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New York Review on Michael Moore

Geoffrey O'Brien has one of the fairest reviews of F9/11 that I have seen.

Fahrenheit 9/11 serves as a necessary reminder that, to put it in the simplest terms, we need to see and hear more than the government and the various news channels allow us to see and hear. We need to play back the tapes to refresh our memory of what seems consigned to instant oblivion even as it unfolds. We need to see those images —of Americans and Iraqis alike wounded and dying, for example— that American television tends to withhold, as if the reality of the war could thereby be kept at bay. Michael Moore's version of what has been happening lately is only one possible narrative; but by its very existence it encourages a more active, more confrontational approach to the images that surround us, anything to break through the numbing effect of the endless flow of TV news broadcasts and official bulletins that has become something like the wallpaper of a distorted public reality, a stream of images that moves forward without ever looking back.
Moore's "stubborn subjectivity, grounded in local knowledge, and reinforced by habitual gestures and comic tics," is brought to bear on matters of geopolitical importance. Moore's story has power, not because of its analytic content, but because of its use of materials (mostly familiar) to bring back into the discussion facts and events discarded by the march of the noise machine.


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