Note from the Editor

The corporate media continues to feed off the hands of the Bush administration, regurgitating the PR into even more-watered-down sound bites, or merely spitting it into a napkin and discretely throwing it away. From the reporting on the NSA wiretapping to the complete ignoring of Al Gore's critical speech on the matter, Deck Deckert asks us to consider whether the media is guilty of careless reporting or unrelenting support for the administration and war. It would be interesting indeed if the media were to question the hypocrisy of Bush's so-called "culture of life" agenda, in the face of the culture of death being waged on the weak and the vulnerable. Jan Baughman has some thoughts on the "Man's World" of Bush and the Pope, and perhaps some insight into their hidden agenda. Milo Clark looks to science fiction, in particular Robert Heinlein, as cultural prophecy -- prescient, for example, in his prediction of the rise of religious fanaticism. Truth being stranger than fiction may account for our failure to learn from history; whether it is the truth behind America's entry into World War II or Iraq War II, Philip Greenspan explores the parallels.

Today's dissidents (activists?) could certainly learn from the books of Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin, imprisoned in 1937 and subsequently executed, a victim of Stalin's police state tactics. Louis Proyect reviews the recently published Philosophical Arabesques, one of four superb books written by Bukharin while in prison. (A propos, Proyect's very first review for Swans, back in February 2003, was another Bukharin novel, How it All Began. Read both!) Switching gears to another 1930s creation, the remake of King Kong, as deconstructed by Charles Marowitz, proves once again that one cannot do justice to a classic -- but the review itself is classic Marowitz at his incensed finest. Michael Yonchenko, for his part, impersonates Martha Stewart in a desperate and humorous attempt to resist the hypnotic effects of his hungry canine companion.

Next, we offer poetry by Gerard Donnelly Smith and William T. Hathaway; then the Blips are back covering such tidbits as the Samuel Alito Senate confirmation, the Israeli-Palestinian predicament, war profiteers, American justice, the commonality of Mr. Bush and Bernard-Henri Lévy, and much more; finally, your letters round out this edition.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans.


Main Media & Propaganda

Deck Deckert:  See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Report No Evil

If anyone has any doubts about the mainstream corporate media's subservience to power, they only need to look at the virtual media blackout of Al Gore's recent speech warning of the threat posed by the Bush regime to our Constitution and our liberties.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Jan Baughman:  This Is A Man's World

The man's man, George W. Bush, placed a phone call on January 23, 2006, to Nellie Gray and the "March for Life" participants to lend his moralistic support and thanks for their devotion to such a noble cause. He affirmed his belief that those "self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence" apply to everyone, not just to those considered healthy or wanted or convenient.   More...


Milo Clark:  What Is Science Fiction?

The Editor of Asimov's Reader asks, "What is Science Fiction?" Preferring a broad definition, she muddles around Alternative Futures, Alternative History, Fantasies, and stumbles into fictitious non-fiction and vice-versa to arrive at no definitive definition. She concludes that she likes keeping things as wide open as possible.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Philip Greenspan:  Are US Citizens As Gullible As The "Good Germans" Were?

With rare exceptions I am vehemently rebuked whenever I state that FDR enticed the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor. From the numerous responses I've received over time I imagine that even an elderly, well educated, rock-ribbed anti-war protester, who served prison time and paid fines for defying the government, and who vividly recalls the events of WWII, will criticize my perverse statement.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Louis Proyect:  Nikolai Bukharin's Philosophical Arabesques

Philosophical Arabesques is one of four books that Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin wrote in prison from the time of his arrest in February 1937 until his execution 13 months later. Another was the roman à clef titled How it All Began that was reviewed in the February 3, 2003 edition of Swans. Based on the outstanding quality of Bukharin's thought in this twilight period of his life, when despair might have robbed ordinary mortals of their creativity, one can only hope that the remaining two -- Socialism and its Culture and The Transformation of the World -- will eventually find a publisher as well.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Monkey Business

Round about the fourth tussle between the grunting, oversized gorilla and the roaring pterodactyls, I wondered how I might best express my bristling contempt for Peter Jackson's asinine remake of "King Kong." It would not suffice simply to seek out the manager of the cinema and ask him to refund the price of my ticket.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Michael Yonchenko:  The Top Of The Day Always Starts At The Bottom

We all have routines in our lives. One of my favorites is Sunday morning. Let me describe for you the first thirty minutes of my Sunday, January 8, 2006. Welcome to my world. Make sure to wipe your feet before you come in.   More...



Gerard Donnelly Smith:  Escape Mechanism

Meditation no longer works. Closing my eyes,
I see headless Buddhist monks searching for satori.
Trying to breathe calmly, I hear a last breath
emptying another war casualty of earthly worries.   More...


William T. Hathaway:  San Diego

In the pool a girl, slim and new-breasted,
treads water, watching the high-diving boys.
On the springboard a lad, skinny and shivering,
wavers at the edge.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #33

"What a fine comedy this world would be if one did not play a part in it!"
—Diderot, Letters to Sophie Volland

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from welcoming Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, with advice for John Kerry and the Dems; to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian quagmire; to war profiteers and American justice; being British, Michael Jackson, or William Blum; and what George W. Bush and Bernard-Henri Lévy have in common, with a few blips about Boonville and more in between.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On Robert Cray's anti-war video; Jacob Amir's answer to Michael Neumann's response; comradely criticism and nuanced correction from Fran Shor; Milo Clark's perspectives on Wahabi and Saudi Arabia, Islam and America; and Eli Beckerman, live on his way to the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela.   More...



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Created: February 2, 2006