Happy News! Thanks to an amazingly generous donation from Dr. Richard Maguire we have met our fundraising goal of $5,000. Our deepest thanks to him, and our expression of gratitude goes to all of you who gave what you could. Your generosity will allow us to redouble our efforts and keep Swans alive and well in 2008.


Note from the Editors

Have the neocons joined forces with the "liberal" media, or vice versa? To hear that William "bomb Iran" Kristol is joining the insipid Roger Cohen, the sanctimonious David Brooks, and the insufferable Thomas Friedman in The New York Times' Op-Ed quiver to become the fourth arrow of a reactionary quartet gives credence to Kristol's opinion that the paper of the East Coast Establishment "is irredeemable." Bring back TimesSelect so we can opt out! Even our Infamous Predictions™ could not have imagined such an obnoxious bit of news -- better stick to our yearly predictions! At least they bring laughter to the rescue, and they are followed by Carol Warner Christen's own wish list for 2008. If change can happen at the paper of record why not at Swans? Gilles d'Aymery has a message for our readers. Like at the Gray Lady, change is in the offing, though at a much more modest level.

We begin the New Year with an excellent assortment of essays, starting with a heartfelt remembrance of writer Ivan Gold by Charles Marowitz that serves as an inspiration to read his works and a reminder to appreciate the deep bonds of friendship. On the political front, Jan Baughman ponders the implications of America's regressive acts and oxymoronic acronyms, and Martin Murie imagines the dodo on the back of Interior Director Dirk Kempthorne, who has broken James Watt's esteemed record on protection of species. Michael Doliner provides a comprehensive overview of the beliefs of Sunnis compared to Shi'ites, the latter being closer to the medieval philosophy of Leo Strauss, which does not bode well for a successful outcome to America's meddling in Iraq. Gerard Donnelly Smith examines contradictory evidence to General Petraeus's claims on the "success" of the surge. And with only a few days remaining until the beginning of the end of the perpetual 2008 US presidential election campaign (i.e., the Iowa caucuses), Philip Greenspan adds his perspective on the charade of change, and it ain't pretty!

Far from that political burlesque road show, Isidor Saslav reports on his recent trip to attend the Spanish Cinema Now film festival and take a musical tour of New York; Peter Byrne reviews What Is The What, The Autobiography Of Valentino Achak Deng; Marie Rennard shares the rare moments of "fun" in her otherwise mundane life as a housewife and mother; and the always creative Guido Monte and Francesca Saieva share old ideas about woman's enigma in their multilingual poetry.

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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Swans' Definite Predictions

SWANS:  2008 Predictions

Swans 2008 Infamous Predictions™ are irreverent as ever, with no stone left unturned nor politician untouched; from the Pope to the US presidential candidates; political dalliances and conversions; war and peace; and everything silly in between.   More...


Carol Warner Christen:  Infamously Incredible Predictions For 2008

The author's 2008 predictions read as a wish list for peace, civility, democracy, and the end of corpocracy in the New Year.   More...


2008 Evolution (Not Intelligent Design)

Gilles d'Aymery:  Message To Our Readers

Swans has some minor changes beginning in 2008, with some new services added and obsolete ones discontinued so that we can maintain our focus on providing quality content in an ad-free, subscription-free environment.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  Parting Words

On the death of writer Ivan Gold, Charles Marowitz shares the joy of his closest friendship and the profound grief over the loss of the one who defined his very being.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Jan Baughman:  Acrimonious Acronyms And The USA FUBAR

America's oxymoronic acronyms for its repressive laws, such as the USA PATRIOT ACT enabling wiretapping, detention, and the like, show how the country is fast becoming FUBAR.   More...


Martin Murie:  Dodo Lives

In memory of Charles L. Dodgson, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, who was a stammerer and often referred to himself as Do-do-dodgson, and who brought the dodo to life in the episode known as The Caucus Race, a political satire.   More...


Michael Doliner:  Of Sunnis, Shi'ites, And Strauss

Through understanding the beliefs of and differences between Sunni and Shia, one can see that a democratic government will not work, and the war on Iraq has unleased tremendous sectarian unrest that will be difficult to conquer.   More...


Gerard Donnelly Smith:  The Insurgent Word: Surge

As the debate on the success or failure of the military surge in Iraq continues, Iraqi civilians continue to flee Baghdad and the casualties are still mounting.   More...


US Elections & Democracy

Philip Greenspan:  No Beauty Will Win The Beauty Contest

The endless 2008 US presidential election coverage leads the public to believe that change is in their control, yet the establishment will ensure that the existing political system remains unless popular conflagration demands otherwise.   More...


The World of Music

Isidor Saslav:  Five Films, Three Operas, And A Mystery Symphony In New York

The author reports on his recent trip to attend the Spanish Cinema Now film festival and take a musical tour of New York.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  On The Dinka Express
Dave Eggers's What Is The What, The Autobiography Of Valentino Achak Deng

Account, relayed by the author, of a child's hardship in Africa and new life in America.   More...


Humor with a Zest

Marie Rennard:  Priapic And Libidinous

A housewife finds humor in the smallest things, like having to explain 'priapic' to her 11-year-old son -- or avoiding doing so, as the case may be.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte & Francesca Saieva:  Journey To The Sleep Doors: Sybilla

Monte and Saieva run through old ideas about the woman's enigma and her archetypal signs.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
URL: http://www.swans.com/library/past_issues/2008/080101.html
Created: December 31, 2007 - January 1, 2008