The Martian Ambassador, from “Mars Attacks“, Copyright 1996 Warner Bros.
The contrariness of suppressing speech.
Or, where, exactly, is the censorship?
MSNBC’s “Hardball” featured the visits yesterday and today, respectively, by Mr. Peter Bart (“V.P. and Editor-in-Chief of ‘VARIETY'”) and Mr. Peter Guber (“Producer and Lecturer at UCLA”), and the prominent point that both of these two persons made was that the ‘criticism’ of Michael Moore’s “F:9/11” was the ‘problem’ with the film’s success, or, to rephrase, that because there’s been criticism of what Moore’s done with this latest missive, that it’s enduced success for Moore’s missive.
“…it was the opposition that fueled the viability of this product…”
…said Peter Guber earlier today during his guest appearance on MSNBC.
Peter Bart took a while longer, during his guest appearance yesterday on MSNBC, to make that same point as did Guber, but, offensively, Bart drew parallels between Moore’s missive and Mel Gibson’s, “The Passion of the Christ,” due to more-or-less, the “opposition…fuels the viability” strategic conclusion that Guber expressed today.
I write, “offensively,” because Bart continued on to say that “(he) (thought) that Moore and Mel Gibson should get together for a drink.” Not like Bart isn’t aware of his barb there, and his body language revealed the low ball comment to be decidedly not funny, despite Bart’s snickering to the contrary. Bart’s character on film, albeit televised, yesterday, was uncomfortable to behold, as was Guber’s today. I’ve watched the both of them and many times over, on television, on film, and have yet to see and/or hear either of them as near to breaking out in a snarl as I did today and yesterday — something about ‘the-criticism’-being-the-cause-of-Moore’s-success’ approached subliminal advertising.
For two people enamored by the necessity to create with filmed footage — which is a great thing — they both appeared to instruct by the deflective suggestion that criticism is the bad guy, and, suggest by implication that to criticise is to be the problem. As in, “objection [equals] wrong,” the appeal of suppression. The thing is, however, that that also cancels out the very criticism about the criticism about Moore: “censor the objections, don’t censor the objectionable.”
About Bart’s smarty suggestion as to a drink between Moore and Gibson, that should just slide back down. Even Bart seemed to recognize his sucker punch when he said that.
‘They fell for it’: from “Mars Attacks,” Copyright 1996 Warner Bros.
Here’s an article that includes a lot of what the film and many in the media do not:
JUST THE FACTS ON ‘FAHRENHEIT 9/11’, June 28, 2004, By Tom McNamee, Staff Reporter
And, from Littlegreenfootballs, a good-read reprint here:
“Former New York mayor Ed Koch, another Bush Democrat, has some comments on Michael Moore?s agit-prop film that are worth reading: Koch: Moore?s propaganda film cheapens debate, polarizes nation. (Hat tip: Jheka.)
(The Koch article, as follows):
“A year after 9/11, I was part of a panel discussion on BBC-TV’s “Question Time” show which aired live in the United Kingdom. A portion of my commentary at that time follows:
“One of the panelists was Michael Moore, writer and director of the award-winning documentary ‘Roger & Me.’ During the warm-up before the studio audience, Moore said something along the lines of ‘I don?t know why we are making so much of an act of terror. It is three times more likely that you will be struck by lightening than die from an act of terror.’ I was aghast and responded, ‘I think what you have said is outrageous, particularly when we are today commemorating the deaths of 3,000 people resulting from an act of terror.’ I mention this exchange because it was not televised, occurring as it did before the show went live. It shows where he was coming from long before he produced ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’
“Many in the audience assembled by the BBC included Americans and people from other nations. Their positive responses to Moore on this and other comments he made during the program convinced me that the producers had found a lair of dingbats when looking to fill the studio with an audience. Moore later called President Bush a ‘dummy,’ denigrating him for having threatened Iraq with consequences including war if it did not comply with the United Nations resolutions to which it agreed when it was defeated in the 1991 Gulf War. Again, I couldn?t contain myself and said, ‘That?s what you radicals on the left always do. You don?t debate issues, you denigrate your opponents. You did it with President Reagan, saying he was dumb. After he left office, 600 speeches, many hand-written by him, demonstrated his high intelligence.’
