Thursday, February 03, 2005

Oliver Stone, Conservative?

From Dean's World, an interesting argument from Arthur Chrenkoff that Oliver Stone is a neocon, based on Chrenkoff's interpretation of "Alexander." I haven't seen it, but the argument makes perfect sense. Interesting stuff:

Macedonia (the United States) is considered by the Greeks (the Europeans) to be a rather barbarian, unsophisticated, uncouth and violent place on the periphery of their glorious civilization, yet the Macedonians strongly feel themselves to be a part of the Hellenic world (the West). More than that, the Macedonians are staking the claim to the leadership of all the Greeks to lead this motley coalition in the fight against the oriental tyranny of Persia (that one is pretty easy to guess). The Greeks, however, while having faced the Persians many times in the past, now seem oblivious to the continuing danger and are far more concerned about the Macedonian hegemony. Persia, meanwhile, is happy to keep the Greek world divided with skillful use of propaganda and gold (the Wahabbi money and the Oil for Food scheme). They even go as far as to assassinate Alexander's father Philip (the shades of the Iraqi assassination attempt against Bush Sr in Kuwait in 1993?) in order to thwart the imminent Macedonian/Greek invasion.

Alexander understands that while an uneasy peace exists at the moment, Persia has to be pre-emptively attacked and defeated once and for all, if it's to never threaten the Greek world again. But there is another aspect to Alexander's military adventure - the desire to liberate the peoples of the East from under the Oriental despotism and tyranny [as discussed extensively throughout the movie by Alexander and his pal Hephaistion. The dialogue sounded so contemporary that my jaw, if didn't exactly drop, it certainly descended slightly. What the hell was Stone thinking?]. For this ambition, Alexander faces constant criticism from those (the realists) who think his vision too utopian; the Easterners, after all, are barbarians only accustomed to slavery, they don't know what freedom is and certainly wouldn't know how to handle it.

But despite such disdainful Macedonian criticisms as well as continuing rebellious grumblings from the Greeks, Alexander presses ahead and with a well-disciplined and well-trained military force, considered by many to be far too small for the task, he conquers the Persian empire in a series of land engagements in Mesopotamia and after a guerilla campaign in Afghanistan. At the height of his victories he is accused by many of his own of engaging in a never-ending war with no "exit strategy" that would allow his overstretched and exhausted military machine to return to civilian life and enjoy the spoils of victory.

Makes sense to me. Strange that Stone, who must have noticed the parallels, didn't spin away from this interpretation of "Alexander." Then again, if I were a closet neocon, I wouldn't come out, ever. Not even Scorcese would survive the fallout from such an act.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the funniest part of the essay:

Virtually everyone is miscast (including Colin Farrell in the main role, who starts off looking like a very young Steve "the Crocodile Hunter" Irwin and ends up an ancient David Lee Roth after a particularly tiring tour), and virtually everyone misacts (and why does Babylon look like Las Vegas?).

Loves it.

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