Re: Sicko

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The point is, perhaps, to get the millions of people who agree with Moore to express their views more intensely.


Posted by: otto | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 12:49 PM
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If you really cared, you would have skipped the movie and sent the twenty bucks to a medical charity.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 12:51 PM
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I thought closing the movie in Cuba was a disaster. I mean, you spend the first three quarters of the movie making the point that you don't have to be a communist dictatorship to have decent public financing of health care, and then you close the movie by celebrating a communist dictatorship? Brilliant.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:08 PM
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I agree, LB. Why do people bother to express opinions at all? Anyone who's going to agree with them is someone who's already going to agree with them!

How much time do you spend arguing with conservatives in comment threads at blogs like Unfogged and Obsidian Wings, by the way? Do you think you'll ever talk to more people about health care than will hear about this movie?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:08 PM
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3: I'm figuring that Kevin Drum's theory that closing the movie in Cuba was a way to piss people off enough to get attention is probably it.

4: Yeah, but I'm not charging them. I dunno, it's just that I can't see anyone going to the movie without pretty fully formed issues with our health care system, and there wasn't much to it that anyone with such issues didn't know already. Maybe I'm wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:12 PM
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3: I agree. I thought he should have taken those NYC firefighters, etc. to France for healthcare rather than to Cuba. Still carries a good zing ("France! But they hate freedom?!"), without all the commie mumbo-jumbo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:13 PM
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I dunno, it's just that I can't see anyone going to the movie without pretty fully formed issues with our health care system, and there wasn't much to it that anyone with such issues didn't know already.

Do you really believe there's a significant percentage of American public that has "fully-formed issues with our health care system," as opposed to general ideas like "my health plan sucks" or "my coverage sucks, but at least I don't live in Canada where there's all those long waiting lists"?

And I think the commenters here are drastically failing to understand the role a Michael Moore documentary is supposed to play. Hardcore liberal blog readers would like to believe that the average American voter is obsessing about health care reform as much as Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn are, but it's just not the case. Putting out this movie is a way of making health care reform an issue - making people talk about it by making it a news event. The goal isn't to convince every single person who watches the movie demand single-payer; it's to get voters and the media and politicians talking about health care reform.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:23 PM
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All probably true. It really was a good movie just as a movie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:25 PM
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And I think the commenters here are drastically failing to understand the role a Michael Moore documentary is supposed to play.

No, I think we're all pretty aware that Moore's lifestyle probably isn't cheap.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:27 PM
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And the benefit of going to Cuba for the last act is pretty obvious, isn't it? Cuba is a known shithole, but their health care system still has advantages over ours in several areas. For the richest nation in the world, that's an obvious point of national shame, which is a theme throughout the movie (and a theme throughout all of Moore's movies), that America ought to be better than this. I've a much dimmer view of America than Moore, but he's certainly entitled to his patriotism, and I recognize it when I see it.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:27 PM
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9: Ho ho. Given the residuals on his last couple movies and TV series, I really don't think he needed to make another one, Timmy.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:29 PM
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11: I trust Moore to understand that you can never have too much money, stras.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:30 PM
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12: I trust you to never miss an opportunity to take ad hominem potshots at targets on the left. Michael Moore can't honestly want to help the poor, because he's rich! But oh, don't leave out the part about how he's fat, too!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:34 PM
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Try not to betray your media-created weightism, stras. Moore is big-boned.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:37 PM
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I'd be more enthusiastic about Sicko if all the "Fahrenheit 9/11 will save us!" enthusiasm of 2004 hadn't been such a shameful waste of time. And if I'd never seen Moore dragging an extremely small dog along Central Park West rather roughly. I hate to see people treat animals roughly.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:37 PM
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I see Moore as more or less the lefty equivalent of a Limbaugh, but with a little more policy and artistic talent. The point isn't to solve the problem so much as it is to get people talking about it, and even if everyone goes to see Shrek 3 instead of Sicko, liberals will be talking about it as just common sense and conservatives will be nitpicking the accuracy. But people will be talking.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:38 PM
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I'd be more enthusiastic about Sicko if all the "Fahrenheit 9/11 will save us!" enthusiasm of 2004 hadn't been such a shameful waste of time.

Did anyone outside of a few overactive bloggers think Fahrenheit 9/11 was going to single-handedly win the 2004 election for John Kerry? I think John Kerry is a decent person and would've made a fine president, but he was a terrible candidate surrounded by a crew of wretched hacks, and I consider it something close to a miracle that we got as close to winning as we did in a year as borderline fascist as 2004, when the winning message of the GOP keynote address was that the Democrats had committed treason by daring to field an opposition candidate.

I have no idea if real health care reform is going to happen any time in the near future, or if Moore's movie will make any significant contribution toward that end, but it's certainly not as doomed as the last couple fights he's picked (downsizing, gun control, the Bush administration). So I wouldn't judge this movie's impact strictly by the affect (or lack thereof) of his last several.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:49 PM
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I see Moore as more or less the lefty equivalent of a Limbaugh

No. For all his faults Moore does have a passion for justice and compassion for others, and Limbaugh is driven by resentment and hatred. Sounds cheesy, I know, and of course no one (certainly not Moore) has completely selfless motivations, but there's something to it.

It's a real slander to compare someone to Rush Limbaugh. Have you ever put any time in listening to his show?


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:49 PM
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I see Moore as more or less the lefty equivalent of a Limbaugh, but with a little more policy and artistic talent.

This is more or less the Respectable Sensible Consensus View, and it seems to me it can only come out of the mouth of someone who has never, ever heard anything Rush Limbaugh has ever said. One's a racist, bigoted homophobe who gets off on Abu Ghraib torture photos, and the other bugs senators about sending other people's kids to Iraq. A pox on both their houses!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 1:59 PM
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There are lefty equivalents of Limbaugh (some of my friends, andBartcop) but they don't get any airplay. But balance requires that someone be designated as such, in order to justify putting Coulter, Savage, Beck, and Limbaugh on the air, and Moore is the guy. No one should go along with that, though.

The four I named all are much more gratuitously nasty, tasteless, and vicious than Moore ever is, and they each get more air time too.

They are the very face of conservativism today! And never let your conservative friends disavow them, because conservatives can't win without that kind of creeps like them in order to win.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:04 PM
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There were some folks outside the movie theater yesterday passing out pro-national-healthcare fliers b/c Sicko was playing, but I went and saw Ratatouille. Which I highly recommend, seriously.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:04 PM
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Ratatouille

Eh. I'm kind of burnt out on computer animation.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:17 PM
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"because conservatives can't win without that kind of creep."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:18 PM
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21: One might expect America's much-vaunted liberal academics to find much to commend in the current fetishization of food and cooking, all previous gods (reason, rights, solidarity, children) having failed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:24 PM
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Am I wrong in thinking that Roger and Me has things about it - the way it's edited, for example - that make it better as a film, aesthetically-speaking, than either Bowling or Fahrenheit?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:30 PM
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I enjoyed Ezra Klein's review. I found "Roger and Me" and "9/11" annoying in different ways, but enough people have said good things about "Sicko" that I want to see it.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:32 PM
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I'm kind of burnt out on computer animation.

Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm kinda burnt out on that whole "film" thing, myself. Too much "sitting" and "watching" "two-dimensional pictures" that "move."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:38 PM
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24: Absolutely. It's clearly a movie that pushes all the buttons of the chattering-type classes. But being as I'm one of 'em, I loved it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:39 PM
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Really? I saw the trailer for Ratatouille when seeing Shrek 3 (which was bollocks) and thought it looked shit. The kids didn't immediately say they wanted to see it either, which didn't seem like a good sign (for the film, not for me).


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:55 PM
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Really, it's great. I'm increasingly convinced that trailers for kids films should be ignored.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 2:57 PM
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This thread is awesome. Now if someone could disavow Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Noam Chomsky, we can all be officially Reasonable People and call it a day.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 3:02 PM
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I hereby disavow Adam Kotsko, the Chalcedonian fuck, in all his works and all his ways.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 3:12 PM
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I agree with stras 100%. Which seems rather odd, but there you have it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 3:22 PM
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On this Limbaugh vs. Moore thing -- maybe we're missing the key element. Yes, Limbaugh is much "worse" than Moore, but maybe that's precisely what makes Moore the left parallel to Limbaugh -- because the right just is "worse" than the left. Maybe the difference between "being driven by a desire for justice, etc." and "being driven by hate and resentment" is the difference between right and left. That is to say: maybe the two sides are not symmetrical, even conceptually. The right wing immediately is the so-called "distortions" of a "true conservatism."


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 3:26 PM
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I was a bit reluctant to see Sicko, because I wasn't in the mood for the inevitable downer, given the subject matter. But I found it weirdly upbeat and hopeful. Funny, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 3:33 PM
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Yes, it was an inspiring movie in its way. There was a lot of warmth and optimism to it. I agree too with the original post that Moore has gotten much smoother as a filmmaker and much better with narrative flow.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 3:59 PM
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Michael Moore is both annoying (drop the faux-naif shtick already) and a fuck (picking on a senile Charleton Heston had to be one of the low points of documentary cinema), however, on balance, he's doing good.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 4:22 PM
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Is it just me, or is it kind of cranky in here?

I agree with the sentiment that the movie is likely to reach many people who know much less about health care than lefty blog readers/writers/comments.

Further, I think it accomplishes a couple of other important things. First, it undermines the entrenched mythology that the right has planted about health care everywhere else - the purported long waiting times and images of drab, Soviet-style facilities. And it does so not by presenting a devastatingly comprehensive review of the data, but by humanizing the forners this mythology is supposed to apply to. Those Canadians and Brits and French people Moore talked to all seemed like pretty normal people, and their health care systems all seemed pretty normal to them.

