Anyone who enjoys a good Christopher Hitchens rant does not want to miss this one on Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11 that includes (in one of its more forgiving paragraphs): “To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of “dissenting” bravery.”
While I don’t agree with all of Hitchens’ takes on the war in Iraq and other global issues, he is right when it comes to Michael Moore. And the fact that Moore leaves himself so open to attacks by those with a little knowledge on the subjects he “covers” is what makes the otherwise fairly entertaining filmmaker so deeply hateable.
Why do I hate Michael Moore?
Because he has set himself up as the harbinger of several things in which I believe. I want guns off of the street. Yet I don’t blame Kmart for Columbine. I think that the NRA should be outed as one of this country’s more short-sighted and ultimately dangerous political groups. But I don’t think that interviewing a near-senile man helps to illustrate that point. And I want George W Bush to be booted back to Crawford. But I don’t think Michael Moore will help in that cause. I think he will hurt.
There are plenty of factual and rock solid reasons not to vote for George W Bush.
See, the American people are already questioning the leadership of the Bush administration. And while Dems are almost universally skeptical and concerned (thankfully on both counts), the fact is that this election couldn’t be going much better for John Kerry at this point in the campaign against an incumbent during a time of war and with the economy showing signs of a gentle upswing.
The biggest danger facing John Kerry and his band of backers is that the Dems will overshoot this advantage and begin criticizing things that shouldn’t be criticized. I don’t need MoveOn.org to air commercials showing the Statue of Liberty with an Abu Ghraib hood over her head. I don’t need Michael Moore to drive around Washington in an ice cream truck reading the Patriot Act or blasting the President for a seven minute delay when the unthinkable happened. It’s petty. It’s childish. And like much of Moore’s film work, it can be poked and prodded until there is little intellectual value left.
In the article referenced above, Hitch practically begs Moore to meet him on any stage to debate the points in his movie. Joe Scarborough has been doing the same during the daily hour when he relentlessly soils the reputation of NBC News. Let me be clear. If Joe Scarborough thinks he can take you in a debate, we’ve got a serious problem.
This is not a matter of silencing someone. Of course this film should come out and of course anyone who wants to see it, should. I mean, is there anything more absurd than Fox News accusing someone of being biased?
But I don’t want to give the fellas from Fox two hours worth of material to shift their attention to (in between incessantly rubbing their Ken Starrs to Clinton’s diary entries) when the focus should be on the job the Bush administration is doing.
I don’t want the national conversation to shift to the positives and negatives of Moore’s work because I think my team loses that argument. I want this election to be about another person. John Kerry. If that happens, and he rises to the occasion, I think my team wins.
Bottom line. I just don’t think Michael Moore helps the cause at all. That’s why those who oppose my team are, in their own nefarious ways, absolutely marketing the hell out of this movie.
SEE ALSO Why I Love Michael Moore…