‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ left me outraged. Through some convoluted process I can’t myself divine, Michael Moore was able in mid-2004 to release — as in show in multiplexes worldwide — a film criticizing the entire course of US foreign and domestic policy since 09/01 (or indeed 11/00). And he blew it. He fucked it up. Initially, the completely illogical, contradictory mode of the film had me reaching for the penultimate post here: any sentient viewer would recognize the contradictions and try to think them through, even if MM obviously hadn’t. But as the film span out of control, exploiting the grief of parents of dead soldiers (as if there were no cause worth losing 500-odd soldiers for: this is Somalia-think) to little effect, I began to revise my earlier stance. All that Saudis-are-running-us stuff was lumpen and crazy (and these intricate paper trails are perhaps not well suited to movies). The lone soldier on the coast of Oregon — are we to expect an al-Quaeda seaborne invasion? If the film had stuck to showing clips of Cheney and Bush looking stupid, with inserts from the terrifying world of US news broadcasts and enlistment ads, I’d have been happy. Bring the funny, you know. As is, the film has left me agreeing with Christopher Hitchens for Christ’s sake:

I have already said that Moore’s film has the staunch courage to mock Bush for his verbal infelicity. Yet it’s much, much braver than that. From Fahrenheit 9/11 you can glean even more astounding and hidden disclosures, such as the capitalist nature of American society, the existence of Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex,” and the use of “spin” in the presentation of our politicians. It’s high time someone had the nerve to point this out.

The Southgate penalty of political film-making.