a TaLe oF TWo MiSSioN STaTeMeNTS

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 Confidence.

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 Quarterly.

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.

An on September 11, 2001, those planes crashing into buildings really drove the point home; though everyone since then hasargued 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 plaît.

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.

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.

Of all the gin joints in all the world, why not check into ours?