Note from the Editor

Having successfully returned values to the White House, it's now time for the commander in chief to do the same for the military -- a refresher course on Battlefield Ethics, a review of what distinguishes us from the enemy; you know, they are the ones who kill innocent civilians on our soil and we are the ones who kill innocent civilians on their soil. No, I mean, we defend democracy there so we don't have to fight it here. Wait... Rummy, make a statement, will you? And remind people of the noble cause our brave men and women are fighting for.

Yep, here we are in the twenty-first century, fighting our way to the trash heaps of history where rapture awaits. Core values, indeed -- read what Milo Clark has to say on the subject. Far from the battlefields and back to nature, where Martin Murie is most at home, there's nothing more revolutionary than sharing the planet with our fellow species, ensuring their survival, and not raping the environment for natural resources in the name of our gawd-given well being. Martin paints an inspiring picture of time spent in the besieged Red Desert of Wyoming.

This summer, Americans are flocking to see the film of their favorite book, The Da Vinci Code; our trusted reviewer Charles Marowitz has some thoughts on both versions. If you're not interested by the movie/book, you'll still be entertained by his critique. Those traveling to London should catch the exhibit of Ralph Lillford's Northern Ireland paintings, reviewed, along with Louis Dean's novel, The Human Season, by Peter Byrne. If you're planning a trip to Paris, you won't have the opportunity to see Peter Handke's play, as we explained in our last edition; now the Germans have joined the fray by stripping Handke of the Heinrich Heine Prize...more on this unfortunate state of affairs.

Twenty-first century, indeed -- a time when playwrights are blacklisted and ostracized for their views and women are defined by their wombs. Alma Hromic exposes the Centers for Disease Control's presumptuous recommendations to provide pre-conception health for all of the female gender and Jan Baughman examines the manipulation of women's health and hormones for profit and politics. One could previously count on whistleblowers to expose corruption, but dissenters, too, are on the endangered species list. Philip Greenspan introduces the most notorious of the breed, while the Supreme Court chips away at their protection. Another 21st century legacy is the epidemic of school violence. George Beres reviews The Shooting Game, which analyses the patterns that connect these tragedies. What kind of culture creates such an environment for its children? Jerry Rubenfeld captures it in a nutshell through his poetry. Do we stand a chance of returning to civility in the 21st century? According to Deck Deckert, we can have an impact, one blogger at a time -- err, come again?

Finally, we close with your letters on Dadaism, science fiction, euro-Neanderthals, and how to send a good, old-fashioned donation without feeding the corporate coffers, and we have an exciting announcement: Swans has a new feature, an RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication -- aka "XML"), thanks to the generous work of Sean M. Burke, a programming wizard from Ketchikan, Alaska. You'll need RSS Feed software to take full advantage of the syndication (Opera 8.54 has one pre-installed) but you can still see the formatted content by clicking on its location, Splendid job. Sean was able to pull the description of each piece so that you now have a clear idea of what they are about). Thanks, Sean! Happy syndication.

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


Patterns Which Connect

Milo Clark:  Oh, Gawd!

While Bush and Blair are now feeling somewhat challenged by their exponentially expensive and increasingly deadly decisions regarding Iraq, pundits are piling up in great heaps of contradictory contrarian calumny.   More...


Martin Murie:  Red Desert

Brad found Grant and me still wound up in sleeping bags. "You guys," he said, "missed the best part of the day." Brad was a birder. Early dawn is one of the good times to look for birds, and he had found plenty.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Decoding The Da Vinci Code

What The Da Vinci Code succeeds in doing, probably inadvertently, is to confirm the suspicions that many of us have of the Church. We know it has always shown us two faces; one pious, comforting, and spiritual; the other, cruel, menacing, and vindictive.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Season Of Trouble
The Art of Ralph Lillford & Louise Dean

Since partition in 1921, Irish nationalists in Ulster had worked to reunite the island, provoking hostility in Northern Protestants. By the 1950s revindications had shifted to the civil rights of Catholics. In 1967, following the American example, they began sit-ins, marches, and protests.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  The Hanging Of Peter Handke From The Orthodox Gallows
The Krauts Match the Frogs in Universal Autism

It was not enough. The controversy surrounding the scrapping of Peter Handke's play from the roster of the Comédie Française in France had not yet receded that the German guard dogs of intellectual conformism did a tour de force, a little coup of their own, an auto-da-fé on Handke's character.   More...


Society: America "Loves" its Women

Alma Hromic:  I Am Not A Womb, I Am A Woman

21st century America. If we were to believe the bright-eyed dreams of yesteryear, we would have bases on the Moon by now, and flying cars would run on air and water, and there would be no problems with parking, congestion, overdevelopment, poverty, hunger, or disease.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Regulating Women's Bodies

It is hard to imagine a more confusing time to be female than in 21st century America. With the ever-increasing politicization of reproduction, the profit-motivated forces of the pharmaceutical and health care industries, and the media pressures to conform to standards of beauty and sexuality while opposing forces are increasing obesity and placing barriers on education, the fate of women today is falling into the hands of fundamentalist and out of those of the countless women who gave their lives in hard-fought battles for women's rights, reproductive choice, equality in the workplace, and the recognition of the legitimacy of our intellect.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Philip Greenspan:  Johnnies-Come-Lately To Dissent

In socializing a child an essential element in his code of conduct is telling the truth. It is not long before he is told that there are circumstances when that rule should be modified. In friendly social settings needless offense is to be avoided.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

George Beres:  Joseph Lieberman's The Shooting Game

"Why here?" was the reaction of many when the shooting of students by a fellow classmate at Springfield's Thurston High School grabbed national headlines in May, 1998. A new book based on an Oregon researcher's study reveals school shootings to be nothing new, but a historical tragedy from which educators and society have not learned.   More...



Jerry Rubenfeld:  You Say You're Patriotic

You say you're patriotic, then you watch the evening news
It's how you know what's going on, it's how you get your views
You question not your leaders when they're acting quite bizarre
Then you raise your flag on flag-day and admire it from afar   More...


The Atomization of the "New" Media?

Deck Deckert:  Thinking Small In Cyberspace

"Think big," Swans' founder Gilles d'Aymery recently asked his contributors. By that I think he means we should have soaring thoughts about life, the universe, and everything, and to write about it eloquently and poetically in the manner of Thoreau, Scott Nearing, Lenin, Trotsky, Molière, Alma Hromic, and other worthy writers and thinkers.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On Charles Marowitz and Dadaism, Milo Clark and science fiction, Euro-Neanderthals and war profiteering, AIPAC in Oregon, and how to donate to Swans without feeding the corporate coffers.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: June 07, 2006