3rd Interview with the Geopolitics Institute, Guadalajara
This is the Blog for MORRIS BERMAN, the author of "Dark Ages America". It includes current publications and random thoughts about U.S. Foreign Policy, including letters and reactions to publications from others. A cultural historian and social critic, MORRIS BERMAN is the author of "Wandering God" and "The Twilight of American Culture". Since 2003 he has been a visiting professor in sociology at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Feel free to write and participate.
About a month ago, I noticed that the most recent edition of my book on Japan, Neurotic Beauty, by Water Street Press, was no longer listed on Amazon. I contacted WSP about it, asking if it was out of print, for some reason, and the publisher assured me it was not. What had happened (she said), was that the company had changed distributors, and this had apparently generated a glitch in the Amazon listing (this happened with other WSP books as well). The WSP edition would be back online fairly soon.
Well, one month later, the WSP edition is still not listed on Amazon, so I'm unsure as to what is going on, or when I can expect it to be back online. However, it turns out the book is available from the Seattle Book Company (which I'm guessing is WSP's distributor):
Which is great, but which of course doesn't have the visibility of Amazon; most people have never heard of the SBC, and wouldn't know to go there if they wanted to buy the book. I'm hoping that WSP and Amazon will be able to straighten this glitch out before too long, but in the meantime, I wanted to draw your attention to the book's availability. If any of you guys want to buy a copy, or if friends of yours might be interested, this SBC web site is the place to go, for now. More trials and tribulations for a writer, I guess, and thank you for your support.
So first, Germany. I cdn't have had a better time. My hosts were wonderful people, generous to a fault, and I look forward to a long-term friendship with them. They schlepped me everywhere, and we had a lot of fun. Mainz itself is an old medieval town, very picturesque, and we also ventured over the Rhine to Wiesbaden for Turkish food, and into the wilds of Bavaria, in search of Hitler's secret fortress. Which we found, but decided not to notify the German authorities.
I did a public lecture on Dual Process, which they recorded, and I'll post the audio links when I have them. I also taught a class on the meaning of the Trump victory. Smart students, very good questions. Since all of this was sponsored by the Dept. of American Studies, they elected to have me speak in English. In general, I was gratified by how quickly my German came back, altho my grammar was rather schwach. I lived in Germany 1991-92, and was fluent at that time, so speaking a kind of uneven German now was rather frustrating for me. But it did come in handy, in all sorts of situations. For example, my former landlady came in from Berlin, and we had a blast, bad grammar and all. I hadn't seen her for 14 years, when I was in the country to do a reading tour for the German edn of the Twilight book.
Being in Europe is always a pleasure for me. For the most part, these are not stupid countries filled with stupid people, and the consciousness is not one-dimensional, as it is in the US. Of course, America overran Europe (as it did Japan) with consumerist ideology (see Victoria de Grazia, Irresistible Empire); but (as in the case of Japan), it didn't succeed completely; Europe has deeper values that persist. And you can have conversations with people that would be impossible in the US. I also enjoyed reading Die Zeit, which makes the NYT look the like shallow comic book that it is.
And the food! Jesus, one cd get very fat in Germany. Food has real taste in Europe; it's not like American cardboard food.
But let me stop raving abt Germany, and start raving abt the US presidential election. 1st let me say that I predicted the rise of US fascism in CTOS (1989), and most of you are aware that all of the various predictions I have made on this blog, as well as in my bks on the American empire, have come to pass. Well, not all: I was dead wrong abt how the Nov. 8 vote wd go (along with just abt everyone else), and I don't recall when I have been happier abt being wrong. Altho (along with a few others) I was rt abt the sources of Trump's popularity. More on that in a moment.
So what have we gained?
1. The progs get a well-deserved pie in the face. Being Americans, they are too stupid to learn anything from the experience, and instead of becoming declinists, and leaving the country, they believe--like both Trump and Hillary--that "our best days are ahead of us." What a joke. A few of them have even predicted left-wing revolution, while I have repeatedly said that the only revolution that might come to the US wd come from the rt. That is basically what has happened. 2. We are finally rid of the Clintons, 2 of the most corrupt, dishonest, and slimy people in the history of the world. We no longer have to see that semi-insane laugh of hers on TV. The two of them are disgusting, the worst sort of American hustlers (anything to win). They gamed the system against Bernie, and they even got the debate moderators (e.g. Donna Brazile) to slip them debate questions in advance. They accused Trump of corruption while they were up to their necks in it themselves. I say good riddance to them, and may they be cast down into darkest Gehenna, and have their shoes peed on for eternity. 3. Hillary offered only more Obama, i.e. the slow death of America. With Trump, we open the possibility of a fast death. If he's not an outright fascist, he comes pretty close, and we can probably expect a cruel and authoritarian regime. More wealth for the rich, more oppression of everyone else, more militarization of the police, and a number of other things that will hasten our collapse. His advisers--Rudy Giuliani, Ging Newtrich, Chris Christie, and Sarah Palin (yes! she's back! Sarah, let me shtupp you on an ice floe! Have my babies!)--are basically stupid, vicious, and corrupt, and can only aid in the further unravelling of the American empire. We can, in short, skip the Weimar period I've talked abt and move directly to Hitler lite. The election of Trump represents, at long last, the (domestic) Suez Moment Wafers have been waiting for. 4. American "democracy" has been clearly revealed as a farce. When Trump said the election was rigged, he was rt. I'm talking not only abt the leaking of debate questions to only one side, or the superdelegate campaign against Bernie, but in particular the constant bombardment of the public by anti-Trump articles in the NYT and the WashPost. These front-page "articles" were little more than editorials, and I can't recall when the Fourth Estate violated the democratic process more blatantly. Happily, it all backfired, and they got their come-uppance: the Trumpites gave David Brooks, Thos Friedman, and their ilk a well-deserved middle finger.
