The Heart of Blandness

Note: The podcast is delayed. The day job sucked up all of my time the last two days, even most of last night, so I need to take a nap and then I will put the show together later today and get it posted. This is a green door post from earlier in the week that should hold everyone over until the show is posted.

One of the things about mass popular culture that is taken for granted, but is genuinely novel, is that pop culture artifacts come to symbolize certain eras. The Great Gatsby, which is a middling novel, is on the list of great novels because it seems to capture our popular conception of the roaring twenties. You read that novel in school because it helps understand the era from a pop culture perspective.

We do not have this for the time before mass popular culture. What is the song that defines the 1890’s? Funny you should ask as there are people who compile such things, but do any on this list make you think of the 1890’s? The songs we can hear from the early days of music recording just remind us of the time when recorded sound was just getting started, not any particular cultural era.

Era defining songs, movies or even television shows are products of mass popular culture, especially electronic media. When I hear All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix, I think about the late 1960’s. Leave it To Beaver is the defining television show of the 1950’s, despite not being very popular. Similarly, Apocalypse Now, which was released in 1979, is considered one the defining movies of the Vietnam era.

Oddly, the film is not about Vietnam or the war. John Milius wrote an adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novella The Heart of Darkness and set it in the Vietnam war, as that was a popular topic at the time. This allowed Francis Ford Coppola to play on baby boomer nostalgia and use a bunch of popular music from the period. It is also why it has become a defining film of the Vietnam era.

Whether or not Apocalypse Now is the best Vietnam war film is debatable. Many people think Platoon is the best of the Vietnam films. Full Metal Jacket is another iconic film about the era. The Deer Hunter is another candidate. Interestingly, all of the films on the list of best Vietnam war films were made long after the war. The worst Vietnam film was The Green Berets, produced at the height of the war.

As far as Apocalypse Now, which is the next film on the AFI top-100, it is hard to call it a great film without the cultural context. If it had been based in the Korean war, it is possible that no one would know about it. Much of its fame and popularity stems from the history in which it is set and the period in which it was made. The late 1970’s and early 1980’s was a time of reconciliation for the country.

The big problem with the film is nothing really happens. Benjamin L. Willard, played by Martin Sheen, is sent into the jungle to find renegade Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando, and then kill him. In theory he is going on a journey on which he will either learn something about himself or learn something about the human condition. Instead, he is the same guy at the end as he was at the beginning.

The Conrad story, in contrast, is about how a similar journey changed the man telling the story in ways he was never able to fully appreciate. He was changed by going to the deepest, darkest parts of Africa, but by the end he is still struggling to fully understand what he witnessed. He saw the great horror of the human condition, but he does not know what to do with what he learned.

In this film, we know nothing about Willard, other than he is a deeply cynical person, presumably from having served in the war for a long time. His experiences along the journey do not make him question anything about himself. He was sent to kill Kurtz and he never wavers from his mission. In the end he kills Kurtz, but not for some new reason he discovers as part of his journey of self-discovery.

At the risk of engaging in generational politics, this film is quintessential baby boomer high culture in that it operates at a superficial level. Everyone in the film is just what they are, experiencing things that never seem to have any impact on them. Like the intended audience, Willard just collects a bunch of new experiences. He did stuff. He did not live his life in any way that anyone would find interesting.

This film reminds me of the sketch concept in writing. The point is to create a character by putting him into situations in which his reactions to those situations tell us about the character. There is no character development. The situation matters only as a way to describe the character. It is a good way to record the present moment or establish the start to a story, but otherwise meaningless.

That is why this film probably belongs on the list of great films. Again, at the risk of engaging in generational politics, this film captures the essence of a generation even though it does not set out to do so. The generation for which this film was made set out, to some degree, to discover the essence of life, to taste the marrow, but instead indulged in meaningless gestures and pointless activities.

That is what the makers of this film ended up doing. It started with great ambition to bring the Conrad story to film, but in the end, it was just lots of impressive scenes and performances, but totally devoid of meaning. The viewer has no reason to think about Kurtz or Willard after their story ends. The film, like the lives of the characters, and perhaps the intended audience, leaves no impression.

If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!

Promotions: Good Svffer is an online retailer partnering with several prolific content creators on the Dissident Right, both designing and producing a variety of merchandise including shirts, posters, and books. If you are looking for a way to let the world know you are one of us without letting the world know you are one one is us, then you should but a shirt with the Lagos Trading Company logo.

The Pepper Cave produces exotic peppers, pepper seeds and plants, hot sauce and seasonings. Their spice infused salts are a great add to the chili head spice armory, so if you are a griller, take you spice business to one of our guys.

Above Time Coffee Roasters are a small, dissident friendly company that roasts its own coffee and ships all over the country. They actually roast the beans themselves based on their own secret coffee magic. If you like coffee, buy it from these folks as they are great people who deserve your support.

Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at

195 thoughts on “The Heart of Blandness

  1. It’s generally held that “The Great Gatsby” was the literary work that best captured the zeitgeist of The Roaring Twenties, I wonder what novel, film, or television series best portrays the nihilistic madness, capriciousness, and sense of foreboding doom that are the hallmarks of contemporary Clown World? Is that work yet to be produced?

  2. This displays the weakness of film compared to the written word. Imagine a film of Crime and Punishment without the prose of Dostoyevsky.

    • no, writing, painting, etc are all doing the same thing – capturing reality. VR is the fullest realization of this impulse, with 2D video next most capable. let’s put it this way, do you want to “see” the statue of David, or read about it?

  3. Apocalypse Now is one of my favorite movies, but the best movie about Vietnam was about Cambodia: The Killing Fields.

    It has relevance for us: we are fighting the same enemy, only now instead hiding behind Marx and class struggle they hide behind unicorns, rainbows and sodomy.

    It all ends the same way: the look in the child’s eyes at the end of this ninety-second clip is our future it we fail.

    • OTOH – that video would represent great success for the WEF and their fellow travelers (but have to sub a WASP for the Pran character).

    • That is terrifying. A young soul destroyed, neither animal nor human, reduced to single-minded hatred of everything natural and normal. It somehow reminds me of ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau.’

  4. Interesting films from that era. Milius, Stone, De Laurentiis, probably others not off the top of my head. Nietzschean and right-wing themes, but there’s always something off about it, something ambivalent. Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn, Dune, etc. Conan even quotes Nietzsche.

    Like, Hey, we’ve got to get masculine to fight the Russkies, but we don’t want to get TOO masculine. Just get it over with so we can get back to changing the world.

    • As a long time fan of the Conan novels and short stories, that Nietzsche quote really makes me squirm. Not to talk of Schwarzenegger’s wooden acting.

  5. Objectively, the best Vietnam movies are Hamburger Hill, 84 Charlie Mopic, BAT 21, and, corny as it can be at points, We Were Soldiers. The first season of the 80s TV show Tour of Duty was pretty good too.

    As for Apocalypse Now, Willard didn’t need to grow because he wasn’t the main character. The main character of Apocalypse Now is the war itself, and Willard is just our tour guide through it. If he was any less bland, he’d be stealing the spotlight from the real main character, and that simply wouldn’t work.

  6. For me, by far the best thing about Apocalypse Now was Dennis Hopper’s whacked-out photographer. I’ve known people like that, although Hopper’s was more likeable.

  7. Probably Conrad and Kipling were the two great novelists of the British empire at its peak, and perhaps their stature comes from the fact that both were to some extent outsiders (I think Conrad was a Pole and Kipling was born in, and spent his first few years, in British India). Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” takes place in the historical context of the “scramble for Africa” during the last quarter of the 19th century, as the major European colonial powers tried to get their piece of turf. I can understand that. In contrast, after all these decades, I’ve never been able to fathom how and why the US got entangled in Vietnam. If I recall correctly, Ho Chi Minh had even made overtures to the Eisenhower administration but been cold-shouldered by Eisenhower and Dulles (the same cold-shouldering occurred to Castro). The whole US fiasco — and what else to call it? — could have been avoided. But then, so could the Ukraine fiasco. I’m reminded of when Shelob tried to squash Sam Gamgee and sat on his upturned sword, inflicting more damage to herself than Gamgee could have inflicted by his own efforts.

    • For domestic political reasons, the Democrats needed to look tougher on communism, and they thought Vietnam would be an easy way to do it

      • Jeffrey Zoar: “For domestic political reasons, the Democrats needed to look tougher on communism, and they thought Vietnam would be an easy way to do it”

        Ergo 58,281 White Christian Amurrikkkunz had to die so that Lyndon Baines Johnson could prove his virility for all the world to see?

        And Johnson was such a powerful font of virility that he chickened out of running against Richard Nixon in 1968?

        BTW, there are persistent rumors in the samizdat community that Johnson had an ancestor who had had a Bar Mitvah.

