Thursday, July 22, 2004

As part of my Sydney activities, I went to see Fahrenheit 911, and was predictably entertained, moved,  but overall, unimpressed. It started out great, with a long introductory section looking at the Florida vote-rigging, which seemed both accurate and moving (which was impressive considering you're talking about hanging chats or whatever). This was  followed by some prime creepy/scary footage of Bush saying various stupid things, and various other neocons lurking around seeming sinister. So far so standard. BUT THEN, Moore went off on this tangent about the Bush family's links with the Bin Ladens, suggesting that there was some financially motivated conspiracy to protect them in the wake of September 11. He then went even further off track when he started showing all this footage of random Saudis shaking hands with White House officials, questioning why the administration was talking to them so much. As he didn't specify who these Saudis actually were, the tone was quite racist.

This set up a pattern that would be followed throughout - in pursuit of his anti-Bush agenda, Moore felt free to appeal to US prejudice, or play with the facts to suit. Like when he mentioned the coalition of the willing, he mentioned Palau and Togo, but not the UK, Spain, Australia or any other prominent partner. Yeah, it was a funny gag, with some thematic truth, but he kinda shot his credibility in the foot. There were some good sections, like when he examined the relationship between military (combat) service and poverty, and I was thoroughly entertained, but in the end its so obvious that Moore's skewing facts to suit his own agenda that the power of his argument is diminished. Maybe this is justified, in an end justifies means kinda way. The thing is you don't need to skew any facts to paint a damning picture of the Bush administration. They speak for themselves. Just show footage of them talking ("the haves, and the have-mores"). For this reason, the SBS doco screened on Tuesday night, The World According to Bush (or something) was a much more effective (and balanced) attack on Bush.

No comments: