We can kill people too!!!!
August 30, 2005 5:20 PM   Subscribe

This is indeed sick! Oliver Willis is a respected Democrat activist but these T-shirts have caused much anger. Ron Brynaert talks about why. Oliver defends his actions on dadahead: "I'm not about to back away from a Democratic president who did the right thing to defend our nation."
posted by chaschas (41 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: self-link



 
o, willis . . . :)
posted by hackly_fracture at 5:23 PM on August 30, 2005


Er. That's in poor taste.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:25 PM on August 30, 2005


it must be a smart plot to get more Japanese American votes
posted by matteo at 5:25 PM on August 30, 2005


There's been huge differences of opinion on Truman's action for the past half century. Oliver's staked out his opinion. I respect and like him enough to give him the benefit of whatever doubts anyone might have. Thinking that Truman did the right thing does not automatically make one some kind of fascist ogre. I also hope the poster did him the solid of emailing him to let him know he's being discussed.
posted by jonmc at 5:26 PM on August 30, 2005


Awkward, considering.
posted by item at 5:27 PM on August 30, 2005


Truman did drop the bomb.
posted by VulcanMike at 5:28 PM on August 30, 2005


Truman did the right thing, however the right thing that he did is not the kind of right thing that should be celebrated on a t-shirt.
posted by soiled cowboy at 5:29 PM on August 30, 2005


Wait a sec: chaschas, yr blog is linked to on the first FPP link.

That's damn near a self-link, dontchathink?
posted by item at 5:31 PM on August 30, 2005


I'm tempted to agree with soiled cowboy.
posted by loquax at 5:31 PM on August 30, 2005


Democratic Punk's Not Dead!

(and also, the fake outrage ploy is nicely done, Mr. Willis!)
posted by hackly_fracture at 5:32 PM on August 30, 2005


chaschas created a t-shirt being hawked in one of his links?

If that's not a self-link, what the fuck is?
posted by item at 5:34 PM on August 30, 2005


What's wrong with it? Whether you think he was right or wrong, it's still a fact.
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on August 30, 2005


PLEASE...they are just t-shirts, and not that offensive, in fact it states a fact. It's the shadow part of history and needs more light to make it more conscious. Lest we forget...
posted by alteredcarbon at 5:36 PM on August 30, 2005


Who is Oliver Willis or Ron Brynart? Why should I cared?
posted by mischief at 5:45 PM on August 30, 2005


What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?!

Also, this isn't so much sick as ignorably dumb. Why be angry at something that's dumb?
posted by bitpart at 5:47 PM on August 30, 2005


I just don't think that that extremely difficult decision should be trivialized by sticking an image of a smiling Truman on a t-shirt. If you had to kill somebody to save your child, would you want somebody to make a t-shirt about it?
posted by soiled cowboy at 5:47 PM on August 30, 2005


Of course, I think the Che t-shirts are vile too.
posted by loquax at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2005


Yeah, that's t-shirt material. Can I have one with a picture of William Henry Harrison that says "Harrison Killed Them All at Tippecanoe"? I mean since we're braggin' about bloody-handed victories, and anyway the Whigs are sorta like Democrats, in that they're like not Republicans.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:53 PM on August 30, 2005


Thinking that Truman did the right thing does not automatically make one some kind of fascist ogre.

Agreed. I've argued at length elsewhere on MetaFilter that Truman made the right decision in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But it seems highly inappropriate to celebrate on a T-shirt.

Hans Morgenthau, describing the tragic sense of life: "that fear and trembling with which great statesmen have approached their task, knowing that in trying to mould the political world they must act like gods, without the knowledge, the wisdom, the power, and the goodness which their task demands."
posted by russilwvong at 5:54 PM on August 30, 2005


MeTa, re: the self link.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 5:59 PM on August 30, 2005


I saw these last week when I checked on Oliver's blog. He's a smart and committed Democrat who's tired of the same old, same old from the Republicans in power.

These are t-shirts, aren't there more, you know, important things to complain about?
posted by fenriq at 6:04 PM on August 30, 2005


What choo talkin' bout, willis!

/sorry. And also someone beat me to it...
posted by delmoi at 6:11 PM on August 30, 2005


Definitely the Best Worst of the web.

Or possibly the Worst Best.
posted by tapeguy at 6:16 PM on August 30, 2005


Yeah, that's t-shirt material. Can I have one with a picture of William Henry Harrison that says "Harrison Killed Them All at Tippecanoe"? I mean since we're braggin' about bloody-handed victories, and anyway the Whigs are sorta like Democrats, in that they're like not Republicans.

Well, the Whigs were the Democrat's main Opposition party for quite a while, before the republicans came around.

---

Also, yeah it's offensive. Do you think Truman would have approved of a shirt like that? I don't know. And I don't know about back in the day, but the bombing isn't really thought of as something to be proud of.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 PM on August 30, 2005


It seems like the issue isn't just whether Truman did the right thing, but what the point of putting it on T-shirt is. Assuming for the sake of argument that Truman was 100% justified, it still seems like the message of the T-shirt is "Democrats can be tough too". Now, I can understand the desire to counteract Republican attempts to paint Democrats as a bunch of timid bleeding-hearts, but this most definitely is not the slogan I would have picked for that purpose. Or maybe I'd just extend it to say something like "Truman dropped the bomb...but he would have been way too smart to invade Iraq".
posted by uosuaq at 6:19 PM on August 30, 2005


Dropping the a-bomb - let alone *two* a-bombs - was among the shittiest, most indefensible acts the Allies did during the the war. Willis' idiotically war-mongering shirt completely ignores the mountain of testimony from military officials at the time that the bomb was not only unnecessary to ending the war without an invasion of Japan, but was dropped in large part to stop the war before the Russians could make further moves into Asia.

What a fucking stupid move. Glorifying the murder of millions of innocent civilians. Way to go, Willis.
posted by mediareport at 6:23 PM on August 30, 2005


mediareport writes "...most indefensible acts the Allies did during the the war."

Well, c'mon, you have to admit there's been a lot of careful, reasoned analysis over the decision to use nuclear weapons, including some strong arguments in favor of the decision. You're being a little dismissive, here. (Though I would tend to agree with you.)

mediareport writes "millions of innocent civilians"

Probably closer to 200,000, including victims of subsequent illnesses and cancer, in the interest of scrupulous accuracy.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:34 PM on August 30, 2005


hold on, people seem to be thinking this shirt is for one side of american politics and against the other side. Particularly some people in this thread seem to think this t-shirt is meant to be taken literally, not sarcasticly. Surely this is the kind of t-shirt you'd see at a left-wing anti-war rally....

I'm not american, and I *love* this t-shirt, because it's simply anti-american. I dislike americans and particularly, their politicians and military policy. So whichever way I look at it, this is the t-shirt for me. :)
posted by Jerub at 6:37 PM on August 30, 2005


Jerub writes "I dislike americans and particularly, their politicians and military policy."

Hey, that's cool, 'cause Australians make my skin crawl. Asshole.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:40 PM on August 30, 2005


Here are some more Pro Dem - anti- Republican shirts & anti-christian ones too!

http://www.devilsweb.com/
posted by bbgun at 6:40 PM on August 30, 2005


mediareport: this issue is far from decided, even amongst those who know much more about it than you or I, so quit trying to paint it as something that is clearly decided with a consensus of opinion. That is clearly not the case. Temper your outrage with a modicum of restraint.

From the last thing I read on the issue, most likely linked in some way from MeFi, communiques the day after the first bombing still showed Japan's resolve to fight to the last man, and they were still preparing for an armed invasion of the island.

The second bomb made the impression that there could potentially be a never-ending supply of these. They had no way of knowing if we had more in reserve, and more or less we bluffed them into submitting.

