Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Nothing yet presented to the American people succeeds, as Fahrenheit 9/11 does, in showing the sociopathic disconnect between President Bush and his actions and their consequences. The audience reaction to this Michael Moore film reveals a hunger for this information; and people are touched in a way that great theatre, cinema, or poetry can sometimes touch them. Gasping, weeping, laughing, and crying out in amazement, they are swept by a range of emotions, transported from sight-gags and absurdist comedy to tragedy and loss.

Young people in Flint, Michigan compare the televised devastation of Iraq to parts of their economically gutted and ravaged Flint. Well-to-do Congressmen, cornered by Moore on the steps of the Capitol, don't risk receiving their dead from Iraq. George W. Bush, erratic and sometimes ridiculous, flits merrily along, unconcerned about black high school drop-outs in Flint, Michigan, or white kids in Appalachia who have nowhere else to go but the Army. President Bush openly woos "the haves and have-mores" and the Patriot Act sails through the House without so much as being read.

Moore's film stands head and shoulders above any of his previous work, because its power rests on profound recognitions. In this film we see a culture of death, the juxtaposition of destroyed bodies, Iraqi and American. We see the imposture of "the consent of the governed". Election Fraud 2000 and an American coup d'etat are revisited, including the spectacle of black disenfranchisement in Florida projected into the House of Representatives, a sad betrayal of democracy.

Other powerful themes seem to visibly rock the audience. Certainly, for many of the uninitiated, it is the sense that they have been robbed of a chunk of history, that is just now being returned to them. This replacement into consciousness of a crucial piece of history and narrative is cathartic.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote, "The persuasiveness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable; it prevails even over a resisting heart". At 2 screenings of Moore's film I've heard people break down and sob. There were incredible gasps from the audience; there was a hush of attention with which people of all ages seemed to attend to Fahrenheit 9/11 and breathe it in.

"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and have mores. Some people call you the elite - I call you my base." --George W. Bush

Image via Michael Moore.


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