Relatedly, I think it was important to show that all these different countries have superior systems, and the people really value them and see us as the anomaly. The old British MP was really effective, talking about how the English people came together after WWII and created the health care system for themselves.

Moore is like Limbaugh in the sense that each are among the most effective suppliers not of information, but of imagery and lizard-brain level narrative to their respective audiences. I think Sicko will be effective in this sense - it even worked on me, and I didn't learn a single new fact watching it. But I did walk out with an entirely new sense of outrage at how fucked up our system is and how unbelievable it is that we all consider it normal. That's part of what it takes to get the ball rolling to change it.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 4:25 PM
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21 is entirely correct. Ratatouille is awesome. Who's sick, now? I wasn't paying attention.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 4:35 PM
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however, on balance, he's doing good.

No one, AFAIK, has argued otherwise. Kotsko's just trying get to the left of stras, which--unless Kotsko issues a denunciation that takes issue with itself as "no more than a pastiche of the warmed-over words approved by today's corporatist 'protest' brand"--is impossible.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 4:38 PM
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I agree with the sentiment that the movie is likely to reach many people who know much less about health care than lefty blog readers/writers/comments.

Yes. And Moore's faux-naif schtick is surely intentional. My sense is that the general public's response to whatever the latest Moore film may be is: Let's go see what that crazy Michael Moore is up to.

The bumbling-fool persona, complete with baseball cap, works in his favor.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 4:39 PM
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picking on a senile Charleton Heston had to be one of the low points of documentary cinema

Maybe Moore can be a fuck, but Charlton Heston is a vile human being who, like the rest of NRA leadership, has done his best to impede sensible gun policy in this country. Here's an excerpt from an interview Moore did with The Guardian:

Charlton Heston said in this interview with me, with no prompting from me, that the problem with America is "our mixed ethnicity". I'd asked a question about why Canadians don't have as many gun murders as we do and he said he was very proud that our country had been invented by those wise and dead white guys. And he kept making these kind of racial comments, but then he'd back off from them when I repeated the question to him.
I felt no sympathy when I saw the movie, and since the guy is dying now, I'll just say, God have mercy on his soul.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 4:43 PM
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I'm a little cranky because I'm tired of Reasonable Liberals picking on Moore and because I'm tired of the "preaching to the choir" argument -- like everyone has always-already chosen their opinions, or been implanted with them by God's eternal decree.

Everyone has simultaneously too high and too low of expectations every time a Michael Moore movie comes out -- on the one hand, it's the one golden opportunity to really shift public opinion; on the other hand, Moore's personal flaws fatally undermine his effectiveness and thereby the cause of progressivism as a whole.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 4:58 PM
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Moore is like Limbaugh in the sense that each are among the most effective suppliers not of information, but of imagery and lizard-brain level narrative to their respective audiences.

Yup. They're entertainers first and foremost. Ease up with the clutching of the organic hemp necklaces; this is not meant to say they're morally equivalent.

This is not meant as a slam on Moore. Just that "is his film going to reach the masses and argue persuasively for health care?" is sort of the wrong way to look at it. He's not offering policy, just a rallying flag and a vivid set of talking points.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:07 PM
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Ease up with the clutching of the organic hemp necklaces

Ease up with the snotty asides.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:36 PM
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Ease up with the clutching of the organic hemp necklaces

Awesome.

I found Roger and Me pretty funny. Unfortunately, >i>The Big One was the same schtick, and he thought he was making Big Important points when in fact he was just hassling some poor security guard. A talented filmaker, but highly self-satisfied.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:36 PM
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C'mon, parsimon, it was at least a little funny.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:45 PM
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Ease up with the snotty asides.

Oh come on. It was the shabby equivalent of clutching the pearls.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:45 PM
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Cala, you've got my hemp knickers in a twist.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:48 PM
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Parsimon loves her marihuana.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:48 PM
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Okay. I think.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:48 PM
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Hey, while I'm digging myself a little hole...

I think it would be better if Moore were regarded as more like Limbaugh, to the extent that while you may not like Limbaugh, we certainly aren't wondering if his talk shows are preaching to the choir or if his books will be influential in shaping public discourse (such as it is.)

It might be kind of nice if we weren't so dismissive of Moore.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:53 PM
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Right. On the one hand, Moore is not offering policy, but stimulating public debate. This is admirable and highly worthwhile.

On the other hand, rendering this as "entertainer first and foremost" is wrong.

Forget it; Kotsko said it better.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:55 PM
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I see Moore as more or less the lefty equivalent of a Limbaugh.

As an originalist I find that obnoxious. It's also a cliche.

"More or less" is weasel words. It's an empty modifier, expressing no specific modification.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:57 PM
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Some people don't like political theater and are uncomfortable with polemic; it seems there are more of these people on the left than on the right, and I don't really blame them for it, it's a dicey business.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 5:58 PM
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55: Michael Moore ain't one of them giant puppets, is he? Damn puppets always up in my face about Mumia. I get it, puppets! I get it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:00 PM
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I'm comfortable with it. I just don't want to pretend that it isn't polemic because it's on the correct side for a change. Polemic can be good.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:00 PM
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If we change Cala's comment to say that Moore plays the same ROLE that Limbaugh does to their respective "sides" does that fix things?

That's how I tend to think of Moore anyway. I'm exceedingly glad he does what he does, but I don't much like to watch his work myself, for the reasons ogged articulates in 55.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:04 PM
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Some people don't like political theater and are uncomfortable with polemic

Arrrgh. That may well be a correct diagnosis. But those people need to get the fuck over themselves.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:07 PM
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55: Is it a matter of taste?

Is it that Moore's over-the-topness, if that's what it is, is distasteful? Honest question.

I might note that I haven't seen any of Moore's last 3 things, precisely because I doubt he has anything to tell me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:09 PM
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I would be happy if there were a left equivalent of Limbaugh, but there isn't. It would be fun to see lots of jokes on TV about Hastert and Giuliani and McConnell and Romney being queers and traitors, but we don't. I'd love to see death threats against Republicans come to be accepted on TV as wry humor, but that won't happen.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:12 PM
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59: Here, here! No more Beautiful Souls, please.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:13 PM
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It's not necessarily about preserving personal integrity, though there is some of that. Tim Burke had a long post about this a while back.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:16 PM
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Great, ogged, by the time everyone finishes reading that we'll all be dead.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:28 PM
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o hai i needs a index!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:36 PM
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IM IN UR LONG ESSAYZ LOSIN MY MOTIVATION TO SNARK.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:43 PM
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60: I tend to dislike polemic because I can never tell how much I can trust it. I know I am only seeing one side of the argument so it is hard to judge how good it is.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:46 PM
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The Poor Man is totally the left's Limbaugh. Somebody get cg on the horn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:46 PM
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59, 62: For myself, it's got nothing to do with staying "pure" politically, it's just that I really want people to understand and believe in their own positions, rather than simply believing them because they were lucky enough to hear the "correct" propaganda at the relevant time.

In a somewhat removed way, I study this sort of thing for a living so this concern of mine might not be widely shared.

But I do realize that most people don't come to their opinion by carefully evaluating all the nuances and counterarguments about a given issue, and so that's why I'm glad that Moore does what he does*.
If people get to the right answer, I don't give a fuck how they got there really.

But that doesn't change the fact that listening to people like Moore isn't what I myself enjoy doing very much. I find Unfogged, taken as a whole, to be very un-Moore like in the way it discusses issues, and that's one of the reasons I like this place so much.

*And this isn't meant to be a snobby "you're not sophisticated enough" way, just that not everyone has the luxury to devote a lot of time to thinking deeply about this kind of crap.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:47 PM
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This sort of reminds me of Glenn Reynolds sneering at people who sneer at Wal-Mart while noting that he himself doesn't like to shop there.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:50 PM
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63:

Thanks. I'm tempted to back all the way up to the Valve discussion referred to, but not now.

Generally, Burke's not saying anything I haven't heard. Some of it's glib; some is inflammatory. But I don't object to it with any sort of marihuana-obsessed necklace-clutching. Come on.

It's worth noting that what Moore's doing with his films is nothing like marching in the streets with giant puppets. I don't really like the conflation going on there.

That said, you're damned right that I'm sick to fucking hell of the "ew, (dirty) hippies" thing, and it will continue to piss me off when people haul it out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 6:50 PM
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Burke would be more convincing if polemic didn't work. Being fair and reasonable and committed to polite dialogue (i can haz summary?) has lead to a situation, where, among other things, the Court is undermining pretty much every liberal principle they can get their hands on.

Who conflated Moore with puppets?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:01 PM
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Hey, Principia Ethica isn't that bad.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:05 PM
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I am more certain of my polemic than I am of your procedural liberalism.

(Fuck Moore.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:10 PM
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Who conflated Moore with puppets?

Oh, nobody did directly. I asked whether some of the objection to Moore was a function of aesthetic or political distaste (to political theater), and ogged pointed to the Burke essay in order to say: no, not exactly.

I believe that's how it went down. Heh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:13 PM
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SiCKO: better than Plato!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:13 PM
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I think we grant procedural liberalism too much if we grant it "fairness" and "reasonableness." ("Politeness" I will readily concede.)


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:15 PM
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Polemic in the defense of procedural liberty is no vice.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:17 PM
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63:I sincerely consider Burke and Berube personal enemies.

I am sitting next to them watching Robespierre or Lenin, and Burke and Berube are telling me to calm down and remember the rules. Their primary focus is on my decorum, and seem to miss the guillotine and firing squad.

It's about personal integrity, ya know.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:18 PM
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Bob is going to start garotting his enemies with a hemp necklace.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:22 PM
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81:It was the wrong century to quit smoking dope.

