michael moore

Just back from a talk by American satirist Michael Moore – [www.michaelmoore.com]

It was a thought-provoking couple of hours, covering personal history, politics, US and UK cultures, Iraq, Afghanistan, 9/11, censorship – all kinds of stuff regarding which I have been developing serious views in the past 10 years[1].

He was wild, funny, engaging, preachy, and even contradicted himself in a couple of places, but then one of the qualities that I cherish in someone is the maturity to deal with contradiction, and even accept it occasionally.

A list of key takeaways </burble> from the show might include:

  • One person CAN make a difference; perhaps not in the Knight Rider sense, but instead that chancing your arm and getting involved make it at least possible that you can change something, whereas sitting on your arse and waiting for someone else to sort it out, will certainly get you no where.

  • The middle/upper-middle classes like comfort, simplicity, and having working class people to sort stuff out for them, and are only likely to be roused when their very own lives are on the line.

    This seems a mundane, even obvious conclusion, but you are led to it via roundabout and violent means, like why in three out of four aircraft during the 9/11 incident, the 90-odd passengers on the aircraft didn’t seek to overthrow the handful of hijackers.

    As he put it: Ninety versus three. Who wins?

    Likewise: why did the police at Columbine High School cordon-off the area and not approach the building for two hours after it was over? Apparently one policemans answer was because we didn’t want to get shot, which sounds fair enough, but people bled to death during that time, and (although padding this with angst at the inappropriateness of the comparison) if Firemen are paid to go into burning buildings, what are Policemen for?

  • The Holocaust was a dreadful thing. So is what is happening in Palestine to the Palestinians. Moore quoted one commentator: We know what the result is going to be: two separate countries. The only question that remains is: how high will the bodycount be?

  • Two very interesting words to put into a search engine, are: Taleban and Texas.

  • If you do this on the BBC website, and you get: [news.bbc.co.uk]

    Taleban to Texas for pipeline talks

    A senior delegation of Afghanistan’s Taleban movement has gone to the United States for talks.

    The delegation is to meet officials of the company which wants to build a pipeline to export gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to Pakistan.

    A spokesman for the company — Unocal in Texas — said it had agreed with Turkmenistan to sell its gas.

    Last month an Argentinian company (Bridas) said it would soon sign a deal to build the pipeline. Unocal is said to have already begun teaching Afghan men technical skills.

    The BBC regional correspondent says a pipeline deal would boost the Afghan economy, but peace must be established first, and that still seems a distant prospect.

    …and note that peace was recently established, via an alternate route. Apparently Unocal is/was owned by Dick Cheney, the now Vice President.

  • Moore claims that the Bin Laden family have been friends, partners and financiers with the Bush family for some time, something which is also alluded to on [news.bbc.co.uk] amongst other places – the keyword to search for here is Arbusto which is Spanish for Shrub, or Bush, the name of the Oil Company that was apparently founded by Dubya and Salem Bin Laden.

  • Moore also claims that, like the Bin Laden family, the majority of the 9/11 hijackers were of middle-class Saudi extraction, and comments that it in such light it seems odd to not wage a War Against Terrorism upon that state. He suggests that this might not be entirely unrelated to Saudi oil production, and the American penchant for SUVs which do 9mpg.

  • Moore further claims that Saddam Hussein is – to paraphrase – small fry; Hussein is a bloody awful dictator like many others – perhaps Mugabe, etc? On the other hand, Hussein is also on top of large oil reserves which would be ripe for division if he were to get toppled from power, under some convenient pretext. Go figure.

It’s certainly given me loads to think about – and an actual reason to think about what my opinions are. Generally I am pleased to find that my natural hacker cynicism and liberal/libertian tendencies, stand me in good stead.

Footnote [1]: …having managed to go through the the embarassingly right-on but naive political radical stage aged 13 or so, dropping it in favour of geekdom before getting to University and thereby spending much of my time at UCL with my mouth shut and learning about politics, rather than having it open and staying ignorant – as did many of my fellow students.

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