August 16, 2004 | Graham

Readers review Moore – Part I.

I mightn’t like Michael Moore’s films, but millions do, and many of them read On Line Opinion. In response to our invitation to send in reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11 we had 8 responses. Two longer ones and 6 shorter. So I’m going to publish them in three posts. A summary of the shorter ones tonight, and one post each for the two longer ones.
The shortest, most succinct and agnostic response came from Janet Munro of Charles Sturt University.

This film is clearly pushing an agenda which is very noticeable because it’s at odds with the news reported by the Australian press. Is the information incorrect – no. Is information presented out of context – probably less than the children overboard.

Peter Daley was also agnostic.

Hi there, I thought the movie had a point and expressed a view-point but, at the end of the day, it’s a movie and not a work of art . It has about 35% backing from the mainstream, and the best thing you can say was it made you think about the bigger picture….?.

Steve Goldsmith is not so forgiving of Moore and rather gives points to Margo Kingston’s Not Happy John.

This is more a response than a review. I finally got to see Fahrenheit 9-11 over the weekend, and although I found much of the film’s content confronting, infuriating, and demoralising, its message isn’t articulated as clearly as that of ‘Bowling for Columbine’. Critics’ complaints that Fahrenheit 9-11 is propaganda rather than documentary is more understandable having seen the film myself, but I was never under any illusion that Michael Moore would present anything other than his own perspective. That’s OK; in a democracy we’re supposed to be open to dialogue, to allow airtime for opposing views. What was disappointing for me was that Moore’s elective use of information, while targeted to a US audience, detracted from the
potency of his message.
The clearest example of this selectivity was in Moore’s rollcall of the ‘Coalition of the Willing’. Omitting to mention Australia (or the UK) as collaborators in the Iraq invasion may have passed unnoticed in the US, but here it contributes to the sense of helplessness I feel in the face of a government that cynically distorts facts to suit its own purposes. It is clear from the opening scenes of Fahrenheit 9-11 that Bush should never have been elected President. However, it is equally clear that despite his Government’s record of disregard for ordinary citizens, the Republican “spin” machine still has a very good chance of returning him to the White House for another 4 years. The parallels to our own situation are stark.
A much more useful analysis than Fahrenheit 9-11of the Iraq debacle for the Australian context are the chapters dealing with the topic in Margo Kingston’s ‘Not Happy, John!’. John Howard’s political opportunism, and contempt for ordinary Australians were never more apparent than during the visit on 23 October last year by President Bush to our Parliament.
Government courting business and media elites is nothing new, but blindly following a President’s decision to unilaterally go to war, and then forcibly holding our Parliament captive to an occupying foreign power betrays a profound lack of confidence in our own democratic process. I have been wearing a black armband since 18 March, the one-year anniversary of the day the Iraq war was declared, and will continue to do so until 23 October, in mourning for the day our democracy went under. Its not much, but I hope worth it for the dialogue it can start..

Keith Hughes from Brisbane had a very personal take on the movie, or rather on the world the movie examines.

On the 11th of September 2001 I with my partner a Phillipino Australian was travelling on a silkair plane from Mactan in Cebu to Singapore we were diverted to Davo City in Mindaneo and finally arrived in Changi about 7pm Singapore time where the TV cameras were showing what happened in New York. My comment at that time” the Americans have bought this on themselves all my Asian fellow travellers agreed.” I still believe that to be true.
We arrived in Brisbane at about 6am where my partner was rudely treated and threatened with Jail by australian customs. Only when i intervened and pointed out she had been an Australian citizen for over 20 years did they back off.
The old story give someone a gun and dress them in a uniform and Humanity disappears.
So much for American behaviour around the world.

Mary Alvarenga holds out echoes of John the Baptist when discussing Moore.

It’s my opinion that finally, a voice was heard and the truth spoken, concerning the Bush administration. Personally, I never address Bush/Cheney as President or Vice President – they do not deserve these titles and do not represent what most Americans stand for.
It seems that the road to free speech is littered with roadblocks. After all the commotion over this movie and who would back it and who would show it, I finally got to see it! It’s good that people were enlightened, but Michael Moore went pretty easy on those who were involved and pulled his punches, so to speak. I had to laugh at all the negative rantings as it was obvious that they were coming from people who hadn’t even seen this film.
Wait until they read (if they CAN read) “Dude! Where’s My Country?” There’s more in-depth information on more issues as well as those in the movie. Go on….buy the book…I dare you!.

Last word goes to US voter Doris Dutton:

After seeing the movie I really realized what Bush was all about. I knew he & his brother stole the election. I knew he did not give a damn about anything but he & his friends making money. What I did not realize that he was a puppet. I realize that he does not know beans about what is going on. Bless his heart he is so stupid. This is one time that the country is completely run by a Vice President that is worse than Hitler. GOD help us all if he gets elected. GOD Himself would have to personally come & tell me to vote for this nut before I would. At least bin Laden acts on his warped beliefs unlike the Cheney gang. I just wish I could move. If he gets elected China is looking good.

Posted by Graham at 10:16 pm | Comments Off on Readers review Moore – Part I. |

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