Saturday, July 24, 2004

Thoughts on Farenheit 911

Two obvious comments. Firstly, it doesn't pretend to be "balanced journalism" of any kind. It's a very one-sided movie, showing the side of things which has been mostly ignored by the US media for the past three years. And secondly, it's made very much for Americans, hence the pandering to lowbrow sterotypes about "funny little countries" like Palau, Costa Rica and the Netherlands.

Much of the material won't be new to media-junkies and blog-weenies, but we're not really who the movie is aimed at. As I said, it's aimed at ordinary Americans, not educated liberals who supplement their newsfeed with material from the BBC and the Independent. And to those people, it is new, a whole side of things they haven't seen before.

Some of it is also very unsettling. I did not expect to see a decapitation, closeups of exposed bones quivering in a child's ruined arm, or dead babies being thrown in the back of a truck after a US bombing raid. Neither did I expect to see US soldiers being blown up live on camera, or to hear the wounded screaming as they were carted away. These sorts of things are usually sanitised from our media experience, and I think that we lose sight of what war actually involves as a result. Hopefully Moore's movie will remind Americans of the consequences of their actions, and make them consider more carefully what they're really voting for.