"W" is Pure Fiction

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On Thursday, Stephen Colbert had a clip of Oliver Stone's new movie "W" about George W. Bush, showing Bush being asked his biggest mistake at a White House press conference in April 2004 (see the clip on that page at about 18:50).

In the clip, Bush (played by Josh Brolin) nervously answers, "I wish you would have given me this written question beforehand, so I could prepare for it." Then he composes himself and says, with a degree of anguish, "John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way." He looks around the room, as if pleading for help to save him from the spot he's in.

Many of the words are basically accurate, but in real life (see the clip around 51:00), they were delivered completely differently. The first sentence was given as a confident joke, with no nervousness of any kind (and Stone neatly swapped in the word "prepare" for "plan," implying Bush has to prepare his answers).

And the real-life delivery of the second sentence showed no anguish at all, just some trouble coming up with an answer to the question on the spot.

This is, of course, typical Stone. He doesn't care about truth. He cares about trying to make people believe the inventions that he prefers, rather than any facts that, you know, happened. He has his vision of who Bush "is," and he will do his best to convince you it's true by taking the facts and turning them inside out, hoping you won't notice. His technique, like most propaganda, requires the viewer to be ignorant, and so this tells you how little he thinks of his audience.

This is punctuated by Stone's butchering of Bush's real-life statement, "I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes," into "I don't want to sound like I haven't made no mistakes." A subtle change that serves the purpose of furthering Stone's "truth" of who Bush "is."

Stone isn't worth bothering with most of the time, but especially when he's pretending to portray real people. I suppose the movie might be good if you like fiction, and can treat it as such while watching it. But most people can't do that, and it certainly wasn't made to be treated as such.

The saddest thing to me is that Stone's movie exemplifies the very nature of "truthiness," and Colbert won't call him on it, because he's in the tank for Obama too. slashdot.org

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