Saturday, June 26, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

Even though I'd read a lot about this movie and sort of knew what to expect, nothing prepared me for the impact it had on me. I cried when I saw the Iraqi children killed and mutilated, the soldiers killed and injured, and the mother who lost her son. Fahrenheit 9/11 honed the anger that began building when the Supreme Court endorsed the Pretender's coup, grew stronger with half-assed response to 9/11, and hit the white-hot level with this obscene war. And I'm not just furious with the Bushies-- but also with the Democrats who, for the most part, fail to show any spine or any willingness to go out on a limb to stand up for what is right.

We went to see the first showing at the Garden Cinema here in Norwalk. It was packed -- all four shows tonight sold out. We were lucky to get in and find two seats together. We looked around as the movie was starting, noting that tonight we were among the choir. I hope the movie's box office take is huge, that it crosses parties, that high school kids throughout the country see it, that those unsure of how they're going to vote in November see it.

I think the movie is excellent. If nothing else, it gives one plenty to think about. Maybe it'll serve to activate all those braincells in the 46% of Americans who think invading Iraq was the right thing to do. And it was interesting to see things I had no idea about, such as the protests of several Congressfolk during the certification of the Pretender's election. I can't believe that not even one Senator signed off on a protest. Not one. Not Lieberman, or Kerry, or even Kennedy. Not one. Now I want to know why.

What's been interesting is reading some of the reviews, now that I've been able to see the movie -- it's interesting to see if I saw the same movie as the critics. Pretty much, though Ebert got one scene wrong: he said Moore was accompanied by a Marine recruiter when he tried to get Congressdrones to enlist their kids. The guy wasn't a recruiter, but a soldier who already served in Iraq and swore there was no way he was going back over there, even if he had to go to jail over it.

One review, however, offended me: that by Salon's Stephanie Zacharek. It says much more about her ignorance and arrogance than it does about the movie:

When Moore isn't pounding away at Bush, he's busy playing the friend of the common man. But as he did in both "Roger & Me" and "Bowling for Columbine," Moore can't help acting superior to his on-camera subjects. We meet Lila Lipscomb, a hardworking American of modest means who encouraged her children to go into the military, knowing that it could provide educational opportunities that she wouldn't have been able to give them herself. Lipscomb is proud of her country and proud of the young men and women who fight for it. At one point, she shows Moore the cross she wears around her neck -- it's a multicolored cross that, she explains, stands for her multicultural beliefs. "I'm multicultural," she states plainly.

At this moment, the audience I saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" with snickered over what they must have perceived as Lipscomb's simplicity. But not long after, we see that Lipscomb's husband is African-American, and her large, extended family is multiracial. Yet Moore's audience has already been primed to laugh at the "simple folk" who make up the bulk of this great land o' ours. Moore's approach leaves Lipscomb open to ridicule (the same way he used the Rabbit Lady in "Roger & Me" -- the woman who sold live rabbits and their byproducts to bolster her meager government income checks -- to get laughs).

The one thing Moore never does is act superior to the "ordinary" people he portrays. It's quite obvious that Stephie is projecting here. It's also pretty typical of too many liberals (you know, the ones who fancy themselves members of the intelligentsia) -- instead of embracing and supporting someone taking action and actually trying to have an impact, let's trash these Don Quixotes. After all, it's much easier to sit in front of a computer and write clever barbs than to actually take a stand and risk something. At some level, she must recognize this or she wouldn't have been so stupidly vicious.

My niece's fianc is in Iraq, stationed near Baghdad, fighting a war he doesn't believe in because he felt it was his duty to serve in the Army Reserve. He told me, before the war even started, that he wouldn't hesitate to go after Al Queda or any other group or government threatening our country. But, he said, Iraq didn't fall into that category, and never did. He said he and his fellow reservists feel betrayed by our government. This is the point of Moore's movie: we're throwing away lives and betraying honorable men and women for nothing. Certainly not for our security, and certainly not to make our country safer.

I hope Moore's movie convinces millions that Bush is just not worthy of their vote.
posted by lee on 06/26/04 at 01:46 AM
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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

58% disapprove of bush, but kerry still an unknown

The New York Times: Bush's Rating Falls to Its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds
By Adam Nagourney & Janet Elder
Published: June 29, 2004
President Bush's job approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The poll found Americans stiffening their opposition to the Iraq war, worried that the invasion could invite domestic terrorist attacks and skeptical about whether the White House has been fully truthful about the war or about abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison.

A majority of respondents in the poll, conducted before yesterday's transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government, said that the war was not worth its cost in American lives and that the Bush administration did not have a clear plan to restore order to Iraq.

The survey, which showed Mr. Bush's approval rating at 42 percent, also found that nearly 40 percent of Americans say they do not have an opinion about Senator John Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, despite what have been both parties' earliest and most expensive television advertising campaigns.

It's heartening to note that the people surveyed for this poll are finally starting to pay attention.

But it's disheartening to see that Kerry is not yet having much of an impact. Maybe if he starts campaigning, articulating his positions, taking a bold stand or two. The primary season was much too short this year -- we hardly got to know any of the candidates before Kerry was anointed the stand-in for ABB.

What's interesting in these results is that only 18% of those polled believe Bushie is telling the entire truth, yet he has a 42% approval rating. So what does this mean? Maybe it means that about 20-24% of the people polled think it's just fine that the prez lies. Scary. Probably the same group of people who think the abuse at Abu Ghraib was no worse than a frat prank.

These are the results (

posted by lee on 06/29/04 at 04:00 AM
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