July 13, 2012

"Savages:" Whole Lotta Oliver

When "Scarface" came out 29 years ago, it was not all that warmly received. But after about a half hour, I said to myself, "This is a freight train of entertainment. Who wrote this script?" Of course, it was written by Oliver Stone, who already had an Oscar for Midnight Express. He went on to direct a series of extraordinarily energetic (i.e., coked out of his mind) middle-brow 1980s films (Salvador, Platoon, Wall Street, and Born on the Fourth of July). (Keep in mind that in these idiosyncratic precincts, "middle-brow" and even "1980s films" are terms of praise.) 

Eventually, the press turned on him over JFK (that's the moment when the term "conspiracy theory" became a conclusive putdown of any unwanted idea), but I started to like him more as his flaws became obvious.  

"Savages" is Stone's new crime movie about cool young white pot growers battling a luridly evil Mexican cartel that's attempting to move into their Laguna Beach turf. Think "Scarface" crossed with "Point Break," the 1991 movie about surfing bank robbers supposedly written and directed by Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker"), but in which I sense the crowd-pleasing fingerprints of her ex-husband James Cameron. 

"Savages" is, despite Stone's often embarrassing dialogue -- he's 65, as old as George W. Bush (in fact he was in Bush's class at Yale before dropping out for Vietnam), and is still trying to sound groovy -- a whole lotta movie.

For one thing, it looks great. The outdoor scenes are shot in a style common in the early 1980s before the fashion caught on in the later 1980s that a psychologically "dark" movie had to be visually "dark," with a typically muted blue-gray palette. Instead, Stone films Laguna Beach like a photographer for National Geographic, in bright sunshine with the sun low in the sky to provide warmth. The idea is simple but effective: exactly how far would you go to be able to afford to live in a place that looks this great?

The two American dope dealers share a blonde girlfriend without jealousy. That's not exactly realistic male psychology, but the two men don't seem like actual individuals, but instead embody the two sides of Stone's personality: the dope is grown by the Jewish hippie who is good with money and the muscle is provided by the gentile hard-ass combat veteran.

Stone's male characters are, as usual, romanticized, while the female characters are satirized. The funniest character in "Savages" is Salma Hayek's turn as the "red queen" head of the Baja Cartel. I suspect the origin of this character is in Stone's 2010 documentary "South of the Border" where he goes around Latin America interviewing leftist Presidentes. As I wrote in 2010:
The best part is when Stone interviews the one female Presidente, the wife of Kirchner of Argentina, who ran his wife in his place when he got term-limited out of office. I can't recall Stone ever creating an interesting female character, and he seems peeved that Mrs. Kirchner has gotten into the Leftist Leader Boys Club of his dreams on a technicality. So, he asks this rich and spoiled looking political wife, "How many pairs of shoes do you own?" She immediately recognizes this reference to Imelda Marcos and chews an abashed Stone out for several minutes for his sexist impertinence.

The Salma Hayek character appears to be Stone saying, "Well, okay, Mrs. Kirchner, I couldn't think of any comebacks when we did our interview ... but the auteur laughs last!"

A lot of people don't like the ending, but if you've been as fascinated as long as I have by the question of which federal laws apply on reservations of American Indian nations and which don't, then John Travolta's last line in the movie is perfect.

140 comments:

Henry Canaday said...

The whole art of making a JFK-conspiracy movie, like the art of writing a JFK-conspiracy book, is to charge half the American government with conspiring to assassinate their president, while not naming one single real live person who can sue for libel. The art of making successful movies if you are really not that good is to make at least one movie that is praised or at least discussed enough that you can attract good cinematographers for the rest of your career.

Steve Sailer said...

Stone's hot streak of 1980s-early 1990s movies were made with mostly the same underlings, but as his personality deteriorated under all the drugs, he lost his A-team. This one looks like he's gotten some good talent working for him behind the camera once again.

Polichinello said...

Stone also wrote the original draft of Conan, which Hollywood arch-right Milius directed.

Anonymous said...

Like you state Stone was good middle-brow film-maker. I went back in watched "Born on 4th of July" - pretty sad. I originally thought Stone -because of his Vietnam service- wasn't just your typical Hollywood liberal, but as shown by his love of Castro, the Nixon and JFk Movies, etc. he really is.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, the 1980s was the peak of American culture.

pat said...

I think you are wrong about Point Break. I think the internal evidence is that her hubby James Cameron wasn't that involved.

I don't really know of course, but now that I'm the unofficial voice of BDSM and odd sexual practices on this blog, I feel compelled to comment of Mr. Cameron and his preferences in women. Duty, don't you know.

The strongest theme in every Cameron movie has been the "strong woman" character. Linda Hamilton in the first Terminator somehow managed defeat The Mighty Arnold who was also an invincible robot. In the remake she has been shown to have been pumping iron herself. She wipes out half the security staff solo.

Cameron changed the character of Ripley in Aliens from the "damsel in distress" she had been in the original Ridley Scott movie, to the ultimate female butt kicker. In both of these films the powerful female ends up carrying poor wounded Michael Biehn to safety.

The Abyss has Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as the the most butch person on the sub. And in Titanic Gloria Stuart is the only major character to survive the ship wreck. She's by far the toughest person in the cast.

In Avatar the female lead is twelve feet tall. She has to mentor the male lead.

In real life Cameron married the newly muscular Hamiliton after divorcing Bigelow. Bigelow is six feet tall and has mannish features. I don't think it's too much to suggest that Cameron dreams of powerful women who do nasty thing to him.

There are no strong women in Point Break. The female lead is rescued. In a Cameron movie she would be the rescuer.

It's a beach party movie about the only the boys. It is a celebration of testosterone. Bigelow - the Tom Boy - wants to be one of them.

Albertosaurus

Cecil Coupe Deville said...

The outdoor scenes are shot in a style common in the early 1980s before the fashion caught on in the later 1980s that a psychologically "dark" movie had to be visually "dark," with a typically muted blue gray palette.

I wouldn't know if it's true, but I've read that the culprit isn't an artsy-fartsy notion of what a "dark" movie looks like but the fact that most movies are shot these days on video, and this results in a fading out of colors. At any rate, I'm constantly saying to Mrs Deville., "Hey, look, that's supposed to be in broad daylight, but everyone's all grey and pale. It's that damned video again!"

Give me glorious Technicolor any day.

kudzu bob said...

Steve, I have not yet seen Stone's movie, but the Don Winslow novel that Savages is adapted from is one of the best crime novels that I have read in ages.

Because it touches on a number of themes near and dear to your heart, including real estate and immigration (two characters even have a running debate over whether aggression is learned or innate), I had planned to email you with the suggestion that you review the novel before going on to the film, but the press of time prevented my doing so, unfortunately.

Perhaps this excerpt will give you an idea of what the book is like:

Even as a kid, Lado didn’t seem to have any feelings, or if he did, he didn’t show them anyway. Hug him—his mother did, a lot—you got nothing. Whip his ass with a belt—his father did, a lot—the same nothing. He’d just look at you with those black eyes, like what do you want with me?

He’s no kid now. Forty-six, he’s a father himself. Two sons and a teenage daughter who is making him loco. Of course, that’s her job at her age. No kid, he has himself a wife, a nice landscaping business, he makes money. No one takes a belt to him anymore.

Now he drives his Lexus through San Juan Capistrano, looking at the nice futbol field, then turns left into the big housing community, block after block of identical apartment buildings behind a stone wall that runs alongside the railroad track.

NBM.

Nothing But Mexicans.

Block after block.

You hear English here it’s the mailman talking to himself.

This is where the nice Mexicans live. Where the respectful, respectable, hardworking Mexicans live when they’re not at their jobs. These are old Mexican families, been here since before the Anglos stole it, were here when the Spanish fathers came to steal it first. Put the stones in the mission for the swallows to come back to.

These are Mexican-Americans, send their kids to the nice Catholic school across the street, where the faggot priests will train them to be docile. These the nice Mexicans who dress up on Sundays and after mass go to the park or down to the grassy strips along the harbor in Dana Point and have cookouts. Sunday is Mexicans’ Day Out, pray to Jesus and pass the tortillas por favor.

Lado is not a nice Mexican.

He’s one of those scary Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

RE:JFK,

As someone whose Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory bashing credentials are impeccable, let me just say that Stone's JFK is one great movie. I've seen it about a dozen times. It's completely absurd (to say that Stone does not mind making things up is putting it mildly), but it is incredibly entertaining.So far as Kennedy assassination flicks go, this one is tied with WINTER KILLS for all time best.

Syon

Eric said...

Stone seems to be one of those guys who had a little success and then started to take himself seriously. In many ways Wall Street was a good movie, but it turns one-dimensional so Stone could have a platform for his politics. After that Stone has mostly churned out forgettable garbage.

Steve Sailer said...

Albertosaurus:

Right. Thematically, Point Break is much like The Hurt Locker in reflecting Kathryn Bigelow's stance as a sympathetic outside observer of male behavior at its most masculine.

But, Bigelow's natural tendency is art-housey, like The Hurt Locker. I liked that movie a lot, but it didn't exactly set the box office on fire. Whereas Point Break is ludicrously entertaining. Did she have some help in fulfilling her vision from her husband, the box office king? If you were married to James Cameron and wanted to have a commercial career in Hollywood, would you take suggestions from him on how to punch up your story to make it more entertaining to the masses?

William Boot said...

I agree with Syon.

Conspiracy theories are crazy but JFK is a fantastic movie. Think about it: it's a three hour film and everyone knows the ending, and the entire last hour is just a guy talking, but it's still riveting. That's about the hardest trick in movies.

Easily the best thing Stone has done. Should have won best picture over Silence of the Lambs.

Stone's collapse after JFK illustrates the perils of drugs. What is Kevin Costner's excuse? He should have been a top five star for another decade. What happened?

Anonymous said...

Pat:"Cameron changed the character of Ripley in Aliens from the "damsel in distress" she had been in the original Ridley Scott movie, to the ultimate female butt kicker. In both of these films the powerful female ends up carrying poor wounded Michael Biehn to safety."

I'm not so sure about Ripley being a "damsel in distress" in ALIEN.If she is a damsel in distress, her only saviour is herself. Plus, the part was intentionally written in a gender neutral fashion (Weaver has commented that she played the part as a " breeches role.")Cameron, via Ripley's concern for Newt, actually feminized the character to a considerable degree.

Syon

Henry Canaday said...

“…Stone's JFK is one great movie.”

Dear Syon and William Boot:

Maybe you are just nicer guys than I am. I thought the New Orleans homosexual community should have received royalties from JFK for providing the only interesting scenes in it.

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/opinion/brooks-why-our-elites-stink.html?_r=1&smid=FB-nytimes&WT.mc_id=OP-E-FB-SM-LIN-WOE-071312-NYT-NA&WT.mc_ev=click

"Through most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Protestant Establishment sat atop the American power structure. A relatively small network of white Protestant men dominated the universities, the world of finance, the local country clubs and even high government service... Over the past half–century, a more diverse and meritocratic elite has replaced the Protestant Establishment. People are more likely to rise on the basis of grades, test scores, effort and performance."

NAME THE WASPS BUT DON'T NAME THE JEWS.

Yeah, Harvard and Wall Street are run by diverse Eskimos and Burmese.

Steve Sailer said...

JFK is a ridiculous movie -- Stone combined two contradictory theories: the entire military-industrial complex pooled their resources to plot a vast conspiracy which, for some reason, depended upon some flaming queens from New Orleans to actually implement it -- but it set new standards for the state of the art in filmmaking techniques.

sunbeam said...

I know the conventional wisdom, but it has always seemed to me you are stupid if you don't believe it was an organized assassination.

I'll base my opinion on the following facts, if one is untrue, well it's my delusional dreamworld.

1) We have a Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald who defects to Russia.

2) He defects back or something. Bringing a Russian bride with him.

3) Our government (and intelligence agencies let him back in the country). We don't bother to track him.

4) Our boy has quite a time running around to Mexican embassies and a few other curious places. Without apparently being noticed doing so.

5) Oswald just happens to be in Dallas, and have a job at the Texas Schoolbook Depository.

6) Even in 1963 no one noticed that the President was riding in a convertible past a multilevel building that was empty. I could go on about this, I think the usual argument is it was 1963 and this wasn't unusual.

7) After all is said and done, the killer of the President is being escorted by two Dallas law enforcement officers (not FBI or Secret Service or anything mind you) past a mob of reporters, photographers, and gawkers.

8) A patriotic fellow named Ruby, who is affiliated with the Mafia and runs a strip club pops up out of nowhere and shoots Oswald with a pistol, to the surprise of the Dallas lawmen.

Conveniently Mr. Ruby is dying of cancer and expires shortly thereafter.

I'm sorry. I cannot buy this story. Not a bit of it. My primate pattern recognition that sees things that don't exist apparently won't let me.

Okay, whether JFK is accurate I don't know. I'm not someone who collects books and links to material on the whole thing.

It just seems obvious to me it was an assassination, and an organized one. If Oswald had anything to do with it (he probably did) he was just one part of it.

Without getting into magic bullets or gay prostitution in New Orleans, or whatever the plot was in JFK, that is pretty much what I believe.

As to who did it and why? No idea really. I'm not sure why anyone would have bothered unless the theory JFK had turned queasy on escalating Vietnam is true. He was pretty warlike for someone who is remembered so fondly by the "counterculture."

I find it unlikely for this reason, but if he did that might have been a reason to whack him. The US of that period had even more vested interests than now that profited from military operations, from the Military, to Manufacturers, intelligence agencies, proto-wonks at the Rand Corporation, Congressman and Senators (I won't be explaining this one, Scoop Jackson knows who he was, and he had a lot of company in DC then) you name it. I think a lot of people found a new big military effort to be enticing for a number of reasons.

I know groups like the Bay of Pigs Cubans and the Mafia may have wanted him gone. Then too I've seen the theory that it might have been a "mercy killing," ie JFK was hooked on amphetamines and was too unstable (Cuban Missile Crisis) to continue as chief executive. Too messy to remove him another way, all for the best really.

I totally believe the JFK assassination was a conspiracy. I don't know how true Stone's movie was, but I believe those who think Oswald acted alone are the real nuts.

Anonymous said...

Henry Canaday:"Maybe you are just nicer guys than I am. I thought the New Orleans homosexual community should have received royalties from JFK for providing the only interesting scenes in it."


That's another aspect of JFK that I find deliciously entertaining: it's incredibly un-PC in its portrayal of homosexuals. Seriously, this film depicts the assassination of Kennedy as coming out of a cabal composed of right-wing Cubans, the military, the CIA, and the NEW ORLEANS GAY COMMUNITY!

Syon

Suburban_elk said...

JFK is a great movie. The weaving together of past and present, live action, historical footage, conjecture and things that might have happened. Which is which, who knows? And that was part of his point on the nature of conspiracy. Who decides what happened, how is a consensus formed; and of course he was participating in that with the film. (Rather than the particulars of the conspiracy in the film, which Stone called a possibility or suggestion or something and which Steve Sailer considers contradictory; it is the nature of conspiracy and how it might exist. Was Conspiracy painted as too explicit? Perhaps. But mechanisms such plausible deniability and convergent were well portrayed.)

Another aspect to the film that is so appealing is its manliness, and certainly that is a theme in his other flicks. Stone is admiring of and taken with real men. Men of action, driven by and working toward larger purposes. Though the faults and egos of these characters, such as the homosexuals conspirators, are wrapped and up and confused with their mission. Such is motivation in life, in deed.

So an action flick considering time and character, in four dimensions say, rather than the typical two.

Marlowe said...

Mr. Stone has directed one woman's story - Heaven & Earth - a 1993 film about the life of a Vietnamese women who lives through the war and relocates at its end to America.

Harry Baldwin said...

And in Titanic Gloria Stuart is the only major character to survive the ship wreck.

Did you forget Caledon 'Cal' Hockley, Molly Brown, Ruth Dewitt Bukater, and Spicer Lovejoy?

Whiskey said...

JFK was an awful movie. I was bored out of my skull with it. Stone took the most interesting thing -- a lunatic hard left guy who hated America and conservatives (Oswald tried and failed to assassinate in Dallas an ultra conservative leader) and indicted the very guys JFK liked and admired, along with a bunch of gay guys in the French Quarter (who maybe on a good day could stage an assault on fabulous antique stores).

Oswald was an interesting guy. Someone who felt his only value in life was killing someone famous and conservative, an ultra-leftist even the Soviets had no use for and a failure in everything. And instead Stone figures the most interesting guys in the story were not Oswald and Kennedy but ... some gay guys in the Quarter. And a lunatic DA.

I mean come on, history wrote your screenplay right there. JFK the dynamic "winning at everything but secretly riddled with pain and betrayal -- his own and his family's" stalked by the ultimate loser and hard left proto-emo kid. But no, gotta go with a DA glory-hound and some gay guys.

Steve Sailer said...

LBJ's immediate assumption on 11/22/1963 was that Castro did it as payback for the CIA under Kennedy trying to kill him. RFK immediately came up with three different conspiracy theories, with the Mafia being most likely as payback for RFK going after them after all the help they'd provided the Kennedy family. Initially, neither LBJ nor RFK imagined a lone gunman was likely.

My best guess is that Oswald wanted to be part of a conspiracy, ideally leftist, but that potential co-conspirators he approached, such as the KGB, eventually tended to figure out he was Bad News and would drop him, leading him to eventually become a semi-lone gunman, but with a lot of bizarre contacts.

Anonymous said...

sunbeam:

For a point by point demolition of everything that you listed, read Bugliosi's Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. If you still believe that a conspiracy killed Kennedy after reading that book, please get in touch with me.I have some real estate that you might be interested in buying.

Syon

kudzu bob said...

Back in 1990 I lived in Lexington, Kentucky, just up the street from a SuperAmerica store where I bought most of my gasoline and beer. The fat guy who run the place claimed to be a former Mob hitman, and once confided in me that he was the second shooter on the grassy knoll.

All I could do was stare at his ill-fitting polyester uniform and ask, "So what happened to all the money that you must've got paid, old man?"

He sighed. "This is a bad town to hide out in if you like to bet on horses."

Hey, why not?

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

I agree with Sunbeam except for his take on the military industrial complex. They are much more poweful today.

Steve, your lone (but not from lack of effort!) gunman theory is intriguing and new (at least to me). Still doesn't explain Jack Ruby, though.

Laz said...

"Stone also wrote the original draft of Conan..."

Still my favorite movie.

Steve Sailer said...

"Still doesn't explain Jack Ruby, though."

Right.

Steve Sailer said...

Winter Kills with a Jeff Bridges as the youngest scion of a famous political family who tries to investigate the assassination of his older brother, the President, is a film that didn't get much attention when it came out, but sticks in the memory. The book is by Richard Condon, whose "Manchurian Candidate" is a pretty good book but not as good as the 1962 movie, which Frank Sinatra pulled from circulation for awhile after 11/22/63.

sunbeam said...

Still believe it. Always will.

I also have beliefs about 911 you will find unpalatable.

And the fact that the Bush family knew the family of John Hinckley quite well. I've always wondered why that one wasn't dug into a little more thoroughly.

Come on, even if it was an absurd, tragic coincidence the media should have been all over that like stink on shit. They've gone berserk over a lot less. Instead it just kind of fizzled. In a hurry.

We all have lots of theories about everything. I have one: Americans will believe or disbelieve pretty much anything based on what they see on TV, specifically the news shows.

Heck even Entertainment Tonight moves more minds than any book short of Harry Potter these days.

My theory is you don't really have to even try to come up with a plausible story. The only thing that matters is whether the media will cover it, and how they cover it. Reality in modern America, at least as regards public events, is what you see on TV.

Well it might not be reality, but that doesn't really matter.

Take for example the arguments Colin Powell made before the UN justifying the Iraq invasion. You pretty much have to ignore anything you ever read concerning the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein to believe he was in cahoots with Bin Laden. Or that he was involved in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction (instead of buying what he could get from the Russians like everyone else).

I remember thinking no one with a brain could buy that pile of steaming crap. But no one said much of anything about it on the news or in congress, and the man on the street ate it up. And I had conversations with quite a few people who thought Hussein was something like Blofeld in a James Bond movie.

And then there is the Bin Laden killing by Navy Seals... hmmmm no end to it is there?

Obviously there are things like gravity and relativity, math and thermodynamics that are real. But when it comes to people my belief is most believe what they are told.

And if they are told something is a crackpot notion, they will believe it is a crackpot notion.

While also believing in another other ludicrous thing that has been blessed by a serious looking individual they see on a tv screen. Or maybe just a hot news anchor, that works just as well for me.

Anonymous said...

NIXON and HEAVEN & EARTH are his high points for me.

Anonymous said...

'As someone whose Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory bashing credentials are impeccable, let me just say that Stone's JFK is one great movie.'

It's 'great' filmmaking for people who don't know what great filmmaking is. MTV is what it is.

Good conspiracy movies? MANCHU CANDIDATE, NIGHT MOVES, and PARALLAX VIEW.

Andrea Ostrov Letania said...

"but it set new standards for the state of the art in filmmaking techniques."

really? Current Affairs, Hard Copy, and MTV had been doing it forever.

It may not be ok today cuz we learn some gay dude was behind it all.

Anonymous White Male said...

When you can explain the "Magic Bullet" and the fact that Kennedy's head explodes in the wrong direction you may have something. You know, those old immutable, pesky laws of physics. But, until then, only a deluded zealot that believes his country's rulers would not stage a coup d'tat would believe in the lone-gun man hypothesis.

Anonymous said...

sunbeam:"Still believe it. Always will."

Good to see another true believer. As with Stephen Jay Gould, don't let facts get in the way of what you want to believe.

Syon

Anonymous said...

TontoBubbaGoldstein:"Steve, your lone (but not from lack of effort!) gunman theory is intriguing and new (at least to me). Still doesn't explain Jack Ruby, though."

Jack Ruby explains Jack Ruby: a screwball loser who wanted to make a name for himself by killing the man who murdered the president.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Anonymous White Male:When you can explain the "Magic Bullet" and the fact that Kennedy's head explodes in the wrong direction you may have something. You know, those old immutable, pesky laws of physics."

Those issues have been thoroughly explained: read Bugliosi's book (I should get some kind compensation from Vince).

Syon

Steve Sailer said...

"Jack Ruby explains Jack Ruby: a screwball loser who wanted to make a name for himself by killing the man who murdered the president."

