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Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

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    Posted: 09 Dec 2016 at 05:18
I tried to watch this series on Netflix but considered it revisionist history and moved on.  What do you think?  

Some revisions to history is needed because of cold war propaganda.  I will list a few things that come to mind.

Total deaths under Stalin were exaggerated all though the numbers are still horrendous.

Stalin never had any intention of invading the "west" or expanding Russia beyond a "security zone".  That does not mean he was not happy to fund revolutions outside his area of control to weaken the West.

Communist infiltrations of Western governments was more pervasive than those governments wanted to admit publicly.

Truman did use the atomic weapons on Japan to terrorize Stalin and prevent the kind of disaster that befell Korea.  The humanitarian issue with an invasion however was how many Japanese would starve or otherwise die while it was put into effect not the loss of U.S. service personnel.  Whether or not the use of atomic weapons accelerated Japanese surrender is almost a mute point.  If Poland is any example keeping the soviets out of Japan saved many lives.

Racism was a factor in the pacific during WWII but people forget that the Japanese considered westerners racially inferior.  Racism most likely played little part in the decision to use the atomic weapons but did in general increase the brutality of the war on both sides.

Stone consistently applies 21st century understanding and values to 20th century history.  Although he obviously has cultural relativist leanings he fails to see the hypocrisy of not distinguishing between cultural norms in the west then and now.  Quick to point out the racism of conservative figures such as Truman he ignores the Racism of Marx's and Stalin.  He also clearly overestimates the intelligence available at the time as to how and when the Japanese would surrender.  His suggestion that many people knew that Japan would have unconditionally surrendered without the use of bombing of cities etc. totally misunderstands the political situation inside Japan.  A kinder gentler approach would have led to civil war in Japan and many deaths.  His understanding of Japan is very shallow.

Constantly referring to Fascists as right wing ignores the historical evidence that the actual difference between communism and fascism was more in the name than it's effect on the people that lived under German and Soviet control.  We can say that Hitler was genocidal and Stalin not so much but they were both nationalist in their own way and the secret police in both societies behaved the same.  The real difference between Fascism and Communism in practice was one was national socialism and the other international socialism.  Fascism in Italy for example was not overtly racist but it did seek complete control just as Stalin maintained in the Soviet Union.  The reason that racism is so central to the discussion is that it is the one area where Hitler looks worse than Stalin.

The devastating effects of socialist central planning can be seen in both German and Russian economies.  Much is made of both German and Russian war production but it was dwarfed by the capitalist output of the U.S. and Great Britain.  Without slave labor the picture would be even worse.

Right Wing in U.S. context has always meant limited government something both Nazis and Communist would not be representative of.  This little historical distortion needs to be pointed out over and over to propagandist like Stone.  It is tragic and evil that the horrors of World War II continues to be used to promote political agendas by the left and the right.

Little or nothing new can be learned by listing to Stone and the historical distortions could doom those who do not know history and listen to him to repeat it.

      
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 00:06
In a South Park episode called "smug alert,' liberal yuppies move into town, and have an opinion on everything, especially that which they are ill-informed.  The metaphor for what they do, is that they stand around at dinner party, fart into a glass and smell it, while expressing how terrible Hummers are, or how everybody should recycle.  It is a commentary on a certain self-righteousness smugness amongst some people in our society.  That is how I feel about Oliver Stone, condescending, always talking down at you and manipulative as all heck (especially the use of black and white footage in JFK, as well as actual historical black and white footage, not distinguishing between the two).  
But as long as you understand that he is not freely presenting his view, but is highly manipulating it, you can have some enjoyment in seeing how he is manipulative.  He is skilled in what he does, and one can appreciate that skill, even if his goals are a little twisted.  He would probably like to consider himself democratic, but he doesn't trust the viewer to come to the "correct" view on their own.  It is an old liberal truism, "we will manipulate you to do the right thing, and you will thank us in the end."  Or in the words of the Borg, "you will be assimilated."


