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1) What I have tried to do with this movie is to open a stall in that marketplace of ideas and offer a version of what might have happened. (Oliver Stone)

2) The great masses of people will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one. (Adolf Hitler, quoted in Marrs)

3) But nobody reads. Don’t believe people read in this country. There will be a few professors that will read the record. The public will read very little. (Allen Dulles, quoted in Assassination of JFK)

4) This "distortion of history" charge has come at me from all quarters, although almost entirely -- it must be said -- from people old enough to know better. And it ignores, deliberately and carefully, the fact that there is no accepted history of these events and this terrible time remains the most undocumented, unresearched, unagreed-upon, non-historical period of our history. (Oliver Stone 23)

5) The thing I am most concerned about is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin. (J. Edgar Hoover, quoted in Beyond JFK)

6) Unless there is more popular support, the war cannot be won. It’s their war, they have to win it or lose it. (John Kennedy, quoted in Beyond JFK)

7) People who say we have to withdraw from Vietnam are wrong. (John Kennedy, quoted in Beyond JFK)

8) No, ladies and gentlemen, [the single-bullet theory of the Warren Commission] is not history! [It] is myth! It is myth that a scant number of Americans have ever believed. It is a myth that an esteemed generation of journalists and historians have refused to examine, have refused to question, and above all, have closed ranks to criticize and vilify those who do. (Oliver Stone)

9) Your commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, having completed its assignment in accordance with Executive Order No. 11130 of November 29, 1963, herewith submits its final report. (Warren Report 3)

10) The Commission has found no evidence to show that Oswald was involved with any person or group in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, although it has thoroughly investigated, in addition to other possible leads, all facets of Oswald’s associations, finances, and personal habits, particularly during the period following his return from the Soviet Union in June 1962. (Warren Report 41)

11) In his three-hour lie, Stone falsifies so much that he may be an intellectual sociopath, indifferent to truth. Or perhaps he is just another propagandist frozen in the 1960s like a fly in amber, combining moral arrogance with historical ignorance. (George Will)

12) The dirty little secret of American journalism is that whenever you watch a TV news program or read a newspaper that includes coverage of something you saw or knew about or in which you actually participated, even a baseball game, it’s generally wrong. Sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot, but wrong. (Oliver Stone)

13) 13) There were things that Kennedy and his administration were doing which were so radically different from the long-term Eisenhower administrative business that it was affecting major power centers in this country – things we don’t think about very often. And they were able to control the events that would happen after the change – that’s what’s important. Every time there’s a covert operation, the people on the other side of the hall from the NJS has to be planning a cover and deception operation. They must go together. The cover and deception tells you what happened in Dallas (Fletcher Prouty, quoted in Newsmaker Sunday)

14) In his short three years as President, John Kennedy had already begun to change our attitudes and fundamental assumptions about the Cold War. His adoption of a more enlightened, less polarized view of the earth and its inhabitants, I believe, may have led John Kennedy to his death. (Jim Garrison)

15) The central historical question raised by JFK, of course, has to do not with the tramps in Dealey Plaza, not with who might have been firing from the grassy knoll, not with by what coalition of Cubans, exiles, mobsters, rogue intelligence officers the conspiracy might have been concocted, but the darker stain on the American ground in the '60s and '70s -- Vietnam. It is Vietnam which has become the "bloody shirt" of American politics, replacing the slavery issue of a hundred years before. (Oliver Stone)

16) It is wrong to insist on socially and politically correct interpretations. In Stone's view artists have the right to interpret history as they see it. If an artist wishes to make a movie showing Hitler as a good guy, said Stone, that is acceptable. (Robert Burgoyne)

17) JFK makes an apparently old issue come to life. Indeed, the reaction it has evoked makes it seem like a very successful piece of historical work, not a work that tells us the truth about the past but one that questions the official truths about the past so provocatively that we are forced once again to look to history and consider what these events mean to use today (Robert Rosenstone 205)

18) Do not trust this book. In fact, when it comes to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, don’t trust any one source or even the basic evidence and testimony. In the case of the JFK assassination, belief and trust have long been part of the problem. One’s views of the events in Dallas in 1963 has depended upon whom one chooses to believe. (Jim Marrs)

19) I definitely saw the man shooting from the knoll. (Jean Hill, quoted in Beyond JFK)

20) His sincerity, or lack of sincerity, is not important. Nor is the Garrison case itself of any intrinsic importance. It is almost certain to be consigned to the dung heap of history and promptly forgotten. It will probably rate not even in any serious study of the assassination. (Brener 268)

