Inside Michael Moore’s Head(phones)

When all is said and done, Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” may end up best remembered for a profound silence — the seven minutes President Bush remained, after learning that the country was under attack, in front of a Florida elementary school class, quietly reading a book about a goat.
But Moore brought the noise, too.
The use of music in his blockbuster film made for pithy editorial comment, sardonic humor and memorably jarring scenes: The Go-Go’s sing-songy “Vacation” blared as Moore documented Bush’s extended postelection stay at his Texas ranch; chords instantly recognizable as belonging to J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine” chimed when Moore analyzed Bush’s failure to take a military medical exam; a photomontage of Bush family and associates buddying with Saudi royals, set to REM’s “Shining Happy People,” played like an MTV video; American soldiers in Iraq chillingly shared a song they’d piped into their tank as a battle cry — a heavy-metal tune with the refrain, “The house is on fire / Burn, motherf–, burn!”
Inside Michael Moore’s Head(phones) / The anti-Bush provocateur also understands the power of music.

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