[Marxism] Behind 'Fahrenheit 9/11'

Chris Brady cdbrady at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jul 5 15:12:42 MDT 2004

I've heard some derogatory remarks about Michael Moore
from our dear comrades on the redder-than-thou left,
our worried fellows in the center, and those sports on
the rabid right.  I admire how creative they can be in
their conjuring up of imlpications nowhere explicitely
stated in Moore's F-9/11.  No one can say what's going
on in another's mind, but tactically I believe Moore
has taken a strong, moral, anti-capitalist position
and is dedicated to maintaining, and advancing that
position.  Examined from a Gramscian perspective, that
is, to regard class struggle as a war of position, we
might soon conclude that Moore has made a significant
breakthrough, and that he is perhaps, because of the
relative masses stimulated by his work, a vanguard of
substance, versus, say, a fine point of ideological
purity.  Or, not to put too fine a point on it: a
purposeful materialist over an fanatical abstraction.

As for advancing theory and consciousness, it would
behoove some of our precious critics to learn
something about learning.  Knowledge is always built
on what we already know.  There is no royal express
lane.  To leap from our seats and yell for revolution
in a crowded theater would only get us trampled or
stomped, or shunned, and force the perps to
rationalize why they reacted, thus pushing them
further into a far right corner.  Far better it would
be to enthusiastically pick up the line and pull it
along: yes, what is democracy?  what is freedom?  for
whom?  what is capitalism?  is it necessary?  is it
ethical?  what makes the most sense?  how can we do
it?  etc.

I saw 'Fahrenheit' the day after it opened.  It was
sold out Friday when it opened at Santa Rosa's Rialto
Cinema.  And they had added another screen to double
up!  It sold out the next day as well, but I came
in the afternoon: there were still tickets left--for
the last show.  At the end when the credits began
rolling, the audience applauded.

It really is a powerful tour de force.  Michael Moore
is a modern-day muckraker, like Ida Tarbell or Lincoln
Steffens, but updated onto the screen.  If you want to
get a real incite [!] into Moore's motivation for
'Fahrenheit' you should see the historical documentary
"The Corporation".  It is more scholarly, has more
talking heads, e.g., Chomsky, Zinn, Elaine Bernard,
etc., including some quite suprisingly candid bigshot
corporate represenatives.  The film is a detailed
history of corporate criminality that seems to only
increase with time.  The historian in me appreciated
the work that went into the film, and the
presentation, but the artist noted that it lacked the
production pizzazz and dark humour of a Michael Moore
vehicle.  I took my teen son who complained this flick
was a little too long.  I had noticed he started
glancing at his watch more and more frequently about
three-quarters of the way through, and shaking his
head slightly.  Nevertheless, he began to pay
attention again when Michael Moore came on near the
end.  Moore talked about his work, "Roger and Me"
and "Bowling", and why he did it, all in the context
of the subject of "The Corporation".  He remarked that
someone [!] had once claimed that the capitalists
would sell the rope that would hang them --he looked
into the camera, seriously, without a smile or smirk,
and declared:
"... I want to be the rope."

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