June 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

This is really a movie that everyone needs to see. More than in his previous work, Moore has constructed Fahrenheit 9/11 from clips of publicly broadcast speeches and interviews. Stitched together with some interviews made for this movie, of course, in classic Michael Moore fashion. But it's a little harder for the pro-Bush folks to spin this one---what can they do, claim Bush didn't say those things?

The movie is, of course, about the 9/11 airplane hijackings to some extent, but its real thrust is exposing just how deceitful our President and his men (some would say our President and his puppeteers, but it doesn't really matter) have been. If there is a single thesis to the movie, it is this: Bush is spending vast numbers of innocent lives, both American and foreign, in order to make himself, his family, and his friends lots and lots of money. A secondary theme: the Bush family is a lot chummier with the Bin Laden family than a lot of people seem to realise, including a lot of Bush detractors.

The thing that I found most shocking about the movie was that, with all the bad things that I've been saying and thinking about George Walker Bush, it's even worse than that. There were a bunch of things in the movie that I already knew. There were a bunch of things that I knew, but had forgotten about. And in addition to all that, there were even more bad things that I wasn't even aware of. (Most of these related to the Bin Laden family and the House of Saud.) Even if you're up on this stuff, Michael Moore does a really good job of putting it all together and reminding you just how bad it all is.

There were two things I was hoping would be in the movie, that were not. One is a little thing: I remember the speech Bush gave in March of '03 announcing the invasion of Iraq, and the most shockingly blunt line of that speech: to the people of Iraq, "Do not destroy oil wells." Unbelievable. Not in the movie, though. (There were other clips from that speech, however.)

The second thing I was hoping he would call specific attention to was the status of women in postwar Iraq. Every time someone says or implies that life is better for the Iraqis now, I think about how that is demonstrably and patently false. It may be better for some, and I won't argue that point though privately I'm not convinced. But every single woman in Iraq is in a worse position than before. Before, they could walk openly on the street; and forget burqas, they didn't even need headscarves. They were safe, they could have jobs, and to some extent they could hold positions of authority. It wasn't exactly a model of equality, but it was quite good for a Middle Eastern country. Now? Rape is the order of the day; women rarely venture out, and when they do, it is with an escort and some serious head covering. It's not at Taleban levels, but it's bad and the trajectory is not promising.

But I was talking about the movie. I'm irritated that they didn't give it a PG-13 rating, because there was not really anything there to warrant an R. I'm especially annoyed at the people that were chirping about them showing a beheading---I was envisioning a Nicholas Berg-style video, and what was shown was a huge gathering of people with, I guess, the beheading on a platform in the distance. I didn't even see it, though I've been assured that it at least happened during the onscreen part of the scene. No, there is essentially no onscreen violence; a little bit of swearing, although not much; and a few bad injuries, although nothing really grotesque. It's not like an R rating actually prevents anyone from seeing it, but it still was a completely politically-motivated rating that pisses me off.

So, yes. Go see the movie.

"Now I live in Washington, D.C., a place where everyone's sissy student-council president goes to live, eventually." --Hank Stuever

Posted by blahedo at 1:47am on 26 Jun 2004
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