Join 3,434 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Agent Orange
September 1, 2006 11:30 PM   Subscribe

The Vietnam Syndrome. "In the 1960s, the United States blanketed the Mekong River delta with Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant more devastating than napalm. Thirty years after the end of the Vietnam War, the poisoned legacy lives on in the children whose deformities it is said to have caused." Photo essay by James Nachtwey, written essay by Christopher Hitchens. [Previously discussed here and here, via C&L.]
posted by homunculus (31 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Hitchens (dang, when he is good, he is very, very good) compares Nachtwey to Philip Jones Griffiths whose work was featured on Digital Journalist a few years ago.
posted by maggieb at 12:29 AM on September 2, 2006


humanity is so fucked.
posted by wumpus at 1:03 AM on September 2, 2006


humanity is so fucked.

You're just noticing this?

But on a scale of one 1-10 rating human fuckedupness this rates about a two.
posted by delmoi at 1:08 AM on September 2, 2006


Damn, Delmoi. Logarithmic, then?
posted by Richard Daly at 1:24 AM on September 2, 2006


These are just quantiles.
posted by delmoi at 1:30 AM on September 2, 2006


I think the comparison made between Nachtwey and Philip Jones Griffiths is pretty ridiculous. Yeah, they both took pictures of the victims of agent orange, but that's about where the similarities end.

Remarkable essay, masterfully executed. I was very interested to see the damage to American families as well as the Vietnamese.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 3:59 AM on September 2, 2006


posted by delmoi: But on a scale of one 1-10 rating human fuckedupness this rates about a two.

Kind of grotesque to introduce a 1-10 rating system, don't you think? No? Hmmm, well, how about you go tell the subjects of this photoessay about your rating system and where they fall within it? I'm sure they'd appreciate your assessment.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:13 AM on September 2, 2006


You know , humans aren't that fucked. Yet every now and then somebody invents some religion delusion, convinces other to excercise pointless violence because they aren't good at anything else (so they invent nobility and other bull) or sometime they manage to convince masses by exploiting built-in weakness (Goebbel comes to mind) or that destroying the environment that supports ALSO the innocent is GOOD because that will affect also the bad ; up is down, war is peace, hate is love.

Bottom line: most people isn't fucked, but few manage to clusterfuck a lot
posted by elpapacito at 4:39 AM on September 2, 2006


On a scale of one 1-10 rating human fuckedupness, creating a scoring system such as you have to assess human deformities rates about 1.5.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:44 AM on September 2, 2006


I sense a disturbance...a metrics circle jerk battle is incoming !
posted by elpapacito at 6:08 AM on September 2, 2006


The evils of war writ in DNA. The blowback on the children of the users of agent orange is some fascinating bio-karma.
posted by srboisvert at 6:12 AM on September 2, 2006


The key constituent of Agent Orange is dioxin

This is incorrect. Dioxin was produced as a by-product of the manufacture of one of Agent Orange's constituent chemicals.
posted by atrazine at 6:14 AM on September 2, 2006


cmeo

And yeah, Agent Orange is 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, mixed 1-to-1, with occasional trace dioxin contamination.

We are such selfish, short-sighted, indifferent bastards.
posted by owhydididoit at 7:37 AM on September 2, 2006


posted by delmoi: But on a scale of one 1-10 rating human fuckedupness this rates about a two.

I hear there is a vacancy at the Village Voice for opinion-based scoring.
posted by Wolof at 7:50 AM on September 2, 2006


it's not a war crime torture when we do it.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:58 AM on September 2, 2006


Hitchens is a Grade A Twunt, but when he writes about material that doesn't rely on his sickening drift rightward, he does so with eloquence, righteous anger and moral clarity.

After reading articles like this, I see why rational people wish for a hell for perpetrators of atrocities like this.
posted by lalochezia at 9:10 AM on September 2, 2006


.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:24 AM on September 2, 2006


Doesn't it ever end?
posted by taosbat at 9:42 AM on September 2, 2006


Well done, beautiful.

