Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Why is the headline: "Oliver Stone says September 11 movie not political" (AFP) When he also says: "the present administration has been a nightmare"?

All art is political, as it and our reactions to it inevitably reveal truths about how we want (or don't want) to live that should be reflected by personal and political action and change in helping us create a better world.

"We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth."

- President John F. Kennedy

Even the most seemingly vacuous art that appears a purely self-indulgent celebration is political, for if people relate to it then it reveals an element of something they appreciate that can influence how they want to live. Universalizing this principle is key, and understanding why we relate to art is to better understand what we want out of life, including our tastes, our fears, our hopes, our dreams, and ultimately ourselves.

However, today being "political" is often seen as a "bad" thing in mainstream circles, like it should be left up to politicians. Having seen what politicians have done over the last thousand years and the world we've arrived at, this seems like a mistake.

Artists are also more reflective of true democracy: they appeal to the people directly, and the people vote for them directly with their pesos and passion. In a very direct and honest way the artist produces a message or meaning with their work, and this comes from a place of far greater integrity than nearly any other medium. Sometimes compromises are inevitable, but many are often resisted by the artist, as opposed to other areas of information dissemination where deliberately creating "spin" and "propaganda" are an integral part of message-making.

Politicians on the other hand are often elected by fractions of the uninformed electorate in their districts, they often engage in campaigns of deception fueled by corporate money and managed by public relations tactics, and they are inevitably indebted to their financial backers and political party more than they are to their electorate, or "the people". Unlike artists their integrity has been historically recognized as deliberately compromised, and especially today that is simply seen as a natural part of "playing the game" to win.

It is, and has always been, these same corrupt politicians now especially aided by a complicit corporate media who further this "anti-political" agenda, an expressly "political" attack on those who have the ability to reveal truths about a world they perpetually let fall apart through supporting a system that only increases in destructive influence. There are billions of people dissatisfied with the state of the world, but few can articulate it in widely accessable ways like artists can. If artists are allowed to freely comment then their message hits home, and they inspire people to demand changes from politicians that by and large benefit a society as a whole.

And yet, if artists are seen to be violating a cultural taboo by being "political", or if being "political" goes out of style, then what are we left with?

Better paid, better publicized, and power-partisan "experts" vs. poorer, marginalized, and people-partisan "activists", yet another term deliberately being forced to go "out of style" through mainstream-media demonization and exaggerated depictions of violence.

This is a deliberate and dangerous attempt to subtly concentrate power in the hands of the elite few for their own selfish ends, and people need to understand that their natural tastes and inclinations to appreciate artists and their work are being re-programmed as we speak. Humanity has a long and glorious history of appreciating artists that were "political", and their value to society has never been questioned by ordinary people in such a casual, common, and matter-of-fact way.

Until now.

After all, what would prompt an expressly "political" filmmaker like Oliver Stone to make the above "reassuring" statement?

And why would the media outlet reporting on his appearance at a film festival decide to make this "reassuring" statement the headline?

And why should this be the main "reassuring" story chosen to discuss his new film: what it's "not" as opposed to what it "is"?

And why are we being trained to be comforted by the fact that an entertainment choice is not "political"?

As in:

"Whew! That's a relief! I hate being preached at, and would much rather turn my rat-racing brain off and just enjoy myself!"

As if they're mutually exclusive, as if one doesn't get positive energy from invigorating truths, and as if the highest selling musician in history, Bob Marley, with over 300 million records sold, wasn't beautifully relaxing, agitating, informative, and yes, "political", all at the same time.

And as if we all have to react to the same stimuli in the same prescribed way.

The answer is the latest sophisticated version of what's been attempted for several years: the marginalization and minimization of free speech and healthy democratic dissent, with focused attacks on those who are the most effective at it.

With the emphasis on what's "hot or not", what's "in style", and what's "cool", it's not hard to corrupt individuality by creating more rules on what it takes to "fit in", and adding more perceived peer pressure to do so.

It seems forces are trying to herd us into "thinking the way we're supposed to about what we're supposed to", and using a corruption of popular culture that's leading us to question the motivations of our favourite artists speaking truth to power for the benefit of the whole world.

I saw a phenomenal speech online by author Arundhati Roy called "A Writer's Place in Politics", it's available at:


As she came to the stage a bit nervous, she announced that she was renaming the title of her talk given to her by Hampshire College, and calling it:

"Ladies Have Feelings Too, So Shall We Leave It To The Experts?"