Okay, but that's two screwball losers who wanted to make a name for themselves by killing somebody famous ... in two days. And while lots of people in North Texas had pistols, but very few of them had Mafia connections, just as lots of people in Dallas had rifles but not many of them had defected to the Soviet Union and had a father-in-law in the KGB like Oswald did.

I'm not saying that the Two Lone Gunmen with Nefarious Connections isn't the best explanation, but am I saying it isn't a very good explanation

Kylie said...

Someone who'd worked in government in various capacities told me that he believed the CIA, the military and the Mafia all conspired to assassinate JFK b/c he was such a loose cannon in so many ways. He thought it was great fun to elude the Secret Service and go off on one of his jaunts, the affair with a mobster's moll, the Bay of Pigs, etc. They just never knew what that peskily unpredictable POTUS was going to do next, which really peeved the various factions for various reasons.

After all, conspirators don't have to share the same motive to conspire; they only have to agree on the means.

I enjoyed Stone's JFK because I took it as a "What if--?" entertainment.

TGGP said...

Speaking of ambiguous law in the wild west of the U.S, in Yellowstone there's an area where no jury can constitutionally be drafted to convict you of a crime, due to a mistake in how Congress assigned jurisdiction.

I agree with Steve that lone gunman Oswald is the most plausible story, but the Ruby coincidence is awkward to explain away.

Anonymous said...

Regarding JFK.

Am I the only one who finds Victor Marchetti's accusation in a magazine article published in 1979 on the eve of the report by the House Select Committee on Assassinations that E. Howard Hunt was involved interesting?

The Committee, its part of the Congressional Record, found that there was a conspiracy based on audio evidence that has since come into dispute.

Marchetti was a high ranking CIA official who had gone off the reservation in 1974 and published a book, the CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, exposing various nefarious activities of the CIA in a book of which the Federal Courts only permitted to be published Knopf with half of it blocked out.

In the article Marchetti claimed that the Committee had a memo signed by Angleton and Richard Helms expressing concern that E. Howard Hunt had been "seen" in Dallas on the day of the JFK assassination. He indicated that the Committee believed that Hunt was involved. Another article by two other writers in another magazine made the same claim based on different sources of information regarding the memo than the one used by Marchetti.

Hunt sued the magazine in which the Marchetti article appeared for libel and received a judgment of approximately $650,000.

Mark Lane handled the appeal and proved that E. Howard Hunt lied about being in D.C. on the day of the JFK assassination and that he could not prove he was not in Dallas.

Mark Lane's book, Plausible Denial, detailing the trial and the depositions he took in preparation for the trial of many CIA officials (some of whom the courts' refused to be permitted to be identified in a book or court proceedings other than as "Mr. X" or "Mr. Y" for national security reasons) is quite interesting.

In his book attorney Lane says he is convinced that there was a conspiracy and that Hunt and others were involved.
Interstingly, in 2003, Robert Blakey, staff director and chief counsel for the Committee, issued a statement on the Central Intelligence Agency claiming that the CIA repeatedly lied to the Committee about the CIA’s relationship with Oswald (wow what a surprise!).

Hunt died a couple of years ago and allegedly fessed up on his death bed that he was involved after all,but claimed he wasn’t one of the shooters, and named the co-conspirators and the shooters.

I listened to parts of the confession that was available on youtube at one time, and frankly, the parts I listened to sounded like they were possibly rehearsed and therefore perhaps unreliable.

The press exept for the Rolling Stone Magazine pretty much ignored the confession.

Still, it is a very interesting angle with a full court case worth of testimony under oath by the many alleged players, including numerous CIA operatives, in the possible conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Steve:"Okay, but that's two screwball losers who wanted to make a name for themselves by killing somebody famous ... in two days. And while lots of people in North Texas had pistols, but very few of them had Mafia connections, just as lots of people in Dallas had rifles but not many of them had defected to the Soviet Union and had a father-in-law in the KGB like Oswald did.

I'm not saying that the Two Lone Gunmen with Nefarious Connections isn't the best explanation, but am I saying it isn't a very good explanation"

1. Oswald's father-in -law was not in the KGB;I think that you might be confusing her father with her uncle, Ilya Prusakov. "[H]e was a lieutenant colonel and head of the Timber Administration of the Belorussian Republic's Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).(48) This might be comparable to a position in the US Department of the Interior." A lot of pro-conspiracy literature and cinema (including Stone's JFK) assert the untruth that he as a KGB agent.

2. Ruby's "Mafia connections" have been vastly overstated in the conspiracy literature. In truth, his links to the mob were about what you would expect from a guy who ran a strip club in the early 60s.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Steve:"I'm not saying that the Two Lone Gunmen with Nefarious Connections isn't the best explanation, but am I saying it isn't a very good explanation"

As to whether it is a "very good explanation," doesn't that simply depend on whether it is correct or incorrect?

Incidentally, Steve, have you read Bugliosi's book?

Syon

Anonymous said...

Kylie:"Someone who'd worked in government in various capacities told me that he believed the CIA, the military and the Mafia all conspired to assassinate JFK......
After all, conspirators don't have to share the same motive to conspire; they only have to agree on the means."

This kind of Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory is the easiest to shoot down. The larger the size of a conspiracy, the greater the likelihood of leaks. Small, tightly organized conspiracies can be effective; large, loose, ad hoc assemblages are prone to falling apart.

Syon

The Will of Landru said...

I saw Oliver Stone in a Manhattan supermarket in about 1995. It was about to close and there was a line in the only cashier open of about 5 people. He started ranting and raving, even yelling about how this was unfair and how he needed to checkout before everybody else.

Anonymous said...

Stone has always been his own worst enemy. He's a smart guy but with big balls, and his balls have gotten the best of him.
John Simon once said, pertaining to Roman Polanski, that while creative freedom is essential to an artist, communist censorship might have had a restraining effect on Polanki's worst and most indulgent tendencies. I wonder if the same might not apply to Stone. He might have been a better filmmaker behind the Iron Curtain.

His worst quality wasn't his ideology. Plenty of filmmakers left of Stone have made better films, like Pontecorvo with KAPO, BATTLE OF ALGIERS, and BURN! The problem is Stone's tendency to confuse whacky MTV gonzo filmmaking with art and truth.

So, Stone actually made his best movies when he self-restrained his lunacy and tried harder to empathize with his characters, which is why NIXON and HEAVEN & EARTH are his two best movies. JFK, along with NATURAL BORN KILLERS, are cocaine movies. NIXON is an lsd movie. It's as if Stone, under the influence of lsd, contacted Nixon's subconscious and slipped some acid to Trippy Dick. And HEAVEN & EARTH, because it's about a woman, calmed Stone down a bit and forced him to see the world through the heart and poon than merely through the the swinging dick and balls.

This isn't to say an artist should necessarily work against his instincts. Scorsese worked against his in HUGO and the result wasn't good. Scorsese should go with his instincts, but his instincts are good.
Stone's instincts are more iffy. There's genuine passion but also infantile over-indulgence, and so he has to be reined in a bit. And he somehow managed to calm down and work more intelligently on NIXON and HEAVEN & EARTH. I also liked WTC.

I admire parts of SALVADOR, PLATOON, and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. But JFK just beats you over the head. Manipulation doesn't work--except on dummies--when it's so nakedly manipulative. The style was so nakedly intrusive and obvious throughout JFK that the viewer(with any sense)was always awakened to what Stone was doing. I resented the fact that someone was trying to beat me over the head with his so-called counter-myth.
It was PASSION OF THE CONSPIRACY.

Anonymous said...

I go with POSNER who wrote CASE CLOSED. Oswald killed Kennedy.

But when it happened, I think a lot of people panicked and thought they would be implicated cuz Oswald the looney made contacts with just about everyone. That might explain Ruby.

RKU said...

sunbeam: We all have lots of theories about everything. I have one: Americans will believe or disbelieve pretty much anything based on what they see on TV, specifically the news shows...My theory is you don't really have to even try to come up with a plausible story. The only thing that matters is whether the media will cover it, and how they cover it. Reality in modern America, at least as regards public events, is what you see on TV.

Exactly! Couldn't agree more about the entire (very depressing) analysis. If it's on the Screen it's real, and vice-versa.

Personally, I suspect that was the reason for the gigantic elite media backlash against JFK. After all, it was a major film, so it could almost go toe-to-toe with all the talking heads on TeeVee saying "no conspiracy."


Regarding the JFK assassination itself, I've never read a single book or even paid much attention to it. I also thought some of the reported elements were a little "suspicious" but doubted a conspiracy because the elite MSM always all said No Conspiracy.

Then, last year, I happened to actually watch Stone's JFK on Netflix for the first time. Probably 98% of the film was interesting and well done, but didn't seem very persuasive since I had no idea whether or not Stone might have taken considerable "artistic liberty" with the factual evidence, just like he did with his ridiculous Alexander film.

However, one detail really jumped out at me, though I assume it's totally old hat to all the JFK Conspiracy buffs hanging around on this thread. Stone explicitly stated that the Official Theory claims that just one of Oswald's bullets was responsible for something like seven separate wounds to Kennedy, Connolly, etc. That really doesn't sound like the sort of "artistic license detail" a director would simply invent, and I don't recall any of the dozen or more long MSM attacks I'd read on JFK when the film came out claimed he'd invented it, which would be a great way to make him a laughingstock. I suddenly understood all that endless chatter here and there about a "magic bullet."

Now I've never bothered further investigating the matter, but if the Official Theory really claims that one bullet caused seven separate wounds, it's totally ludicrous, with Ruby and all the other details just being icing on the cake. And as a consequence, the likelihood of a "conspiracy" and "coverup" becomes around 99%. If so, then it seems to me pretty obvious who was behind the conspiracy and why, and that also explains various other seemingly inexplicable events. Figuring things out isn't too difficult when you think simply and logically. It also explains why the entire elite MSM was so fanatically eager to "debunk" Stone's film.

Anyway, that's my takeaway from the JFK movie.

beowulf said...

"The whole art of making a JFK-conspiracy movie, like the art of writing a JFK-conspiracy book, is to charge half the American government with conspiring to assassinate their president, while not naming one single real live person who can sue for libel."

Thank you for neatly making Steve's point.

"In 1978, when a small magazine published a story by CIA renegade Victor Marchetti linking ex-CIA operative and convicted Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt to the assassination, Hunt sued for defamation. Lane signed on as defense counsel for the publication... In the end, the jury found in favor of Lane and his client."
http://www.marklane.com/Plausible_Denial.htm

Anonymous said...

"Children should be educated to the degree they are educable."

-- Joe Biden of all people, at the NAACP conference of all places.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laWsBITiTxQ&feature=plcp

Anonymous said...

http://www.cracked.com/video_18428_when-movie-montages-get-out-hand.html

Stone-isms.

beowulf said...

Stone's Nixon biopic was quite good and a rather sympathetic portrayal. His implicit point that the men who killed Kennedy also drove Nixon from office has been taken up recently by Russ Baker.
http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/05/07/watergate-revelations-the-coup-against-nixon-part-1-of-3/

Anonymous said...

RKU:"Regarding the JFK assassination itself, I've never read a single book or even paid much attention to it."

Broken record mode: Read Bugliosi's book. Or, if it is too long, try Posner's. It's not as comprehensive, but it is level-headed.