        If so, then that would explain a great deal about the unknown hidden history of Amurrikkkun in the 20th Century, cloaked in darkness.

        • “And Johnson was such a powerful font of virility that he chickened out of running against Richard Nixon in 1968?”

          The Vietnam War and the “Great Society” reforms plus the Civil Rights legislation came as a package. LBJ arguably felt that the country would see him as a pansy because of his welfare spending and Civil Rights legislation, so he felt he could counter that by being a tough guy abroad.

          But the war didn’t go as planned, particularly with a high-IQ moron like McNamara as defense secretary. Journalists were also freer then and the photo of that young girl running down the road with napalm burns on her created shock and consternation in the US and abroad. Plus the US casualties, with protesters chanting outside the WH, “LBJ, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”

          I think it’s fair to say that after Vietnam the USA was seen as a malevolent power — which had not been the case after WW2.

          • McNamara was a sociopath. His literal heirs in some cases, under the direction of You Know Who, are directing the abattoir in Eastern Europe even now. Clown World has been around a long time in some form or another. It may be more evil now but that’s always been a problem, too. Shortly before McNamara descended into hell, he admitted his sins yet tried to absolve himself. Despicable human being, and, again, those types still run the show.

          • Malevolent? Maybe. People forget that when the US pulled out in early 1973, South Viet Nam was still in one piece and still fighting the North with an army trained and equipped by the USA. When the Democrats ousted Nixon and won large majorities in Congress, they cut off all military and financial support to Saigon, with the predictable consequence. Now THAT is malevolence.

  8. I’ve seen Apocalypse Now only once, and that was probably 35 years ago. And I must say, I remember very little about it, which probably confirms Z’s review. The film just doesn’t make much of an impression, and that’s because it’s fundamentally inconsequential.

    • It is hardly alone in being inconsequential. That’s 99% of cinema. Unfortunately, the cinema that is consequential is usually both worse and more dishonest.

      • The difference is, the chattering classes praise Apocalypse Now as being terribly consequential. This is not some silly superhero flick; it’s supposed to be a deeply meaningful work of art, and it just isn’t.

        • Duvall does come off as a super hero (or anti-hero???) with the beach antics and the most memorable line of the movie: I love the smell of napalm in the morning, smells like…victory.

  9. What made Vietnam different than all other wars before it, was that it was the first war to be brought into living rooms via TV. Today we can watch Afghanis fall off a cargo jet in real time and high resolution, but it is an extension of that era. The reason that movie has no inner core of meaning is because war itself is devoid of meaning. There is no moral to the story. There are many reasons to go to war, but war itself is empty and full of death, and full of mundane actions leading to flashes of death and despair. We can thank technology and satellites, and electricity for showing us what’s really going on. In the words of Smedley Butler, it’s a racket.

    How many pre WW1 teenagers read Kipling’s glorification of war, only to suffocate in some trench in the Somme? History is riddled with Kiplings who glorified war, and every third or fourth generation would get sucked into the experience only to lose life and limb. In our current era we have the luxury of seeing exactly what war is, and know that there’s no such thing as valor or honor in something like that. There never was.

    • JR Wirth: “In our current era we have the luxury of seeing exactly what war is, and know that there’s no such thing as valor or honor in something like that. There never was.”

      The Darwinian War we are now fighting – fighting for our lives, fighting for our very existence – is with the Stanley Ann Dunham mμdsh@rks.

      Darwinism never sleeps.

      We were always at war.

      We will always be at war.

      There is no end to war.

      Darwinism never sleeps.

    • Well, there is definitely no glory in American wars. The Americans who fought in WW2 would be horrified at the “moral lessons” their people “learned” from it. Americans in particular would best serve themselves by shutting their big yaps and letting other countries sort themselves out.

    • “ There are many reasons to go to war, but war itself is empty and full of death, and full of mundane actions leading to flashes of death and despair. ”

      So true. Let me add another aspect taken from the recollections of WWII vets now being filmed for the record before passing on. War and death on the battlefield is a damn “random effect”! I don’t recollect a single combat vet who has not describe action in which he was not helpless to save himself and prevent death and injury. Events occurred in rapid fashion and without ability to control. The frustration of helplessness in the face of imminent death or severe injury has got to produce psychological trauma of the highest degree.

  10. At the risk of engaging in generational politics, this film is quintessential baby boomer high culture in that it operates at a superficial level.

    Kurtz (in haunted voice): “The horror, the horror…”
    Williard (oh-so quietly): “OK, boomer.”

    Of course, Kurtz, in the film would not have been a Boomer, but this thought made me chuckle nonetheless.

    I tend to find The Deer Hunter to be the best film about Vietnam I have seen; but that is mainly as I find the focus on the steel mill town and it’s populace very moving. Then again, I’m probably not fit to judge, as I know so little about Vietnam. I did use to have an uncle in the family who was American. His father had served in Vietnam and was as quiet as a mouse, but a very respectable gent. His son remarked that he never spoke about Vietnam. Ever.

    May the Good God rest his soul.

    • Odd enough, that those truly engaged in war don’t often speak of it. My father after WWII and occupied Europe almost never said a word during my life. Perhaps a couple of times and then indirectly as related to a non-war topic. For example, he explained once how to detect unsafe (spoiled) meat and how to distinguish a skinned cat from a rabbit. 😉

      It simply was not a subject to be discussed as was also the Vietnam war in its period. Perhaps such discussion is only for the victors? Seems that the Russians never tire of the “Great Patriotic War”. And who can blame them since it cost 20M Russian lives.

      • Compsci,

        I have read a large amount about the 1939-1945 war in particular. And the most vivid are various soldier’s memoirs – no doubt, all these men suffered in ways that I personally cannot really imagine. And I pray for their souls to rest in Eternity for their sacrifice – rightly or wrongly.

        Perhaps such discussion is only for the victors?

        Interesting point, and one I’d not ever considered – perhaps it is. In the case of Russia, she was violated in the most brutal way, not just by JS, but by Austrian Painter’s troops. The fighting, as I have read and understood, was the most bitter to be had. To have this all on your own soil must cause the spirit to rouse when such things are discussed.

      • Ditto my father. He was ostensibly an MP in the ETO, “guarding captured German POWs. But, whatever he actually did, he turned down OCS and a late war tour in the mop up of Japan. I got the impression that the plan was not to “guard” Japanese POWs; but he never spoke a word about.
        What he did do was become a fervent disciple of peace. A devout Catholic with a devotion to St. Francis of Assisi, every day of his life was punctuated with sincere prayers for peace in the world, in our family and within our lives. I was among the first cohort to register for Reagan’s Selective Service in 1980. He accompanied me. On the ride back home, he said that, in the event of a draft, he’d likely serve on any local draft board, which was reasonable given his local civic prominence. He assured me that I’d never be drafted if he could prevent it; but in the event I was, he’d support my emigration to Canada or wherever needed to escape the consequences. I was fairly shocked because this was entirely contrary to his ordinary civic nationalism plus chamber of commerce approach to society. It nailed home for me that whatever his WW2 experience was, it was some deep shit.
        Later, when the prospect of a ticket to Westpoint was dangled at me, he simply stated that I was an adult and could decide my own path; but he would not support such a decision in any way. I respected my dad too much to explore it further. Having seen the fruit of AINO’s military adventures since then, I now see his perspective as down right prophetic. Requiem aeternum dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

        • Maus,

          Good bless the soul of your father. And your’s also.

          A lovely (yet sad) comment, thanks for the insight.

        • War is just industrialized murder on a vast scale. Saw it in ’91. I’ll still enjoy a good war story but the reality is truly ugly.

          I’m working up some real hatred for the neo-con war mongers who want to start wars everywhere.

        • There is a line from the Clint Eastwood movie, “Grand Torino”. Eastwood plays a curmudgeon old veteran from the Korean conflict with bad memories. Eastwood in this Leftist fantasy befriends a Mong refugee family living next door.

          The family’s daughter is kidnapped and gang raped by a local Mong gang and Eastwood plays “white knight” and goes to arm himself and seek revenge. The parish priest who was with the family stops Eastwood and explains he understands what Eastwood went through in the Korean conflict, but Eastwood was ordered to do such things and he needs to forgive himself and stand down and let the “law” handle this (as this is how a moral society is supposed to act).

          Eastwood tells the priest he knows nothing of what he went through Korea and further adds the memorable line…”It’s not what we were ordered to do, it’s what we did that we were *not* ordered to do…that we can’t forget”

          And so it is. As said here, it is easy to lose one’s soul in war.

          • I don’t see Gran Torino as a Leftist fantasy. Far from it. I see it as a coded call for white men to regain their balls and tribe up.

    • OrangeFrog: “Of course, Kurtz, in the film would not have been a Boomer, but this thought made me chuckle nonetheless.”

