Tuesday, September 7, 2004

'Fahrenheit' draws some campus heat

Click here to e-mail Peter Bronson
Dear Freshman:

Welcome to the University of Cincinnati. We'd like to introduce you to this creepy guy who wants to poison young minds with propaganda. His name is Michael Moore, and we're offering a special showing of his mendacious Bush-bashing movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, for only $2 during Welcome Week....

Strike that. Let's try again.

Dear Freshman:

College is an exciting place to explore challenging viewpoints. During Welcome Week, Sept. 16-23, we're offering cheap movies, including Harry Potter and Fahrenheit 9/11. Both are fantasy, and UC does not endorse magic spells, flying dragons or hallucinatory political paranoia. ...

Strike that, too. Let's just get a quote from the UC vice president for communications.

"Here's an opportunity for UC students to find out firsthand what an idiot Michael Moore is,'' Greg Vehr joked. "Are you going to use that?''

Well, yes. It's exactly the right approach. The best antidote to Moore's rabid rants is a healthy dose of humor.

Still, I can understand why some UC students are not amused. Nick Furtwengler, a Student Government senator, said he plans to pass out fliers at the Fahrenheit 9/11 showings. "My problem is that they are not showing the other side,'' he said. "They won't show the discrepancies and flat-out lies in Fahrenheit 9/11, so the College Republicans will try to do something.''

But there's no left-wing plot to brainwash Manchurian voters for John Kerry, said Bob Tackett, director of Main Street Operations, the new student-center.

"We don't pick movies based on politics,'' Tackett said. "Heck, I've been a Republican since the fourth grade.''

He said the criteria for choosing F-9/11 was the same used to choose Shrek 2: money.

"We look at what did best on the open market,'' he said. "We run the theater just like any theater on the open market. We're trying to generate revenue.''

Furtwengler, who led a protest that blocked student funding of a pro-abortion march in Washington last spring, said he is concerned about showing the movie in mid-September, so close to the election. He wants a debate to rebut Moore's movie.

Or maybe students should take a true or false quiz on "59 Deceits in F-911'' by the Independence Institute. Such as:

• According to Moore, Al Gore won the 2000 election in Florida. True or false? False. A group of newspapers investigated and found that Gore lost.

• Moore claims Bush was on vacation 42 percent of the time before 9/11. False. Subtracting weekends and working visits to Camp David, he was on "vacation'' at his Texas ranch only 13 percent of the time, and most of that included work too.

• Terrorists support Moore's movie. True. Hezbollah is promoting it.

• Moore claims Attorney General John Ashcroft lost his Senate race to a "dead guy.'' False. Ashcroft narrowly lost to Mel Carnahan's widow, Jean. Despite apparent voter fraud, Ashcroft refused to challenge the results.

• Moore says he is "for the troops'' and their families. False. He used video of a soldier's funeral without permission. A sister of the killed soldier called Moore "a maggot that eats off the dead.''

True or false: Michael Moore's movie should not be censored and should be shown at UC, because even lies are protected by the First Amendment.



E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.

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