From Christopher Hitchens:
Dear Mr Himes,
I've just returned from Afghanistan to find a copy of your review/article, sent to me by the great Tom Luddy, and I am writing to thank you for the high and rare seriousness of what you have said. I wish very much that yours was the standard by which debate was conducted these days.
Of course I am not going to leave it like that...I think you fall into error, first, by committing the great fault of attempted even-handedness. I obviously cannot say everything in my review of Moore, but what I leave out can be found elsewhere in my work, and what I put in can be tested and compared. This is not the case, as you half-admit, with F2001. I have made or helped make a few documentaries myself, including one on Kissinger that was near-commercial, and I would hide my face if anyone could accuse me of bending, stretching, inventing or omitting in the way that our new mass-celeb has done.
May I mention a few small things first? I didn't say "rubbled". I said "rumbled", a possible Anglicism that means "found out" or "caught out". Blame that on the transcript, but you do build on my "rubble" all the same....
Then you say, rather too tentatively, what is blindingly obvious. Of course Bush is joking at his own expense when he dons white tie and speaks about the "have mores". I could tell that even before I found out that he was addressing the Al Smith dinner, one of those tiring regular events (like the Gridiron in Washington) where our leaders perform this generally unfunny ritual. You may not have known this - most of the shocked audience don't know it either - but do you think that Michael Moore didn't know it? See what I mean?
As for my position on the war in general, I can't quarrel with you if you suppose, or assert, that only a morally and politically admirable America, or American administration, had the right to fight it. Or rather, I CAN quarrel with you, and on that very point. Where you lose, though, is in suggesting that I have somehow avoided combat on this. I did produce a little book - entitled "A Long Short War" - at the very beginning of the conflict, in which I tried at least to engage with most of the objections in advance.
I would, for example, be very upset if anyone could show me the better bid that was outdone by Halliburton's insider connection. But nobody has even attempted to do this. If a Ralph Nader administration was seeking to recuperate Iraq's oil industry after decades of Saddam's privatisation, it would have had to turn to Halliburton, and its subsidiary KBR, which among other things put out the near-catastrophic fires after the 1991/2 vandalism. This may not be a Green or Socialist thought, but it is - in its materialism and realism - a Marxist one. Marxists look at the real forces and relations of production. Populists (and "national socialists") look at the supposedly secret deals that run the world "behind the scenes". Child's play. Except that childishness is sinister in adults.
Then I have to mention the question of moral and political courage. Without claiming it for myself, I can deny it to Moore. You know very well what he thinks and says about Israel and the Israeli lobby. Not one word about it in this film. Only Saudi-bashing (which I was doing before he did it.) Shall I make you guess? And people say what a kick-ass guy this man is...
I was not bragging when I said that I would debate Moore or any of his mouthpieces anywhere or any time, even if I may have tested your sense of humor by phrasing it in that "Make My Day" manner, which I (perhaps wrongly) felt was appropriate to his initial bully-boy challenge. I think you make too much of that. However, I would at any time stand by all the points I haven't the space to defend now, and you are welcome to pick any one you choose.
A final thing. I have had many opportunities to comment on this Orwell business, and I think (since you seem to have read Front Page) that you may even have seen one or two of these. I have been explicit and exhaustive in denying any comparison, as made by myself, between Orwell and me. (He was brave enough to take a bullet; never had enough to live on; could not get regularly published - one could go on.) If someone else wants to say that I have a hint of his style, as some did as early as two decades ago, all I can or could do was to swallow and to say that it must have been obvious that I had been reading him since I was a teenager. But THAT'S IT. I defy you to defame him, or sneer at me, on any other evidence.
I've taken enough of your time, if you have read this far, so I'll close by thanking you again for all the care you took in writing your essay, and by advising you in my curmudgeonly way that you can't hope to make the best use of your obvious talent if you spend so much time splitting the difference and trying to accomodate everyone.
From the Director of Pootie Tang:
Hello. I wrote and directed Pootie Tang and I just stumbled on your review. I just wanted to say I found it thoughtful, well written and I enjoyed reading it. I know the movie is kind of a mess and that's my fault for being thrown by the paramount bull before I was done. Oh well. Anyway, the themes that you explored, black iconism in America, the evil of fast food and some others were things that were important to me as I wrote and made the film and I'm glad you picked up on them (where some didn't). I was a bit confused that you attributed so much of this to Chris, who lent his clout to this project and let me cast him in three roles so that it could see the light of day. But I did write and direct Pootie Tang and create the character. Some people are suprised to learn that I am white. I am not surprised that I'm white. I've been white for 34 years. Anyway, I'll have to keep reading your site as you write well and provoke interesting ideas.
Click Here to Read Shimes' Review of Pootie Tang
About The Altman Owes Us Campaign:
MHenderson in New Hampshire writes:
OK, take your photo of Altman and put it next to the photo of Vader/Skywalker when Luke takes off the helmet...more than a coincidence? One wonders. Have YOU ever seen them in the same place at the same time?!
The Filmsnobs respond:
About the Filmsnobs' Personal Lives:
Wyatt in Albuquerque writes:
You guys are a couple of pathetic jackasses! Seriously, you don't have anything else to do rather than go see all these shitty movies and then drool all over your keyboards with your "reviews" like we give a damn? Surely you boners can find something else to do in Springfield besides hang out at the movie theater all weekend.
The Filmsnobs respond: