(May 4, 2009)
[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.]
Life is more Complicated and Interesting than Gilles d'Aymery's Representation
To the Editor:
I've followed Swans off and on for several years.
Thanks for mentioning Energy Bulletin and the peak oil crew in your latest issue of Swans Commentary (Blips #85).
I don't know if I would describe this group as "millenarian prophets of doom who merrily applaud the forthcoming ineluctable collapse of 'civilization'." It's really more complicated and more interesting than that.
We are a diverse group, ranging from ecologists, to oil geologists, to journalists (me), to leftists, to conservatives, to mainstream Democrats. It's a pretty smart and intense group of people.
Thoughts about the future range vary widely, from doomerism to those who believe in a "soft landing."
I myself come from a socialist background. I'm particularly interested in how leftists come to terms with these ideas. For example at Monthly Review "Peak Oil and Energy Imperialism" by John Bellamy Foster, and "The United States, China, Peak Oil, and the Demise of Neoliberalism" by Minqi Li.
What we share, I would say, is a sense that physical limits are beginning to make themselves felt. There are many intellectual antecedents, including ecologist Howard Odum, maverick geoscientist H. King Hubbert, social critic Ivan Illich, "The Limits of Growth" authors, etc. There is a solid intellectual basis, which is open to criticism.
Probably the most visible manifestation is the Transition Movement, just profiled by The New York Times.
Editor, Energy Bulletin Palo Alto, California, USA - April 20, 2009
Paul Buhle, a Precious Voice on the Subject of Comics
To the Editor:
I don't know as much about nonfiction comics as I'd like. Paul Buhle got it right in his letter of April 6th about my "I Am Che Guevara." My ignorance has been bothering me since I read Gilles d'Aymery's, March 23rd, "A New Zephyr Breezes Over The Worldwide Prairie." He went into the interplay between paper and on-line periodicals, noting that change has been galloping. But so has the growth of worthwhile fiction and nonfiction comics. I'm out of breath trying to keep up. Swans Commentary is barely 1% visual. But maybe words would be a novel way to start an enquiry into where comics stand today. Mr. Buhle, a distinguished practitioner, would be a precious voice on the subject.
Lecce, Italy - April 20, 2009
GM in Wonderland: Jan Baughman's Roger, My Chevy, And Me
Your wonderful account of your dealings with GM and its assigns -- and the cast of characters at the end (!) reminded me of Bulwer-Lytton's "Last Days of Pompeii." You succeeded in the impossible -- making your voice heard over the roar of the penultimate volcano about to hit. My God -- the time you had to waste on all these far-flung idiots! And to get bills yet! But as Faulkner put it, you gotta prevail -- and you did.
The fact remains that the profligate auto giants in the U.S. pissed away their early leads in every department of auto making, including style, quality and service. I know writing your fine piece made you feel better, as there is much comfort in railing, apparently. It's only small comfort, but the head of Mercedes visited Consumer Reports to find out why they (the 300,000 or so of us who send in car reports) were so down on Mercedes these past two years. Said the Consumer Report editor, "Your new Mercedes had the same frequency of repair rating as a 9-year-old Lexus." That shut him up. It's also one reason I drive a 10-year-old Lexus I found with 42,000 miles on it. Second reason: a friend who owns a steel company told me his wife made him give up his 1993 Lexus at 260,000 miles because he had awarded his top salesman with a new one and she didn't like to drive past the pair of them in the company driveway...
I hope your Aveo holds up as it's supposed to -- and several good critics have said it should. That would be the real reward for your patience and forbearance.
(An old jouster with big stupid companies.)
Deerfield, Illinois, USA - April 20, 2009
To the Editor:
Let's stop debating this issue and prosecute those that our judicial system finds responsible. The longer we delay this action, the potential for these acts -- everything from 9-11 to the torture of people in our possession) -- will drift from the conscientiousness of people.
We should pursue the values and standards that reflect what we, as a PEOPLE, want the rest of the world to see. This behavior by our government and our society has to be stopped, otherwise this lack of ethics in our society will destroy us. Let's prosecute according to how our laws and ethical values guide us, and then move on.
DON'T LET THIS DRIFT AWAY! If we let this happen, it will come back and bite us again.
Blue Lake, California, USA - April 29, 2009
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.)