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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

June 28th, 2004

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04:28 pm - Fahrenheit 9/11
Over the weekend, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11.

Oh, this might just make me unpopular, and I've thought about the implications of posting this, but I don't think I should pull punches. That would make me more unpopular.

Anyone who refuses to see this movie is a dolt.

Anyone who can watch this movie and not be affected is jaded, closed-minded, and probably couldn't get a hard-on watching Marylin Monroe take off her clothes.

Anyone who believes this movie is 100% factual is an idiot.

Anyone who believes this movie is unbiased is a moron who should go back to smoking more pot.

That said, I really liked it. It was fun to watch. It was engaging. It was the longest political ad I have ever seen. It struck at the heart and often won out over the mind. It was well-timed and wonderfully critical. It was boring and had me checking my watch, and sometimes exciting and funny.

It was obvious. It took cheap shots. It plodded along over the same ground over and over again. It didn't make logical sense.

It was fresh and sharply critical, and made excellent arguments. It stood on its own merit, yet never left the crutches far behind. My eyes rolled as I conceded good, thoughtful points.

Can you tell that my entire experience was just a bit conflicted?

Anyway, here's the deal: Michael Moore makes a genuinely entertaining, fun, thoughtful look at the events of 9-11, but often the movie (I'm not sure I'm ready to call it a "documentary" yet) descends into simple attacks on people, not actually addressing the issues raised.

Some things I liked:

1) Making W. look stupid. Of course, that's not really anything to get excited over, as you could tell very simply that the stupidity was obviously something W. does on a regular basis. Still, it was good to see that.

2) Bringing up good points about where the money is, who suffers during war, and the effect that the war has had on all sorts of people.

3) It's emotional and strong. You really want to believe what he's saying.

4) They didn't show people jumping out of the WTC. I was afraid he'd do that.

5) Michael Moore was not often on screen. This is a huge blessing (no pun intended) to many of us.

What I didn't like:

1) Annoying doubletalk. We have too much security on airplanes, but we don't have enough. It's appalling that a woman would have to drink breast milk to make sure it's safe, but equally appaling that secrurity isn't tighter about lighters and matches. We shouldn't be in Afghanistan or Iraq, but we obviously don't have enough troops over there. Osama escaped because we didn't send enough troops to Afghanistan, and yet we shouldn't have been there, right? Then, of course, there are the Saudis, who really want us to go to war, because this apparently lines their pockets, but yet the Saudis complain to no end about us attacking Iraq. Why wasn't that mentioned?

2) Factual errors/stretches. "Iraq has never harmed or even threatened a US citizen?" (paraphrased) Wtf? Did I dream the assasination attempt on Bush Sr.? What about the funding of Palistinian suicide bombers, or the planes that were shot at in the no-fly zones over Iraq? Heck, is genocide of Kurds not enough of an excuse, we need them to threaten us?

". . . relaxing at Camp David. . .", the words spoken as a shot of W. and Tony Blair walk down a path. I know they're close, but I have a hard time believing that the two guys aren't talking about something state-related as they stroll.

The bin Ladens flying out on Sept. 13 is apparently strange and frightening for some reason that I fail to divine. The movie insinuates, through its language and the images presented, that they were the only people flying at that time. Not true. I remember (yes, I was around then) that there were flights that day. It doesn't seem irregular at all that high-profile Saudis would be flown out. It certianly doesn't seem sinister.

"Biggest attack on American soil" my ass. We owned Pearl Harbor. It is a military base, and thus it *is* American soil. I'm sorry, but we were slightly worse off after Pearl Harbor, what with an organized, highly dangerous enemy hanging out on our doorstep and us with a navy that couldn't sail out of a paper bag that day. Sept. 11 was nothing in comparison. I'm ashamed to think that schoolchildren will be writing essays on the similarities between the two attacks for years to come.

There's a scene in there where an Iraqi woman is crying about her children and cursing America for killing civilians. The microphone she's screaming into is Al-Jazeera's. This doesn't make it false, but I've seen enough schlock come from them that I'm unswayed by the statement.

I'm not even going to argue WMD's. It's not worth it.

3) Ignoring details for the sake of a good story. Ooh, look at our list of allies! Haiti, Granada, and a bunch of other tiny republics. Did I miss Britain, Australia, Japan, S. Korea, and Spain (before they changed their minds?)

