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Capitalism Is Evil
September 7, 2009 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Director Michael Moore now wants nothing less than the complete overthrow of the modern capitalist system.

Michael Moore's latest is called CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY and the first reviews are starting to filter in from Venice where it just premiered. Thus far, the verdict seems split:

"Pic's target is less capitalism qua capitalism than the banking industry, which Moore skewers ruthlessly, explaining last year's economic meltdown in terms a sixth-grader could understand. That said, there's still plenty here to annoy right-wingers, as well as those who, however much they agree with Moore's politics, just can't stomach his oversimplification, on-the-nose sentimentality and goofball japery."
posted by philip-random (367 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I ran into a lovely term the other day: "millionaire Marxists".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:29 PM on September 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


I don't get it; what's his angle? What's the percentage?
posted by Hardcore Poser at 12:35 PM on September 7, 2009


I don't get it; what's his angle? What's the percentage?

Tickets are $12. Coming soon to DVD and Blueray!
posted by signalnine at 12:38 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oooh let's snark about Michael Moore. We're so goddamn edgy.
posted by mek at 12:41 PM on September 7, 2009 [47 favorites]


and he's fat
posted by philip-random at 12:42 PM on September 7, 2009 [27 favorites]


I am almost certain that I will agree with at least most of this movie wholeheartedly.

I am also pretty sure that there could be no worse time to release this thing.

You're not helping, dude!
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:43 PM on September 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


That's it. I'm tapping out. Anyone wanna take my shift for the next oh-8 years while I wander around the Inbetween trying to figure out what colors haven't been invented yet?
posted by The Whelk at 12:45 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've been reading a whole bunch of political/economic theory lately, and have pretty much come to the conclusion that we need to start the revolution ASAP. I need a job so I can get my mind of such things.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:46 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bartering is so much more fun!
posted by carsonb at 12:46 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


*off such things, sorry.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:47 PM on September 7, 2009


Good on the man. Tried to read one of his books and thought it was a bit shit plus wrong on the bits I knew anything about, found a couple of his stunt interview techniques films annoying, but Sicko was excellent and timely work despite those flaws and even though I'll doubtless have some sectarian objection to this, fair play he's banging on about things that matter.
posted by Abiezer at 12:48 PM on September 7, 2009 [13 favorites]


The weird part is he's probably right, Capitalism is inherently evil in that it depends on exploitation to produce profits. But we're all tied into the system, in so many ways we might not be able to escape. To overthrow the current economic system would lead to a human disaster on an epic scale. And while humanity might (might) be better in the long run without Capitalism, the short-term consequences of destroying it may be too much to bare. We are hostages to our own greed. So we live what little part of our lives we are allowed to live and try to not think about it too much.

Ipods for everyone!
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:49 PM on September 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


This undoubtedly means that he will be chosen to replace Van Jones as the green jobs czar. ;-)
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:49 PM on September 7, 2009


FUCK IT.

LET'S KILL.
posted by The Straightener at 12:49 PM on September 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


Could Michael Moore's release timing be any worse?
posted by kldickson at 12:50 PM on September 7, 2009


Oooh let's snark about Michael Moore.

Okay. Let me be the first to say that, IMO, he's working for the very people who denounce him. He bumbles about, "exposing" the ogliarchy with cheeky one-liners, oversimplification, and sentimentality. He gives them someone to hate and to allude to as the icon of left-wing idiocy, while the left wing is left with little more in their hand than a slightly reddened forehead.

We don't need humor. Stop portraying the near totalitarian upper-upper-upper class as anything less than snakes in ties. This isn't a time for humor, it's a time for rusty guillotine blades.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:50 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


> We don't need humor.

Speak for yourself. And you, comrade, are gives people someone to allude to as the icon of left-wing humorlessness.
posted by languagehat at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


Is he doing anything more than preaching to the choir these days? It seems everyone knows how they will respond to his name, and in turn every thing he does. Either you agree with his notions, or you don't. If you do, you might get some new facts from his films that make you more annoyed/ angry/ disgusted at the target of the film, or you disagree with him, and don't watch the movie, or are set against the film and the premise from the start.

I think he'd do more good to support like-minded indie artists and prop them up with his finances, but not his name. But I imagine it would be hard to keep the fact that he's strongly associated with some film or cause would get out, and taint the whole thing as if he was the director and producer.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


it's a time for rusty guillotine blades

i'm in. when do we start? or was that just armchair revolutionism? it's so hard to tell these days.
posted by klanawa at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


To paraphrase Churchill, capitalism is the worst economic system there is except for all the others.
posted by squalor at 12:55 PM on September 7, 2009 [23 favorites]


Could Michael Moore's release timing be any worse?

I guess that depends on what his motive for making this film actually is.

A cynical observer might be tempted to say that his timing is perfect. Controversy can be quite profitable, you know.
posted by TBAcceptor at 12:56 PM on September 7, 2009


Folks calling for total smackdowning on all the hyper-rich billionaire types - reminds me too much of Soviet Russia to be effective.

Bombardment with facts and more education so people have the knowledge and tools to effect change for equality is the key.
posted by kldickson at 12:56 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


As in, let's educate the poor so the poor are poor no more.
posted by kldickson at 12:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


If he REALLY wants to eradicate capitalism, he should pay US to watch his movies.

Personally, I think capitalism has its place, and so does socialism. I've said this before, but I think the best way to work that out is: capitalism for things you WANT, socialism for things you NEED.
posted by jamstigator at 12:59 PM on September 7, 2009 [41 favorites]


Please note that his case has not been helped by the sudden revelation during his press conference that his agents are charging 2000 USD for an interview with him.
posted by Skeptic at 12:59 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


From the first link: "Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil," the two-hour movie concludes. "You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy."

Eh? Democracy? Capitalism is an economic and social system, whereas Democracy is a form of government. Oh right, there are the government bailouts and the back-room deals, the "greed and transgressions of Wall Street." But that alone is not capitalism, nor could it be solved with Democracy.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:01 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know what I'm sick of, though? The "sensible liberal," who says "I agree with what Michael Moore is trying to say, but..." and then goes off on a tirade of armchair film criticism and message analysis. As though movies making millions of dollars bringing liberal populist ideas to the fore is a bad thing.

Pic's target is less capitalism qua capitalism than the banking industry

I find this very easy to believe; he's never been an opponent of capitalism, just the widespread corporate misdeeds that seem to come with a poorly regulated market. I also believe that all the conservatives who watch this movie are going to completely ignore this fact in favor of an intentional misreading of the film that allows them to say shit like "Is Michael Moore going to give all the proceeds of this film to charity?"
posted by hifiparasol at 1:02 PM on September 7, 2009 [24 favorites]


Good for him for charging money for the things that he does. He is literally creating value--adding things to the world that weren't there before. He's not making cash off of some investments his daddy left him.

I always have a soft spot in my heart for him, although the only movie of his I bothered to watch was Sicko (and I had to turn it off before it was over). That was a great movie and really opened my eyes to a lot of things that I should have known already. Wonderful and sad.
posted by kathrineg at 1:04 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Michael Moore sucks so badly because he's unlikely to convert anyone who didn't already believe what he has to say, and for the people who do are already on the same page, it doesn't do any good to hear a poorly dressed cutesy whiner parrot back their views to them.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:07 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Screen Daily mentions the movie includes discussion about something I am wholly unfamiliar with: the proposed (and failed) Second Bill of Rights:
The Second Bill of Rights was a proposal made by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944 to suggest that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement, a second bill of rights. Roosevelt did not argue for any change to the United States Constitution; he argued that the second bill of rights was to be implemented politically, not by federal judges. Roosevelt's stated justification was that the "political rights" guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had "proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness." Roosevelt's remedy was to create an "economic bill of rights" which would guarantee:

* A job with a living wage
* Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
* A home
* Medical care
* Education
* Recreation

Roosevelt stated that having these rights would guarantee American security, and that America's place in the world depended upon how far these and similar rights had been carried into practice.
On June 25, 2004, Salon.com published a piece entitled FDR's unfinished revolution, which has more on the recent history of the document.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on September 7, 2009 [68 favorites]


Could Michael Moore's release timing be any worse?

I guess that depends on what his motive for making this film actually is.


Exactly. Moore's job is to make money selling entertainment. He knows his audience, and he makes his money. There's really nothing more to say.
posted by The World Famous at 1:10 PM on September 7, 2009


I gave up on Michael Moore after he used 9/11 footage in Bowling for Columbine, a move I saw as emotionally manipulative.

Moore is to the left what Glenn Beck is to the right: a mawkish commentator who includes just enough facts to convince the suckers that he is truthful and enough lies/half-truths to make their own side look totally foolish. A pox on both their discourse-dumbing, dishonest houses.
posted by Monsters at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2009 [13 favorites]


Michael Moore sucks so badly because he's unlikely to convert anyone who didn't already believe what he has to say, and for the people who do are already on the same page, it doesn't do any good to hear a poorly dressed cutesy whiner parrot back their views to them.

And he's fat!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


when there are nutters running around declaring that the president is going to institute "socialism", this is hardly a good time for michael moore to declare "war" on "capitalism"

although, come to think of it, it might distract them long enough for the democrats to get something done
posted by pyramid termite at 1:12 PM on September 7, 2009


solipsophistocracy: "Michael Moore sucks so badly because he's unlikely to convert anyone who didn't already believe what he has to say, and for the people who do are already on the same page, it doesn't do any good to hear a poorly dressed cutesy whiner parrot back their views to them."

I would like to see any information that you have at hand that show he is unlikely to convert anyone. I guess you just don't know anyone who has been informed or whose mind has been changed by his movies, whereas I do, so we are both approaching this with a healthy dose of false consensus bias.

I think it's great when people get to see media that reflects their point of view. Sometimes the choir needs some preachin', too.

The comment about him being poorly-dressed--I have seen him at formal events and he always seems to be dressed well, otherwise he wears casual, normal clothes that reflect his background and culture. What's so bad about that? Does everyone need a stylist to step out of their house?
posted by kathrineg at 1:13 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think capitalism has its place, and so does socialism. I've said this before, but I think the best way to work that out is: capitalism for things you WANT, socialism for things you NEED.

But but but I thought you gotta give 'em what they WANT you gotta give 'em what they NEED!
posted by nola at 1:13 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Moore is to the left what Glenn Beck is to the right

This is what is known as a false equivalence, like granting intelligent design the same credence as evolution, because we have to be fair and balanced.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on September 7, 2009 [65 favorites]


capitalism for things you WANT, socialism for things you NEED.

I agree, except that describing either of those as "capitalism" or "socialism" is not in any way an accurate or appropriate use of the terms. If it's just "for things you need," it's not actually socialism. When the political Right in the U.S. uses the word Socialism in the way that the Right usually uses it, the best response, in my opinion, should be to immediately point out that whoever is making that statement doesn't have any clue what the word "Socialism" actually means and to refuse to engage with someone who uses the term that way.
posted by The World Famous at 1:19 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I look at Michael Moore the same way I look at the $5 Metafilter entry fee: something you just gotta pay for if you want to be hip to all the coolest discussions with all the cool people. I look forward to torrenting this film and forgetting about it a couple of days later, until somebody says "Did you see that film?" and I'm like, "Yeah baby."
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:19 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Could Michael Moore's release timing be any worse?

...

this is hardly a good time for michael moore to declare "war" on "capitalism"


I don't understand. When, exactly, would be a better time to bring these ideas up? Should we ask Glenn Beck what he thinks? Because he seems to be calling the shots lately.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:20 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fair point Blazecock, Beck is way more obnoxious than Beck and plays way faster and looser with the facts- your analogy is nice. Still, I see some similarities.
posted by Monsters at 1:22 PM on September 7, 2009



Director Michael Moore now wants nothing less than the complete overthrow of the modern capitalist system.


I like how he timed this after he's made his millions.

I see how it works. You got yours, didn't you, Mike?
posted by thisperon at 1:23 PM on September 7, 2009


it doesn't do any good to hear a poorly dressed cutesy whiner parrot back their views to them.

So he'd get his message across better if he did his films dressed in Dolce & Gabbana?
posted by blucevalo at 1:23 PM on September 7, 2009


Moore is to the left what Glenn Beck is to the right

No.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:23 PM on September 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't understand. When, exactly, would be a better time to bring these ideas up?

but he's not bring up ideas, he's bringing up caricatures of ideas - which is what some on the right like to do

thus my use of quotation marks

american politics is becoming too much like a circus sideshow, and he's contributed to that
posted by pyramid termite at 1:24 PM on September 7, 2009


You know what I'm sick of, though? The "sensible liberal," who says "I agree with what Michael Moore is trying to say, but..." and then goes off on a tirade of armchair film criticism and message analysis. As though movies making millions of dollars bringing liberal populist ideas to the fore is a bad thing.

That's what liberals do. Rally for change as long as it doesn't offend anyone and let the right set the parameters of the argument. That's why they have to preface everything with reminders that they're not Communists and that they love America and "our troops."

Michael Moore is polarizing. How can you cynically court moderates to perhaps create imperceptible social change if you admit that you often agree with Michael Moore?

Personally, I think Moore is gimmicky and too willing sacrifice information for narrative, but I love him because he gives right wingers aneurysms.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:24 PM on September 7, 2009 [23 favorites]


"Beck is way more obnoxious than Beck" -- wow, he's so obnoxious he's folded the universe in on himself! ;)
posted by jamstigator at 1:26 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would like to see any information that you have at hand that show he is unlikely to convert anyone.

Well I for one kind of agree with some of what Moore thinks about the world, but hearing it fleshed out the way he does it makes it seem to simplistic and not workable. I imagine that someone who doesn't agree with Moore would see at least as many holes in his ideas as I do.

Take Chomsky I like his criticism of American military power, and the ill effect large corporations have on democracy, the complicity of the media at large and so on.
But when you get down to how to make it to the promised land ideas for that get vague and for Chomsky he even seems to give credit to the American public that they've not earned. See the latest "death panels" nonsense and the town hall meetings. I don't know where we go from here.
posted by nola at 1:26 PM on September 7, 2009


Still, I see some similarities.

That's true, both Moore and Beck are white and portly. If I take off my glasses I sometimes can't tell them apart, unless I squint.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't you know you can count me out...in
posted by briank at 1:27 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Moore is to the left what Glenn Beck is to the right

Do people ever throw a tablecloth across your back and try to eat off you?
posted by fleetmouse at 1:28 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


I gave up on Michael Moore after he used 9/11 footage...

Oh man, anniversary's coming up! I totally forgot about that!
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:28 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


We don't need humor.

We always need humor. Moore just isn't all that funny.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:31 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


no

if someone had bother to give glenn beck a classical education, he'd recognize vulcan, demeter and mithra when he saw them

we truly are degenerating as a culture
posted by pyramid termite at 1:33 PM on September 7, 2009


Nothing wrong with capitalism that another war won't fix
posted by hortense at 1:35 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


bothered ... now if someone had bothered to give me an english education ...
posted by pyramid termite at 1:36 PM on September 7, 2009


"I gave up on Michael Moore after he used 9/11 footage...

Oh man, anniversary's coming up! I totally forgot about that!"


NEVAR FORGET
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:39 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think the best way to work that out is: capitalism for things you WANT, socialism for things you NEED.

We're gonna vent our frustration, and if we don't, we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse.
posted by rokusan at 1:42 PM on September 7, 2009


It also occurs to me just how brave and self-sacrificing Michael Moore is that he is willing to actually live and work in the United States, rather than isolating himself in a country that fully embraces socialism. That brave, brave man. How hard it must be for him to engage in the stream of commerce and participate as a capitalist in selling his product. I think a tear might be welling up in my eye.
posted by The World Famous at 1:43 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I did really enjoy Moore's television series, both of them. It is rare to see anyone really take on corporations in the name of "the little guy" and have them achieve good things as a result, and to do so in as public a forum as a weekly television series.

That said, I think I'm a bit tired of his schtick. He makes a good point with his publicity stunt behavior, often doing things which everyone would do if they had the guts and the ability to be well-known enough not to be crushed until the grinding wheels of corporate vengeance. But I haven't paid to see any of his movies since Farenheit 9/11, not even on one of the myriad of premium movie channels I have in my house where it won't cost me a dime.

If anyone wants to see a real quality documentary about this topic, I cannot recommend highly enough The Corporation. I'm sure it's familiar to others here already. If you haven't seen it, take the three hours and watch. It makes its case with more power and substance than anything Moore has ever produced since Roger & Me.
posted by hippybear at 1:44 PM on September 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


From the first link: "Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil," the two-hour movie concludes. "You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy."

Why can't we regulate evil again? Regardless, the root of the problem could also be said to be the voting system the US has endured for so long, which can be blamed for fostering the current form of unregulated capitalism, and not the other way around. The "democracy" solution has its own systemic problems, because it violates the majority rule. This happens because as one idea becomes larger in a plurality voting system, it tends to split into sides during an election, and then both sides of the same side lose to the minority movement by the spoiler effect. This also results in having only two parties while keeping a minority in equal power, and any temporary adjustments usually result in having fewer choices.

Note that I am not advocating any ranking methods of voting however, because among their many issues, they also violate the majority rule, although implicitly, by placing choices in lesser order. However, an approval system limited to two votes (a virtual split) would satisfy the majority rule. It can also satisfy the one-person-one-vote rule if counted in rounds, by simply transfering of the losing half vote to the other half vote when any candidate is defeated in the first round.
posted by Brian B. at 1:44 PM on September 7, 2009


I suppose I'll see the movie before I criticize it, but I'm weird that way.
posted by belvidere at 1:48 PM on September 7, 2009 [27 favorites]


It also occurs to me just how brave and self-sacrificing Michael Moore is that he is willing to actually live and work in the United States, rather than isolating himself in a country that fully embraces socialism.

But I thought the United States was a country that fully embraces socialism? Or is that Canada? That's what Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh tell me, anyway. Anyway, I'm glad you're shedding a tear for Mr. Moore.
posted by blucevalo at 1:51 PM on September 7, 2009


But I thought the United States was a country that fully embraces socialism?

that's the beauty of our capitalist system - socialism demands you fully embrace it - capitalism just requires you to bend over
posted by pyramid termite at 1:57 PM on September 7, 2009 [18 favorites]


Why is majority rule a good thing, again? Why not proportional representation? Because, as far as I can tell, there are a lot of people who hold valid opinions about things in this country who are completely silenced by the majority rule system, and we seem to expend an awful lot of energy on protecting loathed minorities from the tyranny of the majority rule. Coalition governments in proportional representation governments ARE about the rule of the majority, because they involve negotiation between non-congruent groups in order to create a majority which can agree on ruling under an umbrella of principles which satisfy the voices in all the groups participating.

