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on May 28, 2007
I think Michael Moore is a tremendous documentarian who doesn't get enough credit because Republicans have had it in for him since "Fahrenheit 9/11." I'm excited for "Sicko" though and a bit shocked that Fox News raved about the film. Documentarians are a hard-working and under-appreciated lot who tirelessly try to highlight the dark underbelly of issues we normally just gloss over. Catch "Deliver Us from Evil," "Jesus Camp," "Bowling for Columbine" and "An Inconvenient Truth" for just a sampling of some eye-opening film works by very brave filmmakers.
Those films are certainly provocative and well made, but the filmmakers are brave? They've been honored at the Academy Awards and Cannes. Theo Van Gogh was brave enough to make a documentary film, "Submission" that earned him only a fatwa and an early death by gun and knife.
I enjoyed F 9/11 (and like its message!), but I think Moore is overrated as a filmmaker. "Roger & Me" was an exercize in unchecked ego.
Calling documentarians brave certainly doesn't take anything away from Theo Van Gogh. Has anyone on this forum ever tried to make a documentary film, especially about a subject as heavy as the shootings at Columbine or a pedophile priest? No? Didn't think so.
Believe me, these filmmakers are very brave and should be commended for the efforts they go through to shed light on dark subjects. And Eric, I have to disagree with you (obviously our opinions differ). I don't think Moore is overrated at all. "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" were both brilliant films on vert difficult subjects.
I don't think even Martin Scorsese could have done better given the circumstances.
Moore is a talented propagandist. So was Goebbels. He is not a documentarian. One does not need to be brave to be a propagandist. Being a true believer obviates any potential doubts. One is free to sing like a canary..any tune that comes to mind.
Oliver Stone had similar praise said about him, too. Too bad he got the main facts wrong. There never was a double 90 degree turn on the shot that hit JFK and Connelly - it went straight through. Facts are hard things to discover, then to confront. Maybe that is why Stone and Moore ignore the facts that get in the way of the story.
Moore is more like Lenny Bruce, a brilliant and intrepid social commentator who puts a mirror in front of the American public and forces it to look at itself. Americans have normally lived in denial, not believing that their leaders are capable of deceiving them into war, that their commander on chief was actually a wartime deserter and that he's capable of authorizing torture, sadism, murder and KGB like invasion of privacy. When social commentator like Moore force us to face these scary facts, the Right wing start labeling him as an anti-America propagandist, their usual character assassination method designed to make people like him unbelievable and illegitimate, since their greatest fear is that Moore will actually encourage enough Americans to start thinking.
You are simply flat out wrong John. Moore is very much a documentarian. The problem is, your political beliefs force you to not see him in that way, so you label him a "propogandist" because the alternative doesn't jive with your right-wing beliefs. No offense to the Republican party, which has done some good things over the years, but it's unfortunate that you all ignore the mountains of research and interviewing Moore does to complete his very thorough and thought-provoking films. He doesn't pull this stuff out of his back pocket folks. It's simply a shame even California-based Republicans continue to turn a blind eye to President Bush's transgressions and label his critics as "propagandists" and "unpatriotic." Is it more patriotic then to not question the president and simply allow him to carry on carte blanche, even if his decisions are detrimental to the wellbeing of our country?
Danny, I agree with everything you wrote with the noticable exception to:"No offense to the Republican party, which has done some good things over the years". What good things has the Republican party has done in the last 40 years, beside introducing blatant criminal behavir into politics, labeling opponents as traitors and anti-American and turning this nation into a corporate state?
The reason Republicans hate Michael Moore so much is that he, unlike the corporate media, has called them on it, using his unique blend of satire, sarcasm and hard facts, and it drives them crazy, because he's one of the few who dare challenge their crimes, hypocracy and corruption.
Although I agree that Republican decisions over the past years have been far from admirable and more often than not sacrifice the peace and safety of the many for the profit and power of the few, I still think it's important in this current political climate to do our best to remain united. So I try not to all-out bash Republicans because I know a few and they are good people, even if some of their political figures are not. Sadly, in this class war and our own psychological civil war (left vs. right), the people who truly suffer the most are the citizens. The average Joe Democrat and John Republican are buried beneath spin and misinformation, neither ever really seeing the light. I think our country will heal more quickly from President Bush's divisive time in office if we better try to understand and empathize with each other's viewpoints and attempt to take the good with the bad.
