Ken Burns - Vietnam

..and why not?
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Minnie the Minx
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Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Minnie the Minx » 19 Sep 2017, 04:23

We've been sat open mouthed through the first two episodes.
Anyone else watching?
What a monumental clusterfuck.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby fange » 19 Sep 2017, 04:49

Really want to see this!
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Still Baron » 19 Sep 2017, 05:17

I think it'll be great simply due to the amount of detail they'll be able to get into. I have qualms with Ken Burns (everyone does), but I can't think of anyone doing a better job (within the time constraints) of balancing between macro and micro. As has been pointed out, for 40 years, no one has talked about this (apart from stating the obvious). It's quite gripping to see people from Vietnam and the US open up about it. You get a palpable sense that they are really unburdening themselves.

Anyway, as Min suggested, we're up to Kennedy's assassination, and what is striking is how completely fucked the whole situation was from the beginning. I've never studied the granular specifics of the history and the war, but Burns goes out of his way to argue that it was a completely hopeless situation from the jump. Yikes.

In the first episode, which covers the pre-history to the American involvement, he cuts to Americans telling little personal stories, and it's a little clunky and self-conscious (it almost seems that the filmmakers are worried the audience can't handle or stay with an hour of straight history, which is really a series of quick allusions and sketches, without being brought back to the American GI experience), but that's a small quarrel. And, as always, I find a lot of the music (and particularly the pop music) to be heavy handed. It's always thoughtful and it always "works," but it still grates on me. And the sound design is pretty heavy handed.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Snarfyguy » 20 Sep 2017, 14:34

fange wrote:Really want to see this!

Took the words right out of my mouth.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby The Modernist » 20 Sep 2017, 14:57

Still Baron wrote:
Anyway, as Min suggested, we're up to Kennedy's assassination, and what is striking is how completely fucked the whole situation was from the beginning. I've never studied the granular specifics of the history and the war, but Burns goes out of his way to argue that it was a completely hopeless situation from the jump. Yikes.
.


I can believe it. It's worth reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American (if you haven't already)which is incredibly prescient in the way it pinpoints that odd mixture of hubris and naivety that lead to the Vietnam debacle.
As for the doc, I'd very much be interested in seeing it.

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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Rayge » 20 Sep 2017, 15:19

Can't access PBS in the UK, but BBC4 is showing it from Monday 25 Sept.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby pcqgod » 20 Sep 2017, 15:52

I caught Episode 3 last night. Gripping.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Sneelock » 20 Sep 2017, 16:24

I got a false start. I fully intend to watch it front to back - his stuff is amazing. I must admit that a little bit of "good people started the war for the right reasons" framing rankled me a bit but I can deal with that. the frame is usually the least interesting part of a picture anyway. Maybe it's prudent to make people feel at ease to talk about a clusterfuck like that by knowing you have sympathy for their position - that you aren't out to get them.

Ken Burns ain't out to get anybody. Hard to commit right now. I'll give it another go when I've got less going on.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Harvey K-Tel » 20 Sep 2017, 17:21

I just realised after reading Baron's post, that I had no idea what 'GI' stood for, so I looked it up. Sheesh.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 20 Sep 2017, 17:39

I've watched every episode.

I remember watching the injury and death tolls on TV news every night.

Some things that struck me. Because of America's relationship with France, they were screwed. The US wanted an independent country like Vietnam to stretch its legs, but because of encroaching Communism and our relationship to France dating back to US revolution, kinda pinned us in.

Last night, the third episode was telling, when a US official listed the no. 1 reason we couldn't get out was "humiliation." That struck a chord in me as far as Trump and No. Korea.

And then there's LBJ. His quote about being a jackass in a Texas rainstorm showed how stuck he felt. No shelter, couldn't get out and couldn't make the rain stop. He had options, but that he felt he didn't, told a lot.