I need to go watch a movie.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:27 PM
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Polemic good, smug hippies bad. If for no other reason than that smug hippies tend to be overly earnest and sincere, which is the opposite of good polemic.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:29 PM
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Here's a movie.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:29 PM
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For some reason I'm finding this all hysterically funny now.

For what it's worth, this in the Burke essay just sort of lost me (sorry, long quotation):

"The radical asks the liberal, "Why can't you do the same? Why must you show contempt for all the various constituencies that are deeply alienated from contemporary American life, for all the varieties of political practice?" The liberal's answer, at least mine, is that I'm trying to make the world safe for carrying puppets to rallies but that "making use of the energy" or the incorporation of various radicalized constituencies is destroying the village that I'm trying to save"

O RLY?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:33 PM
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79: When it comes to direct responses to the crap from the right I'm with you 110%. There are so many obvious things to bludgeon the other side with that I'm constantly amazed/depressed that nobody does so more effectively. And I don't want any sort of politeness or courtesty involved in that at all.

But when you're making more stand alone arguments that aren't direct rebuttals, I tend towards wanting a more nuanced approach, hence my non-interest in seeing Moore's stuff anymore.

I guess if you take a longer view you can actually think of Moore's movies as responses. Perhaps that's what separates some of the more vs. less enthusiastic Moore fans.


Posted by: orangatan | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:36 PM
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For some reason I'm finding this all hysterically funny now.

I'm betting dope.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:37 PM
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You mean marihuana.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:39 PM
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I wouldn't know, hippie.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:44 PM
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71: I made the puppet comparison, but I was totally, totally joking. Really. They have nothing to do with each other. You can confirm on Standpipe's blog.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:44 PM
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88: But I bathed yesterday! And I think Birkinstocks are ugly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:46 PM
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I just smoked my necklace, man. I had to pick out the beads first. That shit was HARSH!

But bummer, now I need another necklace. Luckily I do macrame.

And actually, I'm going to try to finish Foucault's Pendulum this weekend. I still don't know why.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 7:55 PM
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Dude, you can't get high on hemp unless you smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole. Don't smoke your necklace.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:01 PM
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Wait, wait. I thought someone said the hemp movement was all about smoking dope. I'm confused.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:05 PM
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Holy shit, Adam.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:10 PM
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OMG, the Burke essay is long. And not very satisfying. My specific sympathies, I suspect, lie with his most of the time, but that essay is just pudding.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:10 PM
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72: if polemic didn't work

Some works and some doesn't. Do we have any reality-based real data saying Moore's stuff changes anyone's mind? If it does, does the effect last longer than the drive home?

His net income has gone way up. What's his net political effect?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:17 PM
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Go to hell, Biohazard.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:19 PM
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Timbot hates pudding now, too?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:19 PM
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this is so great that I'm posting it in the wrong thread so people see it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:20 PM
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I like pudding as dessert, not as a replacement for the meat course.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:20 PM
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On Moore: I think he does more good than not. I can imagine better liberal documentaries on these subjects, but I'm not making them, am I? So I have no political problem with him. OTOH, I'm not crazy about his movies & feel no obligation to go for the sake of the movement or whatever.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:23 PM
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I should specify that I did not make the Lenin video.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:33 PM
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And I am not Lenin.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:34 PM
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So you say.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:37 PM
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Katherine gets it exactly right in both of her most recent contributions to this thread.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:37 PM
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96: The glib answer, of course, is to ask whether reasoned argument ever escapes the wonkosphere and convinces anyone, on the drive home or otherwise.

But I don't think polemic in general is meant to convince rationally people of a position as much as it is meant to define it and publicize it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:39 PM
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99: Dialektikul Kittehs! Hurray!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:39 PM
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102: But you linked it, and holy shit, that's awesome.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:40 PM
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I don't think polemic in general is meant to convince rationally people of a position as much as it is meant to define it and publicize it.

That, and be funny.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:42 PM
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Sure, celebrate liberal fascism.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:44 PM
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Polemic can often bring the elephant in the room to your attention in a way that reasoned argument cannot. Some of the best argumentation comes from people trying to pretend that the elephants aren't there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:51 PM
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AJ Ayer ruined our chance for health care reform. Very few people know this.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:55 PM
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Dear god, people, why must everything be instrumental? You're starting to sound like James B. Shearer here.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:55 PM
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Well, it's not like Moore is really hot, so he has to be good for something.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 8:59 PM
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I should say I also don't like polemics because I actually find nuance and detail interesting. I tend to find polemics to actually be quite boring. I realize that I am not the normal case in these things though.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:02 PM
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But seriously, I think the answer here is that different ends and audiences require different strategies, and polemic and even puppets can be great, if, as Burke says, the people employing them know what they're doing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:04 PM
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picking on a senile Charleton Heston

Seriously Ogged, fuck a bunch of Charlton Heston. This reminds me of when Reagan died and my good riddance post attracted a bunch of "can't you just say something nice about a dead man" comments. Well yes, I could, but I'll be goddamned if I'm gonna.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:05 PM
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You can get away with a lifetime of assholishness if you just manage to contract some pitiable disease at the end of it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:10 PM
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B, that's totally misleading.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:14 PM
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It's not at all a question of whether anyone likes his movies or goes to them. There's just this liberal need to badmouth anything vulgar. The "elite snob" smear has a lot of truth. People needed to shit on Air America, too.

I have no doubt that Moore is able to communicate with a lot of people who other left or liberal spokespersons don't reach. Air America made an attempt to address a horrible imbalance in radio political programming. They didn't do too well, and I'm very sorry about that. But a lot of liberals were badmouthing them from day one and are gloating now. The imbalance remains.

Liberal politics has to be something more that internal communications within the finer class of people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:18 PM
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116: Ogged, always erring on the side of caution.

These general formulae are ridiculous because so obvious. If and when someone wants to make a case that Moore doesn't know what he's doing, doesn't know his target audience, and so on, I'm listening.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:18 PM
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even puppets can be great, if, as Burke says, the people employing them know what they're doing.

So what works is what works? A point that cannot be stressed enough.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:26 PM
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Emerson, that logic is precisely the same as that used by people who criticize as "weak on national security/terror" others who don't agree with their extreme or maximalist strategies.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:33 PM
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123: Um, no it's not.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:37 PM
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No, it's not, but it felt good to type. But I do object that the unwillingness to be "vulgar" is taken to be the same as weakness or lack of commitment to the cause. It's not even really clear what we're talking about now. Michael Moore: hot or not?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:41 PM
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123: Please restate. I do not perceive a point.

I'm not sure that Moore is less accurate than the New York Times. He's slanderous, scurrilous or vicious on the Limbaugh- Savage- Coulter- O'Reilly- Beck scale.

But he is uncool, inelegant, and vulgar. That's the real issue here.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:41 PM
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He's NOT slanderous, scurrilous or vicious on the Limbaugh- Savage- Coulter- O'Reilly- Beck scale.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:41 PM
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123 is banned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:42 PM
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You don't have to be vulgar yourself, ogged, you cunt. Just keep your stupid moth shut about Moore.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:42 PM
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Ogged is the MothMan!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:44 PM
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Just keep your stupid moth shut about Moore.

He's a liberal, I'm a liberal (of sorts). When one of my own does stuff I don't approve of, I don't want to be associated with it. Look, it's not like Colbert is "fair," but you don't see me complaining about him.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:44 PM
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Just ignore 123; it was written pre-food.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:45 PM
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Colbert's no liberal! He's a rock-ribbed conservative like I am.

Talk about polemics!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:46 PM
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Let's speculate about whether Ogged's hatred of vulgarity means that he's really a sick fuck in bed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:47 PM
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Colbert is cool and elegant, you prissy bitch. Moore isn't. Also, Moore is fat.

Liberals are so good at attacking One of Their Own. There's a whole TV genre of anti-liberal liberals.

There are people who Moore can reach, but these are people Ogged would rather not talk or meet. So let's leave them to Limbaugh and Savage.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:48 PM
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John, I love you and your vulgar people. I even like some fat people. I noted above what I don't like about Moore. What is he, the litmus test of true liberalism?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:50 PM
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There are people who Moore can reach

Prove it.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:57 PM
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Has anyone besides the people defending Moore as their shibboleth argued that the reason people say they shouldn't listen to Moore is that he is fat?

Who is Moore's target audience? I ask this seriously, because people seem to be insisting it's not for the people who actually know the issues, but to me that seems like the only audience that could be fired up by SiCKO.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:58 PM
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I am seriously thinking of starting a blog called "The Vulgar Marxist", tho I bet the domain name is already taken. It would be deliberately based on simplifications and misinterpretations and bad analyses, but with good intent. Or maybe just dirty words.

