Go Back   Freethought Forum > The Marketplace > History & Geography

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-20-2017, 05:00 PM
Kevlar's Avatar
Kevlar Kevlar is offline
ABV: 15% IBU: 150
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Portland, Oregon
Gender: Male
Posts: MMMCDXL
Images: 15
Default Ken Burns' Vietnam

Has anybody been watching this show on PBS? I have and I'm not ashamed to admit it! I'm kind of surprised at the negative reactions I'm getting from people when I talk about it. It's still a very raw subject for a lot of Americans. Conservatives complain that Burns is a liberal shill, and liberals complain that he's white washing their message. Fuck all of you! I think he's a great story teller, and IMHO he really seems to try to put in as many points of view as possible. I mean, you can only do so much in 18 hours of programming! The historical facts seems pretty accurate to me also, as he certainly doesn't seem to be trying to excuse anybody from the clusterfuck that was the Vietnam conflict. There was plenty of blame to go all around.

Anyway... thoughts?
Reply With Quote
Thanks, from:
SR71 (09-21-2017), The Man (09-20-2017)
  #2  
Old 09-21-2017, 01:45 AM
godfry n. glad's Avatar
godfry n. glad godfry n. glad is offline
rude, crude, lewd, and unsophisticated
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Puddle City, Cascadia
Gender: Male
Posts: XXMMDCCLXI
Images: 12
Default Re: Ken Burns' Vietnam

I have not seen it yet.

Given that it is Burns, it should be a credible presentation, even if you don't agree with his spin. History is interpretation, even this up-close and personal.

Does he start with the Japanese in French Indochina?
__________________
Free Cascadia!
...........................
..:chicken:.....:redchicken:.....:blackhen:.....:blackhen:
Reply With Quote
Thanks, from:
The Man (09-21-2017)
  #3  
Old 09-21-2017, 10:03 PM
godfry n. glad's Avatar
godfry n. glad godfry n. glad is offline
rude, crude, lewd, and unsophisticated
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Puddle City, Cascadia
Gender: Male
Posts: XXMMDCCLXI
Images: 12
Default Re: Ken Burns' Vietnam

So...I watched the first episode on YouTube.

He starts with France in Indochina and Ho beseeching Wilson at Versailles for recognition of the Vietnamese right to self-determination....right up to the first official US military deaths in Vietnam.

The presentation seems fractured to me, what with the interspersed 'flash-forward' to the late sixties footage of grunts in the jungle, but then, his intent, I guess, is to draw the American viewer in with what the American experience was in Vietnam, in the context of the very non-American history which had gone before.
__________________
Free Cascadia!
...........................
..:chicken:.....:redchicken:.....:blackhen:.....:blackhen:
Reply With Quote
Thanks, from:
Kevlar (09-21-2017), The Man (09-22-2017)
  #4  
Old 09-24-2017, 07:07 PM
Kyuss Apollo's Avatar
Kyuss Apollo Kyuss Apollo is offline
happy now, Mussolini?
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: location, location
Posts: VCCCV
Blog Entries: 7
Images: 17
Default Re: Ken Burns' Vietnam

An excerpt from historian Bob Buzzanco's recent review of Ken Burns' Vietnam.

Quote:
...And therein lies the core flaw of the entire project—it’s a series of stories, but not really a history of the war. That’s the Burns-Novick trademark and it’s worked for a long time, making them famous and I suspect wealthy. But it substitutes vignettes for ideas, personal anecdotes for larger structural factors, bathos for analysis. And it ends up providing a misguided view of the war, one that has politically conservative consequences (ironic because Burns himself is openly liberal) by shifting attention away from the historical, material reasons for American intervention and focusing on 79 people interviewed who were directly involved in Vietnam. Instead of an exposť of aggressive militarism, they give us sentimental stories of survival and perseverance.

Burns and Novick, despite their claims of originality, provide a pretty boilerplate liberal examination of the war. It “was begun in good faith, by decent people.” The people of South Vietnam created a state, the Republic of Vietnam (RVN), which was invaded by “North Vietnam” and precipitated the war because of the American mission to prevent Communists from taking over “free” countries. After the partition of Vietnam at Geneva, the conflict became a “civil war” in which the U.S. became involved to save the “free” southern half of Vietnam according to Cold War logic. Americans made anguished decisions to invade and then escalate the war, they kept blundering further along and then couldn’t get out, there were decisive battles at places like Ap Bac and Ia Drang, Americans turned on the war, it was a tragedy, there are only victims, and so on . . . It’s not a bad history, but in no way original and in its pursuit of “all sides” it creates a false equivalency. The intervention into Vietnam was a war crime, and PBS isn’t going to fund a documentary saying that, and Burns and Novick don’t go beyond the liberal consensus to think about it...

To Burns and Novick, “there is no simple or single truth to be extracted from the Vietnam War. Many questions remain unanswerable.” However, “with open minds and open hearts,” (I wonder if they used that phrase ironically) “perhaps we can stop fighting over how the war should be remembered and focus instead on what it can teach us about courage, patriotism, resilience, forgiveness and, ultimately, reconciliation.” Again, they talk of reconciliation more than Dr. Phil, but simply are unaware that the “fighting over how the war should be remembered” is a political issue. While their goal of “triangulation”—telling everyone’s story—isn’t a bad idea, it is a distraction from the overwhelming reason for the war: American aggression.

If there is indeed a “Vietnam Syndrome,” making Americans more reluctant to intervene abroad (and I’ve always questioned the very existence of such a reticence, but that’s for another day), or whether the “lesson” of Vietnam is to strike early and often, the historical analysis is inherently a political analysis. The lessons of Vietnam can be applied, say, to Syria or North Korea today, but both by partisans of diplomacy and “hands off,” or by advocates of intervention and “bombs away.” I don’t think Burns has ever realized how immanently political the study of history is, because he and Novick aim to tell the stories of people involved in the war, and there’s no doubt oral history is a vital component of understanding the past, but they do not provide a comprehensive and coherent analysis of the war in the way so many previous books and documentaries have.

To be sure, Burns and Novick certainly do tell a truth through their interviews with Vietnamese and Americans who had a direct experience of the war. And if their documentary was titled “Stories of People Who Were in Vietnam During the War”—which would have been compelling and important—there would be little to complain about.

But it’s being advertised as a history of the war, and therein lies the biggest problem. Soldiers’ narratives provide moving ideas and images of the human cost of battle, but they don’t answer the larger questions about why empires attack smaller nations and virtually blow them back to the Stone Age...
The entire article article is worth reading before watching this most recent Burns-Novick steamer.

Also relevant to read -- What Historians Are Saying About the New Vietnam War Documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
__________________
This week's track: Bad Brains - Re-Ignition




Reply With Quote
Thanks, from:
Crumb (09-25-2017), godfry n. glad (09-25-2017), Kevlar (09-24-2017), The Man (09-24-2017)
  #5  
Old 09-25-2017, 02:54 AM
godfry n. glad's Avatar
godfry n. glad godfry n. glad is offline
rude, crude, lewd, and unsophisticated
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Puddle City, Cascadia
Gender: Male
Posts: XXMMDCCLXI
Images: 12
Default Re: Ken Burns' Vietnam

They ignore the ramifications of the great glaring fraud that was the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution?

Cheeses crepes.
__________________
Free Cascadia!
...........................
..:chicken:.....:redchicken:.....:blackhen:.....:blackhen:
Reply With Quote
Reply

  Freethought Forum > The Marketplace > History & Geography


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

 

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Page generated in 0.47998 seconds with 15 queries