Saturday, August 27, 2005

Spitting on Veterans -- The Persistence of a Myth

When I got back from Vietnam, no one spat on me. No one spat on any of my friends. I've asked a lot of my fellow veterans and no one spat on them, either.

In fact, no one has been able to come up with one single documented contemporary account or photograph of any Vietnam veteran being spat on by war protesters when he returned from Vietnam. And yet this myth, more than any other save those surrounding "Hanoi Jane", has grown legs sufficient enough to have now become an archetype of the whole Vietnam experience.

"Most Vietnam vets were spat on when they came back," Michael Smith stated flat-out, attempting to justifiy his actions after his arrest for spitting on Jane Fonda at a book signing. And that statement, as far as I can tell, went completely unquestioned, completely unchallenged by the MSM/SCLM.

I'm at a loss as to understand why this phenomenon is occurring. Even though, as I say, there is not one single documented case from those years, a Google search for the phrases "vietnam veterans" and "spit on" turns up 5,700 pages. And many of those pages appear to be latter-day testimonials from many of my fellow Vietnam vets, attesting to the fact they were, indeed, the recipient of unwanted saliva when they came through airports in LA, SFO, etc. And it was always airports. Not coffeeshops, not gas stations, not streetcorners. Airports. (See Jack Shafer's May 2000 column in Slate, Drooling on the Vietnam Vet for an excellent analysis.)

Sorry guys, but I am not buying it, and I'm sorry to see that you've jumped onto the victimization bandwagon. I'm sorry that you've bought into this whole mythology of the poor persecuted Vietnam veteran.

It seems to me that you don't realize what a fucking pussy this makes you look like. Are you really trying to tell everyone that you were just back in The World from a year in the jungle and when some long-haired patchouli-reeking draft-dodging hippie freak comes up to you in the airport, calls you a baby-killer and spits on you, you did absolutely nothing about it???

Bullshit. If that really happened, then you'd still to this day be so fucking humiliated by what a pussy you were that you'd never, ever talk about it.

No, you would have kicked his ass but good, and that would be your story today. About 90% of your fellow Vietnam vets would have done the same thing, and yet there are no arrest records from those days that show that a Vietnam vet and a war protester got into a fight over some spit.

So if we are going to believe that it really did happen "all the time", then we have to believe that the spitting protesters were just so fucking extremely lucky to have targeted some poor wimpy chickenshit turn-the-other-cheek Chaplain's Assistant every single time. And that you were one of them.

Jesus, dude, if you're gonna tell some bullshit war story, you might want to think through the ramifications first: Tell a story that's gonna make you look good, not one that makes you look like a chickenshit wimpass dork.


Anonymous said...

Farnsworth, you are THE BEST. I am sending your blog to EVERYONE I know. THANK YOU for your honesty, intelligence, and wit. Seriously, you are excellent. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, excellent post. I am ashamed to say that I've never analyzed this myth for myself. It's been so bandied about that it's been accepted as truth. Good work, sir. I'll keep visiting here.


Anonymous said...

Farnsworth, just went to Amazon and bought your book. CANNOT wait to read your book. Thanks again, and as a Left Coaster myself, YOU ROCK.

merlallen said...

my father, my bros-in-law, my fellow squids who were vietnam vets. None got spit on. a friend of mine said a woman called him a baby killer and he shoved her against a wall but that's it. no spit involved. I grew up in the Army and never met anyone who was spit on.
You wrote a book? what's it called? i want it.

Anonymous said...

I happen to know a load of 'Nam Vets. Most of them Marines. Aint a one of them got spit on. I've asked guys in the VFW club if they've been spit on - haven't gotten a 'yes I have' to this day. Had a couple say they've been called 'babykiller' and so on, but no spit.

It's a crock of shit, and just further proof of a media that's sold out lock, stock and barrell to the white house payroll department.

Semper FI

Anonymous said...

Farnsworth, you are right on. No one ever spit on me or at me. And I never knew a Nam Vet who had this happen to him. And I know a lot of Vietnam vets.

You are also right in saying that if anyone had spit on me or on anyone that I know there would have been boocoo trouble.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for setting a new light on this subject. I worked with a guy who claimed he had a sugrical glove full of urin thrown on him at the airport when he returned, no mention of baby killer though. When I asked what he did to them he said nothing, he would have gotten in trouble.

I would have to say your are right and I now doubt the story completely.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, no one has been able to come up with one single documented contemporary account or photograph of any Vietnam veteran being spat on by war protesters when he returned from Vietnam."

Sorry. It's not a myth. Here's a contemporary account from 1971:

It is not a myth that developed in the 80's as Lembke claims. Americans saw it on Walter Cronkite's evening news in 1971. There are literally hundreds of other eyewitness accounts from Veterans. The "urban myth" urban myth is hereby debunked.

Anonymous said...

Glad you and your circle weren't.

I was spat at. Not on, he missed. Just a jerk being a jerk. Not a crime (then) and not newsworthy (then). A Marine striking a citizen over it would have been a crime, news, and trouble for me. Having learned self-control, it was easy to walk away, although it left a bad taste in my mouth to do so.