Tuesday, June 22, 2004

If you're going to argue that Michael Moore appeals to emotion at the expense of reason, and does so in order to distort the truth, shouldn't you refrain from invoking Leni Riefenstahl and the "big lie" in your review of his movie, as Christopher Hitchens does in Slate, or declaring Moore's method "liberalism with a fascist face," as New York Press's Armond White does?

I'm exempting Bill O'Reilly from this discussion -- he's made a career of appealing to his listeners' basest instincts, so you expect him to compare Moore to Leni Riefenstahl and Joseph Goebbels. But Hitchens and White want thoughtful people to believe that they care deeply about the misuse of language and imagery; Hitchens, of course, can't get through an essay without suggesting that he alone keeps the Orwell flame.

Michael Moore is never going to wield state power, repressive or otherwise, or put his work in the service of those who do. And don't tell me he might do so in a Kerry administration -- if there ever is a President Kerry, he'll always be to Moore's right, and he'll eventually become a Moore target. Moore certainly isn't wielding state power now. It's pure demagoguery to emerge from his movie and claim to hear the sound of jackboots.

No comments: