In the book Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses the importance of authenticity in contemporary culture, especially regarding media, in shaping the history and memory of the following generations. There is an emphasis between the difference of the forgotten war and the remembered war-- while the Korean War is mostly considered a success with the involvement of the United States, the same can’t be said about the Vietnam War. People seem to have forgotten, deliberate or otherwise, the Korean forces wreaking havoc on Vietnamese land, history buried deep under the celebrated status of South Korea now. With advancements in technology and its booming economy, Korea has been on the rise while Vietnam is still largely considered a backwards country, stuck in the past while its neighbor nations move forward. Looking closely at both Vietnam and Korea, the two are considered “capitalist fables, but with opposing morals” (133). Despite undergoing similar circumstances, the countries received very different results; and the differences stood out starkly in modern day. While Korea seems to be thriving under its “cosmetic facade” despite its problems, Vietnam-- possessing those same issues-- doesn’t have a fraction of Korea’s success (133). War movies in turn focus primarily on the white narrative, erasing the perspectives of others in a glorified Hollywood production full of heroics and notions of patriotism. Why does the media choose to sensationalize these already powerful topics in favor of capturing the truth?
Nguyen, V. T. (2016). Nothing ever dies: Vietnam and the memory of war. Harvard University Press.