Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 5, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

MICHAEL MOORE HOLDS UP A MIRROR....I'm beginning to think that the real value of Fahrenheit 9/11 is that it serves as a pointedly political Rorschach test: you see in it primarily a reflection of yourself.

For example, here is Randy Barnett at the Volokh Conspiracy:

I was struck by the sheer cunningness of Moore's film....notice the film's meticulousness in saying only (or mostly) "true" or defensible things in support of a completely misleading impression....a genuinely impressive accomplishment in a perverse sort of way (the way an ingenious crime is impressive) a case study in how to convert elements that are mainly true into an impression that is entirely false.

There isn't a trace of irony in this description, no acknowledgment that George Bush and modern conservatives use precisely this same technique as practically their entire stock in trade.

Then there's Andrew Sullivan, who makes the same point in Time magazine but then adds this comparison to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ:

The truth is that both movies are different but equally potent forms of cultural toxin poisonous to debate, to reason and to civility. And the antidote is in shorter and shorter supply.

Excuse me? This is Andrew Sullivan complaining about a movie being "poisonous to debate, to reason and to civility"? This from the same guy who referred to the left as a "fifth column" five days after 9/11 and followed that up with endlessly poisonous vituperation against anyone who questioned George Bush's steadfastness and virtue in the war against terror?

What's next? Noam Chomsky complaining that Moore is too one sided? Tom Friedman suggesting that he relies too heavily on anecdotes? Glenn Reynolds noting his reliance on snark and contempt instead of reasoned argument?

And what about me complaining that it was "a bit mediocre even as polemic"? I'll leave it to my readers to decide what that says about me.

Kevin Drum 1:24 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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