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The Vietnam War:
  Effects on Pop Culture
      and the Media




       Theodore Ryan Willey
Brief History
 Military conflict of the Cold War.

 Occurred from November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975. Longest war in
 American history.

 USA desired to stop communist takeover of South Vietnam.


 War escalated with the Tet Offensive which began on January 31,
 1968.

 Overall Result: North Vietnam took over South Vietnam, Laos and
 Cambodia. Considered defeat for USA.
The War Meets
the American TV
  First war to be on the television.

   Lyndon B. Johnson’s order to dispatch
troops was the largest news story in TV
history.

  Media flooded Vietnam for every story.

  Nine reporters died during the span of
the war.

  Changed TV reporting.                    ABC News reporter on the battlefield.

   Spawned the “Up Close and Personal”
style of reporting.
A Picture is Worth a
       Thousand Words
The television reports brought the horrors of the war into the
American home.

The TV fueled the Anti-War movement.

Extremely gruesome images were leaked to the television, such as:

      1968 images of Col. Nyguyen Ngoc Loan blowing out the
      brains of another man.

      1972 scenes of the aftermath of napalm.

The scenes upset the American people and allowed them to witness
the truths of the war. Making them upset and disturbed. The result
was protests and eventually the Anti-War Movement.
Walter
Cronkite
  Major player of the television and the war.

 Famous report: “Report from Vietnam:
Who, What, When, Where, Why?”

   Expressed the view that the war was going
to be a loss and that the United States needed
a way out.

   LBJ watched the broadcast and decided that
a change needed to be made.

  David Haberstam, “It was the first time in
American history a war had been declared
over by an anchorman.”

                                                 Walter Cronkite reporting from Vietnam.
Post War
     Television
  The creation of the “Vietnam Vet”

   He was a hero, but often rough,
stubborn, and angry.

  Vet also carried thoughts of the war.

  Spawned famous shows such as The A-
Team, Riptide, and Airwolf.
Emergence in
     Literature
  Books didn’t emerge until the late 1970’s
and early 1980’s and is now our current
contemporary literature.
   They were all personal accounts and
narratives of foot soldiers. Most told the story
of people who were there.
  The story was anti-heroic.
 Anti-Heroism conveyed ambiguity of
American involvement.
   Since the war itself was confusing writers
focused on the surface and tangible items. The
Things They Carried makes use of this
technique.
  Tim O’Brien calls war stories, “ Literature
that speaks to the heart.”
The Story Lines

Introduction of the genre called Verisimilitude. Verisimilitude was a
blending of reality and fiction.

Stories were purposefully shocking and horrifying.

The American character is usually presented in a way where he cannot
control his fate. This speaks to overall themes and unknown purposes of the
war.

Stories often discussed the men’s routines and jokes. They also focused on
particular conversations and the rituals each one of them had to help carry
themselves through the war. For example, Ted Lavender's drug use or
Henry Dobbin’s stockings.
Criticism
Many people had their say about the Vietnam War literature that erupted in
the late twentieth century. Critiques like the following were expressed:

   Cannot write something down like the Vietnam War in a book.

   Criticism for depicting the war as a USA vs. USA conflict.

   Forgetting to acknowledge those who did not oppose the war.

   Exaggeration of turmoil in platoons.

   We never see a Vietnamese perspective.

Many veterans of the war did not read the literature that was spawned.
They felt it was never going be accomplished in the correct way or depict
how the war really was.
The Things They
    Carried
     Considering the fact that Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried is a
     piece of the literature created by the Vietnam War, the relation to the topic
     is apparent.
     Tim essentially captures what every Vietnam War novelist attempts to.
     By society’s pressure and critique of Vietnam War literature, Tim O’Brien
     dealt with the influence and impact of pop culture to write the perfect
     Vietnam War story. Any slip-ups and his story would have been
     dismissed just like the rest of the usual Vietnam War literature.
     Where Tim overcomes the influences and impact of pop culture and the
     media is in the chapter “Good Form”. Tim states, “I want you to feel what
     I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than
     happening-truth.” Tim’s purpose is clear here. It hits the nail on the head.
     He overcomes the influences of pop culture by not writing a story that
     recounts the horrors or events of the Vietnam War, but instead he
     communicates the emotions and feelings. All other novels of the Vietnam
     War have failed to do this. On the hand, Tim excels and conquers.
The Vietnam War and
        American Cinema
It took several years for cinema
depicting the Vietnam War to make it’s
way to the screen.

Much like literature and fictional TV
shows, films often depicted the Vietnam
“Vet”.

