Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Fahrenheit 11/9

                      Stupid Politician Tricks

                                      Review by Ken Burke

                              Fahrenheit 11/9 (Michael Moore)
 In my last posting (9/20/2018) I noted I might not be able to get a review online this week because my marvelous wife, Nina, and I would be occupied last weekend with other events (including her 50th high-school-reunion, most enjoyable for both of us; she has a lot of friendly, personable classmates, even though we all know that who we were 50 years ago isn’t necessarily what we’ve evolved into today), but as things worked out we did have time to see one film so we choose Moore’s latest attack on the milieu of Trump, especially within our context of the ongoing controversies over the evolving situation about the Supreme Court confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh (someday we may see a Moore film about this as well [we'll soon know more about how the Judge's evolved over the years])—along with the laughable (for the wrong reasons) speech to the U.N. by “Agent Orange” (as Spike Lee calls the Prez)—rather than taking a break from this daily trauma (although cocktails with dinner did help soften it all a bit); in truth, something escapist we’d have really been interested in (none we haven’t seen, though, with A Simple Favor [Paul Feig; our review in that September 20, 2018 posting] highly recommended) or the likely-appealing-content of another documentary, Love, Gilda (Lisa Dapolito [hope to see, review it soon]) about the talented, funny Gilda Radner’s life and career (cut short by cancer) would have been a nice break from all-Trump-all-the-time in our news viewing/reading, but logistics offered … 11/9 as our best choice (also useful to watch, given the manner of how the disparate aspects of this film interact with each other, even if not fully successfully), so back in the old “Tunnel of Hate” we went.

“Executive Summary” (no spoilers): Given this is a documentary based on political situations of the past couple of years there’s not much I could give away so I’ll see what I might need to hold back on that could be considered spoilers.  Moore’s focus this time around is on the cluster of reasons Donald Trump was able to shockingly win the Presidency in 2016 (thus, the title refers to the sense of hangover-aftermath of voting day, although it’s also intended to evoke Moore’s biggest success so far, Fahrenheit 9/11, which deals with the vicious terrorist attacks on the U.S. in 2001, leading to extensive American military action in the Mideast which Moore argued were ultimately useless, destructive responses—spurred by the Bush family’s financial connections with the Saudi Arabian government—especially the invasion of Iraq*), which backtracks through the campaign cycle including constant media coverage of Trump, simultaneously providing widespread free exposure for him, rising ratings for news networks.  Moore then seques into the terrible situation in his hometown of Flint, MI where a new source of drinking water contained dangerous levels of lead, yet state officials refused to admit/fix the situation until news coverage of this crisis forced some action.  Moore continues throughout his film to shift between harsh criticism of Trump and ongoing response to the problems in Flint, offering some blasts at Democratic mainstreamers—including President Obama—as well, before closing on episodes of hope including the rise of progressive candidates for the upcoming 2018 elections and the surge of young voices into the national dialogue, especially students impacted by killings at their campus in Parkland, FL.  Normally, when I explore docs (what this film is, given its intended partisan point of view, which docs have always been, despite misconceptions they’re supposed to be objective news reports) I abandon my usual review structure (What Happens, etc.) because it’s often difficult to force the wide-ranging-points-of-view comprising these cinematic structures into chronological wrap-ups of the content and impact; however, … 11/9’s linear enough in its presentation of events of recent years that I think my usual approach might work this time so I’ll give it a try.  Any comments (in the reply box at the very end of this posting), supportive or not, on that decision will be most welcome.

*Both of Moore's documentary titles are inspired by Ray Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)—adapted to a (dismissed then, now seen as) successful 1966 film (François Truffaut), a not-so-successful 2018 one (Ramin Bahrani)—a Big Brother-type futuristic sci-fi fiction where a repressive government burns books (the title referring to the degree of heat it take for paper to ignite) where members of the rebellious opposition keep the books’ content alive by memorizing/reciting them.

Here’s the trailer:  (Use the full screen button in the image’s lower right to enlarge it; activate that same button on the full screen’s lower right or your “esc” keyboard key to return to normal size.)

If you can abide plot spoilers read on, but as this blog’s intended for those who’ve seen the film—or want to save some bucks—to help any of you who want to learn more details yet avoid important plot-reveals I’ll identify any give-away sentences/sentence-clusters like this: 
⇒The first and last words will be noted with arrows and red.⇐ OK, now continue on if you prefer.

(Sorry about the quality of this image but it's apparently shot off of a broadcast recording.)
What Happens: Michael Moore’s known for packing his documentary films with facts, opinions, relevant images, satirical images, graphics, and whatever else may come to mind so even if you’re not always in agreement with his specific positions or unimpressed by what you see at one moment there’ll be plenty more coming soon that might (unless you despise him) be more embraceable (like the old Laugh-In [NBC 1967-1973] or Hee Haw [CBS 1669-1971, syndication 1971-1993, TNN 1996-1997] TV series throwing jokes at viewers at a rapid pace so you wouldn’t have time to fuss over something not working too well).  With that in mind, forgive me if I miss anything significant in this synopsis, but if you don’t see something in the review that would get you riled up when watching the film (even if it’s total opposition to what’s presented) just flip the cable channels among FOX, CNN, and MSNBC: you’re sure to find something like what’s going on here to disgust you from one side of our political spectrum to the other.  We start with Moore’s provocative question (he provides a lot of voiceover-narration) about the results of the 2016 Presidential election where the polls predicted a Hilary Clinton victory but, despite losing the popular vote, Donald Trump triumphed in the Electoral College (an outcome Moore had warned was poised to happen earlier in 2016): “How the fuck did this happen?”  Moore contends Trump never intended to be President, he just decided to run in 2015 because NBC was paying Gwen Stefani more to be on The Voice than him on The Apprentice, so this was all just a ploy to raise his public profile, then increase his salary (I guess some billionaires never truly have enough).  Despite Trump’s crude remarks at campaign rallies and candidates’ debates, his notorious “birther” challenges to President Obama’s status as a legitimate American, questionable photos and comments about his attraction to daughter Ivanka, his infamous Access Hollywood audio about celebrities such as himself being able to grope women, his obvious admiration for foreign dictators, surprisingly his popularity continued to grow—as Moore charges—through constant mainstream media coverage resulting in a win-win because of the concurrent rise in their ratings points and advertising dollars.  Moore even holds himself culpable during this time for appearing with Trump on a Roseanne Barr talk show (shown above), going easy on him in deference to his friendship with the host, as well as another appearance with Steve Bannon where he again chose to tread lightly talking with someone he completely despised.

 Despite my claim above that … 11/9 is basically chronologically-linear, thus easy to follow in summary, I need to modify that by noting there are essentially 2 timelines here which are intended to reinforce each other but largely concern separate events (some disagree), with the second set taking us back to 2014 Flint, MI (Moore’s hometown) where the majority Black population became burdened with dangerous levels of lead-contamination in their drinking water because Gov. Rick Snyder approved a deal to construct a new pipeline to bring water from Lake Huron to Flint (even though an existing pipeline already accomplished this) but during construction water would have to come from the Flint River which resulted in deadly levels of metal in the water supply from ancient pipes (a problem still not fully resolved, with Flint residents continuing to be counseled to use bottled or filtered water until at least 2020).  Despite active protests from Flint citizens the only change Snyder allowed by 2014 for a cleaner water source was for a GM plant because the contaminated water was causing damage to the cars being produced there.  From here Moore shifts back to Trump and his victory, noting how various polls show a general liberal acceptance of social issues in the U.S. although Republican control of states’ voting precincts can often result in a GOP triumph in the Electoral College, especially—in Moore’s opinion—because Democrats, starting with President Bill Clinton, have compromised too much with D.C. Republicans even as the Democratic establishment in 2016 kept favoring Hilary Clinton over Bernie Sanders (Moore cites as an example how Sanders won the Democrats’ primaries in all but 1 of West Virginia’s counties yet Clinton got the state’s votes at the national convention because of the commanding impact of Super Delegates [party honchos, elected officials, etc.], a situation repeated in other states), as even the supposedly-liberal New York Times cast doubt on the viability of Bernie’s campaign, with attitudes of not bothering to choose the “lesser of 2 evils” in 2016 leading to about 100 million eligible voters skipping the election, further helping Trump in the process as many desperate people in Rust-Belt states felt mainstream Democrats and Republicans had become too beholden to huge corporate donors with diminishing interest in the working class, along with the parallel diminishing-labor-union-impact, so these voters turned instead to Trump’s boasts about economic turnaround.