Aside -- Delmoi, you crack me up. What's that description from detective novels? "Hard boiled"?
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:09 AM on September 2, 2006


Heartbreaking.
I don't understand this though - could the effects of Agent Orange extend beyond one generation?
posted by Flashman at 10:56 AM on September 2, 2006


>> The blowback on the children of the users of agent orange is some fascinating bio-karma.

I'm failing to see the karma. It is simple-minded to think that the young men, often conscripted, sent to Viet Nam deserve additional suffering beyond what they already endured. The people responsible for the policy of de-forestation are not the people suffering from the consequences. Before blithely assigning responsibility to soldiers for following what seemed (at the time) to be ethically and tactically legitimate orders, you might consider the role of Dow Chemical and Monsanto and especially the officers that knew more and gave the orders anyway.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 11:15 AM on September 2, 2006


How soon we forget.
posted by marzbars at 2:07 PM on September 2, 2006


Flashman: the genetic damage done by dioxin may extend beyond one generation if 1) chromosome-damaged individuals reproduce or 2) via poorly understood epigentic mechanisms. Experiments at U of Wash showed that mice exposed to dioxin showed effects four generations later even with no new exposure.
posted by CCBC at 2:44 PM on September 2, 2006


I suppose this is a bit trivial, but I don't like it that every time a photographer takes a picture of something horrendous, they feel they have to use black and white film. I think I am old enough to spot the horrenditity without the extra layer.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:53 PM on September 2, 2006


Those of you disturbed by delmoi's rating system have lived lives far too delicate and insulated.

I feel it my duty then to warn you that physical beauty is sometimes ranked on a 1-10 scale, along with the top pop records of the day, sightseeing spots on package travel tours, and is the subject of a list each night on a CBS late night programme.

The horror!

Seriously, grow the fuck up.

Citizen Premier: what bothers me is when print magazines put photo essays on the web, and put tiny 1/8th screen pictures up with no way to get higher resolution versions.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:14 PM on September 2, 2006


posted by Ynoxas: Those of you disturbed by delmoi's rating system have lived lives far too delicate and insulated.

Who the hell are you to say what kind of lives we've had? What a nerve!

Ynoxas continues: ...physical beauty is sometimes ranked on a 1-10 scale, along with the top pop records of the day, sightseeing spots on package travel tours, and is the subject of a list each night on a CBS late night programming>

So you're equating these fluff subjects with the subject matter contained in the Agent Orange photoessay? What, it's all the same to you? And including "physical beauty" in your little list there, considering the subject matter of those photos... Well, I can only suppose the irony and callous stupidity of that particular comparison escapes you entirely. Did you even look at the photoessay? I'd say you're the one with some growing up to do. Or just go back to your CBS late night programming.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:48 AM on September 3, 2006


flapjax: shut up. If you had even rudimentary reading skills you should be able to tell by my response to Citizen Premier that I did, indeed, look at it. In fact, I looked at the entire thing, not that it matters to my point.

Yes, I am equating human exposure to agent orange to the Late Show with David Letterman. That's EXACTLY what I'm doing. Imbecile.

You are obviously trolling because noone could be as dense as you are coming off by accident. No, it takes a concerted effort, one I am somewhat flattered you wasted on me so early in the morning.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:28 AM on September 3, 2006




posted by Ynoxas: Yes, I am equating human exposure to agent orange to the Late Show with David Letterman. That's EXACTLY what I'm doing.

So I see.

you wasted on me so early in the morning

Hey Ynoxas, this is the internet. I live very far away from you. In what's called another time zone. In another part of the world. Where I am it's not the morning. Amazing concept, I know...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:43 AM on September 3, 2006


So goodnight, and sweet dreams.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:54 AM on September 3, 2006


Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something
posted by elpapacito at 8:15 AM on September 3, 2006


I love how, just above the photo essay, there are animated Flash ads featuring perfectly-formed supermodels clad in this season's latest.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:41 PM on September 3, 2006


« Older The Mineralogy Database contains 4,442 individual ...  |  Wikipedia: Featured pictures... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments