Breast Cancer

No, the U.S. Navy Isn't Battling Breast-Cancer With Pink Fighter Jets—But Israel Is

America's pink F9F-8 Cougar lives aboard the USS Lexington, a retired naval ship turned private Texas military museum.


Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite)/Twitter

Pink-themed awareness campaigns—including cynical and cringe-worthy ones—have been a staple of the battle against breast cancer in America for decades. This sort of consciousness-raising has jumped the proverbial shark so many times that it's hard to believe it can keep getting worse, and yet ready to assuage our doubts… the U.S. government is here to help! Or at least so reported Slate and others last week.

"Like breast cancer, fighter jets kill women, making these instruments of war perfect on-message vehicles for the deadly weapons of awareness," quipped Christina Cauterucci at Slate. "They will fly through the skies, blasting tumors and lack-of-awareness with their missiles, bringing pink death and pink destruction and pink civilian casualties and pink refugee crises and pink destruction of cultural heritage wherever their noble cancer-aware pilots lead."

I was prepared to share in Cauterucci's outrage… until I spent a few more minutes reading about the pink plane. It turns out the "Heliconia"-pink F9F-8 Cougar won't actually be taking to the airways to rain death. In fact, it has naught to do with the U.S. Navy in any official capacity. Throughout October, the pink Cougar lived aboard the USS Lexington, a decommissioned naval ship turned private Texas military museum.

"Representatives from the USS Lexington Museum picked a fighter plane to symbolize all of the people that have fought and continue to fight the battle against cancer," KIII News reported. According to Rusty Reustle, USS Lexington director of operations and exhibits, dish-washing liquid was added to pink latex paint so it could be easily removed later, a technique he got from the movie Pearl Harbor, which was partially filmed aboard the museum-ship.

So, thankfully, the American military hasn't (yet) decided to paint an instrument of war a festive shade of pink as a way to say "let's save lives!" But Israel's has. On October 27, the Israeli Air Force tweeted a photo of the pastel pink fighter jet, with the message "We are #Pink. @breastcancernow #BreastCancerAwareness"

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    1. of course that worked

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  2. Rusty Reustle

    Homos, what is this code for again?

    1. I am merely an honorary member of Reason’s vaunted homotariat, but I shall answer anyway: A “rusty rustle” happens when one gay man steals the boyfriend of another gay man via the carnal act of violent anal seduction.

      1. Thanks Crusty. It’s comforting to know that I can always count on you to fill in the gaps of my knowledge. #somehomo

  3. I was prepared to share in Cauterucci’s outrage

    She is horrible, so it would be a good policy to never agree with her.

    1. Slate? Getting it wrong? NO!!!! Get the fuck outta here!!

      1. Slate actually has a recurring segment titled “You’re doing it wrong,” but its ire has thus far been directed solely at its readership’s cooking habits. It would be awesome to see its ombudsman or retraction editor debut a column of that title.

        1. Oh, Slate. Critical of your readership over inane topics… What a great business model you have.

  4. The “War on Women” is terrible, isn’t it? How many women die from breast cancer? How many men die from prostate cancer? And how many tax dollars are spent, per capita for each?

    1. Testosterone the cauz of all probelems, why you hate wiminz?

      1. Welp, according to my extremely superficial perusal of a trustworthy website, using “incidence” compared to funding spent, breast cancer gets twice the money as prostate. But according to the official summary of the study, even prostate cancer may be getting more than it’s fair share. I reserve the right to be indignant, but I need to look at some more information before becoming unrepentantly indignant.

        1. But a few men can get breast cancer. No women can get prostate cancer.

          1. plus theres that whole thing where breast cancer is exponentially more fatal than prostate cancer.

    2. It’s like with endangered animals, breasts get more attention than prostates because they’re cuter and fuzzier.

  5. ENB hates tits.

  6. So, thankfully, the American military hasn’t (yet) decided to paint an instrument of war a festive shade of pink as a way to say “let’s save lives!” But Israel’s has.

    Are we sure it wasn’t this new thing called “photoshop?”

      1. Was that your service weapon? Because I can totally see that.

          1. The fart cloud is a nice touch.

            1. There are some people you just can’t take anywhere!

  7. If you were to aggregate the number of people killed by fighter jets grouped by gender, I think the bucket labeled “male” would dwarf the bucket labeled female.

  8. Painting a retired war-bird pink? Reminds me of Hornblower from some reason; a bit where Hornblower muses on an occasion when a great general was wheeled out while well in his dotage at a party for noblemen — so all could share a snicker at his befuddled wits.

  9. I saw enough pink stuff on NFL players yesterday. I can’t seez no moar pink.

    1. If you really want to make a statement, NFL, don’t simply go with pink towels or pink shoes. Pink jerseys and/or pink pants. Now that’s a statement.

