Tuesday
Oct122004

« Fahrenheit 9/11 redux »

For my birthday, Kelli got me the F911 DVD and I watched the movie again tonight for the 4th time. This of course has an extra hour and a half of footage from various sources that were collected by Moore but didn't make the film, or were filmed since the movie's release. There is an extended part of the additional material that was shot by a Swedish journalist who was embedded in an Army unit. He got some Abu Ghraib footage and was offering it to the media in Sweden and in the USA three months before it hit the news here in May. The footage in the movie was taken from this footage, and in the DVD we get to see a lot more of it, plus a good deal of interview time and testimonial from the man who shot it himself. This is just another example of the media simply rolling over and taking it up the ass from the government.

Every one of the films I have seen this year about the status quo in America and the world has taken a justified stab at the media. The films I have paid for and seen this summer contain the very information that should be on front pages and all over evening news broadcasts everywhere—if the media were doing their job, that is. There are a lot of these films made today that you need to see. I have seen a handful of them and urge you to see them too. I listed them before, but here they are again:

Fahrenheit 9/11, The Corporation, The End of Suburbia, Outfoxed, Orwell Rolls in His Grave, Uncovered, Unconstitutional, Yes Men, Bush Family Fortunes (The Best Democracy Money Can Buy).

These are the movies that men of power don't want you to see.

But Fahrenheit takes on a special place for me. It has a certain flair that the others don't have, for the most part. It has a dose of compassion in it. The others have a certain dose of humor or some other approach, but none of the ones I have seen have a central figure associated with them, and none with the clout that Mike Moore carries. But I get a good feeling about Moore in the films. I got that feeling in Bowling for Columbine when he comforted the teacher at the school where the six year old boy killed a little girl. I know that is sort of not the objective journalism that some need to see, and that is fine to expect that, but really, Michael Moore is a man who obviously wants to see people expect more from their world, and he shows compassion for these people. He stands in solidarity with victims of gun violence, or he stands with black leaders denouncing voter disenfranchisement, or laid off auto workers, or with soldiers who want to know they won't be sent into harm's way without genuine need. He stands with the mothers of dead soldiers and 9/11 widows.

And people call him un-American. Sick. Let that reflect how much some people have been lied to. My favorite Republican nitwit who likes to argue with me just loves to say how Moore is in it for the money. Oh, sure. The fact he is making money I believe shows how much his commodity is in demand. People are itching to get a dose of the truth, or at least a look at something that isn't so damned sanitized and hyped. About the only viable critique I have heard of Moore is that he is too liberal with his editing and storytelling. Well, the same could be said for anyone who puts a film together. The creative process is by definition a process of shaping things to suit the sense of the creator. But his facts are pretty damned solid, and verifiable by outside sources. Indeed, that's where he gets most of his material. And, as I read more and more, I find even more stuff that I wish he would bring out. Moore is not as radical as they come, but he is enough for most people. He carries with him a certain charisma and enthusiasm for what he does that is infectious. I think if he just wakes people up from their deep slumber he is doing the best job anyone can do now. But people have been put to sleep and have forgotten to pay attention to the world around them.

I happen to think Michael Moore is a prophet. Yes, a prophet. Martin Luther King Jr. was a prophet too. They are both visionaries of a nation that has yet to reach its potential. They both rubbed people the wrong way, but also made people go out and do great things. Michael Moore will be responsible for a new generation of Americans who will become the shapers of the future. He may be the one who lets people know its cool to play a part in civic life. But why should it be cool to do that? It only amounts to the basis on which our whole society is built; cool or not, people need to pay attention to shit like this. We can't fall for the same failures of imagination that made the CIA and FBI and other "intelligence" agencies utterly useless in the hour when they were needed most. As I have migrated leftward in my political leanings, I have sometimes entertained conspiracy theories. I don't really go for them wholeheartedly, but the value of considering such theories is that it not only allows but encourages the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that we need to stay alive. If Michael Moore's movies keep people thinking, then he has done us the best service he could, for today and for ever.

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