Paris is Buring Reading

Paris is Buring Reading - calumny made all tht^ worse by...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
calumny made all tht^ worse by his righ- teous rhetoric. (Wicker reports that, as early as 1950. Averelt Harriman walked out of a supper he was supposed to attend with Nixon, saying, "I will not break bread with that man I") His opportunistic progress rij^ht up to Watergate, his grim mancitverings in Vietnam, his smarmy schcmings to re- esuiblish himsell' in the years between his resignation and his death—these ptit him well beyond the I'urthest pale. The historian Joan Hoff says in her study of Nixon that he was not unprinci- pled biu aprincipled, meaning that he had "no apparent awareness ot coiuen- tional moral or ethical standards." This strikes me as gcneious. Al! of the above is to underscore that I went to Stone's film with one question uppcimost in my mind: Why? Even acknowledging Stone's understandably persistent concern with Vietnam, why this long film about Nixon? To some extent, Stone answers this qticstion. which he clearly foresaw. Nixoii begins with a disclaimer, stating that the film uses dramatic license, in- cluding condensation, that some scenes "have been hypothesized or condensed." I'm unequipped to check all the rear- rangements, thotigh one of them struck me forcibly. The weird scene at the Lin- coln Memorial at 4 a.m. one morning (luring ihe Vietnam War has patently been fiddled wilh: the confrontation witii students, which here ends pensively, in lact ended with ugly gestures uii both sides. As this iilni moves along—races, despite its length—we see that it is nei- ther Lin attack on Nixon nor a defense. Nor is il a tragedy. Large pronotuice- nicnts have been made, some of ihem by Slone. using that word; but .\ixon is no liagedy. The protagonist's fall causes no catharsis. For the kindliest viewer, it is pathetic; for the rest of us, it is high time. The picture is a case study. It exam- ines Nixon's insecurities and his resul- uuit aggressions; his firm beliefs at one moment and his equally firm dismissal of them later; his conibinalion of over- weening complacency and defensi\e* ness; his grabbings and his near-shock when some of the grabbings succeed; his desperation to attract people and his failure to do so. (After Nixon's fall, fvissinger says, "Clan you imagine what ihis man would have been if he had ever been loved?") However, despite Stone's inerctirial giits, the film does not become an artistic whole; it remains an examination of characteristics. What's missing is what Stone's best films have had: a subtext, a large theme evoked by the action on the screen. With /FK. it was a ntnninous atmosphere of uncertainty that has liiiunted this coun- iry since that murder. With Natural Born Kilins, it was the ftising of'life and media reports of life, .so timtwe all swim in a sea of horrific electronic assatilt. But with Nixon such a theme is not discernible. This leaves the film not much more than
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/14/2011 for the course ENGL 101 taught by Professor Vukovic during the Spring '08 term at George Mason.

Page1 / 5

Paris is Buring Reading - calumny made all tht^ worse by...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online