Or am I not understanding what you are saying?
posted by hippybear at 1:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm glad you're shedding a tear for Mr. Moore.

Hold on just one second. I didn't say I was shedding a tear for him. One welled up in my eye, but I pulled it back in.
posted by The World Famous at 1:58 PM on September 7, 2009


Presumably this means the revolution will, in fact, be televised. I just hope they find someone photogenic to play Charlotte Corday.
posted by thivaia at 2:01 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


[Bizarro derail removed.]
posted by cortex at 2:07 PM on September 7, 2009


Okay. Let me be the first to say that, IMO, he's working for the very people who denounce him.
“….In fact, far from holding his tongue he has proceeded to bite the hand that feeds and attacked his own studio bosses.

In an outburst at the Venice Film Festival that could spell the end of his Hollywood career, Moore turned on a roomful of executives from the film company that bankrolled his latest movie and ridiculed them as the perfect example of a capitalist corporation he criticises in his new film, before pointing out that he is now wealthy enough to make his own.

Moore, whose film Capitalism: A Love Story is in the festival's official competition, stood in front of executives from the big-budget studio Paramount and openly mocked them. ‘Why would these companies give money to me, a guy who is diametrically opposed to everything they stand for?’ he said.

‘One of the beautiful flaws of capitalism is they will use the rope you give them to hang themselves if you can make a buck. Every single movie I have made over the past 20 years has made a profit. There are not a dozen people who can say that. I'm in a very desirable club,’ he said.

But Moore, whose film is a scathing critique of America's Wall Street bankers whom he brands ‘gamblers’, said he may never make another Hollywood-backed film after this damning indictment of capitalism.

‘I got the sense that they [Hollywood's moneymen] don't care what I think or feel... I thought, 'why don't I make a movie that will guarantee me never getting a dime from them again?'

‘I think this is the last time they will give me that money. They are not an ideology, they are just about money. I can imagine the conversation – 'Look what he's said about us' says one man, and other says 'But look how much money he made',’ he said.

Moore added that he has been saving his millions so that when Hollywood finally turns against him, he will be able to fund his own documentaries.

‘I have been saving up my money since Sicko to get to this day,’ he said. ‘I will always make my own movies. Now I have my own money to make them.’”*
posted by ericb at 2:09 PM on September 7, 2009 [12 favorites]


So, what you're saying is that he's a maverick.
posted by The World Famous at 2:11 PM on September 7, 2009


Why is majority rule a good thing, again? Why not proportional representation?

No conflict with having both. Proportional representation is another way to represent an electorate while still choosing either candidates or parties based on majority will. Since our two-party system is a result of races narrowed down to only two candidates (because of the spoiler effect), so by getting rid of the primitive voting system designed for two choices then more than two parties will then functionally exist. But if you would rather have a parliamentary-style system we would need to dump the district system and have them run statewide by party list. They would then take their office proportionally, where a majority still rules in decision making.
posted by Brian B. at 2:20 PM on September 7, 2009


Why can't we regulate evil again?
I think the European experience of social democracy will go some way to supplying your answer. Post WWII various such an attempts were made and have certainly achieved substantial public goods. However over time the balance of forces leads to the interests of capital re-capturing many of the areas of the state it lost ground in, aided by the acceleration of globalisation that allowed the threat of capital flight to further undermine any chance of strong regulation - even where compromise was/is achieved the push-back from better resourced and focused economic interests, geared to the complexities of modern bureaucracy, can undermine the gains of social movements. Also, the dynamics at play are more than ever transnational but multinational cooperation either inter-state or inter-civil-society is lagging some way behind, other than in bodies like the IMF, WTO and so on who have tended not to serve the popular interest, to put it mildly. Regulation being reactive by nature seems always to be running not to catch up. A change in the fundamental dynamic, with use-value placed ahead of profit, seems the only alternative to final collapse and barbarism - oh, OK, more of the same but progressively shittier as we hit hard resource limits but vested interests fail to respond.
posted by Abiezer at 2:21 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh man, anniversary's coming up! I totally forgot about that!"
posted by Rafaelloello at 2:21 PM on September 7, 2009


His films are pretty efficient machines of putting left-leaning analysis front and center, and forcing others to respond to them. I can't think of anybody else who is doing so, and I have watched the right wing ruthlessly force the national dialogue increasingly far to the right. He's populist, he's obnoxious, he's sometimes wrong, and he's often dead on. Health care reform was off the table until Sicko; suddenly it became the cause du jour, to the point that even right wingers regularly conceded that change must be made.

We might not like him, but, oh my God, do we need him. And we could stand to learn a little from the right wing about not trashing our allies for their imperfections. He's a lot better a representative of the left than Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin or Glenn Beck is to the right, and yet you don't hear right wingers constantly complaining that Ann or Michelle or Glenn is bad for them, or ugly, or obnoxious.

And one thing you absolutely must give Moore credit for one thing. I don't care how much money he makes, or has, or how he spends it. Just don't care. Because the man has never taken his eye off the issue of poverty in this country -- its brutality, it widespreadedness, how it benefits corporations, and how it destroys Americans. Nobody cares about the poor. Nobody. It's not part of the national dialogue. But Moore has never let the issue drop. He might be fat, or obnoxious, or sometimes wrong, or not funny, but, if you're poor, you take whatever advocates you can, especially when they actually care what happens to you.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:22 PM on September 7, 2009 [103 favorites]


He can see socialism from his bedroom too.
posted by jamstigator at 2:22 PM on September 7, 2009


So, what you're saying is that he's a maverick.

He's like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin combined, but on the left! And he's fat!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 PM on September 7, 2009


For the record: I give the guy shit, but I like his work, and appreciate that he's doing it. The poor and middle-class have few proponents as effective or tireless as Michael Moore. You look at the lunacy on media these days and then you listen to Moore, and suddenly he sounds like the absolute sanest person on the planet. And I wouldn't compare Beck to Moore at all -- that's like comparing a piece of monkey feces to some New York Cheesecake, or W. Bush to Einstein.
posted by jamstigator at 2:28 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moore, quoted from ericb's link:

One of the beautiful flaws of capitalism is they will use the rope you give them to hang themselves if you can make a buck.

He's actually been saying this for a while now. I recall him saying it after both F911 and Columbine, even in relation to his films' backers. I have a feeling that article was a bit of Brit journalism hue and cry.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:31 PM on September 7, 2009


Bathtub Bobsled: We don't need humor. Stop portraying the near totalitarian upper-upper-upper class as anything less than snakes in ties.

I, for one, find snakes in ties to be quite humorous; however, I agree with your general point, and would like to see more movies featuring animals with oddly-matched clothing accessories. I believe that films about elephants in wigs and lizards in ascots would be most satisfying to me.
posted by koeselitz at 2:31 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I bet he'd be pissed if he ever figured out that, if you get rid of capitalism, it all of a sudden means you don't get residuals and royalties for movies you make.

I bet, however, his next movie *won't* be about how big mainstream media likes to pick its premier performers, despite the fact that they can't produce a single thing, in any way, shape or form, that is logical or intelligent. I mean, then he'd be not only shitting on himself, but also Barbra Streisand and George Clooney.
posted by CountSpatula at 2:32 PM on September 7, 2009


Anyone who thinks the left's got something comparable to Glenn Beck is flat out wrong. That guy is so batshit insane it's jaw-droppingly unbelievable.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 2:33 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


He's like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin combined, but on the left! And he's fat!

I can't stand Michael Moore. But comparing him to Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin makes me realize that, actually, I like Michael Moore a lot more than either of those two. I had never really tried to place them all in a continuum before. Thank you for contributing to my epiphany!
posted by The World Famous at 2:34 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Actually I find Moore's movies (with all of their faults) better than The Corporation, hippiebear, which apparently missed the most important reason that corporate personhood is bullshit. The interminable reel of stock footage of irrelevant material accompanied by voiceover explaining why corporations are eeeevil overlooked the fact that the worst thing about corporate personhood is that it persists to this day without ever having been deliberated by the U.S. Supreme Court. The de facto legal precedent was set by Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, which never addressed the issue of whether corporations have the same rights as a person under the law. The court reporter entered his own opinion on the matter in the headnote to the decision, which has no legal standing. Yet this has been the basis for the legal "precedent" that corporations have the same legal rights as people. This is far more damning, IMO, than any "psychological" evaluation of the psychopathy of corporations. Psychopaths also have the same legal rights as other people, so it's not really a justification for rejecting corporate personhood.
posted by stinker at 2:35 PM on September 7, 2009 [8 favorites]


And I wouldn't compare Beck to Moore at all -- that's like comparing a piece of monkey feces to some New York Cheesecake, or W. Bush to Einstein.

This is taking it a bit too far, I think. It's like comparing a piece of monkey feces to whatever gets stuck on your show as you walk down the street in New York (which might be cheesecake for all you know), or comparing W. to, say McCain.
posted by The World Famous at 2:36 PM on September 7, 2009


Moore's paraphrasing of the rope quote makes no sense. They will use the rope you give them to hang themselves if you can make a buck? What? I can't even parse that.

"The capitalists will sell us the ropes we use to hang them" makes a lot more sense. I suppose Moore is trying to avoid the implication that he wants to kill capitalists. If that's the case, he should avoid referencing the quote at all because botching it into something incoherent just makes him sound like a dumb person who wants to kill the capitalists.
posted by Justinian at 2:36 PM on September 7, 2009


Wait until you all realize that his film is about the power of magnetic monopoles! It delves into the implications of a post-monopolist economy where work and want are no longer an issue!
posted by geoff. at 2:36 PM on September 7, 2009


Moore is to the left what Glenn Beck is to the right

I am convinced that Michael Moore did not commit a heinous, violent crime in 1990.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:38 PM on September 7, 2009 [14 favorites]


I bet, however, his next movie *won't* be about how big mainstream media likes to pick its premier performers, despite the fact that they can't produce a single thing, in any way, shape or form, that is logical or intelligent. I mean, then he'd be not only shitting on himself, but also Barbra Streisand and George Clooney.

It's also not a very interesting subject except to those who like to paint Hollywood as somehow being full of liberal buffoons.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:38 PM on September 7, 2009


I'm kind of not thinking this is going to be your fairest and ballancedest reporting given what 30 seconds of Googling found.

At first I thought that he didn't quite get that things weren't as bad as we expected them to be, but the more I read the more I realized he was going to find some set of statistics that proved, well, this.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:40 PM on September 7, 2009


It's also not a very interesting subject except to those who like to paint Hollywood as somehow being full of liberal buffoons.

That is, you say, except to those who like to portray Hollywood exactly as it is.
posted by CountSpatula at 2:41 PM on September 7, 2009


And those who are desperate to derail this thread. Can I ask that you don't?
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:43 PM on September 7, 2009


japery (noun) ... clowning, frivolity, harlequinade, japery, prank - antic, caper, go, joke, ... cuckoo, fathead, goof, goofball, goose, jackass, twat, zany[Dérivé] ...

It appears the goofball part is redundant.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:43 PM on September 7, 2009


Uh, did that count as derailing?
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:44 PM on September 7, 2009


Specious analogies to Glenn Beck = The New Godwin
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:46 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Pushing an anti-mainstream-Hollywood agenda, including digs at Hollywood liberals George Cloony and Barbra Steisand, and criticizing Moore for not exposing them? If that's not a derail, there are no rails.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:47 PM on September 7, 2009


you don't hear right wingers constantly complaining that Ann or Michelle or Glenn is bad for them, or ugly, or obnoxious.

You do, actually, if you know where to go (and Fox ain't it). Paleoconservatives have disdained these people for years, and seethe that the neocons have high jacked the good names of both conservatism and the republican party. Mostly on the war issues (see antiwar.com e.g., where I expect most mefites would find (surprising) common ground with many of them), but on others as well.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:54 PM on September 7, 2009


I bet he'd be pissed if he ever figured out that, if you get rid of capitalism, it all of a sudden means you don't get residuals and royalties for movies you make.

This is absolutely the most tired and banal anti-Michael Moore argument around. It only managed to survive this long because of the huge streak of stupidity in modern conservatism.

I wish you much luck in your one-man attempt to turn Metafilter into the Free Republic.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:56 PM on September 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Astro Zombie: "And one thing you absolutely must give Moore credit for one thing. I don't care how much money he makes, or has, or how he spends it. Just don't care. Because the man has never taken his eye off the issue of poverty in this country -- its brutality, it widespreadedness, how it benefits corporations, and how it destroys Americans. Nobody cares about the poor. Nobody. It's not part of the national dialogue. But Moore has never let the issue drop. He might be fat, or obnoxious, or sometimes wrong, or not funny, but, if you're poor, you take whatever advocates you can, especially when they actually care what happens to you."

Hear, hear. George Soros is pretty cool too.
posted by kathrineg at 2:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


the worst thing about corporate personhood is that it persists to this day without ever having been deliberated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Will pointing out that The Corporation is a Canadian film maybe explain why they didn't address that particular issue?
posted by hippybear at 2:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And he's fat!
posted by fixedgear at 2:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


That is, you say, except to those who like to portray Hollywood exactly as it is.

Also foolishly uninformed. I live just off Hollywood Boulevard. I sometimes work in The Industry. My girlfriend and most of my friends out here work in The Industry.

There are just as many conservative buffoons in Hollywood as there are anywhere else.

Please, just give it a goddamn rest.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:59 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hollywood is full of talented, lucky, and/or hard-working people, the vast majority of whom you've never heard of. You can't do anything but name-drop a few people and criticize them for having the temerity to believe things, then GTFO and take your silly generalizations with you.
posted by kathrineg at 3:00 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem I have with Capitalism our current social/politicaleconomic system is that the rich, and ONLY the rich, have the power of influence over the masses...the power to have their personal political views heard by millions.
Ironically, Michael Moore appears to be one of those people
posted by rocket88 at 3:03 PM on September 7, 2009


I would say that if Moore is really arguing that capatalism is "evil" then he deserves the derision. This is the same kind of morally binary argument thats constantly being perpetuated by the right without any thoughtful consideration of the complexities and gray area of the issues.
posted by freshundz at 3:03 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


except to those who like to portray Hollywood exactly as it is

Cool, we have an expert in the thread. Please illuminate us further as to the EXACT nature of Hollywood. But you must be EXACT. Anything short of exactitude is EXACTLY what liberals feed on ... and your hard-earned money, of course, stolen from you via taxes and big government. It's all part of the WWCC (World Wide Communist Conspiracy).

And they're pedophiles.
posted by philip-random at 3:03 PM on September 7, 2009


Not the slimmest either some of them, I hear.
posted by Abiezer at 3:08 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem I have with Capitalism our current social/politicaleconomic system is that the rich, and ONLY the rich, have the power of influence over the masses...the power to have their personal political views heard by millions.

And the accepted idea that the only way to effect a change in the system is to "vote with your wallet", effectively cutting out anyone who doesn't have the money/resources to pay a premium and at the same time punishing them for that with no public services or basic care and shittier food and perpetuating poor working conditions in other countries and and and

GOD WHAT AM I STILL DOING HERE? YOU NEED HOW MUCH TO FIX THE SHIP? THEY DON'T HAVE SIMPSONS' CHEWABLE PLUTONIUM HERE! GOD!
posted by The Whelk at 3:08 PM on September 7, 2009


Please illuminate us further as to the EXACT nature of Hollywood.

Well, we do know, according to Michael Ovitz and others, that "Hollywood" is actually run by the Gay Mafia (aka the Velvet Mafia).

BUAHAHA!
posted by ericb at 3:08 PM on September 7, 2009


Michael Moore does more to spread and popularize liberal ideas than any of the liberals posting here do.

That is all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:10 PM on September 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


I think the European experience of social democracy will go some way to supplying your answer.

Only if you manage to add the corporate death sentence somehow. I think the fact that we gave corporations the same legal rights as persons was a big mistake that can only be rectified if you add the punishment of revoking corporate charter as an option.

Example: Bopal should have been disbanded within a few months after the event. Should shareholders been fucked out of their investment at that time? Yes. If only as an object lesson to other shareholders to make sure that the companies they invest in act as good citizens.
posted by DreamerFi at 3:11 PM on September 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


does anyone really still need it explained michael moore is a director? do LAT readers not know that? doesn't everyone? and if so, why would they still do it? snark?
posted by krautland at 3:11 PM on September 7, 2009


Michael Moore does more to spread and popularize liberal ideas than any of the liberals posting here do.

Then again, so does Sarah Palin.
posted by The World Famous at 3:13 PM on September 7, 2009


I bet he'd be pissed if he ever figured out that, if you get rid of capitalism, it all of a sudden means you don't get residuals and royalties for movies you make.

Wait. They don't have royalties or residuals in Canada or Great Britain or Sweden or any of those other commie countries? Holy cow!

I mean, then he'd be not only shitting on himself, but also Barbra Streisand and George Clooney.

You seem to take special pleasure in painting that particular picture.
posted by blucevalo at 3:17 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Michael Moore does more to spread and popularize liberal ideas than any of the liberals posting here do.

Dude I spread the fuck out of liberal ideas, mostly amongst my select, intimate circle of like-minded cronies. We know we're right, and if we let the hooples in on our secrets, well, who would we have left to pity?
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:17 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sounds like there's not much love here for Michael Moore's work. What is it people hate about him again?

He certainly nailed the health-care system. What kind of documentary do you think would have been better and more informative and reached more people?

So we certainly don't need a critique of American capitalism from Michael Moore, of all people? Because there is nothing wrong with a system that has produced this kind of income inequality? And shown itself dangerously unstable and self-serving?

What is the future of capitalism, anyway?
posted by psyche7 at 3:17 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are just as many conservative buffoons in Hollywood as there are anywhere else.

Please, just give it a goddamn rest.


I will, just the second when all those Hollywood buffoons hold true to their 2004 promises to denounce their American citizenship.
posted by CountSpatula at 3:21 PM on September 7, 2009


What is it people hate about him again?

