Michael Moore is at it again. The fat, fraudulent filmmaker's latest hit piece, "Fahrenheit 911," apparently focuses on how the Bush administration has botched the war on terror. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Moore's film "reduces decades of American foreign-policy failures to a black-and-white cartoon that lays the blame on one family." Naturally, the Europeans love it. Many critics say that Moore's film is the front-runner to receive the prestigious Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival; Moore's smear job received the longest standing ovation of any film in festival history, clocking in at 20 minutes.
In the United States, it's unlikely Moore's film will be quite as popular. American college campuses, however, are a different story. Despite blatant manipulation and falsehood, Moore's two previous films, "Roger and Me" and "Bowling for Columbine," are hugely popular, both in the classroom and outside it.
In a political science class I took during my first quarter at UCLA, Professor Jurgen Essletzbichler showed "Roger and Me" over the course of a few class sessions. The point: to attempt to show the "downside of globalization." It was simply one in a long chain of indoctrinating tactics used by Essletzbichler to get his anti-capitalist point across. Throughout the class, Essletzbichler posted graphics attempting to explain principles of industrial capitalism. Such graphics included a fat-cat industrialist standing atop a globe and urinating on the bottom half of the globe (this represented trickle-down economics) and a fat-cat industrialist riding in a carriage with a skeleton symbolizing death.
"Roger and Me" has also been assigned in non-film classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of New Mexico, University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, University of California at Santa Barbara, Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.), Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Wash.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, University of Washington, University of Virginia, University of Arizona, and dozens of other institutions of higher learning. A quick google.com search of syllabus plus "Roger and Me" nets 398 hits.
Amazon.com lists "Ohio Universities," "Michigan Universities" and UCLA as areas where "Roger and Me" is especially popular. All this despite the fact that Moore deliberately ignores certain pertinent information and scrambles his chronology, seriously calling into question the credibility of "Roger and Me." But let's not get too picky here. As Professor Edwin Jahiel of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says, "the job comes with editorial slants and exaggerations -- but the underlying truth is solid."
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