Monday, July 26, 2010

Oliver Stone steps in it

And here we go again.

Oliver Stone has been on a slow slide into irrelevance ever since "World Trade Center" and "W" both more-or-less dissapointed, leading some to wonder if the famously erratic onetime visionary had lost more than a little of his mind. Apparently, in an interview with the London Sunday Times, he opted not to help his case.

In discussing a forthcoming documentary touching on the rise of Nazism, Stone laments a somehow-"outsized" focus on The Holocaust, which he blames on "Jewish domination of the media."

And he didn't stop there. Continues Stone:
"There's a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years."

Yeesh. What, was he reading all Mel Gibson's press and feeling left out?

26 comments:

Moshi said...

He's got a fair point with the lobby comment

Danny said...

He went too far, but I have to agree with Moshi. The US is very pro-Israel and anti-Palestine.

Dave said...

He's got a point. The jewish lobby (more specifically the hardline zionist lobby) is one of if not the most disproportionately power lobbies in the US.

Stupid thing to say given the makeup of hollywood, but a fair comment. We all knew Passion of the Christ wasn't going to win any wards regardless of its quality as a movie, and we all know why.

Mike Ralls said...

The US is quite pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian for much the same reason as in 1940 the US was quite pro-British and anti-German; cultural similarities, ties of ethnicity, and they are fighting our enemies.

The Israeli lobby in Washington is far far from being the most powerful though. That's just Stone being in coo-coo land. A good rule of thumb in judging power is to follow the money; Israel gets less money from the Feds than corn growers (most of whom are millionaires, btw) but you don't hear 1/100th of the ranting about the corn lobby that you hear about the Israeli lobby.

Adam said...

Jewish Ethnicity has about as much to do with Israel's foreign policy as German Ethnicity has to do with the holocaust.

On the surface, they seem almost to be one in the same, but they're actually very distant. Israel's reprehensible foreign policy is an issue that's largely ignored by the US, but when you go off and come up with conspiracies and try to 'downplay' the single largest stain in human history you just come off as a fool.

Q said...

@Dave, I've been reading your comments for some time now and I'm starting to get the impression that you're a little bit right-wing aren't you, buddy.

@Adam
Understand the context of what Stone was talking about. Stone's new documentary is all about the Life of Hilter. He was making a comment about how so few Americans know the full history of Hilter's life and yet seem to know only about the Holocaust when taking about Nazism.

Bob was taking this out of context to be funny, also he forgot to link to the article which he usually has the courtesy of doing.

Dave said...

@ Q. I'll bite, exactly how are able to tell that?

@ Adam. Here's the thing, it WASN'T the single biggest stain on human history. Just the biggest recent one. The genocide of the native americans was much much worse because by and large it was successful. The nazis were able to kill many, mnay people, but those cultures are still around today.

Compare the native americans. A population of as much as 18 million reduced to little more than 2 million. their viability as an independant civilization is essentially gone forever.

Not to mention little things like the slave trade, the opium wars (britain essentially hooked half the nation of china on opium in order to have something to sell them)...it goes on. The sad thing about the human race is that we do not lack for atrocities.

And there is a surprisingly powerful lobby in the west whose entire raison d'etre is to make sure the holocoast is always seen as worse, and that it ONLY happened to jews. I remember one of these groups successfully getting references to non jewish victims REMOVED from a holocaust memorial because they found them disrespectful.

I've no idea what's going inside Stone's head. Given his fetish for conspiracy I'm not sure I want to. But taking his words at face value...he's not wrong.

Mursam said...

@Dave
The problem with the holocaust versus every other human atrocity ever committed was the industrialised nature of it. It wasn't the by-product of a civil war, or a major war, or an epidemic, or an economic trade, but was an end in itself. Furthermore it was committed by a Western power, using western technology such as industry. It's not just an ethnic group being haphazardly targetted by marauding bands of machete carrying brigands, but rather was an industrialised effort with its own bureacracy dedicated to the sole extinction of a race. To be honest, the camps like Auschwitz aren't that terrifying- they began as work camps and solely became ad hoc death camps. The truly chilling camps were the camps like Treblinka; death camps that were designed from the start to be nothing more than factories optimally primed for producing corpses. That is why the Holocaust is so unique in human history (but that statement does not devalue other such tragedies)

Overall however I don't think Stone is that nuts- whilst his statement that they are the"most powerful" is somewhat of a hyperbole, it is true that there is a powerful Jewish lobby. And it is a legitimate argument that in recent years US support for Israel has been counterintuitive and even resulted in a geopolitical phenomen called blowback- which some say manifested in 9/11.

