As my wife and I were watching Moore on Today the other day — as he was saying that making Fahrenheit 9/11 was “not political” — she said she used to like him. I agreed. But he lost his credibility long ago. It’s hard for such a big man to jump a shark, but he did. I’ll still see Fahrenheit 9/11 and write about it here.
Meandering randomly through the book, some highlights:
: It starts with an annotated Moore resume: Brief, unhappy time at GM; brief, unhappy time at Mother Jones; brief, unhappy time at Nader campaign; Roger & Me; brief, unhappy time at NBC and Fox… There’s even a brief, unhappy note in a Regan book about ReganBooks: “Writes Stupid White Men. Accuses publisher of censorship. Accuses publisher of plotting to suppress book by not printing and shipping enough copies.”
It says he owns a $1.9 million home in New York City and a $1.2 million summer home in Michigan and makes $30k per speech.
: There’s an open letter from the authors to Moore, explaining that they were both inspired by his “fictitious” speech at the Oscars: “We’ve collected more than enough evidence to prove that you are the most fictitious character of our times.”
: They nya-nya, saying that “the prophet of the left is never right.” e.g.:
September 14, 2001: Moore opposes the Afghan war. “But I beg you, Mr. Bush… do not declar war and massacre more innocents.”
November 14, 2001: The Taliban collapses, and Kabul falls to American forces.
: It diagnoses, in detail, his psychological condition: Narcissism.
: It dissects his stand on terrorism.
: It concludes:
He injects these ideas into the debate:
Attacks on Americans are heroic and destined to succeed: “The Iraqs who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minuteman, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.”
And America’s at fault: “What I do know is that all day long I have heard everythiug about this bin Laden guy except this one fact — WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden!”
Whatever argument Moore assembles, the important thing is that the dialogue has begun, one that invites you as the reader to judge the truth of these matters for yourself.
In the end, that is what our contruy — the one that has bestowed on Michael Moore all its many riches — is most firmly about.
: The book ends with extensive notes on sources. And the authors also vow to post any corrections here.
: The NY Times Philip Shenon says Fahrenheit 9/11 was not made available for review but he saw a screening and says that the facts seemed to pass muster and that Moore hired fact-checkers to go over every word. That may well be the case, but that’s what the National Enquirer does, too. That’s not to say that either lies. But both choose to view the world through their prisms to tell the stories they want to tell. Not that I’m criticizing, for Shenon says Moore hired lawyers to go after those who attack him.
: The Washington Post’s Richard Leiby says FoxNews honcho Roger Ailes was the biggest supporter of Fahrenheit 9/11 getting distribution because he saw it as a matter of free speech:
Harvey Weinstein, the Democrat-loving Miramax honcho and executive producer of Michael Moore’s incendiary documentary, was on AMC’s “Shoot Out” last Sunday talking about who, in his view, was the biggest media supporter of the film. “The unlikeliest of allies happened — Roger Ailes at Fox,” Weinstein told co-host Peter Bart. “I mean when he sees this movie — I don’t want to be responsible for a cardiac bill — but on a First Amendment issue, it blew his mind. So the best coverage we had wasn’t ABC, CBS or NBC — even Michael Moore couldn’t believe it — there’s Fox News. A movie in [Ailes’s] mind that couldn’t be distributed or had to fight for distribution, just was un-American. He’d rather say, ‘Bring it on, we’ll deal with that, but you have a right to show it.’ ”