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Jan Klimkowski
09-17-2009, 05:55 PM
I've taken the liberty of moving discussion of The Deer Hunter to this dedicated thread.




My mind is drawn to the resonant ending of Cimino's masterly The Deer Hunter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtbW-3GZCvM

Agreed, an impressive, even masterly film - on its own terms - dealing as it does with lost innocence and the desperate clinging to patriotism through grave hurt and loss; values that had hitherto always been an unquestioned part of life.

But its those 'terms' that I have an issue with.

To make its point the Vietnamese are portrayed as primitive savages and mere props to the angst of America and Americans trying to do the right thing and being killed, crippled and mentally disabled in the process (Shades of the 'Indian Wars' all over again). Not even a hint that the Vietnamese might have similar issues. I agree there is an attempt at a wider anti-war perspective but IMHO it is largely vitiated by total failure to deal with the war's context and the Vietnamese as human beings racked and savaged by war too - and in their OWN country by invaders to boot. In many ways it epitomises the inability of Hollywood to deal intelligently with America's place in a world. Everything has to be presented through American eyes and judged according to 'American values'.

Similar considerations apply to those other, and otherwise exceptional, films: 'Platoon' and 'Full Metal Jacket'.

There are exceptional films where such issues are less ruinous (The Godfather - 1 & 2 being a couple of my favourites) but these days I have to have a film on major recommendation from someone I trust before I will give any Hollywood output the time of day.

Jan Klimkowski
09-17-2009, 06:22 PM
Peter - good points.

They make me realize that I view The Deer Hunter primarily as a film about American identity, rather than a Vietnam film.

For me, Apocalypse Now is a Vietnam movie: Conrad's Heart of Darkness meets the Phoenix Program.

Platoon is a Vietnam movie: complete with an ending which is Oliver Stone at his very worst.

I interpret Full Metal Jacket as part of Kubrick's lifelong exploration of Power, Control and the human Psyche. If A Clockwork Orange is about Their attempts to control and channel violence, Full Metal Jacket is about how They create Killers. And what causes Manufactured Killers to break with the conditioning and, potentially, rebel (or not): through Suicide at the end of Part One; and Horror at the end of Part Two.

Joker "mercy" kills the Vietnamese woman. Has he joined the Club? Or rebelled?

The credits roll as Marines exchange their tribal war songs for Disney: Who's the leader of the Club that's made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E!

The scenes set in the Russian American steel community at the heart of The Deer Hunter resonate very strongly with me. I view the movie as the story of a small, insular, community with a strong code of loyalty: the need to belong of outsiders. Suddenly that fundamental, unthinking, automatic, world view is tested by extreme events. The young men sign up to fight for "their country", to prove their loyalty, and end up playing Russian roulette in a rat-infested hellhole. Vietnam only really exists in the Russian roulette pits of the river and Saigon. For me, Vietnam represents a psychological trauma in the journey of these young Russian Americans discovering what is important and what isn't.

And perhaps this is why the one-dimensional portrayal of the Russian roulette game organizers doesn't really bother me. I don't see them as representing the Vietcong. I see them as extreme manifestations of the human condition, which Nicky (Walken) and Mike (DeNiro) are drawn to and repelled by, in their own different ways.

So, I read the end scenes of The Deer Hunter, Nicky's funeral, and the breakfast wake, as being the culmination of this journey into the psyche of these young people and their discovery of deeper meanings of identity, loyalty, love, hate.

Michael has finally brought Nick "home", to the American immigrant steel town in which he was born and raised.

They sit round the kitchen table, struggling to make sense of what they've been through.

"How does everybody want their eggs?"

"God bless America. Land that I love."

A great and ambiguous ending.

Peter Presland
09-17-2009, 06:57 PM
I've taken the liberty of moving discussion of The Deer Hunter to this dedicated thread.

No problem Jan. I know I am inclined to go off at tangents that have nothing to do with the threads headline subjects. :stupido2:

You're next post makes some extremely good and telling points too. In particular, I agree the portrayal and atmospherics of the working class immigrant steel town with their protracted, determined struggles to belong, are quite exceptional. Much the same applies to the rest of the post too

I guess these days my first question about almost anything that comes out of Hollywood is 'What will be its net effect on non-US audiences?' the answer to which is likely to be dramatically influenced by a whole raft of unspoken assumptions about its context. Despite some masterful stuff, along the lines you describe with 'Full Metal Jacket', 'Platoon' and 'Apocalypse now', my feeling is that, on the mass audiences they are aimed at, their effects are largely negative in that they cement - and even glamorise - a pretty orthodox US-centric world view.

