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September 23, 2010


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I intend to read Greene's 1955 book since I was, indeed, mildly buzzed (just enough to round off all the day's sharp edges…) & kept dozing off. As detrimental as that might have been to the movie ~ it made for an interesting dreamlike experience. I suppose I should watch the film again as well…

Of course I thought of you because I know you have a geographical soft spot for Vietnam & the film seemed to touch on some of the points you & the guys had been exploring in the Bell post. The film has really stuck with me & I just can't stop thinking about all the moral questions, all of the grey areas; none of which are actually resolved, as so often happens in the real world. The American is dead, the Vietnamese girl disappears back into the hostess bars of Saigon & the Englishman is left alone with guilt as his only companion… It's interesting that in the 1958 film (there is a 2002 remake as well) the negative aspect of the American's ideology was played down (he was presented in a way that suggested perhaps more of an ideological naiveté) as we were at the height of the Cold War so many of the events/factual characters were still in the news & the studio didn't want to rub anyone (Washington) the wrong way politically. I suppose one could, on a certain level, consider "The Quiet American" historical fiction as well as astoundingly prophetic ~ ten years later the Americans would be replacing the French. Greene acknowledged that this book contained more reportage than his other novels ~ it was also his personal favorite.

Like you, I never understood the real reason we stuck our American noses in Southeast Asia. At the time Korean War was still lingering in everyone's minds & it was the "Domino Theory": if Vietnam fell to the Chinese, then all of Asia would end up under Communism. That bit of propaganda turned out to be as true as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

I think I'm beginning to ramble so I'll end here.

I love that you read "The Quiet American" in Saigon…

Hi MW!!

Vietnam really does have a special place in my heart-- in fact, Hanoi is a place I'd very much like to visit. I suppose no one is ever going to answer my question about the reason why Aeneus really seems the anti-Hero. Did you remember that discussion at Gawain's? It was one of my favorites. It's too bad he is off the air, huh?

Speaking of Vietnam, did you see my "hannoi jane" photo on facebook?

I've been meaning to ask you about that photo ever since you put it up…
Is that actually a tank in the foreground?

Yes, I too miss reading Gawain…

I actually had my sister take that photo of me to send to gawain last year... I thought he would have something funny to say about it since I am popping out of the tank, and he did have something funny to say-- which unfortunately I cannot remember what it was (so maybe it wasn't so funny afterall??). But the picture was taken at an airshow at a small airport near my mom's place in LA. Adonis loves it because there is a small restaurant right up along the runway so as you eat you can see the planes taking off and landing.... On a recent visit an ex-Polish or ex Czech military fighter plane comes in for a landing (!!).

I almost fell off my chair.

Out pops this man with a beautiful woman and they head into the restaurant to have breakfast. I guess he had flown down from SF for breakfast-- can you imagine? It must take like 5 minutes to fly down after attaining a really high altitude?? How much does that even cost, I wonder...

Gawain of course was not interested in any of this...Why do I bother?

How was your party? Is it still cold there? It was gorgeous here today-- took a long walk listening to the rest of the Dreyfus lectures about poor Dido...

This In Our Time program was good too.

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