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December 07, 2014

Sidekick Alzheimer's and the Duration of Infamy

The Japanese attacked the United States in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (which was not a State at the time) on December 7, 1941: a day which will live in infamy because there was no notification of termination of diplomacy and no declaration of war.

How long does infamy last? What's the infamy shelf-life?

  • 21 years later (October 11, 1962) a television show called McHale's Navy debuted. The light-hearted comedy was about a zany bunch of miscreant sailors - who among other things, covered for a friendly Japanese sailor (actor Yoshio Yoda playing the role of sidekick Fuji Kobiaji).
  • The 1964 World's Fair in New York City included displays from Japan and Germany
  • 24 years later (September 17, 1965), another comedy show called Hogan's Heroes was introduced - including actor John Banner in the role of sidekick Sergeant Hans Schultz, a bungling affable good German.

There were both international business and Cold-War government rationals for the normalization of relations with Japan and Germany within 20 years. American business was expanding globally, the governments we placed in Berlin and Tokyo were disposed to cooperate, and the new strategic schism between (former Allies) Russia/China and the Free World™ took precedence over nurturing grudges.


The current question, of course, is the duration of derogation after 9/11/01. How long will it be before we see television webstream comedies with zany, friendly Saudi engineers, turning a tolerant eye to our attempts to drone-target the 'bad' Saudi's?

More to the point, when will Pakistani media include depictions of us? When will there be a misplaced American grad student, hiding out in the Tribal Areas, taken in by the mufti and shielded from the NSA? Maybe his neighborhood will be nicknamed "Snowdenstan" and his hosts will try to keep him from running foul of sharia law, with zany twists and laughs.

Applying the same timeframe from Pearl Harbor to McHale's Navy to the 9-11 re-accomodation, I expect there'll be a friendly-Saudi television show in the States in July 2122, and applying the Hogan's Heroes timeframe I expect there'll be a good-American in Pakistani media in June 2125.

Really, July 22 is only 7.5 years away. As soon as business figures out when the time is right, media will declare rapproachment and we'll see zany, madcap sidekicks. It'll be more complicated, what with the ascent of Tribalism over Nationalism and the fact that American's still can't keep Shia and Shiite straight.

Perhaps we'll get to see the zany Pakistani, constantly striving to keep the friendly American out of trouble, texting to his family, "these people can't tell Shia from Shinola" with a laugh-track overdub that includes a sidetone of ululation.

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