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wolfdancer
07-05-2004, 04:55 PM
...uh, not that Popcorn

Dave Pell's Column and Weekly Blog Updates
Where the news always has issues...


THE COLUMN
Love, Hate and Popcorn

Why I Hate Michael Moore

Anyone who enjoys a good Christopher Hitchens rant
does not want to miss the one on Michael Moore
and Fahrenheit 9/11 that includes (in one of its
more forgiving paragraphs): "To describe this film
as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to
promote those terms to the level of
respectability. To describe this film as a piece
of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse
that would never again rise above the excremental.
To describe it as an exercise in facile
crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit
9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity,
crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness.
It is also a spectacle of abject political
cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of
"dissenting" bravery."

While I don't agree with all of Hitchens' takes on
the war in Iraq and other global issues, he is
right when it comes to Michael Moore. And the fact
that Moore leaves himself so open to attacks by
those with a little knowledge on the subjects he
"covers" is what makes the otherwise fairly
entertaining filmmaker so deeply hateable.

Why do I hate Michael Moore?

Because he has set himself up as the harbinger of
several things in which I believe. I want guns off
of the street. Yet I don't blame Kmart for
Columbine. I think that the NRA should be outed as
one of this country's more short-sighted and
ultimately dangerous political groups. But I don't
think that interviewing a near-senile man helps to
illustrate that point. And I want George W Bush to
be booted back to Crawford. But I don't think
Michael Moore will help in that cause. I think he
will hurt.

There are plenty of factual and rock solid reasons
not to vote for George W Bush.

See, the American people are already questioning
the leadership of the Bush administration. And
while Dems are almost universally skeptical and
concerned (thankfully on both counts), the fact is
that this election couldn't be going much better
for John Kerry at this point in the campaign
against an incumbent during a time of war and with
the economy showing signs of a gentle upswing.

The biggest danger facing John Kerry and his band
of backers is that the Dems will overshoot this
advantage and begin criticizing things that
shouldn't be criticized. I don't need MoveOn.org
to air commercials showing the Statue of Liberty
with an Abu Ghraib hood over her head. I don't
need Michael Moore to drive around Washington in
an ice cream truck reading the Patriot Act or
blasting the President for a seven minute delay
when the unthinkable happened. It's petty. It's
childish. And like much of Moore's film work, it
can be poked and prodded until there is little
intellectual value left.

In the article referenced above, Hitch practically
begs Moore to meet him on any stage to debate the
points in his movie. Joe Scarborough has been
doing the same during the daily hour when he
relentlessly soils the reputation of NBC News. Let
me be clear. If Joe Scarborough thinks he can take
you in a debate, we've got a serious problem.

This is not a matter of silencing someone. Of
course this film should come out and of course
anyone who wants to see it, should.

But I don't want to give the fellas from Fox two
hours worth of material to shift their attention
to (in between incessantly rubbing their Ken
Starrs to Clinton's diary entries) when the focus
should be on the job the Bush administration is
doing.

I don't want the national conversation to shift to
the positives and negatives of Moore's work
because I think my team loses that argument. I
want this election to be about another person.
John Kerry. If that happens, and he rises to the
occasion, I think my team wins.

Bottom line. I just don't think Michael Moore
helps the cause at all. That's why those who
oppose my team are, in their own nefarious ways,
absolutely marketing the hell out of this movie.

Why I Love Michael Moore

And now, I'd like to try to answer a slightly
different question:

Why do I love Michael Moore?

Because we live in the age of silence. We actually
hear supposedly reputable people talking on major
networks who say that Michael Moore's film should
not be shown or that he shouldn't be allowed to
advertise it because such marketing efforts would
interfere with campaign finance laws. Before this
movie even came out, you had people complaining
about what folks in the Middle East would think of
it (the common theme that disagreement with
policies equals unpatriotism and aiding the enemy
is never far from these debates).

Let them think what they should think. That we are
nation where a person can make a movie that
criticizes the president and his policies. Aren't
these the freedoms we're looking to spread?

Why do I love Michael Moore?

Because we live in an age when the folks at Fox
News (of all places) spend much of their broadcast
time complaining about media bias. Because even
people who believe in Moore's general cause have
been brainwashed into believing that the release
of ideas or points of contention could somehow be
bad for America. We are afraid of debate. We are
afraid of dissent. We are afraid of seeing a
breast at halftime.

Here's a bulletin. The press cannot be too hard on
an administration that leads us to a war. That's
their job in our society.

Because, as Bruce Springsteen wrote in his epic
song Jungleland, "The poets down here don't write
nothing at all, they just stand back and let it
all be." Any war should be accompanied by busloads
of dissent and cynicism. That doesn't soil the
troops, it is vital to respecting them. There are
two key ways to support the troops that have been
ignored in this age of tough talk. First, they
should only be sent somewhere when it is
absolutely necessary. And second, every effort
should be made to give them the full support of
troops provided by our allies. Believe me, more
people watching your back and a return home a few
months earlier is a lot more supportive to troops
than any cowboy rhetoric.

So where are all the poets?

And it's not just the war. We have seen a
ridiculous Congressional focus on raising
indecency fines and we've seen Howard Stern come
dangerously close to being silenced for saying the
exact same things he's been saying for more than a
decade (except the part about being anti-Bush). I
wonder if it's a coincidence that he is now off
the air in several swing states? You may hate
Howard Stern. Congressional leaders may see Howard
the wrong person for whom to make a stand. But
where the hell is rock and roll? Where are the
young people marching in the street with placards
and bullhorns? Maybe it's because it would be
almost impossible for a musician to take a stand
against Clear Channel and still have a career. OK,
so where is the outrage about media ownership
laws?

Is the debate over the digestion of carbphydrates the
only thing that can get a rise out of people these days?

Because without Michael Moore, we may not be
focusing on some of the issues he raises in his
film. How scary is that? A little dissent and a
political perspective can make one an
international superstar. That's how rare criticism
has become. Because the media has largely been
horrible on the Iraq question. Because we're
seeing some of the footage in Moore's film for the
first time. Because we see fifty hours a week on
Laci Peterson and about two minutes on the Saudi
relationship with the U.S.

Because Michael Moore is, in general, on my side
in the upcoming election, yet sometimes he really
pisses me off. That is rare indeed in an era where
we're usually only allowed to be pissed off at
people on the other side of the aisle. In a time
when absolutely everyone is positive of the
righteousness of their views on absolutely
everything, this guy even has me disagreeing with
myself.
...

Note: This column and more will also be posted
at Electablog.com if you want to link
to it from your blog, etc.

...

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

the caption:

Which person is breaking the rules?

the picture:
http://www.nextdraft.com/gtp/rulegtp.html

...

crawdaddio
07-05-2004, 05:04 PM
Interesting read, thank you.