Is it too late to talk about George Bush Jr.? Or Michael Moore for that matter? After all, ten years have passed since filming of Fahrenheit 9/11, and more than that since the events depicted in it. In a way, it is too late. In the other way, it’s never too late. Stage has been set a long time ago. Only thing that changes are actors. Sometimes even they stay the same. What can then be said that hasn’t been said before by many a conspiracy nut and some intelligent people as well? Is Fahrenheit 9/11 propaganda? It surely is. Is it open about it? Well, as open as Bowling for Columbine was. Maybe more. Is it worth our time then? Well, yes and no both look like a good answer. One of the questions that are worth checking out in the context of this movie is an ever-present question of an audience. Who is the (intended) reader/viewer of Michael Moore’s “documentary”? Let’s see what we can find.
What is the core of the Fahrenheit 9/11? Media manipulates. No shit, Sherlock. People in power lie to the masses. Well, yes they do. Memories are short and a spin can be put on everything. Confirmed more times than we can count. All these truisms are then applied to the Bush administration, 9/11, War on Terror and oil business’s. In the context of time, this kind of thing was maybe new or innovative (wouldn’t know, I don’t follow that much media or documentary moviemaking), but Moore’s film couldn’t escape many problems of such narratives. Thing is – all of these truisms combined spell out a “don’t trust authority” message all across the screen in bold metaphorical letters. This message has been utilized by many critically inclined artists, columnists, filmmakers, intellectuals and all sorts of people. And yes, throughout the history we learned that there is a definitive value in those words. We shouldn’t trust anyone. And we don’t. Still, despite our mistrust, things don’t seem to change (cosmetic changes we don’t count as true changes). Because, when you think about it, not trusting someone doesn’t do shit.
An abstract example. Consider Fahrenheit 9/11 to be a definite take on all the business with Bush, September 11 and war in Iraq. Consider it to be an authoritative piece of film-journalism that is both sincere and true in all its efforts. Should we apply our message on it as well? We should. The only course left open is some fact-checking and independent thinking while consulting various sources and different (often antagonized) viewpoints. God knows there are enough of those. It sounds good on paper. Thing is, it requires both time and resources. So, let’s say I just finished with Fahrenheit and now I want to decide whether I’ll vote for Bush again. It would take me at least 5 years of full-time research to come up with an informed answer (if I want to be true to the scientific method of inquiry while maintaining any sort of intellectual honesty). During that time, things will happen. People who I’m judging on my own will make them happen. World will change and new questions, together with new problems, will arise. Historians have spent more than one lifetime not agreeing on any singular topic in history. Meanwhile, plutocrats both new and old have a field day. My truth-checking, eventually, will be worth nothing even if I become an expert on the topic. And it will be worth nothing because I failed to act when the opportunity presented itself. I failed to act because I couldn’t act hotheaded, driven by half-digested, possibly untrue information. If I did act, I would have become just another manipulator and propagandist which is no better than his opponents.
In that light we should look at Fahrenheit 9/11. When it does not illustrate long known truisms, it functions as a rallying call for revolutionaries in the making. Seen any relevant revolutions lately? Seen neo-liberalist machinery doing its thing as usual? As Ferengi say: “War is good for business. Peace is good for business”. While businessman like Bush do their business, affecting lives of thousands of people, thinkers think, affecting couple hundred five or more decades later. If anything, Fahrenheit 9/11 puts us in the spot where we are forced to look out our position and succumb to something like a depression. Depression not because we “failed to stop” Bush, but because we are once again put into a situation where the same movie can be made about Obama. And world keeps turning. Ignoring Michael Moore because there’s not a single reason why it should not.
|Directed by||Michael Moore|
|Written by||Michael Moore|