Our Douchebag of the Week is Oliver Stone. Actually, Mr. Stone is one of the finalists in the Douchebag-of-the-Last-Five-Decades-Running competition, primarily on the strength of his abilities to mangle history and then make really bad movies out of it.
(Ed. Note: The Douchebag of the Week Award will now be a staple of this blog. Readers are encouraged to nominate those they believe fit the bill. Just drop a mail with your candidate's name and a link to the event, quote, action, etc, that made your candidate a good bet to win. I will select the winner, who will be announced every Monday morning.).
Stone announced this week that, having exhausted every hippie-centric view of the 1960's, he will now take a crack at the entire 20th Century, and to show you just how bad a historian Mr. Stone is and just what sort of mindset will be making this film, he has this to say about Adolf Hitler:
"...Talking to critics, Stone, a three-times Oscar winner, explained that Hitler had been “an easy scapegoat throughout history” and that his new series would put things into their proper context. “We can't judge people as only 'bad' or 'good'. [Hitler] is the product of a series of actions,” he noted. “It's cause and effect....”
Just what we need; a therapeutic and forgiving view of Hitler, full of moral relativism, and which is yet another refight of the battle between the "Nature vs. Nuture" branch of psychology. Hitler is not an evil man driven by his personal lunacy, he's a product of his times, yet one more victim of a topsy-turvy world.
When you stop to consider the damage Stone's "historical treatment" films have already done, and here I'm speaking of the hero-worshiping "JFK", and the over-the-top surrealism of "Apocalypse Now" -- with their soft-60's-platitudes and fawning-adorational speeches placed in the mouths of people who never spoke them, the liberties taken with both fact and evidence, the outright misrepresentation of the motivations of both sides of any argument -- I can only imagine what Stone will produce in 10-hours.
Mostly, it should be reminiscent of something you occasionally have to scrape off your shoes.
We'll probably find out that Stalin murdered millions because of an extremely painful ingrown toenail that an American trade embargo prevented from being properly treated. Mao loved to collect teddy bears and hold tea parties, but Eisenhower didn't send Mao a card on Valentine's Day. Pol Pot was a cross-dresser, who wanted nothing more than to star on Broadway, but LBJ and Richard Nixon conspired to keep him in dinner theatre in Phnom Penh. All of them were driven to the acts that sullied their good memories, and ran their good intentions right off the rails (after all, they were socialists and in Stone's world, the Socialists are the heroes. Flawed Heroes, to be certain, but always the Good Guys) by greedy, ignorant, jingoistic Westerners --particularly Americans, and hopefully, Conservatives (even if Stone has to take great pains and twist the truth to portray them as Conservative). None of the true villains is ever responsible.
Murder millions on an industrial scale, deliberately starve millions more, preside over a reign of terror that makes the French Revolution seem like the Elk's Club Annual Picnic, and Stone will find some excuse to let you off the hook. A new generation of Americans which doesn't read, and which doesn't study history, will again learn their lessons from Stone's Movies, and pretty soon, they'll find a reason to excuse Osama Bin Laden...oh wait, they've already done that.
There. I've just saved you 10 hours and $50 bucks. You can thank me later.
The Telegraph has more here.