Syon

Jason said...

Penn & Teller even covered the ballistics issues on their television show. No laws of physics were violated. Kennedy's head actually did exactly what it should have if shot by Oswald. That doesn't mean there was no conspiracy (I tend to think there was) but there's no reason the conspiracy needed more than one shooter, or that Oswald wasn't it.

Anonymous said...

RKU:"However, one detail really jumped out at me, though I assume it's totally old hat to all the JFK Conspiracy buffs hanging around on this thread. Stone explicitly stated that the Official Theory claims that just one of Oswald's bullets was responsible for something like seven separate wounds to Kennedy, Connolly, etc. That really doesn't sound like the sort of "artistic license detail" a director would simply invent, and I don't recall any of the dozen or more long MSM attacks I'd read on JFK when the film came out claimed he'd invented it, which would be a great way to make him a laughingstock. I suddenly understood all that endless chatter here and there about a "magic bullet."

The "Magic bullet" claims of the conspiracy buffs have been thoroughly debunked. For a fairly good run-down on Stone's massively inaccurate treatment of the issue, there is a website,www.jfk-online.com/jfk100menu.html, that should help you. It explores 100 topics that Stone distorts/lies about in the film.

Syon

William Boot said...

To those who are arguing that JFK is crap:

Why on earth can it still incite passion on a non-movie blog 20 years after its release?

Why do people who haven't seen it in two decades, people who claim not to have liked it, seem to remember it so well? There are movies I saw last year that I can't really remember.

Besides, when you actually know a movie is crap — rather than a skillfully done movie you just didn't care for — you won't waste your breath arguing over it.

Anonymous said...

RE: Mark Lane's PLAUSIBLE DENIAL:


Mark Lane is a lawyer. That’s a good starting point for understanding his approach to the Kennedy assassination.

Lawyers can get in trouble for telling outright lies, but they are free to – indeed are expected to – present only that information that serves the interests of their clients. They are free to – indeed are expected to – spin any piece of information to benefit their clients. In a legal proceeding where both sides have competent legal counsel, this is the way an adversarial system of justice works. But it’s not a good way to write a book.

Which brings us to Plausible Denial, Lane’s conspiracy volume published in 1991. The book is a hodgepodge of conspiracy arguments and conspiracy claims, but the central focus is on a trial in which ex-CIA operative E. Howard Hunt sued the Liberty Lobby for libel.[.....]



Where was E. Howard Hunt in November 22, 1963?

Lane’s first tactic to convict Hunt is to claim that the latter had no alibi for November 22, 1963. Of course, Lane has to admit that Hunt’s fellow CIA employees said he was in Washington, DC., but he strongly implies that they must have been lying. First, Lane discusses one Walter Kuzmuk.

Kuzmuk was a CIA officer who had worked with Hunt. To the jurors at the first trial, his testimony may have seemed dispositive of the question of Hunt’s whereabouts on November 22, 1963; an experienced, ranking officer of the CIA had seen him in Washington just as the president was being shot in Dallas. According to Kuzmuk, Hunt and his wife had driven by in the early afternoon of November 22 as he exited from a downtown Washington restaurant.

Kuzmuk repeated this testimony at the second trial.

Since Kuzmuk worked for the CIA, Lane can assume that conspiracy-oriented readers will happily accept that he was a liar, so Lane asks rhetorically, “Was Kuzmuk a CIA-arranged witness?” Lane then nitpicks Kuzmuk’s testimony, attempting to convince readers that minor discrepancies are the tip-off that Kuzmuk is indeed lying.

Another witness to Hunt being in Washington, indeed at the CIA, on the day of the assassination was Connie Mazerov. In contrast to other witnesses, who are quoted a length, Lane offers one dismissive paragraph on her.

Connie Mazerov offered the most pathetic testimony I had encountered in some time. It was a sad rendition of the stand-by-your-man theme . . . . She had seen Hunt early that morning. As to the meetings he was supposed to have attended later that morning (according to one of Hunt’s versions of events), she couldn’t recall seeing him there. She never saw anyone else that morning who could have seen him.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Mark Lane:Armstrong apparently did say that, and doubtless believed it. But there were five other jurors. Two of them told the Miami Herald that they most certainly did not believe that Lane had proven that Hunt was a conspirator. Suzanne Reach said that “We were very disgusted and felt it was trash . . . . The paper published material that was sloppy – but it wasn’t malicious.” Reach added that “We were worried that our verdict might give the wrong impression to the public” and added that Lane’s conspiracy theories were “absolutely not” the reason for the verdict.

The Herald also quoted another juror, who refused to be identified, saying that the verdict was the result of Hunt failing to demonstrate that the article was published with “reckless disregard for the truth,” and added that Lane’s conspiracy theories were “so much extraneous matter.”

Likewise, an unidentified juror told the Associated Press that (in the words of the AP reporter) “no evidence was presented showing malice toward Hunt by the publication.” Finally, juror L. L. Cobb told United Press that the jury was concerned about whether the article was damaging to Hunt, not whether it was true. Quoting the UPI story:

“What we looked at was the article and whether there was any instances of malice,” she said. “We did not find any because there had been many stories written about the issue.”

Thus, depending on whether the unidentified juror in the Miami Herald story is the same person as the juror quoted by the Associated Press, three or four of the six jurors went on record as denying Lane’s claims to have proven a conspiracy.

But Lane ignores them and quotes the single juror whose statements are convenient.

Interestingly, Lane discusses Judge James Kehoe’s instructions to the jury in one bland sentence. Lane says that “Judge Kehoe delivered his instructions to the jury carefully, reading a prepared statement that had been previously submitted for comment to counsel for each party.” In reality, the judge had explicitly told the jurors that Hunt was a “public figure” and that they must find “actual malice” in order to find the Spotlight guilty of libel.

Indeed, before producing a verdict, the jury asked to review the testimony of Victor Marchetti, the author who wrote the story about Hunt, Spotlight publisher Willis Carto, and Managing Editor James Tucker. None of these men testified, as Lorenz did, of knowing anything about a conspiracy, but their testimony was relevant to the issue of whether the article was published with “malice.”
Conclusion

Plausible Denial is thus an artfully crafted exercise in withholding evidence from readers. Lane withholds the names and testimony of several of Hunt’s alibi witnesses, the credibility problems of Marita Lorenz, and the fact that the verdict hinged not on whether Hunt was an assassination conspirator, but rather whether the article met a narrow legal definition of “malice.”

Unlike most conspiracy books, which pepper readers with factoids, Lane seems to be very careful to avoid saying things that are provably untrue. Rather, by the careful withholding of evidence and the calculated spinning of the evidence he actually presents, he makes his case. And unlike most conspiracy authors, he seems to actually know what he’s doing.



Ed Dolan and Jean Davison provided valuable information that aided the writing of this article.

(http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/denial.htm)

Syon

DaveinHackensack said...

Steve,

Any chance you could moderate comments with spoilers about Savages, for those who haven't seen it yet? The last time you had a thread about a new movie (that Alien quasi-prequel), it was immediately filled with spoiler comments.

Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

If I want good leftie filmmaking, I'll watch Costa-Gravas or one of the great Italians. (There was even a spaghetti western retelling of the JFK assassination, called THE PRICE OF POWER.) But for pure entertainment, Stone is great. I'm surprised no one's mentioned ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, a really fun look at the NFL.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't as impressed with "Savages." There was a persistent undertone verging on overtone of propaganda about pot, for example. I don't have feelings much one way or the other on the subject, but it was an annoying distraction to be preached to about it. Second, and related, many of the SWPL dope combine people had a "and we'd have gotten away with it if it weren't for those darn kids" vibe going on. With the pot growing money guy or the computer guys, Stone seemed to be selling hard the idea that competent people smoked dope, but in the process made them come off as the adorable pint-sized kids who foil the bad guys in a circa 1975 Disney live action movie.

And the action wasn't very believable. Hint: when you set up an exchange and specify the place, it's so that you can get there first and observe anyone trying to set up to dry gulch you. I didn't believe Taylor Kitsch was a SEAL. The military dialog and the set-piece assault on the drug money was not executed very well.

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder if Syon is even aware that Hunt gave a deathbed confession about his involvement in the JFK assassination, which also implicated LBJ, btw. Even if he was aware of this, I assume it wouldn't mean anything to him. You work in the spirit of the best debunkers, my friend. Through character assassination and misdirection you shall know them.

Pincher Martin said...

"Eventually, the press turned on him over JFK (that's the moment when the term "conspiracy theory" became a conclusive putdown of any unwanted idea), but I started to like him more as his flaws became obvious."

I remember it differently. The press treated JFK very respectfully. The movie got a Newsweek cover story, and its thesis was handled with the kind of faux objectivity that made it seem like Stone had a serious point. The film had good box office and good reviews. And as propaganda, the movie is very effective.

I think where the press began to turn on Stone was a couple of years later after the release of his Natural Born Killers. The media could take Stone portraying high-level U.S. politicians and the U.S. military as complicit in the murder of JFK, but it couldn't bear him portraying society and the media itself as complicit in a serial killer spree. That, apparently, hit a little too close to home.

Pincher Martin said...

I also agree with Syon's take on JFK. It's absurd history, but still a pretty damn good movie.

If someone teaches a class on political propaganda, this movie should be at the top of the list because it's a masterpiece of propaganda.

Kylie said...

"Someone who'd worked in government in various capacities told me that he believed the CIA, the military and the Mafia all conspired to assassinate JFK......
After all, conspirators don't have to share the same motive to conspire; they only have to agree on the means."

This kind of Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory is the easiest to shoot down. The larger the size of a conspiracy, the greater the likelihood of leaks. Small, tightly organized conspiracies can be effective; large, loose, ad hoc assemblages are prone to falling apart."


True. But in this instance my friend didn't mean everyone in the military, the Mafia and the CIA or even a majority of them. I gather that he was referring to maybe a dozen people, if that many.

Anonymous said...

If so, then it seems to me pretty obvious who was behind the conspiracy and why, and that also explains various other seemingly inexplicable events.

RKU,

Who do you think was behind it and why? And what are the inexplicable events?

Anonymous said...

I always figured that the reason the JFK assassination led to so many conspiracy theories was because America wanted a clear Manichean narrative to explain such an event.

The moment Kennedy was killed the general consenus was that he had been murdered by right-wingers. After all, the President was regarded as a liberal and the right in America hated him. General Walker's house in Dallas had to get a police guard shortly after the shooting to protect him from angry locals who blamed his rightist rabble rousing for the murder.

When Oswald was arrested the 'good liberal President murdered by evil right-wingers' narrative was disrupted. Americans found it hard to get their heads around the idea that a hard-left loser with a failing marriage and a desire to prove he was somebody could have wanted to kill a President they thought was fairly progressive. Never mind the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis etc.

A left-winger kills a liberal? That was not the great national tragic narrative America needed to cope with the assassination of its President.

So the conspiracy theories began.

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

Syon,
Vincent Bugliosi is also a lawyer...like Mark Lane.

One other point. I have always found it curious that, while in police custody, Oswald declared, "I'm just a patsy!". Not, "I'm innocent!" or "I didn't do it!". Seems like ole Lee Harvey may have been one of the first conspiracy theorists. Then, almost on cue, Jack Ruby silenced him...