Mike Ralls said...

The Holocaust IS a big stain on history because it IS unique and quite different from most other atrocities that make it into the history books.

States slaughtering their rebellious or potentially rebellious subjects are very very common throughout history but the attempt to exterminate world Jewry by the Nazis wasn't like that at all. The Jews were not a rebellous people nor were they a threat to Germany's power (except in the minds of their delusional persecutors) or to the Germans nor was their way of life in conflict with the Germans way of life. Nor did greed for land and possessions play a formative role (it was there, but it wasn't the cause).

Simply put, Hitler and the Nazis set out to kill all the Jews they could because they wanted a world without any Jews in it. Anywhere. No matter how much the Jewish people submitted to Nazi rule, it would never be enough. The Nazis wouldn't be satisfied with Jews fleeing to other lands, hell they wouldn't even be satisfied with the Jews all becoming slaves, they just wanted them all dead. That's pretty unique in history actually.

The American conquest of the Native Americans was quite different in that it was mainly about pure desire for land and as long as the Native Americans submitted totally and utterly to their conquerors they were allowed to live (as a general rule). That's quite different from the situation with the Jews in the 1940's.

Q said...

@Mike Ralls
"Jewry"?

@Dave
Bob doesn't want us children to have flame wars so I'm going to respect his wishes and not comment.

Mike Ralls said...

@Q

Google is your friend.

http://mw1.m-w.com/dictionary/jewry

jewry
Pronunciation: \ˈju̇(-ə)r-ē, ˈjü-rē\
Function: noun
Date: 14th century

1 plural Jewries : a community of Jews
2 : the Jewish people

As in, "According to the estimates for 2007 of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, the world population of Jewry is 13.2 million."

Dave said...

@ Mursam. I'm not diputing that it was bad, or large scale. But your criteria for making is exceptional are largely that it was very efficient. That doens't make it

And I do not make a distinction between murdering someone because you don't like his religion and murdering someone because you want his stuff. Nor do I make a distinction between murdering someone efficiently or wastefully. it's murder. End of story. You don't get to say the genocide of the native americans or the aztecs was less morally reprehensible because it wasn't as efficient. And as i said, the holocaust was a failure. The jews are still around and better off than they've been in centuries.

The genocides I mentioned were largely successful. The spanish wiped out entire populations. The north american indian civilization is dead and not going to recover.

@Q

Its not flaming for stating your reasons. Considering that unless there are some posters from the nordic countries, I'm probably the most liberal person here.

Mike Ralls said...

and murdering someone because you want his stuff<

If someone points a gun at you and says, "Your money or your life," most people will give up the money. Conquests are usually large scale versions of this with the threat being directed at the group instead of the individual "Give us your land and submit to our rule or we'll continue to kill members of your group." The Holocaust was not like that.

It's basically the difference between an armed robber and a serial killer. Far more people die from armed robberies every year but serial killers get way more attention and are almost universally considered more evil than armed robbers.

>the holocaust was a failure<

Only in the sense that it in the sense that it didn't completely wipe out every last European Jews but Hitler's goal of making Europe Jewish-Free has come pretty close to being fulfilled. The Jewish population of Poland in 1933 was around 3,000,000. Today it's around 25,000. That's the most extreme case but most of Europe has the same general pattern.

Short version is that in 1933 Europe had 9.5 million Jews and today it has 1.5. European Jewish society is a shadow of it's former self today. Large swaths of Europe that used to have millions of Jews are now effectively "Jude Frei." Hitler won that one in the broad strokes.

>The jews are still around and better off than they've been in centuries.<

The world Jewish population is lower today than it was in 1933.

Q said...

