Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zamperini on "The Edge of Glory"

Photograph Courtesy of Mother Monster
Several days ago, @ladygaga tweeted "The revolution is ours to fight for love, justice+equality. Rejoice NY, and propose. We did it!!!" with a link to the picture shown to the right. I truly reason that this is all I must say to acknowledge you of what this post will be about-everybody knows that Ms. Gaga is simply the queen of all things twitterful.
     Another thing that everybody knows is how there is a great sum of people in America who are not immensely thrilled about this bill, exclaiming in consternation that marriage is a sacred phenomenon between only a man and a woman. Some would be surprised to hear that I once thought this myself and was hesitant to support a bill for homosexual marriage. However, as with many, the course of my thoughts changed when I looked at the portrait in its entirety instead of just one square inch. Believe it or not, those same people who marched with signs of protest at NYC's rainbow parade are also the ones who caused the legislation to exist.
Mutsuhiro Watanabe
      Let's start with a simple fact-an individual's attitude about his surroundings and himself is in part forged by other people; these people can influence the nature of the individual's surroundings and, through their treatment of him, the individual's sense of self. Nothing shows this more than the adventures of Louis Zamperini at the Japanese POW camps Omori and Naoetsu (and yes, after pathetically reading the thing since March, I finally finished Unbroken). After travelling for over forty days on a disintegrating raft, Louie and his brave fellow, Russell Allen Phillips, have survived only to fall into enemy hands. The Japanese see mammoth stores of useful information in these ravaged Americans and therefore heavily interrogate them before Louie ventures to Omori and eventually Naoetsu. Phillips is eventually transported to several other POW camps where he endures a grueling existence a bit similar to Louie's. However, the unbearibility of Louie's imprisonment surpasses that of his fellow serviceman, for it is at Omori, a camp located just outside Tokyo, that a person who will almost totally make his life a living hell waits for the former Olympian. That person is the fit, ferocious, and mentally frazzled Mutsuhiro Watanabe. Malicious Mutsuhiro decides to make the personal breaking of Louis Zamperini his business, and he quite mercilessly carries out this business by randomly clubbing  Zamp as wel as assigning him horrid occupations such as working with pig fesces, just to name a few examples. Other guards don't help as they steal Red-Cross Rations intended for the POWs and maintain living quarters that are infested with pests. Overall, this causes Louie to think of his world  as one of the utmost desperation and hopelessness, one where Watanabe (nicknamed "The Bird" by POWs) haunts his every breath, one where the indifference to the American's needs makes him less than human. And that right there is all the proof necessitated. The fact that the Japanese guards refuse to maintain the camp to a livable condition causes the POWs to feel that their setting was one of absolute horror, while the fact that those same guards treated the POWs in a less-than-human manner causes those same POWs to feel that they are in fact less than human.
        Now, with no offense intended, picture the entire homosexual population as those POWs and all opposed to homosexuality the guards. The "guards" of this camp have forged an environment that is is not comfortable with the "prisoners" presence, therefore causing this environment to also view the prisoners as a population worthy of pity. The homosexuals therefore possess a desire that drives them to expunge their worthiness of pity since pity is a sign of inferiority and, of course, humans despise any nonsensical inferiority within themselves. Among the actions executed by the guards is also treating of homosexuals in an unfair manner, specifically by way of not permitting civil unions to hold the same features as marriages. The condition of homosexuals then becomes utterly personal since every "prisoner" living in the camp is affected. They each see themselves as a proud member of the homosexual population who is being discriminated against by a great number of individuals in society. And this is the pivotal reason why the piece of legislation was passed. Ponder over the phenomenon for a moment...would there really be a need for gay marriage rights if homosexual couples  freshly out of civil union possessed the same opportunities (such as a legal kinship between you and your spouse that is recognized nationwide-civil union legislation is state-specific) had the same rights that newlyweds did? That there is the reason why I began to support the gay-marriage bill. 
     Included within Louie's abhorrent adventures in Japan are some guards that are in fact kind to the POWs, some who simply refuse to reach the level of cruelty that their fellows fulfill. The kind guards in my metaphor are those who are not large fans of homosexuality, or even just gay marriage, but do not contribute to the population's formation of a negative environment and sense of self. And they are probably the most numerous population of all.



  2. If you have to preface something with "no offense intended," that's a pretty good sign you should re-think what you are about to say.

  3. Interesting simile. So close to the truth, but only in that Mitsuhiro Watanabe was in fact himself a repressed homosexual. He got off on beating prisoners, and fell in love with Louie Zamperini. He refused to meet Louie Zamperini after the war because he was ashamed of his homosexuality.


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