Celluloid Lane: "Fahrenheit 9/11"


Anyone who follows Michael Moore knows that he relishes in controversy, and this film is no exception. Depending on the way you lean, "9/11" might make you feel power, anger, elation, or smugness. I felt all of these emotions, but none that even came close to overwhelming sadness. I didn't think this was a funny film, even though at times it wanted to be, and judging from the whoops and snickering around me in the packed theater, it was somewhat successful.

Politics are tricky. No matter what party with which you affiliate, someone's gonna scoff at you for making a really stupid choice. I gave up trying to argue my case (which is a really great case, btw) a long time ago, because I hate it when others do it to me. That's not to say political activists should shut up and take it inside, because good activism can work. I guess I'm just not a good activist. I'm reminded of past religious discussions I've participated in where those who truly believe can't be bothered with logic. Political beliefs tend to drift away from real facts and become kindergarten debates really fast, with opponents hurling insults like "you're just a liberal tree-hugging hippie" and "you and your power-hungry conservatives are only concerned with the wealthy elite". The next time someone tries either of those on you, point them in the direction of the local junior college and wish them well.

Oh, and I don't think all religious paths are devoid of logic. Just a few.

I took a good look at the demographic around me in the theater at "9/11" before the movie started, and I couldn't get a pulse. I'm not sure what I expected- a few more "No Blood for Oil" pins and maybe a stronger scent of revolution in the air? Nah, I think most of these folks wanted to watch the latest over-hyped film the day  it was released in select cities so that they could dangle the goods at Saturday's cocktail party. No problem, folks. God bless America.

Moore is an unapologetic liberal activist, and one of his prized cinematic weapons has always focused on making his adversaries look foolish. It's extremely successful in this film, as President Bush has never looked worse. He comes off as stupid, mean, uncompassionate, blah blah blah. But I kept glancing around every time the audience would laugh and clap, wondering why, if they all agreed that our nation's president is dumb and horrible and evil, they thought it was funny. Seems pretty unfunny to me.

I wish I didn't have to dance around who's right and wrong and if this movie was real or fake and are Democrats or Republicans more likely to go to heaven and so on, but my personal opinions would only alienate around half of you, so I'll refrain. What I will say is that the movie provoked me, just as it set out to do. I won't say I enjoyed it, but who really enjoys war and death and corruption anyway? Regardless of truth-stretching and one-sidedness and all of the other things Moore has already been and will continue to be accused of, it definitely didn't leave me cold. It left me sad.

Would love to hear your thoughts.