Thursday, July 29, 2004

"Fahrenheit 9-11": Classify Under "Horror"

I finally got to see this film, and I don't know where to begin describing it.  The first adjective that comes to my mind is "horrifying".  How honest is Michael Moore with this film?  One thing is for certain: he is honest about his intent, which is to help defeat Bush in November.  The quotes from the Bush administration are genuine, as they are provided in the form of video clips that feature the suspects.  As usual, Moore injects a lot of his personal emotions...  he is a master at this.  There is speculation which appears a bit wild at times.  However, the basic information is there and the questions arise from it.  Moore asks tough questions about why Saudi nationals were allowed to leave the U.S. during the days immediately following 9-11, why people aren't more concerned about the close ties between the Bush family and the Saudis, why we let Bin Lauden get such a big head start on us before we went into Afghanistan, why we really went to Iraq, etc. ad nauseum.  For the most part, he steers clear of using fallacies as he presents his questions and arguments;  he mainly uses real information as a springboard. 

I would imagine most avid left-wingers will at least try to see the movie.  Most right-wingers will probably not bother, preferring to wish the film would go away.  After all, it represents an attempt to upset the status quo.  My hope is that many "undecided" voters will see it and find themselves as horrified as I was at how Orwellian the Bush neoconservatives are made out to be;  if the Bushies keep hammering away at us, we may well soon believe that "War is peace". 

Inquiring minds want to know, and Moore provides some fodder for thought.  If you're already of the opinion (as I am) that four more years of Bush will just about kill America as we know it, you'll love the movie and you will want to tell everyone you know about how wonderful and timely it is.  If you are a servile Bush-lover, you will hate it and be horrified by it for an entirely different set of reasons than mine...  you might get so angry you'll pop a vein!  If you are somewhere in between, by all means go see this film!  It may help you realize how repugnant politicians are in general...  and particularly the delusional little cabal currently running the United States of America.

There are some out there who hate free speech and would like to suppress it in order that only one set of views is available to America.  Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity immediately come to mind.  People of that ilk must be squirming in their seats every time they hear about "Fahrenheit 9-11" or Michael Moore.  As they plot various ways to suppress the voices of dissent we should be thankful they are being made uncomfortable.  In the months to come, we will see their attacks on the left-wingers escalate as it becomes increasingly apparent they are nothing more than apologists for what must be one of the most horribly corrupt administrations in our history.  Their escalating attacks will be evidence of their fear that John Kerry could actually win the next election.  Folks such as Hannity, Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, etc. ad nauseum seem to want a one-party system in America.  While I would gladly defend their right to go right on saying the kinds of things they say, I believe they are kooks, almost completely out of touch with what a majority of Americans feel about this country.

Michael Moore has declared this film a "comedy".  I certainly wouldn't call it that, as I found the laughs to be few and far between.  I would place the movie in the "horror" category.  The Iraq footage is terrifying, and not for the faint of heart.  The interviews with the troops left me feeling empty.  Some of them expressed a sort of joy in killing Iraqis, including citizens.  I think it's likely that only a handful of our troops actually feel the same as those depicted in the film, but when I see their attitudes and behaviors displayed on the movie screen and pair it with the images of Iraqi prisoner treatment, I believe these troops aren't to blame for their actions.  Problem behaviors such as these begin at the top, through macho/arrogant leadership and that leaderships' misguided attitude toward the rest of the world...  it seems like it's "God Bless America and God Damn All The Others."  There is nothing comedic about that.  That way of looking at the world is just plain wrong.  We simply can't command the respect of the rest of the world, we need to earn it.  At this point, thanks to Bush, we need to earn it back.  They all loved us after the September 11 attacks, now many of them hate us.  How did that happen so fast?

I don't hate America, and neither does Michael Moore.  Go see "Fahrenheit 9-11" and decide for yourself.  However the film affects you, you might agree that Moore does what anyone who loves his country would do in a country where free speech is allowed:  he is dissenting.  He loves his country but fears his government, and he believes that our government shouldn't be given free reign but should be held accountable for its actions, whatever the administration's party affiliation.  What's wrong with that?  People who have read his books would have to agree he is not very enamoured with the Democrats either, although you won't find much of that in "Fahrenheit 9-11"... and as he has stated, he believes those who run the current edition of the GOP are a threat to the well-being of the United States.  He has stated such an opinion repeatedly, and he is admittedly doing his part to bring about change.  Disingenous?  I don't think so.  Unpatriotic?  That depends on your definition.  If "patriotism" is blindly following the President and taking whatever he says to be truth, then is that not servility rather than patriotism?

If you disagree with what Moore says in "Fahrenheit 9-11", I hope you have at least bothered to go see the movie.  If you refuse to go see it, then maybe it is because you are afraid of being exposed to things that run counter to your belief systems.  Some people view "Fahrenheit 9-11" as the major left-wing movie event of the year, with "The Passion Of The Christ"* being the major right-wing film event.  I don't believe this is necessarily a good comparison, as it invites polarization and a Manichean view, hinting that you can't be a Christian if you're a left-winger, and that Republicans can't disagree with Bush.  A fair number of left wingers are not Christians (not evangelicals/fundamentalists, anyway), and many Republicans are worried about what Bush is really up to.
Moore himself has declared this film a "comedy", I think it might be more appropriately classified as "horror".  It should horrify true left-wing believers and hardcore conservatives alike...  hopefully enough that a wholesale change will come about at election time.

*I refuse to criticize "The Passion Of The Christ" because I have not seen the film.  Is that movie out on DVD yet?  Once it is, I will see it and submit a review! 


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