A common trope in the popular memory of the American experience of the Vietnam war is that when American soldiers returned home, they were scorned by the anti-war generation for being “baby-killers” complicit in mass atrocity. As one Vietnam veteran writes: “Vietnam vets were a bit crushed coming home. We were not honored, but were … Continue reading Vietnam, the Aftermath. Part III: Skip and the Myth of the “Baby-Killing” Vietnam Vet
Vietnam remains America’s most divisive foreign war and the divides it caused shaped American politics and culture for decades after the fall of Saigon. Alongside questions about its rationale for getting involved in a senseless endeavour that was doomed to fail and its conduct during the war, a key question that America had to confront … Continue reading Vietnam, the Aftermath: Part II, “Stuffed inside the Spare Tire Compartment of a Volvo.” The Draft Dodgers.
When we last checked in with Phred the Viet Cong terrorist, we saw how, after B.D.’s time in Vietnam, Garry Trudeau used Phred’s experience of the war to comment on some of the conflict’s most horrific dimensions, notably the slaughter of civilians from the relative safety of thirty thousand feet. We also have seen how … Continue reading Doonesbury Goes to War, Part V: Traded to Laos.
Welcome back. Last time out, I began writing about how Garry Trudeau addressed the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam war, looking at the experience of Kim and other refugees from Vietnam and Cambodia. The second part of that series is going to look at the ways in which two soldiers, Phred and B.D., adjusted to … Continue reading Doonesbury Goes to War, Part IV: Phred, B.D. and the Heartless Air Pirates.
Grandpa pissed his pants again He don't give a damn Brother Billy has both guns drawn He ain't been right since Vietnam -- Warren Zevon, “Play it All Night Long.” On 30 April 1975, the last Americans and some of their South Vietnamese allies were evacuated from the United States embassy compound as Saigon – … Continue reading Vietnam, the Aftermath: Part I, the Refugees.
In a previous post, I discussed how the 1971 arrival of Nicole as a semi-regular cast member signaled an important shift in Garry Trudeau’s approach to writing about women. Before Nicole joined the cast, women in Doonesbury were either sexpots who existed solely to fulfill adolescent sexual fantasies or pathetic figures to be ridiculed because … Continue reading “Just Some Silly Dame”: Boopsie Takes a Stand.
Last year, I decided to re-read the complete run of Doonesbury and write about the strip in order to better understand both Trudeau’s work and its times and to start learning about the language and aesthetics of comics more generally. A year later, I’m about halfway through the strips (I just finished 1997), but I’m … Continue reading Selling Reagan to Black Voters: Doonesbury in the 1980s