Moore or Less
Friday, July 02, 2004 - 03:13 PM
Today's discussion on the rhetorical value of Fahrenheit 9/11 drew a flood of calls and emails. So much so, we will devote more time to the film on Monday's show. In the meantime, here are some emails we didn't get to read on the program. Be sure and email us your own opinion too.
Rollins had one strong point: that the footage of Bush talking about terrorism while on the golf course and then saying: "watch this drive was ACTUALLY in the context of questions about terrorism in Israel. But by Bush's own rhetoric, it doesn't matter where terrorism occurs,
US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, anywhere, he's ag'in in it, right? So, QED, even if Moore made it seem like terrorism in the US was the subject, it is intellectually consistent to "take it out of context"
since it shouldn't make any difference to his point or to Bush's attitude.
If it in the Israeli context it better strike fear in the hearts of Jews-for-Bush, no? Golf is more important than terrorism in Israel.
I couldn't be more opposed to the current administration and I agree with much of what Michael Moore says. With that said I have not seen his film (I will sooner or later) and am afraid I will react like one of your callers and walk out. I've read his books and am always disappointed. Cheap shots and preaching to the choir is no way to inform or educate the general public and will just anger some.
The implication that the film is tearing down people's support of the troops is unfounded, completely. There's a whole section of the film which deals with a woman who lost her son, Mrs. Lipscomb, who hated protesters until she realized they were protesting the government, not the soldiers. Or how about the military man standing in front of the camera saying he'd rather go to jail than go back to Iraq to kill "other poor people?" The voice of the military is well-represented in this film. It's not about knocking them, and I think it's irresponsible to even imply that it is.
I was one of John Grierson (mentioned on the show as a documentary pioneer)’s last students at McGill University in the 1960s. Speaking of his work in propaganda during WWII, Grierson liked to take credit for a particular little bit of film from that unit. There was a little segment of Hitler stomping his foot after, I believe, the surrender of France in the same train car that WWI ended.
Grierson's unit edited the clip, looping it a couple of times to make it look like Hitler was doing a little jig, hoping it would make Hitler look a little foolish. Was that a good idea? Grierson never, in my hearing, evinced doubts. The point was to win the war. That is Moore's ultimate point as well, although his definition of the enemy is George Bush rather than the people who really want Americans dead. In that respect, then, this movie is an Al Qaeda propaganda movie, without all those really annoying AK-47s and Arabic diatribes.
To me, the film didn't present much new since I follow these issues, but my
friend who saw the film with me (a Kerry voter already) came out really
ANGRY. She has friends in Ohio and is going to try to work on them...
I'd anticipate that the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 will embolden more critical coverage by mainstream media going forward, to the benefit of the Kerry campaign.
your guest comments that Michael Moore puts his interpretation of events as documentary instead of reporting straight facts. however - is it not true that history is always an interpretation, always read/seen through the lens of the author?
Certainly the film is propaganda. It’s a 'negative commercial' similar to the one the republicans spent $80,000,000 on in May against Kerry. However, the negative statements are taken and presented out-of-context, making them outright lies.
Moore's genius is two-fold. First, he presents straight-forward provable facts -- just bare facts -- with little or not explanation -- leaving the viewer to come to his own conclusion. Second, yhe's produced the equivalent of a wonderful commercial without mentioning Kerry at all, and gotten the general public to pay almost $30,000,000 for the privilege of seeing it.
Here’s how I feel about Moore's films. I totally agree with his viewpoint, but the "documentary" value is questionable; I don't like feeling manipulated by my own. His sensationalism of serious issues is undermining.
What is propaganda? Is propaganda just a one-sided argument? While one of your callers said she already knew all the stuff in the film and it
made her sick, a lot of people don't, maybe they need this one-sided argument,
this propaganda to kick them in the butt, to urge them into finding the facts for
Michael Moore repeatedly states that his film is NOT a documentary, but rather an Op-Ed piece. Why argue that it IS a documentary??? His opinion is perfectly clear and I think everyone knows that going into the film.