Sunday, June 20


Right wing white man John Derringer castigates and dismisses documentary filmmaker Michael Moore as a rank propagandist. Derringer should add a word to his vocabulary: Polemical.

Americans saw little of the polemicist spirit--or decent discourse at all for that matter--from any of the mainstream media leading up to, and during, the Iraq war.

Here in Canada, beyond yours truly, virtually no commercial radio broadcasters questioned the rationale of the Bush administration.

"When I was growing up in Flint, MI, we watched Canadian news to get the real story on the war in Vietnam," Michael Moore said to a packed house at the Varsity Cinemas on Friday night. He was fielding questions following the Canadian premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11.

He clearly feels comfortable in Toronto, since Film Festival audiences have been so supportive.

Moore is anticipating the firestorm of hate he'll receive once the film opens. "I wanted Canadians to see it before Americans did. And I needed to come up here and just visit with Canada."

There is something of the honorary Canadian about Moore: his objective remove, his essential morality (we are not trigger-happy), his ethical prerogatives. So, why the controversy?

The controversy lies less in the explication of known facts about Iraq, the Saudis, and Bush's many intellectual shortcomings. More from the huge visceral impact in the presentation of these events, characters, and victims.

Moore's documentary is simply the most powerful, pulverizing polemic to be released since The Battle of Algiers was shown in 1965 and denigrated France's colonial war in Algeria.

Moreover, Moore's film will be, in my view, comparable in its cultural impact to the publication of the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin in the 1860s--a novel which decimated international support for the Confederacy.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is more powerful than what was experienced during the protest movement for the very fact that we feel above it.

There is a notion that we are of a "post-Vietnam" era, one that is beyond unnecessary wars. An era that is past nasty, internecine, self-recriminating squabbles.

The fact is, many of the same long-hairs that protested the Vietnam war, are now neo-con Republicans that gleefully wrap themselves in the flag and support their President and stomp their little feet at the scent of dissent.

Moore points out that only one Congressman has a son actually serving in Iraq--or in the forces, period.

That politicians, as parents, might have to sacrifice their own, and do greater due diligence, is a blatant truism that regularly needs reinforcing.

For it is always easier to send Blacks and poor whites off to die. It reminds me of the General who asked the hawkish, desk-bound and corpulent Richard Perle if he was going to suit up with the Special Ops, or just wave his pen.

Many are concerned that this highly provocative documentary could lead to an assassination of the filmmaker.

Having spoken to some who work with Moore, and who are also worried about his safety, it is highly possible that he may be killed for his authorship.

The truth hurts.