Fahrenheit 9/11


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Fahrenheit 9/11


Cert 15

Peter Bradshaw
Friday July 9, 2004
The Guardian

The backlash to Michael Moore's thoroughly entertaining new film has had one of the longest and most elaborate gestation periods that I can remember. Ever since he became a big player with his anti-gun documentary Bowling for Columbine, and his bestsellers Stupid White Men and Dude, Where's My Country, there has been a strand of liberal opinion which holds that liking Michael Moore is uncool and infra dig, like squawking about the perfidy of Starbucks. Even before it hit the screens, his new polemic Fahrenheit 9/11 has had pundits queuing up to offer knowing and avuncular putdowns.
However, it is incendiary, excitable, often mawkishly emotional but simply gripping: a cheerfully partisan assault on the Bush administration. Moore argues that, embarrassed by its failure to bring Osama bin Laden to justice and at its own family links with the extremely wealthy Saudi Bin Ladens, the Bush administration launched a diversionary war on Saddam. This film astonished everyone, including me, by winning the Golden Palm at Cannes, and Michael Moore's dizzying success has made populist dissent the stuff not merely of websites or print journalism but big Hollywood box office. It is an exhilarating and even refreshing spectacle at a time when our pro-war liberals are evidently too worldly or sophisticated or amnesiac to be angry about the grotesque falsehood of WMD.
Undoubtedly, Fahrenheit 9/11 has evasions and omissions that are exasperating. That tagline about "the film they didn't want you to see" is very annoying. (Who are "they"? Republican bogeymen? Hollywood moneymen? Please.) And his attempt to portray Bush as a fratboy slacker misfires. When Dubya's loafing around the golf course, he's actually rather likeable. But Moore's style does not seem to me to be more tendentious than any other sort of campaigning journalism.
Clips and graphics are stitched together with a droll, deadpan voiceover and often a declamatory musical score, though Moore's ursine baseball-capped form does not itself shamble into view until well into the film. He cheekily begins with footage of the major players - Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz - smirking and preening themselves as they prepare to go on TV. (Kevin Rafferty and James Ridgeway's 1992 documentary Feed, about the New Hampshire primaries, did the same thing with Clinton.) Wolfowitz has a habit of licking his comb before running it through his hair, which never fails to get a deafening "eeuuwwww" from the audience.
Here they are, is the implication, the whole ghastly gang who fixed the 2000 election, which began when Bush's cousin John Ellis, a Fox News executive, was instrumental in "calling it" for Bush/Cheney on election night and cowed the other TV networks into joining in. For the horrific day of 9/11 itself, Moore has two showman flourishes. The sound of explosions, crashing masonry and screaming come from an entirely black screen: a nightmare recalled with eyes tight shut. Then he shows the President's rabbit-in-headlights expression while at a children's literacy event, getting told about the second plane hitting the towers. A clock appears in the corner of the screen, as the minutes tick by and the president keeps reading My Pet Goat, not knowing what to do without his advisers to tell him. Now, this isn't new material. We all know where George W Bush was at that historic moment. Yet only Moore has had the tactless sadism and mischievous flair to show, almost in real time, exactly how hapless he was. Unfair? Irresponsible? Oh dear, yes - and brilliant film-making.
The Afghanistan war comes and goes without the capture of Osama bin Laden; terrorism licenses the big war on diplomatically safe and target-rich Iraq, in whose reconstruction the big companies have a vested interest, and Moore's scattergun rhetoric takes in the homeland security issue, its politically profitable culture of fear, and the US military's recruiting grounds of blue-collar America, getting poor blacks and whites to fight Mr Bush's war as the body count ratchets upwards. Moore centres a big emotional moment on a bereaved military mom mourning her son outside the White House. This explains his reluctance to emphasise the issue of torture: though he has new and horrible footage of soldiers gloating over their captives - not just within the walls of Abu Ghraib but out in open country.
His big omission is Tony Blair and the UK. There's a pastiche of the old TV show Bonanza, with Bush and Blair mocked up to look like cowboys, and he shows how Bush's announcement that he will "smoke out" Osama is subconsciously plagiarised from old westerns. But in a section about his "coalition of the willing" for the Iraq invasion there is no mention of the UK, nor of the other substantial European military powers that joined in, just facetious and condescending mockery of the tiny countries - which can only be because of Moore's insistence on America's international isolation and arrogance. It's a strange and self-defeating error.
On so much else, though, Moore incontestably scores points. We've become very used to cool, fence-sitting documentaries without a voiceover or riskily overt editorial content: the kind of film-making that prides itself on guiding the bull elegantly through the china-shop leaving the crockery undamaged. Michael Moore's inflammatory polemic is very different. It's certainly emotional and manipulative, brilliant and brazen. It won't get John Kerry into the White House on its own. But it lands a kidney punch on the complacency of the political classes.

VOCABULARY


assault - zamach
avuncular- dobrotliwy, dobroduszny
backlash - sprzeciw
bereaved- pozbawiony, osamotniony, osierocony
blue-collar- robotniczy; blue-collar worker - pracownik fizyczny
bogeyman- potwór, którym straszy się dzieci; ktoś, kto jest przyczyną problemów
brazen- bezczelny, cyniczny
complacency- samozadowolenie
condescending- protekcjonalny, łaskawy
cow- straszyć, zastraszać
crockery- zastawa stołowa
deadpan- pozornie poważny
dizzy- oszałamiający, zawrotny
droll- komiczny
elaborate- skomplikowany, zawiły
evasion- uchylanie się, unikanie
exasperate- dręczyć, drażnić
facetious- żartobliwy
fence-sitting- bezstronny, uchylający się od zajęcia stanowiska w danej sprawie
flourish- kwitnąć, dobrze prosperować
fratboy- chłopak ze stowarzyszenia (studenckiego)
gestation - rozwój, ciąża
gloat- rozkoszować się, napawać się
hapless- żałosny
incendiary- zapalający
inflammatory- podjudzający, podżegający
launch- wprowadzać, rozpoczynać
mawkishly- ckliwie, sentymentalnie
misfire- niewypał; nie wypalić
mockery- kpina, drwina, pośmiewisko
overt- otwarty
perfidy- perfidia, wiarołomność
preen- stroić się, muskać
pundit- ekspert, mędrzec
putdown- obelga
ratchet- mechanizm zapadkowy
shamble- człapać, powłóczyć nogami
slacker- próżniak
smirk- złośliwy uśmieszek, uśmiechać się ironicznie
squawk- krzyczeć, piszczeć
stitch- zszywać; szew
strand- nitka, nić
the bull in the china-shop - słoń w składzie porcelany
ursine- niedźwiedzi
vested interest- żywotny interes
voiceover- głos w tle (narratora)
WMD- weapons of mass destruction- broń masowego rażenia
worldly- światowy, obyty


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