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  1. #1
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    I find it interesting that the two most controversial, talked-about films of this year will likely be Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11."

    I did not see "The Passion," and I have no intention of seeing "Fahrenheit 9/11." That is not to say I lack a basis to comment, though, as I have seen many of Mel Gibson's interviews about his film (and have read the comments of many reviewers), and I am familiar with Moore's films and have read much about his new movie.

    What struck me as interesting is that these films come from the polar extremes of the political spectrum. Mel Gibson is a hero of the religious right, while Moore is a champion of the liberal left.

    I fall into neither category. I am conservative on some issues, and have a respect for religious devotion. I am liberal on other issues, and maintain a healthy skepticism towards the policies of our Republican executive branch.

    What Gibson and Moore have in common is that they both have a voice that people will listen to. Others in this position often tend to hover in the center of political and moral issues, but Gibson and Moore have chosen to shout their extreme messages from the rooftops of their celebrity. They both have succeeded in giving voice to some, while enraging others.

    My common reaction to both is... thank you, but no thank you. I don't need celebrities who tell their messages with money, glitz and style to instruct me on points of religion and politics. If I want to know about Jesus, I'll read the New Testament (I have already). If I want to evaluate the Bush administration and the war on terrorism, I'll do my own research.

    So why are both so popular? Essentially, the American public is lazy. Most people are content to be spoon fed information, or only react when shocked.

    My advice. Use your brains people. Don't rely on the Mel Gibsons and Michael Moores of the world to tell you how to think.

    After all, that's just what they want you to do.


  2. #2
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    AR, I both agree and disagree with you. Yes, what has made this country great is the innovation and work ethic of prior generations. And yes, a large proportion (not all) of Americans have become lazy and would rather be spoon fed their opinions. In fact, I love how Hollywood's "experts" will go on TV, radio, big screen, even before Congress and spew their ankle-deep opinions which amount to second-hand fodder of a less heard voice. You are completely right, that we need to do our own research, whether it be politics or religion.

    However, I will differ from you on a point. I am a conservative and I am a Christian. I refuse to accept the editorials of talking heads whether they be on CNN, 700 Club, or anything in between. I read the New Testament. I read the Old Testament. I saw The Passion and it had an impact on me. It didn't make me want to harm a Jew. It made me want to be a better Christian. And being a better Christian means to show love to all. If everything in this world is either a problem or a solution, then for me Gibson's movie is a solution.

    I agree with you on Moore. I have not seen Moore's movie nor will I waste my time doing so, but I have heard interviews with Moore. And I have yet to see how Moore presents a solution. He is only furthering the problem.

    These are only my opinions, but that's pretty much all we got, isn't it?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  3. #3
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    You seem to have inferred something in my post that I did not say. I did not express an opinion on the validity of Gibson's film (I have an opinion, but that is not the point of this thread). If it impacted you, that's good. But you acknowledged that you have read the texts for yourself, so you are in a position to accept or reject Gibson's view from a position of knowledge.

    My problem with Gibson is that he presented the film as "the truth," rather than merely his interpretation. I suspect that many of the film's viewers have not studied the texts and simply accepted Gibson's version because it came from Mel Gibson and because the movie made lots and lots of money. This is the intellectual laziness that I am talking about.

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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    You seem to have inferred something in my post that I did not say. I did not express an opinion on the validity of Gibson's film (I have an opinion, but that is not the point of this thread). If it impacted you, that's good. But you acknowledged that you have read the texts for yourself, so you are in a position to accept or reject Gibson's view from a position of knowledge.

    My problem with Gibson is that he presented the film as "the truth," rather than merely his interpretation. I suspect that many of the film's viewers have not studied the texts and simply accepted Gibson's version because it came from Mel Gibson and because the movie made lots and lots of money. This is the intellectual laziness that I am talking about.
    Ah, point well taken. And you're right, I did misunderstand your point.

    Having said that, I couldn't agree with you more. Too many opinions, from Hollywood to DC to Jerusalem to the Vatican are taken as gospel (no pun intended). Truth is out there, but it is to be acquired not distributed.
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Very interesting subject AV.
    I have not see either movie, nor do I intend to. I'm what you might call an open minded conservative, though I do consider the conservative "TAG" to be miss leading. I was raised catholic and attended catholic schools for 8 years. I know what it's like to have your faith or beliefs somewhat forced upon you.

    I take most news with a grain of salt and hold out to draw my own conculsions. "The Passion" as I've read, was mostly based on the "Old Testament". Unfortunatly, as they did in school, you are lead to believe that this is "The Book" and no other exsist. I've always believed there are two sides to every story. To me Mel's movie is just that, a story.

    As for that jack ass Moore. I can't believe that this guy is still making movies. I find him to be very anoying and somewhat ignorant. All he is about is making waves. I think he didn't get much attention as a kid. This guy, who is Canadian, comes here to the US and makes opionated movies about what's wrong with the US. I've been to Canada many times and can tell you that country is all screwed up. So why does Moore focus on the US? Simple, it's where the money's at. I don't think that a movie about the Canadian social economic system would draw much attention. Bashing the US is the in thing these days, and the Hollywood left swallow it up.

    I read up on news stories on my own, and then form my own opion based on both sides arguments. AV is right about poeple being too lazy to form their own opions.

    This is just one man's opion. :ramlogo:
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  6. #6
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68
    I was raised catholic and attended catholic schools for 8 years.
    Twelve years here. I feel your pain.
    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68
    "The Passion" as I've read, was mostly based on the "Old Testament".
    That's impossible. Jesus only existed in the New Testament. :smile:
    Quote Originally Posted by RAMMAN68
    This guy, who is Canadian, comes here to the US and makes opionated movies about what's wrong with the US.
    Actually, he was born in Michigan.

    I agree with you guys on how mentally lazy people seem to be. I've seen both "The Passion" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" but still maintain my own opinion. I don't find harm in seeing them - rather, I believe it's better for me so that I can form my own judgment on the films (and their messages) instead of relying on others' perspectives, which are often tainted and biased.

  7. #7
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    I haven't decided yet whether or not I'm going to see F 9/11. Part of me is interested to hear the liberal take on life, but then again I don't want to put another $7.75 into Moore's pocket. So anyway, I looked for reviews of the movie and found this one to be fairly moderate (maybe slightly right). As a matter of disclosure, I will say this review came from ChristianityToday.com. I'm not familiar with this organization or website, but I assume they are probably conservative generally speaking.

    From ChristianityToday:
    "Controversy gave box-office success and cultural clout to Mel Gibson and The Passion of The Christ. Now Michael Moore is hoping it will do the same for Fahrenheit 9/11, his heavily sarcastic, rather entertaining, and somewhat incoherent screed against the presidency of George W. Bush. In this film, Moore, who has made a career out of stalking corporate executives and ambushing conservative celebrities like Charlton Heston, focuses his political indignation and his weakness for the cheap laugh on the White House, and he certainly finds ample material. There is very little here that anyone who has followed the politics of the past four years would consider new or revealing; for the most part, Moore's film is a merry, occasionally sentimental summary of every anti-Bush opinion column ever written.

    It all begins with a flashback to the election of 2000, when, as Moore would have it, the big three networks and the Democratic Party all folded under the withering glare of Fox News and allowed Bush to snatch the presidency away from Al Gore. Moore glides past the possibility that there may have been genuine confusion on election night, and he omits any reference to the legal fight that Gore did put up. What's more, he never even attempts to explore why not one senator joined certain congresspeople in protesting the alleged disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida. If curiosity is an essential characteristic of a good documentary—or any other film, for that matter—then it is notably lacking here. Moore is much less interested in plumbing the ambiguities and ironies of American political life than in doing whatever it takes to manipulate his audience's sympathies.

    Indeed, despite the occasional intriguing revelation—such as the fact that one of Bush's buddies in the National Guard, one James R. Bath, went on to be a financial advisor for the bin Laden family—the most striking thing about Fahrenheit 9/11 is not what Moore puts into the film, but what he leaves out. For example, in a montage mocking the various useless countries that joined the "coalition of the willing," such as Iceland and Morocco, Moore never mentions England or Australia. Moore also gives his viewers the impression that Iraq was a happy paradise in which children flew kites and dictators danced with their people, until that awful day when the Americans attacked; he never acknowledges the hundreds of thousands of civilians that human rights groups say were killed under Saddam Hussein's regime, nor does he address Hussein's sponsorship of terrorism in Israel or his sheltering of a key figure in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. In fact, Moore seems to want his audience to think that Hussein posed no threat whatsoever, and in one of his more astoundingly bizarre insinuations, Moore suggests Bush attacked Iraq as a favor to his Saudi friends—but if this is so, then why did Saudi Arabia oppose the war?

    With some justification, Moore criticizes the Bush administration for sending "mixed messages" to the American people—orange terror alerts one day, assurances that it's okay to keep on shopping the next—but Moore sends out some of his own, too. After telling us, in effect, that the Democrats bear some of the blame for letting Bush rise to power, Moore then interviews wounded troops who, in a scene that has had some audience members cheering, tell him they will be switching their votes to the Democratic Party. (Come to think of it, Moore neglects to mention that he, too, may have been complicit in Gore's defeat—and Bush's victory—since he threw his considerable weight behind Ralph Nader.) In another scene, Moore dwells on the unsettling fact that some soldiers feel a "rush" when they listen to heavy metal and go into bloodthirsty combat, but then he ends the film on an "up with soldiers" note.

