My Fellow Americans (er…kind of),
One part of me wants to live the peaceable life, wallowing in my hobbit hole, unmindful of the B-29 Superfortresses amassing off the Normandy Coast, staring out at the stars and asserting that Clint Eastwood is the greatest example of Manhood in our century, whilst another side of me wants to shake the shoulders and scream in the face of anyone who refuses to admit that the current American Presidential administration is a gaggle of self-serving, avaricious whores who have sold America to the highest contractors and washed their hands in the running blood of children whom they ordered killed from behind uncountable buffers, to vainly keep their souls untainted for the imaginary god they claim they pay obeisance to.
But then, as Freddie Mercury once said, “I’m just a peace-lovin’ cucumber” …
I’ll leave the political undermining to Michael Moore, whilst I pipsqueak from the internet sidelines…
The Urgency After The Emergency.
…nothing is over the line when it finally comes down to winning or losing the presidency of the United States. Nobody is safe and nothing is sacred when the stakes finally get that high. It is the ultimate fast lane, and the people still on their feet in September are usually the meanest of the mean.
— Hunter S. Thompson.
In his third and most inflammatory documentary to date, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, Michael Moore teases apart how the George W. Bush administration exploited the tragedy of the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.
Even if you hate director-documentarian Michael Moore, you can’t deny his idealism is in the right place, for he embodies an American concept that is fast being stultified by the American Government itself – the Right to Free Speech. Though I question some of Moore’s juvenile methods and embarrassing stunts, I do not refute him the right to prise open the government’s Pandora’s Box of guarded, privileged information in an attempt – misguided or not – to delineate between fact and falsehood.
Would that we were all prepared to go to such lengths to expose what we believe to be truth.
For those who have issues with Moore’s incitant film, FAHRENHEIT 9/11, ask yourself, no matter which side of the dyke you feel you have your fingers in, what have YOU done towards the cause YOU believe in? How has your political stance – whether it be Left, Right or Sideways – manifested itself in bettering your present condition? We quibble in office lunchrooms, we haughtily compose e-mails, we post these outlandishly sophistic articles on the web, we argue, come to blows, boycott useless items, buy other just-as-useless items in our quest to make-believe our opinions matter regarding The Government and The War. But they don’t. Not really. But what Moore has done is CONCRETE. It has nothing to do with supporting a particular political party or undermining a President. It is bringing to light elements that the present government thought to keep secret from their public.
Many who hate Moore would contest his right to blathering in that inimitably ingratiating manner. For those who righteously complain about the film’s one-sided slant, the same can be said for the government’s (and by association, the media’s) blinkered dissemination of information to the public at large. The litmus test for democracy is that ALL viewpoints be given equal shrift in the media and in congress; further, that each disparate viewpoint be afforded the same amount of RESPECT as that which each individual holds as truth. The hardest part about SAYING you believe in Freedom is ACTING like you do.
In the words of Henry David Thoreau, Moore “serves the State best by opposing the State most.”
With FAHRENHEIT, Moore has provided the rejoinder to years of enduring the fascist whims of a government despicable enough to wield the specter of the long-since-razed Twin Towers as collateral. He is not merely a gadfly guerrilla film-maker with an agenda steeped summarily in “opposition” to the reigning Republican Party. He is not perfunctorily anti-President or anti-government, he is ANTI-DUPLICITY.
For this documentary, Moore culled a wealth of disparate strands of information and fashioned them into a cudgel of defamatory data against the smug politicos in power. The message of this film is not that “George Bush is duplicitous” – ALL politicians are duplicitous – we’ve known that for over two-hundred years – the underlying significance is the realization that ANY government would have used the World Trade Center attacks to prey upon the fears of the populace to feather their affluent beds. ANY government would ensure that their business associates were well cared for during periods of civil unrest and that an international incident that bottlenecks the world economy would not quell their rapacious income-earning ability.
The first half of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 focuses on arousing the intellect, the second half is drenched in emotive appeal, with Moore shifting the focus from the highest government offices – perpetuating their blood money behind the lies they sell to the public – to the lowest grunts in the trenches, crimson-necked Bubbas to a man, inculcated with those lies, drenched in misplaced patriotic fervor, empowered to “bring the ideal of democracy and freedom to (Iraq).”