He's a phony, an annoying opportunist, and oversized ego, a spoiled brat with not much of an intellect, and doesn't like America. That's just for starters.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 3:23 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is it people hate about him again?

Everything?

Oh, and he's fat and doesn't dress well.
posted by blucevalo at 3:23 PM on September 7, 2009


This sort of infighting over nuances of delivery is the reason we never get anywhere.

Now if you will excuse me I am late for my Judean People's Front meeting.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:23 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Flag it and move on.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:24 PM on September 7, 2009


Then again, so does Sarah Palin.

But is Sarah Palin fat? This false equivalence will fail harder and faster unless she starts strapping on the old feedbag.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:24 PM on September 7, 2009


He's a phony, an annoying opportunist, and oversized ego, a spoiled brat with not much of an intellect, and doesn't like America. That's just for starters.

Since these are just ad hominem attacks without anything really backing them up, I suspect he's not liked for precisely the reason Obama isn't liked: Because the right will demonized anybody who is effective in countering them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:26 PM on September 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


He's a phony, an annoying opportunist, and oversized ego, a spoiled brat with not much of an intellect, and doesn't like America. That's just for starters.

Sounds like you're describing any number of people in the last administration!
posted by blucevalo at 3:26 PM on September 7, 2009


From the Link: "Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil"

Is this really what liberals believe now? This strikes me as more polarizing hyperbole.
posted by freshundz at 3:28 PM on September 7, 2009


What is it people hate about him again?

The right wing is afraid of him, because he's combining their own tactics with the truth and attacking back. It's critical to reduce Michael Moore to a joke, because if they just destroy him, he's a martyr, and if they don't attack him at all, people might notice what he's saying.

The left wing is, well, frankly, the left wing is apparently just cowardly and stupid. When someone on the left is attack, they, well, they just cower and mutter how that person shouldn't have done that, since we're trying to elevate the discourse or some such nonsense.

The moderates in this country apparently don't have an opinion, or for that matter, a forebrain, since they think there's some compromise ground between beating on the left and asking the right not to beat on the left.
posted by eriko at 3:29 PM on September 7, 2009 [11 favorites]


Is this really what liberals believe now? This strikes me as more polarizing hyperbole.

So does the phrase "Is this really what liberals believe now?"
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:30 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


...and doesn't like America.

You know what I don't like about America? How, if you are critical of any aspect of it, somebody sluices in with "This guy haets America! Freedums!" Well, no, I don't hate America, I just hate dumb shit.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:31 PM on September 7, 2009 [9 favorites]


The right wing is afraid of him, because he's combining their own tactics with the truth and attacking back.

This is exactly right. He combines the tactics of the right (lying) with the truth and attacks back - with a combination of truth and lies. It's brilliant!
posted by The World Famous at 3:33 PM on September 7, 2009


Sounds like there's not much love here for Michael Moore's work. What is it people hate about him again?

He certainly nailed the health-care system. What kind of documentary do you think would have been better and more informative and reached more people?


Personally I prefer real journalists like Bill Moyers for good information.
posted by nola at 3:34 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is this really what liberals believe now? This strikes me as more polarizing hyperbole.

So does the phrase "Is this really what liberals believe now?"


I mean this as a serious question. Do you agree with this sentiment, that capatilism is evil? Is this the direction that liberal rhetoric is heading- I just want to know
posted by freshundz at 3:35 PM on September 7, 2009


He's a phony, an annoying opportunist, and oversized ego, a spoiled brat with not much of an intellect, and doesn't like America. That's just for starters.

Phony? People still call people phonies. What is this, 1959?

Opportunist? How so?

Oversized ego? Probably some truth there ... but I suspect that goes for pretty much every famous person out there.

Spoiled brat? How so?

Not much on at intellect? Please elaborate.

Doesn't like America? Dead wrong on that one, I suspect, although no doubt he takes issue with your personal definition of America.

So let me see? One out of Six. That means you're batting about .166. Back to the minors.
posted by philip-random at 3:36 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


So does the phrase "Is this really what liberals believe now?"

No, this is what passes for a disingenuous attempt at "reasonable" discourse among that crowd. You can tell that from the subsequent concern troll catchphrase "I mean this a serious question."
posted by blucevalo at 3:37 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


So your question is "Do liberals Americans agree with the reported conclusion of a documentary that almost none of them have seen yet?" Is that a fair question?
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:37 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


The right wing is afraid of him, because he's combining their own tactics with the truth and attacking back.

The right wing's main tactic is lying.

Mixing that tactic with truth doesn't result in truth.
posted by Malor at 3:38 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jesus, Im not trolling or being disingenuos, just wondering if people here agree with what the article quoted from the Moore film
posted by freshundz at 3:39 PM on September 7, 2009


People still call people phonies. What is this, 1959?

1959 would be too liberal for these folks. Eisenhower was still in office then, and he had a serious Chronic RINO Problem. That "unwarranted influence by the military/industrial complex" and all.
posted by blucevalo at 3:41 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you just ask what "liberals think" people are going to assume that you are unfairly grouping all liberals together in order to slander them somehow. There are a lot of us!
posted by kathrineg at 3:41 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only if you manage to add the corporate death sentence somehow.
Must have been too coy - my point with the European comparison was not its successes (there have certainly been those) but ultimately its failure if measured against what was possible at several historical junctures.
posted by Abiezer at 3:42 PM on September 7, 2009


Jesus, Im not trolling or being disingenuos, just wondering if people here agree with what the article quoted from the Moore film

"people here" = "liberals"

Love it.
posted by blucevalo at 3:43 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was using the language that other people here in the thread were self imposing. Im not using it in the pejorative.
posted by freshundz at 3:43 PM on September 7, 2009


Oh no, of course you're not.
posted by blucevalo at 3:44 PM on September 7, 2009


"Is this really what liberals believe now?"

I'm Canadian from British Columbia, so to call myself a liberal is to instantly align myself with a provincial government I mostly hate and a federal opposition party that I'm not sure I trust.

But I do believe that fundamental belief in the Holy Church Of Capital is a dangerous f***ing belief. Somebody else said it recently in a different thread:

SOCIALISM for what we NEED.
CAPITALISM for what we WANT.
posted by philip-random at 3:45 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell are you getting at anyway? I've considered myself as leaning liberal always- i dont consider it insult.
posted by freshundz at 3:46 PM on September 7, 2009


Do you agree with this sentiment, that capatilism is evil?
Setting aside the Manichean morality, I believe it's inimical to human well-being and our prospects for long-term survival. But then I'm not a liberal.
posted by Abiezer at 3:47 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


You know, I know I'm running this into the ground, but the use of "socialism" to mean "taxes and services" just fucking kills me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:48 PM on September 7, 2009 [13 favorites]


astrozombie: Since these are just ad hominem attacks without anything really backing them up, I suspect he's not liked for precisely the reason Obama isn't liked: Because the right will demonized anybody who is effective in countering them.

Firstly, astrozombie, there were quite a few "ad hominem" attacks (if you insist on calling them that) about Moore here before mine. But, with all due respect, saying the right will demonize anyone effective in countering them is also ad hominem in and of itself, a straw man set-up and perhaps an easy way out, don't you think? I could easily footnote my argument, as I have in various published articles on other topics, but that's not what the MeFi comments pages have ever been about, or they would double in size.

If it helps, I like Obama, and am a moderate, and definitely not a wingnut. I basically agree with monster's "mawkish commentator" comments above. And I still think Moore is a nutcase. Thanks.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 3:48 PM on September 7, 2009


If it helps, I like Obama, and am a moderate, and definitely not a wingnut.

And yet, gosh, you're argument was directly from the Republican playbook on this one. I would be curious to see you back up the argument "He doesn't like America" from any place reputable.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:51 PM on September 7, 2009


RE: conservative vs liberal, right wing vs left wing, socialism vs Jesus (or whatever)

Allow me to quote myself from another recent thread:

Reality is Nth dimensional. Whereas the left-versus-right conversation only really makes sense in two dimensions. As such, it is best avoided as a clarification of ANYTHING except perhaps that way too many of us (yes, even people with University degrees) seek to see life-the-universe-everything as far, far, far less complicated, confusing, befuddling, beguiling, seductive, beautiful WEIRD than it really is.
posted by philip-random at 3:53 PM on September 7, 2009


Astro Zombie: So does the phrase "Is this really what liberals believe now?"

blucevalo: No, this is what passes for a disingenuous attempt at "reasonable" discourse among that crowd. You can tell that from the subsequent concern troll catchphrase "I mean this a serious question."

You're both taking him way out of context. You're talking about a guy whose first comment in this thread was about how "the right" perpetuates "morally binary" arguments. I think it's pretty much obvious from that that freshundz may as well have written "is this really what we liberals believe now?"

It's pretty clear from the start that freshundz self-identifies as a liberal. Is there some sort of law against liberals asking what liberals at large think about something? Or are you all so used to seeing the clips of Glenn Beck on the Daily Show talk snidely about 'libruls' that you can't see the word without assuming somebody's putting you down?
posted by koeselitz at 3:56 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


A moderate is one who agrees with certain options of one side and some of the other side. If there is a "Republican playbook", I don't quite subscribe to all of whatever that is supposed to be. Your biases are obviously settled and unchangeable, and that is fine.

I would be curious to see you back up the argument "He doesn't like America" from any place reputable.

I don't doubt that what you or I would consider "reputable" in this case would probably be two very different things. Let us agree to disagree.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 3:58 PM on September 7, 2009


thivala,

Here you go!
posted by lukemeister at 3:58 PM on September 7, 2009


It's pretty clear from the start that freshundz self-identifies as a liberal. Is there some sort of law against liberals asking what liberals at large think about something?

My problem is that it's a question that can't be answered except by assuming that a non-heterogeneous crowd shares, as a uniform viewpoint, a context-free conclusion of a Michael Moore film.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:59 PM on September 7, 2009


blucevalo: "people here" = "liberals"

Love it.


Oh, stop being ignorant and read the poor guy's comments before ripping on him.
posted by koeselitz at 3:59 PM on September 7, 2009


The "modern capitalist system" hardly seems capitalist to me. I thought the idea behind capitalism going back to Adam Smith was that competition was supposed to drive profits to zero. I see capitalism at work in grocery stores and gas stations, but when large banks, oil companies, and health insurance companies keep posting record-shattering profits and making it rain with bonus money, that seems more like a kleptocracy, or at the least an oligopoly.

Why aren't people who style themselves as "defenders of free market capitalism" calling for increased competition, by breaking up the handful of powerful entities that dominate this markets and shut out smaller competitors? I don't understand what people are thinking when they promote "capitalism" and defend anti-capitalist corporations in the same breath.
posted by heathkit at 4:00 PM on September 7, 2009 [20 favorites]


Astro Zombie: My problem is that it's a question that can't be answered except by assuming that a non-heterogeneous crowd shares, as a uniform viewpoint, a context-free conclusion of a Michael Moore film.

Is it really so insane to at least imply that a group of people who self-identify as being part of a set of people sharing certain beliefs would actually share beliefs?
posted by koeselitz at 4:01 PM on September 7, 2009


What Abiezer said.
posted by box at 4:01 PM on September 7, 2009


Let us agree to disagree.

We could, but, if you are going to launch attacks on the subject of the thread, I would prefer to ask that you back up your claims. That's what I consider arguing in good faith. Otherwise, threads could go like this:

Michael Moore worships Satan.

What? Cites please.

You wouldn't trust them. Let's agree to disagree.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:01 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


In using the word liberal I am not reflecting in any way how I see the world or the issues we are discussing. But clearly there is an ideological divide in this country , left-right- whatever you want to call it. And I think that the language quoted in the article only serves to perpetuate that divide.
posted by freshundz at 4:02 PM on September 7, 2009


And, to be honest, I think the answer is: no, I don't think (we) liberals are really jazzed about Michael Moore; or at least that we're as jazzed about Moore as we were ten years ago or so. And I think it's worth it to wonder, well worth it, since the answer says something about who we are and how we act.
posted by koeselitz at 4:02 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it really so insane to at least imply that a group of people who self-identify as being part of a set of people sharing certain beliefs would actually share beliefs?

Well, you go ahead and field that question if you think it's a fair one. Do liberals think capitalism is evil?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:03 PM on September 7, 2009


And so you have done.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:03 PM on September 7, 2009


What Abiezer said.
I've always said you were perceptive, wise and devilishly handsome, box.
Cheque's in the mail, as agreed
posted by Abiezer at 4:05 PM on September 7, 2009


(Sorry; I see that the scope of the question was a lot wider as you read it. And with a scope that wide, asking big questions like that is indeed something that deserves a fair amount of forethought.)
posted by koeselitz at 4:06 PM on September 7, 2009


Oh, stop being ignorant and read the poor guy's comments before ripping on him.

I have read them. It doesn't make me "ignorant" to say that perhaps the comments that followed the first comment were not as easily grokable as you seem to think they were. If I have taken those comments out of context, I apologize.
posted by blucevalo at 4:07 PM on September 7, 2009


See you on the barricade Michael.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:07 PM on September 7, 2009


I don't think (we) liberals are really jazzed about Michael Moore; or at least that we're as jazzed about Moore as we were ten years ago or so.

Speak for yourself.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:08 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Nola: Personally I prefer real journalists like Bill Moyers for good information.

You mean like this?

Moyers has been great on the health-care crisis, but I'm not sure their "information" is much different. +Moyers is a reporter, Moore is a documentarian.
posted by psyche7 at 4:08 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


healthkit, you've struck the heart of the matter. The modern capitalist system that Moore is criticizing is so far from ideal capitalism, it would be funny if it wasn't so tragic. Pick an industry and try to laugh at how replete it is with kleptocracy, oligarchy, and regulatory capture:

-Telecommunications
-Pharmaceuticals/healthcare
-Petroleum
-Military-industrial
-Banking/finance
-etc, etc.

None of these sectors function in a competitive, capitalist manner. Instead they use significant portions of their profits to exert massive amounts of pressure on democratic systems and as a result, have near-total control over them. What systems we have attempted to implement to regulate these industries have been eroded to the point where they are at best ineffective, and at worst malicious. These companies typically don't have to engage in anything even resembling competition, maintaining massive and artificial profit margins. Their rights to monopolies are even enshrined in laws such as copyright extensions, patents, the DMCA, etcetera.

Capitalism in this particular manifestation is certainly evil, because it is actively anti-democratic, as its continued survival depends on undermining democratic rule. What % of total US GDP do you think the above sectors control? Hint: it's most of it.
posted by mek at 4:10 PM on September 7, 2009 [30 favorites]


I like fielding questions, so: no, I don't think liberals think capitalism is evil. Radicals (they're just to the left of liberals, at least in that radical/liberal/conservative/reactionary formulation) probably do, though, myself included.

I think it's in the best interest of both mainstream media and right-wing types to collapse a wide spectrum of leftist views into the simple 'liberal.' It serves a propaganda purpose, which is why leftists often do the same thing with religious believers.
posted by box at 4:10 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are liberals really using the word "jazzed" these days? And by "liberals," I mean people who came here in a time machine from a PTA meeting in 1981.
posted by The World Famous at 4:11 PM on September 7, 2009


The first goal of any large business is to establish a monopoly, which is inherently anti-capitalistic and anti-democratic, which is why we used to have things like Anti-Trust laws.
posted by The Whelk at 4:11 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Director Michael Moore now wants nothing less than the complete overthrow of the modern capitalist system.

I like how he timed this after he's made his millions.

I see how it works. You got yours, didn't you, Mike?


Petty, fatuous, stupid and wrong. Petty: unable to concede (stupid: or even conceive) that there may be other reasons to make millions in this system, if that's the only way in which you can buy yourself a voice that can then be used to undermine this very system (his claim is that he wants to be able to finance his own films without the possibility of being muzzled). Yeah, I know, impossibly naive to a certain kind of petty mind.

Fatuous, and quite simply wrong. If you question motives, you've got it exactly backwards. Who benefits from overthrowing a system, if self-interest is the only guiding light? How about those who have not met success under that system (see: Karl Marx). So, if MM was unable to make millions, he might call to change the system, and call for the overthrow of capitalism.

If you already have millions, and are able to make millions, you want stability and more of the same, if self-interest is your guiding light - that's why wealthy people, and people who have had success under a given system, tend to be conservatives and tend to want to preserve that system, whatever it may be. By that metric, MM should want to defend capitalism. Note, that when capitalism has been overthrown, historically, millionaires have tended to lose their fortunes.

How to explain this then? Well, for that, we have to get back to reality as it is, not as conceived by the petty and fatuous. The reality is that there are those who think of the greater good beyond their own petty interests, and who are willing and able to make sacrifices to that end. And that brings us to the example of the other member of the infamous Marx-Engels duo. Friedrich Engels, born to wealth, working diligently to undermine the system which he loathed. And financing the perpetually broke Marx, who also loathed the system.

Where does MM stand? I don't profess to know. We have his own statement, and his actions to date on the one side, and then on the other side we have those such as the fatuous who accuse with no evidence and not even any logic. Who has more credibility? Probably not those who make stupid, thoughtless, and lazy "arguments", which really only amount to noise that can't withstand one second of reflection.
posted by VikingSword at 4:12 PM on September 7, 2009 [14 favorites]


None of these sectors function in a competitive, capitalist manner

If Moore is attacking the abuses of the system then more power to him. But to blanket the entire capatalist philosophy as evil makes as much sense as decrying the "evils" of socialism.
posted by freshundz at 4:17 PM on September 7, 2009



Capitalism works best with wars and slavery.
posted by notreally at 4:17 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


these are just ad hominem attacks

To be fair, ad hominem statements are totally appropriate when answering the question "why do you hate that person?"
posted by Bookhouse at 4:18 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Capitalism works best with wars and slavery.

Are you presenting that in contrast to socialism?
posted by The World Famous at 4:19 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think liberals think capitalism is evil. Radicals (they're just to the left of liberals, at least in that radical/liberal/conservative/reactionary formulation) probably do, though, myself included.

+1. Generally speaking liberals in the US like capitalism just fine. I dont mean to be all atheist-at-church about this, but to many people on the radical/progressive "left" this is one of the bigger schisms between centrist-ish policies like those espoused by Clinton/Obama and our dream worlds. And I like Obama, I just think that if he was serious about his anti-poverty stuff he'd have to be willing to take a hard look at capitalism (you'd think he'd be doing this after all this health care scuffling) and I don't think that's strategically possible for someone who is also electable at a national level.
posted by jessamyn at 4:19 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like how he timed this after he's made his millions.