Jan Klimkowski
09-17-2009, 07:32 PM
I've taken the liberty of moving discussion of The Deer Hunter to this dedicated thread.

No problem Jan. I know I am inclined to go off at tangents that have nothing to do with the threads headline subjects. :stupido2:

Tangents are good, and to be encouraged.

I dragged The Deer Hunter into that thread, so it's my fault primarily.

That said, there's much important material about Private Military Contractors over there, and starting a dedicated discussion about the movie seemed like the fun option.



You're next post makes some extremely good and telling points too. In particular, I agree the portrayal and atmospherics of the working class immigrant steel town with their protracted, determined struggles to belong, are quite exceptional. Much the same applies to the rest of the post too

I guess these days my first question about almost anything that comes out of Hollywood is 'What will be its net effect on non-US audiences?' the answer to which is likely to be dramatically influenced by a whole raft of unspoken assumptions about its context. Despite some masterful stuff, along the lines you describe with 'Full Metal Jacket', 'Platoon' and 'Apocalypse now', my feeling is that, on the mass audiences they are aimed at, their effects are largely negative in that they cement - and even glamorise - a pretty orthodox US-centric world view.

Although I quite like JFK, Stone's movies have always been problematic. He wrote the script for Midnight Express, which is one of the most unthinkingly racist and Amero/Euro-centric movies ever made by intelligent and talented people.

So, Peter, I would consider Stone most guilty of the sin you describe above. However, I would not regard any of the directors of the movies listed above as Hollywood creatures. Stone was pretty much ostracised after JFK.

Kubrick deserves a thread of his own. He certainly knew a lot of secrets. He may finally have divulged too many in Eyes Wide Shut.

Coppola both worked within the system and bucked it. He was determined to get his cut of Apocalypse Now released, and risked his own cold hard cash to achieve that.

As a documentary maker, and a voracious reader of the various accounts of the making of Apocalypse Now, I am convinced that it was an archetypal product of various artistic minds and psyches. It is not a manufactured Hollywood studio film.

Some of the creative tensions involved in what we know as Apocalypse Now include:

- filming several scenes with Harvey Keitel as Willard, before Coppola fired him, because he was "wrong" for the part;

- the script battles between right-wing Nietzschian John Milius and Coppola, which culminate in Marlon Brando's own tortured take on Kurtz;

- back in California, editing decisions taken primarily by Walter Murch, such as cutting out every shot where Willard smiles or engages empathetically with the young GIs. Apocalypse Now Redux primarily reveals how intuitively correct Murch's editing decisions were.

As for Michael Cimino, he is an American filmmaker. However, I find scenes, moments, which have a more universal, ubiquitous, resonance in his films - just as I do in Japanese, French, Russian, English movies.

Now, if we were talking about Top Gun, I'd agree that the movie is Hollywood at its most imperialistic. A worthless piece of neo-fascist shite.... :vroam:

Magda Hassan
09-18-2009, 12:08 AM
Peter - good points.

They make me realize that I view The Deer Hunter primarily as a film about American identity, rather than a Vietnam film.


What we call the Vietnam War is called by the Vietnamese the American War.

Peter Presland
09-18-2009, 06:53 AM
Jan

A load of good points again. Some giving real pause for thought - especially the Kubrick ones, so thanks for that.

I am inclined to become a bit one-dimensional when it comes to anything remotely connected with propagandising the US/UK and general Western World view and I admit it results in blind spots. My use of the term 'Hollywood' and your observations/definition of it are a case in point.

I am also acutely aware that many of my posts could be viewed as virulently anti-American, whereas that is NOT my intent. Not in the default patriotic sense of a population's loyalties and 'need to belong' so movingly illustrated in the Deer Hunter anyway. It is the Machiavellian agendas and purposes to which such 'patriotism' are harnessed by the State that I am 'Anti' - and pretty much uncompromisingly so - with the US State being at the pinnacle of those agendas and purposes (ably - or not so ably - aided and abetted by the British State and others).

I think I've said this before but no harm repeating: Some of the very best information and criticism of the things I am 'Anti' comes from US citizens and US sites, so America actually leads there too - bit of a paradox isn't it?

