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Turning the heat on Michael Moore

Christopher Hitchens has a fantastically (in a good way) written review of Moore’s latest creation Fahrenheit 9/11. This is my favourite bit:

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of “dissenting” bravery.

Hitchens extracts from the turgid and self-righteous on-screen heap of non-sense six points that he then proceeds to fisk with brisk ruthlessness they deserve. Read the whole thing as they say…

26 comments to Turning the heat on Michael Moore

  • Class work Mr Hitchens.

    Our work is done.

  • On a related note I preordered from Amazon.co.uk, “Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man” today. They’re currently selling it for £11.24 with it likely to ship on July 30th. You can place preorders now.

    They also have a blog for the book at: http://www.moorelies.com/book/blog/

  • Moore must be doing is job pretty well if he can get you to spend 11 quid just to argue against him.
    if you don’t pay attention, he’ll just disappear.

  • EddieP

    I’m happy that Hitchens is on our side now!

  • felixrayman

    I’m happy that Hitchens is on our side now!

    That’s nice. Just don’t turn your back when he’s around, or there will be a knife in it. The guy has written hit pieces on Kissinger, Clinton, Reagan, and Mother Theresa. I’m not joking. Whether you think any one of those pieces is amusing is going to depend on what you think about the person being skewered, but at least the piece on Kissinger had footnotes.

    As far as the Moore piece, it is long on the ad hominems and short on the actual lies that are supposed to be in the film.

    For the other side of the story, an NYT reporter did a fact check of the movie and:

    The author of the piece, reporter Philip Shenon (who has covered the federal 9/11 commission for the past year) predicts that Moore “may face an onslaught of fact-checking” unlike any a documentary film-maker has faced before. Shenon’s verdict: “It seems safe to say that central assertions of fact in ‘Fahrenherit 9/11’ are supported by the public record….”

    So despite getting a kick out of Hitchens telling what an incredible bitch Mother Theresa was, I’m going to have to wait to see the movie to make up my mind.

  • I must admit that while I enjoyed his skewering of Moore, it was probably wasted. The guy is a left-wing populist with no regards for reality, or, rather, only that reality that advances his cause.

    Hitch probably should keep his powder dry for more worthy targets.

    I personally suspect Moore doesn’t care a fig about the truth of what he writes- as long as it sells, and makes him money, he’s for it.

    Of course it is true that Moore is cheapening and degrading the never high standards of public discourse. The fear of doing the same is one of many thing that keeps me from trying to emulate him. But the general principle of selling nonsense to leftists seems perfectly reasonable to me.

    And at the end of the day, he’s making his money by lying about a bunch of right-wing statists who have expanded the US state, curtailed liberties and mollycoddled corporate welfare junkies. The only thing Bush ever had going for him was willingness to use force against terrorists, and one tax cut. It’s not like Moore is having a go at Samizdata readers or contributors.

  • “Moore must be doing is job pretty well if he can get you to spend 11 quid just to argue against him.
    if you don’t pay attention, he’ll just disappear.”

    I may be able to ignore him, but everyone else around me finds it hard not to. I like to do my research about the man, so when i am confronted with another one of those Moore Lies (which most people seem to take for given) I can put it down.

  • Scott: Unfortunately, Moore matters as his lies are becoming part of the mainstream discourse, feeding the emotional and irrational aspect of it (never far from the surface). Trust me, you may think that all reasonable people can see him for what he is – a Fat Stupid White Man, but I bet you that the next generation of guardianistas, revisionists and other assorted leftists will quote him high and low. He may be responsible for many more Syon Parks…

  • Syon Parks? This allusion hasn’t made it’s way to the Antipodes, I fear…

  • Luniversal

    No doubt in his lucrative new guise as defender of the free world, Hitchens will be taking the heat off “war criminal” Henry Kissinger, who was only trying to save liberal democracy when he flattened Cambodia, honestly guv.

    Hitchens is the journalistic version of the old-time remittance man: the black-sheep Brit who got sent to the colonies because he’d become too much of an embarrassment. As things stand, Hitchens has to defend Bush II while excoriating Nixon, and to champion the cause of dispensationalist Christianity and Zionism in the Middle East while abusing every other manifestation of belief in God. Maybe Moore’s Catholicism, like Mother Theresa’s, is what really riles the drunken opportunist.

  • Scott: Just read some of the comments on the last few posts. Syon Parks is your book example of someone who thinks the state is the fount of all goodness and charity, taxes are necessary because sociaty would cease to exist, blah, blah, blah. He uses a self-righteous voice to declare us greedy an selfish, if we dare to disagree with him. The guy never encountered rational discourse and is a classic example of someone who will lap up Moore’s drivel now and in the future. Just watch it seep through the public consciousness even further.

  • If you must go see it, please don’t pay for this movie. Pay admission for some other movie (like Harry Potter) and then switch theaters.

  • Hmm.. well in an Australian context, I’m already surrounded by dingbats (Margo Kingston is treated as a serious journalist here). I can understand where you are coming from when you don’t want that standard of affairs being commonplace in the UK.

