“Still ‘The World’* To Me”


Still “The World” to me,

it’s near half a century

since the proof came true.

 

  • (Not just in Th’Nam, I suspect: though I do not know if others call their homeland “The World” when they are off fighting somewhere else, but in the 1960s and later for Vietnam veterans, both combat and Rear Echelon (MFers) Remington Raiders – typists and supply clerks and such) The United States and its Territories and else all were collectively called “The World” without regard to the tender sensibilities of those for whom we allegedly were fighting.  Even Gooners, Gooks, Slant-eyes, Zips, Dinks and worse epithets were grist for the mill.  When one Marine general in the local in-country weekly rag “Sea Tiger” which is what Marine translates to in the local language wrote a column trying to point out the wrong being done by calling Gooners by the terrible name of Gooks – as had been USMC practice in both Korea and earlier in World War II, few if any mentioned the incongruity in the general’s language.  The Land of The Great PX – post exchange – was another term for CONUS – continental United States.  Chauvinism is a military watchword.  Working hard to dehumanize an enemy is necessary to get generally gentle Americans of whatever hue, condition or persuasion to kill some stranger just because he – or she – was angered by you turning their younger brothers into pimps and thieves and their younger sisters into whores and their mothers and aunts into servants and drudges and you camped without permission in their back yards, shot off your guns at any provocations or none and you had not the courtesy to call them “Little People,” or “Little Brown Brothers” if they happened to appear to be on “your” side.  What’s the difference between gook and Little People? Got me.  But I have been Cracker, Nerd, Jock, Bully, Buffoon, Stooge, Killer, Beast, Honkie, Chuck, Whale Shit, girls, people, slime, scum, and even a few less-nice words myself – and most of that coming from my superiors to me.  And I ain’t never rioted, sucker-punched, tossed piss or even hit someone with a spike-treated baseball bat.  Shot at? Yep. Both ways. Killed. Uh-huh.  Me? Almost.  The Other guy? Yup.  But none-dat in The World. You Dig?)

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