Michael Totten

Change - More Weekend Reading

Posted by Jeremy Brown
“Who does he think he is” I imagine you’re asking, “with his ‘weekend reading?’ Some kind of bigshot?”
Well, no. But I know that there is a certain kind of reading that gets done best during the week, and another kind that you’ll want to do on your laptop out on a shady part of the front yard or in the sculpture garden at the museum, or in the safe part of the park in Holyoke. So this is some of the latter…
Neo-Neocon is a great writer whose blog provides another stop on the underground railroad that has been helping people like me along the perilous journey from well behaved pre-9/11 liberal up to the cold North of open-minded, independent thought.
But to be specific, she is coming near the end of a series on Change. (I had an impulse to capitalize that word because change has been like a living creature in our lives these past few years, whether your politics are Left, Right, or somewhere under the fat part of the bell curve).
The latest installment in Neo-Neocon’s series is about the Vietnam war and how two famous photos tapped into and transformed how that war was perceived by millions of people:

…The prisoner is young-looking and slight, even boyish, dressed in a checked shirt. He is facing the viewer and we see his face clearly and frontally, wincing, although the shooter is seen only in profile. The Vietcong’s hands are tied behind his back, and he seems terribly vulnerable…

That this picture — and the famously disturbing image of the Vietnamese girl running naked, screaming — showed the brutality of war is clear. But NN lets us in on the fact that there are stories behind these pictures that we might not know (we have to wait for the next installment).
But before Vietnam is woven in, NN explains the genesis of this series of posts:

When I first started this blog, one of the things I was sure I’d do an awful lot of writing about is what it means to change one’s mind on a topic as fundamental and emotional as politics: who does it, why they do it, how they do it. I thought I’d explore the ways in which “changers” differ from those who don’t ever change, and the repercussions changers face among friends and family who often consider them to be pariahs. I even thought that, if a bunch of these people ever migrated to my blog, it could function as a sort of combination support group (sorry, it’s the therapist in me!) and clearing house on the topic of political changers and what makes them tick.

The best thing to do is pop over to the latest installment so you can see the index of previous posts, then start from the beginning.