FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Mocking the Moral Crisis of Capitalism

“The question is not what goal is envisaged for the time being by this or that member of the proletariat, or even by the proletariat as a whole. The question is what is the proletariat and what course of action will it be forced historically to take in conformity with its own nature.

Karl Marx, “The Holy Family”

They wept! They roared with laughter! At inappropriate times they applauded, the politically correct, white middle class audience at the Academy Theatre in avante guard Northampton, MA, home of Smith College, and many fine restaurants.

But, then again, Michael Moore was preaching to the choir, wasn’t he? And that’s the first of two big problems with Fahrenheit 911.

The other big problem is this frivolous film’s utter futility.

Let’s be realistic. Moore says the purpose of his incoherent mockumentary is to get Bush out of office ­ which, in and of itself, “t’is a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.” But the political passing of George W. Bush has no meaning, for even if the public shuffles him off, it’s still left with Long John Kerry, and the strangling coil of oppressive laws, secret decrees, and eternal imperialistic war (with its attendant corruption) that Bush has wrapped so tightly around America’s neck.

“Ay, there’s the rub.”

Kerry is just another “money-grubbing, ass-kissing, bromide-mouthing” politician, as Gail Sheehy might say, and he is as acceptable to the Establishment as Bush. With Kerry in office, the war on terror and the occupation of Iraq will continue apace, with perhaps a little more of the stolen loot going to our anxious allies waiting avariciously in the wings. In the larger scheme of things, Fahrenheit 911 changes nothing: Halliburton keeps its blood-soaked contracts, the Republicans control both houses of Congress, and no neo-conmen go to the gallows for stealing $20 billion in oil revenues from the Iraqi people (I’m curious to know how Christopher Hitchens rationalizes that?), or for the massive war crimes they have committed. Kerry’s performance during the Iran-Contra investigation assures the rich political elite of a continuing cover-up.

While watching the movie, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Moore had evidence of the torture at Abu Ghraib, and didn’t tell anyone! I wanted to stand up and scream: What’s it all about, Mickey? Is it just for the moment, or the money, we live? Or is it the thrill of being catapulted into the stratosphere of American celebrity?

I thought to myself: I should have seen it coming, when the nouveau riche glitterati gave the movie a twenty-minute standing ovation at Cannes. Anything that so pleases the perfect people in Porsches cannot, by definition, have any redeeming value.

A monumental letdown, Fahrenheit 911 is a sick exploitation film that tells us nothing new about ourselves, and changes nothing in the world. Yes, the farcical clips of Bush making a fool of himself add comic relief to the melodramatic footage of Bush and his venal clique visiting vengeful tragedy upon the world, and profiting from it. And, to his credit, Moore courageously goes where no man in the corporate media has dared to go before: he loosely chronicles how the tragedy unfolded, while being extra careful not to mention Israel. Here’s how the story goes: Bush steals the election, lets the main Saudi suspects in the 911 mass murder case escape because his “daddy” is in business with them, and then goes on a worldwide killing spree with the blessings of Major Generals Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings.

You’ve heard it all before; any tenth grader from Freyburg, Maine could have told us that.

To sum it up, Moore’s swipes at Bush are irrelevant during the current crisis-du-jour of capitalism. How much time must we waste laughing at Bush, tripping over his tongue, before we grab our pitchforks and storm, as family-values proponent Dick Cheney might put it, the fucking White House?

The answer, to judge from the reaction of the “progressive” and academically oriented audience I was sitting with, is over and over again. Which, again, is the saddest part of watching his film. I’m sure Moore didn’t intend it, but his mockumentary is as much an indictment of his adoring, bourgeois fan club as it of the criminal Bush regime.

Even the film’s unstated premise ­ that the government, on behalf of the rich, creates employment and a disposed, easily indoctrinated lower class that will happily fight and die in imperialistic adventures ­ was put forth about a hundred and fifty years ago.

Alas, to the earnest audience in Northampton, this subliminal message seemed like a revelation.

So there we sat. When the clapping was over, there was no place to go (save one of those fine restaurants). Like Bush in Iraq, Fahrenheit 911 has no exit strategy. Nor was one ever intended. F-911, like the psychological warfare campaign we are subjected to by the Bush regime, is a cataract of powerful, contrived words and images that generate raw, predetermined emotions that result in a disturbing, but aimless, class-consciousness.

DOUGLAS VALENTINE is the author of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and TDY. His fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1968, is newly published by Verso. For information about Mr. Valentine, and his books and articles, please visit his web sites at www.DouglasValentine.com and http://members.authorsguild.net/valentine

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail