FUNDRAISING TIME: We are half way to meeting our $3,000 goal. Time is getting short. As a reminder of what Swans is about read the article Jan Baughman wrote on the occasion of its 10th anniversary. It's all there and it's as much about you as it's about us. Without you all, we could not muster the persistence to perdure. Please help us carry on this light of sanity. Donate now! Our heartfelt gratitude to John McVey, Walter Trkla, Anthony Fenton, Eli Beckerman, Charles Pearson, Joel Hirschhorn, David Sutton, Richard Brand, Patrick McClung, Mark Lause, Arthur Shay, Colin Royle, and Paul de Rooij for their generous contributions.


Note from the Editors

It's hard to find the right words...but as the saying goes, "no one can fully understand the meaning of love unless he's owned a dog," the corollary to which might be "no one can fully understand the meaning of pain unless he's lost a dog." That tragedy befell us last week with the death of le bon Priam, who enriched our lives for 10 years in ways we could never have imagined and whose sudden absence is a colossal void in every waking and those few sleeping moments. It's so hard to find the words...yet Gilles d'Aymery does, in a beautiful remembrance with photos of the life we shared with an amazing, gentle, intelligent soul.

And yet Swans must go on, so while we continue to await the change we can believe in from within the system we perpetuate, let's consider some alternative perspectives. Michael Doliner presents an analysis of Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon and the maintenance of the hierarchical state, and Louis Proyect reviews the newly re-released 1971 book The Mythology of Imperialism, a Molotov cocktail aimed at the pretensions of high culture and the British authors, such as Conrad, Lawrence, and Forster, who had a veneer of progressivism. Would-be artists should take note of Charles Marowitz's controversial words of advice, which he delivered to a frozen playwrights' conference audience, on the danger of mixing up social gains with artistic progress and the benefit they could confer on society by becoming better writers, not greater activists. Michael Barker continues to peel away the layers of the elites' co-option of the progressive movement with a review of Howard Zinn's two seminal books on the subject and a further look at Nancy Nye and "humanitarian capitalism." If, after this, you are still waiting for change, read Michael DeLang's perspective on Obama and the Moses fallacy. So it goes in Africa, where Brother Akomolafe appeals to the continent to name and shame the leaders who live in opulence while their citizens drown in poverty. Finally, Walter Trkla asks if in The Cellist Of Sarajevo, fiction is a license to lie about NATO's criminal breakup of Yugoslavia.

Turning to culture, Graham Lea examines the history of holidays, from France's Toussaint to America's contemporary (and commercial) Halloween and Thanksgiving, and Peter Byrne critiques Granta's Issue 108 on Chicago, which falls short in capturing the heart of the city. Raju Peddada travels with his third eye open and shares his perceptions of Petra; Guido Monte and Jeffery Klaehn offer their poetry; and we close with your letters, and more thoughts of le gentil Priam.

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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In Memoriam

Gilles d'Aymery:  Dors Petit Homme, Dors Petit Frère
Priam (May 1999 - November 2009)

Remembering Priam, an extraordinary dog and inseparable companion whose life filled our hearts, and whose death broke them.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Doliner:  The First Time As Tragedy

An analysis of Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, revolutions, class consciousness, and the maintenance of a hierarchical state, which prevents universal human equality.   More...


Louis Proyect:  Jonah Raskin's The Mythology of Imperialism

Jonah Raskin's newly re-released 1971 book The Mythology of Imperialism is a Molotov cocktail aimed at the pretensions of high culture and the British authors who had a veneer of progressivism.   More...


Charles Marowitz:  Private World, Public Words

Playwright and author Charles Marowitz considers worn-out phrases, esthetics, and the great public works of art that began in the private sanctum of the writer's imagination.   More...


Michael Barker:  Howard Zinn And The Co-option Of Social Change

A review of Howard Zinn's excellent work on elite manipulation of society.   More...


Michael Barker:  Nancy Nye And Humanitarian Capitalism (For Palestine)

A review of Nancy Nye's connection to "humanitarian" imperial elites, and a minor correction to the article "Nonviolence International and imperialism."   More...


Michael DeLang:  The Moses Fallacy

The author presents some sage advice for those disappointed Barack Obama supporters still holding on to hope for change.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Ghana's Ministers In Trotro

Africans are suffering from poverty of ideas -- it is time its citizens start to name and shame those in position of power who refuse to see the irony (and the obscenity) of their opulence in comparison to the grinding poverty the vast majority of its people is experiencing.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Walter Trkla:  In The Cellist Of Sarajevo Is Fiction A License To Lie?

Does the fact that Steven Galloway's novel The Cellist of Sarajevo is fiction absolve him from the moral responsibility to accurately represent NATO's breakup of Yugoslavia?   More...


French Corner

Graham Lea:  The Redeeming Merit Of The French Toussaint Holiday

A history of holidays, from France's Toussaint to America's contemporary (and commercial) Halloween and Thanksgiving.   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  How Granta Got Lost On The Way to Chicago

Granta's Issue 108 on Chicago falls short in capturing the heart of the city's arts and culture, along with its myriad photographic and literary talents.   More...


Raju Peddada:  The Monuments Of Civilization: Petra

Raju Peddada travels with his third eye open, and shares his perceptions of Petra, that monumental place of secular brilliance and seminal ideas.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Dream (Fragment)

Guido Monte continues his daydreaming exploration through new and old words and verses of the only Book ever written.   More...



Jeffery Klaehn:  Regret

A love poem that ends in regret.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Art Shay on his hilarious son Steve and brilliant wife Florence, the redoubtable Raju Peddada, the Merry Nuns of Poissy, and a generous donation to Swans; Isidor Saslav's Meyerbeer-Mendelssohn mystery; and Peter Byrne's news of an upcoming movie on Tiziano Terzani.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: November 16, 2009