Ken Burns - Vietnam

..and why not?
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby kewl klive » 22 Sep 2017, 17:55

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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 22 Sep 2017, 18:27

Sneelock wrote: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.


I like all the North Vietnamese perspective, but it's lacked So. Vietnamese. That would be more interesting.

I already kinda knew the No. Vietnamese POV. The observations on US military is interesting though as is the respect US military commanders had for them.

Last night, they showed an example of a US bombing run, where the US soldiers saw No Vietnamese/Viet Cong tracers all the way up until the bombs' flames engulfed the enemy. The observation was that if this is how dedicated to their cause the No. Vietnamese were, the US was in big trouble.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Sneelock » 23 Sep 2017, 05:19

Hell, you've got time to make a Dagwood Sandwich while they read off the list of corporate underwriters. Jeebus.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby kewl klive » 23 Sep 2017, 09:04

Is there going to be a big reveal at the end with the final score? The Vietnamese lads have played a blinder to be fair.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Tactful Cactus » 23 Sep 2017, 12:44

Watching Ep1 last night. Nothing new really, there's a brilliant doc from the 80's on Youtube that has similarly great first hand accounts. But its undeniably well made.

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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 23 Sep 2017, 16:46

Sneelock wrote:Hell, you've got time to make a Dagwood Sandwich while they read off the list of corporate underwriters. Jeebus.


:lol:

It's funny, because having bought media, I wonder about the price. When they name you as a sponsor and display it on screen, probably costs twice as much when they just display an organization and not specifically name it.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Sneelock » 26 Sep 2017, 18:36

Am I wrong or has Ken Burns gone back to "the official story" on the Gulf of Tonkin?
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 26 Sep 2017, 22:06

Sneelock wrote:Am I wrong or has Ken Burns gone back to "the official story" on the Gulf of Tonkin?


That's what it sounded like.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 28 Sep 2017, 03:53

The woman in the cubicle next to me, Alex, short for Alexandria, is Vietnamese. I told her I'm watching the documentary and I asked her how her folks got her. She said her dad was a student, but her mom's dad, her grandfather, worked for the CIA, and one day in the early '70s, he came home and said they were leaving on a plane that night. She said her mom always thought her dad worked for Toyota before that night.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Tactful Cactus » 28 Sep 2017, 21:52

Some of the first hand accounts are fascinating. Two soldiers that were probably standing 20 feet away from each other on the day. The Americans soldiers are still conflicted and traumatised. The North Vietnamese are cheerful and philosophical.

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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Geezee » 29 Sep 2017, 12:15

sloopjohnc wrote:
Sneelock wrote: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.


I like all the North Vietnamese perspective, but it's lacked So. Vietnamese. That would be more interesting.

I already kinda knew the No. Vietnamese POV. The observations on US military is interesting though as is the respect US military commanders had for them.

Last night, they showed an example of a US bombing run, where the US soldiers saw No Vietnamese/Viet Cong tracers all the way up until the bombs' flames engulfed the enemy. The observation was that if this is how dedicated to their cause the No. Vietnamese were, the US was in big trouble.


I'm two episodes in but it seems to me they've had more South Vietnamese than North Vietnamese, but anyway :? - as you say, their perspective is quite interesting because it is perhaps more conflicted, since many of them were fighting two, maybe three enemies.

As a completely non-military person, it seems Dien Bien Phu is the dumbest military maneovre of all time - the French find an isolated little valley surrounded on all sides by tall hills/mountains - and they somehow thing this is a strategically perfect place to locate themselves!? I mean I'm sure there was a good reason for it, but I really can't think of one!

One thing I always find a little bit frustrating with almost all history documentaries - I really wish they'd actually explain the pictures that they are showing. Sometimes, there's a clear 1 on 1 relationship - for example when they are describing the burning monk(s) and show the pictures from that - but very often either they are showing random or stock bombing / shooting / scene-setting footage. I really actually want it explained to me: who shot this footage and when and where was it taken? who are the people we are seeing, to the extent that we know it? I understand that it can interfere with narrative - but these days with for example BBC nature documentaries they usually spend the last 10 minutes fo the documenatry showing how they shot all the footage - which in itself is now almost becoming a parody, but I'd love to see something similar done with history documentaries where they actually show where all of this is coming from.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Matt Wilson » 29 Sep 2017, 14:21

I haven't been DVRing this or anything. Is there anyway I could watch it from the beginning? It's not on netflix or anything, right?

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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Rayge » 29 Sep 2017, 15:35

Geezee wrote:As a completely non-military person, it seems Dien Bien Phu is the dumbest military maneovre of all time - the French find an isolated little valley surrounded on all sides by tall hills/mountains - and they somehow thing this is a strategically perfect place to locate themselves!? I mean I'm sure there was a good reason for it, but I really can't think of one!


