Tag Archives: America

‘The Pacific’ Trailer hits the web

Image Courtesy of Pacific Fans

Image Courtesy of Pacific Fans

World War II can often be a touchy subject here in Japan, and I’m often a bit apt to keep my views about it to myself, living in a country that’s never quite come to grips with their role in the war.

It’s a shame, seeing the education students get often neglects exactly what they were doing during the 1930s and 1940s, but at the end of the day, although they resolutely refuse most apologies, at least they’ve become an extremely peaceful country that also refuses most forms of military action.

Anyway, HBO debuted the trailer for their new WWII show, ‘The Pacific’ about two days ago and I haven’t really seen it hit anywhere in the Japan-o-sphere, so I figured I’d link to it and write a bit about it.

It’s produced by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Gary Goetzman for HBO films and looks to chart the same course as ‘Band of Brothers,’ an exceptional miniseries that covered the war in Europe, this time focusing on the US Marines in their island hopping campaign across the Pacific against Imperial Japan.

My grandfather fought in Okinawa and is still haunted by the memories. Although I’ve read as much as possible on the subject, I’m really excited to see this series unfold on the small screen.

The previous series had a gravity and quality to it that made it absolutely amazing to watch. I highly recommend checking it out when it hits in 2010.

Maybe a few Japanese eyes will catch it and learn that my people weren’t just the marauding, nuclear holocaust loving douchebags they sometimes seem to think we were.

Here’s the trailer!

Why Smashed and Sinking?

 

Since the men were busy, Japanese propaganda was designed mostly by 6 year olds

Since the men were busy, Japanese propaganda was designed mostly by 6 year olds

Many people always wonder where I got the name for this blog…

Actually, since I named it yesterday, ZERO people have ever wondered.

I often relate my current state of affairs in life, whether it be trapped under an immense load of work, stuck in a fake earthquake, or just plain drunk at 4 AM with the term “Smashed and Sinking!!!”

You might think it has nothing to do with Japan at all, just a way of describing when my state of inebriation eclipses the point of no return.

You’d be wrong…

I’m the kind of guy that likes weird things. I’m still out there quoting phrases from Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, something even fans of the TV show often don’t put much stock in. That’s just the kind of person I am. I like weird, archaic shit. I’m not some kind of indie snob that loves rare stuff so that he can lord over people with his knowledge of things they know nothing about.  I’m just the kind of guy that gravitates towards weird shit.

Picture this: The 1980s, summer afternoons, it’s raining.  Normally I’d be at the beach, but today, because of the rain, I’m stuck at home. I’ve seen all the cartoons, watched Temple of Doom 3 times, beaten Super Mario and no friends are around to play Techmo Bowl with. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was fucked…

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I go where no child ever goes once they reach beyond the age of about five:

I turn to PBS

PBS is a child’s nightmare, filled with loads upon loads of classical music, old people talking about art, and news shows that make children want to peel out their eyeballs. Beyond a few instances where I turned in desperation to find something random and wacky like the Beatles’s ‘Help,’ it was truly a no-mans-land of absolute desperation and suffering.

I would have easily chosen being the guy in the lava cage with his heart ripped out in temple of doom over watching PBS.

But sometimes, when Mars and Venus were in perfect matching orbits and both lunar and solar eclipses aligned there was one thing a child could get into:

Motherfucking Victory at Sea!

Motherfucking Victory at Sea could grab an American child of any generation with the swelling music at the beginning, the churning seas and the words that said something about being made by the Navy.

If you were lucky enough to stumble upon Motherfucking Victory at Sea, you knew you were in for something special. Millions of American children from 1952 and on were witness to one of the coolest fucking propaganda devices ever created.

Using a combination of footage from WW II, without any historical eye for how that footage was arranged, stuff being recycled left and right at wrong times, along with model boats in bathtubs exploding, and guys sitting in fake airplane cockpits or behind fake guns on a soundstage, this is maybe one of the best propaganda documentaries ever made.

While it covers all areas of the war and all sides of the conflict, the major focus of the show is on America being completely fucking badass and kicking everyones’ asses all over the globe.

If you’re 8 years old and American, running around with your friends on a nice Saturday afternoon with your toy guns and camo pants, this rain day of massive American awesomeness (usually a marathon no less) was enough to make your head explode.

It was the kind of fuel that got kids jazzed up enough to go abroad and kills all kinds of assorted people for America in all kinds of future wars.

Motherfucking Victory at Sea was fucking awesome!

The narrator’s booming voice carried you across the theaters of war, from Pearl Harbor to Midway, to Okinawa, to fucking nuclear annihilation! His most famous line, one I like to think was all the rage with kids in the 1950s was uttered whenever we lit up any kind of ship or boat of the enemy.

He’d rattle of the name of the ship and then follow it up with an epic “Smashed and Sinking!!!”  It was the coolest thing ever.

Playing outside with our stolen gunpowder and any fireworks we could get our hands on, Motherfucking Victory at Sea taught us that we were badass and that someday, if we were lucky, we’d get to nuke far away,  different peoples and sink all their boats!

And we would leave them all laying in our wake, smashed and sinking!

Sometimes Americans people talk about all these Communist countries and their massive propaganda machines that brainwashed their entire nations. While in Kazakhstan, I even had the pleasure of watching the old Russian propaganda channels, and while cool, they could do to have a little bit more smashing, perhaps a small dose of sinking. 

American propaganda rocks!

So like Motherfucking Victory at Sea, I work my way through Japan, leaving many things smashed and sinking, destroying social norms, tossing aside taboos, and just plain fucking with people. 

Cause like the Yamato, sometimes everyone needs a little dose of Smashed and Sinking (I even do it to myself sometimes)!