Like millions of other artists she has a point, several actually, and with them the means and motivation to produce great art that defies the lies of "experts".

As we move into the 21st century, we have to acknowledge the contributions of artists who are "political" as a front-line defense against the hegemony of the economic and political elite, those who've neglected to produce a long-promised better world, and in fact, who've used their phenomenal institutional power and control to do just the opposite. To trust in the forces that are subtly forcing us to distrust our instincts is dangerous, and we risk a whole new cynical generation being raised without heroes.

I'm not sure if Mr. Stone's movie is "political" or not.

I'm not sure if his "reassuring" us that it's not is merely a tactic he's using to pacify the forces behind the mainstream media that could deny him much-needed publicity.

But I sure hope so.

As one of the greatest "political" filmmakers in history, winning Academy Awards for Best Director for his indictments of the Vietnam War in "Platoon" and "Born on the Fourth of July", it would be a tragedy for the media to train us to insist that he give up the soul of his greatness as a filmmaker, or for that to be the only way he can get another film made.

So really, it's up to us:

Are YOU happy he said his film about September 11th isn't "political"?

Are YOU happy he may now be creating TV movies-of-the-week?

Are YOU happy being trained to hate what you love?

"Qui bono?"

"Who profits?"

Peace, (NOW!!!)



Black Krishna Brand

Philosophy - blackkrishna.blogspot.com/

Music - www.soundclick.com/bands/0/blackkrishna.htm


Director Oliver Stone, seen here in 2005, says he doesn't know if America is ready for his upcoming film about the September 11 terror attacks, but stresses the movie is a human rather than political account of the tragedy(AFP/File/David Livingstone)

Yahoo! News

Oliver Stone says September 11 movie not political

1 hour, 37 minutes ago

BANGKOK (AFP) - Director Oliver Stone says he doesn't know if America is ready for his upcoming film about the September 11 terror attacks, but stresses the movie is a human rather than political account of the tragedy.

The often controversial three-times Oscar-winner said "World Trade Center", to be released this year around the fifth anniversary of the attacks, documented a day in the life of two men trapped at the scene, their rescuers and families.

Speaking to an audience during a question and answer session late Monday at the Bangkok International Film Festival, Stone was asked if Americans were ready for the first major Hollywood film on the subject.

"Is America ready for 9/11? Is America ready for gay sex? I don't know," Stone told the audience, referring to Ang Lee's Oscar-nominated cowboy film "Brokeback Mountain" which has been a surprise hit in US cinemas.

"It's about a rescue and families involved in the rescue. It's really a technical attempt to be realistic about what happened in that building," he said.

Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage plays the film's lead role, New York Port Authority policeman Sergeant John McLoughlin, who was trapped along with a fellow officer in the mangled wreckage of one of the twin towers that crumbled after being hit by hijacked passenger jets.

Besides the sensitivity of the subject matter to the American public, industry media have reported that some people linked to the Paramount Pictures project were concerned that Stone may introduce his own politics into the movie.

Stone has been publicly critical of US President George W. Bush's handling of the attacks and their aftermath and in Bangkok told the audience that "the present administration has been a nightmare".

But Stone, whose film "JFK" was condemned in some quarters for pushing the argument that the 1963 assassination of president John F. Kennedy was part of a plot, said there were no conspiracy theories in "World Trade Center".

"No, there's no mention of that because it's truly a 24-hour document of these men's lives," he said.

"They were right at the heart of the destruction ... right in the middle by an elevator shaft. They survived. It's about their rescue and their children at home," Stone added.

Stone said filming had finished two weeks ago, with the last four weeks proving difficult to work in as the set was filled with smoke.

But Stone, who won best director Academy Awards for his war epics "Born On the Fourth Of July" (1989) and "Platoon" (1986) as well as best screenplay for prison drama "Midnight Express" (1978), said making the film had humbled him.

"It was a wonderful experience to go back to working class people and their ordinary lives, the cops and firemen in New York. It was a very humbling experience," he said.

Stone, whose films have aroused controversy ever since "JFK", said the political landscape had changed "radically" under the Bush administration.

"If we get to make films and plays about it, it will be an interesting era to write about," he said.

The September 11 attacks that left a total of around 3,000 people dead in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The Bangkok film festival, which features 160 movies from some 50 countries, runs until February 27.

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SOURCE - http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060221/ennew_afp/afpentertainmentfilm


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