WikiWhat? I Look Things Up, Then Write About Them (Episode 3: Unit 731)

So, after I put some shelves up earlier this morning, I considered doing today’s WikiWhat about either spackling putty, or “Hammer and Nail” by the Indigo Girls. I was happily snuggling into the domestic bliss caused by sprucing up my brand new, ‘middle-class’ American digs in one of the most recently gentrified neighborhoods of the bougie paradise known as Brooklyn.

That is, until a ‘comedian’ friend of mine suggested taking suggestions for this blog thread.

“It’d be a lot more fun if you took suggestions.” He said.

I admitted he was probably right, and so asked for one.

“Unit 731” he replied, “Oh experimental war crimes!”

You. Goddamn. Asshole.

I’m not one to shy away from a challenge, so I figured I could spin something out of this… right?  Besides, it kinda seems to fit with my ‘handiness’ theme fairly well, since putting up shelves is a little bit like vivisection. Kinda sorta. Not at all.

Human ingenuity and engineering are brilliant, ain’t they? Hooray for human achievement!


Anyway, here’s what Wiki says about this:

“Unit 731 was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War.”

It also says it was known as “The Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army.” Ah, of course! Water Purification! And you wonder why people get paranoid about Obamacare.

Mother should I trust the government?

The article goes into more detail about the kind of stuff people did to other people in the name of ‘science.’ I admit to being pretty mean to ants when I was a kid, and I supposed we’ve all got it in us, but Christ, people! (Seriously, Christ.)

Incidentally, Kwantung has been a word/name/region that has always fascinated me, ever since I used to play Axis & Allies as a kid! Mostly I just liked saying it…  KWANG-TUNG! (It wasn’t until today that I realized we always put that extra ‘G’ in there.)

Oh man, it was such a fun game! Move armies! Take over France! Invade Hawaii! Too much fun, really. I still have it under my bed if anyone wants to come over and we can play. Maybe my new Spanish roommates can play, too, and we can discuss the reign of Franco and Picasso’s Guernica! Good old-fashioned deathy fun!

The thing is, when we moved around those little plastic dudes and went “Bleuschhhtt!” and “Psseeeeoouuhhh!!!” while pretending to bomb entire Brazilian villages–for some reason, someone would always put an industrial complex on Brazil even though we all knew it was totally stupid because you can only move two water zones per turn–it never occurred to any of us that this was a game based on a time of unholy fear, extreme misery and horrifying torture. And all the while scientists were learning about what would happen if you cut someones arm off and froze it, or injected their kneecaps with horse urine. Useful!

After this game, let’s have some hot dogs and go swimming! Summer is the best!

So, I kept reading and shortly thereafter wanted to puke: “I was afraid during my first vivisection, but the second time around, it was much easier. By the third time, I was willing to do it.”

Cool! We can learn anything! Aren’t we so smart! We’re smart monkeys! Hooray for smartness! Go hairless monkeys!

Seriously? Seriously?!

Ok… More Indigo Girls. The Indigo Girls are the only antidote to reading about horrific war crimes.

Goddamn it, Sorensen. My other plan was to write about Handy Smurf.

Off to vivisect an infant!

But that’s right, you were just joking around.

The only torture I can really get behind is forcing a lot of Indigo Girls onto you. Watch it, or I’ll pull out  Natalie Merchant’s cover of Space Oddity.

Ho hum… the nausea caused by the article has passed as I’ve gotten more into the writing of this post and less into the reality of the not-distant-enough past. It’s like that time I took a valium and drank 3 beers in order to sit through The Human Centipede.

Well, it’s a nice day, so maybe I’ll go walk around Brooklyn some more and remember that sometimes people aren’t so bad.*

*That is, everyone except Sorensen.

(Btw, if you want to offer topic suggestions, email


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