29 December 2007

Michael Moore Hates America

I've just watched the documentary Michael Moore Hates America. I've long despised Michael Moore. Having seen parts of Bowling for Columbine and, unfortunately, Fahrenheit 9/11, it seems clear to me that Moore is deeply dishonest. Because his enemies are evil, any twisting of their words, any mis-representation of them, is justified. He's a pathetic fuck who probably doesn't actually hate America, but who hates being held to the standard of integrity he demands of others.

Michael Moore Hates America isn't a great documentary, but it's a good one. The film is made by Michael Wilson, who is able to poke fun at himself, and on film admits when he makes a mistake and begins to act like Moore, misrepresenting himself to get an interview (he then writes the interviewee to apologize). The film benefits from the participation of Penn Jillette, talking, of course, about bullshit. in this case Moore's bullshit. (If the "of course" puzzles you, check out Penn and Teller's "Bullshit.")

Wilson does an excellent job of dissecting Moore's lies, interviewing tellers at the bank were he, on film, falsely pretended to walk out of the bank the same day as opening an account, and showing how Moore dishonestly cut and pasted Heston's speech at the NRA convention in Denver to make it appear Heston was gloating about guns just to hurt people in Columbine.

The weirdest, and least convincing, part of the film is an interview with a psychologist who psychoanalyzes Michael Moore as a pathological self-hater. Psychoanalysis is a dubious thing at best, and psychoanalysis from afar is simply silly.

But the best part, the continuing thread throughout the film, is Wilson's fruitless effort to get an interview with Moore, so purposefully reminiscent of Moore's failed attempt to get an interview with Roger Smith in Roger and Me. Wilson attended a speech Moore gave and, during the question time, asked him for an interview. When he told Moore the title of the film was Michael Moore hates America, Moore attacks him, saying "it's people like you that hate America, people like you that are destroying America," and then dishonestly accuses Wilson of libel (the law clearly protects parody, particularly directed at public figures, and Michael Moore clearly knows that because that's what makes his films legally protected as well). Afterwards, some of Moore's fans come out and talk to Wilson, supporting his right to speak and, while saying they still support Moore, criticizing him for not answering Wilson's question.

But the most important message in this film is it's attack on Moore's message that the American dream is dead. I've had people sneer at me for claiming the American dream is still alive (although I'm a college professor who is the grandson of a failed tenant farmer). Ironically, Moore himself is an example of the American dream, but Wilson interviews other people who have made their own American dream, starting their own business, not necessarily becoming rich, but making a living for themselves. It reminded me of my 20th high school reunion, where what most surprised me was how many of my classmates owned their own small businesses. They were impressed I'd earned a Ph.D., but the truth is they'd worked harder and taken bigger risks than I had. Yet Moore insists that the corporations he hates so much are responsible for people's livlioods--which, bizarrely, is insulting to the very people Moore pretends to care about.

Moore's own words are used to highlight his foolishness, which is always the best way to show that the emperor has no clothes. If you see this in your video store, pick it up.

1 comment:

proudkiwi said...

My god I watched 5 mins of Michael Moore hates America, it just proves how stupid the majority of you Americans are!!!!! Michael Wilson is just trying to rip of Morgan Freeman in any way he can!!! Every interview he showed of MM was taken out of context. I am from New Zealand, I have never met so many people so disgusted by what your dumbarse president did for your county. America had NO RIGHT to invade Iraq!!!! ITs all about oil. Are you to stupid to get that!!! Your women and men are dying for OIL!!!! Why the hell does America not go and help countries like Zimbawae and Somalia. Cause there isn't any bloody oil!!!!! Thank god for Obama, now the rest of the world can finaly breath a sigh of relief and hope you Americans might do some good for the world rather then fucking it up. America has ruined the rep of westerners. The majority like you should be ashamed. Get an EDUCATION!!!!!!!