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Post 0

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 11:02amSanction this postReply
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Thanks Irfan,

There are films I don't have an interest to see, this is one of them. From the little of the reviews I have heard and you so brilliantly note its not for me. But I really enjoyed reading your criticism! Glad someone is putting them in there place.

Michael




Post 1

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 8:31amSanction this postReply
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Excellent article Irfan.  I was particularly impressed with your observation and discussion of how so many reviewers of Moore's film both despised it for its deception, and then as you mentioned, in the same breath they praise it paradoxically for this deception. 

This is a slight tangent, but your discussion of Michael Moore reminded me a great deal of James Taggart in Atlas Shrugged.  I am not entirely sure why, but I think it has to do with the fact that JT wanted nothing more than to be loved *unconditionally*, which as Ayn Rand correctly pointed, is a contradictory *concept.*  Perhaps I haven't had enough caffeine yet this morning, and not that I can coherently describe the motivations of Moore or his cohorts on the Left, but in my opinion it certainly seems to have a similar flavor and ring as that which Ayn Rand created in her JT character.

Matt




Post 2

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 1:09pmSanction this postReply
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I did see the movie. It was one of the worse experiences of my life. Enough said.



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Post 3

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 8:46amSanction this postReply
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(Edited by Irfan Khawaja on 10/19, 2:23pm)




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Post 4

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 9:41amSanction this postReply
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Michael Moore,

The most disgusting thing that I found in your film was your selective attention to all the happy children playing in the streets of Baghdad. 

Ah, yes, children.  Romp and play.  Until you soon find yourself tied to a chair in some darkened concrete room somewhere with a funnel shoved down your throat and gasoline poured into your belly, while Qusay or Uday or one of Papa Saddam's goons holds a lighted match over the funnel and smiles a fly-swarmed, mustached smile while you shake your head and grunt through the funnel, your wide, tear-filled eyes trying to beg for a mercy that will not come in that barren land, that endlessly heat-tortured hellhole.

And all this, for the crime of somehow implying that Saddam Hussein's intentionally childish, incompetent, and sadistic leadership was less than sparklingly perfect and that four fingers might possibly not be five. 

Perhaps down beneath the many layers of "humanitarian" fat that cover your chest, is a heart that secretly believes that all these people are really "just filthy wogs anyway, so they wouldn't really be comfortable if given a rational, balanced society... their primitive kind deserves madness and brute rule".  I think that's why you see nothing wrong for Iraqis with life under Hussein.  You are infected with and transmit the typical liberal mind-cancer that is multiculturalism.   

Good job, Mike... You sweating... gasping... pasty... mangy... ethically lazy loaf of a so-called man.  No one with any respect for reality or truth would allow themselves to become the "big fat yeast roll" that you have allowed yourself to become, so why should we logically believe that you would be any different when making a "documentary"?

I'll tell you what you really are, Mr. Moore.  I think on some level you know that you're lying... you know that you're doing evil.  And you are so impressed with yourself, that you can have this or any effect on the public at large.  You crave significance and potency so much, that you have chosen to ignore the enormously destructive means by which you acquire them, even if it means pandering to wishful thinking with easily refutable lies.  You may not aspire to be America's direct dictator, but you do aspire to be its ideological Rasputin.

You crave the adulation of the bitter "masses" so much, that you don't care to discover or reveal that the "evils of all corporatism" comes from and exists in those unscrupulous corporations and corporate heads that have a lewd and lascivious relationship with government, and governmental puppet-masters bent on dictating growth and human existence.

You ultimately blame the Bush family and corporations for all of it, and you posture as though you wish to get to the heart of the matter...

It's those companies -- that depend on governmental tax money, taken from citizens by what basically amounts to the barrel of a gun on the hip of law enforcement -- who are to blame.  These corporations know that they don't really have to compete for this reason, and so they have the ability to behave in the megalomaniacal, rotten ways you have consistently described in your films.  

And as our national constitution does not provide for the separation of business and state, we now have a system where most corporations conduct business this way.  That is why the people really get screwed, and why your hometown of Flint, Michigan is a pit of despair.  America is indeed caught in the protracted grip of something hellish, but not for the reasons you describe.

None of what I'm saying here is new.  A writer named Ayn Rand said these things decades ago, and laid them out far more thoroughly than I do here.

So, in the future, you might get a strange tingling sensation in those parts of your body which are still open to sensation... Let me describe it for you, so you will know what to expect when it happens:  it will be a feeling that will somehow tug and you and seem to say, "You know, it's beginning to bother me that much of what I've been saying in my films doesn't quite add up, and I kind of want to fix that situation". 

That tingling sensation is called integrity.  I would suggest you don't attempt to silence it by picking up a snow shovel -- or whatever force-feeding instrument you do use -- and dumping more Moon Pies in your mouth. 