From Moore himself petitioning senators who have no children enlisted in the military – who therefore have no stake whatsoever in the fatal decisions they make for others – to interviewing a family (Lila Lipscomb’s) whose way of life is serving said military, thereby wholly affected by the uninformed and deceitful decisions of those senators.
Moore fearlessly does what no “news” program has done before him – spotlight American politicians backpedaling, contradicting themselves, talking nonsense – from the transparently furtive Dick Cheney, whose very presence simply oozes Gollum-like underhandedness and scum-trickery; to the awkward warbling of John Ashcroft, who couldn’t win an election against a dead opponent, instigating the paradoxically-named Patriot Act; to Donald Rumsfeld mouthing like an automaton about “the humanity” that goes into bombing innocents, when we all know that wearing that $200 tie puts him unequivocally in a league of bureaucrats who have not a SINGLE CLUE as to how America’s weapons function against her imaginary enemies.
There is also revealing “pre-air” footage (accompanied by eerily appropriate source music), showing us congressmen being readied for airtime, Bush making silly faces before cameras roll on a national press conference; one senator piggishly using his SPIT to tamp down his troubadour, whilst makeup personnel potter around him… What astounds me is that Moore was able to gain access to this footage at all, when one would imagine that such incriminating visuals would be vaulted away in a CIA bunker five miles underground, guarded by a Balrog.
The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign the conspiracy is working.
Only beatnik geeks and beret-askew, coffee-house pseudo-intellectuals who can’t get laid actually believe that the American government is smart enough to collude on a scale large enough to be termed a conspiracy, when they can’t even coach their President into verbal lucidity, even WITH teleprompters. (This in itself could be construed as a Grand Misdirection to throw the world’s suspicions askew, but for now, let’s take it as read that George W. is a moron.) Bush and his cronies may be too incomparably dimwitted to mastermind an attack requiring such precision, but they are not beyond taking advantage of the incident to further their unscrupulous careers. Again – ANY government would do the same.
As one of the interviewees in FAHRENHEIT comments, “It’s about making money. It’s about making a LOT of money.” It’s not even about “Being The President,” as that post is merely an accessway to unlimited business contacts, funding and income from extra-curricular sources, not the idealistic, dutiful station that the COMMON people believe it to be.
Appealing to the President’s set of “values” or “morals” regarding his arbitrary military invasions and thousands of cold-blooded murders is as irrelevant as appealing to a lion’s ethics regarding stalking antelopes – you appeal to values which simply do not exist, faculties which he lost on his way to the White House. He can no more see the world through Commoner’s eyes than that lion could through the antelope’s. In a job where potential for advancement is this stellar, “unethical behavior” is rationalized away as being “part of the job” or, more insincerely, “for the good of the country.” Simply attaining an office as lofty as American President pretty much guarantees misfeasance somewhere along the way; as Dr. Hunter S. Thompson notes, nobody is safe and nothing is sacred.
The word “criminal” is too mundane an adjective for super-villains like American politicians.
Moore exposes the symbiosis the Bush family shares with the faction responsible for the 9/11 tragedy – the Taliban. Even with known allegiance to the terrorist cells known as Al Qaeda, whose manifesto bluntly commissions “the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens – civilian or military – and their allies everywhere,” Taliban officers are still able to saunter more freely through the corridors of the White House than even born-and-bred, red-white-n-blue Americans. Any wonder that the Bush Mafioso – whose business dealings with the Taliban net them ten-figure incomes – are considered co-conspirators in this unethically twisted financial coup.
123,000,000 voters *can* be wrong
The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter.
— Winston Churchill.
The fact that George W. Bush inhabited the post of U.S. President during the incident which obliterated faith in both Saudi and American governments is happenstance. But that makes Michael Moore a lucky man. His target is a barreled fish. Any other President would not have been so easy to see through. Or shoot down.