Unlike WWII, movies from 1964-1975,
the period of the war, did not depict the
war at all. Hollywood had no place in
the severity and rarity of the Vietnam
War.

Vietnam War movies also changed the
template for war movies. They offered
new techniques and focused on
character’s internal conflict aside from
the normal conflict on the battlefield.

Most notable films: Full Metal Jacket
(1987), Apocalypse Now (1979), and
Platoon (1986).
Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola was a visionary and innovative
filmmaker. He was responsible for The Godfather, The
Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and of course
Apocalypse Now.


Coppola essentially started the Vietnam War in cinema era.


He pioneered war movies by putting combat of the war on
the screen for the first time.


Apocalypse Now, evoked emotions from its viewers because
of Coppola’s style. He was the first filmmaker of the
Vietnam War to offer a surrealist image which made the
audience feel the losses that people in the war endured.


Apocalypse Now set the benchmark for Vietnam War movies
and from 1979 (the release year) on they followed the
template created by Apocalypse Now.

                                                             Francis Ford Coppola.
Pop Culture Misc. Notes


              “First war fought to a rock ‘n’
              roll soundtrack.”


              More than 750 novels, 250 films,
              100 short-stories, and 1400
              personal narratives were created.


              Active unknown supporters,
              John Steinbeck and John Wayne.
Summary

The Vietnam War changed pop culture
for the future. It also changed society,
and our perception of culture.


After the end of the Vietnam War, music,
television, and cinema had undergone a
drastic change.


Because of the Vietnam War society is
the way it is now. We have a higher
appreciation and indulgence in music,
movies and our TV.


The Vietnam War has shaped and
changed America’s pop culture forever.
“Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the
living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not
                  on the battlefields of Vietnam.”
                   --Marshall McLuhan, 1975
Works Consulted
Farrell, Susan. “The Literature of the Vietnam War”. College of Charleston. 21 May 2010.

        <http://spinner.cofc.edu/vietnamretro/farrell.html?referrer=webcluster&>.

Hallin, Daniel. “Vietnam On Television”. The Museum of Broadcast Communications .

        21 May 2010. <http://www.museum.tv/cotvsection.php>.

“The Vietnam War and American Culture”. Digital History. 21 May 2010.

        <http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=S127.>.

Howell, Amanda. "American Cinema After the War". Film Reference. 26 May 2010.

        <http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Romantic-Comedy-Yugoslavia/Vietnam-War-

AMERICAN-CINEMA-AFTER-THE-WAR.html>.

Gillis, Charles. "American Cultural History". Lone Star College. 26 May 2010.

        <http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade70.html>.

