[Marxism] Swans Release: July 18, 2011

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jul 17 19:31:32 MDT 2011


Welcome to Swans Commentary http://www.swans.com/ July 18, 2011

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Note from the Editors:   It's a disgraceful era for journalism; the 
latest transgression being Rupert Murdoch's phone hacking and bribery 
scandal, whose tentacles appear to have reached from the U.K. to the 
U.S. No amount of full-page mea culpa ads and resignations can keep this 
story off the front page, except for that of the News of the World, of 
course. Will The Wall Street Journal and Fox News escape untarnished? 
Enquiring minds want to know; meantime, The New York Times, itself not 
scandal-free, has been working to reinvent, reimagine, and reorganize 
itself. Gilles d'Aymery wishes they would reinvent themselves back to 
their previous iteration when the line between journalism and opinion 
was clear. He critiques the changes, as well as the bad treatment he 
received from its public editor, Arthur Brisbane, in an exchange related 
to The Times Web site scrubbing, an issue that Swans Editor takes quite 
seriously -- so seriously that he wrote a letter to Mr. Brisbane that 
was to be published. But was it? Find out that and more on the end of 
America's space program and the beginning of the no-can-do society, the 
corruption from Greece to the US Congress, and the high cost of energy 
conservation. Also taking exception with the paper of record is Harvey 
Whitney, Jr., who challenges Stanley Fish's column "The Triumph of the 
Humanities," arguing that humanistic disciplines that have science as an 
object exist only to demythologize the sciences by questioning the 
cultural importance that they have largely earned.

When the space program was in its infancy and America's can-do spirit 
was soaring, French president Georges Pompidou delivered a prescient 
speech at the Chicago French Alliance during a 1970 trip, warning of the 
consequences of "progress" on the environment and urging that we protect 
our planet. Not only have we ignored his pleas, we've handed those 
protections to the corporations that profit at the planet's expense. 
Perhaps the findings of the Stanford Prison Experiment can help us 
understand why we so easily forfeit our well being and succumb to power. 
Michael Barker continues his analysis of this troubling experiment, 
presenting Part II on undermining prisoner solidarity.

Turning to another Frenchman, Peter Byrne continues his read of Michel 
Houellebecq, who claims his feckless mother threw him away as a baby, 
and like many others before him is convinced that it would have been 
better not to have been born. In a more deeply disturbing mother/son 
story, William Hathaway offers an excerpt from his latest book in which 
a returning soldier, traumatized from the Iraq War, finds comfort in his 
mother's bosom. Next we hear from Femi Akomolafe on Africa's sad history 
of black people doing all the forgiving and forgetting while white 
people continue their rape of its resources.

On a lighter and a musical note, Isidor Saslav examines the mystery of 
Bach's Chaconne and recounts his attendance of first violinist Arnold 
Steinhardt's performance at the Indianapolis Historical Society, while 
Raju Peddada explores the mystic poet and saint of India, Kabir. Guido 
Monte translates into English a fragment of Victor Hugo in old Cantabri 
and not-so-correct Spanish, and we close with your letters.

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Cordially,

Gilles d'Aymery -- Swans

"Hungry man, reach for the book: It is a weapon."  B. Brecht








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