21) Stone has not only brought alive the issues of the past, but in one of the two presidential films, JFK, has raised the issue of to what extent the past is knowable and representable. The film also stands as a perfect example of what can be seen as another possible task for the historical: to be provocative. To create a past on screen so outrageous or controversial that it forces a society to openly debate an important historical issue. Not only did JFK refuel the controversy over who killed President Kennedy, it also forced Congress to pass a law declassifying tens of thousands of documents relating to the case. (Robert Rosenstone 119)

22) If you didn’t see Lee Harvey Oswald up in the School Book Depository with a rifle, you didn’t witness it. (Richard Carr, quoted in Marrs 313)

23) Some journalists of the 60s are self-appointed Keepers of the Flame. They talk about this history and fight savagely those who would question it. But confronted with the Crime of the Century, with no motive and hardly any alleged perpetrators, they stand mute. (Oliver Stone)

24) Maybe we could have ended the war sooner if JFK had lived. Today I started to think about all of the individual deaths that could have been avoided if JFK had not been assassinated. I thought about the families that would still be intact today, the dead grandparents we never got to know, and a bunch of really other morbid thoughts. We will never know what JFK would have done if he had lived, but can we blame the people involved in the conspiracy for thousands of lives instead of just one? (Elizabeth Guzzo, Lehigh University)

25) One has to question the ethics of any American attorney [David Belin] who calls Lee Harvey Oswald -- who was never tried, convicted, or even allowed legal representation -- Kennedy's assassin, and not the "alleged" or "accused" assassin, thereby violating the most fundamental principles of our legal system. (Oliver Stone)

26) We are asked not only to pass judgement on its [JFK's] virtues as an entertainment but to hand down a judgment on history, which in this case means rendering a verdict on the C.I.A., the F.B.I., military intelligence, anti-Castro Cubans, Lee Harvey Oswald, Clay Shaw, L.B.J., and everyone else who is in one way or another implicated in the conspiracy that, Stone argues, resulted in the murder of our 35th president in Dealey plaza. (David Ansen)

27) Conspiracy theory makes it dangerously easy to explain away all objections. (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.)

28) JFK is a superb example of a film which doesn't tell history so much as revision it -- through both its form and its message, with the two of them inextricably linked. (Robert Rosenstone 128)

29) He is a specimen of the 1960s arrested development, the result of self-absorption encouraged by all the rubbish written about his generation being so unprecedentedly moral, idealistic, caring, etc. He is one of those "activists" who have been so busy trying to make history they have not learned any. (George Will)

30) For [Hayden] White, the chief value of modernist techniques for representing the traumatic historical events of the twentieth century resides in the sense of doubt and uncertainty toward historical knowledge that a modernist approach to the past permits. Rather than assuming an illusory intellectual mastery over the past, a modernist style of historiography finds that meaning of the past is contestable, because the questions we ask of the event cannot be answered with any semblance of mastery or totality. (Robert Burgoyne 95)

31) But it is impossible to remain skeptical of JFK’s Edenic notion of its heroes and still find this movie a remarkable, necessary provocation. Real political discourse has all but vanished from Hollywood filmmaking; above and beyond whether Stone’s take on the assassination is right his film is a powerful, radical vision of America’s drift toward covert government. (David Ansen)

32) Both the Washington Post and the New York Times obviously wanted to destroy Oliver Stone’s credibility before JFK went into general release. The question is, why? Why was the Establishment so frightened by this movie and its speculations? (Jim Welsh 263)

33) It is a tragedy for this country that its "respectable" and "honorable" men, its jurists, government officials, media Establishment, continue to participate in the greatest lie ever put across on the American people. (Oliver Stone)

34) The Hollywood historical film will always include images that are at once invented and yet may still be considered true; true in that they symbolize, condense, or summarize larger amounts of data; true in that they carry out the overall meaning of the past that can be verified, documented, or reasonably argued. (Robert Rosenstone 204)

35) The film is a bit subversive in its approach. But a film can often be subversive to the subconscious. It comes out and its often criticized and reviled, but it lasts. It’s sort of like a tsunami wave. It starts out miles and miles from the beach. You hear a noise that just moves fast under the water. Then without warning it hits the beach, an explosion. Obviously this film is going to be denied; there will be some decrying and reviling. All the errors are going to be attacked. It will be discredited. Yet it will survive. (Morrow and Smilgis)