@Mike Ralls
I want an origin search on that word. It doesn't sound good.

@Dave
Just trust me, it would have gone real sour real fast.

Mike Ralls said...

It's neither a derogatory term nor really that uncommon of a word. According to Amazon.com 2,838 books have been published with the word "Jewry" in there title;

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_scat_283155_ln?rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Ajewry&keywords=jewry&ie=UTF8&qid=1280260697&scn=283155&h=93cf4a795ddcdc528e3fd5122efb20a2c5f01ebc

Q said...

When was this coined and where? Was it originally a derogatory term or am I just leading you on because I have nothing better to do.

Bob said...

Guys?

"Jewry" is a harmless term, going back several centuries. It's one of the few medieval European words for Jews that DIDN'T have a derrogatory undertone.

Dave said...

@ Mike

Doesn't matter why you kill someone. Murder is murder. It doesn't matter if it is murder for personal gain or racial issues. It's morally indefensible. the conquistadors are no less evil than the nazis because the civilizations they wiped out had shit they wanted.


Your armed robber analogy is faulty. A robber is just suing the threat of violence the second he kills he stops being just a robber and becomes a murderer. this is not a difficult concept.

"the world Jewish population is lower today than it was in 1933."

And back then they were a horribly oppressed minority pretty much everywhere, even in the so called civilized allied nations. Now they face no pogroms, and have one of the most powerful lobbies on the planet and a direct influence on the foreign policy of the most powerful nation on earth. Not to mention their own country whihc is militarily unequaled in their region and may or may not have nuclear capabilities.

That's a pretty big step up in the world.

Q said...

@Bob
So... the latter then?

Laserkid said...

I can see where you're coming from Dave, because I can see where you're missing the point.

NO ONE is saying other murders are good things. I think I'll be safe in saying no one here thinks murder is a good thing.

But, lets use our geek references to make a point.

The Klingon's will kill you for territory, honor, or some other monetary gain. Not exactly exemplary people (though not completely unredeemable). Then you have the Borg. They'll kill you ("assimilation" is a cute genocide metaphor).

I'm pretty sure you'd rather deal with someone who'll kill for advantage, but won't if it doesn't concern you, versus someone who kills you for merely existing.

In short, Circumstance means everything.

Killing a person is never a good thing, that is true, but reasons can make it more, or less acceptable.

Unless you believe self defense is never justifiable, in which case this discussion is wholly different, you already accept a differentiation in circumstances.

As for the actual matter at hand? Meh, he's hardly the first, and the fact there are people in here defending this silliness is proof. It's acceptable to blame Jewish people for things again, ironically the same sort of thing was going on before the holocaust occurred.

The Israel lobby is powerful, yes. But in full honesty? When a large part of the world EXCEPT the United States was trying to WIPE YOU OUT, you too might want to keep a strong influence with the only people who seem to care about protecting you.

Dave said...

@ laser

Of course i'd rather deal with the guys LESS likely to kill me. But that doens't make it less bad when they DO kill me. Again we are confusing expediency with morality.

The klingons may be safer and I may have a higher probability of survival but that doesn't make them better...just crappier as villains. If i had to fighta disney villain It would be be frollo form Hunchback. Why? Because he's an old man. Much easier to fight than various witches, lions and strongmen. That doesn't make him less evil.

Cirucmstance dictates whatactions are taken, but not the morality behind them. If I decide to murder you, I am not less evil because I want to bang your wife than if I just hated your religion. My justification for an immoral act isn't relevant.

The self defence analogy is also faulty. Self defence means you are forced into it. By definition it means you didn't want to do it. What we are talking about is intentional, willful homicide, for no reason.

Christopher said...

You know, I feel kind of bad for you Bob. I'm not entirely sure how commenting on the anti-semitic comments of an overrated, hypocritical, and imbecilic director ignited a fierce debate between people about the damn Holocaust.

Seriously people, what the hell? I could have sworn we've been taught since we were toddlers that the Holocaust was one of the worst atrocities committed by humans. Are you seriously going to argue about how it compared to other damn atrocities? Geez, just comment about the jackass of a director and move on.

Mike Ralls said...

