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<I>Fahrenheit</I> Turns Up the Heat on Societal Issues

30 Jun, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

I think it's interesting that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 broke a record for a documentary film in theaters given the fact that our congressional leaders seem to think we can't make a media-consumption decision without their help.

Certainly, the film was poised to make a splash with all the notoriety and media coverage it's gotten in the weeks leading up to its release. So most people are probably aware that this film is not necessarily a balanced, gentle discussion of the issues of the day with two different sides carefully hearing one another out. Most people who went to the limited number of theaters to see this film over its opening weekend likely knew they were about to witness some rather one-sided Bush-bashing.

Funny, that fact didn't seem to stop them. I didn't get a chance to see it opening weekend, but I will go, and soon. And I think a lot of people, who for the first time in history chose a political documentary over all the other theatrical options, are looking for the same thing that I am looking for. I want someone to show me something, tell me anything, without the tepid, watered-down mentality with which our current federal leadership seems to think we need to be treated.

They're not the only tepid ones. Members of the media have been sandwiching in personal attacks at Moore during interviews with the director, or pointing out discrepancies or lack of balance during reviews of the film.

Personally, I don't care if Fahrenheit 9/11 is a balanced or objective look at its subject matter, or outright fiction. I'm just ready to hear anything that isn't the party line.

There's so much talk these days about what is “indecent” and what we need to be protected from. Sen. Brownback, R-Kan., and his cohorts would have us believe that a large part of this country is clamoring to be sheltered from indecent content on public airwaves. But it seems there's plenty of crossover between people who consume media via network TV or FCC-regulated radio and those who buy movies or go to the theater. Certainly, some of these same consumers are the ones who went to see Fahrenheit 9/11, which isn't exactly complimentary of the current legislative regime.

Also, if so many people are so concerned about indecent language and behavior, then why are sales of unrated movies so stellar? When crude comedies like Eurotrip, Old School, American Wedding or others hit DVD in the choice of rated or unrated versions, the unrated version always has the higher sales figures. Always.

Meanwhile, the government is oh-so-concerned over protecting us from hearing Howard Stern describe anatomical body parts.

Speaking of body parts, I really wish Janet Jackson had kept her top on hers. Not because I'm offended at what popped out, but because I am offended at how comfortable our legislators are at stepping right on that “slippery slope” and thumbing their nose at the First Amendment because of it.

So yeah, I'm all for anyone like Michael Moore who's willing to thumb their nose right back, and I hope the money he's quickly making from Fahrenheit 9/11 keeps him doing just that.

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