Note from the Editor

Vive Les Bleus! While most of the globe -- including this little corner in our neck of the woods -- is on hold and transfixed by the World Cup, America is going through her annual ritual of celebrating her independence and that quaint document that once upon a time was supposedly the basis of democracy and the rule of law (was it ever, beside the myths?). People are busy barbecuing and waving flags while Rove & Co. are bunkering down as they busily rewrite the laws, the latest Supreme Court decision notwithstanding. Ah, to be a fly in that bunker, the gadfly of fame...and we can -- thanks to the satirical play by Hank Bunker, who takes us behind the scenes of the decision-making process of the powers that be. Repeatedly, the Rovian response to criticism or exposure of this administration's shenanigans is to shoot the messenger. This week's victim was The New York Times, which divulged an "open secret," and which leads former editor Deck Deckert to share his concerns about the administration's attacks on the media and democracy, even though there is little new in these stories. The "free press" has been raped and has been whoring to power for as long as America has existed (does America exist?). Philip Greenspan reminds us that in this flag-waving narrative George W. Bush is the latest in a lineage of warmonger presidents.

Open parenthesis: (What should one do if one of us were abducted by the evilish other side? The response, according to the Israeli humanitarian, civilized, benevolent, moral, and of course, oh-so-democratic side, is to abduct 20 or more politicians, bomb the hell out of the Satan, destroy half the electrical grid, kill with little mercy, and claim that one is still the aggrieved party. And, you know what, these "civilized" people can get away with it. Hey, let's barbecue. No time to think when one can have fun.) Closed parenthesis.

In the meantime, the only souls held accountable in the debacle we've made of Iraq are the soldiers driven to (or led to?) commit atrocities toward Iraqi civilians. Michael Doliner's article, A Day In The Life, should be required reading for those waging and carrying out war, as it gives life to those who are dehumanized and so dismissively killed. Gerard Donnelly Smith has one word for all this mayhem: Apocalypse, a very American cultural trait -- rapture is fast becoming an American science.

There are, thankfully, those who endeavor to not play the game (an endangered species?). Martin Murie reports from a conference of Nature and Environmental Writers, and imagines what could be done for our ecosystem with the billions of dollars spent on preemptive warfare. Adopting Milo Clark's view that there is life in everything would be a major step toward that shift in priorities, whether one is religious or not -- and one definitely does not have to be religious-minded to grok Milo Clark.

Charles Marowitz shares some thoughts on an endangered being near to his heart, William Shakespeare, who is co-opted by contemporary culture, and Peter Byrne reviews the work of Turkey's greatest living writer Orham Pamuk within the realm of contemporary Turkish politics. Guido Monte gives us poetry for the ages in just a flash of life, and we close with your letters with advice on snake handling and fundraising; support for Ward Churchill and intellectual freedom; charges of misogyny regarding Marowitz on Coulter, and more.

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


America: Myths and Realities

Hank Bunker:  "Lemon Head"

A conference room. Seated at the table in business attire are BOB (40s), MARLENE (30s), LEMON HEAD (40s), and, seated apart from the rest and augmenting her business suit with a colorful ethnic headdress, is SUSAN, a 50ish woman. PETE, a physically imposing guy of 50, steps to the head of the table.   More...


Deck Deckert:  Swift Boating The Media

The New York Times and a few other papers have finally begun, however timidly, to act like newspapers, and the Bush administration and Republicans have erupted with massive fury.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Singing Off Key In The Choir

It's an ironic juxtaposition ideally fashioned for the sarcasm, satire, and wit of H. L. Mencken! It's the richest most powerful country on earth. Its educated citizens are governed by the foremost democracy so they claim. Yet, from amongst its vast population whom do they choose for its president? An incompetent fool! But instead of grieving or crying in chagrin at the thought that they and their fellow citizens put a doofus in office, they crack jokes about him and laugh. They should be yelling, screaming, and taking to the streets to overturn this atrocity, as Venezuelans and Bolivians have done.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Doliner:  A Day In The Life

What must life be like for an Iraqi resistance fighter? Let us try to imagine it. He is part of a small band, perhaps six or seven other men who move in and out of the city of their birth. They have had little training and know only one thing, how to set off Improvised Explosive Devices.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Insurgent Word: Apocalypse

Billy Pilgrim's universe has already ended, "not with a whimper, but with a bang"; thus revelations become things remembered rather than things to begin.   More...


How NOT to play The Game

Martin Murie:  Endangered Species Fantasy

It was a good conference; poets and scholars and teachers gathered to honor Rachel Carson and Henry Thoreau, the fourth such gathering organized by NEW-CUE (Nature and Environmental Writers -- College and University Educators) at Boothbay Harbor, Maine.   More...


Milo Clark:  My Buddha

Okay, any Buddhists worth their salt know that saying My Buddha is showing a somewhat unusual understanding of Gautama Buddha's teachings, at least as I am aware of them.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Demise Of The Bard

In the film version of Hamlet released in 2000, writer-director Michael Almereyda set Shakespeare's play in a bustling, modern-day, New York corporate world.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Orhan Pamuk: A Novelist Where The Currents Cross

Sisli is an Istanbul neighborhood close to the water on the European side of the Bosphorus. It has all the smudged and outdated modern appurtenances you might find in a Balkan capital. But it differs in the zest of its dominant population, the brash new Turkish middle class.   More...



Guido Monte and Vittorio Cozzo:  Three Thousand Worlds

For a long time I had collected
what Vittorio was telling me on the phone
about his dreams—   More...


Letters to the Editor


On defending against rattlesnakes and PayPal; the defense of intellectual freedom and Ward Churchill; Thomas Jefferson gets credit for a Swans quotation; Swans is criticized for Ann Coulter misogyny; the closing of the Coalition for International Justice; and thoughts on Israel's enlightened democracy.   More...



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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: July 5, 2006