Hollywood once again shows its callous disregard for America’s military *UPDATED*

Back in 2004, entirely coincidentally, I ended up at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., on the same morning that veterans of the Battle of the Bulge had gathered for a reunion. Some got there under their own steam. Many, though, were on walkers or in wheelchairs. They were so frail. And so many were weeping. It was that weeping that did me in. I seldom cry on my own behalf, but I’m a sympathy weeper. Watching these old, fragile warriors break down under the weight of their memories got my tear ducts working overtime.  I still get watery thinking of those men who not only fought one of the most important battles of the war, but who then came home and honored the dead by living.  They had families, held jobs, and generally gave meaning to the freedom for which they fought.

I mention this little story because there are people out there, especially in the entertainment world, and more specifically on the set of Hawaii Five-O, who do not share my reverence for these aged warriors (free registration required):

Last week, a special group of Americans made a trip to Hawaii. This was not their first trip to Hawaii. In fact, the first time all of these men were together in Hawaii was on December 7th, 1941.

Last week, these men and some of their families were back in Hawaii again for the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Today, less than ten percent of those who served during World War II are still alive.

For the men who made this trip, there was also another tacit acknowledgement. This would be their last trip. The average age of a Pearl Harbor [veteran] is in the early nineties. In fact, there are now so few Pearl Harbor survivors left that the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association is disbanding at the end of the month.

On December 9th, 24 Pacific veterans, including 23 Pearl Harbor survivors were taken to the National Cemetery of the Pacific for a memorial ceremony honoring those who fell during the attack on Pearl Harbor and those who fell during the Pacific campaign.

While the men were at the cemetery, the TV show Hawaii Five-O was filming at the cemetery. As the National Anthem was played and the ceremony went on, the CBS production crew was filming. At first they told the veterans and their families to hush, then repeatedly pushed them back and finally told them to hurry up. As the veterans were laying roses on the graves of their fallen comrades, a production employee walked through the middle of the ceremony telling them to hurry up.

Perhaps the ultimate insult came at the end, when someone with the veterans group asked if one of the cast members of Hawaii Five-O could come over and say hello to the group. The production crew refused.

These World War II vets are a tough bunch. They went through the first depression and then the Second World War. I can guarantee you they did not let this incident ruin their trip, though some of their family members might feel differently.

[snip]

CBS has issued a carefully nuanced statement claiming they would look into the incident and throwing out some boilerplate language about how they respect the veterans of World War II.

Stefffan Tubbs, who was there, provides more details about the Hollywood thought process on display:

I decided to take a closer look at the production area from the public thoroughfare and walked closer to see catering trucks, grips, associate directors, production assistants, lighting workers, countless minions and the lead director – a Hollywood-looking middle-aged man wearing a black “AD/HD” t-shirt, a play off the rock band “AC/DC.” I stopped well behind the cameras and out of view when a local production assistant politely told me to keep moving. I was not happy and told her we had WWII vets who would likely be in the area. I was told, “Sorry, sir. We rented this part of the cemetery today.” My blood started to boil, but I remained calm and moved on. As I stood behind the tent, the director yelled at everyone to: “Get out of the line of sight! If you don’t belong here, clear out!”

I made sure to go where I was basically invisible, 40 yards from the nearest camera when the director heatedly walked to me. He was not happy.

“Can you please move?” he said sternly.

“OK,” I said. “Where would you like me to go? I have Pearl survivors who are here visiting their fallen comrades at a public cemetery.”

He couldn’t have cared less and told me that if we stood behind a tent, that would be fine. He walked away completely frustrated and yelled at a local assistant: “I am doing YOUR job! You wanna come back here again? Do your job!” I felt sorry for her. It wasn’t her fault a group of vets actually came back for a realreason to this cemetery. Having been around a few movie sets, I knew this was how they were especially if the scene was behind schedule, etc. Keep in mind at this point I was alone. It wasn’t as if our entire entourage was milling about. There was only one veteran anywhere near me and was walking toward me from up the road.

Walter Maciejowski, 90, from Massachusetts soon caught up and I quickly tried to run interference so he wouldn’t get yelled at as he stood there in his cream-colored Pearl Harbor Survivors cap. Walter was clueless and was just amazed at the technology. He whispered in my ear as the scene was about to begin 75 yards away. We both stood exactly where the director had told me to stand.

[snip]

I told Walter we had to go, and we started to walk away as lead actor Alex O’Laughlin and Terry O’Quinn from Lost did their scene. As we moved out, yet another woman came up to us and with a fake smile told us Walter couldn’t take any pictures.

“Our actors get very skiddish [sic] around still cameras, sir.”

“Funny, and yet they act in front of them,” I said, ticked off because we were already leaving.

I wish he hadn’t done it, but Walter asked if they by chance had a hat for him. To his face, she said, “I doubt it but I will try.” She never did.

You can read the rest of this eyewitness narrative here.

This whole thing falls into the category of I see it, but I don’t believe it.  It’s impossible for me to understand the mindset of louts who are either so callously self-involved or so Progressively propagandized (or both) that they are unable to support old men on a last pilgrimage to a defining moment in their youth — a defining moment, moreover, that was not only one of the more savage acts in a savage century, but that also paved the way for a freedom that blessed Europe (until it squandered that gift) and was the making of a very successful modern Japan (which then decided to stop having babies).

Pearl Harbor Survivor David Shoup at the 70th anniversary commemoration at Pearl Harbor (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Logico)

UPDATE: In the first comment to this post, Don Quixote points out that Hawaii Five-O is fairly military-friendly in content, something that I respect and appreciate.  I can’t figure out if that fact makes the cast’s and crew’s behavior at Pearl Harbor more or less unpleasant.  It’s like discovering the worms under a rock (with all due respect to bookworms, of course).  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Back in Hollywood’s golden days, the studios employed vast numbers of publicity people to make sure that people didn’t learn that the stars of wholesome, family friendly movies lived somewhat debauched lifestyles.

UPDATE II:  JJ offered so much good information, I’m copying his comment here:

A little information from the world of TV.  Whether it mitigates or not is up to you, but here’s what happened.

1) Whoever – in Hawaii – it is who schedules events at the cemetery is a retard.  (Dear Editor: I don’t actually care about the political incorrectness of using that word, it’s apposite, it stays.)  Or, perhaps it was a screw-up on the part of the scheduler for the vets.  Either way, some dingbat somewhere dropped the ball and allowed the two groups to be occupying the same space at the same time.  This unfortunate confluence was the fault of neither group – blame whoever has the appointment books.

2) CBS has no idea what the complaints they’re suddenly receiving are about, so idiot boilerplate is their best – maybe only – response.  They don’t actually have a production company in Hawaii – or much of anywhere else these days.  I would be astounded if it was an actual CBS production company.  The people who own, produce, and deliver that show to CBS for air do not work for CBS.  They are an outside, independent production company that exists as an entity for the purpose of making episodes of the show – most of them have never been within a thousand miles of Black Rock.  That production company hired that director – and everybody else on set – to make that episode.  The director is a production company employee – for that episode – and he may make all the episodes, (a probability rare to the point of vanishing), many of them, some, few – or this may be his only one.  He’s a jobber.  When you complain to CBS about him, they’re going to say, “huh?  Wha…?”  They didn’t hire him, probably don’t know him, may never have heard of him, and he ain’t their problem.  (The network doesn’t know or care about the labor, they only want to see the baby – in time for it to go out when it’s scheduled to.)

3) The production company got seriously shafted on the cost to film in the cemetery that day.  How do I know?  All production companies always get shafted on fees for the use of locations, because everybody in the world – including people who should know better – begin having visions beyond the dreams of avarice when they see Hollywood coming.  And the biggest shafting is the make-it-up-on-the-spot insurance premiums for filming on location.  If there’s a blade of grass out of place, or a broken twig on a tree after the production company wraps and leaves, you cannot fathom the megillah this is.  (Which is why they film in studios and on lots, and in Canada.  It’s why studios and back lots came into being in the first place: to avoid the never-ending problems of locations.)  The PAs all knew that if anything remotely definable as “damage” happened to any part of the cemetery or its grounds – even if committed by a Pearl Harbor veteran or somebody else – they would be the ones turning on a spit over a hot fire,

None of which excuses the shitty attitude of these overpaid, well-tanned, tower of ignorance trolls, but it may make it a bit – a microscopic bit – understandable, or maybe explicable.  The fact is most of them, being products of American education, never heard of Pearl Harbor.  Factor in the self-centeredness engendered by hanging around Hollywood, and you have a group that’s only rarely in touch with where they are.  The director, probably the senior guy present (at least on the on-the-spot management ladder, could have been gracious and understanding.  The actors as well – neither of whom I know – could also have brought matters to a halt for a respectful pause.  (Tom Selleck or John Hillerman, speaking of people who filmed in Hawaii for CBS, would have.  [Selleck would have stopped the scene, and worked out a way to get the Pearl Harbor vets into it, as objects of deep respect and honor.]   I wouldn’t know either of the two clowns mentioned above if I fell over them.

