison, Wright, Hughes, Walker, Hansberry, Walker and especially Baldwin. We also read Shakespeare, Bronte, Fitzgerald, Goethe, Huxley and Hardy. Adding to the curriculum is a great idea. It’s the subtraction that causes concern. Just further proof America is committing suicide.
https://disrupttexts.org/

2:07 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Jamie-

The thing that bothers me abt your lists is that all of these people are known communists.

Krak-

C. Wright Mills called the system 'crackpot realism'.

mb

2:52 PM  
Blogger Miles Deli said...

Greetings MB and Wafers,

A rather nice piece on Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

https://slate.com/culture/2021/02/lawrence-ferlinghetti-city-lights-howl.html

Miles

4:04 PM  
Blogger dermot said...

QUOTE: "The everlasting hope of humanity," wrote Dostoyevsky, "is to find someone or something to worship." Anything to stuff the hole in the soul." UNQUOTE

Reminds me of R.A. Wilson's quote "Every disciple is an asshole in search of a human being to attach itself to".

BTW, 'SDAKOTA' is a Trollfoon - note their quote about (white) genocide. Another pisshead from the 'heartland'.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

dermot-

You'd think these trollfoons wd have better things to do than spew garbage in the direction of a blog that isn't even on the radar screen. But no! Apparently, they don't. What lives they lead, what lives.

Jeff-

Thanks for the ref. When I think of what the US was when City Lights started out, and what the country is today, I hafta shudder. As I mentioned b4, I don't think I ever met "Larry," but I had a # of friends in SF who had been in the beat generation, and were close w/him. His death is really the end of an era, and of a much more intelligent time. Peter Berg, Gregory Corso, Peter Coyote...and of course Gary Snyder, a great Zen teacher and poet (him I met; he was on a panel w/me in 1979, at a conference Berg and I mounted called "Listening to the Earth"; a stellar individual--check out the portrait done by the New Yorker, a few yrs back).

mb

6:52 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

MB, Wafers. Turns out Elon Musk is even wackier that I realized. He is apparently also a true believer in the so-called simulation hypothesis proposed by philosopher Nick Bostrom, which asserts that reality is literally akin to “The Matrix”, a computer simulation created by some sort of advanced intelligent computer coders, so we are all pixels in a video game, living in a 3D holodeck like Star Trek. Elon Musk goes as far to assert that there is “only one in a billion chance” we are living in “reality” as we know it, made of real stuff –so rocks and trees are like Trump says, fake news all the way down to the atoms.

https://futurism.com/are-we-living-in-a-computer-simulation-elon-musk-thinks-so

Here is a nice article that addresses the simulation hypothesis fairly and finds it to be what you’d expect – not serious, just “intellectual entertainment.” Our social media culture has come full circle, many intellectuals (not just Musk) apparently seriously consider the notion (described facetiously) that “reality” itself is actual a form of infotainment for some higher intelligent narcissistic navel gazers who can’t imagine universes to be anything but fixes for elaborate video game addictions. To me the idea is just as bonkers as the ontological proof of God, that an imagined super being becomes even greater if it is actually real, therefore it has to be real. QED. With the “death of God” is this a more satisfying mythology for some intellectuals? We all have our own pet ideas, let’s just keep them on a leash when we go in public.

https://backreaction.blogspot.com/2021/02/the-simulation-hypothesis-is.html

9:19 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

The problem w/Musk is that he hasn't figured out that he's beating off. Nor will that awareness dawn on him any time soon.

mb

10:22 PM  
Blogger alex carter said...

MB - I'd consider "known communist" a higher recommendation than "known capitalist" these days.

dermot - There are "religions" or world-beliefs, that don't depend on having an imaginary sky-friend. I find Buddhism very satisfying as the belief is that your existence doesn't depend on the whims of a narcissistic sky-monster but that we are all here, fish in the sea, we can all swim, and there are better ways to swim that result in more happiness. In other words, some might need to fill the hole and some might grow a garden there.

John S - Muskie is in www.reddit.com/r/iam14andthisisverydeep territory. I mean, it could be, but we can't tell so it's not something worth worrying about.

Extra credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODCQc9BnO1s&feature=emb_logo

3:45 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

alex-

Well, my remark on commies was rather tongue-in-cheek. As for yr take on Buddhism: spot-on.

mb

6:53 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: speaking of growing gardens, try this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g4FrGcRAIs

6:59 AM  
Anonymous Goodman said...

"You don't need to agree with everything (or even anything!) Jordan Peterson says to recognise he is an important thinker whose books merit respect and honest, careful reading."
https://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/comment/2021/02/26/how-to-read-jordan-peterson

Nice piece by Nick Spencer. I reckon Peterson's basic appeal is not his arguments but his restless, suffering being, which is profoundly felt by his fans. The call to heroics is a will-to-being that’s too individualistic yes, but he’s caught the heart of the crisis over the ground of our being.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

Goodman-

I really don't know, as I never read his stuff, largely because he had the 'scent' of a charlatan. These types of characters come and go, peddling their special brand of bullshit. The real tragedy is the tendency for millions to follow the Pied Piper of the day. I did read a review of his most recent bk, wh/noted that he reversed himself on most of what he said in his original bk. He was behind those (original) ideas quite fiercely, in a very guru-ish way; now, I guess he's opposed to them in a similar way. He may have some gd ideas (which? when?), but frankly, he sounds like a douche bag--wh/included addiction to benzodiazepines. If his philosophy was so on-target, why did he need drugs to get thru the day? (It's one thing to say things, and another to live them.)

