Hello, This is another in our series of ZNet Free Update mailings. If you want to add or remove an address, please remember you can do so via the link for that purpose on the ZNet top page -- www.zmag.org/weluser.htm It has been awhile since our last message, and there is of course way too much new material since then to even summarize in this note. Just today there are six new articles on the top page, seven yesterday, and so on. But over this span we have also updated many of our watch pages, made some changes in the top page layout, etc. We hope you will visit and look around. Some recent items in particular, though, we might call to your attention -- Have some fun with ZNet's Independence Day Quiz from Stephen Shalom: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=5802 And the July August issue of Z Magazine is now available for online subscribers and ZNet Sustainers to access in full, including all content, graphics, etc. For more about the Sustainer Program please check: http://www.zmag.org/Commentaries/donorform.htm Our numerous blogs are also very busy, some updated many times daily, others a few times a week, etc. We even have a blog of all ZNet blogs so that you can see all blog posts in one tidy place. This is at: http://www.zmag.org/blogs/mxna/index.cfm There is also diverse recent coverage of the new movie from Michael Moore, and of course on-going coverage of current events and issues of concern and debate around the world, including a number of strategic pieces about the U.S. elections. We would like to announce, as well, that Arbeiter Ring Press has released a new book from Michael Albert called Thought Dreams. It develops a "political framework" from scratch, no assumptions, in a short and chatty fashion. The book page is at: http://www.arbeiterring.com/nt_dream.html And here is first the book interview for Thought Dreams, as per our sending such interviews of authors of ZNet writers about their new books, and then, second, an interesting letter from Michael Moore about his first week since release of F 9/11. We also have a number of reviews and comments on the movie on ZNet. === ZNet Book Interview for "Thought Dreams" By Michael Albert
(1) Can you tell ZNet, please, what your new book is about? What is it trying to communicate? Thought Dreams tries to develop, interactively with the reader, a conceptual framework for thinking about society and history and also vision and strategy. The book assumes no background instead starting at the beginning of defining our basic concepts and their relations. It arrives in short order, however, at ways of understanding history and even thinking about how to affect it - that is, it arrive more or less at my own broad political and social "theory" or "politics." It proceeds step by step, and quite conversationally. The idea of the book is to help facilitate thinking about political and social thinking, as well as provide tools for doing it, but in a way that is very congenial, result-oriented, and passionate about its aims, rather than being typically school-book dry, abstract, and aloof. (2) Can you tell ZNet something about writing the book? Where does the content come from? What went into making the book what it is? Thought Dreams is based on a series of courses I have given at Z's summer school, ZMI, and have also given online in years past. It is really my own political framework sifted through the experience of teaching and the reactions of a great many "readers." With the excellent editorial help of the folks at Arbeiter Ring, I have tried to capture both the spontaneity and the actual flow and logic of thinking about political and social concepts and theory, finally using the results to think about issues of vision and strategy. Creating the book involved first transcribing from the courses and choosing the best exemplars of the process and presentation. Then the transcribed material had to be edited, including deletions, additions, and refinements for print presentation, but without losing the informal tone. We even kept some student answers and questions - removing attribution, however. (3) What are your hopes for Thought Dreams? What do you hope it will contribute or achieve, politically? Given the effort and aspirations you have for the book, what will you deem to be a success? What would leave you happy about the whole undertaking? What would leave you wondering if it was worth all the time and effort? The particular approach that emerges in Thought Dreams pays close attention to class, race, gender, and political dynamics and institutions, to social structures and historical processes, and to matters of vision and strategy. I hope the book will spur critical thinking about what some people call "our politics" or "our ideology" or "our theory" - both for views that people may already have, and for new ideas they may not have previously encountered. What emerges in the book as the proposed politics is a very anti-authoritarian and multi-focus approach, and I hope that that will gain even more credibility than it already has via people reading the book. If it is read pretty widely, by many new people but also by people hoping to test their own current views, and if it spurs thinking in all those directions, that will be good. If it contributes to people being able to own concepts and ways