HBO is running a documentary about the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan. Now, I didn't read many books as a youth. As a matter of fact, other than BBQ sauce, the thing I was second most famous for was my non-violent stand against reading.
It drove my teachers, and my parents, crazy. I even got an "F" in the 4th grade because I simply refused to do a book report. Suck on that, Ghandi!
This irked my mother in particular because when she showed up to apologize to the teacher, she discovered that my (very appalled) teacher was her old sorority sister from college. "It's so great to see you again! Yes, I'm the one who raised the boy who hates books".
I have no idea why this was, and I love to read now. It had something to do with not wanting to read what I was told to read. Yes, that's right, I was fighting the good fight. But anyway, one of the only books I did read back then (other than Magic Johnson's auto biography where he claimed to have invented the high five), was a book about Hiroshima, which was really good.
Anyway, I caught the documentary - "White Light/Black Rain" - near the end, and I'm glad I did because they have something in there that is absolutely horrifying - and it's not bomb footage.
Apparently, years after we dropped the bombs, we flew some victims to New York to get plastic surgery for their disfigurements. One of these people was the Reverend Tanimoto, who was 3,500 yards from the center of the explosion.
He went down to NBC for what he thought was an interview about the plastic surgery project, etc. Instead, he was ambushed by Ralph Edwards, host of "This is Your Life". It was a complete surprise, and he had no idea what was going on.
So the host tries to explain it to him, and then he turns to the camera and goes, "Ladies and Gentleman, This is Hiroshima!" And a FUCKING MUSHROOM CLOUD clip comes on!
And this little Tanimoto dude is just sitting there, like "what the fuck?"
But it gets worse. Cause then Edwards goes "August 6th, 1945, you've never met him, but he had a profound effect on you".
And then you see a guy's shadow behind that door and he says "after we dropped it, I saw it explode, and I wrote later 'my God, what have we done?"
Edwards goes, "that's right, it's Captain Robert Lewis, co-pilot of the Enola Gay, the man who actually dropped the bomb!"
And Lewis comes out, and he very meekly shakes Tanimoto's hand. Very awkward. I can't even describe how bad it was, you really have to see it cause I'm certainly not doing it justice. But it would be kinda like if they did Tori Amos "This is Your Life", and the first guy behind the screen goes, "After I forced myself on you, I kinda felt bad". That's right, it's the guy that raped you! And he walks out and they shake hands. It was that only times about a million.
It was the most disturbing thing I've ever seen on television, and keep in mind, I watch "Rock of Love".