Small Change is Gonna Come


Michael Moore has always been fat, preachy and so left-wing he has no room for even-handed discussion with “corporate fat cats.” But he was once somewhat charming. He was a voice for the little guy (no matter how incompetent they were).
In his early days on The Awful Truth I found Michael Bore actually quite funny and engaging. He had a small team, who knew their stuff (and would even be allowed a bit of camera time), to assist in his white collar crime busting investigations. It was cute. His people were SMART. Moore, being a director, focussed on what he was good at: directing and entertaining and not really using his brain too much. So it made sense that he had a team to do the thinking bits, and it worked for the most part. He covered a variety of issues: homophobia, unfair voting systems, sexism etc etc etc. I liked the whole vote-for-ficus joke.
The series was FRESH, sharp and informative.

Since the beautiful and sad film Bowling for Columbine, however, Moore seems to have lost himself in a self-congratulatory and self-indulgent “go for the big fish” agenda. And it wears thin.

After an uneccessarily shallow look into the 9/11 attacks and a fair attack on the failure of health care in the US (I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt when I say “fair.” I did not bother watching that one), he delivers perhaps his most obvious ambitiously “commy” film, Capitalism: A Love Story (oh, but he DOESN’T LOVE CAPITALISM SO IT’S “IRONIC”!!! GET IT? DO YOU GET IT? Cause it’s Michael Moore? And he hates… Yes, this is a WELL THOUGHT OUT title!).
Once more, Moore (hehe) TURNS THE CAMERA ON US and shows us your every day “middle class” (actually possibly lower class) Americans getting evicted from their homes because they can’t afford to pay their mortgage. “This is capitalism,” Moore BOLDLY states to the shocked, tearful audience. But we’re not shocked and tearful. We’re rolling our eyes. Is it capitalism, Michael Moore? If we aren’t promoting capitalism, what should we be worshipping?

DEMOCRACY! (Which is another word for communism, the way Moore talks about it.)

Thank you; that clarifies THE WHOLE THING! All we need to do is give people a chance to have their say! EQUALITY!!!

And that’s basically how the film goes for 2 hours until Moore asks us to “join him” in a fight against capitalism. He says this as he’s unrolling “Crime scene: do not cross” tape in front of all of the banks (get the joke? GET IT?). Presumably, of course, the “corporate fat cats” inside are noticing this is happening and are both interested and fearful (CHANGE HAPPENS SLOWLY!). Surely they’re thinking: what if Michael Moore provokes a revolt??? JUST LIKE IN FRANCE!
But that’s just it. Any of those researchers he USED to INCLUDE in his documentaries might have told him that yellow tape in front of a building isn’t effective or even controversial. It’s just crazy and desperate. It’s the equivalent of one of those crying “middle class” evicted Americans swearing at those “corporate fat cats” (on camera) who “robbed them” of their home. They weren’t to know they might need a lawyer, or that they couldn’t afford to pay off the mortgage. Why should they read the small print? Your AVERAGE American wouldn’t do that! Etc etc, no responsibility, etc.

No Michael, it’s not nice to see people in such desperate situations. And yes, I did leave the cinema hoping I would get hit by a truck because it was so FUCKING DEPRESSING! But no, I do not see myself joining you in such “wacky fun” antics as asking the banks to return Government money to me. IT DOES NOT RESOLVE ANYTHING!
And Moore’s excitedness that a black democrat is voted in is tarnished by the same fact brought up by those criticising Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize: you can’t acknowledge someone for something not yet achieved. What is Obama actually doing to reverse this “capitalism” Moore defines so eloquently, and why isn’t this discussed? Is it likely Obama will “fix everything” just by being an average “middle class” American? Just like everyone watching your film?

Once again Moore’s argument falls short of a wholistic and new debate. Instead of suggesting possible solutions (with the exception of showing us some small business who bake bread: BORING), or providing a bit of insight into capitalism itself and defining it, Moore provides one sorry and tragic example after the next to make the same point: Capitalism: bad, Communism Democracy: good. Because America is the only country with a capitalist structure. And democracy is the only possibly answer to this “problem.” The film is actually constructed in a similar fashion to the kind of bottom-feeder gutter journalism you see on Today Tonight.

I’m not defending America. I’m not defending or attacking anyone (except Moore). That’s just it. Moore once again got caught up a game of cat and mouse, instead of removing himself from the situation and providing a balanced and informative unique perspective.
The picture above is a fitting illustration of the full impact of his films; his sermon falls on the deaf ears of a converted audience (oh yes, it’s mixed metaphor time). Like a demented old man with no teeth, Moore’s bark is worse than his bite (though he still manages to bite off more than he can chew) (I’m sure I could’ve added at least 5 more metaphors in that one!).

Not worth the price of the ticket (and I saw it for free).

4 Responses to “Small Change is Gonna Come”
  1. Bass says:

    I found Moore so irritating that i was provoked to not want to challenge capitalism, but rather join it and become an evil fat cat.

  2. ahasbeenthatneverwas says:

    Big F for Michael Moore hey!

  3. ozFinn says:

    I find it interesting that the first thing that Michael Moore’s detractors ALWAYS say about him is that he’s fat.
    Well yes is he, and so is about 50% of the western world.
    But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t raise some very valid points.
    Sure his way of doing it isn’t exactly fair and balanced (but then nor is Fox News which is sadly where most Americans get their news from). He’s making a movie and to get people to see it it needs to be entertaining. So he does stunts like wrapping Wall St in crime scene tape.
    He knows as well as you or I that it’s not going to work. It’s the image and the entertainment value that give it meaning.

    At no point in the movie did Moore advocate Communism. Communism by it’s very nature isn’t democratic. He advocated an increase in Socialism in the US.
    And guess what, the very things socialism advocates are pretty much the very things we take for granted here in Australia, (though John Howard and his cronies did their best to dismantle as much of it as possible) a universal health care system, which flawed though it might be is light years ahead of anything the US has. Sliding tax scales which mean that the more you earn the more you earn the more you pay. These taxes are used to fund everything for the welfare system, medicare, infrastructure projects, disability assitance, etc, etc…
    Socialism isn’t the great shining beacon of hope that Moore advocates it as being. However a capitalist-socialist system works very well in much of the industrialised world.

  4. ahasbeenthatneverwas says:

    Hmm all fair points. Though I’m not sure he was advocating socialism. It would have been useful if he’d termed things more applicably. Just because he never mentioned communism doesn’t mean that he didn’t advocate the concept. Because communism by its IDEAL nature is democratic.

    And that’s the problem with this film: it’s littered with ideals, used to demonstrate how temporary the current economic structure is and how it has already failed, rather than getting into the nitty gritties of where to go from here.
    I’m not convinced that putting up crime scene tape really gives much iconic value. It’s obvious.

    The only thing he’s achieved is provoking small pockets of discussion, and I think even from the short comments you’ve made you could have thrown together a more insightful film. But why is Moore the one leading the way? And so flimsily?

    I think he could have done a lot better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: