Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter189



Letters to the Editor

(April 19, 2010)


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Keep resisting. Keep shouting. Jan Baughman's What's Left For Progressives?

Hello Jan,

In response to your understandably frustrated appeal for a new strategy or direction for progressive activism, I would beg you revisit your perspective and entertain the possibility that by giving in to our frustration over battles lost, we can become the authors of our own disenfranchisement. I refer specifically to your assertion that "the powers that be have ensured that third-party candidates are forced out of the system." While it's true that corporate media has done everything in its considerable power to promote the premise that third-party candidacies can never achieve political viability, and that the ruling duopoly has tampered with election laws to throw as many obstacles as possible in the path of those who attempt to use the process to overturn the status quo, it remains, in the end, our self-defeating willingness to accept the premise that undermines our ability to use the process to achieve our ends. The greatest evil on the American political scene is the pandemic settling for what are perceived as "lesser evils."

I would say, in the Kucinich conundrum that you offer, that a third and best option would be to vote him out of office, by electing an authentic progressive voice, sending the message that his capitulation to party politics is not acceptable (except that I have great respect for Mr. Kucinich, as he is the only congressman who answers me personally, rather than with a form letter, when I write to take him to task for his lapses. And I do believe that he is genuinely progressive and, under pressure, just made a poor decision on the health bill.)

The bottom line I'm trying to express here, Jan, is that it's essential for us to continually resist the temptation to view ourselves as powerless. We have to keep demanding a participatory function for ourselves within the process until our voices are acknowledged. And when that fails, we do it some more.

The reason I continue to read and support Swans Commentary is that I find in it an oasis of principled and uncompromising resistance to a status quo driven by blind consumerism and the commodification of values.

When no one listens, you keep shouting.

Michael DeLang
Golden, Colorado, USA - April 5, 2010


Plagiarized praise for Gilles d'Aymery's The Scourge Of Plagiarism And Scrubbing

To the Editor:

As a journalist, both print and online, I found Gilles d'Aymery's piece "The Scourge Of Plagiarism And Scrubbing, A Reflection of our Societal Rot?" to be a breath of fresh air. He nails the growing problem of copycats, as I would describe it, "in an age of cut and paste."

As I once penned, what a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before. And I like to take my own advice that horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.

I admit it is harder to be original than to copy. I was working on the proof of one of my stories all morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again. I do strive to be original in my writing. Just yesterday I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering. One technique I use to avoid plagiarizing is to use a Thesaurus.

But then I have always wondered, "What's another word for Thesaurus?"

When you plagiarize you let no one else's work evade your eyes. I believe it is valid to borrow. And by borrowing, I mean "researching" other authors' works, because, if we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it? As I see it, there is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him.

TV news is a culprit of plagiarism. Each channel seems to copy the other. Still, I find television very educational because, as I have said, every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. And I have further noted that, outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

Steve Shay
Seattle, Washington, USA - April 8, 2010


The next generation thankfully is taking over the struggle for our humaneness

To the Editor:

I'm a student from the "Liceo Giovanni Meli," a high school in Palermo, and with this letter I'd like to focus the attention on a theme I consider of utmost importance.

A few days ago, three Italian volunteers from the NGO Emergency were arrested by the Afghan authorities. Emergency is an international organization that provides relief and medical assistance to civilian victims of war, especially those who have been injured by landmines.

The charge of "terrorism" against Emergency by the Afghan authorities can be considered, in my opinion, as a way to vilify peace, demolishing all the efforts made by this little portion of the global population that really tries to give help for something that looks like utopia. The final consequence is, moreover, that a more expensive price is always paid by the weak and the innocent ones. They can see all their possibilities of getting aid slip away.

This happened to Afghan citizens, who run the risk of completely losing the medical assistance Emergency gave, an assistance that can't be provided by the Afghan government.


