Swans Commentary » swans.com April 11, 2005  



Blips #16
 From The Martian Desk


by Gilles d'Aymery




"Nobody takes criticism more to heart than professional complainers."
—Gail Collins, The New York Times, April 10, 2005.


(Swans - April 11, 2005)  ALL POPE, ALL NEWS, ALL DEATH, ALL THE TIME: We've had the Tsunami, the week with steroids, a tad of Michael Jackson, then the two weeks when Schiavo and DeLay came to the fore, representing our god-blessed nation -- Bushy boy even journeyed back to the White House, at our taxes' expense, from his Crawford asylum where he prays to god in between brush clearing and concocting new crusades with his apostles. Now it's the dreadful pope -- and Bushy boy et al., flew to Rome, at our taxes' expense again, to celebrate this "man of peace" and his "culture of life" -- this from a man (Mr. Bush) who epitomizes war and the "culture of death." Yes, compared to Bush & Co., Mr. Wojtyla looked as "liberal" as John Kerry, notwithstanding that he, poppy galore, was the most ultra-right-wing prelate merchandized as a "man of peace!" Letter writer Alouette Arouet, with all her "charms" and irreverence, gets it right on the belly button. Dead white men (you can include Prince Rainier of the well-known working class paradise of the Monaco Principality), physically or mentally, keep hanging together, holding the fort for the happy few, and diverting us all with peace and "culture of life" (read "freedom and democracy") as the entire living system is taking a beating that only Mel Gibson and his peers will cash in on. Ah, the hypocrisy! Ah, the rot of rottenness! It stinks so bad that I am taking three showers a day lately. Still does not rub it off... Rot lingers like the finest French eau de toilette (try Guerlain's Vetiver).


MEANWHILE, as the lulling bulletins, "the fables and other myth-making tales," fill the TV screens to keep the masses tame -- that "heavenly lullaby / The song of renunciation / By which the people, that giant clown, / Is lulled from its lamentation" (Heine, A Winter's Tale) -- there are real, real, real people who're passing away, which our fabricators of deception barely mention in the media (always buried in the bowels, somewhere, where obits run -- remember Ron and Ray, in June 2004? Same old, same old...).


JOHN STEPPLING MENTIONS Robert Creeley in his latest Swans review. Saul Bellow, a reactionary but hugely talented writer, also bit the marguerites. And, Philip Lamantia, utterly unknown to the Fox crowd and beyond, a visionary jewel that no diamond could outshine -- "one of the great voices of our subconscious for the last 50 years," in the words of Andrei Codrescu -- went to his breezy grave, with scarce reporting. It's all news, all pope, all nothingness, all holiness, all emptiness -- have you been to Wal*Mart lately? No? Get your ass moving...


MIND BOGGLING, NO? There's not much one can add at this point... The sun, we will be told, shed a tear, as poppy got six feet under, before rising to the heavens -- on a fast track to sainthood -- to meet his maker... Even the skies darkened in an arc ranging from the southwestern Pacific to South America, undoubtedly a sign from god...the kind of malarkey on which legends are born, I guess... Unbelievable!


ARE WE ALL GOING GAGA? Here, from a March 30 dispatch in The Guardian (UK):

The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries -- some of them world leaders in their fields -- today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

The study contains what its authors call "a stark warning" for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself.

"Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.

(See "Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up'" - Tim Radford, science editor, The Guardian, March 30, 2005.)


PERHAPS, one should qualify that it is not the human race that is living beyond its means (go tell this to an African!): it's a minority of the human race; a minority that mostly inhabits the rich countries of the northern hemisphere... Hey, time to go and buy a new car to conserve energy... Just for the record, a 1923 Ford Model T could drive 25 miles on a gallon of gas (US gallon, 3.8 liter); a 2004 Ford Expedition will do 12 miles on a gallon. It's called progress... (See Jumpstart Ford). The US Congress, believe it or not, is debating extending daylight savings time by two months. It will save 10,000 barrels of oil a day, they contend. Well, out of a consumption of 20 million barrels a day, that's going to make a real dent to the predicament, isn't it? (Lib-Labs will aver that it's a start...) Bring on the drilling of ANWR and we'll add six months of daily consumption, at best... Talk about congressional leadership!


HEALTH CARE FACT: It costs a US company between $14,000 and $15,000 a year to pay an employee's medical insurance. Forty-five million people are chronically uninsured, up to seventy million at any one time during the year, and growing. Many small businesses cannot afford coverage for their workers. Corporate America, with the exception of a few privileged sectors of the economy -- like biotech -- is forcing its work force to accept lower coverage or to take over a larger financial share of the burden, without increasing wages accordingly, under the threat that the jobs can be re-located to low-wage countries thanks to the neo-liberal "free market" economic integration, known as globalization (a misnomer). A system based on profits leads to interesting contradictions. The pharmaceutical industry and its legion of lobbyists who write the self-serving bills that a bought-out, supine Congress vote and the president of whichever party sign into law (they all have top-tier health coverage), contribute in no small part to the travails GM and Ford face (aside from other contributing factors such as global overcapacity and uninspiring and poorly designed models). And that's just one example. It's like robbing Peter to pay Paul... So long as international competition was kept in check, or under the boots, and the system could keep its cadre (skilled workers, low and middle management, etc.) satisfied with their material conditions, the train kept humming and puffing onward...but it's no longer the case.