  • Okay I’ve caught up on who this Syon Parks fellow is. You know how slow on the uptake us Australians are 😉

  • Scott: Actually, I don’t know, coz our token Australian in London is Michael and slow isn’t the word I would associate with him… 🙂

  • R C Dean

    Shenon’s verdict: “It seems safe to say that central assertions of fact in ‘Fahrenherit 9/11’ are supported by the public record….”

    Except the ones that aren’t, of course. The notion of relying on the NYT to fact-check an anti-Bush diatribe is pretty amusing, really.

    What Hitch does is show how well Moore has learned (at Chomsky’s knee) the true propagandist’s art – the stripping of fact from context, showing (again) the difference between being factual and being truthful.

  • lemuel

    I was not intending to see this Moore film…

    Ah, but the outrage it has brought…

    Want to see it now!

    Not going to pay, though. Relax.

    And I just love that Kerry Ad in Hitchens article, sort of spoils the whole atmosphere.

  • Syon Park

    OK sorry to burst your bubble.

    Michael Moore is an arse hole.

    I quite like Christopher Hitchens.

    Gabriel why don’t you read what I actually say – if you’re going to paraphrase me at least get it right.

    Some of the points have been up there a week and with reference to funding of the world’s social and medical services – and still no one comes up with a satisfactory alternative. It makes me think you have no basis to your argument (apart from th fact you’re greedy and you want to keep all your money).

    As for the rocket analogies what a lot of crap. Cavemen made arrows to get food. People made boats to go somewhere habitable. Their labour was a means to an end.

    NASA sent probes millions of miles into outer space – there is no sign of life or habitable environments for humans, apart from planet Earth. This rocket could be the finest technology ever seen (it isn’t) – THERE IS NOWHERE USEFUL FOR IT TO GO TO!

    (BTW to say NASA was a waste of tax payers money can’t be strictly true – it effectively won the Cold War; and in doing so helped make itself redundant).

    One poster said this rocket would make satellite launches cheaper and I accept that – but it’s hardly going to affect our lives.

  • lemuel

    Next thing you know, Syon Park will attemt to make an interpersonal utility comparison.
    Well, Good luck to him.

  • Syon Park: You make the arguments for criticising you for me.

    As for satisfactory alternatives, search Samizdata for arguments supporting our position – there is a-plenty. By the way, this is not a forum, nor a chat room – this is a blog. Get used to the fact that as a commenter you are on someone else’s private property and we really do not care whether you think you are entitled to your opinion or not.

  • Syon Park

    Gabriel you sad little man, not surprisingly, rather than challenge the argument, you make a silly threat of expulsion

    “…we really do not care whether you think you are entitled to your opinion or not.”

    if one dissenting voice rocks your world so much, it merely highlights your insecurities and an absence of coherent alternatives to the case put to you.

  • Syon Park: Hm, where did I make a threat of expulsion? I merely pointed out that this is a blog, not a forum so do not expect people responding to your tedious outpourings. And you may have noticed that many people disagree with us – we are very much used to dissenting voices. It’s just they tend to be a tad less tedious than yours.

    There are plenty of arguments on Samizdata to support our positions, and we don’t feel like reinventing the wheel every time someone stumbles across us. Read or move on – the choice is yours. We don’t care either way.

    Funny you should jump into conclusions about expulsion so quickly, methinks it would not be the first time someone kicked you out…

  • Harry

    “felixrayman” said:

    “[A]n NYT reporter did a fact check of the movie and…”

    …and I sprayed herbal tea out of both nostrils and one ear. No need to read further into that post. Thanks for the belly-laugh, felix!

  • Jack

    Chicago: What you might be missing about Michael Moore is that although he is very irritating to many Democrats, let alone to Republicans, he has hit a raw nerve, and is giving form and voice to some really strong Anti-Bush feelings alot of us have at the moment.

    The Republican attack dogs have never really had a problem with bending, distorting, or hiding the truth. Its quite fun to see Moore doing it back to them.

    Bush has taken us to war on the basis of lies, and has succeded in uniting the world in hating us. His arrogance and apparent unwillingness to think is embarassing. How long will people around the world look at America (and Americans) and think “Bush.” I don’t want that albatross, but I fear I am stuck with it.

  • Unfettered

    Michael Moore
    Michael Moore,
    he ain’t so wise
    he makes a living
    telling lies.

    “Regulate this,
    regulate that!”
    Clinging to the gub’ment
    like a spoiled little brat.

    Rigid thinking
    masked with rage
    is a backward method
    like minimum wage.

    Fourteen an Hour,
    don’t fail HIS test!
    Anything less
    and your under arrest.

    Obnoxious and loud,
    so filled with hate.
    He really can’t help it
    he’s a ward of the state.

    “I’ll poke my camera
    into your face
    make you look guilty
    and berate you in place!”

    “Those greedy corporations,”
    Ewwwww, they’re so bad!
    I’ll teach them a lesson.
    Conform! or be sad!”

    Like a union thug
    he’ll get in your face.
    Show you who’s boss
    and dump on your race.

    Don’t “cross the line”
    you know what you’ll get,
    a busted lip
    and a lawn full of shit.

    Demean, intimidate,
    berate and ridicule;
    these are the methods
    that Michael finds cool.