      Over the course of the last year or so, muh historicism has been inexorably drawn into the phenomenon of the Silent Generation.

      The Silents created just about the entirety of the second half of the 20th Century.

      As an example, the three main actors in the most radical movie of that half century, “Easy Rider”, were Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, all of whom were solidly Silent; they weren’t even close to being Boomers.

      A quarter of the way into the 21st Century, we still have a POTUS who is a Silent, a minority leader of the senate who is a Silent, a President pro tempore of the United States Senate who is a silent, and our most vigorous Associate Justice of the Supreme Court is a silent.

      The Boomers haven’t yet fully stepped to the fore.

      There are decades of Boomer dominance of suhciety which haven’t even begun.


    • “I tend to find The Deer Hunter to be the best film about Vietnam I have seen; but that is mainly as I find the focus on the steel mill town and it’s populace very moving.”

      I too liked that part. Other parts probably weren’t so true, such as the Viet Cong forcing POWs to play Russian Roulette. But then Marlon Brandon’s Kurtz also tells a mendacious story about the VCs cutting off children’s arms.

      There’s another film from the same era, not about the war as such but about the cynicism and disillusionment engendered by it — the 1978 film, “Who’ll Stop the Rain”, with Nick Nolte and Tuesday Weld.

      • Arshad,

        Yeah – I suppose I actually look at The Deer Hunter as a film about a bunch of guys and the effects of their small town and the war in Vietnam on them. I agree with your point about the “not so true” Vietnam parts. I thought all the main male characters were great in their own way – and each was fascinating to study; particularly Walken’s, De Niro’s and Cazale’s character.

        I’ll look up Who’ll Stop the Rain.

  11. This reminds me why I stopped reading your Substack.

    No they did not use Vietnam as an excuse to “do” Heart of Darkness.

    One of the co-writers was Michael Herr who was a soldier or journalist in the war–I forget which–and wrote a fine book called Dispatches. If you read that you find lots of its material transferred to the movie. Like The Roach with his grenade launcher (my favorite moment in the whole movie, including the Redux version).

    Zman you have a weird, spergy penchant for wanting to apply simple Fiction Writing Class formulas to movies and novels. And if it fails your simplistic test, the movie is “bland”.

    Willard does change, though. He even says so. Kurtz “enlightens” him. Willard says he is done with the army. And at the end he kills Kurtz not because of the mission but because Kurtz wants him to. Kurtz is in spiritual agony. It’s a mercy killing.

    And then there’s also the documentary side of the movie. How many Americans would have expected to see several generations of a French family living in the middle of deepest darkest Asia? Quite the bonus history lesson. The movie is filled with all kinds of realistic details like that.

    This is a great movie. The best Vietnam War movie is indeed Platoon. But Apoclypse Now is timeless.

    Swearing off your movie posts from now on. Because it’s Friday morning and too early for a drink.

    • Ho ho–my little rant reminds me: at a job long ago, a pretty young engineer from Montreal worked in a neighboring department. One time when we were chatting we got onto movies.

      Now she was a highly intelligent person. But as we went over movies that we were both familiar with, it got stranger and stranger. Her reactions and observations to them were just so consistently off. She did not “get” obvious aspects of them. Sometimes the very point of the film would elude her.

      I realized that she had an engineering brain, and it was certainly wired in a special way. She needed everything to be like a schematic. It had to have easily traced logic.

      This may have been Zman’s potential soul mate But we’ll never know.

      • My brother (electronics) and paternal grandpa (shipyard machinist) were this way — linear, literal and either unaware or disinterested that any other meaning or comprehension could exist. A friend in the U.S., an aerospace engineer . . . same way. The what? he says to me.

        Takes all kinds and that’s fine because sometimes, you know, you need the car fixed and the electricity to function. Such folk should avoid Finnegan’s Wake, however.

    • How many Americans would have expected to see several generations of a French family living in the middle of deepest darkest Asia? Quite the bonus history lesson.

      This is a great point – I had been surprised massively by that, and it was one of my favourite parts of the film. I’m not sure it was in the theatrical release was it? Only in the redux version? Dunno.

      • The French Plantation scene is pretty good. Some good quotes from that scene were, ‘You Americans invented the Viet Mihn,’ and ‘You Americans are fighting for the biggest ‘nothing’ in history!’

    • Perhaps as I am not of the Vietnam generation (too young), the film does nothing for me. Now, I am no uncultured and uneducated simpleton – I get the zeitgeist. The movie has some striking scenes and some lovely shots. I cannot, however, claim that this is a film, much like The Godfather, that does anything for me. To quote a great critique of The Godfather: “I never cared for it; it insists upon itself.” This is exactly my feelings on Apocalypse Now.
      This self-importance is only heightened when contrasted with the delicacy of Conrad’s work. I feel that the delicate layering of a jaded observer relaying the events that disillusioned him, placing us in both worlds simultaneously, being conveyed by an outside witness, is replaced by Martin Sheen’s already worn out affect from the outset. The sense of disillusionment, and thus growth, is lost when the person is already fatigued at the beginning. Further, the distance of perspective in Heart allows us to recognize the cypher that is Kurtz. He is nothing except what he is to others; the real Kurtz is elusive or nothing, except as he resonates with those who know him as a sickly prism, including Marlow, who seems to wrestle with this angst.
      Now, to be fair, I always felt when reading Conrad’s work that I was tunneling. The movie captures that well. But like movie adaptations of a book, it is ‘kurtz’ed to be ersatz 🙂

    • You may be justified in your disagreements with Z, but your over-the-top snark is not justified. Show some manners or shut your pie-hole. Capisce?

      • I think he and Intelligent Daesin should start a little blog together where they furiously circlejerk each other on which is the more erudite, cultured, and “in the know” between the two of them. This “tut-tut” thing they do is so supremely leftist in its delivery, even if neither of them lean left. It comes off the same way with this really smarmy arrogance that generally is the mask of someone who thinks they are well read, knowledgeable, and perhaps most damningly, wise.

        In DC I’m surrounded by midwit shitbirds like this who equate “education” with raw intellect. Very Important People™, the lot of them. Their demeanor is off putting in a way that sometimes makes you want to give them a fucking slap because its obvious they’ve never had one. But they are surrounded by “cultured” (read: tasteless) and “educated” (read: functionally retarded) people just like themselves so they rarely get that ‘street’ education some of us had growing up.

  12. “I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one.” Is it possible this hints at boomer guilt?

    Later on in the film Willard narrates a letter to his wife telling her to sell the car, the house, the kids…well, they kinda did.

    • I believe Willard narrated Kurtz’s letter to Kurtz’s wife. Willard was already divorced with some factory job back in Ohio (worst state ever, j/k) waiting for him if he left the army. Willard was developing the Kurtz character by reading out loud the CIA dossier collected on Kurtz.

      • Both wrong. The shocking letter was from Colby, Willard’s predecessor on The Mission.

        Later if you don’t blink, you will see silent and gaunt Colby standing in the crowd at Kurtz’s camp. Willard recognizes him and says his name out loud.

        • @pantoufle: I’m not the arsehole negging you. I only neg bots. You clearly are a smart human being and not a bot. Just so you know. Anybody else, too, I don’t neg unless you are borg or will be assimilated.

    • Kurtz’ army holds up signs: ‘I’m Never Coming Home’ . . . with the ‘home’ crossed-out and ‘back’ written in instead.

      Says it all right there, what’s really going on. Look around at American young men and listen to them and their absolute and total alien-nation; they know very well they have no home in New Amerika, and that they are now the enemy.

      Applies to all the troops and their stateside Jodys from the Iraq and Afghan campaigns, too!

      AN was both a topical and predictive film.

  13. Recently I took one for the team and watched Bill Maher’s 1991 epic Pizza Man so that you don’t have to. I’m a person who enjoys bad movies, B movies and such, you know, that are so bad that they’re good, but this one was just bad, bad, bad, bad. There was nothing redeeming about it whatsoever. Possibly the worst movie I have ever sat all the way through. I’ll never got those 85 minutes back. Please take my word for it and don’t subject yourself.

    I went into it with my antennae up for pizzagate type references but didn’t pick up on any. Which isn’t to say they didn’t exist, but if so I was ignorant of them. For instance, the number 1523 was repeated over and over throughout the movie. Which to my knowledge has no meaning. But one thing of note, at the end of the movie, Maher’s character kills Donald Trump (I’m not spoiling anything, believe me). However, he also at the same time, with the same bomb, kills Ronald Reagan, Geraldine Ferraro, Tom Bradley, Michael Dukakis, Dan Quayle, and Marilyn Quayle. So it’s difficult to say he was future casting.

    Maher never should have had another job in Hollywood after this all time stinker. Calling it a stinker doesn’t do it justice in describing how bad it was.

    • Bill Maher wants London as non English as possible. That makes him an accomplice to what is euphemistically called the great replacement but is actually the genocide against us . After that I know what I need to know. He’ll be in the third tier Davos trials. After we crush these demons

    • Bill Maher was hilarious in this 1989 camp film that satirized both feminism and its critics. (All the actresses who played feminists were chicks who posed naked for money in real life. I think that the female lead married Gene Simmons.)

      “Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death,” which maintains our “Heart of Darkness” theme today.

      I remember watching this when it came out with my feminine but feminist girlfriend.

  14. The Z-Man is a connoisseur of bizarre race mixing advertisements, so…

    I saw an erectile disfunction medicine commercial last night featuring a blonde woman and a man who looks exactly like a young Ho Chi Min, complete with goatee.

    I burst out laughing.

  15. Not strictly war movies but I believe most here would enjoy Kurasawa’s “Ran” and Wise’s “The Sand Pebbles.” Probably Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory” too. Macready’s portrayal of evil in the form of General Mireaux (sp) is brilliant. Fellow aviation freaks might enjoy “Red Baron” for its aerial scenes. Also Lena Heady, yo. Bubble heads might appreciate “Das Boot.” Have a great weekend.

      • I might add that I had a HS friend whose father was in China and in command of such a gun boat as in Sand Pebbles. His father vouched for the validity of the story. He also had an album of photographs of the populace in those days, complete with public beheadings. Both of us were quite impressed.

    • I’m going to add “Forrest Gump” to my list. Great, cough, war scenes and totally directed at the boomer crowd. Soldiers really did get shot in the butt-ocks ;>}

      Good observation, Pantoufle. Folks don’t really know about Sand Pebbles. It’s a really fine film and book, well worth the watch and the film’s observations.

      • Hey, come to think of it, The Sand Pebbles was from a novel written by an American who did fight in … Viet Nam.

        And the movie was made DURING the Viet Nam war.

        Now this is a great example of movie using an earlier conflict to criticize contemporary foreign policy.

    • Kurosawa is in a league of his own. “Ran” is based (roughly) on Shakespeare’s “King Lear.”

      • It’s one of my favorite films of all time. You’re correct about Kurosawa. Also, there are European and Russian directors I’d mention but few will watch films that have subtitles.

    • “The Blue Max”(1966) is much better than “The Red Baron”, if it’s that German movie you’re referencing about him, the one made within the last dozen years or so. “Blue Max” has no CGI & all aviation done by the legendary Paul Mantz in period aircraft including two Fokker Dr1’s.

      Add Sam Peckinpah’s incomparable “Cross of Iron” (1977) to the mix. Not about Vietnam @ all rather the Eastern Front of World War II from the German point-of-view. IMHO “Apocalypse Now” is just an over-the-top Hollywood commentary on what they thought the Vietnam War was, part farce, part allegory. A much more realistic portrayal would be “The Boys in Company C” (1978) directed by Sid Furie, “Platoon”, or “Full Metal Jacket” of course.

  16. You have thoughtful political essays and an admirable work ethic, but you know very little about Apocalypse Now or the captain.

    The journey up-river is the journey backwards in time, and into the primitive-mindset, whether for individual or nation hint hint. AN re-enacts the oldest and most central ritual in humanity, the Killing of the King, and if you think these rites have disappeared from amongst us, all moderny and sophistico as we are, you were not alive in November 1963.

    The captain most certainly was transformed and transforming. That is the meaning of his dropping the weapon after the ancient blood-rite — demanded, as always, by The People — has been satisfied. The new ‘subjects’ of the new king take his lead, and likewise relinquish their weapons as he passes among them. A new age dawns etc. It is expertly and compactly expressed.

    Yes the film was a product of its time, but by no means was limited to its time, that is why it remains great. No idea what you’re going on about Boomers but you do not understand this movie.

    When the captain sits at table with the French Plantation holdouts . . . the setting sun half blinding him . . . they tell the joke about starving during wartime. One person says they see an angel passing, and the other person says Let’s eat it.

    And there, indeed, is the real heart of darkness.

      • RedBeard —

        That’s my vague recollection, too. I suspect the Plantation scene got cut because the flick already was considered ‘too long’. No streaming-breaks back then.

        Turned out the film was too short. Gotta have that scene for it all to cohere.

    • Some people say the French in the Plantation scene are ghosts. Could be. The French soldier playing the accordion asks Willard if he knows about Dien Bien Phu and later says ‘at Dien Bien Phu, we all knew we would be dead!’

  17. Re: “ One of the things about mass popular culture that is taken for granted, but is genuinely novel, is that pop culture artifacts come to symbolize certain eras…We do not have this for the time before mass popular culture. What is the song that defines the 1890’s?”

    That’s because the people who experienced the post-1945 world are still mostly alive. No-one who can remember the 1890s is. Whether people will even know of “All Along the Watchtower” or “Apocalyse Now” a century hence is questionable. Even if they do, they won’t see it from a generational perspective.

    Whether the Great Gatsby has survived because it captured the Twenties is a debatable point. That said, the novel is increasingly disappearing from school reading lists as the 1920s is now a century ago.

    Unfortunately the same can’t be said about this age’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t going anywhere…

    • Mockingbird sucks, except that last three pages. Those are actually really good, as it nicely recontextualizes Scout as still a little girl. Beautiful writing and sentiment. The rest is trash.
      Great Gatsby is great. I don’t remember the 20s, nor anyone who lived it, but it evokes the sense. I do, however, have a sense of the time when it happened, even if it is simply a trick of the brain with no correlation to objective history. Whether this is generational is debatable.
      The point about generational markers of course become problematic with longer time spans, and the word generational needs to be replaced with cultural. I can read Beowulf and have a sense of Anglo-Saxon ache at the defeat of man in time. This gives me a sense of culture not mine.
      Z probably needs to clarify, as you point out, that generational is only relevant with proximity. It is also, however, perhaps a shorthand for cultural, which can be perceived through greater leaps in time.

    • I’ve often thought about how time erodes pop culture.

      For example: You can already see how the Beatles went from being “Bigger than Jesus” to a curiosity. Even for me, who can remember the night they appeared on the Smothers Brothers and performed Hey Jude. And I was just an impressionable little kid.

      And then there are movies in the first half of the 20th century. Today’s movie stars are cultural pygmies. They may be “influencers” at best, but the old time stars were treated like gods. I suspect it is now beyond us to comprehend the popularity they had.

      Even the silent era stars. They say Charlie Chaplin was the first world-wide celebrity. The first time he returned to London, he was absolutely mobbed. I mean, the streets were wall-to-wall people. The horse cops were called out. The Beatles would have been green with envy. But chances are they never even heard of it. Because time.

      Yes it’s funny to think how the latest and greatest thing today, no matter how Big and Important, eventually comes to nothing.

      And that said I still watch Chaplin and Keaton, now and then.

      Trivia: I once read that Gatsby only had middling success when it first game out. What turned it into a classic was that it was one of the books selected by the US Army in WWII for mass printing –they supplied the boys with free reading material. From there it made it to the school lists.

      • I thought Dickens was the first international celebrity. When he made his first trip to the States, people mobbed him and ransacked his hotel rooms for souvenirs.

  18. The Boomer Generation was the first cohort of American society to experience a significant step increase in standard of living vis-a-vis prior generations, and thereby also became the first victims of the damage done by prolonged affluence and the death of real hardship. Nature intends that all children should experience a gauntlet of difficulties and challenges during our formative years such that we fight through, prove our worth, and earn our self-esteem via tangible accomplishment. Most of the Boomers came of age in a Leave-It-To-Beaver household and never got this early life education, and its only gotten worse over time. Kurtz’s character was the old school hard-as-nails principled American of the pioneer era. Willard was the metaphorical executioner that killed off the hardship gauntlet that spawned such men. We have been on a downward slope ever since.

    • Interesting point but debatable. 2008 real estate crisis wiped out a lot of Americans. I had a front-row seat & I also saw how people picked themselves up and showed true American grit to rebuild their fortunes. Guys worked 2 or 3 jobs delivering pizzas, etc. until they made it to the North Dakota oilfields.
      I think the guys content to sit around on welfare were a minority. You even had union guys (!!!!) starting up their own (successful) small businesses.

      Yeah, that’s the America I love.

      • Not everyone in the Boomer cohort got to live the Leave-It-to-Beaver lifestyle, it was just the beginning of the transition. And the hippie movement of the 60s was still a minority fraction, as most young men of that era still answered the call to service in Vietnam. So you are fortunate to have witnessed the remnants of legacy America reassert themselves during the hardships of the mortgage crisis. But even that crisis was nothing compared to the Great Depression, of which I heard stories in my youth.

        We will not rebound fully until real hardship returns across the board and is not softened by the endless money printing by the Fed. Eventually the bill comes due.

