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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

He's selling nail clippers, pens, keychains, lighters and back scratchers.

He's selling just toothpicks. This is far from normal. I'd have to go back 20 years to see worse destitution in Vietnam. In Con Dao, an eatery owner told me her business was less than half what it was before Covid.

Boiled pork and boiled water spinach for 110,000 đồng [$4.34]. A glass of unsweetened iced tea was free. No rice! I remember this line from a kung fu movie, "What is there to being a Chinaman? You're born, you eat your way through a mess of rice and then you die!"

Two men at cafe in 334 Alley on Le Hong Phong on 7-16-24--Vung Tau copy

[same alley café as below]

Old man at cafe in 334 Alley on Le Hong Phong on 7-16-24--Vung Tau copy


Prison Norms in Paradises now at Amazon!


Pitch, “Thoughts on Skiboky Stora, Brisbane, Henry Lawson, Chinese illegal immigrants, Tiger Cages, Võ Thị Sáu and Kaylene Whiskey, etc. Pity our young for being brainwashed nonstop and forced to obey even the most asinine commands. Will Chinese and Jews make America great again? In yellow countries, whiteness sells. Old interviews are excavated to show this fool still being pulled under by lovelorn ghosts. Join me, then, among the coral reefs and shipwrecks.”

Table of Contents:

Matthew Sharpe Interviews Linh Dinh for May 2004 issue of Brooklyn Rail 
Marianne Villanueva Interviews Linh Dinh For Summer 2008 Issue of Pacific Rim Review of Books
Scott Bloemker and Judd Hess Interviews Linh Dinh: Awe Strikes 
Andrew Cox Interviews Linh Dinh on 7/4/11 
Eric Nguyen Interviews Linh Dinh For DVAN on 9/14/15: “Art is Always Political” 
Neon Pyjamas Interviews Linh Dinh on 5/20/18: "Go where you don't belong" 
Robert Patterson interviews Linh Dinh for Leafbox on 9/17/22 
Selling Whiteness  
Street Stories and Portraits 
Saigon Limbo 
Skiboky Stora for President! 
Vietnam's Globalist Princess 
Hell’s Bell 
From Outlaws to Bludgers, with a Bright Enough Future 
Chinese in a Cave, Hideous Architecture and One Nation Party in Ipswich 
Chopsticks but No Dives in New Brissy 
Where's Your Henry Lawson? 
Lashes to Slaps on Wrists 
Be You Tiful 
Escape from America: Russell Island, Australia 
Pseudo Drivers, Doctors and Presidents
Chinese and Jews to Make America Great Again? 
Deadened Souls 
First Day in Hell 
Shackled Men and Geckos On Walls 
Heap of Corpses in a Sea of Blood
Artless Nowhereland

Book includes five interviews. Here’s an excerpt from one done by Andrew Cox on 7/4/11:

Do you ask for permission before you photograph anyone? Do you explain what you are using the images for and if so, what is a typical reaction?

If I can get away with sneaking a photo, I’ll do that. Generally speaking, I don’t want my subjects to pose or even be aware of my presence, but since I carry a large camera, this is not always possible.

From each photo, you can generally tell whether I’ve engaged my subject. Sometimes I offer people a bit of money, usually just a buck or two, to take their photos. I gave $10 to a Camden woman, however, so she could buy cans of Sterno for her tent.

In Detroit, I also gave an old man 10 bucks because he was in such bad shape. He said he needed this money for a prescription. Whenever I visited the tent city in Camden, New Jersey, I’d bring 24 large cans of beer, though I’d end up drinking three or four myself. I’ve also bought food for the homeless.

When I talk to people on the streets, I do tell them I’m writing about the economy. Most know full well the economy is in horrible shape and will get even worse, and most of them don’t mind talking to me about their dire situations.

Once, I saw a young woman who was raving and extremely dirty, she even smelled of urine, but as soon as I talked to her, she became sane and radiant. Not to exaggerate but she became shockingly beautiful. I bought her something to drink and lent her my cell phone so she could call a friend in Baltimore to pick her up in Philadelphia.

As an artist, you’re always a kind of vulture when you’re around people, you’re always trying to make use of what they say, how they look or who they are, and since art is always subjective, a kind of distortion, you’re always deforming people to suit your purposes. Although art is always, in this sense, an exploitation, it is also a kind of tribute, and hence, of love. Sometimes I can barely stand how magnificent and beautiful people are.

You mentioned bringing beer or food with you sometimes. A common stereotype is the homeless asking for money or holding a sign by the freeway just want it to buy drugs and alcohol. How accurate is this stereotype?

