Sunday, July 04, 2004

My Response to "Connect the dots when you watch 'Fahrenheit'"

MARK STEYN has resorted to the same arguments as every other critic of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11. Since they can't find any factual falseness, they presume to know what Michael Moore would have done had things been different, or they make contradictory positions where there are none.

MARK STEYN points out some presumed inconsistency between saying there were financial reasons for installing Karzai in Afghanistan, and saying we sent in too few troops too late. Many of us who were against the Iraq war may not agree with Michael Moore on every point, in fact many of us argue from the right that we blew it in Afghanistan by not putting enough troops in soon enough. The fact that Michael Moore mentions that point, and that Bush, the Taliban, Karzai, and Unocal all had profit motives for doing Afghanistan, are not contradictory. In fact, it would be reasonable to assume that doing a half-assed job in Afghanistan actually helped the war profiteers by leaving the country in chaos, leaving mercenaries (sorry, private security forces) to make a fortune cleaning up the mess. For MARK STEYN to presume Michael Moore was against the Afghanistan war proves that he's digging for something, anything to criticize, where there is nothing. Perhaps Moore, like most Americans, really wishes we had caught Bin Laden, and, like most Americans, would like to know why we went in three months late with so few troops. To presume that because Moore points out the profit motives in Afghanistan means he was against going to war there proves how whacked out the right wing has become in this country.

MARK STEYN then leaves the movie and criticizes something Moore wrote after 9/11 (what's the matter, not enough to criticize in the movie?), when Moore merely mentioned that there were rumors that F-16's were seen trailing hijacked planes. This is a typical right-wing argument against Moore that is hilarious. Since their petty critiques of the movie are so thin, they go after Moore (often for his weight or his money, as if being a rich liberal was a contradiction), and then they presume what Moore's movie would be about had something different happened. This is a ridiculous argument. Anyone who's ever paid any attention to Michael Moore knows he's going to go after the red meat.

Assuming that the planes had been shot down, it would be rather easy
for Bush to prove (unlike WMD or Hussein/Al Qaida ties) that they were going to crash into buildings. Even Michael Moore would agree that it would be right to save the greater number of lives, and to suggest that he wouldn't is disgusting and sad. While I'm loathe to assume what Moore might have done, it would be more reasonable to suggest that he would have focused more on the unjustified, poorly planned, ill-timed, and exceedingly expensive war in Iraq.

Almost as disgusting is for MARK STEYN to ridicule those of us who
actually find it funny to make fun of the president. We're scared and worried and we need a good laugh. But MARK STEYN thinks it's wrong for us to laugh at W. MARK STEYN goes beyond making fun of us, he calls us snobs. Wow. I looked around my theater in an x-urb of Los Angeles that is very Republican and working class, and I saw a bunch of red necks laughing from the gut. I saw working class people hiss with disgust when Bush, in his tuxedo, calls the haves and the have-mores his base.

Do we need to look any further than the Bush family to find the true

Contrary to MARK STEYN's morally superior certainty, Moore does not
blame everything on Bush. There are plenty of times where he points
out that the Democrats did nothing to stop him, or even to question
him. Advisors from spit-haired Wolfowitz to no-good-targets-in-Afghanistan Rumsfeld are criticized. However, if there is a Grand Universal Theory at work, it is that the Buck stops with Bush. He's in charge. Therefore, he can take credit for the successes and take blame for the failures.

Finally, I really have a problem with this:

"But the trouble with "Fahrenheit 9/11" is that you don't come away
mad at the Saudis or America's useless bureaucracy, you come away mad at Bush -- or, if not mad, feeling snobbishly superior to him. And, if feeling snobbishly superior to the president isn't your bag, what's left is an incoherent bore."

Many Americans have come away from F-9/11 mad at the Saudis AND Bush,and especially mad at the Bush family relationship with the Saudis. Why does it have to be one or another? Because this is how right wingers argue. They lie about false choices between jobs and the environment, supporting the president or the terrorists, loving
America or hating it... You're either with us or against us...

I do not feel superior to Bush. My kids have almost no chance of going to Yale and I'll probably never be worth millions. But again, why can't we feel mad AND snobbishly superior? Or, if feeling snobbishly superior isn't my bag, why can't I just be scared of him? Or disgusted by him? Or pity for his simple-mindedness? Or thankful to him for organizing the left wing in this country that no one else ever could have?

As for the useless bureaucracy, well, it seems that many of the useless bureaucrats were trying to tell us there was a threat while Bush was on vacation and Ashcroft was telling his FBI he didn't want to hear anymore about Al Qaeda. I haven't heard any Bush lovers like MARK STEYN calling Michael Moore a liar over these facts.

If you can't attack his movie on the points (like how can the soldiers ever trust us again), you risk looking as stupid and yes, as snobbish, as MARK STEYN.

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