The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection$
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Show by  
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
 BlogviewLinh Dinh Archive
/
Culture/Society

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • B
Show CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
caravaggios-sacrifice-of-isaac
Several online commenters have pointed out that Covid spelled backward becomes דיבוק in Hebrew, meaning dybbuk, a malicious possessing spirit. Using Google Translate, I found that divoc did yield דיבוק, but now, Google has tinkered with דיבוק so it merely translates as “obsessed.” Very cute. Exorcised, dybbuk is just excessive passion, you see, like a... Read More
cape-town-2021x1005
In March of 1960, white cops massacred 69 unarmed blacks in Sharpeville, South Africa. In 1961, uMkhonto we Sizwe [Spear of the Nation] was co-founded by Nelson Mandela to fight back against white racist rule. In 1964, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison. In 1976, between 176 and 700 black protesters were killed by... Read More
With a wicked sense of humor, God has made me a warlord, for I now have a growing army of Angry White Pussies! They’re joining me so fast, I must turn most away, on grounds of physical or mental deficiency. Of course, even those who can handle a few pushups and some crude English, which... Read More
cape-town-2021xx
Coming to Cape Town, I was a bit concerned I wouldn’t be able to walk around much. A Captonian had warned me I would be taking my life into my own hands, although he prayed to God he was wrong. You can’t experience any place without walking around, however, for it’s the only way to... Read More
Canceled in the USA, I’ve emerged triumphant in South Africa. I’m huge here, for real. Everywhere I go, people know my name. “Mr. Miyagi!” “Hello, Jackie Chan!” “Hi, Mr. Lee.” “Hey, Bruce Lee!” “Ni hao!” “Ching ching!” accompanied by a huge smile. My self worth restored, I strut. As I pass two chunky prostitutes in... Read More
Cape Town, 2021
In boxing, there are bangers and dancers, but the very best, a Meldrick Taylor, say, could concuss and rupture yet still pirouette with finesse. If you waltz too much, you’ll lose fans. Even with a perfect record of 50-0, cake walking Floyd Mayweather has detractors. South African Corrie Sanders was no juking pussy. Although his... Read More
Cape Town, 2021
In my last two articles, I pointed out the obvious, that war profiteers, whorish politicians and Jewish social engineers are destroying America. (If this is still news to you, then you are either an infant or a world-class moron.) My indictment didn’t sit well with several commenters, however, so I was accused of being, among... Read More
Pho in Saigon, 2021
After six months in Albania, it was time to move on. Céline: “When you stay too long in the same place, things and people go to pot on you, they rot and start stinking for your special benefit.” Actually, this did not happen to me in Albania. The longer I stayed, the more I loved... Read More
Librazhd, 2021
I just had my best sleep in a long time. My dreams were elaborate, meaning my harried mind finally had a chance to iron out, at least partially, a few kinks. In one dream, I was asked to review some miserable literary text, with a few footnotes in French. As I fudged and botched this... Read More
Penang, Malaysia, 2019
Last year in South Korea, I went into a fried chicken place and asked for half a bird. Misreading my hand gestures, the lady gave me a full one, but chopped up. It’s standard in South Korea to gorge on an entire chicken, while downing mugs of beer. Their BBQ restaurants also stuff you with... Read More
Graham, Oksana and their children in Kiev, 2021
You grew up in El Cerrito, just north of Berkeley, then attended Reed College in Portland. Reed was like a madhouse in the 60's. Then you went to Berkeley, before heading to Vietnam for four years, during the height of the war. Did you transform from a hippie to a gung-ho grunt? I was too... Read More
Jack near Preixan, France
At 80-years-old, you’ve done and seen quite a lot, but you didn’t exactly have an auspicious beginning. You couldn’t even graduate from high school. What happened? I was expelled! I wasn’t much of a student anyway. I signed up for welding class and woodworking class, so I didn’t have to do any work, but in... Read More
Taipei, 2021
