(June 5, 2006)
[Ed. As a reminder to Letter writers: If you want your letters to be published, you must include your first and last names and your city and state of residence. Also, please, enter in the subject line of your e-mail "letter to the editor," and specify the article or the subject on which you are commenting. Thank you.]
Would like to donate
I am a regular, though small, contributor to superior Websites.
I do not, however, pick up pens and checks and send contributions.
Website owners, for the convenience of donations, set up immediate payment buttons through PayPal, Amazon, or other firms. Won't you consider doing this on Swans? It only makes sense that if one delivers thoughts electronically (as opposed to on paper), one receives donations electronically (as opposed to checks.)
When you set up a system, I'll be happy to be the first to contribute.
Virginia Giglio, PhD
President, Global Thinking, Inc.
Kingfisher, Oklahoma, USA - May 22, 2006
Shaking the bourgeoisie out of complacency: Charles Marowitz's Bring Back Dada
To the Editor:
"Perhaps you will understand me better when I tell you that Dada is a virgin microbe that penetrates with the insistence of air into all the spaces that reason has not been able to fill with words or conventions."
Of course, in today's vacuous nightmare of endless commercial advertisement, what has finally, truly, crept into every minuscule crack is media, along with all of media's needs and the pastiche culture of postmodernism. The Zurich Dadaists might have had great ambivalence regarding the co-option of their methods and very stylelessness to sell tooth whitener, but they certainly saw it coming. In this regard, dada was itself proclaimed "dead" and "dried up" and "finished" by the Dadaists themselves at virtually every season of its golden age, in a seeming effort to beat culture to the trick. Naturally, culture won.
I too might relish once more a world in which a urinal in a museum would send shock waves through society, a world in which a reference to the Mona Lisa's hot ass would shake the bourgeoisie out of complacency. I should think that Ms. Lisa engaged in a triple penetration at an out-of-doors OmniMax theater would hardly raise a dyed eyebrow hair these days, especially since the president essentially did it first.
As I recall, our middle class pays money to engage in facsimiles of war's horror via gruesome fx movies, paintball guns, video games, etc. -- all in the comfort of their SUV's. "Taste" is a hopelessly quaint notion: your average fifth-grade emo punk is more nihilistic than Hugo Ball ever was, all to no avail. Everyone just clucks and chuckles, because she's in the latest TV spot with her band, the Cumstained Polyps! How completely charming.
If you want to shock, advocate $25 dollar per gallon gasoline as the answer to our "homeland" problems. Or tell people that you really really believe that our president is a murdering nazi. On the other hand, there would be a Website and a T-shirt within an hour and a half.
Fremont, California, USA - May 24, 2006
Perhaps Marowitz should stroll into an American bar
To the Editor:
We're chock full of extremely angry musicians in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's a rare, rare night that one band or another, be it punk, rock, hiprock, country, whatever, doesn't work a F#$% Bush song into their set.
We get a really good response from our songs, "D.U. Binge" and "Are You A Patriot?"
I think the proletariat scions are out there dadaing away. I actually don't know one artist, not one, that isn't hammering away at the Bush administration. But American Idol is on, you know? The Dadaists are there but none listen, watch, feel, think anymore.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - May 24, 2006
Dadaism and Surrealism in Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle (Paris, 1967), as translated by Ken Knabb. See chapter 8: "Negation and Consumption Within Culture," 191.
"Dadaism and surrealism were the two currents that marked the end of modern art. Though they were only partially conscious of it, they were contemporaries of the last great offensive of the revolutionary proletarian movement, and the defeat of that movement, which left them trapped within the very artistic sphere whose decrepitude they had denounced, was the fundamental reason for their immobilization. Dadaism and surrealism were historically linked yet also opposed to each other. This opposition involved the most important and radical contributions of the two movements, but it also revealed the internal inadequacy of their one-sided critiques. Dadaism sought to abolish art without realizing it; surrealism sought to realize art without abolishing it. The critical position since developed by the situationists has shown that the abolition and realization of art are inseparable aspects of a single transcendence of art."
