Note from the Editors

With the US Congress back from summer vacation, rested and ready to mark that September anniversary and once again embrace Mr. Bush's newest "New Way Forward" in Iraq, we'll leave the commentating to the usual drum-beaters and begin instead on a different path, with our Martian blips on Isidor and Ann Saslav's concert series honoring the 100th anniversary of composer Edvard Grieg's death and some thoughts on the people's tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, who passed away on September 6. On a lighter note, we share a fabulous little software discovery on how to block those annoying Web ads, rendering sites virtually commercial-free...almost like Swans!; a hot tip on subsidized fluorescent light bulbs and some capitalist irony therein; and a concerto of contrasts between a multi-millionaire purse dog and the multi-millions of Americans in poverty and lacking health care.

How human beings can permit such disparities may be explained by the famous Stanley Milgram experiments in which willing subjects delivered near-lethal shocks, or so they thought, to subjects who erred on a memory test. Ted Dace relates the study's conclusion, that the conscience is rendered superfluous in the presence of authority, to the larger experiment known as capitalism. Carol Warner Christen offers a mea culpa for the mess we're in, as she always seems to get the blame. She has some simple thoughts for change, if you give her a listen. Our war-embroiled condition results from the oft-touted protection of our national interests, yet those interests are not generally yours or mine, and they're certainly not Philip Greenspan's. Read for yourself, and tell him what you think. Ethanol is another "national interest" myth, and Jan Baughman demonstrates that it doesn't take much digging to unearth the special interests that are driving us down this misguided path, with a case study of the organization Ethanol Across America.

In the cultural corner, resident critic Charles Marowitz examines radio's Stephanie Miller, the so-called liberal antidote to Rush Limbaugh, and his prognosis is not good. As usual, his biting commentary is entertaining, even if you're not familiar with Miller's show. Our local mammalogist, Martin Murie, shares stories and a photo from his rookie days in the field collecting animals and counting road kill, and Peter Byrne's reality TV segment adapts our war-mongering attitudes to the neighborhood level, where you pray the guy next door isn't armed. Peter also gives us another look at music in the form of the legendary Sam Cooke, who subverted his race to be accepted by white audiences. Finally, the lyrical poems of Marie Rennard and Guido Monte (with drawing by Giuseppe Quattrocchi) and your letters complete this edition.

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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Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #59

"Penso che una vita per la musica sia una vita spesa bene ed è a questo che mi sono dedicato."

"I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent and this is what I have devoted my life to."
—Luciano Pavarotti (1935 - 2007)

A few selected tidbits that landed on the editor's desk, from applauding Ann and Isidor Saslav and their piano and violin, to mourning Luciano Pavarotti, a Maestro once met in Manhattan; FINALLY finding a way to block those excretable commercials and ads on Web sites; to the best in California capitalism, where the People subsidize their own energy savings as their electric company raises their rates; and contrasting a 12-million dollar bequest to a purse dog with the number of uninsured and poor people in America and the conditions of our education system.   More...


America: Myths and Realities

Ted Dace:  The Experiment Requires That You Continue

Stanley Milgram's famous experiment on human nature demonstrates the need for anarchist social organization.   More...


Carol Warner Christen:  Mea Culpa

It's not my fault that the world is in the mess it's in, but if you listen to me, perhaps we can make a difference.   More...


Philip Greenspan:  Who Are Your Enemies?

You and I have neither vital interests nor natural enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Iran -- it is the power elite, with their private interests, that profit from endless war.   More...


Jan Baughman:  The Politics And Propaganda Of Ethanol

The promotion of ethanol as a viable alternative fuel is fraught with special interest; case in point: the propaganda of Ethanol Across America.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Send Off The Clowns

The Stephanie Miller Show was intended to provide a liberal antidotte to the likes of Rush Limbaugh; however, Miller's empty levity and sub-sophomoric attempt at humor is one more sign of the impending death of radio.   More...


Martin Murie:  Learning Mammals

Personal account, acting as gofer for a mammalogy class.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Peter Byrne:  Preemptive Retreat

Homeland Security takes on a new meaning when applied from the front door to the neighborhood kids, as seen from a humorous reality TV perspective.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  A Dream Deferred
Peter Guralnick's Dream Boogie, The Triumph Of Sam Cooke

Book Review: Great black gospel singer becomes a national pop star by playing down his racial identity.   More...



Marie Rennard:  A Cross-Legged Night And Les Arbres De Tom

A poem of darkened nights and tangled trees, confident that their roots will keep them standing until the moon returns.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  Incertitude/Soledad (Doubt/Solitude)

Monte describes two parallel "blended" visions: cosmos' beauty and man's existential trouble...on this way, also a detailed fragment of Giuseppe Quattrocchi.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Further recommendations on Charles Marowitz's analysis of the crisis in criticism; a suggestion to minimize the crisis of copy editing; a few aphorisms from down under; and the author of Sale nero writes a friendly response to Peter Byrne's review of her book.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: September 10, 2007