Nearly everyone has heard of “radical chic.” Oliver Stone has done it one better with his latest effort Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States, upping the ante to “megalomania chic.”
And not just by putting his name in the title.
Stone has never been shy about playing fast and loose with the facts – or about self-promotion – for what one might call “narrative advantage” (cf. JFK), but in his new Showtime series he purports to be working as a documentarian – giving the straight truth to us poor brainwashed folks, not to mention potential generations of school kids.
But the truth according to Stone ranges from the banal and obvious — the Russian people suffered tremendous losses in World War II (who didn’t know that?) – to the absurd – the world would have been a much better place had Henry Wallace been vice president instead of Truman.
No mention is made that Wallace’s major speechwriter was an agent of the NKVD, nor is there a word about the myriad Venona revelations that the world of Wallace and his allies was riddled with Soviet spies, because what Stone is really trying to concoct here is a form of “Stalin porn.”
Yes, Joseph Stalin — the man who, according to various estimates, killed from ten to fifty million of his fellow human beings — is the hero of at least the first four episodes of this epic and Harry Truman is the villain.
Truman is of course under attack for having dropped the bomb on Japan. Again according to Stone and his collaborator historian Peter Kuznick, that accidental and bigoted American president lied when he said he was taking that momentous step to save the lives of our troops and Japanese citizens. His real intention was to fight a supposedly non-existent Soviet threat.