Sunday, June 27, 2004
Last night, after blogging about Michael Moore, I picked up the Sunday edition of The New York Times, and came across the latest advertisement for "Fahrenheit 9/11." Richard Roeper's quote has been restored. It reads - once again - "A powerful piece of flimmaking. Everyone in the country should see this film!" Not that I'm not usually quick to conspiratheorize, but the broken quote in Friday's paper still seems suspicious.
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Did The Times Censor Michael Moore?
A quote from a review by "At The Movies with Roger Ebert" co-host Richard Roeper has been mysteriously altered from the advertisements in The New York Times. Last week, Roeper's quote read: "A powerful, fascinating piece of filmmaking...everybody in the country should go see this film!" Friday's Times cut it down to "A powerful, fascinating piece of filmmaking...see this film!"
A few days ago the Fox News Empire and sordid associates began complaining about the ads for the film and how they might be in violation of the campaign finance laws. One Republican group even registered an official complaint about it. Of course, they didn't want to ban the film. They just wanted to make it harder for it to reach a mainstream audience.
So the change in the advertisement couldn't possibly be accidental (although it would qualify as moronic since "everybody in the country should go see this film" is almost a cliche when it comes to most movie posters). The only question is who ordered this change? Miramax, Michael Moore's people or the editorial staff of The New York Times?
As I write this, unofficial box office tallies are touting "Fahrenheit 9/11" as the number one film on Friday, earning a gross of more than eight million dollars. My guess is that the numbers will reach thirty million by the end of the weekend, and wind up somewhere in between eighty and one hundred million for domestic ticket sales.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
I Got Michael Moore's Back
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?
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 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.