I like how no one ever wants to be a doctor because they're already healthy and no one wants to be a teacher because they already know how to read.

Also, the timing was excellent. I mean, after two decades of his work being available to the entire planet only now is it being revealed that Moore dislikes the corporate system.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:21 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


the infamous Marx-Engels duo.
"Now we had had enough of our 'beer trip' for the time being and in order to cool our heated blood, we started on a double march, until Edgar Bauer stumbled over a heap of paving stones. Hurrah, an idea! And in memory of mad students' pranks he picked up a stone and Crash! Clatter! A gas lantern went flying into splinters. Madness is contagious - Marx and I did not stay far behind, and we broke four or five street lamps."
posted by Abiezer at 4:25 PM on September 7, 2009


It also occurs to me just how brave and self-sacrificing Michael Moore is that he is willing to actually live and work in the United States, rather than isolating himself in a country that fully embraces socialism.

Git you're stinking commie ass over to Russia China Eastern Europe Nicaragua Canada. Yeah, that'll do, Canada.

Git you're stinking commie ass across the border to Canada, Moore. How *dare* you try to make America a better place to live in. All right thinking 'murkins just love to let our kids kill each other with handguns, to allow the health care industry to rob us blind while leaving us without proper cover and to watch as the financial services industry perform the economic equivalent of ass-to-mouth porn on hard working blue collar and lower middle class people in their pursuit of the almighty dollar. And anyone who says different needs to be hauled up in front of the HUAC, stripped of their right to earn a living, and then forcibly deported to some foreign gulag like Sweden.

America: love it or leave it, commie scum.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:29 PM on September 7, 2009


Would someone please send me a link to an article with valid proof that "Michael Moore doesn't like America", because that is NOT the vibe I get from him...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:33 PM on September 7, 2009


forcibly deported to some foreign gulag like Sweden.

Yes, please.

I get to vacation to warmer climes, y/n?
posted by kathrineg at 4:35 PM on September 7, 2009


Yeah, I love how the right's two biggest anti-Moore tropes are "He's un-American!" and "He's fat and poorly dressed!"

For someone who hates America so much, he seems to have gone native pretty well.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:35 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


-Telecommunications
-Pharmaceuticals/healthcare
-Petroleum
-Military-industrial
-Banking/finance


That's funny, I had deleted a missive listing these exact sectors earlier today.

Outside of the M-I sector (which really doesn't skim much in the scheme of things), that list is a rogues gallery of rentierism.

Capitalism's central weakness is its concentration of wealth and power and the positive feedback effects that attach thereupon. Wealth is great and all but I fire an exception when I see it engage in naked rentier activities like buy-to-let of single family housing and the common give-aways of pharma IP and profitable natural resources like coal, oil, spectrum, and rights-of-way.

It's tough for the poor and middle class to make it in the world when there's so much of the economy actively chiseling them with rentierism.

This is what Moore is battling against, yet he apparently does not know it.
posted by Palamedes at 4:36 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Would someone please send me a link to an article with valid proof that "Michael Moore doesn't like America", because that is NOT the vibe I get from him...

Links? It's written all over his face. Why would you need links?
posted by blucevalo at 4:37 PM on September 7, 2009


Let us agree to disagree.

I think we found a replacement for patriotism as the last refuge of the scoundrel. You want me to prove that Barack Obama isn't an American citizen? Nah, I don't have time. Let's just agree to disagree, k?
posted by Justinian at 4:46 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Of course liberals support capitalism. That's what makes them liberals, and not socialists or communists or anarchists or some other kind of leftists.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:49 PM on September 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


We might not like him, but, oh my God, do we need him.

If this film says anything about the evils of unfettered and unregulated capitalism (as I suspect it will), then I will be an evangelist for it. I believe Michael Moore is not so simplistic to say 'death to capitalism'; what we need are extreme constraints.

AND ... Moore is the perfect person to take on this topic because the effects of unfettered capitalism today is not funny. Our world reminds me of Pinocchio's "bad boys candy land" where there were no rules and no restraints -- WE are the stupid ones turned into donkeys. It is time for us to grow up, act like responsible adults and clean up this mess.

"Capitalism is the predatory stage of human evolution."

We are due some compassion.
posted by Surfurrus at 4:49 PM on September 7, 2009


Capitalism's central weakness is its concentration of wealth and power

In theory, capatalism is meant to distribute power. The weakness of socialism is centralized power within the goverment. Obviously any system can be exploited, the problem is that centralized power is always very difficult to reverse
posted by freshundz at 4:53 PM on September 7, 2009


Really, a pretty disappointing reaction to the topic.

What exactly are we afraid of? Is Capitalism or for that matter Democracy a sacred cow, that we dare not question and probe and experiment with? If you haven't noticed, there are some very serious problems with both. Systemic problems. Not just problems of implementation or refinement. The reason people blanch at the very thought of questioning Democracy or Capitalism, is because the attempts to try other alternatives, have to date been failures, on a scale from small to monstrous. However, Rome was not built in a day. Unless Capitalism is the optimal economic system, and Democracy the platonic ideal of a political system, better can be had. And I'd argue, must eventually be had. Because the failures of Capitalism and Democracy (yikes!) are too great - it would be pretty pathetic ideals, with pretty low standards for the future (though granted, best to date). To say "better cannot be had" is to fall into the Fukuyama nonsense of "best system and pinnacle of evolution and from now evolution stops, having achieved it's apex".

Here's reality as I see it. Capitalism and Democracy both are not sustainable for ever and ever - the challenges will only grow, population, environment, economy, political participation etc. We need something better. And I did say better. We always have so far, found better ways - from the caves, through tribalism, feudalism and there is no reason to stop, unless we've run out of problems that desperately need solving, or we have no more ingenuity, or it represents the fundamental limitations of our species. I'm an optimist. There are the pessimists - at any given time they think "this is the best that can be" ("Monarch from God!").

And it is not too early to start thinking about alternative models now. I said "thinking", not implementing as yet - not for quite some time... we've seen what heedless implementation of questionable ideas can bring about (cough, not just Communism). So let's start with thinking and discussing. And MM perhaps does a service to the idea that we can start thinking. Perhaps he has no solutions, or his solutions are naive, flawed, wrong, evil. But he gets us started talking about alternatives. And we need that.
posted by VikingSword at 4:55 PM on September 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


Perhaps he has no solutions, or his solutions are naive, flawed, wrong, evil. But he gets us started talking about alternatives.

You know who else had solutions that were naive, flawed, wrong, evil? That's right: Glen Beck.
posted by The World Famous at 4:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Huzzah Palamedes, well said.

Asking a question as vague as "do liberals think capitalism is evil" is just asking for abuse frankly. If you can get three people in this thread to agree on a definition of capitalism I'll be astonished, and that's before trying to nail down 'evil.'

But to provide a datapoint, I'd agree with "capitalism is the worst economic system there is, except for all the others" and I'm socially very liberal and economically moderate.
posted by Skorgu at 5:03 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, brother. When is Michael Moore going to realize and accept that he's never going to be Orson Welles (insert your own fat joke here) and he's never going to make a "Citizen Kane"?
posted by fuse theorem at 5:06 PM on September 7, 2009


Meh. I find people who constantly harp on Micheal Moore a little tedious. They usually don't even point out specifics just say he's "Like A left-wing Rush Limbaugh" or now "A Left-Wing Glenn Beck." I don't think the problem most people have with Glenn Beck is his "mawkish sentimentality." Rather it's his violent imagery, and absolute insanity.

Moore's sentimentality annoys me too but so what? Being sentimental and cloying only seems to turn into a crime when Moore is discussed.

The argument that this is bad timing is absurd. If you wanted to attack capitalism, this would be the best time, since it's illustrated it's weakness so clearly with the financial crisis.

Also the argument that "He's not poor, therefore, he's a hypocrite" are absurd as well. If we follow the logic, then the only people who would be able to speak without hypocracy would be hard-core Ayn rand followers who believe that they deserve to screw everyone and accumulate as much wealth as they can. That and poor people who can complain about being poor on their blogs, which aren't popular or don't have any ads -- otherwise they would be hypocrites.

A society where only poor people are allowed to advocate for the poor is a society where the poor are not advocated for at all.
posted by delmoi at 5:13 PM on September 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


I don't believe Michael Moore has ever made a narrative film in his entire career. Welles only made narrative films. Apples to oranges?
posted by hippybear at 5:18 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Oh, brother. When is Michael Moore going to realize and accept that he's never going to be Orson Welles (insert your own fat joke here) and he's never going to make a "Citizen Kane"?

Orson Welles? Citizen Kane? Sorry, I've never sensed that from Moore. He's way too everyman for that kind of high artistic reaching. Interestingly, he gets taken to task for being too much of a Frank Capra in this link, which I think is much closer to the point, but also kind of dumb. I mean, ripping the guy because he's made something comparable to one of the 100 best American films of all time?

"Michael Moore is this generation's Frank Capra. And by that token, Capitalism: A Love Story -- an artlessly effective slice of rah-rah rhetoric more sincerely idealistic than anything the director has yet put his name to -- represents Moore's It's a Wonderful Life."
posted by philip-random at 5:19 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Our system is hypocritical and inefficient. For example, we seem to have agreed as a society that education for everyone is a good thing. Well, what *is* education? It is intellectual health. So we all contribute to the common good of improving the general intellectual health of our citizenry. But then we turn the *physical* health of our citizens over to health insurance bureaucrats, who decline this or that procedure to enjoy a slightly higher level of profit while at the same time destroying our significant collective investment in that person's intellectual health. We The People, who have invested more than anyone else in that person's life *except* that person, well, suddenly OUR investment is deemed worthless in the face of a bit of extra profit for the insurance industry.

Clearly and obviously, this is terribly inefficient and wastes untold amounts of resources, not to mention the lives of the people who are declined for necessary procedures. It's completely immoral. Why is someone's intellectual health important to us, but their *physical* health isn't? Don't we lose all the benefits of a person's intellectual health when we allow insurance companies to kill them off? Obviously yes. Then why-oh-why are we putting the security of our most precious investment -- OURSELVES -- in the hands of faceless profiteering compassionless insurance company bureaucrats? It's just insane.
posted by jamstigator at 5:19 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moore annoys me because I don't feel he gives it to me straight; his stuff is slanted and full of spin. He's deceptive, but he's clever enough to not ever quite lie or make assertions he can't prove. He almost draws fairly outrageous conclusions, and then does something along the line of "you decide!". Well, duh, of course they're going to decide that Bush was giving handjobs to Colin Powell after you set it up that way.

I'm specifically thinking about the conspiracy-theory stuff about the Saudis and Bushes in the 9/11 film; it's been several years now, so I don't remember the exact details, but they were pretty thin and full of innuendo. I despise GW Bush, but I didn't think that hit piece was worth the celluloid.

I don't like Moore because I don't trust him, pure and simple. He feels very much like a weak-sauce version of Hannity or O'Reilly. He's better than they are, but with the talent and brains that guy packs, he could deliver the facts without the spin, and do a lot more real good in the world.
posted by Malor at 5:21 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Michael Moore will never make "Citizen Kane." Ergo, he deserves to be ridiculed, burned with torches, and shipped off to a Swedish gulag, not to mention put on a forced starvation diet.
posted by blucevalo at 5:21 PM on September 7, 2009


I like him. There. I said it. Roger & Me was an eye-opening film, I've kept up with him since, and I think he's doing a much-needed job right now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:21 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Liberal offense: "mawkish sentimentality."
Conservative offense: violent imagery, and absolute insanity.

It all balances out in the end.
posted by philip-random at 5:21 PM on September 7, 2009


... just answering roll call ...

Do liberals think capitalism is evil?

I am a "liberal" (meaning a "social liberal" I suppose?) and I don't think "capitalism" as an economic philosophy is evil. I do think some facets of its present implementation in the world could be classified as "evil." But you already knew that.

Are liberals really using the word "jazzed" these days?

I admit I do use it occasionally, usually in the negative, i.e. "not jazzed," as the original poster of it did, I believe.

And, to be honest, I think the answer is: no, I don't think (we) liberals are really jazzed about Michael Moore; or at least that we're as jazzed about Moore as we were ten years ago or so.

Actually, I am semi jazzed about Michael Moore. I loved TV Nation, and I enjoyed Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine. I thought Fahrenheit 911 was just sappy and lame. I dunno. So I didn't watch Sicko. I'll definitely watch this one if I get a hold of it.

Of course liberals support capitalism. That's what makes them liberals, and not socialists or communists or anarchists or some other kind of leftists.

Hmm. If pressed, I would label myself a socialist or communist, (IANAPP), but I think I would also call myself a social liberal. Perhaps I am doing it wrong. (Obviously, one of the problems of "liberal" is that it means everything and nothing.)
posted by mrgrimm at 5:24 PM on September 7, 2009


‘I have been saving up my money since Sicko to get to this day,’ he said. ‘I will always make my own movies. Now I have my own money to make them.’

No doubt. But his problem will be distributing it. I don't think he'll find Jibjab as remunerative.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:26 PM on September 7, 2009


Can pretty much guaranty that I'll see it opening weekend, and agree with pretty much all of it. Maybe that makes me naive or politically unrealistic, but c'est la vie.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 5:30 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, Michael Moore relies on silly, crass, clownish stunts.

And if the Democratic Party would consistently and enthusiastically use his kind of rhetoric, combined with his kinds of stunts, I'm convinced that it would average about five points better in its results.

Better clowning means more electoral success, and a more aggressive posture, and being better able to actually enact all the lofty proposals otherwise consigned to position papers.

Clowning and demagoguery are vital skills in a democracy.

When one party downplays them, and the other party elevates them, you wind up with the John Wayne Party vs. the Adlai Stevenson Party. The results of this, in terms of policy, usually aren't pretty.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:32 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Will pointing out that The Corporation is a Canadian film maybe explain why they didn't address that particular issue?

The majority of the corporations discussed in the film are American, as are most of the interviewees. I think the dubious history of corporate personhood deserves more attention in a movie devoted to the topic, regardless of where the movie was made.
posted by stinker at 5:34 PM on September 7, 2009


As for the Glenn Beck/Michael Moore comparison, there's one important difference that needs to be pointed out: Glenn Beck is functionally insane, and Michael Moore is not.

And we can stop there.
posted by zardoz at 5:35 PM on September 7, 2009


I'll see it opening weekend, and agree with pretty much all of it. Maybe that makes me naive or politically unrealistic, but c'est la vie.

I don't think Moore should stop making movies or that people should stop seeing them or even liking them. I do think, however, that if you cannot watch a Michael Moore movie and spot at least some of the egregiously dishonest representations and implications, it may be indicative that you're not exposing yourself to enough actual fact as opposed to spin.

Clowning and demagoguery are vital skills in a democracy.

E.g., Joe Biden.
posted by The World Famous at 5:35 PM on September 7, 2009


Agreed, I guess? Moore is no Orson Welles, nor does he care to be. But beware denying him his genius which I think is touched on here (emphasis mine):

Pic's target is less capitalism qua capitalism than the banking industry, which Moore skewers ruthlessly, explaining last year's economic meltdown in terms a sixth-grader could understand.

He can effectively communicate a very complicated situation to an unsophisticated mind. Yes, he's got his agendas. Yes, I'd probably hate his guts too if he was diametrically opposed to my worldview. But you can't deny he's damned good at what he does.
posted by philip-random at 5:36 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


He can effectively communicate a very complicated situation to an unsophisticated mind.

And his task is made easier by the fact that he doesn't seem to care if he communicates it accurately.
posted by The World Famous at 5:39 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anyone who thinks the left's got something comparable to Glenn Beck is flat out wrong. That guy is so batshit insane it's jaw-droppingly unbelievable.

As for the Glenn Beck/Michael Moore comparison, there's one important difference that needs to be pointed out: Glenn Beck is functionally insane, and Michael Moore is not.


I think that Mr. Beck would be glad to have most commenters on mefi (and elsewhere) discount him and his very real and demonstrable influence based on the assertion that he is functionally insane, batshit insane, or any other brand of insane.
posted by blucevalo at 5:43 PM on September 7, 2009


Michael Moore would likely not use JibJab to distribute anything. He has already released one movie for free online, and would likely follow that same model.
posted by hippybear at 5:45 PM on September 7, 2009


And his task is made easier by the fact that he doesn't seem to care if he communicates it accurately.

Do you have any, you know, citations for these assertions of disingenuousness you keep making? Because looking at what you've written so far it seems mostly like you're making a lot of noise.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:53 PM on September 7, 2009


solipsophistocracy: "it doesn't do any good to hear a poorly dressed cutesy whiner parrot back their views to them."

Then I trust you have another explanation for Jay Leno.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:55 PM on September 7, 2009


I don't believe Michael Moore has ever made a narrative film in his entire career. Welles only made narrative films. Apples to oranges?

In 1995, he made Canadian Bacon, a narrative film with John Candy.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:59 PM on September 7, 2009


Do you have any, you know, citations for these assertions of disingenuousness you keep making?

Sorry. Are you asserting that Michael Moore's films do not contain false statements, distortions, and implications of blatantly false facts? I was under the impression that that was both common knowledge and universally accepted. If you genuinely disagree with me on that point, and you have actually seen any of Michael Moore's films, then I'm afraid that going to the work to provide you with a list of inaccuracies would be about as productive as giving a Birther a copy of Obama's birth certificate. I'm not trying to blow you off. I just am baffled at the notion that anyone could possibly not have noticed that Michael Moore clearly does not care if he presents true and accurate facts.

I'll throw out one example for you, though, since it's the very first Michael Moore movie that I saw, way back when it first came out, and it set the stage for my annoyance at his filmmaking style from that point going forward: Remember the part of Roger & Me where he went around pretending he couldn't figure out where Roger Smith lived? Yeah, that part.
posted by The World Famous at 6:00 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I pretty much dress like Michael Moore.

What are some good ways to update my image without having the blood of the workers on my hands?
posted by box at 6:00 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I pretty much dress like Michael Moore.

What are some good ways to update my image without having the blood of the workers on my hands?


Tell people your name is Kevin Smith.
posted by The World Famous at 6:01 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm Canadian from British Columbia, so to call myself a liberal is to instantly align myself with a provincial government I mostly hate and a federal opposition party that I'm not sure I trust.