Republican, Democrat. I miss the days when we were all simply Americans.
The Right Wing bible prohibits any questioning of a Republican administration. A Republican president is beyond reproach and those who dare question and oppose his policies, are propagandists and haters of the USA. If Bush and Cheney got the WMD issue all wrong, and 3500 US soldiers and possibly 600,000 Iraqis payed with their lives for their "mistake", the Right Wing is just fine with it. If Moore, satirist and social critic in the mold of Twain, Brecht, Trollop, Joseph Heller and Lenny Bruce fuses documentary with humor and droll cynicism, he's a Goebbels like propagandist, since of course a Right Wing administration is anointed by a Higher Father, can't do wrong and should never be criticized.
Danny, the problem is that only Progressives are expected to offer unity and forgiveness to the Conservatives. The Conservatives feel that any criticism of Bush/Cheney amounts to anti-patriotism and even treason. The undeniable fact is that the Conservatives put Bush/Cheney (well, with the help of 5 supreme court justices) in the white house, and the fault and responsibility is all theirs. They owe us and the nation, big time, we owe them nothing, certainly not unity.
This is a very predictable debate. If you are on the left, Michael Moore is a brilliant, brave documentarian. If you are the right, he's an unamerican, untalented hack. In my humble opinion, many of the above postings are kind of overstated.
I think its plain wrong that the "right wing bible," as if there actually were one, prohibits questioning of a republican administration. Plenty of right-wingers are dissatisfied with the president.
I've also read that Sicko is a different kind of Moore film - much less ambush style, and more thoughtful.
So - maybe Moore isn't a commie after all, and maybe Bush/Cheney aren't dictators in the mold of Hitler and Stalin. If they were, do you think this board would still be here?
Well stated Sad, and I understand your position as well sarlat. Not everything is black and white. I'm a filmmaker myself though and find it hard to swallow when Republicans and right-wingers disregard or simply insult Moore. He is a very good filmmaker, no matter what political or social statements he's making.
Sad and Dave, I would respectfully disagree with your either/or assertion. I fall pretty solidly on the left, and, as stated earlier, I dont think much of Moore as a filmmaker (Farenheit is the exception). While I generally agree with Moores politics--Im a bit more of a centrist then he, but close enough in todays polarized America-- I tend to find his films a bit too self-serving-- the films are as much about Moore and his ego as the subject at hand-- and choppy.
That said, I'd rather that someone make mediocre films about the subjects Moore chooses then none at all.
my point is that there's a fundamental difference between right wingers and progressives/liberals. when i debate the iraq invasion with conservatives, although i think it's the worst blunder in our history, i never brand my opponents as fascist, war mongers, baby killers, etc. but too often, they brand me as anti-american, terrorist appeaser, even traitor and someone who was happy to see the towers collapse on 9/11, just because i believe that the iraq invasion and occupation has made us less safe and created more jihadist terrorism. i have yet to find the conservative who may disagree with my opinions on bush and iraq, but accept them as legitimate views which are the bedrock of a democratic society.
Danny, Sarlat, Albert, Dave:
Goebbels would have an easy time with you. You are so willing to swallow the bait, such that he (and Moore and Stone) wouldn't even need to tie a good dry fly. You will jump for any old bait. That is the nature of true believers.
I haven't seen "SICKO", but I have heard about it. Apparently, Moore got some dissatisfied Americans to go down to Cuba to get medical treatment. Then he got them to sing the praises of the Cuban medical establishment.
Did Moore happen to mention that rich foreigners and the nomenclatura get top level medical attention, and the rest of Cuba gets very litte (apartheid medicine)? Did he happen to mention that Cuba had among the top level of medical services in Latin America before the revolution? Did he happen to mention that toilet paper is not available to many Cubans? Did he say anything about why Cubans get into inner tubes and try to get off of Cuba (at risk of imprisonment or worse)? Since I haven't seen the movie, I can't answer those questions, but I would suggest that you look, and listen closely for the answers as you watch it.
sariat, isnt it nice how succinctly John made your point for you?
John, do you happen to know why Cubans don't have toilet paper and other essentials? Because our government has clamped a cruel and inhuman embargo on Cuba many years ago and has strangled their economy. And even the most rabid anti-Castro exiles would tell you that before Castro, Cuba was a banana republic controlled by the mafia in which a small oligarchy enjoyed life and the rest lived in abject poverty, illiteracy and health care was just a dream.
