a TaLe oF TWo MiSSioN STaTeMeNTS
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?