Letters to the Editor

(August 27, 2007)


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Bottled Oil: Gilles d'Aymery's Blips #56

To the Editor:

The Earth Policy Institute number (1.5 million barrels) to make the plastic bottles used in bottled water is wrong.

My number, 17 million, is more accurate (to the extent anything like this is "accurate").

I'd be happy to share the details of the calculation, if you're numerically minded.

Peter Gleick
President, Pacific Institute
MacArthur Fellow
Member, US National Academy of Sciences
Oakland, California, USA - August 13, 2007


Epigrams: Charles Marowitz's Remembering Joe Orton

To the Editor:

Charles Marowitz knew and worked with Joe Orton whose Loot he helped shape when he directed the first production in London. That makes "Remembering Joe Orton" unique and invaluable, a Swans' anthology piece. Orton was one of those writers who created a strange world apart and then recreated himself as a character in it. Marowitz witnessed the personal transformation and is still fascinated by it.

But he also touches on another mystery of literary creation when he says that Orton hadn't fully grasped "the true nature of his own material." In fact an author can never grasp the full implications of the imaginary world he brings into being, no more than we can fully grasp the real one. His spotty awareness allows him to forge on and not freeze in his tracks at the enormity of his own presumption.

Incidentally, Orton, like Swans, had a taste for epigrams:

In a world run by fools, the writer can only chronicle the doings of fools or their victims.

It's Life that defeats the Christian Church. She's always been well equipped to deal with Death.

Being a man of good will I'm well prepared for violence.

The Orton saying that's most relevant today could be this bolt of irony:

In an age of declining faith, sir, surely it's enough for the young to hold spiritual convictions. It's an act of pedantry to ask that they should be the right ones.

Peter Byrne
Lecce, Italy - August 17, 2007


Mr. Constitution ain't Perfect: Note from the Editors

Good morning, Gilles, and with all due respect, I respond to your comment: "Nor was Robert Byrd invited -- the eloquent senator gets little public exposure outside of C-SPAN2 and Swans."

During the impeachment trial of William Jefferson Clinton, it was Senator Byrd, known as "Mr. Constitution," who said himself that Clinton met all the requirements of being convicted of lying to the Grand Jury, but for the sake of the country, read, "For the sake of the Democratic Party, I will not vote to convict him."

And there lies my problem with Byrd (the picture of his dog Millie sits on his desk and "who makes me laugh!" as quoted by Byrd on the floor of the Senate.) If it hadn't been for Senator Byrd's protection of the most corrupt and immoral president this country has ever had, in my opinion, and for whom I have the greatest distain, Clinton would have been convicted. Can you imagine, and I truly believe this, if Clinton had been convicted, Yugoslavia would still exist today and innocent Serbs would not have been bombed, murdered or maimed? Clinton was impeached in 1998, one year before the disastrous 1999. Furthermore, Clinton actually brags that he had been impeached because he beat the system.

And that's my problem with "Mr. Constitution."

As for Bush and Sarkozy, it would be interesting to know if Kosovo even came up. My problem with Sarkozy is that he has taken into his government Bernard Kouchner -- one of the strongest advocates of independence for Kosovo and haters of Serbs. I thought up until then, we had a chance with Sarkozy to side with the Serbs. Now it is questionable.


Stella L. Jatras
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, USA - August 13, 2007


Karl Korsch at the Bureau of Public Secrets

To the Editor:

Karl Korsch's lucid exposition of the basic elements of Marx's revolutionary social theory (which has little or no connection with the various forms of "Marxism") is now online at:


"By far the best general introduction in English. It is the only one that is uncorrupted by some sort of sectarianism" (Kenneth Rexroth).

* * * * *

Texts of related interest at the same Web site:

"Introduction to a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" (Marx)

"A Non-Dogmatic Approach to Marxism" (Korsch)

"The Great Utopia" (Josef Weber)

"The Problem of Social Consciousness in Our Time" (Weber)

"The Society of the Spectacle" (Guy Debord) [ed. A must-read text.]

"Marx and the Communist Manifesto" (Rexroth)

"Communalism: From Its Origins to the Twentieth Century" (Rexroth)

"The Joy of Revolution" (Ken Knabb)

Ken Knabb
Berkeley, California, USA - August 15, 2007
"Making petrified conditions dance by singing them their own tune."


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Published August 27, 2007
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