Saturday, July 03, 2004

Fahrenheit 911

When I was a junior in high school, I took American history at ULM (our local university). It was once a week, for 3 hours, but the time flew by (most nights) because of Dr. Cozine, our professor.

He was an excellent teacher, and I will always remember the first thing he said to us on the first day of class:

"If you want to know the underlying reason for any major historical event in our world, any at all, just take a look at the money, and that will lead you right to the answer."

Now, think about that for a moment...

(Exploration...American Revolution...Heading Out West...Civil War...etc etc etc...)

While these events are multi-faceted (take WWII for example), if you really stop and look at the bottom layer, you see his point.

Pretty interesting idea, huh?

I have always liked Michael Moore, way before the war, "Bowling for Columbine," or any of that stuff.

I saw "Roger and Me" when I was in college and it left a huge impression. I was not only impressed by the film itself, which is quite powerful and brilliant, but also by the fact that I viewed this film in three different classes: sociology, public relations, and art.

Talk about multi-faceted.

So while I don't agree hands down with everything that Michael Moore believes and says, I respect him greatly. Because I truly believe he gives a sh*t about the underdog, he is not afraid to speak his mind, and he puts his money where his mouth is. And, he's a brilliant film-maker.

Bridg and I had tried to go last week for the opening of Fahrenheit, and it was sold out. Quite frankly, I was surprised it even came to South Bend, being one of the most conservative areas in one of the most conservative states in the country. So I give the theatres some credit (although I'm sure it's all about the money).

Anyway, I went to the show tonight ready to take things with a grain of salt, because this is, after all, Michael Moore.

Yes, I can be objective, even where George W Bush is concerned.

But quite honestly, all jabbing comments about GWB aside, I don't know how anyone can see this and ignore the truth that lies inside the film.

For me, what was the most striking about this film, was not the anti-Bush tone, nor that everything boils down in the end to the money. Rather, it's all about the images of the war. Casualties and injuries, both Iraqi civilians AND our own military. It is so easy, when watching nightime air raids on CNN, to distance yourself from the images and look at them like a movie, or a video game. They are distant and unreal. You don't see any people, you just see flashes of infrared light.

And seeing these images, while hard to watch, it just really drove home the point for me that war in this day and age really is hell. No one wins. Yes, the world is better with Saddam Hussein gone, but--could we have done this in a more diplomatic way? Namely the UN, which was set up to handle situations just like those we fear?

And are we capable of rebuilding these people and changing years of long-standing culture? Should we really be the ones to "liberate" them? Do THEY really want us to liberate them? And are we really "liberating", or is there an ulterior motive? How do we decide who we are going to liberate and who we will leave be? Why aren't we in Africa or South America, liberating certain countries from war lords and violence just as heinous as in Iraq?

Could it be because they don't have any black gold?


My other fear in seeing this movie was the image of Americans it would give to foreigners. Since I've been in France I've gotten really sensitive to that. But I think Moore does a really good job of showing the negative side of Americans and the positive side too. It is not anti-American, but anti-Bush administration. It is not against the military or the American people, but against the wealthy elite, who wheel and deal and cause pain in the lives of so many, not to make the world a better place, but just so they can get just a little bit richer.

Please go see this movie. If you are already questioning the war motives, this film will make you want to go out and fight for political change.

And even if you are a card carrying member of the George Bush fan club, you should still go see this film. If for no other reason, then to see what the "enemy" is saying. Then you can use it to form your counter attack.

And at the very least, it'll give you another reason to hate Britney Spears.


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