I just interviewed an American who'd traveled for five years straight, but you have been outside the US for 18 years altogether. Why, first off, and how have you been able to sustain yourself? Was there no place you wanted to settle? Will you ever return to the US to live? I had always wanted... Read More
jonathan
With my Escape from America series, I’ve interviewed American ex-pats who have settled in Mexico, the Philippines, Hungary, Costa Rica, Brazil or England, etc., but you’re constantly escaping from one country to the next, with the goal of experiencing all 180 of them! What made you choose such an unusual lifestyle, and how did you... Read More
gjirokaster-2021
Borges and Bioy-Casares created a detective who solved crimes from a jail cell. Don Isidro Parodi could help others, but not extricate himself from a false accusation. Removing themselves from the world, desert hermits were still sought out by those overwhelmed by day-to-day problems, whether financial, familial or perhaps even sexual. Nathaniel West’s Miss Lonelyhearts... Read More
kukes-2021
Five weeks ago, it looked like war would break out in Europe. With up to 150,000 Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border, The Saker concluded, “In my professional opinion, what I see is a joint preparation by the Ukronazis and the USA (along with the UK and Poland) to attack the Donbass and force... Read More
shkoder-2021
I’m in a tiny Tirana café built around a eucalyptus tree. John Belushi, the Madonna and someone’s deceased grandma charm its wooden walls. I sip a macchiato to start my day. At the bar, an old man in an old suit orders a raki. It’s not quite nine, yet he’s downing a shot of five-alarm... Read More
tirana-2021x0428
Is Albania, believe it or not, for here, you can walk around, sit inside cafes, bars or restaurants, worship at a packed church or mosque, and travel by crowded buses between cities, etc. Though you’re supposed to wear a mask in public, most folks do so with their nose sticking out, because it’s hard to... Read More
tirana-2021x0327
Just this month, Kevin Barrett wrote about our cultural breakdown through the prism of Dostoevsky’s Demons. Also at Unz, Mike Whitney began his article about the Covid vaccines with a quotation from Milton’s Paradise Lost, “Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell; And in the lowest deep a lower deep, Still threat’ning to... Read More
tirana-2021-2
The older you get, the more likely you are to ramble, or, to put it more delicately, to improvise quite freely, incoherently or repetitively, the more you’ll sound like Sun Ra on acid, in short. Warning label out of the way, I must talk about dogs, to start with. In Egypt, they’re everywhere, but nearly... Read More
tirana-2021
I’m in downtown Tirana. My 7th floor room has a fridge, desk, three chairs and a wardrobe. There’s also an electric kettle, which is useful not just for hot beverages, but instant noodles and soups. Heat is love. My private bathroom is clean and new, with plenty of hot water, and strong shower jets. My... Read More
Alexandria, 2021
Flying into Egypt, I was given a one-month visa, which I got right at the airport for a small fee. One is allowed to overstay for two weeks, however, so I’ll likely take advantage of this. I’m getting more comfortable in Cairo, and why not? In any unknown neighborhood, you must figure out where you... Read More
Mosque of Ibn Tulun, 2021
It’s nearly impossible for me to write here. The streets beckon, and I’m a street rat, for sure. Right this moment, I could be in that bitsy Bab Al Louq café, having my first cup while watching people and traffic swarm by, or I could be on the subway, heading to Al Azbakiyyah, with its... Read More
beirut-2020x26
It’s cold yet sunny on this Christmas morning. Standing outside, I’m surrounded by a squadron of winged insects. Dots of light, they hover and meander in air tirelessly. Like drunk pinballs, they jerk, dance and bounce down invisible grooves, and around unseen obstacles. No, they’re more like ponderous thoughts. (Your jumped-up synapses are but flying... Read More
Beirut, 2020
Yesterday at Chicken Company, a man said I was a cross between Mr. Magoo and Pat Morita, of The Karate Kid fame. If I’m not compared to a freshly perforated corpse, I’m complimented. Chowing out with his hijabed wife and mewing toddler, dude was perfectly groomed, with each black hair impossibly sculpted. What can I... Read More
