June 25, 2004

The Argumentative Age

Against my better judgment, I’m going to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” tomorrow, and I should have a full review posted by the end of the weekend. I’ve had way too much fun mocking this movie to not actually see it.

I was invited to see the film Saturday night with some friends/future neighbors from the Upper West Side, but I had to decline, for one simple reason: It would have been 10 people- who my friend Ben called an “echo-chamber” of Air America-listening Bush-haters- and me, a left-of-center Democrat who doesn’t care much for Bush but finds Michael Moore considerably more appalling. I didn’t exactly relish the idea of being the focal point of a 10-on-1 argument in the theater lobby after the movie.

I’ve said before that ‘Fahrenheit’ is for Bush-hating lefties what “Passion of the Christ” was for Christians. And knowing what I thought of that movie, I wouldn’t want to have to have been in a post-movie discussion with 10 born-again Christians, either.

The presidential election has been pretty rancorous at the professional-wonk level all along, but lately I’ve been starting to see that political furor seep down into the general population. It’s even starting to remind me of how things were during the buildup to the war last year, when I couldn’t go anywhere for six months without getting drawn into an Iraq-related argument. (So much for that whole “Bush rushed to war, without debate” idea.)

For instance, at my friend’s birthday party last weekend a male and female across the table from one another got into a debate with each other about Iraq, media bias, and Abu Ghraib that got so heated that others had to step in and force a change of subject. A couple days later, my friend Alissa was fighting, over IM, with some guy who kept talking about how “the terrorists hate us, and I don’t blame them.” She asked for help, so I spent about a half hour feeding her lines, Cyrano de Bergerac style.

Maybe it’s just the sort of people I hang out with. But I’ve been noticing more and more of these impromptu fights all the time- and with the Moore film, the conventions, and eventually the election itself, I can only see it getting worse.

So check in Sunday for my ‘Fahrenheit’ thoughts, and in the meantime, read that Hitchens piece again. It should be handed out to people as they leave the movie, instead of those little sticks of gum.

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 25, 2004 03:56 PM

I've said this before, but the problem a lot of people had was not the rush to actual war, but the quick DECISION to go to war, regardless of what the UN said (or found). It's two separate things, and I don't recall (or maybe I haven't heard) your response to that point.

Posted by: Jeremy Wahlman at June 25, 2004 08:32 PM

Although I am a pretty non-confrontational person, I, too, have gotten into numerous heated debates when people find out my political views. I always try my hardest to just keep my mouth shut and end it, but alas, they always say something that I have to refute with factual evidence. Usually when I ask for the evidence in their arguments? Nada.

Posted by: Jessica at June 26, 2004 08:56 AM
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