Linh Dinh

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and the novel, Love Like Hate. He's tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

Articles by this author

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Monday, August 16, 2010
Plugged Stupid
In the preface to Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman wrote, "The Americans of all nations at any time upon the earth have probably the fullest poetic nature.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Wordless Masses
Camden, NJ a city of 80,000 people, has three public libraries. Last week came news that these three branches may close for good at the end of this year, with most of the books given away or destroyed. This, in the city where America's greatest poet, Walt Whitman, spent two decades, and where he is buried.
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Friday, August 06, 2010
House Slave Syndrome
A recent article declares, "Tired of war, thousands of Iraqis want to go to U.S." What it fails to mention is who triggered all the bloodshed. Who made conditions in Iraq so intolerable that these people must flee? You know who. Over and over again, the U.S. has instigated mayhem or carnage overseas, generating thousands if not millions of refugees, many of whom longing to escape, paradoxically, it seems, to the source of their suffering. You beat and humiliate me, so can I move in?
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Saturday, July 31, 2010
Rotting Fish
Congress has just failed to pass the 9/11 health care bill, which would have compensated and provided medical care for thousands of first responders, those who have become gravely ill from breathing toxic dust at the World Trade Center nearly nine years ago. Hundreds have already died. At the time, our government declared the air at Ground Zero safe, just as it had vouched that Agent Orange was harmless several decades earlier, or Corexit innocuous now. Soon enough, thousands of BP clean up workers will have to litigate, and many, if not most, will die before they'll see a penny.
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Sunday, July 04, 2010
Earthbound
At an airport, I saw two adjacent ads, "DENVER THANKS OUR MILITARY," then, "LIVE. EVERY TRACK. ALL SEASON LONG. NASCAR ON SPEED." No irony was intended by this juxtaposition, but our troops are certainly killing and dying to sustain our car infatuation. On television, coverage of the Gulf of Mexico disaster is frequently interrupted by car commercials. Our oil car habit is destroying this planet, but we cannot wean ourselves from this addiction. We express ourselves through automobiles, after all. Cars are us. In much of America, one rarely sees bodies, only cars.
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Sunday, June 06, 2010
Eyes, with Legs
Emily Henochowicz lost an eye when an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister at her face. Twenty-one-years-old, she studies art at Cooper Union. On her blog, Emily's avatar, or "tentative icon," as she calls it, is a small girl wearing an eye suit. A single eye, green and playful, with legs. They shot her in the eye because she was an eye, with legs.
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Thursday, May 27, 2010
Quantifying Culture
Living up to its name, Yahoo News is more jive than jazz. Recently, it featured a "human interest" story of an American who had traveled to every country on earth but three. At each, he tended to stay no more than three days, eating strictly American food at the hotel or McDonald's. This lawyer from Minnesota is not the most well traveled on earth, however. Not by far. That honor belongs to another American, Charles Veley, who has been to 821 countries, states, regions and territories, including nearly impossible to reach atolls and reefs with no human population.
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Saturday, May 22, 2010
Let Them Eat Twinkies
The working class and peasants of Thailand were protesting a system that had repeatedly disenfranchised them, most notably in the ouster of populist Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Streaming in from the provinces, these men, women and children set up camp in the heart of commercial Bangkok. Disrupting business as usual, they had specific demands. After two months, they were finally routed by troops and armored cars, but not before they could torch Central World, one of the biggest shopping malls on earth, and the Thai Stock Exchange.
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Tuesday, May 04, 2010
This Oil Ride
1861 - The first major oil well in the world started pumping. Christened "Empire," it stood on Funk Farm in Pennsylvania. 1908 - The Anglo-Persian Oil Company discovered oil in Iran. This was the first major oil field in the Middle East. APOC would become the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, then British Petroleum, in 1954.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010
Casino Time
The word recession, meaning a temporary dip in economic activity, was coined in 1929 during the start of the Great Depression, so even then, we were kidding ourselves. Now, after months of babbling on about "green shoots," the main stream media, always fluffy and clueless when not outright dishonest, are starting to use "Great Recession," but that's still sugarcoating it.
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