Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter239



Letters to the Editor

(April 23, 2012)


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A review of some of the April 9 edition

To the Editor:

My reactions to several items in the April 9 issue of Swans follow, without any significance as to their order.

1. "Who Killed Che?", by Paul Buhle.

A great deal of insight about Cuban-American relations in the years 1959 to 1967, and the personal and visceral US motives behind Che's killing, can be gained from the recent book Brothers In Arms, by Gus Russo and Stephen Molton, on the Kennedy administration's secret campaign to assassinate Fidel Castro and topple the Cuban Revolution. See:



Che Guevara (b. June, 14, 1928) was killed on October 9, 1967, my father's 43rd birthday. That same year my father was finally able to extract (after money had gone in) his own Spanish-born parents out of Cuba (they had arrived in 1922), but his father died in Spain a few weeks later. I only saw my father cry once, shortly after he got home (to the USA), while looking at a few old photos and identity papers of his father (my grandfather), all that was left of my father's immediate family and its estate, besides the person of my grandmother. "They destroyed my country," my father said, "they" being the U.S. I did not share what is today assumed to be the common frivolity of the Summer of Love -- that was for privileged innocents. We had met Fidel in 1960 (I had shaken his hand), when we were thinking of moving back to Havana, and our future looked so inviting.

2. Letter by Alouette Arouet

Madam Arouet, congratulations on your wedding. If Madam Arouet ever sends Gilles d'Aymery a digital image of her beautiful legs, I hope Swans publishes it, for gazing at such natural beauty can do much to brighten one's outlook despite the many reasons for gloom that Madam Arouet's letter lists. My French is so feeble, I was not able to understand the article by Marie Rennard, but now I know that I will make a point to read its equivalent in English, if one appears. My family (11-year-old daughter and wife) is discussing taking French lessons together, since we all want to know more of what is available in French (vocal music, literature, and journalism, and perhaps travel). Madam Arouet is young and so should have a long life ahead of her. I encourage her not to lose all hope, and certainly not to lose her sense of humor. Not only is humor a way to keep our own spirits buoyed when little else seems available for that, but it can also be a very sharp weapon against hypocrisy, injustice, and the psychology of oppression. Don't lose your humor, sharpen it, like Mark Twain did to skewer the racism in his country and the imperialism it perpetrated (see for example, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court). Here is some music to enjoy:


3. "Pasolini," a poem by Guido Monte

I enjoyed Pasolini's 1971 film Il Decameron, based on the book by Giovanni Boccaccio (which is interesting reading), with the same title. While many of my peers (students at that time) saw him as oddly passé because of his attitude to the "student movement" of the late 1960s and early '70s, I understood Pasolini's point of view. This is from wikipedia:
Pasolini, though acknowledging the students' ideological motivations, thought them "anthropologically middle-class" and therefore destined to fail in their attempts at revolutionary change. Regarding the Battle of Valle Giulia, which took place in Rome in March 1968, he said that he sympathized with the police, as they were "children of the poor," while the young militants were exponents of what he called "left-wing fascism."

Pasolini's 1969 film Medea stars Maria Callas, in her only film role so far as I know. Vocally or visually, Callas was magnetic.

4. "Time Machine," a poem by John M. Marshall

Venus, Saturn, and the Moon were in apparent close proximity in the night skies around this year's vernal equinox. One was drawn to look into the night sky by the grouping of these heavenly bodies, and the fading of winter's chill made unhurried viewing relaxing to both body and mind.

Manuel García, Jr.
Oakland, California, USA - April 10, 2012


The Art of Power and The Power of Art

To the Editor:

"The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous, he cannot believe it exists." - J. Edgar Hoover

The pre-planned and orchestrated assassination of San Francisco mayor George Moscone on November 27, 1978, led directly to the creation of the controversial Moscone Bust by sculptor Robert Arneson, which was successfully used to deflect attention from the architecture of the Moscone Convention Center. Read the San Francisco newspapers for the week of the center's opening.

