"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Silver Tongued Devil
pro-pa-gan-da Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Congregatio de propaganda fide Congregation for propagating the faith, organization established by Pope Gregory XV died 1623
1 : the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
2 : ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect
3 : what can ooze from a work of art when it is looked at objectively
I'll bet the late afternoon sunlight is making the seaside at Cannes an almost magical place right now.
Of course, all the topless starlets vying for attention at the film festival don't really hurt matters much. OK, forget I said that. I'll just get in trouble.
Where were we? Oh yeah. Sunshine and white Riviera sand. And a bunch of movie type...people. Behaving themselves.
Cannes has always been a staging ground not only for works of cinematic art (i.e. movies) but also for political viewpoints. These have been almost exclusively liberal in nature.
Which I can understand. People who excel in the arts, whether they are directors, actors, poets, musicians, painters, sculptors, etc., these people tend to have a very well developed compassionate side. So much so that in some cases their compassion replaces a normal middle of the road sensibility and replaces it with something that appears "noble" and "caring."
I use quotes on purpose, because on close examination the results of this, if left unchecked, are neither noble nor caring, no matter what the intent. Instead we end up with a person whose views can be so far in left field you can barely see them.
Which brings me to Michael Moore, who is incidentally at Cannes enjoying that late afternoon sun and probably sipping a cool drink or rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous and beautiful.
Is he a talented filmmaker? Absolutely. "Roger and Me" was definitely a work of art. In that movie he found a good subject, one that really deserved our compassion, and amplified our feelings to great heights. I'm certainly not questioning his talent, he's got talent by the bucketful.
Problem is, Michael Moore discovered that he could easily use his films to manipulate the public. That's a very dangerous thing indeed. Instead of telling a story, he has crossed into creating a story, but at the same time making it look like he is just telling it.
In other words, he can deliver his own personal views as propaganda dressed up like truth.
He really started hitting his stride with the movie "Bowling for Columbine," which was a movie length statement of his personal anti-gun belief. For two hours, he outlines what he sees as the horrors of gun ownership, using outrageous, shocking and heartrending scenes.
Was his movie a true picture? No, according to the cast members themselves.
Mark Taylor, a Columbine victim who still has a bullet lodged inside of him, was sent into a Troy, MI K-Mart to buy bullets by Moore. "I am completely against him (Moore). He screwed me over," says Taylor. "He completely used us to make a buck...I had no idea what Moore's agenda was. And he had an agenda. He had it all planned out, completely."
The New York Times even referred to a portion of the film as "idiocy... hardly worth engaging." Propaganda? You bet.
By the way, Michael Moore sent out invitations to the family members of those wounded and killed in the Columbine shootings for an "advance screening" of the film before its general release.
Then, he insulted them by charging admission. Compassionate? Apparently only with his mouth, and not with his wallet.
The most recent result of Michael Moore's talent is "Fahrenheit 9/11" and I suspect you have heard of it. Problem is, you might have heard about it wrong.
Is this newest film a documentary? It is billed as such, but isn't one any more than "Bowling for Columbine" was an impartial look at gun control. No, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is Michael Moore's best effort at an attack against the Bush Administration.
Even Peter Jennings, who holds well documented liberal viewpoints, refers to some of the charges made in the film as "reckless and not supported by the facts." Moore responds on his website by calling Jennings a "deserter."
Should the Walt Disney company have funded distribution of this film? Not on your life. They should not have even funded its production, no more than they should fund an ultra conservative agenda. A public company has a right and duty to its shareholders, which can be normally assumed to be a middle of the road group.
Michael Moore is not and never will be middle of the road.
The press have painted the whole situation as the poor little man with the important movie (Moore) being picked on by the big bad major business conglomerate (Disney). In reality it is a company looking at an investment they have made ($6,000,000 so far) and saying "Oh my gosh, do we want to keep funding this?!?"
Should his film be distributed? Sure. We just have to keep in mind that it is what it is. The scenes we will see and the message we will be told are as factual as the sex scene in the controversial "Last Temptation of Christ." In other words, it's a two hour Bush bash disguised as a documentary, just like the Rush Limbaugh television show several years back was a Clinton bash.
Biased is biased. Just call it like it is.
If you have any doubts about Michael Moore's being nonbiased, make a visit to his site at Michaelmoore.com. Pay special attention to the ads on the right side bar.
It's OK to believe things, and we need all points of view, even Michael's. But it's not OK to twist and call it truth. That crosses the line.
Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts.
And you too, Michael.
Oh, and have a good time at the beach, ok?
Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)