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Vietnam War Keynote

  • 1. The Vietnam War: Effects on Pop Culture and the Media Theodore Ryan Willey
  • 2. Brief History Military conflict of the Cold War. Occurred from November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975. Longest war in American history. USA desired to stop communist takeover of South Vietnam. War escalated with the Tet Offensive which began on January 31, 1968. Overall Result: North Vietnam took over South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Considered defeat for USA.
  • 3. The War Meets the American TV First war to be on the television. Lyndon B. Johnson’s order to dispatch troops was the largest news story in TV history. Media flooded Vietnam for every story. Nine reporters died during the span of the war. Changed TV reporting. ABC News reporter on the battlefield. Spawned the “Up Close and Personal” style of reporting.
  • 4. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words The television reports brought the horrors of the war into the American home. The TV fueled the Anti-War movement. Extremely gruesome images were leaked to the television, such as: 1968 images of Col. Nyguyen Ngoc Loan blowing out the brains of another man. 1972 scenes of the aftermath of napalm. The scenes upset the American people and allowed them to witness the truths of the war. Making them upset and disturbed. The result was protests and eventually the Anti-War Movement.
  • 5. Walter Cronkite Major player of the television and the war. Famous report: “Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why?” Expressed the view that the war was going to be a loss and that the United States needed a way out. LBJ watched the broadcast and decided that a change needed to be made. David Haberstam, “It was the first time in American history a war had been declared over by an anchorman.” Walter Cronkite reporting from Vietnam.
  • 6. Post War Television The creation of the “Vietnam Vet” He was a hero, but often rough, stubborn, and angry. Vet also carried thoughts of the war. Spawned famous shows such as The A- Team, Riptide, and Airwolf.
  • 7. Emergence in Literature Books didn’t emerge until the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and is now our current contemporary literature. They were all personal accounts and narratives of foot soldiers. Most told the story of people who were there. The story was anti-heroic. Anti-Heroism conveyed ambiguity of American involvement. Since the war itself was confusing writers focused on the surface and tangible items. The Things They Carried makes use of this technique. Tim O’Brien calls war stories, “ Literature that speaks to the heart.”
  • 8. The Story Lines Introduction of the genre called Verisimilitude. Verisimilitude was a blending of reality and fiction. Stories were purposefully shocking and horrifying. The American character is usually presented in a way where he cannot control his fate. This speaks to overall themes and unknown purposes of the war. Stories often discussed the men’s routines and jokes. They also focused on particular conversations and the rituals each one of them had to help carry themselves through the war. For example, Ted Lavender's drug use or Henry Dobbin’s stockings.
  • 9. Criticism Many people had their say about the Vietnam War literature that erupted in the late twentieth century. Critiques like the following were expressed: Cannot write something down like the Vietnam War in a book. Criticism for depicting the war as a USA vs. USA conflict. Forgetting to acknowledge those who did not oppose the war. Exaggeration of turmoil in platoons. We never see a Vietnamese perspective. Many veterans of the war did not read the literature that was spawned. They felt it was never going be accomplished in the correct way or depict how the war really was.
  • 10. The Things They Carried Considering the fact that Tim O’Brien’s novel The Things They Carried is a piece of the literature created by the Vietnam War, the relation to the topic is apparent. Tim essentially captures what every Vietnam War novelist attempts to. By society’s pressure and critique of Vietnam War literature, Tim O’Brien dealt with the influence and impact of pop culture to write the perfect Vietnam War story. Any slip-ups and his story would have been dismissed just like the rest of the usual Vietnam War literature. Where Tim overcomes the influences and impact of pop culture and the media is in the chapter “Good Form”. Tim states, “I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth.” Tim’s purpose is clear here. It hits the nail on the head. He overcomes the influences of pop culture by not writing a story that recounts the horrors or events of the Vietnam War, but instead he communicates the emotions and feelings. All other novels of the Vietnam War have failed to do this. On the hand, Tim excels and conquers.
  • 11. The Vietnam War and American Cinema It took several years for cinema depicting the Vietnam War to make it’s way to the screen. Much like literature and fictional TV shows, films often depicted the Vietnam “Vet”. Unlike WWII, movies from 1964-1975, the period of the war, did not depict the war at all. Hollywood had no place in the severity and rarity of the Vietnam War. Vietnam War movies also changed the template for war movies. They offered new techniques and focused on character’s internal conflict aside from the normal conflict on the battlefield. Most notable films: Full Metal Jacket (1987), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Platoon (1986).
  • 12. Francis Ford Coppola Francis Ford Coppola was a visionary and innovative filmmaker. He was responsible for The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Godfather Part III, and of course Apocalypse Now. Coppola essentially started the Vietnam War in cinema era. He pioneered war movies by putting combat of the war on the screen for the first time. Apocalypse Now, evoked emotions from its viewers because of Coppola’s style. He was the first filmmaker of the Vietnam War to offer a surrealist image which made the audience feel the losses that people in the war endured. Apocalypse Now set the benchmark for Vietnam War movies and from 1979 (the release year) on they followed the template created by Apocalypse Now. Francis Ford Coppola.
  • 13. Pop Culture Misc. Notes “First war fought to a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack.” More than 750 novels, 250 films, 100 short-stories, and 1400 personal narratives were created. Active unknown supporters, John Steinbeck and John Wayne.
  • 14. Summary The Vietnam War changed pop culture for the future. It also changed society, and our perception of culture. After the end of the Vietnam War, music, television, and cinema had undergone a drastic change. Because of the Vietnam War society is the way it is now. We have a higher appreciation and indulgence in music, movies and our TV. The Vietnam War has shaped and changed America’s pop culture forever.
  • 15. “Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America--not on the battlefields of Vietnam.” --Marshall McLuhan, 1975
  • 16. Works Consulted Farrell, Susan. “The Literature of the Vietnam War”. College of Charleston. 21 May 2010. <http://spinner.cofc.edu/vietnamretro/farrell.html?referrer=webcluster&>. Hallin, Daniel. “Vietnam On Television”. The Museum of Broadcast Communications . 21 May 2010. <http://www.museum.tv/cotvsection.php>. “The Vietnam War and American Culture”. Digital History. 21 May 2010. <http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=S127.>. Howell, Amanda. "American Cinema After the War". Film Reference. 26 May 2010. <http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Romantic-Comedy-Yugoslavia/Vietnam-War- AMERICAN-CINEMA-AFTER-THE-WAR.html>. Gillis, Charles. "American Cultural History". Lone Star College. 26 May 2010. <http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade70.html>.

Editor's Notes