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Well, after a lot of years of making documentaries, in the 'wild' style of art, activism, and education... Micheal Moore has just had his newest film released last night (mostly on the Trump election and following disasters to democracy in the USA) and on "fear" (and "terror") of all kinds of fascist waves going on all over the world.. I look forward to seeing his latest film, and it is not because I love everthing Moore does and how he represents people and problems--the big and "wicked problems" that we have to face as humanity... but I like to see how he uses his art, smarts, and technologies to "create curriculum" for the 21st century.

I followed his work closely in the post-Columbine highschool mass shooting and how he approached the American "Gun Problem" (aka "Fear Problem") in his movie that won an Academy Award, Bowling for Columbine" (2002). 

I won't say much more at this point until I see the film, and listen to interviews of Moore... with the question in the back of my mind: "Is Moore a good artist, activist, educator?" and so far, I think he is a better artist-activist than he is an educator, and particularly I am referring to how he handles "fear" as a major topic... which runs all through all his best documentary works... in Bowling for Columbine he really was making a film about the growing "culture of fear" ... and its consequences...which, arguably, I would speculate have been brewing for a good 30 years in particular, and the symptoms are arising (e.g., gun violence) etc... and if you watch his 2002 award winning film, it is the "best" dealing with fear as a topic... and of course terror is not far away... in Fahrenheit 11/9 we'll no doubt once again see him dealing with "fear of Trump" and everything Trump represents ... watch carefully how he "teaches" us about what is going on and how best to understand fear/terror and how best to manage it... transform it... if he even gets to anything so complex... my critique of all his works (as he is a typical activist) is his stereotypes and polarizations (simplifications)--to create his stories. 

RECENT VIDEO RESPONSE of mine to Moore's interview on "Democracy Now" tv program (with Amy Goodman): 

https://youtu.be/ga5BZfV5UnA

 Most recent video (2nd one) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJLdM85Rwts&t=4s

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  • Here are 3 initial reviews that came to me directly on my video "Fisher Responds to Michael Moore: On Fear/Terror" (2 positive and 1 not so much): 

    1. "Thank you, Michael.... I just viewed your video response to Michael Moore, and your response is both respectful and critical. I have some familiarity with some of your writing/work, and I think this presentation might be the clearest and most accessible explanation of your primary themes about fear and fearlessness. So, the big question is how to share this presentation with a wide audience, especially in the current cultural climate where most people want tweets! I certainly agree that this video needs to be shared widely. The big question is how. My hope is that you and Barbara will find creative ways to pool all your resources and writing and art and performances together in a place that people will attend to in order to gain a much needed perspective on big, complex issues. We need the arts and creativity and careful discourse in order to make sense of the topsy-turviness in the world. Onward, -Carl

    2. "My thoughts are you might have been too tough on Michael in raising the otherwise very important points about not using fear as a catalyst for standing against Trump.  (I'm sure you saw my "dream about Trump" video on youtube which says we must instead use radical empathy so we agree of course.) But when he paused between "to" and "I'm serious" I felt he just did not know what to say that would come close to the gravity of what he was trying to convey, both as you suggest, in the possibility that people should know but more in that the consequence potential is actually unspeakable. I think it was an emotion that tongue tied him essentially. I am being easy on him because I don't think his message was that fear should be the motivator. I think it was just an extension of his idea that democracy is on a precipice that is about to break off. It is natural to have a "fear" of this happening and take appropriate action to prevent it. I would have preferred he use words like "serious concerns" than "fear" and "majorly awakened" than "terrified" but he speaks in the language of the masses. I don't think he is or ever operates from fear is a back up argument for my defending him. Love that you are using this though to get folks thinking." 
     
    3. "Good evening Michael,

    First off, I couldn’t agree with you more about Michael Moore stirring the pot of fear. We are already being manipulated by the Russians through social media. They are using fear to control us. People are angry and frustrated, pissed-off, worked up. The result is a population who cannot make thoughtful decisions or responses. Everyone has their panties in a wad. We have no patience for the slightest inconvenience.There is a culture of complaining here too. It is almost like a virus has infected us.

    I don’t know if I will see the movie now that you have given your assessment. I am more interested in non-violence and if Michael Moore is getting us all frothed up, I will take a pass on it. On a different note, I watched an interview with Barak Obama and David Letterman (I believe that it is on Netflix—I could be wrong.) But it is very good. The part that I found remarkable was the march on Selma—now those were some brave people. Among them was a current seated Senator John Lewis. Now there is the opposite of what Michael Moore is invoking. I hope that you can watch it.

    The second thing that I wanted to share with you is a marvelous interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey with Jane Fonda. She talks about her relationship with fear throughout her entire life and how she welcomes fear as a teacher now. It reminded me of how to deal with difficult emotions, from a Buddhist perspective: invite them in for tea. This interview was just released and named Oprah’s Master Class. Thank you for your teaching. -Katherine

     
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