I wallow in the muck and mire, even tho I am not sure what mire is. And down thirty pounds, so I am not quite fat, tho a yoyo dieter, so not at all proud.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 9:58 PM
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John's right, though, Ogged. Aren't most of the criticisms of Moore really, at bottom, simply about class differences? I, for one, don't care much for his nationalistic/racist side, but the blue collar folks he speaks for and to *are*, largely, pretty nationalistic/racist in that way. They're also not picky about vulgarity, and love the faux-naive shit about boiling complex issues down to simple aphorisms and making rich elites look stupid and hypocritical. It's not in line with the let's-all-be-civil-and-rational-here preferences of educated liberalese, but so what?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:01 PM
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137: I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 with a relatively apolitical (though approximately left leaning) friend. It was eye-opening and gratifying to see the way that her feelings about the Bush administration were galvanized. She had never heard most of the things in the movie, and while she wasn't under any illusions that it wasn't propaganda, seeing things laid out in that way really made the events of the past several years comprehensible, and outrageous, to her.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:04 PM
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Are you speaking for the gente again, B? It's not as if the only alternative to Moore is effete hyperrational discourse.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:05 PM
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And then she voted the way she was planning to vote?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:06 PM
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143: and then she voted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:07 PM
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Does Moore come across as down with the gente? I don't have that impression from interviews or Fahrenheit 9/11; he seems contemptuous of America at times. Which is fine, so'm I (calabat), but that would seem to go against the whole appeal to the blue collar thing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:09 PM
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142: It doesn't have to be the only alternative; all I'm saying is that Moore speaks from and for a particular kind of working-class world view that exists, and that objecting to him because he's vulgar or racist or simplistic is as much about the speaker's class position or class aspiration as it is about Moore.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:11 PM
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he seems contemptuous of America at times

Which again is part of the reality of working class polemic: "god, I'm surrounded by fucking idiots."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:11 PM
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Yeah, I think the thing about Moore is that he comes across as genuinely working class, however dishonestly, and people respond to that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:13 PM
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Why dishonestly? He's the son of a secretary and a factory worker from fucking Flint, isn't he?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:15 PM
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How much of a Francophile can you be and still be working class?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:17 PM
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Oh come on, that's a silly thing to say.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:17 PM
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Why? French is coded as elite liberal, not union factory liberal.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:20 PM
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144: #143 sounds harsher than intended. Though, looking at #143, I can't figure out why. Anyway, fair point.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:22 PM
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I mean, I don't think they do demographic studies on movies, but I'd bet more college students and educated types went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 than the blue collar factory workers. And there's nothing wrong with that, except to the extent that the educated types aren't liking the schtick.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:23 PM
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149: well, because (while he certainly was working class growing up) he's an extremely rich man who travels with bodyguards. Similarly, John Edwards is no longer working class, although his parents certainly were. I don't mean to imply they don't understand poor people in a way those of us who were born into (relatively) comfortable means cannot. I think they probably can. They just aren't working class anymore. Neither is Chris Matthews, for that matter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:25 PM
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Of course it is. But it's perfectly possible to believe America First *and* (say) go on a once-in-a-lifetime-trip to Europe and bring back Real French souvenirs for everyone in your family. For instance.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:26 PM
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Oh come on, that's a silly thing to say.

If there's one thing we won't abide here, it's silly comments.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:26 PM
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I think I agree with Cala in #154. If you look up his box office numbers, FH is an order of magnitude greater than anything his other movies did (or Sicko will do), and did about half the business outside the US. '04/Iraq was a money-making bonanza for a lot of people (who could still have pure hearts).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:27 PM
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Give me a break, B.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:29 PM
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156: I'd agree, but Moore doesn't strike me, and this is just an impression, as an 'America First' sort of guy. More kind of 'American What the Fuckity Fuck.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:30 PM
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Of course, I identify with Michael Moore because ogged hates what I do, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:31 PM
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I think arguing that someone who grows up in a certain class position somehow magically sheds it once they become rich is foolish. The example I used to offer my students was a comparison between Roseanne Barr and an imagined Kennedy grandchild or second cousin whose parents had opted to become high school teachers and who, just like them, was now in college and planning on going to law school. Which one's "classy"? Which one's not?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:32 PM
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So how long does it take? Is my friend making 200k a year, living in a nice house in LA, going to nightclubs and drinking expensive port "working class," because his dad owned a bar in a crappy neighborhood?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:33 PM
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160: I agree. I think Moore himself is one of those kids from a working-class background who was clearly destined for "something better" because he was a bookworm. That doesn't mean that he's not a lot more steeped in and representative of working-class ideology than your average liberal NYT reader.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:34 PM
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163: I don't know (and if dad owned a bar, aren't we talking lower middle class?). He's probably transitional, and if he can manage it, his kids sure as shit won't be lower middle class. It certainly sounds like he's trying to distance himself from his origins; I think that Moore's relationship with his is a little more complicated than that, as is often true for smart kids from blue collar backgrounds.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:36 PM
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Undoubtedly. But I was musing as to who is target audience is, and it worries me that I'm concluding it's not my working-class grandfather, but ogged.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:37 PM
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Is my friend making 200k a year, living in a nice house in LA, going to nightclubs and drinking expensive port "working class," because his dad owned a bar in a crappy neighborhood?

That guy though, could go back to that neighborhood and relate to people in ways that someone who grew up rich couldn't. It's why, as you say, Moore can come across as working class. It's not dishonest, it's something he's pulling from his upbringing.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:37 PM
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How did we get here? The essence of Michael Moore is that he's working class? Says who? Shlubby is not the same as working class, you classists. He's a noodge, not macho, and self-righteous--despite what you people who hate the poor think, those aren't the traits of the working class.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:38 PM
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Agree with Cala (in #166) again. Until someone points me to some evidence that shows otherwise, I'm going to continue to believe that (with no claim about his intent) Moore makes "working class" movies for the college crowd.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:39 PM
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B is teh sizeist!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:39 PM
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167: okay, I take back dishonest. But he's not working class anymore. He's fucking rich. Does this differentiate him from some east coast WASP who had 8 generations of ancestors go to Ivy League schools? Sure. But is he "working class" for any reasonable definition of the word? Certainly not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:40 PM
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I think Moore's target audience is people like my dad. Basically middle class, definitely not urban, possessed of definite ideas of "right" and "wrong," and not especially well-read or interested in political nuance. He's a retired school teacher, his wife works for the social security office, he likes beer and cards and barbeque, and he's perfectly capable of voting whichever way the political winds are blowing based on what he hears from his buddies at the American Legion hall.

(My dad actually votes a straight democrat ticket, but he needs to be instructed when it comes to things like parental notification laws and gay marriage and the like.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:43 PM
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he's not working class anymore. He's fucking rich

Social class is not exclusively about income. Come on. If Joe the bartender wins the fucking lottery, his political views, entertainment choices, and friends are all suddenly gonna change? Please.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:45 PM
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172: yeah, it's the basically-sympathetic-to-liberal-causes-but-not-informed crowd. Which is, like, what, 60% of the country?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:45 PM
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173: okay. You force me to use my trump card. Mark Wahlberg: working class?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:46 PM
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168, see 149.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:46 PM
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He might be working class, but that doesn't mean that his appeal or credibility comes from being working class, or that his being working class is the essence of his shtick.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:47 PM
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Mark Wahlberg is an actor with (I presume) a lot of money. I have no idea where he fits in, social-class wise, but the fact that people do their best (and often succeed) in shedding their class origins or hanging out with a crowd that they'd be ashamed to take home for the holidays doesn't mean that class is strictly about income.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:49 PM
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I'll have to see what my mom thinks of SiCKO. My mom's kind of funny politically.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:50 PM
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177: I dunno, it seemed pretty central to Roger & Me. If it's not central, why not ditch the hat and so on? Same reason Larry the Cable Guy doesn't wear polo shirts anymore, if you ask me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:50 PM
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178: no. But neither is it strictly about who your parents were.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:51 PM
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177: Or that--as I took Emerson's point to be--he appeals to the working class.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:51 PM
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178: No but it's not like Moore won the lottery here, just some Academy Awards. I don't think his background makes him ungenuine, but I do wonder how much he'd come across as a regular Joe to someone who still was a regular Joe.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:51 PM
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177: I think it's definitely part of his shtick, and part of what he bases his approach and his appeal on. He's going for the populist, now folks this really isn't that complicated type of argument. Which is why he reminds people of Rush Limbaugh. They're using similar, and class inflected, rhetorical and ideological methods. I think Moore's got a much better claim to come by those honestly, which is part of his point: that the working class is the Backbone of America, dammit, and the folks in government aren't serving you, because they're more interested in kissing the asses of the suits and insurance company lobbyists (or international investors, or Saudi princes, etc.).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:54 PM
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Is your dad actually a Moore fan, B?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:54 PM
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184: which is, I think, why the right gets so apoplectic about him. He is talking to exactly the people they're trying to sucker.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:55 PM
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So we're all completely talking out of our asses here, even more than usual. We have no idea who Moore appeals to, and why.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:57 PM
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187: which, since none of us is particularly working class, totally proves the point B and I were trying to make.

Damn, that's pretty specious, even for me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:58 PM
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181: I was saying both his parents and the town he grew up in. I'm absolutely certain that he's got a complicated relationship with his old peer group--according to Wikipedia the Flint film festival won't show his movies--but he *does* use those origins to claim credibility, and I'm willing to bet that he "gets" Joe Sixpack pretty well, even if Joe used to beat him up in middle school and pisses him off now for voting Republican.

And I don't think that winning Academy Awards *necessarily* divorces a person from their class background, either. It would surely create some tensions, but a lot would depend on whether he acted uppity when he went home, or whether people read him as a local boy done good without forgetting where he came from.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 10:58 PM
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185: I wouldn't be surprised, but actually I haven't asked him. I'll get back to you.

Anyway, my point wasn't whether or not Moore himself is "genuinely" working class (talk about fetishizing authenticity). It was that the standard liberal criticisms of him are criticisms of his using "uneducated" argument techniques that are, I think, extremely popular and effective with lots of Americans who don't regularly hang out with college professors.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:01 PM
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189.1: that's pretty much what I meant to say in 155. Looking back on it, I'm not sure that isn't actually what I said.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:01 PM
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My future in-laws, and come to think of it, shivbunny are a bunch of regular Joes, but they're Canadian and so don't really count. My grandfather & grandmother won't care. My mom will rent it 'to see what the fuss is about', which hilariously led to her blushing through Brokeback Mountain.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:01 PM
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Ha. My dad, who *loves* Westerns, refused to see Brokeback. His wife got it from Netflix probably for the same reason your mom did and he refused to watch it. So annoying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:04 PM
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182: 177: he appeals to the working class.