Ask three Europeans (one, English, Joan Ellison; one, French, Anne Marie Thielen; one, Italian, Elio Benvenuto), who lived through and survived the horrors and devastation of the Second World War, came to the United States afterwards and, eventually, settled in for lengthy stays at the San Francisco Art Commission (now the "Arts Commission"). The Commission's Civic Design Committee has much more to do with architecture than it does with art.

Where there are three there must be many. What are the names and backgrounds of the Art Commissioners going back to the post-World War Two period? By the way, Mr. Benvenuto (now deceased) was himself a sculptor. This is a cross-generational operation.

A nocturnal arson fire, set directly in front of a recently installed fire door as if by design at 165 Grove Street, obliges the Art Commission to relocate three times, bringing it in due course to the 8th floor at 3rd & Mission Streets, looking down on the Moscone Convention Center and arriving in time for the latter's grand opening.

December 1981. I enter the convention center's lobby, cross to escalators (next to which this bust has been temporarily placed) and descend into the most awesomely huge and inhumanly ugly CHAMBER I have ever known.

Who thought up the Moscone Convention Center? Who funded it? Who designed it? Who built it? Who named it? Who expanded it? At a later time, a journalist was prompted to write that "the designer of the Moscone Convention Center did not have human beings in mind." Oh, yes, he did.

The one journalist this person read, who wrote that the art commissioners knew what they were doing when they selected Robert Arneson to sculpt the bust of the murdered Mayor Moscone, is long gone from this world. Was he murdered?

Which former vice president of the United States once referred to this center as a "temple of doom?" "It was insane that they commissioned him (Arneson) in the first place." Foster Goldstrom, art collector.

What brought about the reappearance of this "Portrait of George" in the Public Eye on November 3, 1992, Presidential Election Day? The death of Robert Arneson on November 2.

I also think that a light needs to be shined on St. Louis, Missouri and, as well, on the Princeton Forrestal Center.

Out of the ashes of World War Two ... history is repeating itself.

Only those who know that what I am saying is true will "know for certain" that it is not. No one else can.

My story, in variously detailed formats, has been extraordinarily widely disseminated throughout the world via the Internet since the year 2000. I will be heard. I will not give up.

Has Panetta or Mueller traced the lives of these three Old Worldians back to the core group of people of pertinence? Inactivity implies complicity. Silence means death.

Worldwide exposure can stop this in its tracks. Is this not taking place because the people who have the means to do it are the same persons who are carrying out this ... operation? Many people in positions of high authority are slated for elimination, when the time comes. Is the life of President Obama in danger?

Time and events will tell.

The Last Scene

I follow Director Ellison ("that English woman" as she is known in City Hall) into her office to arrange for my departure from the Art Commission. She leaves the door unlatched and, so, doesn't hear me when I open it. She is standing behind her desk. Her arms are held out in front of her and her small hands are tightly fisted. Her head is turned to the side. Her eyes are closed. Her face is grimaced in agony as she desperately wills herself to keep from crying out. Suddenly, she turns and sees me. A look of hatred and horror appears on her face. Then, right away, she takes on her normal demeanor as if nothing has happened. What she sees on my face are ... tears. You see, I'm an even better actor than she is. I give my reasons and get myself laid off. It must be hard on anyone to play one part in order to hide another.

The Final Scene

Over a year after my skedaddle from the Art Commission, I meet Anne Marie Thielen in an unlikely place. I have just returned to the city and I suspect foreknowledge of my whereabouts on her part. Given the hour, the rapid transit train in which I am riding (under ground) is sparsely occupied. For some reason I look behind me, where I spot her prowling down the aisle of the next car in my direction. She arrives. She sits down beside me. I turn and look at the ashen melancholy of her face. I greet her in a friendly way, "Well, hi there, how are you?" (My immediate thought is, do not mention the Art Commission. I don't.) I then submit to a final, probative interchange, after which we mutually bid adieu. I never see her again.

Kind regards,

Leland Mellott
Mount Vernon, Washington, USA - April 18, 2012


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Published April 23, 2012
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