The fact that George Bush Junior comes across as such a vacuous, empty-headed paragon of imbecility is no one’s fault but his own. Sure, biased editing and out-of-context statements may be used to contribute to any public figure’s denigration, but the plain truth is that any person with a modicum of English appreciation needs simply to hear the stumbling, third-grade elocutionary delivery of this American President to conclude that it was not “smarts” that won him the White House. We don’t even need to satirize Bush – that chased-ferret look is a sniggering point to begin with – then he starts speaking: mispronunciations, malapropisms, grammatical obscenities fly out of this mental midget’s mouth like a tennis ball launcher set on Wimbledon Pro, coupled with an unwarranted arrogance and condescension (he KNOWS we know who his dad is) and that uninformed, blank-staring mien as cream-whipped topping.
Oh yes, I’m inclined to believe that this goat-herder who still cannot pronounce “nuclear” correctly is some kind of Machiavellian mastermind.
The problem is: he carries a Big Stick. He stands with the might of the American Armed Forces at his behest. And when the greatest military power on earth has your back – everyone else is your bitch. For in the final telling, when the barbarians are at the gate, when the bullet hits the bone, when the lights go out in Georgia, no matter the canards that the Disney Corporation propounds from their sick universe of painful glee – Might Is Right.
Might will always be right. Not “morally” or “inherently” or “objectively,” but “right” in the sense that it will be the prevailing notion. That “History Is Written By The Winners” is testament to that credo.
It takes two for a lie to be believed. Hence, Moore is just as annoyed at the opposing political party – in this case, the Democrats – who, by their inaction against stupidities enacted by the ruling party, are thus accessories to the ruling party’s high crimes. What incurs Moore’s ire and sarcasm is that in many instances, they succumb to the mendacity of the ruling party as willingly as the uneducated and downtrodden peons who know no better (i.e. the voters).
The Press is not without fault, as Moore uncloaks examples of their blindness and submission to the overwhelming misinformation fed them. When there is that much propaganda to sift through, even the Free Thinking Press are bound to promulgate half-truths. That is, if any of them are actually “free thinking” in this corporate age and not simply parroting the policies of their network’s bias.
the also-ran who almost was
We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.
But let us not condemn a party simply because it is in power. Think of what would have happened had AL GORE ascended to the U.S. Presidency in 2000.
Al Gore would not have presided under the heel of an imaginary christian god, but under something much more dangerous – his WIFE. It was Tipper Gore who instigated the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center – a misnomer of lunatic proportions) and as far back as 1985, began chipping away at civil liberties with the implementation of “labeling” music albums which – in their opinion – contained “explicit lyrics or content,” in overt violation of the First Amendment. At first, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) resisted this insane attempt at muzzling musical expression, but eventually succumbed to the pressure exerted by these frigid harpies (whose husbands were all congressmen) and accepted the labeling laws in return for congress raising the prices of blank cassettes and other media via the Blank Tape Tax. Corporate America sells out its people yet again. And a Free Speech boundary was breached, never to be reinstated.
At least Bush is too incognizant to be pussy-whipped, whilst Gore’s orgasm-less wife would have rampaged through congress passing feminine law after feminine law until QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY would be the most masculine show on TV – behind the emasculating GASTINEAU GIRLS of course. (And what sort of name is “Tipper” anyway? Very appropriately, it conjures a white-tip SHARK, skulking the corridors of congress and cannibalizing sanity in her wake…)
it’s my party and you’ll fry if i want to
According to President Bush, ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ is just a figure of speech meaning ‘A defenseless nation overflowing with crude oil’.”
— Craig Kilborn.
And the unmitigated irony (not to mention bald lie) in Bush reading his teleprompter (poorly, as always) about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” being identified in other countries – whilst he is the only person on the planet exercising his unbalanced megalomania in detonating AMERICA’S weapons of mass destruction anywhere he damn well pleases! All in the name of a god, who, were It to exist, would smite this fecal cockroach into the dankest of Dante’s hells for taking Its name in vain so opprobriously.
And let us not quibble semantics: WMD has come to mean primarily “nuclear” weapons in the parlance of this irresponsible and murderous President, while his non-nuclear conventional American weapons have taken the lives of thousands wholly uninvolved in his quest for “democracy” and bloodied wealth, causing – yes, literally – MASS DESTRUCTION. America makes no secret that it has over 10,000 nuclear weapons; the fact that none were used in bringing Iraq to its knees is savage testimony to the mega-killing power of the weapons that were utilized. Must there be a “nuclear winter” before the accusing finger will be pointed at Darth Bush and his Death Star methods?