What does Milo Clark know about Science Fiction?
I read with some interest Milo Clark's essay, Future History - The Work of Robert A. Heinlein." (And the titles of his various columns attract me to many of them. An orgy of column-reading is surely upon me....)
I have a few quibbles about that particular column:
1. Clark doesn't seem to differentiate between Mr. Heinlein's early work (mostly the "Future History" series), and his later work. Of his later work, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" is his best (in my seldom-humble opinion). However, many folks forget that Heinlein did a massive pre-edit of the manuscript of Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle's masterpiece "The Mote in God's Eye" that literally saved the project (or so the authors have said). That book has never been out of print in 31 years.
2. I'm not familiar with the (never-written) Heinlein book "Eclipse." I am familiar with "The Sound of His Wings," which was to have been about the rise of Nehemiah Scudder to power. I can't cite a reference, but I've read that RAH never wrote it because he "simply couldn't write such a negative story," or words to that effect. However, to claim that "Logic of Empire" was never written is absurd. It's part of the "Future History" series. I've read it several times. It investigates how easy it is for de facto slavery to exist, even in a technologically-superior society, a subject RAH also investigated in an early juvenile novel "Citizen of the Galaxy." It includes an early reference to Nehemiah Scudder, which, if nothing else, firmly plants it in the "Future History" universe. (Please note that I've recently moved, and can't lay my hands on my older SciFi books just now, or I could easily supply the missing references.)
Cottonwood, Arizona, USA - June 1, 2006
Want change? Make it happen...and, please, help us help YOU make a difference.
The Euro-Neanderthals Are At It AgainTo the Editor:
"I am not sure what weapons WWIII will be fought with, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones."
Does it seem odd that evidence of the Neanderthal branch of the human family tree has only been discovered in sites across Europe? People in the know tell us that because the brains of Neanderthals where deficient, they died out and their cousins, the Homo sapiens, gradually took over. One thing the Neanderthals had going for them was their brute physical strength, which they were able to use, and the fossil record proves this, with great success. If one looks at the natural world, in many ways the success of a species is dependent on the efficient use of superior force. The history of Western Civilisation also shows that using brute force when wielding weapons can be very successful indeed.
Throughout human history it is an overwhelming fact that Europeans are most likely to be the aggressors in a given international conflict. How many times have Western countries traveled the globe with empirical designs to enslave whole populations and deplete the resources of established communities? Not to mention perpetrating genocide on every continent except Antarctica. The theory, presently being put forth by many in the anthropology world, is that, in fact, the Neanderthals did not die out; they devolved into a hateful murderous tribe of people known today as Euro-Neanderthals.
These Euro-Neanderthals have continually expanded their range using sub-human tactics like napalm and agent orange to send whole villages of innocent civilians to their deaths. It was these Euro-Neanderthals that wiped out the culturally rich Native Americans. They did this with one thing in mind and that was the brutal use of weapons to achieve conquest. The Native Americans knew their environment and lived in a sustainable relationship with it. A type of partnership where one system nurtured the other, which could also go on and on indefinitely. Why didn't these Euro-Neanderthals take the time, during their conquest of the Americas, to learn from the Native Americans? Instead they tried to convert them to Christianity because they thought these Native Americans were "uncivilized." Native American populations, including women and children, that refused to convert to Christianity, were routinely slaughtered. How civilized is it to perpetrate genocide in the name of Jesus Christ? I don't think Jesus would be too happy about that.
The most amazing part of this whole equation is that these Euro-Neanderthals have no remorse and no apologies for their crimes. They just keep on using the same short sighted policies of murder, subversion, and environmental destruction. This society of Euro-Neanderthals is based on the consumption of non-renewable resources like oil and coal for their energy needs and nitrogen and potassium for their fertilizers. To acquire these resources, this society of Euro-Neanderthals is employing brutish, stone age-like force to push their way into the few areas left with readily attainable raw materials so that they can maintain something called a Liberal Democracy.
