[Marxism] Robert Jensen attack on Fahrenheit 9/11

Mike Friedman mikedf at mail.amnh.org
Mon Jul 5 15:54:26 MDT 2004

I agree with Lou: I'm not totally comfortable with Moore's film in its 
entirety, either. I think Jensen's assertion regarding the depiction of the 
Third World nations in the coalition is on target. This also covers my 
opinion of his Saudi finger-pointing. And Lou's point is true, although I'd 
add the proviso that it became pretty clear in the movie that both 
political parties were to blame, although perhaps not in equal measure, as 
only Bush and company appeared to have ties to big capital. I don't think 
these critiques from the left are pedantry, though. I remember something 
Carroll Cox posted recently about the importance of the negation. We do 
need to be clear about these things and not just shove them under a rug 
because Moore "reaches a lot of people." And I'll still recommend the movie 
to folks!


>Message: 19
>Date: Mon, 05 Jul 2004 14:04:07 -0400
>From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
>Subject: Re: [Marxism] Robert Jensen attack on Fahrenheit 9/11
>To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
>         <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
>Message-ID: <40E99817.90600 at panix.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
>Walter Lippmann wrote:
> > In my dreams, all of the current US left,
> > multiplied a hundred times, would be able
> > to speak to the broad mass of people in
> > the United States with as much clarity and
> > political acumen as Micheal Moore has done
> > in this movie.
>I am not so sure about this. The most important thing that the American
>people can understand is that the problems are a result of the
>capitalist system and not evil politicians. The reason that Michael
>Moore's movies have such entertainment value is that they revolve around
>recognizable villains, like Roger Smith, Charlton Heston and George
>Bush. In many ways, they are a throwback to the films of Frank Capra who
>pitted easy-to-like heros like James Stewart against corrupt bankers or
>politicians. As a left-populist, Moore skillfully exploits this kind of
>drama but I am afraid that a Marxist-informed documentary or fictional
>work would not necessarily lend itself to the same kind of facile
>black-and-white treament. For example, "Burn" is one of the finest
>Marxist feature films ever made, but it is far more complex than films
>in the Capraesque mold.
> > He's correct when he says he
> > hopes it makes a difference in the election.
>Yes, he was being truthful when he said he hopes it makes a difference.
>Unfortunately, for the suffering Iraqis, there is no relief in store
>from John Kerry.
> > Nothing that the rest of the left, combined,
> > has done can have the impact he has. Viva
> > Michael Moore!
>In fact, Michael Moore could not exist without the gruntwork done by
>rank-and-file activists. We have created the climate out of which his
>films emerge.
> > I admit, however, I'm waiting for a review
> > which will show us that Michael Moore's
> > movie is actually a suspicious plot which
> > is designed to dragoon the workers in the
> > US into supporting the imperialist Kerry
> > for president of the United States....
>Why talk about a plot? If there's anything that Moore has made clear, it
>is that every fiber of his being is directed toward removing Bush from
>the White House? He has been completely open about this, even to the
>extent of effusing over the war criminal Wesley Clark.

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