Monday, July 26, 2004

Massive Retaliation

Fahrenheit 9/11 is not Michael Moore’s best film. The reasons for this can be found in the opening section of the film, dealing with the dubious circumstances of the 2000 election and the close ties between the Bush and Bin Laden families. Moore insufficiently explores both of these topics, and the conclusions he draws are therefore highly speculative at best. For example, although he does demonstrate some suspicious factors in the Florida recount, he fails to explain precisely why the Democrats were unwilling to more fully contest the decision.

Similarly, although Moore manages to establish the staggering level of contact between the Bush and Bin Laden families, is this really as damaging as he would have us believe? Moore attempts to place George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden close together by claiming that several members of the Bin Laden family attended the wedding of one of Osama’s sons in Afghanistan, despite the family claiming to have cut off all ties. Arab families are vast, and that probably counts double in the case of dynastic families such as the Bin Ladens, keeping track of all of your relatives and what they do must be a near impossible task.

Fahrenheit 9/11 becomes a much stronger piece of work when dealing with the Iraq war and the corporate scandals that surround Bush, because there is more evidence to work with, and so less need to resort to hearsay. Particularly interesting in this section were the clips of interviews with soldiers. Warfare has now gone postmodern: two tank crewmen discussed how they could link a CD player to the communications system of their tank and have a suitable soundtrack to combat. Here are two guys like me, who’ve grown up with Vietnam films where GI’s are pursued thorough the jungle by acid rock. In the 21st Century, you can make your reality like a film.

The later section also sees some of the best comedy of the film, which has always been one of Moore’s strong points. The absurdity of the "War on Terror" is demonstrated by the fact that it is illegal to take five books of matches onto an aircraft. You can only take four. Contrast this with the fact that a stretch of Pacific coastline is guarded by one man. And he’s part-time.

Overall, however, my impression of Fahrenheit 9/11 is one of a sprawling film which lacks the focus of, say, Bowling For Columbine. When Moore does land telling blows they are devastating, but the overall impact is lessened by the poor journalism that characterises other parts of his thesis. I do highly recommend the film though: not only is it the highest grossing documentary of all time, it may yet play an important part in the Presidential election. Fahrenheit 9/11 may not be Moore’s best work, but it could turn out to be his most important.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I Was A Zombie For The FBI

I'm writing this from Stockport Library, having just been interviewed for a temp office job with Stockport Council.  Basically, I get called in if someone goes on holiday or if there's so much admin to be done they need temps.

A government job.  Stephen O'Brien: G-Man.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Brighton Rocks

So, having gathered my thoughts on last weekend, here's the story.  I went to see Jen & Timo, as I promised on my "Things To Do" lsit.  A couple of days before I went, I found out that Emily & Dex are now also Brightonians (Hove, actually).
Brighton seems a nice place, especially in summer, but I do worry that one day soon the seagulls will rise up and take over.  Brighton Pier really is just a pile of rusted metal sticking out of the sea.
By way of a day trip, me and Jen went to Lewes, which is a nice place, in a sleepy kind of way.  It has Anne of Cleves' house (although she never actually stayed there), a ruined abby (which you aren't allowed near, unfortunately, as I fancied stalking around it in a Byronic manner), and the site of a medieval battle which I'm told was Very Important.
DVD introduced Jen & Timo to French cannibalism.  Emily & Dex are the only people I know who own a life-size Facehugger.
Right now I'm finding a place to live in Liverpool.  With broadband, hopefully.  Stockport Council may have work for me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Birthday Blog

Yes, this blog is one year old today! It's been an interesting year, taking in parties, drunkeness, medical records, Japanese fisherwomen getting intimate with squid, my impending mental collapse, Bronze Age warfare, socks, and the need for a wholesale slaughter of Europe's young men.

The weekend was spent in Brighton. A full report will follow.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Weapon Of Choice

A question that may tell you a lot about yourself: if you were to learn a martial art, which martial art would you learn?

I'd go for Krav Maga, the martial art of the Israeli Defense Force. Why? Because should I ever need to deploy a martial art, I want to deploy one created by an organisation which has no concept of ethics or a fair fight.

Last night found me watching the first episode of The Long Firm on BBC2. It's generally a bad idea to watch adaptions of books you like, and I was a bit disappointed with this. The plot was fair enough, and fairly faithful to the book, but the directrion was all wrong. This sort of story needs the sort of whip-crack juxtaposition of glamour and violence that Scorsese brought to Goodfellas. What we got was a very pedestrian, very BBC, costume-drama.

Another problem was the number of characters freely deploying the word "fuck", no matter what the situation or their 1960s social class was. I blame Guy Ritchie.

Monday, July 05, 2004

They'll Fix You. They Fix Everything.

Robocop was on TV again last night. You probably think you know this film - crap 80s actioner, with all that entails. Sorry, you're wrong, or thinking of the (admittedly Godawful) sequels. Robocop is that rarest of things, an action-satire which is actually quite sharp and slick. Perhaps worryingly, it's also hardly dated at all. Watch it again.

My TV recommendation for the week is BBC2's adaption of The Long Firm. If this is anything as good as the novel it'll be well worth seeing. A British ripost to The Shield at last?

And, of course, my congratulations to the Greeks for their biggest victory since Marathon...