Note from the Editors

Perhaps it was an omen that on this Easter weekend it snowed in Crawford, Texas. Was God telling George he'd better heed the warnings about climate change? Or was he telling Cindy Sheehan and the gang at Camp Casey that the troops will come home...when hell freezes over? Undaunted by the climate, political and otherwise, Mr. Bush attended Easter services at Fort Hood, the largest Army base in the world, just 50 miles from his ranch...and prayed for peace. How would Martin Luther King, Jr., respond to such dichotomies if he were alive today? Gilles d'Aymery can only imagine, as he considers the "progress" America has made in the 40 years since Rev. King's death. One has to ask, as does Carol Warner Christen, how did we get here, and how do we get our liberties back? Carol has some insights into this system in which corporations are persons, people are commodities, and war is profitable. One such paradigm can be seen in the juxtaposition of the prison-industrial complex and the agricultural industry, where able bodies are desperately needed to replace the displaced migrant workers. Jan Baughman takes a sardonic look at American ingenuity at its finest -- or worst, if you will.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, is Mr. Bush planning the next democracy-spreading incursion over Easter dinner of ham and grits? Milo Clark, along with Seymour Hersh, has some somber thoughts on the fate of Iran. It is apropos then to read Philip Greenspan's recommended documentaries, John Pilger's The New Rulers of the World and Ward Churchill's Perpetual War among them.

As for culture, a must-read review of a must-avoid film is brought to us by Charles Marowitz, whose sharp wit and cutting humor would give its director pause before entertaining a sequel. Peter Byrne covers a submerged anti-novel of an Italian man's 1975 journey to America to check his culture dream against the real thing, and Isidor Saslav tells of the history of the cello, its emergence as a solo instrument, and the recently celebrated works of Beethoven and Offenbach. The lyrical poetry of Guido Monte (with a drawing by Giuseppe Quattrocchi) and Marie Rennard (in French, with an English introduction to polesy by Gilles d'Aymery) follow, along with Aaron Karmin's musings on the mass produced reality of modern life, and your letters.

A special word of thanks to Michael DeLang & Phyllis Feigenbaum, and Donna J. Warren for their very generous financial contributions to our efforts. We've had to replace our scanner recently and just ordered a much needed new (though refurbished) computer. This could not be done without readers' loyal support. Please help us.

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

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Patterns which Connect

Gilles d'Aymery:  Questioning Forty Years Of Optimism
From Riverside Church to Guantánamo Bay

In the context of contemporary spirituality and militarism, decreasing liberties and widening racial and financial divides, humanitarian and planetary emergencies, it is poignant to consider how Martin Luther King, Jr. would react if he were alive to witness what had become of his dream.   More...


Carol Warner Christen:  How Did This Happen?

On the convoluted evolution of humanity in which laissez faire policies led to exploitation of workers; corporations were redefined as persons; and the militarization of the United States government is dismantling the Bill of Rights in the name of the War on Terror.   More...


Jan Baughman:  American Ingenuity And The Immigration Problem

With the War on Immigration and the War on Terror creating shortages of able-bodied men in both the harvest fields and battlefields, there's only one logical and cost-effective way to meet the quotas: prison labor.   More...


Milo Clark:  Seymour Hersh, A Closet Swans Scanner?

Is the American/Saudi/Israeli strategy intent on breaking up Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran into splinter states organized along sectarian lines, and with limitless funds for covert actions against Iran reminiscent of Iran-Contra?   More...


Philip Greenspan:  A Cornucopia Of Reality Via The Video

Antiwar activist Philip Greenspan recommends several documentaries, including John Pilger's The New Rulers of the World and Ward Churchill's Perpetual War: State Sponsored Terrorism & the Limits of Academic Dissent.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Ancient Grease

A review of Zack Snyder's epic film300, an intellectually contemptible, cinematically flamboyant, pro-war movie that aggrandizes slaughter and the triumph of good over evil and is therefore destined for box-office success, though not critical acclaim.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  A Long Ago Summer That Never Was

This submerged anti-novel that would have been better served as a memoir chronicles an Italian young man's 1975 journey to America to check his culture dream against the real thing, a dream that lives on in Italian youth today despite the contradiction of European anti-Americanism.   More...


The World of Music

Isidor Saslav:  The Day Of The 'Cello

Recent concerts in the deep American South highlighted that most glamorous of string instruments, the cello. One festival featured all of Beethoven's works for cello and piano in two concerts, à la Bayreuth. The other brought together no fewer than 6 cellists to play together a work by a composer more famous for his operas, Jacques Offenbach.   More...



Guido Monte & Francesca Saieva:  Maecho, filisika (Echoes, rundown)

Guido Monte and Francesca Saieva turn to Qoelet's thoughts, trying to distinguish suffering, fatalism...and what life is expecting from us.   More...


Marie Rennard:  A Paolo Conte

A deep melodic poem, or "polesy," whose harmonious sonority can only be experienced in the French language. (With an editorial introduction in English.)   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Aaron Karmin:  Progress

A work of creative nonfiction that explores the overcomplicated, mass produced reality of modern life: Capitalist propaganda has created a pact with materialism that stifles creativity, independence, and growth, while few seek the unique and ordinary experiences that provide depth and enrichment.   More...


Letters to the Editor


While working to amend California's Three Strikes Law, Donna J. Warren sends her generous support to Swans, questioning who does and does not enlist in the military; some thoughts on Stephen Colbert, George W. Bush, and war as a malady and the folly of fools; John D. Rockefeller's raw power fueled by oil and war, and more.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: April 9, 2007