No Fancy Name
Sunday, July 11, 2004
fahrenheit 9/11 - i finally saw it
I warned Kate that I would be crying a lot, and I did. But that's not where this story starts. About a block away from the theatre, there were some women carrying signs and a clipboard saying "switch to republican here!" Kate muttered a "hell no" on her way past them, while some white-haired ladies said in unison "oh, we already are". Unison. Like lemmings. Kate had a good response for the sign women, which she of course didn't think of until she was past them: "I'll register as a republican if you vote democrat." Because after all, what the women with the "switch now" sign probably forgot is that crossover voting is alive and well. On the off chance that some republicans went to see F 9/11, and "got" it, their crossover votes should be happily counted in the Kerry column -- because I don't understand how anyone can see F 9/11 and, in good conscience, vote for the shrub. This isn't a Republican vs Democrat issue -- it's a dumbass liar vs the other guy issue. Be a Republican, be conservative, that's fine with me -- it's exercising the same freedom I have to be a Democrat, and liberal. Just don't freaking vote for George W. Bush.

Oh, the movie. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats. Having actually paid attention to the news the last few years, I knew the basics of what Moore was showing. Having not actually read things as in-depth as I should have in the last few years, I was grateful for the spelling-out of things. I knew everything was related, but I wasn't exactly sure how, and now I do. Like Mac said, "Maybe the connection from Bush to James Baker to The Carlyle Group to the bin Ladens isn't what it seems...But sometimes if something smells like shit, looks like shit, and tastes like shit, it is shit." I agree, and this seems like a pretty big steaming pile of shit.

Some reviews have noted how manipulative the movie was, but you know, I didn't really feel manipulated. "To influence or manage shrewdly or deviously" -- I didn't think Moore was devious, but he was definitely shrewd, but that's not a bad thing. He played puzzlemaster, when the pieces were all laid out on the table, nice and neat, but no one had come by and snapped them together. "To tamper with or falsify for personal gain" -- while Moore definitely has gained from this, he sure didn't falsify or tamper with anything. So no, I don't feel manipulated by Moore. The president, that's another story. If I actually thought anything he said was true to begin with, I'd be very pissed off right now. Since I've never believed a word he's said -- and he's still not the president as far as I'm concerned, what with that whole Florida thing -- I don't feel any differently about him than I did before seeing the movie....just more sad for his victims, because now his victims have a face.

Did Moore use Lila Lipscomb a little too much? Maybe so. But she, and her family, represented so many of the key points that I'm ok that Moore stuck with her rather than introduce us to three or four other families, which would have led to less focused, less intense emotions. I appreciated the fact that Lila Lipscomb expressed her anger at war protestors, and said how she hated them -- until she realized that the war protestors were not protesting the soldiers, they were protesting the war. I think that's a difficult distinction for military families to draw, because all they see are people with signs, calling for peace, saying "no blood for oil". I'm against the war. I'm not against the soldiers. (Unless the soldiers do shitty things, in which case they're acting inhuman and I'm against that. Kate said something to the effect of "How could they not see that when the high school bully joined the Army, he'd still be a bully?" Too true. But that's a discussion for another day. Let's just say I'm not against the girl from my school who joined the national guard to help pay for nursing school, got called up and yanked out of school, got her arm shot up in Iraq, and is now back home and trying to figure out how to be a nurse with a shot up arm. I'm not against her.)

Did Moore use African-Americans too much, and fail to focus on other minorities (Hispanics, Asians, etc)? Sure, but he was filming in Flint, MI -- 41.39% White, 53.27% African-American. If he had filmed in El Paso (76.62% Hispanic or Latino of any race) or San Jose (26.86% Asian American), I trust that he would have focused appropriately. But he filmed in Flint, and I can extrapolate, so I was cool with it.

Did Moore fail to mention religion, as Mel said? Sure, but I think he made his points perfectly clear without even needing to go into religion. If he had gone into religion, or a whole host of other things that would have been even more damning to Bush, then the documentary would have been skewed more toward an anti-Bush political ad than a draw-your-own-conclusions, here are the facts documentary. I'm glad he didn't, because it would have lost its oomph, if you ask me.

There's another documentary playing here, called Control Room, which I haven't heard much about (anything, actually) but is described as "A chronicle which provides a rare window into the international perception of the Iraq War, courtesy of Al Jazeera, the Arab world's most popular news outlet. [...]" Has anyone seen it?


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