Jim's Polka

The life of a former software engineer, now a law student

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 in NC

Actually, it was a pretty good experience. It had just opened last Wednesday, so people were still very interested in seeing it. We tried to get tickets to the 7 PM show, but it was sold out. So, we settled for tickets to the late late showing (9:55).

That was good, because we got to see the small Billionaires for Bush protest. They were having a very good time and I enjoyed the irony, so we gave them encouraging smiles and waves. I suspect that at least some of the people who honked in support as they drove by didn't get the joke.

We eventually got bored with wandering up and down main street, so we sat down on a bench in front of the theater. While we were waiting, a reporter and photographer from a local free magazine came up. They were waiting for the current showing to end so they could interview some of the locals for their reaction. While they were waiting, they interviewed us, too. By sheer coincidence, we had sat down directly in front of the Fahrenheit 9/11 movie poster, so they took a picture of us. It's a pretty classic image, except for the idiot on the left (that's me), so I'm optimistic that we will make it into the article. Hopefully, mom will remember to pick up next month's issue.

Now, about the movie itself. I enjoyed it very much. But, given my politics, I would be expected to, I guess.

On the negative side, there's a lot of conspiracy-mongering. Some of it, I didn't take very seriously. The gas pipeline through Afghanistan, for example. Luckily, I'm good at working around that sort of thing to find enjoyment. It's how I got through The DaVinci Code. I don't know how far to take the Bush-bin Laden connection. On the other hand, I think the Carlyle Group is a pretty sketchy bunch who probably shouldn't have such a prominent place in a democracy.

However, there were a number of things I liked about the film. As many other people have said, 9/11 itself is very well-handled. It really took me back to that day, without being exploitative. But, what I really liked was the human side of the film. The trip to Walter Reed showed me something that the mainstream media doesn't give us enough of. The raw numbers of deaths hurt, but just as bad were the soldiers missing arms and legs - lost during the war in Iraq. The mother who had lost her son was also very moving. Honestly, I don't care if it was exploitative or not. It was something that needed to be shown. I really felt for her.

But, the people I felt for the most were the high school kids in Flint, MI. They reminded me of the guys I went to high school with. They seemed like a great, bright bunch of kids. And their best way to better themselves is going to be the military. I'm glad that they have that opportunity, but I worry about them, too. Despite having never met them, I feel like they're old friends, and I'm afraid those old friends are going to get sent off to die in another pointless war.