B.C. From Fundie Fun Time to Bigoted Asshole.

I got to have sushi for dinner last night, so I was in a very good mood about things. Usually, when the Mr. and I go out to dinner, we take a newspaper and read and discuss the day’s events. I thought it a little ironic that I should be reading FDR’s Day after Pearl Harbor Day speech while filling my pie hole with Japanese food, but that’s just because I have a messed up sense of humor.
I don’t normally like the comic strip B.C., because I can’t take the hamfisted religious spin Johnny Hart puts on increasingly more and more topics, but I usually skim it because it’s right in the middle of the page in my local paper, and when you’re reading the comics, even Prince Valiant and Mary Worth get a cursory glance.
This. Pissed me off.
Am I reading this wrong, or is the message, “Americans never give thought to what’s really important as long as you dangle something shiny in front of their faces.”? Is he saying that we should be continuing to harass the Japanese people 75 years later instead of buying their things and letting them live here in peace? Is that it?! That we’re incapable of patriotism because Japanese products are more important than remembering an act of war against our country?
If I’m reading this right, Johnny Hart can go get fucked, because I just find it a little sickening, although I can’t say I’m ever surprised, really, that there are still people walking around this planet who think that generations later, an entire race of people should be paying for the actions of their ancestor’s country.
For that matter, I guess that if that IS the message, we can deduce that he’s trying to make some kind of contemporary tie-in to 9-11, and the fact that peaceful muslims shouldn’t get a pass because members of their religion killed our people. Can you imagine a modern day witch hunt designed to place muslims in internment camps? I’ll bet that backwards ass slack jawed dumbfuck Johnny Hart can.
Seriously, am I getting this wrong?

I think you’re reading too much into it. I don’t think Hart has the ability to be that subtle.

That cartoon didn’t make any sense to me at all until I read the OP twice. (Probably because I’m Canadian, and the date / choice of the word Infamy / reference to Toyota / etc didn’t mean anything to me.)

My conclusion: It has no meaning whatsoever except in the context that the OP describes. Lord Ashtar, how else could it possibly be interpreted?

I agree with the OP: Johnny Hart should get fucked.

Without the OP to put it in that perspective, I would’ve read it and just not understood what he was going after.

How would you explain it otherwise? The date of publication, together with FDR’s “Day of Infamy” speech after Pearl Harbor, can scarcely permit any other interpretation than that in the OP.

This may in fact be a valid point, but Hart’s implication that historical wrongs should dictate present behavior is at the core of many of the world’s conflicts, including the Middle East.

My experience as well. In fact, I am reminded of previous B.C. cartoons that went completely over my head; I am now tempted to hunt them down and try to figure out what fundie / right-wing message they were trying to push.

Then Hart wasn’t being “subtle;” his historical reference just went over your head. I see by your profile that you are too young for Pearl Harbor Day to have much resonance for you, and perhaps you are unfamiliar with FDR’s speech or even the phrase.

When I was in fifth grade in the 1960s, to practice public speekaing we had to give a speech that we had memorized. I chose “Day of Infamy” and can still remember some chunks of it to this day.

I have a relative who has survived torture and slave labor in Japanese prison camps in World War II. He is quite old. He hates the Japanese with a passion – he earned it watching the Japanese beat his fellow prisoners to death with baseball bats for entertainment. Because I’ve read up on the rape of Nanking and others stuff, I find myself not particularly upset about the nuking the Japanese took in WWII, or the fire-bombing of Tokyo. If the Japanese had won, they would have subjected others to unimaginable horrors. They weren’t good people at all back in 1945.

But it’s very clear to me that the people who did the horrible things are almost all dead. The culture that made them so evil is about as dead as they are. The current crop of Japanese are very different people. They shouldn’t be held to account for what their grandfathers and great-grandfathers did 63 years ago. Hart’s just being a dick here.

They had Toyotas before Christ?

I don’t see any other interpretation but that the Japanese’s actions in WWII have some how become less objectionable (less “infamous”) now that Americans are driving Japanese cars and free trade reigns (more or less – I’m not looking for a debate on “free trade”) – i.e., that Americans care less about the awfulness of Pearl Harbor because the Japanese have become our trading partners.

There’s certainly an implied criticism there and, yes, it is insulting. The fact that I drive a Honda doesn’t mean I don’t understand or care about the enormity of Pearl Harbor.

But, as a matter of fact, I personally am not insulted by it. We no longer consider the Japanese an “infamous race” of enemies, and that’s as it should be. The horrors of WWII are mercifully decades behind us, and both America and Japan have moved on, peacefully and for our mutual benefit. So to the extent Hart is implying that we must continue to nurse old grudges in order to honor the past, I think he’s not just wrong but misguided.

