Standing amid the throng of political hangers-on hoveringoutside the Fox Tower after a Saturday showing of Michael Moore’s”Fahrenheit 9/11″ reminded me there’s a reason I go to moviesalone.
The bleary-eyed moments after a film ends are some of myfavorites and I hate to share them. I cannot stand sullying theemotional effect film has on me by reducing it to the realm ofsmall talk. I can think of nothing worse than giving myself overentirely for two hours to someone else’s vision and then beingimmediately struck with the obnoxious question, “What’d you think?”So as I stepped out of the Fox Tower theatre alone this weekend, myeyes still adjusting to the late afternoon sun, I considered myselffortunate. That is, until the activists descended. And if Ipreviously thought, “What’d you think?” was obnoxious, I was in noway prepared for “What are your opinions about feminist socialismin the new global economy?”
“Fahrenheit 9/11” opened this weekend to nearly as much fanfareand speculation as the war it is lampooning. The inopportune fatethat placed me at the theatre it premiered at in Portland gave wayto some sort of karmic retribution that forced me to run thepatchouli-soaked gauntlet of activists and political solicitorsthat were hovering around outside. If fundraising within theconservative right is the embodiment of corporate back room deals,then fundraising amongst liberals is like staring down an entiresidewalk of used car dealers with dreadlocks.
I was able to avoid the majority of the left peddlers, butreceived an especially forward reception from a young fellow inthreadbare corduroy jeans fervently pushing John Kerry bumperstickers.
“Hey, you should put a Kerry bumper sticker on your Volvo.”
“How do you know I drive a Volvo?”
“Don’t we all drive Volvos, man?”
What is it with the renewed sense of we among the left? It’s asif all of these disparate tribes of liberals have come to an accordthat until the election in November we will put aside alldifferences and agree to rabidly misrepresent a candidate none ofus would’ve given half a chance less than a year ago. Putting aJohn Kerry bumper sticker on my car is not a political act-it’s asocial one. No one is going to see me driving around and decide tovote democratic because I look like a smart guy. They are simplygoing to align me with a socio-political demographic. Which isn’ttough to do anyhow, as you may have noticed I drive a fuckingVolvo.
It’s one thing to agree that George Bush needs to be removedfrom office. And I was OK with the unspoken agreement that thoseamong the left would all vote to see that happen, no matter thecandidate. But to celebrate John Kerry as a candidate is likedelivering food baskets to the West Hills – entirely misdirected.It’s as if the left’s new sense of oneness has opened thefloodgates of “liberal” marketing and we’re all lapping it up. Wefinally have a mass culture identity and are at last, aspolitically minded individuals, a viable demographic.
John Kerry is not a voice of the new left. He is a congressionalpuppet of big business, who just happens to be in the fortunateposition of not being George Bush. And by that same token, MichaelMoore is not some great prophet of the everyman, but a talentedpropagandist working within one of the largest corporate systems inthe world. There is nothing grassroots about a $23.9 millionopening weekend. It’s just great marketing, and unfortunately we’veall fallen prey to it.
I can’t wait until November when all this is over and we canstop the charade. We’ll go back to covering our cars with Fugazistickers. I can go back to hating you for eating meat, you can goback to hating me for not riding a bike and we can all go back tohating mass media for not giving the left a voice. All thistogetherness is giving me the heebie-jeebies.