Thursday, July 29, 2004

I keep this blog for you, my readers, but I also keep it for myself. It's supposed to be my diary of our madcap adventures across Europe, and usually it is. I try to keep it fairly clean, and I think I do a pretty good job of that, except for the occasional exploding bee penis.

I just returned from watching Fahrenheit 9/11 at our local cinema. As I sit down to type this, I don't have a clear plan for what I'm going to say, but I have a strange feeling that I'll venture out of the PG-rating area. For starters, I have an overwhelming urge to use a whole lot of really bad language--language that would make even Dick "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth" Cheney blush. So whether I say the dirty words or whether they're in sites that I might link to, trust me: They'll be there. If that offends you, close the window now and check back tomorrow when I hope to have returned to my usual light-hearted self.

First let me tell you a little about the technical aspects of seeing this film in German. Most films that play over here are dubbed into German. Fahrenheit 9/11 is an interesting mix. The narration is done in German, but all the primary source material is left undubbed and is subtitled in German. Except for scenes where hysterical Iraqis are screaming because their house has been bombed or their baby has been killed or their menfolk are hogtied on the floor of their living room--those scenes are done in what I presume is Arabic with the appropriate German subtitles. I would estimate that I understood word for word a little over half of the spoken German, and the other half of the time I had a pretty clear idea of what was going on.

I went to the 2:15 show with my friend Amy. We got our popcorn and Cokes and settled into our seats in an empty theater where we were eventually joined by 5 Germans. I had hoped for a bigger crowd for opening day so that I could gauge the overall audience reaction, but I guess mid-afternoon on a Thursday just isn't prime movie-watching time for most people.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably have a pretty good idea of what the movie is about. Basically, Bush stole the 2000 election, took a lot of vacation, read from "My Pet Goat" while the Trade Center towers burned, blah blah blah. Questionable business connections with the Arab world, to include the Taliban, yada yada yada. Declared war on Iraq, a country that was not involved in the September 11th attacks and doesn't appear to have any of those scary ol' weapons of mass destruction after all, and then declared "Mission Accomplished." Indeed the mission was accomplished if by "mission" he meant a clusterfuck of a quagmire that would leave hundreds more Americans and thousands more Iraqis dead and no sign of an exit strategy in sight.

I expected to cry at the sight of the dead Iraqi baby, and even had my packet of Kleenex at the ready. Surprisingly enough, that scene flew by before I had a chance to react. That's OK though. I've already cried over this child, and this child, and this child, and all 3 of these children, even the one who isn't dead because, good God, how awful must it be to witness a scene like that?

What I wasn't prepared for was my reaction to the parts featuring injured and dead American soldiers. The footage of soldiers slicing uniforms off of their wounded and hysterically screaming comrades hit a little too close to home for me. All I could do was sob as a series of scenes took the American death toll higher, higher, higher. I lost it again when I saw all the armless and legless GIs and yet again in later scenes where a mother shares her anguish over the loss of her son in Iraq.

It will surprise no one to learn that Moore alternates between painting Bush as evil, corrupt, and just plain ol' squeal-like-a-pig stupid. Spliced in among all of the scenes dealing with the war is footage of him with his simpering smirk, making witty remarks like "Some people call you the elite. I call you my base," delivered to a room full of tuxedos.

Moore did an exceptional job of choosing contemporary music to accompany certain scenes. I enjoyed the montage of Bush shaking Saudi hands and kissing bin Laden butts to the tune of REM's "Shiny, Happy People." My favorite though was the image of the commander in thief with a slightly dazed expression on his face, wearing that ridiculous flight suit, which was so perfectly suited to the theme from the old TV show "Greatest American Hero":

Look at what's happened to me,
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world,
It should've been somebody else.

Believe it or not,
I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be?
Believe it or not it's just me.

I love that, especially the part about "it should have been somebody else." Damn straight it should have!

My distaste for Bush is nothing new. It dates back to when I had the misfortune to witness the miracle of Texas education firsthand. On that point alone, Bush would have lost my vote, even if he had single-handedly managed to transform Hussein and bin Laden into a pair of those bedroom slippers with heads on the toes. My desire for regime change has grown exponentially over the past year, and I thought it had reached its peak when my own husband deployed for his turn in the sandbox.

I left the theater this afternoon though filled with more resolve than ever that things need to change. In fact, I just got done sending my second contribution to the Kerry campaign.

I am frustrated beyond belief by people who don't like Bush but who plan on abstaining from this election or voting for some obscure third-party candidate. I appreciate the point of view of Alan Blevins, keeper of the site John Kerry Is A Douche Bag But I'm Voting For Him Anyway. John Kerry is our country's best chance to wrench control away from Dubya and his fellow horsemen. Electing him may not fix every evil in the world, but it's the best shot we've got of stopping the evil that has raged out of control under the current administration.

A vote for anybody but Kerry (or no vote at all) is a vote for the status quo. The status quo sucks.

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