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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, January 29, 2007

Vietnam is an open wound

by Bert

Here's what I posted on another blog I do sporadically, which deals more with the intersection of news and history:

Does anybody need a reminder that we are not over Vietnam, now thirty years later?

A new piece of evidence is the quantity of bile that is gushing in response to Jane Fonda's presence at the D.C. anti-war rally Saturday. You can see it in many blogs.

Those younger than 45 may not remember this personally, but I am sure many of these posts will rehash the one act by Jane Fonda that defines her for many, which is her visit as an opponent to the Vietnam War to Hanoi in 1972. There she spoke on a radio program about her opposition, and posed at an anti-aircraft gun installation. She has since expressed regret for participating in that photo.

Radio and cable television programs tomorrow [today, Monday Jan. 29] will surely devote beefy chunks of their airtime to topic of Jane Fonda as well.

I marvel at how selective this recall of the Vietnam era is in the preponderance of news chatter over the last several years. A few shreds of that experience are amplified, and even distorted, such as the mantra of how soldiers were spat upon at airports when they returned from service. [Radio host Jeff Wagner at WTMJ revived this image just last week] See here for research that challenges that construction of our public memory.

Meanwhile, so much else about that war and that time remains unspoken, almost on purpose.

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