Instead, if and when you do get it, my prescription is for you to run -- don't walk (you need the exercise) -- down to the nearest book store and pick up a copy of something by Rand. 

Start reading her and keep reading her until you feel like making a different sort of documentary.

Good day. 

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 7/22, 4:32am)




Post 5

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 11:24amSanction this postReply
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Wow. What do you really think?



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Post 6

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 5:08pmSanction this postReply
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Fantastic review.  The best one I've read yet.  By the way you can find a blow by blow critique of Farenheit 9/11 at Dave Kopel's site (he writes for National Review):  http://www.davekopel.com/Terror/Fiftysix-Deceits-in-Fahrenheit-911.htm



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Post 7

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 12:18amSanction this postReply
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As the young folk say, you rock, Mr Reasoner. Kick that Saddamite low-life Moore's ass to the other side of the moon. Bravo!!

Linz



Post 8

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 4:36amSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Linz.

Sometimes my chain breaks.




Post 9

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 6:12amSanction this postReply
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Great stuff Irfan and Orion (and everyone else :-))

I am probably not even going to bother seeing it, at least til it's on tv and possibly not at all - Bowling was bad enough!!

MH




Post 10

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 10:16amSanction this postReply
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Matthew,

Thanks...

And you know, my first impulse just a few moments ago was to say, "Don't get me started on Bowling for Columbine", but ya know... that's just not going to happen.

So here goes:

My main problem with Bowling is that I tend to be a bottom-liner.  If, as Moore does, you present a problem in detail, it begs the need for a proposed solution to that problem.

Moore does indeed do that, but contradicts himself -- and not in a trivial way -- with that film.  So, join me, if you will, on a magical journey through the looking-glass, into the mind of Michael Moore.

On one hand, he quotes statistics that say that all these other nations, particularly Canada, have the same incidence of loose gun sales and ownership as the United States, yet the incidence of those folks using guns to commit crimes is dramatically lower, and from that he states that clearly gun sales and ownership is not what's causing gun-related crime.  That conclusion makes sense, based on his own statistics.

Moore then goes on to illustrate that -- all other things being equal between the United States and Canada, according to him -- what is different between us and them, we lack basic health care services for everyone, and that that produces a climate of fear in this country which makes people more edgy and aggressive and desperate, and that people here have itchy trigger fingers for that reason.

Now, whether or not you agree with any of this, let's just for a moment take Moore's own argument and go with it.  Since a lack of something like basic health care is the missing and causative variable, shouldn't Moore ultimately be arguing for basic health care in this country?  I would think so, but no.

What Moore mysteriously then goes back to, is the need for gun control as the solution to the problem!  According to Moore in this film, however, in a desperate culture, if people can't kill each other with guns, they'll stab each other or use whatever they can to attack each other.  So clearly, gun control won't solve the problem, and Moore has already led us to the causative solution.

That's my main fault with this film... Moore contradicts himself.  He betrays himself, very flagrantly, and I'm surprised that I haven't read this particular criticism anywhere else. 

Why Moore falls back on gun control as a solution is beyond me.  The man is an inconsistent and charismatic Svengali who plays a fast, slick, and mean shell game of logic with his viewers, and I wonder if he's even aware that all it ends up doing is whipping people into a confused, neurotic frenzy.

Actually, now that I type that, I have no doubt that he knows... His achievement of that frenzy -- no matter how destructive towards society -- makes him feel alive and non-impotent in this world.  And wealthy by non-ethical means.  Nothing else matters.





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Post 11

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 10:39amSanction this postReply
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And now that I've typed all that, in all fairness, I have to also add something that I think is of major importance with regard to Moore's films and unstated argument... and it may not be a very popular thing to say, even here.  It has to do with the "nature of the beast" that is America, and what I sense that Moore is trying to subconsciously comment on:  a phenomenally sadistic undercurrent in the culture.

America's focus on achievement and accomplishment, while the philosophical nucleus of our ability to innovate beyond all other nations and cultures, means that there will always be an entrenchment of frustration in all those who do not place first and get that blue ribbon.  There will always be losers in this country, and I think that might be the essence of the problem, or at least in how we handle it.

I don't like this pervasive playground air that I all-too-often see in this country of "Ha ha, you didn't win... You're a LO-SER!"  Although it's said in many different ways, I'm quite tired of this "You deserve to be treated like shit if you're not the alpha male, silverback gorilla" mentality.  Mind you, it's not everywhere, but it's prevalent... far too prevalent, and I think it perpetuates a kind of desperate, paranoid, sadistic undercurrent in too much of this country.

Now, while I truly believe that those who wish to achieve whatever they wish to achieve, should be left alone to do so, so long as it is achievable through fair and ethical means, I also think that there should be no stigma placed on those who are not of the disposition to constantly thrive on struggling for supremacy. 

