The real problem with Moore's film

Jeff Jarvis:


: The real problem with the film, the really offensive thing about it, is that in Fahrenheit 9/11, we -- Americans from the President on down -- are portrayed at the bad guys. If there's something wrong about bin Laden it's that his estranged family has ties with -- cue the uh-oh music -- the Bush family. Saddam? Nothing wrong with him. No mention of torture and terror and tyranny. Moore shows scenes of Baghdad before the invasion (read: liberation) and in his weltanschauung, it's a place filled with nothing but happy, smiling, giggly, overjoyed Baghdadis. No pain and suffering there. No rape, murder, gassing, imprisoning, silencing of the citizens in these scenes. When he exploits and lingers on the tears of a mother who lost her soldier-son in Iraq, and she wails, "Why did yo have to take him?" Moore does not cut to images of the murderers/terrorists (pardon me, "insurgents") in Iraq or killed him -- or even to God; he cuts to George Bush. When the soldier's father says the young man died and "for what?", Moore doesn't show liberated Iraqis to reply, he cuts instead to an image of Halliburton.

He doesn't try, not for one second, to have a discussion, to show the other side -- and then cut that other side down to size with facts and figures and the slightest effort at argument. No, he just shows the one side. And that, really, is a tragedy. It would be good if we had a discussion. It would be good to have a movie that made us think and reconsider and talk.

But polemics don't do that. They're only made of two-by-fours.

: The cheap tricks keep on coming, mostly in what is not said. At the start of the movie, Moore fuzzes the video of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz, et al to make it look as if it were recovered World War II film from Hitler's Berchtesgaden: the bad guys in happier days. The trick is unintentionally appropriate: He's trying to say that these guys are Nazis but he's also using the Nazi propaganda motif to say it.

He asks the same questions, streteches out the same memes, we've seen on the Web regarding Bush and 9/11: Why did he sit there in that school another almost seven minutes after hearing that the second tower had been hit? The implication was that he could have done something. But how often do we hear anyone ask -- certainly Moore does not -- what he would have done? What if he had popped up in a panic and ran off? How would that have looked on TV to a nation and a world in such a moment of disorder? Is there some order he could have given in those minutes that the vast federal power structure could not -- and, in fact, was not better equipped to handle than Bush? And if you think Bush is such a frigging idiot, isn't it better that he sat there? The question keeps getting asked. The ellipsis carries the message. But that's no answer.


...Michael Moore did not present bin Laden and the terrorists and religious fanatics (from other lands) as the enemy who did this. No, to him, our enemy is within. To him, our enemy is us. And that's worse than stupid and sad and it's most certainly not entertaining. It's disgusting.


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