David Guyatt
09-18-2009, 10:43 AM
Oddly enough I thought Stone's ending to Platoon was right on the money with Charlie Sheen saying aloud his thoughts he was penning to his Grandmother that "sometimes I thought we were fighting ourselves".

Viewed through the lense of a Jungian shadow journey this would be an accurate statement.

Sadly, however, Uncle and all those who sailed upon her had not the slightest interest in Shadow journeys.

Stone, as a former LARP in Vietnam undoubtedly had, however.

Jan Klimkowski
09-18-2009, 07:07 PM
Oddly enough I thought Stone's ending to Platoon was right on the money with Charlie Sheen saying aloud his thoughts he was penning to his Grandmother that "sometimes I thought we were fighting ourselves".

Viewed through the lense of a Jungian shadow journey this would be an accurate statement.

Sadly, however, Uncle and all those who sailed upon her had not the slightest interest in Shadow journeys.

Stone, as a former LARP in Vietnam undoubtedly had, however.

Here's a rough transcript of Charlie Sheen's voiceover at the end of Platoon:


I think now, looking back,
we did not fight the enemy, we fought ourselves,
and the enemy... was in us.
The war is over for me now,
but it will always be there, for the rest of my days,
as I'm sure Elias will be,
fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called possession of my soul.
There are times since...
I've felt like the child born of those two fathers.
But be that as it may, those of us who did make it...
have an obligation to build again,
to teach to others what we know,
and to try with what's left of our lives...
to find a goodness, and meaning, to this life.

David - the words themselves are fine for the reasons you articulate.

However, aesthetically, at the end of what is - in parts - a fine movie, I always find myself cringing, impelled to throw hard objects at the TV screen.

Charlie Sheen, as an actor and a person, does not possess the gravitas to deliver such words. Willem Dafoe might just have got away with it - but, for me, Sheen Jr cannot.

And artistically, it doesn't need saying. Yes, the words do articulate the narrative journey of the film, but it's so cloying. It's as if Stone is speaking.... very.... slowly..... to.... a.... very.... stupid.... child...

For me, the ending of Platoon is a patronizing lecture, whereas the climax of The Deer Hunter is art, with all its ambiguities and nuances.

Jan Klimkowski
09-18-2009, 07:36 PM
More generally, there is a conflict between art on the one hand, and political truth on the other. Further complicated because art in the service of a political agenda can easily become filthy propaganda, as Leni Riefenstahl proved for all time....

This is hugely complex and I'm busking this in the interests of debate and discussion, which is always dangerous.

However, a movie or a book or a poem or a painting can work as art whilst having politically dodgy elements.

Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness has been much criticized for its portrayal of African "savages". However, it works as art. I'm with the sublime English author Angela Carter, who was in many ways a political artist, in being able to ignore the setting of Heart of Darkness, which is hackneyed to a modern audience, and instead concentrating on its deep themes, its profound journey.

Similarly, the movie Man on Fire is prima facie racist in its representation of Mexicans. However, Denzel Washington's portrayal of the broken shell of a deep black assassin, and his character's act of selflessness at the climax of the movie, works as art. I never thought I would like a Tony Scott movie, but Man on Fire has some great scenes.

Against that, I find Midnight Express, made by the impeccably left-wing trio of Alan Parker, David Puttnam and scriptwriter Oliver Stone, to be an unwatchable racist horrorshow from first frame to last, failing utterly both artistically and politically.

I also fully accept that we all have our own idiosyncratic response to films, books, paintings etc.

For instance, I consider Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow to be that rare thing: a work of artistic and political genius, and have read its 760 dense pages eight times forward and twice backwards.

Most readers don't get beyond the first 100 pages of Gravity's Rainbow...

Charles Drago
09-18-2009, 07:37 PM
Peter, Jan, et al,

I can't resist chiming in on this wonderfully illuminating and challenging thread.

If we reject the either/or, this/that approach to arts criticism, I believe we arrive at the realization that The Deer Hunter is indeed, as Jan notes, ambiguous in its messages. And ambiguity often reflects the artist's own multiplicities of viewpoints and values.

I read Cimino's ending as a terribly depressing testament to the power of tribalism. What did any of the characters -- with the exception of Nick and in particular Michael and Steve -- learn from the horrors they experienced? That in the end, country endures?

Only Nick recognized what he saw when the curtain briefly parted. One of the most telling scenes in this regard takes place when Nick, in a Saigon hospital, is asked by an attending physician who his reading his chart, "Is that a Russian name?"

Nick laughs and cries at the grossest stupidity -- at the same stupidity evinced by the Johnny Mann singers at film's end.

The tag that I currently use for my posts speaks to this theme:

If an individual, through either his own volition or events over which he had no control, found himself taking up residence in a country undefined by flags or physical borders, he could be assured of one immediate and abiding consequence: He was on his own, and solitude and loneliness would probably be his companions unto the grave.

For the purposes of our discussion, I ask that you appreciate novelist James Lee Burke's words on the literal level. Nick indeed took up residence in that flagless, borderless country. For him, the solitude and loneliness were preferrable to the communal fire.

As for my interpretation of Cimino at film's end: The director very well might scoff at an appreciation that so broadly misses his intentions. I would respond by noting that often times artists are the last to realize what they really mean.

Jan Klimkowski
09-18-2009, 08:18 PM
Peter, Jan, et al,

I can't resist chiming in on this wonderfully illuminating and challenging thread.

Charles - I've always shared your view that DPF should be a place where art and politics can be discussed and argued over.

Welcome to this thread. I was hoping you'd show up. :bandit:


If we reject the either/or, this/that approach to arts criticism, I believe we arrive at the realization that The Deer Hunter is indeed, as Jan notes, ambiguous in its messages. And ambiguity often reflects the artist's own multiplicities of viewpoints and values.

I read Cimino's ending as a terribly depressing testament to the power of tribalism. What did any of the characters -- with the exception of Nick and in particular Michael and Steve -- learn from the horrors they experienced? That in the end, country endures?

Yup.

I've watched The Deer Hunter many many times.

I've watched it intently, allowing myself to be sucked into its world, maybe three times. Once, I had a very similar reaction to yours above.

Depressingly, for these characters, Country endures.

The other two times, I had a different reaction.

One time, the characters seemed to have an unconscious realization that country, flag, honour, as they had always defined it, was empty, meaningless.

John, the bar owner, asks: "How does everybody want their eggs?"

The Meryl Streep character, who loves both Nick and Mike, tersley responds: "How about just scrambled, John?"

A moment of silent reflection is broken by Angela, Steven's pharmaceutically zombified wife, saying: "It's been such a gray day."

The banality is absolute.

To fill the silence, John, who never left immigrant steel town, starts singing "God Bless America". And the others pick it up. Still desperate to belong. Even though what they thought they belonged is dirty, contaminated, broken.

The third time I was sucked into The Deer Hunter completely and absolutely, after watching the ending, I just sat on the floor for hours afterwards, thinking what the fuck is this film about????

Charles - I am in total agreement about the perhaps necessary and inevitable ambiguity of art.


Only Nick recognized what he saw when the curtain briefly parted. One of the most telling scenes in this regard takes place when Nick, in a Saigon hospital, is asked by an attending physician who his reading his chart, "Is that a Russian name?"

Nick laughs and cries at the grossest stupidity -- at the same stupidity evinced by the Johnny Mann singers at film's end.

Another great and ambiguous scene is when the mysterious American (as opposed to Russian American) Green Beret arrives at the bar near the climax of the wedding.


It's a Green Beret !
- [ Steven ] Hey ! Whoo ! - [ Mike ] No kidding.
Jerry ! Jerry, give the man a drink.
- Hey ! - Give him a drink !
- Sir ! Sir ! - Sir !
Na zdorovije.
- Na zdorovije. - Na zdorovije.
Don't cause any kind of problem, huh ?
Nah, I wanna talk to the man. I wanna talk to the man. We're goin' over there.
Sir, Mike Vronsky.
- Nick. This is the groom, Steve. - I'm the best man.
We're goin' airborne, sir. What's it like ?
- I hope they send us where the bullets are flyin'. - That's right.
- Fighting's the worst, huh ? - [ Both ] That's right.
Fuck it.
- Fuck it ? What did he say ? - Fuck it.
Fuck it. That's what I thought.
W-- Well, what's it like over there ?
[ Mike ] Can you tell us anything ?
Fuck it.
[ Mike ] Okay, fuck it.
Fuck him.
Fuck it. Hey !
[ Steven ] Michael, hey.
- Hey. - Fuck who ?
Fuck who ?
- [ Axel ] Who the hell is he ? - [ Mike ] Who the fuck knows ?
[ Axel ] He looks like a fuckin' hillbilly.
[ Mike ] Give him another drink, Jerry. Just the same.
- Hey ! Fuck it ! - [ Laughing ]
- [ Laughter Continues ] - [ Steven ] Fuck you.