There used to be a genuine cultural respect for all the sorts of people who wish to live a relatively humble, though self-sufficient, existence, that I think is missing.  They traded and bartered and lived their lives on a much more manageable, less grandiose, scale of existence, and they were happier for it.

In our culture -- by and large -- it's still the male who bears the burden of making the big money, of being uber-strong and established.  Females in our culture are still conditioned, no matter the strivings of feminism at female supremacy, to be the "precious, coveted trophies" of the males... who must exist in a kind of gladiatorial pit of competition, and fight to be selected for even the barest scraps of much-needed human touch and affection from these vestal virgins. 

Mind you, I suppose this scenario doesn't apply to all males and females, but I don't see enough males or females who choose to opt out of this scenario to really say that it doesn't apply to basically everybody.  Actually, I do see males who either do or wish to reprieve themselves of this sort of existence, but I perceive that there really aren't many females, if indeed any, who are ever truly comfortable with these males who wish to make that choice, and therefore those males have to either conform to the females' wishes and live miserably if they wish to get their human needs filled by them on this completely conditional  and endlessly wearisome basis, or do something else entirely.  (If my views on this are in error, please explain why).

Speaking for myself, I always seem to feel this force I've described, poisoning my ability to really ever let my guard down and just be comfortable and happy, or to reach out to others.  I tend to stay to myself, as a kind of pre-emptive method of personal protection from what I anticipate would be an inevitable ugliness that I have simply never had much stomach for. 

As I see it, all of what I've said here, produces a lot of males who are hurting, aching, lonely, desperate "LOOO-SERRRRS" *making the L sign on my forehead*.  And in our culture, where guns are not merely easily accessible, but also part of that mentality of "you're not a real man if you aren't constantly going to such cartoonish lengths as owning a gun and flaunting it", it's only a matter of time before males -- and we are talking about males here -- start using those guns as a logical extension to live up to the extreme cultural competition put before them.

Personally, I think that the solution to gun control is to send out the message that competition in our culture is optional, not mandatory, and that innovation and the betterment of the quality of life does not have to be bratty and savage, like twenty starving rats in a dirty burlap sack, but can be done in a civil, non-panicked way, and that extremes do not necessarily have to be striven for at all times. 

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 7/22, 12:43pm)




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Post 12

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 11:40amSanction this postReply
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Orion,

What you say in message 11 is true, and an important insight, and one that _should not be_ unwelcome here. The Fountainhead, which in Rand's work is the foundation under Atlas Shrugged, makes the point that the true Hero is one who actualizes his own creative potential without regard to competition or power - and that the "winners" of the moment, like Keating or Toohey or Wynand, are the ones who could have been heroes but gave up their personal happiness for the sake of "winning the competition."

A society in which the average person judges himself not by the achievement of his own happiness, but by competitive comparison with others, will seethe with resentment and envy. One of the key lessons of Objectivism is that only by dedicationg himself to his own life - the only standard by which every rational individual wins - can one become a member of a society that does not wallow in envy and cruelty, and a man who experiences the happiness of his fellows as a positive value to himself.

Moore is, in philosophical essentials, an individualist crippled by not having a coherent philosophy. It is too bad that his occasional valid insight gets lost in all the noise created by his philosophical incoherence.



Post 13

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 12:44pmSanction this postReply
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Adam,

Thanks for that response.  Makes a lot of sense to me... I guess I missed the point that you point out from Rand's writing, about the individual needing to judge himself by his own standards of happiness, and not necessarily comparison with others.  That is, after all, how Roark achieved happiness. 




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Post 14

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 12:46pmSanction this postReply
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Deleted
(Edited by Irfan Khawaja on 10/19, 2:24pm)




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Post 15

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 1:41pmSanction this postReply
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Hi everybody,

this discussion is only another stone in a huge wall I've been trying to comprehend for several years now, so my apologies in advance to any toes stepped on by taking this one point too far ... it could have been almost any other topic ...

Let's see if I can get my 'wall' onto e-paper in such a philosophical venue with a real-life twist :-)

The bone of contention:

1. where there is a winner, there's a looser
2. being a looser diminishes my own selfworth, making me a parasite
(I know I'm oversimplifying, so please bear with me - there's a point coming)

1. both, 'winner' and 'looser', imply that there is some 'prize' that only one of the two can achieve, and the other cannot live without - objectivism (and my own dream for life) stipulates that I get compensated according to my abilities, my own achievements and what they are worth in trade (free economy - right?) - so we are facing a contradiction ...
Solution: check your premises
premise a) there is no prize to win, only my work and my ability to produce what will be remunerated according to the benefit others see in it (let's leave my personal benefit out of it for this discussion) and are willing to trade for ...
premise b) there is no competition for this 'prize' meaning 'if you have it I can't have it, so I have to take it away from you' - there is only the product of my work, of my mind, of my abilities and if I don't produce those, there's nothing you can take away, thus no competition ...
Revised premises conclude - 'Non-Contradiction':
In a truly egoistic society with my own ego intact, there can be no 'loosers or winners' no 'prize' - it's a 'split issue' to tempt us to turn on each other like the cannibals parasitism want's us to become ...

