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Why don’t we think of fanatical Japanese resistance as 'heroic'?

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  • Originally posted by MarkV View Post

    And looking at it the other way men who in normal situations are capable of all those negative behaviours can also sometimes be capable of considerable bravery in time of war.
    Well, yes. I do wonder why this needs to be stated. It's not as if, when we consider, say, an exceptional artist, we're entitled to expect him to also be a perfect human being. Or a shining example of idealism. Or a hero on the battlefield. So why do we expect a very brave fighter to also be an all-round model and example under every other respect?

    Michele

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    • Originally posted by Michele View Post

      Well, yes. I do wonder why this needs to be stated. It's not as if, when we consider, say, an exceptional artist, we're entitled to expect him to also be a perfect human being. Or a shining example of idealism. Or a hero on the battlefield. So why do we expect a very brave fighter to also be an all-round model and example under every other respect?
      Very probably because the qualities that make a person a thug, murderer, racist etc have nothing to do with their ability to use a paint brush, chisel etc but they can have a lot to do with how they behave in the fields of Mars where deception, violence and sudden death are a prime factor. But as an Italian perhaps you might like to ponder the effect of the philosophy of the futurists and the vortexists on he rise of Fascism
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • Originally posted by Michele View Post

        Oh yes, they wanted to save themselves, as well as their class and their worldview - but also their country. I think it takes a special kind of courage to go against one's own government and military commander when one is a military man.

        As to the issue of acting only once defeat was imminent, yes, there is that. OTOH the case was made, by many including some German generals, that no coup would have the slightest chance of gaining popular support while Hitler was riding the waves of incredible successes. The case can be seen as self-serving, of course, yet it does sound convincing.

        In general, I think this all goes well with the theory that a person can be exceptionally brave - i.e. a hero in the stricter definition of the term - and at the same time have flaws when it comes to anything but that personal, physical and moral courage.
        I see your point, thanks for answer. As of the time when "Hitler was riding the waves of incredible successes", AFAIK vast majority of generals were happy with all that "de-Versaillesation" - including early years of WWII.
        "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"

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        • Originally posted by MarkV View Post
          Very probably because the qualities that make a person a thug, murderer, racist etc have nothing to do with their ability to use a paint brush, chisel etc but they can have a lot to do with how they behave in the fields of Mars where deception, violence and sudden death are a prime factor.
          Yes, you are right there, but there are also different flaws, not having to do with violence, say just being mean-spirited, or an alcoholist, or a man who beds his best friend's wife etc., which some are surprised to find in great artists.
          Michele

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          • Originally posted by Michele View Post

            Yes, you are right there, but there are also different flaws, not having to do with violence, say just being mean-spirited, or an alcoholist, or a man who beds his best friend's wife etc., which some are surprised to find in great artists.
            *cough*Picasso*cough*
            Will no one tell me what she sings?--
            Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
            For old, unhappy, far-off things,
            And battles long ago:
            -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

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            • Originally posted by Michele View Post

              Yes, you are right there, but there are also different flaws, not having to do with violence, say just being mean-spirited, or an alcoholist, or a man who beds his best friend's wife etc., which some are surprised to find in great artists.
              Actually, more often than not, you will find that great artists, musicians, writers, have "feet of clay"".
              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
              Samuel Johnson.

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              • Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

                Actually, more often than not, you will find that great artists, musicians, writers, have "feet of clay"".
                Yes, and Désirée also implied as much in her message above. I'm not saying that these great artists are all-round exemplary persons, quite the contrary; I'm saying that some people seem to expect them to be, and are disappointed when they do find out about the clay.

                So why should an exceedingly brave warrior also be a perfect person under all other aspects? If Homer portrayed the heroic Achilles as the best warrior in the field, but also as a mean-spirited, vindictive, jealous and bloodthirsty guy (not to mention, some would say, a rapist), I'd guess that it was a not uncommon finding that great warriors can well not be saints, at least since then... which is a lot of time ago.
                Michele

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                • Originally posted by Michele View Post

                  If you read the thread more carefully, you will understand that this stereotyped portrayal isn't exactly accurate or prevailing.

