Philip Caputo mainly explains his motivation to attend the Vietnam War and his experience of being trained to be a lieutenant both in school and in real fights. He was to a large extent swayed by Kennedy’s patriotic propaganda—“ask what you can do for your country,” combined with an urge to prove his courage, toughness and manhood. Instead of returning home regarded as “an irresponsible boy” by his parents, he determined to join the Marines Corps. He said, “By the time the battalion left for Vietnam, I was ready to die for considerably less, for a few favorable remarks in a fitness report.”
It’s quite understandable for a 20-something man to join the military to prove his masculinity and patriotism, but shocking to hear “Anyone who fought in Vietnam, if he is honest about himself, will have to admit he enjoyed the compelling attractiveness of combat.” As searching deeper into the book, I found out that Caputo actually had a complicated and mixed feelings toward the war. For one thing, he found it hard to resist the thrill of war that activated his every cell and sense; for another, commensurable fear and torments inflicted on him, physically and psychologically, which exhausted his strength and drained his conscience. It seems that there’s nothing better than war for men to unleash their inherent power to destroy. With keen observance, Caputo also noticed that the Vietnam War was “a peculiar war” mixed with “the paradoxical kindness-and-cruelty.” They caressed Vietnamese infants with the same hand they used to kill millions.
Although there abound numerous examples attesting to the crimes American troops committed and thus the cruelty and inhumanity of the American soldiers, we should not forget that they themselves were also victims of the war, the propaganda, the politics behind and the hindsight—“It was a disaster. I wish we have understood more clearly and done less in the Vietnam War,” said McGeorge Bundy, the director of Vietnamese affairs at that time. Eight years of killing, millions of casualties, and thousands of broken families only to arrive at this “I wish…” Even though we know now how absurd the Vietnam War is viewed now, I still highly doubt that the U.S. would cease the track to wade into wars abroad—Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the list can go on in the future. According to Caputo, because of the unexplainable happiness a man felt in the war, “every generation is doomed to fight its war, to endure the same old experiences, suffer the loss of the same old illusions, and learn the same old lessons on its own.”
The chant of war never ends, no matter how feeble and ridiculous it may seem.
Domestic violence, familiar to most Americans, is experiencing an upsurge since the financial collapse in 2008. According to a survey by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), 56% of the 700 law enforcement agencies have reported domestic violence in 2011, up from 40% in 2010 (Johnson). What’s worse, among the millions women victimized by abusive partners, a considerable number of them simply chose to stay with the perpetrators at their will. Every year, among an extrapolation of 2.1 million who sought help from shelters (Johnson), as many as one third returned to their abusers immediately after being discharged. This portion can grow larger to two thirds with an extension of period to two months (Shurman and Rodriguez 1418). Continue reading
1. What moments come to mind quickly when you think back over the class: good moments, bad moments, perplexing moments?
There are countless good moments coming to my mind including having interesting conversations with strangers at Ragtag, running into Ann Mehr, watching Homebrewed movies and shooting a bonus video with my teammates. Among the bad moments, the worst one should be being stood up by my interviewee, which turned out to be a prank. It is always hard at the beginning, but things can only get better afterwards. Also, I was most perplexed choosing a topic to cover. I have searched through the Internet for tons of possible topics and finally pinned down on Ragtag, which turns out to be a wise choice. Continue reading
I think J2150 is a very impressive course offering a panoramic landscape of multimedia journalism. However, the most important thing for me does not lie in the fancy techniques I have learned through classes, but the communication skills for interviews and the ability to discover events of news value.
Through my assignments, I mingle a lot with the local people and I find it the most interesting part of the course. I am quite an introvert and I am totally alright staying alone. Without this course, I might never have reached out for the stories of local citizens and run into so many great people. Plus, with the introduction to many funky APP on cell phone, I feel ready to cover any sudden event that might happen around the corner.
Also, among all of our assignments, I love the mobile assignment most, although I had mixed feelings towards it. I was very anxious at the beginning in fear of ending up with nothing when I wandered endlessly but also eagerly in downtown Columbia. Meanwhile, I considered it an adventure filled with uncertainties. You never knew what you would run into, and I think that’s the thrill of mobile journalism assignment. Continue reading
“On Photography” by Susan Sontag
What comes to a photojournalist‘s mind at the moment he or she records a gory or upsetting scene? To intervene or record, that is a controversial question involving extreme delicate ethical considerations. The truth is that the person who intervenes cannot records; the person who is recording cannot intervene. On some occasions, one has to face the trade-offs and make a decision compromising either one’s conscience or revelation of the event. In the case of Baylee Almon, the baby girl held in arms by a fireman coming out from the Oklahoma City federal building after it was destroyed by a bomb. Without second thoughts, people would naturally assume that the baby was saved by the fire-fighter. However, contrary to what the picture might suggest, the baby actually died in the accident. Continue reading
Days ago I was suffering from a deficiency of stories and I searched Internet for any event reachable in this town. Although I did find a lot of events, such as shoes’ exhibition, art festival, farmers’ markets…I still considered them not suitable for a one-month project or practical for me. I felt quite overwhelmed by anxiety as the deadline approached, which rendered me carry out nothing. Instead of pondering endlessly at home and searching for countless information online, I decided to go to Ragtag Cinema and have some relax, expecting to run into some events.
When I got to Ragtag, it was 3 p.m and the lighting in Uprise Bakery was just perfect. After asking for permission, I took some photos of the environment and the decoration.
The paintings on the wall are from students at Lee Expressive Arts Elementary, which change every month in Uprise Bakery and Ragtag Cinema, May 30th. Continue reading
As a wanderlust, I always obtain pleasure in strolling streets, alleys or paths to reach out for some better insights of a place. Having been learning photography, I want to play around with NIKON D3000 while rambling in downtown Columbia and hopefully end up with some neat pictures.
I set off at 7:00 p.m. when the sunshine was still plentiful and streets were crowded with people. As a rookie without much experience, I was still too shy to shoot portraits of passers-by. Thus, I chose some quite alleys that would never judge my first-time awkwardness and allow me to shoot as many times as I want. As a cramped alley, it delivered a sense of constraint for me and I intensified this feeling by rendering it black-and-white.
An Alley half-filled with sunlight. (Photo taken in downtown Columbia on May 21st)
At around 8:00 p.m., as the sun went down, the little town was decorated with gloaming beauty in preparation for another exuberant night.
Sunset on the Horizon and the Silhouette of Water Tower.(Photo taken in downtown Columbia at 8:20 p.m. on May 21st)
The town descending into entire darkness, streets were even noisier and more fascinating. In Columbia, with a variety of activities taking place every day, one will never feel a void, if not overwhelmed by choices around. Continue reading