Movie review: Fahrenheit 11/9

The agendas were similar: reduce democracy, big tax breaks for the rich, remove services from the people, especially from the poor.

Fahrenheit 11 9.The family saw Fahrenheit 11/9 at the Spectrum Theater this month. I knew it was going to be heavily about the guy currently running the regime, but it was a lot more than that.

In fact, what filmmaker Michael Moore said about him early on was, as Moore noted, known or at least knowable. OK, there was one thing I was not aware of, involved Gwen Stefani. The filmmaker did confirm what I suspected about the motivation for the candidate’s campaign run.

Moore showed Michigan governor Rick Snyder, a Republican elected in 2010, as a prototype for the former Apprentice star. The agendas were similar: reduce democracy, big tax breaks for the rich, “remove services from the people, especially from the poor. There’s a racial element to it” as well, as seen painfully in the Flint water crisis that his administration created.

One of the members of my church who saw Fahrenheit 11/9 before I did, complained that Barack Obama came to Flint and did nothing. I disagree; he deflated people’s hopes, and in an unnecessary manner.

Even though I noted it in this blog at the time, listening to now-former CBS head honcho Les Moonves tout the great ratings the reality show guy was creating for the network was really revolting. Likewise that interview Matt Lauer did of the party’s presidential candidates in the summer of 2016; he was unrelenting about Hillary’s emails but offered up softballs to the Republican. Ditto Charlie Rose’s coverage. All three, not so incidentally, were ousted from their positions as sexual predators.

The news outlets, as my friend Dan noted, presented “him nonstop as an entertaining TV personality full of outrageous antics while suppressing mention of other candidates… that is, besides a coordinated campaign of negatives about Ms. Clinton as a sideshow.” The reality show host was able to “normalize” some outrageous behavior.

“Also, [Moore] convincingly demonstrates that Bernie Sanders actually won more than half a dozen other states in the Primary election, but” the use of the superdelegates undermined the will of the electorate. “For example, Mr. Sanders won all 55 counties in the West Virginia Primary…”

Can we stop this “calculated slide into fascism and chaos”? A stream of often young, frequently female candidates, give hope, though the pushback from establishment Democrats, embodied here by House party whip Steny Hoyer, makes one wonder.

I’ve seen a lot of Michael Moore films over the years. This one is less optimistic than most, but perhaps that’s the nature of the situation. If you like Moore’s work, you’ll probably appreciate – enjoy isn’t the right word – Fahrenheit 11/9. If you hate his documentaries, you’ll likely despise this movie.

Video review: Where To Invade Next

After the 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis, bankers were actually prosecuted.

The movie Where To Invade Next appeared briefly in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles at the end of 2015, but was booked for general release in February 2016. Unfortunately, Michael Moore, the writer/director/star, caught pneumonia around that time, forcing him to cancel activities to promote the film.

Then in May 2016, he emailed MoveOn members, offering them a copy of the video for a donation to the organization, and “tens of thousands… responded.” I was one of them.

The premise of the film is that Moore would “invade” particular countries, and “steal” their best ideas. In Italy, for instance, he interviewed well-paid workers with guaranteed vacation and paid parental leave.

France had delicious-looking school meals and frank sex education. Finland’s education policy, according to the Minister of Education, involved almost no homework and no standardized testing. In Slovenia, the President note that students, including those from other countries, can get a tuition-free, and therefore debt-free higher education.

The Germans have labor rights and a work–life balance, while engaging in an honest national history education about its past, especially regarding the Nazis. Portugal has a rational drug policy and has abolished the death penalty. Norway’s humane prison system applies even to the maximum-security facilities.

Tunisia touts women’s rights, including reproductive health, and women were very important in the drafting of a new constitution in 2014. In Iceland, where women have been in power, the world’s first democratically elected female president came about after a general strike by women.

Of course, the kicker is, in each of these cases, the countries had originally “stolen” the ideas from the United States. For instance, after the 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis, bankers were actually prosecuted. This came directly from the playbook of the United States after the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, and in stark contrast with how the US dealt with its subsequent fiscal disaster.

