Stone’s ‘Alexander’ hypocrisy

This news just in: Alexander is not the stinker it has been made out to be. At least that’s the conclusion of this headlifer, who saw Oliver Stone’s new movie last night. True, it lacks the pace and passion of Gladiator, but if you like Swords-and-Sandals (and eunuchs and bisexual affairs–and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then Alexander is just about worth 3 hours of bum-numbing attention. Yes, it’s a long movie, but Alexander marched 22,000 over 13 years, so what do you want? If it’s camp and a little preachy so be it: so is Shakespeare.

So B+. But I’m a little aggravated by the stench of hypocrisy wafting this way from Stone Mansion. I think Stone wants us to like Alexander. “He’s a dashing-warrior king who had a vision of compassion, generosity of spirit and peace,” Stone said. “He was not a needless killer, he was not a butcher.”

Au contraire. Alexander was many things and “butcher” squares with his long resume. Just because he built the odd library doesn’t hide the fact that Alexander had a insatiable imperial ambition and slaughtered anyone who got in his way.

Stone admits that, “at times he did massacre, but these were hard times. He did so with a purpose, with a reason.” Ah. That’s OK then: he was bringing the world “democracy” so the bloodshed was excusable. Now, if that’s what Stone really thinks then fine, enjoy the movie. But whereas Alexander is his flawed hero, George W. Bush is his villain. “I started this thing before all this nightmare came down, this morass,” Stone has said of the Iraq war. “Alexander was beautiful because he saw beyond conflict into a synthesis. I’m not so sure our present administration does. It’s great that they say, ‘Democracy, blah, blah, blah,’ but you have to modify democracy to the local customs.”

Believe me, Stone’s Alexander has a lot of the same blah (“I had to kill Cleitus because he was getting in the way of my vision of peace and love”). Whether you believe any of it is a personal call, but I cannot see how in Stone’s world Bush is any different–he too has a noble vision, and the damage is, well, collateral. Perhaps George should get a boyfriend and highlight his hair. Maybe then Hollywood will like him better.

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5 thoughts on “Stone’s ‘Alexander’ hypocrisy

  1. Ronan, judging solely based on historical acts, Alexander and Bush are no comparison at all. Alexander was far far worse. Bush is not pursuing an imperial ambition (I believe). He believed that to defend America he needed to engage in this war. But at the same time, the Coalition has waged the most careful and sceptic war in history. War always has collateral damage but this war is nothing like the brutal wars that Alexander waged. It really is amazing to see Stone idealize about Alexander and yet demonize Bush. Actually, it is incomprehensible (you have to ask if Stone can possibly be serious in such an absurd comparison). 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fheadlife.blogspot.com%2F2004%2F11%2Fstones-alexander-hypocrisy.html%23comments" TITLE="john dot fowles at gmx dot net">john fowles<>

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  2. I think Stone is serious. I’m not a Bush fan (as you know) but to beatify Alexander of Macedon and damn George of Crawford is silly.  

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?headlife.blogspot.com" TITLE="ronan at jhu dot edu">Ronan<>

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  3. Well, John and Ronan, before we go on a “he’s better-he’s worse” thing between George and Alexander, let’s put it in a historical context. Trying to impose a 21st century idea of how countries/leaders are supposed to act is going to give you a very skewed view of things. It’s like asking if Einstein was better than Aristotle. Comparing them isn’t very fruitful. And this goes for Oliver Stone, too. 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>Lance

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  4. Lance, It was OS who made the comparison, but if you’re going to make it, then it would be difficult to maintain that GW is worse than AM. OK? RJH 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>< HREF="http://www.blogger.com/r?http%3A%2F%2Fheadlife.blogspot.com%2Fheadlife" TITLE="ronan at jhu dot edu">Ronan<>

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  5. Right– OS did it, but it’s stupid. GW almost by definition can’t be worse than A(tG)M; there was no Geneva Convention in the 4th century BC. 

    <><><><>Posted by<><> <><>Lance

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