Note from the Editors

Many feared that the post-Bush era would be starkly devoid of humor, irony, and satire -- a fear that is quickly proving to be unfounded. "Only in America," as our Editor would say, when we ask not why a 70-year-old woman slept with her chimp-son, Travis, but what ailed him such that he needed Xanax to calm his nerves (his shrinking 401(k)?) before a vicious attack; or when white males are up in arms over a charge of cowardice when it comes to discussing race in America while barely blinking at the New York Post cartoon depicting the president as that assassinated chimp. Change will indeed be hard to come by, and as Gilles d'Aymery advises us in his latest economic Blips, we've yet to enter the eye of the hurricane and global social unrest is increasing as a result of contracting economies and vanishing jobs.

Fortunately, we remain rich when it comes to arts and culture. Raju Peddada weaves an imaginative tale of the six and a half men whose intersecting paths were captured in a 1949 Art Shay photograph. Charles Marowitz, whose translation of Cyrano de Bergerac was recently published, shares his life-long love of the character and the qualities he represents. For a taste of British political satire and a certain laugh, take in Charles Pearson's Marx With Music, Perhaps? And before settling in to watch the Academy Awards spectacle or one of its winning films, you'd be advised to read Michael Barker's exposé of Hollywood do-gooders and the military-industrial-media complex, of which you won't hear mention on the red carpet. Another unmentionable that Aymery takes on is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- recent charges led him to explain his position on boycotting the state of Israel and not Judaism. Femi Akomolafe broaches the topic from an African perspective, pointing out that aggression and peace cannot coexist. Nor for that matter can the privatization of lands and the protection of natural resources. Martin Murie criticizes the conservationists who continually surrender to corporate pressures at the expense of the environment.

In the book corner, Peter Byrne reviews the works of Nobel-prize winner J.M.G. Le Clézio, while Louis Proyect applauds Richard Seymour's The Liberal Defence of Murder as a masterpiece of intellectual history and political agitation. For poetry that will resonate to your very bones, don't miss Guido Monte and Alison Phipps's words on war. Finally, we close with Scott Porter on hard-working Americans and the politicians that claim to serve them, and your letters on change you can believe in (but for extraordinary rendition and torture), and more.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.

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Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #81

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from California's shrinking economy to disappearing salmon; eschewing the eschatology of the End Times and its nutty crowd; to the financial system on life support, the worldwide crisis, and the growth of global social unrest, and more.   More...


Arts & Culture

Raju Peddada:  The Deconstruction Of That Sunday Morning On Madison

Raju Peddada imagines the 6 and a half lives that became intertwined in a split second in 1949, at the Chicago intersection of Madison and Halsted, when they were captured on film by renowned photojournalist Art Shay.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Cyrano Eternal

With his new translation of Cyrano de Bergerac recently published, Charles Marowitz examines the history of this well-weathered war horse that he fell in love with in high school and whose qualities are ageless.   More...


British Humor

Charles Pearson:  Marx With Music, Perhaps?

Short story satirizing corporate political power, Lotteries, and moronic TV shows.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  Hollywood's Corporate Conservation Collaborators

Harrison Ford, Hollywood, and the military-industrial-complex.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Cry Palestine

Oppression and peace cannot co-exist, a lesson that Israel and its Western supporters must learn if they wish to build a peaceful country on the back of the Palestinians.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #80

A few controversial issues that landed on the Editor's desk after years of silence on the Israeli-Palestinian matter, from boycotting the state of Israel and not the religion of Judaism; investing in life-enhancing projects and not profiting from death-making; avoiding the academic censorship of Alan Dershowitz and Martin Peretz so that open discourse prevails; the growing "Not in Our Name" movement within Jewish communities; the personal cost of economic sanctions; and a Studs Terkel story for some lightness of being amidst a darkening atmosphere.   More...


Activism Under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  Tejon Rancho

The privatization of the Tejon rancho, which spans four ecoregions from mountain to desert, is a tragic example of conservationists surrendering to corporate pressure at the expense of the environment.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Le Clézio: Noble Is As Nobel Does

Nobel prize-winning French author J.M.G. Le Clézio embraced the world in unheard of ways with characters like those in his Ritournelle de la faim who embody the suffering of World War II and who he accords light, space, and freedom.   More...


Louis Proyect:  Richard Seymour's The Liberal Defence Of Murder

As long as capitalist war continues to plague humanity, there will be a need for a book such as Richard Seymour's tour de force of intellectual history, The Liberal Defence of Murder, every generation, just as Julien Benda's La Trahison des Clercs was to the post-WWI period.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte & Alison Phipps:  War n.3: Bones

Along a shadow-line, Alison Phipps has a dialogue with Guido Monte and other authors about war, bones, dust...   More...


American Myths & Realities

R. Scott Porter:  Hard Work

As one among the many hard-working Americans, Scott Porter describes the defining moment when George W. Bush complained about the hard work that came with being president.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On change you can believe in -- but for extraordinary rendition and torture; Raju Peddada's luxury and Milton's Aereopagitica; Turkey's Erdogan spats with Israel's Peres; and an appeal for debt forgiveness over bailout madness.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: February 23, 2009