Moments from Burns’s Vietnam Episode 4 – Image, Sound and Narration Conflict

After watching the first episode, I wrote about my fears that the series would whitewash USA militarism. Here are some observations after watching Episode 4, “Resolve.”

Minute 34:

Narrator: Mogie’s combat commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Emerson, known as “the Gunfighter,” was courageous, implacable, relentless. A few months before Mogie got there, he had offered a case of whiskey to the first of his men to bring him the hacked-off head of an enemy soldier. They did. [Emphasis added. Dennis Crocker was nicknamed Mogie.] Continue reading

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NFL Practices Regressive Politics? Say it isn’t so!

captain obvious

This week, several NFL owners have told their players that any protest during the National Anthem would be punished with being benched (and presumably fired and blacklisted like Colin Kaepernick). Some are acting like this came out of the blue. I don’t know, maybe the NFL owners are just that way.

In the age of misogyny-inspired mass shootings, a cute pop song from my childhood is ominous

Do you all remember Joe Jackson’s 1979 breakout single “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” It has a catchy, quirky rhythm and engaging lyrics.

Nearly 40 years later, after learning about domestic violence and hearing about those who engage in mass shootings, I imagine that the protagonist of the song is doing more than “staring as my coffee grows cold” and getting “so mean around the scene.” I imagine him stockpiling guns and ammo so that Jeanie learns the hard way that her new boyfriend isn’t half the man he is. Then we won’t have to find out “if looks could kill.” We’ll have proof that a real man with guns can. Continue reading

Will @KenBurns “The Vietnam War” Whitewash USA Militarism? @PBS

I’ve only watched the first 30 minutes of the first episode, so I can’t answer this question. I do say that these first 30 minutes leave me suspicious. The opening narration begins at 6:20 in the online video. Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall plays in the background.

6:20 Narrator: America’s involvement in Vietnam began in secrecy. It ended, 30 years later, in failure, witnessed by the entire world. It was begun in good faith by decent people, out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War miscalculation. And it was prolonged because it seemed easier to muddle through than admit that it had been caused by tragic decisions, made by five American presidents, belonging to both political parties.

Continue reading

Giorgio Tsoukalos is a Player! But Even He Sometimes Can’t Keep a Straight Face

History Channel is pioneering the con artist entertainment genre. In this genre, people make outrageous claims and, through a mix of charisma, innuendo, circumstantial evidence, dramatic reenactments and music and engaging graphics, titillate viewers to buy or at least entertain those claims. For example, American Ripper is likely the third or fourth program on the History Channel which claims to have identified “Jack the Ripper.”

The flagship show of this genre is of course Ancient Aliens. Its host and producer Giorgio A. Tsoukalos is the most endearing, interesting, earnest and famous of the “con-artists” on TV today (other than some of our politicians). The most amazing feature to me is that, after watching him for years, I still can’t say for certain that he is not a true believer.

In Season 12’s 9th Episode, The Majestic Twelve, interviewees claim that the secret intelligence agencies of the United States were created in the late 1940s to control information about and contact with extra-terrestial visitors. The group which President Truman formed to recommend policies towards extra-terrestials, Majestic Twelve, morphed into secret agencies which assassinated President John Kennedy, who had considered sharing information about extra-terrestials with the Soviet Union. When Linda Moulton Howe claims that most government covert action in the last 70 years has been to protect information about extra-terrestials, even Giorgio has a little bit of trouble believing it, and, for a brief moment, my belief in Giorgio’s belief in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestials’ intervention in earth’s history was weakened. I captured the screenshot below (time 26:18), but watch the episode.
Screenshot Giorgio Tsoukalos Ancient Aliens S12E09

I Non-Metaphorically Want You to Recognize I Don’t Unintentionally Misuse “Literally” and “Random”

img_1399-e1440438276607A 20-something relative visited me recently. It was a struggle to remain calm as I overheard her on the phone misuse random & literally. So I’ve decided to begin saying things like, “Come downstairs, your coffee is non-metaphorically getting cold.” She: “Who was that on the phone?” Me: “Some intentional person.”

I’ve also added “Doesn’t misuse ‘random’ and ‘literally’” as a skill on my LinkedIn profile. Please endorse. Continue reading