Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?

Warrior Poets. <i>90 minutes</i>.

Photo: The Weinstein Company

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The first key to appreciating the follow-up to Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me is the title’s riff on Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? That ’80s educational video game had kids track a criminal mastermind across the globe, with the never-ending chase teaching them geography and history. Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? starts with Spurlock, still an abominable showman, vowing to make the world safer for his soon-to-be-born child by hunting down America’s most wanted terrorist. Traveling to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, he ventures into the Muslim world pretending to look for bin Laden, but ends up sincerely talking to students, soldiers, activists, and radicals. Humanity and humility become more important than humor as Spurlock tries to understand the anger and resentment toward the United States.

Not that he can resist digging into his Michael Moore-size bag of tricks and shticks. Animated interludes on American support for dictatorships work better than the videogame-style sequences where Spurlock’s computer-generated avatar fights bin Laden’s(!). But his man-in-the-Arab-street sequences truly stand out, such as when a Moroccan father expresses his hopes for his sons’ future, or when Spurlock asks a group of Palestinians for their take on the region’s problems and a youth cries out, “I wish we had someone like Osama bin Laden!”

The film’s early detractors have complained that six years after 9/11, they already know the facts at hand. But Spurlock didn’t make this film for npr listeners or Atlantic subscribers, but rather those Americans who’ve never seen a Muslim speak about his longing for human rights, or thought about the link between their local gas station and jihadism. Where in the World… isn’t the smoothest or most serious of the recent war-on-terror documentaries, but it has the best chance of doing more than just preaching to the converted.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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