Well, I finally saw it, and to my great surprise it wasn’t the same as Columbine. It was far more depressing, disappointing, and egregious. Of course, the gruesome images of war were powerful, and the innorance (ignorance + innocence) of the troops abroad was disturbing and compelling, and all that, but: I agreed with Moore w/r/t Bush and his administration before I saw the movie. And I have a sinking suspicion that those who didn’t agree with him before seeing it still wouldn’t afterwards, and I understand why. Moore’s rhetoric is disingenuous and one-sided, and he’ll employ every trick in the book to make it look like the obvious, unvarnished truth. I mean, wow, congressmen won’t volunteer their children for war? Who fucking cares? It’s not like they could legally do it anyway, so it’s just an empty, mean-spirited, bullying tactic that makes me want to disagree with Moore just so I don’t have to implicitly ally myself with his bull-in-china-shop behavior. I will stop now, but I could go on for pages about how frustrated I was after seeing F911.
I guess my problem is summed up in this observation: while I watched the movie, there were probably 20 or 30 times when a clever juxtoposition or bald-faced lie elicited laughter from the audience, and I was just thinking “this isn’t funny, this is our country.” It’s all well and good to find humor in national tribulations, but at some point in any work alleged to be Important I’d like to see outrage resolve itself seriously.
It’s not all Moore’s fault; as you noted above, KF, in some ways the Left needs this kind of overblown, extreme mouthpiece to balance out its conservative counterpart. What I find discomfiting, I suppose, is that so many people see it as gospel, as accurate, as fair and balanced, when it isn’t.
And, on a personal, gut level, I’ve got to say that Moore really rubs me the wrong way. He shares the characteristics of those he pillories–he’s smug, condescending, and opportunistic–but I’m supposed to overlook that because I agree with him about Iraq? Not bloody likely.