Skinner as Vietnam Vet

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Title: Skinner as Vietnam Vet
Creator: LoneThinker
Date(s): late 1990s
Medium: online
Fandom: X-Files
External Links: The Cave's X-Files Commentary Archives: Skinner, Archived version
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Skinner as Vietnam Vet is an essay by LoneThinker.

It is one of many essays at The Cave's X-Files Commentary Archives.


Skinner's inability to 'open up' to his wife (*Avatar) about his experiences in Vietnam is neither uncommon nor totally his fault. It certainly doesn't equate to 'shoving her away' as some have claimed in our discussion of this ep, though this is hard to see if you don't have the background. (You might go back and take another look at Ray Kinski in my story 'Harvest Moon', who is wrestling with this same thing.) Basically, what people went through in Vietnam was so other-worldly that if you weren't there, you had very little chance of understanding what these men/women had seen and experienced. (War is always traumatic, but Vietnam was more-so for a variety of reasons which I won't enumerate here.) When Vietnam vets came back to the 'real world', it was like going from this extremely stripped-down, essential, intense life-and-death situation and suddenly finding yourself in an amusement park. (Deb also describes this feeling in my story 'Reunion'.) These people spent a year waiting to come back to 'the world' (and yes, the first thing they did when the arrived in Vietnam was to make a calendar to mark off the year until they could come home again), but once they returned, they didn't fit in anymore. And they got a pretty hostile reception as well. College kids and old ladies actually spat at them. And those who did attempt to answer the question, "What happened over there?" found their audiences horrified by the answers they received. They really didn't want to know, and so most veterans found it much wiser not to talk about it. After all, why invite that kind of response?