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"I understand why a lot of people on the left ... believe the movie endorses torture," Moore began on HuffPost Live. "But that's not how I saw it, I left the movie thinking it made an incredible statement against torture."

Moore also claimed it's important to move beyond the issue of whether torture "does or does not work." "The film shows the abject brutality [of torture]," Moore said. "It doesn't matter if it works. It's wrong."

"These are works of fiction -- 'Zero Dark Thirty,' '24,'" Moore said. "[The interrogators] torture 100 people. One guy has the information. Everyone who doesn't have the information makes up shit ... so you have 99 people making up information and one tells the truth. How do you know what's the truth?"

"Does the artist have a responsibility for the ignorance of the person watching the art?" Moore asked. "I don't want to have to dumb down my work for the people who won't get it. I want to put it out there and the people who get it, get it."

3:42 PM PT: I was not able to write on this today - very busy - but I agree with Moore.  A film is normally for entertainment only.  I don't keep away from a great film because I disagree with its philosophy.  

And Ms. Bigelow likely found it could slow the plot by adding another side of the issue.  

Plus an excelent comment was made below by kenlac that great movies deliberately leave some ambiguity at the end.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:47:15 AM PST

  •  Moore confuses a 'Director's Vision' with a (5+ / 0-)

    director's ability to communicate -- the former is directly proportionate and the latter inversely proportionate to the director's God Complex.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 06:58:49 AM PST

  •  Gosh, I hate it when I agree with (3+ / 0-)

    Moore.  ;)

    He just irritates the hell out of me.

    But I've been saying the same thing.  And that, in fact, those we see tortured are presented with enormous compassion in the film.  

    "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

    by Yasuragi on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:06:19 AM PST

  •  Yeah, yeah, whatever. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Birdman, Chi, Brooke In Seattle, dov12348

    I mean, I agree that torture is wrong regardless of whether it works.  That doesn't mean it's OK to give credibility to false claims that it worked in a particular case.  That's surrendering half the fight.

    "I don't want to have to dumb down my work for the people who won't get it. I want to put it out there and the people who get it, get it."
    And you can!

    But you also want to insult and complain about the people who "won't get it."  Now you're being a dick.

    Being an artist doesn't entitle you to decide the criteria by which your art will be judged.  If people don't like your message, claiming that they "didn't get" a BIGGER message  is just whining.

    the purpose of the second amendment is to promote a well-regulated militia, in the same sense that the purpose of the first amendment is to promote a well-informed electorate.

    by happymisanthropy on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:08:29 AM PST

    •  did you miss the part where (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommymet, dov12348

      this isn't Michael Moore's movie?

      If people don't like your message, claiming that they "didn't get" a BIGGER message  is just whining.
      How can this apply when Moore remarks on Kathryn Bigelow's movie?

      If the diary were about Kathryn Bigelow talking about her movie and its message, then we could debate your point.

      We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term. --Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

      by uffdalib on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:23:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I haven't seen it because (6+ / 0-)

    I read a lot of reviews and heard a number of people saying that the movie suggests that torture works. That stopped me from any desire to see it.
    But at a dinner with friends last weekend, they said pretty much the same thing that's in this diary. They thought it was a terrific movie and showed torture in a very ugly light.
    OTOH, when I asked them if the movie suggested torture worked to get the info, they ended up with no clear conclusion. One of them finally said that the movie juxtaposed the torture and the information and didn't make it at all clear if they were related.
    These are very liberal, very smart, thoughtful people whom I trust. So the message of the movie must be pretty unclear.
    (believe me, nothing needs to be "dumbed down" for them).

    I think we'll eventually see it -- when it's out on DVD.

    While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

    by Tamar on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:20:27 AM PST

    •  I agree with your friend (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell, dov12348

      While the early scenes in the movie were heavy on torture, the movie did not seem to make the claim that the torture led to the relevant information.  In fact, the movie did make a claim that years and billions of dollars were wasted while the CIA focused on torture. Maybe I missed it in the movie, but I didn't see the movie make any claim of relationship between the torture and the CIA agent's good old fashioned detective work and intuition that ultimately led to Bin Laden.    

      •  what I've heard (I have no interest in the film) (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar, Brooke In Seattle, dov12348

        is that there is a scene where information is given up at a lunch - after a person had been subjected to torture - and that he either claims to or appears to be cooperating only to prevent any more torture.

        I'm curious. Was this what you saw?

        If so, it's presenting the idea that you can generate cooperative sources via torture.

        If that's not what you saw, it would be interesting to have someone who saw it that way speak with someone who didn't. I'm not sure I can get a real handle on it, as this may be a case of the film touching on such a hot button issue that everyone sees different things or interprets them differently.

        I guess, either way, I'm glad to see the topic raised to the surface of public conversation again.

        •  I think you stated the problem very well: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          UnaSpenser, dov12348
          as this may be a case of the film touching on such a hot button issue that everyone sees different things or interprets them differently.
          Because I've now heard so many different views from so many reasonable people.

          While Democrats work to get more people to vote, Republicans work to ensure those votes won't count.

          by Tamar on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:33:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  me, too. I don't even think it matters whether (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tamar, dov12348

            I see the film or not, at this point. I guess I'd have my own take. Still, it wouldn't convince anyone else that their take was wrong.

            And already have a position on the use of torture. No move is going to change that.

            I do find it problematic if they are telling a real life story and hiding behind the veneer of fiction to claim that they don't have to be accurate, particularly with something as important as whether torture can be "successful" or not.

    •  If the message is unclear (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell, dov12348

      that's not a reason for me not to see it. I'm not expecting to go see a dramatization (not a documentary) and get a nice packaged message confirming my beliefs.

      "Let's do this!" - Leeroy Jenkins

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:50:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think Bigelow was caught in a bind (9+ / 0-)

    she couldn't NOT document the torture or she would've been hit with whitewashing, so it's included.  Then again, the reality of the situation was that FBI interrogators like Ali Soufan obtained nearly all the good actionable intelligence before torture was deployed - and that afterward the detainees either lied to us (KSM), or completely shut down (Zubaydah). so that begs the question "Why was it ever used"?

    Bigelow can't really get into that without expanding the scope of the film since her focus was Bin Laden and the use of torture by people like Cheney was really about generating false confessions - as it always has been since it was used by Red China for exactly that purpose  - linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11.  They started using these techniques despite the intel they were already getting because they weren't getting what they wanted, and ultimately did get from Ibn Sheik al-Libbi who claimed Saddam had trained the 9-11 Bombers after he was buried alive in Egypt.

    So I sympathize somewhat with her dilemma, but not in the strident whining manner with which she's faced it. She's tried to turn this around and claim people shouldn't criticize her film for showing torture, she should criticize the fact that the torture took place - which makes sense - but then the film clearly indicates that if not for the threat of continued torture the first key set of information wouldn't have been obtained.  When the White House asks for more info before green-lighting the final mission the CIA person says "We can't get you more - you ended the detainee program".  So I really don't think her presentation is completely clear and clean in showing the immorality of torture.

    There is a reason that people see the film as an excuse and endorsement of these crimes.

    •  Why would Bigelow refer to the torture (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348, Sharon Wraight

      as "enhanced interrogation"(a Cheney term) and say it was "part of the methodology of the hunt." (see Charlie Rose interview)

      Just asking.

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:50:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are right, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell, dov12348

        you are weakening your own point by the "just asking" part.

        "Just asking" backtracks from your own statement. No, you are not "just" asking - you are asking, full stop, and that question is in the room, and it stands on its own weight. And it is your right to ask, and no apologies or backtracking make any sense in this context.

        And this applies to nearly 100% of the cases people use this rhetorical phrase.

        ______
        "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

        by cris0000 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:38:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  silly statement from Moore (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tommymet, Brooke In Seattle, dov12348

    everyone knows it's wrong, most just think it's OK even if it's wrong, if it works..... that's precisely the long argument we've been having. Apparently Moore wasn't paying attention. Amazing to me how many people were not paying attention.... and still aren't.

    wrong, but works is not the same as wrong plus doesn't work.... which it didn't.

    ZD30 misportrays the truth.

  •  the productivity of torture was unclear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tommymet, Brooke In Seattle, dov12348

    I agree with Moore that the movie showed the brutality of torture and how it ate away at those who did it as well as the subject. Watching it, you can decide if you want that done in your name. However, the information they get that is useful is obtained in a civilized setting in much the way experts described during the long debates we had about torture and its efficacy as an interrogation technique. The misleading aspect is that it comes from the primary torture subject, who is obviously worried about being returned to the torture room; the true story is much more complicated and involves several detainees. The movie is ambiguous that way, but it does not directly credit torture with the critical information.

  •  The aspiring Sunday TV & Film critic John McCain.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dov12348
    "I understand why a lot of people on the left believe...
    ... is the most vocal person I heard disabusing this movie and not much from "the left" so I'm surprised Moore framed it this way.

    I assumed McCain is so addicted to misinforming on the Sunday shows himself that he's looking to create a niche of crossover critic...and trashing this movie might afford him more "industry" cred. Nevertheless, it's such tragicomedy that one who could impact reality chooses instead to impact a fictionalized film, why would anyone pay any attention to the critiques makes no sense IMO.

  •  Michael Moore is wrong, once again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dov12348, Sharon Wraight

    according to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker
    ZERO CONSCIENCE IN “ZERO DARK THIRTY”

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 08:46:36 AM PST

  •  Moore may or may not have a point - but you don't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dov12348, alain2112

    a blockquote a diary doesn't make.

    ______
    "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

    by cris0000 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 09:33:42 AM PST

    •  I have not seen the movie. (0+ / 0-)

      But movies are meant to entertain. Period.  I see a lot of things I don't agree with philosophically.

      Perhaps she thought any such thing would slow down the plot.

      Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

      by dov12348 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:29:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It absolutely blows my mind when otherwise (5+ / 0-)

    smart people can't figure out that one of the major components of fiction that gives it power is ambiguity.

    I mean, everyone seems to think the movie is either pro-torture or anti-torture, and nobody seems to be alert in any way to the possibility that the filmmaker's intent might have been for you to come away conflicted and unresolved.

    "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

    by kenlac on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:26:00 AM PST

  •  I came to the same conclusion upon seeing it... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Blake, dov12348

    It did NOT glorify torture, and the only clear point was that torture itself... at least the tactics any of our people ever would engage in, were more likely too generate reams of nonsense than ever produce usable facts.

    We don't always agree on things, but on this M Moore and I are in agreement. It is pathetic how much hand ringing and lip smacking has gone on in the media over the movie, by people who either didn't see it, or did and didn't get it.

    The analyst pieced together tidbits of extraneous information about a person who seemed just ancillary to the efforts of AQ in general. She sifted through nearly infinite amounts of raw data, most of which came from casual interactions and interviews with people who didn't even realize in the big picture they had provided a piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

    One thing that I found curious... the Currier's vehicle, where was it? He was there, they shot him, so where was the SUV? Wouldn't one of the options have been to load up tons of computer crap into it, and a couple of the guys head out to be met by a black-hawk separately, given the location had become a hotspot and Pakistani police were on the way?

  •  Where is Ayman al-Zawahiri, THAT is what ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Blake, dov12348

    .. this movie left me with ultimately as the unanswered question..... I look forward to the sequel.

    We can only hope the same excellent intelligence professionals are on the case.

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