Michael Moore: Documentary Traditionalist

There’s an interesting article in the New Yorker that came in the mail yesterday: “Nanook and Me”: Fahrenheit 9/11 and the documentary tradition, by Louis Menand.

It makes a very good case for the thesis that there’s a huge difference between documentaries and journalism, and there always has been.

(I do realize I’ve made this point several times before, but in discussions of F9/11 many people still seem to be confused between the definition of *journalist *and documentarian. I thought this article says it more clearly than I ever have.

Menand’s piece in short: the first great documentary, “Nanook of the North,” was a load of crap that bore no resemblance to reality. So, when Michael Moore makes a documentary that’s a load of crap and bears no resemblance to reality, he’s actually following a great tradition.

Of course, F/911 was full of crap!!!

It is full of words of the current administration and actions of it.

To quote Roger Ebert (link here, since the original is now a pay-to-see archive from the Chicago Sun-Times):

So F911 is compared to the inaccurate documentary “Nanook of the North”? Works for me!

By those standards, sounds like Oliver Stone’s “JFk” would qualify as a traditional documentary.

The author essentially discredits the word “documentary”. I’ll remember that. But that doesn’t leave much of a tradition, does it?

And IMHO journalism is no guarantee of accuracy either.