Saturday, July 09, 2005

"No" to Oliver Stone

I agree with Mickey Kaus about some things occasionally -- including today's entry about the truly horrendous idea of having Oliver Stone direct a movie dealing with September 11th. Kaus rightly points out the likelihood that Stone will insert some lefty conspiracy-theory type element, given his history with the JFK movie. Kaus doesn't mention Stone's execrable stroking of fashionable communist dictator Fidel Castro in "Looking For Fidel." Check out this interview with Stone about his controversial documentary. Particularly despicable is his blase description of his interview with eight prisoners, arranged by Castro, where Stone asks them whether they're being treated well and seems satisfied that they are being honest in their reassurances of acceptable treatment. The interviewer, who is trying hard to get Stone to question what he experienced in Cuba, starts this exchange:

ALB: Did it strike you as interesting that at one point in the scene with the prisoners, Castro turned to the prisoners' defense lawyers, who just happened to be there, and he says, "I urge you to do your best to reduce the sentences"?

OS: I love that. I thought that was hilarious. Those guys just popped up.

ALB: Is there a show-trial element here?

OS: Yeah. I thought that was funny, I did--the prosecutor and Fidel admonishing them, to make sure they worked hard. There was that paternalism. I mean "father knows best," as opposed to totalitarianism. It's paternalism, that's what I meant. It's a Latin thing.


Replace "Castro" with, say, "Ceaucescu" and you can see how disgusting -- rather than funny -- this scene is.

Of course, Stone shares this inexcusable mythologizing of the Cuban revolution with many others in Hollywood. As a counter to the dreamy, picturesque portrait of Che Guevara painted by "The Motorcycle Diaries," a movie which was widely hailed in Hollywood, the New Republic has a fascinating article on Che ($$$), describing how he, not Castro, was the Stalinist of the Cuban revolution. Probably old news to people who know about this stuff, but I know little about Che, other than that he took a good picture and has become a popular revolutionary symbol.

I do remember the Hollywood folks swooning over "The Motorcycle Diaries" at the Academy Awards, undoubtedly because they loved the revolutionary spirit of Che Guevara -- who, it appears, would have had each and every one of these rich, pampered stars summarily executed or, if they were lucky, sent to concentration camps. This is one reason why I am so intolerant of celebrities lecturing the public about politics: Hollywood seems to be this little bubble which has no contact with the real world and yet encourages its residents to expound on how to solve the world's problems.

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