....LMB: "F911"....

July 10, 2004

I finally saw Fahrenheit 9/11 this week (partially just to put an end to all the "you haven't seen it yet? Of all people, Jake, I thought you would've been first in line etc.").

When I went to the theater, there was a line to get in. At 4:15 in the afternoon. On a Wednesday. That's probably saying something.

As I'd been hearing, the movie didn't provide that much new information for people who'd been keeping an eye on the Bush administration, and as I am one of those people, I didn't come out of the movie changed very much. The "Bonanza" parody and Moore's ice cream truck adventures cracked me up. The scenes of bereaved mother Lila Lipscomb choked me up, but since my mother's death last year, upsetting me with scenes of grief is not hard to do.

Parts of the movie seemed very loose and associational, taking many facts and stirring them together until the result looked like a (blurry) conclusion. As I think back, I'm not even sure what Moore's thesis is. He almost argues that Saudi Arabia was responsible for 9/11, that Bush & co. didn't stop 9/11 because they were friends with rich Saudis, and that to prevent their rich Saudi friends from being hurt, Bush & co. decided to invade Iraq instead. And oil was involved somehow too.

I didn't like how Moore kept talking about "the Saudis" again and again in the first half of the film. "The Saudis" are not responsbile for 9/11, nor were "the Saudis" friends of the Bush family. A handful of individual terrorists from Saudi Arabia were responsible for 9/11, and a handful of rich oil men from Saudi Arabia were friends with the Bush family. The rest of the 25+ million Saudis had nothing to do with any of this, and I feel that Moore's sloppy wording implies that the Saudi people are devious shieks or muderous fanatics. This is quite unfair, as the majority of the people there are poor, and victims of their own dictatorship.

I think that "sloppy" applies to a lot of this film. It's more polished than Bowling for Columbine was, but to me, there are still parts that seem unnecessary, as though they had extra footage, and just threw it in there even though it didn't fit.

Overall, I'd say the movie ranks as "good." I think it's an important film at this point in time. To me, the film's wide attendance shows that many people in this country who don't necessarily hate the president, can tell that the stories he's been telling them don't add up. Even if they don't know or like Michael Moore, they're willing to listen to someone with a different point of view try to explain what's going on.

It's Moore's hope that once they've heard another version of the story, that the audience will feel so angry and betrayed that they'll vote Bush out of office. I hope so too.

Posted by Jake at 05:55 PM | TrackBack (0)

You're right--that was sloppy. But I think his point was that the Bush family is well-connected to the royal family and therefore to the bin Ladens, and therefore might have been motivated to ignore the warning signals that 9/11 was coming. And on that point, I think that he's probably right.

Posted by: Amanda at July 12, 2004 05:07 AM

Moore is a terrible documentarian. This latest contains many direct rip-offs of several of Errol Morris' techniques.

I'm no fan on the current administration, but in all fairness, many other people were being flown out of harm's way post-9/11.

If someone in your family was a criminal or a terrorist, does that make you guilty by association?

At some point people will stop focusing on the unimportant details and start focusing on the glaring details regarding 9/11, like why all the physical evidence was removed from the scene and melted down in foreign countries before any proper investigation could be made, or why building 7 fell in what could only be explained as a controlled demolition.

There's a much larger, stinkier fish taped under this country's desk, and nobody seems to have the nose to locate it.

Posted by: Nobody Cares at July 12, 2004 01:52 PM

I had a similar reaction to the film as you Jake, that we who keep an eye on the current junta knew most of this already. I do think that it does one important thing, which is that it shows a lot of footage that people who watch mainstream TV never ever saw, or even heard of: the Congressional Black Caucus refusing validate the Electoral vote count (and that not a single Democratic senator would sign the complaint - interesting in and of itself), the egging of the Inaugural parade and the attendent protests, the mere fact that the hijackers were indeed Saudis and not Iraqis:

NONE, NONE of that made CBS,Fox, NBC, CNBC, ABC, etc. Most of America STILL thinks this was about 911, so in that way, Moore does provide a service, basically, what a free press would be providing if it were actually free. So it's easy to understand why you would be underwhelmed - this should all be basic knowledge by now, but it's not.

"Terror, terror, terror, war, war, war, 911, 911, 911, God Bless America" - that's all the TV-watching brainwashed Ameicans get to see.

Homeland security? They gather our financial records, phone records, library records, etc, - what's the big deal? It is obvious that most Americans are willing to 'trade essential liberties for security'.

"I got mine" is all that matters. My job, my house, my car, my gasoline, my kids, my sports team, my stuff. Americans don't care about anyone worse off, dead civilians, dead soldiers (unless it's an immediate family member- in which case they are 'proud'). Americans are fine with all of this - if you don't believe me, log into the NYTimes forums sometime. Ask yourself why the polls are anywhere near even, why Clear Channel can censor an anti-war ad or a chain of theaters can censor Michael Moore's movie. Or for that matter, why the fraudulent election was acceptable to Americans in the first place, or why Kerry and the Dems voted IN FAVOR of the Patriot Act and for Georgie-boy to use war powers against Iraq. This is our country, right or wrong. This is what we are willing to tolerate. Medical, prison and social security privatization. America - Land of the Free, Home of the Consumer. Why should we care if our own government spies on us if we're not doing anything wrong? We are so free we have the right to protest in designated areas 40 miles from what we're protesting! Wah hoo! I feel so fucking free!!

This is America today, not real far from Germany, circa 1938

God Help Us All

Posted by: DC at July 12, 2004 01:59 PM

Wow, DC, I agree with you on so many of the points you made.The way that CNN "the most trusted name in news" never in the beginning of the war in iraq, and hardly at all now, has watered down what is actually happening in Iraq by not showing the footage of what war actually does. Thank the fuck out of the FCC for that one, and of course, the good ole corporate i mean "liberal media". In Moore's film however, there were pictures of the actual devistation that occured, and that to me was, as you said, what more reporters if they are independent should be doing. The movie I do believe also twisted the truth in some parts, but overall, there were many instances that needed to be addressed that were finally,in a more mainstream way. Even if the movie wasn't terribly mainstream, I'm glad some of this information is being taken into account. I mean Micheal Moore raised a good point in an interview with a woman on CBS who said something along the lines of how his movie was just propoganda, and he said "We'll I'd consider the CBS news propoganda." and then he continued to question her on why the mainstream media hadn't covered any of the things in his movie, and he asked why the hard questions weren't asked. And then, directly after the interview, the woman said "coming up next: mosquito repelent: deet or no deet?" which of course just proved his point.

Posted by: Alyssa at July 13, 2004 03:49 AM

It's becoming less amusing, and more and more tragic, to watch everyone being distracted from the real, important facts about 9/11.

Posted by: nobody cares at July 15, 2004 01:09 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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