You need to learn the difference between a liberal and a Liberal. Hopefully before the upcoming election.
posted by rocket88 at 6:04 PM on September 7, 2009


I don't believe Michael Moore has ever made a narrative film in his entire career. Welles only made narrative films. Apples to oranges?

In 1995, he made Canadian Bacon, a narrative film with John Candy.


See, this is why I like MetaFilter. I learn something new nearly every day!
posted by hippybear at 6:04 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And Welles made F is for Fake.
posted by box at 6:12 PM on September 7, 2009


I'll throw out one example for you, though, since it's the very first Michael Moore movie that I saw, way back when it first came out, and it set the stage for my annoyance at his filmmaking style from that point going forward: Remember the part of Roger & Me where he went around pretending he couldn't figure out where Roger Smith lived? Yeah, that part.

THE WORLD FAMOUS: Moore's great crime is that he's not above putting storytelling and entertainment value ahead of "the facts, ma'am, only the facts" (and yes, I'm pretty sure he's admitted as much). No doubt, it's easy to note any number of exaggerations, edits, even small lies in his work. But I'm not aware of him being guilty of any genuinely gross misrepresentations of the truth (ie: the kind that would justify a writing off of his entire career as you seem to be doing). But please feel free to further educate me.
posted by philip-random at 6:15 PM on September 7, 2009


philip-random, I am glad to see you agree with my assertion above.
posted by The World Famous at 6:16 PM on September 7, 2009


What are some good ways to update my image without having the blood of the workers on my hands?

Tell people your name is Utah Phillips. Happy Fake Labor Day!
posted by jessamyn at 6:18 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can I lead 'em in a singalong of 'Pie in the Sky'? Because I might like this one.
posted by box at 6:23 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


The World Famous: You know who else had solutions that were naive, flawed, wrong, evil? That's right: Glen Beck.

And yet, the America of 2009 looks more and more like Glennbeckistan then Michaelmooritania.
posted by hangashore at 6:26 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry. Are you asserting that Michael Moore's films do not contain false statements, distortions, and implications of blatantly false facts? I was under the impression that that was both common knowledge and universally accepted.

It's well accepted among conservative circles, just like the "common knowledge" about how Obama is a socialist, how Hillary is a bitch, etc. Turns out if you keep repeating falsehoods and distortions, a lot of people come to think, incorrectly, that they are true.

then I'm afraid that going to the work to provide you with a list of inaccuracies would be about as productive as giving a Birther a copy of Obama's birth certificate.

It would also be as effective as showing a sane person a list of Birther "facts".

--

The fact is, Sicko and Fahrenheit 9/11 were meticulously fact checked and accurate. Some of his earlier movies had problems, from what I remember. It's true that there are plenty of conservative websites that go into meticulous detail about the falsehoods in those movies, just as there are conservative websites that go into meticulous detail about Obama's Kenyan origins. There are websites that go into detail about the Time Cube. As well.

But to say that, at least in the case of his last two movies, they are dishonest is wrong and stupid.
posted by delmoi at 6:26 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


is wrong and stupid

To the extent that you are referring to me, I point out at this time that I live in Los Angeles - a city where idiots do not tend to congregate. I am, therefore, not an idiot, wrong, or stupid. If I were any of those things, I would be living in a flyover state, by definition.
posted by The World Famous at 6:36 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


If I were any of those things, I would be living in a flyover state, by definition.

Please stop that. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn at 6:37 PM on September 7, 2009


To the extent that you are referring to me, I point out at this time that I live in Los Angeles - a city where idiots do not tend to congregate.

You run rings around us logically.
posted by philip-random at 6:39 PM on September 7, 2009


I sometimes wish liberals wouldn't do the whole circular firing squad thing.

He's on our team, boys. Let the Republicans criticize, we don't need to pile on.
posted by empath at 6:40 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


(That flyover hate MeTa thread is open.)
posted by box at 6:40 PM on September 7, 2009


Identifying one person with the arguments they advance doesn't serve an useful purpose, if that distracts from analyzing and understanding the arguments and produces mainly comments on the person traits.

So why the fuck is some people, both from the right and left or younameit, apparently so much focused on Moore being that or this? Similarly, why do some people _only_ comment on O'Reilly being an asshole without assaulting the inconsistencies, logical fallacies thus demonstrating why he mostly utters self serving nonsense?

Possibily because of the sad state of critical thinking abilities, as many people like to look for _entertainment_ that focuses attention intensly, mesmerize the viewer without actually engaging any critical aftertought, suspend disbelief and just enjoy the show, as it is less fatiguing then analyzing. That doesn't necessarily imply that person is "lazy" too, as one may be rather tired after a day of work.

Look at how often you do channel surfing or jump from one tv/book/media hoping to find something that captivates your interest. How often, after viewing or reading the content, do you stop to analyze what you have just seen and how often do just skip to another channel? Possibly, after one day of work , you have already spent part of your daily energy, feel sleepy or going to be sleepy soon, otherwise you will not be able to remain lucid tomorrow morning or wake soon enough to commute and work.

Now consider that most people repeat a series of tasks each and every day of their working life with minor variations, as their specialization is appreciated as it fits and serves the goals of a certain production model. Of course any additional knowledge that doesn't serve work purposes is not financed nor actively encouraged , but of course you can do that in your free time if you so wish, and if you have enough money not to be worried about your financial future, or kids to look after and other house tasks.

So it's no big wonder to me anymore that most people, for instance, speak about freedom without having much understanding of the implications of being "free" (difference between being free to do what you like and being indipendent) and often comment by mostly parrotting what X talking head has said on TV about what freedom is, in his opinion, all about.

Moore does attempt to pack some dissonant tought into his movies and often delivers, but it's certainly not as far reaching as, for instance, not just listening by trying to make sense of what Chomsky may deliver in a two hour long speech. Yet listening and understanding Chomsky requires a far more trained mind, whereas Moore at least manage to inject some doubt about the present state of affairs.
posted by elpapacito at 6:41 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sorry - it was just a jokey response to the "wrong and stupid" thing.
posted by The World Famous at 6:42 PM on September 7, 2009


Thanks for the link. Those cats flushing away were incredible!
posted by markkraft at 6:44 PM on September 7, 2009


> Remember the part of Roger & Me where he went around pretending he couldn't figure out where Roger Smith lived? Yeah, that part.

It's a transparent pretense; he knows that we know this is not a literally accurate premise, and he is not trying to persuade us otherwise.

It's a safe assumption that any moderately thoughtful viewer will watch this scene and think, Moore is arguing that it is difficult to emotionally engage a corporation on a human level, and get it to react to humanistic concerns-- and he is dramatizing this by pretending to be unable to find Smith's house; it's less safe, and even unlikely, for a thoughtful viewer to think, Michael Moore and his researchers were completely incapable of finding that man's house, and finding where that man lives is really, really important to Michael Moore.

Moore's "I can't find him!" bit isn't a lie or an attempt to hoodwink; it's (juvenile) storytelling shtick. It's metaphor.

There's a difference between saying, on the one hand, "X has un-American values! He's un-American!" and "Here is the birth certificate that proves he is literally un-American and was born in Kenya!" One is (noxious) metaphor, and ultimately legitimate; the other is a deceit, and not.
posted by darth_tedious at 6:47 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


hifiparasol: Do you have any, you know, citations for these assertions of disingenuousness you keep making? Because looking at what you've written so far it seems mostly like you're making a lot of noise.

The World Famous: Sorry. Are you asserting that Michael Moore's films do not contain false statements, distortions, and implications of blatantly false facts? I was under the impression that that was both common knowledge and universally accepted. If you genuinely disagree with me on that point, and you have actually seen any of Michael Moore's films, then I'm afraid that going to the work to provide you with a list of inaccuracies would be about as productive as giving a Birther a copy of Obama's birth certificate. I'm not trying to blow you off. I just am baffled at the notion that anyone could possibly not have noticed that Michael Moore clearly does not care if he presents true and accurate facts.


So, in other words, because you can't possibly fathom how someone could fail to agree that Michael Moore is a liar, you're going to utterly fail to do so.

Not to be too harsh, but that's lazy at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. If you did that in a paper for the freshman comp class I used to teach, I'd drop you at least a letter grade.

But I must have been a pretty crappy teacher, because, you know, anyone who asks you to back up the shit you say is exactly the same as a birther.

Oh, but wait -- there is that half-remembered turd about his not knowing where Roger Smith's house is, which anyone who had ever seen a movie before would recognize as a simple narrative device. If you are indeed correct in your assertion that Moore actually did know where Roger Smith lived.

But let me guess: Now you're going to claim that I just think that every "lie" that Michael Moore tells is just a narrative device, right? And that there's no point in backing up your talking points, because I'll just claim that every example you give is nothing but a narrative device? Is that how you were planning on continuing this?
posted by hifiparasol at 6:49 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


isn't a lie or an attempt to hoodwink; it's (juvenile) storytelling shtick. It's metaphor.

You sound like a Christian trying to explain away most of the Bible.
posted by The World Famous at 6:49 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Moore's great crime is that he's not above putting storytelling and entertainment value ahead of "the facts, ma'am, only the facts"

from what i saw in the trailer, i think he's pretty much worn it out - yeah, 10 billion bucks is going to be too much to put in one plastic bag, you're gonna need more, mike

times have changed and i think he needs to do better than this

Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil

i don't agree and think he's doing us a great disservice by framing this as a capitalism vs socialism (isn't it obvious that's what he means?) argument

first of all, what we have isn't capitalism, it's corporatism - a form of society which has a mixed economy and is controlled mostly by corporations - who are probably laughing their asses off at the american people who are now shouting "capitalism" and "socialism" at each other

trust me, the minute the republican fundies start threatening the corporate structure - and eventually, they would, given enough power - they would be slapped down hard

this argument of capitalism vs socialism is a 19TH CENTURY ARGUMENT! - and from day one, it made the critical mistake of considering only economics

it's irrelevant now - we need a new, holistic philosophy of life, government, ecology, empowerment and community and if michael moore is going to insist on warring on capitalism, then he's missing the big picture, he's playing the game as the power structure wants him to play it, even though he thinks he's fighting it

if he wants to limit himself to complaining about the banks, fine - we need facts - standing in front of a wall street building with a plastic bag in your hand just teaches me that 60s street threater expired a long time ago - and soundbites like "capitalism is an evil" are to thought, what hostess twinkies are to a good diet

---

What are some good ways to update my image without having the blood of the workers on my hands?

you need to get some movie, tv, game and music producers to install the idea in our young people that having blood on their hands is cool

a few years of that and they will worship you like a god as you slay them, hoping for that small chance that they'll get to be like you

any resemblances to our current system are probably exaggerations
posted by pyramid termite at 6:52 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


elpapacito: Similarly, why do some people _only_ comment on O'Reilly being an asshole without assaulting the inconsistencies, logical fallacies thus demonstrating why he mostly utters self serving nonsense?

At least on the left, there are people who do this.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2009


If you did that in a paper for the freshman comp class I used to teach, I'd drop you at least a letter grade.

I don't view questions from others in Metafilter comments as mandatory writing assignments. Please feel free to drop me a letter grade, though.

anyone who asks you to back up the shit you say is exactly the same as a birther.

Is that what I said? Because I must be a really bad writer if that's what you thought I said.

there is that half-remembered turd about his not knowing where Roger Smith's house is, which anyone who had ever seen a movie before would recognize as a simple narrative device

It's not half-remembered. I agree that it is a turd.

Now you're going to claim that I just think that every "lie" that Michael Moore tells is just a narrative device, right?

I don't know what you think.

And that there's no point in backing up your talking points, because I'll just claim that every example you give is nothing but a narrative device?

I don't know what you'll claim if I engage in a petty argument with you about such a pointless topic. I'd rather not find out, given your response so far.

Is that how you were planning on continuing this?

I wasn't planning on continuing this. I thought I made that clear.
posted by The World Famous at 6:55 PM on September 7, 2009


doesn't like America.

I'm sure that's true for some definitions of America.

Do you mean: The political/economic structure of America? The ideals of America set forth in the founding documents? American Pop Culture? The physical geography of America? America's foreign policy? The American People? The American Flag?

There are lots of ways that people could hate or love any of those things without being somebody who hates "America". It's a stupid, meaningless phrase. If you want to talk about hating or loving something about America, that's one thing, but America is too overloaded a concept to attempt to some up ones feelings about it with 'hate' or 'love'.

I get the sense that Michael Moore loves the ideals of America as he understands them, and he loves the American people. He obviously does not like 'the establishment'. But the 'establishment' is not all that America is.
posted by empath at 6:56 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Socialism has been creeping slowly but surely across America. It began with Jenner and the smallpox vaccine and the suggestion people had the right to avoid plagues. Then it continued with the suggestion that soldiers had the right to pay and health care. Next it was public education and libraries. Then pretty soon law enforcement officials were on the public dole. Where will this madness end?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:58 PM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Is there a word for self-nepotism? Because whatever that word is, that's my complaint against Moore. His decision to feature himself as the narrator/host of his films makes most of them unwatchable to me, and the fact that his decision to do so is probably the direct influence on this goddamn guy elevates the crime to a felony.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:05 PM on September 7, 2009


Wow. Despite that exhilarating fisking, you still haven't provided any examples of where he lies.
posted by hifiparasol at 7:05 PM on September 7, 2009


To paraphrase Churchill, capitalism is the worst economic system there is except for all the others.

I don't know that it counts as a paraphrase, because Churchill said that about Democracy, not capitalism. There's a big difference. Despite what's taught in US high schools, the two are not inexorably linked.

Before I started kindergarten. my Dad asked me not to say the Pledge of Allegiance until I could tell him what every clause meant when combined as a single statement. I'd like to publicly thank him because thirty years later it's still helping me to not make false equivalencies.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:05 PM on September 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


GRAR!
posted by jessamyn at 7:06 PM on September 7, 2009 [12 favorites]



psyche7 :Moyers has been great on the health-care crisis, but I'm not sure their "information" is much different. +Moyers is a reporter, Moore is a documentarian.

I like Moyers because his work and journalists like him come to the table with loads of facts lots of well researched information. He draws his conclusions but I'm still able (using the facts) to draw my own. Sometimes I find that I draw the same conclusions other times I'll have a slightly different take than he might. Always I'm in the driver seat, being given hard facts with which to work with.
Moore on the other hand is light on the facts and heavy on the preaching so I've really stopped caring what he has to say. If you get something out of his work great more power to you, I just don't.

I don't want to be told what to think, or to have my thinking artfully swayed by cleaver thematic tricks of the trade. All I want is the most comprehensive relevant facts on the given topic so I can form an opinion. It's ok if the person wants to bring me over to their point of view so long as they supply a hardy portion of evidence and allow the other side of the discussion to make any relevant points.

We don't get much of this in the media these days and it's a shame. Moore is not to my mind making things better.
posted by nola at 7:17 PM on September 7, 2009


Here: I'll do it for you.

Note that an allegation that someone is lying doesn't mean they're lying.
posted by hifiparasol at 7:18 PM on September 7, 2009


Pardon. Who are you doing for?
posted by nola at 7:23 PM on September 7, 2009


GRAR!

that's a nice parody, but it kind of forgets that in most rural localities, the fire departments are in fact private, being volunteer fire departments
posted by pyramid termite at 7:24 PM on September 7, 2009


Man the local volunteer fire department a county over is crazy about fighting fires. I'm almost certain they start fires just to have something to do.
posted by nola at 7:26 PM on September 7, 2009


I sometimes wish liberals wouldn't do the whole circular firing squad thing.

He's on our team, boys. Let the Republicans criticize, we don't need to pile on.


What team would that be? The spectrum of political ideology is a continuum. The idea there are only two teams is what I hate most about America and Metafilter.
posted by rocket88 at 7:35 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


Who are you doing for?

Sorry, that was a continuation of my (probably a bit overdone) response to The World Famous.
posted by hifiparasol at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2009


I tho8ught it was universally understood that when you think that something is universally understood, but that turns out not to be the case, and, in fact, your assertion is rebutted, the honest response is to prove what you are claiming, rather than make fun of the people who disagree with you.

As to his accuracy, well, you have to take them film by film. Roger and Me played with the timeline a little, but, since then, Moore has had outsiders carefully fact check his movies, and he posts the details of this on his Web page (Fahrenheit 9/11; Sicko). I recall the cautious additional fact-checking right wing bloggers did for Sicko, and they made a lot of accusations, but the only one that stuck was that some of Moore's comments could use some more context.

Saying "Oh, he just makes up facts" has been a popular way of discrediting Moore, and he's partially at fault for not being as scrupulous with his early films as he is with his current ones. But, still, Drudge's accuracy is something like 37 percent. Moore's accuracy approximates that of a reputable newspaper.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:40 PM on September 7, 2009 [7 favorites]



I sometimes wish liberals wouldn't do the whole circular firing squad thing.

He's on our team, boys. Let the Republicans criticize, we don't need to pile on.


If those on the left fail to be introspective and critical of their own ideas then they risk ending up as idealogically fundamentalist as some Republican have become.
posted by freshundz at 7:44 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


the fire departments are in fact private, being volunteer fire departments

In my rural area, they're still public. The equipment and buildings and materials are owned by the towns (usually gotten with grant money or via taxes) but the people who work actually putting out the fires work for free. I can't think of a place in the US with private fire companies, though many places have private or semi-private ambulance services.
posted by jessamyn at 7:45 PM on September 7, 2009


> hifiparasol

No need to apologize I was just lost.
posted by nola at 7:49 PM on September 7, 2009


I don't believe Michael Moore has ever made a narrative film in his entire career.

A thoroughly enjoyable film called Canadian Bacon. But that's about it, I understand.
posted by the cydonian at 7:49 PM on September 7, 2009


>> A pox on both their discourse-dumbing, dishonest houses.

Talk to most people in my homeland of America and they'll tell you they are neither Democrat nor Republican. Seventy years old, voted Republican your whole life? "Well, I VOTE Republican 100% of the time, but I'm independent." Or libertarian. Small L. Ask a "libertarian" to name even a quarter of the Libertarian Party platform and they'll stare back with open mouths.

Thirty years old, voted Dem your whole life? "Sure, I VOTED for Obama and straight Dem 100% of my ballot, but I hate the Democrats."

