Today, of course, is the anniversary of the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
At 7:55 a.m Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber emerged out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. 360 Japanese warplanes followed in a devastating attack on the unsuspecting U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Pacific fleet was nearly obliterated: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged; more than 200 aircraft were destroyed; 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded. Japan lost just 30 planes and fewer than 100 men. By the sheerest luck, all three Pacific fleet aircraft carriers were out of the harbor and at sea on training maneuvers, allowing the U.S. to use them to turn the tide of the Pacific war against Japan at the Battle of Midway six months later.
I always felt connected to the tragedy at Pearl Harbor through my father. At the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Dad introduced me to a veteran who had survived the attack, and just shaking his hand was a moving experience I shall never forget.
1. I’m glad I’m not a South Korean ethicist, because this would make my head explode. More than 200,000 young men each year have to interrupt their studies or careers in South Korea to join the military, for mandatory conscription is seen as crucial to the country’s vigilant defense against North Korea. Men must enlist for about 20 months once they turn 28. Last week, however, pop star Kim Seok-jin, the oldest member of the global K-pop phenomenon BTS, turned 28 knowing that he could keep on singing, recording, touring and making money: South Korea’s Parliament passed an exception to the country’s Military Service Act to allow top K-pop stars like Mr. Kim postpone their military service until they turn 30.
There’s just no excuse for this classic “laws are for the little people” move, only rationalizations. “It’s a sacred duty to defend our country, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to carry a weapon,” Noh Woong-rae, a senior lawmaker in the governing Democratic Party, said in a fatuous statement supporting the special treatment. The bill to craft pop stardom exception the Military Service Act was first introduced in September, after BTS became the first South Korean group ever to top the United States Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with its song “Dynomite.”
Here is the song that helps defend South Korea:
2. Johnny Depp gets cancelled for not heeding British legal history. What on Earth motivated the movie star to sue News Group Newspapers in British courts for a 2018 article that called Depp a “wife beater”? Doesn’t he know what happened to Oscar Wilde when he lost his libel suit against a man who claimed that the author and wit was a homosexual, when homosexuality was illegal in Great Britain?
On Nov. 2, Depp lost his libel case as Judge Andrew Nicol ruled that he found the defendants had proved that what they’d printed was “substantially true.” Depp says he plans to appeal the verdict and “prove that the allegations against me are false,” but it’s too late. Depp announced on Instagram that Warner Bros. had asked him to “resign” from playing Grindelwald in the third “Fantastic Beasts” film. “I have respected and agreed to that request,” the actor wrote. Warner Bros. confirmed Depp’s withdrawal with a brief statement, thanking Depp “for his work on the films” and confirming “the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast.”
There was nothing in the trial that added much of substance to what had already been alleged—for years!—against Depp in his messy divorce from Amber Heard. The court ruling, however, provided an excuse for the studio and an opportunity for it to turn a purely financial decision into #MeToo grandstanding and virtue-signaling. When Warner Bros. thought that Depp would make money for it as the marquee star of “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” it ignored the protests by “believe all victims” activists over his 2016 casting. When the film opened in 2018, however, it bombed, grossing “only” $654 million globally, the lowest take of any of the “Wizarding World” films by far. Now Warner Bros., which recently merged with AT&T, is shocked…shocked!…that Johnny Depp’s ex-wife says he abused her.
3. Tweet of the Month:
4. Disgusting people alert! The crowing and mocking on social media over the fact that Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for the Wuhan virus is remarkable even for the Trump Deranged. In addition to being gratuitously hateful, the derision makes no sense: what does Guiliani’s handling the Trump campaign’s legal challenges have to do with the pandemic? The attacks have a persistent, “See? Serves you right! Nyah nyah nyah!” theme. Morons.
Do you think that once normal people who were turned into unbearable assholes by Trump’s Presidency will become decent again once he’s left the White House? I don’t. I think this President just brought out the ugliness that was there all along.
5. Continuing our Asian unethical conduct theme this morning: Well, that’s one more school I won’t be teaching ethics at. In September, University of Cincinnati John Ucker labeled what we have been ordered to call COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” (I like “Wuhan virus myself) in an email to a student. The student, Evan Sotzing, set out to get the professor in trouble with the campus speech and thought police by posting a screenshot of Ucker’s email on Twitter, thus proving that Sotzing is an unethical, vicious creep. The tweet has gained more than 164,000 likes and more than 37,000 retweets, apparently because a lot of people have a lot of time on their hands.
The University of Cincinnati’s Dean of Engineering and Applied Science John Weidner then announced that the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Access was “looking into” the professor’s conduct. The result: while “the term ‘Chinese virus’ did not meet the threshold to be designated harassment…it did represent poor judgment” and “caused offense to members of our community and distracted from the learning environment.”
Yes, a single word in a private email to a single student distracted from the learning environment.
The term “Chinese virus,” like the alternative “Wuhan virus,” is descriptive. accurate, fair, and true.
For this and other transgressions, Weidner had placed Professor Ucker on administrative leave for the duration of the semester.