July 01, 2004


You think Western media is weak? Take a look at Chinaís Peopleís Daily Online:

Michael Moore's provocative anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" is likely to become the first imported documentary in China.

The film slamming US President George W. Bush was banned in the United States, but its release was authorized by the government after it won the Gold Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Curse that pesky 28th Amendment: "Treasonous materials shall only be permitted upon approval by a foreign assembly of conjurers, jugglers, and minstrels, long may they caper, fair and true."

UPDATE. Speaking of Amendments, the New York Times wants to deny a speedy trial to Saddam Hussein and his co-accused:

The actual trials should not begin until an elected government takes power, a step planned for next January. Starting them sooner might produce political dividends for the appointed Iraqi interim government or the Bush re-election campaign.

Stand by for tomorrow's NYT, which will argue for the return of Saddam to his spider hole ahead of a January re-capture: "Arresting him sooner might produce political dividends for the appointed Iraqi interim government or the Bush re-election campaign."

UPDATE II. People's Daily has cut the paragraph mentioning banning from the above-linked item. Guess itís been banned.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 1, 2004 07:41 PM

We banned F9/11? I must have missed a memo. Or perhaps they're somehow referring to the Disney/Mirimax/Moore scuffle? Not releasing a movie you said you weren't going to release does not a ban make.

Posted by: Matt at July 1, 2004 at 09:13 PM

we did? i hoped we shipped it's maker off to lubyanka...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at July 1, 2004 at 09:55 PM

So the NYT wants to meddle in affairs of sovereign nations, eh? How atypical.

Posted by: ushie at July 1, 2004 at 09:57 PM

Here some interesting comparisons of the SAME reviewer's comments on Farhentheit9/11 and The Passion of Christ:

A.O. Scott, New York Times:

"Fahrenheit": "Mr. Moore's populist instincts have never been sharper. . . . He is a credit to the republic."

"Passion": "Gibson has exploited the popular appetite for terror and gore for what he and his allies see as a higher end."

Ty Burr, Boston Globe:

"Fahrenheit": "Should be seen because it takes off the gloves and wades into the fray, because it synthesizes the anti-Bush argument like no other work before it, and because it forces you to decide for yourself exactly where passion starts to warp point of view."

"Passion": "If you come seeking theological subtlety, let alone such modern inventions as psychological depth, you'll walk away battered and empty-handed."

David Edelstein, Slate:

"Fahrenheit": After the screening, a friend railed that Moore was exploiting a mother's grief. I suggested that the scene made moral sense in the context of the director's universe, that the exploitation is justified if it saves the lives of other mothers' sons.

"Passion": "A two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movie--The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre--that thinks it's an act of faith."

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle:

"Fahrenheit": "[Moore] is an indispensable treasure, and his imperfections are part of the reason, because they mark him as real."

"Passion": "It's awful because everything he knows about storytelling has been swept aside by proselytizing zeal."

Geoff Pevre, Toronto Star:

"Fahrenheit": "A plea for America's deliverance. . . . It may not be an argument one agrees with, and it may be unbalanced and propagandistic, but it is both convincingly argued and sincerely motivated."

"Passion": "A work of fundamentalist pornography."

David Sterrit, Christian Science Monitor:

"Fahrenheit": "Is the label 'documentary' appropriate for this openly activist movie? Of course it is, unless you cling to some idealized notion of 'objective' film."

"Passion": "The highly selective screenplay includes only a few of Jesus' words, spoken in occasional flashback scenes."

James Verniere, Boston Herald:

"Fahrenheit": "At a time when the film industry is turning out sugarcoated, content-free junk, Moore has given American viewers a renewed taste for raw meat."

"Passion": "An exercise in sadomasochistic bullying."

Maggie's Blog

Posted by: Sue at July 1, 2004 at 11:14 PM

That's an excellent rundown of comparative reviews. Thanks!

Posted by: Glenn "Mac" Frazier at July 1, 2004 at 11:39 PM

Sue, please give credit where it's due.

[Please don't use characters like asterisks and underscores for your author name. It annoys me. I have changed your underscore for "NoName." It takes but a second to type in a word -- any word: nerf-herder, buttmunch, donut -- into that little space. -- The Management]

Posted by: NoName at July 1, 2004 at 11:43 PM

Fair go; the People's Daily looks good compared to this piece on the demo in Hong Kong today. Oh well, I guess they did cover it...

Posted by: Moby at July 2, 2004 at 12:18 AM

What the NYT says:

"The actual trials should not begin until an elected government takes power, a step planned for next January".

What the NYT means:

"The actual trials should not begin until after the US Presidential elections, in case they aid the campaign of George W Bush".

Posted by: The Mongrel at July 2, 2004 at 01:22 AM

The Peoples Daily article does not currently say anything about the film being banned. Did you save a screenshot?

Posted by: PJS at July 2, 2004 at 02:40 AM

banned in the United States

Banned eh? Not really, unless you consider not showing it for capitalist economic reasons banning. Theater owners in our smallish middle American town chose not to show it knowing they'd lose money.

Posted by: Wallace-Midland Texas at July 2, 2004 at 03:19 AM

This NY Times quote is out of context :( I don't wanna give the lefties any more fodder but the sentence that appears afterwords makes the paragraph more benign.

"But it would not serve justice or help restore Iraq's standing in the international community."

Posted by: Corky at July 2, 2004 at 03:23 AM

That's a lame distraction from the NYT, Corky. How would putting Saddam on trial in January serve justice to a greater degree than if he were to be put on trial now?

Answer: it wouldn't. Saddam's trial is self-contained, unable (one hopes) to be influenced by outside events. The NYT is more keen to see that influence doesn't flow the other way -- from the trial to outside events, like the election.

Posted by: tim at July 2, 2004 at 03:59 AM

First Hezbolla, now the student-steamrolling Chinese communists. I don't know how this piece of shit lives with himself.

Wide man's burden.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at July 2, 2004 at 04:39 AM