Note from the Editor

What we are waiting for from all the retrospectives and made-for TV movies about that fateful day five years ago is answers to the real questions: Why were we asked (or not) to hand over our freedom and democracy in the name of security? Why did we wage war to make peace? Why did we impose elections so that others could be free to decide the fate we already decided for them? Have we forgotten reality and become the obedient forgetters that Martin Murie describes, robbed of our past by political rhetoric in such a way that we can never learn from it? Whether in New Orleans or Gaza, one can simply bulldoze over the evidence, pretend the crime never happened, and relocate the victims into oblivion -- read Gerard Donnelly Smith's analysis of the human cost of man's vs. nature's incursions. The political rhetoric regarding Israel prevents any rational, constructive discourse; case in point, our ongoing exchange with Dr. Jacob Amir, who uses the type of syllogisms, repetitions, and logical fallacies that would make Mr. Bush proud. As any "great" leader will tell you (if not, Philip Greenspan will): Never admit mistakes nor modify tactics, even if your war turns sour. It is worth invoking George Orwell's 1984, in which the "day-to-day falsification of the past" is critical to the stability of the regime. Jan Baughman looks at the Bush administration's doublespeak and revisionist attempts to package and repackage its war and misdeeds. Propaganda also resides in Milo Clark's non-tourist Hawaii, where the myth of sustainability is magnified by island living.

From a slightly different habitat and a lighter perspective, Charles Marowitz describes his inspirational writing venue of Malibu, California -- home to dying intellect and myopically-conservative botoxed androids. Charles may be well advised to keep a low profile and lock the windows for the next few days... Peter Byrne tells a tale of tourists in Istanbul and some of the perils they encounter, and Karen Moller recounts a troubled relationship that went from Prince Charming to Cinderella's wicked stepfather, and what she learned about her choices. Another poignant female perspective is shared by Laura Madeline Wiseman's prose in the form of a Midwest dinner party and an encounter with a bigot.

Finally, Joe Middleton reports from Scotland on Independence First's continued efforts to break free from the U.K.; our editor's blips are on fire, running the gamut from Israel's attack on Lebanon to the exciting debut of Katie Couric and the return of the Pwogs, asymmetric wealth and warfare, the Joy of Revolution and more; and your letters on Venice, Jacob Amir, and 9/11 conspiracies (when will it ever end?!?)

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


Patterns Which Connect

Martin Murie:  The Importance Of Remembering Things Past

Nostalgia, from Greek nostos, a return, and algos, pain or grief. Somewhere in its long journey through languages the word, at least in American English, acquired a shift that turned pain and grief to something like sweet sorrow with an aura of wanting to return to the good old days.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Insurgent Word: Incursion

Floods and the military both execute incursions. Sometimes water's incursion occurs with deadly force, while a military's incursion always includes deadly force.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Ecstasy Of Blindness

There are times when I am reminded of the adage that there is no blinder person than one who refuses to see.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Blowback From Shock And Awe

It is extremely hard to admit a mistake, particularly when a great deal is at stake. The more one is committed to a decision the more one insists that the decision is correct and hangs on persistently and immutably.   More...


Jan Baughman:  September 11, Nineteen Eighty-Four

It can take time -- a year, sometimes five or more -- to get the package wrapped just right so that it conveys the proper sentiment and is welcomed by the intended recipient. Occasionally one has to unwrap and rewrap; change the color scheme, try a different ribbon, or put on a new label.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Milo Clark:  The Catastrophic Illusion Of Sustainability

There are few more destructive yet pervasive illusions than that of sustainability.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Honni Soit Qui Malibu

William Saroyan wrote his finest play The Time Of Your Life in a crummy hotel room in San Francisco. Thomas Wolfe, who was well over six feet tall, produced many of his novels leaning against the top of his kitchen refrigerator.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Free Time

With Istanbul around them, the old couple could only have been tourists. But they didn't make it easy to sum up tourists in a word or two. No cameras or cell phones clung to their persons, though the woman wore one of those pouch-like purses on her lower abdomen.   More...


Karen Moller:  Prince Charming And Cinderella's Stepfather

As I walked home along rue Saint-Honoré and turned up Avenue de l'Opéra, a light spring rain began to fall. It was an ungodly hour and the bluish haze of the full moon shone between the clouds and layered the Opera in tiger stripes.   More...



Laura Madeline Wiseman:  Behave!

At the dinner party a man is belying
the prostitutes and the drug pushers
for evading taxes but with a flat tax
they'd have to pay like the rest of us.   More...


Activism Under the Radar Screen

Joe Middleton:  Why Scotland Needs A Referendum On Independence

Independence First, the non-party political referendum campaign,, recently wrote to both the UK Government and the Scottish Parliament asking for a democratic referendum for the people of Scotland on independence.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #40, from the Martian Desk

"To appreciate nonsense requires a serious interest in life."
—Gelett Burgess (1866-1951)

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the Israeli attack on Lebanon in the shadows of the US Open, pedophiles, polygamists, and US election deficit disorder; to Katie Couric's debut and the equally somnambulent return of the Pwogs; asymmetrical explosions of wealth and bomblets; Ken Knabb's Joy of Revolution; Boonville news, and more.   More...


Letters to the Editor


A report that Venice is alive and well; so too are the discourse regarding Jacob Amir's closed-minded views on Israel, the appeals for peace in the region, and the tiresome debate on 9/11 conspiracy theories.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: September 14, 2006