Evil Captor and Colibri, that’s pretty much what I was going for. On one hand, I can’t completely disagree with the sentiment that we’re a very NOW NOW NOW culture here in the states. Even though I find Hart’s brush to be far wider than I think it needs to be, there is no denying that on some level, we are a, “Ooooh! Shiny!” people.
But on the other hand, I find it personally insulting that the idea of a shiny new Toyota is the only thing standing between us and full on persecution of the Japanese…that that’s all we as a country and a people have become, and that we should still be at war with the Japanese people and oppressing them, lest they rise up again. Sick.
As if to say that the only reason we’re not kicking arab muslims out of this country and beating them in the streets is because we like that oil, man. Keep it coming! All able bodied men, women, and children should be going out into their neighborhood today to subjugate anyone who even looks middle eastern! You can never be too sure which brown skinned savage is plotting to bring about the downfall of this country! Fuck the oil! It’s getting rid of them moo-slim faaaan-atics, don’tcha know.
I wonder if the man has any ethnic friends, or if he surrounds himself with an all male, white, christian fundamentalist, aryan supremacist throng of sycophants? No, better yet, I wonder if the asshole has any actual friends at all?

I think you folks are reading a bit more into it that Hart envisioned. Certainly a tie-in to the WTC/Pentagon attacks is unwarranted.

If Hart still possesses any of the spark that made B.C. one of the best, (if not the best) daily comics of the 1960s and early 1970s, (a spark long since drowned in age and religious fervor), then he was simply noting a bit of human irony: that times change and profound statements of “forever” may not be quite as permanent as those who issued the statements believed.

This is not to say that Hart cannot possibly have been behaving as an idiot when he drew the strip, only that if he had made the same statement forty years ago, it would have been more clear that he was commenting on the human condition and not on the (perceived) evils of the modern age.

Perhaps, and if this was coming from someone who had sensibilities other than those that Hart has repeatedly demonstrated that might have been my first take on it. Given Hart’s other apparent positions, the OP’s interpretation has to be entertained. At the very least, Hart has made his point so clumsily that it is offensive just on the grounds of his obliviousness to alternative interpretations.

I’d agree with this. I recall a Mad Magazine article from the 1960s called “Mine Enemy Grows Nicer” contrasting the villanous depictions of the Germans and Japanese during the war years compared to those 20 years later after they had become our allies and trading partners. But if that was Hart’s message, he is so far behind the curve that he’s coming around from the other side.

I dunno. I took the strip to be saying we’ve pretty much forgiven the past and are working together towards a brighter future.

I concur, I read the strip before reading the objection here and my take was hardly one of disgust. I think he was saying that we don’t view them as infamous anymore because we have a good relationship with them now, demonstrated by our mutually benefitial commerce with car sales being an example.

In fact, after reading the OP, I really can’t even see how you pulled that interpretation out of the strip. In fact, to take it farther, if anything, I’d think the comparison would have been Pearl Harbor to 9-11 not, “Americans never give thought to what’s really important as long as you dangle something shiny in front of their faces.” or “we should be continuing to harass the Japanese people 75 years later instead of buying their things and letting them live here in peace”. If anything, I think a comparison to 9-11 is an optimistic one, in that if we look at how bad Pearl Harbor was and the war that resulted, it is amazing that we now have a good relationship with the Japanese. Perhaps we’ll eventually have a similar relationship with countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, but not next week, it will probably take decades just like it did with Pearl Harbor.

Bottom line, he may be a fundie, and you may not generally like him or his comic strip. But seriously, do you really think its a fundie message to hate the Japanese? If you do, you must know something I don’t.

Of course not. But it’s only been 65 years.

Attempted joke aside, as tomndebb said, long ago B.C. was superb - insightful, sometimes subtle, and almost always, above all, funny. Those days are long gone, and given the fundamentalist, jingoist jihad Hart has been on lately, I don’t believe there is any doubt of how this should be taken.

I wish I could see the world like Blaster Master and Oakminster do. It just seems to me that if he wanted to make a positive statement about mutual accord and harmony, he might have picked a less ambiguous marker than auto sales. Is it really the case that the number of Japanese cars we buy is the best descriptor of the nature of the relationship between Japan and the U.S.?

Yeah, he could have used Pokemon, Hello Kitty, or tentacle porn.

Slight Hijack: I never get the thing about buying American cars. If they made superior vehicles as the Japanese do then people would buy them, but until they do why would we?

Isn’t Toyota basically an American car now? I’m sure that HQ is somewhere in Japan, but I just saw a commercial recently where they were talking about how many plants they had in the U.S. and how many jobs they were creating for us.