 Back to the Flint water crisis, Moore tries a couple of attention-getting tactics—he brings a tanker truck full of Flint water to spray into the gated driveway of the Governor’s mansion, attempts to march into the state capitol for a citizen’s arrest of Snyder—but neither of these actions accomplish much except for looking dramatic on camera.  By 2016 enough news coverage of the atrocious situation in Flint (including deaths linked to waterborne Legionnaires’ disease) finally brings action, including a visit from President Obama who surprises everyone at a couple of events by drinking a glass of the local water, seemingly undercutting the general concern about its safety.*  Then, according to Moore, on June 25 of that year Obama ordered some Army war games in Flint, with little awareness by the local population, so abandoned buildings were blown up, creating a huge disturbance in a city already swamped with adversity.  Trump later visited Flint, noting in response to the “storm” brewing in U.S. society, “I am the storm!”  Moore “trumps” Trump on such a statement by using Trump’s voice from a speech with footage of Adolf Hitler speaking to the 1934 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg from the famous German (equally-blatant-propaganda) documentary, Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935), a seemingly-outrageous anti-Trump ploy but somewhat defended by a couple of professors (one from Yale) who note, along with Moore’s statements, disturbing parallels between Trump ideology, attitudes, and actions (with support from his loyalists, both in Congress and around the country) and those of the Nazis in their rise, then possession of power in Europe during the 1930s-‘40s era (more Triumph … footage accompanies what’s being said here).  Moore shifts to hope for the future, both in the upcoming elections and beyond with some focus on progressive candidates such as young Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx as well as outspoken students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, active advocates for gun control after the horrible shootings on their campus in February, 2018.  Just to make sure we don’t feel too placidly optimistic, though, Moore also includes toward the end of his film footage from the mistaken missile alert in Hawaii in January, 2018 when tensions were running high about a North Korean nuclear attack (there was even a notice about this on the door into our theater, assuring patrons the extended dark screen and sirens are part of the film, not a current crisis interrupting it).  Moore clearly feels President Trump is an ongoing danger to this country (probably the rest of the world as well), actively hoping the content of his film will encourage a large voter turnout this November leading to “turning out” many current officeholders supportive of Trump's ongoing takeover of politics, news cycles, national dialogue.⇐

*If you want to explore a lot more about the water situation in Flint, I'll suggest this massive information source, extensively documented, even if normally you're a bit wary of Wikipedia posts.

