There's an interview with Oliver Stone in today's Sunday Times, and therefore behind the paywall. Those of you without a sub will just have to take my word for it that he comes across as a not very likeable sort of chap; and my impression is that this is also the impression of his interviewer Camilla Long, although I may be wrong about that. Oliver Stone doesn't seem like a man I would want to count among my friends.
Despite this, I will put such personal impressions and inclinations to one side, and try to judge him in a detached way on the basis of his quoted words. And on this basis I would say that his opinions are contemptible and brutish. Here are just two or three of them:
He describes America's attitude to Iran as "horrible". "Iran isn't necessarily the good guy" - his incongruously dark eyebrows shoot up - "but we don't know the full story!"
Ahhh, those hidden facts which might throw a different light on the repression of Iranian oppositionists, on the rapes and the tortures.
The 10-part documentary [which Stone is planning] will address Stalin and Hitler "in context", he says. "Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support."
He also seeks to put his atrocities in proportion: "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30m."
Why such a focus on the Holocaust then? "The Jewish domination of the media," he says. "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."
No one who has taken any close interest in the history of the Second World War could be unfamiliar with the extent of Russian suffering and death under German occupation. So 'more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people' is a purely apologetic trope, since at that level of human catastrophe the insistence on maintaining a sense of proportion about five to six million Jewish dead is a plain attempt to diminish. And what follows that is then standard anti-Semitism: the Jews control the media and they work hard at it; and this is what accounts for the focus on the Holocaust (rather than any features of the genocide itself).
As I said, and without regard to Stone's personal qualities: contemptible and brutish. (Thanks: DH.)