Note from the Editor

In the vast Milky Way, this little, teeny-weeny publication that comes to you, dear reader, every other Sunday, rain or shine, free of charge and commercial ads, with very few graphics (it displays quickly on your monitor screen, does it not?), with a bevy (are we Swanees, or not?) of original articles, including political essays, fiction, satire, book reviews, poems, pieces on culture, art, nature, dreams of a better world, special editions on one issue or another, and what not, written by a flock of dedicated volunteers coming from all over the map of the angels and the color of their politics (decidedly more red than brown), edited and formatted with a devotion to the notion of a job well done, which is rarely encountered nowadays, by two dreamers, or idiots depending on one's perspective, who've financially, operationally, administratively, and mentally, supported this project -- one bringing the bacon home and working relentlessly in the background, the other, having the advantage of being the alpha male, taking credit for the whole caboodle and, here and there, doing a little work, when his Carpal Tunnel Syndrome does not bench him, to make things happen -- would be hard to spot.

Darn, good people, this was a long sentence, was it not? Am I unconsciously trying to emulate Marcel Proust? Possibly. He is connected in some fashion to the name of the publication, but I wish I could emulate his talent. That's another story...

Today, however, the story is about an anniversary: Swans was launched on May 1, 1996 -- Workers' Day...go figure -- and has published uninterruptedly for the past 10 years. So, forgive us for this congratulatory, and soul-searching, issue. Note that, as always, contributors wrote as they chose.

As we begin our second decade, I would like to first thank ALL the contributors, past and present, who have made it happen time and again, and emotionally sustained us. They are the heart, the mind, and the soul of Swans. In solidarity and affection we stand. Then I would like to ask YOU, dear reader, to help us with the costs of the operation. I am asking YOU to also be a part of Swans. Please help us financially.

All the pieces in this edition, with a couple of exceptions, are about this milestone. The Letters to the Editor obviously keep coming -- a proof of good health -- and so you can read a bunch of them. Peter Byrne, a newbie on Swans, considered it inappropriate to contribute on our anniversary, but he recently played a spectator role in the 100th anniversary of Samuel Beckett's birth, and I found it fit to include him. Who knows, perhaps Swans will turn 100 in 2096, with a cast of as dedicated and endearing givers as we offer you time and again.

People, it's time we all stop playing the game. Another world is possible.

You read, you think, and do not forget, as always, to please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


Reflections on a Decade

Jan Baughman:  Ten Years On A Superhighway Less Traveled

A decade can pass in the blink of an eye; ten years ticked off in the daily grind, day-to-day deadlines, week-to-week obligations, monthly bills, yearly taxes, and then it begins all over again. Can one witness evolution in real time, or does it take the benefit of time to step back and analyze the changes?   More...


Eli Beckerman:  Ten Years Of A Swans Rebellion

Before the dot-com boom, there was The concentrated power of print, radio, and television was giving way to small people like Gilles d'Aymery and Jan Baughman and their revolutionary new medium. Monopolies on ideas, and the commercialization of those ideas, were going to have to make room for the democratizing impact of the World Wide Web.   More...


Alma Hromic:  Taking Flight: The First Ten Years

Back in 1999, when the world was going mad and the city of my childhood and what was left of my country of birth were being pounded by bombs, with the Western mainstream media full of poison and lies dictated by the party line and necessary in order to maintain the justification for the bombardment, I sought sanity for myself and for my family on the Internet.   More...


Milo Clark:  Swans At Ten

There is no money to be made here. No banners, no IPO's, no egos. Only a desire for quality on a daily basis, from a flock of swans and its future contributors.

With those words, webcast on May 1, 1996, Gilles (and Jan, never forget Jan) launched Indeed, in the last ten years no money has been made, no IPO's launched . . . egos? Well, that has to be a matter for others to judge.   More...


Louis Proyect:  The Revolution Continues

In the 1450s, Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press. For the first time in European history, books could be mass produced. This led to significant scientific and cultural breakthroughs that were critical for the rise of capitalism and the scientific revolution.   More...


Deck Deckert:  The City On The Hill In Ruins

Anniversaries, like Swans 10th, make one reflective. I was born during the Depression, was a child during World War II, and came to manhood in the aftermath. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Musings From The Black Swan

When I was growing up in the lower east side of New York, my irrepressible moxie got me into the offices of the just-founded Village Voice, where I talked myself into a job as off-Broadway reviewer.   More...


Michael DeLang:  Sow Resistance, Reap Justice

For the world is a mountain
of shit: if it's going to
be moved at all, it's got
to be taken by handfuls.
—Allen Ginsberg

I think that the feeling Ginsberg was trying to convey with this metaphor, aside from removing glamour and romance from the idea of revolution, is that positive social change is necessarily a long, slow haul and dependent, in large measure, on individual commitment and sacrifice.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  A Review Of Prior Thoughts

I became aware of Swans, to the best of my recollection, during the year of 1999, when it was displaying several excellent articles on the then-unfolding situation in Yugoslavia. My wife and I had fallen in love with that country in the early 1970s on our first foreign trip.   More...


Various (but Unique) Swans Contributors:  Keeping The Flame Alive

Snippets from various authors on why they frequent Swans non-commercial cultural café.   More...


Jan Baughman & Gilles d'Aymery:  Inside Swans' Engine Room

Jan Baughman interviews Gilles d'Aymery...   More...


Poetry for an Anniversary

Gerard Donnelly Smith:  On The Anniversary Of Swans

two birds upon the left bank nesting;
feathered with words, the flock replies:
voices raised above the cresting,
progressively set against the tide.   More...


Swans:  Untitled

This poem was published on September 10, 1997. It was composed by Jan Baughman.

I scream in my silence
and hide behind words.
The child that became mute so long ago
("she's such a good student,
if only she didn't talk so much")
can analyze and formulate with the best of adults.   More...


Memory Lane

Gilles d'Aymery:  Just call it Beta I

The shortest way from A to B is a straight line, so we were taught back then, when the earth was flat. Now that, following the apple and NASA, we know otherwise, we have also found that it's often faster to travel from, let's say Palo Alto to San Francisco in California -- that's 35 miles -- through Sydney, Australia, or Paris, Texas (or Paris, France, for those geography nerds out there), than directly from A to B. Go figure.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  Beckett At A Hundred Or Who's Celebrating Watt?

No field of endeavor thrives without constant questioning of what it takes for granted. State sanctioned media, the various amplifiers of respectability, rusty dispensers of doctrine or lowest common denominator television monopolies all share a mediocrity that their public can't help but sense, however complacent it might be about seeking alternatives.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On banning plagiarism, banality, and chauvinism; parsing human parasites; more on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israel lobby; learning how to grok; and praise for Walter Trkla's memories of Yugoslavia, and more.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: May 8, 2006