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Fahrenheit 9/11: A Conservative Critique

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  • Ed Pearl
    Fahrenheit 9/11: A Conservative Critique by William Norman Grigg http://www.thenewamerican.com/ I just returned from viewing Fahrenheit 9/11 here in Appleton,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2004
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      Fahrenheit 9/11: A Conservative Critique

      by William Norman Grigg

      http://www.thenewamerican.com/

      I just returned from viewing Fahrenheit 9/11 here in
      Appleton, WI. I went to the 1:30 PM showing, which was
      -- astonishingly -- sold out. The crowd was
      overwhelmingly white and middle-class (this IS
      Wisconsin, remember), ranging in age from early teens
      to retirees. The people were polite, friendly, well-
      mannered (something we shouldn't take for granted on
      the part of contemporary theater crowds). There was
      tumultuous applause at the end, punctuated by a moment
      of reflective silence as we read the dedication card
      invoking those murdered by terrorists on 9/11, and
      those murdered through state terrorism in the
      aftermath.

      The film itself very much reflects its creator: It's
      shaggy, flabby, occasionally witty, and frequently
      infuriating. It will have a HUGE impact because Moore
      -- his facile leftist economics notwithstanding --
      has nailed his case against the Bush regime flush to
      the plank. It will be all but impossible for anybody
      who sits still and watches this film to view Bush the
      Lesser as anything other than a petty, spiteful, dim-
      witted, bloody-handed little fool -- and the
      figurehead of a murderous power elite. This explains
      why the Bu'ushists are threatening to go Abu Ghraib on
      Moore: They're busted.

      The most powerful moments in the film are those that
      humanize U.S. troops, several of whom are shown on-
      screen criticizing the regime. A major arc of the film
      is devoted to a Flint, Michigan housewife from a
      military family whose son, just prior to being killed
      in Iraq, wrote a letter condemning "George 'I wanna be
      like my Daddy' Bush" for staging this useless, unjust
      war. Moore himself, who narrates the film (and makes
      himself too much a part of the story, incidentally)
      observes that the largest immorality of this entire
      enterprise is the actions of a dishonest president
      lying our country into war and forcing decent young men
      (and women) to do immoral things.

      It should be pointed out as well that the film --
      despite being lambasted as an exercise in unalloyed
      Bush-bashing -- doesn't spare Democrats who acquiesced
      in Bush the Lesser's power grabs and his criminal war
      against Iraq. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle comes
      off particularly poorly, which in his case merely
      requires a recording device of some kind.

      An interesting encounter immediately after seeing the
      film underscores its fundamentally non-partisan nature.
      Some poor schlep had positioned himself outside the
      theater with a clipboard soliciting signatures on a
      nominating position for a would-be Democrat
      congressional candidate. A couple of people seized the
      petition and started to sign. Impertinent sort that I
      am, I asked, "What's this fellow's position on the
      war?"

      The scribbling stopped, and several sets of eyes
      focused intently on the hapless volunteer. "Well, um,
      ah, he thinks we should do something," he began,
      stammeringly. "Ah, he just thinks we should be more
      careful." On hearing this, a lady looked at her
      husband, who had signed the petition, and snapped,
      "Scratch off your name." I told the volunteer that I'm
      what most people would regard as an "ultra-conservative
      -- not just a `conservative' -- but if your guy came
      out against the war I'd vote for him, and knock on
      doors." "Well, I can't really address all the details
      of his positions," the increasingly flustered guy
      responded. "Just let him know what I said," I
      suggested, telling him that there are a lot of people
      who have the same point of view.

      I chatted with several other people as they left the
      theater, all of them roughly my age (early 40s) and of
      similar economic and cultural background. Each of them
      indicated that he or she would urge friends to see the
      film -- which means that it will have "legs" even if
      the GOP and FEC were to choke off advertising somehow.

      There were no screaming Bolsheviks (one viewer had an
      anti-animal rights T-shirt) or marijuana-scented
      bohemians in the crowd. This wasn't the sort of crowd
      you'd see at a Phish concert, or storming McDonald's at
      an anti-WTO rally. There were Wal-Mart customers,
      people who probably listen to country music (even Toby
      Keith), and even vote Republican. And they were PISSED
      -- quietly, but palpably. A would-be political
      prisoner Martha Stewart would say, that's a good thing.
      And well overdue.

      June 26, 2004

      William Norman Grigg [wgrigg@...] writes from
      Appleton, Wisconsin.

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