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The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection

A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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 Linh Dinh Archive
It’s remarkable that I’ve been friends with Giang for nearly four decades. We’ve spent but a year in the same state and, frankly, have little in common. Giang studied computer science, business administration and engineering technology. He makes more in a year than I do in ten. He drinks Bud Lite and recycles corny metaphors... Read More
Rudy List and Henry Herskovitz
Though each life is rich, some are staggeringly so. Over four days in July, I had a series of conversations with Rudy List at his house in Dexter, Michigan. A 74-year-old retired math professor, Rudy introduced me to Hua Luogeng, Zitang Zhang and Terence Tao. In return, I told him about Otto Dix, Cindy Sherman,... Read More
Detroit Gas Station, 2011
I had spent four days in Ann Arbor, Dexter and Chelsea. This stay allowed me to experience a whiter and more Norman Rockwell Michigan. On two previous trips, I was confined to mostly black and car wrecked Detroit. Flying out from DetroitAirport, I bought two National coneys and, boy, were they sad. Hotdogs, chili, onion,... Read More
Protest Against Netanyahu in Washington DC, 2015
Justifying the War on Terror, George Bush huffed, “We’re fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” Broke, gullible or crazed Americans must be sent overseas to combat Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, the Taliban and ISIS. Otherwise, endless terror would devastate the homeland. Periodically, terror plots must be orchestrated by the FBI... Read More
My Philadelphia Neighborhood, 2016
Responding to my recent articles about race, “Marx Karl” comments at Intrepid Report: What is Asian racism? In Africa Indians brought by the British to Africa to fulfill middle management posts or run small enterprises treated the whites as superiors and the Africans as inferiors. So in Europe and the US some Asians play Uncle... Read More
Leipzig Bar, 2015
A friend in Frankfurt emailed me on July 19th: It is sheer madness what is happening here… The noose is tightening and yet—it is still only the beginning… What took place in some dull regional express close to Würzburg, a town in Franconia in the middle of Germany, was—in some respect—like a watershed event—just like... Read More
More than a century after his death, Stewart Crenshaw still provokes endless debates. With a single sublime or hypocritical decision, Crenshaw forever affixed himself to American history. Like Billy the Kid, Tokyo Rose, Muhammad Ali, or Jeffrey Dahmer, Crenshaw is an American icon, but whereas the others had to become outlaws to insinuate themselves into... Read More
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A hundred-and-fifty-one years after the abolition of slavery, America has a half white, half black president, a black Nobelist in literature, whites who attribute not just every form but instance of black dysfunction to white racism, blacks who demand reparations, the mainstreaming of innumerable black slang terms, including “diss,” a new phrase “negro fatigue” and... Read More
In Ethnic America, Thomas Sowell observes: American pluralism was not an ideal with which people started but an accommodation to which they were eventually driven by the destructive toll of mutual intolerance in a country too large and diverse for effective dominance by any one segment of the population. The rich economic opportunities of the... Read More
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The Dinh Dynasty lasted only 12 years and ended in 980, but in the 20th century, there were around a dozen plays about one of the Dinh queens, Duong Van Nga. When I was a kid in Saigon in the 1970s, a folk opera about her could pack a theater night after night. In 2013,... Read More
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A billboard for Comcast pitches a lineup of “reality” shows, with this caption, “Recommended for you. Because real reality is boring.” In contemporary America, real reality is also less real than Big Brother’s cartoony version. While we’re driving, walking, at work, lying in bed or even in the bathroom, Big Brother dictates what we know.... Read More
Don in Friendly Lounge, Philadelphia, 2015
Showing up in Friendly Lounge, beaming Maria said to bartender Manon, “How’s my baby? Come here and give me a hug! How are your job applications?” “Nothing yet, but I have a couple of interviews coming up.” For the last six months, Manon has been trying to get hired as a school counselor. She only... Read More
