Note from the Editors

Americans have apparently become bored with waterboarding, as the release of the Bush administration's torture memos left its perpetrators at large (though sticking close to home), facing neither public outrage nor presidential will to prosecute. There are bigger fish to fry, or pigs to slaughter, with the fear of swine flu immobilizing our already frozen-in-fear selves as we hold our collective breath until the economy recovers. Time to look forward, we are told, as the stock-market stats scroll endlessly under the flu-outbreak maps on the 24 hours of television news. There's no place for investigative reporting in this ever-changing environment, in which All the News That's Fit to Print is obsolete by the time it is printed. Charles Marowitz brings two related viewpoints on that matter -- one on the abandonment of professional journalism for the amorphous alternative of anything-goes twitterings from fatuous scribes whose concept of the world is defined by FaceBook and YouTube, and another on the depths of indulgent triviality that our culture has sunk to in this new era of Internet free-for-all. Bad news sells, as Gilles d'Aymery avers in his Martian Blips that cover all of the above and more analyses, economic and otherwise, that you won't read in what remains of the mainstream media. All of which leaves us even more appreciative of photojournalist Art Shay, who shares his unmatched photographic and linguistic talents and recounts some humorous brushes with royalty during his career.

Not to be found in the US mainstream media is the analysis of Michael Barker, who researches the links between the population control and environmental movements and the liberal philanthropists behind both. Nor is there much reporting on the economic crisis in the rest of the world, which has Peter Byrne homesick for Bulgaria where he lived during the country's mid-1990s meltdown and experienced life to its fullest intensity. While the Times and the Post both reviewed When Skateboards Will Be Free, Louis Proyect covers the memoir of a boy's life with his Socialist Workers Party parents from a non-mainstream perspective. Reporting from Africa, Femi Akomolafe confronts Nigeria's ironic attempt to rebrand the country with a winning slogan. And with the escalating violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan, US forces are employing imprecise predator drones as long-distance instruments of death, leading Martin Murie to suggest there is much for humans to learn from the hierarchy of the animal kingdom.

In the culture corner, unlike the twitterers and bloggers who broadcast stream-of-consciousness trivia, Guido Monte painstakingly searches for just one perfect word on which his very survival depends, and Raju Peddada reflects poetically on his awe-inspiring children. In the French Corner (en Français) Marie Rennard writes about the dangers of infidelity mixed with a cravat; Simone Alié-Daram offers a short poem; and we publish an 1825 letter from George Sand to her mother and the 1848 Communist Manifesto. Finally, we close with your letters on peak oil, nonfiction comics, lemon cars, and prosecuting torture.

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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Patterns Which Connect

Charles Marowitz:  Breaking News

Amidst the demise of the newspaper industry and professional journalism, it's worth stopping to consider the intellectual and spiritual consequences of this national casualty.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Trivia Triumphant

America's new national pastime, Twittering, reveals the depths of indulgent triviality to which our culture has sunk and could very well be a contributing factor to the ongoing economic meltdown.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #86

A few selected tidbits that landed on the Editor's desk, from the bleak economic statistics and the diversionary headlines that hide them; the torture memos debate and the Air Force One terrorist scare; to swine flu paranoia and a few good news in the midst of it, including NYT home delivery in the boonies, a treat from Art Shay, and a lawyer's take on our lemon Aveo, and more.   More...


Arts & Culture

Art Shay:  My Camera Outpaces My Books In Royalties

A critique of the International Crisis Group, which is supported by Morton Abramowitz of the National Endowment for Democracy and financier George Soros, among other elites, and should more accurately be described as the Imperial Crusaders for Global Governance.   More...


More Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  Sustainable Population

A critique of the links between birth control activists and environmentalists.   More...


Peter Byrne:  Bulgaria Unter Alles

In the midst of the global economic crisis, the author is homesick for the Bulgaria he knew in its 1990s meltdown. Kapka Kassabova's travel memoir of the country, Street Without A Name, Childhood And Other Misadventures in Bulgaria, put his experience to the test.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Louis Proyect:  Saïd Sayrafiezadeh's When Skateboards Will Be Free

Louis Proyect's review of Said Sayrafiezadeh's memoir on the influence of his Socialist Workers Party parents on his life provides a different perspective from that in the reviews by the communist-phobic New York Times and Washington Post.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Rebranding Nigeria: An Exercise In Futility

Femi Akomolafe confronts Nigeria's attempt to rebrand the country with a winning slogan, "Good People, Great Nation," submitted by an employee of its behemoth electricity company that cannot even generate and distribute enough power for the nation.   More...


Activism under the Radar Screen

Martin Murie:  Reaping Bodies And Hatred

With the US murder rate rising and its military employing imprecise predator drones as long-distance instruments of death, there is much to learn from the life-and-death hierarchy of the animal kingdom.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Melting Pot (Unending)

Another experiment by Guido Monte as he searches for the "right" word to survive.   More...


Le coin français (The French Corner)

Marie Rennard:  Le nœud de l'intrigue

Marie Rennard raconte une intrigue autour d'une cravate.   More...


Simone Alié-Daram:  Dodecasyllabe traffic

Simone Alié-Daram partage un petit poème sur la ville (de Toulouse).   More...


George Sand:  A madame Maurice Dupin

Lettre de George Sand (Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin) à sa mère, datée 28 août 1825.   More...


Karl Marx et Friedrich Engels:  Manifeste du Parti Communiste

Le texte célèbre de la lutte des classes.   More...



Raju Peddada:  Solace In Their Innocence

The author finds poetic solace in the innocence of his children, who fill his soul with tranquility and awe.   More...


Letters to the Editor


In defense of peak oil, the Energy Bulletin, and its followers; on Paul Buhle and nonfiction comics; old-jouster-with-big-stupid-companies Art Shay on Jan Baughman's battle with GM; and no time to delay on prosecuting torture.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: May 4, 2009