The Green Beret knows the truth about Vietnam. His only words are the existential "Fuck it".

They are not the words these young men, desperate to belong, to prove that they are worthy of belonging to their immigrant town's myth of America, want to hear.

I wonder what Mike or Nick would say to the Green Beret after they have encountered the reality of American War?


As for my interpretation of Cimino at film's end: The director very well might scoff at an appreciation that so broadly misses his intentions. I would respond by noting that often times artists are the last to realize what they really mean.

Yes.

A profound truth.

Keith Millea
09-19-2009, 02:34 AM
I wonder what Mike or Nick would say to the Green Beret after they have encountered the reality of American War?


"Don't Mean Nothin'."That's the phrase most of us use.Pretty much the same thing as "Fuck It" it seems to me.:tee:

Charles Drago
09-19-2009, 07:04 PM
NICK: Flags!

GREEN BERET: Fuck it.

NICK: Patriotism!

GREEN BERET: Fuck it.

NICK: God bless America!

GREEN BERET: Fuck it.

STEVE: Fear it.

MICHAEL: Fight it.

NICK: Fuck it.

Jan Klimkowski
11-08-2012, 11:03 PM
My psyche insisted on dragging this thread back from the depths of DPF.

Why?


Peter - good points.

They make me realize that I view The Deer Hunter primarily as a film about American identity, rather than a Vietnam film.

For me, Apocalypse Now is a Vietnam movie: Conrad's Heart of Darkness meets the Phoenix Program.

Platoon is a Vietnam movie: complete with an ending which is Oliver Stone at his very worst.

I interpret Full Metal Jacket as part of Kubrick's lifelong exploration of Power, Control and the human Psyche. If A Clockwork Orange is about Their attempts to control and channel violence, Full Metal Jacket is about how They create Killers. And what causes Manufactured Killers to break with the conditioning and, potentially, rebel (or not): through Suicide at the end of Part One; and Horror at the end of Part Two.

Joker "mercy" kills the Vietnamese woman. Has he joined the Club? Or rebelled?

The credits roll as Marines exchange their tribal war songs for Disney: Who's the leader of the Club that's made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E!

The scenes set in the Russian American steel community at the heart of The Deer Hunter resonate very strongly with me. I view the movie as the story of a small, insular, community with a strong code of loyalty: the need to belong of outsiders. Suddenly that fundamental, unthinking, automatic, world view is tested by extreme events. The young men sign up to fight for "their country", to prove their loyalty, and end up playing Russian roulette in a rat-infested hellhole. Vietnam only really exists in the Russian roulette pits of the river and Saigon. For me, Vietnam represents a psychological trauma in the journey of these young Russian Americans discovering what is important and what isn't.

And perhaps this is why the one-dimensional portrayal of the Russian roulette game organizers doesn't really bother me. I don't see them as representing the Vietcong. I see them as extreme manifestations of the human condition, which Nicky (Walken) and Mike (DeNiro) are drawn to and repelled by, in their own different ways.

So, I read the end scenes of The Deer Hunter, Nicky's funeral, and the breakfast wake, as being the culmination of this journey into the psyche of these young people and their discovery of deeper meanings of identity, loyalty, love, hate.

Michael has finally brought Nick "home", to the American immigrant steel town in which he was born and raised.

They sit round the kitchen table, struggling to make sense of what they've been through.

"How does everybody want their eggs?"

"God bless America. Land that I love."

A great and ambiguous ending.

There are current threads on DPF about the programming and conditioning of the human mind for malign purposes, and about vulnerable children who were prey to powerful paedophiles, and who cried out for help and were abandoned.

How does the psyche deal with devastating violence and trauma? With overwhelming violence and trauma that is sanctioned, that is Power Incarnate?

Does the climax of The Deer Hunter occur with the banality of the bar owner who didn't make it to Vietnam saying "How does everybody want their eggs?" before the descent into the safety of an American mythology?

Or does the climax take place at the wedding party just before Steve and Nick and Michael go to Vietnam, when the Green Beret walks into the bar and, when asked about his experiences, says "Fuck It!"?

