Sunday, June 27, 2004
Watching Meet the Press this morning, I think Gloria Ifill from PBS summed up 9/11 very well in two points.
- He is a very talented filmmaker, not a documentarian: She made the point that he is an expert at taking a piece here and a piece there that is true, and then saying about the whole "How can it NOT be true?" Which is not the same as proving it is true.
Personally, I think Moore is probably the most talented propagandist since Leni Riefenstahl. And I am not calling him a Nazi. What I am saying is he has an amazing talent for manipulating facts into saying something more than they are, usually by butressing them with falsehoods and half-truths. I base this on "Bowling for Columbine", not 9/11 since I have not seen the whole film.
If you have seen Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will," you'll understand my point. Nothing she films is false. The rally happened. But through the use of lighting, camera angles and selective viewing, she creates a version of Hitler that is completely divorced from reality. And she did it so well that the US banned "Triumph" from being shown here.
Likewise, Moore films things that happen. But he selectively chooses what is shown to create a larger version of reality that is not supportable. One of the clips I have seen in 9/11 is the montage of Iraqi flying kites and drinking coffee before the US bombing began. Now, were there Iraqis doing those actions? Of course. But Moore supplies no context of the horrific regime running Iraq, the daily abuses, government-sanctioned murder, the constant fear. He creates a version of reality that is at odds with actual reality. And does it quite well.
The reason this matters is that he tries to pass this film off as fact, a statement he made on The Daily Show ("These are facts. These are the facts.") And they aren't. This is his version of the facts. It is not a documentary. Documentaries show both sides and present facts, regardless of how it affect the filmaker(s) original POV (at least good documentaries do.) It should be obvious to all that Moore doesn't do this. And I know it's going to be submitted as such for an Oscar, which is BS. It should be submitted for a Best Film nod.
- It won't sway anyone come November: As Gloria said, liberals will leave hating Bush, conservatives will leave hating Moore, and the 7-8% of undecided moderates will leave waiting to hear the debates in October before making up their minds. That sounds about right.
And I don't think I have ever seen such a whiny bastard as Moore. He is the most hyper-sensitive man on the face of the earth. He is threatening to sue people who criticize him or his film. If anyone questions his film, he immediately turns on the interviewer without addressing the question. If you say anything critical about him, If you're going to throw stones, pal, be prepared to get a few back. Otherwise, stick to a safer medium like kids films.
Moore is obviously talented. But as a crafter of propaganda, not documentaries.