36) One can read in history books the standard two paragraphs that John F. Kennedy was shot by a lone gunman who, in turn, was killed by another earnest vigilante and lone gunman. End of story. But that theory, put forward in 26 unindexed volumes by the Warren Commission, was never even believed from the day it was issued by a majority of Americans -- and the number of people who disbelieve it increases each year. (Oliver Stone)

37) The common denominator of these commercial productions [Stone's "JFK" and A&E's "The Men Who Killed Kennedy"] is the big lie -- the assertion that the top echelons of our government were conspiratorially involved in the assassination and that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the lone gunman who killed President Kennedy. (Ford and Belin)

38) Stone’s JFK has a filmic objective in the literary genre of Theodore Dreiser: to be disruptive ostensibly for the purpose of getting at the truth of the American government. (Marcus Raskin 488)

39) A Washington Post poll this month showed that 56 percent of the American public thinks the assassination was the result of a conspiracy (down from 66 percent at the height of the Garrison investigation). Only 19 percent think Oswald was acting on his own, as the Warren Commission concluded years ago. Of those who thought there was a conspiracy, 36 percent said Oswald fired the shots, while 49 percent said he was set up by others and did not fire any shots at all. (George Lardner)

40) Oliver Stone has told a story. It now takes its place along with the many other accounts of the Kennedy assassination. But Stone's story is different. It is not about what happened on 29 November 1963, but about how the events of that day and their interpretations have shaped whom we have become. While we may never know the whole truth about the Kennedy assassination, we can begin to know ourselves. And that is a knowledge most useful and necessary. (Martin J. Medhurst)

41) Garrison is perhaps best viewed more as a movie convention than as a real man. Stone has always required a hero to worship, and he turn the D.A. into his own alter ego, a true believer tenaciously seeking higher truth (David Ansen)

42) Honestly, I don't have all the facts. The best "smoking gun" we have is the Zapruder film, which is a time clock of the assassination. Beyond that, there are all these files that could be opened to bring out more truths. The best I can do is present a hypothesis which will hopefully encourage people to move away from the Warren Commission report and maybe read some books or at least question the concept of our government's covert operations. (Oliver Stone, in Crowdus)

43) For many scenes, I took dialogue straight from the written record -- the Warren Commission volumes and the Shaw trial transcripts -- letting history speak for itself. (Oliver Stone)

44) JFK is not a linear historical film. That is, it does not mechanically follow history as we have come to know and accept it, which is precisely Oliver Stone's goal. Stone is a huge proponent of questioning the "status quo" and/or authority, and it is for this reason that he arranges JFK in a "non-linear" fashion so to speak. Stone essentially steps to the side of history rather than submitting to it so as to prevent history from imprisoning him. It is crucial for viewers to also step to the side when viewing JFK in order to truly grasp the "bigger picture." By viewing JFK linearly (i.e. beginning, middle, and end parts), viewers miss the essential message of the film because they become too concerned with following plot developments and trying to figure out who killed Kennedy. Instead, I believe that Stone's film is best viewed from the side, ignoring sequentiality in order to give constant attention to the "why" question that Stone so desperately wants viewers to consider. Viewers must truly think about how the very complex, individual parts of Stone's film impact the overall "why." Viewing it "linearly" encourages the audience to get too bogged down in the "how" and the "who," a dangerous pitfall that Stone sternly warns us of throughout JFK. (Brian Carroll, Lehigh University)

45) In his three-hour lie, Stone falsifies so much that he may be an intellectual sociopath, indifferent to truth. Or perhaps he is just another propagandist frozen in the 1960’s like a fly in amber, combining moral arrogance and historical ignorance. (George Will)

46) Children of the video age are easy targets for a filmmaker who wishes to manipulate history. . . . American society lacks the power to police art for its inaccuracies. (Robert Burgoyne)

47) The murder of President Kennedy was a seminal event for me and for millions of Americans. It changed the course of history. It was a crushing blow to our country and to millions of people around the world. It put and abrupt end to a period of innocence and great idealism. (Oliver Stone)

48) What makes it [JFK] unusual is that, unlike most American movies, it has a thesis, offering an interpretation of one of the most important events in recent American history. Such an interpretation does not necessarily constitute a rewriting of history, as Tom Wicker asserted, but it does force the viewer to think back over a tragic event that surely altered the course of American history during the latter half of our century. (Jim Welsh 265)

49) False charges of this kind are a desecration to the memory of President Kennedy, a desecration to the memory of Earl Warren and a fraudulent misrepresentation of the truth to the American public. (Ford and Belin)

