Re: The Movie


It's interesting that you didn't offer any sort of tu quoque fingerpointing in trying to justify Moore's propaganda. I didn't think Moore was any further across the line of decency than, say, Fox News, large bits of AM radio, and so on. I'm not sure how comforting this should be. Maybe the best we can hope for is some equivalent to the (recently broken) truce on ethics violations charges in the House, and that requires a demonstration that the other side can play the same tricks.

Second point: what exactly did you find so dishonest about Moore? If it's the Saudi conspiracy stuff, my suspicion is that this is the least effective part of the film. If, on the other hand, you thought, as I did, that the Lila Lipscomb sections were a powerful if effective cheap shot, that's a different story, because that's where the power is, I think. (Cheap because any war, just or not, will produce horrible stories, grieving loved ones, and so on, and this fact does not, by itself, rule out the possibility of a just war; and because her son's death might have been, in some grand sense, worth the objective, if he died as part of an effort to secure a free and just Iraq.)

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-29-04 2:48 PM
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Two bits of dishonesty that come to mind: 1) Baghdad before the bombing as idyllic and 2) pretending that congressmen can sign up their children for the armed forces. I didn't bother with a justification by equivalence because I'm really most interested in the question of rabble-rousing as such, and it's only an interesting question when the end is sympathetic.

I thought the Lipscomb stuff was fair. First, because it's worth showing a mother's grief in war, as such. Second, because there's enough of an argument in the movie that the war was fought on false or flimsy pretenses that showing the war's effects is relevant. In fact, I'm tempted to say that showing a mother's grief is always relevant to war debates, because it raises the bar for going to war to an appropriate level.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-29-04 3:49 PM
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A good post by Kevin Drum.

Agreed on (1). (That's why I mentioned Saddam in the earlier post-- it seems to me that whether or not this adventure is justifiable depends, in part, on how awful life in Iraq was before the war. The kites-n-kids schtick suggests-- though, of course, it doesn't say-- that it was all right, and so it's problematic.) I'm not so sure about (2). The question itself is nonsense (response: "because I can't sign up anyone but myself, foo'") but the underlying point, that people in congress are, in effect, gambling with others' loved ones, not their own, is important. The hounding itself is meant as a joke, one that I thought worked pretty well. (On the other hand, I've hated the Moore "why won't you answer my questions" routine every other time I've seen it.)

The Lipscomb stuff I'm less happy with, only because it seemed to me at the time that the film treated her response as a conversation-stopper, instead of one consideration among many.

Posted by: fl | Link to this comment | 06-29-04 4:53 PM
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from above:

he hates Bush and so do I


You are either young, a watermelon (red on the outside-green to the core), or a misguided homosexual.

I'm guessing 1 and 3.

Hatred of W is stupid.

The radical left hatred of W goes so far beyond the radical right hatred of Clinton, (i.e. the President and the one in charge) that it is beyond odd.

I saw Howard Dean 10 minutes ago talking about creating jobs, reducing deficits and something.

Government always messes that stuff up, always.

Dean-green 'crats would reduce the deficit by raising taxes--ie kill jobs.

Green-Deans would create jobs by spending more Fed money on people/agencies who can never be fired or go out of business.

Enron went out of business. Government jobs and agencies are the closest thing to living forever most of us will ever know--Reagan.

Current democrats are socialists and communists (watermelons). Bush, the neo-con, is certainly way too left, but he is the best democrat running....the only one running.

This is not just a parody site, it's a British parody-hooligan site.

BJ University? Right....

Posted by: abc123 | Link to this comment | 06-29-04 6:09 PM
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Hey abc123, could you go over that clever "watermelon" thing one more time? I didn't quite understand it the first 978 times you used it on this site.

Posted by: Mitch Mills | Link to this comment | 06-29-04 6:45 PM
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I've only been here a couple of weeks. Seems I got misdirected.

Thanks for the chance to explain.

Two major groups hate W and America.

1. Watermelons, that would be greens and socialists

(that is the green on the outside and red to the core part).

2. David Duke-Pat Buchanan Paleolith 'conservatives'.

Both above bitch and whine about neocons.

W is a Republican neocon, JFK was a Democrat neocon.

Democrats have embraced their KKK side (Hollings, Dean etc).

Republicans told their wingnuts that the tent was full.

Watermelon Democrats like Dean, Nader, Kerry, Gore, Billary call 'W' a right winger.

Lieberman should be endorsing W.

Prior to 911 (two years) I knew W was an asshole put in place by big powers for their own interests.

A few months before 911 I remember China taking hostage US military personnal. China was odd, W was weak, in a Carter way.

Then there was the fake 'human rights' conference' in S Africa.

The UN makes Carter and Clinton seem 'good'. W is the stupid, dumb unworthy liar????

The UN BS makes Sudan, China the DNC and DC seem 'progressive'. They are all in agreement on the real evil------> W.

Fucking stupid.

After 911, W has been totally on the ball and on the mark. In hindsite the 'Mooreons' criticize.

The US has done well by any standard of history.


Don't feed the trolls Mitch.

With that said, spend a day here:


...and I'll give you a pretty sticker.

I had meant to talk about This:;jsessionid=0AWDXEXSPOHC2CRBAE0CFFA?type=topNews&storyID=5541266

but got distracted....

"France has blocked a U.S. bid to deploy NATO's new strike force to safeguard Afghanistan's elections..."


Posted by: abc123 | Link to this comment | 06-29-04 7:11 PM
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The funny part is that I had never really understood the watermelon thing, because I kept thinking that 'red' meant angry. I'd forgotten that once, long ago, people used that color for communists. How quaint.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-29-04 9:41 PM
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abc, I'm still waiting for you to confirm or deny your alternate identity.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-04 9:44 AM
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Oh, so "watermelon" means they're green on the outside and red to the core! I totally didn't get that the first 978 times you explained it. Thanks anciano, I mean abc123, you're so awfully helpful!

Posted by: Mitch Mills | Link to this comment | 06-30-04 11:52 AM
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"If the mullahs in Iran could be overthrown with a crafty and utterly false propaganda campaign, would I object? No, I don't think so."

It didn't really work out so well, in the long run, in 1953, did it?

"In principle, I don't see a good objection to this: surely some governments are so bad that rousing the rabble with propaganda is a small price to pay for combating them."

I don't think I'd go so far as to say it could never be justified. But I think in any case where there is something resembling a genuine democracy, the price is never small, but always high.

"But I'm profoundly uncomfortable surrendering the insistence on an honest discourse."

Don't surrender. The damage done by surrendering is profound. Remember Sir Thomas More's famous line? (As channeled by Robert Bolt, anyway.)

"This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast. Man's laws, not God's. And if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"

If we aid and abet in further lowering the citizenry's rejection of lying, demagoguery, and distortion, what are we left with, eventually? What will prevent these tools from ultimately overwhelming us, as well, at a later time? And why, then, would we still be the good guys?

Obligatory staring into the abyss reference here. Yes, maybe we've not many trees left, maybe only, har har, shrubs, but I don't think we're actually all that badly destroyed quite yet, in the long light of history. I think we still have a lot to lose, in more ways than one, by condoning dishonest argument.

If nothing else, what of those who discern the falsity? Does that really win votes, in the long run?

Was, say, Joe McCarthy justified because, in fact, there was a real Communist menace?

Who wants to have to answer, ultimately, the question "have you no shame? At long last, have you no shame?"

Will the response "the other guy did it first" be sufficient answer?

Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 06-30-04 3:30 PM
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Linked to ya here.

Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 07- 1-04 1:59 PM
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