5 Times Butts Changed The Course Of History
What is the biggest driver of human history? People have been asking that question forever, and we still don't have a definite answer to it. Is it the hard work of great minds who come along every century or so? Is it humanity's perseverance? It could definitely be a 12-year-old with a case of Monster energy drink and a time machine. That would honestly explain so much. But, in the end, when you really look in the rearview mirror, the one theory we can all get behind is that history would look very different without asses. Specifically, these ones …
A Cactus in the Butt Led to the First Japanese Attack on Mainland US
On February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine resurfaced by the Ellwood Oil Field near Santa Barbara and started shelling the oil refinery there. Really, really badly. An oil well and some pumping equipment were damaged, but a lot of the shells missed their mark by as much as three miles, hitting nearby ranches, etc. Most, though, fell into the sea. The sub then opened fire using its deck gun but, again, didn't hit anything and (thankfully) anyone. It almost sounds like the attack was some kind of spur-of-the-moment decision without any real plan behind it and commanded by someone who kept missing their targets because they were crying and yelling, "Who's laughing now?!" And, yeah, that's actually exactly what happened.
The sub was under Kozo Nishino's command, who visited the Ellwood Oil Fields as an oil tanker captain in the late 1930s before the US and Japan were at war. But while walking from the beach towards his welcoming ceremony, Nishino slipped and landed butt-first on a prickly-pear cactus. History does not specify if he slipped on a banana peel or whether the slip made that slide-whistle sound, but we are just going to assume that that's exactly what happened because the surrounding oil workers absolutely lost it. They were reportedly doubling over laughing at the sight of the tanker captain with a bunch of needles stuck in him. And one of those workers? Clive Barker. Well, no, obviously that's not true, but imagine if it were.
Anyway, Nishino never really forgot that incident, so as soon as war broke out, he apparently took his submarine and tried to avenge his pin-cushioned heinie. True, his attack didn't cause much physical damage, but it was the first attack on mainland US, and it stoked fears of a Japanese invasion like crazy. It also happened literally four days after the US started interning Japanese citizens in camps, so while the attack didn't cause one of the worst things the US government had ever done, it sure as shit convinced them to keep imprisoning their citizens. And one of those citizens? George Takei. This one sadly isn't a joke.
The First Recorded Act of Mooning Killed Over 10,000 People
Ventidius Cumanus must have been pretty happy when he was appointed the procurator of the Roman province of Iudaea. It'd been over 15 years since they executed that weird guy who kept messing with people's heads with his talks of equality and loving your neighbor, so he didn't have to deal with any of that. And when his predecessor, Tiberius Julius Alexander, held the job, the province was mostly peaceful, so Cumanus was probably planning to sit back, relax, and try not to think about the fact that his name had the words "cum” and "anus" in it. There was no way he was going to screw such a sweet gig ... Anyway, here's how he screwed up his sweet gig:
Cumanus' time in office was marked by growing tensions between the Jewish population and Roman troops, which culminated in a cheeky incident during Passover. As the faithful gathered for the Passover feast at the Second Temple, one of the legionaries posted above the entrance … well, we'll let Romano-Jewish historian Yosef ben Matityahu (aka Titus Flavius Josephus) explain it: " of the soldiers pulled back his garment, and cowering down after an indecent manner, turned his breech to the Jews, and spake such words as you might expect upon such a posture." So, yeah, he mooned everyone. Not counting mythological sources, it's probably the first recorded instance of mooning in history. Also, probably the bloodiest.
As you might expect, the Jewish people were pissed off about being insulted during one of their holiest days at one of their holiest places of worship, so they started throwing rocks at the soldiers. Cumanus only made the situation worse by calling in more troops to drive people out of the temple, and, in the resulting chaos, thousands of them were trampled to death. Some sources give the number of killed at 10,000, while others go as high as 30,000.
Cumanus continued to more or less beef it for most of his time in Judea until he was finally called back to Rome for a hearing where the magnitude of his ineptitude actually caused Emperor Claudius to exile him. But let's not lose sight of what's really important in this entire story. And that's the fact that the man's name literally meant "jizz-butt."
A Bullet in the Ass Influenced Everything from UK Politics to the Theory of Evolution
Sometimes, the most intelligent people can be the biggest idiots you've ever seen. Just look at George Canning (1770 – 1827). Born the son of a failed wine merchant, he exhibited great intelligence at a young age and eventually managed to secure a place for himself at Eton College and Oxford. A gifted orator and a shrewd political strategist, Canning nonetheless did the most stupid thing imaginable when Lord Castlereagh learned of George's plan to remove him from his post and challenged him to a duel. What Canning should have said then was, "Um, no? We're in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars, we don't have time for clown shit, and I've never fired a gun, so … go kick rocks?" But instead, he accepted the challenge.
