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30-jun-04

"Fahrenheit 911"

what can I say about this that hasn't already been said? I walked into the theater today feeling as if I'd already seen the movie. Okay -- maybe there was a reason for that. I walked into the theater and saw what I thought must be previews. It turned out to be the end of F911. So I already had seen part of the movie before I saw the whole thing. The Loew's in Georgetown apparently doesn't sweat it much if you blunder into an earlier showing by accident.

Anyhow, I freely admit that I'm part of the choir Moore's preaching to, and I enjoyed the film. It's fascinating. It's devastating. It's infuriating. But it's also flawed. To me, F911 suffers from the same problem that I thought "Bowling for Columbine" did. Moore has several threads here, each of which could probably be a movie all on its own. The Florida 2000 election debacle. The Bush family's ties with the Saudi royal family and how this might or might not have influenced events in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why the hell so many Democrats turned into such complete pussies over the last four years. Why so many in the media played cheerleaders for the Iraq invasion. The invasion itself. And I haven't even covered half of what the film touches on before it's over.

Moore's books always have that same fragmented, scattershot feeling to me, but at least I can put them down after a chapter or two and digest what I've read. His movies leave me feeling punch drunk. After F911 was over, I had to go across the street to the waterfront and stare at the Potomac for a little while. Which didn't help all that much, because my gaze fell on the Watergate and I flashed back to a part of the film that takes place there.

But I feel like I got my money's worth. Even though I check Eschaton and Daily Kos at least once every hour and own several Moore and Al Franken books and thought I'd pretty much heard it all when it came to this administration, there were still things in this film that made me sit up and say "Holy shit!"

Many reviews I've seen include some kind of apologia about Michael Moore: he makes lots of stuff up and he's arrogant and pompous and condescending and loud and obnoxious and fat and unshaven and takes the last cup of coffee and doesn't make a fresh pot and farts in the elevator and probably doesn't floss, blah blah blah etc.; one seems almost constitutionally required to run him down before daring to speak about his works. Fuck that.

Of course he's biased. He's about as fair and balanced as Fox News, which is to say not at all. Yes, he can be a self-aggrandizing asshole; the stunt in which he rides around the Capitol yelling out the Patriot Act from an ice cream truck seems really out of place in this film. And it's more than a little disingenuous of him to start the film with his "dream" of an Al Gore presidency; surely I'm not the only one who remembers that he was stumping for Nader in 2000.

So yeah -- he's a zealot and a blowhard who only presents one side of an issue. But I officially Don't Care. I'm sick and tired of listening to bullshit complaints about how liberals cause all the misery in the US, and how we're traitors who ought to be deported if not outright executed. I'm sick of the bemused contempt about the "angry Democrat" in the past year: Awww, izza widdle wibrul all mad? Moore is hitting back hard, and in a way that's making people really pay attention at last. If everyone else in the room wants to act like they don't know him, he can come sit with me any time.

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