"The rhetoric is as obvious as the gut on the guy," writes Jeff Jarvis, the only guy on our block so far who had the fortitude to actually sit through Michael Moore's filmic anti-Bush screed (we would never, in a million years):
As I walked out of the theater on the opening day of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," I thought (read: hoped) that even here, in the East Village of Manhattan, true Moore country, where the flick was already sold out all night, surely even here they wouldn't fall for all his obvious, visual/rhetorical tricks, his propaganda too unsubtle for the cheapest tin-horn demagog.
Take this scene: Moore shows dead American soldiers in Iraq, many of them, the more blood the better. Then he says we need to replace them and he asks where they'll come from. He takes us to his favorite man-of-the-people populist playground, Flint, MI, and says that we'll find soldiers "in the places that had been destroyed by the economy." He focuses on poor black men as Bush's next victims -- not even acknowledging that virtually every soldier he has just shown -- and ridiculed -- in the film is white. It's all so convenient: anti-war-pro-poor-multi-culti-heartland.
Moore's assumption is venality. He assumes that President Bush and his confreres are venal, that their motives are black, that they are out to do no good, only bad, and that the only choices they make in life are between greed and power.
When it comes to an assumption of venality, it sounds to us like Michael Moore is projecting. He's making millions off his Bush bashing and apparently means to use his "art" to unseat our President, as blogged here early and often. Mr. Jarvis continues:
The real problem with the film, the really offensive thing about it, is that in Fahrenheit 9/11, we -- Americans from the President on down -- are portrayed at the bad guys. If there's something wrong about bin Laden, it's that his estranged family has ties with -- cue the uh-oh music -- the Bush family. Saddam? Nothing wrong with him. No mention of torture and terror and tyranny. Moore shows scenes of Baghdad before the invasion (read: liberation), and in his weltanschauung, it's a place filled with nothing but happy, smiling, giggly, overjoyed Baghdadis. No pain and suffering there.
Crap. It is not creditworthy only to attack and call that discussion and democracy; to insult our intelligence with half, quarter, and untruths; to stifle debate with polemic rather than provoke debate with facts; to mock the people he exploits on film; to gloss over his own outrageous opinions for the sake of convenience; to turn his guns on his own people, letting those who attacked us off as free as birds.
But mocking the people he exploits has always been Moore's "strong" -- as in strong odor-- suit. That is what small people do.