26 May 2004

Michael Moore; hypocrite

Observer reporter Andrew Anthony recently had a chance to interview Liberal "maverick" documentarian Michael Moore. While praise for the film flows like, well, like Michael Moore himself were writing the copy, Mr. Anthony has some rather interesting observations about the director.


What I think, after my short time in his company, is that Moore is a man you would not want as an opponent, but also one you'd think twice about calling a friend. Though a talented film-maker and a clever showman, a populist who knows how to play the maverick, he is too often both big-headed and small-minded. In his desire to be seen as the decent man telling truth to power, he is too ready to blame those less powerful than himself for his shortcomings. He was justly revered in the Palais, but out on the street no one had a kind word to say about him. At Cannes, Moore may have been the star but he was not, it seems, the man of the people.

This my favorite exchange:


It is doubtless to this mission that he refers in Stupid White Men, when he writes: 'If you're white, and you really want to help change things, why not start with yourself?'

With this thought in mind, I ask him why he decided to send his daughter to a private school in Manhattan.

'Oh,' he says brightly, 'I went to private school. Just a genetic decision. My wife and I, we both went to Catholic schools, we're not public-school [which in the US means state school] people.

So it's not important.

'No, I think it's important and the first five years she went to public school, then we moved to New York and we went to see the local public school and we walked through a metal detector and we said, "We're not putting our child through a metal detector." We'll continue our fight to see to it that our society is such that you don't have to have a metal detector at the entrance to schools. But our daughter is not the one to be sacrificed to make things better. And so she went to a school two blocks away. She just went to the nearest other school.'

He makes it sound as if the other school was just a random choice, but private schools on the Upper West Side are all restrictively expensive, and mostly white, just as the state schools are disproportionately black.

'Is that a bad thing?' he asks rhetorically of his decision, 'I don't know. Every parent wants to do what's best for their child. Whatever I can afford, I'm going to get my kid the best education I can get.'

I suggest that, while that may be a natural instinct, it's hard to see why it's any different from the Republican philosophy of each man for himself and his family.

'I'm not a liberal. When you come from the working class and you do well enough whereby you can provide a little bit better for your family, get a decent roof over their head and send them to a good school, that's considered a good thing. If,' he emphasises, 'you're from the working class. What's bad about it is if you get to do that and then shut the door behind you so nobody else can do that.'

Of course, it's nobody's business but Moore's where he sends his child, except he makes it his business to detail the hereditary privilege of his subjects and tends to make his political arguments personal. In Fahrenheit 9/11 one of his stunts is to attempt to get Congressmen to sign their children up for the war in Iraq.



Link [via Arts & Letters Daily]

19 May 2004

IRAQI EMIGRES ON ABU GHRAIB

Interesting... I wonder if CNN knows about this?



IRAQI EMIGRES ON ABU GHRAIB: This is interesting:



n Iraqi engineer who moved to Australia in 1997 and lives in Sydney with his wife and three children. He is amazed at the gullibility of those Australians who have taken the Arab response to the photos at face value.



This sort of brutality goes on all the time, it is happening now in jails right through the Middle East, he says. But of course there are no photos. This is selective outrage.



Kazwini believes that the behaviour revealed by the photos is awful and the US soldiers involved should be punished. But he says some of the Iraqi prisoners shown were Saddam's killers and torturers. They have been responsible for far worse violations of human rights than the Americans.



Where is the outrage about this, he asks. I haven't seen it referred to in one newspaper.



Kazwini has a different perspective to most of us here in Australia. Seven people he knew disappeared during Saddam's time, never to be seen again. Some were members of his family. No one knows what happened to them. No bodies were ever found.



Kazwini himself was once arrested for a poem he wrote. He was interned for six days and beaten and humiliated. Men were stripped and forced to crawl before their guards.



These days Kazwini uses e-mail and the internet to communicate daily with people in Iraq. He is amazed at the persistent claims in the media here that most Iraqis have responded to the photos by turning on the American occupation.



The main concern of the people he talks to is that the photos, and the beaten-up outrage from the rest of the Arab world, might encourage America to leave.

Read the whole thing.



[Via Instapundit.com]

14 May 2004

Home again

We're finally home from Baltimore... friggen 12 hours straight to get home. We hated it that much.


I remember being in Boston, SoPo, Maine, and Vermont and having a really good time. Maryland (well, to be fair, I should only say Baltimore), you suck. Sorry. I've never been in a place that so segregated the tourists from the rest of the (very scary) city. When you get a book from AAA and it says "Don't go to this place alone or after dark", that's bad. When it's true, that's even worse.


The good parts... Kooper's pub. Very cool place. Inner Harbor?; sure, why not, but it's like the size of Grand Rapids. Not exactly what we were hoping for.


Phillip's Restaurant was awesome (well, the buffet was, we couldn't get into the real restaurant).


The National Aquarium was cool, but we spent more time watching the rays than anything. Maybe we just weren't in the mood, but I thought the dolphin show was so-so... like I said, may have just been the day.


The bad parts... heh, where to start? Wyndham Inner Harbor is an awful hotel. Awful. I expected so much better from a hotel chain with Wyndham's reputation. The only thing that remotely saved the stay was Kelli at the front desk; she went out of her way to make up for the crap they gave her to work with.


Shula's 2 (the bar, not the steakhouse) was disappointing. $10 nachos do not come with nacho cheese product on top.. Use real cheese for goddess sake... It's not like you're not making the money back by keeping me drinking.


But, the sum total was not good. We won't be back to Baltimore if we can help it. I'd still like to do the D.C. thing, but I'm in no hurry. Next trip, it's Maine.

05 May 2004

The Fourth Network

What, in the name of God, are these people smoking?



After PSTN, Cable Networks and Wireless Networks, uber venture capitalist Gary Morgenthaler thinks it is time for the fourth network, or what I would like to call the MegaNET



What I am suggesting is nothing less than the creation of a 4th Network. The new network would offer not the five channels or 70 or 500 channels typical of the broadcast, cable or satellite networks.  Instead, it would offer 50,000 or even the 500,000 channels made possible by the Internet. The industry could thus take full advantage of the seemingly insatiable consumer drive for increasingly personalized communication and entertainment.  Viewers would draw on this infinitude of programming to select precisely what they want and when. Call it “TiVo Meets the Internet.”  Imagine a world where anyone can ask for and automatically receive any program— recent Bosnian soccer matches, “Great Lectures in Physics,” Tomb Raiders XXVI, Tai Chi lessons, or a videoconference with a daughter in Chicago.


[Via Om Malik on Broadband]