Uh..Albert, toilet paper is available from Canada and Europe and Latin America. Cuba does business with all of those economic units. Cuba demands the use of the finger, because it is a socialist state. "Socialismo o Muerto" is what Fidel has preached for decades. Socialism is an economic and political failure. Fidel rewards his friends (nomenclatura) and punishes his enemies, just like Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot.
If Cuba had been allowed to develop along a non-revolutionary path, it would be much ahead of where it is today. It would also be free. Fidel has been a disaster for Cubans, and that is why some of them risk their lives to get out of there.
I will ask again: Will the Moore movie discuss the third degree burns from the sun, the drownings and the shark attacks for those trying to gain freedom from Fidel? Those are all serious medical issues.
Hopefully some right wing ducumentary movie maker will discuss George Bush and his cronies rigging and forging intelligence in order to get their nation into a bloody invasion of a sovereign country, authorizing torture, murder, illegal wiretapping and other violation of the constitution and turning their administration into a corporate enabler. Maybe then we can examine Castro's faults and compare them with Cuba under the feudal and hopelessly corrupt Batista, a mafia puppet.
And so it goes John. You see, to me, you're the one who is too willing to swallow the bait. Your political leanings have prevented you from seeing with an unbiased eye, as ours have apparently prevented us.
Welcome to America.
Early reviews of Sicko have been stellar coming from both sides of the political spectrum. Most are saying this film is the best he's made. Conservatives -- who have actually seen the movie rather than making knee-jerk reactionary statements about Moore -- have been highly complimentary.
See, the thing is, being Conservative doesn't make anyone immune from illness, and bad things are happening to a lot of us across the spectrum because of our broken health care system. Being Conservative might mean I care more about the health of our business environment (though comparing fiscal responsibility in the Clinton and Bush administrations, I'm not so sure); Moore's movie is good for "business" too, because it finally highlights how "business" is being strangled by one of its own sectors, the health care industry.
Sounds like I touched nerve. Moore is talented, but it is pure propaganda. Simple as that. Why not just it enjoy it for what it is? Good propaganda will always have elements of truth in it, otherwise it won't work. The fun with Moore is picking out the half-truths, lack of context, 'facts' that are not facts, facts that are ommitted, etc. Even more fun is watching his disciples react when His Sainthood is criticized. Hagiography is a poor substitute for analysis (Danny).
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Any criticism of any of the ingredients that make the right wing-the bush administration, the oil companies, the health care industry, the weapon making industry, war profiteers, etc is propaganda. they don't really believe in democracy, free speech and the legitimacy of contrarian opinions, but in medieval monarchies in which any criticism of the monarch is unacceptable and abetrayal of the anointed one. in reality, michael moore tells more truth in the span of one minute of his movie than george bush has in his entire presidency.
in the US the dominant ideology is 'me' whereas the other advanced nations on the planet think in terms of 'we'. Bowling for Columbine demonstrates the fear in American society induced by the media (if it bleeds, it leads) and where it leads to. Fahrenheit 9/11 exposes the Republican party, especially the Bush crowd, as a club that solely benefits the financial interests of the wealthiest people in the country, causing millions to suffer. This time, Moore shows that, even in the health care system, the nation is run by one single thing: the bottom line; the logic of money. The US seem to have forgotten that money is just an intermediate. If it becomes a goal in itself, people die. Unnecessarily.When profit is the only motive running our health care system, terrible things happen and people die. To conservatives, the horrible scenes at Walter Reed where Iraq war casualties were lying in their own filth is the model of health care:if you can't afford quality health care, tough luck. With the corporate media collaborating scared to challenge Bush and his corporate friends, Moore dares to challenge them and expose them. Conservatives are nothing but Stalinists;any challenge to them is immediately branded as propaganda and the challenger dismissed as an anti-patriotic liar.
Here is a take on Moore by Christopher Hitchens. Not very flattering.
Chrisopher Hitchens has been wrong about just about everything in the last 10 years or so, since he became a neoconservative. How can w forget his predictions that the occupation of Iraq would be easy, that the Iraqi people would wlcome us with open arms, that the oil revenues will pay for everything, that the WMD would be found in a matter of days, etc. Even now, like his new buddy Cheney, he claims that Iraq had close ties to al qaeda, that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and that we just can't find the WMD because he hid them so well. He also calls for the US to stay indifinately in Iraq and to build there permanent bases from which to attack and occupy Iran. On every single issue, Michael Moore has proved to be right while Hitchens proved to be dead wrong.
