Last night I watched an engrossing movie.
“The Wind Rises” was master filmmaker Miyazaki Hayao’s last work (or so he said after its release; there are always rumors of new projects). It is the story of Horikoshi Jiro, the idealistic young engineer who became the chief designer of the famous Mitsubishi A6M, notoriously known as the “Zero,” the most effective Japanese fighter plane of World War II.
Miyazaki brings his genius to bear in a visually striking movie that tells two stories. One is the story of a life in aviation engineering. The other and more compelling one is how poor Jiro did his work as the love of his life, the pretty and devoted Naoko, grew increasingly ill and ultimately died of tuberculosis. That part was very moving.
When I see a movie or television program that purports to depict real events, I’m drawn afterwards to learn more. So I was surprised, then enraged, to learn that there was no tubercular Naoko, that no part of that half of the story was true. It was made up. Horikoshi Jiro did have a wife, but she didn’t have tuberculosis. The couple had several children — I’ve seen five mentioned. Nor, apparently, was her name Naoko. (Miyazaki apparently had seen an exhibit about leprosy sanitoria at a museum and was outraged; at least he didn’t give her leprosy.)
Indeed, it seems as if Horikoshi wasn’t much of a sympathetic character at all. He died in 1982 at age 78; some of his children may survive even now. We do not know what they thought of the scrambling of their father’s life or the untimely execution of their mother at the pen of Miyazaki. And what was achieved? Did the movie maker find World War II so devoid of tragedy that he needed to invent one?
As it turned out, the depiction of Jiro’s dreamland friend Giovanni Caproni, the early Italian airplane designer, was just as true — and there’s no evidence of that, either.
My outrage would be less intense — What? A Japanese cartoon movie departed from reality? — were it not for the growing expectation that we accept falsehood wholesale, not in movies but everywhere. We’re supposed to reject the very idea of facts.
Yesterday, at a demonstration in support of the genocide of babies, especially little black babies, several members of the United States House of Representatives got themselves cited, with a small fine levied (though not for anything commensurate to their offenses). A couple, including camera whore Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Instagram), acted as if they were handcuffed, implying something that wasn’t true. The majority of the news media let the pretense stand, giving the impression that she and one of her suckups, Ilhan Omar, had been dragged away in chains merely because they demanded the slaughter of infants.
Last week it came out, so to speak, that the University of Pennsylvania has nominated someone calling itself — I try to be careful with pronouns; one must nowadays, and the singular pronouns are “he,” “she,” and “it” — Lia Thomas (baptized as “William”) to receive the NCAA’s “Woman of the Year” award. No matter what you think of this, Thomas is not a woman, cannot be a woman, will never be a woman. (And Thomas reportedly still possesses all the male body parts.)
Look. We might — should, in fact — have compassion for those who believe, of their own volition or because they have been coerced into it, that they were somehow born into the wrong bodies. (So was I: I was meant to be taller, more talented, and far better looking.) But it makes an unhappy situation far worse to promulgate the obvious lie that we can do something useful about it. Our biological gender — our sex — is dictated in every single cell in our entire body. Lopping things off and sewing things on will not and can not change that. Taking drugs and dangerous hormones can’t, either.
Then there are those, whose claims go largely unchallenged, who insist they are whatever sex they say they are, no actual modifications necessary. This week we learned of the outrage over a strapping lad of 27 who goes by the name of “Demi Minor” and who claims to be a woman. A New Jersey jury decided some time ago that he or she is guilty of manslaughter in the killing of his or her foster father, which resulted in a 30-year prison sentence. The convict, asserting that he is a woman, was sent to the state’s Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, where “she” impregnated two actual women. Outrageous, indeed.
That’s not the source of outcry, though. No, people are upset because Minor has now been moved to a different prison, one restricted to persons capable of impregnating women or, as they used to be called in the quaint, benighted olden days, men.
Step back. Take a look. If this were a novel you’d think it too ridiculous to be taken seriously. But it’s not a novel, it’s real life.
The insanity knows no bounds. In an era where we’re encouraged to “follow the science” by officials who then fling down and dance upon science, we have a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service who has taken the name of Rachel Levine. Levine, a Harvard-trained physician who should therefore be aware that you cannot turn from a man into a woman, is not following the science. Formerly Richard Levine and now resembling a Rocky Horror Show version of Benjamin Franklin, apparently on purpose, this person has a leading role in our country’s public health service.
I’m tempted to go on, but I wouldn’t like writing it and you wouldn’t like reading it. I could mention both Joe Biden and Donald Trump, who carry EpiPens lest they be exposed to truth and go into anaphylactic shock. I could mention the sorry state of their respective followers: Have they willfully rejected fact, or are they just that stupid? But I won’t. It would do no good.
The deliberate inaccuracy of “The Wind Rises” still irritates me. We expect more from our animation artists. I mean, do they really want to descend to the level of fiction that’s now the realm of politicians?