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Term paper on Fahrenheit 9/11 A Review

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Term paper on Fahrenheit 9/11 A Review

Post  PapersQueen on Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:31 am

Fahrenheit 9/11 is HBO documentary-maker and American activist Michael Moore’s most discussed documentary, after his controversial classic documentary Bowling for Columbine. If the American fear psychosis was subjected to satirical analysis in Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 is his provocative analysis of the war- wrecked administration of President George W. Bush. The movie received a rather critical reception from the American media, yet they insist that ‘Moore is a “credit to the republic” for having made the film.’ [ Khawaja, 2004 ] More importantly Fahrenheit 9/11 had won Palme d’Or honors at 2004 Cannes, and remains to be discussed seriously in political and film circles alike. The paper attempts to present a review of the documentary, with a view of understanding the controversy lagging the film.

Though the movie is criticized as lacking in objectivity and a definite point of view, Moore definitely has a political agenda- encouraging public debate and discourse on the events of 9/11 and way Bush Administration addressed the most horrifying assault on American community. Moore craftily presents the premise of his movie and then, with a challenging array of facts and figures, proceeds to establish his point quite successfully. While Moore is the narrator of the documentary, at times appearing in the movie, a considerable part of the movie presents news footage featuring President George Bush.

The title of the film has a symbolic significance – it signifies “Fahrenheit 451,’ the temperature at which paper burns, and bears semblance to the play by the same name based on Ray Bradbury’s novel, which presents life in a future totalitarian state in which reading and independent thoughts are proscribed. [Clinton, 2004] Moore’s outlook is apparent in the documentary – he considers that the American administration is today forcing its policies, which are often obscure and biased, on the Americans and the world, unlike ever before in history, with little regard for truth and the value of lives. He cautions the American public that administration continues to influence public opinions by falsifying truths, offering little venue for open discussions and debates to evaluate the policies and approaches.

With a characteristic satire in tone and approach, Moore blames the Bush Presidency for his Saudi connection and amassing of wealth, the corporate corruption, the political bias towards Osama Bin Laden’s family and the Saudi emigrants following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 attack, the unnecessary war with Iraq, the irrational and futile deaths and killings. Moore goes a bit further to present the ineptness and laziness of President Bush – he claims that the President Bush was on vacation 42 percent of the time during his first several months in office. The documentary censures Bush for holding himself inside a Florida classroom for full seven minutes on 9/11/2001 morning, when he was informed that the country was under terrorist attack. [Moore, 2004]

The film shoots Bush is in the middle of a golf game when he gives an apparently off the cuff news conference “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers,” he says. “Now watch this drive.” [Moore, 2004] He then proceeds to step back and hit the golf ball. – Moore incites the readers to reflect and assess Bush’s seriousness in addressing the greatest fear- the fear of terrorist attack—afflicting American minds today. With impending Presidential elections in the United States, the political agenda of the liberal activist, as Moore would like to call himself, is more than evident.

While the correctness and appropriateness of these policies and approaches have been challenged and debated, the truth as exposed to the world today makes Moore’s claims plausible. The ineptness of Bush Administration in dealing with terrorism, the failure of the administration to track down the real perpetrators of terror, the false allegations made on Iraq towards misleading the world to justify the American war has been exposed and criticized by international and national political analysts.

Moore also presents the change in American mindset, the expansion of which apparently seems to be his very object of making the documentary, as he films the powerful sequences of Lila Lipscomb, a resident of Moore's hometown of Flint, Michigan. When Moore first interviews her, her son is fighting in Iraq and she is a firm defender of the war and of Bush's policies. However as her son is killed in the war, her views are transformed, as she becomes resolutely anti-Bush and anti-war. These sequences definitely present a point of view, with a view of transforming the American minds so that the political agenda of the documentary – ousting the Bush Administration – is accomplished.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is Moore’s way of criticizing the Bush Presidency and Administration in dealing with such serious issues as terrorism and war, staking many lives and the future of nations involved. While he honors the American soldiers and the victims of 9/11 attacks, he strongly condemns the Bush Administration for the failure in addressing terrorism and also for the irrationality of war in Iraq.


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