Also your suggestion of "millions" of deaths is off by several orders of magnitude, depending upon how many millions you mean precisely.

Of course the traditional military leaders of the day would say they could have handled it without the bomb. Do you think the army would have said "Thank God for those A-Bombs, we didn't' have a chance!". Hardly.

However, I do feel a great part of the "display" was to influence the Russians.

Was it *absolutely* necessary? Probably not. Did it result in a net saving of life? Probably so. Can I completely, totally, unequivocally defend that position to any and all challengers to their level of satisfaction? Absolutely not.

But to a simple person like myself, it doesn't appear to be something that is truly that difficult to conceptualize. And ignoring the political motivations of the armed forces representatives at that time would be a grave mistake.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:40 PM on August 30, 2005


I understand this is an attempt to combat the pretty flimsy assertion that Democrats are inherently weak on military and defense action, and maybe win over some the segment of the population for whom "Kick their Ass! Take the Gas!" isn't parody but a real motto. But soiled cowboy nails it. Trivializing difficult ethical decisions is already a problem in this country.
posted by weston at 6:41 PM on August 30, 2005


"Truman Dropped the Bomb" might be a fact, but it very clearly means something else in this context. It's ugly and insensitive, and I say this as someone with a very dark sense of humor.

I recognize that there are decent people on both sides of the debate. (I actually respect a lot about Truman) Whether or not you agree with either the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, atomic war is not an event to be celebrated joyously or glibly. I'm sure Truman would have been even more offended than I am.

This is clearly a shirt for ignorant assholes. If it weren't for the donkey I'd expect to see it on dios.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:44 PM on August 30, 2005


T-shirt in bad taste.

Font choice in nearly as bad taste.
posted by stenseng at 6:46 PM on August 30, 2005


Well there goes my "Hitler Gassed the Jews" T-shirt idea for the state fair.
posted by Balisong at 6:48 PM on August 30, 2005


Been done anyways:


posted by wakko at 6:54 PM on August 30, 2005


Probably closer to 200,000

Sorry, wanted to throw a shoe at Owillis' head and let myself get out of control. I'm back now.

Did it result in a net saving of life? Probably so.

Er, no. Not probably so at all. I've read more than enough to convince me of that, and am perfectly fine stating my opinion with certainty. And while I'm willing to concede that reasonable people might wrongly conclude that Hiroshima was a necessary act, I think it's obvious that bombing Nagasaki just three days later - giving the Japanese almost no time to recover, let alone revise their war plans - was utterly unconscionable. I also happen to think that only someone who's ideologically blinded to reality could possibly disagree.

*shrug*

Either way, Owillis' shirt is a laughably pathetic attempt to paint modern Democrats as people of strong mettle, on a par in its absurdity with Dukakis in that tank. He does some good work, but this was a completely moronic backfire.
posted by mediareport at 7:10 PM on August 30, 2005


Clinton dropped a bomb too, but it exploded harmlessly on Monica's dress.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:14 PM on August 30, 2005


mediareport : "I also happen to think that only someone who's ideologically blinded to reality could possibly disagree."

I disagree with most of what you've written, but I guess we share a commonality in that I also happen to think that only someone who's ideologically blinded to reality could possibly disagree with me.
posted by Bugbread at 7:18 PM on August 30, 2005


Unconditional surrender was a policy, not an immutable law of physics. The Japanese were putting out feelers before Iwo Jima. I've read.
posted by wrapper at 7:22 PM on August 30, 2005


(Ok. I take that back. We disagree, but I don't think that only someone who's ideologically blinded to reality could possibly disagree with me. It just sounded good. I guess I should say "We disagree, and I doubt the issue will ever be really finally determined. I do find it disappointing that some people look upon this issue regarding which there is so much disagreement, make a decision that they consider concrete and infallible, and then look at people who are less sure about the issue and more willing to entertain the possibility of different conclusions as the ones who are 'ideologically blinded'")
posted by Bugbread at 7:23 PM on August 30, 2005


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