aBouT uS (oR, WHo
a TaLe oF TWo MiSSioN STaTeMeNTS:
By R. V. B.
FoR ouR ReaDeRS:
I hate mission statements;
they bring to mind grant applications or the first
Blues Bros. movie. That said, when our web designer
declared we needed an editorial or statement of intention,
I said, "okayfine."
Mid-August. Firefighters from
Australia & New Zealand had come to the Pacific
Northwest to help with the various forest fires in
Oregon-and state & federal agencies haggled over
who was going to pay for what. September. 9-11 anniversary
drum rolls on the radio, in print, on television.
Phosphor harvest moons rose up through SUV smog. Halloween
gear in galleria storefronts, along with back-to-school
gear & Christmas decorations. The whole mad reaping
from 15 years of frenzied CEO flopsweat abrogation,
and Dias De Los Muertos-and 9-11, again. We prepared
our premiere Halloween/Dias De Los Muertos issue.
Distributors said they needed more time.
As the cold, dry fall came,
so, too, the demonstrations. Smart mobs, the Generation
Txt, gathered in Seattle, Portland, S.F., L.A., &
New York & Chicago & D.C. every Friday. 100,000
people gathered in D.C. to protest Bush's unilateral
Iraq policy, & the New York Times & NPR gathered
to downgrade the assembled to 10,000 & packed
their bags to go home just as the demonstration began.
A terrorist bombing in Bali
killed over 200 nightclubbers-Asians, Australians
(54 confirmed dead), Europeans, a few Americans. (It
wasn't about the oil.)
Elections called for next
Spring in Israel after Sharon received Votes of No
A famous Booker-short-listed
Canadian author of Indian descent cut off a major
US book tour, after being subjected to racial profiling
at each airport.
A CIA spy plane killed Al-Qaeda
terrorists in Yemen.
As we go to press in November
of 2002, a US election is held among drum rolls for
another war with Iraq, & the SEC commissioner
resigns-the polls neck-&-neck-not everyone in
the US seemed to sign off on a unilateral war, after
all. Yet Bush won the House & Senate.
The magazine you now hold
is having its Groundhog Day debut. Groundhog Day,
February 2 nd, 2003. February 2nd is also a major
Brazilian holiday, birthday of the major Candomblé
goddess. So does the groundhog see peace or bombs?
Does the Brazilian Candomblé goddess depart
from the earth, back to sea or sky, in disgust? Or
does she stay for Carnivale?
People have talked about the
Global Village since the 1960s. Yet American culture
tends to be schizoid, simultaneously Multi-Kulti and
Isolationist. We tend not to engage in international
dialogue-witness the English Only movements. (Americans
aren't the only ones; the French have managed to be
even more hysterical about dangers to the mother tongue.
And French Canadians, even worse.) Yet there are Americans
who are bilingual or multilingual.
There are a few good forums
that present writing from around the world. But things
inevitably do get lost in translation. And there are
censorship issues, either due to political or sexual
content-Gore Vidal's latest essay collection addresses
an appalling & very recent case in point.-But
to paraphrase an Irish proverb, it gets worse before
it gets worse.
As part of the U.S.A. Patriot
Act, Section 215, the U.S. government claims the right
to examine any & all bookstore, library, and newspaper
records, to see who is reading what-and booksellers
& librarians & newspaper editors contacted
by the Patriots at Justice & the FBI have no right
to discuss this with anyone, not even an attorney.
However, when the House Judiciary Committee asked
Ashcroft if Section 215 had been used to seize records
from bookstores, libraries, or newspapers, the Justice
Department dragged its heels for months; and then
in late July Asst. Attorney General Daniel J. Bryant
replied that the answers were classified.
Now, more than ever, it is
important to keep your ear to the ground, to listen,
to watch, to read. To read everything. Hence, Gobshite
Why Gobshite? It is a word
that gives offense to some. But one must hesitate
before giving in to the easily-offended. By controlling
speech, one controls thought; why else would the censors
be so vigorously censorious? Wasn't it Pulitzer who
said journalism should comfort the afflicted &
afflict the comfortable?
Gobshite is used primarily
in Ireland & England; one dictionary, I forget
which, lists Gobshite as a "pernicious blatherskite,
a contemptible person." On BBC America, &
according to friends living in the U.K., the word
is freely used, sometimes as a verb or adjective,
and usually not without some grudging affection. The
etymology listed in the American Heritage Dictionary
of the English Language, 4th Ed., refers to a wad
of expectorated chaw, and to the Middle English shiten.
According to OED online, the U.S. Navy used Gobshyte,
in 1910. Again, according to OED online, at the time
of Adm. Perry's expedition to Asia, the "Orientals"
called the American sailors Gobshites.
Gobshite Quarterly exists
in a world where people listen to the news and say
to each other that what they have just heard is complete
bullshit or gobshite, and even if these skeptics are
not exactly right, they're not wrong. If Cocteau was
alive, he might be tempted to define the news as the
truth that tells a lie.
And on September 11, 2001,
those planes crashing into buildings really drove
the point home; though everyone since then has argued
about the point. And for those who continued to ignore
the point a bomb went off on a resort island in Indonesia
& killed over 200 tourists & locals. This
is the Global Village, and any magazine operating
within its borders should present the best writing
from everywhere within it.
And to truly present the best
writing from around the world, works originally written
in a foreign language ought to be published bilingually,
or sometimes trilingually....
And this we do. English is the lingua franca (except
in the Arab world, where French still holds sway),
though it is only one language. Our 1st & 2nd
issues so far feature Czech, Hungarian, French, Lebanese,
Palestinian, Mexican, & Argentine writing, as
well as British, Australian, and American....
And a personal to Cokie Roberts: Take a look at the
child prodigy Paul Krassner's Irony Lives!, s'il vous
This, our 1st, is the Groundhog
Day, 2003 issue. Our 2nd, Cinco De Mayo, 2003. Our
3rd, Bastille Day, 2003. Our 4th, Halloween/Dia De
Los Muertos. Thereafter, we do it again.
Think of GobQ & Gobshite Quarterly as your Rosetta
Stone for the New World Order. - R.V.B.
FoR ouR CoNTRiBuToRS:
To honor the integrity of
the author's vision & intention, & not let
editorial sensibilities be ruled by considerations
of sexual or political content, or by political correctness
or cant in any guise. (For further information &
guidelines, visit our website, or write.)
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