Muddy Boots and Red Socks, A Reporter’s Life by Malcolm Browne ’48. Acknowledging the influence of his Friends science teacher, Walter Hinman, Malcolm Browne thought he would be a scientist. This path was cut short when he was drafted and found himself in Korea where a series of chance events led him to become a journalist, filling a job with The Stars and Stripes. As a foreign correspondent, Malcolm witnesses the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam, and In 1963, he won a Pulitzer for his famous photograph of a Buddhist monk, who calmly died by setting fire to himself. Malcolm took chances in a dangerous world, surviving by luck and grit. He gives a view of the war as it unfolded and intensified during the early sixties. What has now congealed into history was then breaking news. He could spend the morning in danger of losing his life, explosions going off all around him, then come back to Saigon, change into a tux, and spend the evening socializing with powerful political figures. He was sent all over the world and recounts perilous experiences in South America, Pakistan, Yugoslavia, and Iraq. He was sent back to Vietnam as the war ended, where he saw and participated in the harrowing evacuation. In this book, in addition to seeing at close range the major conflicts of several decades of the twentieth century, we also hear the analysis and insight of a perceptive and ethical witness. At last Malcolm came full circle and returned to science, this time as a science reporter for the Times. He died in 2012.
May 6, 2019
Not That Kind of a Girl, A young woman tells you what she has “learned” by Lena Dunham, attended lower school. I really enjoyed Lena Dunham’s series Girls, and was intrigued to hear that she had attended Friends. So, she’s “not that kind of girl.” In my day that was what we said to put off unwanted amorous advances. What could it mean after the sexual revolution? In Lena’s case I can’t imagine, but I’m not sure she’s any kind of a girl; to me, her original voice is sui generis . At first I thought she had taken on the pose of a fausse naïve, who faked the surprise of a newborn as she faced all of life’s little adventures. After reading this book, I see her more as a curious and troubled spirit who is generous enough to put into words her experiences, stripped of any prepackaged filmy overlay. What I though was a pose is the real thing. She tells her story more thematically than chronologically (love and sex, body, friends, work), but it all leads to a sweeping feminist vision: “And the goal is big: radical self-acceptance for woman everywhere, political change so total it shakes the ground, justice and joy for those who have been used and tossed aside. And the goal is small: utter and unbridled selfhood.” As my daughter would say, “You go, girl!”