Friday, July 09, 2004

More on Moore

More on Moore

by The Gray Dog

I was surfing the web looking for items of interest that might evoke a growl from the ol’ gray dog this morning. It didn’t take more than a few clicks before I happened upon the actual web site of one Michael Moore. I’m glad I hadn’t had breakfast yet. Moore’s first article (no link provided, find it on your own) was a rather self aggrandizing assessment of the impact his recent rant is having, the records it is breaking, but above all that the ‘facts’ in his movie are irrefutable and have been vetted by no less than a dozen individuals and three teams of lawyers.

Mr. Moore goes to great lengths to establish a connection between the Bush family and the bin Laden family. He does this with the startling revelation that former President Bush sat on the Board of the Carlyle Group in which the bin Laden family invested. That George H. W. Bush was attending the same investors meeting that included Shafiq bin Laden, Osama’s estranged half brother, on September 10-11, 2001. He further goes on to establish a friendship between the current President Bush and James Bath, an individual that had financial relationships with many wealthy Saudi businessmen and included the bin Laden family among his clients.

My response to all of your ranting Mr. Moore is: So What? I’m sure you know that Richard Nixon was in Dallas the night before the Kennedy assassination. That’s a fact. But even Oliver Stone didn’t try to link him to JFK’s death.

Allow me to quote from Mr. Moore’s article: “Do not let anyone say this or that isn't true. If they say that, they are lying. Let them know that the OPINIONS in the film are mine, and anyone certainly has a right to disagree with them. And the questions I pose in the movie, based on these irrefutable facts, are also mine. And I have a right to ask them”

But what is a ‘fact’? The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides this definition: fact: ‘a piece of information presented as having objective reality’.

But now that I have this ‘piece of information’, this shiny little pearl of ‘objective reality’, this fact: What can I do with it? If I am Michael Moore, I can word my fact carefully with my own slanted inference which will provoke the desired result from my audience. Then I can take this fact and sandwich it between my opinion on one side and a leading question on the other and before too long I will have created an illusion that would make Harry Houdini turn in his watery grave. Let’s see how this works.

Fact: Michael Moore is grossly obese!

The fact is simply that ‘Mr. Moore is obese’. Let’s allow it to just hang out there by itself for a while. Draw your own inference. I’m sure this fact can be shown to be objective and irrefutable by a quick glance at the height/weight chart in your doctor’s office. Of course I slant the fact slightly by using the adverb grossly. By adding that one word, I have created the image of gluttonous behavior and started to eliminate any possible interpretation that might allow one to think Mr. Moore’s obesity is the result of a medical condition. What do I know? Perhaps it is. But, I’m just giving you the fact. You can draw your own conclusion.

Now let’s put two fact’s together.

Fact 1: Michael Moore is grossly obese!
Fact 2: Thousands of American children will go to bed hungry tonight. (Qualification for Fact 2 can be found in many of Mr. Moore’s own work)

There you have it. Two irrefutable facts. Are there any inferences to be made? Are the two facts related? Is Michael Moore responsible for the plight of hungry children? I doubt any of these inferences are true: But who cares? I’m just giving you the facts.

Finally let’s put this together with an opinion and a couple of follow-up questions.

Opinion: Gluttony, is justifiably considered one of the ‘seven deadly sins’.
Fact 1: Michael Moore is grossly obese!
Fact 2: Thousands of American children will go to bed hungry tonight.
Question 1: How can Hollywood honor Mr. Moore given his obvious disregard for hungry children?
Question 2: Are you proud of the dollars you send to Hollywood to see films produced by such morally bankrupt studio tycoons?

Now the illusion is complete. One opinion, two facts and two questions. This paints a pretty ugly picture that, in it’s progression implies that Mr. Moore is a gluttonous sinner whose over-eating contributes to the plight of hungry children and that his Oscar award demonstrates implicit approval of his immoral activities by the entire Hollywood movie industry, and your box office purchase to view any of Hollywood’s offerings should be a source of personal shame and guilt. And notice that I didn’t have to use special effects, dramatic music or slick editing.

This is ridiculous! But by Moore’s own standard of truth it is perfectly acceptable. In my previous article I stated the old adage “statistics always lie and liars always use statistics”. Now we see what can be done with facts in the hands of clever charlatans and illusionists such as Michael Moore. In fact, Mr. Moore’s ability to hoodwink the public through the misuse, nay, abuse of facts, his mastery of hateful rhetoric and emotional appeals is comparable to the skills so monstrously exhibited by a pathetic little mustachioed Austrian we should all be familiar with. Seig Heil! Michael!

Wait, did I say “Moore’s own standard of truth?” I apologize for that. That is my factual error. Mr. Moore only stands behind his “irrefutable facts”. There isn’t enough truth in his work to hide his lean-cuisine challenged backside.

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