12 March 2010

The Pacific

The follow on to Band of Brothers, The Pacific, is coming a little later than expected, but it's finally here, with the first episode premiering tomorrow Sunday.  This is something I've been eagerly anticipating for a long time.  I remember staying up way too late (like, dawn or so) a couple of nights in a row so I could plow through Band of Brothers on DVD one summer in college.  (I will echo my point that we need way more miniseries on TV.  Way, way more.  The trend is in the right direction, but I want more.)

As excited as I am though, this interview with producer Tom Hanks is a big wet blanket for me.  I tend to like the projects Hanks picks to produce.  (Though I think his other WWII effort, Saving Private Ryan, is vastly over-rated.  (Clarification: he didn't produce Ryan, but I still think it's fair to consider it a "Tom Hanks project."))

Please read LabRat's excellent post on why Hanks' view of the Pacific Theater is factually incorrect, juvenile, and subtly racist.  See her post for details.

My executive summary of the final point is that often times withholding judgement because of a perversion of cultural relativism is it's own brand of covert racism.  "I won't say what that person did is wrong because they're from a different culture" is a polite version of "That person is so alien to me that I won't hold them to the same standards as I hold humanity generally."  Call it the racism of diminished moral expectations.

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PS Speaking of limited series and misunderstanding the history of WWII, if you're at all interested in the topic, I highly recommend the classics Victory at Sea and The World at War.  Absolute classics of documentary history.  I had the old VHS sets as a kid and I watched each of them three or four times each.

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