I thought the explanation in the prog was muddy, but looked it up, and basically it boils down to an arrogant underestimation of the enemy by the French (quel surprise).
Wiki:
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu ... was, from the French view before the event, a set piece battle to draw out the Vietnamese and destroy them with superior firepower. ... As a result of blunders in French decision-making, the French began an operation to insert, then support, the soldiers at Điện Biên Phủ, deep in the hills of northwestern Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into the neighboring Kingdom of Laos, a French ally, and tactically draw the Viet Minh into a major confrontation in order to cripple them. The plan was to resupply the French position by air, and was based on the belief that the Viet Minh had no anti-aircraft capability. The Viet Minh, however, under General Võ Nguyên Giáp, surrounded and besieged the French. The Viet Minh brought in vast amounts of heavy artillery (including antiaircraft guns). They moved these weapons through difficult terrain up the rear slopes of the mountains surrounding the French positions, dug tunnels through the mountain, and placed the artillery pieces overlooking the French encampment. This positioning of the artillery made it nearly impervious to French counter-battery fire.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Geezee » 29 Sep 2017, 15:52

Rayge wrote:
Geezee wrote:As a completely non-military person, it seems Dien Bien Phu is the dumbest military maneovre of all time - the French find an isolated little valley surrounded on all sides by tall hills/mountains - and they somehow thing this is a strategically perfect place to locate themselves!? I mean I'm sure there was a good reason for it, but I really can't think of one!


I thought the explanation in the prog was muddy, but looked it up, and basically it boils down to an arrogant underestimation of the enemy by the French (quel surprise).
Wiki:
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu ... was, from the French view before the event, a set piece battle to draw out the Vietnamese and destroy them with superior firepower. ... As a result of blunders in French decision-making, the French began an operation to insert, then support, the soldiers at Điện Biên Phủ, deep in the hills of northwestern Vietnam. Its purpose was to cut off Viet Minh supply lines into the neighboring Kingdom of Laos, a French ally, and tactically draw the Viet Minh into a major confrontation in order to cripple them. The plan was to resupply the French position by air, and was based on the belief that the Viet Minh had no anti-aircraft capability. The Viet Minh, however, under General Võ Nguyên Giáp, surrounded and besieged the French. The Viet Minh brought in vast amounts of heavy artillery (including antiaircraft guns). They moved these weapons through difficult terrain up the rear slopes of the mountains surrounding the French positions, dug tunnels through the mountain, and placed the artillery pieces overlooking the French encampment. This positioning of the artillery made it nearly impervious to French counter-battery fire.



To be fair, nobody comes out of Vietnam with any glory at all.
It's just a series of awful, unnecessary massacres, fuckups and double-crossing, on all sides, both internal and external, of the conflict.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Sneelock » 29 Sep 2017, 16:51

Matt Wilson wrote:I haven't been DVRing this or anything. Is there anyway I could watch it from the beginning? It's not on netflix or anything, right?


If you have a tablet, I'll bet the mighty PBS app will let you stream at least part of it.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Sneelock » 29 Sep 2017, 16:54

seeing the footage of the S.Vietnamese at the embassy during the air lifts was a real spirit breaker. it breaks my heart all over again.

it's a good show. they try to cover a lot of ground and represent lots of opinions but, when it's all over, what are you really left with?

Geezee wrote:To be fair, nobody comes out of Vietnam with any glory at all.
It's just a series of awful, unnecessary massacres, fuckups and double-crossing, on all sides, both internal and external, of the conflict.


exactly. "Let it Be" and "Bridge over Troubled Waters" are pretty songs and they show us that the oral historians got on with their lives. Still, the burning question about the whole mess is "why" and there really is no why. not a satisfying one at any rate.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Harvey K-Tel » 29 Sep 2017, 17:26

Matt Wilson wrote:I haven't been DVRing this or anything. Is there anyway I could watch it from the beginning? It's not on netflix or anything, right?


PBS.org is streaming them in their entirety, I believe (not in Canada, though :x ).
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby sloopjohnc » 29 Sep 2017, 21:19

Harvey K-Tel wrote:
Matt Wilson wrote:I haven't been DVRing this or anything. Is there anyway I could watch it from the beginning? It's not on netflix or anything, right?


PBS.org is streaming them in their entirety, I believe (not in Canada, though :x ).


It is. In fact, they have a new streaming service called PBS Anywhere.
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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Tactful Cactus » 01 Oct 2017, 10:23

Anyone mention the soundtrack yet? They used Turn Turn Turn :roll: but there's some good less-than-obvious choices too. I even noticed Lady Godivas Operation at one point. And multiple Beatles songs. Didn't TNK alone cost Mad Men half a million dollars?

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Re: Ken Burns - Vietnam

Postby Belle Lettre » 06 Oct 2017, 22:32

Those conversations between McNamara and Johnson. Fucking hell.
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