An Inclusive Litany

10/22/01

Whoops, someone let Oliver Stone onto another panel discussion, this one—sponsored by HBO Films and held at New York's Alice Tully Hall—on the subject of "Making Movies That Matter: The Role of Filmmaking in the National Debate." As reported by the New Yorker's Tad Friend, one panelist argued that cinema's primary role in the wake of the September 11 attack is to entertain, and not to try to clarify political issues. This elicited scattered hisses from the audience, followed by Stone's response:
There's been conglomeration under six principal princes—they're kings, they're barons!—and these six companies [Viacom, Fox, Disney, Vivendi, Sony, and Time-Warner] have control of the world.... Michael Eisner decides, "I can't make a movie about Martin Luther King, Jr.—they'll be rioting at the gates of Disneyland!" That's bulls**t! But that's what the new world order is.... They control culture, they control ideas. And I think the revolt of September 11th was about "F*** you! F*** your order."
At this point Stone was briefly interrupted by Christopher Hitchens, columnist at the Nation and Vanity Fair, who insisted that the events of September 11 represented "state-supported mass murder" rather than a "revolt," but Stone continued, amid nervous applause and puzzled looks from the audience:
The studios bought television stations. Why? Why did the telecommunications bill get passed at midnight, a hidden bill at midnight? The Arabs have a point! They're going to be joined by the people who objected in Seattle, and the usual ten per cent who are against everything, and it's going to be, like, twenty-five per cent of this country that's against the new world order. We need a trustbuster like Teddy Roosevelt to take the television stations away from the film companies and give them back to the people! ... Does anybody make a connection between the 2000 election and the events of September 11th? Look for the thirteenth month!
Nobody in attendance was able to squeeze any sense from that last statement. Stone went on to say that the Palestinians who danced at the news of the attack were reacting just as people had responded after the revolutions in France and Russia. At an informal luncheon following the event, Stone went on:
The new world order is about order and control. This attack was pure chaos, and chaos is energy. All great changes have come from people or events that were initially misunderstood, and seemed frightening, like madmen. Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Gates. I think, I think... I think many things.

Stone also apparently thought night was day, having told several women at the midday gathering what a wonderful evening it was.

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