It took Europe millennia to stumble into the cauldron of superstition and hypocrisy that were The Dark Ages; it’s only taken America a scant two centuries.
These liars are more shameless than Richard Nixon and have actually come to believe the hog-swill they are feeding the American populace, having intoned these phonetic syllogisms so often that they’ve inculcated themselves into believing that they are actually on the side of “good.” Now – I don’t advocate ANY side as being “good.” Both sides are trying to make their way as best they can – and when I refer to “both sides” you take it for granted that I speak of America versus Iraq, right?
We have been corralled into believing that those are the only two warring factions in this fracas. But it’s more complicated than that. The “war” is being fought not between countries (where the warring factions are separated by obvious ocean or land masses), but between sociological castes, where the delineations are infinitely more subtle. Moore nails this point home late in this true horror film, when he has provided enough exposition to corroborate its veracity: the Ruling Classes of America and Iraq are actually united against their own Lower Classes. The “terrorist threat” is… WE THE PEOPLE.
truth or scare
Of course there’s a war – I’m watching it on television!
— Robert De Niro, WAG THE DOG.
The Terrorist Threat Meter will always remain “high” because We The People are always HERE, threatening to usurp the Ruling Class’s power democratically. The only way to hold that usurpation at bay is to manipulate the electoral process to function UN-Democratically – as evidenced by the last two Presidential Elections in the United States.
And we thought only O.J. got away with murder…
The lower class of one country invading the lower class of another country! There are as many politicians and their families fighting on the side of [insert any Middle Eastern backwater] as there are in the American Armed Forces, that is – NEXT TO NONE. The lowest-rung grunts on both sides are from the disenfranchised, poverty-line multitudes whose shiftless lives offer no better opportunity to enhance their education, travel the world, learn discipline, utilize responsibility, and die with a shrapnel spike through their heads.
Isn’t it more than a little disturbing that the people who are the fittest and best-suited to sire sturdy organisms for the species’ long-term survival are sent into battle to die needlessly by the unhealthiest people – those bloated, crime-attired impresarios who call themselves politicians and religious leaders, who harbor no ethics, no trace of humanity and noticeably insipid gene pools?
We ask ourselves incessantly how a Ruling Class can convince its Lower Class pawns to blow themselves up in the name of their god or country – just what do they tell those underprivileged, ignorant clods that would make them forgo their lives for their leaders? How about: “Be All You Can Be”?
Once again, the American public has been conditioned to believe that only Over There do people blow themselves up of their own volition, whilst right in our faces the American government saturates every media outlet with toxic propaganda, conditioning its own batch of dispensable suicide kings.
But this time ’round – though the gullible will always lock and load in the name of their fallacious figureheads – the homeland air is charged with public dissent rather than gape-mouthed acceptance. (FAHRENHEIT 9/11 did not initiate this dissent – no matter what Michael Moore and his publicists would like us to believe – the film is rather a reflection of the times, and a much-needed coalescing of insurrect punctuation marks.) Maybe it was always like this, down through history, but one had to be living through those times to sense it – maybe history, being written by winners, only makes it seem like the public wallows in agitprop like ague.
I witnessed this “war propaganda” firsthand at a Chamber of Commerce assembly which was nothing more than a thinly-disguised Army Recruitment gala. Addressing the problem of the sharp drop in army recruitments, the smarmy officer (replete with his delusive Power Point overhead projections and misleading statistics) had this to say in rejoinder: “…recent recruitment rates may seem low, but that is not because less people are applying for positions – it’s because the army is becoming more selective in its recruitment.” (The horror was that he said it with such mind-numbing conviction that it is no stretch to imagine how lesser minds would be won over by these New Euphemisms for Year 2005.) If only the Army would be less “selective,” maybe there wouldn’t be talk about a NATIONAL DRAFT, huh, Sergeant Bilko?
the religious right and the religious wrong
In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point.
— Friedrich Nietzsche.
In his film, Michael Moore does not focus on the religious aspects of either the Bush Administration or the Taliban – because he is aware that “religion” is only a peripheral artifice that is wielded as duplicitously as “democracy” to ensnare peons to do the Ruling Class’s dirty work.