Anonymous said...

Every so often I jokingly claim the moon landing was a hoax. The most convincing counter argument I've heard was, basically it would be far more difficult to stage, and keep hidden, than actually execute the moon landing.

It would be far too difficult to actually execute JFK as a coup d'├ętat or conspiracy, and still to this day not have any way to prove it.

Steve Sailer said...

"The press treated JFK very respectfully."

There were two different phases. First, the film critics and other entertainment press people, who don't know nothing about anything that's not related to entertainment, were enraptured by JFK. After all, it was a pretty amazing piece of state of the art filmmaking for 1991.

Then, during the long pre-Oscar season in the winter of 1992, the Serious Press weighed in with debunkings. That was the point, I believe, at which "conspiracy theory" became a surefire epithet.

Marlowe said...

The Big Lebowski followed by the new Oliver Stone flick sounds like a great double bill.

On the media reaction to the historical accuracy of JFK I recall the words of veteran screenwriter William Goldman on his involvement with writing the adaptation of All the President's Men:

Great liberties could not be taken with the material. Not just for legal reasons, which were potentially enormous. But if there was ever a movie that had to be authentic, it was this one. The importance of the subject matter obviously demanded that. More crucially was this: We were dealing here with probably the greatest triumph of the print media in many years, and every media person who would see the film, if there was a film--every columnist and commentator and reviewer--would have spent time at some point in their careers in a newspaper. And if we "Hollywooded it up"--i.e., put in dancing girls--there was no way they would take it kindly. We had to be dead on, or we were dead.
-- Adventures in the Screen Trade, 1982

Fools rush in ...

Peter said...

Re the JFK "conspiracy:"

5) Oswald just happens to be in Dallas, and have a job at the Texas Schoolbook Depository.

Oswald had applied for a number of jobs and the one at the Depository happened to be the first one he had gotten. He was hired on October 15, before Kennedy announced his upcoming trip to Dallas. Oswald's job was a temporary one and in normal circumstances it would have ended prior to November 22. The job was extended a few weeks, however, because some of the permanent workers were replacing a floor.

A patriotic fellow named Ruby, who is affiliated with the Mafia and runs a strip club pops up out of nowhere and shoots Oswald with a pistol, to the surprise of the Dallas lawmen.
Conveniently Mr. Ruby is dying of cancer and expires shortly thereafter.


Through his nightclub Ruby had become friends with many Dallas police officers. This gave him access to the police station.
Also, Ruby did not become ill until years later, while he was in prison.

Herny Canaday said...

If a conspiracy did not kill Kennedy, what possible motive could there be for a conspiracy to kill Oswald?

Suppose Mafia, CIA or Cuban persons had not conspired to kill Kennedy, but had engaged in potentially embarrassing conversations with Oswald beforehand. Why would they trade this possibility of suspicion of conspiring to kill Kennedy, which could not be proven because it did not happen, for an actual conspiracy to kill Oswald, which could be proven because it did happen, the killer, Ruby, would inevitably be left in the custody of police and his background and activities subject to thorough investigation?

Moreover, this provable involvement in the killing of Oswald would only increase suspicion of conspiracy to kill Kennedy.

Even if you assume that Ruby was normally a reliably tight-lipped guy, the conspirators would be making themselves vulnerable to prosecution for a real murder and more vulnerable to blame for the assassination itself.

sunbeam said...

JFK's assassination isn't something I'm obsessed with. So I don't have tons of material on this.

I did a little googling however.

My memory was wrong.

Jack Ruby didn't die until 1967. He died of cancer, at least reportedly. I suppose you could construct a conspiracy theory on this, but why wait four years?

I had always thought Ruby had known he had cancer and was going to die. I was wrong.

That said I just watched some kennedy assassination films on youtube. The actual assassination didn't tell me much. I'd have to come up with a map of the route and whatnot. But I'm no expert on such things, and a whole lot of people have done this sort of thing already.

Now I watched several clips of Oswald being frog marched and Ruby shooting him.

That is some odd stuff in my opinion.

Like I said I'm no expert, but I'm willing to bet that wasn't the first time Ruby did something like that.

Oswald's body language and behavior are weird. He just appears to be too calm. He doesn't act like someone who just killed the President and is going to be tried and probably executed for it.

Maybe it hadn't sunk in, or he was just crazy. Plus there was the look of total surprise on his face when he was shot. I guess that is normal for being shot, but I wouldn't know.

The guy just seemed totally unworried about the whole thing. My take is he expected someone to haul his ass out pronto. Which doesn't make sense either, since with his background he had to know he'd make one heck of a "patsy."

I've read nothing about this in the past day that changes my mind.

I will tell you that an awful lot of Italian names pop up: Bugliosi, Zotti, etc. No idea what that means, if anything, just saying.

Like I said, one of my "facts" is apparently not as I remember it.

Some dumb-ass assumption of modern rhetoric assumes you invalidate your whole argument if you say you were wrong about something, even in a minor way.

Not me. I'm old school, I take my cues from the giants (people who died a long time ago), not some puerile fluffer you see on pundit shows.

I still think it was a conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Even in 1963 no one noticed that the President was riding in a convertible past a multilevel building that was empty. I could go on about this, I think the usual argument is it was 1963 and this wasn't unusual.

If the Secret Service had kept their 1963 levels of security, every president for the last 50 years would have assassinated.

Anonymous said...

TontoBubbaGoldstein:"Vincent Bugliosi is also a lawyer...like Mark Lane."


Yes, and I've read both Lane and Bugliosi on the Kennedy assassination. Bugliosi is far more credible.

"One other point. I have always found it curious that, while in police custody, Oswald declared, "I'm just a patsy!". Not, "I'm innocent!" or "I didn't do it!". Seems like ole Lee Harvey may have been one of the first conspiracy theorists. Then, almost on cue, Jack Ruby silenced him..."

RE: Oswald's comments:"Soon after his capture Oswald encountered reporters in a hallway, declaring "I didn't shoot anyone" and "They're taking me in because of the fact I lived in the Soviet Union. I'm just a patsy!" "(via WIKIPEDIA).

So, Oswald did proclaim his innocence. As for his oft-misconstrued "patsy" remark, he was trying to paint himself as a leftist martyr ("because of the fact I lived in the Soviet Union).

Ruby "silencing" Oswald: If Oswald were part of a conspiracy, they would have silenced him before he was arrested, probably in a staged suicide. Ruby's involvement actually works against the idea of conspiracy, as he was still around after killing Oswald*.

*Conspiracy meeting headquarters: LBJ:Okay, we'll set this Oswald loser up for the hit.Let him take the fall.

E. Howard Hunt:Wait, won't he talk?

Howard Hughes:We'll have a guy publicly off him in police headquarters.

E. Howard Hunt:Yeah, Okay...but then, who'll off the guy who offed Oswald?

Howard Hughes:D'oh!

Syon

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"One has to wonder if Syon is even aware that Hunt gave a deathbed confession about his involvement in the JFK assassination, which also implicated LBJ, btw. Even if he was aware of this, I assume it wouldn't mean anything to him. You work in the spirit of the best debunkers, my friend. Through character assassination and misdirection you shall know them."

Oh, I'm very aware of the "deathbed confession."Let's just say that I find it rather unconvincing.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Why are conspiracy theories such a stretch? Most crimes involve at least a partner, even if it is just a getaway driver or someone to provide a hideout. The strangest thing about Oswald was that he got on a city bus - perhaps the lamest escape plan ever.

ben tillman said...

We all have lots of theories about everything. I have one: Americans will believe or disbelieve pretty much anything based on what they see on TV, specifically the news shows.


And this has never been demonstrated more clearly than in the case of the destruction of the WTC on 9/11/01.

No one had any reason to believe the government's version of events other than the fact that the TV said that's what happened.

Anonymous said...

"I remember it differently. The press treated JFK very respectfully."

You remember it wrong. Dan Rather took time out of his nightly newscast (which was a big deal back then) to denounce the film. Andy Rooney of all people devoted a segment to attacking it. And every major editorial page in the country went after it as well.

The pile-on from the establishment media was so vicious, over-the-top, and coordinated that it actually made me think Stone must have been on to something.

David Davenport said...

And then there is the Bin Laden killing by Navy Seals... hmmmm no end to it is there?

Obviously there are things like gravity and relativity, math and thermodynamics that are real. But when it comes to people my belief is most believe what they are told.

And if they are told something is a crackpot notion, they will believe it is a crackpot notion.

While also believing in another other ludicrous thing that has been blessed by a serious looking individual they see on a tv screen. Or maybe just a hot news anchor, that works just as well for me.


And there's also the cover-up of the crashed alien spacecraft the Air Force has been hiding at an airbase in Nevada since 1953.

Brother, there are only a few rare, specially gifted individuals like you and me who can perceive the real truth behind all the lies.

Sometimes it seems like there's inner voices talking to me, telling what's true and what is deception.

Do you ever hear voices like that?

David Davenport said...

On the other hand, for all who disbelieve all conspiracy allegations, there is the current LIBOR scandal.

James Kabala said...

"the elite MSM always all said No Conspiracy."

Like Pincher Martin, I disagree here. I was only a kid at the time, so I could be wrong, but I remember the general tone of assassinaiton coverage in the eighties/early nineties as being very pro-conspiracy until about the time Posner's book came out.

Anonymous said...

Stone is of the 60s generation, but his cinematic style has defined and been defined by the 80s(and maybe late 70s) when boomers gained dominant control of the movie industry, at least as directors.

Much of the 60s and early 70s cinematic style was created not by the boomer generation but earlier generations: Altman, Wexler, Cassavetes, Peckinpah, Penn, Maysles Brothers, Hitchcock, Bunuel, Godard, Resnais, Pontecorvo, Antonioni, Fellini, Bergman, Cassavetes, and etc.

Because we think of the 60s generation as the FILM GENERATION, we tend to think that the boomers favored that kind of cinematic style. But when boomers finally got to making movies, the style was closer to Spielberg, Lucas, Stone, DePalma, Carpenter, Zemeckis. Indeed, the 80s generation didn't create the MTV style. The boomers did. Just as the pre-boomer generation created the prevailing movie/image style for boomers, boomers created the movie/image style that would define the 80s generation.

Maybe all that Rock music that boomers grew up made them less patient pacing and more outlandish with style.

Anonymous said...

"The press treated JFK very respectfully."

JFK was iffy for liberals. On the one hand, it said some rightwing conspiracy was behind the killing of Kennedy. But it also seems to say the entire Democratic Party was in the plot too. In the director's cut of the version, there's indication that LBJ was also somehow involved.
And though Stone didn't spell it out, he seems to indicate the courts and media were in on it too.

Anonymous said...

JFK and SCHINDLER'S LIST have one thing in common. The Capra-esque element that simply doesn't belong.

NIXON is superior to JFK not only for its assured style and discipline but because it offers a consistently dark vision. It's about the darkness of power. JFK would have been more interesting if, instead of turning it into Mr. Goody Garrison going against the forces of darkness, it gave us a Garrison who is compromised himself and going up against darkness as an act of redemption or maniacal ego. Darkness vs darkness, that would have been interesting.
Stone is too smart and complex to believe in goody goody stuff. And so PLATOON falters most with the Mr. Good vs Mr. Evil dichotomy. And Martin Sheen as the Good Daddy was so unconvincing in WALL STREET. Stone knows the dark heart much better than the bright one. SALVADOR, though deeply flawed, draws it power from the fact that the hero himself is hardly an angel. It's about a dark man fallen into deeper darkness trying to climb out of the hole into the light. That we can take and believe from STone. But when STone tries to make himself and us believe in some goody goody nice guy in the world as the shining light of truth, we know he's shitting us and himself.

