May 5 isn’t much of a date in ethics history, though it does mark one of the weirdest episodes of WWII. The Fu-Go balloon bomb was a weapon launched by Japan in late 1944 as a creative (and cheap) way to bomb U.S. cities. The hydrogen balloons carried antipersonnel incendiary devices, it was designed as a cheap weapon that the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean was supposed to deliver in the U.S. with deadly effect. It didn’t work as well as that other surprise bombing attack. Although 10% of the 9000 Fu-Gos launched were predicted to cause death and destruction, only one did. On May 5, 1945, a pregnant woman and five children were killed when they discovered a balloon bomb in a forest in Southern Oregon. Archie Mitchell, a pastor, and his pregnant wife Elsie drove up to Gearhart Mountain with five of their Sunday school students to have a picnic. Elsie and the children were looking for a good place to spread their blankets when they discovered a strange, large balloon lying on the ground. When they tugged at it, there were two explosions: the children were were killed immediately, and Elsie died while Archie tried to extinguish the fire on her clothing. Another student survived the initial blast, but died later.
One of the sites I use to track down these historical ethics markers is History.com, and in this instance, not for the first time, its bias pollutes its writing. Here’s the last paragraph:
The explosive balloon found at Lakeview was a product of one of only a handful of Japanese attacks against the continental United States, which were conducted early in the war by Japanese submarines and later by high-altitude balloons carrying explosives or incendiaries. In comparison, three years earlier, on April 18, 1942, the first squadron of U.S. bombers dropped bombs on the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kobe, and Nagoyo, surprising the Japanese military command, who believed their home islands to be out of reach of Allied air attacks. When the war ended on August 14, 1945, some 160,000 tons of conventional explosives and two atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan by the United States. Approximately 500,000 Japanese civilians were killed as a result of these bombing attacks.
Or, as a further “comparison,” the Japanese army murdered an estimated 200,000 (or more) Chinese civilians and raped 20,000-80,000 during the Rape of Nanking.
1. Those clever Satanists! In the wake of the OTHER SCOTUS decision recently discussed here (but I can’t find the post right now), where Boston was told that it couldn’t ban a Christian flag from flying over City Hall when the city routinely allowed any organization to have its flag displayed, The Satanic Temple in Massachusetts is requesting that Boston fly its flag:
I see no way Boston can refuse, and the inevitable result will be that the city will stop flying any flags other than the nation’s and the state’s.
2. Trump! Is there anything he can’t do? The collected fools of “The View” decided that Donald Trump was at fault for the attack on Dave Chappelle. I’m searching my U.S. history memory banks: has any U.S. citizen, never mind a President, ever been demonized to this insane extent? Have so many people ever convinced themselves that anyone was the automatic culprit for so many diverse societal ills? If this isn’t an illness, what is it? It sure isn’t rational, justified, fair or ethical.
3. Funny, I thought Joe Biden promised to bring Americans together…In a related note, President Biden said yesterday, “This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history, in recent American history.” Huh.
- Which is it, all of history, or recent history? That a rather large gap. How recent? Even limiting the category severely
- More extreme than defunding the police? More extreme than wanting to ban “hate speech.” Have open borders? More extreme than Black Lives Matter?
- What is it the “MAGA crowd” advocates that isn’t rooted in traditional American politics and values? Oh, I get it: supporting Donald Trump is unacceptably “extreme.”
4. Ick or ethics? Kim Kardashian and MM’s dress. Somehow, Kim Kardashian, the head low-life in the astoundingly and depressingly successful family of low-lifes, was able to talk her way into wearing Marilyn Monroe’s infamous beaded dress at the star-studded gala at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. this week. You’re not supposed to wear historic costumes and other attire, because it risks damaging them. Those in the field were uniformly horrified.
“I’m frustrated because it sets back what is considered professional treatment for historic costume,” said Sarah Scaturro, chief conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art and formerly a conservator at the Met’s Costume Institute. “In the ’80s, a bunch of costume professionals came together to state a resolution that historic costume should not be worn. So my worry is that colleagues in historic costume collections are now going to be pressured by important people to let them wear garments.” Cara Varnell, an independent art conservator specializing in historic dress, had a similar reaction: “We just don’t wear archived historic pieces. Obviously, if you have a Charles James hanging in your grandmother’s closet and you want to wear it, fine. But something that’s archived means it has enough cultural importance that we value it and want to save it. The dress represents something very important — it’s part of our collective cultural heritage. I’m speechless over it.”
But of course Kim Kardashian, like everyone with her last name (and some with the surname “Jenner”) could not care less about what is proper, responsible, ethical or right. All that matters is publicity, and the money it brings in.
I have a different objection to anyone wearing that dress Monroe wore it, appearing naked and sounding drunk or drugged, to sing a salacious and pointed version of “Happy Birthday” to President Kennedy, with whom she was having an affair. The number was filmed and televised widely, and was mortifying to Jackie Kennedy, who probably knew, like all of Kennedy’s cronies leering at the sex symbol, that Marilyn was virtually proclaiming her illicit relationship to the world. Kennedy was such a pig. That dress is valuable because of an ugly, ugly episode that sullied the Presidency. OK, it’s famous. But proudly wearing it is signature significance–for a fick.
5. I actually have some nauseating SCOTUS leak stories, but..later.