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Attila the Pun
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
 
Razer thin logic

Criticising Farenheit 9/11, or those that profess their undying admiration of it, may seem to be flogging a dead horse. A rather large, smelly horse, but a deceased one nonetheless.

However, the film has served another useful role as 'flypaper', bringing the whackos out, as well as encouraging nominally non-whackos to show their true colours.

Considering her work on JJJ, it would come as no surprise that Helen Razer would be an unadulterated fan of the Tubsters work. Nevertheless, the breathtaking leaps of logic and blatant confessions of disregard for the truth which she exhibits in her piece regarding the film is amazing.

She expresses mild surprise at:

"the growing number of leftist critics who find this ramshackle auteur both dangerous and distasteful."

Apparently leaning to the left means you must automatically take leave of all of your critical thinking skills. Whilst this may be true in many cases, I do not find it surprising that there are some who have retained their faculties. She refers to Christophers Hitchens demolition job on Moore as:

a widely cited piece from Microsoft Corp's website slate.com,

Does that mean I should have referred to this as "Helen Razer's article from Fairfax's 'newspaper' The Age"? How childish is the use of the Microsoft boogeyman?

Hitchens himself is referred to as a "soft-left, stylish celeb hack" - something that is referred to as a 'personal attack' when people criticise Moore I believe.

Regarding the film itself, Razer is happy to admit that it is a work of fiction, not a documentary:

"No one who sits through F9/11 could genuinely suppose for a moment that it presents a scrupulous and impartial expression of the truth. ... There is rarely an instant where we are unaware that we are watching a Moore translation of reality rather than reality itself."

This film repeatedly disobeys documentary convention with gags, down-home tropes and a gaudy rock'n'roll soundtrack.

We know that this document is The Truth According to Moore. We are aware that it's every bit as skewed as the six o'clock news.

and

The film's refusal to be a genuine documentary and its folksy partiality have landed it in the multiplexes of the Western world.

"refusal to be a genuine documentary" Don't you mean 'failure' to be a documentary?

"However, it is not just Moore's charming gall that has delighted audiences and appalled so many liberal critics. Hitchens and others have specifically disputed many of Moore's claims. One writer in this newspaper insisted that most of Moore's assertions "disintegrate on any contact with evidence".

It is his 'charming gall' that has appalled critics? I don't think so. It is precisely his 'refusal' to present facts in context, avoid lying through implication and generally present an honest viewpoint that has so appalled critics. Hitchens, as a documentary maker himself, was particularly scathing on this point.

While Moore does maintain the same fluid relationship with truth that any raconteur might is beyond dispute.

Moore himself would dispute this - he claims that everything in F9/11 is completely true.

What is astounding is the volume of this painstaking critique and the fact that it so often originates from those who might be predisposed to a Moore's Eye View of the world.

Here we have the most illuminating part of the article. Razer is 'astounded' that anybody who may broadly agree with Moore's politics and goals would critique his blatant deceit in furthering those goals. If we all agree on the end, surely we aren't going to criticise the means?

F9/11 is not a documentary. It is a gloriously rickety vehicle for Moore and his passions.

Right, we have pretty much established that Razer admits Moore has made a film full of lies and half truths, but she agrees with its aims. But then this:

That being said, many of its broad central contentions are difficult to dispute: George Bush is marginally less statesmanlike than Britney Spears; the urban poor are over-represented in the US military; the war in Iraq has been shamelessly sanitised for electronic media consumption.

So it isnt the truth, and isn't a documentary, but it is difficult to dispute its 'broad central contentions'? What a wonderful phrase. Knowing that taken individually, huge slabs of the film turn out to be completely untrue, but if we look at its 'broad' (i.e. ignore specifics, like individual facts) 'central' (i.e. all the blatant lies are not central) contentions, then they are difficult to dispute? riiiiight.

This bit is also sweet:

While his document is a polemic, it is not, in the strictest sense, a "lie".

How about in a 'broad, central' sense?

And now, one final swipe at a writer whose talent exceeds razers by such a margin as to embarassing:

He makes current events much more entertaining than most journalists could. Perhaps that's why Hitchens remains so miffed.

Yeah, or it could be that people who lie on behalf of people like Saddam Hussein (witness the F9/11 scenes of childhood bliss in Baghdad), really really 'miff' those that aren't blinded by partisan hatred.

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