>Murder is murder.<

No, murder comes in a variety of types, first degree, second degree, felony, etc.

>A robber is just suing the threat of violence the second he kills he stops being just a robber and becomes a murderer.<

A robber who kills someone in the course of a robbery and at their trial says, "I didn't set out to kill them, I just was trying to rob them," will almost certainly receive a lesser sentence than someone who plans and methodically hunts and kills someone and at their trials says, "I killed them for the sole reason that I wanted them dead." One is murder in the first degree (pre-meditated murder) the other is a felony murder and they are different legal concepts and carry different legal penalties. Pre-meditated murder is usually considered the worst type of murder in every cultural I am aware of, including US culture. You might not share that belief but our society does.

Dave said...

@ Mike. And a criminal who claims to have found religion is more likely to get parole than one who has not. As I really feel I should not have to keep reiterating, we are talking about morality here. Not legality, not efficiency, not probability.

It does not matter what you hope to gain by killing someone, or if you do it just for the hell of it. It's morally wrong. We should not be debating this in 2010. This is some pretty basic moral reasoning here.

"One is murder in the first degree (pre-meditated murder) the other is a felony murder and they are different legal concepts and carry different legal penalties"

And if that were even remotely what we were talking about, you;'d be right. But we aren't talking about the difference between a person who killed accidentally, nor have we ever been. We are talking about multiple cases of large scale premeditated murder, and whether or not the skill with which it is performed makes it more or less reprehensible.

Honestly they only reason I can think of for people being so reticent to admit this some strange need to be able to claim that north americna civilzation wasn't built off of atrocity. Which i kindof thought was common knowledge....

Mike Ralls said...

>we are talking about morality here<

You're talking about your own personal morality though, which though important to you, really isn't important to anyone else. I was showing that our society (and most societies) place a higher moral code against killing for the sake of killing alone than it does for killing that results from a robbery.

>It does not matter what you hope to gain by killing someone, or if you do it just for the hell of it. It's morally wrong. <

You seem to be regarding it as a binary state though; as if there were no shades of wrongness. I was pointing out that society does not agree with that. Society sees shades of wrongness and regards certain types of killing as bad, really bad, and fucked-up-evil-from-hell bad. The Nazis are judged to be the latter.

>But we aren't talking about the difference between a person who killed accidentally,<

Accidentally killing is manslaughter not murder and I never brought that up.

Essentially the Native Americans were (collectively) the victims of a large scale robbery in which some of them got killed (which would make it a felony murder not a manslaughter) in order for others to steal most of their land. The Jews were (collectively) the victims of serial killers who were killing them to kill them.

Our society, and most society, judge the latter to be worse than the former. You may judge them to be the same but simply stating that you judge them to be the same will not convince anyone.

Dave said...

@ mike

I really should not have to keep mentioning this, but we are not talking about legality. There are plenty of legal activities that are morally indefensible. one occurred outside SDCC.

I really find it hard to vbelive that in 2010 we have people arguing that murder is more morally acceptable if you stand to profit from it (ignoring the fact that the nazis profited spectacularily from the holocaust.).

There are shades of gray. But there's also an event horizon. And that's where the shades stop. And pretty much eveyr modern civilized society agrees that murder (especially mass murder) is on the wrong side of that line.

"Essentially the Native Americans were (collectively) the victims of a large scale robbery in which some of them got killed (which would make it a felony murder not a manslaughter) in order for others to steal most of their land. The Jews were (collectively) the victims of serial killers who were killing them to kill them."

Again, how does the fact that we wanted shit they had make it any better? this wasn't a case of "we want your stuff ohg woops you are dead." It was a case of campaigns dedicated to wipe out a people in order to steal what they had. For fuck's sake there are still some places in NA with laws regarding how much money is to be paid in bounty for indian scalps. This isn't a robbery that went bad. IT. WAS. GENOCIDE.

A successful genocide that essentially eradicated multiple cultures and has pretty much doomed an entire ethnicity to extinction. You don't get to just claim it wasn't as bad, despite having much worse result sjust because it took longer and was poorly organized.

Which goes back all the way to my first points, about

I was not really expecting to get moral relativism regarding genocide.