I never realized Kennedy was so dangerous to the establishment.
Why it’s a left-wing film
Where to begin.
With this particular film, discussing “why” it was made is more important and revealing than digging into the specific politics of it all. Director Oliver Stone’s brilliantly structured, brilliantly shot, brilliantly written, brilliantly edited (to say the least), and brilliantly directed, wet dream of left-wing wish-fulfillment is the greatest pack of charismatic lies ever filmed, but there is simply not enough bandwidth on these here Internets to document and deconstruct the what and how of those lies.
If you haven’t read Gerald Posner’s “Case Closed,” please do so. It is, in my opinion, the definitive investigation of the Kennedy assassination and a withering rebuttal to Stone’s paranoid political revisionism. In the years since it was published, computer technology and new revelations have only strengthened Posner’s case. Unlike Stone’s willfully dishonest narrative, Posner is exhaustive, thorough and logical. But like Stone, Posner tells one helluva compelling story. “Case Closed” is a great read that also happens to be painstakingly thorough in proving that on one terrible November day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was murdered by a lone, left-wing, Castro-supporting Marxist.
The utterly obscene political opportunism we saw rise like a stench from the Left and their media allies within hours of last week’s mass murder in Tuscon, is useful in understanding “why” Stone was so driven to realize in motion picture form his anti-American web of audacious historical perversion. When truth and history and facts and decency aren’t on your side, it becomes all about the narrative. The Narrative is its own beast, something that transcends the pesky details of right, wrong, true or false. Whether it’s history, economics, character assassination, or pretty much anything… He who controls the narrative, controls truth.
Simply put, the Left cannot psychologically or emotionally reconcile their undying hatred of the Vietnam War with their undying love for the same president who escalated our involvement in that war. And the Left most certainly cannot psychologically or emotionally reconcile that one of their very own — a strident, left-wing Castro lover — assassinated that same beloved president.
So this leaves Leftists like Oliver Stone with two choices. They can either allow the truth of Kennedy’s overt and covert enthusiasm for fighting Communism in Vietnam and his death at the hands of one of their fellow travelers to compute — in which case their skulls will explode, or they can make a whole bunch of shit up to forget that in the month before his death, Kennedy told Walter Cronkite:
“If we withdrew from Vietnam, the Communists would control Vietnam. Pretty soon, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaya, would go…”
That’s right Lefties, when you sneer at the Domino Theory, you sneer at Camelot. Same with “trickle-down economics,” but we’ll save that for another day.
The Left making a whole bunch of shit up in order to hold tight to their beliefs and control the narrative is nothing new and occurs on a daily basis in ways both big and small. Three days ago, Jon Stewart did it to Sarah Palin and over the last two years we’ve been told raising taxes grows the economy, unemployment benefits create jobs, cold weather proves there’s Global Warming, Glenn Beck’s chalkboard is dangerous, enforcing the law in Arizona is racism, and Politico and Mediaite are objective news organizations. Every day and with a straight face we are told up is down, a lie is truth and that people don’t kill people, political maps the killer has never seen do.
Going back to the Vietnam War, the left has been so thorough in Ministry of Truthing that conflict that it is now conventional wisdom that America lost that war militarily, when we did not. And even though three-million innocent people died as a direct result, it is not common knowledge that Congressional Democrats cutting aid to our Cambodian and South Vietnamese allies, ushered in that holocaust … and truly lost the war.
The narrative. The narrative. The narrative.
Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” which lays the assassination of an American president at the feet of the American military, military contractors, the CIA, a group of anti-Castro homosexuals, the political Right, Lyndon Johnson — everyone except Oswald — is all about controlling the narrative.
Thankfully, Stone failed. The interest “JFK” spurred in re-examining the case backfired on the Oscar-winner and the results pretty much put the conspiracy theories to rest. Purely by accident, decades after the fact, Stone’s feverish masterwork of memory-holing and revisionism finally allowed the country to move on. Well, let me amend that. Because one of the Left’s primary tactics is to wear the other side down. What I meant to say was, it failed for now.
Why it’s a great film
As someone who has tried and mostly failed at making films and writing screenplays, to witness a master director working at a level few will ever reach and in the process perfectly harness his wild ambition and tame it into something hypnotically spellbinding, lucid and coherent, is a once in a generation occurrence. “JFK” is not only the best film of the 1990s, it is the single most impressive piece of conspiracy storytelling I have ever seen.
Picture where Stone started. Picture that first day when he sat down to try and bring all the disparate pieces of his political insanity into one cohesive narrative. He not only had to pull all those pieces together, he had to fit them together, and then fit that into the classic three-act structure. From there he had to develop a protagonist to take us through it all, turn the mystery itself into the antagonist, give his main characters emotional arcs, stay far enough ahead of the audience so that we keep watching (but not so far ahead that we get lost), and then hold that vision together through the sausage mill known as production and post-production. Add to that a kaleidoscope of film stocks and styles, a production design that does more than looks the way it should — it feels the way it should, and by far the best performance of Kevin Costner’s career.
“JFK” is a lie, but it is unquestionably art and its creator a one-of-a-kind artist.
Is “JFK” the greatest story ever told, the most compelling, the most memorable? No. But the achievement of pulling it off simply blows my mind. For 205 minutes (I’ve never seen the theatrical cut), Stone takes your hand and walks you through the chronological psychology of a reverse-engineered conspiracy; an exploded bomb of motives, shadowy movements, dueling agendas — and then he puts the pieces all back together and makes it tick with precision. The fact that none of it is true is meaningless. Within the world of a frenzied imagination desperate to rationalize the irrational, Stone creates his own logic and truth. Everything incredible becomes credible and every new revelation something that somehow helps to connect dots that have no business being together. It is wizardry, black magic, a practicing of the dark arts you can’t look away from.
The film lover in me mourns the loss of this Oliver Stone, the vibrant, provocative, fearless visionary with the supernatural power to bring to life whatever his aggressively dynamic mind can think up.
The patriot in me wishes the son-of-a-bitch was never born.
And therein lies the enduring conflict of my love/hate affair with the medium of the modern-day motion picture, and those who dabble in it. Every one of the 25 films on this list is a wonderful drug, an exhilarating two-hour journey into another world that completely removes me from my present reality. And for that relief and escape, I am truly grateful. But within our bigger moral world, part of me wishes those films had never been made.
And as far as the magnificent artists who created this magnificent art… Think of all the good they could do.
Countdown in full.