Note from the Editor

It is fitting to begin our second decade of publication with various works on Arts & Culture. Whether one wants to bring back Dada, as Charles Marowitz does, or looks with Louis Proyect at the witch hunt of media personalities such as Edward Murrow, Fred Friendly, and Stephan Fleischman, politics and culture are always enmeshed. Peter Byrne also demonstrates this by revisiting racism and the Studs Lonigan trilogy by the fervent socialist author, James Farrell. Or take the recent censorship in France of one of the very best plays of Peter Handke, who attended the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic and was accused of holding nonconformist political views and mobbed by the chattering class... Politics often intrudes in the world of Arts & Culture, which in turn reflects or opposes the world of politics. There are other cultural patterns that repeat themselves; some of them you wish would not exist. Take the plagiarized work by the collective "Retort" in the London Review of Books, which the latter did not want to address -- that too belongs to the realm of culture. Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan offer a brief assessment and possible explanation of the phenomenon. In every case you're passing seamlessly from the realm of Arts & Culture to politics and oppositely.

Dimitri Oram, in many ways, shows how political culture can twist the historical record even within the "progressive" media; how conformism -- the practice of not straying from the official line -- stifles political debate, here too within the construct of so-called mild radicalism (e.g., Democracy Now!). What exists of progressive radio voices, as George Beres experienced, are drowned out by the well-funded voices of the political Right.

So while the corporate media continues to parrot the views of the powers-that-be -- now funneled through the mouthpiece of a former Fox News commentator -- rather than connecting the patterns that permeate the atrocities of the Western powers, Michael Doliner takes a hard look at the oil pattern, the escalating threats against Iran, and the aftermath that an attack there will unleash. Our thirst for oil and the resulting environmental damage are equally ignored by the media; Milo Clark shows that there is more to climate change than just melting ice caps. Ah, but how to change the status quo? Philip Greenspan is hoping for a major eruption -- of massive protest, that is.

An ardent anti-war voice is Stan Goff; his new book on organized violence, Sex and War, is reviewed by William T. Hathaway. The deeply profound and painful consequences of war and death are expressed in poetry by Gerard Donnelly Smith in memory of his brother; and Guido Monte's poem says it in any language: there are no right wars!

Tying all this together, our editor's blips look at cultural priorities and ethics 101, with much "love and respect" for right-wing worm Joseph Farah -- and a bit about the real immigration issues; scandals of French political proportions; how many Boonville telephone workers it takes to fix a fallen cable, and more. Finally, take a minute to read the letter to Kofi Annan from the Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free from Atomic, Biological & Chemical Weapons.

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


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Bring Back Dada

World War I was the most horrific war in modern history. Unlike the remote, computer-dominated battles in Iraq, it involved violent hand-to-hand combat and was fought by soldiers steeped in muddy trenches often trying to survive in below-freezing temperatures.   More...


Louis Proyect:  Television And The Witch Hunt

Last year's much-acclaimed Goodnight and Good Luck, now available in video, generated a wide-ranging discussion about the responsibility of the media in the face of government lies and repression.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Whatever Became Of Studs Lonigan?

Earlier this year (March 26) in an acerbic review in the Washington Post, Jonathan Yardley took to task a certain kind of book on racism in America. Cynthia Carr's Our Town, the Hidden History of White America was self-centered and self-inflating, badly put together and more intent on displaying the author's paltry journalistic escapade than adding to our knowledge.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  The Peter Handke Controversy
From Pozarevac, Serbia, to the Comédie Française

Peter Handke, perhaps the most preeminent and creative European playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist alive today, has recently been embroiled in a cultural scandal that involves character assassination (his) through ad hominem attacks and calumny, censorship by a faceless theatre bureaucrat, and the relentless abuse of the Parisian bien-pensants, those guard dogs of French palatial conformism.   More...


Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan:  Imperialism And Plagiarism

Until recently, the purpose of the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq seemed hardly in doubt. Thinkers on both the right and the left tended to agree that these invasions were meant to stabilize the Middle East and ascertain the free flow of cheap oil.   More...


Main Media & Propaganda

Dimitri Oram:  Open Letter To Democracy Now!
Milosevic's Trial and Death

I sent the following letter to Democracy Now! (DN!) two months ago following their piece on Milosevic's trial and death on March 13, 2006. I never received an answer from DN!   More...


George Beres:  Eugene's Progressive Radio Hurt When Democrat Quits

"I have absolutely no use for Republicans!" Those words, uttered by a significant Oregon public figure, former Congressman Jim Weaver, are what got Progressive Radio in the Northwest rolling.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Doliner:  The Last Petal

In spring a young man's fancy turns to war. Lying in the fresh meadow grass, lost in reverie, he plucks the petals of a daisy. Will he, won't he, will he, won't he, will he bomb Iran?   More...


Milo Clark:  Climate: Weather Compounded

Weather is what goes on outside my windows. Collect together everybody's weather and you have climate.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Can The Status Be Un-Quo'ed?

Since Roosevelt's New Deal was enacted back in the 1930s, the elite masters of the U.S. have been dreaming of burying it.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

William T. Hathaway:  Stan Goff's Sex & War

Stan Goff was the ultimate warrior, a combat-hardened member of the Rangers, Special Forces, and Delta Force. His conscience proved stronger than his military indoctrination, however, and he quit and turned against the state's institution of terror.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Peace Patch
(for Jeffrey Allen, on the 30th anniversary of your death)

When college protesters bought them home
I burnt my draft card,
placed your peace patch in mom's cedar chest,
closed the lid on war, on death.   More...


Guido Monte:  There Are No Right Wars
... And Verses of Petronius

A poem that blends linguistic as well as ancient and modern poets to bridge the gap of cultures and peoples.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #36, from the Martian Desk

Geography and water literacy; class vignettes and cultural priorities; ethics 101; plenty of "love and respect" for and compassionate treatment of Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily and "human parasites" fame related to immigration; George W. the pleasant fellow; sex and war from the Evangelical Right and Left; the "real" immigration issue; Because People Matter; the French connection and scandals galore; and the good 'ol Boonville News.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Choosing peace as the only endgame: more on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and some musings on Swans Tenth Anniversary.   More...



– If you wish to receive an e-mail regarding each new rendition (twice a month) with the Note from the Editor and the URL to each article, please send an e-mail with "Subscribe Swans" in the subject line. Please also include your first/last name in the body of the message.



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: May 23, 2006