Michael Moore is back, but does anyone care?
He’s been keeping a low profile for a while now, but the
controversial Oscar-winning filmmaker (Roger
& Me, Bowling for Columbine, Sicko) issued his 2008 Election Guide this week. Rolling
Stone magazine reprinted some of
Moore’s unsolicited advice to his fellow Democrats (whom he refers to as
“pathetic” “crazy” “professional losers.”)
As usual with the over-the-top provocateur (whose last hit
film was 2004’s Fahrenheit 9/11)
Moore’s sarcasm is difficult to distinguish from his serious suggestions. Among
other things, Moore
dares Barack Obama to “denounce” him and reject his endorsement, for the
candidate’s own good.
He had better back away not only
from me but from anyone and everyone who veers a bit too far to the left of
where his advisers have told him is the sweet spot for all those red-state
voters. I won't take it personally. After all, I'm not the guy who married him
or baptized his kids. I'm just the idiot who went to the same terrorist, Muslim
school of flag-pin desecrators he went to. […]
So Barack, by denouncing me, you
can help McCain get elected. Because when you denounce me, it's not really me
you're distancing yourself from — it's the millions upon millions of people who
feel the same way about things as I do. And many of them are the kind of crazy
voters who have no problem voting for a Nader just to prove a point.
If his advice seems oddly narcissistic rather than tactically
sound or even logical, Moore’s next idea is even more counterintuitive.
Playing self-appointed kingmaker, Moore followed up by suggesting
Caroline Kennedy (daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy) as
Obama’s running mate, based solely on her famous surname rather than her
professional qualifications. Nothing if not startlingly original, Moore
contends that an “Obama-Kennedy” ticket would appeal to nostalgic liberals.
I cannot think of a more winning ticket
than one that reads: OBAMA-KENNEDY.
What Obama needs is a vice
presidential candidate who is NOT a professional politician but someone who is well
known and beloved by people across the political spectrum.
Keller, author of The Bluest State
– which he says “deals at length with baby-boomer political narcissism” -- weighed
in on Moore’s more recent opinionating, and was puzzled by Moore’s unflattering
characterization of his fellow Obama supporters as “beer-swilling,
trash-TV-addicted couch potatoes.”
“He offers Obama a fail-safe political solution,” writes
Keller, “one that could only have been devised by a totemic member of the ‘me’
generation -- drop what you're doing and embrace... ME.”
Moore clearly believes he is still as popular, important and
influential as he was when his award-winning anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 raked in tens of
millions of dollars at the box office, and he shared a V.I.P. box with former
President Jimmy Carter at that year’s Democratic National Convention.
Ironically, that movie’s unprecedented success inspired a
counter-industry of Moore-bashing and debunking. Even some fellow leftists
began distancing themselves from Moore as his deceptive filmmaking techniques
became common knowledge. Christopher Hitchen’s devastating Slate piece, “The Lies
of Michael Moore”, was merely the most scathing example of what became a
minor genre all its own:
To describe [Fahrenheit 9/11] as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to
promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a
piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again
rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile
crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit
9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an
exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice
masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.
Jim Stark has chronicled the filmmaker’s every fib and gaff
for years at Moorewatch.com. Asked
about Moore’s new advice to Barack Obama and Caroline Kennedy, Stark told
I think that clearly illustrates
the problem with Moore today: he's still living in the year 2000.
I think that the real issues this
election are simply the war on terror and the economy by way of gas prices. Nothing
Moore says makes a difference with either of those issues. People just aren't
listening to him anymore. Except in Europe. Most of the pro-Moore email I get
now is from Europe.
He's going to be less of a factor
in this election than any other of which he's tried to make himself a part. He
marginalized himself by being a clown and telling so many obvious lies and half-truths
over the years.
For some, calling Moore a clown doesn’t go far enough. In his
obituary for actor and Second Amendment activist Charlton Heston, whom Moore
cruelly mocked in his anti-gun movie Bowling
for Columbine, Mark Steyn
took the measure of both men, and found Moore wanting:
Michael Moore is no hero – a
chocolate soldier heavier on the chocolate than the soldiering. So he ended his
film by doorstepping Charlton Heston, and, polite as ever, Chuck invited him in
for coffee only to have the corpulent provocateur start hectoring him (...)
In their bizarre screen encounter,
these two men embodied the unequal contest between old Hollywood and new: Moore
represented the poseur compassion of the left, Heston the defense of
Indeed, Moore’s well documented history of distorting the truth in his
films and books has been the subject of numerous articles, books
like Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man,
dedicated websites like “The Truth About Bowling for Columbine” and even
by other filmmakers.
Make that four.
Veteran Hollywood director David Zucker of Naked Gun fame has talked some of the
biggest conservative actors in the business into taking part in his new big
budget movie An
American Carol, due out this October. The zany all-star comedy skewers
Michael Moore in the form of an overweight, unkempt, baseball-capped character
named “Michael Malone,” whose anti-American movies prompt the ghosts of George
Washington, John F. Kennedy, General Patton to teach him a lesson in
Hollywood insider John Nolte runs the popular conservative
movie blog “Dirty Harry’s Place”. He
told FrontPage via email that, ironically, An
American Carol is kinder to Moore than Moore has been to some of his real
An American Carol actually presents
the Moore character as a much more sympathetic character than Moore himself
manages to ever come off as in real life. If Carol has any effect on Moore, it
will be through the contrast of how much more likable Farley's character is
compared to the real Moore.
Another longtime observer of Moore’s career, Nolte believes
that, “Michael Moore made two mistakes: Fahrenheit
9/11 and his 2004 convention appearance are both now perceived by many as
to have backfired in Bush's favor, and his hubris in only wanting F9/11 allowed in the Best Picture Oscar
category, as opposed to Best Doc, did not sit well either.”
Moore's latest film, Captain Mike Across America, a love
letter to himself detailing his 2004 college campus tour, barely got released
and turned off a number of his supporters because it came off as, well, a love
letter to himself.
made less than a quarter of F9/11's
domestic take ($25 million compared to $119 million.)
So I'd say Moore's box office
clout, influence, and even his standing in Hollywood has suffered greatly. And
if the history of liberal, celebrity narcissists is any indicator, he'll only
make a bigger fool of himself attempting a comeback.
Author Peter Schwiezer (Makers
and Takers) detailed Michael
Moore's personal duplicity in his previous book Do As I Say, Not As I Do (Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy),
specifically the fact that the anti-war advocate of socialized medicine
stock in Halliburton and HMOs.
comment on Moore’s latest public statements, Schwiezer told FrontPage via email
that Moore’s “influence is limited to Hollywood-types and slackers. I think his
advice to Democrats is perfect. It is
guaranteed to help McCain win.”