Giulio Perno
Palermo, Sicily, Italy - April 15, 2010


Proud contributor, prouder father

To the Editor:

Steve [Shay] and I are both thrilled to appear as poet-song writers in the same issue of your polyglot, under-financed publication. His latest piece kept reminding me of the great story-poems the Greeks and Romans did, that led to Byron and especially Browning. My favorite: Robert Browning (from my patchwork memory going back to PS 77 in the Bronx of 1931 -- that is to say, 77 years ago. How proud the long dead Mrs. Golden would be. Shénee Auvergne, smelling of Chanel Cinq. "Sink" we all misheard enigmatically. But we -- children of Jewish immigrants all, believed everything the teachers we loved told us, and we loved them all -- were all little catchers' mitts of culture. Mrs. Golden chastely hugged me bustily as I polished off Napoleon, causing me in my life to come to chase, more often chaste than chased, big-titted Chanel users across three continents as my peripathetic but often joyous post Bronx life developed, give or take WW2).
Incident In A French Camp

You know we French stormed Ratisbon --
A mile or so away on a little mound Napoleon stood.
It was our storming day.
With head outthrust -- you fancy how --
Legs wide, arms locked behind
As if to balance that prone brow
Oppressive with its mind. (Whatever THAT meant.)

Suddenly, from out the smoke, there flew a rider,
Bound on bound, full galloping nor bridle drew
Until he reached the mound.
"Emperor!" he cried, "By God's grace, we've got you Ratisbon.
The marshall's in the marketplace
And you'll be there anon."

Then came something about a flagbird flapping his vans,
Whatever the fuck they were....
All, all brought back by my gifted son's poetic coverage of one of the crimes
Of his century -- a true tragedy of travesties,
Of a fey, sexy young woman come a cropper in a country
Known for its statues, paintings, food and political corruption.
Many appreciate Steven's efforts -- on national TV, quoted in his own Seattle suburban paper, the L.A. papers, and now, joined by Swans, in a small piece of art that fights for a reading and a hearing in the poorly-lit halls of Italian justice.

It makes me especially proud to have introduced Steve and Swans.

Art Shay
Proud Contributor, Prouder Dad -- just turned 88 and currently working with rock star Billy "Smashing Pumpkins" Corgan on a three-year project.
Deerfield, Illinois, USA - April 5, 2010

[ed. note: ...And it makes us particularly proud (and humble) to have both Shays -- and so many other worthy authors -- contribute their work to our tiny publication (which is their own in several dimensions), being fully aware that all of them could pick and choose among hundreds of other publications out there on the Web. Year after year, with very limited financial resources, but for the generosity of a few donors, we strive to improve and deepen our endeavor, which has always been "to bring food for thought to the readers and to provide a quality literary and political site on the Web." We have never deviated from our original purpose: "In a time of revisionism, faux-semblant, spinning news and skewed information, Swans is about thinking, questioning, observing, and providing ideas that are lacking in the mainstream media." That famous and less famous authors, be they father and son, have joined the journey -- the road less traveled in the words of the poet -- with increasing loyalty is testimony to our unrelenting efforts.]


Odd and cloudy question regarding Stephen Gowans's What Price American Primacy? (January 2002)

To the Editor:

I'd like to read a report on the Todd Palin working for BP that supplies energy to HAARP, which indicates how much he knew about Preserving American Primacy.

Fern Henley
Blue Ridge, Virginia, USA - April 9, 2010


Voice of Roma presents 14th Annual California Herdeljezi

To the Editor:

Please, kindly let your northern California readers know about our latest festival. Many thanks.

April 30 & May 1 - Sebastopol, CA
Ives Park and Sebastopol Veterans Hall

Three events featuring films, vocal and dance workshops, live music and performances, dancing, traditional foods, handcrafts, children's activities, henna and more!


Romani Films and Discussion - Vet's Hall


Live music at Ives Park
(**next door at Veterans Hall if there is rain**)
followed by procession and traditional lighting of Herdeljezi fire in front of Vet's Hall


Dance Party at Veteran's Hall


Rumen Shopov, Ivan Milev, Chris Bajmakovich, Ruzsa Nikolic-Lakatos and the Gypsy Family, Brass Liberation Orchestra, Vadim Kolpakov and VIA Romen, FLAMENCO! LIVE! DANCE ENSEMBLE, Stevens Family Gypsy Boys with special guest Danny Fender, Lefteris Bournias, Petra Gelbart, Nadia Hava Robbins, Sani and Benji Rifati.


Friday Films - $10
Saturday Day - $15

12 and under - free

Saturday Day/Evening Combo - $22

Saturday Night only - $10

Vocal Workshop (11-12:30) - $15 at Vet's Hall

Dance Workshop- (12:30-1:30) - Free with festival Admission, in Park Sebastopol Veterans Hall - 282 S. High St Ives Park - 7400 Willow St.
Find us on facebook - Romani Voice

Thank you!

Sani Rifati
Voice of Roma
Sebastopol, California, USA - April 15, 2010


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Published April 19, 2010
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