Note from the Editors

You almost have to laugh at the irony, except that it's so un-funny, watching the citizens of the U.S. applaud the protests and political change spreading throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East with demands for decent wages, labor reform, and fair elections, while those very "democratic" ideals are vanishing from sea to shining American sea... They say that anything's possible in America, and we're proving them right! For example, Jan Baughman considers two seemingly unrelated current events that are turning points in the future of the labor movement: Watson the computer's Jeopardy! victory over the show's two winningest mortals, and the governor of Wisonsin's attempt to strip public sector labor unions (except for those that supported him) of collective bargaining rights. Gilles d'Aymery also captures the irony -- and the hypocrisy -- delving further into his analysis of the changes sweeping the globe and answering his neo-Malthusian critics on the myth of food shortages and overpopulation, with some thoughts on moral philosophy, and more. For his part of the equation, Michael Barker examines the neoconservative approach to exporting democracy and the development of the military-peace nonprofit complex -- a critical development to be aware of as unrest escalates, from Wisconsin to oil-rich Libya. And while Ghana's politicians continue to give away the country's valuable resources while letting its people suffer, they have the gall to ask for pay raises. Not so, warns Femi Akomolafe, who offers a proposal for the betterment of the country and its children. If all this turmoil makes you want to dig yourself a hole and disappear from the outside world, well, Bo Keeley's done just that, and he explains how to create your own underground sanctuary.

Reaching for the book, Peter Byrne was hungry for the next great American novel, Jonathon Franzen's Freedom; what he got instead was fodder for the great American book review -- a delightful must-read (Byrne, not Franzen). Fabio De Propris, meanwhile, conjures up a short story of a girl troubled by what lurked underground and her mother's actions that turn things around. Reporting from the music world, Isidor Saslav treats us to the operatic works of John Adams, including Nixon in China; and on the news front, Charles Marowitz laments the disappearance of Keith Olbermann and his astute commentary. Shakespeare meets Marx in Maxwell Clark's thesis on the tempest of capital, and Claudine Giovannoni & Guido Monte's poetic verse illuminates the fact that by seeing the unity of the whole, you can no longer hate. As always, we close with your letters -- which we love to receive, whether praise or critique.

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America: Myths & Realities

Jan Baughman:  Watson And Wisconsin

The author contemplates what Watson and Wisconsin have in common for the future of the American worker.   More...


Tidbits Flying Across the Martian Desk

Gilles d'Aymery:  Blips #105

A few selected issues that landed on the Editor's desk, from the racist attitude toward Arabs suddenly seen as dignified humans like us, the years-long struggle of the northern Africa labor movement, a response to a neo-Malthusian letter-writer on the cause of rising food prices, and more on moral philosophy.   More...


Patterns Which Connect

Michael Barker:  The Velvet Slipper And The Military-Peace Nonprofit Complex

The neoconservative approach to promoting democracy.   More...


Femi Akomolafe:  Ghana MPs Clamor For Higher Pay!

The author calls for a 20-year emergency in Ghana to focus on education so that the next generation can improve living conditions and manage the country's vast resources that the professional politicians are giving away.   More...


Bo Keeley:  I'm Beginning To Think Like Them

The author describes his less-than-conventional home below the surface of Sand Valley, California, near the Chocolate Mountain Bombing Range.   More...


Hungry Man, Reach For The Book

Peter Byrne:  Jonathan Franzen's Great American Doorstop

Peter Byrne writes the Great American Book Review on a novel of lesser but lengthier impact, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom.   More...


Short Story

Fabio De Propris:  Jessica Preserved

A short story of a troubled girl and her mother's action that turns things around. (Translated by Peter Byrne.)   More...


World of Music

Isidor Saslav:  Nixon In China In Longview

Classical music: John Adams's operas: Finding the right moments.   More...


Arts & Culture

Charles Marowitz:  The Vanished Mr. Olbermann

A tribute to Keith Olbermann, the most astute of all the night-time anchors. How will he fare on current tv?   More...


Maxwell Clark:  The Tempest Of Capital

Karl Marx's Das Kapital paints the most seminal historical analysis of England's transition from precapitalist relations into capitalism proper, which is precisely Shakespeare's innermost problematic.   More...


Multilingual Poetry

Claudine Giovannoni & Guido Monte:  Tamah (Darkness)

By seeing the unity of the whole, you cannot hate any more.   More...


Letters to the Editor


Praise for Gilles d'Aymery's recent Blips on Egypt, unedited words from Granta to satisfy Peter Byrne, and a correction -- not a carp -- on Byrne's London Laughing.   More...


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SWANS - ISSN: 1554-4915
Created: February 28, 2011