So What? As noted in cited articles connected to the first paragraph of the section just below, Michael Moore’s become regularly accused of “preaching to the choir” since the huge success (his biggest so far) of Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 ($222 million worldwide, highest-grossing-doc of all time) so his revenues have continued to fall far short of such enormous success over a decade ago with a sense he doesn’t care enough about finding strategies to reach out to potential audiences who’d normally not even consider seeing one of this cinematic editorials.  Certainly, if you’re a Trump supporter (if so, I congratulate you for reading this far into this review; just so you know for future reference, though, I generally agree with Moore’s politics so don’t be surprised—offended’s OK, just don’t be surprised also—with the kind of leftist commentary you’ll find suffused throughout my contributions to Film Reviews from Two Guys in the Dark) you’d see lots to be angered by in Fahrenheit 11/9, probably the ultimate being the direct connotations about Trump and Hitler.  (It’s not an original idea with Moore, though, either in political commentary or cinematic appearance: regarding politics you can find some support for the parallels along with warnings not to get too invested in such comparisons; in the world of film one obvious use of such a tactic is in Crimes and Misdemeanors [Woody Allen, 1989] where Allen’s character Clifford Stern, a struggling documentarian, is hired by his egotistical-yet-successful-TV-producer/brother-in-law, Lester [Alan Alda], to make a biography of him so Cliff “enhances” Lester’s voice with images of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini—of course, this context is one of humorous fiction* rather than serious commentary on the U.S. President.)  As noted above, however, Democrats don’t get off easy in this doc-diatribe either, with the establishment Dems behind Hilary in 2016 seen as thugs probably pushing a good many Sanders supporters either toward Green Party nominee Jill Stein or non-voting (which roughly amounted to about the same result, as Stein received only about 1% of the national turnout) while Obama’s water-drinking-episodes in Flint seemed to horrify his local supporters (and Moore) by implying the stuff was safe even if he intended  this as a statement of shared suffering (how Nina interprets his actions, although I tend to agree with Moore it too easily reads as repudiating what the Flint protesters were struggling to overcome with their state officials).

*Allen’s magnificent film (easily worth 5 stars) contains its own serious side in a parallel story of infidelity, murder, moral consequences with characters played by Martin Landau, Anjelica Huston, Jerry Orbach, and Sam Waterston.  There’s also a stirring subplot involving a suicidal rabbi, whose wise philosophical advice brings some grace to the darker proceedings of this entangled narrative.

 Much as I agree with Moore’s far-left-politics, I find I must also agree with those who criticize this film for being too scattershot in its targets, too unwieldy in its structure if the ultimate goal is to encourage activism at the ballot box this November, chasing as many of the Trump-eters out of office as possible.  He’s certainly blatant enough in his condemnation of all that Trump stands for (while laying some groundwork for other anti-Trumpers to better understand why there was such significant support for this unlikely winner in 2016, with enough of those factors lingering today to prevent any easy policy reversals—exemplified this week by the continued GOP drumbeat for getting Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court as quickly as possible, concomitantly ridiculing the growing sexual accusations against him as if a [White, conservative, Christian] man’s denial is all there is to the situation [just like Putin’s denials of Russian interference in the 2016 elections—oddly not noted by Moore, but maybe he just ran out of time given all his focus on the Flint water debacle] no matter what these “confused” women are attempting with their “smears”), but for me the occasional shifts to Flint (along with footage of teacher strikes and other issues demonstrating the current crumbling of how we’re not making “America Great Again”) become more distracting than reinforcing of a central thesis.  Nina disagrees with me, finding this film to be coherently-consistent in its condemnation of corruption among elected officials, showing disorderly-conduct at both the state and national levels, all part of a rotten picture of a society in turmoil.  I can understand that interpretation, but especially for the benefit of those fence-sitters Moore’s trying to convince, then activate I think there could be more blatant-narration-connections among these various segments, the kind of commentary Moore’s easily ready to provide as he lays out points of information within his different storylines but seems to not feel are as necessary for an audience to weave all this together.  Ultimately, among those of us who accept the purposes—along with many of the elements—of this doc, I’d say Nina’s more in line with the solid support offered by those at Rotten Tomatoes while I’m a bit more with the somewhat-reserved-responses at Metacritic (specifics on both just below; more details on both in the Related Links section of this posting much farther down).  Either way, we agree Moore offers a lot of provocative, compelling, ultimately useful factual commentary in this film, which deserves a much larger audience than it’s likely to get.

