Tom Hanks – historically challenged

I have a great deal of respect for Tom Hanks. He has tremendous talent and I have enjoyed almost every movie in which he has had a part. He is, in my opinion, one of the best actors of my lifetime – and a damn fine director too. </glowing praise>

I am also a huge WWII history buff, having read at least 100 books on the subject. My video library has upwards of 150 WWII movies and documentaries, of which Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers (both involving Tom Hanks) are my favorites. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming HBO special, The Pacific, which also involves Tom Hanks.

After this somewhat lengthy intro, I must admit that I was disappointed, though not really surprised, at some of the things Mr. Hanks said in a recent interview with Time magazine. (more here)

“Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods. They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”

This broad statement demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of our war with Japan and the attitudes on both sides of the equation. It is not only misleading but fundamentally wrong. It also demonstrates how most of Hollywood is out of touch with reality or, they simply have a different reality. According to Victor Davis Hanson:

Hanks may not have been quoted correctly; and his remarks may have been impromptu and poorly expressed; and we should give due consideration to the tremendous support Hanks has given in the past both to veterans and to commemoration of World War II; and his new HBO series could well be a fine bookend to Band of Brothers.  All that said, Hanks’ comments were sadly infantile pop philosophizing offered by, well,  an ignoramus.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Hanks is an ignoramus, that’s a bit harsh, but I would say he is ignorant of history. He has a right to an opinion – even when it is totally wrong.

Hanson’s spirited deconstruction of Mr. Hanks is factual and well worth reading. It is also a little over the top and I was a bit disappointed that he chose this tack. It was somewhat unbecoming of him.

One Response to “Tom Hanks – historically challenged”

  1. tiger tim Says:

    Having made BILLIONS upon BILLIONS these past decades looking the other way,
    at best, while unflinchingly catering to the franchise-slum denial needs of the —MOST—
    awesomely genocidal regime in history —ACROSS the Pacific —the self-serving moral
    alibi of choice remains the ad nauseum PC WWII retread —uh, we mean ‘tribute’.

    BTW —BOTH th 20th Anniversary of the Tienamen Massacre —and the 60th Anniversary
    of the epic and STILL unfolding Korean War were, once again, ‘mysteriously overlooked’….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: