June 18, 2021

Be an American - See for Yourself

July 14, 2004
“5. Of all Michael Moore’s accusations, only 97% are true.”

-- from David Letterman’s: “Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’”

Sometimes you just have to see for yourself.
At the Cherry Festival last week, I overheard someone say he‘d never see the new “Fahrenheit 9/11“ film because, “Michael Moore hates America.“
I guess if you‘re a parrot for Rush Limbaugh or FOX News, that would be your primary talking point these days. You wouldn‘t want to do anything to make Bill Reilly mad -- and he and the rest of his media crowd get their marching orders straight from the Republican Party. They sling that “anti-American“ label around like it‘s gravy in a biscuit factory.
But there‘s such a strong buzz on this film and a “double-dare-ya-to-see-it“ factor that I suspect that even the man overheard at the Cherry Festival will check it out on video this fall. Perhaps it will be like political pornography to him and he‘ll watch it in secret. But eventually, as an American, he will be compelled to see for himself what the fuss is all about. And he‘ll make up his own mind on Michael Moore.
Over the past few weeks, a cottage industry has sprung up in our country intent on either, a) stopping Americans from seeing Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” film, or, b) trying to discredit Moore with nit-picking complaints or the always-reliable “anti-American“ label.
As Moore notes on his website (www.michaelmoore.com), “A Republican PR firm has formed a fake grassroots front group called “Move America Forward” to harass and intimidate theater owners into not showing “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
Although this group managed to keep the film out of hundreds of venues around the country (it debuted in 868 theaters, compared to a planned launch of 1,500), “Fahrenheit 9/11” succeeded in breaking the box office record for any film that ever opened in less than 1,000 theaters, becoming #1 movie and the largest-grossing documentary of all time.
Efforts to smear the film as “un-American” have backfired due to the simple fact that Americans tend to turn out en masse when special interests try to screw with our right to see for ourselves. The film has played to packed houses in the Deep South, military towns, Texas, and other locales that are generally considered to be Bush Country.
Even NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took his crew to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” the night before a race televised to millions of people. Moore notes that, “FOX sportscaster Chris Myers delivered Earnhardt’s review straight out of his mouth and into the heartland of America: ‘He said hey, it’ll be a good bonding experience no matter what your political belief. It’s a good thing as an American to go see.’”
Right on. What is genuinely un-American is the notion that anyone would try to prevent our fellow citizens from seeing this film. America’s true ideal of freedom is the courage of hundreds of theater owners who had the guts to reject political pressure and show the film in order to let us decide for ourselves.
See for yourself. Decide for yourself. Like Earnhardt, I found that the film was, “a good thing as an American to go see.”
Whether you’re a rock-ribbed Republican, a liberal, or completely clueless on politics, chances are you’ll come away from this film shaken by what’s going on at the top level of our government, particularly with the sick ties between the Bush family and the Saudi Arabians. It’s a brilliant, powerful film and Moore has had the moral courage to show us the horrific side of war -- its amputations, disillusioned soldiers and children torn apart -- as well as the ugly side of war profiteering that never makes it on our corporate-controlled TV news.
Be an American. See for yourself. Unfortunately, the film is already fading from theaters, despite the fact that it is #2 on the list for the largest per-theater average ever. I saw it at the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay last Wednesday with a nearly full house, and it seemed strange that such a popular flick was scheduled to wrap up its run the next day after only a week there.
These days, however, most of us see our films on DVD or VCRs, and such will be the case when “Fahrenheit 9/11” is released this fall on the eve of the election. Millions of Americans will see the film and deliver their thumbs up, or down... on the future of George W. Bush.


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