I’ve seen several of Michael Moore’s documentaries. Where To Invade Next is more fun, and far less preachy, than some of his recent films, as he shows what other countries’ choices look like compared with the American dream that seems so difficult to achieve. Yet it doesn’t paint those other countries as total utopias.

Certainly, some will find his examples superficial – I find them even more compelling as the movie progresses – but given the way many Americans know so little about the world outside their borders, this would probably be helpful primer. Not incidentally, there’s a bit about tearing down the Berlin Wall. People from all political stripes may find the film intriguing, a source of conversation even more relevant in light of recent political events in the United States.

August rambling #1: Jon Stewart, and Roz Chast

the root of all evil
Nuclear arsenals.

Thanks to Reliance on “Signature” Drone Strikes, US Military Doesn’t Know Who It’s Killing.

John Oliver: Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools. Plus: DC Statehood; stay for the song at the end.

Here are 7 things people who say they’re ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal’ don’t understand.

Senator Elizabeth Warren to the GOP: This is 2015! Also, Jeb Bush’s Grandfather Was A Founding Member Of Today’s Planned Parenthood.

FactChecking the GOP Debate.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Children’s illustrator Mary Engelbreit is losing fans because of her anti-racist art. “There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.”

Key & Peele: What if we were as crazy for teaching as we are for sports?

The Cop: Darren Wilson was not indicted for shooting Michael Brown. Many people question whether justice was done.

Is this true? 2015 is the year the old internet finally died.

Michael Moore talks about his new movie.

Dealing with Diversity: Awesome Kid Graphic Novels.

David Brickman reviews Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs at Norman Rockwell Museum.

Dan the Man writes about Her Eighth Triathlon. The Wife competes in what might be the last Pine Bush Triathlon, but she did not compete barefooted like some.
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Jaquandor’s tools of the writing trade.

1000 Candles, 1000 Cranes by Small Potatoes.

Jon Stewart Started Small, Became Voice Of A Generation, and Exit, Stage Left. Also, from the last episode: Uncensored – Three Different Kinds of Bulls**t, and Our Moment of Zen.

Bob Crane, radio legend.

Cannabis discovered in tobacco pipes found in William Shakespeare’s garden

After Frank Gifford died last weekend, someone wrote, “Many happy memories sitting on the couch with my dad watching Gifford and the New York Giants on a Sunday afternoon.” True of my dad and me as well. Later, I watched him co-host Monday Night Football.

SamuraiFrog’s Weird Al rankings 20-16. I missed this: Weird Al gets Whiplashed.

From Bill Wyman, (correction) NOT the bassist for the Rolling Stones, All 74 Led Zeppelin Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. And The ESQ&A: Keith Richards Explains Why Sgt. Pepper Was Rubbish.

One of the very first CDs I ever bought was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, but this commercial for Farxiga, a Type 2 diabetes medicine, is wrecking my enjoyment of the song Walk of Life.

An escalator for a Slinky.

Muppets: Sesame Street on HBO. Plus Harvey Kneeslapper and Jungle Boogie and Cookie Monster in “Jurassic Cookie.” 1974: Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog visit Johnny Carson’s show. The new Muppet TV show is a top pick for the fall, even though Kermit and Miss Piggy have split up. Not to mention a PBS special, An overview of the highlights of Muppet creator Jim Henson’s life and career, which premieres Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET. Check local listings.

K-Chuck Radio: Tony Burrows versus Joey Levine versus Ron Dante.

Dancing with the Renaissance Geek.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are being chased by Elmer Fudd and escape into paintings in a museum, from the 2003 movie Looney Tunes Back in Action.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

Arthur answers my questions about seeings things from the other side of the political and philosophical spectrum.

The near-twin is taking questions for Ask Gordon Anything through August 24.

I made Jacquandor’s brief trip ’round Blogistan, along with some other interesting pieces.

Dustbury notes The bigot on the front line.

Last Week at Trouble With Comics, plus this week’s edition.

Dustbury: Our fits grow ever hissier.