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"Fahrenheit 9-11: Summer Feel-Good Movie for Lefties"

Review of Fahrenheit 9-11
by Rootsie

Well this was in some ways a typical Michael Moore production, somewhat unfocused, throwing out a lot of information without getting to the point, too soft on Democrats…But for once Moore pretty much left himself out of the equation except for a couple of maudlin moments and let the footage speak for itself…

…Representative after Representative from the Black Congressional Caucus standing up to contest the 2000 election results in the joint session, over which Gore presides, to verify the Bush’s ‘election’…Again and again Gore asks: ‘Did a member of the Senate sign the petition?” And each time the Congressperson, getting shouted down, has to say ‘No. Not a single Senator…the Senate is missing in action…”

These were perhaps the most moving and evocative moment of the film. 400 years of history were standing up there, denied yet once more.

…the riots on Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day. The Limo carrying Bush gunning it down the appropriately rainy street…

…Bush’s look of blank confusion that morning in the Florida classroom after an aide whispers in his ear that the 2nd plane has hit the Tower…

…The heartbreakingly beautiful black high school boys from Moore’s own Flint, Michigan…’I looked on TV at some of those bombed neighborhoods in Iraq and they look just like Flint…’

…The aggressive Marine recruiters working the Flint mall parking lot…’You want to play basketball? David Robinson was a Marine…you want to rap? Shaggy was a Marine…’

…The handholding romance between Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and various Saudi diplomats and businessmen, including the Bin Ladens. Complete with bubblegum music.

Dead and wounded babies. Furious grieving mothers asking Allah to smite America. The former Welfare mother from Flint who goes to the White House to ask why her son is dead.

And all of this interspersed with the darkest of black humor, Wolfowitz slicking back his hair with his own spit, Bush stumbling over his words, Rice and Powell being prepped for the cameras: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft crooning a patriotic tune, Ridge, James Baker…the camera lingers on their eyes…dead eyes, living dead…like those scary kind of clowns. Except they are anything but funny to that screaming Iraqi grandmother…

Moore in a commandeered ice-cream truck reading the Patriot Act over the loudspeaker to passing Congressmen.

Collaring Congressmen outside the Capitol to shove military brochures in their hands, asking them to sign their kids up for Iraq…

Hamid Karzai, former Unocal rep, now president of Afghanistan, signing the pipeline deal with Unocal.

The Taliban’s visit to the US months before the attack, being encouraged to do the same…being wined and dined across America…those grumpy-looking guys with their beards and turbans…

Well I laughed, and I cried. Moore covered a lot of territory in 2 hours and a bit. But I’m having my usual sorts of problems with the experience.

First, the student I went with, a bright high school graduate, although she appreciated the film, left confused and feeling that she didn’t have the background knowledge to understand how the whole picture fits together. So Moore has made a film that preaches to the choir, and cuts from this travesty to that, without giving a timeline or any other structures that might educate the uninformed. A film, in other words, for in-the-know, self-satisfied liberals. If you are not informed too bad for you. That’s why we’re better than you.

Four showings of the film sold out while we stood in line, and in line were these same self-satisfied folks who collect the horrors of our government like trading cards... there we all were, as if a single one of us needed to be convinced that Bush is stupid and bad. It is the latest in entertainment for conscience-stricken American lefties, I guess. The film might change some minds if anybody whose mind needs changing shelled out the money to see it. I doubt many will. I did not, after all, go rushing to see Gibson’s Passion of the Christ.

So is Fahrenheit 9-11 the ’04 feel-good summer movie for peaceniks? I fear it is.

Moore has been very clear that his intent with this film is to lose Bush the election. And as I said, his film barely touches on the complicity of Democrats in all this. When those black members of Congress found themselves unable to find a single Senator to contest the ’00 election, the majority of those Senators were Democratic. Moore seems to suggest that if Bush were gone, all those bad Unocal and Halliburton people, and the entire corporate elite, would go away too.

What about the liberal elite, educated professional people who in their own way also benefit from the tragic state of affairs Moore describes? I argue constantly with my peers about whether we constitute an elite. I just say look at the world that suffers for the policies of our government while we rest in comparative comfort and safety, and you tell me.
And precisely because we go to see Fahrenheit 9-11 as a sort of self-flagellating penance, since we certainly learn nothing from it that we didn’t already know, we are a particular brand of hypocrite, and share the blame with Bush and Cheney and the rest.

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