NO WORRIES, we have the best military in the world to help solve our small problems; everything's calm on the Iraqi front, in freedom and democracy wonderland; we use GE to destroy and Bechtel to rebuild...it stays in the family... Anyway, there are more important things than these pesky details to worry about; for instance, Prince Charles, having rescheduled his wedding to his "lifelong love" Camilla so that he could attend poppy's funeral -- you won't believe it -- shook hands with Robert Mugabe, the much shunned president of Zimbabwe. "The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and wasn't in a position to avoid shaking Mr. Mugabe's hand," a spokeswoman for the prince said on Friday. Yeah, that's really important! But, Mr. Bush, on the other hand -- matter of speech -- did not shake hands with Syria's Bashar al-Assad and Iran's Mohammad Khatami, though he chatted with France's Jacques Chirac, who in turn gave a baise main to Condi -- and Israel's Moshe Katsav did shake hands with Mr. Assad and Mr. Khatami, although Mr. Khatami denied shaking hands with Mr. Katsav (all this paraphrazed from bit and pieces found in the Gray Lady, e.g., "Translating the Body Language of Hands Extended, and Not," By David Sanger, and Steven Erlanger, April 9, 3005) -- and Peter Jennings has lung cancer -- and mama Bush went to Afghanistan to show solidarity with Afghan women (even planted a tree with a brand-new shovel) -- and Hillary Clinton promotes the faith-based values of our great country -- and Maria tends to her Ahnauld's presidential ambitions (a Kennedy with a neo-Nazi, no less) -- and Oprah lost two more pounds -- and the prince and his charming princess are on their honeymoon after all -- and there is NASCAR, or N.C.A.A., or Golf, or Tennis, or Football, or... -- and "the leader of the free world" takes orders from god directly -- and -- and -- and...

ASTOUNDING, INDEED! Cadavers and decomposing bodies; Mel Gibson and Tom DeLay; Larry King and Oprah; Prince Rainier and Prince Charles; Hillary and Laura; Jackson and Schiavo; Papou finally, at long last, bailing out -- even Murdoch's Fox "News" announced poppy's death 26 hours before the "reality show" actually occurred... -- to join Raygun in the museum of snake oil; Chirac and Condi; Bush and god; all the news all the time! I'm left speechless... So, allow me a poetic tangent with André Breton (in French) and Philip Lamantia (in English):



L'Union Libre

Ma femme à la chevelure de feu de bois
Aux pensées d'éclairs de chaleur
A la taille de sablier
Ma femme à la taille de loutre entre les dents du tigre
Ma femme à la bouche de cocarde et de bouquet d'étoiles de
dernière grandeur
Aux dents d'empreintes de souris blanche sur la terre blanche
A la langue d'ambre et de verre frottés
Ma femme à la langue d'hostie poignardée
A la langue de poupée qui ouvre et ferme les yeux
A la langue de pierre incroyable
Ma femme aux cils de bâtons d'écriture d'enfant
Aux sourcils de bord de nid d'hirondelle
Ma femme aux tempes d'ardoise de toit de serre
Et de buée aux vitres
Ma femme aux épaules de champagne
Et de fontaine à têtes de dauphins sous la glace
Ma femme aux poignets d'allumettes
Ma femme aux doigts de hasard et d'as de coeur
Aux doigts de foin coupé
Ma femme aux aisselles de martre et de fênes
De nuit de la Saint-Jean
De troène et de nid de scalares
Aux bras d'écume de mer et d'écluse
Et de mélange du blé et du moulin
Ma femme aux jambes de fusée
Aux mouvements d'horlogerie et de désespoir
Ma femme aux mollets de moelle de sureau
Ma femme aux pieds d'initiales
Aux pieds de trousseaux de clés aux pieds de calfats qui boivent
Ma femme au cou d'orge imperlé
Ma femme à la gorge de Val d'or
De rendez-vous dans le lit même du torrent
Aux seins de nuit
Ma femme aux seins de taupinière marine
Ma femme aux seins de creuset du rubis
Aux seins de spectre de la rose sous la rosée
Ma femme au ventre de dépliement d'éventail des jours
Au ventre de griffe géante
Ma femme au dos d'oiseau qui fuit vertical
Au dos de vif-argent
Au dos de lumière
A la nuque de pierre roulée et de craie mouillée
Et de chute d'un verre dans lequel on vient de boire
Ma femme aux hanches de nacelle
Aux hanches de lustre et de pennes de flèche
Et de tiges de plumes de paon blanc
De balance insensible
Ma femme aux fesses de grès et d'amiante
Ma femme aux fesses de dos de cygne
Ma femme aux fesses de printemps
Au sexe de glaïeul
Ma femme au sexe de placer et d'ornithorynque
Ma femme au sexe d'algue et de bonbons anciens
Ma femme au sexe de miroir
Ma femme aux yeux pleins de larmes
Aux yeux de panoplie violette et d'aiguille aimantée
Ma femme aux yeux de savane
Ma femme aux yeux d'eau pour boire en prison
Ma femme aux yeux de bois toujours sous la hache
Aux yeux de niveau d'eau de niveau d'air de terre et de feu