Anonymous said...

JFK. Dances with Conspiracy.

FredR said...

Salvador is Stone's best movie. Really under-appreciated.

RKU said...

Who do you think was behind it and why? And what are the inexplicable events?

Well, I've never investigated the JFK Assassination, so I can't rightly say whether or not it was a conspiracy. But if the Official Story does actually claim that a single Oswald bullet caused something like seven totally separate Kennedy/Connolly wounds, then it seems like rubbish, implying that the likelihood of a conspiracy/coverup grows to about 99%.

So let's now assume a conspiracy---who dun it? Well, who suddenly became president?

Now suppose an innocent LBJ came into office and saw the overwhelming evidence that his predecessor had been killed in a conspiracy. Seems to me, he'd be *very* interested in getting to the bottom of it, and arresting all the culprits. After all if they'd gotten away with killing one president, wouldn't he be in obvious future danger himself? When Lincoln was killed in a conspiracy, the government quickly tracked down and executed everyone involved. The most logical reason LBJ didn't try to unravel the conspiracy was that he'd been a central part of it.

Consider that LBJ was a notoriously violent, ruthless man, who was born in poverty, never held a high-paying (as opposed to politically powerful) job in his entire life, and yet was by some measures the wealthiest man ever to enter the White House, far wealthier than Mitt Romney for example. As perhaps the most powerful Democrat in Congress, he'd expected to get the nomination in 1960, but had lost it to JFK, a total playboy upstart, due to Joe Kennedy's money and skill. With some reluctance, he gave up his personal powerbase of the Senate to join the ticket, and had swung the victory. But he and JFK disliked each other intensely, and by 1963, JFK had apparently decided to drop LBJ from the reelection ticket, thereby permanently ending his political career, which represented his entire life.

Next, consider RFK. As A-G he probably suspected something, but he had no proof and couldn't act without it. All historical accounts indicate he retained a burning hatred toward LBJ thereafter, which really isn't too surprising. So he decided to bide his time until he had the levers of power in his own hands, and in 1968 seemed on the verge of reaching the presidency himself, allowing him to determine what had really happened. Bam! He gets shot. How totally surprising...

If you simply discount the reliability of the American MSM narrative and analyze the events of 1963 as if they happened in Argentina, North Korea, or ancient Rome, they become far less mysterious. Suppose tomorrow morning, we read that NK's Kim suddenly went crazy, killed his entire extended family, then felt so guilty about his misdeed that he committed suicide just after naming a general his rightful heir, with all of these facts announced by the general in question. Maybe that's exactly what really did happen in NK...but maybe not...

Anonymous said...

RKU:"Well, I've never investigated the JFK Assassination, so I can't rightly say whether or not it was a conspiracy."


Again, read a solid book on the subject. I recommend either Bugliosi's (if you are willing to invest some time; it's quite lengthy) or Posner's.

"But if the Official Story does actually claim that a single Oswald bullet caused something like seven totally separate Kennedy/Connolly wounds, then it seems like rubbish, implying that the likelihood of a conspiracy/coverup grows to about 99%."

You seem oddly obsessive about the 7 wounds from one bullet thing, despite the fact that this is one of the most well-understood aspects of the assassination (cf the JFK 100 site, with its brief but essentially accurate account).Perhaps this will help: Two men are are standing in front of one another. I shoot the first man with a rifle. The bullet hits the first man, going right through him (two wounds, entry and exit). The bullet then hits the man who is front of him, going right through him as well (two wounds, entry and exit). We now have 4 wounds. After the bullet exits the second man, the bullet hits his arm, which was positioned near the exit wound (fifth wound). The bullet hits a bone on its way through the arm, altering its course (exit wound from arm, 6th wound). Bouncing off the bone, the bullet impacts the man's thigh, slightly penetrating the flesh (7th wound).

Syon

helene edwards said...

Put the stones in the mission for the swallows to come back to.

In other words, Winslow rips off Elmore Leonard's style.

Anonymous said...

So no one here thinks the Comedian did it?

cardo said...

Hey Steve,

Here is Bertrand Russell on Kennedy's assassination: 16 Questions.

kudzu bob said...

In other words, Winslow rips off Elmore Leonard's style.

Sure. And Elmore Leonard rips off Damon Runyon's style.

Anonymous said...

For those who think JFK is good filmmaking, I say think again. It's pure FILM SCHOOL STYLE. I took a few film studies classes back in college and saw some student films. And yep, students try to do EVERYTHING. This is why the Coens were so annoying until they finally settled into a more assured personal style. Before that, they were trying to be and do everything, which is nothing.

I can understand film students trying to experiment with everything to show off and prove their worth, but real masters don't act this way. They may have gone through their own 'film school' phases but eventually they matured into a sure style to call their own.
Stone, by 1991, should have developed truer style than the sheer nonsensical slap-dash FILM SCHOOL-ese of JFK which I found annoying from beginning to end. Like Gilliam's BRAZIL, you can see references and allusions to all sorts of movies, as if references to great movies make JFK similarly great in standing.
Stone obviously has a Welles complex. The voice-over narration and montage of events in JFK is right out of News on the March for CITIZEN KANE. The tracking shot through the gates of the White House in NIXON is also from CITIZEN KANE. The ring falling out of Alexander's hand in the opening of ALEXANDER is like the water ball falling out of Kane's hand in CITIZEN KANE. I mean enough already.

In fact, Stone, though very good when he wants to be, is no Welles. Welles was a passionate director but also understood that a movie has to be assembled and given form. Too often, Stone thinks his passion is sufficient, as if he can jam out images like guitarists at a rock concert. ALEXANDER falters because Stone too often confuses intensity and madness for genius. Same problem with DOORS. Only NIXON, HEAVEN & EARTH, and WTC avoided this confusion.

Btw, JFK's style is kidstuff. Already in the 1920s, Eisenstein had done things 100x bolder and more original in movies like OCTOBER and QUE VIVA MEXICO.
And even I AM CUBA is many times more interesting than JFK in terms of style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCNTNnNFNHM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BhMGrdA2Ag&feature=related

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQOXKoMHOE0

Stone before Stoned.

Anonymous said...

"If the Secret Service had kept their 1963 levels of security, every president for the last 50 years would have assassinated."

In the November 2003 Prospect magazine there was a fascinating (for politics junkies) journal by Horace Busby, a close aide to LBJ, describing the Kennedy assassination and its aftermath, and also incidentally showing what an innocent, gentle place early 60s America was (for a white politician at any rate).

"One night during this period, I came home to find my wife reading the Dallas Morning News. Mary handed me the front page. "Read this," she said. "Someone has lost his mind."

It was a story announcing that on his visit to Dallas, Kennedy would ride in an open car motorcade from Love Field to the site of his luncheon address. "I can't imagine your friends in the secret service letting the president do that," she said. I agreed with her. The thought of serious danger to the president did not occur. Our memories were still fresh, though, of 1960 when the vice-president and Mrs Johnson were mobbed in a Dallas hotel lobby. An ugliness had crept into Dallas politics that perplexed many Texans. In October, there had been a nasty attack on Ambassador Adlai Stevenson when he spoke there. An open car motorcade was an invitation for more episodes - ugly signs, jeering chants or, perhaps, an egg tossed at the presidential limousine. "

Anonymous said...

Stone before Stoned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOm42F6lzZw&feature=related

And early Ford:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWqjPz_w9vo&feature=plcp

Pincher Martin said...

Anonymous at 7/14/12 9:45 AM writes,

"You remember it wrong. Dan Rather took time out of his nightly newscast (which was a big deal back then) to denounce the film. Andy Rooney of all people devoted a segment to attacking it. And every major editorial page in the country went after it as well.

The pile-on from the establishment media was so vicious, over-the-top, and coordinated that it actually made me think Stone must have been on to something."


Nonsense. The movie was generally well-received and its murky thesis considered. The movie made a respectable box office, garnered a few awards, and made a major cultural impact. So if the mainstream media's attack was as vicious, coordinated, and over-the-top as you claim, it failed to make much of an impression on the general public and the movie industry.

The movie was propaganda, so it should have been attacked. That some informed people at the time did attack it, and Stone for making it, is not evidence of anything other than a few critics were rightly inclined to not allow Stone's warped version of history to stand. Nobody is obligated to like Stone's work or agree with his account of events.

RKU said...

Syon: You seem oddly obsessive about the 7 wounds from one bullet thing, despite the fact that this is one of the most well-understood aspects of the assassination

Sure, seven Kennedy/Connolly wounds from just one bullet is certainly "possible"...

Lots of things are "possible." For example, I can't recall the names or exact details, but in the late 1960s (while LBJ was still president I think) there erupted a gigantic political corruption scandal in his native Texas, stretching over many years and involving vast quantities of money. One of the officials caught was being pressured to turn in his higher-ups in a plea bargain, and seemed likely to do so. Fortunately for his fearful confederates, he changed his mind and decided to commit suicide instead, shooting himself in the head six times, as was reported by the local police authorities. The whole story got minimal coverage in the national media and was quickly forgotten. Certainly seems "possible" to me...

cardo: Here is Bertrand Russell on Kennedy's assassination

Excellent material, tight and well-packaged. Russell was a smart guy, and being completely outside the DC political orbit could be very free with his statements. His claims sure seem *awfully* suspicious to me. But presumably almost nobody in America ever found out about them in those pre-Internet days.

Presumably, if the Internet didn't exist, everyone in America would today believe that Saddam's WMDs had been found, proving Bush and the neocons were right after all...

Pincher Martin said...

Anonymous at 7/14/12 1:38 PM writes,

"For those who think JFK is good filmmaking, I say think again. It's pure FILM SCHOOL STYLE. I took a few film studies classes back in college and saw some student films. And yep, students try to do EVERYTHING. This is why the Coens were so annoying until they finally settled into a more assured personal style. Before that, they were trying to be and do everything, which is nothing."

Your film critique is too theoretical an approach to Stone's film for me to take seriously.

Let's see, your syllogism runs something like this:

1) Film students try everything in their work.

2) Stone tried everything in JFK.

3) Therefore, JFK isn't a good or effectively-made movie because it's just like something a student filmmaker would do.

Apparently, you feel that because JFK used a voiceover and a montage of events, both of which were also used in Citizen Kane, Stone's movie can't possibly be good filmmaking. Apparently, once Orson Welles used those techniques in the forties, it became impossible for any director to use them effectively again in a movie.

Well, bollocks. All films borrow heavily from their cinematic predecessors. How a moviemaker uses what he borrows to advance his own story should be the key to critiquing a film. I would have thought they might have taught you that in film school.

Anonymous said...

RKU:"Excellent material, tight and well-packaged. Russell was a smart guy, and being completely outside the DC political orbit could be very free with his statements. His claims sure seem *awfully* suspicious to me. But presumably almost nobody in America ever found out about them in those pre-Internet days."

