Urban Legend (was Vietnam)

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sat May 22 08:49:05 UTC 2010

So what? True or not, vilification was a shared belief between Blumenthal and his audience. It was obviously the premise for his statement, and therefore the context for interpretation of what "we" meant. As far as understanding Blumenthal's intended reference, there is no "monkey wrench"--unless Larry means to add further to the list of B's sins by holding him responsible for the putative urban legend. 

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

-----Original Message-----
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
Date: Sat, 22 May 2010 00:00:48 
To: <ronbutters at aol.com>; <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Vietnam

At 3:40 AM +0000 5/22/10, ronbutters at aol.com wrote:
>Actually, in that poisonous atmosphere, anyone wearing a uniform was 
>subject to the sort of abuse that Blumenthal described. A Marine 
>would have been particularly vilified, and a Marine who had not 
>actually served in Vietnam would surely have felt solidarity with 
>those who did: "we Marines" in other words.
>Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Just to throw another monkey wrench into the works, it has been 
claimed with some evidence that the reports of vilification of 
Marines and other Vietnam vets during that period were grossly 
exaggerated, to the point of urban legendary status. See

Lembcke, Jerry. 1998.  The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the 
Legacy of Vietnam.  New York:  New York University Press.

and the references therein.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>Date:         Fri, 21 May 2010 22:49:48
>Subject:      Re: [ADS-L] Vietnam
>You may not wish to reply, Victor. But as one who has not previously spoken
>in this (I agree, over-politicized) thread, I will throw in my two cents to
>disagree in part with you here.
>"When we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the verbal and even
>>  physical abuse we encountered."
>There are two "we"s here. The first, in "When we returned from Vietnam", I
>agree can be read collectively, referring figuratively to "America" or
>literally to "America's troops".
>But next comes "I remember the taunts, the verbal and even physical abuse we
>encountered". To this reader, the cooccurrence of "I" and "we" in this
>clause practically forces a personal, literal interpretation of that "we".
>If "I remember" what "we encountered", then that individual "I" who
>remembers was a member of that "we" who encountered abuse, the set of
>returned veterans receiving tribute. And he wasn't, and he knew it.
>Mark A. Mandel
>On Fri, May 21, 2010 at 4:11 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at gmail.com>wrote:
>>  http://bit.ly/dCcOTz
>>  > During a May 18, 2009, military board tribute to veterans in Shelton,
>>  > Blumenthal was quoted by the Connecticut Post [http://bit.ly/boM16X]
>>  > as saying, "When we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the
>>  > verbal and even physical abuse we encountered."
>>  Sure, YMMV. But what I see here is a "we" that represents the country,
>>  not "we" including the individual "I". I suppose, a more technically
>>  accurate statement would have been "When our troops returned from
>>  Vietnam", but it would not change the meaning of the statement one bit.
>>  NYT quotes a similar line from the Milford Mirror, another local paper.
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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