VIET NAM…EVER WITH US (Adventures in Language: Fourth Journey)

First, an excerpt from the opening pages of the rock and roll detective novel I just started shopping around:

“Somebody must have died,” Robbie said.

His brother was a preacher.

Red kicked the block in place before he looked up.

“Well, if it’s your sister, at least you won’t catch any more hell about all them babies you killed in Nam.”

Robbie brushed his dirty blonde mustache with the back of his forefinger.

“Damn straight. And if it’s the kid, I won’t have to hear any more about Iggy and the goddam Stooges either.”

Even without context, you can probably judge that my detective, Robbie Boone, and his drug-smuggling partner, Red Coombs: a) have a sardonic view of life and death, b) that Robbie has a testy relationship with his siblings, and c) anything his radical sister may have said to him about his time in Nam has nothing to do with anything that actually happened and doesn’t annoy him near as much as having a little brother who prefers the Stooges to Creedence or an older brother who wants to save his soul.

Still, if I’m published and my novel becomes the stone cold classic it deserves to be, I can expect to find myself chastised for perpetuating a myth–in this case, that Viet Nam vets were routinely subjected to humiliation by lefty war protesters which included being spat upon, denied sex by beautiful women and just generally being made to feel bad for things they never did.

Or maybe even harangued by their sisters.

I mention all this because Ken Burns’Vietnam (why we use one word when the Vietnamese themselves use two, I’ve always been too slow to understand–gee, I hope it’s not the old Ignorance/Arrogance thing) has just started. I can’t watch it in real time because there’s a tree branch growing in front of my satellite dish and there’s not much point paying the bill until I can afford a service to come and remove the impediment.

But it’s already stirring up discussion and the discussion is already forming around predictable patterns with Myth and Counter-Myth being put through one more spin cycle and everybody pretending that if one or the other finally prevailed we would “heal” (a word the dread Burns–still living off the Civil War series that is the only half-good thing he ever did–has apparently used in interviews), or, in other words, finally walk away from 1968.

Hell, even my novel won’t help us do that. The best it might do–that anything might do–is hammer out a warning to a future we will not live to see.

I am comforted, however, in knowing that when the Thought Police come for me in the much nearer future, it will be in the name of Nuance and a Better Understanding….Same as when they implant the microchip that will help me finally become the Better Person I will then be convinced I always dreamed of being.


2 thoughts on “VIET NAM…EVER WITH US (Adventures in Language: Fourth Journey)

  1. I’ve actually started looking around for anti-microchipping groups, thinking, “Surely, some folks must be gathering to counter this nonsense.” Strangely, I haven’t found any yet. I’ll need to be taught some serious survival skills, because nobody’s sticking electronics into my flesh. I don’t care what I have to do. I won’t even go along with fingerprinting or retina scans. Don’t people think through what they’re assenting to?

    I can just imagine myself in ten years, answering the door with a knife in my hand. Such uncharacteristically paranoid behavior certainly wasn’t what I foresaw when I was a kid and dreamt about the future. It’s a shame that so many have enabled the intrusion of trackable devices into flesh.

    If only something normal and oddly comforting were brewing instead, like……I don’t know, an expensive, heartbreaking, uncalled-for war of attrition in southeastern Asia.

    Anyway, this is, unless I’m mistaken, the first book tease you’ve made public, and it makes me look forward to reading it even more. I’ll echo your wish that it gets picked up soon! There aren’t nearly enough rock-and-roll detective stories out there. (Well, there aren’t any. Kudos for creating your own niche!)

    • Anti-microchipping groups…Yes, we need them! I note only that, like many bad ideas, it is being “practiced” by corporations. They’ll get all the kinks worked out (probably at taxpayer expense) before the Representative Government takes full control.

      Now THAT’s paranoia! (Have no fear, I’ve been at this for a lo-o-o-o-ng time.)

      And thanks for the encouraging words vis-a-vis my book.

      I can say that there is one good rock and roll detective novel out there: John Kaye’s The Dead Circus. When I’m published there will be two!

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