Saturday, June 26, 2004

MY THOUGHTS ON FARENHEIT 9/11

I had tickets for a 10:20 showing last night with a couple of close friends and a handful of socialists. For some reason we all got tickets to the theatre at Barton Creek Square Mall. The place was packed - inside and out. Crowds of people were still waiting on the 9:40 showing that was going on 4 screens, and the 10:20 folks were mixed in waiting for their 4 screens to open. It was chaotic, and one of a few theatres in town showing the film. No one seemed to have control of the situation. There were probably only 6 or 7 employees working, and most were under 22 and didn't care if people had tickets or not. The type of chaos - absent some sort of police force nearby - is something I haven't experienced since eating in the cafeteria at my high school during the 90's (and at my high school the police were never too far away).

The film itself was really good. It didn't live up to my expectations, but my expectations were really high.

Problems

Moore really seems to walk a narrow path between liberal politics and leftist politics. He's the type of guy that wants to throw molotov cocktails at the U.S. Capitol, but prefers to do it while waving an American flag. He notes in one scene that Oregon can't afford to have enough state troopers on the road, presumably because that money is going to Bush's frivolous war in
Iraq and other adventures. If they had the money, perhaps they could protect the coastline against the real terrorist threats. Of course, I don't think we have much to worry about on the coast of Oregon from terrorists and could care less if there wasn't a single trooper on duty there.

There was some critique of the Democrats, but ultimately there was a strong message favoring that party. This was bothersome considering Kerry doesn't seem to have the same concerns about the Iraq war Moore does. Indeed Kerry wants to increase troops. I wish he had focused more on how the Democrats often played the same game Bush did - trying to act tough on terrorism while thinking only about their own interests.

He seemed to pin a lot on the Saudis, which I think is more accurate than the fantasies the Bush administration consistently and methodically announced as truth. But some of his lashing out at the Saudis seemed racist. It was almost as if he was playing on anti-Arab sentiment when he showed scene after scene of Bush Jr., Bush Sr., Powell and others meeting with anonymous Saudi after anonymous Saudi wearing traditional Saudi garb. Was Moore trying to raise doubts about Bush's purity and nationalism in the minds of anti-Arab American bigots when he made this point?

Moore often does a great job of using music in his movies. It sets a mood - often humor but sometimes sadness. But I think he overdid it in this film. The number of tunes used and the number of video montages used made the movie a little less cohesive than some of his earlier films.

All in All Not A Problem

Overall, I think it is incredible that this film is in theatres and getting such a great reception. What I am most impressed with (and I wish I saw more of this) was how Moore showed images that are indisputed as the truth - dead civilians, dead soldiers, Bush playing golf - and contrasted those scenes with the blather of the U.S. mainstream media. For all the discussion in the media about this film being propoganda, the most powerful counter-argument is the film itself and the scenes that show the obvious propoganda of the news media in this country. The media waves flags and ridicules anyone who questions the administration while thousands of innocent people die, but Moore puts facts together brilliantly arguing that we should NOT be sending our children oversees to kill other children and he's the crazy guy with an agenda?!?!

Michael, you should work on improving your message, but thanks so much for this film.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

PREDICTION DEADLINE EXTENDED

I've decided to extend the deadline for my predictions through the end of the month.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

PREDICTIONS: THE FOLLOWING FOLKS WILL BE OUT OF POWER BY THE END OF THE WEEK

General Sanchez: Abu Graib was not just condoned by him, but ordered by him. Some papers are already starting to report this, and the buzz is a U.S. television network is about to break a story connecting the abuse to some higher officials - maybe higher than Sanchez ...

Donald Rumsfeld: He will go for the same reasons Sanchez will. He may be directly implicated, but more likely he will leave so Bush can save face.

Tony Blair: See my post below.

UN Envoy Brahimi: Ha'aretz has been reporting he quit since last night, but I have doubts about this because no other news agency has picked up on it.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

REPORT: MORRISSEY TOLD DUBLIN CROWD HE WISHED BUSH WAS DEAD (see my comments below)
June 12, 2004

LONDON -- Morrissey, outspoken lead singer of '80s rock band the Smiths, has sparked an Internet storm with reported comments about President Bush.

The Manchester Evening News said it received a record number of hits after reporting on its Web site that Morrissey, 45, had interrupted a Dublin concert last weekend with news of former President Reagan's death, adding that he wished Bush had died instead.

Morrissey's record company, Sanctuary Records, could not confirm the specific remarks.

''We do not have a recording of the gig, but as far as we can tell, Morrissey was just alerting the audience to the fact that Ronald Reagan had died,'' the newspaper quoted the company as saying. ''He then simply followed that up with his comment about George Bush, which was his own opinion. He is no stranger to controversy.''

A newspaper spokeswoman said thousands of people, 90 percent from the United States, had contacted the site to complain. A few expressed support for the remarks.

Formed in Manchester in the early 1980s, the Smiths had a series of British hits and a large cult following around the world, with songs including ''Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now'' and ''Shoplifters of the World Unite.''

A longtime proponent of celibacy and vegetarianism who once wrote a song titled ''Bigmouth Strikes Again,'' Morrissey drew criticism in the early 1990s when he appeared to flirt with right-wing British nationalism.

He now lives in Los Angeles and is touring Europe for the first time in a decade to promote his latest solo album, ''You Are the Quarry.''

AP


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Lito's comments: The shit about his flirtation with nationalism is bullshit. He wrote a song called the National Front Disco, but it was a mockery of the National Front not a song of support. Some dumb people took it the wrong way, but the Nazis knew better, showing up at a concert and pelting him with rocks and bottles. Anyway, after this story I'm once again in love with the Moz.
WILL BLAIR FALL?

Tony Blair's Labour (sic) Party failed miserably in elections this week, and now there are growing calls for him to quit. Supposedly if he didn't step down on his own, he would probably remain prime minister despite these losses, but UK politics confuses me, so I don't really understand how their parliamentary system works. There were also, apparently, big gains by Dutch anti-war opposition parties in their elections this week.

If Blair goes, the U.S. loses its strongest ally. I liken this to corporate executives losing the support of middle management. It's only a matter of time before the stocks fall and the company goes bankrupt. The only fear I have is that there isn't much action going on right now by the anti-war forces on the streets of the West. A corporation could pull out of a crisis if the workers remain obedient.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

RONALD REAGAN IS DEAD



In general, an expiring human life is sad. But people die everyday. Poor people. People in Iraq. Children in Palestine. Victims of Texas' executioners. People whose lives deserve attention and whose struggles deserve respect.

As for Reagan, I say good riddance. The man is directly responsible for a great deal of suffering and death in the world; I just can't be sympathetic about his own. Because of his policies and support for right-wing butchers, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed in Central America. His support for the mujahadeen in Afghanistan laid the groundwork for the rise of Al Qaeda today. Osama bin Laden was trained in camps in Afghanistan during this time - and this wasn't just an unfortunate coincidence. The U.S. under Reagan's leadership consciously supported this Islamic fundamentalist movement and all of its terrorist activities because they were aimed at America's enemy, the Soviet Union.

Then there was a lot of domestic stuff that he did, most of which escapes me now. The one thing I can never forget is how he fired all those air traffic controllers because they went on strike for better pay and safer working hours.

Reagan died yesterday, and I have no doubt that a number of his supporters believe he is now in heaven. If he really is, why in the world would I want to go there. (Except maybe to kick his ass.)