To maintain a Liberal Democracy there needs to be a consistent course towards wealth generation. The generation of wealth is dependent on the acquisition of property, and the acquisition of property is dependent on the manipulation of the environment. The earth, being a finite system, is our giver of life and is currently being manipulated on a massive scale by corporations intent on wealth generation and share holder accountable. With the thawing of the Greenland ice caps and the reduction of glacial and polar ice fields we are witnessing the negative effects of all this wealth generation and share holder accountability.
The Western model of democracy is joined at the hip with capitalist economic philosophy. These two phenomena are what the Euro-Neanderthals call freedom. Under the false guise of spreading freedom the ENs for many years have been attacking sovereign nations around the globe. In the process they feel it is a side benefit to these sovereign nations that they, after we "bomb them back to the stone age," will all be free to buy EN's products and thus these unprovoked attacks will have a positive effect on the share price of weapons manufacturers corporations. Aggressive Western nations headed by ENs are very intrigued by weapons and are some of the largest producers and exporters of them.
The shelf life of weapons systems is comparatively short and sometimes cost more to dispose of than is practical. So the most obvious solution to this problem is to coherce (lobby) the decisions makers, in these EN's governed states, to use these weapons in these acts of war. A kind of use it or lose it business model.
At this point in the game it is now time to ramp up the manufacturing of instruments of death because we want the share holders to be happy. The Carlyle Group, which is owned and operated by some of the most powerful people in the world (including at least one former US President), has a very pragmatic, yet amoral, investment strategy. This strategy combines acquisition and outright ownership of weapons manufacturing companies, with governmental insiders positioned to manipulate foreign policy decision makers into the massive use of weaponry. When this weaponry is employed, mostly against poorly armed Third World nations, it has the affect of achieving and maintaining a high level of share holder accountability and wealth generation for conscienceless people who feel that it is just another way to prosper in a liberal economy.
War profiteering at its most efficient.
Donald MacRae Brown
Colonial Beach, Virginia, USA - May 25, 2006
Influence of Israel lobbies sought by Oregon Gov. Kulongoski
To the Editor:
When Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski spoke at the 2006 AIPAC Oregon Community Dinner, April 30, he revealed attitudes he shares with the federal administration: full accommodation to the major foreign lobby of Israel. That is clear to those who recognize how influence of AIPAC on US elected officials has grown over the decades because it has been ignored by the news media.
The governor's appearance at a civic gathering was appropriate. But his published comments reflected power of the Israeli lobby to intimidate US public servants: "America's ties with Israel are more than strategic and economic. They are rooted in common values of religious freedom, open dissent, an independent judiciary and an unbending belief in the historical, cultural and moral case for Zionism, a belief I fully share."
Exception to those comments is taken by the Forum, which in mid-May sponsored talks by a visiting North Californian activist who described willingness of Israeli citizens and progressive Jewish-Americans to foster positive common values, and who pointed out how these values are given but lip service by the Israeli government and that of the United States.
"Instead," said the Pacifica statement, "leadership of both nations pursues military dominance, and the words of Kulongoski dissolve into platitudes."
The governor reinforced support for AIPAC by adding:
The people of Israel have no better friend than the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). That is why I am proud to be here this evening to lend my support to the work of AIPAC. Survival of Israel is not a Democratic principle nor a Republican principle. It is an American principle. Israel needs the strong and effective voice of AIPAC in the halls of Congress, state capitols and in the public square.Those words by the governor, said the Pacifica statement, indicate he either is intimidated by AIPAC, or seeks a share of AIPAC financial influence which has held US presidents and legislators hostage to Israeli demands for decades.
Eugene, Oregon, USA - May 28, 20006
Remember, support Swans. It only will hurt your wallet, not your freedom to be heard.
We appreciate and welcome your comments. Please, enter in the subject line of your e-mail "letter to the editor," and specify the article or the subject you are commenting on at the beginning of your e-mail. Also, ***PLEASE,*** sign your e-mail with your name ***AND*** add your city, state, country, address, and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country. Send your comments to the Editor. (Letters may be shortened and edited)