50) Tom Wicker was obviously very freaked out about the issues of media credibility in general, and also about a general sense of distrust of the government that this film was going to engender. My answer to that is that out government has to earn our trust, it has to deserve trust, and in this case it didn't. (Zachary Sklar, in Crowdus)

51) The Post criticized Garrison for not having found the truth. Instead, we at Camelot Productions see Garrison as one of the few men of that time who had the courage to stand up to the establishment and seek the truth. He symbolizes the American public's nagging sense of doubt about the past conclusions of the Warren Commission. And in him we have found a protagonist of merit. (Oliver Stone)

52) In the wake of the film, the closed files on the assassination were promised to be reopened, because of the renewed controversy. How many films have exercised such influence and produced such results? (Jim Welsh 265)

53) Conveniently, Ford and Belin wrap up their presentation by referring to the "other massive body of evidence which conclusively proves beyond a reasonable doubts that Oswald was the lone gunman." They decline to present this massive body of evidence to the readers. Should we take these men at their word? Probably not. (Oliver Stone)

54) JFK seems to be the revenge of Oliver Stone’s generation. . . . Stone uses his imago, Kennedy, and his dramatic instrument, Garrison, to speak to the next generation, one that knows little American history. It receives its moral, political, and historical understanding about the past through images. Thus JFK is potential dynamite -- a 40 million dollar Hollywood version of a samizdat -- for it has shaken a carefully constructed Weltanschauung that sought to teach the lesson that accidents and random events are more important in the processes of social, economic, and political life than structures and organizations. JFK is meant to use the assassination to force an audience to decide whether it wants to ground the American political process in the post-Cold War era with the same structures and habits of mind that governed it during the Cold War. (Marcus Raskin 490)

55) No matter how incomprehensible it may seem, the overwhelming evidence establishes that the events occurred as found by the Warren Commission. And this is so, no matter how much we need to interpret the assassination as rational and orderly or to have it fit some particular dysfunctional world view. (Richard Mosk)

56) The historical film can be a stimulus to thought, an intervention into history, a way or re-visioning the past. We do not go to the Hollywood historical film for data but for drama, for the way it intensifies the issues of the past, for the way it shows us the world as a process, makes us participate in the confusion, multiplicities, and complexities of events long past (Robert Rosenstone 204)

57) JFK is an act of execrable history and contemptible citizenship by a man of technical skill, scant education and negligible conscience. (George Will)

58) The confessional nature of Ferrie's account, the anguish and fear that permeates his monologue, conveys a strong sense of truth, underscored by the long-take camera work that seems to wish to offer itself as the equivalent of a visual polygraph test. By contrast, "X" offers the authority of an "inside view" and provides a sense of dispassionate analysis in which logic and history provide an explanatory framework. Juxtaposed in the film in a way that invites comparison, the narrations of Ferrie and of "X" exhibit a striking lack of unisonance at the level of the signifier. (Robert Burgoyne 98)

59) Belin and former president Gerald Ford are the last of a dying breed: Warren Commission apologists. (Oliver Stone)

60) Similarly, we recreated some of the theories in the Warren Commission Report, such as the idea that Oswald could have fired three shots within 5.6 seconds with such accuracy. . . . When you see it visually on screen, it has a much greater impact and you realize it can't be done. Or, if he was going to shoot the President, why didn't he do it looking down Houston Street rather than waiting until he had a worse shot on Elm, when he had to fire through the tree? I think it's visualization that upsets people because it reveals how preposterous the Warren Commission's version was. (Zachary Sklar, in Crowdus)

61) Jim Garrison didn't want to see the flame of life that was John F. Kennedy extinguished without bringing his killer -- or killers -- to justice. Is the sad part that he failed, or that he was one of the few persons in America willing to try? (Oliver Stone)

62) [JFK] tells multiple stories and creates many interpretations of the assassination, including some which contradict each other. These competing possibilities for what happened, all asserted with the same degree of possibility, tend to emphasize the artificial and provisional reconstruction of any historical reality. What seems to be happening here is that JFK both questions history as a mode of knowledge (the multiple interpretations) and yet asserts our need for it. (Robert Rosenstone 129)

63) This is beyond-the-looking-glass stuff: anyone entering the assassination debate is instantly transported into a frenzied fantasy world, in which the same evidence can be used to bolster either side. (Kenneth Auchincloss et al.)

