Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hiroshima

There were a number of things about this week's Justice Society of America that unsettled me. Primarily, I think, is the fact that one of history's greatest tragedies was employed to tell a super-hero story.

I don't know if Mr. Ordway has ever been to Hiroshima. I have, and it's impossible to forget the things you see there. The photographs of the dead, the melted rooftiles, the black, human-shaped stains on paving stones. These aren't things you forget, even if you wish to.

I understand that maybe Mr. Ordway was trying to make a point about the issue, that he was trying to say that the dropping of that bomb and its twin weren't something black or white. Maybe, even as far from it as I am, I'm still too close to the issue. I can't fault Mr. Ordway for trying to tell the story even if it makes me unformfortable.

Hiroshima is an interesting city, and if you go thinking you'll find a place absorbed by the meloncholy of its tragedy you'll be disappointed. the burnt out remains of the A-Bomb Dome are the only real remnants of what happened there. The Peace Park at the site of where the bomb was dropped is big and beautiful, and there are always both tourists and Japanese people there.

I'm sure that there are those who still harbor ill will for what happened on that day. But you wouldn't know it. Maybe it's too long gone and everyone there is too young. I got nothing but friendly smiles, waves from children, and enthuisiastic attempts at English. Nobody seemed angry or resentful that I was an American. They just seemed happy to see me.

Still, you can't forget what happened there. Whether it was right or wrong -- and I doubt anyone has a real, proper answer to that question -- it happened. And even though this week's JSA made me uncomfortable, if it helps just one person to remember what happened in Hiroshima, it'll be worth it.

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3 Comments:

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Captain Infinity said...

I don't really see the distinction between using the events of Hiroshima as a plot device and that of any other real world event. World War II in general claimed an estimated 50 to 70 million lives worldwide with civilian casualties outnumbering military ones, yet the events of WWII (including specific battles) have been used to tell many a fictional tale.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Diamondrock said...

Well, you're probably right on that account. For me it just feels different because of the time I've spent in Hiroshima. There probably isn't much of a disntinction at the heart of things...

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger Will Emmons said...

I've thought long and hard about this well thought out blog post you've made, Diamondrock.

I totally see where you're coming from with the discomfort. The story whipped out a significant tragedy in human history and didn't use it to illustrate any kind of take home message. I suppose the calls of the people who were incinerated were poignant but they seemed like frills to contextualize an "ethnic" villain.

For me, it was uncomfortable to have the souls of the dead be damned for harboring ill will for being incinerated by a nuclear device. It would seem that either Ordway believes that most people who are incinerated by bomb blasts are either damned to the outer darkness because they don't automatically forgive their murderers or have some kind of very pious Christian way of being that allows to be destroyed without ill will. The people of Hiroshima really get fucked over in his text--their lives cut short by nuclear destruction and their souls damned for eternity in some kind of weird Captain Marvel hell.

Two dorky points:

-Wouldn't it have been cool to have Judomaster espouse some species of mixed feelings? She is, after all, Japanese.

-This is superhypothetical, but do you think that in an Earth-1 timeline in which the whole holy grail/spear of destiny thing were not an issue, Superman would have tried to stop the Atom Bomb if he knew about? I think so. Then again, I'm dealing with our contemporary moment's Superman and haven't read a lot of WW2 comics.

 

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