Americans line up into column A and column B every two to four years, and then spend all of the remaining non-chad diddling time pointing fingers away from themselves, toward Washington. The only way democracy will ever come to the United States is when ALL Americans secede from the two major parties and practice participatory government every day of the year.

Capitalism requires nothing but obedience.

Democracy is some hard-ass labor.
posted by Brosef K at 7:51 PM on September 7, 2009


capitalism is the worst economic system there is except for all the others.

Apparently you've never encountered social democracy. You know, that system that kept the US prosperous for half a century, and that's still keeping all those other modern democracies going well despite the current economic difficulties (which stem from those parts of our economic system that have escaped social democracy).
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:52 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]



The argument that this is bad timing is absurd. If you wanted to attack capitalism, this would be the best time, since it's illustrated it's weakness so clearly with the financial crisis.
- delmoi

Thank you for that! I really, really couldn't figure out why ppl were saying 'bad timing'. (Would anyone even want to discuss capitalism during a 'bubble'?)

We have been falling for a long time; the discussion is LONG overdue.
posted by Surfurrus at 8:05 PM on September 7, 2009


There are threads where you can count the number of comments by individuals--and immediately dismiss their point of view as irrelevant, fueled by something irrational, usually hate. Note: If a thread is several hundred comments and you've left nearly 10% of them, your crazy is showing.

Believe it or not, we get it.
posted by maxwelton at 8:22 PM on September 7, 2009


"A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors!"
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:25 PM on September 7, 2009


Nola says: We don't get much of this in the media these days and it's a shame. Moore is not to my mind making things better.

I go back and forth on it. It would be great if all reporting was more like Moyers and less like Moore, but you have to consider that there are people and organizations acting against the best interests of a healthy society, and those people won't hesitate to use simplified, manipulative messages to win public support for their cause. It would be great if what separated me from those on the right was simply misunderstanding, and that a plain and truthful presentation of the facts would settle our differences, but that's not how it is.

While there are undoubtedly conservatives who are interested in a real debate about real ideas, they have lost their grip on the megaphone, at least for now, to the likes of Beck and company. Somehow I don't think any number of hours of Bill Moyers is going to win those ears back.

So, Nola, you take your information nuanced and deep, and that's excellent, and I wish everyone did, but they don't. Moore isn't trying to convince you of anything; he's trying to convince the apolitical, the people who give their vote to whatever public figure manipulated their emotions last. Unfortunately it's a group of people that wields a great deal of power, and they need to be won. Moore presents a simplified argument, and his work is manipulative, yes. But as far as I can make out he is on the side of good, and I'm glad to have him.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 8:30 PM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dreamerfi: Bopal should have been disbanded within a few months after the event.

It doesn't get any more evil than the Bhopal disaster in 1984. Union Carbide India, a subsidiary of Union Carbide (U.S.) owned the plant. 3000 dead people poisoned by gas. Tens of thousands more down the road.

Union Carbide owned Eveready/Energizer batteries group (It was later sold to Ralston Purina and then spun off into its own company in 1999, which now makes not only batteries but also Schick and Playtex crap).

God's honest truth: I haven't used their shitty death batteries since 1984 when I was a teen, and if I ever encounter the energizer bunny it's going to get a swift kick in the face and flushed down a toilet. For all the good that will do against Union Carbide at this point....
posted by Skygazer at 8:48 PM on September 7, 2009


If those on the left fail to be introspective and critical of their own ideas then they risk ending up as idealogically fundamentalist as some Republican have become.

Ideas? Republicans lack honest representation of their massive poor constituencies, and so they pretend it's about ideas and not simply taxing the rich more than everyone else (because taxing the poor would be counter-productive, but we do it anyway). They know how to stall progress by targeting the liberal messenger on any perceived vulnerability. Note that any counter-message towards the liberal is far too dangerous to trot out, even if there was an effective one, because some of their duped ones might start asking questions. It's like playground politics for the very simple-minded, but that puts them all on the same page, smart and dumb alike. To most conservatives rich and poor, the playbook says that Moore and people like him are to blame for their paranoia, personally ruining their chances at becoming saved xillionaires and finally being free.

The sad joke is that those poor Walmart conservatives are personally responsible for their own anger, because their knee-jerk opposition to a broader public-minded government is how and why they are getting screwed over.
posted by Brian B. at 9:03 PM on September 7, 2009


I don't want to be told what to think, or to have my thinking artfully swayed by cleaver thematic tricks of the trade.

Moore employs methods of propaganda, but so does every political activist, and he is not a journalist by trade, unlike Moyers.

He's a bit overdone, maudlin and thin on detail when I want him to dig further, but if Bill Moyers is your only avenue to reach people, you will miss most of them. You really do need someone with a giant ego to get out in front and convey a message for people who do not consider themselves intellectuals, something which looks like entertainment, but which is in essence an intelligent message.

I mean, Moore is smart, but his movies have always been a way to reach what he considers to be the forgotten America of the Democratic Party, working class people who used to be central to a labor-backed platform, which have been shifting conservative since Reagan. I think he's probably liked more by Greens and the left wing of the political spectrum in the US than working class people per se, but if his movies were like Bill Moyers' work, great as it is, he would not be reaching his intended audience at all, and he probably wouldn't be nearly as successful as an activist/filmmaker. Personally, I wish he'd hire someone who would rein him in a bit and/or sharpen him when needed, like an editor or co-producer. But his recent work has him in the background much more, letting his subject tell more of the story, which works well for him these days.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:28 PM on September 7, 2009 [4 favorites]


It would be great if what separated me from those on the right was simply misunderstanding, and that a plain and truthful presentation of the facts would settle our differences, but that's not how it is. - the Loch Ness Monster

I am at this moment angrily tweeting a local news channel for selecting this audience tweet question of the day: "What do you think about Obama's controversial speech to schools tomorrow?"

The very fact that media choose to repeat idiotic fringe noise (controversial???) gives the fringe NON-FACTS credibility. Someone has to reveal their idiocy in a language that even the media can understand.

Moore presents a simplified argument, and his work is manipulative, yes. But as far as I can make out he is on the side of good, and I'm glad to have him.

30 second sound bites can seem simplified and manipulative -- but they will still get more audience than Moyer. WE should all be RT-ing Moore's facts -- and we should demand that all media gives these facts the attention they deserve.

Dog-pile someone who deserves it, liberals.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:29 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Michael Moore and his movies are just fine with me.

But he is kinda fat.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:47 PM on September 7, 2009


And did they get you to trade
Your heros for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?



posted by The Whelk at 9:49 PM on September 7, 2009


Moore employs methods of propaganda, but so does every political activist, and he is not a journalist by trade, unlike Moyers.

Moore's a warrior, on a sacred (albeit secular) mission to save America from it's evil self, and as such, he's playing a hard, smart, uncompromising game. He's annoyed me on any number of occasions over the years (for all the sins that have been addressed here already) ... but I'll always salute him for certain moments of big fat bravery and provocation.
posted by philip-random at 10:07 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


For a man who has done exceptionally well under a capitalist system, Michael Moore is the very evidence that proves himself wrong -- he has made a financially viable career out of attacking the Establishment -- far from living in poverty and being persecuted, he makes documentaries and has journalists writing about his every movement as walks red carpet after red carpet. There has rarely been a political system where he would have that sort of freedom and latitude. If capitalism is evil and he is successful under this system, what does that say about Michael Moore?

There is a certain arrogance when someone calls for an overhaul of a system without considering that for millions of people, they can live a comfortable life and can aspire to something more even though they don't come from a rich and powerful family. There is a lot of wonderful things to say about the United States, even if Mr. Moore is blind to his blessings.

Is there room for improvement? Nothing is so bad that it can't get worse -- and nothing is so good that it can't get better. The U.S. has faced far worse before and yet somehow has always come out better than before after a storm.

But you can't just waltz in and decree that you know better than millions of other people and you are now going to tell them just how stupid they are and how much more worldly you are to them -- if you want a new system -- then start a new one from scratch somewhere else with other like-minded individuals. Don't assume just because you are miserable that everyone else around feels the same as you. And if you build a better system -- then you can serve a model to others without insulting their intelligence in the process...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:08 PM on September 7, 2009


> And did they get you to trade

I didn't realize Rasputina had done a cover of this-- thanks.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:09 PM on September 7, 2009


That's my favorite version of that song, Whelk.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:14 PM on September 7, 2009


There is a certain arrogance when someone calls for an overhaul of a system without considering that for millions of people, they can live a comfortable life and can aspire to something more even though they don't come from a rich and powerful family.

But Moore seems to consider millions of people when he calls for an overhaul of the system: the people who don't live a comfortable life and can't really aspire to something more, because their family lives in extreme poverty.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 10:26 PM on September 7, 2009


Alexandra Kitty: "But you can't just waltz in and decree that you know better than millions of other people and you are now going to tell them just how stupid they are and how much more worldly you are to them -- if you want a new system -- then start a new one from scratch somewhere else with other like-minded individuals. Don't assume just because you are miserable that everyone else around feels the same as you. And if you build a better system -- then you can serve a model to others without insulting their intelligence in the process..."

So you are saying that criticizing the government is bad, and instead he should start his own island colony or something?

This is the oddest version of "America: Love It Or Leave It" that I've ever seen.

I would respond to the rest of your post, but it is so lacking in substance that I find it impossible to use it as the starting point for any kind of reasonable dialogue.
posted by kathrineg at 10:37 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am at this moment angrily tweeting a local news channel for selecting this audience tweet question of the day: "What do you think about Obama's controversial speech to schools tomorrow?"

Welcome to the world of yellow journalism, which has completely overwhelmed actual newscasting by most sources in the US today. Listen closely to just about any newscast. Words like "shocking", "outrageous", "angering", and many others are used constantly to tell you what you should be thinking about the stories they are covering. These days, news is as much about making sure you FEEL what you should about the information presented as it is about the information itself.

Personally, I resent it, and I wish I could find an effective way to counter it, but outside of pointing it out to people around me during the newscast, I cannot think of any good way. It all blends into propaganda after a while, and means that I rarely, if ever, watch any of the 4 local evening newscasts in my region.
posted by hippybear at 10:40 PM on September 7, 2009


capitalism for things you WANT, socialism for things you NEED

You need food, but collective farming didn't work out so well.

I can't stand Michael Moore, ever since the "gotcha" scene in Bowling for Columbine where he interviews Charleton Heston and Heston makes the remark about there being a racial element to America's high gun crime statistics. The audience I saw it with (at the Nova in Melbourne) was probably 99% lefties and everyone let out an audible collective gasp of outrage when he said that. Now, if Michael Moore were actually interested in making a documentary instead of left-wing indignation-porn he might have followed this up, asked why Blacks are overrepresented in gun crime stats, looked at the consequences of the drug war and gang culture for inner city youth and blah blah blah, but instead he just makes does this lazy pisstake of rural redneck militias and hand-wringing over statistically insignificant school shootings. His movies aren't poor because he has a sound point but ruins it with poor delivery or dumbs it down too much for a pop audience, his movies are poor because they're just bullshit from start to finish.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 10:44 PM on September 7, 2009


Thanks, The Whelk. I was going to go to bed soon. Now I have to dig out my quadraphonic version of WHYH and listen to the whole damn album.

*shakes fist*

See what you do to me?!?! See what you made me do?!?!?
posted by hippybear at 10:48 PM on September 7, 2009


For a man who has done exceptionally well under a capitalist system, Michael Moore is the very evidence that proves himself wrong -- he has made a financially viable career out of attacking the Establishment -- far from living in poverty and being persecuted, he makes documentaries and has journalists writing about his every movement as walks red carpet after red carpet. There has rarely been a political system where he would have that sort of freedom and latitude. If capitalism is evil and he is successful under this system, what does that say about Michael Moore?

Capitalism is not a political system. We live in a constitutionally limited democratic republic - the limitations on government action in the Constitution are what give Moore that freedom, you tool.

I know it's hard to believe, but our right to free speech does not actually depend on the right of bankers to fleece the public for billions.
posted by heathkit at 11:05 PM on September 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


If capitalism is evil and he is successful under this system, what does that say about Michael Moore?

It says that he's not so naive as to think he can better change society by not participating in it. It says that he understands very well that today in the US, money=political power, and he's smartly accumulating it for that reason, in order to bankroll his own films.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:20 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Democracy may be dead in America, but irony lives on.

Video: Autoworkers Compete to Keep Jobs, Livelihoods on New Reality Show (The Onion)

Too bad you can't pay your doctor with irony.
posted by Brosef K at 11:21 PM on September 7, 2009


Millionaire capitalist Michael Moore hates capitalism - makes a few more millions expressing that opinion.
posted by caddis at 11:36 PM on September 7, 2009


Wading throught this thread has brought me no closer to the truth of why Michael Moore makes people so sad. (I guess it's called pissing off all the right people.)
I look forward to enjoying not only the movie, but also the entertaining analwonk backlash.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:47 PM on September 7, 2009


"Millionaire capitalist Michael Moore hates capitalism - makes a few more millions expressing that opinion."

I'm drinking this comment like fine wine. Yum.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 11:48 PM on September 7, 2009


Millionaire capitalist Michael Moore hates capitalism - makes a few more millions expressing that opinion.

Well, you can take yourself off the grid, but if you want to do more than go find your own private Walden and change the world you probably will require the means to spread your message. That requires money. If you can make films and are good at selling yourself, you have the means to make your message heard by a lot of people, which is not so possible if you refuse to touch money out of some sense of self-martyrdom.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:49 PM on September 7, 2009


Millionaire capitalist Michael Moore hates capitalism - makes a few more millions expressing that opinion.

I'm reading this as more paradox than hypocrisy.
posted by philip-random at 12:33 AM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


>> Millionaire capitalist Michael Moore hates capitalism - makes a few more millions expressing that opinion.

That sentence falls down just two words in. But it gets worse. Take your pick:

Incomplete comparison
Where not enough information is provided to make a complete comparison

E.g. Is Moore a capitalist? This sentence says so. Implies hypocrisy.

Perfect solution fallacy
Where an argument assumes that a perfect solution exists and/or that a solution should be rejected because some part of the problem would still exist after it was implemented

E.g. Moore is tainted because his motives are not pure or perfect.

Cherry picking
Act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position

E.g. Moore is a millionaire. Is that the whole story? How does he spend his millions? Peripheral or exonerating data not welcome in this generalization.

Misleading vividness
Involves describing an occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is an exceptional occurrence, to convince someone that it is a problem

E.g. Moore the MILLIONAIRE. More the HYPOCRITE. Stun and run.

Ad hominem
Attacking the personal instead of the argument.

Self explanatory.

Fallacy of the undistributed middle
The middle term in a categorical syllogism is not distributed.

E.g.

All millionaires are capitalists.
Michael Moore is a millionaire.
Therefore Michael Moore is a capitalist.
posted by Brosef K at 12:35 AM on September 8, 2009 [11 favorites]


Fallacy of the undistributed middle
The middle term in a categorical syllogism is not distributed.

E.g.

All millionaires are capitalists.
Michael Moore is a millionaire.
Therefore Michael Moore is a capitalist.


This "example" logic is sound. The actual undistributed middle fallacy could be illustrated by:

All millionaires are capitalists.
Michael Moore is a capitalist.
Therefore Michael Moore is a millionaire.
posted by Bokononist at 2:00 AM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


You need food, but collective farming didn't work out so well.

Communist farming reforms worked out very well in China, particularly those aspects of the socialisation of farming that were popularly driven - the redistribution of the land, its collective, egalitarian allocation by household and the expropriation of landlords - this saved millions of lives and is the main factor in the enormous drop in excess mortality post-1949; collectivisation in production failed because it was imposed by an absolute and authoritarian state which sought to extract excess value from agriculture (and nor did it fail everywhere; big surpluses were produced in the Northeast for example, where conditions suited the mode far better).
Even today, access to land via the village collective remains a guarantee of subsistence that is a major factor in the one of the single greatest reductions in poverty the human race has ever seen. A central government that has embraced neo-liberal ideology in so many other areas still dare not reverse land reform despite heavy pressure from various vested interests because it knows full well the social consequences.
The famous failures - the murderous famines of the Great Leap - were not a result of the collective nature of farming per se but the impositions and failures of an authoritarian state. But, to repeat, what didn't need imposing was the egalitarian and redistributive farm policy - that was popularly led and ran ahead of central policy in many areas in the years just preceding and following Liberation; what was forced was the pace of collectivisation and the extractions from agriculture to achieve the primitive accumulation necessary to pay for industrialisation.
One classic introduction to the topic in English if you're genuinely interested is Walker's Agricultural development in China, 1949-1989. He was no mere apologist or fellow-traveller either, being one of the first to study the famines of the Great Leap. (This article explains how criminal idiocies in procurement rather than failures in production were a main factor in the famines).
posted by Abiezer at 4:21 AM on September 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Socialized farming worked fine on kibbutzes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:46 AM on September 8, 2009


"the grandest statement of his career-long belief that big business is screwing the hard-working little guy while government connives in the atrocity."
..so, what, he's wrong about that?
I don't like Michael Moore. But I don't think he's wrong.
And there's a big difference between having distaste for someone, their methods, expressions, etc. and being diametrically opposed to everything about someone - Glenn Beck as a f'rinstance.
I despise him.
Moore, some things, he's out of line, but I don't think he's actively working to inflict as much pain and suffering as he possibly can before he and others like him try to end the world like many other folks seem to be doing.
And some of those folks are personable, charismatic, even likable. Makes it all the worse really.

I can't give him crap about making money. That's complete b.s. What, he's supposed to lose to be respectable? Screw that. He's sanctimonious because that's how he comports himself, I suspect being in proximity to so many powerful, wealthy people who do little but lie, cheat and steal and bull him off whenever they can tends to do that to you. I'm a product of my own environment. I probably talk about violence too much. Speak authoritatively when I don't need to. People build up their habits from their lifestyle and it might be unfamiliar and it's not going to be to everyone's taste
But being successful doesn't make him a hypocrite.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:56 AM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well that was a fun discussion. Anybody want some pie?
posted by fungible at 5:19 AM on September 8, 2009


To hell with a bigger piece of the pie, we want the whole fucking bakery!
Oops, sorry, I meant "Cheers, no cream with mine, thanks."
posted by Abiezer at 5:50 AM on September 8, 2009


CAPITALIST PIE‽
posted by sciurus at 6:12 AM on September 8, 2009


If only the Left had a subterranean shadowy complex full of weaponry that we could take back this country. And we'd start with that bastion of the Right wing known as...