My guitar teacher is 10 years older than I am, so he would've been 15 to 18 during Vietnam. I asked him whether he felt more despondent for the future during the '60s or now. He said now.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 20 Sep 2017, 17:42

Still Baron wrote:I think it'll be great simply due to the amount of detail they'll be able to get into. I have qualms with Ken Burns (everyone does), but I can't think of anyone doing a better job (within the time constraints) of balancing between macro and micro. As has been pointed out, for 40 years, no one has talked about this (apart from stating the obvious). It's quite gripping to see people from Vietnam and the US open up about it. You get a palpable sense that they are really unburdening themselves.

Anyway, as Min suggested, we're up to Kennedy's assassination, and what is striking is how completely fucked the whole situation was from the beginning. I've never studied the granular specifics of the history and the war, but Burns goes out of his way to argue that it was a completely hopeless situation from the jump. Yikes.


That LBJ kept it a secret from its citizens up to 1965 says a lot.

He, McNamara, and Westmoreland got us into moral quicksand and asked thousands of young boys to get them out. Fuck all three of 'em.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 20 Sep 2017, 17:43

The Modernist wrote:
Still Baron wrote:
Anyway, as Min suggested, we're up to Kennedy's assassination, and what is striking is how completely fucked the whole situation was from the beginning. I've never studied the granular specifics of the history and the war, but Burns goes out of his way to argue that it was a completely hopeless situation from the jump. Yikes.
.


I can believe it. It's worth reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American (if you haven't already)which is incredibly prescient in the way it pinpoints that odd mixture of hubris and naivety that lead to the Vietnam debacle.
As for the doc, I'd very much be interested in seeing it.


I've been thinking about that too watching the documentary. The movie is good too.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Snarfyguy » 20 Sep 2017, 23:42

Harvey K-Tel wrote:I just realised after reading Baron's post, that I had no idea what 'GI' stood for, so I looked it up. Sheesh.

It's a Germs album, duh! :roll:
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 21 Sep 2017, 16:32

sloopjohnc wrote:
Still Baron wrote:I think it'll be great simply due to the amount of detail they'll be able to get into. I have qualms with Ken Burns (everyone does), but I can't think of anyone doing a better job (within the time constraints) of balancing between macro and micro. As has been pointed out, for 40 years, no one has talked about this (apart from stating the obvious). It's quite gripping to see people from Vietnam and the US open up about it. You get a palpable sense that they are really unburdening themselves.

Anyway, as Min suggested, we're up to Kennedy's assassination, and what is striking is how completely fucked the whole situation was from the beginning. I've never studied the granular specifics of the history and the war, but Burns goes out of his way to argue that it was a completely hopeless situation from the jump. Yikes.


That LBJ kept it a secret from its citizens up to 1965 says a lot.

He, McNamara, and Westmoreland got us into moral quicksand and asked thousands of young boys to get them out. Fuck all three of 'em.


Last night's episode proved my statement even more. Every other fifteen minutes, Westmoreland is asking for 200,000 more troops.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 21 Sep 2017, 18:41

Last night's episode ended where Leslie Gelb was assigned by McNamara to write the study on how the U.S. got so involved in Vietnam, which included McNamara's own memos and letters.

I was wondering how they were going to introduce the Pentagon Papers and now I know.

I wonder when Ellsberg will pop up.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby kewl klive » 22 Sep 2017, 11:10

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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 22 Sep 2017, 17:10

neville from norwich wrote:Pilger ponders

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/21/t ... f-history/


Last night's episode, the fourth, they spent a large amount of time on war crimes, but didn't dwell on it because they had to also focus on the overall scope of the conflict and what was happening domestically in opposition to the war.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby kewl klive » 22 Sep 2017, 17:13

Pilger's gone all Icke. I'm looking forward to watching it.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Sneelock » 22 Sep 2017, 17:29

Episode one keeps roaching on my "On Demand" so I watched episode 2. I want to double back before I proceed because clearly I've missed a lot already.

the inclusion of so many Vietnamese among the oral historians really puts this in a league of it's own.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Rayge » 22 Sep 2017, 17:32

neville from norwich wrote:Pilger's gone all Icke.


I think that's a little unfair. He's always been like that about Vietnam. He was there, after all. I think he takes an extreme and coloured view, but no shape-shifting giant lizards involved.
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