Michael Moore holds up a mirror

Kevin Drum asks if Fahrenheit 9/11 serves as a pointedly political Rorschach test: you see in it primarily a reflection of yourself. Having seen the film on Sunday I am inclined to agree with the quote Kevin gives from the Volkh blog:

I was struck by the sheer cunningness of Moore’s film….notice the film’s meticulousness in saying only (or mostly) “true” or defensible things in support of a completely misleading impression….a genuinely impressive accomplishment in a perverse sort of way (the way an ingenious crime is impressive) — a case study in how to convert elements that are mainly true into an impression that is entirely false.

Drum continues by taking a dig at Andy Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, but in a very funny way.

Excuse me? This is Andrew Sullivan complaining about a movie being “poisonous to debate, to reason and to civility”? This from the same guy who referred to the left as a “fifth column” five days after 9/11 and followed that up with endlessly poisonous vituperation against anyone who questioned George Bush’s steadfastness and virtue in the war against terror?

What’s next? Noam Chomsky complaining that Moore is too one sided? Tom Friedman suggesting that he relies too heavily on anecdotes? Glenn Reynolds noting his reliance on snark and contempt instead of reasoned argument?

I do agree with Kevin’s review of the film: “a bit mediocre even as polemic”.

That it was.

Paul Krugman on Michael Moore

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman with his verdict on Fahrenheit 9/11. He pretty much supports Moore:

And for all its flaws, “Fahrenheit 9/11” performs an essential service. It would be a better movie if it didn’t promote a few unproven conspiracy theories, but those theories aren’t the reason why millions of people who aren’t die-hard Bush-haters are flocking to see it. These people see the film to learn true stories they should have heard elsewhere, but didn’t. Mr. Moore may not be considered respectable, but his film is a hit because the respectable media haven’t been doing their job.

He concludes:

“Fahrenheit 9/11” is a tendentious, flawed movie, but it tells essential truths about leaders who exploited a national tragedy for political gain, and the ordinary Americans who paid the price.

I am looking forward to seeing it next week.

Life is Beautiful

I just watched Life is Beautiful, after putting off seeing if for 6 whole years. To say I was impressed would be understating, to say it was a one of the best films I have ever seen, would be putting it mildly.

I have seen no better depiction of the Holocaust – and no better depiction of the strength of human nature to overcome intensely adverse circumstance.