Well? Does he or doesn't he? Someone has to be doing exit polling at theaters. Is he signal or is he noise?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:04 PM
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No one criticized him for using "uneducated" argument technique. I criticized him for acting naive, which is disingenuous, and for picking on Charleton Heston. Now you can tell me how those things are the very essence of uneducated argument technique.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:05 PM
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I like his argument technique (WHICH MUST NOT BE COMPARED TO LIMBAUGH). I just think he's appealing to college students & ogged-types rather than the factory workers.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:07 PM
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188:What am I, chopped liver? Or just the Invisible Mook? Just cause I read some books and stuff...course I really don't belong and ain't wanted.

Hey walking the doogs in the hood, went by a Hispanic dude shining up his black detailed pickup and I swear what I hear is hard-core indie rock with Spanish lyrcs. Jangly acoustic 6-string and all, Great stuff.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:09 PM
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195: the humble working classes take no greater joy than mocking the mentally disabled.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:09 PM
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197: dunno your background, Bob. No offense. All the hispanic kids in my old neighborhood were way into Morrissey, go figure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:11 PM
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Bob, maybe it was Icky Thump.

And I'm still not reading your comments, you crazy revolutionary.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:13 PM
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195: Oh come on. You're criticizing him, basically, for using techniques that appeal to emotion and play the jus' folks card, as opposed to Reasoned Evidence and Coherent Argument. You oughta drive down out of the hills once in a while and get into the valley.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:13 PM
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Dirty subtext there not intended.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:14 PM
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I'm criticizing him for what I'm criticizing him for; why you think I'm actually criticizing him for something else, I don't know.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:16 PM
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It's fun to read B's comments and add 'as the robot cleans her floors.' Teehee.

I'm gonna run and hide now.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:21 PM
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Sweetie, you criticized him for being "annoying" and "a fuck," which certainly leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Best I can tell, you object to his acting dumb--which rhetorically implies that the issues he's addressing are Real Simple--and for being willing to mock Heston, which I can only understand by assuming you think it's tacky.

Anyhoo, if you'll look back at 140, you'll see I wasn't talking about *your* personal objections to the man, which are pretty vague as far as I can tell. The Burke post you linked (which I skimmed) certainly read to me as basically boiling down to being about the advantages of educated procedural liberalism vs. populist oversimplification. And in any case, you seemed to allow the terms I was setting up in your 142, so don't be backpedalling now.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:27 PM
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205 to 203.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:28 PM
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I gave parentheticals for each of those adjectives to say exactly what I was talking about. You're boring me now. Someone post about titties or something.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:28 PM
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Ogged I'll totally talk to you about Burning Man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:29 PM
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So tell me the most unpleasant thing to happen to you at Burning man.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:31 PM
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I've googled a couple of Moore's speeches and he has the jus' folks tone down pat. But all the speeches are given to college students.

Let's talk about the Ratatouille post that B put up, since it is delightsome.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:32 PM
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I gave parentheticals for each of those adjectives to say exactly what I was talking about.

Which is why I said

Best I can tell, you object to his acting dumb--which rhetorically implies that the issues he's addressing are Real Simple--and for being willing to mock Heston, which I can only understand by assuming you think it's tacky.

If you don't want to argue about it, then don't. But pulling the "I'm bored now, let's talk about tits" thing just because you can't or won't respond to me responding to you is dumb.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:33 PM
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Go see Ratatouille! Seriously! You guys will love it!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:34 PM
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I can't wait. But I have to, as shivbunny wants to see it, too! I heart Pixar. I'm guessing PK was thrilled? (Hope he's not putting the mice in his hair yet.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:37 PM
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209: after spending 8 hours assembling an art project in the direct sun, this guy rode up to us and said "WAHASABALIMI?" or something like that. He was holding one of those spray bottles, and I gathered he had some refreshing beverage he wanted to squirt in my mouth. Parched, I agreed, only to realize too late that he had in fact said "Wasabi Martini?"

If you haven't experienced boiling hot vodka and wasabi squirted into your mouth on a 105 degree day, you haven't lived.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:38 PM
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I reaffirm 212, as I reaffirmed the earlier comment along the same lines. That movie is excellent, and double prizes if you like food.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:39 PM
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213: Oh, he adored it. I'm really pleased that one of his biggest reactions was to be really impressed by the comic acting of the villain character, actually.

He doesn't like the mice in the hair b/c of the poop. He puts them in my hair.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:40 PM
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You're boring me now. Someone post about titties or something.

Quick, ogged! There's still time to say "I'm going swimming" and run away!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:41 PM
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Ahh, I went thru this over at Ezra's this week. Sparing y'all the quotes from Wage Labor & Capital over at the MIA Encyclopedia, "class" is "class consciousness". Warren Buffett can keep his money and yet be proletarian;a ditchdigger can be bourgeoisie. It is less the objective relation than the subjective relation to the means of production.

Or to put it another way, the members of a class define their own class by their relations to each other in the act of production, but cannot really even see the other class, let alone define it. The proletariat and bourgeoisie are like, alienated, ya know.

In another sense everyone is proletarian, capital being the relations between people, not the people themselves. Oops, false consciousness.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:42 PM
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216: My limited experience with small pets is that they pray to our lady of perpetual pooping. My sympathies.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:43 PM
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You let strangers squirt stuff in your mouth? Sexual connotations aside, duuude. That's crazy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:43 PM
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Second most unpleasant: getting irretrievably lost in a giant maze (around noon, another blazingly hot day) that was full of sweaty, unhappy naked German men. The drugs didn't help one bit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:44 PM
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220: really, Burning Man is different. Every other time it's resulted in my life becoming more awesome somehow or other. Shit, last year I let a woman serve me raw oysters and they turned out to be the best, freshest oysters I've ever had.

Also, no need to set the sexual connotations aside. That place is pretty goddamn sexualized, as a general rule. The art piece we were assembling was the "Old Glory Hole".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:47 PM
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I let a woman serve me raw oysters

Now you're gonna die!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:51 PM
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Also I kind of had heatstroke. Otherwise I would have surely asked him to repeat what he was offering.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:51 PM
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Burning Man is different.

Burning Man sounds a lot like Hell.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:55 PM
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Yes, well, I am describing the absolute worst experiences I've had in ten years of going there. I could add one or two more, and then everything else has been basically unspeakably awesome. But, sure, the weather sucks. You shouldn't go. It's full of hippies. It's full. It's m-fun. There's scary naked people.

Seriously, avoid it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:58 PM
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218: You can say what you want about subjective relations to the means of production, but objective considerations will always be important. A skilled person in the construction trades or a long hall trucker can make a lot more money than, say, a librarian or an adjunct at a community college. Nevertheless, people will grant the trucker and the construction worker working class authenticity. But this is bullshit. The skilled construction worker and the long haul trucker have different economic interest that are actually linked to maintaining the status quo.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:59 PM
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From what I understand, it's pretty fantastic for the people who are into it. You know, people with no shame and no inhibitions. For me, it would be hell.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-30-07 11:59 PM
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219: Eh, it doesn't bother me. That's what shampoo is for.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:00 AM
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I have plenty of shame and inhibitions when I'm not at Burning Man. Really, though, I'm into it because (a) good way to get laid and (b) there is no other way to see (and work on) that many truly amazing things in such a limited area and time. Fire! Giant, weird structures! Explosions! Tesla Coils! Buildings that turn out to be vehicles! Vehicles that turn out to be buildings! 3000 topless women riding bicycles! Daredevil skydivers! I love all of these things.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:04 AM
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What Ogged said. That is so not me. Except for the fire and explosions.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:05 AM
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231: a friend of mine brought his giant-scale zippo lighter that shot flames seventy feet in the air. Last year, somebody built an array of propane flamethrowers, about a mile and a half long, with a control panel (that anybody could use) for sending chase patterns up and down the string. The people who rig up the man for burning have figured out how to trigger fire vortices (like dust devils, but made of fire) at will. A friend of mine built "Dance Dance Immolation", which is similar to "Dance Dance Revolution", except when a player messes up they are shot in the face with a flamethrower (while wearing a fireproof suit). Really, it's not a hippie thing. You just need a lot of space to do these kinds of crazy things.

I can't wait to see the Trebuchet this year (this one). Allegedly they're going to be tossing some pianos, and some propane canisters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:11 AM
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Someone post about titties or something

Here is something, Ogged.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:13 AM
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It's like you read my mind, apo.

Or maybe I was thinking of something more like this.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:17 AM
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In my ongoing discipline of getting my heart broke at least twice a day, I moved from here to watching Sean Penn in All the King's Men.

The wit and wisdom of Willie Stark:

"The problem wit Governors is always trying to keep their dignity. Ain't nuthin worth doing a man can do and keep his dignity."

"Graft is what they call it when them's that are doing it don't know which fork to use."

Need to write this shit down, huh.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:59 AM
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Oh come on. Everyone is into Tesla coils.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 1:32 AM
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That trebuchet tossed the car maybe fifty feet. Lame.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 1:34 AM
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Regardless about how you feel about Moore, he's trying to get at (I think) a discussion about class. And that's an area of great self-denial. 'Cause you know, we're all always already upper-middle class.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 1:55 AM
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"Regardless about" s/b "Regardless of"


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:02 AM
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Holy shit, the ad I got before you get to that NYT article is awesome. It shows you a wall of names of drugs, then asks you to click on one. I clicked on "Robotripping" and it said there were 10,900 hits! It's supposed to stoke anti-internet hysteria among parents, I think.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:04 AM
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Speaking of drugs, this home-brewed beer's not bad.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:06 AM
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did you brew it yourself, or was it friends/family?

