Went to see F9/11 with The Peeps (being Lakehouse Crew, Gaming
Crew & Compound Crew, a Venn diagram of my social life which
overlaps in many places and yet remains richly diverse, or something)
on Sunday afternoon.  Let’s just say I’m glad I ate beforehand,
because I sure as shit couldn’t have after.  Had to cover my eyes
a couple of times, had to watch it through my fingers another couple of
times just in case.

Since it’s required by law that anyone with a blog discuss the film, here’s my take:

1.  This was a very different movie from the one that I
expected.  I expected it to be sillier, and I expected more
camera-mugging from Moore.  Instead, he’s actually on-camera for
about five minutes and he does something other than strictly narrate
(ie, he offers raw conjecture, he cracks jokes, etc.) for about another
five minutes.  The rest of the time, it’s largely his interview
subjects speaking or it’s footage from Iraq or it’s narration of the
history of GWB and the Saudis.  The very personal nature of the
movie – whether in attacking Bush or in telling the story of the mother
of a US soldier – is very powerful.  It’s much more powerful than
some entirely dry political diatribe.

2.  As conspiracy theory, it’s lacking.  Conspiracy theories
are usually easier to tie up in a menacing bow, and Moore doesn’t do
that.  I’m not saying it’s a bad film, I’m saying it’s a bad conspiracy theory
That’s a pretty weak defense against those who’d label it as such, but
I’m not really in the business of defending the film, anyway.  I
guess what I’m getting at is that I expected it to be more
conspiratorial, more directly accusational.  Instead, Moore’s left
it sort of open.  If you want an excuse to accuse Bush of a
purposeful conspiracy to deflect attention from his business partners,
it’s there.  If instead you want to say that all he did was
completely ignore any potential conflict of interest between his
political career and his professional career, it’s there.

3.  By the same token, as documentary, this is lacking.  As an editorial,
however, it’s just dandy.  I’m sure there are plenty of folks who
will come after him for that one, but it’s not like Michael Moore is
going to deny he has an agenda.  I was interested to note that
WUNC has started referring to it as a “commentary film.”  Now,
it’s not like no other documentary ever has had an agenda.  Dark Days
clearly aims to demonstrate that the people living under NYC in shacks
of their own making were still human beings despite being abandoned by,
or abandoning, society at large.  I even have an argument of how Koyaanisgatsi has a very firm agenda.  On the other hand, a documentarian should, as I understand it, at least try to include all perspectives, and F9/11
is about as one-sided as it gets.  So, it’s hard for me to
consider it a documentary.  I somehow doubt that Moore would have
shown it had he run across nothing but folks who said they loved the
war, loved Bush and loved the way Jesus tells him to bomb
fur’ners.  So, it’s an editorial.  But so what
When corporate media has completely abdicated the throne of
objectivity, it’s awfully hard to say that Michael Moore should be the
first person criticized for expressing an opinion.

4.  I’m glad I saw it.  Horrified as I was, nauseous as I was
by the end, I was very, very glad I saw it.  I left feeling kicked
in the nads, but it was a good kind of kicked.

5.  I left there knowing that our national karma is so fucked.  This will come back to haunt us, over and over, and we as a country will have asked for it. (more…)