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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
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
Northfoto / Shutterstock.com
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
360b / Shutterstock.com
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
Spectral-Design / Shutterstock.com
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
I’m the first customer in the Friendly Lounge. Don, the owner, is on the phone because his cooler is acting up. “And I just got that part replaced too. When you send stuff to be made overseas, quality control just isn’t the same! Is that beer cold?” “It’s cold enough.” Don and his brother inherited... Read More
It doesn’t get any better than this. Luxuriating in Dunkin’ Donuts, Chuck Orloski and I each have our own cup of coffee and, yes, our individual donut. Shrewd, I have ordered one without a hole since you get more donut for your bucks that way. Biting into a jelly filled, deep fried piece of dough,... Read More
Lin Yutang wrote, “What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?” Born in Fujian, Lin also lived in the U.S., France, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where he’s buried. Whatever attachment Lin had to his childhood stews, fish balls, snails, clams and tofu, it didn’t prevent this remarkable... Read More
Credit : Linh Dinh
Just as there are so many ways for a man to die, there are countless methods for a place to be destroyed. Unlike a dead man, however, a wrecked city or country most often doesn’t disappear entirely, but lingers on as a shadow or zombie, or it becomes an entirely different place. Most American cities... Read More
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Ignorance is renewed with each newborn, and by the time any man figures out anything, he can almost feel the mortician leaning over his stiff face. Though all lessons are embalmed within history, few care to explore that infinite corpse. Lewis Mumford, “So far from being overwhelmed by the accumulations of history, the fact is... Read More
Carolina K. Smith MD / Shutterstock.com
Since September 11, 2001, Bin Laden had been mostly an absence. His few video or audio tapes were highly suspect, and speculations about his death had often surfaced. On July 11, 2002, Amir Taheri wrote in the New York Times, "Osama bin Laden is dead. The news first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan... Read More
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Decades ago, I’d show up weekly to clean the Philadelphia apartment of a California transplant. Daughter of a Hollywood executive, Jacqueline confessed she had to escape California because “California women are too beautiful.” To save her self esteem, she had to flee to Philadelphia. Ah, California as the perfect state with the most beautiful people!... Read More
Invited to give a reading at Dickinson College, I came to Carlisle, a town of 19,000 people 30 miles from Harrisburg. Arriving by train, I passed Amish country and saw plows being pulled by horses. On extremely long clotheslines, single-colored clothes fluttered in the wintry wind. Rising high and lithographed against the pale sky, they... Read More
I'm featured in Al Arab, a daily newspaper published in the U.K. Tahseen and I hit a rough patch during our interview, but we finally worked out a solution. Click on either image to see it in Arabic. Kudos to Tahseen for his patient work. Translation is no joke. I'm not sure if the order... Read More
For nearly four years, I lived just 20 miles from Washington, in Annandale, VA, and I worked in D.C. for 9 months. From my home in Philadelphia, I’ve also gone down to Washington at least a hundred times, so this metropolis should not be alien to me, and yet no American city is more off... Read More
Ah, to be in perfect health, good looking, with all the possibilities in the world spread out like an extravagant buffet, begging for your attention! Should I become a recording star, the next Obama (or Hillary) or precocious billionaire? Maybe I’ll marry a rich yet good looking one and see the world before I turn... Read More
Wait till you hear this one. So an Italian, a Pole and an Irish woman were sitting in a bar when a Vietnamese walked in. “There he is!” the bartender, also Irish, yelled. Ignoring the strange greeting, the Vietnamese guy sat down two stools from the cheerful Italian, “We knew he’d come!” Grinning somewhat uneasily,... Read More
I was sitting in the Friendly Lounge, one block from my Philly apartment. Next to me was a 59-year-old man, Robert. Seeing my wedding band, he confided, “You’re lucky to have somebody to go home to. I always had a lover, a boyfriend, but I haven’t had anybody in ten years. And it’s not the,”... Read More
Writing this piece, I didn’t have to get on any bus or train, but only walk five minutes to see Beth, someone I first met 28 years ago. Most lives are improbable, I know, but when I listen to Beth talk, I often find myself thinking, That can’t possibly be true, but her facts have... Read More
In 1948, Israel had its strange birth, and the newborn was greeted immediately by soldiers from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as they tried to snuff out the monster in its crib. They failed spectacularly, and an ink-drawn Star of David flag was raised on the shore of the Red Sea. Screw you,... Read More
The sixteen-year-old’s consciousness was percussive with recorded music, as usual, when the train slammed into him, and it’s not clear, even now, if it was suicide or merely absentmindedness that killed this boy. (To have your inner life constantly stunted or suffocated is already a form of death, but had he lived, this incipient man... Read More
This time, I got to New Orleans on a bus named Mega, and it also dropped me off at Elysian Fields. In Nola, there’s a street called Arts, so of course there has to be one named Desire, and Tennessee Williams clearly saw the two as intertwined, thrusting and plunging their bodies against each other.... Read More
The American presidential election is a drawn out, byzantine process that involves precinct meetings, regional caucuses, state primaries and national conventions, all to give citizens the impression that their participation matters, for in the end, the lying buffoon who gets to stride into the White House has long been vetted and preselected by the banks,... 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.