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Fahrenheit 9/11

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August 1, 2004 by Felicity Cull

Directed by Michael Moore

On the Saturday after Fahrenheit 9/11 was released in Australia, I was sitting in a packed cinema waiting for the lights to dim. I had been waiting to see the film ever since I heard plans for its creation.

Michael Moore is often accused of twisting the facts, of being a left wing propagandist. Moore does not show us an unbiased view. But in these times presenting passively from both sides seems pointless. Bush cannot be fought with gentle means, and it is a war against Bush that Moore is fighting. But Michael Moore cannot distort these images. Their implications are undeniable even to the most cynical viewer. So is Moore's intended message — vote Bush out for the good of all. In Fahrenheit 9/11 we see an America that is not the America of 'The Haves and The Have mores' as Bush quips in the documentary, but America's working classes. Moore's documentary symbolises a patriotism that has little to do with privilege and much to do with activism. He shows us an America that is patriotic, but this is patriotism of a different kind to what we now associate with the United States.

Michael Moore, in his confronting, funny and intense documentary becomes a part of an American folk tradition, the tradition of singers like Woody Guthrie. He sang ballads that painted a picture of America which featured migrants, unemployables and Dust Bowl Farmers. Woody Guthrie captured an America of a particular time. Michael Moore is maintaining this project, not through music but via his documentaries, and he has captured a time and a different America in Fahrenheit 9/11. As the American election looms near and protesters against Bush take to the streets, it seems that Moore has achieved his aim. But it remains to be seen if Bush will be President for another term. This year, the proof will be in the ballots.

Michael Moore is often accused of twisting the facts, of being a left wing propagandist. Moore does not show us an unbiased view. But in these times presenting passively from both sides seems pointless. Bush cannot be fought with gentle means, and it is a war against Bush that Moore is fighting. But Michael Moore cannot distort these images. Their implications are undeniable even to the most cynical viewer. So is Moore's intended message — vote Bush out for the good of all. In Fahrenheit 9/11 we see an America that is not the America of 'The Haves and The Have mores' as Bush quips in the documentary, but America's working classes. Moore's documentary symbolises a patriotism that has little to do with privilege and much to do with activism. He shows us an America that is patriotic, but this is patriotism of a different kind to what we now associate with the United States. Michael Moore, in his confronting, funny and intense documentary becomes a part of an American folk tradition, the tradition of singers like Woody Guthrie. He sang ballads that painted a picture of America which featured migrants, unemployables and Dust Bowl Farmers. Woody Guthrie captured an America of a particular time. Michael Moore is maintaining this project, not through music but via his documentaries, and he has captured a time and a different America in Fahrenheit 9/11. As the American election looms near and protesters against Bush take to the streets, it seems that Moore has achieved his aim. But it remains to be seen if Bush will be President for another term. This year, the proof will be in the ballots.

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