Ken Burns' new documentary: The Vietnam War

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by riverclown, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    He was mentioned - there was a segment on the pentagon papers.
     
  2. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Well, since both Ali and Ellsberg were featured at their appropriate times in the story timeline, you'll have to look for some other "egregious omission".
     
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  3. S. P. Honeybunch

    S. P. Honeybunch Presidente de Kokomo

    Location:
    California
    Detroit Free Press, November 7, 1975, page 50
     
  4. NickCarraway

    NickCarraway Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Gastonia, NC
    https://decider.com/2017/09/22/here...-mccain-in-ken-burns-vietnam-war-documentary/

    During the Television Critics Association press tour panel for the series, Burns said, “One of the first things we did is we went to John McCain and John Kerry and said, ‘We need your help. We’re going to do this, but we’re not going to interview you. You will be in it in your archival selves, but you’re alive today, and we don’t want you in any way sort of spinning or anything like that.’ We didn’t quite put it that way. We weren’t going to talk to Dr. Kissinger or Jane Fonda or a number of other people.”
     
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  5. Jose Jones

    Jose Jones Outstanding Forum Member

    Location:
    Detroit, Michigan
    I would like to visit the campus as well. Has the site of the protests and shootings been materially altered since 1970?
     
  6. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plano, Texas U.S.
    Already pointed out by numerous reviewers -- the role of U.S. imperialism, the false use of a nothing event in the Gulf of Tonkin as a pretext for war.

    Many critical reviews on this series e.g., Ken Burns' new Vietnam documentary dismisses the origins of the disastrous conflict

    From the New Yorker, a letter in response to an earlier article, by Greg King (Arcata, CA):

    "The Pentagon Papers, released by Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971, revealed a pattern of deception and subversion by American leaders going back as far as 1945. Those documents clearly demonstrate that the people who initiated American involvement in Vietnam were neither decent nor acting in good faith. They understood exactly what they were doing: propping up French imperialism through force (by 1954, the United States was providing France with a billion dollars in military aid annually, an enormous sum at the time), then inventing the Gulf of Tonkin incident to generate popular support for entering the conflict. Any claim of good intentions at the outset of the war seems like dangerous revisionism."

    The Mail

    Glosses over loss of many civilian deaths in Vietnam: The Ken Burns Vietnam War Documentary Glosses Over Devastating Civilian Toll
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017
  7. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Except that wasn't omitted either.
     
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  8. signothetimes53

    signothetimes53 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Burlington VT USA
    If Burns & Co. had failed to show that footage, they'd have been lambasted for demonstrating bias-by-intentional-omission. And including her on-camera comments that the P.O.W.'s merited trial and execution for war crimes was another unflinching choice, good for them.

    That said, I thought it was cheapened by including the uncomfortably salacious comments by that one veteran/POW that Jane was a sexual fantasy for them. I'm not sure that was a good or wise choice by Burns and his filmmakers.
     
  9. PlushFieldHarpy

    PlushFieldHarpy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    Yeah, it's receiving a lot of criticism. I decided not to watch it. I've got enough to "stuff" to wade through in my life as it is.
     
  10. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plano, Texas U.S.
    We are have to agree to disagree. I've read extensively on the Gulf of Tonkin incident and several writers are quite critical of Burns' version of the event. If you find his way of portraying the event satisfactory and accurate, you are entitled to your opinion.
     
  11. SizzleVonSizzleton

    SizzleVonSizzleton Forum Resident

    Recognizing my ignorance of documentary film making, I have to say I find this bizarre. Why would you not want to get people with such importance on record if they agreed to be? Would they insist on editorial control? If yes then you say 'thanks anyway', if no then you interview them and choose what you want to include in the film, if anything.

    I'll also plead ignorance about how often (if ever) or how recently those mentioned have publically discussed their experiences.

    Am I to believe they wouldn't have wanted to interview William Calley?

    Last night got me wondering about surviving children of LBJ and Nixon and thinking they might have an interesting perspective (slanted for sure) of their fathers that I'd be interested in exploring.
     
  12. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    He basically said what you said. I'm not sure what your point is, to be honest. You keep mentioning "egregious omissions," which are then shown to not have been omitted at all. The Gulf of Tonkin incident was mentioned, and it was made pretty clear that it was all BS. Not sure what else you expect in a documentary that spans from 1945 to the present?
     
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  13. Lightworker

    Lightworker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    That ruined Barbarella forever after for me...

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plano, Texas U.S.
    Not to beat a dead horse (I am a vegetarian), this is what Ellsberg said regarding the Burns special, and this is someone who has read/studied the 7,000 pages of the Pentagon papers:

    "I think there were some some major omissions that are quite fundamental that disturbed me quite a bit, although the overall thing is very impressive.
    "First of all, the repeated statement that this was a civil war on which we were taking one side, I think it's profoundly misleading. It always was a war in which one side is entirely paid, equipped, armed, pressed forward by foreigners. Without the foreigners, no war. That's not a civil war. And that puts — it very much undermines, I'd say, a fundamentally misleading statement at the very beginning in the first five minutes or so of the first session.
    "I don't see anything in the Pentagon Papers, 7,000 pages, that could be called good faith by anybody, in terms of the American people, our values, our Constitution. This was a war, as I say initially, to keep Vietnam a French colony. And that was not admitted to the American people. It was well known inside. We preferred that they be at war, and there was never a year that there would have been a war at all without American money in the end. So I thought that was extremely misleading."

    18-Hour Vietnam Epic Is Lesson On Horror Of 'Unleashing Gods Of War'

    Okay, I'm done. Thanks for your forbearance. Back to our regularly scheduled discussions about Steely Dan masters . . .
     
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  15. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    So you haven't seen that part either?
     
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  16. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    I wonder if Ellsberg saw the same show I did (which you apparently haven't seen any of...). Because I came away from the first episode with the same understanding: "This was a war, as I say initially, to keep Vietnam a French colony. And that was not admitted to the American people. It was well known inside. We preferred that they be at war, and there was never a year that there would have been a war at all without American money in the end. "

    The filmmakers have made it clear that this was a proxy war between the US and China/USSR from the beginning, and to claim that this point was omitted or undersold is, once again, to admit that you weren't watching.

    This program is far from flawless, and I'm not a Ken Burns apologist, but he didn't skip these points.
     
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  17. Lightworker

    Lightworker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Like all wars, the "power players" are obscured when the human stories of the actual combatants are honestly presented.
    Watching Burns' Civil War doc was an emotional experience that made one forget about creeping Federalism, tariffs etc.
     
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  18. rjp

    rjp Forum Resident

    Location:
    ohio
    what seems to lost in this discussion is the policy of containment, the real reason we got involved in the beginning.
     
  19. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    No its sensationalism. If the sole purpose is to simply convey 'reality' -- then why stop there? Why not pan in and linger on the fatal wound? On detached inner organs? on rapes or sexual assaults? on human remains in the aftermath of an aircraft crash? Thats reality too. There are gore sites for those who want to see the details of a local auto accident that your local paper doesn't publish in order to convey the true reality. I think remaining focused on a human face is disrespectful. The series can get away with it because its an anonymous foreign combatant rather than a young American from Goshen Ohio whose name can be discerned.
     
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  20. tkl7

    tkl7 Agent Provocateur

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    My wife is from the Philippines. I can tell you that I cannot watch the news from her country because it depicts dead and dismembered human bodies whenever there is a tragedy, killing or even a traffic accident.
     
  21. RogerB

    RogerB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Alabama
    I have enjoyed this series tremendously and have learned a lot. My father was in Vietnam from May 1970 - May 1971. I was 12 when he left. It was a tough year for my mom and us 3 kids.

    At the time I hated the protestors as I felt their actions were disrespectful to my father. And somebody referring to the soldiers as baby killers was taken very personally by me.

    I was fortunate that my dad returned to our lives when so many did not.
     
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  22. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    New England
    While we give latitude in a discussion that can't help but touch on politics, please keep that in a historical context. Any editorializing will be edited out.

    Thanks.
     
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  23. RogerB

    RogerB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Alabama
    Jerry I respect your opinion and the job you do on these forums. Last nights episode showed Miss Fonda's trip to Hanoi in the summer of 72. Her actions and comments about our pow's being war criminals and that they should be tried and executed didn't sit well with many Americans. Including me. My comment was intended to be from an historical perspective but please accept my apologies if I was out of line. Again, thank you and all the gorts for the great work you do here!
     
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  24. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    New England
    Thanks for the kind words. We allow discussion related to the topic, and as I said, give some latitude with regards to forum rules. However, posting personal sentiments or opinions which inevitably lead to bickering will not be allowed. I have strong feelings too, from the peace movement side of things, as I received a draft number in 1973. I am enjoying the series, but don't want to inject my beliefs here. Agreed?
     
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  25. RogerB

    RogerB Forum Resident

    Location:
    Alabama
    Absolutely! Ironically, my dad has been watching the series and the other night he told me if he knew then what he knows now he would have never gone.
     
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