Monday, December 27, 2004

Wanting Less of Moore

Michael Moore is at it again. The Los Angeles Times reports that the faux populist is at work on a documentary, tentatively titled "Sicko," that will shred HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry. Industry officials are frantically sending out interoffice memos directing employees not to talk to scruffy fat guys who arrive bearing cameras and boom microphones.

Golly, we can't understand why drug company execs would be wary. As for why Moore is making the movie, the corpulent crusader told the Times that "being screwed by your HMO and ill-served by pharmaceutical companies is the shared American experience. The system, inferior to that of much poorer nations, benefits the few at the expense of the many."

Well, as long as Moore isn't going into the project with a bias or anything.

As a center-leftist (some might just say leftist-leftist), I wish Michael Moore would just disappear for a spell. While I give him props for his propagandist skills and unequivocal showmanship, ultimately his left-wing extremism hurts the cause of liberalism a hell of a lot more than it helps, and he provides the Right with as much of a straw man as loons like Pat Robertson to the Left.

1. Moore's documentaries are patently unfair.

All documentaries are vulnerable to the selectiveness of their creator, but Moore's screeds are in a class of their own. One well-known example: Juxtaposition of footage in 2002's "Bowling for Columbine" gave audiences the false impression that NRA president Charlton Heston had traveled to Denver shortly after the Columbine massacre to tell NRA faithful that he'd give up his gun only when it was pried "from my cold, dead fingers." He said it, yes, but at a convention about a year after the infamous school shootings, and nowhere in Colorado. Moore misled intentionally to stack his argument.

2. His supposed facts are riddled with holes, lapses in logic and the occasionally outrageous lie.

While there is much to admire in the second half of "Fahrenheit 9/11," chiefly for its plethora of images and interviews that were nowhere to be found in the U.S.' mainstream media, its first half is stuffed with enough conspiracy-laden mumbo-jumbo as to satisfy an Oliver Stone attack of the munchies.

3. His shameless self-promotion both on-screen and off is an embarrassment.

How about Moore's pathetically staged confrontation with Heston at the conclusion of "Bowling for Columbine"? Or his asinine ambush of congressmen in "Fahrenheit 9/11"? The shtick wore well in "Roger & Me," his auspicious 1989 debut film in which he dogged then-GM chairman Roger Smith, but that was before the world knew Michael Moore was out for name recognition that would match his girth.

Oh, and yes, plans are in the works for a sequel to "Fahrenheit 9/11." He's keeping uncharacteristically tight-lipped on details. According to The New York Times, "Asked about that movie (the planned sequel) in a telephone interview ... Mr. Moore said he had to go." Presumably, the pizza delivery guy was at the door, and a dozen extra-large pepperoni pies can get cold mighty fast.

4. He's a crackpot prone to saying crackpot things.

He famously insisted before 9/11 that there was no terrorist threat, a view he didn't even care to modify after the World Trade Center attacks. In late 2002 he told Britain's Daily Mirror tabloid, "To me, al-Qaeda is a men's club. To have the world's only superpower at war with a men's club is a little ridiculous." Huh? How does any halfway rational human being make sense of that?

Oh, and on a semi-related note, Nancy Ramsey has an interesting piece in The New York Times about what all those rascally political documentary filmmakers are doing now that the election is over. Thankfully, there are a number of folks whose credibility makes up for Moore's growing abrasiveness.


At 10:50 AM, Blogger LiteraryTech said...

While one can certainly agree with the need to act with more respect for the truth, one wonders about the promotion angle.

Why is Moore's penchant for self-promotion a problem? Would as many people see the information he provides or ask the questions he presents if he were more circumspect?

My intent here is to pose the question, not to propose the answer. I think the aversion to self-promotion is an interesting subject and deserves some elucidation.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Chase McInerney said...

Literary Tech:
You pose a good question, as always. I guess it's not the self-promotion that I object to, per se, but rather his self-promotion as populist protector. It strikes me as self-aggrandizing and a bit too sanctimonious, a left-wing mirror image of Bill O'Reilly, if you will.

Anyway, that's just my take on it.

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only people that I have found who have a problem with Micheal Moore are insipid wannabe's with no convictions of their own. So what if he's an least he's putting his ego to the service
of the world community.


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