Monday, June 28, 2004

Like the good lil' mindless liberal that I am, I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 this weekend. Going in, a fundamental question lingered: was this movie responsible filmmaking, or was it nothing but left-wing propaganda?

Of course, no one needs to see the movie to know the answer. Michael Moore, while not a politician, is a player in the game nonetheless. As such, he does what anyone does, whether they come for the left or the right. Yes, he can play fast and loose with the facts. Yes, he presents things in a manner that conveniently supports the conclusion that he wants to "find." Yes, he ignores or brushes aside contradictory data or opinion. Yes, he's preaching to the converted.

But for Christ's sake, everyone: it's entertainment. Movies like this, Fox News, and, shit, just news in general are entertainment first, information sources second. That's just how it is. We can't get interested in anything if it doesn't first keep us amused in some fashion or other. All you really need to do to be marginally useful (as I see it) is to realize that everything you see and hear is bullshit, then work from there to come up with bullshit that's all your own.

In the end, even if Moore is full of shit in many ways, the guy does make some good points that stand on their own. Yeah, of course, this is coming from one of the "converted" who already agrees with a lot of what Moore is saying. And for fuck's sake, at least someone on the left has some balls to speak up. Moore's just lucky that he's in a position to A) be heard and B) make a fuckload of cash off it.

Regardless of what anyone may think of the film, Moore has already accomplished a lot with it. Conservatives are fucking PISSED. Shit, I couldn't turn anywhere last week without hearing something about Fahrenheit. Whether the view of the film was good or bad didn't matter, it's all PR. There's even an attempt by one conservative group to have advertising on the movie stopped after July 31st on claims that the clips of Bush are in violation of rules laid out in the McCain-Feingold act. In the end, the more attention the film gets, the more Moore is going to love it. Didn't the right learn anything from when Fox tried to sue Al Franken over his most recent book?

The right is working overtime to try and blow holes in the movie, and Moore is already working to respond. So who's right? In the end, who really knows? As Carlin would say, may as well just sit back and enjoy the freak show.

As for the film itself, I enjoyed it. Naturally I did. All is does is complain about and make fun of Bush, which we know I'm down with. I don't know about the factual accuracy of a lot of it since, like always, I haven't done much of my homework. There wasn't anything I saw that was blatantly false, but of course, I'm not terribly observant.

There is a major sequence in the film following one woman whose son goes off to fight in Iraq who is eventually killed in combat. While I can recognize this sequence for what it is - a carefully orchestrated means of emotionally manipulating the audience - there was no way I could keep from getting choked up by it. All I could think about was my own mother and if she were put into that position because of this stupid fucking war. That made me sad, and it pissed me off.

That there sums it up. If you went into this movie already pissed at Team Bush, you'd come out with a renewed sense of pissed offedness. If you went in not pissed at Bush, then you were probably just there so you would have something to bitch about on your conservative talk show later in the week anyways. In the end, Fahrenheit 9/11 is what it is: left-wing bullshit designed to energize the base and piss off the right. It's good times all around - for both sides.

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