Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oliver Stone Is At It Again

Oliver Stone is, without debate, a tremendously talented filmmaker. Well known for his large body of work, Stone's films like "Platoon" and "Born on the Fourth of July" have often been critical of the American government and it's policies. Many of his films ("Midnight Express", "JFK", "The Doors", "Evita", and "W") have been criticized by their authors, or people portrayed in the films, as playing fast and loose with the truth. Of course, Stone would tell you that these exaggerations and misrepresentations are allowed by "artistic license".


One of the great beauties of our constitution is that it allows dissidents, such as Stone, to freely express their views - even when those views are critical of our nation. I think all of us respect that right, even if we do not agree with the opinions expressed. Celebrities like Stone, Sean Penn, Jane Fonda, and Alec Baldwin are as entitled to their political views and opinions as are you and I. Where I draw the line in my tolerance of dissident speech and behavior is when these high profile characters use their celebrity to glorify those who are open enemies of our nation. In my opinion, Stone has crossed that line.

Oliver Stone is not satisfied to criticize our government. He has made a point of traveling abroad and hobnobbing with heads of state who are avowed enemies of the United States of America. His 2003 trip to Cuba resulted in a documentary on the life of Fidel Castro. The film, entitled, "Commandante" reportedly glorifies Castro and the Cuban Revolution, while vilifying the United States. Understandably, the film has never been released in the US, but can be purchased on DVD from an outlet in Great Britain.

Now Stone has spent two weeks of filming in Venezuela and other areas of South America. His focus in on Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's controversial, America hating, President. Stone claims to have enough documentation to produce two films, glorifying Chavez. Chavez is an avowed enemy of the United States. His actions and rhetoric leave no other conclusion. Stone now follows Sean Penn, who has also visited Chavez, and publicly criticized his home country on foreign soil.

Criticize America here if you so desire. But to do so in a foreign land, in the presence of a political strongman who desires the demise of our nation, is inexcusable - bordering on treason!

Stone is quoted as saying that he is happy to see the region's, "liberation from the United States". I wasn't aware that we were oppressing the peoples of South America in general, or Venezuela in particular. In fact, through the Monroe Doctrine, our government for two hundred years, has protected the continent from foreign invasion. Have we tried to extend our influence in the region? Of course. But we have not colonized or oppressed the people of South America in any one's wildest dreams. For all Chavez' anti American rhetoric, he hasn't totally won over the hearts of his fellow countrymen. In fact, Venezuelan voters, last year, had the good sense to defeat a ballot initiative that would have made his presidency permanent.

Oliver Stone may be a gifted filmmaker, but I would certainly question his judgement of human character. I was most taken by Stone's admiring quote about Chavez, when the filmmaker said, "The pure energy of the man is intoxicating." Too bad that Stone was born a little too late in history to have been "intoxicated" by another famous leader. I understand that Adolph Hitler was a pretty energetic person, himself.

Come on Oliver. Get a clue!

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