I'm drinking something called "White Hawk IPA" which is good, but not ten dollars good, which is what I paid for it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:13 AM
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The neighbors I'm housesitting for. I went over yesterday and the husband was like, "Do you like beer?" When I said yes he showed me two kegs in a refrigerator in the laundry room and said they would go bad soon so I might as well drink them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:21 AM
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Not full kegs, obviously. But still. Lots of beer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:21 AM
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This one's some sort of brown ale.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:22 AM
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Kegger at teo's neighbor's!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:23 AM
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I might have one, actually. I'll see how fast I can drink this. The only warning the neighbor gave was not to give it to anyone underage.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:26 AM
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re: 243

The world has suddenly become a better place chez teofilo.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:27 AM
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Yep.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:31 AM
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not to give it to anyone underage

Sorry, cg. Ageist, we are.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:31 AM
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I've found that pacing yourself is as important drinking alone as it is drinking with other people.

Yes, I know how bad that sounds.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 2:39 AM
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I knew I was making a mistake when I went to bed.

Ogged doesn't like Moore because Moore deliberately makes a point of being a fat slob, a very anti-Ogged, even though he makes enough money to be an extremely successful elegant Ogged. He's made it, but he hasn't picked up the proper taste and style.

Yeah, it's a phony shtick for PR purposes, like practically all of US pop culture. Phony working-class guys are a major force in US politics and American entertainment (Bruce Springsteen). Come on, this is a place where we pretend to like "My Humps".

There are people who will listen to Moore who wouldn't listen to TAP / Nation types. The elite NPR voice really offends a lot of people. I don't have the resources to provide Tim and Biohazard with the controlled double-blind study which will prove this, but I'm confident of it.

It's really true. The Democratic Party and liberalism have come to identify itself with a kind of cool faculty lounge elitism which a lot of people hate, and if anyone tries to break out of that he will be denounced.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 6:07 AM
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24: I wasn't joking. Nothing fills me with more contempt for my cohort than the pantomimes of foodieism.

And I must note, folks, that the little pageant of more-sensitive-to-the-plight-of-the-working-class-than-thou in the comments is almost as depressing as the Burning Man nonsense.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 6:54 AM
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I criticized him for acting naive, which is disingenuous, and for picking on Charleton Heston.

The "naive" thing is schtick, not dishonesty. As for Heston, well, boo-fucking-hoo.

U.S. healthcare sucks. George W. Bush is a twit. Capitalism is sometimes unjust and ruthless. It's nice that there are people who collect statistics about these things, but it's also nice that there is someone publicly expressing the raw outrage that these outrages demand.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 7:17 AM
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And I must note, folks, that the little pageant of more-sensitive-to-the-plight-of-the-working-class-than-thou in the comments is almost as depressing as the Burning Man nonsense.

"Sensitivity to the plight of the working class" isn't at issue. What's at issue is the ability to effectively communicate with members of the working class. The point raised by B and Emerson is that Moore can deliver a progressive message to working class Americans in a way that, say, Matt Yglesias simply can't. Huffing and puffing about Moore's style misses the point. The stunts, the faux-naif shtick, the confrontational approach, the jokiness - all of that works, and it makes Moore's message far more likely to actually reach people. If we lived in a world where columns in The American Prospect actually stood a chance of swaying public opinion, we wouldn't be having this conversation.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 7:19 AM
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all of that works, and it makes Moore's message far more likely to actually reach people.

Or so claim B and Emerson.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 7:34 AM
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Two arguments seem to be getting inappropriately conflated here: Polemic vs. Intellectual and Working Class vs. Elite.

Moore's arguments are simple, aggressive and readily understandable. They are polemics.

As one of the roughly 25% of Americans with a college degree, I guess I am Elite. I still like Moore, and it seems to me dead-certain that he does better with the college demographic than with others.

So what? The incorrect assumption that underlies all of this is that polemics are inherently aimed at the unwashed masses. Obvious injustice is often appropriately treated in simple, direct terms, regardless of the audience.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 7:40 AM
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"Working class" is a contested and oft-abused term, and I didn't use it. I recently saw it defined as anyone without a 4-year degree, though, and that fits my point. There are lot of Americans who tune out (or hate) anyone who has that cool professorial NPR voice. Moore goes for those people.

Someone above talked about preferring nuance. That's just a personal taste, like earth tones and natural fabrics and shit. In the right situation, if the facts are on your side, slamming someone in the face with the facts is intellectually valid, and in the wrong situation, nuance is misleading. E.G., "We now know that Bush was too uncritical of the information on the basis of which he chose to go to war in Iraq" would just be wildly wrong. A lot of people knew it at the time, and Bush wasn't uncritical, he was trying to fool people. "Bush lied to get us into war" is the correct statement.

We have to let people be liberals and Democrats who are not like us. Uncool schlubby people. Moore's schtick is a way of being approachable.

A comparison I would accept would be with P.J. O'Rourke. O'Rourke is all schtick -- I doubt that he really uses as much drugs as he pretends to. But he has an entertaining way of presenting his obnoxious ideas to a certain niche market.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 7:48 AM
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It reaches certain people. A niche. Not you, Tim -- you're on your own planet. (I'm still working on my statistical analysis of Moore's effectiveness. While I'm running the regressions and doing the controls, you can hold your breath until you turn purple.)

Moore really doesn't need permission slips from Tim, Ogged, and Biohazard. If you don't like his stuff you don't have to watch it. (I don't, but that's because I don't watch movies period). If you have actual serious reasons for thinking he's harmful and ineffective, bring them forward. If you don't like his politics, say so. But I hate this kneejerk prissy lame sniping.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 7:57 AM
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But I hate this kneejerk prissy lame sniping.

Point to it. I think most people have said something along the lines of "If it works, it works." No one has taken the position that he is harmful. The closest anyone has come to that position is "on balance, he's doing good." Most of the heat is about (a) defending the right not to like his stuff, and (b) finding suspect the claim that he has a vernacular that's particularly attractive to potential Democrats in the "working class."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:10 AM
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252: The Democratic Party and liberalism have come to identify itself with a kind of cool faculty lounge elitism which a lot of people hate, and if anyone tries to break out of that he will be denounced.

That's been true ever since the anti-Vietnam War movement IMX, which often tended to look more like "Don't get in the way of my sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll" than "War is bad".

As for more, I'm with him on two issues, not on one. But my question is really simple, it's "What's effective?". I was recently reading (I can't find it now) an article about a prof who's now in demand in Democratic circles 'cause he can actually string several coherent and hard-hitting paragraphs together in a row. That's really sad.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:12 AM
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Emerson is right in the preceding couple of comments, and BPhd above.

But I hate this kneejerk prissy lame sniping.

Word.

Although, 'anyone without a 4-year degree' seems highly unsatisfactory as a definition of the working classes. Someone from a working class background doesn't cease to be so the second they walk out of college and there are plenty of people from non-working class backgrounds who don't have university degrees.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:14 AM
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Preferring nuance is not a matter of taste. It is a matter of not being a dumbass like President Henchman-to-Billy-Zabka-in-an-80s-summer-camp-movie.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:16 AM
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re: 263

As Emerson says, there are places where nuance is preferable and places where it's downright stupid. Irresponsible, even. And if you think preferring nuance insulates you from being a dumbass you are sadly mistaken.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:20 AM
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264: I'll bear that in mind the next time I'm looking for excuses to kill people.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:31 AM
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As Emerson says, there are places where nuance is preferable and places where it's downright stupid.

Which is what Burke said in the essay linked somewhere above. Which is what everybody says. At which point, the question becomes, "What works and when?" And everyone prefers his own judgment. As Burke preferred his own.

All of which leaves us, where, exactly?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:32 AM
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Is that supposed to make sense? Or are you privileging the flip over the intelligible?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:33 AM
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267 aimed at 265.

re: 266

Well, there are those who seem to take the view that while, in principle, there's a place for angry polemic, in all actual cases, it's never the place for it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:35 AM
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I'll bear that in mind the next time I'm looking for excuses to kill people

Because being mean to Charlton Heston in "Bowling For Columbine" is just like killing people. Michael Moore: murderer!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:39 AM
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The conversation is quite frustrating because it seems as though both sides are just making up the other side's position and responding to that.

I think this:
The incorrect assumption that underlies all of this is that polemics are inherently aimed at the unwashed masses.

gets it exactly right. "Working class" doesn't mean "incapable of understanding rational argument but will follow anyone with a megaphone" any more than "college educated" means "carefully considers all of the issues with a side of nuance before making any decision." shivbunny's dad, as working class as they come, probably wouldn't have a lot of patience with Moore because he would have a low tolerance for theater even if he like simple arguments.

It isn't right, therefore, to conclude that because Moore uses a simple outraged rhetorical style that he's speaking to the great unwashed masses. All it means is that he's not speaking to wonkish types.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:42 AM
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It isn't right, therefore, to conclude that because Moore uses a simple outraged rhetorical style that he's speaking to the great unwashed masses. All it means is that he's not speaking to wonkish types.

And how large a percentage of the American electorate is made up of "wonkish types"? I would guess an astonishingly small one. People who spend all their time on the internet reading various candidates' health care proposals and reading up on intra-Fatah politics are freaks by American standards.

You can call Moore's audience "working class" or "the unwashed masses" if you want to, or you can just call them normal. Most people don't spend hours and hours of their day following politics and reading up on policy debates. Most people weigh appeals to emotion over appeals to pure reason (see: every presidential election ever). Polemic is useful because it speaks to the vast majority of people in a way that a white paper never will.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:53 AM
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And polemic doesn't mean dishonest, of course. The facts Moore is relying on are true, and make a strong and valid argument for universal health care. It's simplified, but not in a way that makes it invalid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 8:59 AM
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Yeah, to 272.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:08 AM
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271: I agree. I'm not so sure why it became necessary for people to argue that Moore was appealing to factory workers, not college students.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:08 AM
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That's idiotic, flippanter. Sometimes a direct statement is by far the best, and a nuanced statement is a misleading evasion. The Times and The Post specialize in nuanced statements which avoid more accurate direct statements. Recently someone made a list of the euphemisms that they use for "lie".