Arnoun, Lebanon, 2020
Traveling is not just a shifting of the body, but a reorientation of the mind, so here in Lebanon, I can’t help but think about Islam, because I’m surrounded by Muslims, and the fajr call to prayer wakes me each dawn. Iran’s most advanced missiles are called Fajr, by the way, a mere coincidence, I’m... Read More
From this elevated village, you can see the ocean on clear days. So close, it’s only three hours away by foot. For millennia, traders passed by that ridge, right there, on their journey from Sidon to Damascus. Sidon’s souq is gloriously intact. Once entered, it’s impossible to not get lost for hours, and maybe even... Read More
Me shack in Al-Quala\
So where was I? As I was saying, traveling during Covid is not exactly relaxing. Entry rules can change overnight, and flights may be canceled at the last minute. No really means no, just like on your first date, all those moons ago. You ain't getting in, so stop begging. On my last day in... Read More
Skopje, 2020
Wandering around Belgrade, I ran into the Hells Angels of Serbia’s clubhouse. I tried its door to find it locked. Weeks later, I discovered the Hillbillies MC’s pub, so I went in, had a couple beers and looked around. Their logo featured a bearded, smiling skull in front of red wings. Most of the “doom... Read More
vladimirovo-north-macedonia-2020
Can I be frontally honest and even a bit shameless with you? (No, not that, but maybe later.) What I’m trying to say, and do brace yourself here, what I’m really trying to bare, fess up and gently confide here, behind a curtain and under a sheet, sotto voce, is that I simply do not... Read More
eastern-city-gate-belgrade-2020
Van Gogh was most creative during the autumn and spring, I remember reading somewhere, because a radical shift in the weather was exhilarating. This shouldn’t mean you should look forward to leaves changing color, however, or even exuberant flowers smearing their sassily obscene palette on your tumescent eyeballs. Stop playing with yourself, dude. Da Vinci... Read More
belgrade-2020x0904
Even if you’re somewhere for decades, you only get the briefest glimpses of most people’s lives. Traveling, this is even truer. A glancing brush on the sidewalk can still resonate, however. Walk-ons and extras all, we still deserve to be read. In Joyce’s “The Dead,” the coat girl has but two lines, but who can... Read More
belgrade-2020x0828
There’s a rather innocuous painting by Peter Saul called “Bathroom Sex Murder,” so this article’s title is also a harmless joke. It’s better than “My Summer Vacation,” no? Of course, I’m not anti-Semitic. Jew canceled, I’m just trying to uncancel myself, bits by bits, with tads of cutesy sensationalism. Walking into a bar, a guy... Read More
Even in strange places, you establish routines, so I’ve been going to Dzidzi Midzi to write. Its balcony overlooking the street is calming, and even more importantly, it’s quiet. It has four bartenders. One is hook nosed, chubby, stubby, glum, swarthy, honest and speaks English quite comfortably. Frowning, he said to me, “This is too... Read More
Belgrade, 2020
Pandemic, lockdowns, riots, disappeared jobs, collapsed businesses, empty fridges, closed borders, weird explosions and, just now, Beirutshima, so 2020 is already a horror show, but wait, it’s actually a mousy prelude to the endlessly crashing cymbals, just ahead. Many more ambulances will howl down streets. The empire will only exit with a bang. Meanwhile, all... Read More
Belgrade, 2020
I’ve moved to a new neighborhood. Choryang-dong was instructive, delicious and hospitable, but like visas, passion or time itself, everything winds down. Thanks to the coronavirus, I felt a bit trapped there, so I’ve inched over to Hadžipopovac. Entering South Korea on February 28th, I thought there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able... Read More
Statues of Sun Yat-Sen, Churchill, Lincoln and Plato in Singapore, 2015
At the start of French Revolution, Bertrand Barère declared, “The revolutions of a barbarous people destroy all monuments, and the very trace of the arts seems to be effaced. The revolutions of an enlightened people conserve the fine arts, and embellish them […]” Soon after, though, thousands of French statues were wrecked, and many heads... Read More
Philadelphia, 2011
