Moore comedy, less truth - Zach Porter

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is a really hilarious film. Watching some of its opening scenes, like the one where Bush asks "anybody want some grits?" I can't help but double over in a fit of laughter. And who could forget song and dance man John Ashcroft gracing our ears with, "Let the Eagle Soar." What a great comedy! But wait a minute, it's not supposed to be a comedy, it's a "documentary."

If Fahrenheit 9/11 is such a great documentary then why does it spend so much time with conjecture? After a great title sequence, Moore's film attempts to examine just what Bush was thinking in that Florida elementary school when he was told the U.S. was being attacked on September the 11th. Let's take a look at the unconventional methods that Moore uses to extract meaning: First he slows down the footage of the president to an excruciating level. Darn, that yields no useful information except that anyone would look weird on footage that has been replayed at a snail's pace. Second, in an effort to avoid any measure of truth, he decides not to ask anyone facts about procedure or protocol in that situation.

That would take too much effort and would just make too much sense. Moore could not be bothered and decided he would just make stuff up and use "voice over" narration to tell you what Bush was thinking as he sits in the classroom, filling your head with half cocked theories.

In Alan Peterson's Fahrenhype 9/11, a less emotional and more factual explanation is offered on Bush's alleged inaction upon hearing of the attacks. The footage is played at a normal speed and the audience learns that Bush was being given instructions off camera not to act yet, being that he was in front of a room full of kids, plus television and print media.

If he had jumped out of his seat and run out of the room without explanation this footage would have been broadcast all over the country that day, sending the nation into further panic. The viewer can even see Bush nodding to someone on his left and off camera, which Hype maintains is his acknowledgment to stay seated and proceed with the event until further notice.

You see, if Michael Moore had bothered to interview these people he would have found out some interesting facts. But I doubt he is very interested in the facts of this event, as they do not support his agenda.

Fahrenhype goes on to discredit several of the scenes presented in the Moore film such as the Bush connections with the Carlyle Group by showing that several Democrats and Clinton White House aids such as his Chief of Staff Thomas McLarty are actually involved with the company. McLarty is said to be a senior advisor to Carlyle. Furthermore the Saudis are not just oil rich buddies of the Bush family but have had great relations with several Democratic and Republican administrations including Democrat Jimmy Carter, whom the Saudis donated $200,000 for the Carter Center right here in Atlanta. The funniest part about Moore's attacks on Carlyle is that they apparently own a stake in the Loews movie theatre company (they have lots of movie houses in New York City and the Northeast), where his movie no doubt played.

Fahrenhype was never shown in theaters and is only available at Wal-Mart or by ordering it online. They could not find a distributor, and it's no surprise, Hype is boring, and conventional in terms of cinematic effects. By contrast, Moore's film has stylized editing, cool music cues, and hilarious bits of Bush's misspeak. But the truth is often less sensational and once you strip the Fahrenheit movie of all the smoke and mirrors, all you will find is a fat man behind the curtain. It's ironic that Moore is trying to expose the alleged lies, mistruths, and conspiracies of the Bush Administration by presenting even more of the same to the American people. Michael Moore seems to reflect in himself, that which he alleges and despises in George W. Bush, a man who is a rich elite member of society, misleads the American people with lies and is unaccountable for doing so.

Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 248 or zporter@news-daily.com .