San Francisco!!! Mwwhahahaha.
posted by yeti at 6:38 AM on September 8, 2009


capitalism for things you WANT, socialism for things you NEED

-You need food, but collective farming didn't work out so well.


I think food stamps would qualify as demand side socialism.
posted by Brian B. at 6:54 AM on September 8, 2009


Well that was a fun discussion. Anybody want some pie?

Pie makes you fat.
Michael Moore is fat.
Therefore Michael Moore likes pie.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 6:55 AM on September 8, 2009


Rip open the diseased heart of a corporation and what spills out? People. -Quellcrist Falconer

To everyone questioning the timing on this, stop living in fear of the recent spate of right wing OMGSOCIALISM. Barney Frank is due to roll out signification financial industry re-regulation bills this fall. The timing is great.
posted by butterstick at 8:11 AM on September 8, 2009


Michael Moore is fat. He's just like Ann Coulter but fat. He's the fat male Ann Coulter. Or Rush Limbaugh. A less-fat Rush Limbaugh. Unless it the time when Rush Limbaugh was addicated to Oxycontin in which case Michael Moore is a slightly more-fat Rush Limbaugh. Except also left-wing. He eats food instead of giving 100% of his food to poor orphans. In addition to making him fat this also makes him a hypocrite. He is a millionaire Marxist, a limousine liberal, and he does not enjoy catgirl animes nor blog about glorious Nipponese anime therefore he is wrong. Also, he is fat.

Let me tell you a few things about Mr. Michael Moore. 9/11 was sad and must only be used as an excuse to kill the shit out of people who were not involved in the 9/11 attacks. To invoke it for any reason other than justifying the killing the shit out of people who were not involved in the 9/11 attacks is something only a fat liberal would do.

He's like Glenn Beck without the crying and also maybe a little more fat. I don't know who is fatter right now. But rest assured that Michael Moore's fat is one of the reasons he is wrong. However, fat Americans from Arkansas or Oklahoma are not subject to this because that fat is the fat of the real America. Let me demonstrate this by blogging about magical catgirl animes.

To conclude: the only country better than America is Japan, but not by much. If Japan had Michael Moore and America had Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure then it might be different.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:23 AM on September 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


>> This "example" logic is sound.

No. It is not.

Your second example is just as fallacious as the first. Structurally, they are identical.
posted by Brosef K at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2009


There is something amazing about Michael Moore causes people who do not know how to argue to speak up to make the case that Michael Moore does not know how to argue. People who previously had only a passing, contemptuous relationship with facts will condemn him for being a liar, and people who did not even know there was such a thing as context will complain that his films could be contextualized better. In this way, the experience of listening to criticism of Moore's films is often similar to the experience of being critiqued by an amateur writing group.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:19 AM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


about they way Michael Moore, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:20 AM on September 8, 2009


The fallacy of the undistributed middle takes the following form:

1. All Zs are Bs
2. Y is a B
3. Therefore, Y is a Z


The central issue in the fallacy is that B is not sufficient to link Y to Z (or Z to Y). B in no way addresses the validity of Y or Z, nor their relation to one another. Switching Y and Z to Z and Y does not change this. Swapping "millionaire" and "capitalist" for "capitalist" and "millionaire," in this case. "Michael Moore" as B does not validate the assertion by the person (caddis at 11:36 PM on September 7) who posted the original sentence.

Michael Moore (B) IS a millionaire (Y). I think that's reasonably certain (although it's possible, though seemingly unlikely, that he actually is not). But does that make him a capitalist (Z)? That's the crux of this. That assertion (Z) in this sentence rises or falls based on its association with Y (millionaire) and B (Michael Moore) and this is the fallacy of the undistributed middle.

Find another way to prove Moore is a capitalist and your argument (implication of hypocrisy) moves forward.
posted by Brosef K at 9:42 AM on September 8, 2009


David Brooks discusses the complexities of captilism vs socialism idealogies, their respective shortcomings and why we fail to come to any conseus.
posted by freshundz at 9:43 AM on September 8, 2009


MeFi doesn't have an "edit comment" feature, huh?

In my previous remark, Z and B should "millionaire" or "capitalist" and Y should be "Moore." The designations are not relevant though. The point is that the central (middle) component's relationship or validity is not determined (undistributed) by association to the other components.
posted by Brosef K at 9:48 AM on September 8, 2009


In related news: U.S. no longer most competitive economy.
posted by ericb at 9:50 AM on September 8, 2009


Capitalist - n.

1. A supporter of capitalism.
2. An investor of capital in business, especially one having a major financial interest in an important enterprise.
3. A person of great wealth.

posted by caddis at 11:01 AM on September 8, 2009


Whoa, whoa, whoa...Michael Moore does not enjoy catgirl animes? Next you'll be telling me he's pro-Zed.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:10 AM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pie makes you fat.
Michael Moore is fat.
Therefore Michael Moore likes pie.


I am a capitalist.
I have all the pie.
posted by rokusan at 12:40 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moore is to the left what Glenn Beck is to the right

But does Moore fantasize about killing Beck?
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am a capitalist.
I have all the pie.


Capitalist schmapitalist. Call me when you own all the bakeries.
posted by The World Famous at 1:40 PM on September 8, 2009


I liked Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, and Fahrenheit 9/11. I haven't seen Sicko yet, though I've heard it's good. Of course he like to dramatize things and is biased. I certainly don't want him to be the only source of information about the subjects he covers, but he does a good job of publicizing important topics and getting debate going. And I can't believe people would seriously compare him to people like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. My experience has been that if I try to do some cursory fact-checking of points he makes in his films, he's usually on target, regardless of whether some details are off or exaggerated. On the other hand, the things I hear on the right-wing talk shows (and I do listen to them sometimes) set off the BS meters right away and generally turn out to be just crap made off the tops of their heads, or textbook examples of fallacious reasoning, or mean-spirited attempts to trick their listeners. I mean, rally, can you imagine Beck doing a documentary in which 90%+ of the facts hold up to intense scrutiny? Ha.

There's definitely been an edging away from Moore by a lot of my friends on the left, but I think they're just being wusses. If other liberals want to package these messages in other ways, great. It's not Moore's fault that not many people are doing it convincingly for wide audiences. It's the rest of the news media's fault. My dad complains that people get their news from Jon Stewart, for example, but JS has said many times that he *wishes* that actual news media would hit harder and call BS when they see it.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:41 PM on September 8, 2009


Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch Pure

This is my take from this entire thread. I can stop reading it now.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:43 PM on September 8, 2009


But does Moore fantasize about killing Beck?
Good God, that is horrifying.

Point taken.
posted by Monsters at 1:57 PM on September 8, 2009


"But does Moore fantasize about killing Beck?"

Doesn't everybody?

S'funny. A big hollywood star, like big big, like really big time big, said something along those lines about Bush. It was in private conversation. And certain folks were having a few. Not me. And I said, you've got millions...why does it have to be a fantasy?
Sort of stopped the room, y'know. Well, mostly because I said it at one of those funky points at parties where conversation lulls as it happens to be between songs.
But it underscored how not-serious he was, not even really insinuating anything, just pissed off and frustrated. Especially because he was talking to someone who looked like he might know how to pull it off (me, and I wouldn't of course).

The hell of it is, not a doubt in my mind Beck isn't serious about really doing it, about at all being involved in it himself, but he's saying it on television and insinuating with this sort of 1/2 ass shot at plausible deniablity.
What makes it dangerous is that it's a kind of social learning. 'This is acceptable' we think. Or some of us. And everyone becomes depressed and/or more fearful.

What if Beck (or any of the others from that link) said that he fantasized about fucking Moore (or their respective targets)?
He (they) would have been thrown off the air, there would have been much Hurf Durfing and that would have been seen as a social transgression.
Even stripped of teh gay - it's locker room talk. Inappropriate for public conversation. Not to be used around the kids or grandma or the Reverend or other gentlefolk.
So too - Joe Hollywood said what he said in private, in a field of adult contemporaries who knew he was in jest and understood the context.

Moore is a lot of things, but I don't see his work as enabling this kind of violence through individual initiative. To the contrary, he speaks a great deal about organizing socially, which carries with it it's own kinds of inherent restraints. Can't say I'm completely on board with everything he says, but I can't at all fault the method. Which, at heart, though confrontational, is not violent (like Steve Biko said).

Why would anyone edge away from Moore? Hell, I think he's a dick but that doesn't mean he's wrong. In any setup, you need a guy to bust balls. Pretty much what he does, for good or ill.
Beck, other pundits like that, no, they're not ball breakers. Only guy on the right I can think of offhand who did that was Buckley. No, they're Demagogues (yeah caps).

Father Coughlin comes first to my mind (for obvious reasons, although WTF 'right wing' is supposed to be there I dunno - a Demagogue is a demagogue, but Coughlin was pro-new deal (for a bit) but vehemently anti-wall street, anti-capitalist, of course, anti-semitic as well.)
He was part of what was going to be a terrorist outfit (the Christian Front). So it's not hyperbole to associate Beck (et.al) with these kinds of dregs. It's not like this sort of thing hasn't happened before.
But the politics of this is practically an aside. I agree with Mencken's definition: a demagogue is "one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots."
posted by Smedleyman at 2:55 PM on September 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Smedley, you are a fucking gem. This place is so much richer for your presence.
posted by caddis at 5:30 PM on September 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Since we're talking fallacies, calling Moore out for being a millionaire while bashing capitalism is the tu quoque fallacy. His films (and books) are still peppered with lies and distortions, as sites like Moorewatch have documented over the years. Also, his schmaltzy aww shucks writing style is just plain irritating.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:03 PM on September 8, 2009


LP Hatecraft, please do explain why a millionaire MUST be a capitalist. Does it follow that a poor man (or woman) MUST be a communist? Or that a liberal can't be a NASCAR fan?

If you've just got an hate on for the guy, fine, I guess, although that's hardly good for yrrr soul. But if you're trying to actually communicate something with clarity and concision, I think you need to try a little harder.

That said, I do sorta agree with you about the irritating "schmaltzy aww shucks writing style".
posted by philip-random at 6:14 PM on September 8, 2009


That's an amazingly shitty website you've linked to, Hatecraft. Why should we assume its authors have any more credibility than the man they've targeted?
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:15 PM on September 8, 2009


Moorewatch is one of those sort of sputtering angryman sites that has a hard time separating decent actual critiques about Moore [fact-checking type stuff, there isn't a lot but there has been some over the years] with a lot of "GRAR GRAR jackass!" stuff.

At some level if you live in America and spend money, you're benefiting from Capitalism, like it or lump it. If you want to agitate against it in any way, you're in a compromising position. If you wind up living a money-free existence, you get ridiculed like this guyand sleep in a cave pestered by bugs. If you spend money to get your message out, people call you a hypocrite. It's hard to take a principled stance in any strong way against the system without being in some way tainted/affected/whatever.

Michael Moore has decided, affirmatively I believe, not just by accident, that it's okay if people despise him and call him names if he can still get his message across. If he wanted to be careful and cautious he'd be making different movies and publicizing them differently. I'm glad he's not the president of the US. That said, with my personal struggles, my universe of various supporting characters includes people who tactically make different choices from me. He's a ball-buster, as Smedleyman put it. I love, love, love that people are taking a critical eye to capitalism. I don't think they're likely to go overthrow the goverment and that's okay, but if people think more critically about the economic and political systems that govern many of the choices they make in their day to day lives, I think that's a net positive thing. Depending on what part you play in the various systems, you may not think this at all.

I'm not sure why the Moorewatch people are so sputtering mad or why they're all HURF DURF MILLIONAIREZ as if this is some great big sekrit they just discovered. There's no way to be totally pure. And it's a little bit nonsense to say that just because someone has money, they shouldn't be able to somehow talk about how our money system is a little bit messed up. In fact, who else is in a decent position to say something like that?
posted by jessamyn at 6:31 PM on September 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


LP Hatecraft, please do explain why a millionaire MUST be a capitalist.

I think you misread my comment as arguing the opposite of what I actually said. I said that discrediting Moore for being a millionaire was a fallacy. Of course, there's no reason you can't be both a millionaire and an anti-capitalist, just like there's no reason you can't be both a advocate of family values and a philanderer. The inconsistency of an individual's behaviour with their arguments doesn't mean their arguments are not logically sound.

That's an amazingly shitty website you've linked to, Hatecraft. Why should we assume its authors have any more credibility than the man they've targeted?

It's not a matter of taking anything on faith based on credibility. If they claim that Moore is lying and cite facts then you can go and verify them for yourself.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:33 PM on September 8, 2009


Actually, Hatecraft, Moorewatch's credibility, as far as I'm concerned, expired after seeing "socialism" a bunch of times on their front page and after reading this sentence:

Mike wants Barack Obama to declare himself Czar of the United States and reorganize industry, infrastructure and the economy along the lines Michael Moore thinks best.

Somehow, I doubt it ... thanks for a peak at the Worst of the Web though.
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:47 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mike wants Barack Obama to declare himself Czar of the United States and reorganize industry, infrastructure and the economy along the lines Michael Moore thinks best.

The thing is, I actually do want Barack Obama to reorganize industry, infrastructure and the economy along the lines that I think are best. I have wanted every President to do that. Haven't you?

(I don't really care about the "declare himself Czar part," but there are so many people with the title of "Czar" in American government now that I'm not sure I would even notice.)
posted by The World Famous at 6:57 PM on September 8, 2009


EatTheWeak:

That paricular comment sounds like nonsense to me too. However, if you're determined to close the tab as soon as you encounter something that damages the sites "credibility" in your eyes then I'm not going to hand-hold you through a tour of the specific factual rebuttals to Moore's movies that can be found there. Facts are facts, they don't become false through some kind of contagion simply by appearing on wingnutty sites.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:59 PM on September 8, 2009


I like how in this particular paranoid fantasy, Moore plays Rasputin to Obama's Czar. Better keep an eye on Michelle, Barry!
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:59 PM on September 8, 2009


I'm not going to hand-hold you through a tour of the specific factual rebuttals to Moore's movies that can be found there.

Aw schucks. Guess I'll just have to live with that. Have a swell night, L.P.
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:02 PM on September 8, 2009


Sure thing. Take it easy EatTheWeak.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:08 PM on September 8, 2009


>> I'm not going to hand-hold you through a tour of the specific factual rebuttals to Moore's movies that can be found there.

That is precisely what you should be doing.

The entire point of comment threads like this is for each of us -- in honesty, reason, and rationality -- to share our network of information, experience, and expertise. Assert it, provide context, cite your sources. In my book it's simply rude (and lazy) to post a link and say "go there and come back when you understand what I am trying to assert."

No. YOU assert, YOU defend, and YOU cite. It's not anyone else's responsibility to build your case for you.

"I'm thinking of a quotation from an author. It's in the library. Go find it." is not playing fair.

There is so much of that in American discussion. "Go read the Bible." "Go read the Constitution." "Go to this Web site." So few are actually able or willing to act as editor and to place themselves squarely behind an assertion. To say: "I said it. I'll take the heat if I'm wrong." Easier to pawn it off on some other guy, some author, some talking head.

And in that regard, Moore serves a valuable role for the left and the right. Talk to people who would ordinarily sympathize with Moore's assertions and they'll say: "Well, I don't like Michael Moore, but..." Shit. I've done it myself.

This entire thread, and apart from the back-and-forth of pro-Moore and anti-Moore (as if this entire conversation is a referendum on whether he is a hypocrite or hero), I don't know how much if any of the discussion actually revolves around the central issue, which is SHOULD capitalism be reformed or abandoned entirely in the United States.

THAT discussion has happened on a large scale many, many times and from the beginning of this nation, and each generation has arrived at different conclusions. It's a legitimate question. A good question.
posted by Brosef K at 7:55 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did Smedleyman just invent Beck/Moore slashfic?
posted by hippybear at 8:36 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


To the extent that you are referring to me, I point out at this time that I live in Los Angeles - a city where idiots do not tend to congregate. I am, therefore, not an idiot, wrong, or stupid. If I were any of those things, I would be living in a flyover state, by definition.

I wasn't aware of LA's reputation as an intellectual capital. I'd just point out that I live in a state that legalized gay marriage, and you live in one that actually illegalized it twice by referendum. And furthermore that your argument is so nonsensical that it mostly just proves my point. Either that or (more likely) you're trolling.

---

If all Millionaires were capitalists, then Moore would be a capitalist, but clearly there are some people who are rich and not capitalists, whether they thrived under a capitalists systems or whatever. The charge of hypocrisy is ill considered. It would mean that no one could advocate for the poor without being poor, and that no one one could advocate for the environment while taking part in our modern, polluting society. Only the most selfish, Ayn Rand devotees could advocate their positions without hypocrisy. Is that what you want?

(I don't really care about the "declare himself Czar part," but there are so many people with the title of "Czar" in American government now that I'm not sure I would even notice.)

I find it hilarious that rightwingers are whining about all the "Czar"s now. It's a completely unofficial title, only used colloquially.
posted by delmoi at 8:43 PM on September 8, 2009


"I'm thinking of a quotation from an author. It's in the library. Go find it."

Ooooh, oooh, I know this one. How many guesses do I get?

Moore annoys me, because he seems to have three or four good points every time out, but then he hammers them so hard and so awkwardly with fistful after fistful of preachy sentimentality that I'm almost embarrassed for him by the end of the film.

Fahrenheit 9/11 was a big disappointment to me. Here was the promise of a film that could have been completely about post-9/11 government abuses (and would have been more powerful for it, I think) but it got soiled with half-assed conspiracy crap and way too much non-9/11 related anti-Bush material.

Roger and Me, Sicko and Bowling for Columbine were the better works, I think, and mainly because the moments of preachiness were outnumbered by the more important bits.
posted by rokusan at 8:45 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


This entire thread, and apart from the back-and-forth of pro-Moore and anti-Moore (as if this entire conversation is a referendum on whether he is a hypocrite or hero), I don't know how much if any of the discussion actually revolves around the central issue, which is SHOULD capitalism be reformed or abandoned entirely in the United States.

Interesting, huh. I ask this question every day.