Linh Dinh and Eirikur Orn Norddahl in Stokkseyri, Iceland, 2007
Born in Reykjavík in 1978, Norðdahl was raised in Ísafjörður, a fishing village of just 2,623 people in northwest Iceland. Its population has been shrinking for several decades. Norðdahl’s father was a fisherman, and his mother a school teacher. Starting with his first job in a shrimp factory at age 12, Norðdahl has worked as... Read More
My friend George, in his mid-60’s, was a vice president of an insurance company. He’s told me a few amusing stories of fraud. A man with a claimed bad back was filmed lifting concrete blocks and bowling. A supposedly blind dude was filmed driving a car, steering a Jet Ski and examining jar labels in... Read More
Waking up to news of the Orlando shooting, I thought of the possibility that a Muslim shooter would be identified, in which case a Trump presidency would be nearly guaranteed. As with 9/11, the 2015 Paris massacre and the San Bernardino shooting, Islamic terror is immediately fingered, with the purported killer already dead. What lightning... Read More
Certaldo, Italy
From “Positano,” a 1953 article by John Steinbeck: About ten years ago a Moslem came to Positano, liked it and settled. For a time he was self-supporting but gradually he ran out of assets and still he stayed. The town supported him and took care of him. Just as the mayor was their only Communist,... Read More
Motoyuki Shibata in New York City, 2016
In Japan, even a serious writer may be seen on mass advertising, and a translator can become a star. One of Japan’s most famous intellectuals, Motoyuki Shibata is a specialist on American literature. He has translated books by Thomas Pynchon, Paul Auster, Steven Millhauser and Stuart Dybek, among others. Shibata is also the editor of... Read More
Patrick in Kensington, 2016
This week, a 55-year-old tourist from Texas was killed when he fell onto the subway tracks at 13th Street Station. He and his wife had just visited the Liberty Bell. Going by the station the next day, I half expected to see some sort of memorial, but there were no flowers, cards or candles. I... Read More
Philly Jesus and Black Israelites, 2016
Philly is blessed with a generous allotment of public space at its very center. On any day of the week, weather permitting, there are throngs of people at LovePark, DillworthPark and near the Clothespin. Around this 45-foot-tall sculpture by Claes Oldenburg, I’ve seen an assortment of petty hustlers selling everything from loosies to oddball T-shirts,... Read More
Brooklyn, 2016
Last year in Leipzig, Germany, I met a young woman who had just returned from Chicago, where her family lived in tony Lincoln Park. She had also studied at WilliamsCollege in Massachusetts, where tuition alone was near $50,000. Germany was too white, she complained, and she was ashamed of the anti-immigrant attitude shown by many... Read More
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, 2016
I spent a week in New York with a handful of Japanese writers and editors. They were in the States to promote Monkey Business, a Tokyo-based literary journal. That Friday, we had a reading in Brooklyn, so I decided to spend the entire day there. I first heard of Brooklyn through Welcome Back, Kotter. It... Read More
Anna in Friendly Lounge, Philadelphia, 2016
Don, Friendly Lounge owner, told me this joke, “How is a South Philly guy like Jesus? One, he’s never left his neighborhood. Two, he hangs out with the same 12 guys. Three, his mother thinks he’s God.” Angelo comes in Friendly each morning to read Don’s newspaper. After half an hour, he’d say, “Don, you... Read More
Point Breeze, Philadelphia, 2015
In the early 90’s, I sometimes worked the door at McGlinchey’s. Lurching in, 6-9 Lloyd Lunz guffawed, “Yo, heavy duty bouncer action tonight!” I was only paid $30 for five hours of carding baby-faced carousers, and it was torture to be sober while everybody got trashed. One night, there was some commotion outside, so I... Read More
Empty Friendly Lounge just before noon, Philadelphia, 2016
It’s not right. I came into the Friendly Lounge at 11:45AM, parked my bony ass there for three hours, and saw nobody. In the 90’s, I heard an exasperated crack whore kvetch, “Don’t nobody want a blow job no more!” It’s gotten much worse. In 2016, it’s, “Can’t nobody afford a beer no more?” Tony... Read More
Spider in Kensington, Philadelphia, 2015
