Doubtless, the balance of this compelling, award-winning film will be the subject of rancorous conjecture between those who support the Bush administration and others who, like Moore, feel that the Bush presidency has revealed itself to be dangerous and incompetent.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is bringing diligent fact-checking back into play among neo-conservative think tanks and quasi-journalists across the nation. A smart thing on their part, for sure, since the film is such a clever assemblage of candid moments, especially of the president. It would be better for all of us if such fact-checking were done, say, like when scrutinizing a test for cancer.
However, most of whats shown in Fahrenheit 9/11 is already a matter of record in well-known newspapers or has been previously published in well-researched books on the subjects of recent American domestic politics, corporate/government relations with Saudi Arabia and the tragedy and aftermath of September 11th, 2001.
Ironically, film man Moore, at one point, uses the concept of radio to make his documentary more powerful and respectful: the screen goes to black for several seconds as the theater fills with actual sounds of the jet airliners crashing into the New York City skyline.
But there are some quick moments for laughter in Fahrenheit 9/11. Theres Britney Spears giving citizen advice to the audience. Theres Congressman John Doolittle of California scurrying away from Moores cameras to avoid receiving material on how members of his family can enlist. We see just how subversive a bunch of surveilled Fresno, California peaceniks are. And, with a chuckle, we observe how motivated a couple of Marine recruiters are at tempting low-income Americans into service in Iraq.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is designed to energize the base of people in America who call themselves progressive and/or liberal. It may well also cause those who dont follow too closely the complexities of the daily grind of politics, government and public affairs to take a deep breath and decide that they NEED to keep a closer eye on whats going on and whats NOT going on the evening news or in the morning papers.
Just in time for the Fourth of July, Fahrenheit 9/11 suggests that democracy works from the ground up. Hows that for a concept, fellow citizen?
Gary Chew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2004, Gary Chew. All rights reserved.