(July 3, 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.]
Irish whiskey and PayPal rattlesnakes: Gilles d'Aymery's blips #37
To the Editor:
Two Irishmen are planning a camping trip in California.
One says: "what are you bringing?"
The other says: "a gallon of whiskey in case of any rattlesnake bites. what are you bringing?"
"I'm bringing two rattlesnakes"
Vernon, British Columbia, Canada - June 19, 2006
P.S. Suggestion: if you would get hooked up to PayPal, I predict you would get a lot more by way of donations to SWANS, certainly from me. As for myself, I'm partly too lazy to write you a cheque, but there is also the issue for me of a cheque to you in Canadian dollars. Most foreign banks charge hefty fees for negotiating cheques from another currency. A word to the wise is sufficient...
To the Editor:
Jesus, Gilles, couldn't you have first considered trapping the fucker in a burlap net/bag rather than go the shotgun route? Careful you don't find yourself developing a craving for the rush one gets from firing a shotgun. Best solution is to ignore domestic animal laws and get a mongoose. Worth researching first whether they attack cats and dogs, but they can take care of the snakes for you, and they're kinda cute too. If that seems a bit unrealistic, maybe bring in a few roadrunners instead. They're fast disappearing in the desert regions of CA and the Mojave, so maybe we can bring their numbers back up here and they in turn can deal with the snake issue.
I ran into a rattler while hiking in the San Jacinto mountains a year ago. I don't think I ever ran faster in my life. Though I have to say, next to skydiving, I never felt more alive and appreciative of life than during that frantic flight.
Alas, we are the encroachers . . . .
Santa Rosa, California, USA - June 26, 2006
In defense of Intellectual Freedom: Tom Mayer's The Report On Ward Churchill
I want to thank you for publishing Tom Mayer's engaging and well argued piece regarding the Ward Churchill controversy at the University of Colorado. After reading it, I was moved to immediately e-mail and hard-copy each member of the UC Board of Regents urging them to reject the recommendations of the committee. Were it not for Swans, I would not have been aware of this particular attack on intellectual freedom.
Rockford, Illinois, June 21, 2006
Communist, Marxist? Gilles d'Aymery becomes famous at last, thanks to Jefferson.
To the Editor:
On your Web site home page for June 19, 2006 we find:
"Trade liberty for safety or money and you'll end up with neither. Liberty, like a grain of salt, easily dissolves. The power of questioning -- not simply believing -- has no friends. Yet liberty depends on it."
This is a quotation by Thomas Jefferson. Seems funny that you would quote Thomas Jefferson, and not Karl Marx. You are obviously an America-hating, capitalism-bashing, pro-communism bunch of great thinkers.
I guess you're ashamed to be quoting Jefferson, that's why you left off the attribution. That way people will assume a great mind like Marx actually originated it.
New York, New York, USA - June 19, 2006
Lib-labs move to new horizons (Darfur, Iran?).
Dear Gilles and all at Swans,
A belated congratulations on your 10th anniversary! I have enjoyed (and learned a lot from) your work for quite some time, particularly regarding the former Yugoslavia. You will be happy to note that Swans has outlasted the so-called "Coalition for International Justice." See for yourself.
"AS OF MARCH 31, 2006, THE COALITION FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE WILL BE CLOSED"
Thank you for being a genuine voice of dissent in these troubled times.
Northampton, Massachusetts, USA - June 28, 2006
Want change? Make it happen...and, please,us help YOU make a difference.
From Handke to Milosevic, and Coulter to Misogyny... Charles Marowitz's The Coulter Solution
To the Editor:
Thanks for publishing Diana Johnstone's piece on Handke and again on Yugoslavia. Someone has to publish the truth about this stuff. It turns out Milosevic's death has been a blessing for the imperialists, removing any serious opposition not only from the front page but from the entire newspaper.
On another point, however, I opened with anticipation the piece on Coulter, since I find everything she says and writes particularly reactionary, cruel, and otherwise inhuman. I was dismayed to find an attack on her appearance that made me cringe, and I doubt I'm the most sensitive of your readers to what can only be described as misogyny. I think your writer does SWANS and himself a disservice by focusing an attack on her looks when what is really repulsive is her ideology -- perhaps ideology is too grandiose a name for her reactionary trash.
Yours in the struggle,
New York, New York, USA - June 19, 2006
More on Misogyny... Charles Marowitz's The Coulter Solution
To the Editor:
I have absolutely no brief for Ann Coulter, but Charles Marowitz's piece, "The Coulter Solution," appalled me. I thought that he was going to talk about the ugliness of the things she says. No such luck. Like any public woman, she is outspoken/controversial/noticeable/troublesome because she is just plain ugly and needs a fuck. It's been years since I read such an up-front piece of misogyny. I guess I should get out more.
