Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

George W. Bush [to Michael Moore]: Behave yourself, will you? Go find real work.

Okay, before I begin let me say one thing. Michael Moore is NOT the world's greatest documentary film-maker. His work is often populist and his 'facts' are at times poorly sourced. He often asks loaded questions and coaches information out of his prey. He is biased and clearly uses his fame to influence others.

With that out of the way let me now say, I really don't care. Michael Moore is a sound piece for the political left. He's a radical and he's controversial. It's that controversy that makes him famous. It's that willingness to move out of the restraints of traditional documentary film-making that gives him a voice. We can argue for hours about how he shouldn't be allowed to do this, and I can counter with arguments about TV news presenters saying they are biased on national television. I could talk of movies commissioned by the government as propaganda for the masses. In the end it's meaningless. The left will never agree with the right (and vice versa), so I ain't gonna get in too deep!

With Fahrenheit 9/11 Michael Moore has realised that the only way to get into the minds of the American voters is to do the things that the media-supported right does. He has gone for shock value.

NEIL CAVUTO [Fox news presenter, live on national Television]: Am I slanted and biased? You're damned well bet I am.

And in the end Moore didn't have to work hard to shock the American public when the main focus of the film is George W Bush. Just as Bush proved that you don't need hard facts to gain support for a war, Moore now proves that you don't need hard facts of Presidential wrongdoing to make the President look guilty.

We are told the Bush family has had business dealings with the Bin Ladens (FACT). This doesn't prove that Dubya is up to no good, but the association makes you question his trustworthiness. Throw in associations with Enron, Halliburton, and key companies involved in rebuilding Iraq and your President looks dodgier than Richard Nixon.

Is it right that Moore should paint this picture? Well I ask you, what has he done wrong? The conclusions you draw from this film are your own. If you come away from this feeling that Bush is a liar who is cheating the American public then that's your conclusion. Moore may have planted the seeds, he may have coached you towards a conclusion, but it's your choice to believe in it.

Is this as bad as American news organisations openly deceiving their viewers? Moore doesn't lie, he presents a version of history. Just as our politicians do. Just as our media does.

The important thing with this film is not to view it as a documentary. It isn't. You can choose to view it as political propaganda if you wish, but I prefer to describe it as a fact-based political satire. Under that title it delivers on every level for me. It is both funny and gut-wrenching (as real life often is).

You cannot fail to be angry at the end of it. Whether the anger is with Bush or Moore is your choice, but even the most hardened anti-Moore people out there will find it difficult not to be moved by the lasting image of a bereaved mother - who's son died fighting for Bush. Staring at the White House from far away, this is 9/11s Charlton Heston moment. Here is a supporter of the war staring into the White House - through the gates, the security and the walls - straight into the heart of George Bush and asking him one simple question.


Michael Moore [quoting George Orwell]: It's not a matter of whether the war is not real, or if it is, Victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact.

Summary: A political satire that explodes like an incendiary device onto the screen. This film will rock the very foundations of the Bush Administration. A superb piece of work by the second most hated man on Earth (after Bush). Yes I am biased. Deal with it!

9 out of 10.

Friday, July 09, 2004

My return to Blighty.

After a long break in the sun it's time to get back to reality. So it's summary time...

The Greeks won Euro 2004 - and deservedly so - in the biggest shock in international football history. They played old style italian tactics of defend in numbers and counter quickly. Unfortunately England and Italy, both tried the same and failed miserably, while the overpaid, overhyped players of Real Madrid et al managed to fall over lots and make many excuses.

Tony Blair admitted that the WMDs in Iraq may never be found and might have been destroyed. This after saying that the idea Saddam had destroyed them was absurd. Still no apology though from the most arrogant man in Britain. Fingers are still crossed for a resignation at the party conference.

Saddam Hussein stood before a preliminary hearing in the new and improved 'free and liberated' Iraq. Despite the nation now being free... he still hasn't had access to a lawyer or been given the basic rights of a prisoner. The sitting judge was a man who himself worked for Saddams regime and has switched sides, while news coverage was censored so we couldn't hear everything that was said. GOD BLESS DEMOCRACY!

A referee in Euro 2004 went into hiding after two newspapers chose to print his phone number, email address and plant an England flag on his house. All this, because he made the CORRECT DECISION in a football match when he failed to award a goal to Engerland. The man has received death threats and had his personal life invaded. Unfortunately, the xenophobic press has not been properly reprimanded for this and the editors of the newspapers have not been forced to resign. I wonder what would happen if they did the same thing to a politician, or printed some fake photos of Iraqi abuse.

Tim Henman failed at Wimbledon again. Yawn. It rained lots in Britain.