‘The applause of the French in Cannes for Michael Moore’s 9/11 was the sound of the cement drying over the corpse of Kerry’s chances of carrying the Midwest.’ — Counterpunch.

But Counterpunch also says that the dread scenario confronting us is a rightward shift by the Dems to take the Midwest next time around: are they advocating cynical politicking or aren’t they? If the Midwest middle-class doesn’t like gay rights, science, or Michael Moore, then obviously the progressive party will have to find another constituency among the 80m-odd non-voters. But it’s trivial to bring individual movies into this. What’s been brought into focus, from a movie perspective, is just how little you learn about countries from their films — or perhaps about the US in particular. And this is new: the Old Testament world of Westerns provides the best kind of map, I think, for this election, not in the obvious ‘Dubya as cowboy’ sense, but in terms of the antimonies of ownership and exploitation produced by puritan morality. The seeming contradiction between ‘natural rights’-based hostility to abortion and the denial of said rights inherent [sorry am writing like a drain, can’t think why] in the assumption that the earth is there to be manipulated and exploited is at the heart of many six-gun epic. I don’t mean to suggest that ‘social comment’ entails Loach-like observational realism, far from it, and I, like most of the world’s cinemagoers, am unenthralled by modern westerns. It’s natural that young filmmakers should be happy to have escaped the interior for LA, and that they should regard it with contempt (as in Solondz) but I suppose that where directors like Sam Fuller had *some* life-experience (he as a reporter in the South during the Depression) feeding into their dramas, the socio-cultural background of most directors now is that much more narrow.