Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
He chased away street artists and drove homeless people into the outer boroughs. He might have covered up his family’s Mafia connections, and he definitely finessed the crimes of the Duvalier regime. He thanks God for George W. Bush. He has a creepy laugh. And he’s done the comb-over thing far too long. We’re just getting started on the various counts in Outraged Leftists v. Rudolph Giuliani, and they’re all on display in the exceedingly agitated agitprop documentary Giuliani Time. Perhaps the film’s most instructive moment comes when director Kevin Keating runs a clip of New York liberals flinging dung at the mayor’s effigy, which is a pretty fair summation of Keating’s own technique. He lines up his manure missiles—Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, Haitian refugees—and fires them in quick succession, as though he could obliterate his target through sheer volume of ammo. Well, Rudy Giuliani is many things—joyless, opportunistic, Bonapartist—but effaceable isn’t one of them, especially in the light of his heroic post-9/11 performance, an achievement that Giuliani Time grudgingly acknowledges via epilogue. Everything else is a brief for the prosecution. (Even the defense witnesses—Donald Trump and the porcine Manhattan Institute scholar Myron Magnet—seem calculated to inflame the jury.) Though a show trial might have looked like the best way to take on a renowned prosecutor, the rhetorical excesses of Giuliani Time will make you long for the one quality that both the film and the former mayor lack: nuance. Yes, we hear all about the costs of Giuliani’s preemptive policing and corporate coziness—but what about all those New Yorkers who voted for the man anyway? Were they under some kind of satanic thrall? Or were they just happy to be free of squeegee gangs? Keating doesn’t care to interview those folks any more than he cares to sift through the implications of his title, which is taken from the cry supposedly uttered by a police officer while sodomizing Louima with a broomstick. Louima, of course, later recanted that part of his story, but when you’re flinging dung, why quibble about which fundament it comes from?