Edited by franciscosan - 10 Dec 2016 at 00:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 02:15
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

In a South Park episode called "smug alert,' liberal yuppies move into town, and have an opinion on everything, especially that which they are ill-informed.  The metaphor for what they do, is that they stand around at dinner party, fart into a glass and smell it, while expressing how terrible Hummers are, or how everybody should recycle.  It is a commentary on a certain self-righteousness smugness amongst some people in our society.  That is how I feel about Oliver Stone, condescending, always talking down at you and manipulative as all heck (especially the use of black and white footage in JFK, as well as actual historical black and white footage, not distinguishing between the two).  
But as long as you understand that he is not freely presenting his view, but is highly manipulating it, you can have some enjoyment in seeing how he is manipulative.  He is skilled in what he does, and one can appreciate that skill, even if his goals are a little twisted.  He would probably like to consider himself democratic, but he doesn't trust the viewer to come to the "correct" view on their own.  It is an old liberal truism, "we will manipulate you to do the right thing, and you will thank us in the end."  Or in the words of the Borg, "you will be assimilated."

Well said I would just add that the best form of propaganda is the truth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2016 at 22:54
Goebbels would agree with you.  By "truth" however, I think you mean propositional truth, where truth is a statement corresponding to particular 'observations.'  There are other types of truth than "just the facts."  For one, the selection of the facts to be presented in a statement can be "truthful" in their observations of reality, but can be totally beside the point.  Or maybe for the propagandist that is the point, getting people caught up in trivial concerns, when there is something bigger that they should be concerned about.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2016 at 00:13


Regardless of that, Ollie North is/was a patriot.

I'll never accept that what he did with the Iran/Contra deal wasn't approved from much higher in the chain, he most certainly could not have achieved what he did without approval from above.




Edited by toyomotor - 11 Dec 2016 at 23:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2016 at 21:19
You are probably right, about Oliver _North_.

As far as whether he was a patriot, probably depends on one's definition.  He definitely fell on his sword, but later I think he cashed in on his gesture, on talk radio and the right media.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind him making a buck, but it does (to me) detract from the nobility of his gesture.

Oliver Stone is the movie director of JFK, Nixon, the Doors movie, Platoon.  Definitely left wing, and conspiratorially minded.

But as I have said before, Toyomotor, you know far more about American politics than I know about Australian politics.  That is not saying much:) as the rabbi said, "twice nothing is still nothing." <grin>


Edited by franciscosan - 11 Dec 2016 at 23:20
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Dec 2016 at 23:48
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

You are probably right, about Oliver _North_.

As far as whether he was a patriot, probably depends on one's definition.  He definitely fell on his sword, but later I think he cashed in on his gesture, on talk radio and the right media.  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind him making a buck, but it does (to me) detract from the nobility of his gesture.

Oliver Stone is the movie director of JFK, Nixon, the Doors movie, Platoon.  Definitely left wing, and conspiratorially minded.

But as I have said before, Toyomotor, you know far more about American politics than I know about Australian politics.  That is not saying much:) as the rabbi said, "twice nothing is still nothing." <grin>
franciscoan:- I made a typo-must have had my mind on the movie making business at the time.

At the time that Iran/Contra broke, I took a keen interest in it and read everything I could find. My point is that a Colonel in the Army, in the grand scheme of things, is a minor player. Someone much higher in the foodchain must have known about what he was doing and authorised it. When charged, he kept his mouth shut and didn't blame anyone else for his actions. Which ever way you look at it, that fact, in and of itself, may not have been a good thing, but he stuck to his guns.

As he lost his job, and I presume his pension, I don't mind the fact that he later made some money out of his own notariety.

As to my knowledge of US politics, what I don't know would fill encyclopaedias.

In Australia, there is a recognition of our place in the world, as a good friend and ally of the USA. Not all agree of course, but we feed on a good diet of US political news-including the latest revelation that Mr T claims that he doesn't need intelligence briefiong as "he's smart". (does he realise what intelligence briefings are?)

And, having confused the two Olivers, I've gone completely off post. I apologise.

Finally someone wrote," I came into this world with nothing, and I've got most of it left." Could have been Groucho Marx.

Have a merry Christmas franco, and a happy New Yesr.




Edited by toyomotor - 11 Dec 2016 at 23:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 01:55
Merry Christmas 
toyomotor

Give Oliver Stone enough time, I am sure he will make a film about Iran-contra and Oliver North.

