So "Allah" wrote some post railingabout the boffo box-office that Michael Moore's latest crockumentary is doing in Manhattan. He was ready to write off the entire city as a bunch of leftists. I was all: "It's not that simple. Look at the 5 boroughs as a whole. Giuliani. The neo-conservative movement started here. Blah blah blah."
Then, in the space of a couple of days, the following things happened: First, some guy at the Cheyenne diner, where I am the most regular of regulars, was opining on how it was such a great film, even though he knew it was "sort of propaganda" (heh), and how there's this thing where if you disagree with Bush administration policy you're called "unpatriotic". (As an aside, if any reader of the leftward persuasion happens to come by at this point, could you please give me a single concrete example of this ever happening? That is, a single example of someone being called "anti-American" or "unpatriotic" or some equivalent simply for disagreeing with Bush administration foreign policy or with going into Iraq. Not for rejoicing in the death of American contractors or soldiers, or for glorifying those killing our soldiers as "freedom fighters" or "Iraqi minutemen" but simply for disagreeing. And, I'm not talking about some idiot in a blog comment box using this kind of rhetoric here. I'm talking someone of some consequence saying it, like a member of the administration or a conservative pundit of some repute. Just one example. That's all I'm asking.)
Second, Jon Stewart, who I ordinarily respect and enjoy, was on Larry King over the weekend, and Larry asked him what he thought of Michael Moore's latest crockumentary. The transcripts not up yet so I'll have to paraphrase from memory. His answer was something like: "I saw it. I don't agree with everything in it, but I think it's important to see, because the administration has had all these shifting rationales. First it was Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then that didn't work out so it was, 'We're gonna liberate these people'. Then that didn't work out so now it's 'Well. We're in a war, and people shouldn't talk when we're in a war'. So, I think it's important that Michael Moore is spurring debate and starting conversation.'
WTF!? This is simply the most fatuous, empty statement I have ever heard this person make. First of all, both the weapons of mass destruction angle and the liberation/humanitarian angle were advanced by the administration from the beginning. On the "people shouldn't talk", again: One concrete example please. But that's just standard lefty boilerplate. It's disappointing to see Jon Stewart mouthing it these days, but what can you do? The really jaw-dropping part of the statement is the idea that Michael Moore is providing some kind of public service. To begin with, Jon Stewart must live in a parallel universe if he doesn't think these issues are being debated now. Has he been to a book store? Turned on the TV? Anti-Bush screeds are a growth industry. The anti-Bush industry is probably one of the biggest reasons for the economic turnaround, yet another reason to support Bush, so he can keep it going. But forget that, how could making the most dishonest, propagandistic, vitriolic political film possible be good for the state of political debate in this country?
Third, today while I was on the train going for a much-needed visit to my shrink, I heard a middle-aged woman out of nowhere loudly say to her husband, "Farenheit had a record opening." Husband, "Well, it's about time." About time that what? Puerile agit-prop became a way of financing a fancy Manhattan lifestyle?
Fourth, this evening in Tribeca I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that said "A Vote for Bush is a Vote for Bin Laden". This prompted me to comment at Allah's site, "I think I'm going to lie down and quietly die now." I mean really, you know the drill as far as what I say here? Have any conservatives ever . . .? Could you imagine the reaction if any Republican, anywhere was ever caught wearing a shirt saying 'A Vote for Kerry' . . .? etc. etc.
I think I'm going to lay low. Things are getting really ugly, and this movie is really riling people up and bringing out the worst in them. I was telling my girlfriend tonight that if Bush can't win convincingly, because I actually care about this country more than I care about any invidual politician, unlike Moore's acolytes, I actually hope he loses. With all this inchoate rage out there, which Michael Moore is so cynically exploiting, if there is another 2000 election type of situation, and Bush wins again, it could tear this country apart. Much as I think a John Kerry presidency would be a disaster, I would still prefer it to the massive civil unrest and domestic left-wing terrorism that would likely result if Bush wins narrowly.
UPDATE:Wow do I thank Allah for that link and positive write-up yesterday. Because of it I hit what I think are new blog records yesterday: Over 1,200 visitors in a day, and I believe my first comment thread that went over 20. This is a lot more traffic than I got from other links that I thought would be a much bigger deal. So, young bloggers out there, remember that things in the blogosphere are not always as they appear. And, try to figure out some way to get Allah to link you, other than some played out "Allah Ahkbar" type formulation.
Great comments all around, even from those who actually had the temerity to disagee with me. Just to make things clear, what has me freaked out here specifically is the scenario predicted in this post at election projection , which has Bush winning the Electoral College and narrowly losing the popular vote, again! Seeing as how this exact same scenario playing out in 2000 seems to be at the root of the deranged Bush-hatred we see today, I shudder to think at the consequences of this happening again. Even though I think that John Kerry would make a terrible president, I would prefer a Kerry victory to that scenario. That's all I'm saying.
On my challenge to lefties to come up with any examples of conservatives calling people "anti-American" or "unpatriotic" simply for opposing the policies of the Bush administration, the only examples anyone had were the works of Ms. Coulter and Mr. Hannity (Actually, more accurately just the sub-title of Mr. Hannity's latest book which seems to equate "liberals" with Islamo-fascists), and a bunch of nasty remarks by blog commenters, who are of course normally known for the restraint and moderation of their rhetoric. I don't quite see how the opinions of a couple of right-wing pundits (both of whom are repudiated by many, many conservatives, including me), demonstrates the existence of a chill wind of oppression blowing across the land. But, so I'm not accused of "moving the goalposts" I will say that yes, you have found two concrete examples. The point is that a statement along the lines of: "Anyone who does such and such is automatically accused of such and such" is fatutous, unless you take it literally to mean merely that there exists some person, somewhere, who will unjustifiably make that accusation of "treason" or "anti-Americanism" or whatever. So what? Of course there is, just as someone who supports our endeavor in Iraq will be accused daily of being a "fascist", "warmonger", "idiot", and so on. As Drudge (not unironically) said to Moby: "Butch up!"
And, of course, often those whinging on about how their dissent is being crushed are often the same people who somehow believe that any criticism of America, no matter how extreme, cannot possibly be "anti-American" or "unpatriotic". Of course, they are also often the same people who think that any criticism of Israel, no matter how extreme, cannot possibly be anti-Semitic, while any criticism of "affirmative action" or of any aspect of black culture is automatically "racist", so go figure. It's not anti-American or unpatriotic to oppose a war or president. It is both anti-American and unpatriotic to think that Americans are collectively a bunch of ignorant, war-mongering fascists, unwittlingly duped by their idiot leader, or some such. These statements by Michael Moore - collected by Karol from this David Brooks column are anti-American. See the difference?
And, I'd also like to say that this particular Michael Moore crockumentary seems to be a new level of venality even for him, and that's what's bothering me. As much as I disagreed with the ideas and the methodology of his other work, there at least appeared to be some sort of sincerity behind his previous projects. This one is nothing more than a cheap, cynical attempt to exploit, fuel, and to cash in on this general uninformed, inchoate rage which has infected so many people. Contemptible.