I’ve really enjoyed every conversation I’ve overheard about “Fahrenheit 9/11” this week, even the ones where somebody who hasn’t seen the movie is telling someone else it’s all lies and that anyone who supports it hates America. At least people are talking, and the more people talk, the more ignorant the ignorant people begin to look.

I was really looking forward to the movie, not because I always agree with Michael Moore, but because I think he’s a great filmmaker and because I’m smart enough to know how and when I’m being manipulated and to make up my own mind afterward. But before I saw it, and before all the streetcorner debating started, I really didn’t think it would change anyone’s mind. Lately, I’m not so sure. As polarized as the country is, there are plenty of undecided people out there who’ve been backing Bush all this time mostly because no one was telling them the things that Michael Moore’s telling them.

Paul Krugman nails it in his NYT editorial today. The reason this movie is so popular is that the media hasn’t been doing its job.

The most powerful parts of the movie are the footage where Bush comes across like the blithering idiot he most likely is, footage from press conferences and photo ops that we could’ve seen a million times by now if anyone bothered to show it. There are plenty of possible reasons why the media has been going so easy on Bush. Maybe they’re cowering in the face of the administration’s intimidation tactics, maybe they’re under orders from their right-wing-owned media conglomerates, maybe they really believe you shouldn’t make your country’s Commander in Chief look bad during a war, maybe they’re just lazy and sloppy. Or maybe their parents just taught them not to pick on the slow kids.

No one I’ve spoken to knew that Bush’s limo was pelted with eggs on Inauguration Day, but Moore showed us the footage, and his account of the incident, as far as I know, hasn’t been disputed. It’s not really a comment on Bush that some jerks threw eggs at him, but the fact that it went largely unreported makes the media look sloppy at best, and puppets of the right wing at worst.

We shouldn’t have to wait until Michael Moore puts out another movie to get to see what’s really going on in our country. (Preferably, we wouldn’t see it only through his not-always-100%-reliable filter either.) Maybe now that Moore has shown you can criticize the President and turn a profit, we’ll start seeing this kind of thing on Dateline, but I wouldn’t count on it.

If nothing else, I hope the movie’s success convinces someone to give Michael Moore one more shot at his own weekly TV show.



I swear I’m not a complainer. When people ask me how I am, I say I’m doing fine, thanks, even though sometimes I’m not doing fine and I have a headache or I’m depressed or I want to talk about how freaked out I am about what’s going on in the world. And I’m not a hypochondriac, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve probably been to a doctor about eight times in my adult life — which is not good, I should get regular checkups, I know, but my point is that I don’t freak out about little aches and fatigue and unexpected bodily fluid discolorations and things like that.

But to be honest, this last week has been Hell.

Since I had my wisdom teeth out, my mouth has been in constant, often unbearable pain. At times, the pain spreads through my skull and produces massive headaches that make it difficult for me to concentrate or think straight. Medication lessens the pain, but it doesn’t make it go away entirely, and I’m on a pretty regular schedule where I carefully note the time I take each dosage so I can take the next pill as soon as the bottle says I can. I’ve switched over from Vicodin to Ibuprofen because it has just about the same effect, only without the potential to land me in rehab. (Sure, I’d like to meet Mary-Kate, but not that badly.) There’s been a persistent, disgusting, metallic taste in my mouth, that I would describe more specifically, but I know foul tastes aren’t fun things to imagine, so I’ll hold back. And I know it’s not blood because I don’t see any blood, but it’s something and probably not something good, and anyway, it’s nauseating and whatever it is is what everything I eat tastes like now.

And when I went back for my followup visit this morning, that’s pretty much what I wrote down on the form. There’s a time and place for complaining, and I figured assessing complaints was pretty much the entire point of a followup visit, so I didn’t hold back. The nurse sat me down in the chair, glanced at the form and asked me how I was doing. I told her it’s been Hell, and I repeated everything I said on the form, and she took out a little plastic gizmo and said, “Okay, now I’m going to show you how to irrigate the wound,” which I’m pretty sure is what she was going to say no matter what I told her.

After she’d done her job, she left the room and handed off my form to the dentist. He walked in, asked how I was doing, and I said, “I’m okay personally, but my mouth is killing me.” He just kind of nodded and went, “Yeah…”. Then he checked in my mouth and said everything looked great, the wound was healing nicely, and I was doing a good job with my post-op hygiene.

The awful taste in my mouth most likely came from all the food and gunk caught in the holes where my teeth used to be. For the first week after the surgery, you’re not supposed to disturb these areas with toothbrushes, toothpicks, fingers or anything else that might disrupt the healing process. Now that I’ve got this gizmo, I can clean out the gunk, and hopefully, that will solve the taste problem. As for the pain, the advice I got was simply, “Some people have lots of pain; some don’t have any. Just keep taking Ibuprofen.”

Well, for once, I thought I was the exception, the .001% case, where something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. But it turns out what I’m going through is perfectly normal. The whole thing made me feel like a big baby. I take it back. I’m sorry I complained.

Really, I’m just fine.