Note from the Editor

If we controlled the world, we would not schedule the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and World Cup matches with Brazil and then France, on a publishing we'll be brief on editorializing. That said, if we controlled the world, it would be a more humane place indeed. Yet with habeas corpus swept into the dustbins of history along with the Geneva Conventions and the US Constitution, it's no surprise that free-thinkers from the arts and academia are being scapegoated for daring to question the party line. Diana Johnstone analyzed the Peter Handke affair as symbolic of the entire demonization of Slobodan Milosevic; University of Colorado Professor Tom Mayer deconstructed the university's report that attempts to discredit his fellow professor, Ward Churchill; and we add a third name to the list, that of director Bruno Bayen, who publicly opposed the cancellation of Handke's play, which he was to direct in Paris. In no case has the corporate media come to the defense of these individuals, not even in the name of freedom of expression or academic freedom. Actually, they essentially ignored the stories. As Gerard Donnelly Smith illustrates, "freedom to" is now reserved for those in power, and in the "free market" of ideas, we can thank the Telecommunications Act of 1996 for allowing the consolidation of media control in the hands of a super-wealthy few. Seth Sandronsky offers an excellent overview of this Act, reminding us that capitalism is not democracy. One can only imagine how Clear Channel would have dealt with the folk music talent and politics of the 1960s... Louis Proyect reviews this genre in the context of two books: The Mayor of MacDougal Street and Positively 4th Street.

If anyone can find humor in our disappeared Constitutional rights it's Charles Marowitz, who conjured up the predicament of an unsuspecting yet heavily-accented kosher caterer being tapped by the NSA. Charles also has some fashion and beauty advice for that shock-and-awe blond so-called writer who is the one person we wish the corporate media would ignore as much as it did voting fraud. Deck Deckert's Martian friend predicts more election shenanigans in store; as for those in power who vote us into war, Philip Greenspan is all for proportional representation like you've never imagined.

In the Arts & Culture corner, Peter Byrne takes us on a culinary tour of Bulgaria and Guido Monte offers up poetry for the New World. Our editor's blips pay homage to the environmental activism of the Murie family (and wondering what Martin would do about a rattlesnake in a chicken coop) and disdain for the Christian Right demagogues spewing their bigotry; with some interesting tidbits from college commencements, a high-school lawsuit à la Schopenhauer, and more. There are many readers' letters to peruse, and if you're in the Sacramento area, you should catch Howard Zinn's play, Marx in Soho -- see our front page Announcements for details.

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


Patterns Which Connect

Diana Johnstone:  Peter Handke And The Watch Dogs Of War

Last April 8, the director of the Comédie-Française, Marcel Bozonnet, announced his decision to cancel a planned Paris production of Peter Handke's play, Voyage au pays sonore ou l'art de la question.   More...


Tom Mayer:  The Report On Ward Churchill

I have finally finished a careful reading of the 124 page report about the alleged academic misconduct of Ward Churchill.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Three Faces Of Ostracism
Bruno Bayen, Peter Handke, and Ward Churchill

What do Bruno Bayen, a French director, Peter Handke, an Austrian playwright, author and poet, and Ward Churchill, an American professor of ethnic studies have in common? You'd be hard-pressed to know if you only read the corporate media in the U.S.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Insurgent Word: Freedom

The bloodiest word in any language: freedom. Have not all wars been fought for freedom from some oppressive or corrupt system?   More...


Seth Sandronsky:  The Telecommunications Act Of 1996
Bonanza for Clear Channel, Radio for Conservative Voices

Ten years is time enough to see who gains from a political bill. We turn to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which changed the Communications Act of 1934 limiting the total number of radio stations that could be owned in a market or community.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Louis Proyect:  A Second Look At The Folk Music Revival

The publication of Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One invites further explorations into the folk revival. In preparing a review of Dylan's luminous memoir for Swans, I read two other books to understand the backdrop.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Charles Marowitz:  NSA Traps Suspected Terrorist In New Jersey

Members of the National Security Agency recently arrested a terrorist suspect who had been operating a small kosher catering company in Hackensack, New Jersey.   More...


American Society and her Ugly Demagogue

Charles Marowitz:  The Coulter Solution

My theory about Ann Coulter is not so much that she is a coarse, hyped-up, publicity-seeking vixen desperately chasing book sales, nor that she is the personification of a fiery conservative succubus who eats readers of The New York Times for breakfast and spits out the pits...   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Deck Deckert:  Election Shenanigans

"Are the Republicans going to steal the election again?" my Martian friend Yyuran asked me the other day.

I choked on my coffee. "What a ridiculous question! Why would you even ask something like that?"   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Making Those Responsible Pay A Price

The nation is rightly concerned with the health and well being of its citizens. Accordingly, those whose products, services, or workplace environment may cause harm must undertake studies and issue reports to establish their safety to agencies such as...   More...


Arts & Culture

Peter Byrne:  Flowers For Lunch

So Bulgaria has knocked at the kitchen door of the European Union. Why not? The Bulgarians have surely smartened themselves up with dinner jackets since I first had a glimpse of them a dozen or so years ago.   More...



Guido Monte:  Vergil's New World

Here is the last era of human prophecy
Here is the great order,
the cycle of ages.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #37, from the Martian Desk

"Wilderness itself is the basis of all our civilization. I wonder if we have enough reverence for life to concede to wilderness the right to live on?"
Margaret "Mardy" Murie

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the inspiring environmental lifeworks of the Murie family to the not-so-existential questions about a rattlesnake in a chicken coop; to World Cup fever and WorldNetDaily demagogues; diametrically-opposed commencement speeches and philosophical lawsuits; with a few blips in between.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Charles Marowitz's decoding of the Da Vinci Code; Gilles d'Aymery's coverage, in the US press vacuum, of the Peter Handke witch hunt; Louis Proyect trumps Zinn and Chomsky on Cuba; Alma Hromic's feminist ruse; and Milo Clark on Aaron Wildavsky, with typo.   More...



– If you wish to receive an e-mail regarding each new rendition (twice a month) with the Note from the Editor and the URL to each article, please send an e-mail with "Subscribe Swans" in the subject line. Please also include your first/last name in the body of the message.



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: June 20, 2006