At the end of Full Metal Jacket, does "Joker" rebel, preserving his humanity, or join the Killing Club?

More than a decade ago, along with an academic researcher of integrity, I listened to the stories of a man who had been a victim of America's human radiation experiments in the immediate post WW2 period. Some of his chldren were stillborn. He blamed it on the radiation he'd been subjected to.

He was from an immigrant community. He wanted to belong to America. He claimed later to have been recruited as a Mechanic (in the Evica-Drago Mechanic - Facilitator - Sponsor model) in MK-ULTRA offshoot experiments.

More than a decade ago, he told me things about the death of Frank Olson that we now know to be true.

He wept as he told of procuring children - street children, orphans - in Brazil and taking them to a compound deep in the Amazon jungle for covert experimentation.

At the time, he thought he belonged.

These powerful people trust me with important work.

I belong to secret America, therefore I am.

As an ageing man, he realised he hated what he belonged to. What he had done in order to belong.

In the end, he refused to participate in a documentary or go on the record in writing. In fact, his testimony now exists as a signed oral history, lodged in a small American university archive, which cannot be published until 30 years after his death.

Anyway, this man was a victim of devastating abuse, and then he joined the system and became an abuser.

He was never able to articulate quite what he wanted. Why he was talking. He didn't see any solution to his lot, any possibility of redemption for what he had done.

He was a religious man. I suspect he thought he wanted his soul back.

I looked through his tears, into his eyes.

I don't know what I saw.

Charles Drago
11-09-2012, 12:33 AM
Thanks for this, Jan.

Ambiguity, I sometimes think, is a luxury afforded only to the innocent.

Magda Hassan
11-09-2012, 11:32 AM
Certainly, the need to belong, to some thing, anything, is strong in most and to break from the pack is difficult and not encouraged. Internally or externally. I also observe that in the underworlds there is always a place for you. No matter your age, class, ethnicity, IQ, social skills. It accepts all. Devours most.

Phil Dragoo
11-15-2012, 09:19 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HWEBE0F1FQ&feature=player_embedded

In the middle of the seventies in the middle of Northern New Mexico we were drinking scotch to Jagger on the box. Her husband blew out of there in his sports car. She'd put him through his PhD after his Army service, before his unspecified government job.

He's herded the people into the Rio surf and fired on them, kept firing.

His stories to me and a truck driver from Decatur were all violent exploits ending with his having beaten blacks, whites, hispanics, bashing their heads on columns, floors. He could recite from the bookcases of his study's walls. His favorite picture as a GI with an M-1.

They were talking the Deer Hunter last night, two nights ago. He'd been Army. One of our crew alums confided a posting involving internment. Another cites a sister deploying soon.

No, Charlie Sheen wasn't qualified as a Navy Seal either.

Any given day Vietnam is on a label on me. Cambodia. Always China.

Our friend the colonel: I got an order on my satellite phone to provide safe passage for a drug convoy. The strangest sight I'd ever seen.

A friend who was with Hal Moore has since been quite active in humanitarian causes. Mel Gibson has since been disqualified.

The greatest justice will come when the Chomsky notion of JFK being same-same as LBJ is dispelled

but of course that would require real history

not the beautiful story told by the King of Nepal to foreign service career officer Mirriam F.

the sunlight from the skylight I'd installed for her glinting off her silver hair and spectacles

At the Nixon Counterinnaugural in DC January 69 as night fell after Rudd's Maoists chanted Ho Ho Ho

and banged the iron knocker on steel door of Justice, shirtsleeved lawyers in second floor windows giving us the bird

the shouting was the young man with the flag, "I got two brothers in Vietnam, man!"

and the young man in army surplus replies, "Yeh, well f--- you, man!"

The best film on the war I've seen was a ten-minute black and white silent of Viet Minh pulling howitzer wheels and carriages and barrels

up mountain jungle foilage led by four macheteros stripped to the waist wailing in fast motion

the long inexorable lines of pajama-clad pullers

signalling defeat for the French at the base

on which JFK based his NSAM 263

The fellows in the bar were lied to

all the fairies in dog collars today will not reveal what Benghazi was all about

what the president and SecState are doing with weapons

in one more "foreign engagement"

We've been warned

And the woman in New Mexico was beaten to death by her husband

and her tales of foreign murder dismissed as delirium tremens looking for a thorazine fix

Relax America

it's just about sex