10 thoughts on “Madam Nhu, 1924-2011

  1. Jeez, I thought this nasty piece of work was dead already.

    What’s Sarah Palin going to do without her role model?

  2. MUST SEE!
    It’s an Upstate NY Congressional campaign website takeoff for a real candidate by the guy who called Scott Walker as David Koch.

    Please be sure to click on everything.

  3. I remember her from pictures in Life Magazine. I didn’t pay attention to what she was all about at the time…seems she was quite the conservative with a good sense of conservative humor…Bringing mustard to a Buddhist monk protester’s immolation. I did pay attention to the immolations though..it freaked me out to think that someone could toss their life way in such a horrible way as a form of protest. And it was my first awareness that things were amiss in Vietnam.

  4. Boy, that’s for sure Swami. I was born in 1951. I remember seeing the Buddhist monks set fire to themselves on the news programs. Of course, I was way too young to process it. I still can’t. It still haunts me when I recall it.

    I used to think that the experience in Vietnam was so bad that we would never be so foolish again. How young and naive I was. I remember my third grade teacher telling us that after we graduated, the girls would get married and the boys would go into the army. I took her words for truth. As I watched the news reports from Vietnam, I imagined that one day I would be there as sure as the sun rose. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but what really scared me was when I considered that there was an alternative, going to jail or Canada. That required a decision, and a decision of the type described by J.P. Sartre, a decision that “creates your essence”. No 17 year old is ready for that. I decided to take my chances and my number wasn’t called. To this day, I am not sure what I would have done if I had been called. I think I would have gone. I don’t think I had the courage to say “No”.

    People can say all they want about the ’60’s and the hippies. We made some mistakes and we had our faults. But, for a bunch of kids setting out in the world, we did a pretty good job, considering the dimensions of the turmoil we faced. The civil rights movement and the Vietnam war were pretty daunting issues. We were in over our heads, but so was everyone else. By and large, we did okay.

  5. goatherd — I agree with Lynne. That’s a very good summation of what we faced as we grew up and we had no (or few) guides on the road. (I’m another 1951 kid.)

  6. Nice comment, goatherd. I always enjoy a trip down memory lane. The civil rights struggle is an era I’m glad to have lived through. I’ve always considered it a blessing to be a witness to that chapter in our nation’s history. Not that we’ve arrived, but civil rights has been the biggest obstacle facing our nation since its inception and to see equality become law is perhaps the biggest step since the Declaration of Independence our nation has taken.

    In 1960 I traveled from New York to Virginia with my grandparents to spend the summer with an uncle( a Colonel) who was stationed at Ft. Monroe. When we stopped somewhere in Virginia I went to use the restroom and was turned away by a black man who told me that I couldn’t use the facility I thought I wanted because it was for coloreds only. That was my first and only experience with segregation, but to this day the lesson I learned on that day is a lesson I wish every American could experience just to understand more fully what America was like before civil rights.

    I also enjoyed living in America before we adopted torture as a national pastime. Enhanced interrogations…My God, what a shit stain on our nation!!!!

  7. goatherd,
    Great, great comment.
    I was born in ’58, and one of my first memories is of the JFK assassination. And then after that, watching the evening news and seeing another American Revolution, or maybe the American Evolution, down in the South. And I have clear memories from my youth of that monk, the official with the gun to the prisoners head, the poor man flinching, and the lttle girl running naked because her village was bombed and she’d been hit with “Napalm.”
    I also remember talking to my father about Vietnam, and whether I would go in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. His message was pretty clear: “Never volunteer!” He was drafted within months of coming to the US after WWII, and narrowly missed serving in Korea – and he’d seen the horrors of war, being Ukrainian, and having been in concentration camps, working on the V2 rockets as a prisoner, and then being in “Displaced Persons Camps.” But, though he said ‘never volunteer,’ the underlying message was pretty clear: ‘If you’re called, you go.’
    I remember the end of my class trip to Germany, with my HS German classmates, which my family and I had saved up for for several years, in April of ’75. We were flying home, circling Manhattan to land, and the pilot announcing that the North had just re-invaded the South in Vietnam. And I remember looking out of the plane’s window, wondering how long it would be before they reinstated the draft, and how long after that before I’d end up in some rice patty over there? Mercifully, Ford decided to leave ‘bad enough alone,’ and I never had to make that choice. But, just to be on the safe side, I’d already memorized the lyrics to “Oh Canada.”

    As far as Madam Nhu, the Dragon Lady, is concerned, all I can say is that I hope Satan has an extra-large jar of mustard at his side right now, and that he likes “cracklin’s.”.

  8. Madame Nhu had her defenders in the press. The late Marguerite Higgins defended her, and Higgins’s biographer Antoinette May defended both Higgins and Madame Nhu. I think the students who criticized Madame Nhu’s speeches were onto something, bud sadly the government didn’t learn what it should have. Madame Nhu was so embarrassing that even her parents wound up disassociating themselves from her.

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