64) There is more truth-seeking going on now in Russia than there is in our own country. What JFK has brought out is that those who talk the most of history have no commitment to it either. (Oliver Stone)

65) In the end, the importance of a historical episode is not just its factual content but is emotional and ethical significance as well. Why did it happen? What does it mean? Was it triumph or tragedy? For whom? This process of evaluation, when undertaken by a whole society, eventually leads to the creation of a cultural myth. . . . Myths have always expressed the true inner meaning of human events. . . . They reinterpret history in order to create lasting, universal truths. (Oliver Stone)

66) My advice: don't trust anyone who claims the movie is hogwash. And don't trust Stone either. (David Ansen)

67) "History," in its original Greek sense (historica), means "inquiry," and in that light, my film, any film, any work of art, has the right to reexplore an event. (Oliver Stone)

68) Of course, as the saying goes, even paranoids may have real enemies. The more enduring residue of JFK will be the questions the film raises about the adequacy of the Warren Commission inquiry. These questions are legitimate. (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.)

69) Young people coming out of this film are outraged and they ought to be. That's what history books should do -- get them to think, to feel, and to act. A history book that puts people to sleep and tells them lies to boot is not doing its job. (Zachary Sklar, in Crowdus)

70) Every cut produces only one conviction, that the past we thought we shared is a mosaic of conflicting histories, a History just this side of Chaos. (Pat Dowell 11)

71) JFK may serve a purpose which few works of art have recently fulfilled if it merely continues to stir controversy and provoke further study of the effectuation of power in the United States. (Christopher Sharrett 14)

72) JFK is the cinematic equivalent of rape. (Peter Collier 29)

73) After reading several of the articles made available to us for this assignment I was very effected by Oliver Stone's passion. In reading his many rebuttals to his critics assertions I almost envisioned Stone as a conquering defender, protecting his work from what he perceived to be outrageous untruths. He lashes out against those who claim that he rewrote history with his beliefs of Kennedy, Vietnam, and the conspiracy represented in his film, by claiming that there is no accepted accounting of what happened on November 22, 1963. His need to continually stand up against the constant onslaught of his critics is inspiring. (Kristen Englehardt, Lehigh University)

74) When I finished watching JFK, I was ready to run home and tell my parents that Oswald was set up and the whole thing was a government conspiracy leading all the way up to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren and the President of the United States of America Lyndon Johnson. (Jonathan Zubkoff, Lehigh University)

75) I'm pretty sure if I told a 3rd grader about the magic bullet theory, the kid would look at me like I had been sniffing paint or something. (Jonathan Zubkoff, Lehigh University)

76) Stone is a crafty dude. He might be right about a lot of the stuff he says, but even if he's wrong, he'll find a way to make you believe that he is right. (Jonathan Zubkoff, Lehigh University)

77) Sure, I understand that there are vital aspects of Stone's argument that are faulty or unethical, which deserve some criticism, but what I don’t understand is why some have tried so hard to censure his doubts. Is it wrong to wonder how one bullet could pass through seven wounds? The argument Garrison points out to disprove the “magic bullet theory” is one that I can’t ignore. (Kelley Higgins, Lehigh University)

78) Stone would like to see viewers after watching the film go out, explore, and listen less to the mass of media. He is highlighting that the American people should not be still and voiceless, a very traditional American trait. (Thomas Bianchi, Lehigh University)

79) I certainly believe that people need to think for themselves and individual citizens must be able to question their government in a free and open society. However, "NO" is not a thesis. "NO" is not an argument. If Oliver Stone wants to present a story and call it history, it should be based on reliable evidence and witnesses. However, Stone claims in JFK that the Army, Navy, FBI, CIA, Dallas Police, the military-industrial complex, the Mafia, the Cubans, the Russians, and a collection of homosexual New Orleans businessmen formed a coalition to kill the President. And then the Vice President and the Supreme Court decided to cover it up. This would all be well and good if this were a fictitious story about fictitious characters, but it is not. I think that the biggest tragedy about JFK is that Stone largely failed in his goal. So many people who have watched this movie have failed to think for themselves. Many movie goers have blindly accepted Stone's version of history without any additional research. People should question their government, but they must also question anyone who claims to know the truth, including Oliver Stone. Don't be a sheep. (Andrew Wright, Lehigh University)

80) Stone makes it clear through the quotation that begins the film, “to sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men,” that his intention is to encourage Americans to inquire about their historical past. Stone asks us to imagine what may have been, not what was, at least not in any certain terms. In this way his work is not very different from Tina Andrews’ interpretation of Sally Hemings’ life. Stone interpreted an American scandal much the way Andrews interpreted an American love story. Neither is necessarily a true interpretation of the actual events, but both allow us to think about what might have been. (Margaret Watters, Lehigh University)