A guy with who once pointed a gun at the belly of a woman during an armed robbery was actually “a gentle giant,” according to ABC News. It quotes one of his buddies, “Anybody who knows him will tell you he’s not confrontational.” At George Floyd’s funeral, the mayor of Minneapolis, Richard Frey, knelt by... Read More
Felix Giordano at Friendly Lounge in Philadelphia, 2016
On June 4th, Common Dreams’ lead story is titled, “‘This Isn’t Going Away’: Defying Curfews and Police Brutality in Relentless Push for Justice, Uprising Over Killing of George Floyd Keeps Growing.” The same day, I received a mass email from Jee Leong Koh, a Singaporean poet living in Harlem. In an 800-word statement about the... Read More
On April 29th, an American friend wrote from Spain, where he’d lived for 20 years, “The government announced new (legal) abilities to track and monitor people’s telephones. My youngest [son] asked if we could go to the U.S. if Spain moves towards communism. I didn’t know how to respond! Frightening where this could go.” I... Read More
Busan on May 23rd, 2020
Although the compulsion to travel is universal, nearly all of it is only done virtually, and I’m not just talking about the internet, of course, but reading books, looking at photos, telling and hearing stories, or just thinking. We can’t stand to be confined to one miserable or paradisal spot while knowing everything else is... Read More
Coming to South Korea on a 90-day tourist visa, I never thought I would need to renew it, but thanks to the coronavirus, I had to, just last week. Encountering bureaucracy anywhere is usually stressful, but thankfully, the process here was quick and straightforward. Koreans know how to be efficient. Buses and trains always run... Read More
From the moment I was born, I’ve wanted to write a 20,000-word tribute to Barbra Streisand, but this is not it, unfortunately. I’m still not ready. Instead, I want to talk about how we routinely distort, embellish or simply erase much the past, so what’s preserved and presented is not so embarrassing. It’s a universal... Read More
Busan on May 6th, 2020
Five months into the coronavirus crisis, there is no consensus about anything. When this virus was mostly limited to China, I tried to get as close as possible, so for two weeks, I stayed in Lao Cai, Vietnam. Nearly each day, I walked along the Red River to look into Yunnan, and what I saw... Read More
With the world becoming so stupid, by design, there is no mind or focus left to pay attention to any of the arts, so beauty is increasingly perverted and language sickens, by design. Numbed by nonstop media sewage, just about every man is divorced from his own thoughts even, so of course he can barely... Read More
In South Korea, you can still get on buses and trains, or just wander around for miles at your leisure, so yesterday, I was in Gimhae. Like all Korean cities, it unashamedly flaunts nondescript, skyscraping condos and sterile, soulless churches that surely prove there is no God, for there’s no way he would tolerate so... Read More
Pohang, South Korea, 2020
There are coronavirus cases in at least 185 countries, with none reported in North Korea. As Western Europe’s infection rate slows, Turkey’s and Russia’s accelerate. Africa’s death toll remains a remarkably low 1,136, but reliable statistics are impossible to get anywhere, not just in Africa. Coronavirus deaths may be wrongly attributed or simply uncounted. In... Read More
Yeosu, South Korea on April 7th, 2020
My freshman year in college, I had an English teacher, Stanley Ward, who said, “All writing is about sex or death,” which drew laughs from us idiots, for it sounded like a joke, but if you consider how everything falls within the continuum between the generation of life and its negation, then of course Mr.... Read More
All our lives, our sadism is masterfully jerked by movies and newscasts, so we’re giddy at the sight of other people being blown up or swept away by giant waves, anything, really, as long as it’s not us being napalmed or nuked. This coronavirus crisis is so disappointing, however, for there’s not much to see.... Read More
This is the third installment of Coronavirus Missives, a series in which I survey people in various countries about this emergency. Though I believe there is a global health crisis, most of my respondents think it’s just a giant hoax to enable increasingly totalitarian governments to shackle, cripple or even murder them. None of them... 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.