In a Seattle lecture, filmmaker Spike Lee took aim at the Bush administration, calling Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld a “gangster” and expressing surprise the adminstration hasn’t killed Michael Moore for his new documentary linking the president’s family to Osama bin Laden’s clan.
After his reference to Rumsfeld, Lee focused on the Iraqi prisoner-abuse scandal, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Robert L. Jamieson Jr., who praised the filmmaker for his “sobering” message Saturday night at the Paramount Theater in Seattle.
“So we liberate people so we can torture them,” Lee said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, according to the columnist. “I like that.”
Lee, speaking in a lecture series put on by Foolproof Performing Arts, suggested the decision by Disney not to distribute Moore’s new film “Fahrenheit 911” was made with pressure from forces far above the movie company.
“I’m surprised [the Bush administration] hasn’t killed him yet, Lee said of Moore. ” … Hopefully, this film will get out to the world before the next election.”
Jamieson said Lee, dressed in a “natty gray suit,” has a “knack for getting in your face, for making you see realities you might not notice or may be inclined to duck.”
“We live in very serious times now,” Lee told the audience. “We’re living with the ramifications of the last presidential election. We all got hornswoggled. Run amok. Led astray. Bamboozled.”
The filmmaker, known for movies such as “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” and “Jungle Fever,” was “armed with a multipronged message that Seattle – and the rest of the country – ought to hear, irrespective of how uncomfortable it might make people feel,” Jamieson wrote.
Along with criticism of the mass media, as a “narcotic,” and of rappers such as “Snoop Dogg” for reinforcing racial stereotypes, the columnist said Lee also touched on these issues:
- On same-sex marriages: “People should be allowed to marry who they want.”
- On Secretary of State Colin Powell: “Glad he’s there. He’s keeping them in check, really. If it was left up to Rumsfeld …”
- On weapons of mass destruction and threats to America: “They will find Jimmy Hoffa first. … If we were really smart, we’d be thinking about this guy in North Korea,” referring to dictator Kim Jong Il. “Because they have a nuclear bomb, and this guy is a nut.”
Jamieson noted the audience included hundreds of 10th- and 11th-grade Seattle students invited to the lecture by the Northwest Education Loan Association, which assists parents and children in college planning.
“It’s an election year,” Lee warned, according to the columnist. “Don’t go to sleep. Please.”