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Michael Moore, Ugly American

Michael Moore has hit the big time with F-9/11, and the big time isn’t always friendly.

Michael Moore can handle verbal abuse from the conservative pundits in America, but harsh words from Pete Townshend, lead guitarist for The Who, may hit closer to his liberal heart.

“I greatly resent being bullied and slurred by him just because he didn’t get what we wanted from me,” Townshend told Ireland Online.

Moore wanted Townshend’s rock anthem “Won’t Get Fooled Again” for use on the soundtrack of his anti-Bush documentary film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Townshend refused, saying he thought Moore’s previous movies amounted to “bullying.” In response, Townshend said that Moore accused him of being a war supporter. Townshend says Moore’s attitude was evocative of President Bush’s war on terrorism credo: if you’re not with me, you’re against me.

“It seems to me that this aspect of his nature is not unlike that of the powerful and willful man at the centre of his documentary,” Townshend observed.



In the international online media, the pudgy filmmaker from Flint, Michigan, is often seen as all too American. He is more than occasionally described as a stereotypical “ugly American” — overbearing to people of different cultures, oblivious to nuance, unsophisticated in politics and arrogant in temperament.

The most common substantive criticism is that he scants the role of Israel in the politics of the Iraq war.

Of all places, al Jazeera is critical of Moore’s film:

The Qatar-based news site credited Moore with dramatizing “that democracy itself has been threatened by the Bush presidency” but faulted the film’s emphasis on ties between the Bush family and Saudi Arabia.

“The implicit suggestion that the Saudi government is somehow driving the Bush administration’s policies towards the region flies in the face of Washington’s unprecedented support for Israel as well as strong regional opposition to the invasion of Iraq.”

And from the Daily Star in Beirut:

“Moore may or may not affect the election,” Ibish concluded. “But he has certainly succeeding [sic] in bringing to a great many Americans the most powerful critique of US foreign policy they have ever heard, albeit one that rests on a bizarre and incoherent conspiracy theory and which confuses at least as much as it enlightens.”

I couldn’t have saying [sic] it better myself.