And Now, a Few Words from Oliver Stone
Bud Fox, this is Gordon Gekko. Yeah, I know what time it is; money never sleeps, pal. I want you to call the London Times and place this tip: Blue Horseshoe hates “the Jewish domination of the media:”
The 10-part documentary [which Stone is planning] will address Stalin and Hitler “in context”, he says. “Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.”
He also seeks to put his atrocities in proportion: “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m.”
Why such a focus on the Holocaust then? “The Jewish domination of the media,” he says. “There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”
And yes, I know Stone is half-Jewish. This is Stone's equivalent of Joe Klein, Time magazine's man on the JournoList, when he plays his Absolute Moral Authority card to declare that "Jewish neoconservatives" have "divided loyalties."
But then, Stone started off the previous decade comparing terrorists to Einstein:
All great changes have come from people or events that were initially misunderstood, and seemed frightening, like madmen. Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Gates. I think, I think . . . I think many things.” He explained how the World Bank, McDonald’s, and the studios’ response to the threat of a Writers Guild strike last year were all manifestations of the new global conspiracy of order.
“This is the time for a bullet of a film about terrorism, like ‘The Battle of Algiers’ ” — Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 movie about the conflict between the French and F.L.N. terrorist cells in Algeria, in which the director’s sympathies lie with the terrorists. “You show the Arab side and the American side in a chase film with a ‘French Connection’ urgency, where you track people by satellite, like in ‘Enemy of the State.’ My movie would have the C.I.A. guys and the F.B.I. guys, but they blow it. They’re a bunch of drunks from World War II who haven’t recovered from the disasters of the sixties—the Kennedy assassination and Vietnam. [Emphasis added]
What on earth was Paramount thinking when they tapped Stone to direct World Trade Center?
That's not all that surprising; generally you have to be a bit more grounded in reality to do convincing satire. But what will their non-satirical -- and often very enjoyable -- "A/V Club" spin-off say about Stone after these remarks?
Update: There's a remarkable book from 2006 by Jeffrey Herf, a history professor at the University of Maryland called The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust. Herf systematically goes through the propaganda that the Nazis unceasingly pumped out to the Germans on a daily basis, and finds one element that ties it all together. If the Nazis internalized just a fraction of the propaganda they churned out, then they convinced themselves that the Jews were behind everything. As Jonah Goldberg wrote shortly after its release:
According to the standard Holocaust narrative, the Final Solution was the product of “hate” or racism or, often, both. Anti-Semitism became popular in the 19th century; the Nazis expanded on it, constructing a pseudo-scientific biological racism that saw the Jews as a “cancer” on the body politic and the Holocaust as an attempt to excise the tumor. Herf does not so much debunk this version of history as cut through it.
In The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust, he concedes that hatred and racism were important, but he argues that they don’t explain Germany’s unique efforts to destroy the Jews. It’s not as if no one hated the Jews until the 1930s.
The real answer isn’t hate, but fear. Poring through miles of speeches, private comments, journal entries, party memoranda and all 24,000 pages of Goebbel’s diaries, Herf concludes that the Nazis really believed that the Jews ran the world and wanted to destroy Germany. They believed that Jews controlled not only the Bolsheviks to the east but the capitalists to the west. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was a mere pawn of his Jewish friends and advisors. The British Parliament, Goebbels wrote in one diary entry, was “in reality a kind of Jewish stock exchange.” The “Jewish-plutocratic enemy” was everywhere, benefiting from, and responsible for, every piece of bad news for Germany.
And Stone's conspiracy theories are beginning to take him into enter similar territory himself. As Ronald Radosh writes, "Oliver Stone Reaches a New Low: Anti-Semitism:"
Stone pulls out all the stops in an example of anti-Semitic vitriol not heard in our country openly since the days of the World War II era American anti-Semite, Gerald L.K. Smith. Here, in bold, is the key paragraph in the [Camilla Long interview in the London Sunday Times:]Why such a focus on the Holocaust then? “The Jewish domination of the media,” he says. “There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”
Stone’s revolting words turn one’s stomach. How different from President Harry S. Truman’s reaction, when he first heard reports of what the Nazis had done to Europe’s Jewish population, and could not sleep at night. One also remembers General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s response, when he saw the Nazi concentration camps, and quickly ordered a press trip as well as a tour for members of the House and Senate, so that the world would learn what had taken place, would never forget, and would never be able to deny.
Turning to his daughter, Long asks whether she always agrees with her father. “Yes I do,” the young girl replies. Stone pretends to want her to be critical, and says “You shouldn’t! You should look at the other side!” Young Tara replies: “I know. But I’ve been, like, sooo brainwashed.”
With his new documentary, Oliver Stone wants to brainwash us too. Unlike his daughter, however, we do not have to subject ourselves to his film when it is finally shown on TV. In fact, I suggest a campaign of viewers who now subscribe to Showtime to write and ask them to cancel the film’s showing. Secondly, I suggest a boycott in which current subscribers cancel their sub to the network the week before the film goes on the air.
Let us show CBS, which owns Showtime, that there is no market in our country for blatant anti-Semitism or for putting Hitler and Stalin “in context.”
Related: "Mainstreaming Hate: How media companies are using the Internet to make anti-Semitism respectable."
(Bumped to top.)
Gibson was an easy target for Hollywood liberals and leftists. A right-winger and a religious Catholic, Gibson was the perfect manifestation of Hollywood liberals’ stereotypes of anti-Semites.
Stone, by contrast, is a Buddhist leftist of partial Jewish descent, the kind of person the Hollywood left usually thinks of as “one of the good guys.” Stone even was clever enough to follow his anti-Semitic remark about Jewish domination of the media, noted in the context of Hitler and the Holocaust, with some pablum about the Jewish lobby, Israel, and American foreign policy. This had nothing to do with the topic at hand, but Stone’s apologists will inevitably claim that his remarks were aimed at the “Israel lobby,” and not Jews per se.
So, what will it be for Hollywood liberals? Is anti-Semitism only unacceptable when it comes from right-wing Christians, or equally bad when it comes from non-Christian leftists, who add a bit of anti-Israel window dressing? (The early returns are not promising; so far, the left-wing blogosphere has responded to Stone’s remarks with deafening silence).
Mel and Michael Richards really need to star in a film directed by Spike Lee, and co-produced by Oliver Stone and Roman Polanski to both jumpstart their careers, and make the perfect Blair's Law production of Hollywood.
(And speaking of Mel...)
Update (4:00 PM PDT 7/26/10): Oliver Stone's PR agency helps Stone begin to walk this one back.