c o m m e n t a r y
May 20, 2013
Trade liberty for safety or money and you'll end up with neither. Liberty, like a grain of salt, easily dissolves.
The power of questioning -- not simply believing -- has no friends. Yet liberty depends on it. ***
S U P P O R T S W A N S
Many thanks to Walter Trkla for his contribution. Please help Swans financially. Year to date: $1,046.34.
Note from the Editors:
Peter Byrne, writing from London about the country's economic woes, asked our Editor, "When do you think the economy's coming back?" "It's not," he answered. This is the new economy, according to said Editor, who also happens to be our resident economist. Glenn Reed portrays a slice of life in that new economy -- the one that was built off the dismantling of labor unions; stagnant, if not falling, wages for the many and obscene wages for the few; increased consumerism resulting in increased debt -- where even augmenting one's minimum wage with tips is forbidden by some of those at the top of the heap. When did the middle class become so lost? It's all relative, of course, when so much of the world lives in abject poverty. Jan Baughman considers loss, whether a dog, a child, a parent, or a limb lost in the Boston Marathon bombings -- how does one equate something so entirely subjective? In the press, there isn't even objectivity when it comes to coverage of tragedies like that in Boston. Gilles d'Aymery takes on the cable news networks, which carry the same news, with the same advertisers, hour after hour, each with a different political slant, and all owned by the Establishment. And helping to perpetuate the status quo, generally from outside the media spotlight, is Ervin Laszlo, an influential systems theorist and all-round power broker who has helped coordinate circles of ruling-class policy wonks for nearly half a century. Michael Barker introduces us to the controversial figure in Part I of a two-part series.
Speaking of Peter Byrne, when he's not traveling and collecting observations as souvenirs, he is writing, and here he reviews L'america non existe (There is no America) -- a novel on post-World War II Italian orphans in New York. Raju Peddada continues his journalistic feeding frenzy -- from Europe's horse meat scandal to the latest China rodent one, he continues to make the case for vegetarianism. And apropos this edition is a poem by David Francis, an allegory in which the whale -- the Establishment -- swallows the smaller fishes along its way. We close with the multilingual poetry of Claudine Giovannoni & Guido Monte and your letters, with some somber notes on the powerful few, among them Madeleine Albright signing her book in Iraqi children's blood, and a defense of the FBI and other authorities faced with separating the terrorist wheat from the masses' chaff.
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your common sense."
On our Mind
World Without Borders
Dark Mountain Project
* * * * *
Don't believe everything you think!
Patterns Which Connect
No Tips, Please, In The New Economy
The sign was prominently displayed right at the counter where customers order. It read "No Tipping." My fingers stopped checking my pocket for spare change.
This past weekend I was driving across the State of Vermont to visit my parents and feeling my insomnia from the previous night. I decided to stop about halfway through the two-hour trip to get a cup of coffee. The only place open on this rural stretch of road (kind of redundant for Vermont) on a Sunday was the local franchise of a national chain, which I won't specify. More...
Glenn Reed is a long-time activist and author from Fair Haven, Vermont.
Mestor disappeared again. Normally he's a reliable free-range dog -- he has his favorite promenades, usually 45 minutes to an hour, invariably involving water; too often ticks; sometimes sheep dung or deer hide. Aida, on the other hand, is an escape artist and thus is kept on a 40-foot tether when outside. On those occasions in which she escapes alone, she eventually returns in a short while, but when the two of them go together, always with her as the instigator, it becomes an overnight adventure for them, and an overnight hell for us. More...
Jan Baughman is a clinical researcher and Swans' co-editor.
The Mystical Genius of Ervin Laszlo (Part I of II)
You would be forgiven for not knowing who Ervin Laszlo is, as he certainly doesn't make the headlines very often; which is why it is useful that Laszlo has published an "informal autobiography" entitled Simply Genius! And Other Tales from My Life (Hay House, 2011). But despite his generally low media profile, Laszlo is an influential systems theorist and all-round power broker who has helped coordinate circles of ruling-class policy wonks for nearly half a century. New Age salesman and guru to the rich, Deepak Chopra, calls him "a one-man human-potential movement" and notes that: "In a skeptical age when doubters sit by the side of the road saying no to every new idea, Ervin Laszlo said yes." But what exactly does he say yes to... yes to magic... yes to capitalism... yes to macrobiotics... yes to socialism? More...
Michael Barker is an independent researcher who lives in London, England.
Main Media & Propaganda
Tabloid journalism is a mix of Yellow journalism and Gossip journalism, peddling junk news about celebrities, politicians, drugs, crimes, scandals, etc. The more it sells copies or attracts viewers the more it sells ads. With the advent of the Internet and the Web the tabloids found a space of predilection, and it did not take long before the cable news networks jumped on board. More...
Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.
Hungry Man, Reach For The Book
Hugging Naples In Far America
Novelists love orphans. Parents faded out with Tom Jones, the first real novel, and they have never come back as players in the plot. Masterpieces keep crowding the literary orphanage in the sky. A list reads like a great books syllabus, Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist right up to Lolita. Likewise in other languages. Balzac's Comédie Humaine and Zola's Rougon-Macquart are littered with the parentless. Dante Alighieri, a certified orphan himself, may have started the ball rolling. More...
Peter Byrne is an American-born teacher and writer who lives in Lecce, Italy.
Arts & Culture
The Meat Piracy's Rat Gourmet!
In 1996, I and my incredulous 9-year-old daughter, Elisabeth, raised in a carnivorous setting, set out to explore the wilderness around Fritsie Park, in Neenah, Wisconsin, where we ended up discovering several edible plants. To prove my point, we clipped bunches of wild Amaranth, two types of Dutch clover, pigweed, wild mustard and onion, and drove back to Chicago with these greens in a bag. Upon our arrival, about three hours later, around dinnertime, I requested my mother, the maestro of ancient and esoteric vegetarian recipes, to make those leafy curries (a terribly limiting and generic name for vegetarian recipes by the English). More...
Raju Peddada is an industrial designer who lives in Des Plaines, Illinois.
I am the little fish that lives inside the Whale.
David Francis is an artist who lives in New York City.
Pages of books
Rescatandos los deseos
Guido Monte teaches Italian and Latin literature in Palermo, Italy.
Letters to the Editor
Some somber notes on the powerful few, among them Madeleine Albright signing her book in Iraqi children's blood, and a defense of the FBI and other authorities faced with separating the terrorist wheat from the masses' chaff. More...
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