Michael Moore and Me

Michael Moore's spirit is admirable, while his tactics are not.(Photo: Public Citizen)
Michael Moore's spirit is admirable, while his tactics are not.(Photo: Public Citizen)

I’m glad I’m not the only one who is tired of Michael Moore. I found this quote on NPR, re-printed from the Christian Science Monitor:

Moore is much better at indicting culprits than providing solutions. He might argue that coming up with answers is not his job, that he’s a grass-roots agitator. But the disconnect in “Capitalism” between his righteous agitations and his piddling remedies is vast. The real love story here is between Moore and his bullhorn.

The first time I saw Roger and Me, I was entranced. I hadn’t seen very many documentaries at that point, so I suppose I was blown away by the director inserting himself into the story, the way Moore said the things that no one else was saying. or maybe his biting satire hit me just right.

I followed his bread crumbs through The Big Hit and Bowling For Columbine and Fareinheit 911 and Sicko, becoming less and less enthralled. For a class project, I broke down Roger and Me to show how he constantly pitted his ordinariness against the system, with him (representing the common man) always losing. He knows the guards aren’t going to let into the private elevator; why does he always do it?

I always love how Moore, the agitator, bounces between heart-felt angst, rage against the machine, and slapstick comedy. (A typical schtick: instead of Cops featuring angry black men being arrested, he features corporate white execs, sans shirts.)

His arguments are bad, fueled by Moore’s relentless hatred against the Bush administration(s), and a refusal towards presenting both sides to a story in favor of his own viewpoint. I re-watched Columbine a week ago, and felt let down. The good guy was Marilyn Manson. The bad was Charlton Heston. The point of the movie was that white Americans are afraid of angry black men, so them have armed themselves silly. Is that really profound? Does it even make sense?

I admire his spirit, but find his tactics of loaded questions and putting people on the spot dispiriting.

I still laugh at bits of his films, but I’m stupified why he chooses to make fun of some of the people he is supposedly “one of” (especially the rabbit skinner in Roger and Me).

The body of work will probably be studied for generations – and, yes, I think his approach is that interesting. But his act is thin, thin.

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