Well, there are soup kitchens. In Camden, I went with a group of homeless to a very clean and dignified soup kitchen. People sat down at these long tables and were served by volunteers. When this homeless couple left a bit early, I asked them, “What happened? Didn’t you like the food?” The woman was a deaf mute, so only the man answered. He said, “Yeah, we liked it fine, but now we’re going to a second soup kitchen!” Another guy told me, “You have to be a moron to starve in Camden.” The problem is, many of the homeless are at least slightly crazy. Though some started out mentally ill or deficient, I’m sure many more became that way from having to live on the streets.

There’s a guy who wandered around the shopping mall in downtown Philadelphia. His pants were falling apart and sagging. You could literally see his crotch. My wife actually tried to give him a belt, but he wouldn’t take it. He wouldn’t even take cash. He never said a word, not one word, so maybe he couldn’t talk at all. Every now and then, you’ll run into a homeless person who won’t even take money.

In any case, I bring beer to the tent city in Camden because I figure, why shouldn’t these people have a beer? Also, I’d not be so welcome if I didn’t bring beer!

The tent city in Camden, New Jersey has made headlines in the past but I think many people would be shocked to hear tent cities exist in American. Some news reports said the type of people there would surprise you. What was it like when you went there?

It was orderly and safe. In the summer, you could smell the shit in the honey bucket, but it wasn’t terribly dismal. Sure it was bad, but people were making the best of it. They’d hang out in the center, talk and laugh. Sometimes people would fight, they’d scream at each other, but I was there maybe ten times and never saw any violence. I’d hear about violent episodes, however, but these were very rare.

In any case, the rest of Camden was much more dangerous. Jamaica, the head guy of the tent city, kept everything under control. Later, I’d hear from someone, living in another Camden tent city, that Jamaica would charge people a nominal fee to live in “his” tent city. I don’t know if this was true, but I did notice that Jamaica sometimes hoarded some of the beer I brought. Whatever. He was the “mayor” of that place, and a lot of the people I talked to seemed genuinely grateful to him. Rex, 76 years old, told me Jamaica carried him on his back to the hospital. Hardly anyone had a cell phone there, so it wasn’t like you could easily call 911 if there was an emergency.

One time I went there and it was, like, 5 degree out, and there was a huge snowstorm, and this kid, maybe 22, was freaking out. We were standing around the fire, trying to warm ourselves, and this kid was raving because he couldn’t take it anymore. I lent him my cell phone so he could call his mom. He started to beg her to let him come home. “I’ll do anything you want me to do, Mom! I can’t take this anymore.” Jamaica said he’d put the kid on the Greyhound, and he apparently did, because I never saw that kid again.

That tent city got too much publicity, so the city government finally shut it down. It didn’t do anything but chase the people out and put a chain link fence around that plot. As for all the newly displaced, a private organization did take them to a motel, where they could be cleaned up, groomed then assisted in finding a job or housing.

The official unemployment rate of Camden is 25%, however, so I’m sure many of these folks have ended up on the streets again. As for other tent cities, I’ve seen people living in tents or makeshift dwellings in a few other places besides Camden. There must be dozens across the country.

American cities are outlawing sleeping or camping in public. In many places, dumpster diving is also illegal. One should remember that during the 1929 Depression, much food was destroyed even as the nation starved!

In Hawaii, Santa Cruz and elsewhere, you can’t sleep in your own car, and in San Francisco, you can’t even sit on the sidewalk. These cosmetic measures are designed to mask our accelerating economic collapse. And yet, despite all the evidence, the mainstream media trumpet daily that the recovery is here.

To close, I want to quote Texas Congressman C. Wright Patman, as recorded by the great Studs Terkel in his 1970 oral history of the Great Depression, Hard Times, “A dictatorship could spring up here over night, if this country got so bad. If another Depression came, we’d have a revolution. People wouldn’t take it any more. They have more knowledge. The big ones, they’d be looking for somebody that’d have the power to just kill people, if they didn’t agree. When John Doe begins to get up, they’d just go down and shoot him.”

Well, that depression is here!


Finally, if you’ve read and liked any of my self-published books, please leave a review on Amazon. As a canceled writer, readers’ reviews are my only publicity, so please help me out. Even a two-line review goes a long way. Thanks a lot!

At SubStack:


"Heap of Corpses in a Sea of Blood"



Monday, July 15, 2024


Thanks for a $50 donation from a long-time supporter in Arizona!


Friday, July 12, 2024