Monday, June 28, 2004

How to Watch Fahrenheit 9/11

I haven't seen it yet. I'm happy to report that all showings, save the very late night ones, were sold out here in Nashville. I had wanted to go on opening weekend to show support both for the message of the film and for documentaries in general during the critical first weekend. Looks like I didn't need to worry about that.

That said, I have the following thoughts that I will be packing up carefully and taking with me into the theatre when I watch the film. I think they will help.

1. This is a momentous occasion. Documentaries do not do well in this country. Political documentaries really don't do well in this country.

2. Moore's politics are inconsistent. Although all kinds of forces have gotten on his bandwagon hoping to help steer, Moore is just a regular American with often contradictory politics. He can make an anti-war film while endorsing Wesley Clark, for example. He can call for the assassination of "Al Qaeda" leaders. I imagine, like many Americans, he was pretty gung-ho about attacking Afghanistan. My sharp and insightful readers are skeptical of that war, too, but immediately after 9/11, it was very easy to understand that sentiment, misguided or even manipulated as it might have been.

3. He wouldn't put in the more conspiratorial stuff even if he believed it. I think that Moore doesn't go deep enough. He believes in Al Qaeda (though surely he knows that Bin Laden and company were trained by the CIA. I think that is mainstream now, isn't it?). He believes they were behind 9/11 and that they exist as some independent, viable network and not some false flag operation cooked up by shadowy intelligence types. But his hands are also tied a bit. There is NO WAY this film would have seen such a wide release if he'd said that the Bush administration or the CIA allowed and/or arranged for 9/11. We need to be thankful that he's gotten out as much as he has. And, he traps the Bushes in their own logic. If it really is a Saudi Sponsored Al Qaeda and Bin Laden that is the problem, why are the Bushes business partners with them? Oh, the Bin Laden family "rejected" Osama? What, they had a big ceremony or something? Please.

4. Moore is a Democrat. Sorry. I hate it too. This means he will support Kerry (or Clark before that) despite the fact that Kerry was never anti-war. Kerry eventually said he'd been "misinformed" into supporting the war. That would mean he is stupid. I don't think he is, and, as I've said before, he could have gotten enough information to debunk Bush's reasons for war on the internet before finishing his morning coffee. He could have called Scott Ritter. He could have read Doonesbury. Sheesh. And Kerry still won't speak out forcefully against the war. Gore sure as hell, has. Either Kerry supports the basic agenda that led to this war and simply wants to manage it better, or he is too weak to stand up for anything. Nevertheless, I am sure Moore supports Kerry in the "anyone but Bush" spirit.

That said, if you aren't going to embrace a more radical critique of the U.S. and want to be a Democrat, then let Moore be your guide about HOW to be a Democrat. Stand up for yourself. We have a TWO party system for a reason, so that one party can stand up to the other when they go TOO FAR. I wish Democrats would go further, but they are too tied into the same system. That said, if you are a Democrat with the approach of Moore (and even Gore these days) I just might bother to vote for you.

5. So my last point, and I'm happy to see that this actually hasn't happened, but I'll make it anyway: Don't attack Moore for what he didn't say, or for putting out a different message than you think he should. We (and by we, I mean the left here) like to argue more with each other than with the powers that be. Moore isn't perfect, but he will get more people thinking than any number of articles in Z magazine or the Nation. Happily, most all websites I frequent have raised objections to this film in the spirit of "Yes, this is fantastic, and there is even more to the story, or another way to look at things." I think this is the right approach.

I'm looking forward to seeing the film, though I think I have an idea of most of what is in it. I am encouraging everyone else I know to see it as well. I will say this, however. If any of those MoveON people show up to get me to vote for Kerry...well, I will have no problem telling them off.


Post a Comment

<< Home