The Corner

Mothers, Mothers-in-Law, Nuns . . .

In a column yesterday, I had some notes on the Vietnam War, and I did an item here in the Corner, too. I also published a letter — about the war and its aftermath. I have received many similar letters. I’d like to publish just one more, if you don’t mind. It says a great deal.

Dear Mr. Nordlinger,

. . . I’m the 39-year-old daughter of a Vietnamese woman, and the only experience I’ve had with Communism is the aftermath. I remember, hazily, my mother not knowing whether her family was alive, and scrambling to send them money once she found them. When I was in fourth grade, the first of my family came over, as boat people. The cousins were my age. My auntie, their mother, thought that the risk of death was preferable to staying in Vietnam.

When I got to be a teenager, I understood a bit more the looks on their faces. I see these looks on Chinese immigrants riding the New York City subway — expressions of defeat and the loss of soul. My auntie once told me that Communism steals your ability to enjoy something as simple as a flower, or to trust a friend.

Now I have married a lefty, who is from a very Left family (NYC artists who found a good deal of success). His mother, whom I like an awful lot, admires Communism! When I tell her my family’s experiences, her response is to say that she is not speaking of Stalinist Communism, and then she changes the subject. Never does she engage me in conversation, or even bother to ask about my family’s experiences, or what they’re doing now.

I have discovered, especially living in NYC for over 16 years, that the only people who like Communism are those who have never had to live under it. And once they fall under its rotten spell, it is very hard to discuss reality with them. A nun at my church once said to me about Cubans, “I don’t know why they escape. They have free health care.”

Very, very familiar. I heard it all in Ann Arbor, way back. Then I unlearned it.

Let me repeat: No one wants to talk about Vietnam. The aftermath, I mean. The war, people are happy to discuss. What followed — verboten. I don’t blame them, in a way. But, in a way, I do.

Man, these Vietnam items of mine are just full of cheer, aren’t they? I’m done, for now. And there’s funner stuff in Impromptus, I promise!

Most Popular

Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More