Call me a stickler, but when Murphy’s Bleachers in Wrigleyville decided to infamously promote its drink specials on Pearl Harbor Day, it wasn’t the cheap marketing I found galling. If not for cheap marketing, the backward-hatted morons who frequent places like Murphy’s would have no idea what to do with themselves, and everybody needs guidance in a confusing world, especially our dumbest bros.
What irritated me about the sign wasn’t the pimping of the 72nd birthday of our country’s sadly eternal military-industrial complex. It was the predictably boneheaded bungling of the underlying history itself.
See, brah, you can’t commemorate Pearl Harbor by buying a Kamikaze cocktail. It’s impossible, for the same reason that you can’t commemorate the 1990 Iraq War by buying a 9/11 t-shirt with a crying eagle on it.
Because there were no Kamikazes — aka suicide pilots — at Pearl Harbor, nor fighting anywhere else in Japan’s military for years following. Suicide attack is a tactic born of desperation. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese were anything but desperate.
The Imperial Navy and its aviators, having sunk most of the US Pacific fleet on Dec. 7th were left on Dec 8th as the dominant force in the war in the Pacific. For six months, the US was unquestionably losing World War 2. It wasn’t until June, 1942 that the US Navy’s aircraft carriers engaged in the Battle of Midway the same Japanese carriers that so successfully attacked Pearl Harbor.
Midway was the beginning of the end for Japanese ambitions in the Pacific, as three of its aircraft carriers were sunk and most of the pilots and aircraft that won the day at Pearl Harbor were killed.
When your A team is wiped out, you’re left with the B and C teams. Soon after, Japan lost even those, as US manufacturing power poured ships and planes into the Pacific in the following years, mounting an inexorable island-hopping march toward the Japanese mainland.
It was desperation, years after Pearl Harbor that brought forward the Kamikazes in late 1944.
See, brah, things have dates. Events occur in order of time. Dumbing history down to high-five-engendering drink specials is no way to go through life.
Here’s a hint, broseph. Just down the street from Murphy’s, there’s a tavern where you can bet your sandals and fannypack they won’t get these details wrong. It’s called Nisei Lounge.
Nisei, you may be surprised to learn, is not the name of a cocktail. It is the name given to the Japanese-American citizens who, despite having their families rounded up and shipped to concentration camps in remote locations across 18 US states, signed up to fight for the US in WWII. If you head over there to learn something, good for you.
Just remember: you can’t listen while you’re flapping your Miller Lite-hole. Smarten up and quiet down.