A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Fahrenheit 9/11

September 3, 2011

Fahrenheit 9/11

It’s a little early, yes, but we wanted to watch this movie before September 11th so that we could quickly wash the bad taste from out mouths and go back to forgetting Michael Moore exists. I think it’s safe to say that Amanda and I have both been dreading watching this movie. It’s in our collection, so we have to watch it, but that doesn’t mean we like it. It’s sensationalist hate-mongering, and I say that from my position as one of the most politically liberal people I know. I bought it because, well, it’s the big documentary that purported to expose Bush’s incompetence in the face of the events of September 11th and I wanted to see what its argument was. Sadly it doesn’t really have an argument – it’s just speculation and hearsay that is given some gravitas from an association with one of the most dreadful events to occur in my lifetime.

As with everyone who was around ten years ago I have vivid and painful memories of September 11th 2001. My very first reaction when I heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center was to comment to Amanda and our friend Gary “Well, Bush got his war.” My feeling has always been that the events of September 11th saved the Bush presidency and were the best possible thing to happen to him and his allies in the Republican party. I have always felt, and this is purely speculation on my part, that if Bush and company had known about the September 11th attacks beforehand they would have every reason to allow them to go forward.

George W. Bush was a joke as a president. He desperately needed an excuse to go to war, and I’ve always known that. I very much doubt that there will ever be anything approaching hard evidence to show complicity in those attacks, though. Certainly this “documentary” is not damning evidence of any kind.

Michael Moore is not in the habit of carefully crafting a well reasoned argument or presenting evidence to support his point of view. Instead his shtick is to combine tangentially related human interest stories (such as the Oregon state trooper who works part time to monitor the coastline and is not trained to stop terrorist attacks) with sensationalist stunts (like reading the Patriot Act through a megaphone while riding through the streets of Washington in an ice cream truck.)

What frustrated me most about this movie the first time I watched it was how scattershot it is. Moore has no attention span as a film maker. He edits drunkenly from war torn Iraq to Marine recruiting in poor Chicago neighborhoods to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed – but he never stays anywhere long enough to actually build any coherent picture from these little stories. There are a lot of powerful human moments here, but they’re overshadowed by Moore’s ham-fisted attempts to wedge them into his poorly reasoned attempts to link Bush to all these atrocities. It sickens me because it’s not just manipulative – it’s using the stories of these innocent people to further Moore’s manipulations.

The infuriating thing is that I actually believe that Moore is right. George W. Bush was a terrible President with an agenda that resulted in thousands of deaths. He drove our country into the ground and lined the pockets of the ultra-rich who put him in power. This movie doesn’t do a very good job of building a case for that though, although I can tell that this is what Moore is trying to say. God dammit, Michael Moore you obnoxious self-satisfied rabble-rouser: stop agreeing with me!

September 3, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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