Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Der Kommisar

I can't resist another little bit of Michael Moore bashing. This is from Kurt Loder's (mostly) negative review of Capitalism: A Love Story: Money Jungle

Moore has taken a lot of stick in the media following the New York premiere of his movie last week, and no wonder — one needed hip boots to wade through all the hypocrisy on display. It was held, first of all, at Lincoln Center, the gleaming uptown high-culture temple, every square foot of which appears to have its own corporate sponsor. (There's even a "Bank of New York Box Office.") Inside the theater where the picture was to be shown, stylishly attired people milled around the "Morgan Stanley Lobby" sipping champagne and murmuring about the length of the lines in which they were being obliged to stand for their free VIP tickets. The premiere was sponsored by Esquire, one of the many bibles of yearning upward mobility, and the magazine also threw the afterparty, which was held in an ultra-luxe Soho penthouse stocked with free drinks, tasty high-end tidbits, and apparently even a hot tub equipped with cute rent-a-babes. (I'm afraid I missed the afterparty. Well, skipped it.)

Moore dismisses critical carping about this sort of thing by claiming it's just an unavoidable shoal in the sea of irony he's forced to navigate for professional purposes. I don't know who he thinks he's kidding. Actually, I think he's kidding himself. Consider: Hardworking filmmaker delivers new movie to powerful studio for distribution; deals are struck, promotion is planned. No one is coerced, no one is cheated — it's a textbook demonstration of voluntary economic behavior. Can Moore really not recognize what's going on here? Can he somehow not see? It's capitalism. The real thing.

My recollection is that Loder also reviewed Farenheit 911 and Sicko harshly, so he has not had a Road To Damascus moment RE: Moore's BS. Can't say the same about most other major film critics who (1) agree with what Moore is saying, but are too cowardly to say so out loud and (2) fall for his act like a ton of bricks. Moore's whole persona - the shuffling walk, the too-small baseball cap, the smirking laugh, etc. - is as carefully calculated to play on the emotions of the viewer as Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp or Woody Allen's "Woody Allen." And, sure, there was once something funny about his whole "Little Guy locked out of the Halls of Power" schtick, but come on. I seem to recall a GM shindig Moore tried to crash in Roger and Me where the contrast between tuxedoed management and rabbit-skinning workers was placed in stark relief. What to think of the glamorous premieres of Moore's last 3 movies! Moore collects awards at Cannes, while the GM managers he once skewered could never hope for more than a big house in Grosse Point. Marx once said that capitalism would be brought down by its internal contradictions. If that unhappy day were ever to pass, surely the wealth obtained by the likes of Moore will be Exhibit A.

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