I never saw that show...but for some reason that (title of my post) always cracks me up. And now it's time to reveal my top pet peeve of all time: when people refer to Vietnam as "Nam" or "the Nam". It absolutely makes me wild. Bad enough when they say "Nam" as in "Nahm" the "a" as in "father". Even worse when it's "Nam" with the "a" as in "bad". Holy cow, it makes me mad...I understand that it's probably easier than saying "Vietnam". I understand that Korean War veterens do not refer to that troubled country as "Rea" because it just doesn't have a ring to it. But it still bothers me to no end. I think it's because when one calls it "the Nam", one exudes a sort of angsty disgusted attitude that suggests a deep seeded belief that the Vietnam War was a waste of time and lives. Or at least, that's been my experience. "Veterans" in movies say "the Nam" the way Napoleon must have said "Russia" when he was cooling his heels at Elba. It's nearly impossible to say "the Nam" in a respectful or even dispassionate tone of voice, and should not be attempted. I wish with all my heart that someone with an original mind would make a film portraying Vietnam the way it was: poorly executed, to be sure, but a noble cause that was every bit worth dying and bleeding for. Sadly, the attitude of many people of today is that nothing is worth dying for, let alone fighting a war for. It seems that most folks are unable to see that there was nothing arrogant in responding to Vietnam's cry for help. We weren't acting as the world police, and we most certainly belonged there. The arrogance came later, when we abandoned those people to their eager communist brethren...when we deciced we valued our own sorry skins more than honor, morality, or innocent Vietnamese lives. Bob Dylan's song "Masters of War" has a less than memorable tune, but one line stuck in my head after I heard it: "I don't think Jesus could forgive what you've done". You would think the guy was talking about the Viet Cong, but no. Typically, he was disparaging his own country for doing what we were supposed to be doing. When I think of the impact songs like that had on America's young, impressionable, and brain dead college students of that era, I find it takes more faith than I'd care to admit that the folk singers of the 60's will be forgiven. I know they didn't really know what they were doing (or at least that's what I hope) but when I think of the chain reaction: songs to college students, students subsequently taking to the streets, protests everywhere, eventually affecting the apparently spineless government in Washington; well, I become slightly agitated. I didn't really mean to write all that, but I guess now you know why I hate it when Vietnam is referred to as "the Nam". It conjures disturbing images of angry anti war protesters, strung out folk singers, self righteous Hollywood types, and most of all, those people we left to die. (Let's hope calling Iraq, "the Raq" doesn't become popular...)


Ben Milton said...

Bravo! That was a great post.

Anonymous said...

That's a bit strong. The variable ways Vietman can be pronounced interests me slightly, but the assumption that the college students of that erra were braindead and that the United States is a world police is a bit strong. We're all entitled to our beliefs, but it appears to me that it takes only a little pride to believe we are entitled to run other's affairs. But the ideals we faught for were certainly beautiful, and though some of the results were trajic, there can't be a question that at least we stood up for what was right.

Catherine_Creagan said...

Ummm...right. Were you agreeing or disagreeing? Or just saying that who cares whether you say Vietnam or Nam? Because that's really just my little idiosyncracy, I wasn't trying to make other people hate it too.

Ben Milton said...

Yo Anonymous, pretty pretty please put in your name if you want to post.

Most abject thanks,


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