1. Monday, June 28, 2004

    Fahrenheit 9/11 

    starring George Bush, George HW Bush, Lila Lipscomb, and Bandar Bush

    narrated by Michael Moore

    it takes a lot to make me cry.

    when the Cubs broke my heart last October and didn’t make the world series, i cried for about 30 seconds.

    when i broke up with my true love and moved out three years ago, i cried for about 5 seconds.

    on Sunday morning, in a sold-out cinema in century city, i cried probably 6-7 times during one of the most powerful films i’ve ever seen.

    but what makes Michael Moore so talented is I also laughed about a dozen times. loudly. along with everyone else in the crowd.

    i thought i knew everything about the war in iraq and the reason why we went there. i thought i knew everything about the florida elections, about the links of the bush family and the bin ladins.

    but this movie showed me that i only knew what the so called Liberal Media was interested in broadcasting, and covering, and commenting on.

    michael moore is being called lots of names from all sides of the political spectrum, some negative. the judges at Cannes called him a genius, and i would have to agree.

    Farenheight 9/11 is a tightly woven amalgam of mostly public footage of all the major players of the Bush Administration and family laid out in a compelling and convincing way that raise several disturbing points.

    I went into the film cynical of Moore, and yet hopeful. I read a few negative criticisms regarding this movie as penned by the seething Christopher Hitchens, and the logical Jeff Jarvis. I thought about the things that they had written as I watched and I saw things like the Secret Service questioning Moore across the street from the Saudi Embassy (pictured) and I thought, “how is this a Michael Moore lie? Those guys really are protecting the Saudi Embassy from being filmed. White House secret service guys! Moore might have a point that we have an extremely cozy relationship with the House of Saud. Maybe too cozy.”

    I saw two very young US soldiers talk about how they pump music through the tank and everyone can listen to it together as they shoot people. As they battle. As they do what must be incredibly tough work in liberating Iraq. One guy talked about how he likes to listen to the Bloodhound Gang’s “Fire Water Burn” (one of my favorite songs) as he does his job.

    And then I saw another young soldier talk about how a little bit of your soul gets torn out every time you kill another human being. And I thought, Moore is showing us both sides of being a soldier: how you have to deal with the gruesome by blocking it out with music, and how sometimes you cant block it out.

    incredibly powerful, and done with the light touch that Jarvis claims to be missing from Moore’s more recent docs.

    Hitchens claims that Moore wants it both ways in the film. “(Moore says that) either we sent too many troops, or were wrong to send any at all- the latter was Moore’s view as late as 2002- or we sent too few.”

    But I didn’t see that. I saw that Moore felt that we sent too few troops in too late. The film shows quite clearly that we waited a full two months to send ground troops into Afghanistan to find or kill Osama. And when we sent those men and women in there were more cops in Manhattan than soldiers in Aghanistan. I don’t see the contradiction.

    Jarvis says, “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 as the bad guys.”

    First of all President Bush in this film is portrayed as much more than just a bad guy. He’s being portrayed as a greedy, dumb, slow-witted, poor-talking, “War President”, who doesn’t know how to win any wars, doesn’t know how to treat soldiers, and isn’t loved by his public.

    Are you a bad guy if you send troops into a war and then decrease imminent danger” pay (from $225 to $150) and family separation allowance (from $250 to $100)? Are you a bad guy if you oppose the National Guard from receiving access to the Pentagon’s health insurance system, despite knowing that only about one out of every five Guard members has no health insurance?

    I know President Bush was probably taught by his father not to raise taxes, but is the best way to pay for war to cut the benefits of those who are fighting the war and to cut benefits to veterans? Sorry Jeff, but most of us would consider Bush a bad guy for doing those things.

    He’s also a dumb guy. The seven minutes that he spent with the kids at that school after knowing that the second plane had hit the twin towers were outrageous.

    Here’s what a real leader would do and say, “Kids, I hate to do this to you, but this is the beginning of the school year. I am going to leave a little early today if you will excuse me. But I promise you that I will be back before this school year is over. And when I return I will come back and spend twice as much time with you as I had planned for today, is that a deal?”

    Instead he just sat there with the weirdest looks on his face reading a kiddie book about a goat, waiting to be told what to do, knowing that hundreds had died and more were hurt and might die.

    Again, sorry bro, but it was pretty easy to paint the prez out as being piss poor under pressure and not very much of a leader, especially since he knew upon arriving at the school that one plane had already crashed into the first tower.

    The American people are not portrayed as being “bad”. The people didn’t vote for Bush, they pelted his limo with eggs on his inaugural. They held up signs that said “God Save Us”. A mother cried when her son died. How is that bad? A woman cried when her husband died and wailed that she was now all alone. Neither of those women are bad guys.

    The only bad guy American I could imagine that Jarvis is talking about is the bubblegum-chomping Britney Spears who took an un-Dixie Chicks stand by saying that she believed in the President and everything that he said about the war.

    Again, here’s both sides being represented. Protesters with their signs and Britney with her flag-waving loyalty to the president. Of course in context of the film she is made to look ignorant and childish, but lots of America were ignorant to a lot of the the details that were brought up in this documentary.

    Which is why some of us stood up and cheered at the end.

    With tears in our eyes.

    Because we finally got to see a different angle at the story that the Liberal Media hasnt shown us. One not of bad guys and good guys, but of mixed signals and mixed messages that were finally being irorned out and presented in a tight little film that it is impossible to view and not be impressed by the storytelling and the compelling nature of all the little details and how they add up to one thing.

    And that one thing, in this blogger’s opinion is not that Michael Moore is a big fat liar.

    The one thing that this blogger concluded was that i was glad that i lived in a country where a guy like Moore could expose the President of the United States in such a damning damning nearly unrefutable way, and not get his head chopped off.

    Deeper still, this is a documentary about living in the Information Age. Nearly all of the footage is from press conferences, or meetings that C-Span covered, or from photos that anyone could order from Wire Images, or facts that could be checked on the Internet.

    One document that was not currently in the public record although it was at one point declassified (and then leaked to Moore once it became classified) played an ominious tone in the film and Moore played it like a fiddle,. It was in regards to James Bath, a friend of President Bush’s in the National Guard, who eventually was hired by GWH Bush in 1976 to create offshore companies to move CIA funds and aircraft between Texas and Saudi Arabia.

    Somehow this didn’t prove as powerful to this observer as the testimony from Condi Rice’s lips and General Powell’s lips in 2001 that Saddam no longer had the capability to have or manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

    So no, Jeff, the conclusions that I made at the end of this film isn’t that Moore is a liar, its that the government *gasp* doesn’t always know whats going on, and sometimes they tell us things that they think are true and theyre wrong, and sometimes they tell us things that they know not to be true, but sometimes they are doing business with people and then covering up those relationships in ways like blacking out their names on documents or shuttling them away on airplanes.

    The images that remain with me are ones that any documentarian could have found and that was of the american mother and the iraqi mother crying over the death of their sons over a war that didn’t need to be faught, but was faught, and is still being faught under the lie, yes, lie, that Iraq and Saddam had something to do with 9/11 and future terrorism to the land of the free.

    Faherinheight 9/11 receives five stars, the busblog’s highest rating.

    Most movie reviewers also highly recommend this fantastic film.

    doc searls + sk smith + george must go