                  Context, which you happen to omit, has its weight. British paratroopers fought to death rather than surrender... Japanese soldiers fought to death rather than surrender... so the two situations are identical? Hell no. You, certainly inadvertently, are missing the context.

                  For starters, Japanese soldiers, AFAIK, were usually expected, and sometimes outright ordered, to fight to death. Were British paratroopers who fought to death actually ordered to do so?
                  It does make a difference, you know.

                  Or consider this. The few Japanese who allowed themselves to be captured alive were usually astounded by how well they were treated as POWs. They had expected that their fate as POWs would be nearly as bad as dying in action. On the contrary, in most cases they were eating better as POWs than as serving soldiers of their country.
                  British paratroopers who deliberately chose to die fighting rather than surrendering - if that actually happened - on the contrary would have reasonable expectations of a decent treatment as POWs.
                  IMHO this also makes a difference when it comes to choosing fight to the death over surrender.

                  Or consider this. Japanese soldiers on Okinawa were ordered to force Japanese civilians to commit suicide. They carried out their orders. Is that heroic or fanatical? Were British troops on the Channel Islands ordered to do so when the Germans came? Would they have obeyed such an order?

                  Think.
                  Drivel! What I wrote was and is perfectly valid!
                  在魔鬼和深蓝色的海洋之间. 悪魔と深海の間. Carpe hunc diem.

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                  • Originally posted by Redzen View Post

                    Drivel! What I wrote was and is perfectly valid!
                    What a convincing argument.
                    Michele

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                    • Originally posted by Redzen View Post
                      When one's own side does something brave, the act and the personnel concerned are Heroic! When one's enemy does something brave, the act and the personnel concerned are Fanatic or Fanatical! Got it! Us and them! One's own side is heroic. One's enemy is fanatic/fanatical.

                      The Japanese in the Pacific War sometimes, indeed, sometimes frequently depending on the battle, performed extraordinary acts of bravery and were often extraordinarily brave--I mean, fanatic.

                      When some British paratroopers fought to the death in a battle such as Arnhem, preferring to fight to the death than surrender and capture, it was and still is considered heroic. Death before Dishonor!

                      It is the old propaganda double standard and hypocrisy. Heigh ho! The more denigrating and disparaging of the enemy the better.
                      Now you're stealing my thunder and cramping my style.
                      This is precisely the point I (lodestar) was making.
                      This was how I was going to close up this argument
                      How dare you usurp an lodestar finale! HOW DARE YOU !
                      Naw just messing.
                      You have basically summed up the 'us and them' problem. But what I'm saying that race does come into it but some folks just can't admit it.
                      Back in the day you could help run a tute and get people to look in the mirror and get them to NOT LIKE what they are seeing!

                      These days with students so delicate and populist/nationalist strands resurgent I'm not so sure it could be done again.
                      I look forward to the challenge (which of course I will face and defea).

                      As I said in post #95:
                      However with other people it goes a bit further or runs a bit deeper.
                      It’s an inability to admit or acknowledge or appreciate, let alone admire heroism in any soldier who is not ‘one of our own’.
                      A straightforward prejudice, and when it comes to appreciating Japanese courage or heroism it’s definitely a ‘race thing’.

                      It’s deep-rooted and visceral. Well hey, what else is race prejudice if not that?
                      I’m not suggesting anyone posting on the thread fall into that category but there are people out there who think like that.

                      This was always the best aspect of tute discussions in the old days. Pushing the envelope.

                      People confronted, accused, cleverly abused (you could do it back then! and no I’m not saying any form of genuine abuse is okay), pushed and pulled out of their comfort zones and mindsets.
                      Nearly always prised an ‘I’m not racist’ caveat out of ‘em if you tried for a while.

                      Great stuff!


                      Regards
                      lodestar

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                      • Thread will take a rest as it has descended into the pontificating and pointless posturing that are the hallmark of lodestar threads and contribute little of value to the forum.
                        Thanks ACG Staff

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