  19. Apoc Now is another retread of the over-used Heart of Darkness theme in Hollywood : White man goes native, white man’s superiors try to rein him in, white man refuses, violence ensues.
    Lawrence of Arabia, AN, Dances with Wolves, Avatar and its sequel. There are some others but these were the big budget ones, all of which (except AN) won best picture Oscar, so it’s a very successful formula for Hollywood. There’s also the woke racial aspect of it where in most of these movies the (mostly) white audience is steered towards cheering against their own tribe and FOR the outcast. This is especially true in Dances with Wolves (Indians v cavalry) and in Avatar where you are supposed to root for the fn aliens over the humans, who of course are almost exclusively white. I’m sure this knowledgeable crowd can think of some other movie/tv show/novel examples on this theme.

    • White people’s yen for the exotic Other is arguably our greatest weakness. And it’s hardly of recent stint. Eighteenth-century operas were not infrequently set in Turkey, North Africa, the Middle East, Japan and China. Some of Shakespeare’s plays featured non-white characters. And, I would argue, the Age of Exploration was catalyzed not just by God, gold and glory, but also the desire to learn about strange peoples. This odd characteristic surely contributed to the “going native” phenomenon, as well as to something far more pernicious, postmodern multiculturalism.

  20. “Heart of Darkness” is one of my all-time favorite novels, a prophetic preamble to the horrors of the 20th century.

    One of my favorite quotes (out of many):

    “Who’s that grunting? You wonder I didn’t go ashore for a howl and a dance? Well, no—I didn’t. Fine sentiments, you say? Fine sentiments, be hanged! I had no time.”

  21. I think Apocalypse Now is the best film ever made, and that is largely because of the film’s structure as Z describes it. It is a great series of vignettes that are great cinema by themselves and somehow manage to pull together in this convincing whole. It’s just a marvelous spectacle and an incredible piece of filmmaking. Of course, I did not live through Vietnam – and that is maybe why I feel like films like Born on the Fourth of July and The Deer Hunter, films that purport to show the effect of the war on the people who fought it, do not resonate with me in the same way. I do love Full Metal Jacket too, I think more than most people who rate it as one of Kubrick’s weaker films.

    • These films that attempt to show the psychological effect of war on the participant seem (oddly enough) to have increased as society becomes more feminized. It has increased until today PTSD has become a go to excuse for all sorts of mental angst—even outside of combat. It’s the go to excuse for debility claims and sympathy. Debate still rages wrt the cause, physical or simply psychological. Military now wear detectors that register concussion effects. If they go off, you get removed from duty for further examination and treatment. Not sure what that has shown as I don’t follow this problem much.

      • Soldiers did suffer tremendous, life-ending debilitation from their service. My late uncle Ed, whom I never met, was a happy-go-lucky fellow, I’m told, who was college bound. Ed volunteered for silent service, his submarine was depth-charged outside Tokyo. He was a torpedo man’s mate surrounded by explosive torpedo fuel and warheads during the nearby explosions that rattled his brain. After the war he had no attention span, lost a number of jobs, hired a lawyer and willed his possessions to my grandfather. Gulped some whiskey down, put a noose around his neck, and then stepped off into oblivion. He couldn’t quiet the explosions in his head.

        I’m glad attention is visited on concussions and their effects. I have a dear old friend from h.s., the older tailback ahead of me, great guy suffering from ALS (Lou Gherig’s disease). Tailback for Hillsdale, claimed thirty concussions, and I believe him. Now going to die needlessly likely from being concussed. There is really no technology that can prevent brain damage when a person’s head experiences rapid acceleration. 0.02

        • Not saying PTSD does not exist, but that it seems more prevalent in modern society, rather than former. That concussion damage is serious is not in question. I for one would welcome a definitive answer whether PTSD is of a physical cause and has a proven association with blast effects.

          Right now we have lawsuits every now and then for such psychological damage entirely outside of military service connection. Hence the “go to” or “excuse” wording of my posting.

  22. One thing to add to this, and this is kind of a vast topic that I won’t be able to do justice to in a comment, is the extent to which the Vietnam movie era popularized the type of the psychologically damaged Vietnam War veteran, and how this persona took on a life of its own.

    Many men of a certain age played up and played into this persona in the real world, including men with no time in-country and very limited service experience, and they did so to outrageous extents. It became a pretext for all sorts of whiggerish, whignat victimology complexes that became quite lucrative, almost comically so. The road from John Rambo to Walter Sobchak is short and, in retrospect, quite recognizably an American phenomenon.

    As I said, I won’t be able to do justice to this concept today, but I think it is fascinating and it could use more analysis.

    • Walter Sobchak! Perfect. He is constantly playing the role of Damaged Viet Nam Vet. As it is simply expected of him and something that he owes his falled comrades.

    • “is the extent to which the Vietnam movie era popularized the type of the psychologically damaged Vietnam War veteran”

      Reminds me of the Stallone film, “First Blood.” But read the book it’s based on: the Vietnam vet kills the whole police department except the sheriff, who dies at the same time Rambo does. If memory serves, Rambo’s ex-commanding captain blows out Rambo’s brains. That is one nihilistic story.

    • Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) is another psychologically damaged Vietnam vet, although he never cops the victim plea.

  23. First, despite Jimi Hendrix’s popular and impressive version of “All Along the Watchtower,” to me, it will always be a Bob Dylan song. Hendrix’s cover basically amounts to an exhilarating guitar showcase (as does essentially every Hendrix song). Dylan, on the other hand, foregrounded the lyrics over the music; thus, his original presents primarily as poetry.

    As to “Apocalypse Now”:
    “They were going to make me a Major for this — and I wasn’t even in their fucking army anymore.”
    — Captain Willard (Martin Sheen)

    The point of the movie is that Willard begins basically as a burnout, sick of the war, yet even more sick of having nothing much to do at that specific moment (“Everybody gets what they want. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service.”). Over the course of the film, due to the harrowing events that he has experienced during his journey to the near-mythical Kurtz, Willard has crossed over from a mere cynic into a state of existential darkness that transcends war itself. Due to Sheen’s extremely controlled performance, this metamorphosis is subtle, yet it is clear if one has eyes to see it. The man has “looked long into the abyss,” to borrow the famous Nietzsche phrase. He has traveled far past the trappings of the Vietnam War.

    • That is one song that I wish to never hear again. If there’s any song associated with Baby Boomers that provokes dark thoughts in my mind, it’s that one. How many wistful Boomer movies has it appeared in?

      • Have you ever listened to Dylan’s original? To hold a song accountable for the movies that employed it strikes me as a strange way to assess its actual content.

        Here’s a general observation that may or may not apply to you: Tone-deafness to art has long been a standard conservative defect. And essentially conceding an entire field of immense influence (arts/entertainment) to the opposition exhibits priorities that ought be questioned.
        P.S.: Conservatives did the same thing with academia.

        • Wkathman: “Tone-deafness to art has long been a standard conservative defect.”


          Dylan doesn’t even rise to the level of a mediocre utterly forgettable abomination, and you’re completely oblivious to your own tone deafness.

          You want Conservative Amurrikkkun art, in the good ol’ U.S. of A?

          Try this:

          Or this:

          Or this:


        • A lot of good songs suffer from being overplayed. Not every song was intended to be played 5000 times. It’s not fair to either the song or to the listener. The Eagles come to mind. Great band, if you only played their songs 50 or 100 times each. But they’ve become something else through overplay. Ditto for AATW.

          • Compscii, I’m pretty sure if she hadn’t been James Taylor’s girlfriend we’d never have heard of her. Still, she managed to luck into doing a couple of decent songs iyam.

          • Jeffrey, it was more than a couple of decent songs—at least by the top ten charts. That’s probably the reason I can’t listen much any more. I have her “greatest hits” album and there’s probably 20+ songs (songs were short in the day). Anyway, I remember enjoying her initially, but no longer. This is odd for me as I prefer female vocalists of the past—even Streisand—but poor old Carly, no more.

        • So, KGB doesn’t like All Along the Watchtower. That doesn’t, in my book, make him artistically tone deaf. I know, I know–you didn’t say he is, but you implied it.

      • I recommend you never watch The Big Chill. Talk about Boomerbation! You’d hate it. I sure did.

    • Over the course of the film, due to the harrowing events that he has experienced during his journey to the near-mythical Kurtz, Willard has crossed over from a mere cynic into a state of existential darkness that transcends war itself.

      I like that view, which is why I posted below:

      I’d counter Willard and and Kurtz are not full mirror images of each other, but almost 1/2 mirror images. Willard hasn’t gone as far down the path Kurtz travelled down, but he knows he’s halfway there

      Willard has become the warning in the start of Nietzsche phrase “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster.’ He’s not Kurtz, but he’s on his way to something like Kurtz. And worse, I think he knows there’s no way to stop it.

      • Excellent addendum. Bravo! In fact, thinking of that entire classic quote in the context of “Apocalypse Now” puts a fascinating spin on Nietzsche’s words. And it’s all very timely — because after I finish William Makepeace Thackeray’s “The Luck of Barry Lyndon,” I intend to go on my own personal Nietzche binge. I’ve already read “Beyond Good & Evil” multiple times & it is lights-out! Tried to get through the often-opaque slog that is “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” & plan to return to it. Beyond the man’s complex philosophies, he was a wordsmith of the highest order. He had a true genius for aphorism.

  24. OT: how bout that Putin interview?

    Boring as F! A few nuggets here and there: 1) west kept slapping russia even after ussr; 2) usa did nordstream (duh); 3) why fight in ukraine, when america has it’s own country ending problems 4) tucker (wannabe?) CIA.

    Vlad owned the interview, but so boring. I guess his point was to own the interview and just be viewed as a statesmen who can string together ideas opposed to our currently installed vegetable?

    • Putin came across as an actual adult and, as you point out, a statesman. I don’t know anything about Russian culture, Russian media, Russian politics, but it was a far cry from what you see in the USA. Tucker explicitly pointed out that there was no time limit, and in fact he ended up asking more questions at the end even after he said “this will be my last question.” Compare this to Brandon who was incoherent 8 minutes into a 15 minute press conference and shuffled away. Whether or not this was a conscious, game-planned strategy of Putin (the way that every politician in the US micromanages appearances) or just the basic reality of him and his governing approach, I do not know. I will say the things he said were right in line with the things he has been saying since the beginning of the SMO.

      It wasn’t that long ago that American statesman who sit down and do discussions like this. We have devolved a lot over the years, with the decline starting around the time the Clinton freak show rolled into town.

      • His intense worry about neo Nazis struck me as insincere. Not to defend Bandera and I appreciate that given the history of the eastern front Russians are not fans of moustache man (neither am I). But worries about Nato missiles three minutes from Moscow would sound a lot more realistic than angry about some ukranians liking a guy the KGB killed 60 years ago. I think he was playing to Western normie audiences there

        • I agree with that, and I also agree it’s a bad tactic. When he tried to bring it up at the beginning of the SMO, the Western media dutifully declared that Azov and other neo-nazi brigades were totally kosher, so to speak. The media has dutifully tried to downplay the Nazi association of these brigades. They don’t do it as much now, but that’s because these brigades have been more or less destroyed in the war.

          I think it’s interesting I go on CNN and MSNBC and see only a couple of buried articles on the main page, mainly attacking Tucker the same way they did before the interview aired. It seems like they do not want to discuss this interview much at all, so and that’s enough to tell me that Putin did something right in it.

        • > I think he was playing to Western normie audiences there

          No, he was playing to Russian normies. Russians to this day have a visceral reaction to Nazi identity and imagery. They grew up learning about how many Russians died in “The Great Patriotic War”, and almost all Russians have an ancestor or relative who was killed by a literal Nazi.

          This is why the Ukrainian extremists adopted the Nazi identity in the first place: Because they hate Russians and dedicate their lives to killing Russians (first civilians in Odessa and the Donbass, but post-2022 now Russian soldiers or civilians in terror attacks.) These people have a big role in all this. Yes, Zelenskyyyyyy is controlled by NATO, but the Banderites are a big, big reason that the rest of the country has gone along with this madness.

          Also, whenever a Ukrainian soldier is captured by a Russian, they immediately strip him and search for Nazi tattoos. This is not a political act, and certainly not for Western “woke” audiences. No, for Russians in the Donbass, the threat of “Nazis” is very, very real.

          • You could be right about that. Given my cultural background I might have misread that. Worrying about Nazis while European cities are flooded with violent muslim men and the whole world is walking or swimming across the US border sounds extremely me. But the Russians have a different history

          • He hasn’t done it lately, having gained a clearer sense of the divisions within the West, but Putin has always explicitly linked Russia’s Nazi problem to America’s.

            He means us. And he *means it*.

        • “But worries about Nato missiles three minutes from Moscow would sound a lot more realistic than angry about some ukranians liking a guy the KGB killed 60 years ago. I think he was playing to Western normie audiences there”

          You miss the point. They don’t “like” the guy. They worship him. And they put his ideology into effect every way possible. Like burning Russian protesters alive in Odessa.

          And the last thing Russia needs is a regime full of these people AND in possession of nukes, or even just regular long-range missiles.

          The UkroNazis out-Nazied the Nazis. Incredibly, Bandera created an ideology wherein Ukrainains are not Slavs but “Aryans” and the Russians and Poles are subhuman Slavs and hence “Orcs”.

          During WWII the Banderists committed attrocities that apalled even the SS men serving alongside them.

          Now THAT takes some chutzpah.

          I have no idea what Putin’s ultimate goals are in this war, but the whole thing will be pointless if these crazies are not extirpated from Ukraine for once and for all.

          • “ During WWII the Banderists committed atrocities that appalled even the SS men serving alongside them.”

            Yep, and that takes some doing. They were so bad, that the SS complained they could not efficiently do their work (roundups for camps) due to the resistance that was building around Uke’s. You got to be something else to make folk prefer SS to yourself—or even death itself.

      • Personal dignity is a psychological restraint that prevents not only unseemly but deranged behavior. If you have personal dignity, you value it, and fear its loss through behaving absurdly.

        With the advent of Clinton, the dignity of the presidential office vanished, and since then, AINO’s presidents have become more and more farcical. It won’t be long until Neros and Caligulas occupy the White House.

        But Russia is still a serious nation, and dignity is expected of its leaders. This is why Putin is a sober-minded adult, and why he contrasts so sharply with whichever Bozo happens to be occupying the White House.

    • Totally agree. Granted, no western leader could have done two hours intelligent answers and deep history dive. But of course, unlike Putin they don’t really run anything anyway.

      I felt like Putin missed the chance to really explain to the American people why the US gov is the troublemaker. But maybe he didn’t want to come across as too forceful and scary?? Awfully boring unless you’re into Russian history

      • i agree. all putin had to make clear was that the cia did a color revolution in ukraine and zelensky was a puppet. Ukraine is home of money laundering, biolabs, and US wants nukes there. Just as we didn’t want nukes in Cuba, he doesn’t want them in the kraine. Would make a lot of sense to normies.

    • I thought it was well worth the 2 hours of my time, despite Putin having already covered a lot of the same ground in the Oliver Stone Interviews. Tucker asked good questions – some of which Putin blatantly evaded – and Putin seemed agitated and put on the spot when Tucker asked about Gershkovic and offered to take him back to the US himself.

      Putin may be far more intelligent and articulate than most US politicians (expect Ron DeSantis, Rand Paul & a few others), but I came away with the feeling that this is a man with declining powers, perhaps isolated and surrounded by yes-men – are the cancer rumors true? Red-eyed and a bit unhealthy-looking.

      • I got the impression that a Putin avoided saying politically unwise things when baited to say his view of the current US leadership. This man is smart and shrewd. He burns no bridges for a brief moment of pleasure. He could have easily said that the US is not run by a demented old man like Biden, but he played along with the powers behind the scene/man

    • Agree, Tucker blew it by failing to understand his real audience.

      The published interview should have been 30 minutes tops.

      At least 10 minutes of the interview should have been Putin explaining Russia’s basic grievances in English and to convey a message of warmth and peace to the American people.

      This is because, the basic position of 99% of Amerifats, even the most open-minded bleeding hearts, is, “Speak English or die.”

      Something like that would have come close to breaking the Internet.

      • Don’t like saying it, but you’re probably right. For starters most Americans don’t have the attention span for a long explanation. If they don’t congenitally have ADHD, years of public schooling and watching ad-driven US television do the trick. Ditto for English — use simple words and simple sentences.

        The interview will probably be more popular with a global viewership than an American one. But that was probably not what Carlson was aiming for.

        • AA-

          Well, if I were on Tucker’s team I would have very respectfully proposed my plan to Putin’s team.

          I would have tried to couch my plan in the larger idea that TC isn’t just here to conduct the interview for clicks and eyeballs.

          Rather, he and his team see themselves as emissaries from the West who think this interview is an excellent opportunity to try and take a step back from nuclear WW3.

          I also would have emphasized that, as a people, Americans tend to be highly emotional with extremely short historical memories.

          On those terms, I think Putin would have understood and possibly gone with this plan.

    • The juxtaposition between Putin speaking clearly and coherently for two hours while covering over 1500 years of Russian history against Biden mumbling incoherently for 15 minutes while confusing Egypt with Mexico was utterly devastating for Team Biden. Biden might be able to hold his own against a middle school debate team, but he has no business being in the same room with Putin.

