Note from the Editors

First they came for the music critics... eventually, all dissent was suppressed. Sounds far-fetched, perhaps, but one cannot dismiss the importance of critics, when the arts both reflect the political environment and influence the social climate. Take Charles Marowitz, who reviews theatre, music, books, film, contemporary culture, and politics, all with a keen insight and a sharp wit. In an era of instant messaging, sound-bite news, faux-reality TV, and literally shrinking newspapers (case in point, The New York Times), hard-cutting news and analyses are a disappearing commodity. We the People have become myopic, accepting the hyperbole funneled into our brains and handing over the Constitution to a government with no verifiable ethics. Carol Warner Christen invokes Kurt Vonnegut's chronosynclastic infundibulum, and her own art, to make the case. One doesn't have to step too far back to see just how far the post-9/11 power and liberties grab has reached; Jan Baughman puts just some of the grim pieces together in a compact overview. Remember the saying, "Keep Hope Alive..."

Speaking of sayings, it's time to set the record straight on the attribution of our masthead aphorism, which came from Swans' founding father, not one of America's. Always, always, check your sources... not to mention your facts, and your spelling. Gilles d'Aymery writes quite a few blips on the consequences of inaccuracy, from the trivial -- Bruce Anderson's dead man singing; the not-so-trivial -- Alex Cockburn's denial of our crumbling roads; to the lethal -- the "territory of lies" that embodies the Iraq affair in the name of our so-called vital interests. Even Mr. Bush is invoking Vietnam, without understanding the irony therein, to justify our continued occupation of the country. Meantime, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to escalate under the radar screen. Philip Greenspan discusses The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, a book whose publication he likens to Israel and its 1948 War of Independence to what the Pentagon Papers were to the U.S. and its Vietnam debacle. Whether it's control of land, oil, gold, water, the same story line of corporate greed, human exploitation, and environmental destruction is repeated -- Martin Murie shines the light on Newmont Mining's havoc wreaked on Peru.

Circling back to where we started and the inseparable ties between art and culture, Peter Byrne continues his political satire, this time on our terrorism paranoia; Marie Rennard weaves a colorful tale of a modern-day saxophone-playing Pied Piper of sorts; Peter Byrne also reviews a book on the cultural clashes among immigrants (Black Salt, Illegal Tales), and Guido Monte and Francesca Saieva turn their poetic and artistic attention to our blindness/sleeping in the face of world chaos.

As always, please form your OWN opinion, and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.

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Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Gulag For Critics

First they came for the theatre critics... Will op-ed writers be next, as newspapers downsize and criticism is quelled?   More...


Carol Warner Christen:  Is Life A Set Of Infundibula?

We the People have become myopic, accepting the hyperbole funneled into our brains and handing over the Constitution to a government with no verifiable ethics.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Jan Baughman:  Keeping Hope On Life Support

With the obfuscation of truth, limits to speech, limits to protest, seizing of assets, increasing executions, America's beginning to more like a system of martial law than any kind of recognizable Democracy!   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Check Your Sources
The Real Story Behind Swans Masthead Citation

It's about time that the story of Swans masthead citation be told before it keeps being misattributed to Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and becomes an urban legend.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #57

"Nothing can confound a wise man more than laughter from a dunce."
—Lord Byron, Don Juan

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from fact-checking and spell-checking (or not) on Swans, the AVA, CounterPunch, or The New York Times, with thoughts on the latter's shrunken product; Alexander Cockburn's crumbling-infrastructure denial and Fran Shor's either-or proposition to the matter; to the charitable contributions of socialites vs. a sane tax policy, and more.   More...


Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #58

"He entered the territory of lies without a passport for return."
—Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter

A few additional issues from the Martian desk that focus on Iraq, from the territory of lies and the so-called vital interests of the US -- oil and jobs (with profits for the few) -- to the whole ignominy of this entire nauseating affair.   More...


Middle East

Philip Greenspan:  Is This Not Genocide?

Ilan Pappé's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is to Israel and the 1948 war of independence what the Pentagon Papers were to the U.S. and the Vietnam War.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Martin Murie:  Gold

Mining for gold, and other corporate misdemeanors: From Prince William Sound and the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, to Bhopal and the Union-Carbide poisoning, to Peru and the Newmont Mining company pollution, it's the same story of corporate greed, human exploitation and a promise to clean the environment that is always unfulfilled.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Peter Byrne:  Don't Bite The Dog Please

Reality TV in the post-9/11 era: when will 9/11 cease to have changed everything and give us our paranoia-free lives back? When will the dog learn to walk himself?   More...


Short Story

Marie Rennard:  Guardian Angel

Translated from French, a colorful tale of a saxophone-playing Pied Piper of sorts, who brings to the poor that which was otherwise reserved for the rich.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  A Pinch Of Black Salt
Valentina Loiero's Sale nero, Storie clandestine

Book Review: Friendship with immigrants gives the author their viewpoint and shakes her confidence in her altruism.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte & Francesca Saieva:  Polyhedron n. 8: History Two

Monte and Saieva think their blending experiment about the blindness/sleeping of a lot of us in front of the world chaos, and about a middle class slave of the Leviathan power/state.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Setting the record straight on just how wrong bottled water is; Charles Marowitz on Joe Orton, with some relevant Orton epigrams; a dissenting view on Senator Robert Byrd; and a new Marx exposition at the Bureau of Public Secrets.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: August 27, 2007