I cd be being unfair; I dunno. But it's not likely I'm gonna read any of his stuff. There's enuf genuine wisdom around to keep all of us busy, w/o Jordan Peterson.

mb

11:52 AM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

ps: Putting oneself forward as a guru is a classic way to stuff the hole in your soul. Just look at Hedges, or Trumpi.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

@Dr. Berman,
I visited city light books about 2 years ago as part of my vacation to San Fransisco. On my walk over, 5$ cup per cup o’coffee shops, techies and the severely, borderline violently mentally ill and addicted were all around me. In I walked into city light books and I see around me all sorts of memorabilia reminiscing about the past progressivism of the place; that said, the atmosphere inside wasn’t completely commodified, but I nevertheless felt an almost overwhelming sense of sadness, depression and thought to myself “this is a joke”. Nothing has changed much in the US and now city lights is reduced to being another boutique slot in the place it occupies in the US. Still, I bought myself a nice copy of Rollo May’s The Meaning of Anxiety, but sad nonetheless.

@Goodman,
Here is a good critique of Peterson.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/the-intellectual-we-deserve
It’s indulgent tone aside, it makes many good critiques. Rollo May is so much better than Jordan Peterson in my opinion and I encourage you to check him out; “Why can’t folks just read Rollo May” I think when I see how popular Jordan Peterson is!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

You are right! How thoughtless of me to plug those writers on this most patriotic of blogs. How could those ingrates be communists when America is the land of the free? Kind of like how they didn’t kiss Bobby Kennedy’s ass during their famous meeting with him regarding civil rights.

The forum link I’m submitting is pretty low brow but informative. I know Dr Berman and many other Wafers have had the misfortune of living in the DC area. Any of your familiar with DCUM? If’s an anonymous website of DC’s supposed wealthier citizens discussing real estate, private school, getting a kid into Harvard, where elites should vacation, how to underpay your nanny or housekeeper or au pair. You know, the typical bourgeois concerns. The anonymity of it makes people really let lose on just how dark their souls are, though no one is DC will admit to reading/posting on it. Today someone on the Money and Finance Forum questioned the meritocracy model. The responses are pure gold and demonstrate the bootstrap narrative is alive and well. All the more pertinent as I’m concurrently reading Lasch’s Revolt of the Elites and Aschoff’s New Prophets of Capital.
https://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/953908.page

4:11 PM  
Anonymous John S said...

Dr. Berman, Wafers. One thing that has always fascinated me are authors who exude a peculiar charisma to create almost a cult following and a sense that reading their stuff will provide you some sort of hidden knowledge or gnosis, but in actuality it might be an elaborate joke or all smoke and mirrors.

One example is Jacques Lacan, who exceeds both Freud and Jung by leaps and bounds in inventing obscure terminology to explain his ideas. Heidegger on steroids. Another in Thomas Pynchon, except for The Crying of Lot 49, reading his books require looking up multiple references to decipher what every line might be an allusion to, in order to proceed to the next paragraph. Or think of mystical writer G.I. Gurdjieff, who developed his “fourth way” philosophy which seems kind of like a mix of Buddhism and Islam, yet completely different.

What all of these authors have in common are devoted fanatical followers, who are lead like Ariadne down unending rabbit holes revealed in every scrap of works or commentaries by disciples to things that seem to be only reflections or recursions of other things that were said. At the same time, it is all supposed to be completely clear and obvious, only obscure to the uninitiated. Lacan was also not a nice guy apparently according to this article, the same is true of Gurdjieff. No one has ever seen Pynchon so I don’t know about his personality. If you are a fan of any of these guys, apologies in advance, I just find literary obsessions fascinating.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/4w75en/jacques-lacan-was-sort-of-a-dick-323

5:38 PM  
Blogger Morris Berman said...

John-

Lacan was both a charlatan and a genius, and to my mind pegged very clearly the 'gap', as he called it, the lack that generates desire, and thus illusion. He kept telling his followers to be cautious of transference; it made their addiction worse. When he died, there was a bitter fight over who wd edit his collected works--sibling rivalry, and transference, from beyond the grave. The irony is too fucking much. For a very fine Lacanian novel, check out "Silk," by Alessandro Baricco.

I don' know much abt Pynchon, tho I discuss his work a bit in some of my own, esp. "Gravity's Rainbow" and "V.". What he demonstrates is that there are 2 types of paranoia: hypercoherence, and complete alienation; and he does it quite brilliantly.

Marx got tired of everyone drooling on his Guccis. "Je ne suis pas une marxiste," he once remarked. Wittgenstein: "All people will remember of me is a certain type of jargon" (disciples imitated his language, dress, and even the way he walked and gestured; Jesus fucking Christ, will you people *ever* grow up?). General rule w/gurus, like Jordan Peterson: the minute they become famous, they are full of shit. Lao-Tse: "The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao." Meanwhile, J.D. Salinger got so tired of being lionized after "Catcher in the Rye" that he hid himself in a farmhouse in NH and wrote only 1 more bk.

Jamie-

Elites are trash. You may quote me. Also check out Luis Bunuel's film, "The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie."

Brian-

Rollo and I were friends during the last 2 yrs of his life. For some odd reason, both of us wound up speaking at various New Age conferences. We wd sit on opposite sides of the room and roll our eyes at each other, as Fritjof Capra or some other New Age turkey wd go on as to how Taoism and quantum mechanics were the same thing. What bollocks! Regarding Peterson: I doubt he has said anything new, or radical. Poor shmuck, prescription drug addict, etc. He cd sure use a ton of therapy.

Gods-

Sorry, I don't tolerate refs to "international Jewish power" and other echoes of the Protocols. Zionism is not Judaism, altho it is a modern tragedy that the 2 have gotten conflated. But note that there are thousands of antisemitic blogs around, and you will probably receive a warm reception on them. Best of luck.

mb

6:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home