The Pacific

I caught the first two episodes of HBO’s The Pacific.

I’ve seen a lot of folks that are talking down the show, mostly based on a couple of foolish comments made by Tom Hanks just before the premiere. Me? I’m liking it. I greatly enjoyed, and was deeply moved and influenced by the two main source works that inspired the series, Helmet for My Pillow, by Robert Leckie, and With the Old Breed, by Eugene Sledge.

Some people are arguing that the series has an antiwar slant. Well, duh. The primary campaigns covered, Guadalcanal, Peleliu, and Okinawa, are amongst the most trying battles fought by our nation.  There was a level of savagery in the Pacific that the European theater, for all its wholesale carnage, never achieved. And while our troops weren’t motivated by a genocidal imperative as some might think, it is undeniable that there was a racial component that was almost entirely absent in the European theater. Let’s face it, we were a country that wouldn’t even allow blacks to fight- how do you think our troops felt about the Japanese, who were not only different looking, but culturally almost incomprehensible to us?

Some of you may not have HBO (nor do I) so you can watch it online at CastTV.

Episodes One and Two are already available *, and Episode Three should be available later tonight or early tomorrow.

Looks like they pulled episodes 1 & 2. Hopefully, 3 will still show up later tonight at the link.

20 thoughts on “The Pacific”

  1. I found a 38 minute lecture given by E.B. Sledge on Youtube. At about the 9:45- 10:45 mark he rebuts Tom Hanks as to the racism remark. The lecture was given in 1994. Also, at the end, he give his thoughts about Somalia and the failure to provide the requested tank support.

  2. You are a total fag. You are ill-informed and a coward. Does your family know about your being on the down low?

  3. I haven’t stabbed anyone in a while. Any chance, Brad, that you can supply me with Carl’s physical address?

  4. I think they misspelled your name over at Ace of Spades. Or I suppose we could start calling you XBadTC…

    Sigh. I will have to wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray release.

  5. It’s even worse than that, Bill, I misspelled it.

    But making corrections over there does wonky things to the comments, so I held off fixing it.

  6. When I misspell my own name–which I have–at least I can blame it on the Barbancourt. What’s YOUR excuse XBrad? 🙂

    I saw Sledge interviewed on that PBS WWII special Ken Burns did just before Sledge died. Burns also used him for running commentary (quotes from his book, that is) voice-over many of the scenes. And what a satisfying and distinguished career as a college professor Sledge had post WWII!!

    (PS: Lets call Dick Cheney up and ask him to invite Carl to take him quail hunting 🙂 )

  7. When I misspell my own name–which I have–at least I can blame it on the Barbancourt. What’s YOUR excuse XBrad? 🙂

    Fruedian slip.

  8. If you have ever had the privilege of being around any of the real “old salts” you would know how they absolutely glowed when they talked about liberty in Wellington and Australia. Episode 3 seemed to get the gist of it.

    Makes you understand what they meant when they said “You should have been around in the old Corps!”

  9. I was lucky enough to know a few “old sweats” in my youth.

    Did you hear about the second guy to go to Tunn Tavern? He goes in, signs up, and the recruiter sends him out back to join the very first enlistee.

    He goes out and sits next to that guy. The very first enlistee says, “Lemme tell you how it was in the Old Corps…”

  10. Brad, after reading Sledge’s book, “With The Old Breed” and then “The Pacific”, and finaly Romus Burgin’s book, you find out that young men who really didn’t know a thing about the Japanese other than they attacked Pearl Harbor ending up hating them. It was a combination of the dehuminizing affects of constant shelling, being under fire all the time, trying to stay in combat while constantly having the runs because of the flies and maggots eating the bodies that were simply everywhere and then they found the Japanese to be a completely implacable enemy. After suffering privations under combat they’d never even heard of before, they had to experience the treachery and horrific treatment of camptured Americans. It all worked together to bring them to the point where there was no pity, no remorse, no feelings at all about killing “Japs”.

    Tom Hanks does an excellent job of portraying combat and the men in it. Beyond that, he’s a clueless jackass that will never get it until he’s been in the same kind of combat these Marines were in.

  11. I agree Byron.
    The Bushido warrior ethos was new to the Americans who beleived that surrender could be a last option. The differences in culture; warfare and racism made the fighting different. I could be wrong but it seemed there was more hatred on both sides. It was personal.

    My Dad served with the First Marines in the same campaigns as Sledge. Peleliu was especially awful by his account. I’ve seen the first two and they’re pretty good. I think Helmet for My Pillow and and With the Old Breed might be better but we’ll see. It’s hard to tell that kind of story even in a mini series.

  12. I was a little disappointed with the cinematography in both the first two episodes. The third was OK. I’m waiting to see how Cape Gloucester comes out.

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