      There are unconfirmed reports that Tucker Carlson applied for a position with the CIA, but was rejected. However, the timing of the release of the interview coordinated with the special counsel report on Biden’s clearly illegal handling of classified material makes me wonder if Tucker is not coordinating with someone on the inside who wants Biden out.

  25. It’s hard to watch any Vietnam War movie after one realizes that Ho Chi Minh was the good guy. Not too long ago a Youtube blogger “Bismarck on Military Aviation History” had a video on Operation Linebacker II in 1972 and I found myself rooting for the North Vietnamese against the B-52s.

    • A person admitting his firmware is supplied by the media – not something many of you idiots are prone to do. But beyond that, shut up, you have no idea what you’re talking about in regards to Minh.

    • I ask not a fan of Ho just like I wasn’t a fan of the NK communists. However, the NV had a lot more right to fight in Vietnam than we did. Same with the Koreans.

      The easiest assumption is that whomever we are fighting is probably more on the right than we are

      • Courtesy of multiculturalists, now the fight is on our home turf. Whatever the rights and wrongs of wars past, now we’re the invadees, not the invaders. And resistance is racist. According to people who want you dead

  26. Something I didn’t feel like mentioning behind the green door was that the “Top Gear” guys had done a boat adventure down the Mekong for their Amazon show and while Jeremy wanted the boat used in Apocalypse Now it turned out that, despite how many were built, none had been kept maintained and they were all gone. He ended up using an expensive recreation of the original vessel.

    • Those things only had an operational life span of about ten years, including standard maintenance. Don’t know what they were expecting to find. I mean, I get what they wanted, but time and technology have moved on.

      • They’re probably used to the automotive sector where it seems like there’s always some autist maintaining even the most obscure cars from the past. The fact that he was able to “kit” one shows that keeping one running was theoretically possible, and yet no one did, most likely because a boat isn’t a car and even under the best circumstances a boat is an unforgivable money hole.

  27. Best ‘Nam film I’ve seen is “Born on the 4th of July.” Watching a child of the 50s naively go off to play John Wayne then cut down to nothing then to the uncaring gubmint hospital is horrendous.

    • It’s too tragic for me. If I want a depression I can just watch the news. If it’s going to be fiction anyway I prefer uplifting films.

  28. Not having been in Vietnam, it sure seems like Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers” was the most realistic.

    I was in the 1st Gulf War and our movies were terrible. That HBO series “Generation Kill” was the closest even though it was about the 2nd war.

    • Having fought in Vietnam and enjoying every commie killing minute of it I too believe that we were soldiers was the closest to my own personal experience. I was wounded twice and received a bronze star and participated in 13 battles invaded Hue city and found myself in Cambodia for a period of time. And as stated I loved every minute of it.

      There is nothing I ever did in my life as important as killing as many communists as I could. Which is why to this very day I have no tolerance for communists, Nazis, or Muslims. Any group political or religious who’s main goal is the destruction of the United States of America is my enemy. Sadly, is becoming obvious that the formerly great Democrat party is becoming just that. Now they are all gathered around defending a pickled herring as president. To what end?

      Now, go kill a commie for Christ period

      • A comment I’d seen elsewhere that I chew on was that Vietnam was the last moral war for the empire; every war/military action since then has been some flavor of bizarre war of choice.

      • Hoagie

        Thank you for the excellent post.

        I occasionally have men’s weekends (yes, sausage and beans only), at my place in the middle of no where. I call them Bacon and Bourbon events.

        Cards (euchre to pinochle)
        And stories far into the night.

        One of my regulars was a helicopter pilot in one of the sand box wars. Did a 22 year run. The stories are, quite frankly, surreal.

        You have a standing invitation to all future events.

      • Nothing against your service, or your participation. But the question I have is that you—we—fought to save Vietnam (and other countries) from the “commies”. We lost. So where is Vietnam and those other SouthEast Asia countries today?

        The answer, they are doing just fine and we are trading with them and setting up factories and the like. So we lost 50+k citizens for what? Well, nothing. We were sold a bill of goods. Someone made out, and that was not you or me.

        • Actually Compsci I feel I made out in a few ways. 1st I didn’t know if I was a coward or not. In Vietnam I learned a very important thing about myself I’m not afraid about anything on this earth. And that’s helped me through my adult life cause nothing makes me back down.

          I also learned that although I was full of piss and vinegar and lots of patriotism that my country was not always right as you not so graciously pointed out. But I still fought for her and as full of A holes as this country is today I’d fight for her again.

          I also found out I made a lot of good friends. Some still with me but we’re getting old and we’re disappearing 1 by 1. So goes any empire even ours. I’m just grateful I had the opportunity to give my full measure for this country even if nobody knows about it or even cares.

          • Not to contradict you. I was talking of the nation as a whole. Your view is actually one that interestingly, some of the American Indian tribes had as well. I heard recounts of young Indian men seeking service as a rite of passage and part of their warrior culture (what was left of it by that time).

        • I have no problem killing commies–or at least incercerating them for a long time–but only if they’re in my country. I couldn’t care less if some country across the ocean or across a river is full of commies. None of my business.

    • I read the Conrad novel a few years ago and I really enjoyed it. Like Fitzgerald his prose is more impressive than the story itself.

      But on this post I am with the deeper metaphor that Z is going for, and that is how most people in our culture are merely observing life, living for experiences while not changing or growing. With all of life’s necessities taken care of, the human struggle today is about finding enough content to keep oneself entertained. And the resulting culture is basically nothing but content creation, whether it is useless things to shop for, social media, obscure new “rights” to create political drama over, which can be argued and consumed on social media, but is ultimately meaningless.

      We’ve reached the pinnacle of the consumer society, with people having no purpose in their life but to consume, no growth, exploration, or even a concern about the society at large as long as it does not stop their consumption of new experiences.

      • Great post.

        And yes indeed both writers had beautiful styles.

        Conrad never ceases to amaze me: English was not his native language. Incredible achievement.

        Fitzgerald is often smirked at as a soppy romantic preppy. But his prose style was outstanding. Possibly the best in Am Lit?

  29. I still don’t get how Apocalypse Now is a boomer film. All the key players (director, writers, and stars) were Silent generation.

    On the other hand, Platoon, which vets tell me is the most accurate, was made by a boomer, Oliver Stone.

    The most telling difference was Stone actually fought in Vietnam.

    It is weird though the many Dissident Right think that anyone born before 1964 is a boomer whether Pelosi (Silent) or Julius Ceaser.

    • All these categories. Let’s pigeonhole everyone and everything. It’s so much easier!

      Screw them. You are right.

  30. IMO the best vietnam movie is “We Were Soldiers”. it is pretty close to the best overall war movie too. “Go Tell The Spartans” is also very good, and has a different tone from most war movies.

    if you want to see what a mess Apocalypse Now was, watch the extended version. the boat guys steal the surfing colonel’s personal surfboard! a couple of the playboy bunnies end up dead. and on and on it goes.

    • Z: “Whether or not Apocalypse Now is the best Vietnam war film is debatable. Many people think Platoon is the best of the Vietnam films. Full Metal Jacket is another iconic film about the era.”

      Apocalypse Now: (((John Milius)))
      Platoon: (((Oliver Stone)))
      Full Metal Jacket: (((Stanley Kubrick)))

      Gosh darn it, I feel like I’m seeing a pattern there, but for the life of me, I can’t quite figure out what it is.

      Maybe it has something to do with the winners writing the history books?!?!?

      I dunno, I wish had another standard deviation of verbal acuity.

      Then maybe I could understand.

      Gonna go eat me some goyslop for breakfast now.

      Judeo-Christian Tunnels of Brooklyn FTW.

      • Wiki: Stone’s American-born father was Jewish, whereas his French-born mother was Roman Catholic, both non-practicing. Stone was raised in the Episcopal Church and now practices Buddhism.

        His 50% Jewish genetics overrides all of the above and determines all of his thoughts and opinions, right?

        • “His 50% Jewish genetics overrides all of the above and determines all of his thoughts and opinions, right?”


          The evidence seems overwhelming that when a person is half white and half something else, then they embrace the “something else.”

          It’s not crazy to wonder if there is a genetic basis for this, in addition to the culture/nurture side. Many white genes are recessive.

          • “The evidence seems overwhelming that when a person is half white and half something else, then they embrace the ‘something else.'”

            But has this always been the case? I suspect half-whites began identifying with their non-white half only when doing so became socially advantageous, i.e. when whites became AINO’s Blue-eyed Ice Devils. If the winds suddenly reversed, and whites were again in good odor, half-whites would immediately hop back on the white bandwagon.

  31. My memory of that movie is riding my motorcycle home in the rain in Los Angeles after watching it, and thinking the whole way: “if I was one of those guys on that boat I would have shot Willard long before we got to Kurtz and turned that damn boat around”. Guess I would’ve made a bad soldier.