Michael Moore on his way to (unsuccessfully) perform a citizen's arrest on Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Bottom Line Final Comments: If you wanted to release a movie destined to pack in audiences last weekend your choice should have been The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Eli Roth), a toned-down-horror-thriller (PG) which raked in a solid $35.7 million worldwide ($26.8 million domestically [U.S.-Canada]—almost covering its $42 million budget in less than a week—playing in an abundant 3,592 domestic theaters) rather than Fahrenheit 11/9 which, while it came in at #8 for northern North America box-office-receipts still just barely scared up $3 million in sales despite being available in 1,719 venues, so Michael Moore’s intended impact with this election-season-dismissal of everything President Trump stands for/identifies with hasn’t caught fire with audiences yet (here’s an article exploring reasons for that, focused on audience-Trump-fatigue, especially when this type of attack is so available on cable news—or countered by the pro-Trump-cheerleading at Fox News; here’s another article suggesting ways in which Moore could change his approach to more effectively get his messages across in the future), although critics have been notably more supportive, even the ones who find his structure here to be too diffuse, his intentions too familiar to past Moore complaints about fundamental problems in capitalist society (those surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes are 78% positive with their reviews, although the usually-less-embracing folks at Metacritic offer a notably lower 69% average score).  I realize there normally aren’t a lot of people who want to spend their entertainment money on highly-politicized-content just as I know some of Moore’s tactics (especially the Hitler references) won’t be acceptable at all to those opposed to his ideology, but, despite my reservations about how well all of this ties together in the current film, I do think Moore’s offered a lot of valid arguments here about how self-serving-politicians can do great harm to their constituents—especially those who’ll doggedly-continue to trust their elected-favorites no matter how poorly promises turn into reality—which I wish those who don’t normally agree with Moore would put aside their automatic dismissals to at least be exposed to objective survey info that might likely surprise them.  (Although I’ll admit such open-mindedness isn’t easy when your own cherished beliefs are challenged; Nina’s much better at sampling how Fox News is covering whatever’s going on just to try to understand their perspective; I try too but about 10 min. is all I can take, whereas Trump supporters would have to pay for, then watch almost 2 hrs. of … 11/9 to find the few tidbits they might consider rethinking, so I agree Moore’s always going to have a difficult time broadening his audience in our current hostile clash of demographics unless he can come up with something so irrefutable in basic content almost everyone’s compelled to listen.)

 Given (just as with choosing to watch Michael Moore's films or not) you aren't compelled to read everything (anything?) I write (although I appreciate everyone who does, even if you disagree with my evaluations), I won’t drag this out any further because by now I think you’re pretty clear on what Michael Moore’s about in Fahrenheit 11/9, what I find acceptable or questionable about it, and what interest it may have for you.  Therefore, I’ll move toward an extended closure here with my usual-wrap-up-tactic of a Musical Metaphor to finalize my perspective on what’s just been reviewed but from the insights offered from an example of the insightful aural arts.  In this case, I’d say Moore’s attempts to challenge authority figures in our fragmented 20-teens society (that’s about centuries, not adolescents, you know) with fierce tactics is just too reminiscent of what Bob Dylan was doing during his 1960s protest days for me to choose anything else but “Ballad of a Thin Man” (from his 1965 Highway 61 Revisited album) which you can find put into an intriguing visual context at, a powerful clip* from I’m Not There (Todd Haynes, 2007) where Dylan-avatar Jude Quinn (Cate Blanchett) goes after muckraking journalist Keenan Jones (Bruce Greenwood), challenging this self-assured-tastemaker “Because something is happening here But you don’t know what it is Do you, Mister Jones?” just as Moore ideally wants his audience (especially those hardest to convince) to not “be like a camel and then you frown You put your eyes in your pocket And your nose on the ground,” in order to not be among those characterized by “There ought to be a law Against you comin’ around You should be made to wear earphones [to understand “what’s happening here,” to be found in song lyrics and screen images].”  Of course, because the song in this movie scene’s lip-synched by Blanchett but sung by Stephen Maikmus and the Million Dollar Bashers, you might prefer a live performance by Dylan from 1966 (atrocious video quality but the audio’s fine [just a little muted for my preference]).