The Ruling factions of both countries care only about one thing: WEALTH. Yet – much like “Genco Olive Oil” fronted the Corleone “family business” – each faction is required to façade their agenda. The Taliban uses “religion” as their front; whilst the White House uses “democracy” as theirs.
And every perpendicular twit who signs his soul to these regimes does so under the pretense of the “front.” Only now, after a goodly percentage of destruction has been wrought, are the “fronts” becoming more transparent.
“Victory” for the American forces was not the jubilant movie-star reckoning they imagined it to be; more like a searing guilt in their innards, a tacit ostracism from their countryfolk and a vacuous gesture of faux appreciation from their Commander-in-Chief. Only now does an inkling of comprehension pry through their patriotic blindness; they could NEVER win what was not really a “war” – they were merely performing military maneuvers on a defenseless plot of mud at the behest of avaricious lunatics no saner than a man called Adolf. It is beyond the comprehension of the American jarheads as to why their deity-approved Democracy is not “taking” with their pummeled and hospitalized and pulp-faced foes. Who wouldn’t want to live under the sway of a god-driven megalomaniac who fixes elections and fries his detractors? Hell! – it’s how you’re living NOW…
Should we pummel you some more, Iraq? Would that help?
Meanwhile, the Iraqi grunts believe they are fighting a religious war – in essence, they are, for perception engenders reality. Why shouldn’t they believe what their leaders tell them – that’s what leaders are for. Therefore, as with the American forces, there is enough belief in the fighting ranks to propel the image – one of religious extremism. Yet, the Saudi Ruling Class (the Taliban) continues to collude with the White House in backdoor scheme after backdoor scheme, bringing nothing “religious” to those dealings, only financial prospects, oil and land disputes; in essence, only dealing with WEALTH issues.
As much as the Muslims and Al Qaeda and the Taliban may seem like religious fanatics from this side of the razor-wire fence (after all, why else were the Twin Towers toppled?), consider how fanatical the American President is perceived. The undisputed Leader of the Free World is – embarrassingly – seemingly the only person on earth who cannot get it through his thick skull what “separation of church and state” entails; leading as many “prayer meetings” as his supposedly “extremist” religious opponents, calling upon his dismally silent god in national newspapers, as hotly declaring his purpose to bring christianity to the Middle East as the Muslims declaring their wishes to bring islam to America. And by Jesus Horatio Christ, he’s doing it! – with as much destructive might and fervor as those “fanatics” who steered the planes into those skyscrapers.
What – pray tell – are the differences between these two juvenile, misinformed, superstitious, hypocritical, imbecilic factions?
The most bemusing aspect of the “god” issue is that after the World Trade Center was razed and America united in their prayers to petition The Almighty to deliver them from the godless Arabs – presuming that only One True God exists and assuming the Arabs were praying to the same One (whether they call It by a different name or not), and given that the WTC was successfully obliterated – no American ever paused to consider that maybe god IS on the side of the Arabs…
We’ll be fighting in the street / With our children at our feet / And the morals that they worship will be gone. / And the men who spurred us on / Sit in judgment of all wrong / They decide and the shotgun sings the song…
— The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
FAHRENHEIT 9/11 closes with yet another Bush synapse-disconnect. Though one imagines he would be aware of his stringent limitations by now, apparently George W. still believes he can successfully venture off-script during speeches and inject profundity like a Kennedy or a Jefferson (that would be Jasper Kennedy, his hairstylist and Earl Jefferson, his janitor). In this instance, what he tried to say – and ended up burbling incoherently – was, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” but even a well-worn axiom in the mouth of this ersatz President (who probably found The Pet Goat a challenging tome) turns to mealy-mouth mush:
“There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas – probably Tennessee, that says: Fool me once… [pause] … shame on… [pause, blank look] shame on you… [pause, blanker look] If- fool me- can’t get fooled again…”
The greatest tragedy of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 is that, though it was released in good time to educate the American populace on the failings of its callous president, it failed to avert the re-election of that president to his second term. Which speaks volumes about the idiocy of the American people. Around the world, the consensus remains: America blew it!
It’s appropriate that Dubya’s botched aphorism echoes the prophetic Who song, for that song’s final scathing lyric attains a brutal literalism:
“Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss”.