  10. Cauterucci sounds like a rabid left-wing psychopath whose brain has been cauterized.

    Also, she obviously doesn’t know the difference between a fighter and a bomber.

    Also, she obviously doesn’t know that this particular aircraft has been obsolete for military purposes for something like four decades.

    1. Don be messin up this chat room with your mansplainin!

  11. I guess if you want to frighten the enemy, you paint your stuff pink. What’s next, pink tanks? Pink camo?

    1. I’m told that men are terrified of powerful vaginas. That will be the pattern we paint on our tanks and bombers when I rise to power.

  12. Come on, no comments yet on painting a plane nicknamed “Cougar” pink for breast cancer awareness?

    1. I pointed that out when this was first mentioned in HnR.

      That couldn’t have been a mistake, of all of the former naval aircraft you could choose to paint pink for breast cancer awareness you pick one named “cougar” and somehow no one in the process makes that connection? Not buying it

    2. I’m similarly disappointed about the small number of comments about pink cockpits, purple joysticks, and the “C” word women don’t like to use.

  13. They painted the jet pink because they were hoping journalists like ENB would write about it and breast cancer awareness.

    And it worked.

    I was watching the ‘skins at home with the family unit quite a few years ago, and you know how women sometimes come in and drive you crazy asking things? “What’s the score? How much time is left? Do you know what Dolores said at church last week?” That’s why they started superimposing those things in the upper right hand of the broadcast. It saves marriages.

    Anyway, this time the mom unit’s question was, “Why are they wearing pink?”

    After going through surgery, radiation, and chemo, she made a full recovery. She isn’t just in remission. They say she’s cancer free. Her prognosis was excellent because they caught it so early. It turns out that the most important factor in the breast cancer mortality rate is early detection. With my mother, they found it at its earliest detectable stage.

    Breast cancer awareness isn’t pointless because of all the people it doesn’t save. It’s effective because of all the people it saves. Spending money on awareness is more effective than spending it on research if the cure for breast cancer is early detection.

      1. When Bruce Boudreau was coaching the Caps, he used to make the players who missed during the penalty shot drill practice with a pink stick for the rest of the day.

  14. Naval aviation causes beast cancer? Can anything be as objectionable as an idea taken from the movie Pearl Harbor? If you want to raise awareness, have the beach volleyball game from Top Gun reenacted but with pink sweat glistening off Maverick, Iceman and Goose.

    1. How come pilots in the Navy want to be called Naval Aviators and Marines hate being called Naval Infantry?

      **ducks and runs**

    2. Pearl Harbor was about USAAF pilots, not naval aviators.

      1. Were you even listening to the dude’s story?

  15. “They will fly through the skies, blasting tumors and lack-of-awareness with their missiles, bringing pink death and pink destruction and pink civilian casualties and pink refugee crises and pink destruction of cultural heritage wherever their noble cancer-aware pilots lead.”

    Isn’t hating fighters like hating guns?

    I mean, do you hate the tool or do you just hate how some of the owners use them?

    1. Well the owners of fighter planes are generally governments, and they generally use them to blow people up whether they deserve it or not.

      1. And that’s the tool’s fault? Same as blaming guns for mass shootings.

        I kinda like the idea of having the best weapon in the world and, because of its lethality, never having to use it.

        1. ANyway, who is blaming the planes? The original quote does accurately describe what they are generally used for and the results.

          1. The original quote does accurately describe what they are generally used for and the results.

            Same can be (wrongly) said about guns.

            The (rightful) purpose for having a strong military is so one doesn’t need to use it. Same with a gun. The owner is solely responsible for the moral justification of its use.

            A fighter can/should be used only in defense against aggression or as a deterrent to aggression. When used for that purpose, it’s a damn good tool to have in the box.

        2. Well I’m sorry to break it to you but you will never have the best weapon in the world, because the US government probably has it. And they will be/have been more than happy to use it when the political careers of old men are at stake.

          And while I agree that small arms have positive uses like defense and hunting, there are some significant disanalogies from fighter planes and drones whose primary purpose is unleashing unassailable death from above. It’s not a stupid position to wonder if “tools” like that have any non-evil purpose.

          1. What, you long for the days of trench warfare?

            Fighters, bombers, tanks, missiles etc are all weapons of terrible destruction but notice that their development has correlated with the most peaceful epoch of human history.

            A weapon isn’t evil in of itself, that’s just silly.

          2. It’s not a stupid position to wonder if “tools” like that have any non-evil purpose.

            Of course they do. Their legitimate purpose is to defend the rights of individuals and to deter aggression.

            To imply that the existence of a jet is causal in its illegitimate use is the same exact argument the anti-gun folks are making.

            Get rid of guns, no murder. Get rid of fighters, no war.