Actually, its rubbish.Russell's material is out of date. Again, if you wish to read an in-depth exploration of these matters, read Bugliosi's book.As for no one being aware of such doubts in the pre-internet age, hogwash. Pro-conspiracy books by Mark Lane (RUSH TO JUDGMENT, 1966) and Josiah Thompson (SIX SECONDS IN DALLAS, 1967) were published within a few years of the assassination and enjoyed healthy sales.

RKU:"Sure, seven Kennedy/Connolly wounds from just one bullet is certainly "possible"..."

Actually, it's more than possible; it's what happened. Again, try reading a substantial book on the matter.

Syon

Steve Sailer said...

I suspect Stone's reputation will cycle up and down for a long time, even after he's dead. It's easy to point out Stone's many flaws and frauds, but, still, he made some hellacious movies. So the cycle will go on and on.

Pincher Martin said...

RKU,

Bertrand Russell was ninety years old and a dusty has-been when he wrote that well-written piece of garbage about the Warren Report. The last ten to fifteen years of Russell's life were not terribly productive as he had become a stick figure for liberal and radical causes, and he was always a bit of a trend whore for any political cause that wandered in his line of sight. There's nothing "excellent" or "tight" or "well-packaged" about his observations.

For example, near the beginning of his piece, Russell writes:

"The Warren Commission has been utterly unrepresentative of the American people."

Why was the Commission supposed to be representative of the American people? I thought it was a commission of statesmen put together by LBJ for the expressed purpose of investigating the Kennedy Assassination?

" It consisted of two Democrats, Senator Russell of Georgia and Congressman Boggs of Louisiana, both of whose racist views have brought shame on the United States...

So Bertrand Russell believes the Commission should have been representative of the American people except when it actually was representative of the wrong kind of American people.

BTW, Senator Russell needed to have his arm twisted by LBJ to serve on the Committee. He didn't want to do it. While he might have been a racist, he was also a well-respected senator in the capital and a man of his word.

"...two Republicans, Senator Cooper of Kentucky and Congressman Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, the latter of whom is a leader of his local Goldwater movement and an associate of the F.B.I.

I find it amusing to read the dull Gerald Ford described in such sinister tones.

...Allen Dulles, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Mr. McCloy, who has been referred to as the spokesman for the business community.

I'm not sure why (or even if) McCloy and Dulles were referred to as "spokesman for the business community", but the Commission needed well-respected men who knew government and how it worked. Dulles and McCloy were two such men.

"Yet many of its members were also members of those very groups which have done so much to distort and suppress the facts about the assassination. Because of their connection with the Government, not one member would have been permitted under U.S. law to serve on a jury had Oswald faced trial. It is small wonder that the Chief Justice himself remarked that the release of some of the Commission’s information “might not be in your lifetime” Here, then, is my first question: Why were all the members of the Warren Commission closely connected with the U.S. Government?

The Warren Commission was not a trial. So Russell's analogy to a jury is badly drawn. There didn't even have to be a Commission. The investigation could have been handled within LBJ's government by the FBI, for example. How do you think that would have gone over in later years?

Why pick men who have wide experience in government? For several obvious reasons. First, because the American public at the time was not as widely critical or distrustful of its public leaders as it is today or as it would even be in less than a decade after the assassination. Selecting prominent public men for the Commission would have been considered a feature to many in the public, not a bug. Only in later years would the public grow deeply disenchanted with its political leaders and institutions. But the fifties and early sixties were a high water mark for faith in government and its institutions.

Second, prominent public men were capable of inducing more cooperation with the Commission than would have been possible with twelve anonymous Joes.

Third, people with wide experience in government are more capable of judging government reactions and protocols than are people without experience in government.

Anonymous said...

OT: "District 9" director Neill Blomkamp showed footage of his next year's film "Elysium" at Comic-Con:

Matt Damon and Jodie Foster are Comic-Con virgins no more thanks to 'Elysium'

-meh

Pincher Martin said...

Garry Wills (who wrote a book on Jack Ruby in the 1960s) told a revealing anecdote about Mark Lane that I remember well.

Wills said that Lane criticized the Warren Commission in one major instance for not including the name of the woman who gave a damning account about Jack Ruby in their report. But the reason the Commission left the woman's name out was because she was obviously insane and prone to making up stories. The Commission decided there was no reason to embarrass her family by publicizing her mental illness in a prominent report for the public.

Wills claimed that Lane knew about the woman's illness. He knew she made up stories. But he still used the omission of the woman's name to damn the Commission's findings. Wills later mentioned some of this in his recent autobiography. His contempt for Lane's obvious dishonesty was still evident in his retelling even after so many years.

Read Wills' description on Lane's dishonest use of this woman, and you'll never think of Lane the same way again.

Anonymous said...

There was the Umbrella Man at Dealey Plaza:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuoZWb9gqv0

The official "explanation" for that - that the guy with the umbrella pumping it up and down as the car passed was doing it as a protest of JFK's father Joe Kennedy for his appeasement stance - sounds like a load of bullcrap.

Anonymous said...

The "Umbrella Man" has been identified--he's Louis Steven Witt--and he's just an insurance agent. It's pretty unlikely for a Dallas insurance agent to be a key man in a plot to assassinate the president. Or, for that matter, that there needed to be a guy giving signals for the plot to be carried off. How about just saying "shoot the president when he's in your sights?"

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-ca-film-novelty-20120715,0,4176050.story

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-ca-film-novelty-20120715,0,4176050.story

Obama is like a new movie for iPodpeople.

Anonymous said...

The "Umbrella Man" has been identified--he's Louis Steven Witt--and he's just an insurance agent.

Yeah, right. Just a mild mannered insurance agent protesting with an umbrella....

Anonymous said...

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/15/entertainment/la-ca-neal-gabler-20120415

Anonymous said...

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/20/opinion/la-oe-gabler-occupy-99-percent-spring-young-voters-20120520

James Kabala said...

Hale Boggs (father of Cokie Roberts, incidentally) was actually one of the first Southern Democrats to endorse civil rights.

Kylie said...

"OT: 'District 9' director Neill Blomkamp showed footage of his next year's film "Elysium" at Comic-Con:

Matt Damon and Jodie Foster are Comic-Con virgins no more thanks to 'Elysium'"


Matt Damon and Jodie Foster? I liked "District 9" but I won't bother with this.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

And though Stone didn't spell it out, he seems to indicate the courts and media were in on it too."

Actually, in one scene that did not make the theatrical release, he implied that Johnny Carson was in on it.

JFK was a ridiculous movie, but a highly entertaining one - probably one of the best political thrillers ever made.

I'm surprised that noone here has mentioned what has become a very fashionable conspiracy theory on the survivalist-right - that Kennedy was assassinated at the behest of a cabal of jewish bankers because he intended to introduce hard, silver-backed currency. I believe that one even less than would believe Stone's tortuous fantasy.

Incidentally, while I believe that Oswald actually did kill Kennedy, I have no problem believing that various government agencies - the FBI certainly, and perhaps the CIA - knew that he was a dangerous nut who was up to no good. The FBI's actions after the assassination were consistent with Hoover's famous desire to protect the reputation of HIS agency (much more important to him than actually fighting crime).

Mr. Anon said...

"RKU said...

Seems to me, he'd be *very* interested in getting to the bottom of it, and arresting all the culprits. After all if they'd gotten away with killing one president, wouldn't he be in obvious future danger himself?"

Seems to me, he wouldn't be interested at all. If they could kill his predescessor, then they could easily kill LBJ too if he started sniffing around too much.

Next, consider RFK. As A-G he probably suspected something, but he had no proof and couldn't act without it. All historical accounts indicate he retained a burning hatred toward LBJ thereafter,...."

Actually, as has been well established, RFK hated LBJ right from the start of the Kennedy administration, and considered him to be a crass buffoon.

As usual, your grasp of historical fact is no better than is your logic.

beowulf said...

"Two men are are standing in front of one another. I shoot the first man with a rifle. The bullet hits the first man, going right through him (two wounds, entry and exit). The bullet then hits the man who is front of him... "

Except both the man in front and his wife said this wasn't so.

"Nellie Connally, who was sitting next to her husband in the presidential limousine, always maintained that two bullets struck John F. Kennedy and a third hit her husband. "The first sound, the first shot, I heard, and turned and looked right into the President's face. He was clutching his throat, and just slumped down. He Just had a - a look of nothingness on his face. He-he didn't say anything. But that was the first shot. The second shot, that hit John - well, of course, I could see him covered with - with blood, and his - his reaction to a second shot. The third shot, even though I didn't see the President, I felt the matter all over me, and I could see it all over the car."

John Connally agreed with his wife: "Beyond any question, and I'll never change my opinion, the first bullet did not hit me. The second bullet did hit me. The third bullet did not hit me." As the Warren Commission concluded there also was a bullet that missed the car entirely...then there must have been a second gunman because no one person could have fired four rounds from Oswald's bolt-action rifle so quickly."
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKconnally.htm

Anonymous said...

"Actually, in one scene that did not make the theatrical release, he implied that Johnny Carson was in on it."

Personally, I think Jackie was behind it out of jealousy. JFK did sleep around a lot.

beowulf said...

Incidentally, the strongest evidence that Lyndon Johnson was not behind JFK's assassination is that Connally was in the limo That there's no way he'd put John and Nellie Connally in the line of fire. Since LBJ hired him just out college, Connally had been his closest (and most competent) adviser.
Nixon like him too, making Connally Secretary of the Treasury and his preferred successor as President (alas Watergate got in the way).

Steve Sailer said...

"Oliver Stone: Good or Bad?" would make a good topic for high school debaters to debate for an entire year. There's no end to arguments pro and con on Stone.

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

@ beowulf
OTOH, Connally reportedly said, " My God, they are going to kill us all! (Italics mine.)

Could indicate he knew of the conspiracy.

Or not.

Pincher Martin said...

I'll make a small correction to Mr. Anon's otherwise sound comment to RKU about the relationship between Bobby Kennedy and LBJ.

"Actually, as has been well established, RFK hated LBJ right from the start of the Kennedy administration, and considered him to be a crass buffoon."

Actually, Bobby Kennedy's hatred of LBJ went back much further. As a senate aide to Joe McCarthy in the fifties, Bobby heard that LBJ had spoken ill of the Kennedy patriarch's defeatist talk when Joseph P Kennedy was the U.S. Ambassador to Britain. Nothing could bring out Bobby's hatred more than someone speaking ill of his family. The young Bobby would barely look at the Senate Majority Leader when they would on occasion shake hands, which Bobby was also loath to do. According to his staff, LBJ knew the reason for Bobby's hatred at the time and reveled in it.

Bobby also worked like hell to undermine LBJ's bid for the vice presidential nomination after JFK won the convention in 1960. According to Robert Caro's recent book, Bobby may have tried to sabotage LBJ's addition to the ticket even without his brother's knowledge, which surprised me a great deal since Bobby was otherwise very loyal to Jack. But perhaps Bobby thought this one occasion of disloyalty was still being done in his brother's interest. In any case, this only fueled the hatred between the two men.

So Bobby's hatred of LBJ went back much earlier than the start of the Kennedy administration, and it was based on much more than LBJ's crassness.

RKU said...

beowulf: "Two men are are standing in front of one another. I shoot the first man with a rifle. The bullet hits the first man, going right through him (two wounds, entry and exit). The bullet then hits the man who is front of him... "

Except both the man in front and his wife said this wasn't so.


