Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Did you lose the Vietnam war?

I watched How Vietnam Was Lost on BBC's Storyville last night. A fascinating and well-told story of student riots and botched battle plans. But a question was nagging away at me the entire time: only one side 'lost', so why was it titled that way.. What's wrong with 'How Vietnam Was Won'? I don't think it's pedantic to point this out: whose side are 'we' deemed to be on?

It was South Vietnam - backed by America and South Korea that - by most accounts, lost to North Vietnam - backed by Russia and China. So there's an assumption that the viewer is on the side of those who lost. I'm not American, so how did I lose? I expect Britain was on America's side.. and I'm British - but I don't think that means we could 'lose' this war. And even then - I'm not British to 1960s' Britain, I'm British to 'now' Britain.

The documentary was an American import, I found out afterwards. But isn't that too subtle to broadcast without a caveat? And for a programme that was largely critical of the American decisions of the day, couldn't they see things more from the Vietnamese point of view: they didn't lose the war..

Did you lose the Vietnam war?

Radio Times blurb: "How Vietnam Was Lost. Based on David Maraniss's book 'They Marched into Sunlight', a documentary telling the story of two seemingly unconnected events in October 1967 that changed the course of the Vietnam War. Whilst a US battalion unwittingly marched into a Viet Cong ambush which killed 61 young men - half a world away, angry students at the University of Wisconsin were protesting the presence of Dow Chemical recruiters on campus."

Monday, June 19, 2006

Capitalism is dead


Our Capitalist society is going downhill fast I'm telling you. Searched for half an hour on eBay and found nothing! I don't want designer ones I just want cheap and tacky ones I can break - cuz I'm only going to sit on them anyway.

No doubt Peter Mandelson's enforced a new Euro embargo on plastic frivolities.

At this rate I'm going to have visit some 'trendy' London 'market' and pay with those funny metal tokens with that mythical woman on the side.


Fix it someone.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

You just lost the game

RULE 1: You are playing The Game.

RULE 2: Whenever you think about The Game, you lose.

RULE 3: Loss must be announced


By posting this, I've clearly just lost a point (and complied with Rule 3). However, for every person that reads this, I gain a point and you lose a point (Rule 2). Therefore I am better at The Game than you. I'm winning!


(Thank you for participating in my study of Meme theory)

The Euston Manifesto

Today, I have mostly been signing Manifestos.

"The Euston Manifesto is a declaration of principles and beliefs supporting universal human rights, and opposing discrimination and tyranny. It was published online on April 13, 2006 by a collection of academics, bloggers and journalists on the British left." - Wikipedia

Read 'The Euston Manifesto' at their website

After a couple of weeks of careful deliberation, I've now signed the Euston Manifesto with the following comment:
"The Manifesto is a timely, thoughtful and suitably strong statement of many of my personal beliefs. I agree with every part of it (while I think some parts more important than others). Two particular aspects merit mention:

Clause 10 is crucial: People should not accept offensive regimes with 'what right do we have to tell them what to do?'. This is a misinterpretation of (otherwise laudable) pluralism and tolerance. I hope the Manifesto will help people to realise this.

Clause 13 follows: we must retain our right to criticize bad ideas e.g. totalitarianism. This includes those within religion e.g. teaching children the Earth is 6000 years old. Such beliefs should not be protected by law. They need to defend themselves in the battle of ideas just like others.

Finally: I'd like the Manifesto to include more detail on reform of the United Nations, ideally a desire to gain a global, democratic assembly.

I hope the Manifesto goes far!"

One of the 'listed' signers is Sami Zubaida, who 1) wrote the enlightening chapter on Islamism on last year's Level 3 OU course (in 'Making the International') 2) Is Professor of Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck College, where my philosophy society meets.