Come on, really, "hagiography"? I would honestly take your comments as somewhat meaningful if I thought you were in the middle or on the left and had some enlightened viewpoint on the matter. But because you are so obviously on the right (and I would guess far right from your comments), I just consider your pseudo-intellectual Moore-bashing a little comical. It's all progaganda UNLESS it's pro-Republican, eh? Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night John.
This is fun!
Danny and jeff, how about you just take on the arguments that Hitchens has made about Moore. No need to kill the messenger, just refute his points about Moore.
BTW, you might want to take a look at a relatively recent book that describes liberal arguments, from a humanitarian viewpoint, in favor of the Iraq invasion by the U.S. Hitchens contributed a segment.
Cristopher Hitchens has been wrong on any single aspect vis-a-vis Iraq, while Michael Moore has been right on every single aspect vis-a-vis Iraq. It also turns out that he was correct about anything he said about Bush and Cheney, although most of us already knew that at the time. Why in the world would anybody in their right mind give any credence to anything Hitchens has to say? Would you take calls from a stock broker who was wrong about every single stock he ever advised you to buy? Who in his right mind would ever take Hitchens seriously again?
Now Albert, please just list the arguments that Moore was right about. Since you say he was right about everyhing, vis-a-viz Iraq, just list them. There should be no argument...if you are right, and you can defend your statements.
Yes, "hagiograpy". What better word to describe your near worship of Moore? True believers, like yourself, are reverential towards their godheads. Facts don't matter...just the belief.
BTW, what films have you produced?
Actually, the vast majority of the public now agrees with the arguments Moore has been about Iraq for 5 year. Now most of the public know that Bush lied about the intelligence, rigged and fabricated it and that invading Iraq has been the worst disaster ever in US foreign policy. Moore had told that a few years ago but not enough people were paying attention.
I asked you for specific arguments, not public opinion polls. Using your logic, you would support going into Iraq, because it was popular at the time, and the U.S. should have pulled out of WWII before victory, because the public had a diminished interest in buying war bonds.
Nah, you deliberately distort what I said. Moore told us a few years ago what most Americans have come to realize now-that invading Iraq was wrong,that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, that it would create more terrorists and more hatred for the US, that it would be extremely costly in life and treasure, that it would trigger a civil war over there and that Bush-Cheney were deceiving the public. Every single argument he made turned out to be true, although it was very unpopular to raise them at the time, and every single argument Hitchens waa making turned out to be wrong and false. Why would any sane person pay any attention or care about anything Hitchens has to say? he's totally irrelevant, discredited and insignificant.
Ah Albert, Did you bother to read the article by Hitchens about Moore? Moore is inconsistent, cherry picks 'facts', ignores other facts, etc. He is a piece of work.
Ah Albert, Did you bother to read the article (that I posted) by Hitchens about Moore? Moore is inconsistent, cherry picks 'facts', ignores other facts, etc. He is a piece of work.
I did and every single thing Hitchens says about Moore is wrong and laughable. Talk about cherry picking facts and ignoring others, you are describing Hitchens, the most discredited columnist in the US right now, as well as the Bush/Cheney regime.
No offense John, but I'm not going to announce the films I've produced on this forum (especially since your motivation may be to discount them as propaganda even though they aren't documentaries), but it's safe to say you've probably seen at least one of them (and, hopefully, enjoyed it). And I certainly don't consider Moore "a saint" (I'm not even sure what that means outside of a religious context). I just appreciate him as a filmmaker -- and a documentarian. I have a great deal of respect for documentarians, but not to the point of hagiography.
And, again, I just have to reiterate that your political leanings are so blantantly obvious that your arguments hold little meaning to me. Just Republican spin, as far as I'm concerned (again, meaning no personal offense). Why should I believe you over Moore? Or Bush over Clinton? Or Cheney over Gore? All of these folks have their own motivations and none of them seem to care much for the core truth.
Except Moore of course. He is a saint, after all.
"I did and every single thing Hitchens says about Moore is wrong and laughable"
Albert, care to be specific?
Danny, OK, I understand that you don't want to list your films. But how about you just tell me about the one you think I would have enjoyed? Maybe I watched it...who knows?
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