4) Flogging a dead horse. Oh, my. An election was lost 4 years ago! This is news! Amazing! Why didn't anyone tell me before! I thought Gore was president! And, ohmygods! Fox News won the election for Bush! Geez. Get over it and move on. I can't roll my eyes enoough about 10 minutes of flogging that horse. Someone get the ASPCA.

5) Asking Congressmen to send their sons to war. Yes, I know the statement he wanted to make, but what would you do if someone said, "Hey, you should send your son to war just because you're in Congress!" Would you stand there dumbfounded? I sure would. And so, apparently, would the congressmen.

Honestly, go see it. It's good. I mean it. Just take it with a small Siberian salt mine.

Now, here's the thing that irks me most about the movie, though: No one who needs to see the movie is going to go see it. Try to find a Republican in the crowd. Try to find someone who's really unsure of what he/she is going to do with their vote.

Everyone in that theatre, I suspect, already knows what to do and who to vote for. Seriously.

That is the fatal flaw of the movie. It will fall on deaf ears.

Gods willing, though, someone will get out and vote because of it.
Current Mood: bitchybitchy
Current Music: "Buttermilk Grove", -JB

(30 comments Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 29th, 2004 05:45 am (UTC)
If it sounds like I am jumping on you chronarchy, I apologize, because I really don't mean to. I just had a different reaction to the film than you did, and I wanted to share some of my opinions with you hoping that maybe they might give you a different way of looking at some of this.

No worries. Rememeber, I actually *liked* the movie, I'm just more vocal about the things I didn't like. For some strange reason, when I review things, that's how I do it. :) I do, honestly, appreciate the insight you and others have on it, as I suspect you have vastly different sources than I do (me being a crazy conservative and all *grins*)

Why is breast milk a threat and lighters and matches not? I think it's a good question. There have been many people who think that the security measures taken on airplanes are ineffective and I think Moore was attempting to illustrate that.

This is very true. There are serious issues with airport security (remember, Transformers toys are on the Do Not Fly list). The thing that really got to me, which I didn't mention initially, was this suspicious link between what's allowed on planes and "big tobacco". But it really, really felt like he started out with "there's too much security", and then the next scene was "there's not enough security". Maybe he simply didn't make his case clearly enough, or maybe it was overshadowed in my eyes by the big tobacco link. I dunno.

If we had sent in special forces, which many in the CIA and the military thought was the best way to deal with Afghanistan, in theory, we would have been able to get at al Quaeda without bombing and killing so many Afghanis.

We also would have committed an act of war on foreign soil, anyway. I don't really think that sending in special forces is always a good plan, and in fact, unless there's an American hostage, I would say it's one of the worst things we can do.

How would you feel if Lybia sent a group of special forces into Chicago to extridite a priest who they had no hard, conclusive evidence against? We didn't have any real evidence until well after the Sept. 11 attacks (for months we talked about how it could be Osama, but he never said anything that "gave it away" until just before we invaded Afghanistan. . . Excuse me. . . "Liberated" Afghanistan *sarcastic grin*), and I'm still not convinced that the evidence is enough to invade another country on.

But I admit that I'm happy to see the Taliban are gone.
[User Picture]
Date:June 29th, 2004 06:57 am (UTC)
I don't really think that sending in special forces is always a good plan, and in fact, unless there's an American hostage, I would say it's one of the worst things we can do.

Special forces could have gotten in and out without doing as much damage. But that isn't to say that I agree with violence and war—I'm a dove.

But was I was saying here was that Moore was emphasizing the intelligence that suggested that special forces was a better way to go into Afghanistan—not that going into Afghanistan was a bad idea or a good idea, but that how it was handled was not good and did not seem condusive to getting rid of bin Ladin—which is what Bush was supposedly doing.
[User Picture]
Date:June 29th, 2004 07:39 am (UTC)

Big Tobacco

The thing that really got to me, which I didn't mention initially, was this suspicious link between what's allowed on planes and "big tobacco".

If they were going to be consistent, they would have banned matches and lighters too. But they knew that if they tried that the smokers and their suppliers would be up in arms. And from the founding of the country, the supply side of that has always had more power than their customers.

If the restrictions were real security that wouldn't matter, and I'd hope they'd tell those people to suck it up for the good of the country. But that's not what happened, so the only sensible conclusion is that either the restrictions aren't real security, or the tobacco companies have the power to hurt the security of the country. Either way, there's a demonstration of the power of the tobacco companies.

(For some reason this reminds me of when some bad law is justified with the argument that "it will create jobs," while simultaneously the drug laws have an explicit goal of eliminating many jobs -- the jobs of the drug dealers.)

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