Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I Got Michael Moore's Back

New York Post Anti-Moore Rant
Not so surprisingly, today's New York Post (Wednesday June 23,2004) contained an anti-Michael Moore screed on the editorial page. While contending that "America prizes freedom of speech," America's oldest continuously used-as-fishwrapping daily newspaper is worried that Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" may be getting around the campaign finance laws (specifically, the McCain-Feingold law which they are against): "But should this unapologetically partisan piece of "art" count as an explicit contribution to the Kerry campaign?"

Of course, since Democrats backed the war in Iraq and voted for the Patriot Act, there is nothing "unapologetically partisan" about the film, although it's obviously against the re-election of George Bush (a "two-hour attack ad" as the Post puts it).

The editorial doesn't out-and-out call for the suppression of "Fahrenheit 911" but it suggests that campaign finance reform laws may have a chilling effect on our freedom of speech. I don't believe that the 1st Amendment has anything to do with this issue (spending money does not qualify as protected speech) but I don't understand why The Post is worried about Michael Moore's rights. Shouldn't they be concerned with their own?

My rewrite of the Post Editorial:

Political provocateur Rupert Murdoch's "The New York Post" is available on newstands today, and therein lies an intellectual dillemma for champions of campaign-finance "reform." Murdoch, the very model of the modern propagandist, is also a skilled self-promoter. If nothing else, the newspaper will make the Aussie rabblerouser even richer than he already is.

On one level, "The New York Post" is only a newspaper - albeit one that writer Frank Rich and critic Susan Sontag can liken to the work of Leni Riefenstahl, Adolf Hitler's favorite filmmaker. As a newspaper, it will flop or fly without help or hindrance from us.

Our concern is with another aspect of Murdoch's newspaper: It's basically a half-hour attack ad on Presidential challenger John Kerry.

Ray Bradbury vs. Michael Moore

Ray Bradbury is reportedly upset that Michael Moore glommed the title of his classic anti-fascist novel "Fahrenheit 451" as a template for the title of his Cannes winning documentary. I wonder if Mr. Bradbury checked with any of William Shakespeare's relatives before writing "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Or Walt Whitman's heirs for "I Sing The Body Electric." Mr. Bradbury also has a book entitled "One More For The Road" which is similiar to Harold Pinter's "One For The Road."

Years ago the Marx Brothers were threatened with a lawsuit by Warner Bros. for using the factional city name "Casablanca" in their fictional farce "A Night In Casablanca." In response, Groucho famously warned the Warners that the Marxes were using "Brothers" first. Perhaps Ray Bradbury's still pissed off at Raymond Chandler and Raymond Carver, as well.


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