|Your account||Today's news index||Weather||Traffic||Movies||Restaurants||Today's events|
Thursday, June 24, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
"Fahrenheit 9/11" morphs into hot political property
By Matthew Rodriguez
Even before it opens tomorrow, Michael Moore's Bush-bashing docu-satire, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is being harnessed by Democratic candidates and liberal groups to raise money and rally the troops.
Some have bought blocks of tickets that they're reselling to supporters to raise money. Others, such as MoveOn.org, are planning small-group "house parties" to talk about the movie.
It's akin to the way conservative pastors and religious organizations bought out screenings and encouraged parishioners to take in Mel Gibson's violent and theologically controversial "The Passion of the Christ."
"We would be foolish not to take advantage of this chance," said Dan Harkleroad, chairman of Seattle's 32nd Legislative District Democrats. "It's just been a boon to the party because of the publicity it has generated already."
Tonight, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and the Hate Free Zone Campaign of Washington are hosting a screening at the Loews Cineplex Meridian 16, Seventh Avenue and Pike Street in downtown Seattle, with an introduction by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, who appears in the film.
"For us, it's another opportunity to spark discussion and debate," Honig said. "The film has gotten so much publicity that we think a lot of people are excited to see it. As a matter of fact, tickets went like hotcakes."
Senn, the former state insurance commissioner, is selling tickets for $25 for a showing Saturday at the Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St. in the University District, according to her campaign Web site.
Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, also is hosting a showing to promote an advocacy group called Democracy for Washington, though the tickets will be sold at face value.
Inslee said the film will help bring together people who will be working shoulder-to-shoulder in November. "The brains and the hearts are already there," Inslee said. "It'll cause people to be in the same room at the same time, and that creates synergy."
Moore's film is highly critical of the Iraq war, federal anti-terrorism efforts and President Bush. It was slated to be released by Miramax until corporate parent, Walt Disney Co., halted those plans.
The movie subsequently won the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival and is being released by IFC Films and Lions Gate Films. Moore has made waves before, with movies such as "Bowling for Columbine," which was critical of the gun lobby, and "Roger & Me," which took on General Motors.
Chris Vance, chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, said that for all the liberal enthusiasm, the film will ultimately have little clout with voters come November.
"I think it'll have no impact at all on this election, none, zero," Vance said. "And the reason is, this is going to be a classic case of preaching to the choir. ... It's going to further inflame the people who are already furious about the Iraq war."
Undecided voters won't be watching Moore blast the Iraq war, Vance said; they'll be across the multiplex at "Harry Potter" or "Spider-Man 2."
Harkleroad, though, sees the movie as a way to galvanize party members.
"If this movie wasn't there," he said, "we would be looking at some other way to rally the public and to look at the issues, look at the current administration and what they're doing."
A local advocacy group, No Vote Left Behind, plans to host an event at The Crocodile Cafe tomorrow, with a deejay and a ticket raffle. In Tacoma, a group called America in Solidarity has bought many of the tickets for a Sunday screening at the Grand Cinema in Tacoma. A co-founder of the group said some people are driving for an hour to attend.
Members of MoveOn.org, the national Democrat-allied grass-roots and fund-raising group, are hosting gatherings at members' homes Monday night to talk about the movie and join an "online town meeting" with Moore. These events are collectively billed as "Turn Up the Heat: A National Town Meeting On 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' "
One such host is Cheryl Banks. She said she has attended MoveOn.org events before, but this will be the first she has hosted.
She plans to clean up her house a bit before the other members arrive, and she hopes she has the necessary technology so her guests can listen to the online discussion.
"It will be a small group because that means that everyone will get a chance to talk," said Banks, 67. "I would love it if they were folks right here in the neighborhood. That would just be wonderful."
Matthew Rodriguez: 206-464-3192 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company
Home delivery | Contact us | Search archive | Site map | Low-graphic
NWclassifieds | NWsource | Advertising info | The Seattle Times Company
Back to top