Read This Before You See Fahrenheit 9/11

We can expect conservative Republicans to attack Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

But how about the left’s most notorious editorial writer?

Sit down, have a bowl of popcorn and a soda, and read this brilliant response to Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” I haven’t seen the film yet, but even so, this article is quite an experience.

I’m glad Hitchens is asking people to stop and think before allowing themselves to be swept away by the Moore-wave.

And for what it’s worth, Democrat George Stephanopolous criticized Moore’s presentation of “the seven minutes” this morning on Good Morning America. “The seven minutes” are the famously filmed seven minutes during which George W. Bush sat in an elementary school classroom in front of children, reading to them from a storybook, while the World Trade Center was attacked. He sits there, looking uncomfortable, thinking, staring into space for a few moments, while the news sinks in. He keeps his composure. He treats the children with confidence and respect. And then he departs to learn the facts and take care of things. Is it discomforting to see George W. sitting there while the towers burn? Sure. But what should he do? Panic? He hasn’t seen the pictures. He’s just had two details whispered into his ear. Moore paints this as an astonishing display of un-Presidential empty-headedness. And Stephanopolous called Moore “unfair.” I wholeheartedly agree.

UPDATE:
And now, Anthony Lane of The New Yorker:

To jolt us out of complacency, he depends on an editing method of flat-out contradiction—say, a Donald Rumsfeld claim of “humanitarian” bombing followed by shots of an Iraqi family’s home destroyed by bombs. Is Rumsfeld’s insistence that we have killed as few civilians as possible refuted by this heart-wrenching juxtaposition? No, it’s neither proved nor disproved. Moore also gathers single shots together in volleys of didactic montage—for instance, Administration figures and Saudi ministers greeting one another fervently, or images of the President’s men being made up before television appearances, a sequence implying that the Bush people are all in the grip of frivolous vanity. But this is cheap and meaningless. Everyone who goes on television gets made up.

Moore teases the powerful by playing them off against cornball pop-culture archetypes—turning the Afghanistan war into a “Bonanza”-style TV Western in which Tony Blair appears in a ten-gallon hat. How much water will that joke hold? And is this joker opposed to the Afghanistan war? (In “Bowling for Columbine,” Moore presented Bill Clinton’s intervention against Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing as a case of slaphappy American militarism.) Moore never talks about Islamic fundamentalism and training camps, obsessive anti-Westernism, or suicide terrorists and the difficulty of guarding against them; he never asks how the American government should conduct itself in a war against religious totalitarians. There are, apparently, no justifiable fears, only hysterical fears manipulated by the authorities, whose every act is purposive and conspiratorial.

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