Note from the Editors

"Attempting to solve problems using the tools, techniques, and thoughts that created them is silly," as Milo Clark often averred in these pages -- a notion of thinking outside the box to which Swans subscribes. Yet with the global economy facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, the technique most prominently at play in the mainstream is the well-honed propaganda that seduces We the Sheeple into tolerating obscene executive compensation packages while our wages shrink; believing the economy will collapse if taxes on the wealthy increase; and considering redistribution of riches and universal health care as evil and socialistic, when we direly need a piece of those riches and sorely lack access to that health care. Gilles d'Aymery covers the latest round of economic excesses and ecchymoses, and shares a glimpse of the scary French social system, the Wal*Mart paradox, and more. Following on propaganda, Michael Barker investigates the US government's manipulation of the media and the role of the recently formed Center for International Media Assistance, while Charles Marowitz critiques, to put it mildly, the bombastic bursts of political clichés spewing across the airwaves from Rush Limbaugh and his ilk, who hope that the Obama ship will sink, not understanding they too are on board.

Obscene financial packages for the powerful are not just Made in America, by the way -- Femi Akomolafe reports from Ghana on the mind-bending pensions that his former president and parliament awarded themselves after turning this once proud nation into a groveling vassal state of the imperialists. From Ghana we turn our sights to Istanbul, with Peter Byrne leading our tour through his wonderful experiences, past and present. We then make a stop at the silver screen with a treatise by Raju Peddada on the art of critique and the kitschy state of film reviewing in our contemporary culture. And an innocent request to Art Shay for an explanation of Chicago politics resulted in the debut of a musical, 21st century movie-murder-fantasy screenplay -- perhaps the only way he could capture the craziness of the genre that most recently produced Rod Blagojevich.

From the reading room, Charles Marowitz explains his life-long love for writer William Saroyan, who lives on through his celebration of the ordinary and of being, while poetry comes to life through Guido Monte's simple word that breaks the chain of war and Marie Rennard's polesy on the earth-bound music that makes it worth sticking around. Scott Porter has some thoughts on how humanity might escape from the darkness, and we close with your words, including an open letter to President Obama; thoughts on Dmitry Orlov, socially irresponsible doomsters, and survivalism lite; peeling back the propaganda to understand the tragic events in Gaza, 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 #82

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the obscene compensation for those Barons of Industry who make the economy churn -- down the drain; the devastating impact of a marginal tax rate increase on the wealthy; jumpstarting credit so the sheeple can fall further into debt; single-payer health system off the table due to scary, à la France, socialism; to the gleeful Wal*Mart shoppers enabling their local economic decline, and more.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  Global Media Managers

An examination of the Center for International Media Assistance, whose recent work has touched on the magnitude of the US government's aim to manipulate the media, further documenting the need for progressive citizens to support vibrant media alternatives that are devoid of elite funding in order to build local and global movements.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  The Bum's Rush

Rush Limbaugh, the new poster child for the Republican Party, is the perfect symbol of the uptight dogmas that are now threatened with extinction as he wishes for the failure of President Obama's attempts to recover the economy.   More...


East Meets West

Peter Byrne:  My Istanbul

Peter Byrne experiences Istanbul then and now, with his vision blurred by Orhan Pamuk's unforgettable Istanbul, Memories of a City.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Ghana: The Audacity Of Looting

Ghana's former president John Kufuor turned his proud nation into a groveling vassal state of the imperialists, only to receive an obscene parting gift of cash, houses, cars, and other benefits that did not amuse the Ghanaians.   More...


Film & Theatre

Raju Peddada:  Reviewing The Reviewers

Today's film critics have become kitsch populists, focusing on performances and plot summaries and missing out on the beautiful anatomy of filmmaking.   More...


Art Shay:  The State Of The State Of Elanoys: Waiting For Blago

Famed photojournalist Art Shay's screenplay on the sordid history of Chicago politics and its most recent power-hungry character, Rob Blagojevich.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Charles Marowitz:  William Saroyan's Where The Bones Go

The great author William Saroyan lives on through his celebration of the ordinary and of being, both of which permeate his book Where The Bones Go.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  War n.4 (The End)

The last experiment of Guido Monte about the improvised inner light of a famous Italian poet, Giuseppe Ungaretti.   More...



Marie Rennard:  No Way To Leave

Polesy for the earth-bound music worth sticking around for rather than risking a paradise without blues or jazz.   More...


American Myths & Realities

R. Scott Porter:  The Cave Revisited

In these dark times of disparity, everyone in the valley must climb the hill and help clear the way for humanity to emerge from the darkness.   More...


Letters to the Editor


An open letter to Barack Obama on the murder of the sons by the fathers; Raju Peddada's fictionalization of an Art Shay photograph; Dmitry Orlov, socially irresponsible doomsters, and survivalism lite; peeling back the propaganda to understand the tragic events in Gaza; and the sour-grape Daleks of the Republican Party who would rather destabilize the nation than help ameliorate its problems.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: March 9, 2009