gloria emerson

The [Viet Cong] flag was always a good souvenir for Americans in Vietnam. Some GIs–they were riflemen–preferred the hats, the belt buckles, the sandals, the shell pouches or even the diaries of North Vietnamese soldiers, which they could not read. But a Viet Cong flag was not bad at all. Yet no man was the same. Years later, when there was no such name as War Zone C, I came to know an ex-medic who had a photograph of a tiny Vietnamese child, a girl in pajamas, holding two very large paper flowers. The medic kept the photograph for himself after a firefight when his platoon had searched the bodies of the men they had killed. The photograph of the little girl stays in the same Bible he carried with him in the war, as if by putting the child between its pages he protects her from any harm, any more losses.
—  Gloria Emerson in her book Winners and Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses, and Ruins from the Vietnam War

John: If I’m gonna get on the front page, I might as well get on the front page with the word “PEACE”.
Emerson: But you’ve made yourself ridiculous!
John: To some people, I don’t care….if it saves lives!
Emerson: You don’t think you’ve - oh - my dear boy you’re living in a nether nether land.
John: Well you talk to a…
Emerson: You don’t think you’ve saved a single life…
John: Maybe we’ll save some in the future…
Emerson: You’ve probably helped Cold Turkey move up the charts.
John: It didn’t do a bit of use, it’s still gone down, so it didn’t do anything.
Emerson: But you don’t equate of the civil war that’s going on in Nigeria with that, and then talk about “This is my form of a protest because people in anti-war campaigns are too SERIOUS and they get battered”, what do you know about a protest movement anyway? It’s a lot more than sending your chauffeur and your car back to Buckingham palace.
John: You’re just a snob about it…..
Emerson: You’re a Fake! I know in England it’s kind of smart not to be too serious about anything.
Yoko: Everything needs a smile you know.
Emerson: I see…. Take the massacre, ha ha ha. Can’t you give up something else if it means a little bit more….
John: It’s not the sacrifice, you can’t get that into your head can you? You’ve stated half a dozen times that the MBE is irrelevant, I agree. It was no sacrifice to get rid of the MBE because it was an embarrassment…
Emerson: Then what kind of a protest did you make?
John: AN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN FOR PEACE. Can you understand that? A very big advertising campaign for peace..
Emerson: No I can’t…I think it shows you’re vulgar and self-aggrandizement, are you advertising John Lennon or peace?
John: Oh, do you want nice middle class gestures for peace? And intellectual manifestos written by a lot of half-witted intellectuals and nobody reads ‘em! That’s the trouble with the peace movement.
Emerson: Well - it just seems a nether nether land, I can’t think of anyone who seems more remote from the ugliness of what’s happening than you. I do see you getting up on a Tuesday morning and thinking 'Let’s see, what shall we do today? - what war is going on’.
Yoko: That’s your imagination you know, I mean really that’s YOU.
John: You carry on, why don’t you make a film while you’re at it.
Emerson: I’m somebody who admired you very much…..
John: [Interrupting] Well I’m sorry if you liked the old moptops dear and you thought I was very satirical and witty and you like Hard Days’ Night love……
Emerson: I’m talking about cashing in on the Beatles.
John: …….But I’ve grown up, but you obviously haven’t.
Emerson: Have you?
John: Yes folks.
Emerson: What have you grown up to?
John: Twenty-nine
Emerson: How was Greece?
Yoko: It’s beautiful…
John: We did a nice war protest on the army TV while we were there…I suppose you didn’t like us going to Greece eh? You think you shouldn’t go to a fascist country like Greece, and it’s alright to live in a fascist country like Britain or America is it?
Emerson: I think America is a good place to live right now, because I mean, if you were interested or committed and not too cowardly you might conceivably make a difference by what you did…..
John: Well we’ve been trying to go to America to do something for the last seven or eight months.
Emerson: Oh, but you’ll turn it into a carnival…
John: Yes yes…
Emerson: …taking it seriously, you don’t understand how they approach us my dear they are so grey….
John: You tell me what they were singing at the Moratorium.
Emerson: Which which?
John: ….the recent big one, they were singing “Give Peace A Chance”.
Emerson: A song of yours probably.
John: Well yes, and it was written specifically for them.
Emerson: Where are we and what is this? What do you have to do with the Moratorium? So they sang one of your songs - great song sure, but is that all you can say about that - the Moratorium?
John: You were saying that in America, they’re [mimicking Emerson] 'so serious about the protest movement, but they were so flippant they were singing a happy go lucky song’ Which happens to be one I wrote, and I’m glad they sang it, and when I get there I’ll sing it with them - When I get in. And that was a message from me to America or to anywhere, that I use my songwriting ability to write a song that we could all sing together, and I’m proud that they sang it at the Moratorium, I wouldn’t have cared if they’d sang We Shall Overcome, but it just so happens that they sang that, and I’m proud of it, and I’ll be glad to go there and sing with 'em.
Emerson: [Sarcastically] Make it jolly.
John: I will make it jolly.
Yoko: Yes yes, you know, we have to make it jolly.
Emerson: Why?
John: We can’t all afford to be neurotic.
Yoko: If we all make it jolly then maybe we MIGHT STOP THE WAR, you know.
Emerson: By being jolly.
Yoko: Yes yes, because the thing is - when you’re happy and when you’re smiling, you don’t want to kill somebody do you?, you know, it’s when you’re very serious you start to think about violence and death and killing. I mean, have you ever seen a person killing somebody with a smile on his face? and being happy? No, killers are unhappy people, and they are violent because they are so unhappy and so damn serious.
Emerson: Mrs Lennon, we are boring eachother so I’ll go away. [Getting up to leave] Thankyou - Goodbye.
John: [To Yoko] Well, I think that’s what you wanted.
Yoko: But the last point was a good point and she didn’t want to respond….
John: She didn’t hear anything.


The first 22 minutes of this audio tape is probably one of the most revealing  glimpses of HST. Saigon is about to fall. Rolling Stone wants him to cover it, so he talks to journalist Gloria Emerson about the present state of the city because he doesn’t trust editor Jann Werner’s travel plans.