At the time I was bothered by it, but with 20-20 hindsight, I think that Reagan played the cold war right, and that lead to a collapse of the Soviet Union.  Liberals generally like to say that the collapse was going to happen anyways, and that Reagan didn't really do anything.  That however, is the product of selective memory, which recognized a (2 sided) threat at the time, but didn't recognize it afterward, or only recognizes one half, the Ronald Ray-guns threat.  Reagan ratcheted up the cost, bleeding the Soviet Union all over the globe through their proxy wars.  It was up to GHW Bush, however, to get the economic house in line after that, which cost him his second term.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 02:23
It would have been better if the Soviet Union would have reformed from within and granted Independence to the client states.  Guess it couldn't have been that way but it has an appeal.  

Ronald Reagan certainly helped bring down the Soviet Union but it would be easy to exaggerate his role.  It was probably doomed as soon as Stalin died.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote truthsetsfree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 06:54
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:


.... It is an old liberal truism, "we will manipulate you to do the right thing, and you will thank us in the end."  Or in the words of the Borg, "you will be assimilated."


Kepha who said that ("you will be assimilated") to me. "Kepha" = Francis.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 23:28
I think that the Soviet Union did reform under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, but a lot of that has been scaled back under Putin.  Russia did allow the client states to succede and go their own way, but again Putin's Russia thinks of that as a mistake.  Ethnic Russians in (now) neighboring countries gives Putin an excuse for interference or, to put it another way, for Russia to reclaim its great destiny.  It seems like in todays Russia, Gorbachev is vilified and Stalin exalted.  Russia always has had a natural fondness for mass murderers.  Russians are an intensely philosophical people, and when they go overboard in the name of a theory, they really go overboard.

I would say Reagan was necessary but not sufficient for creating the conditions under which Soviet communism collapsed.  As far as being "doomed" is concerned, I quote the great philosopher, Yogi Berra, "it ain't over until it's over."  "Historical inevitability" is like the Borg [Star Trek: Next Generation] saying "resistance is futile," I don't believe it when the communists said it, and I don't believe it when those belittling communism say it either.  It certainly didn't seem doomed to people in the 1980s.  People only see it as doomed when they are looking back with a distorted hindsight.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Dec 2016 at 23:37
So you don't think you need an "Iron Man" to keep "communism" 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2016 at 00:24
First of all, why would I want to "keep communism"?  Communism might work okay on the level of a commune or a monastery.  As far as a nation is concerned it is disastrous.  Although there are some advantages.  Artists are generally supported, and indigenous peoples are left to themselves.
Secondly, you don't "need" an "Iron Man" for communism.  The communistic system comes first, and the tyrant arises out of that.  In other words, it is more like you need communism for the "Iron man."  "Stalin, the man of 'steel.'" If it hadn't been Stalin it would have been Trotsky or some other sociopath, or Mao, or Pol Pot.
An interesting question is whether or not a communist regime could come about from elections (and the country not be totally messed up.)  A communist, Allende was elected in ?Chile? but almost immediately was overthrown by a US backed coup.  So we don't necessarily know what would have happened if the regime had run its course.  The Sandinistas were kicked out by an election, but had originally come to power through the overthrow of the Somozas.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2016 at 04:37
Monasteries are typically rigid hierarchical systems.

I think you need to rethink this in terms of theory and practice.















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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Dec 2016 at 23:14
Right,
In a communist system, "all animals are equal."  
 However, at the same time, "some animals are more equal than others."
Get rid of the supposed class system, and hierarchy will poke its head 
up some other way.  I don't see hierarchical systems as being antithetical
to communism, except perhaps in the pipe dream version of communism.

Stalin and his secret police seem to me, to be very hierarchical, compared
to the general population.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Dec 2016 at 23:52
Socialism/communism, call it what you will, but in fact it never truly eventuated.

One of the basic tenets of communism is that everything is owned by the state, and theoretically, shared in equal parts by the community. Of course this never happened, what did happen was that communism, Russian style, came to be merely a clear division of the community, them that had (a lot) in the minority, and them that had very little making up the majority.

Now, it could be argued, Russian style communism has gone out the window, to be replaced by capitalism, albeit on a smaller scale than western countries, with elements of communism still in the national psyche.

Under Putin,the country has been led to a more nationalistic outlook, the motherland over all-let's make Russia great again-sound familiar?


I often wonder why I try.
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