Note from the Editors

Politics and culture -- two interdependent themes that weave through Swans on a biweekly basis, and two themes that typically collide during difficult times, the present being no exception. Perhaps we are finally witnessing an unleashing of the power of the Internet that we expected in the early 1990s, in which the rapid sharing of news and information could alter the global political climate. To wit, the US government can try to cut the financial lifeline of WikiLeaks, but it can't plug the leaks nor make them disappear in an extraordinary rendition; and the Egyptian president can shut down the Internet, but he can't silence the protesters nor can he shelter global observers from the powerful scenes playing out in Cairo. And so on, until we realize that we are witnessing revolutionary changes as the economic divide sends the masses into the streets to demand affordable food, clean water, and decent jobs. Our Editor's Blips address the simple problem whose complex etiology lead to the current outbreak of revolt.

Can it happen here in America? Why not, particularly when one considers President Obama's delusionary State of the Union address, as Gilles d'Aymery does, that mixed Reaganesque optimism with fallacies and falsehoods designed to make us feel good as we empty our pockets to the elites -- and please, he added, be civil about it. Jonah Raskin won't hear of it -- it's not a satirist's job to be civil, just read H. L. Mencken... Nor is it a cartoonist's job to be civil. Jan Baughman pokes fun at the new Republican National Committee chairman, whose name and story rivals that of our Muslim, non-American, Socialist president. Meanwhile, every revolution has its champions and detractors, and Michael Barker reveals that the 1920s sexual revolution was not intended to promote true freedom, especially not for women...we shouldn't be surprised at the intended beneficiary. Nor should we be surprised that Africa's colonial masters are still at the helm -- Femi Akomolafe divulges the fallacy of African independence.

OK, now for some civility, and there's no finer place to start than the beauty of Puccini, whose opera La Fanciulla del West Isidor Saslav considers to be one of his greatest triumphs -- perhaps because its emotional power is paralleled by a play from one of Saslav's other favorites, George Bernard Shaw. Peter Byrne picked up the Autumn 2010 issue of Granta on Pakistan, and his review spans the gamut on civility, from sleepwalking to euthanasia; while Maxwell Clark effloresces over Shelley, with an appeal for input on his "vitalism" project. Guido Monte poetically describes fragments of visions along an endless dreaming time, and we close with your bag of letters.

# # # # #

Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #103

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the Egyptian uprising to the context into which these revolts take place.   More...


America: Myths & Realities

Gilles d'Aymery:  The State Of Delusion

The author considers President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address, long on rhetoric and short on solutions, and wonders if Peter Byrne has it right that Swans should focus on culture and not the political circus controlled by the military-industrial-congressional complex.   More...


Jonah Raskin:  H.L. Mencken And The Cult Of Incivility

President Obama continues his appeal for civility, yet as Jonah Raskin points out, that's not in the satirist's job description; case in point: H. L. Mencken.   More...


Jan Baughman:  Rhymes With Pints: Reince Priebus to the Rescue

Editorial cartoon: The RNC wages a fresh new war on Barack Obama's presidency and introduces its latest leader, Reince Priebus.   More...


Patterns which Connect

Michael Barker:  The First Sexual Revolution And Its Discontents

How the sex freedom of the 1920s sexual revolution was not intended to promote true freedom, especially not for women.   More...



Femi Akomolafe:  Mickey Mouse Independent Nations

Femi Akomolafe debunks the disingenous argument that African colonialists packed their bags and left the continent alone and independent.   More...


World of Music

Isidor Saslav:  Puccini's Female California Orpheus

Classical music: Shaw's Blanco Posnet meets Puccini's Dick Johnson.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Granta Or The Stuttering Corpse

Granta's Autumn 2010 edition on Pakistan has Peter Byrne writing of sleepwalking and euthanasia.   More...


Arts & Culture

Maxwell Clark:  Shelley The Efflorescent

A study of Shelley's relation to the term "efflorescent" and Hegel.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Guido Monte:  atharva veda (time of dreams)

Guido Monte describes fragments of visions, along an endless dreaming time.   More...


Letters to the Editor


On Hans von Sponeck's heartening letter of appreciation to Gilles d'Aymery; hearty agreement with Jan Baughman's life-altering bread-baking experience; and correction of a heart-stopping error in the review of It Walks in Beauty: The Selected Prose of Chandler Davis.   More...


# # # # #

Let us know if you wish to receive an e-mail regarding each new edition (twice a month) with the Note from the Editors, and please become a subscriber. See our Donate page.



« Previous | Current Issue | Next »


SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: January 31, 2011