“In World Wars I and II, the U.S., suffering great casualties to its military personnel, saved the world, particularly in WWII, from occupation by the German Nazi Reich and Japanese empire. We currently are fighting the battle against a minority of fundamentalist Islamists whose objective is to destroy Western civilization. They are willing to use every act of terrorism from suicide bombers to hacking off heads to destroy and terrorize us into surrender. And Michael Moore weakens us before that enemy. How should we respond? With scorn, catcalls, the Bronx cheer and the truth. Of course, we should recognize the outrages and criminal acts committed by Americans in military service and civilians at the Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib. We should continue as we have done and take action to punish those involved. But we ought not in the media show again and again the pictures of the atrocities to simply flagellate ourselves and give aid and comfort to our enemies. A good rule of thumb might be to show the pictures of Abu Ghraib as many times as we show the beheadings of Danny Pearl, Nicholas Berg and Paul Johnson.”
From the comments section (above), a good read:
The importance of being Michael Moore, By Mark Steyn (Filed: 29/06/2004)
“Excited about Fahrenheit 9/11? It’s the Palme d’Or-winning and soon-to-be Oscar-winning documentary from average blue-collar multi-millionaire Michael Moore, and it opens in Britain next week. I saw it over the weekend on my side of the Atlantic, with an audience comprised wholly of informed, intelligent sophisticates.
“I knew they were informed, intelligent sophisticates because they howled with laughter at every joke about what a bozo Bush is. They split their sides during the patriotic ballad ? eagles soaring, etc ? composed and sung by John Ashcroft, the famously sinister US Attorney-General. Moore reveals ? and if you feel that knowing the plot would spoil the movie, please skip to the next paragraph ? that Bush is a privileged simpleton under the control of war-crazed Big Oil interests who arranged to have the 2000 election stolen for him. I hadn’t heard that before, had you?
“Once Moore gets past his recounting of the Florida recount, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I agreed with in the movie. For example, he’s very hard on the Saudis, and the unique access to the Bush family enjoyed by their oleaginous ambassador in Washington, Prince Bandar. He’s also very mocking of the absurdities of post-9/11 airport security, alighting on a poor mom forced to drink a beaker of her own breast milk in front of passengers before boarding in order to demonstrate the liquid wasn’t anything incendiary.
“As we left, the couple ahead of me said they thought Bush would have a hard job responding to these shocking revelations. I didn’t like to point out they could have heard about all this stuff years ago just by reading yours truly. I mentioned the breast-milk incident in this very space on August 10, 2002. I called for Prince Bandar to be booted back to Saudi in a Spectator column from November 2002, and I’ve been urging the dismantling of the kingdom ? Washington’s out-of-control Frankensaud monster ? for almost three years now, since within a month of 9/11.
“So in theory I ought to welcome Michael Moore as a comrade in arms. But the trouble with Fahrenheit 9/11 is that you don’t come away thinking about the Saudis or America’s useless bureaucracy, you come away laughing at Bush.
“And, if feeling snobbishly superior to the President isn’t your bag, what’s left is an incoherent bore. Moore follows his GUT, by which I mean his Grand Universal Theory: Bush is to blame for everything. Because of Bush, the Saudis secretly run US policy. Because of Bush, the Taliban were in bed with Texas energy executives. Because of Bush, the Taliban got toppled.
“Whoa, hold up a minute, I thought he was all pals with the Taliban. The Saudis certainly were, which is why they opposed the liberation of Afghanistan. But by now Moore’s moved on to pointing out that Bush’s Afghan stooge Hamid Karzai used to work for the Texas energy company panting for that big Afghan gas pipeline.
“But hang on, I thought the Texan energy guys already had the Taliban in their pockets and were funded by the Saudis. “Connecting the dots” is all very well, but not when you’ve got more dots in your picture than Seurat.
“Bush has always been the issue for Moore. On September 11 itself, his only gripe was that the terrorists had targeted New York and DC instead of Texas or, indeed, my beloved New Hampshire: ‘They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC and the plane’s destination of California ? these were places that voted AGAINST Bush!’
“The fellows at the controls of those planes were training for 9/11 when Clinton was president and Gore was ahead in the polls, and they’d have still been in the cockpit had Ralph Nader been elected. Though Mohammed Atta took flying lessons in Florida, he apparently wasn’t as exercised about its notorious hanging chads as Michael Moore. Mr Moore is guilty of what I believe psychologists call ‘projection’.
