Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 19, No. 1, 2020
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nick Catalano
Chris Barry
Don Dewey
Howard Richler
Gary Olson
Lynda Renée
Oslavi Linares
Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
  Music Editors
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Jerry Prindle
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somerville
Mona Eltahawy
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward





Donald Dewey has written some 40 books of fiction and nonfiction, as well as contributed scores of stories to magazines and other periodicals. He has also had some 30 plays staged in Europe and the United States. Dewey was editor of the ASME-award winning magazine Attenzione and was editorial director of the East-West Network, overseeing a dozen in-flight magazines and the PBS organ Dial. His most recent thriller novel is Red Herrings.

No matter that it has been declared the sine non qua of the human condition by millennia of sages, we have never really been comfortable with this self-preservation thing. Not even philosophical endorsements from ancient Greeks, Enlightened Europeans and Hollywood action stars have quite permitted us to feel more representative of instinctual accomplishment than savage impulse. We may accept being part of an aggressive natural flow, but we prefer not to look too closely at all its currents. At their best, self-preservation images are tawdry, at their worst, absolutely cannibalistic. The fittest might survive, but with a residue of melancholy. We wish we could survive in some other way than . . . well, surviving.

Until recently, we have had an even edgier relationship with self-reservation; i.e., where we survive and don't much care who else does. While genetic cousins and also close to each other in popular dictionaries, self-reservation is no mere variation on self-preservation,
but its nemesis. Even in its most brutal formulation self-preservation relies on a social component for defining its parameters, but self-reservation is indebted to no such context. It accepts that no man is an island, but only insofar as even the most remote islands offer no
guarantee against the presence of vegetable and marine life, posing rivals for attention. Self-reservation resents the company. No island can be far enough away.

This makes for a lot of reasons to be wary of self-reservation. Superficially like self-preservation, it has developed in a world of affective relationships; a priori hostility to them or not, they persist, making it an arduous hourly struggle to ignore them as irrelevant. The struggle becomes particularly poignant when family and those who are accused of being loved ones come in. Ultimately, these people may be dispensable according to self-reservation's grand scheme, but how can that be acknowledged without prompting a precipitous
isolation illustrating the adage about being careful about you wish for?

The good news is that self-reservation has been up to that challenge, especially of late. Indeed, it has seized every occasion to assert its presence. The more warnings about global warming, for instance, the more self-reservation has alertly responded to confirm its indifference to what might happen to others another New Year's Eve or two from now. This has included the future generations within its own family orbit, since in the last analysis those people are simply more of ‘them.’ Within this consistency every cold snap just gives the lie to the warming nonsense, too much greenery lays over subterranean fuels wasted on gophers, and Arctic termites have alibis for all the glaciers crashing into the sea. The worst -- the very worst -- that can happen is that the climate warmers are right so great-grandchildren will pick up the tab, and why worry about them since they don't even have names right now.

Self-reservation has also been increasingly active on less hysterical social policy issues. It urges cutting back on medical assistance for those who have not only made the miscalculation of being too poor, but also of being too young, to matter. Guns? Distribute more of them so that the people who don't matter will matter even less as corpses. Wars? They are always the fault of others. Children in cages? If they weren't dangerous, they would
not be there. Self-reservation's fundamental logic: it will never be threatened by the terrorism of community.

The ancient Greeks, Babylonians, and Incas had a word for self-reservation and it wasn't self-preservation.



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Also by Donald Dewey:
Noticing Death
Passive Resistance
Not Playing It Safe
The Expectation Medium
Crisis in Critics
Words Not to Live By
Knowing the Killer
Racism to the Rescue
Punk Times
Not Playing It Safe
Meeting the Author
The Overwriting Syndrome
Writers As Ideas
Let Them Entertain Us
It's a Kindergarten Life
Being and Disconnectedness
History of Humour in the Cinema
Cartoon Power

Red Herrings by DON DEWEY

For years Charley Sylvester has buried himself as the Obituaries Editor of a major New York daily.When he decides to take a vacation in one of his old hunting grounds as a correspondent in Italy, the bodies resist complacent editing. Surrounded by suicides and murders, he finds himself in the middle of political intrigues involving three countries andold friends who are no longer the friends he remembered.

Trade Paperback - 6 x 9 x 9
360 Pages
FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Private Investigators











Arts & Opinion, a bi-monthly, is archived in the Library and Archives Canada.
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