Note from the Editor

"We need somebody like that who is highly placed to tell us what's really going on. We know that we were misled on Iraq," said George McGovern, when interviewed about the Deep Throat revelation. "I wish there were somebody of the Deep Throat time in this administration who are [sic] aware of what's going on." Actually, we seem to have a pretty good handle on what's going on -- it's not a Deep Throat we need. It's journalists and a media willing to actually investigate and report the real news; to follow the money along a trail that leads all the way to the upper echelon of power -- to the Old Set, with their unrelenting efforts to gain at any cost from what others lose, as aptly described by Milo Clark. If you believe that George W. Bush is campaigning so voraciously for an overhaul (not "reform") of the Social Security system with your best interests at heart, well, be sure to read the Editor's Blips for some insight into our great leader's approach to propaganda... The meanings of words have indeed been hijacked by the Old Set and are merely repeated by a compliant and supine media. Philip Greenspan brings his usual keen eye and sharp wit to this topic.

Think that the Old Set cares a whit about the safety of the water we drink or the plastic-wrapped food we eat? Read how John Steppling imagines a world in which exposure to phthalates in plastic may just turn the Old Set into Girly Men and lead to the end of Empire. Does the Old Set care that we and our children are getting fatter by the minute and developing costly chronic diseases, while physical education is slashed from schools for lack of funding, fast-food profits are soaring, and pharmaceutical companies are spending billions of dollars to find the magic weight-loss bullet? They could care less, as Jan Baughman explains.

And do you think that the US antiwar movement or Democrats in the form of Howard Dean, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton can take down the Old Set? Think again. As Joe Davison aptly points out, "when the best thing that's happened to a movement after three years is the appearance of a maverick British MP in front of a US Senate Subcommittee, then you know you've got problems." Well, we've got serious problems... See Gerard Donnelly Smith's poem, Stalin's Dream State, for a sobering look at the Old Set's New World Order.

The role of art in society and politics has been a topic of recent conversations at Swans Café. So, here is more: Louis Proyect provides a keen insight into the life and works of writer Saul Bellow, whose literature reflected the struggles of his times but who lost touch with his roots upon achieving insider status. In contrast, Charles Marowitz offers an insider look at Peter Brook, with whom he collaborated at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Brook, who recently turned 80, remains unchanged in his intellectual acuity.

One publication that will not lose touch with the reality on the ground is Swans. Read the "Boonville News" in the Blips for some thoughts on independent publications and the "alternative media." Last but not least, John Steppling's amusing review of our previous edition (which, hopefully, won't be his last...John's computer has melted down...) and, of course, your letters, with usual support and gentle corrections.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


America: Myths and Realities

Milo Clark:  Old Set, Establishment And The Rest Of Us

Since the 2004 election in the once United States of America, I confess to confusion and confusing. Whatever it is out there, it ain't what I think it is or thought it was and it ain't what the pundits of any stripe claim it to be. I feel like I am coming out from a cloud of self-induced illusion.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Have The Meanings Of Words Been Hijacked?

The US government defines words like democracy, communism and terrorism quite differently than I do. During the heydays of the Shah, Marcos, Suharto, Pinochet, and other similar tyrants the U.S. described the governments they headed as democracies; and the labels communism, terrorist, or supporters of terrorism were slapped on the governments of Sukarno, Allende, Castro, Mugabe, and Hussein.   More...


John Steppling:  Decline And Fall Of The Plastic Empire

When I first read the piece in The Guardian on the long term effects of phthalates [see link in article], several things struck me. Perhaps, firstly, because I had just returned from the market, I was astonished to see that every single item I had purchased was contained in plastic -- in one form or another.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Funding A Rational Treatment For Obesity

The epidemic of obesity continues to grow in the U.S., as well as many other countries. Currently, approximately 65% of American adults are overweight and of these, 31% are considered obese. These rates vary dramatically between racial groups, with 57.3% of white women overweight compared to 77.3% of black women.   More...


Arts & Culture

Louis Proyect:  Saul Bellow In Retrospect

When Saul Bellow won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1976, he joined other American prize winners who expressed their time. 1962 Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck captured the spirit of the turbulent 1930s just as African-American Toni Morrison, who received the award in 1993, gave expression to another period of strife and struggle.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Peter Brook At Eighty

When I first met Peter Brook in the early sixties, he was just making that fateful transition from West End Wunderkind to avatar of the avant garde.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Stalin's Dream State

A wet dream of a million watchers,
prying into the personal: first
the corporate personnel, next
the state employees, finally
a national identity card.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Joe Davison:  A Plea To The US Antiwar Movement

George Galloway's recent bravura performance in front of a US Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Investigations in Washington D.C. has been rightly lauded as one of the most inspirational examples of speaking truth to power ever witnessed.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #20

"The world only goes forward because of those who oppose it."

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk: from the lies supporting the war in Iraq and the U.S.'s disinterest in them; to George Galloway's slaying of the bicephalous dragon; with a few observations about class privilege and old commies in between.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Kudos to Rainier Maria Rilke, George Galloway, and Charles Marowitz's review of the US media's talking heads, and John Steppling's humorous take on those sycophatic worms, along with a more somber view of world events reported by Swans' columnists.   More...



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Created: June 10, 2005