Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Pacific and Tom Hanks

“Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”
-Tom Hanks

Uh, no, it doesn't.

Boy I really wish entertainers would keep their mouths shut, it really puts a sour taste in my mouth when I want to enjoy their product. Sorry Tom, it may sound familiar to a simpleton, but in reality that is a load of crap.

See "Is Tom Hanks Unhinged?" an article by Victor Davis Hanson...

Some stuff I pulled from the above article...
  1. Before WWII we had good relations with the Japanese. China was our ally, a country that is also different racially, and even more culturally than the US.

  2. How does he explain the brutal wars between the Japanese and Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and Pacific Islanders? The US allied with them against Japan because Japans policies in the Pacific were in tune with Nazi Germany, not because of the Japanese 'believed in different Gods'...

  3. Hanks suggests they wanted to 'kill' us, we wanted to 'anninilate' them. Had they developed a WMD, does TH think they would have hesitated to use it? (They too were working hard to develop them...) Would Tom Hank's Los Angeles look today like a prosperous and modern Tokyo if they instead of us had been successful?

  4. Almost immediately after the war, Japan was an ally with the US against Communism. ...Despite horrible battles such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa that were still pretty fresh in memories...
    Hanks apparently has confused the furor of combat — in which racial hatred often becomes a multiplier of emotion for the soldier in extremis — with some sort of grand collective national racial policy that led to and guided our conduct.
    Could an innately racist society go through the horror of Okinawa (around 50,000 Americans killed, wounded, or missing), then a few months later in Tokyo have MacArthur ensure a relatively peaceful transition to 'a rather radical new independent and autonomous democratic culture'? (Something that I think is usually overlooked, people stop reading at the signing of the surrender documents on the battleship Missouri)
In Hanks’ case, he is either ignorant and has done little real research, or in politically-correct fashion has taken a truth about combat in the Pacific (perceptions of cultural and racial difference often did intensify the savagery of combat) and turned it into The Truth about the origins and conduct of an entire war — apparently in smug expectation that such doctrinaire revisionism wins applause these days in the right places (though I doubt among the general public that he expects to watch the series.)

I don't think Hanks is a stupid man, so I see it as more of the latter. I find it both sad and scary that there are many who digest crap like this as truth. War is a very ugly complicated bitch, to summarize it like Hanks did above is unfair to history and especially unfair to those who fought for his freedom to live his life how he does.

I'll let Victor Davis Hanson finish it off...
All in all, such moral equivalence (the Japanese and the U.S. were supposedly about the same in their hatreds) is quite sad, and yet another commentary on our postmodern society that is as ignorant about its own past as it is confused in its troubled present.
(underline by me)

[h/t Big Hollywood]

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