“The ‘Why didn’t you terrorists kill the Bush voters?’ line is not reprised in the movie, but the strange preoccupations it betrays drive the entire picture. Here’s the way it works: if Bush is wearing the blue boxer shorts, they’re a suspicious personal gift from Crown Prince Abdullah. If Bush is wearing the red boxer shorts, it’s a conspiracy to distract public attention from the blue ones he was given by Crown Prince Abdullah. If he’s wearing no boxer shorts, it’s because he’s so dumb he can’t find his underwear in the morning.
“So, shortly after 9/11, Moore wrote that footage of one of the World Trade Centre planes showed that it was being trailed by an F-16 ? ie, the government could have shot it down but chose not to, so it could hit all those Al Gore voters. Imagine if, on September 11, the USAF had blown four passenger jets to kingdom come. Moore’s film would be filled with poignant home movies of final Christmases and birthday parties and exploitative footage of anguished parents going to Washington to demand the truth about what happened that day and an end to the lame Bush spin about “threats” to public buildings.
“Midway through the picture, a ‘peace’ activist provides a perfect distillation of its argument. He recalls a conversation with an acquaintance, who observed, ‘bin Laden’s a real asshole for killing all those people’. ‘Yeah,’ says the ‘pacifist’, ‘but he’ll never be as big an asshole as Bush.’ That’s who Michael Moore makes films for: those sophisticates who know that, no matter how many people bin Laden kills, in the assholian stakes he’ll always come a distant second to Bush.
“I can understand the point of being Michael Moore: there’s a lot of money in it. What’s harder to figure out is the point of being a devoted follower of Michael Moore. Apparently, the sophisticated, cynical intellectual class is so naﶥ it’ll fall for any old hooey peddled by a preening opportunist burlesque act. If the Saudis were smart, they’d have bought him up years ago, established his anti-Saudi credentials, and then used him to promote the defeat of their nemesis Bush.
“Hmm. Maybe they don’t need to. Stick him in a headdress and he looks like King Fahd’s brother. All I’m saying is connect the dots.”
“June 28, 2004, Posted at 3:00 PM, Pacific”
“Michael Medved advised me this morning that I could not possibly grasp how lousy a film is Fahrenheit 9/11 unless I had seen it. So I went today, and Michael was right. The movie gives propagandists a bad name. At least it could have been well-made anti-American tripe. Instead it is a crudely made and insufferably dull march through the fever swamps of the unhinged left. It is pulling in big bucks, which is a testament to the disposable income of the swamp residents, but put me down as one in favor of even broader distribution and bigger box offices for the picture. It is an anchor around John Kerry’s neck as ordinary Americans not filled with self-loathing will despise Moore for his transparent lies and not trust a political party that does not reject them. I am more certain than I was last week that attending the premier and the standing ovation that followed it was a mistake for Tom Daschle. The folks in South Dakota should hear repeatedly of Daschle’s sympathy for Moore’s project and point-of-view. The John Kerry-Michael Moore Democrats do in fact represent a low point for that party, and unless and until the Kerrys and Daschles denounce the fraud for what he is, they are stuck with him Some on the left are proclaiming Moore to be their Limbaugh. He’s not. Moore is the Democrats’ David Duke, but they are putting their arm around him.
“I will not reprise the now well-known deceptions abundant in the movie. The best romp through that territory is Christopher Hitchens’.
“But I will note the one undeniable benefit of the movie’s success. It provides a handy reference to the intelligence of the person who sees it. If you encounter anyone speaking in tones even remotely approaching respect for the movie, you have proof positive that the speaker is a fool, not to be trusted on any point, for he or she has given testimony as to their ignorance of basic facts and of an inability to detect even elephant-sized inconsistencies in argument and story line.
“Michael Moore is the latest in a long line of entrepreneurs who have proven P.T. Barnum to have been on the money when it came to the number of suckers abroad in our land. Sure he’s a Jabba-sized oaf, but give him his due. He knew how to play the left’s paranoia like a fiddle, and he did.
“UPDATE: Moore defenders demand examples of Moore’s deceptions. Easiest part of the Michael Moore paranoid fantasy to explode: That President Bush arranged for the bin Laden family to flee the U.S. after 9/11. See this story from The Hill.
“Richard Clarke — hero to Moore’s movie in other parts — let the bin Ladens go. It never got to Bush. Moore didn’t have time to put that in the movie.