Ruminations of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ – Part II of II

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Election 2004, Popular CultureLeave a Comment

Well, shit. Kevin Drum took my Part II point. Almost verbatim.

[T]he thing that really struck me about the film was the almost poetic parallellism between its own slanders and cheap shots and the slanders and cheap shots of pro-war supporters themselves over the past couple of years. If Moore had done this deliberately, it would have been worthy of Henry James.

Take the first half hour of the film, in which Moore exposes the close relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud. Sure, it relies mostly on innuendo and imagery, but then again, he never really makes the case anyway. He never flat out says that the Bush family is on the Saudi payroll. Rather, he simply includes "9/11," "Bush," and "Saudi Arabia" in as many sentences as possible, thus leaving the distinct impression that George Bush is a bought and paid for subsidiary of the Saudi royal family.

Which is all remarkably similar to the tactic Bush himself used to link Saddam Hussein to 9/11. He never flat out blamed Saddam, but rather made sure to include the words "9/11," "Saddam Hussein," and "al-Qaeda" in as many sentences as possible, thus leaving the distinct impression that Saddam had something to do with it.

Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. That even dawned on me as I was watching the movie: "Isn’t Moore doing in this part exactly what I have accused Bush (and Bush supporters) of doing)"? The answer was "yes".

Here’s the meta-point: IT’S ALL ABOUT DOTS AND CONNECTIONS. I don’t care if the topic-du-jour is the "Iraq has WMDs" or "Iraq had Al Queda connections" or "Bush had bin Laden connections". The entire debate turns around the dots and the connnections that one chooses to make between them.

Typically, what we have are facts (the "dots"), on the one hand . . . and what those facts mean (the "connections"), on the other hand. People who think they can nail Moore on his facts are going to be sadly disappointed. And mark my words, the anti-Moore websites will soon realize that Moore’s vulnerability lies not in his facts, but the connections he makes from those facts.

Of course, such criticisms will probably ignore that this is JUST what Bush did in the run-up to the war. He took the dots he liked, ignored the dots he didn’t like, and made his case/connection. Just like Moore.

But there’s one important difference: when Moore makes questionable connections between his dots, nobody dies — all that happens is that a silly movie gets made. When the President of the United States makes questionable connections — on matter of war — thousands of people get killed. The approach is the same; the flaw is the same; but the consequences are extremely different.