In all the recent controversy and media coverage over Michael Moore
's new film, the Bush-bashing Fahrenheit 9/11
, there's been one name that I shockingly haven't heard mentioned once anywhere.
Who is Kevin Rafferty you ask?
Well, Kevin Rafferty is a noted political documentary filmmaker who has made films touching on coercive drugging in mental institutions (Hurry Tomorrow), America's obsession with nuclear weapons and nuclear war (The Atomic Cafe) and cigarette corporations (The Last Cigarette).
So what you ask? Well, he's also the cousin of president George W. Bush. And in 1987, during the Reagan administration, he did a good amount of the cinematography for a little movie on the General Motors plant closings in Flint, Michigan called Roger and Me, which launched the career of one Michael Moore and for years was the highest grossing documentary of all time. A record now held by Fahrenheit 9/11.
The Rafferty/Dubya connection isn't exactly a little-known fact. The first two pages of the chapter "Dear George" in Michael Moore's 2001 bestseller Stupid White Men... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation go into details about Kevin to quite an extent. Stating how he came to Flint from his Greenwich Village home to teach Michael his first lessons in filmmaking, how Michael was in Washington, D.C. working for Ralph Nader and editing the film when he saw Kevin at George H.W. Bush's inauguration, and how George Sr. had a print of Roger and Me sent to Camp David and the entire first family viewed it. In the book, he questions if they were at all moved by the film, showing damage to his hometown that he believes was very much a result of the Reagan administration and the first Bush administration, or if they just said "Nice camerawork, Kev!".
Yet, after extensive research, I came to find that even after Fahrenheit 9/11 was having historic distribution trouble, won top prize at Cannes Film Festival, was eventually picked up, released in a record weekend and still continues to create a multimedia explosion throughout the world, I could only find one mention of Kevin Rafferty in the media in the past couple of months. And that mention was in Guardian Magazine's four star (out of a possible five) review of Fahrenheit 9/11 comparing footage from the film of Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz smirking and preening themselves as they prepare to go on TV to similar footage shown in Rafferty's film Feed.
Personally, I'd love to hear what Kevin has to say about Michael Moore's new film. Does he consider it a well-made documentary? Is he personally offended by it? Does he possibly disagree with his cousin on issues brought up in the film? Or does he fully support Dubya and regret ever helping out Moore only so he could wage personal attacks on his fellow family members?
I think it's crazy that nobody in the American media has picked up on what might be a rather fascinating interview. Or even pointed out the connection between the Bush family and Michael Moore at all!
And for the record, I am an avid Michael Moore fan. I own many of his books and films, think that he does his homework more than most commentators out there and no matter what your political stance, you can't deny he gives the under represented a stronger voice in America. I also believe that Fahrenheit 9/11 is one of the most important films in the history of cinema.