[NetBehaviour] Vietnam, America, 1962

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Tue Dec 24 01:42:32 CET 2019

Vietnam, America, 1962


>From Vietnamese Phrase Book, Headquarters, Department of the
Army, July, 1962 - when there were still 'advisors' - just before
the enormous escalation - the book consists of English phrases
and words, translated into both Vietnamese, and a translation
guide. The topics don't include battles, dying, injuries, etc. -
but Initial Encounter with Locals, Security, Orientation,
Accidental Encounter with Deserters, Basic Information on the
Potential of Locals for Organization of Guerilla Units, Enemy
Lines of Communication, Drop Zones, Food-Sanitation-Weather,
Social, Measures, Weights, Conversions, Numerals, and Dictionary.
As if the war that was, wasn't. It's unutterably sad in a way,
early on, mostly (I believe) before napalm and almost total
destruction. It reads like an odd poem predating Homer. It reads
wrong, of hidden death and misery, of a descent into darkness
from which no one has yet recovered. In the two excerpts below I
read from the text, 'occupying' the language which I cannot
pronounce, as if that didn't matter; I would like to see the
whole book produced as an early warning system for the future.
The second sample uses supercollider as well; the words begin to
occupy a space which somewhat destroys them.

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