It’s almost like he’s kidding, but surely a professional writer would know that sarcasm doesn’t translate to the page, right? NPR’s Linton Weeks wrote:
Just a few months ago a couple of forestry workers in Lumby, British Columbia — about 250 miles north of the U.S. border — happened upon a 70-year-old Japanese balloon bomb.
The dastardly contraption was one of thousands of balloon bombs launched toward North America in the 1940s as part of a secret plot by Japanese saboteurs. To date, only a few hundred of the devices have been found — and most are still unaccounted for.
The plan was diabolic. At some point during World War II, scientists in Japan figured out a way to harness a brisk air stream that sweeps eastward across the Pacific Ocean — to dispatch silent and deadly devices to the American mainland.
The article goes on from there to describe, in oddly positive language, some of the technical details of this project: “ingenious” and “amazing” and “a piece of art” are invoked, presumably because nobody today has any idea how to make anything other than by ordering kits from Amazon, and no appreciation for the creativity humanity has always displayed when trying to kill other humans.
I will say, though, that NPR’s commenters did a lovely job of calling the article out for this language.