Which brings me to the reasons for Trump's victory. (There is also a pt no. 5, regarding new directions in US foreign policy, but we can talk abt that later.) Most of this will be familiar to you guys, as I produced this analysis several wks ago; but let me recap and expand a bit.
1. Take a look at the final election map, setting aside Illiniois, Colorado, and NM. What you see is a solid red center and blue on the coastal fringes. These fringes have been managing the post-Soviet economic arrangements since 1992, telling us (Francis Fukuyama: what a dope) that history was at an end, having culminated in a neoliberal, globalized, consumerist world. NAFTA was passed, welfare was abolished, prison terms widely expanded, and so on. A permanent super-rich class, and a permanent underclass (to serve them) were created, such that as of now, the 20 richest Americans own as much as the bottom 160 million. Meanwhile, those in the heartland, the red center, understood that Bill Clinton/Bush Jr./Obama/Hillary amounted to an impoverished future, at least for them; and also , that these folks looked down on them, regarded them as a "basket of deplorables." (Virtually all Americans are stupid, but the blue ones are actually dumber than the red ones.) What these Trumpites, who had lost homes and jobs and been crushed into poverty and lives with no future, wanted to say to this intellectual/financial elite was: go fuck yourselves. Every anti-Trump article in the establishment newspapers was just a goad for them to repeat this message. And as I describe it in TMWQ, only Bernie and Trump spoke in an authentic voice; with Hillary, it was--as Trump pointed out--"just words." "Stronger together?" Who are you kidding, you lying, corrupt, warmongering billionaire? She almost never stopped reading from a script. In any case, be sure to check out Thos Frank, Listen, Liberal, as to how the Dems and the people who traditionally protected the lower classes from poverty and destruction, decided to abandon those classes and opt for endless hustling, for personal wealth and the chic coastal life, instead. These people are the real trash of American society, imo. 2. The 2nd factor was nativism, sparked in large part by 30 yrs of tedious political correctness. (The other part, of course, was loss of jobs.) P.c. is phony politics; it's abt correct language, not abt losing your home or yr livelihood. I have consistently opposed p.c. on this blog because I believe it's a load of hooey. God forbid one should make an ethnic joke, or say "craftsmen" instead of "craftspersons," or hold a Mexican theme night on a college campus (Bowdoin). Jesus, what utter horseshit. Along comes Trump and goes 180 degrees in the other direction, clearly overdoes it, but does not apologize for any of it ("just locker room talk"). Guess what? The heartland loves it. Meanwhile, to the very end, Hillary doesn't get it. Even tho American isn't a melting pot and never was, she babbles on in her concession speech abt diversity, "stronger together," and abt how she hopes little girls will be empowered by her example. Apparently, little boys don't count in her p.c. world. Somebody needs to slap her face until it turns purple and doubles in size. And if little girls are dumb enuf to take her as a role model, we are in deeper do-do than I ever imagined. 3. A 3rd factor is really a corollary to the authenticity issue mentioned above: alone among postwar presidential candidates, Trump was a declinist. He made it very clear: America is not great; rather, on every imaginable level, it has gone to hell in a handbasket. Whereas Hillary countered with the hollow, "When was America not great?" Christ, what a douche bag. But like Trump, like the progs, like the Occupy folks and 99.9% of the American public, she seeks to save or restore the American Dream; except that millions of Americans were convinced that only Trump cd do it, whereas all she was offering was more of the same baloney--just words. Unfortunately for all of these deluded jokers, there is only one place you can go where it is stated explicitly that there is no recovering that Dream, and that it needs to be abolished in any case. Hmm...where might that be?
To sum up, I leave you with 3 thoughts:
a) Regardless of IQ, Americans are not terribly bright. b) Trump will probably do the country a lot of damage. c) Our best days are definitely not ahead.
I look forward to your feedback on Nov. 16.
The University of Mainz has asked me to give some lectures during Nov. 1-15, so I'll be taking the big silver bird into the skies on Oct. 31 to Frankfurt. This is just advance notice: PLEASE don't post to this blog during that time, as I probably won't have blog access and will be rather busy during that time anyway. I'll send you all a 2nd reminder b4 I leave, but I just wanted to post this right now. I know that many of you suffer badly in absence of the blog--hives, rashes, a few psychotic episodes--and I apologize for being away. I mean, where else are you going to check in to reality? The New York Times? Ha, that was funny. But just hold your breath, we'll be back in action on Nov. 16.
At long last, my volume of poetry, Counting Blessings, is back in print, thanks to the folks at the Oliver Arts & Open Press, which also published The Man Without Qualities. Amazon listing as follows: https://www.amazon.com/Counting-Blessings-Morris-Berman/dp/0988334364/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475426845&sr=1-15&keywords=morris+berman
Unfortunately, Amazon has not yet posted the cover image, which is completely new for this (3rd) edition. Hopefully, they'll get to it before too long.
I know some of you are wondering about Spinning Straw Into Gold, which has also been out of print. That is also in the works, and I'll let you know about it as soon as it goes online, hopefully in 1-2 months.
Thank you all for your patience, and enjoy the read!
Nothing special to report. I suggest we keep mapping the inevitable decline of the US, while never forgetting that Hillary is a douche bag and has Botox in her face. Although Trump is too polite to mention these facts during the forthcoming debate (Sept. 26), I'm hoping at least a few Americans will have them in mind. But wouldn't it be great if Trumpo were to suddenly declare, "Look, Hillary: the truth is that you are a douche bag, and have Botox in your face." I'm sure that one line would win him the election.
O&D, amigos; O&D.