I'm sure that Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy can be explained by his physical ugliness. I'm quite certain Donald Rumsfeld's paranoid aggression can be resolved by a little plastic surgery. I mean, guys, lift your game. This is poor. If it was said about a man it would be rightfully laughed off the page. It explains absolutely nothing about why Ms. Coulter is so prominent in your lovely nation.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - June 22, 2006
Israel's enlightened democracy? Ask the Palestinians...
To the Editor:
When Hitler killed 6 million Jews -- did he drive a few million more crazy (or at least neurotic)?
For decades now, Israel has been trying to shove a tiny percentage of its people (never near double digits) in among a million howling West Bank natives -- causing a billion more Islamic sympathizers to howl -- and worse. This "never has so much effort been expended for so pointlessly little" act is called building "Greater Israel." Aren't Jews supposed to be smart?
The one sure accomplishment of year in, year out pulverizing Palestinians is to ceaselessly remind the rest of the world of the unwholesome way Israel was made -- which is something Israel's supporters should not be anxious for everyone to review, all the time. A little Irish political savvy might help here.
The Holocaust -- a few years after: Israel's founders succeed in establishing the state of Israel by force. A few survival wars later (to my amateur psychologist mind) too often traumatized Israelis become totally fixated on military invincibility -- possibly to the point where they wont squarely face any notion of vulnerability, from which rational assessments of cost/benefit -- as per above -- flow.
Being Jews, not real Nazis, they won't finish off their opponents (West Bank residents), of course, but only drive them daily to more homicidal rage -- in full knowledge that Palestinians and their billion-plus co-religionists have a theological template for violence. Maybe it is time to try being all Jews again.
I always say: Too bad the Arabs don't have a template for politics, like the Irish. I can just see the Madison Avenue campaign now: "Imagine the uproar if China crisscrossed Tibet with Chinese-only roads.... " I call them infidel-only roads to get a laugh and to avoid ugliness.
The quickest way for anyone to diminish Israel's support would be wide dissemination (that is, throughout the USA) of copies of the Oslo II treaty map: Palestinians permanently herded into discontiguous ghettos -- nowhere adjacent to other countries -- comprising only 60% of West Bank land. That map revealed it all to me.
Developing story: Israel is now starving these ghettos because the newly elected Hamas government refuses to ratify the creation of Israel at its own people's expense -- though most reasonable observers agree they would live with the result: now it's Warsaw ghettos! Diagnosis: blind control compulsion?
Islamics and Jews who see this all as some kind of "manifest destiny" duel should consider that a monotheistic religion is supposed to focus on the next world -- as in sending your members to glory (instead of the other place).
Which is why Islamics can worry less over the withering of a once dominant empire. Ditto: if God wanted the Diaspora to end, Jews by the millions could conceivably have moved back into Palestine as friends, without necessarily establishing political boundaries -- if that was what God wanted.
In any case, it is long past time for Israel to get along with the rest of the world. This means no more "Cask of Amontillado" walls. Israel cannot simply seal off Gaza, either, in 2008 (as it projects) and leave a people with little or no sustaining means.
Israel's only sensible -- and moral -- course must be to begin to treat these people as well -- instead of as poorly -- as possible and hope they will respond peaceably -- as most rational observers expect they would. Don't almost all Israelis wish they could? Other nations -- just average nations -- treat their neighbors as well as possible all the time -- all over the world. Can't Israelis, the miracle workers who "made the desert bloom," make everyday peace (the poem says only God can make a tree -- maybe He will help with peace too?)?
Maltreatment of Palestinians cannot stay permanently hidden from the eyes of our Internet-age world. View a recent e-mail from Israeli peace activists to Canadian sympathizers. Big brother lives right next door.
Israel's invincibility act has worked up to now largely because big brother happens to be invincible -- and, so far, relatively incurious. Big brother's support act could reach an uncomfortably quick finale should he begin to contemplate that he may have traded skyscrapers for settlements.
Irish IQ level: If you can get a billion, two hundred million Jews together to go pick a fight with six million Arabs -- morals aside -- you can drag us along. But, if the numbers look the other way around -- as big as we are -- we want out.
Chicago, Illinois, USA - June 27, 2006
PS. I get some smart ideas and some silly ones. While watching the slow moving documentary The Wall on "Encore," I noticed Israeli Jews all spoke Hebrew (I don't know what I expected -- much Yiddish was spoken in my boyhood Bronx). It occurred to me that it would be more useful for the half the world's Jews who live in Israel to speak the same language as the half who live in the USA. A hundred years from now, the whole world will be speaking English (or Chinese) -- by then, Hebrew should be about as popular as Gaelic.
Remember,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)