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over sensitivity

over sensitivity

When does one cross the line from sensitivity to downright idiocy?

(brought to my attention by Blogs of War)

It was going to be a night to remember. Ushers dressed in World War II military uniforms, vintage cars pulling up to the curb, Pearl Harbor survivors and a recently restored 1940s military searchlight would be on hand Dec. 7 to greet the crowds at a special anniversary showing of “Tora! Tora! Tora!” at San Pedro’s historic Warner Grand Theatre.

The 1970 film — a joint American and Japanese production — is considered one of the most accurate depictions of events leading up to the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Expected to attract hundreds, the showing on the 61st anniversary of the attack was to serve as a fund-raiser for the Fort MacArthur Military Museum in San Pedro.

But now the show is off. [emphasis added]

I'll give you three guesses why the show is off. First two don't count.

“I wanted to be very sensitive to the Japanese-American community,” Hahn said. “Dec. 7 is a tough day, especially for the second and third generations of Japanese-Americans. Why do we want to do something that makes it more difficult?”

This country has gone so far off the edge in attempts at political correctness that it sometimes borders on reverse insensitivity.

The number of veterans of World War II still with us is dwindling every year. Would it be too much to show "sensitivity" to the veterans of this war and to their families without letting the melodrama of victimization get in the way?

December 7 is a tough day for a lot of people.

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory killing more than 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. The attack sank three other ships and damaged many additional vessels. More than 180 aircraft were destroyed. [emphasis added]

Spokespeople for both the theater and the city are backpedaling now, citing booking problems and a myriad of other excuses as the reasons why the event has been cancelled. Regardless, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is still credited with the above quotes.

She is concerned about making the day "even more difficult" for members of the Japanese-American community, but she has no problems with making the day more difficult for those Americans who have an emotional need to commemorate that day. How sensitive is she to the Pearl Harbor survivors who were hoping to attend the event?

You can email Ms. Hahn to let her know how outraged you are at her words and actions at hahn@council.lacity.org.

On an interesting side note, IMDB has two summaries for the move Tora! Tora! Tora! on its site.

In 1941 the Japanese are at odds with the United States on a number of issues which they are attempting to resolve via their Washington embassy. In case this diplomacy fails, the military are hatching plans for a surprise early Sunday morning air attack on the U.S. base at Pearl Harbour. American intelligence is breaking the Japanese diplomatic messages but few high-ups are prepared to believe that an attack is likely, let alone where or how it might come.


In the summer of 1941, the United States and Japan seem on the brink of war after constant embargos and failed diplomacy come to no end. "Tora! Tora! Tora!", named after the Japanese phrase to commence an attack, covers the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which plunged America into the Second World War.

I'm not going to explain why I put the above summaries up, I'll just say that it has nothing to do with the movie theater story. Just read them and think about it.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference over sensitivity:

» Political correctness gone too far? from adam.gerstein.net
a small victory - the gentle art of making enemies I haven't seen Tora! Tora! Tora! yet, but it's on my list - I've heard good things about it. But when you cancel the showing of this movie - which [Read More]

» Pearl Harbor & The World Trade Center from on my mind
Heh, it wasn't what Michele meant when she titled her post "over sensitivity" but I must confess that the memory [Read More]


I should feel fortunate to live in Canada, a country which has laws against 'hate speech', to have been able to watch 'Band of Brothers' on network television - unedited, uncut, uncensored. That series makes the Germans look really bad.

Those blurbs really really piss me off. Tora, Tora, Tora is one of my favorite movies ever. It truly captures how gut wrenchingly wrong the attack on Pearl Harbor was. It's an honest representation of the events without all the bloodshed for entertainment other incarnations have contained.

Oooh, oooh, I'm so incensed I can't find the words. Shakes fists mutely at damn IMDB PC BASTARDS!

Sorry, I expect this kind of crap from elected representatives (especially Californian ones) but for the movie database to adulterate a classic film with bullshit summaries like that. Ooh, makes me see red.

It's history. You can't change it, re-edit it, or massage it. It is what it is. Why can't we be allowed to remember it without having the event misconstrued as insensitivity to those communities who were involved in it? We're not blaming it on anyone in the Japanese-American community, are we?

I'm all for being sensitive to the feelings of other, but if we bend over any farther, we'll be able to kiss our own asses....

Absolutely priceless. I realize that tu quoque is faulty logic, but as an American living in Japan, I find that trying to imagine the reverse scene makes me laugh. Japanese people have a marked cultural sensitivity toward tea, trees, flowers, and interestingly-shaped rocks, but not, historically, toward other ethnic groups. And why on earth would second- and third-generation Nikkei be so extraordinarily aggrieved? Because of the camps during the War? All of those that I've met (not a scientific sample, I admit, and spending time here as a foreign Japanese strikes me as unlikely to endear you to the genetic motherland) have said firmly that America is their country despite how it affronted them during the War. They usually point out that plenty of white German-Americans changed their names and lay low, too, though they weren't rounded up.

I'd be willing to bet money that the Japanese-Americans who would have been most offended by the movie screening would have been those my age, who went through tony colleges during the high PC era and let themselves be convinced that the slightest criticism of an Asian country is the equivalent of dropping the Bomb all over again.

I've been told that Japanese-Americans, like all hyphenated Americans, are just as loyal, patriotic, and America-loving as those of us who'd gave up the hyphens.

I've never seen much to make me doubt that that's actually true. In fact, I saw Midway with some Japanese-Americans and they were quite happy with the American victory.

Does Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn really believe otherwise?


