Posts Tagged ‘Dispatches’

Hell sucks

June 25, 2016
You may never have read "Dispatches" by Michael Herr, but chances are you've shared some of his experiences at the cinema, in "Platoon," "Apocalpyse Now" or "Full Metal Jacket."

You may never have read “Dispatches” by Michael Herr, but chances are you’ve shared some of his experiences at the cinema, in “Platoon,” “Apocalpyse Now” or “Full Metal Jacket.”

Michael Herr deserves his own post, if only for “Dispatches,” a work I’ve mentioned here before.

He went to Vietnam for Esquire, not for Uncle Sam, and he had to have a breakdown before he finished the book for which he would be best known.

If you saw “Apocalypse Now,” you’ve heard his work (he wrote the narration). You got some more of it in “Full Metal Jacket” (he wrote the screenplay with Gustav Hasford, author of “The Short-Timers,” for his friend Stanley Kubrick).

But “Dispatches” was the real deal. Seventies reportage from the scene, slightly fictionalized, deeply admired, by the king of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, and by me, too.

Rest in peace, Mr. Herr.

Extra-credit reading

“Hell Sucks,” which became part of “Dispatches,” reprinted in its entirety at Esquire.

“Breathing In,” also from “Dispatches,” excerpted by NPR.

• Herr’s New York Times obit.

A remembrance by Graydon Carter.

A 2000 interview in The Guardian by fellow war correspondent Ed Vulliamy.

Illumination rounds

May 23, 2016
You may never have read "Dispatches" by Michael Herr, but chances are you've shared some of his experiences at the cinema, in "Platoon," "Apocalpyse Now" or "Full Metal Jacket."

You may never have read “Dispatches” by Michael Herr, but chances are you’ve shared some of his experiences at the cinema, in “Platoon,” “Apocalpyse Now” or “Full Metal Jacket.”

Once we fanned over a little ville that had just been airstruck and the words of a song by Wingy Manone that I’d heard when I was a few years old snapped into my head, “Stop the War, These Cats Is Killing Themselves.” Then we dropped, hovered, settled down into purple lz smoke, dozens of children broke from their hootches to run in toward the focus of our landing, the pilot laughing and saying, “Vietnam, man. Bomb ’em and feed ’em, bomb ’em and feed ’em.”

That quote from Michael Herr’s “Dispatches” just snapped into my head as I read this New York Times piece about the prez authorizing the sale of “lethal military equipment” to Vietnam.

Pretty much describes our entire foreign policy, doesn’t it?

Bomb ’em and feed ’em; bomb ’em and feed ’em.