I went to Fahrenheit 9/11 in the theater back in 2004. At that time, it felt like most people were in favor of that dumb War in Iraq and having a dissenting opinion on the matter wasn’t advised. So going to a theater full of people who were mad about the war and were proud to show it ended up being a powerful experience. If you had doubts about how many people were against the war, the theater experience helped provide a solid visual to all the dissenters out there. We weren’t alone, we were all pissed, and we were not going to be quiet about it.
Having just watched Fahrenheit 11/9 in the theater, there are some obvious differences between the two. And some similarities.
First, the differences. In 2004 Michael Moore told me more things that were new. Before the instant breaking news provided by iPhone alerts and Twitter feeds, or the in-depth coverage by Vice News and John Oliver, Michael Moore’s deep dive was key because it was fresh. And the political podcast wasn’t as prevalent. So where else would the alternative viewpoint be found? Also at that time, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to the despair of war in the air. Going to the theater to see the film seemed just as constructive as anything else. There wasn’t a wave of new and exciting candidates at every level. Activism wasn’t everywhere. Knocking doors, signing postcards, calling voters, those things were there but didn’t seem to carry the importance they do today. Why go see a movie when you can go march with the candidate who is running on the issues you can fully support?
And then the similarities. The tone, the delivery, the wit, and the seriousness of the issues we all face. In this case, it happens to be not only about Trump, but also an American Dream that is slipping through the grasp of more and more people. And the ideals of America, the freedom and justice for all viewpoint we’ve never really had, well we’re in danger of that never being full realized. We are moving into a corporate dystopia of dog-eat-dog capitalism that sells a livable future only to those who can afford it. Want to drink clean water? Want to be safe from gun violence? Only if you can pay the premium price.
I’ve always been a fan of Michael Moore. Especially Bowling for Columbine, Roger & Me, and Sicko, all of those are amazing documentaries worthy of being watched at least once. When people tell me they just don’t like that Michael Moore guy, I usually think they don’t like laughing at power. Because that’s what he does. He makes you laugh at the absurdity of power and once that happens, you can see the kinks in the armor. And then you can come up with a plan of attack you can use to take with you out into the world. That’s why he’s important. That’s why he matters. Go see his latest, and then go back through the catalog. It’s definitely worth your time.