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Thread: Fahrenheit 9/11

  1. #11
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    LILA LIPSCOMB

    FYI - There's an article on her in today's USA TODAY, shown below:

    '9/11' documents a mother's grief

    By Gary Strauss, USA TODAY

    Fahrenheit 9/11 might be polarizing much of the nation, but there's one thing about the controversial Bush-bashing documentary most viewers probably will agree on: Key scenes featuring Lila Lipscomb are gut-wrenching and haunting.

    Lipscomb initially appears, literally, as a flag-waving patriot. Later, when her son Michael Pedersen is killed when his Black Hawk helicopter is downed in April 2003, Lipscomb breaks down as she reads his jaded letter from the front. By film's end, when Lipscomb makes a tearful pilgrimage to the White House, her sorrow punctuated by a woman who questions her motives is excruciating.

    At many screenings, her latter vignettes move audiences to tears. Documentary filmmaker Cory Kennedy says Lipscomb's scenes are among Fahrenheit 9/11's most moving. Former New York governor Mario Cuomo, hired by the film's distributors in a failed effort to get it a family-friendly PG-13 rating, says he found it difficult to watch her. "You see Lila living through a despair that will never leave," Cuomo says.

    Lipscomb has seen Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 several times. She finds it difficult to watch herself and tearfully concedes that the raw emotion surrounding her son's death remains intense.

    "I don't want any more mothers Americans or Iraqis to feel this pain," Lipscomb told USA TODAY on Monday. Still, moving from Bush supporter to war critic has been hard.

    "I grew up with the understanding that you support the president, no matter who he is," says Lipscomb, an office administrator in Flint, Mich.. "But after reading Michael's letters and seeing how angry and frustrated he was becoming and wondering why he was there in the first place, I started questioning why we were there."

    Lipscomb last saw Pedersen nicknamed "Pistol Ped" for his basketball prowess when he returned to Flint for Christmas in 2002.

    "There were a number of things he did that might have made him think he wasn't coming home," Lipscomb says. "He had a clear commitment to fulfilling his oath for this nation. Yet he had a clear understanding that he had been sent into harm's way for things that were not true."

    Lipscomb turned 50 Sunday. "I went to his grave hoping I could hear him say, 'Happy birthday, Mom,' " she says. "But I didn't get it." She has three other kids and seven grandchildren. Her oldest daughter, Jennifer, served in the military during the 1991 Gulf War but wasn't in the conflict.

    Pedersen, her second oldest, joined the Army at 19, when his job at a local Long John Silver's fast-food outlet failed to pay enough to buy diapers and formula for his newborn daughter, Destiny, now 8.

    Like many teens with limited job prospects, Pedersen had his mother's blessing. Two of Lipscomb's older brothers are Vietnam vets, and she believed military service would be a good experience for her eldest son: He could travel, learn a career and earn a decent income.

    "Who knew?" she now asks, shaking her head.

    Pedersen rose to Black Hawk crew chief and was planning to train as a pilot, put in his 20 years and then retire from the military. He was shipped first to Kuwait and later to Iraq.

    "We would send him boxes of beef jerky, Rice Krispies treats and Pepsi," Lipscomb says. "He loved cold Pepsi and Rice Krispies treats."

    Although Lipscomb and her husband, Howard, are both longtime Flint residents, they knew little of Moore, who was raised in nearby Davison and had made Flint a focal point in 1989's Roger & Me and 2002's Bowling for Columbine. A Moore staffer contacted Lipscomb after learning of her son's death.

    Though Moore has a reputation for being manipulative, Lipscomb says he made sure that she would not be offended by her scenes in the film, offering to remove anything she found troubling.

    "Michael was fantastic," Lipscomb says. "I hope everyone will see the film. I hope it will open people's eyes and make them begin to ask questions and start speaking up for themselves."

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  3. #12
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    Lila Lipscomb

    Thanks so much for posting that article, Cackalackie! I totally would have missed it if you hadn't, and it was a great read.

  4. #13
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    I saw it last night, it was sold out inside the city so we had to drive out to the 'burbs. It actually sold out there, too, but we got in. I almost couldn't believe it was selling out in the suburbs, but I was really glad to see that there was a wider audience.