            1. So when a tool is almost never used for its legitimate purpose, does that mean the people using to blow up hospitals or drop napalm on villagers are doing it wrong, or does it mean that your interpretation of its purpose is wrong?

              I mean it’s been a while since I read Aristotle, but I’m pretty sure the guy who chides people for using a hammer to drive nails rather than to brush their teeth as it was intended is making a category error.

              1. So when a tool is almost never used for its legitimate purpose, does that mean the people using to blow up hospitals or drop napalm on villagers are doing it wrong, or does it mean that your interpretation of its purpose is wrong?

                WIth hyperbole like that, are you sure you’re not a prog?

                Hospitals are NOT legitimate (or legal) targets unless being used for cover by combatants/combatant equipment. Any bombing of a “hospital” outside of these listed parameters has been unintentional.

                Napalm hasn’t been used since Vietnam.

                And portions of the military were used precisely to my interpretation for since 1946.

                Do you condone progs making similarly wild accusations, about guns, to further their agenda? Ever heard a prog make the claim that the only purpose of a gun is to kill people? If so, what did you think of that argument?

    2. Fighter planes are fine in and of themselves. It’s just that in their particular case, I happen to hate all of their owners and nearly all of the uses they have been put to.

  16. This is probably a good time to mention, too, did you know that free breast cancer screenings were introduced by capitalists?

    As recently as the ’80s and ’90s, Medicaid and Medicare wouldn’t cover the cost of a breast cancer screening unless the patient presented with some other symptoms that justified running a test for breast cancer. It was a “medical necessity” thing.

    The government doesn’t pay for cosmetic surgery because it isn’t medically necessary, but it also doesn’t pay for heart surgeries or CT scans that aren’t justifiable as medically necessary given the specific symptoms of the patient

    Because breast cancer screening is all about catching the cancer before there are any symptoms at all, as recently as the ’80s and ’90s, women on government programs couldn’t get screened.

    Then came the HMOs, and they noticed that the cost of breast cancer treatment dropped significantly when it was caught early, so they started screening patients they determined were at risk for demographic and family history factors for free. The cost of the testing everyone was significantly less than the savings from catching the cancer on a few patients early–and saving more money than you spend is called “profit”.

    Yay profit!

  17. Anyway, the survival rate of women with breast cancer in HMOs was so much better than it was on patients on the government programs that it embarrassed the government programs into offering breast cancer screening without cost and without declining the tests as medically unnecessary.

    This is just one example, but it is often the case that the most effective and inexpensive treatments are the ones that are in the best medical interests of the patient. If and when we go down the road from public option to single payer, we will be flushing all the good that profit motive does for patients down the shitter.

    1. And for profit researchers (i.e. capitalists) have since found better, easier, and more accurate ways of detecting early breast cancer, as well as genetic information that make one more likely to contract it.

  18. America’s pink F9F-8 Cougar

    Did someone say Cougar?

    1. Merlin tried to get Cougar’s attention…

  19. I find “awareness” campaigns for diseases kind of weird. I suppose it may have been useful when cancer was only whispered about, but who the hell isn’t aware of breast cancer at this point?

    I suppose “breast cancer awareness” sounds better than “give our foundation more money so we can keep our cushy jobs”.

    That comes off kind of cold and cynical. I think all the pink shit actually makes me less interested in breast cancer.

    1. If they must do something physical to earn my donation, why can’t it be something useful? Why isn’t anyone offering to clean my oven for AIDS or pick up my dry cleaning for cancer? Or if they just must run, it seems like they could run somewhere useful. It does me no good to donate money based on how many miles a person runs around the scenic hike-and-bike trail. It’s about a 10K from my house to the grocery store and back, so if I’m giving them money to run around the city it seems like they might as well swing by Albertson’s and pick up a loaf of bread and some eggs.

      1. That’s a really good question. There is an awful lot of pointless effort there. I never give any money to “10k run for Bob’s disease” or whatever. If they’d come stack my firewood or something, I’d donate.

      2. I bet it has something to do with people’s weird preference for altruism over self-interest. Giving money to someone to do something pointless but noble gets you more bonus points than giving money to the same cause in exchange for some useful work, even though the result is actually better in the latter case because not only does Bob’s disease have some research funding, but my wood is also stacked.

        If people would just get over this altruism nonsense, we’d have all disease cured in no time.

  20. Thank goodness for all this pink themed stuff, I wasn’t aware of this scourge known as breast cancer until just this month.

  21. RE: No, the U.S. Navy Isn’t Battling Breast-Cancer With Pink Fighter Jets?But Israel Is

    Let the Arabs laugh.
    The score is still Israel 4, Arabs 0.

    1. It is a nice way to rub their noses in it, though. Yeah, we got nothing better to do than paint our planes pink because that’s how bad we whupped your asses! Ha! Y’all cowering in fear from the Jews with the pink airplanes.

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