I just got back from seeing Moore’s anti-Bush cinematic editorial. Rather than review it I’ll comment on issues already raised on this site, starting with Eric Garris’s blog posting, “Sorry, I didn’t like it.”
“I got to the theater early to beat the crowds (not so much for the matinee), full of anticipation.”
I had serious reservations about Moore’s last film Bowling for Columbine (for one thing, I didn’t like Moore’s rudeness to Charlton Heston while he was a guest in Heston’s house) so I wouldn’t say I was full of anticipation but I’d heard and read enough about F9/11 that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t hate it. I tried to see it twice this week in the evening and it was sold out both times, so today, a week after it opened, I went to a matinee early and was able to get tickets before it sold out.
“The movie opens with Moore’s version of the ‘stealing’ of the 2000 election by the Bush family. Regardless of one’s opinion of this event, it should be clear that this was the weakest opening he could have gone for in terms of actually convincing those not predisposed to hate GW Bush.”
I thought the dreamlike Gore near-victory rally opening was effective. I realized watching it that the past few years have seemed politically nightmarish: 9/11, to start with; then the cover-ups and lies, invasions, PATRIOT Act, and color-coded terror warnings; the hyperventilating, hyperactive, irrational jingoism; the perverse, 1984-ish hatred of France; ‘liberventionism’; the rehabilitation of imperialism and big government; the overstaying of the half-hearted-welcome of the disgusting, arrogant, faces, voices, and body language of Bush (his famous sneer), Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice (“I believe the title was ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,'” indeed. Why don’t you check on that and get back to us tomorrow. And, by the way, I have another document here. I believe it’s called “The Negligent Perma-Hawk Condoleezza Rice is Fired Effective Immediately”); the neocons and the debate about the neocons; John Ashcroft, who I wouldn’t trust with my houseplants, never mind the nation’s liberty and security; and let’s not forget the rise of the androids on Fox News and their copycats on those other channels.
F9/11’s election-stealing segment gave examples of conflict of interest, a relevant and recurring theme. The news shows were counting Florida as a Gore win until Fox News called it for Bush; the person at Fox who made this decision was a first cousin of one of the candidates. The woman who ran Bush’s campaign was also the state of Florida official responsible for the election. Bush I had appointed judges who voted for a Bush II presidency (in apparent violation of the conservative principle of state’s rights).
“He then spends about 20 minutes on the ‘Saudi connection,’ which actually struck me as quite racist.”
Racist? Moore shows images of Bushies with Saudi VIPs while criticizing the connections between Bushies and Saudi VIPs. Later he shows footage of happy Iraqis before the US invasion, then suffering Iraqis after the invasion. He clearly intends for us to view Iraqis sympathetically. This is an anti-racist message (something like: in the Middle East, as in the United States, most people are good but the rich and powerful aren’t to be trusted) unless Iraqi and Saudi Arabs are viewed as being members of different races. And we know that Americans have trouble distinguishing between Iraqis and Saudis on even a national basis (a fact lamentably demonstrated by the confusion over which country’s nationals attacked us on 9/11), so obviously they’re considered members of the same race.
(Note: this blog message originally contained a short, poorly-expressed comment that angered some readers. Rather than explain and re-hash what was meant to be a minor point, I’ve deleted the few sentences. – SK)