Hat tip:  America’s First Sergeant

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  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    For what it’s worth, the Hawaii Five-O show as it airs is generally respectful of the military, certainly far more so than most prime time shows (with the notable exception of CSI New York, which regularly honors the military). 

  • 11B40

    Greetings:

    Because of my own father’s participation in the Pacific Theatre of WW II, these kind of stories are more than a bit of a sore spot for me. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and KCSM, one of our local Progressive (née Public) Broadcasting Stations, contributed to the Pearl Harbor Day memorials by broadcasting a program about some interned Japanese-Americans who were released to work in California’s fields during the war. That’s all they could come up with. Over two thousand Americans killed and that’s what they provided to their viewers.

    The “Outside the Beltway” blogsite offered its prognosis that all this Pearl Harbor stuff was (thankfully, perhaps) coming to an end as our WW II veterans near their own ends. Snarkily, I commented, “But we’ll still have the Japanese-American internment and the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to kick around, right ???”  
       
    I hate to admit it but these incidents force me to confront the the question not if America can survive but does it any longer deserve to. I see no reason to suspect that the Long March through the Institutions will either soon stop or that it can be rolled back in any substantial way. America doesn’t live hear anymore.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I cannot decided, Don Quixote, if your point about the show’s military friendly bent, makes more or less excusable what was going on behind the scenes!

  • FunkyPhD

    I was a big fan of the original “Hawaii Five-O,” and tried to watch the new reboot once.  It was so sickeningly full of arch self-congratulation and that frantic pace that current shows employ that I couldn’t even get to the end of the episode.  Interestingly, the title sequence of both shows uses a brief shot of the Punchbowl cemetery.  Look at 0:25 of this:

  • MacG

    TV shows have budgets, schedules and are high pressure task oriented businesses that have a lot of ego involved.  So it is not surprising that the show overlooked that day but the cemetery ought to have known better to rent it out on such an important day.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    That “respect” you see is an illusion. It’s a gotcha, a mark born every 5 seconds thing. People fall for it like they fall for any propaganda. It looked good on the surface. It was a good idea at the time they bought it. In reality, what they bought was someone else’s fictional reality, i.e. propaganda. In reality, the truth of the matter is that who gets paid and who gets rich off it, aren’t who most people think.

     Hollywood gets rich. Uses that money to buy politicians, which then increase socialism and defund the military. Real lives are lost, but nobody remembers why that was so, they’re too busy watching the fictional glamor and respect Hollywood outputs on the “military”.

     

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    People might want to consider just how it is that feminists had their own movement hijacked and made to slave way for the Leftist causes of socialism, totalitarianism, and state power. They never knew what hit them. Before they realized it, all the original feminist leaders that had to fight against real sexual oppression, were heads of “organizations” where 99% of the bureacrats and staffers were Leftist communists. Woah, how did that happen, they wonder. Cause they bought the propaganda. They were told “we’re on your side, we respect you, so that’s why we’re joining you”. 

    News update. That wasn’t why they were making nice sounds to you.

     Californians and their propaganda resistance… I’m not sure if they even have one. Then there’s the other side of the US, New England, which also includes DC, Maryland, and Arlington. Every state in the middle gets tax raped so pay for Leftist war chests. Then it recycles itself. No wonder 11B is wondering about the stability and foundation of America. Unless you select my choice of burning the Leftist edifice down and rebuilding from the ashes using cleansing fire and death, any other “option” is a very bad odds gamble.

     

  • jj

    A little information from the world of TV.  Whether it mitigates or not is up to you, but here’s what happened.
     
    1) Whoever – in Hawaii – it is who schedules events at the cemetery is a retard.  (Dear Editor: I don’t actually care about the political incorrectness of using that word, it’s apposite, it stays.)  Or, perhaps it was a screw-up on the part of the scheduler for the vets.  Either way, some dingbat somewhere dropped the ball and allowed the two groups to be occupying the same space at the same time.  This unfortunate confluence was the fault of neither group – blame whoever has the appointment books.
     
    2) CBS has no idea what the complaints they’re suddenly receiving are about, so idiot boilerplate is their best – maybe only – response.  They don’t actually have a production company in Hawaii – or much of anywhere else these days.  I would be astounded if it was an actual CBS production company.  The people who own, produce, and deliver that show to CBS for air do not work for CBS.  They are an outside, independent production company that exists as an entity for the purpose of making episodes of the show – most of them have never been within a thousand miles of Black Rock.  That production company hired that director – and everybody else on set – to make that episode.  The director is a production company employee – for that episode – and he may make all the episodes, (a probability rare to the point of vanishing), many of them, some, few – or this may be his only one.  He’s a jobber.  When you complain to CBS about him, they’re going to say, “huh?  Wha…?”  They didn’t hire him, probably don’t know him, may never have heard of him, and he ain’t their problem.  (The network doesn’t know or care about the labor, they only want to see the baby – in time for it to go out when it’s scheduled to.)
     
    3) The production company got seriously shafted on the cost to film in the cemetery that day.  How do I know?  All production companies always get shafted on fees for the use of locations, because everybody in the world – including people who should know better – begin having visions beyond the dreams of avarice when they see Hollywood coming.  And the biggest shafting is the make-it-up-on-the-spot insurance premiums for filming on location.  If there’s a blade of grass out of place, or a broken twig on a tree after the production company wraps and leaves, you cannot fathom the megillah this is.  (Which is why they film in studios and on lots, and in Canada.  It’s why studios and back lots came into being in the first place: to avoid the never-ending problems of locations.)  The PAs all knew that if anything remotely definable as “damage” happened to any part of the cemetery or its grounds – even if committed by a Pearl Harbor veteran or somebody else – they would be the ones turning on a spit over a hot fire,
     
    None of which excuses the shitty attitude of these overpaid, well-tanned, tower of ignorance trolls, but it may make it a bit – a microscopic bit – understandable, or maybe explicable.  The fact is most of them, being products of American education, never heard of Pearl Harbor.  Factor in the self-centeredness engendered by hanging around Hollywood, and you have a group that’s only rarely in touch with where they are.  The director, probably the senior guy present (at least on the on-the-spot management ladder, could have been gracious and understanding.  The actors as well – neither of whom I know – could also have brought matters to a halt for a respectful pause.  (Tom Selleck or John Hillerman, speaking of people who filmed in Hawaii for CBS, would have.  [Selleck would have stopped the scene, and worked out a way to get the Pearl Harbor vets into it, as objects of deep respect and honor.]   I wouldn’t know either of the two clowns mentioned above if I fell over them.  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • jj

    If I open parens I really ought to close ‘em, sometime.  Jeez – twice I did it!  Gettin’ old – sorry!

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Hawaii is blue on blue ocean background. They’re just milking the socialist pie, as they were taught. Socialists porking out on other socialists. That’s what tends to happen when they run out of capitalists to suck dry. Then again, Hollywood probably is the stereotypical image of the robber baron capitalist to begin with.

     The primary reason why American tv and movies such, to be honest, is the fact that they do the things JJ mentioned. They don’t have a Creative Director that originates the source material or plot line. They have fill in job writers and directors even. The original creators of a show, even if it is good, are soon pushed out by what I suspect are union rules like the Writer’s Guild.

    JJ should really comment on that matter in more depth. 

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    Correction: That would be the reason why American TV and movies sucK. A k, not an h.

     And by that I mean in all artistic expressions of sucKage. They don’t have the right mix of dramatic moments. Nor good highs. Nor tragic lows. They don’t have romance, other than between children. They don’t have action that appeals to my Art of War. Don’t even resemble it. The list goes on. The only shows that broke this mold was to take the creative rights away from the studios, which were Babylon 5 (gray hairs for 5 years fighting the good fight against crazy studio producers), Firefly *canceled because Hollywood doesn’t think conservatives watch tv*, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not canceled because it had hot women and the demographics told studio producers what to do, since their brains were absent on the job)