My guess is that Michele was not trying to show how PC the IMDB writers were. I suspect that she was trying to show some of the similarities between that time and this one.

But that's just a guess.

Great. We can all look forward to a day, like say, September 11, 2040, when some asshole is going to say it would be insensitive to commemorate 9/11 because why would we want to make things difficult for Muslims or Arabs? I hope I am dead before then.

Perhaps it takes a greying movement conservative to put the PC assault on truth into perspective (Where were you in 1964, dear little children?) For years and years and years, the call of the left was for free speech, free expression, free art. We now all know what only the most perceptive knew then: leftist free speech means free speech for leftists. Period. It was all lies. Truth literally means nothing to these people. Tora, Tora, Tora, a joint project of American and Japanese producers is essentially an historical document. It is more or less a film version of Gordon Prang's At Dawn We Slept. (Prof. Prang even has a credit) The filmmakers went so far as to have actors selected and made up to resemble the historical characters they portrayed. The movie is in no way hostile of derogatory to the Japanese, and no reasonable person could be offended by it, unless the truth is offensive.

Rachel, to some degree, that's already happened, though not because of sensitivity to Muslims. Just the same, it's another example of redacting history because the "facts" are deemed too unpleasant.

If the movie was a rank piece of propaganda, that would be one thing, but it's a fairly historically accurate account, as far as movies go. Denying the facts of history, on the anniversary of that history, takes Political Correctness to Head-In-The-Sand Land.

Cleansing the facts of history to avoid offending anyone is the worst kind of abhorrent PC HooHaa. What happened, happened, no matter who is pained by it. It was a momentous event, precisely because it was painful, and will be commemorated on its anniversary for many more decades. But if people like Councilwoman Hahn get their way, soon you won't be able to view "Saving Private Ryan" or "Schindler's List" because they might be offensive to descendants of Nazi's.

Chad - I realized when I wrote my comment that I wasn't addressing the real purpose of this entry - that's what the paranthetical bit by name is about. If Michele doesn't think my comment is relevant or interesting she knows she won't offend me by deleting it. That said I'll try to explain my reaction more clearly now that horrified muteness has left me.

I'm used to politicians belittling the intelligence of American minority groups (you only coddle those you don't respect) and ignoring the feelings of the real victims. I was tsking and shaking my head at the pathetic illogic of it all but not feeling particularly incensed until I saw the movie summaries.

Tora! Tora! Tora! is not like Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List. It does not romanticize or heroicize any of its characters to make them more sympathetic or the plot more entertaining. It does not demonize anyone either. It is the closest thing to a historically accurate re-enactment that the movie industry has ever made. The fact that the industry was able to transcend the typical WWII genre (compared to movies even from its own time period) is a remarkable testament to how uniquely important it was that the story of Pearl Harbor be remembered accurately forever.

To read that a resource that I and everyone I know uses has so misrepresented and "spun" the content of this movie just plain offends me. The fact that that database presents itself as a true movie lover's site just makes it worse. I mean I expect to be lied to about the content of films old and new by politicians. To be lied to about the content and quality of films by IMDB is just scandalous for me.

I mean you just can't trust anyone to be unbias anymore!

maybe they're not showing it because... Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor (with Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett) was such a better movie...?


Ah, I see what you mean. Sorry I inferred something in your comment that wasn't there.

But, speaking of inference, I don't see the one you're making of these IMDB comments either. Maybe I'm just slightly obtuse today. shrug But I see no misrepresentation or spin in either description. I've gone line-by-line through both and every thing they said was in the movie, except for maybe any mention of embargoes.

The only criticism I can level is that the gravity of the events reflected in these comments is understated.

Proving that I am obtuse today, I screwed up and put Ciscely's name in place of mine in that previous comment.

Many embarrassed apologies.

(Damned funny tho.)

So if you don't recognize the PC spin that appears to make the Japanese "suprise" attack seem a logical and acceptable response to a failing diplomatic process that they never truly participated in, don't see the tone that insinuates that America was forced to enter the war recklessly primarily because her leaders did not see the warnings and act accordingly as opposed to the truth which is that America had war started ON her and responded in self-preservation, if you don't see that, then what are the similarities between that time and this that you do see?

As for what's inaccurate literally in the summaries (y'know pushing aside the whole concept of a summary presenting the tone and nature of the movie and pretending all it does is deliver a point by point plot analysis) take this entire sentence: "American intelligence is breaking the Japanese diplomatic messages but few high-ups are prepared to believe that an attack is likely, let alone where or how it might come."

It wasn't "diplomatic" messages that the American's were INTERCEPTING. The Japanese government was sending secret instructions to their Washington delegates (ahem, puppets, ahem) orchestrating a smoke screen of diplomacy in order to buy time for their cowardly attack. They were carefully timing the entire process so that they could deliver a declaration of war moments before their actual attack, as if that would have actually made the attack honorable.

So basically like the Iraqis they were stringing along the good faith Americans who were truly trying to give the diplomatic process every chance of success while all along plotting and planning the perfect moment to catch America with her guard down before striking. The Japanese officials only wanted America to stay out of the war until they could guarantee victory. They did not truly care about preventing war or casualties they only cared about preventing their certain defeat. The Japanese double dealing is the blueprint by which the likes of Saddam Hussein and Yassar Arafat have conducted their "diplomacy" ever since.

Have you actually seen the movie?

That's okay about the commenting in my name, except for the spelling. ;)

what the Ms. stupid Hahn did was uncalled for.
She canceled the most significant event in history, but her brother who isn't that bright either is throwing a party for himself. Is she just being ignorant or racist?