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A cool look at Fahrenheit 9/11

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Ms. Lauren at Feministe has seen Michael Moore‘s controversial movie. Her review is one of the most unbiased I’ve read in the blogosphere. Though she is on the Left, she has brought an objectivity to the topic not in keeping with the usual biases of Bloggersville. She resists the temptation to dehumanize people whose politics she disagrees with. Nor does she ignore the flaws in Moore’s outlook. The result is a review I suspect any reader will find thoughtful.

Spoilers ahead.

I saw the movie tonight, and as much as I would like to give a raving review, I cannot. While I agree with the basic premise of the movie, much of Michael Moore’s argument is based on an emotional appeal that I inherently resist.

Unlike others who have criticized the movie, I didn’t think Moore’s scope was too wide. Overall, Moore’s threefold thesis was clear:

1) The Bush administration is a parade of assholes.

2) Like in Bowling for Columbine, a fear-based spin on the news will make us agree to just about anything – even war.

3) War is bad.

Oddly, much of the footage of the administrative rockstars readying themselves for the camera on September 11th made Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice appear more human than appear as members of the Evil Empire. The infamous seven minutes of Bush in his photo op at the Florida elementary school recorded a reaction much like my own — his presidency doesn’t make him less human for his stunned reaction.

Unlike Moore’s analysis of Bush’s paralysis due to lack of informed action by his cronies, I perceived his reaction of that day as much like mine.

I am impressed with Lauren’s analysis of the use of the word ‘conspiracy’ to refer to the relationship among Bush administration members, cronies and corporations benefitting from the invasion of Iraq. In America, the interlocking aspects of power are often out in the open. For example, evidence of Vice President Dick Cheney‘s profitable relationship with Halliburton is available to see for anyone willing to do minimal research. As nefarious as the interlocking relationships may be, they lack the cloak and dagger qualities of what most people consider conspiracies.

As much as I disagree with the current administration, I cannot peg them as a part of a wide conspiracy to profit from the war. A conspiracy is not a conspiracy if it is in the open. This administration is heavily tied with business interests and has acted accordingly. This administration is heavily concerned with moral comeuppance and has acted accordingly. This is no conspiracy – no conspiracy about oil, no conspiracy about millions of dollars of profit.

Let me say it again: A conspiracy is not a conspiracy if it occurs in wide open spaces.

What of my own attitude toward Michael Moore? I am neither a partisan nor a critic. I consider his films to be good food for thought, but not sacrosanct. But, I reject the Right’s claim that Moore’s movies are ‘just lies.’ The blending of fact and techniques of fiction to make a point has a long history in the arts. I believe what is being called lying is actually a form of literary license.

Read the entire review of Fahrenheit 9/11 at Feministe.

Note: This entry also appeared at Mac-a-ro-nies.

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About The Diva

  • Mike Kole

    I agree with you that Moore’s combination of fiction and fact does not make the film ‘just lies’. It does, however, make it not a documentary.

    Thanks for bringing Ms. Lauren’s review to our attention. It is excellent.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Well, maybe a new terminology describing what Michael Moore and other blenders of fact and elements of fiction in film do needs to be developed, Mike. Perhaps the ‘semiotics’ people are already on it-:).

  • James mo

    ‘I agree with you that Moore’s combination of fiction and fact does not make the film ‘just lies’. It does, however, make it not a documentary.

    Thanks for bringing Ms. Lauren’s review to our attention. It is excellent.’

    – Whats the go with this? A documentary by it’s very nature- will be biased. The very act of making a documentary- means incorperating inherent biases.(What you choose to make a documentary about- etc.)

    You say because there are ‘lies’- it is not a documentary. Firstly – what are the lies? , because Micheal Moore has a $10 000 reward for anyone who can identify a factual error, so, I ‘d like to know.

    If you meant the way facts are interpreted, then ..yes, his documentary is not partial- and he makes no pretences that it is. But what specimen of absolute ‘truth’ to do you have to wiegh it up against,.. Fox News?

    P.S – people seem to miss the point of his documentary- he is voicing an opinion, based on fact. An legitamate opinion which has not been aired via mainstream media.

    Based on ‘factual’ merit- his documentary would seem far less ‘fiction’ then the spin eminating from our populist press.