Tim asks me to "point to it." I've been dealing with this kind of crap here, there, and everywhere ever since I first showed up on the internet in 2002. I've also been watching inept Democrats like Dukakis and Kerry nuance themselves into irrelevance. The obligato Moore-bashing is one sign of it.

No, I think we're all pretty aware that Moore's lifestyle probably isn't cheap....I trust Moore to understand that you can never have too much money, stras....I'd be more enthusiastic about Sicko if all the "Fahrenheit 9/11 will save us!" enthusiasm of 2004 hadn't been such a shameful waste of time. And if I'd never seen Moore dragging an extremely small dog along Central Park West rather roughly.....


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:13 AM
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This argument gets hostile (on both sides) very fast every time it comes up, and I'm not sure why. I don't think anyone was arguing that Moore was appealing exclusively to factory workers (after all, I went to the movie and I'm not). The argument was that more conventional modes of liberal argumentation are actively offputting to, e.g. factory workers, and Moore isn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:15 AM
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I agree. I'm not so sure why it became necessary for people to argue that Moore was appealing to factory workers, not college students.

Factory workers have more lefty cred than college students. Moore's box office numbers.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:16 AM
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276: I appreciate there's a larger context for all of this, but it's very hard to follow when you haven't researched all the shibboleths for either side.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:23 AM
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I'm not following you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:25 AM
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Never underestimate the strength of the squeamish tendency on the centre-left - people who know you have to address the questions of who might have to lose a little bit of their personal wealth, and a little bit more of their illusions, to reduce the number of people who die horribly in avoidable circumstances, but who hate to be reminded of it. They'd prefer to teach the world to sing instead.

Such people can be found everywhere, but they are perhaps less common among those whose lives are already the teeniest bit gritty than in the liberal professions.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:26 AM
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OFE hates music. Which I think puts him on ogged's side.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:27 AM
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Coke ads are not music, Tim, be fair.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:28 AM
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No, I think we're all pretty aware that Moore's lifestyle probably isn't cheap....I trust Moore to understand that you can never have too much money, stras

That was about needling stras, Emerson. I mean, Comrade Emerson.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:29 AM
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yes, also to 280.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:30 AM
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279: Most of this conversation is people responding to things that haven't been said. No one has said, "I don't like Michael Moore because he's fat." Yet that seems to be coming up a lot. Apparently I wandered into a trope with the Limbaugh thing, but to me, Moore reminds me of the plain-spoken over-the-top this is just how it is folks radio style I used to hear. (Not the content, obviously.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:32 AM
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282: Coke ads are the most authentic musical expression of the working man's belief system, as demonstrated by the number of cokes consumed by members of the working class. I admit I don't have the numbers to back this up, but I strongly believe that more members of the working class have (a) enjoyed Coke commercials, and (b) enjoyed a cool refreshing Coca-Cola, just the thing on a hot summer's day, than have enjoyed Moore's works.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:34 AM
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When Air America came on, I was happy that someone was trying to break the near-monopoly the hard right has on talk radio. (90% nationally, 100% in many markets). I hoped for the best. But on the internet every thread about Air America would have several elite liberals talking disdainfully about how awful AA was and how they'd never listen to it, and what a jerk Franken was, and what a bitch Randi Rhodes was, and so on.

Some of the criticisms might even have been accurate, but the tone was all wrong, with an animus that I was unable to interpret charitably. The same thing always happens with Moore. There's this need people feel to dissociate themselves from him.

Moore's stylistic errors (schlumpiness, uncoolness) weigh a lot heavier on people's minds than his whatever factual errors he makes. And people leap to make the Limbaugh / Coulter comparison even though Moore is a.) not vicious and b.) not a liar, whereas Limbaugh and Coulter are both of those.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:35 AM
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People are setting a pretty high bar for how effective Moore would have to be in order to be forgiven for whatever it is he's accused of (faux-naiveity and schlubbiness, I guess). He's already been blamed for not winning the 2004 election for Kerry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:39 AM
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286: I don't know the numbers either, but I'm quite sure you're right. MM, whatever else he may be, is a minority taste. In contrast, sales of coke would probably hold up if the company was bought out by OBL.

However, even at the time of that campaign, finding anybody of any class who would admit to liking that song was not an easy task.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:42 AM
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What a strange discussion. The things I don't like about Moore having nothing to do with his being working-class. But maybe I'm lying, or deluding myself, or just don't understand how echt working-class picking on the old and senile really is.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:00 AM
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286: Again, that isn't the issue. The issue is whether Moore can effectively spread a progressive message further than, say, The American Prospect or The New Republic can. Moore doesn't have to be as popular as Coke - Jesus F. Christ, what a non sequitur that was - he just has to have a broader reach than conventional, non-polemical, "respectable" means of publicizing liberal policy goals (NPR, NYT op-eds, the Nation, etc.). And I think it's pretty clear that that's the case. "Sicko" is making news; Jonathan Cohn's "Sick," while excellent, is not getting splashed all over CNN and Oprah.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:02 AM
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What a strange discussion. The things I don't like about Moore having nothing to do with his being working-class.

Again, and this is at least the third time I've said this, this has nothing to do with whether Michael Moore himself is "working class." It doesn't even have to do with whether Michael Moore's audience is "working class." It has to do with the fact that Moore's techniques appeal to a much broader spectrum of the public than those used by conventional liberal mouthpieces.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:06 AM
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290: The thing is, IIRC, at the time Heston was interviewed for BfC, he wasn't diagnosed with anything and he was still a public figure making wackily pro-gun statements that were entirely consistent with what he'd been saying for the past 20 years. It sucks for Moore that Heston was almost immediately diagnosed with dementia, but I'm not sure what you think Moore did wrong there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:07 AM
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And as far as Charlton Heston goes: ogged, really, get over it. Heston hadn't made his Alzheimer's public when Moore interviewed him, so there was no reason to think he was senile. And a horrible human being who's become old and decrepit is still a horrible human being - they're just horrible, old and decrepit.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:09 AM
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Or what LB said.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:10 AM
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Stras, insofar as he appeals to the working class, if in fact he does, that's fantastic. I take it we're all agreed about that. Emerson seems to be saying that what I really don't like about Moore is that he's working-class.

LB, could you watch the interview with Heston without wanting to hide under your seat? Surely Moore realized Heston wasn't all there, and if not during the interview, during the edit. If I had a better memory, I could probably think of the other examples of Moore treating people (even the ones he's advocating for) as props. Not always unforgivable, but distasteful--to me, anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:12 AM
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Moore doesn't have to be as popular as Coke - Jesus F. Christ, what a non sequitur that was

I agree. I told you that OFE was on ogged's side.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:14 AM
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What we have here is a culture clash. In Lur society horrible, demented, senile men are highly honored.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:15 AM
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Which is why I've put up with you for so long, John.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:17 AM
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I could probably think of the other examples of Moore treating people (even the ones he's advocating for) as props. Not always unforgivable, but distasteful--to me, anyway.

There is nothing more authentically working class than using people as props. Your attitude marks you as Teh Oppressor.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:18 AM
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Emerson seems to be saying that what I really don't like about Moore is that he's working-class.

I thought it was more along the lines of disliking him because he's vulgar.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:19 AM
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Not the vulgar!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:21 AM
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299: I take every advantage I can get.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:22 AM
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could you watch the interview with Heston without wanting to hide under your seat?

The content of what Heston was saying wasn't any crazier than anything Heston or the NRA has said about gun violence for decades. What was cringe-inducing about the interview wasn't Heston's age, but the lunacy of his ideology, and the sheer shamelessness of asserting a rarified belief in the abstract righteousness of gun rights in response to school shootings.

As for Moore using Heston as a "prop," I fail to see how you can make that accusation without extending it to pretty much every documentary maker ever. Ever see "Capturing the Friedmans"? Or "Mr. Death"? Did Errol Morris use Fred Leuchter as a prop? What distinguishes Moore's propification from any piece of journalism that isn't an outright puff piece?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:24 AM
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About the choice of Cuba: it is truly impressive that in a time of scarcity, due to the end of support by the Soviet Union and economic sanctions, Cuba has managed to maintain a gradually decreasing infant mortality rate that is below that of the US.

They have done this by directing scarce food to pregnant women and children, while elderly men go hungry. They have seen an increase in a form of blindness caused by nutritional deficiency, and all old men are thin--even Castro himself. The US would never be able to choose, on a massive scale, to save poor women and children at the expense of the wealthy elderly. It's a bizarre benefit of a totalitarian government.

All (58?) of Cuba's maternity hospitals are certified WHO "Baby Friendly," meaning that they effectively encourage breastfeeding. I just looked, and coincidentally there are 58 certified Baby-Friendly hospitals in the whole US. Sure, they're breastfeeding because it's cheaper than formula, but their children still get the benefits.

I don't know anything about cancer care there, and I suspect that they don't do a lot of massive radiation/bone marrow rescue scenarios, because they don't work. But for maternal/child health, they are more effective than we are.


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:33 AM
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Stras is right in 304. Me, I would have forgiven Moore for beating the living shit of that monster.

You people should read Rivethead. Also, some of you are from Mars, and should try working a factory job for a while.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:34 AM
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Eh, I don't want to condemn him on the basis of what he must have known in hindsight. Heston was really crazy sounding for a long time when he wasn't demented. The idea that Moore's responsible for interviewing a guy who can be relied on to say crazy stuff and mean it, and divining that now he's saying crazy stuff because he's demented rather than, like last week, saying crazy stuff because he's like that, seems really off to me.