Though no millennial metrosexual, I sleep next to my laptop, and this morning, an email came from a Japanese literary journal, Monkey, to ask me to name a short story I wish I had written. Editor Motoyuki Shibata also requested a one-hundred word explanation, which I promptly knocked out while sipping an Earl Grey at... Read More
Philadelphia, 2011.  Credit: Linh Dinh
No presidential candidate should be taken seriously unless he or she addresses these basic concerns: 9/11 Since this is the pretext for our endless War on Terror, it should be examined thoroughly and publicly, with testimonies from pilots, architects, engineers, scientists and eye witnesses, including first responders. Like many Americans, I find the official explanation... Read More
Before interviewing 33-year-old Manon, I had never talked to her. She only bartends at Friendly Lounge one day a week. The joint was completely empty when we started at noon. Folks can hardly afford a beer anymore. An hour into our conversation, Tony the cook came in to take his midday break, then a stranger... Read More
Homeless in New Orleans, 2013
Interviewed by Spiegel in 2005, Lee Kuan Yew observed, “The social contract that led to workers sitting on the boards of companies and everybody being happy rested on this condition: I work hard, I restore Germany's prosperity, and you, the state, you have to look after me. I’m entitled to go to Baden Baden for... Read More
Vernon (Right) in Friendly Lounge
Looking for Vern for over a week, I finally found him in the Friendly Lounge. Vivacious Kelly was bartending. Overhearing Vern say how he had to take his helmet off because of the letters “VC,” Kelly looked perplexed, “Why?” “Because VC stands for Viet Cong,” Vern clarified. “Viet Com?” When you’re young and beautiful, you... Read More
When I lived closer to Center City, I’d take out-of-town friends to McGlinchey’s or Dirty Frank’s, but since moving to South Philly more than a decade ago, I’d drag people to the Friendly Lounge, because it really is friendly. In Philly, black bars tend to be called “lounge,” but Friendly is the haunt of middle-aged... Read More
Elena Dijour / Shutterstock.com
Unlike all of my articles of the past several years, this one will have no photographs. I apologize. Since arriving in Germany in late September, I’ve visited nine other countries, and have written about and photographed Germany, Singapore, England, Poland, Hungary, Turkey and Ukraine. Though I’ve been to the Czech Republic three times, I couldn’t... Read More
I hadn’t even changed money when a guy in a military jacket approached me for a donation for Ukraine’s war efforts, and he was quite persistent too. This happened in Maidan Square, now turned into a death shrine, with photos of sacrificed soldiers scattered all over. Of different sizes, many were draped with rosary beads... Read More
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I was surprised by how grimy and sooty Budapest was. So many of its buildings, once gorgeous, were in an advanced state of decay. This city looked better before World War II, for sure, and certainly a century ago. Since escaping Communism, Budapest is regaining its glories, though not at the same pace as Prague.... Read More
In 1985, Czeslaw Milosz said in an interview, “The importance of the movement in Poland, of Solidarity, is that it is not just a Polish phenomenon. It exemplifies a basic issue of the twentieth century. Namely, resistance to the withering away of society and its domination by the state. In the Poland of Solidarity, owing... Read More
T-shirt Being Sold in Leipzig. Credit: Linh Dinh
The only way to solve a refugee problem is to stop generating refugees. Since arriving in Germany 3 ½ months ago, I’ve made this point over and over. Most Germans, though, are only focused on the issue of accepting or rejecting refugees, not on the root cause of it, which is America and Israel’s deliberate... Read More
Nowadays, the United States exports almost nothing but weapons, noises, images and attitudes, and among the last, the black ghetto, keeping it real, thug, gangsta life is being gobbled up eagerly by millions all over, from Jakarta to Istanbul, to Berlin. White, yellow or brown, many pose enthusiastically as dwellers of the American black ghetto.... Read More
Though we head into 2016 without a direct war between the US and Russia, such a conflict still hovers over mankind. It’s hard to imagine Uncle Sam relinquishing his supremacy without a crazed fight. By abetting Turkey in shooting down that Russian plane, the US achieved one important objective, at least, and that’s scuttling the... Read More
Vietnamese-run Takeout in Leipzig.