  32. The best Vietnam war movie was “Go Tell the Spartans.” It starred Burt Lancaster and came out about 1978. I remember “Apocalypse Now” as a hopeless muddle of a film (didn’t they shoot a half a dozen different endings?) notable mainly for how it ran fantastically over budget and star Marlon Brando was so obese that he had to be shot in shadow.

      • .223 is an awfully small round to stop a tiger charge with. But of course it can spit a lot of them very fast. Poachers use AKs on elephants in Africa. I imagine they just dump the magazine on them, poor creatures

        • If you mean AR fifteens they file fire 5.56 caliber rounds and can also fire .223 calendar rounds. An AK deposits .762 by 39mm rounds with lightning speed.

          • All of these are very very underpowered for big game is what I meant. Shooting many rounds I suppose you get a sort of buckshot effect. But as single rounds far too weak for safe or ethical hunting of big game

        • Say what you will about the Vietnamese but they must have some very big rats if those are the kinda cats they keep around

          (That was a bad ref to Kill Bill that’ll probably fall flat on its a$$ here 😝😝)

          • I made it about 5 minutes into Kill Bill and turned it off when Vivica Fox and Uma Thurman started fighting like they were Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris

          • There are a million reasons to dislike kill Bill. But a movie set around katanas and stuff, I liked it. But I’m only human lol

    • I always think about the briefing in the mobile home that looks like something one would find in rural Ohio.

      • Exactly! And Willard is from Ohio.

        The closeups of the food. Unreal.

        An incredibly young Harrison Ford playing the awkward young officer nervously relaying the nature of the mission.

        Everything just feels WRONG.

        • Ford asking Sheen about his black ops and Sheen responding with perfect textbook denials even though everyone present knows Sheen did those missions.

          The creepy, insectoid CIA spook sucking at a plate of insectoid shrimp, never speaking a word.

          • “Terminate…with extreme prejudice.”

            “You understand, Captain, that this mission does not exist…nor will it ever exist.”

  33. “The Great Gatsby, which is a middling novel, is on the list of great novels because it seems to capture our popular conception of the roaring twenties.”

    The Great Gatsby is the first great Cloud/Dirt novel in American history. For that alone, it’s a classic. (On Daisy: “her voice sounded like money”.) It’s as relevant today as it ever was and really transcends the era in which it was set. This is because Cloud people are always trying to outrun their pasts and re-create themselves as demigods. They wreck anything and anyone in their path.

    Fitzgerald, rooted firmly in the Minnesota of his youth, could critique New York and the Hamptons surgically and mercilessly. Read it again maybe and picture the Obamas and the Bitcoin promoters.

    We can talk about Apocalypse Now some other time lol…

    • I absolutely agree. THE GREAT GATSBY and Britain’s equally brilliant counterpart, Eveyln Waugh’s VILE BODIES, truly presaged the decadence and collapse of two once-great nations, largely due to the depravity and immorality of their respective Clouds.

      I also disagree quite a bit with Z about APOCALYPSE NOW, particularly his criticism of the character development. Those were revealed fully to us albeit in very Spartan dialogue and visuals. This was particularly true of Kurtz, whose monologue about the communists lopping off the arms of kids whose vaccinations he supervised succinctly explained his descent into sadism and madness, and served as a perfect metaphor for how American hyper-morality and self-righteousness led it into an unwinnable, bloody war that pulled the blinders off of many about their childish delusions. The film did Joseph Conrad better than Joseph Conrad did.

      • The indoctrination of goyim has been going on a very long time; Conrad’s garbage was forced onto ‘advanced placement’ English students starting in the early 60s. ‘Discussion’ was always led in the direction of nihilism. Most of the females in that age group went to become educators or work for socialist do-gooder government jobs, etc. Some of us White male adolescents in the day were frowned upon when we made, shall we say ‘racist’, comments about the things witnessed by the hero of the story (not in our eyes, lol).

    • Behind the green door, I also took issue with this statement. As I said there, The Great Gatsby is the most economical of all the great novels. Page after page, paragraph after paragraph, are utilized to maximum effect. And rather than its relative brevity resulting in a thin tale, it’s a fantastic balance of a personal and very human story along with timeless imagery and allegory.

      Just think about the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg and the role they play in the story. How fantastic of Fitzgerald to throw in this plot point, seemingly minor yet wrought with possible implications when you stop to think about it.

      I haven’t picked it up in a few years, but the point about it being an early Cloud vs. Dirt story is intriguing. I’m going to reread it with that in mind.

      • ” I’m going to reread it with that in mind.”

        I did about a year ago. The Cloud v. Dirt aspect will really hit you now. It is framed sometimes as the Midwest v. Manhattan but the class/socio-economic aspect is the heart of it.

        I absolutely agree with your analysis here.

  34. But Z, the iconic scenes:

    ” Saigon… sh-t; I’m still only in Saigon… Every time I think I’m gonna wake up back in the jungle.”

    The helicopters blaring The Ride of the Valkyries over their loudspeakers.

    “Charlie don’t surf!”

    “Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

    “The smell, you know that gasoline smell? The whole hill. Smelled like… victory.”

    “‘Never get out of the boat.’ Absolutely goddamn right! Unless you were goin’ all the way… Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole f-ckin’ program.”

    “I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin?”
    “I’m a soldier.”
    “You’re neither. You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.”

    “The horror, the horror

    It started with great ambition to bring the Conrad story to film, but in the end, it was just lots of impressive scenes and performances, but totally devoid of meaning. The viewer has no reason to think about Kurtz or Willard after their story ends. The film, like the lives of the characters, and perhaps the intended audience, leaves no impression.

    I’d counter Willard and and Kurtz are not full mirror images of each other, but almost 1/2 mirror images. Willard hasn’t gone as far down the path Kurtz travelled down, but he knows he’s halfway there:

    “I’d wake up and there’d be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said “yes” to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle.”

    “‘Someday this war’s gonna end’. That’d be just fine with the boys on the boat. They weren’t looking for anything more than a way home. Trouble is, I’d been back there, and I knew that it just didn’t exist anymore.”

    I think a big part of the film is the nihilism of it. Kurtz is lawless, but is he really wrong? Willard is lawful, but is he really right? That’s why you remember the scenes, but there’s no overarching theme to call back to.

    • I can’t think of that quote:

      “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

      Without recalling the video of Richard Spencer’s infamous “I love the smell of mace in the morning” at the Charlottesville debacle.
      The horror! The horror!

    • Nihilism. yes. The ghost of Western Christendom cries in the ‘heart of darkness’…
      Insanity in the public square, anyone?

  35. “The viewer has no reason to think about Kurtz or Willard after their story ends.”

    I thought about Kurtz quite a bit after seeing the film. Willard never crossed my mind.

  36. We’ve been using the Do Long Bridge scene as a metaphor for AINO’s “Leaders” over at Sev’s joint for a while now. “There ain’t no fuckin’ CO” applies just as well to the civilian and military clowns playing their stupid games today.

    Do Longin’, Baby!

    • “Who’s in charge here, soldier?”

      “Ain’t you?”


      “Do you know who’s in charge here, soldier?”

      “Yeah ….”

      [Best exchange in the whole movie, IMHO]

  37. “Interestingly, all of the films on the list of best Vietnam war films were made long after the war. The worst Vietnam film was The Green Berets, produced at the height of the war.”

    Unsurprising. Imagine if someone from Hollywood made an Ukraine war movie last year.

    Do you think that would be a better movie than say a movie made about the Ukraine war 50 years after it ends?

    • There’s a “sweet spot” for any kind of film made about a historical event within living memory, where being too close to it, like John Wayne’s garbage film, is simply propaganda. Too far away in time, and nobody living can understand what has become a foreign country and culture which used to be their own. The 1980s seemed to be that sweet spot for Vietnam. Interestingly, the same dynamic seemed to be in operation with respect to the American Civil War, where a flood of memoirs by major participants, and unit histories written by unit members as well as individual accounts by enlisted men exploded into the public consciousness in the 1880s in a similar manner.

      • “Sweet spot”

        I know what you mean

        I hesitated to say 50 years, but something tells me it might take that long or longer for culture to improve from the current wreckage.

        I’m not sure any decent representations of contemporary events will be produced by clown world during their “sweet spots”.

      • One of the Coen brothers said of their great movie NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN that it was difficult to make because it was set in 1980 and a large number of viewers were alive and remember that time. Props are particularly difficult with something that happened within living memory. You can get by with inserting ahistorical items into a film about Andrew Jackson but not one about Bill Clinton.

      • Loads of Civil War vets swore that The Red Badge of Courage was the best depiction of the combat experience ever.

        Stephen Crane I believe was not ever born when the war occurred.

        Please don’t anyone point this out to Zman. It will not compute.

Comments are closed.