The last place I expected to see some good common sense is in an Isthmus movie review. But Marjorie Baumgarten, an unfamiliar byline to me, holds Michael Moore's latest picture show, Capitalism: A Love Story, in the contempt it has so richly earned. She writes:
Toward the end of the film, Moore declares "Capitalism is an evil and you can't regulate evil. You have to eliminate it." ... Yet he recoils from using the "s" word: socialism. Instead, he substitutes the word "democracy" as his political solution to the human impulse toward greed. As if."
Remember that the next time the Fighting Bobfest crowd talks about "economic democracy." That's code for socialism.
I did take No. #1 Son to Moore's Bowling for Columbine to provide a teachable moment - about how the selective presentation of facts, augmented by sound and graphics, can mislead. In that movie, he blamed Charleton Heston, then the head of the NRA, for a pre-teenaged boy's shooting of a toddler - and not the mother who dumped her child in her brother's crack cocaine den rather than avail herself of the responsible childcare she could have taken as part of a workfare program.
As the blog MooreWatch notes:
It is evil capitalists, not noble socialists, who are falling over themselves to fund his movies. He's not getting money from the government or some hippy collective. He's getting money from Walt Fucking Disney-that's as capitalist as it gets.
MooreWatch quotes Fortune magazine to say:
Moore's films have grossed over $300 million worldwide. His highest grossing film was "Fahrenheit 9/11," which critiques the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and earned over $200 million worldwide.
Moore reportedly was paid $21 million by Disney for producing, directing and creating the film.
Moore also earned 50 percent of the profits of his 2007 film "Sicko," totaling $25 million plus DVD sales, according to Vanity Fair.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Moore would receive all of the profits made from DVD sales of "Sicko," sales of which have been estimated at over $17 million.
MooreWatch points out:
There is tremendous danger in allowing political control of an economy. Dangers such as-oh I don't know-taking money from the taxpayers to support politically powerful industries; caving into pressure to inflate and keep inflated a real estate bubble; looking the other way when connected interests engage in fiscal shenanigans. Does any of this sound familiar?
If it had been up to a vote, does he think Americans would have voted for or against dangerously low interest rates? For or against the dot-com bubble? And does he think a massive powerful government would be more or less beholden to wealthy interests? How does Moore explain that two of the worst banks, two of the principal villains in this show, were the taxpayer-backed and politically-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Or that many are worrying about the explosion of FHA-backed debt?
You want populist outrage, Mikey? Go to a tea party.
Platinum Subscriber bonus material:
- I like David Letterman. He's edgy and cranky. I like edgy and cranky. Still, there's some satisfaction in Monday night's repeated apology to Sarah Palin and her family in the wake of Letterman's own transgressions. Still, his relations with staff members broke no law. They were consensual and they apparently occurred before he took the marriage vow. Nor did he lie about them as Clinton did.
- One thing stuck out at me with Mayor Dave's announcement of his 2010 city budget. "The biggest challenge for the city is to revive the economy." Huh? Now the City of Madison, population 240,000, is going to revive the national economy? Barack Obama can't even do that.
- Strange new respect for Paul Soglin. Hizzoner blogs:
The 7.9% increase in the Dane County levy will not be welcome in our home. As a consultant whose income is dependent upon the economy, the last two years have not been pretty. It will be a challenge to come up with this year's property taxes. The additional $50 for Dane County, like the rest of our property tax bill, is carefully spent.
To that, add $70 from the City of Madison and, probably, twice that from the Madison School District.
- Why do I feel that we will be watching Brett Favre in another Super Bowl come January?
Dragnet's Joe Friday explains the facts of life to The One. (Thanks to Cousin Jeff):