of thinking they haven't had easy use of in the past, and then sharing them with others, that will be excellent. All that would make we feel the effort was well spent - quite like feeling that way about teaching courses, for that matter. If people either don't read the book (like not showing up for class) or read it but are unmoved and unaffected (again like happens in some classes), that would leave me feeling that perhaps I might have better spent the time on other tasks. I guess we will see. === My First Wild Week with "Fahrenheit 9/11" Michael Moore Friends, Where do I begin? This past week has knocked me for a loop. "Fahrenheit 9/11," the #1 movie in the country, the largest grossing documentary ever. My head is spinning. Didn't we just lose our distributor 8 weeks ago? Did Karl Rove really fail to stop this? Is Bush packing? Each day this week I was given a new piece of information from the press that covers Hollywood, and I barely had time to recover from the last tidbit before the next one smacked me upside the head ** More people saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" in one weekend than all the people who saw "Bowling for Columbine" in 9 months. ** "Fahrenheit 9/11" broke "Rocky III's" record for the biggest box office opening weekend ever for any film that opened in less than a thousand theaters. ** "Fahrenheit 9/11" beat the opening weekend of "Return of the Jedi." ** "Fahrenheit 9/11" instantly went to #2 on the all- time list for largest per-theater average ever for a film that opened in wide-release. How can I ever thank all of you who went to see it? These records are mind-blowing. They have sent shock waves through Hollywood - and, more importantly, through the White House. But it didn't just stop there. The response to the movie then went into the Twilight Zone. Surfing through the dial I landed on the Fox broadcasting network which was airing the NASCAR race live last Sunday to an audience of millions of Americans -- and suddenly the announcers were talking about how NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took his crew to see 'Fahrenheit 9/11' the night before. FOX sportscaster Chris Myers delivered Earnhardt's review straight out of his mouth and into the heartland of America: 'He said hey, it'll be a good bonding experience no matter what your political belief. It's a good thing as an American to go see.' Whoa! NASCAR fans - you can't go deeper into George Bush territory than that! White House moving vans - START YOUR ENGINES! Then there was Roger Friedman from the Fox News Channel giving our film an absolutely glowing review, calling it 'a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail.' Richard Goldstein of the Village Voice surmised that Bush is already considered a goner so Rupert Murdoch might be starting to curry favor with the new administration. I don't know about that, but I've never heard a decent word toward me from Fox. So, after I was revived, I wondered if a love note to me from Sean Hannity was next. How about Letterman's Top Ten List: 'Top Ten George W. Bush Complaints About "Fahrenheit 9/11": 10. That actor who played the President was totally unconvincing 9. It oversimplified the way I stole the election 8. Too many of them fancy college-boy words 7. If Michael Moore had waited a few months, he could have included the part where I get him deported 6. Didn't have one of them hilarious monkeys who smoke cigarettes and gives people the finger 5. Of all Michael Moore's accusations, only 97% are true 4. Not sure - - I passed out after a piece of popcorn lodged in my windpipe 3. Where the hell was Spider-man? 2. Couldn't hear most of the movie over Cheney's foul mouth 1. I thought this was supposed to be about dodgeball But it was the reactions and reports we received from theaters around the country that really sent me over the edge. One theatre manager after another phoned in to say that the movie was getting standing ovations as the credits rolled - in places like Greensboro, NC and Oklahoma City -- and that they were having a hard time clearing the theater afterwards because people were either too stunned or they wanted to sit and talk to their neighbors about what they had just seen. In Trumbull, CT, one woman got up on her seat after the movie and shouted "Let's go have a meeting!" A man in San Francisco took his shoe off and threw it at the screen when Bush appeared at the end. Ladies' church groups in Tulsa were going to see it, and weeping afterwards. It was this last group that gave lie to all the yakking pundits who, before the movie opened, declared that only the hard-core "choir" would go to see "Fahrenheit 9/11." They couldn't have been more wrong. Theaters in the Deep South and the Midwest set house records for any film they'd ever shown. Yes, it even sold out in Peoria. And Lubbock, Texas. And Anchorage, Alaska! Newspaper after newspaper wrote stories in tones of breathless disbelief about people who called themselves 'Independents' and 'Republicans' walking out of the movie theater shaken and in tears, proclaiming that they could not, in good conscience, vote for George W. Bush. The New York Times wrote of a conservative Republican woman in her 20s in Pensacola, Florida who cried through the film, and told the reporter: 'It really makes me question what I feel about