. . . Friday June 25, 2004

Why I Love Michael Moore

A few days ago, I wrote a post explaining why I hate Michael Moore. In it, I mostly focused on the fact that I sometimes think his backing of cause can do more harm than good.

Today, I’d like to try to answer a slightly different question:

Why do I love Michael Moore?

Because we live in the age of silence. We actually hear supposedly reputable people talking on major networks who say that Michael Moore’s film should not be shown or that he shouldn’t be allowed to advertise it because such marketing efforts would interfere with campaign finance laws. Before this movie even came out, you had people complaining about what folks in the Middle East would think of it (the common theme that disagreement with policies equals unpatriotism and aiding the enemy is never far from these debates).

Let them think what they should think. That we are nation where a person can make a movie that criticizes the president and his policies. Aren’t these the freedoms we’re looking to spread?

Why do I love Michael Moore?

Because we live in an age when the folks at Fox News (of all places) spend much of their broadcast time complaining about media bias. Because even people who believe in Moore’s general cause have been brainwashed into believing that the release of ideas or points of contention could somehow be bad for America. We are afraid of debate. We are afraid of dissent. We are afraid of seeing a breast at halftime.

Here’s a bulletin. The press cannot be too hard on an administration that leads us to a war. That’s their job in our society.

Because, as Bruce Springsteen wrote in his epic song Jungleland, “The poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be.” Any war should be accompanied by busloads of dissent and cynicism. That doesn’t soil the troops, it is vital to respecting them. There are two key ways to support the troops that have been ignored in this age of tough talk. First, they should only be sent somewhere when it is absolutely necessary. And second, every effort should be made to give them the full support of troops provided by our allies. Believe me, more people watching your back and a return home a few months earlier is a lot more supportive to troops than any cowboy rhetoric.

So where are all the poets?

And it’s not just the war. We have seen a ridiculous Congressional focus on raising indecency fines and we’ve seen Howard Stern come dangerously close to being silenced for saying the exact same things he’s been saying for more than a decade (except the part about being anti-Bush). I wonder if it’s a coincidence that he is now off the air in several swing states? You may hate Howard Stern. Congressional leaders may see Howard as the wrong person for whom to make a stand. But where the hell is rock and roll? Where are the young people marching in the street with placards and bullhorns? Maybe it’s because it would be almost impossible for a musician to take a stand against Clear Channel and still have a career. OK, so where is the outrage about media ownership laws?

Is the debate over the digestion of carbphydrates the only thing that can get a rise out of people these days?

Because without Michael Moore, we may not be focusing on some of the issues he raises in his film. How scary is that? A little dissent and a political perspective can make one an international superstar. That’s how rare criticism has become. Because the media has largely been horrible on the Iraq question. Because we’re seeing some of the footage in Moore’s film for the first time. Because we see fifty hours a week on Laci Peterson and about two minutes on the Saudi relationship with the U.S.

Because Michael Moore is, in general, on my side in the upcoming election, yet sometimes he really pisses me off. That is rare indeed in an era where we’re usually only allowed to be pissed off at people on the other side of the aisle. In a time when absolutely everyone is positive of the righteousness of their views on absolutely everything, this guy even has me disagreeing with myself.

See Also Why I hate Michael Moore…

Concentration is important!