02 August 2010

Is Oliver Stoned? Nope, just doing a Gibson.

I know that this post is a relatively late reaction to the latest tempest in a teapot created by one of the Hollywood finest. However, after reading a few articles on the subject, I was somewhat dissatisfied by the analysis of the case. Of course, Abe Foxman does what Abe Foxman does best - there was a strong dose of anti-Semitic contest in the interview*, and Foxman's response was indeed timely and sufficiently strong. As for Stone's apologies: their sincerity is very doubtful, if you read the linked Fox article carefully.

What made me curious more than the obvious and crude anti-Semitic content were other things Stone slipped into the interview sotto voce. Sotto voce, at least, compared to the big red herring of the anti-Semitic content. Here is a good example of the artful mix of that red herring with promotion of what Stone considers to be a hitherto uncharted part of history:

The famed Hollywood director of such films as Platoon and JFK, also said that while "Hitler was a Frankenstein," there was also a "Dr Frankenstein." "German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support," Stone told the Sunday Times, adding that "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed]."
Yeah. Indeed... Hitler supported by German industrialists - how more novel could you become? Or how more mealy-mouthed, Stone's detractors could easily say.
"We're going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions ... Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated," Stone said.
I don't know how easy or difficult it is to sell the "news" of American corporations (shameful indeed) commerce with the Nazis to American viewer of today. Most probably, Stone and his client Showtime know better. After all, Stone is supposed to be a master of re-wrapping old news in his inimitable manner.

It is difficult, however, to follow the logic of Stone's argument. For the sake of it (the argument) let's suppose that the Jewish moguls (of which Stone himself, being half-Jewish, is a part, if only with a vague 50% share) make the Holocaust theme dominant. How and why should this interfere with the subject of American/British commerce with Nazi Germany? Fuzzy logic, if the term "logic" is applicable.

But was this interview just a disjointed ranting of a raving lunatic? Hardly. Whatever Stone is, he is not stupid. Even his passion for conspiracy theories, as it was confirmed by the following quote, is being brought into play for a reason.
He describes America's attitude to Iran as "horrible". "Iran isn't necessarily the good guy" - his incongruously dark eyebrows shoot up - "but we don't know the full story!"
Full story indeed - when the author of JFK says it, we should take it seriously, of course (not). Another good reason for the above quote was that Stone is "artfully" anti-establishment in much of his work. His adoration for Fidel the Beard (Comandante), Comical Hugo (South of the Border) and other similar tyrants may be ascribed to his radical ideology, but I seriously doubt that a character like Stone espouses any specific ideology. All this (maddening as it may be) behavior is part of his general focus.

And his focus is mainly on aggrandizing himself and his (really poor of late, as could be seen here, for example) work. Stone is, most of all, a superb salesman, and I am quite sure that his interview, explosive as it may appear in some quarters, was carefully thought through in advance, no aspect forgotten. To anger the easily angered Jewish community, to piss off the US establishment, to stir the ever-bubbling swamp of the conspiracy theorists, to get real historians seeing red - how much more of a publicity storm could one expect to achieve in one interview with a (relatively minor) outfit like Sunday Times?

Stone is most definitely not a historian, rather a clumsy abuser of history. The mere decision of Showtime to order a purportedly documentary opus from a mockumentary producer like Stone was questionable. After the interview, that decision is much less questionable. The piss taking worked and the Secret History of America will definitely sell now. If not in US, then Europe, eager for any American-bashing work of the kind (and, of course, for anything that will put some gloss on its bloody 20th century history), will lap it up regardless.

So, I beg to disagree with the headline of that Fox article: "Oliver Stone's Remarks on Jews in Hollywood Show He's Out of Touch, Execs Say" and with them "Execs". Mr Stone is very much in touch - with his insatiable greed for fame, publicity and the $$ bottom line of thereof. He has done a creditable Gibson on his latest opus, if you ask me, and could be well satisfied with the outcome. Good job indeed.

Now, if you ask me whether Stone is a dreck, successful as he is in his many endeavors, my personal answer will be... guess.

P.S. And, like Meryl, and contrary to Norm's rather relaxed attitude, I think that Stone can take his apologies and stuff them.

(*) Unfortunately, the Sunday Times' Poundwall prevented me from reading the whole interview, so, like many others, I have to depend on quotes from other sources - not that the quotes leave a lot to imagination.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


jams o donnell said...

THe man is a jerk

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Stone commenting at MPAC-UK under an assumed name?


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yeah, Zack looks a good fit to the image.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yep - now it's at the right place ;)

Dick Stanley said...

Guys like Stone (and Gibson) say exactly what they think, and then when the storm erupts over it, they "apologize." What hooey. Or maybe they're just looking for a little free publicity. They do that, too.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

In Stone's case I am sure about looking for publicity.

Anonymous said...

<p>Obama 's government is promoting is Keynesian too !
I am just wandering if this is going to save the economy or U.S will go towards fascism eventually ?</p>

Anonymous said...

The guy is absolutely right . Hitler was a nobody if the ruling class ( capitalist class) did not support him finacially . 
Was Nazi Germany's economy Kennesian? I am not sure !
Was Nazi Germany’s economy Keynesian ? I am not sure !
 Obama 's government is promoting Keynesian economy.

Anonymous said...

Many people in U.S think Keynesian is the same as socialism , even thought the sole purpose of Keynesian economy is to save capitalism from collapsing and therefore to save the ruling class .
Am I not right on this?

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"Hitler was a nobody if the ruling class ( capitalist class) did not support him finacially ."

Wow, guest, that's deep. I would even dare say that if the ruling class ( capitalist class) did not support Hitler finacially, he may have ended his life a pauper and a nobody, with no pot to piss in.

How do I do?

SnoopyTheGoon said...


SnoopyTheGoon said...

I would say yes.

Anonymous said...

I am going to quote part of an interesting book here for you Snoop The Goon , ( without mentioning the name of the book since I am afraid that some narrow minded people go and burn all of the remaining versions of this book like what priests would have done in Medieval Europe !)

Anonymous said...

"It ( Keynesian economics ) supplied intellectual ammunition to a reform movement which expected once more to solve the contradictions of capitalism by changing the prevailing distribution of income and by having a benevolent state provide henceforth for steady  economic expansion and increasing standards of living . But the logic of monopoly capitalism proved to be much stronger than ever realized by Keynes and his radical followers (I think  this must be Dr.Krugman ) .It turned  their theoretic accomplishments to purposes quite alien to their intentions . The "welfare State," guided by the canons of Keynesian economics and precepts of "functional fiance," has remained essentially on paper. It was fascist Germany that thus far has made the most extensive use of Keynesian insights in building an economic machine that enabled  it to unleash the Second World War."

Anonymous said...

I am just wandering if this is going to save the economy or U.S will go towards fascism eventually ?</span>
Snoopy the Goon answered , I would say yes !

Well I would say I hope you did not mean that U.S goes towards fascism .
That is all babe !

Anonymous said...

<span>Hitler was a nobody if the ruling class ( capitalist class) did not support him financially ." 
Wow, guest, that's deep. I would even dare say that if the ruling class ( capitalist class) did not support Hitler financially, he may have ended his life a pauper and a nobody, with no pot to piss in. 
How do I do?</span>

I'd say you are improving in using your rational mind .

You are getting a little compassionate too !( Would you think it is offensive to say you are getting a little compassionate towards so called gentiles !)

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I meant yes. It is, of course, up to you to decide.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Nope, guest, we, the Elders, are not allowed even a hint of compassion toward goyim. Verbotten.

David All said...

Oliver Stone is a nutjob, pure and simple. His horrible movie, "JFK" which distorted history on a scale worthy of Goebbels, was a classical example of what Richard Hofstadder called, "the paranoid style in American politics". Any apologies from Stone are probably insincere, to put it mildly.

Snoopy, one thing about America is that with all the innovative types, we do have more than all fair share of nuts as both Oliver Stone & "Guest" in the comments on this thread shows. (Wish to make clear I am NOT Guest on this thread!)      

Anonymous said...

Zionist Elders (lol) . I have no idea what Elders are good for !
Would you please familiarize me with Elders' activities .
Dave , I am glad that you considered Stone a nutjob !
If a nutjob told you that you are a nutjob , How would you feel about it ?

Anonymous said...

I am gone !

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Well, even if he is a nut, and I would be the last person to argue this point, he is a nut with a keen sense of marketing.

David All said...

Unfortunately, you are right, Snoopy. Oliver Stone is a nut case*, but he knows what sells and there are plenty of fellow conspiracy nuts out there to buy it.

*Stone is considered by some to be the model for the half mad Vietnam Vet, Travis Bickle(Robert De Niro) in the movie Taxi Driver. Stone had been a student of the film's director, Martin Scorsese.