Skipping the 'Either-Or' question of choosing which side of the fence you want to land on lets go ahead and pick the 'wrong side of the tracks' ...

2. 'even if' I accept this false dichotomy and compete, and lose, that does in no way diminish my own self-worth, based not on how much better I am than others (parasitism: meaning I get a bigger share of the cadaver I did not produce), but based on my own productive efforts that I can still consume without even having to enter this competition of the ego - so we are facing a delusion ...
Solution: face reality - 'A is A'
A=B if my selfworth comes from others and
B=B if my own ego is not enough to support me and I become a parasite to sustain my ego (the perfect selfreplenishing parasite society: B is B ;-))
Facing the reality of 'A is A' concludes:
A is A) if my self-worth is not measured by other's standards, but my own abilities, my selfworth can never be that of B, or being better or worse than B, so there can be no looser/winner, only producers (without those even the parasites would not exist after all) ...
A is A) if my own abilities/products are not enough to support my life/needs/whishes I increase my own abilities/production as I cannot take them from B by force, if B does not produce them, thus parasitism (taking from others) will not save me from being a looser, so why turn on others at all ... 

It's so oversimplified that I sometimes still wonder how people can get so excited about such 'logic', about the 'Moores' of our world, our 'winners or loosers' of competition, our 'competitive males and compliant females' of the gender wars, the 'murdering mothers and parasitic embryos' of abortion, the 'happy children' in the warzone - it's pure bait to make us take up a split issue that someone else split long ago, turning his own ego into a parasite and now demanding of any creator left to prove to him that he did have an ego to begin with, that living as a creator is indeed possible ...

Forget it!

Here's my real question:

Why do we waste so much time picking their 'split issues'?
Why don't we just go ahead and create our own world as each of us sees fit?

It's wonderful to have the rational minds to point out all these contradictions, false choices, delusions; to begin questioning what this world tries to turn us into, but even more wonderful is to find the minds who are still able to create a creative world of creators, where the 'split issues' of our mostly parasitic world do not factor (or so little as to be negligible) ... where a 'winner' is an admired creator/producer complimented on his creative genius/productive abilites, not the antitheses of 'looser', where a 'sadistic culture' is not deriled as 'having power over' but is 'using it's power for', where 'males' are not the shorthand form of 'females' but an opposite mirror of multiplying choices, where an 'abortion' is not 'murder' and a 'baby' is not a 'parasite' but the creation of life itself, where 'gun-control' is not the antitheses of 'being shot' but the means of protecting my life from harm, where a 'happy child' is not the illusion of 'a tortured end' but the reality of joy and growth ... and there's many more 'split words' I found over the years, that I can still get hot about.

It's great to follow these three simple steps from Atlas Shrugged to demolish any 'split issue' thrown at me daily, but I have reached a void of reaction instead of action, of deconstruction instead of construction ...
As Any Rand said herself:

The parasites did not win this world because they are smarter than us, but because we left it to them!

So let's not leave it to them!

VSD

PS: Thanx to all who keep doing it - and especially those who can make it fun :-) ... and maybe someone will someday find the answer 'to life, the universe and everything' ...
Mine for myself is simple: I
Let's see if it holds up in this world ...




Post 16

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 6:57pmSanction this postReply
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Orion, Adam and Vera,

Aside from sanctioning recent posts by each of you, I wanted to also openly say "thanks" for your individual contributions to the dialogue on this thread.  I found your comments and insights to be illuminating and fascinating.  They came at a most fitting time considering that as of late I have struggled a bit to maintain a proper perspective on my own personal happiness.  Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded by your discussion that not only am I the creator of the standards for my happiness, but that I am also the judge of these standards.  Allowing either one of these to be placed in the hands of anyone but myself is indeed unhealthy.

Matt




Post 17

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 10:52pmSanction this postReply
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Matthew,

Glad my catharsis was useful to you... It's a tough world out there, especially for people whose souls (please don't jump on me for that term, folks) cry out for objectivity and integrity.  I think we have to band together to support each other, and fight the tide of unrelenting shittiness.

Boy, listen to me; I'm starting to talk like a sailor.




Post 18

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 10:54pmSanction this postReply
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Irfan,

Okay, if that's how you wanna call it, you'll get no argument from me.  It's not like Moore was going to get a fruit basket from me for Christmas or anything.




Post 19

Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 10:54pmSanction this postReply
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Irfan,

Okay, if that's how you wanna call it, you'll get no argument from me.  It's not like Moore was going to get a fruit basket from me for Christmas or anything.




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