Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature Home : Politics Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature

 

FAHRENHEIT 9/11

THE TEMPERATURE'S RISING - 2004

I was quite impressed to receive a personal invite to the Melbourne premier screening of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Does that mean I'm on the A list, I thought? What'll I wear to the Kino, I wondered. Well, I settled for the Levis jeans, my good jacket and that pair of Italian leather shoes I bought in Bondi ten years ago.

'Don't you clap too loud,' Ron Barassi had said with a laugh as he eyed my glass of red and asked for directions to the bar. Cuddled up in front of me were footballer Clint Bizzell and the girl who reads the weekend news on Seven. I don't think they saw much of the film. Only joking!

Santo Cilauro, Tim Costello and Dave Hughes were there. So too was Lillian Frank. I'm not sure whose side she was on? Can't imagine someone from Toorak agreeing with Moore's view on Iraq? Do people from Toorak approve of people saying it's the poor who fight wars so they can be rich?

That's what surprised me about Moore's film. I've kind of given up on American filmmakers having a class view of the world. But sure enough this is one filmmaker who isn't scared to say what trade unionists in Australia said in 1916 and in the 1970s. When Moore wandered up to a couple of Congressmen and asked whether these stay-at-home patriots might ask their children to give their lives for the country the contempt was as palpable as the embarrassment.

What we see is a president who at one level is a dead-set dill, yet acts with duplicity and arrogance. Who else but the president of the USA would chortle 'you're what I like to call the haves and the have mores, you're my base' when addressing a gathering of the filthy rich? In Moore's eyes Iraq is a dirty war, where as usual the poor and the ordinary have and will suffer. It's not the rich who are being slaughtered in Iraq. Nor is it rich Americans who are losing their children. As always it's just the ordinary punters who are doing most of the crying.

Michael Moore doesn't simply ridicule George Bush. Yes, he does resort to some cheap shots with a bumbling president whose eyes dart deceitfully across the horizon. However the satire is far less significant than the analysis of the links between the Saudis and Bush's family and business mates and the real purpose of this war. Why was Bin Laden's family at least asked a few questions before they left the USA in the days after September 11, asks Moore? Listening to a business gathering discuss how much money there is to be made in Iraq is quite chilling. Why is it that some people will do anything, including turn their back on the slaughter of children, to live in absolute luxury?

Yet Moore doesn't dwell on the slaughter in Iraq. It's not a film that over plays the emotional card. Nevertheless, we're reminded of how awful are wars. For those stay-at-home patriots on the left in Australia who've defended this war as a strike against fascism, Moore's film offers no solace. As this quirky filmmaker shows, this war hasn't and won't liberate Iraq, either by design or default. It's just one more military excursion designed to protect the economic interests of one sector of the world. I'm surprised that a filmmaker in the USA can be so bold. If only we could muster this level of independent thinking.

 

Phil Cleary's view on Australian politics, people, vfl and afl football, music, history and literature
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