*As an example of how little control I have over elements of these reviews (try as I might to massage them into shape), this clip replaces another one that's already been blocked less than 3 days after I posted it; however, this version has the additional enhancement of Spanish subtitles so you can continue working on your bilingually while watching (at least until this one disappears too).
  Further, in that I’m giving you just one review this week (instead of my  usual attempt at 2 or more) I’m going to enhance the Musical Metaphor offerings with a couple of others—stretching the point as they may be, but that’s in keeping with Moore’s tactics—by giving you a couple of marvelous-montage-scenes from 2 of my favorite films, The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) and The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967) that also relate to the allusional-tactics of Fahrenheit 11/9.  Admittedly, the only true music in this first clip is the church organ in the baptismal segment of this interaction between the sacrament being administered to Michael Corleone’s nephew, Michael Rizzi (the baby’s actually Sofia Coppola), and the assassination of the other Five Families Mafia heads (along with Las Vegas kingpin Moe Greene), but we’re dealing with metaphors here so bear with me as I offer this as a mediation (punctuated by the “music” of gunfire) on a collision-montage of heavenly vs. earthly ideals with temporal power winning out over spiritual intentions in this case, reminiscent of how Moore shows us democratic ideals being undercut by crass political objectives.  In my second clip we’re back to pointed, fully-musical commentary as the Simon and Garfunkel songs “The Sound of Silence” and “April Come She Will” (from The Graduate soundtrack but first released on the 1966 Sounds of Silence album) join the social warnings and melancholy personal interactions of the songs to images of recent-college-grad Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) pursuing his emotionally-empty-affair with Mrs. Robinson (Ann Bancroft), intercut with his isolation either in the nearby clandestine hotel room or the family swimming pool, just as Moore presents us with repeated scenarios of failures for American citizens, both those asking for immediate relief (in Flint) and those unaware of how what they’ve been promised is leading to even more potential disaster (like the false alarm in Hawaii about an incoming nuclear missile attack from North Korea).

 Just as I noted otherwise at the beginning of these comments, also in that aforementioned note at the conclusion of my previous posting I said Nina and I would be in San Francisco for part of last weekend with a cluster of lectures from the One Day University organization (presenting these programs of one-hour-talks in 61 cities across many regions of the U.S.) where we found inspiration along with information in our morning session (“Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness,” Dr. Catherine Sanderson, Amherst College; “Three Musical Masterpieces That Changed America” [including Paul Simon’s 1986 Graceland album, supported by the concert tour in 1987 where Nina and I met—therefore, an excellent choice!], Dr. Anna Celenza, Georgetown U.; “How the 1960s Shaped American Politics Today,” Dr. Leonard Steinhorn, American U.), then were treated to 10 award-winning short films in the afternoon.  Audience vote afterward chose the top 2 from the screenings as Asad (Bryan Buckley, 2012), about a Somali boy who aspires to be a pirate but finds another fate awaiting him (a finalist for Oscar’s Best Live Action Short Film; the 17:07 version available to you here carries the logo but transparently so it’s not much of a distraction from what transpires) and The Gunfighter (Eric Kissack, 2014), an 8:49 marvelously-creative (if a bit raunchy) parody of western-movie-saloon-gunfights, narrated by Nick Offerman with unexpected reactions from the characters to his voiceover comments.  All shorts on the program were a pleasure to watch (especially because most were comedies, helping us forget for awhile the depressing realities of ongoing U.S. politics, put so well into fact-packed-historical/current-perspective by Prof. Steinhorn), but I’ll note 2 others you might especially enjoy: Bridget (David Eisenberg, Kaela Wohl; 2013), a quite brief (2:13) yet hilarious exploration of online dating difficulties (also gets raunchy at the very end) and Drawcard (Antonio Oreña-Barlin, 2016; 7:05), definitely the raunchiest of all (possibly the funniest as well), about an office prank gone unexpectedly wrong.  A very touching short drama is A Poet Long Ago (Bob Gerald, 2013) about 2 kids who meet up later in life, which I call to your attention if you ever get a chance to see it someplace because all I can offer is the trailer for a general idea.  So, if you’re not in the mood for Michael Moore’s polemical lecture reviewed above, hopefully any or all of these short films will be acceptable for your pleasure.
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Here’s more information about Fahrenheit 11/9: (38:56 commentary by Michael Moore from Facebook Live—although it doesn’t kick in until about 3:35, for no reason I can explain, so you might want to just fast-forward to that point—about his latest film [audio’s a bit low at times] expressing [admittedly, completely partisan] concerns Trump’s political cronies will continue in power after the 2018 elections, therefore advocating actively voting them out)

