Oliver Stone Wants to Put You in Charge of the Energy Industry


From the Street, but trudging up the Hill…

Oh, Oliver Stone. Such a confusing (or is it confused?) Hollywood conspiracy theorist. The Academy Award-winning director of JFK, Nixon and W. has profiled another iconic figure for his latest opus (no, not Wall Street 2).

South of the Border, a documentary about revolutionary Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his left-wing Latin American allies, opened in London this week, and like with many of his historical previous filmic endeavors, Stone’s new movie ties ideas from many opposing sources and forces, and stretches the yarn so that it almost becomes threadbare. A mad scientist at the edit bay, Stone has chopped and cut this doc so that it covers the green movement. He posits that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is an eye-opener for the United States, in that it should follow the example of South American socialists in nationalizing its energy industry.

Further, he decries that America’s country’s natural wealth was too important to be left in private hands, telling interviewers that oil and other natural resources “belong to the people.” What does BP have to do with Hugo Chavez? Not a thing, unless you pitch that question to Stone.

“This BP oil spill is typical” of what happens when private industry is allowed to draw revenue on what should be a public good, he says. “We shouldn’t make this kind of profit on oil or on health or on war or on prisons. All these industries should be public industries.”

South of the Border sheds light on the social improvements ushered in by Chavez, who has nationalized parts of Venezuela’s economy, including segments of the oil sector, as well as parts of the banking, electric and steel industries.

“Generally speaking the economy has surged in Venezuela from 2003 to 2008. This is a story that people don’t know,” Stone said.

He also referred to President Barack Obama as “Bush not-so-lite.” Given that he seemed to fawn over the previous commander in chief in 2008’s critical and box office misfire W., I’m not sure President Obama needs to worry about being assessed in such a fashion by the Oliver Stone of today. In the 90s, the director was crafting sensationalist (some might call propaganda) pieces that derided Nixon sympathizers and Reaganites and deified (while embalming) John F. Kennedy. Even scatterbrained and schizophrenic works like U-Turn seemed like they were biting the hand that reared, let alone fed them. But by the 00s, his movies got softer, more contextual and shapely. World Trade Center tried to satisfy both political parties, and W. was practically a eulogy to the 43rd President of the United States.

A couple of things:

Chernobyl was nuclear power as run by a government that owned everything for the people. When the government is put in charge, without private influence whatsoever, the power over industry is all concentrated in one body, the government. Doesn’t Oliver Stone make movies about how corrupt government is?

I wonder how he’d feel if the news media and entertainment industry were nationalized too. Might not have the leverage he’s got now, and you just know he’s got a movie in him about government-controlled media. Oh, wait, Natural Born Killers.

When Stone made the first Wall Street, the film’s tag line and mantra (intentionally or otherwise) was, “Greed is good.” The movie still feels like a corporate orientation video for new hedge fund employees. And its sequel, back by popular demand, focuses on another movement – the green movement. He might as well muddle that hot topic, too.

Let the mixed messages begin.

Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in Christopher Correa’s weekly column, Hill/Street Greens, examining the environmental deeds (and misdeeds) of Washington, D.C. and Wall Street.

Image: nicogenin