Hmmm...*very* interesting. Like I said, I've never investigated the topic, and I don't think that detail was mentioned in the film. But I suppose the Connollys might just have been "conspiracy nuts"...

Incidentally, the strongest evidence that Lyndon Johnson was not behind JFK's assassination is that Connally was in the limo That there's no way he'd put John and Nellie Connally in the line of fire.

A very reasonable point. But i still find it unlikely that a totally innocent and surprised Johnson wouldn't have been a little curious about just who organized the conspiracy to kill his predecessor...

DaveinHackensack said...

OK, just saw Savages. Stone's best movie in years. Having Benicio del Toro sip on a Starbucks iced coffee in a particular scene was brilliant.

Anonymous said...

No one knowledgeable about firearms ever accepted that Oswald shot Kennedy acting alone.

Oswald was trained on the M-1 Garand or M14 (an improved Garand essentially) rifle. M14s were not and still are not readily available but M1's were twenty-five to fifty bucks all day at any gun shop or mail order. He would have picked an M1 rifle because there is no evidence he had ever shot much else and because they were common and cheap.

Instead he picked a Mannlicher-Carcano that was widely considered the worst rifle used in WWII by any combatant.

Right.

Marc B said...

"The funniest character in "Savages" is Salma Hayek's turn as the "red queen" head of the Baja Cartel. I suspect the origin of this character is...the wife of Kirchner of Argentina"

It's much more likely the well-played and entertaining "Padrina" character was modeled after the "Godmother of Coke", Griselda Blanco of Cocaine Cowboys fame.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griselda_Blanco

Aside from the Ancient Mayan style brutality exhibited by the modern Mexican drug cartels, the movie was unrealistic on every other level. I did find it odd that there was a running theme throughout the movie alluding to the Jewish drug dealers lack of manliness when it had already been established who the muscles of the operation was in the first five minutes. It was an enjoyable movie nonetheless.

crop duster said...

sunbeam:"Still believe it. Always will."

Good to see another true believer. As with Stephen Jay Gould, don't let facts get in the way of what you want to believe.

Syon"

I think you are the believer. Sunbeam is using the wrong term. He's the thinker.
I was about to stop reading this thread after I read the phenomenally stupid, or just childish, comment that "conspiracy theories are crazy." There is one definition of a conspiracy theory? Means crazy? Does the term mass public manipulation mean anything to you? But of course our great leaders would never try to deceive us, or silence us by ridicule and designations of "crazy", as the Soviet Union did to its minions. We must have different perspectives on what consitutes responsible research and brave journalism. As if any questioning of the official story and all its vested interests, should not be challenged by anyone. As if enormous research done by committed and scholarly people for 50 years should just be dismissed. The government's official story would be one conspiracy theory that sure doesn't make sense to this cynic. The many WC defenders here sound like brainwashed 15 yr olds.
Lot of balls co-opting "facts" and hard hitting questions that anybody with half a brain should have been asking the day after. When it comes to the JFK (and RFK) assassinations, you would be the believer. What the public was expected to swallow by dinner time, 11/22/63, should have had the American public gagging. Sort of like what we were expected to swallow by lunch (yet another disaster, quickly solved) on 9/11/01. EST.

In fact, there are so many "official government conspiracy theories" (i.e. mainstream media and approved textbooks) accepters here, that I'm wondering if they working out of a CIA basement somewhere. oops. My paranoia is showing.

By the way. The government admitted in congress in 1976 there was evidence of a wider conspiracy.
Bugliosi? We're supposed to take his word? LOL. I'd sooner believe Sam Giancana. The book, JFK and the Unspeakable: why he died and why it matters. Impeccable scholarship, written from a perspective I'd never considered, is a more intelligent read. Even the mainstream critics gave kudos.

I don't know about O. Stone. He didn't go far enough because he didn't have certain threads. But at least he had guts.
You guys really believe the Warren Commission (I mean, fcol, LOOK at the members), Johnson, Hoover, Gen. Curtis Lemay, straight out of Dr. Strangelove, Nixon, etc. and everyone else running things and perpetrating Vietnam, at that time? I mean --- Really?

donny darko said...

Incidentally, the strongest evidence that Lyndon Johnson was not behind JFK's assassination is that Connally was in the limo That there's no way he'd put John and Nellie Connally in the line of fire. Since LBJ hired him just out college, Connally had been his closest (and most competent) adviser.
Nixon like him too, making Connally Secretary of the Treasury and his preferred successor as President (alas Watergate got in the way)."

Johnson knew about it and facilitated it to the extent he could, and he certainlty benefited from it as he deeply wanted the presidency, according to his ex-misress (among others.) However, he did not organize it, and had little say about its design. I don't remember particulars about his relationship with Connolly. If he was involved, it would not be the first time he was involved in politically motivated murder. He was profoundly corrupt. One thing I will say about him though. He seems to have had pangs of conscience in his last days, unlike Nixon who seemed convinced of his rightness to the very end. I loathe both "parties" but I have noticed more regret in the former Dems than the Repubs, but that may not be the case anymore. I don't think the average person has any idea (or until recently hasn't had any idea) of just how sociopathic, even psychopathic, very high reaching pols are. When you think about it, wouldn't you have to be? Sending young strangers to die for some "cause" they had no idea about? Bombing people who just want to get home and make dinner. Johnson's ambitions were pretty obvious though. Robt McNamara, who could sit and bean count casualties, measuring the efficacy of each type, during WWII, was even scarier.

Steve Sailer said...

Oliver Stone ... he excites comments.

I've spent a large amount of time over the years thinking about Oliver Stone, and, even though he's out of fashion, I think it's been time not completely wasted.

Norville Rogers said...

"Point Break" is too hippy-dippy and panorama/painterly to have any substantial influence from Cameron (who prefers giant brutish mechs over Bigelow's macho mortals). Only someone as obsessed with JC as you would ever think this.

Anonymous said...

crop duster:"I think you are the believer. Sunbeam is using the wrong term. He's the thinker."

Actually, I was Kennedy assassination conspiracy believer in my youth (ages 12 to 16-17). I read Mark Lane's books, watched pro-conspiracy movies (EXECUTIVE ACTION, starring Burt Lancaster was a particular favorite), speculated endlessly on whether Oswald was entirely innocent or a conspirator, etc.However, in my late teens I strayed off the reservation and began to study the claims of the conspiracy theorists with a critical eye.It was a revelatory experience. I swiftly came to see that the arguments of the conspiracy theorists were a fragile house of cards, built on deceit and willful ignorance.

Syon

Anonymous said...

crop duster:"The government admitted in congress in 1976 there was evidence of a wider conspiracy."

Presumably you are talking about the House Select Committee on Assassinations?

Via Wikipedia:"Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The third shot he fired killed the President.
Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that at least two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allegations.
The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee was unable to identify the other gunmen or the extent of the conspiracy."

Even the House Committee agreed that Oswald fired the shots that killed Kennedy. As for their evidence for a conspiracy, their "acoustical" evidence has been thoroughly demolished.

Syon

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"No one knowledgeable about firearms ever accepted that Oswald shot Kennedy acting alone."

Patently untrue.

Syon

Anonymous said...

beowulf:"Except both the man in front and his wife said this wasn't so.

"Nellie Connally, who was sitting next to her husband in the presidential limousine, always maintained that two bullets struck John F. Kennedy and a third hit her husband. "The first sound, the first shot, I heard, and turned and looked right into the President's face. He was clutching his throat, and just slumped down. He Just had a - a look of nothingness on his face. He-he didn't say anything. But that was the first shot. The second shot, that hit John - well, of course, I could see him covered with - with blood, and his - his reaction to a second shot. The third shot, even though I didn't see the President, I felt the matter all over me, and I could see it all over the car."

John Connally agreed with his wife: "Beyond any question, and I'll never change my opinion, the first bullet did not hit me. The second bullet did hit me. The third bullet did not hit me." As the Warren Commission concluded there also was a bullet that missed the car entirely...then there must have been a second gunman because no one person could have fired four rounds from Oswald's bolt-action rifle so quickly."
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKconnally.htm"

People who are being shot at are not the most reliable of witnesses.Ask any cop.

Syon

Anonymous said...

I'm rather surprised that the Kennedy assassination believers aren't fonder of Burt Lancaster's EXECUTIVE ACTION. It does have a rather unique theory on why Kennedy was killed :

"They [the conspirators] are primarily concerned about the future of America and the security of ruling class white people around the world. Foster forecasts the population of the third world in 2000 at 7 billion, 'Most of them yellow, brown or black. All hungry and all determined to love; they'll swarm out of their breeding grounds into Europe and America'. He sees Vietnam as an opportunity to control the developing world and reduce its population to 550 million: 'I've seen the data,' says Foster, adding that they can then apply the same 'birth-control' methods to unwanted groups in the US: poor whites, blacks and Latinos." (via WIKIPEDIA)

Hey,Kennedy being killed by a cabal of eugenicists makes about as much sense as Stone's JFK.

Syon

pat said...

People don't seem to notice patterns of behavior towards Presidents. This is very odd considering all the 24/7 News channels.

Kennedy was assassinated. Why? My answer would be that most Presidents experience an assassination attempt but most assassins use a pistol. Kennedy was shot with a rifle. That's the difference.

Teddy Roosevelt was shot at by a man with a .38 revolver rather like McKinley had been. Later FDR was shot at also. All of these were close range pistol shots.

Truman, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, both Bushs, Clinton and Obama also had assassination attempts. So the question is not why way Kennedy shot - someone always shoots at the President - but why did everyone else miss.

The answer is simple. Rifles are more powerful and much more accurate than pistols. Oswald was behaving like a professional. The US Army trains and maintains snipers for assassination of high value enemy target. There are no pistol snipers.

The same blindness occurs today in regard to "birther" controversies. All sorts of crazy theories abound not only about the place and circumstances of Obama's birthplace but also about the meaning of doubting his official birth narrative. Is it racism?

But again people ignore history. Many President's birth circumstances have been questioned. Nixon was accused of lying in the mainstream press about his real birthplace. More importantly George H.W. Bush was widely claimed to have been born in Germany - this is part of the theory that Prescot Bush and all subsequent Bushs have been a Nazis.

But the biggest Presidential "birther" theory was around Eisenhower. Ike was an strong witness for the Holocaust. The Holocaust Deniers then claimed that he was an Jew born not in Texas but in Austria.

The Obama birther theory is right in line with Presidential history - someone will always question your birthplace. Similarly Kennedy was in the mainstream of Presidents. They are always being shot at. Sooner or later someone doesn't miss.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Stone wrote "Year of the Dragon"--as far as Steve's observation of females being written as meh characters, "Year" demonstrates that this is so.... Seems Stone is more interested in man vs man conflict... and boy is there a lot of conflict in "Year," between a pole and chinese...

Anonymous said...

Polichinello said...

Stone also wrote the original draft of Conan, which Hollywood arch-right Milius directed.

7/13/12 12:33 PM

Where are you getting that idea? I watched John Milius writing the first pass of the script for Conan in his home on a yellow legal pad.

Salma Hayek said...

Sounds like Hubby isn't giving this Mexican beauty what she needs. Maybe he's rapped up in his
job. He'd better spend more time with his lady.