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If you’d rather contact Ken directly rather than leaving a comment here please use my email address of if you truly have too much time on your hands you might want to explore some even-longer-and-more-obtuse-than-my-film-reviews—if that even seems possible—academic articles about various cinematic topics at my website,, which could really give you something to talk to me about.)

By the way, if you’re ever at The Hotel California knock on my door—but you know what the check out policy is so be prepared to stay for awhile. Ken

P.S.  Just to show that I haven’t fully flushed Texas out of my system here’s an alternative destination for you, Home in a Texas Bar, with Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker.  But wherever the rest of my body may be my heart’s always with my longtime-companion, lover, and wife, Nina Kindblad, so here’s our favorite shared song—Neil Young’s "Harvest Moon"
—from the performance we saw at the Desert Trip concerts in Indio, CA on October 15, 2016 (as a full moon was rising over the stadium) because “I’m still in love with you,” my dearest, a never-changing-reality even as the moon waxes and wanes over the months/years to come.
Finally, for the data-oriented among you, Google stats say over the past month (which they seem to measure from right now back 30 days) the total unique hits at this site were 4,473 (as always, we thank all of you for your support with our hopes you’ll continue to be regular readers); below is a snapshot of where and by what means those responses have come from within the previous week:


  1. Unfortunately, the film seemed too long and disjointed while still failing to present much of anything new or illuminating. Perhaps it is a useful compilation for the historical record, a role film may still excel in compared to conventional reporting and social media. The earlier “Fahrenheit 911”, "Bowling for Columbine" and “Roger and Me” efforts demonstrated screenwriting, editing and conciseness needed to present the issues at hand without bowing to every extreme scenario that "might" occur. Michael Moore has an admirable record of having his facts and conclusions validated long term but there were too many worse case scenarios presented in this one to be strongly persuasive about anything. Moore’s celebrity and intelligence now works against him since most won’t step into his traps as quickly as Charlton Heston and others have in the past. This film significantly left out the Russian connection issue, apparently because Moore believes nothing will come of it. The film's focus on massive media failures seem to be a credible smoking gun as well as the Democrats' failure to handle the Bernie Sanders situation properly. A little more focus on Facebook's complicity might have been warranted as well. The Flint situation could have been another film, ideally more timely. Perhaps Moore should recut this film into shorter digestible pieces and release the results, perhaps with expanded academic perspectives, to social media and the networks.

  2. Hi rj, Thanks for this comprehensive reply which speaks usefully to what does and doesn't work about Fahrenheit 11/9, which I can only hope would have been more impactful in encouraging reluctant voters to be more active in this fall's various elections. You make valid points about some strengths and weaknesses here in Moore's approach of late, but at least he's still trying to rally an opposition to what he feels (along with me) is a travesty in our society so maybe he'll continue to do some good as he keeps refusing to accept the status quo (if he can just get those who don't already agree with him to at least listen for awhile). Ken