On preview: I just rewatched it. Heston is oriented, coherent, and not saying anything different than he had been for years. If you're appealing to a "Don't be adversarial toward anyone over seventy," rule, it's not one I share, and I really don't think Moore was responsible for knowing Heston was senile on that basis.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:35 AM
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Out of that monster, duh.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:36 AM
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I understand that we should be accepting of the members of our differently-sane population, and treat them compassionately, but when a winger goes over the edge, how can you tell?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:41 AM
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I wouldn't have put it like that, but in Heston's case, kind of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:41 AM
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Huh, I have to admit that Heston doesn't sound nearly as senile as I thought when I saw it in the theaters. So I take that back. And I was about to say that Moore wasn't as annoying as I recalled, but then he broke out the picture of the little girl. That was really gross. What can I say? I don't want to be associated with this guy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:47 AM
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Okay, but now you're down to pure esthetic distaste -- if there's nothing wrong with mentioning her, there's nothing wrong with showing a picture of her. That's a reason not to enjoy Moore's films yourself, but not a reason to disapprove of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:49 AM
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I haven't read ogged as saying that Moore is harmful, just that he doesn't like him.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:50 AM
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Lack of nuance doesn't necessarily imply inaccuracy, and Moore sometimes just is inaccurate. And there's also the taking-it-out-on-the-security guard shtick. But look, he's a lot more accurate than not, and he has never stopped being willing to talk about class issues...There is really no need to choose between The American Prospect, NPR & Michael Moore--they're part of the same coalition. Read & watch what you like best, and long live the popular front.

Not that's it's not okay to criticize people on your own side, including people to your left, when there's serious reason to do so. But it's so easy to get points for "independence" & "integrity" from conservatives & the press for doing so...the Joe Lieberman trap.

I don't really think people on this thread are doing that--even the Limbaugh comparison becomes more defensible if you agree that the lefty counterpart to Limbaugh is not going to be morally equivalent to Limbaugh-- but so many people have done it w/ Moore that it drives the tendency to think that liberals have to be with him or against him.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:58 AM
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253 is neat. Apparently all of my opinions fill Flippanter with rage.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:03 AM
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313:

I haven't read ogged as saying that Moore is harmful, just that he doesn't like him.

Seemingly true, which is why I was a little confused by the reference to the Burke essay. See my 84, quoting Burke claiming that the radical left, those who engage in political theater, are actually 'destroying' the village by compromising the methods of procedural liberalism.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:04 AM
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More meat for the grinder, from 2005:

Middle Income Quintile (Annual household income of approx. $35,000 to $58,000): Among whites in this bracket, Republicans have opened up an 8 percentage point margin over Democrats (36%-28%), up from the 4 percentage point margin the GOP enjoyed in 1992 (32%-28%). When nonwhites are included, the overall public in this income range is divided almost evenly (33% Democrat, 32% Republican).
Lower Middle Income Quintile (Annual household income of approx. $19,000 to $35,000): Here is where the GOP gains have been strongest. Republicans still trail Democrats among all people in this bracket by 35%-28%, but the GOP now leads among whites in this bracket, by a slim 33%-29%. Back in 1992, the Democrats led the GOP among whites by 33%-28% and among all people by 38%-24%.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:04 AM
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(to be honest, my primary problem w/ Moore's movies is not that they are inaccurate or that he's schlubby but that he's emotionally manipulative in a way I don't like. But as LB says, that's primarily an aesthetic issue--God knows skillful emotional manipulation is the bread and butter of politics).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:05 AM
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313: Well, that he disapproved of Moore to the point of not wanting to be associated with him:

When one of my own does stuff I don't approve of, I don't want to be associated with it.

That seems like an overreaction, unless you think Moore's doing stuff that's wrong, as opposed to not the style you enjoy. But to the extent that Ogged's just saying "not his style", that's a perfectly reasonable thing to say.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:09 AM
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Every fucking chance I get from here on out I'm going to associate Ogged with Michael Moore.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:32 AM
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When Ogged was dating Michael Moore's sister, Moore beat him 21-9 in one-on-one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:47 AM
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Ogged auditioned for a part in Moore's first movie, but Moore hired someone else. Ogged was hurt but was afraid to say so.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:48 AM
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315: It's a smokescreen for my wounded idealism.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:49 AM
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Eventually Moore's sister dumped Ogged because she realized that he really only wanted a chance to hang around Michael. But Moore does not like to have someone following him around like a puppydog.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:50 AM
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Moore's a regular guy and gay chicken was no big deal to him, but suddenly he realized it was starting to get too serious.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:51 AM
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This would be more convincing if everyone didn't know that I don't hang out with fat people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:53 AM
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Moore was in a quandary. Prosecution and a restraining order were out of the question, because Ogged could always tell the police about the many illegal acts he performed at Moore's request.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:57 AM
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"**** ** ******!" begged Ogged. Moore *** **** his ** *** **** ** ****. "***! ***! **** **** ******!" moaned Ogged, ****ing ** ***** ********.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:07 PM
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There. Associated.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 12:08 PM
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I should so not even try to talk about cultural signifiers with you people. I'm pretty sure that I bookended the argument about class by saying that I wasn't concerned with whether Moore is "authentic" or whether working class people really don't understand rational argument, but by saying that the rhetorical techniques he uses are *coded* as uneducated/populist.

And I'll maintain to the day I die that polemical "let's just cut to the chase here" rhetorical styles are extremely popular with the vast majority of working- and lower-middle-class people I know. Ditto the belief that most political issues are pretty simple. Whereas the hypereducated people I know prefer, or at least have learned to pretend to prefer, to begin by acknowledging complexity and nuance and yadda yadda.

Which isn't a matter of native intelligence at all, not that I should have to say that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 3:06 PM
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As a non-American, my absolute favorite moment in Sicko is when Moore is interviewing people in the British hospital, asking where they pay, and everyone laughs at him. That, in a nutshell, is precisely how those outside the US system see it - so bizarre as to elicit laughter.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 3:31 PM
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The thing is, that interview is accurate. When I was doing a yab in the UK, I sprained my ankle rather badly and some friends took me to the e.r., and I was *terribly* worried about how much it would cost (being a college student). They didn't laugh, but they looked at me like I was crazy and said, "nothing, this isn't America."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 3:35 PM
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Comments 298 and 299 pair together too perfectly not to have been scripted. Who's behind it? Tim Burke? Michael Moore?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 3:35 PM
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Ratatouille really was great.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 9:55 PM
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Someones comment to this youtube video:

It really bugs me that I'm saying this, but everything that he said made complete sense. I really want to see that movie now. He said that universal health care would actually be cheaper. Is this true? If yes, explain please. I've always been anti-Michael Moore, so I'm still skeptical of his 'facts'.

This movie is a good thing. People need to know the facts about healthcare.

Even if the movie was just preaching to the base, Moore is telling the base what it needs to know. Real improvements will only come from a single payer plan. The insurance companies are in the way; there is no bargaining with them.



Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 10:02 PM
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I, for one, don't care much for his nationalistic/racist side

I've seen the nationalistic stuff (but at least in SiCKO I think it's handled very skillfully, with Moore both implicitly mocking it by naively evincing it in situations where it's clearly unjustified, and also calling on Americans to live up to it, to walk the walk), but what are you referring to when you say he has a racist side?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:06 PM
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The whole "Bush is in thrall to the Saudis" thing. It seems to me that Moore plays that a bit as "those Arab princes count more than you, Joe average American."

Anyhoo, I really popped back into this thread to say that I asked my dad what he thought of Moore tonight, and yeah, he's a big fan.

So that's his audience.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:26 PM
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It seems to me that Moore plays that a bit as "those Arab princes count more than you, Joe average American."

But that's not racism.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:29 PM
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Yes, Fahrenheit 9/11 did play the Saudi cooties card pretty hard, but I saw it as much more of a money thing than a race thing.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:34 PM
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So that's his audience.

You're going to have to come up with at least one more anectdote before it can be considered data, B.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:35 PM
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I think it was a little ambivalent, and in the context of the war...


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:35 PM
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Well, and there's the whole corrupt, fundamentalist theocracy thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:35 PM
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341: You've got a point, given the national mood at the time, but I think Moore was using the administration's Saudi ties to show that its anti-Muslim scaremongering rhetoric was bullshit. So I think describing that as racism is pretty inaccurate.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:40 PM
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By way of counter-anecdote, I remember an interview (not well enough to find it, mind you) in which Moore discussed his minority hiring practices, which put most affirmative action programs to shame.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:40 PM
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Okay, I'm willing to concede the point; it was pretty thin and based on a kind of weak memory anyway.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:41 PM
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We're going to saint motherfucking Michael Moore before this thread is over.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:43 PM
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I think he's pretty awesome. Have I mentioned that yet? Burning Man! Burning Man! Fat people! HOORAY!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:44 PM
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Will it annoy you if we do?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:44 PM
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You can't have saints that fat. They'd fall out of heaven!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:45 PM
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He hasn't even been beatified yet, ogged. A little patience?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:45 PM
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You can't have saints that fat. They'd fall out of heaven!

I'm pretty sure that's the creationist explanation for meteorite craters.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 1-07 11:52 PM
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re: 349

I beg to differ.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-07 12:38 AM
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Aquinas was fat? That changes everything!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 2-07 9:06 AM
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re: 353

Hugely fat, by all accounts. There are legends about him having a special table with a bit cut out for his stomach.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 2-07 9:13 AM
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Wasn't Hume very fat and indolent too?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07- 2-07 9:33 AM
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We're going to saint motherfucking Michael Moore before this thread is over.

Woohoo ! And why not? Catholicism has a long history of genuine regard for the troubles of the poor. First, we'll need to identify the Moore-inspired miracles that have taken place on this thread.

I'd nominate ogged's realization in 311 that he'd been talking out of his hat about Heston. I think we can all agree that LB's contribution in this matter amounts to divine intervention.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 2-07 9:45 AM
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