Michael Moore, tummy tucks and a kid called "Wonderful"

What Table Talkers are saying about "Fahrenheit 9/11," female self-esteem and offbeat baby names.

Published July 2, 2004 2:21PM (EDT)

White House

Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11": Bush's worst nightmare?

Mary Schumacher - 06:01 am Pacific Time - Jun 28, 2004 - #1858 of 2475

Well, I saw it. And at 4 in the morning I was still tossing and turning, deeply unsettled by it. It is not at all the movie that the Right has been criticizing. But it is obvious why it is not a movie that the Right wants very many people to see. (Less obvious is why the Democrats want anyone to see it.) It's not a "Bush-bashing" movie. (Unless you consider anything that reveals George W. Bush at any time other than those staged moments when his political handlers are trying to project an image of him as some kind of Christian saint as played by John Wayne as "bashing." Clinton's title as most disrespected and meanly characterized president still holds.) It is not a partisan polemic -- the Democrats don't look any better in this movie than the Republicans.

What it is, surprisingly, is one of the most powerful and disturbing pieces of antiwar art ever made. And a generation from now, when the current political personalities have left the stage, that's exactly how people will see it.

The heart of the movie is three women. And that fact in itself points up how much women, and therefore hard human reality as opposed to abstract blather, have been eliminated from our recent political conversations. (The footage from the Senate floor, before the opening title, showing minority women in congress, one after another, joined by only one male colleague, on behalf of their constituents trying to protest certification of the corrupted 2000 election results  a protest that can't be recorded unless they can get ONE Senator to sign on  being gaveled into silence, again and again and again and again, by Al Gore, and, after their defeat, the grinning applause and triumphant laughter of the legislative majority, whether Michael Moore intended it to or not, also makes the point.)

One woman is an Iraqi who curses the Americans and Allah for the "collateral" destruction visited on her family. One a 9/11 widow. One a Gold Star Mother.

The villain of the piece, if there is one, is a woman too. The well-coiffed and impatient woman who, unasked, intrudes into the picture to tell the Gold Star Mother that her grief is "staged" and that, anyway, she should "blame it on Al Queda." Denying reality. Disowning responsibility.

And then there's the clip of Britney Spears. Who, for some absurd reason, conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson deemed appropriate to interview for her views on the war. Snapping her gum, with the most blank and innocent sincerity, she advises we just "leave it" to our leaders.

"No!" Michael Moore is saying, we should not. Because their interests are not necessarily ours. This movie wasn't made for political junkies like me. Or, active, voting citizens like most of you. It was made with the, probably faint, hope that it will be seen by those who haven't really been paying much attention. Who have, for whatever reason, decided that what happens in the halls of power doesn't have that much to do with them. It is an impassioned plea to ordinary Americans  "Pay attention!" This is a movie that will, of course, make old women like me cling even more protectively to our sons. But, it will also make our sons  as I saw all around me in that theater  weep for their mothers. And that's what makes it truly dangerous.

Mothers Who Think

Blambi, Latrina, Dwayno: Bad Names and the People who Mock Them

Zinny M - 12:07 pm Pacific Time - Jun 30, 2004 - #105 of 138

Here are some names from Washington DC and Maryland. I have broken them into a few categories.

The first list is sponsored by the letter "K":

Kieleigh Marian
Kyndrid ShaLyn (sibling name: K'asia Sheree)
Kaiyah Jadin (siblings: Krista, Mikey & Aleah)
Kamira Rose and Kayla Rose
Karlee MacKenzie (sibling: Kaelyn)
Khalea Janae
Khryzl Deanise

Next, we have bad spelling:

Addilay Nicole

These ones are just regular old wacky names:

Dimanod (I hope this is a typo!)
UniQue La Shea
Markquet Gerard
Destiny Chinonye
Zani'ah Tyjeera My'a

And this one is my favorite, so it gets its own category! Obviously, the middle name is quite ethnic. I just love the two names together:

Wonderful Oluwatobiloba

Social Issues

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Women Undermined

Amanda Sowards - 12:50 pm Pacific Time - Jun 30, 2004 - #289 of 293

I've been thinking a lot about this whole "respect" issue lately. I'm 45, live in L.A., and had gastric bypass in 2002, and lost 140 pounds. My skin has bounced back remarkably well, except for my stomach and my breasts. I have considered the surgical solutions to these, and we're talking about a combined cost of around $7K to $10K (breast lift/tummy tuck). Obviously, insurance would cover none of it (nor should it, IMO). That's a horrendous amount of money to spend just to reacquire the belly and breasts I had when I was 22. I've journaled about this extensively, and what has finally emerged is that my desire to have these procedures is based solely on fear. Fear that no man would want me because I'm in my mid-forties and was once fat. Fear that I will never be able to compete with the myriad of gorgeous (frequently surgically enhanced) 22-year-old actresses-cum-Pilates instructors I see all around me. Fear that, after working so hard for two years to regain my health and strength and life, I'm still not good enough.

I've decided not to have a tummy tuck or a breast lift. My stomach and breasts look the way they should look for a forty-five year old woman who has given birth. And, no, I can't compete with those 22-year-old model/actresses, and good thing to. A man who chooses me over one of them has to understand he's stepping up in class, and behave accordingly. Otherwise, there are plenty of acting-for-commercials classes all over town where he can find the future ex-Mrs. So-and-so.

Meanwhile, I'm saving my $10K for a down payment on my own home. To me, there's only one kind of respect that matters ... . the "self" kind.

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