Friday, July 30, 2004

It's Gettin' Hot in Here, So Try to Attack Bush

By: Michael Akerman

A week or so ago, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 with Smith, because neither of us had seen it yet, and it's easier to argue in person. I went fully expecting it would infuriate and enrage me, or at least make me argue vehemently with Smith.

To be honest, I was quite surprised. The movie is rather well done, with solid filmography and good, though bizarre, audio work. In fact, it was the funniest movie I've seen in a long time. If you go to see the film, you have to understand how Michael Moore's wit works, which is hard to describe. In fact, it works much like my wit, dry and irreverent. He attacks Bush with an unceasing barrage of sharp mockings and hilarious film edits that are obviously and hilariously exaggerated to put Bush in a worse light than is possible. Really, Moore plays expertly to his primary audience.

The film is upbeat and interesting... until we get to the Iraq war. Here Moore becomes simply detestable. Aside from the poor directorial decision on the length of the war segment, which was unbearably long, Moore, in trying to cast Bush down yet more, attacks American soldiers as much as the war and Bush. Choosing the worst possible clips of the most ignorant soldiers, Moore shows true horrors that should never have come to pass. However, he shows few, if any, clips of the achievements of the American soldiers. This gross misrepresentation leaves the audience (more on them in a second) with a distinct feeling that our soldiers are undisciplined, ignorant hicks who learned to fight by shootin' venison. This treatment of our soldiers is juxtaposed by clips of one or two soldiers who are against the war. These few soldiers are, of course, given plenty of screen time to decry the war.

On a less concrete note, I don't get the name. It's obviously a spoof on Fahrenheit 451, but the movie has very little connection to corrupt government and censorship. Then there's the use of 9/11, which is discussed for maybe 15 minutes. The film, perhaps should have been titled Fahrenheit Iraq.

Speaking of corrupt government, Moore does attempt to make a case for it, but it comes off more like he's attempting comedy than seriously lambasting the government. The claim Moore brings up time and again to prove his warped idea of the government, aside from Bush's relative slowness, which I won't precisely argue against, but I don't precisely agree with, is the fact that for many government jobs, Bush called on people he or his family knew personally. Apparently to socialists this is a bad thing.

If you were in a position where every decision you made affected at the very least hundreds of people, who would you call on, a stranger, or someone whom you trusted to look out for America's best interests. I'd choose the latter.

Overall, though, Moore's film is good. I would recommend seeing it once, not to be informed about the true state of America, which the film surely avoids, but to be informed about the film itself.

Haha! Propaganda!

While I was pleasantly surprised by Moore's film, I'm still disappointed with the American audience. It's astounding how many people actually believe this is a documentary that is factual in every statement, and take Moore's word as the gospel truth. Fahrenheit would more correctly be called propaganda. I'm also ashamed at how many people base their reactions to "facts" on Moore's applied connotation. If Moore emphasizes the correct words in any statement, the audience is appalled or pleased. It's a power I would love to wield, of course. A large portion of America is putty in Moore's hand.

Let me give you an example. For a large part of the film, Moore follows the mother of a military family. From a poor town, this woman had told all of her children that the army was a good option for them, since they wouldn't be able to get financial aid (apparently, they were really, really stupid, or simply didn't realize that it's easier for poor people to get financial aid). Of course, one of her sons was sent to war in Iraq (why do poor families always have, like, twelve kids?), and was promptly killed (convenient for Moore, eh ;-)?). Moore asks the woman if she's angry that Bush sent her son off to die in war. The audience then exhibits the emotion desired, sadness for the woman. Luckily I was in an intelligent audience, and several audience members and I snorted and chuckled. Yes, yes, it's very sad that people die. However, the soldier was a volunteer, and the mother pushed him to join the army. No, Bush did not send him to war. It would be more proper to say that the mother did. Welcome to America. We have a volunteer army.

Incidentally, Moore talks for a time about how most soldiers are from poor towns. It seems to me this is a large problem. With such a high-tech arsenal, we need well-educated people running our weaponry. As far as I can tell, the problem is, first, antiquated methods. There is no need for marching maneuvers, or the intimidating nature of boot camp. Perhaps we're not aware, but we have no "grunt" infantry who need to be broken into a unified machine anymore. Second, the astoundingly low pay for soldiers: we really ought to raise the defense budget (abolish the Dept.s of Agriculture and Education. We'll have plenty of money then) and raise pay for soldiers.

Drafting a Law

Real quick, before I conclude, there's been some talk lately about a new draft for Iraq; not among Congressmen, as far as I know. Just among depressing doomsayers. People think that I would support this because I'm conservative, but drafts piss me off so much. I'm fine with "unnecessary" wars to liberate people, if we use a volunteer army. However, the moment a draft becomes necessary, the war should end. A draft should only be used in matters of utmost urgency, such as defending our country. The last time a draft was necessary was World War II. Vietnam's draft was poorly conceived and against basic human rights.

~Michael Akerman,
...hurry up and post something, Smith!...