The men squared off in 1809, and, as you'd expect, Canning's shot didn't even land in the same zip-code. Castlereagh, though, managed to hit his opponent right in the ass. It was initially reported as a "thigh" would, but the truth quickly came out because no matter the time and place, painful things happening to butts is always funny. Though we guess that Canning didn't see much humor in it because the duel became a HUGE embarrassment for him. He was on the fast-track to becoming Prime Minister, but his career stalled after developing a second butthole. Canning did finally become PM in 1827 but only lasted four months before dying of pneumonia. It's impossible to say what the UK would look like if he became PM sooner, but historians agree that the little he managed to do in his short time in office helped created the Liberal Party.
As for Castlereagh, he later committed suicide, most likely brought on by depression. This caused the man's nephew, Robert FitzRoy, to start worrying about his own mental health, suspecting that depression may be hereditary. And the worst part was that he was about to set sail on a long-ass voyage when he'd often be left alone with his thoughts. He couldn't have that, so he invited a bunch of researchers and surveyors onto his ship to occasionally talk to. That ship? HMS Beagle. One of those researchers? Charles Darwin. The next obvious name in this joke setup? Albert Einstein. Maybe Castlereagh was always going to commit suicide and accidentally help Darwin go on a trip that laid the foundation for his theory of evolution. Still, it's much funnier to think that it all somehow connects to a British politician getting shot in the butt.
Japan Was Possibly Changed Forever Because Of A Ninja Attack Up the Ass
Here's a super-condensed version of Japanese history: Godzilla is born > endless war > unification and peace > opening to the West > invention of hentai. The reason why the country went from endless war to unification is mainly due to three warlords: Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, with Nobunaga starting the entire process. Without him laying the groundwork for Toyotomi and Tokugawa, Japan's history could have looked very different. And the thing is, Nobunaga could've been stopped in his tracks by the warlord Uesugi Kenshin … if someone hadn't stabbed him in the ass.
Kenshin and Nobunaga started staring daggers at each other around 1576 when the latter grew in power and influence, having won numerous battles and beating enemies with armies five times larger than his. But Kenshin was himself a brilliant general, and during the Battle of Tedorigawa, he dealt a massive defeat to the Oda army. Not losing momentum, he started gathering troops for a larger assault on his rival that could have seen Nobunaga killed and Japan's history completely altered. But then Kenshin suddenly died. Some sources say from cancer. Others say from a ninja attack while he was in the toilet.
This is mostly the stuff of rumors and legends, but the story goes that Nobunaga sent Ukifune Jinnai, a little person ninja to assassinate Kenshin. Jinnai, reportedly measuring just 3.2 feet, snuck into Kenshin's compound, used his size to squeeze himself up the warlord's toilet chute (not that kind, ya pervs), and gave him an impromptu rectal exam with a spear when Kenshin went to relieve himself. And then George R. R. Martin apparently stole the whole "dwarf killing a powerful politician in the toilet with a sharp object" idea and made millions.
Mozart's Career Only Took Off After He Was Kicked in the Butt
Mozart is mood, fam. We're so so sorry. We have no idea how young people talk nowadays. Does "bad" still mean "good" ...? Anyway, what we wanted to say is that Mozart's story would probably resonate with a lot of people nowadays. See, just like you, Mozart dreamed of a steady paying gig, but once he got it, he started to hate life because he had an asshole boss who underpaid him.
In 1773, Mozart took the job as court musician for the ruler Salzburg, Prince-Archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. It was steady and somewhat prestigious but didn't pay much and didn't offer him a lot of chances to do meaningful work (which to Mozart meant writing operas). On the whole, it was sort of like the classical music version of working a soul-crushing corporate gig. The only thing that was missing was Colloredo stopping by Mozart's quarters holding a mug of coffee and telling him that if he could have those revised violin concertos on his desk by five, that'd be great.
So, like anyone in his situation, Mozart started looking for work elsewhere while still technically being employed by Salzburg. In 1781, his opera "Idomeneo" opened in Munich to great praise, which made it all the more painful when he was summoned by Colloredo, who proceeded to treat the young prodigy like a servant. He also forbade him from performing before the Emperor, which paid more than half his yearly Salzburg salary. Colloredo pretty much did everything to put down Wolfy besides stealing his favorite red stapler and kicking him in the ass. And then he did do that thing. After Mozart demanded to be fired, Colloredo thought it over and finally agreed … by having his steward literally kick THE Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the goddamn ass.
Mozart went on to settle in Vienna, after which he composed some of his most famous pieces, including The Magic Flute. And chances are that he would never have done that if he'd returned to Salzburg and Colloredo, which his father basically ordered him to do. Mozart's father, Leopold, was a powerful figure in Wolfgang's life, and for the longest time, he had his son under his thumb. But the kick had been a step too far and a boot too high. It was humiliating for Mozart, so despite his father's orders, he stayed away, did his own thing, and eventually grew as a composer that is now known the world over. Also, we feel we should mention that he wrote a canon called "Lick me in the arse" literally one year after getting away from Colloredo. Do with this information what you will.