(This column appeared in THE LONE STAR ICONOCLAST, Crawford, Texas, and at www.LoneStarIcon.com the week of August 21, 2006.)
A few evenings ago we watched Oliver Stone's excellent celluloid treatise on the American political landscape in the latter half of the 20th Century, "JFK."
Looking back on what has transpired since the release of this incredible film, only a fool or a complete idiot -- would not agree that Stone's vision was nothing short of the likes of H.G. Wells or George Orwell.
I suppose we chose that particular film because his latest observation of America, "World Trade Center," has been all over the media and we just haven't gotten around to seeing it yet. Marketing... plus the DVD was right there, on the shelf and handy.
With "JFK" Stone was then, as he continues to be now, assailed from certain quarters as playing fast and loose with the truth, making up facts, and glorifying a scalawag.
Piffle, say I.
The majority of those who make these comments haven't the foggiest idea of film theory or what the movie watching experience is supposed to entail. How many hardcore, Right-wing Conservatives, especially Neo-cons, show any true acumen for popular culture or societal awareness?
It wouldn't surprise me if a sizeable percentage of those who lambasted "JFK" and Stone's other "anti-American, Leftist" movies hadn't even seen any film by VietNam veteran Oliver Stone.
I'm sure the list of VietNam vets among his detractors let's say military vets in general would be a short one, indeed.
"JFK" opens with footage of outgoing President Dwight David Eisenhower's farewell speech in January, 1961. He leaves American public life with an ominous warning to beware the rapidly burgeoning Military-Industrial Complex.
Fast-forward less than three years to the funeral procession of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
It's an iron-clad cinch that by November 22, 1963 most Americans had forgotten, if they'd paid attention at all in the first place, Ike's dire prediction.
On that bier, being drawn by horse power, for all the World to see on black and white television, was a casket containing the corpse of my parents' and grandparents' generations' belief in the vitality of enchanted Camelot.
Well, even in the ancient tale that wondrous land and its beneficent leader were laid waste through the evils of deceit, greed and avarice from within at the highest of levels.
When Kennedy's trip to Dallas was finalized, several key senior security personnel had been told their presence would not be needed. One of them commanded the military unit that would have been assigned security detail; it had been instructed to stand down.