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Washington Post on the 30th Anniversary of Oliver Stone's "JFK"


Cartoon from the George Lardner story, On the Set in Dallas in Wonderland, In the Washington Post, May 19. 1991.


A very good piece about Oliver Stone's film JFK:


"It is significant that both “JFK” and the World Wide Web were launched in 1991, setting them on a mutual trajectory that now feels eerily inevitable (the movie’s digressive structure uncannily mirrored a then-novel phenomenon called “hypertext”). “JFK” did not invent alternative facts, deepfakes or Deep State paranoia. But its form and content surely anticipated them, and helped usher in an era when audiences would increasingly accept them as reality."

I was interviewed for this article, but unfortunately my quote got cut in the editing process. But I am delighted that the Washington Post quoted my friend Alecia Long:

"In her book “Cruising for Conspirators,” Louisiana State University history professor Alecia P. Long examines the Shaw case through the lens of anti-gay bias that permeated American and New Orleans culture in the early 1960s. “There was a homophobic cultural belief about the dastardly nature of homosexual men — that they were sneaky and conspiring — that made [Garrison’s] case easier to make,” she says. In “JFK,” Tommy Lee Jones portrays Shaw as a haughty eccentric with lurid sexual proclivities; in one of the film’s most outlandish scenes Shaw, covered in gold body paint, joins assassination conspirators at a sybaritic all-male orgy.
Although there is a plaque in New Orleans’s French Quarter honoring Shaw for his work as a preservationist and arts patron, for those who came of age with “JFK” he will always be a man snorting amyl nitrate and plotting to kill a president. “Prejudicial beliefs about sexuality greased the wheels of Garrison’s investigation,” Long says, “and they also drive the narrative in ‘JFK.’ ”

Hornaday likes JFK but:

"Decades later, I still admire “JFK,” even if I am more dubious about Stone’s choice of Garrison as a protagonist, and his pejorative portrayal of Shaw. I am also far less cavalier about portrayals of individuals like Johnson, who makes such a convenient scapegoat in Stone’s Manichean world of good and evil. In a movie so devoted to detail — right down to period-correct box labels in the Texas School Book Depository — more nuance and ambiguity would have only strengthened Stone’s narrative. An appreciation of “JFK’s” artistry demands acknowledgment of the uncomfortable truth that one of cinema’s most eloquent meditations on the abuse of power itself celebrates the abuse of power, albeit in another form."

Here is the plaque honoring Clay Shaw on Governor Nicholls Street in New Orleans:


If you haven't bought Alecia Long's book, what are you waiting for. Click here to buy a copy!



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George Lardner's internal Washington Post Memo about Oliver Stone

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