    Moore has often played the race card and pandered to other demographics whenever it suits his agenda—what Canadian can forget how lovely Toronto's "slums" looked in Bowling for Columbine? Now he plucks religious strings, too. One scene focuses on an Iraqi woman who asks where God is after her house is bombed, while other scenes focus on an American woman who wears a cross, prays to Jesus, and sends a Bible to her son, who dies fighting in Iraq. Given the way he slaps together nearly every anti-Bush argument on the books, no matter how mutually contradictory they might be, it is interesting that Moore avoids the theory, popular in some circles, that born-again theology has taken over the White House. Moore is certainly not above indulging in gratuitous caricatures (as evidenced by his performance as a perverted Christian in Nora Ephron's Lucky Numbers) but within this film's rhetoric, he seems to think faith is on his side. That's progress of a sort, I guess.

    In some ways, Fahrenheit 9/11 is the least egocentric of Moore's films to date—there are fewer of those famous publicity stunts in which Moore himself is the star of his own show—yet he still cannot help interrupting his interviewees and stealing their punchlines. Some have complained that his films cannot be "documentaries" because they are not "objective," but pure objectivity is impossible and perhaps even undesirable; every film reflects some sort of perspective, and there is something to be said for films that take a clear side on any given issue.

    The problem with Fahrenheit 9/11 is not that it is one-sided, per se; it is that Moore barely acknowledges there even is another side. The problem is not that he fails to give the other side equal time or equal validity; it is that he shows virtually no interest in what that other side might be, and in how he might best deal with it. Inevitably, this weakens Moore's own arguments—or it would, if he was all that concerned about making any. Moore's appeal is more emotional and visceral than intellectual; in his own way, Moore is a fearmonger, and preying on the ignorance of his audience just as he accuses Bush of doing."
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

  8. #8
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    That is an interesting review. I like how it makes the analogy between the hype that launched "The Passion" into box office smash status and now has done the same thing (though on a lesser scale) for "Fahrenheit 9/11."

    As I do my nightly channel surfing I find myself coming accross Michael Moore interviews constantly. His smug, holier-than-thou attitude just makes me want to change the channel.

    And I, by the way, have been a registered Democrat for 18 years.

  9. #9
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    My common reaction to both is... thank you, but no thank you. I don't need celebrities who tell their messages with money, glitz and style to instruct me on points of religion and politics. If I want to know about Jesus, I'll read the New Testament (I have already). If I want to evaluate the Bush administration and the war on terrorism, I'll do my own research.
    Okay, I agree with you there. But Gibson and Moore have just as much right as anyone else to voice their opinions, and they want to reach the largest audience possible. To Gibson, he sees his opinion as the truth, and I'm sure that's why the Passion is approached as it is.

    I agree with the whole "think for yourself" theme you've got going, but I'm just not entirely sure I completely understand the entire point you're making. When I read your post, it almost seemed as if you were blaming Moore and Gibson for people taking their product as gospel. That's not really their fault.

    Personally, I plan on seeing both movies because I prefer to expose myself to as much information as possible when forming my own opinion/beliefs. I'm interested to see what Moore and Gibson have put forth. If I want to learn about Jesus, I'll look at every source I can about the topic. Same for the Bush administration. I'm not going to discount the points both of these films may bring up because of their packaging and intent.
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  10. #10
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by NickSeiler
    Okay, I agree with you there. But Gibson and Moore have just as much right as anyone else to voice their opinions, and they want to reach the largest audience possible.
    I don't recall saying that they have no right to voice their opinions.

    To Gibson, he sees his opinion as the truth.
    Opinions, by definition, are not "truth."

    I agree with the whole "think for yourself" theme you've got goiYng, but I'm just not entirely sure I completely understand the entire point you're making. When I read your post, it almost seemed as if you were blaming Moore and Gibson for people taking their product as gospel. That's not really their fault.
    No, its not their fault that the public is generally lazy and ignorant. But, instead of manipulating the public, they could use their stature to educate. If you think that's what either is trying to do, I think you are naive.

    Personally, I plan on seeing both movies because I prefer to expose myself to as much information as possible when forming my own opinion/beliefs. I'm interested to see what Moore and Gibson have put forth. If I want to learn about Jesus, I'll look at every source I can about the topic. Same for the Bush administration. I'm not going to discount the points both of these films may bring up because of their packaging and intent.
    Hey, its your money. Do with it what you wish. I can think of many things I would rather spend mine on than Gibson and Moore's retirement funds.

  11. #11
    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    I don't recall saying that they have no right to voice their opinions.
    Your whole "My common reaction to both is..." segment seemed to sound as if you were telling them to shut up because you don't want their biased opinion, and that people should instead look to the texts and actual evidence. Did you physically type out that they don't have a right to their opinion? No. But when you practically tell them their opinion isn't wanted, it comes across as more of the same.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Opinions, by definition, are not "truth."
    Perhaps interpretation would have been a better word then. Gibson's movie is supposedly based on actual Biblical texts. To religious people, truth is in fact what is presented in these texts, even though there really isn't any actual evidence to support some of the claims made. That's what I was referring to. Gibson, like most Christians, see this as truth because of their faith in the Lord, even though we have no conclusive evidence around to support some of the things listed in these texts.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    No, its not their fault that the public is generally lazy and ignorant. But, instead of manipulating the public, they could use their stature to educate. If you think that's what either is trying to do, I think you are naive.
    Are either of their works gross manipulations of the truth, or do they in fact lie during their presentations? How would you know -- you said yourself you haven't seen either?

    As far as I know, they're not purposely presenting flat-out lies. I would imagine if they were, we'd have heard about it by now. They're using facts/evidence/other sources to either present a story (in Gibson's case) or make some sort of claim (in Moore's case) which you may or may not agree to. Clearly someone like Moore isn't going to present all the facts -- just the ones that support his conclusion. Is that right of him? In the grand scheme of things, probably not, but it's the nature of the beast. You'd be hard pressed to find someone in the political world who's laying everything out on the table and letting the public decide. Everyone has an agenda, and Moore is no different.

    But I think to say they're manipulating the public is a pretty strong accusation toward two people who are trying to get their opinions and beliefs heard.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Hey, its your money. Do with it what you wish. I can think of many things I would rather spend mine on than Gibson and Moore's retirement funds.
    It seems rather unfair, in my opinion, to criticize the work of a person without even looking at it. If you're going to make a claim that either are being manipulative, perhaps you should witness the material they've put forth and make that conclusion based off of what you see rather than jump to that conclusion based on their other works or interviews.
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  12. #12
    Bob L. Head Guest

    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    And I, by the way, have been a registered Democrat for 18 years.
    Well, that explains a few things. Maybe, later, I'll try and figure out what those few things might be. :smile:

  13. #13
    Bob L. Head Guest

    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Opinions, by definition, are not "truth."
    The two are not mutually exclusive. Opinon can be truth, you just don't know for a fact it is. It's kinda like it can be paranoia even if the are after you, if you don't know for a fact they are.

    ...its not their fault that the public is generally lazy and ignorant.
    Second time I've read this. What makes people "generally lazy and ignorant"? And, is that truth, or your opinion, or both? :tongue: People tend to focus on what's important in their lives. For some, that means Christ's passion, for others, the supposed fumblings - or worse, conniving - of the administration. For others, it's "how am i going to get food on the table this week." For yet others, it may be the next heroin fix, or where to take the yacht next weekend. I think people are generally industrious, they just don't always choose the same industries I do.

    Now look what you've done, you made me get all serious. Shame on you! :tough:

  14. #14
    AvengerRam's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    When I spend my time and money to go to a movie, I generally do so to be entertained. Neither "The Passion" nor "Fahrenheit 9/11" sound particularly entertaining to me.

    The problem I have with these types of films and their makers is that they both make claims at being "the truth" when both contain slants, spins and interpretations. "The Passion" (which I have seen many "making of" segments on) contains slants (i.e. the sympathetic nature in which Pilate and his wife are portrayed) that simply do not appear in the Gospels (which I have read). "Farhenheit" similarly uses a great deal of poetic license (i.e. portraying Bush as the decisionmaker with respect to letting Saudis leave the U.S. on 9/12 - Clark has since acknowledged that he made that call).

    My question to those who feel they NEED to see these films is... why? If the press didn't play these things up due to their controversy, you'd probably ignore them. If "The Passion" was made by Joe Shmoe, you probably wouldn't give it a second thought. If "Fahrenheit" had been made by Joe Blow, you probably wouldn't have even heard about it.

    So why, just because these films are based on the opinion of famous, controversial people, do you feel the need to see them?

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    Nick's Avatar
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    Re: I don't need Mel Gibson or Michael Moore

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    When I spend my time and money to go to a movie, I generally do so to be entertained. Neither "The Passion" nor "Fahrenheit 9/11" sound particularly entertaining to me.
    So does every movie goer share your opinion of what's entertaining and what's not? Furthermore, does every movie goer share your reasons for going to the movies?


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    My question to those who feel they NEED to see these films is... why? If the press didn't play these things up due to their controversy, you'd probably ignore them. If "The Passion" was made by Joe Shmoe, you probably wouldn't give it a second thought. If "Fahrenheit" had been made by Joe Blow, you probably wouldn't have even heard about it.

    So why, just because these films are based on the opinion of famous, controversial people, do you feel the need to see them?
    What's going on here is you're assuming that it's because these films were made by famous people that we're seeing them. That's entirely incorrect, at least in my case. I'm seeing them because of the information they present, regardless of those responsible.
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