Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Why photos of Vietnam soldiers look the way they do . . .
a) Soldiers were not trained as photographers.
b) Photos fade with the decades.
c) 'Nam is in the Tropics; look at the latitude. It also rained a lot.
d) Soldiers were often 18 - 20 years old. They were proud of their Army-toughened physique.
e) Cigarettes' relationship to heart disease and cancer was not clear.
f) Soldiers were marooned in Oz. Life in war was mysterious and brutal. Soldiers often responded by acting goofy.
g) Vietnam has denuded by war and revamped by the construction of large US installations.
h) Entertainment technology: record players. There were also reel-to-reel tape recorders. No TV.
i) Dear John letters were common. That means your wife back in the states has decided to ask for a separation or divorce.
j) In the states there was a youth revolution occuring. College kids were tripping out. At least in 'Nam there was plenty of beer, cheap dope and hooch girls.
k) By 1970 almost everyone began to have serious doubts about our course of action.