The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'michael moore'
More Wikileaks revelations, this time about Cuba, the world's grooviest totalitarian dictatorship: a US diplomat complains that countries including Spain, Switzerland, Canada and nominally loyal Washington ally Australia have stopped criticising Cuba's human rights record, ostensibly in return for commercial favours.
Meanwhile, it emerged that Cuba banned Michael Moore's film Sicko, which decries the state of privatised health care in the US and contrasts it with a glowing image of Cuba's health system. The reason Cuba banned it was apparently because its portrayal of Cuba's system was so mythically positive that it could have led to a popular backlash against the real thing; in particular, one of the Cuban hospitals is only available to the Communist Party nomenklatura and those who can pay bribes in hard currencies:
The cable describes a visit made by the FSHP to the Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital in October 2007. Built in 1982, the newly renovated hospital was used in Michael Moore's film as evidence of the high-quality of healthcare available to all Cubans.
But according to the FSHP, the only way a Cuban can get access to the hospital is through a bribe or contacts inside the hospital administration. "Cubans are reportedly very resentful that the best hospital in Havana is 'off-limits' to them," the memo reveals.
Peter Costello has taken time out from courting religious zealots to denounce Michael Moore as an "the quintessential Ugly American" for saying bad things about the Australian Prime Minister.
"Personally, though I have no say in any of this because I'm not an Australian, I hope the Australian people throw Mr Howard and his people out of office for participating in this," Moore said.
Moore repeated his bewilderment that Mr Howard, who he described as someone with half a brain, had chosen to back Mr Bush's war plan. "What is John Howard doing in bed with an idiot?" he asked.
If, however, he was a Bush Administration official warning that there will be Consequences if Labor wins the next election, that would be perfectly alright.
I just saw Fahrenheit 9/11 (which was screening at (ironically enough) the George in St Kilda as a fundraiser for the Greens). I was impressed. In this film, Michael Moore basically goes from the 2000 US Presidential election (which he mentions briefly) to the present day, piecing together facts from many sources into a coherent whole, with a good deal of opinion and some humorous editing. Thankfully he keeps his trademark attention-grabbing clowning to a minimum, and focuses on presenting the story of these past four years as he sees it (and it's not a pretty picture: the current US administration, and much of the US economy, is in the pockets of untouchable Saudi interests, whom it is protecting from 9/11 investigations, instead using the aftermath of the incident to grab power and maximise its cronies' profits, whilst manipulating the American public into a constant Orwellian state of fear and screwing over the poor working stiffs sent to fight in its dubious war). It's not a happy story to watch (and some of the images of war casualties are graphic), though I'd say it is an important film to see.
It's telling that, when Fahrenheit 9/11 was released, Disney's hastily assembled riposte to it was a piece of neo-Norman Rockwell kitsch about "American values". The implicit message being "don't think, feel; asking questions causes trouble; go back to sleep, you'll feel better".
But yes, I think that Fahrenheit 9/11 has the potential to cost Bush the next election (notwithstanding wildcards such as trick voting machines, suspensions of elections, or Osama bin Laden's pre-election capture, of course). It won't sway the true believers in either camp, who are already decided, but it could electrify many of those who are currently uncertain, or who would otherwise not have voted.
The clown prince of the American Left, Michael Moore, claimed a few days ago that Disney killed the distribution of his most recent film, Fahrenheit 911, to preserve tax breaks in Florida; a classic case of corruption, cronyism and corporate power suppressing free speech. Or it would be, if it wasn't an outright publicity stunt. Moore, it seems, knew all along that Disney had no intention of distributing his film, though found it more advantageous to strategically misrepresent the situation as Disney doing the Bush Junta's dirty work. The existence of the alleged tax breaks is also up for some debate. Then again, as Mel Gibson discovered, there's no such thing as bad publicity.
I just saw Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine. (I had intended to see it whilst in London in November, but ran out of time.) It's an interesting film, looking at gun culture and violent crime in America; its thesis is an interesting one: that the problem is not so much a result of Americans having guns (Canada is full of guns but has a much lower murder rate) or a violent history (Germany, Japan, England, &c. do as well) but one of America living in a culture of fear, division and paranoia; with news reports constantly highlighting violent crime (because that's where the ratings are), a culture of mutual suspicion, and a near-criminalisation of poverty. (The differences between the US and Canada are particularly telling.) In short: guns don't kill people, memes do.