American Consequences - February 2019

AND SO IS WIKIPEDIA WALL STREET (1987) was directed and co-written by Oliver Stone. Michael )SYKPEWTPE]IHXLIǻRERGMEPWPIE^IFEPP,SVHSR,IOOS[LSQEOIWXLIRSXSVMSYW “greed is good” speech, and Charlie Sheen played his hero-worshiping sidekick who reforms in the end. When I looked up the movie on Wikipedia I came across these intriguing notes about the movie’s conception, reception, and audience reaction, all quoted directly from the Wall Street Wiki article: GOOD

“The defense of greed is a paraphrase of the May 18, 1986, commencement address at the UC Berkeley’s School of 'YWMRIWW&HQMRMWXVEXMSRHIPMZIVIHF] arbitrageur Ivan Boesky (who himself was later convicted of insider trading charges), in which he said, ‘Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.’” “Rita Kempley in the Washington Post [reviewing the movie when it was VIPIEWIHA[VSXIXLEXXLIǻPQƵMWEXMXW weakest when it preaches visually or verbally. Stone doesn’t trust the time- honored story line, supplementing the obvious moral with plenty of soapboxery.’”

ƸXLIǻPQLEWGSQIXSFIWIIREWXLI archetypal portrayal of 1980s success... .XLEWEPWSTVSZIRMRǼYIRXMEPMRMRWTMVMRK people to work on Wall Street, with Sheen, Douglas, and Stone commenting over the years how people still approach them and say that they became stockbrokers because of their respective GLEVEGXIVWMRXLIǻPQƹ Ƹ.RVIZMI[MRKXLIǻPQƶWWIUYIP]IEVW later, Variety noted that though the SVMKMREPǻPQ[EWƵMRXIRHIHEWEGEYXMSREV] tale on the pitfalls of unchecked ambition and greed, Stone’s 1987 original instead LEHXLIIǺIGXSJXYVRMRK)SYKPEWƶLYKIP] charismatic (and Oscar-winning) villain into a household name and boardroom icon – an inspiration to the very power players and Wall Street wannabes for whom he set such a terrible example.’”

– P.J. O’Rourke


February 2019

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