(André Breton, 1931)

(If you need a translation, let me know: I'll be glad to provide one -- it'll keep my mind away from poppystar's nauseating radiations and all the trailing sycophants, and make me focus on beauty... -- hmm, I may be asking for more that I can swallow here... Would not be easy to translate... but eh, would be a nice little challenge! So, don't hesitate; just ask, and I will -- it's a promise.)


BUT I SHOULD NOT leave you with darn incomprehensible French surrealist poetry, how inconsiderate of me. So I'll let you savor Philip Lamantia:



I Have Given Fair Warning

I have given fair warning
Chicago New York Los Angeles have gone down
I have gone to Swan City with the ghost of Maldoror may still roam
The South is very civilized
I have eaten rhinoceros tail
It is the last night among crocodiles
Albion opens his fist in a palm grove
I shall watch speckled jewel grow on the back of warspilt horses
Exultation rides by
A poppy the size of the sun in my skull
I have given fair warning
at the time of corpses and clouds I can make love here as

(Philip Lamantia, Selected Poems 1943-1966, City Lights, 1967)


IN BOTH CASES, it sure beats poppy and the globalized asylum known as the U. S. of Amnesia, the contemporary obscurantism of our moribund minds orchestrated magisterially by the purveyors of fear and darkness galore.


DARN, they took Maureen Dowd off the Sunday Op-Ed (renamed Opinion) Page! Can't do anything right, can they?


BOONVILLE NEWS: Little to report. Jan's job was terminated March 15, 2005. Her mother, Doris G. Baughman, died on March 30, 2005. She was 79-years old and had given life to an exquisite human being...

Otherwise, too much rain...

...And, good people, stop sending me your rants directed at the AVA, David Severn, Mark Caramelo (or is it Scaramella?), and how much the two of them, with the idiotic daughter, have managed to trash the paper in less than one year and become an annex of the CounterPunchers.

Among the latest in the series:

Gosh, you should have purchased the AVA, as you once intended. First, you'd have paid twice as much money as David Severn did (bankrolled, I surmise, by Bruce Patterson) and thus would have covered the $12,000 short fall Bruce Anderson faced. So, in a way, you are responsible for the AVA Oregon! demise (Bruce should sue you!). Second, you'd have carried on the quality that Bruce so painstakingly created over 20 years. Third, it'd have forced you to move your ass into the real world, instead of growing warts sitting on your computer chair and lambasting the Libiots who are unredeemable anyway. And, finally, I'd still have a paper to read, instead of this doomed rag that's not worth my subscription anymore.

Look, friends: I'm not responsible, in the first place. I don't think I could have done a better job, in the second place. And, if there is a third place, please direct your ire to either David Severn (ava@pacific.net) or Mark Caramel, err, Scaramella (themaj@pacific.net). I like them both; so, cut it out, and give me (and them) a break. Want to send a few arrows to the Counterpunchers? I'm not the post office. Reach them directly at sitka@comcast.net (St. Clair), and accockburn@asis.com (Cockburn).

Bruce Anderson has gone MIA... Maybe god will help you reach out to that idiot...but know that when he resurfaces, I'll keep his company with much delight!


And so it goes...

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Internal Resources

Patterns which Connect on Swans

America the 'beautiful'

Blips and Tidbits


About the Author

Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.



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This Edition's Internal Links

Of Margaret Mitchell, Blind Willie McTell, Wonder Bread, New York City Real Estate, And The Road To Proto-Fascism - Phil Rockstroh

Genetic Or Cultural? - Milo Clark

Another Day In The Life - Jan Baughman

The Art And Politics Of Film - Part II - Conversation between John Steppling & David Walsh

Huxley In Tinsel Town - Charles Marowitz

Wobblies! A Graphic History of the IWW - Book Review by Louis Proyect

The Nature Of Democracy - Michael Doliner

Courage IV - Richard Macintosh

Zimbabwe's Course - Joe Davison

The Dream That Turned Into A Nightmare - Philip Greenspan

Boycotting The Hegemony: Part Three, Bechtel II - Gerard Donnelly Smith

Letters to a Young Poet (Letter Nine) - Rainer Maria Rilke

Letters to the Editor

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art11/desk016.html
Published April 11, 2005