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Screening wisely

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, September 1, 2004

On Aug. 30 in New York City, Senator John McCain of Ariz. and former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, addressed the American people in heartfelt, moving speeches that unfortunately went unnoticed by most Americans. Appearing only on public television and the cable news networks, both McCain and Guiliani jointly and eloquently spoke of the concept of freedom, what McCain called the, “one big idea that freedom is our birthright and its defense is always our first responsibility,” and what Guiliani hailed as “what the Republican Party does best when we [Republicans] are at our best.”

Reading The Observer Monday afternoon, I noticed an advertisement for upcoming events at the brand-new Marie P. Debartolo Performing Arts Center. On Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m., and again at 10 p.m., Michael Moore’s controversial film “Fahrenheit 9/11” will be shown as a part of an ND Cinema series, which began last week. Coincidentally, the Moore film will screen simultaneously with President George W. Bush’s primetime address to the delegates in New York and the American people at large.

Let me be clear. I do not object to ND Cinema’s choice and right to screen Michael Moore’s documentary. In fact, I believe that it is worthy of academic discussion; clearly “Fahrenheit 9/11” has indelibly influenced the genre of documentary filmmaking and the larger political debate in which America is currently engaged. Moreover, on the basis of the Michael Moore film that I have previously seen, “Bowling for Columbine,” I would venture to suggest that it is probably an interesting and captivating film, although most certainly worthy of critical analysis – and careful fact-checking.

To use tonight’s words of Senator John McCain, “Let us argue our differences.” But let us give the President a chance to make his case to the American people and not let a “disingenuous filmmaker” upstage the President of the United States.

It is blantly irresponsible to show Michael Moore’s film on Thursday evening.

Please show the President’s speech on Thursday night live in the Marie P. Debartolo Performing Arts Center.

Please show the Presidential debates in September live in the Marie P. Debartolo Performing Arts Center.

And please show Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9/11” in the Marie P. Debartolo, just not on Thursday night, Sept. 2, 2004.

I can think of no better venue (and if someone will buy me a ticket for Friday’s screening I will go).

Henry Scott


Sorin College

Aug. 30