the president... it makes me question his motives' Newsday reported on a self-described 'ardent Bush/Cheney supporter' who went to see the film on Long Island, and his quiet reaction afterwards. He said, "It's really given me pause to think about what's really going on. There was just too much - too much to discount." The man then bought three more tickets for another showing of the film. The Los Angeles Times found a mother who had 'supported [Bush] fiercely' at a theater in Des Peres, Missouri: 'Emerging from Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11,' her eyes wet, Leslie Hanser said she at last understood. My emotions are just....' She trailed off, waving her hands to show confusion. I feel like we haven't seen the whole truth before.'" All of this had to be the absolute worst news for the White House to wake up to on Monday morning. I guess they were in such a stupor, they "gave" Iraq back to, um, Iraq two days early! News editors told us that they were being "bombarded" with e-mails and calls from the White House (read: Karl Rove), trying to spin their way out of this mess by attacking it and attacking me. Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett had told the White House press corps that the movie was "outrageously false" -- even though he said he hadn't seen the movie. He later told CNN that "This is a film that doesn't require us to actually view it to know that it's filled with factual inaccuracies." At least they're consistent. They never needed to see a single weapon of mass destruction before sending our kids off to die. Many news shows were more than eager to buy the White House spin. After all, that is a big part of what "Fahrenheit" is about -- how the lazy, compliant media bought all the lies from the Bush administration about the need to invade Iraq. They took the Kool-Aid offered by the White House and rarely, if ever, did our media ask the hard questions that needed to be asked before the war started. Because the movie "outs" the mainstream media for their failures and their complicity with the Bush administration -- who can ever forget their incessant, embarrassing cheerleading as the troops went off to war, as though it was all just a game -- the media was not about to let me get away with anything now resembling a cultural phenomenon. On show after show, they went after me with the kind of viciousness you would have hoped they had had for those who were lying about the necessity for invading a sovereign nation that was no threat to us. I don't blame our well-paid celebrity journalists -- they look like a bunch of ass-kissing dopes in my movie, and I guess I'd be pretty mad at me, too. After all, once the NASCAR fans see "Fahrenheit 9/11," will they ever believe a single thing they see on ABC/NBC/CBS news again? In the next week or so, I will recount my adventures through the media this past month (I will also be posting a full FAQ on my website soon so that you can have all the necessary backup and evidence from the film when you find yourself in heated debate with your conservative brother-in-law!). For now, please know the following: Every single fact I state in "Fahrenheit 9/11" is the absolute and irrefutable truth. This movie is perhaps the most thoroughly researched and vetted documentary of our time. No fewer than a dozen people, including three teams of lawyers and the venerable one- time fact-checkers from The New Yorker went through this movie with a fine-tooth comb so that we can make this guarantee to you. Do not let anyone say this or that isn't true. If they say that, they are lying. Let them know that the OPINIONS in the film are mine, and anyone certainly has a right to disagree with them. And the questions I pose in the movie, based on these irrefutable facts, are also mine. And I have a right to ask them. And I will continue to ask them until they are answered. In closing, let me say that the most heartening response to the film has come from our soldiers and their families. Theaters in military towns across the country reported packed houses. Our troops know the truth. They have seen it first-hand. And many of them could not believe that here was a movie that was TRULY on their side -- the side of bringing them home alive and never sending them into harms way again unless it's the absolute last resort. Please take a moment to read this wonderful story from the daily paper in Fayetteville, NC, where Fort Bragg is located. It broke my heart to read this, the reactions of military families and the comments of an infantryman's wife publicly backing my movie -- and it gave me the resolve to make sure as many Americans as possible see this film in the coming weeks. Thank you again, all of you, for your support. Together we did something for the history books. My apologies to "Return of the Jedi." We'll make it up by producing "Return of the Texan to Crawford" in November. May the farce be with you, but not for long, Michael Moore www.michaelmoore.com [EMAIL PROTECTED] P.S. You can read letters from people around the country recounting their own experiences at the theater, and their reactions to the film by going here. P.P.S. Also, I'm going to start blogging! Tonight! Come on over and check it out. === ===================================This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.