There are about 140,000 Vietnamese in Germany. In Berlin, there’s a large shopping center, Dong Xuan, and a Halong Hotel. In Munich, there’s a hip restaurant, Jack Glockenbach, in a gay neighborhood. In Hanover, there’s a temple with a pagoda and ornate gate. In Dresden, there’s a Buddhist cemetery that refrains from displaying the swastika.... Read More
DanDinhBrighton
Born in Kansas City and raised in Midland, Michigan, Dan has also lived in Myrtle Beach, Vail, Martha’s Vineyard, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Taos, Durham, New York, Albuquerque and Denver in the US. He taught English in Seoul for three years, moved furniture in Barcelona for two and, for five years now, has been miserably ensconced in... Read More
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I gave a reading, slide talk in Leipzig. You can’t count on too many people coming to such an event. It is said that a favorite line at any poetry reading is, “And this is my last poem.” Around 40 people actually showed up, however, with some even having to sit on the floor. They... Read More
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Recently, I flew to Singapore to participate in its Writers’ Festival. The Lufthansa captain bade us goodbye, “We wish you a successful stay in Singapore.” Heading downtown, I became reacquainted with the lush rain trees amply shading the highway for many miles. “Lee Kuan Yew picked these himself,” the cheerful cabbie explained. “They aren’t native.... Read More
Banner in Leipzig
Though American dissidents are often branded as “anti-American,” many if not most see themselves as opposed only to their government, not their nation or people. At the Occupy camps, for example, the American flag flew freely. In Germany, however, the dissident crowd are often not just against the state, but their country and, perhaps only... Read More
October 3rd was the Anniversary of the Reunification of Germany. Having arrived in Leipzig just days earlier, I decided to take a long walk with my friend Olliver Wichmann. Though we covered nearly 20 miles that day, we saw no national flag on display, only an East German one in Grünau, a neighborhood of huge,... Read More
A pope zone cut Philly in two. Hundreds of soldiers poured in. Throughout downtown and OldCity, they manned every intersection, including alleys. Since 9/11, Americans have been conditioned to see soldiers in battle fatigues on their sidewalks, but this is unprecedented for peacetime Philadelphia. At least these troops were not armed. Only the cops were.... Read More
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During the current refugee crisis in Europe, it is said that there are many imposters among genuine refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen, all countries, incidentally, that America and its allies have destroyed. Too many of them are men, it is pointed out, and they’re generally not dressed badly enough. Many have smart... Read More
Going from Philly to Camden, I take a train across the Ben Franklin Bridge, then get off at Broadway. In 1969 and 1971, fire bombs were thrown, shop windows smashed and businesses burnt and looted all around this area. The 1969 riot was sparked by a false rumor that a black girl had been beaten... Read More
I’ve prowled around Gary, relaxed in New Harmony and explored downtown Indianapolis after midnight. There is a bronze statue of John Wooden. Kneeling and suited, the basketball coach is surrounded by five young pairs of male legs, their bodies disappearing above the pelvis. It is very creepy and gay. One of these days, I must... Read More
The first recorded race riot in Camden occurred on September 12th, 1864. The Philadelphia Inquirer: A riot, which threatened serious consequences, took place on Friday night in South Camden […] In an ale house on Spruce-street, a party of men were drinking in the early part of the evening, when some colored men came in... Read More
I’ve depicted Jack’s in a Kensington Postcard, two poems and even a Vietnamese article. In business since the end of Prohibition, Jack’s is the last bastion of a Kensington that existed before all the factories moved out and the heroin came in. Old timers on a shrunken budget can mosey in to get buzzed for... Read More
David Swanson, author of War is a Lie, declares, “Yes, I also want to say Free Mumia. In fact, I want to say Free all the prisoners. Turn the prison holding Mumia Abu-Jamal into a school and make him dean.” Now, only a white man living outside the city can even think of, “I want... Read More
Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.