That sound you hear … that’s Bush’s spotless record as a fearless leader going up in flames. The literary device you just read … that’s sarcasm.
Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is a movie that takes the Littlest Dictator over its knee and spanks him like an unruly child. It’s a deserved beating, and the film is biased and damn fun. Republicans may not get the irony of it, but that shouldn’t stop free-thinking Americans from getting queasy on the ride.
I went opening weekend to take in what is probably the most controversial documentary ever made. And while some folks would say it’s not a documentary because it’s biased — I have news for you. All documentaries are biased. This one just wears its bias on its sleeve, and it reveals it straight on. It’s not like the Kerry campaign produced this and didn’t mention it to anyone, which was the kind of tactic used by a religious documentary I reviewed earlier in the year. Nope, you know who did this and why.
Those same people who cry bias also say Moore’s film is propaganda. Correct again, (especially when you consider that propaganda needs to include fact to be effective), but at least Moore didn’t hide what he was attempting to accomplish. He wants his film to help get Bush out of office, an effort I applaud. If it makes you naysayers feel better, consider it advocacy filmmaking instead of a documentary. Now can we move on?
Seeing Moore’s film left me with one very deep impression. How can you see this movie and not be an anarchist? I went in as one and came out feeling stronger for it. I wish he would’ve focused on Democrats and their hand in this current state of affairs a bit more, but I’ll take what I can get. And when it comes to taking and getting, I have a feeling Moore is going to be taking a lot of criticism and getting a ton of grief. I know. I learned my lesson when I dared to criticize the Bush administration a few years ago.
As some of you know, I do a weekly e-mail rant/essay called “Violence Fetish E-mail Attack.” In it I do everything from review comic books to spout off about political issues. On 9/11 I wrote a long, emotional piece on my ideas about why it happened, why it will continue to happen and how it can be prevented. I was not too friendly toward Bush, his daddy or any other president, and I soundly trashed our foreign policy while at the same time pointing out our role as a terrorist nation and as one that backed terrorists.
Frankly, it pissed off a lot of people.
I got the usual hate mail demanding I support my country, but I also got a lot of disturbing death threats and commands to leave the good ol’ USA before I found myself hanging from a lamp pole. It was the first time in my life that I ever wanted to stop writing about something because of the hatred coming my way. I joke that Keanu Reeves’ fans are nasty, but they were really nothing compared to the people who wrote me, and some of them were my friends.
Moore has always been a magnet for hate, and it will increase tenfold with his new film. That’s a given. He is presenting a picture that people aren’t too comfortable with, especially those who voted for the jerk-off president in the first place. These people don’t want citizens to see this movie, and they definitely don’t want people talking about it. One Republican I know told a friend of mine not to “waste (his) money on it because it was garbage.” Had the Republican seen it? No, and his statement about it being garbage was made even more ironic by the fact that he had seen The Chronicles of Riddick the previous week. But his party was saying it, so like a good parrot, he followed suit, and became one of the two groups of people who decried the film without even viewing it. (The other group is people who think films should only be entertainment. The less said about those with that juvenile mindset, the better.)
Here’s the deal, America. Think what you want about Moore and Bush. I admire Moore as a man who will stick up for the underdog (though he sometimes lets people off too easy), and I dislike Bush because he will use the underdog to further his power base. I like Moore because he does his best to stimulate dialogue, unlike the current administration, which goes out of its way to censor it. If you, as a citizen of this country, like living in what is fast becoming a police state, then I imagine you’ll hate this movie because it not only points out that the emperor has no clothes, but it also shows him to be a weak buffoon whose only interest is his own well-being. Argue the fact that Moore is a muckraker all you want (he is), but understand that his film is important and it does what any good film should.
Fahrenheit 9/11 has people talking. It has them interested in the world around them, and it has people going to the theatre in rabid herds to see a documentary! It’s emotional, funny and often very sad. It uses the power of images and sounds to produce the right reaction, and it does it well. You may not like the subject matter, but you can’t ignore its strength.
I don’t know if anyone will be voting any differently in the next election because of this movie. I don’t really care if they do, because Kerry isn’t that much better than Bush. A leader is a leader is a dog. What I care about is that on that early Saturday afternoon I sat in a crowded theatre with a bunch of people who booed and laughed at Bush and his Crime Syndicate, booed Democrats, and applauded the people on screen who wanted Rumsfeld to resign and who refused to go back to fight in an unjust war, and I had to think: Are we finally getting it?
I think so. Yeah.
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Posted on October 27, 2004 in Features by Doug Brunell
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