My wife and I own a small business. We work our asses off (note: I am still at work here, that makes hour 13). Specifically to ensure that we try to do "good" with in the context of our business. And you get fucked by both ends. Too tired to stand. Too sore to sit. Our tax rate is insane. We try to do right by our employees and pay some of their health care. And as a result WE end up having to go without. So we faced a terrible choice and had to go to healthcare saving plan. Less than ideal.

The past six months have been tough. Sure. It's been tough for everyone. We count our lucky stars since we have stayed busy and made some good decisions before this recession really hit. We don't spend. We have always saved. We picked a nitche that we knew was resilient. We keep getting more and more work. Unfortunately. That is slower and slower to pay. So. Cash flow is a bitch.

We're still kicking when agencies are dying next to us right and left. We field a dozen or more job inquires a day.

So. I guess we're getting by pretty okay. The worst thing is some debt and no vacations this year (or last, really), other business travel. No going to Paris like we usually do. But the mortgage is getting paid and we have not had to lay anybody off other than one person who was leaving anyway.

Yet when I hear people who only do 9 to five for somebody else talk about the evils of profit? I just wanna cry. I'd like to see some profit, motherfuckers. What the hell am I doing this for? When things are good I make money. I hire more people. I pay people better. Under what system can I continue to this? There is no centralized economic system I know of that will allow me the freedom to do what I do and spread wealth responsibly. So what does this thing that is not capitalism look like?

It'd be awesome if there was better way than capitalism. But nobody seems to know what that looks like. When people say stupid shit like it's "evil" that is just as self-righteous and simplistic as the morons who said communism was "evil."

See it's not capitalism that's the problem. It's people. I hear my fellow lefties make excuses for why communism failed. It was the despotic people running and gaming the system, they say. Well. Shit. The same problem with every system, every religion, everything, is it's fundamental core element. People. People are flawed. So are systems.

The fact is corporate capitalism is why the world population went from less than 1 billion to six billion in less than a hundred and fifty years. You can't say it hasn't produced prosperity. Becuase it has. It's a fact. Capitalism is a mighty engine for wealth generation large percentages of the wests population. Large in terms of comparison to how things were before. Under feudal systems. And now this is becoming true in many developing countries.

And yet capitalism is also producing unrelenting misery as well. There are more people to BE miserable. Unchecked growth has become a cancer. Capitalism has a terrible price.

Moving forward how do we advance human prosperity for seven billion people? Is there a system even remotely adequate to the task?

I don't know. I don't think there is. And I don't think we have much time to experiment before a huge swath of humanity and the natural world starts dying off.

I will embrace any system where I can work less, not be under the yoke of anybody else, own my own time, and thrive. I don't care what that system is. So far I have not hear anybody come up with a replacement other than on paper.
posted by tkchrist at 9:02 PM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


The entire point of comment threads like this is for each of us -- in honesty, reason, and rationality -- to share our network of information, experience, and expertise. Assert it, provide context, cite your sources. In my book it's simply rude (and lazy) to post a link and say "go there and come back when you understand what I am trying to assert."

I disagree. For me to type out a detailed list of facts that Moore got wrong (or distorted through dubious editing and/or entirely staged scenes) in his movies and books is a waste of time when it has been exhaustively done elsewhere. Suppose I want to play dumb and pretend that Glenn Beck doesn't distort the truth on his show (as has been claimed many times on this thread). Sorry, that link you posted isn't good enough for me. Post your own summary of Beck's lies here in the thread. Wait, I don't find your sources credible. Find me another one. Chop chop!

Oftentimes the person raising these objections will accept the argument if you cite the ultimate sources (e.g. FBI crime statistics) directly, but will refuse to if you link to an intermediate source that in turn cites those sources if they decide the intermediate source is a "wingnut" site (or a "moonbat" site) or whatever. That is plain annoying. It's rude to treat someone you are having a back-and-forth with as some kind of e-Step'n'fetchit.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 9:48 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, instead you type about what you won't type?
posted by Brosef K at 10:08 PM on September 8, 2009


How about ONE? Just pick one and run with that.
posted by Brosef K at 10:09 PM on September 8, 2009


HATECRAFT, from your first comment in this thread:

I can't stand Michael Moore ... His movies aren't poor because he has a sound point but ruins it with poor delivery or dumbs it down too much for a pop audience, his movies are poor because they're just bullshit from start to finish.

I don't think it's misrepresenting your position in this thread to say that it's basically just a hate-on, that Michael Moore's work (and his persona which is inexorably part of it) gets under your skin in a particularly visceral way. Sorry, but this doesn't cut it for me, certainly not in terms of taking you seriously as a contributor to the discussion.

I'm not saying, "agree with me". I am asking that you endeavor to genuinely argue your position by supplying genuine talking points that I can take seriously. And no, the examples you've furnished so far don't cut it, managing to be both dense and transparent as only one-issue websites can be.
posted by philip-random at 10:34 PM on September 8, 2009


Be cautious when getting into it with Hatecraft. It's probably not worth the aggravation.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:03 PM on September 8, 2009


Take Moore's international gun crime rate comparison from BfC as an example of how he uses statistics to create misleading impressions.

- He uses absolute numbers when comparing countries with hugely different populations (and doesn't supply the population numbers).
- He cherry-picks the nations he uses for comparison purposes (Australia, Japan, Germany, Canada) to give the best effect, when there are nations with more lax gun control and much lower gun crime rates (e.g. Switzerland) and vice versa (e.g. Mexico).
- He cherry picks the years he uses for the statistics to pick the lowest for the comparison countries and the highest for the USA
- He compares gun deaths (including justifiable homicide) in the US with gun murders in other countries.

And so on.

America's murder rate is 2 or 3 times as high as that of most other Western democracies. That's significant, but Moore in his dishonest way blows it out of proportion and makes it seem like it's 100 or 1,000 times as high. However America's gun murder rate was significantly lower 50 years ago, when gun control laws were less strict. Like I said in an earlier post, if he was honestly interested in the subject matter he would have focused on the drug war, not redneck gun nuts (rural areas have much less gun crime) and school shootings.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 12:12 AM on September 9, 2009


For me to type out a detailed list of facts that Moore got wrong (or distorted through dubious editing and/or entirely staged scenes) in his movies and books is a waste of time

It's certainly a waste of of time to link to right-wing militia proponents and similar extremists and expect us to take their claims on face value. Sorry if I don't take my propaganda from right-wing terrorists and sympathizers.

America's murder rate is 2 or 3 times as high as that of most other Western democracies

It's actually six times higher than in Canada and the disparity is around the same and higher when comparing per capita gun violence statistics with other Western democracies.

Michael Moore may in fact be fat! But he really isn't too far off when he argues that America has a serious problem with gun violence, at least comparing the numbers of dead against what happens in civilized nations.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:58 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's certainly a waste of of time to link to right-wing militia proponents and similar extremists and expect us to take their claims on face value. Sorry if I don't take my propaganda from right-wing terrorists and sympathizers.

Since when has Salon.com (where that spinsanity article was published) been a nest of right-wing terrorists and sympathizers?

It's actually six times higher than in Canada and the disparity is around the same and higher when comparing per capita gun violence statistics with other Western democracies.

According to your second link Canada's homicide rate was 2.05 per 100,000 in 2005 and 1.86 in 2006. The USA's figures were 5.58 and 5.62 respectively. That translates into 2.72 and 3.02 times higher. In other words, "2 or 3 times as high". You're basically doing what Moore defenders always do: take his ridiculous hyperbole, tone it down into something approaching reasonable and say that he has a point (or at least a caricature of one). Well, if I toned down Glenn Beck (maybe by a factor of 10) I could probably make his rhetoric sound like some kind of respectably moderate conservative point of view. So?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:01 AM on September 9, 2009


You seem to be doing what Moore haters always do: ignore the data that doesn't support your point of view and highlight that data which you think supports your reinterpretation.

In any case, I forgot the stunt you pulled last time around (thanks, EatTheWeak), so I'll bid you a fond fare thee well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:32 AM on September 9, 2009


The only vote you have is where you spend your money.

Moore's movie will get a few people upset, have the leafleting local lefties out front and get very little done.

Now, a software tool that uses the greatest communication tool ever created (the internet) which would allow for the cataloging and documentation of the banal evil of large corporations so that people could use that knowledge to change purchasing decisions - now you'd have something.

Yet, if one creates a tool that would actually change the money flows of the people in power, you'll get a smackdown like Catherine Austin Fitts did with Hamilton Securities Group.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:06 AM on September 9, 2009


Moore's movie will get a few people upset, have the leafleting local lefties out front and get very little done.

I keep seeing people assert this, where are you getting this information?
posted by kathrineg at 7:17 AM on September 9, 2009


You're basically doing what Moore defenders always do: take his ridiculous hyperbole, tone it down into something approaching reasonable and say that he has a point (or at least a caricature of one). Well, if I toned down Glenn Beck ...

Hatecraft. You had me briefly. Not convinced of your point or anything but willing to MAYBE take you seriously as someone who gave a damn about helping this discussion go somewhere positive (ie: learning trumping loathing) ... but then you go and draw the Moore/Beck comparison again, which has already been rather successfully demolished in this thread.

Sorry, man. HATE doesn't cut it.
posted by philip-random at 8:38 AM on September 9, 2009


Moore's movie will get a few people upset, have the leafleting local lefties out front and get very little done.

If this is true, then no movie EVER gets much done. Because, in my experience, few if any filmmakers (right-left-center-wherever) have ever accomplished as much in terms of getting people talking-shouting-arguing-responding-to issues as Mr. Moore. Call him a muckraker but the man definitely rakes.
posted by philip-random at 8:42 AM on September 9, 2009


...there are so many people with the title of "Czar" in American government now that I'm not sure I would even notice

Actually, that's a term used most often by the media.
"It’s the media, not the White House, that is driving the term. A search of the White House website finds that the only time Obama actually uses the term 'czar' is in reference to [Gil] Kerlikowske [, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy]. This position, of course, isn’t new; George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan all had drug czars. The rest of the results for 'czar' on the White House website are from reporters’ questions or responses to those questions."
posted by ericb at 8:44 AM on September 9, 2009


B.P.: It's actually six times higher than in Canada and the disparity is around the same and higher when comparing per capita gun violence statistics with other Western democracies.

L.P.H.:According to your second link Canada's homicide rate was 2.05 per 100,000 in 2005 and 1.86 in 2006. The USA's figures were 5.58 and 5.62 respectively. That translates into 2.72 and 3.02 times higher.

So you ignore the firearm-specific statistics in the first link to focus on the (non-gun-specific) total homicide rates in the second. Now who's cherry-picking numbers to be dishonest? Moore would be proud.

From B.P.'s first link:
Canada's 2006 firearm homicide rate was nearly six times lower than the United States. But it was about three times higher than the rate in Australia and six times higher than in England and Wales. The rate of non-firearm homicide was fairly similar in all four countries.

That makes the US rates 6x Canada's, 18x Australia's and 36x England's. That's pretty damning evidence against the USA's gun-loving culture.
posted by rocket88 at 8:47 AM on September 9, 2009


I find it hilarious that rightwingers are whining about all the "Czar"s now. It's a completely unofficial title, only used colloquially.

Exactly.
posted by ericb at 8:54 AM on September 9, 2009


I find it hilarious that rightwingers are whining about all the "Czar"s now. It's a completely unofficial title, only used colloquially.

Were you using my remark as a jumping-off point for this comment, or were you referring to me as a "righwinger" and characterizing my comment as "whining?"

And I would pose the same question to ericb. Do you think I'm a "rightwinger" or that I'm "whining" about, really, anything? I'm just confused by the comment. Clarification, please?
posted by The World Famous at 11:07 AM on September 9, 2009


No judgment on you, The World Famous, on my part. I have no idea of how you characterize your political stance. I was merely providing context to the current "talking point" being circulated in referring to Obama appoinments as being called "czars." Some in the media are fixated on it, such as Sean Hannity's "My ‘Job’ Is To ‘Get Rid Of Every Other One’ Of Obama’s Czars. Hannity spent almost an entire show the other day talking about President Obama’s so-called 'czars,' even featuring a segment called 'Land of the Czars.'"*

Get it? Czar. Russia. Communism. Socialism., etc.
posted by ericb at 12:18 PM on September 9, 2009


...there are so many people with the title of "Czar" in American government now that I'm not sure I would even notice

A clarification from you, The World Famous. Can you please list for me the names of the "many people with the title of 'Czar' in American government now?"

Thanks ahead of time.
posted by ericb at 12:20 PM on September 9, 2009


Oh, I didn't realize that there was a current talking point about Obama and "czars." I picked up the "czar" pet peeve during previous, republican, administrations, and I don't really identify it as being an Obama or even a Democrat thing. I don't watch, listen to, or read any conservative media, so I'm out of touch with whatever kookiness they're on to these days. I did always think it very odd that Republicans, who go on and on about the Red Menace, would have someone in their administration whose title was "Czar." But then, I also think it's weird that Bush decided to call it the "Department of Homeland Security."

I have no idea how I characterize my political stance, either. But I am certainly not right wing, and I have a pretty immediate negative reaction to the implication that that's what I am. Not that you implied it - it seemed more a jumping-off point than an accusation, really. That's why I asked for the clarification rather than providing a retort of some kind.
posted by The World Famous at 12:23 PM on September 9, 2009


Can you please list for me the names of the "many people with the title of 'Czar' in American government now?"

I cannot.
posted by The World Famous at 12:24 PM on September 9, 2009


I cannot.

I know, because "czar" is not a title used in any branch of the U.S. government.
posted by ericb at 12:29 PM on September 9, 2009


I know, because "czar" is not a title used in any branch of the U.S. government.

No, actually, that's not why I cannot list the names. It's because I don't know the names of those referred to as "Czar" in U.S. Government, for example, the Drug Czar. You seem to be trying to insinuate that I have some political agenda in the "Czar" comment, or that I don't understand American government or something. What is it you're trying to argue with me about?
posted by The World Famous at 12:33 PM on September 9, 2009


Michael Moore has decided, affirmatively I believe, not just by accident, that it's okay if people despise him and call him names if he can still get his message across. If he wanted to be careful and cautious he'd be making different movies and publicizing them differently.

That's what makes him so valuable. I think it is funny that this very successful capitalist (and he is a capitalist under multiple definitions of the word) will make millions from his investment in criticizing capitalism. Regardless, he always seems to have something important to say. He is pretty careful with his facts even if he does sometimes cherry pick them for emphasis. Most importantly he humanizes the situations to show the real world effects of political policy. He may be getting rich expressing his opinion but I think he could be even more rich if he wanted to just make funny movies. He advocates for positions which ar not particularly beneficial to him personally but which help the little guy. Good for him.
posted by caddis at 12:42 PM on September 9, 2009


I'm not trying to argue.

I'm merely pointing out that there is no official title that includes czar. As mentioned above, "[i]t's a completely unofficial title, only used colloquially."

No one in the current administration has referred to any of the current political appointments as "czar," officially or colloquially, other than Obama's use of the term once in describing his Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy as "Drug Czar -- a colloquial term dating back to Ronald Reagan.

The term is being thrown about by those in the media these days, as well as some Republicans, to imply nefarious motives on Obama's part (i.e. that he is installing people in positions without Congressional oversight, etc.)

Other examples of the current "czar" talking point:
"Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) rips President Obama for 'appointing a virtual army of "czars"'..."

Beck Includes Senate-Confirmed Staffer (Twice) In His Photo Of ‘Czars’ ‘Not Confirmed By Congress’.

Taxpayers for Common Sense: Dancing with the Czars.
Czar has become a politically-charged term these days.
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on September 9, 2009


Czar has become a politically-charged term these days.

Apparently so. Like everything the Republicans do these days, it's dumb.
posted by The World Famous at 12:58 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Related: Fox News Debunks Its Own Attack On President Obama’s ‘Czars’.
posted by ericb at 1:01 PM on September 9, 2009


Being as the first thing the Bolsheviks did was to kill the Czar and his entire family, you'd think the right would welcome the appointing of czars.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:45 PM on September 9, 2009


Rachel Maddow makes clear the nonsense about "czars".

Never mind!
posted by hippybear at 2:44 PM on September 9, 2009


Yeah, I was aware of the usage and some of the history of the usage of the term "czar," and that was part of the reason for my comment earlier. I guess I stumbled into one of the perils of not being well-versed in up-to-date right wing punditry.

I may have to appoint someone to be my Punditry Czar so that I can be directly advised on these issues before I post.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on September 9, 2009


So you ignore the firearm-specific statistics in the first link to focus on the (non-gun-specific) total homicide rates in the second. Now who's cherry-picking numbers to be dishonest? Moore would be proud.

I was answering Pileon's specific claim that American murder rates were 6 times higher than Canada's.

Canada's 2006 firearm homicide rate was nearly six times lower than the United States. But it was about three times higher than the rate in Australia and six times higher than in England and Wales. The rate of non-firearm homicide was fairly similar in all four countries.

That makes the US rates 6x Canada's, 18x Australia's and 36x England's. That's pretty damning evidence against the USA's gun-loving culture.


I didn't deny that American gun-specific murder rates are higher than in other Western countries, I said that Moore uses a bunch of dubious propaganda techniques to make the differences seem even larger than they are and misattributes the causes of the differences (mostly pandering to the prejudices of his urban liberal fanbase).

Comparing gun-specific rates is only really meaningful if non-firearm homicide is similar (i.e. murderers are not just switching to knives etc if guns are not available). Otherwise overall homicide rates are a better comparison. Australia's homicide rate is higher or lower than Canada's, depending on which year you look at, and the overall murder rate for the whole of the UK (not just England) is significantly higher (probably due to knife crimes), despite both countries having a lower gun-related homicide rate than Canada.

But really, the main problem with Moore's depiction is that he makes America's "gun culture" and associated gun crime rates seem like a problem with rural whites, even equating the NRA with the KKK. But rural Americans have some of the lowest gun crime rates in the country. Why did he focus on rural militia groups and school shootings when the bulk of America's gun crime is drug or gang related and takes place in the inner city?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:31 PM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, right wing! How can you tell the difference between a Michael Moore movie and the rest of the media?

The Michael Moore movie actually has a left-wing bias!
posted by Zed at 2:37 PM on September 24, 2009


Wingnut Predictions Of Michael Moore’s Boxoffice Death are Premature
posted by homunculus at 8:54 AM on October 4, 2009


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