Let’s get the idea of objectivity out of the way immediately. Michael Moore is not here to be fair and balanced. He presents a bombshell of connections and conundums that enrage, engage and sadden.
I look forward to the fact-checking effort as the movie gets more widely seen – but there are still undisputable connections between Bush and big oil that can never ever be denied. The movie could have been four hours and it couldn’t have covered it all. You can’t deny Moore’s talent in rhythm – every joke and nuance hits dead on. I guess I can understand still voting Republican – but I cannot understand how someone can still vote for Bush this fall – he seems to be causing the very disintegration of the Republican party’s credibility (if it ever had any). From a spaghetti western roll-call of the current administration to a Christmas Eve raid on an Iraqi household to a dead child tossed into a truck of bodies being driven away, Moore arranges the throughline for maximum impact.
As I’ve said before, Michael Moore’s biggest gift is as a business case for liberal media – he’s proven to producers and publishers that there is an audience for these themes and these viewpoints. Other documentary makers have been able to use this new channel for their own distribution. The other part of this movie is that it is a sampler of the work and research tons of other journalists have uncovered in the past four years – and will lead many to read more at their local bookstore. Also useful is to keep brining up the same names: Harken, Halliburton and other companies – names that should send up a red flag when heard at anytime.
Ron and I went to the opening morning showing of the movie at 11:30 – I’d bought the tickets three days prior so we wouldn’t have to wait in line. When we got out of the theatre the line was snaked five floors down the spiral ramp inside the Century shopping center. I told a few people on the way down ‘Don’t worry! It’s worth it!’ The theatre was packed and this was like going to see a Star Wars movie on the first night or when they had the special editions of The Lord of the Rings movies – the true die-hards show up. Sort of like seeing opening night of the X-Files movie. Yeah, you’re preaching to the choir – but it’s nice to hear a different viewpoint for a change.
Deeply sad is one grieving mother as she journeys to the White House and doubles over in grief at the administration she holds responsible for her son’s death. Her pain and rage at the protestors before her son’s death and her pain and rage at the men that sent her son to a war afterwards are raw and moving.
Deeply shocking is seeing Bush sit there for 10 minutes in the classroom after he’s told America is under attack and he just sits there like a dumbass. I think that should just be the campaign ad for the rest of the summer and fall. Just Bush sitting there thinking Goddammit, Jeb was supposed to be president, not me! I still cannot believe the Secret Service did not usher him out – that is just wild. I know he didn’t want to upset the children but I think may we could have upset a small classroom of children when 3,000 people were in the process of incinerating to death.
Particularly shaming is to see 11 members of the House each get up to file a complaint during the Florida election scandal – each of them a minority and each of them without a single member of the Senate to sign on to their brief to allow it to be heard. Essentially they are told to just go sit down and shut up. Bush never won Florida. Gore fucked up and didn’t count all the votes – only the counties he thought would help him win. If he’d stuck to integrity instead of the same greed the Bushies had he might be sitting in the White House today.
I guess that the Bushies don’t understand the idea of a live satellite feed – that if there’s a camera on that you assume it’s broadcasting – if not to the public then to the studios and producers. Paul Wolfowitz will forever be burned in my memory slicking back his hair with a dab of his own slimy spit. And footage of George Bush practicing his facial expressions is especially telling.
Anyway – it’s not going to shake any True Bush Believer out there but it is an important event in this year’s election. If Moore is smart he’ll pull a Blair Witch and put the movie out on DVD right before the election – that is if attendance drops off in theatres.