    I already knew most of the stuff presented in the film since I'm a total current events junkie (and Ted Rall fan, he was writing about the Afghanistan pipeline thing years ago), but I think that the film really presented the information in a coherent way. It is easy to be overwhelmed by all the small stories about the various nefarious doings of the Bushies and their cronies, but Moore really tied it all together into a solid narrative. I know most people were moved most by Lila, and while I did identify with her, the most moving part of the film to me was seeing the injuries sustained, both by our troops and by the Iraquis. We see such a sanitized bloodless version of the war that it is so easy to forget the actual horrific physical toll of this conflict.

    As for preaching to the choir...it was the #1 movie in the nation, so someone besides the far left must have been seeing it. And it keeps getting a lot of mainstream press publicity, so hopefully even those that don't actually see the film are seeing the promos and hearing the interviews, which is better than the mindless parroting of the administration's line done by most of the nation's press. The fact that USA Today has that article about Lila Libscomb is exposing a lot of people that might not even see the film to a different viewpoint, and even if people in the end still decide to support Bush (which I sincerely hope they don't) at least there is a better chance that they will have thought a bit more about the ramifications of their decision.

  5. #14
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    Another article

    Sorry for monopolizing this discussion, y'all, but I'm really loving it a lot -- I like how everyone's posts have been really long and really thoughtful, and how this has been a substantive discussion of the film itself, rather than an endless debate over whether or not we like Michael Moore. So yay for all of you who keep making me want to come back.

    Anyway, in regard to everyone being surprised about the movie selling out in the suburbs (like me!) and to everyone wondering about how wide the audience for this film would be, there's a great article from the New York Times on this subject:

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-Box-Office.html

    (You may have to register with New York Times Online to read this.)

  6. #15
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    I'm going to see it tonight!

    For awhile I was head over heels for Michael Moore, but lately I've tried to keep a more objective outlook on my beliefs. He does, however, have to be somewhat extreme and warp things to fit his opinion, seeing how tons of the right do that. I just wish it didn't have to be that way, that he didn't mark you down as a conservative if you didn't necessarily have anything against guns (don't ask me why I'm this way, it's one of my quirks, maybe it'll go away and I can be accepted by Michael Moore).

    I enjoy him not necessarily because he brings me new information (I don't always trust that he's speaking 100 percent truth), but I love his documentary style. And he does hit CHORDS, by God. HEART STRINGS and all that. I can't wait to see it.

  7. #16
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    Wow - thanks for the insight folks! I've been too busy to still go see it, but my plan is this weekend for a matinee.

  8. #17
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    I have seen Roger & Me, and Bowling for Columbine. Farenheit 911 is more cohesive than them. Maybe it's just my opinion, but I feel like he made straighter lines of logic and less jumping from one thing to another. I think this might be his best yet.

    I am sure you'll enjoy it soapandwater!

  9. #18
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    is it just me, or do moore's tactics/editing freak anyone out? i'm all for exposing the truth, but his habit of bending the truth/editing worries me. that being said, i haven't seen any of his movies in full, just read a fair amount- from the the liberal press, *not* the conservative.

    while i applaud what he's doing in the name of opening up the eyes of the public, i also can't help but think that some of his methods are going to backfire.

    writing that is a bit weird for me, being a die-hard liberal myself. but, it's just something i wonder.

    x

  10. #19
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    I understand what you mean about Moore. That's my biggest problem. In one of his books, he was trying to prove a point about how people associate rap with violence and sex, while refusing to admit that music white people make often do the same thing. Not saying that white people don't make rap, but it's mostly black at the moment. Anyway, he cited the Dixie Chicks' song, that "earl had to die" song as being an example of violence as done by white people.

    I got really mad about that because he failed to mention the song was about SPOUSAL ABUSE. Not to say you should go kill someone for abusing another person, but that's more of a fantasy/fictional approach to problem-solving, however disturbing or funny or not funny at all.

    He's done other stuff like that, I'm sure, but I'm not educated enough in politics or research to back that up. And he relies on a lot of us to be uneducated/too lazy to go find out things on our own, and that lets him have more power over say someone like me. That sort of stuff scares me: not because he craftily edits things to his liking but that I wouldn't know what to trust because I'm too lazy/ignorant to find out the facts on my own.

    But I'm counting down the hours to go see the movie all the same.

    I really need to stop rambling.

  11. #20
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    I finally saw it on Friday and thought it was his best film yet. Honestly, I think that it should be remembered on par with something like the Pentagon Papers.
    As a friend of mine put it - it made me so very angry because it was all the things that I already knew and tried to ignore in my everyday life because they would make me lose hope in humanity exposed and visualized.


 
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