Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Democracy, Michael Moore Style

Every generation needs a Michael Moore to keep it honest. Michael Moore is an everyman innocent...naive and still shocked by greed and dishonesty. A filmmaker with an eye for hypocrisy and a taste for sophisticated editing. A passionate man with the rebellious glee of 1970s protest marchers armed with serious issues and not-so-hidden anger at authority figures.

I finally saw "Farenheit 9/11" today, and yes, at times, it's a hoot, but it's also much more.  As a closet CPA/MBA, longtime audit manager and former university lecturer in finance & accounting, I tell you with authority that the financial conflict of interest issues raised in this film are serious. They represent corruption and fraud of a chillingly high order. And no one...absolutely no one... claims that the detailed financial data and money trail cited in this film are untrue. No one is suing Michael Moore or even calling him a liar on these points. This is black and white stuff. These are facts. It's disturbing to see the US Presidency treated mainly as a greedy profit-taking opportunity.

Sure, Moore injects his opinions, and there are a couple over-the-top moments. Yes, he uses a mother's grief to ensure that you, too, feel sadness. Yes, he contrasts horrible moments and distasteful or stupid remarks by the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld triad with playful and silly music.  Yes, he uses a filmmaker's tools...because he is a filmmaker who has something to say.

I don't find "Farenheit 9/11" to be great filmmaking. I do find it to be a colorful and welcome exercise, in these hyper-monitored times, of First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.  Praise God that we are all free to speak our minds.

That is called democracy.


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