Finally watched the #3 highest-grossing documentary of all time last night. Yeah, seems a bit of an arbitrary number really. Anyway, I finally tracked down a copy of Michael Moore’s SiCKO here in China and it’s well worth the watch.
Disclaimer: I really like Michael Moore’s films, and Sicko was no exception.
The need for a disclaimer? Because it’s tiring being lumped into one camp of a topic or another based solely on the expression of a few simple ideas. And I figure if I just get that out, and make it obvious that it’s no way to judge anything, maybe those out there that are waiting (or rushing) to get to the end of this post and throw out a bunch of comments and links on why Moore is a complete hypocrite and moron (Moore-on?), maybe this will cause them pause.
I’ve heard the argument that Moore is a poser getting rich playing the everyman while pitting the plebs against big corporation. That he’s a sensationalist. A showman. A non-fact-checking asshat (that’s for you Lon).
And I -mostly- agree with all of the above. So, why do I still like Moore? Because he causes galvanization on important and relevant issues. It doesn’t matter if in the sixth scene after the woman cries he delivers his point for the emotional impact – it matters that he has points in the first place.
He causes people to talk. To argue. To protest. To think. So, whether or not he is in fact a Moore-on himself, if he’s causing your neurons to fire, you owe him thanks.
Now, I also happen to agree with him and his politics. I believe the Clinton will forever be known as the high tide mark for America, based completely on the actions of the puppet that followed him.
I believe that Moore’s central theme of “Americans live in a state of fear” is a valid one, and one that all the world’s citizens should heed as a warning. When he spells out in his films that Fear = Control, he’s not speaking out of his extra-large ass. Certainly the citizens of the country I now call home could testify to that.
I also believe that it is not only important, but essential, that people like Moore point a finger and put a face on big corporations. Big corporations don’t have faces. They aren’t people. They are machines for making money. That’s how they were designed, and that’s how they run. However, the people that helm the machine are people, and too often use the company and it’s limited liability as a shield to protect them from the reality of what their business does to people.
What people tend to brush over when pointing out all that’s wrong with Moore and his films is just how much is right about them. At some point he likely had to make the rather difficult decision to display these ideas just like every other “balanced” documentary, maintaining a tight reign on every minute detail and rarely being challenged due to the complete lack of audience, or go big and suffer the blowback.
Anyway, I digress. SiCKO, a good film, watch it if you haven’t. It made Maggie shudder (and she’s lived under the Chinese medical system her whole life), and it made me want to move to France – but who doesn’t want to move to France? Good cheese, great wine and the ability to wear berets.