Archive - January 4, 2011

1
Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) Talks About Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03)
2
Earliest Mention of the Peace Corps in a Movie
3
Review of A Wedding in Samar by John Halloran (Philippines 1962-64)

Peter Hessler (China 1996-98) Talks About Rajeev Goyal (Nepal 2001-03)

I put this video up last month but my friend Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962-64) missed it–mostly because he doesn’t read the site–and he recently wrote me to say that he had just read the article in The New Yorker and that it was the finest piece about the Peace Corps he had ever read. He wanted me to post something about it, and I said I did, and he said that most people were like him and never got around to reading or watching the video and that I should post it again. Tom wrote: “John, given my propensity for procrastinating on things I am supposed to read, I hadn’t really finished the New Yorker piece until last night. One word: Wow! That article, to my mind, is the single most important article ever written about the Peace Corps.” Now, Tom is the type to nag me until I put up something, so to ‘cut him off . . .

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Earliest Mention of the Peace Corps in a Movie

Here’s one you won’t know: What’s the earliest mention of the Peace Corps in the movies? No, it is not Volunteer! It isn’t Airplane in ’78. From http://www.vocaro.com/trevor/blog/ I learned it was from Pink Panther and way back in 1963. Playing a supporting role in the film was Robert Wagner, better known to today’s audiences as Number Two from the Austin Powers series. In one scene Wagner casually mentions the Peace Corps. Moments later, David Niven enters and also drops the Peace Corps name as if it were common knowledge. This might even have been the very first reference to the Peace Corps-ever-in mainstream popular culture. Perhaps even more surprising is how nonchalantly the Peace Corps is mentioned, as if everyone knows what it is. Check it out!  

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Review of A Wedding in Samar by John Halloran (Philippines 1962-64)

A Wedding in Samar by John Halloran (Philippines 1962–64) Puzzlebox Press 2011 $16.95 Reviewer Reilly Ridgell (Micronesia 1971–73) A WEDDING IN SAMAR IS A MEMOIR by the late John Halloran published posthumously by a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, John Durand, who is the owner of Puzzlebox Press. Apparently Halloran started to write a novel while in-country, then became disillusioned with his own writing and gave up. Years later, when he was 63, he went back to his notes, and presumably his memory, and turned it into a memoir. I don’t know how good his novel would have been. But his memoir is excellent. Here is the Philippine’s Samar Island, just south of Luzon, and less than 20 years from the end of World War Two and the beginning of full independence.  Here is the Peace Corps only a couple of years in existence, depositing young Americans into Third World countries . . .

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