The Moore The Merrier.

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Onlooker
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The Moore The Merrier.

Postby Onlooker » Wed Jul 04, 2007 3:56 pm

Okay. So. I realize it may be a foolish thing to post a dissenting opinion about a polemicist that the writer whose site this is venerates, but I am no sycophant and have my own views on certain things for my own reasons. I never have been one to believe something just because a certain person says it is so; I have my own views because I think things through for myself. Always have, always will.

Now. I have not seen Sicko, but as I UNDERSTAND it, Michael Moore goes to the UK and interviews Tony Benn about the National Health Service, and has a gaggle of people interviewed saying how great that institution is. This seems to be to try to say that the American health care service is not better than Britain's. Well, in my opinion, that is mostly - though not entirely - utter garbage. I have had experience of both health care systems, and my treatment here in America has been of a FAR higher standard than any I ever got in Scotland. To wit (and this will let you know why I feel as I do about the NHS):

I was told there was no medication available for my kidney stones. Since I came to America I have found this is NOT the case and have not had a problem since I was here upon recieving the correct calcium-thinning meds. Which is great, because I NEVER AGAIN want to spend nearly three HOURS in a hospital casualty ward again in ABJECT AGONY because of a kidney stone as the other people there watch me groan and sweat like some interesting human TV show. I had to have a stent fitted for selfsame stones several years ago. They botched the op, and I was walking around with a piece of plastic stabbing into my bladder (after they botched the insertion of the stent, too; surgeon was a fucking butcher; only realized how badly he'd messed me up when I got the same thing done in America utterly flawlessly) for six weeks. Doctor seeing me after it chuckled and said "The surgeon must have thought you were taller than you were." Hilarious. HE wasn't the one in horrifying pain pissing blood for six weeks - I even had to leave my brother's wedding reception to walk to to the hospital to get a shot of a painkiller drug that never even worked anyway - though some cherry vodka soon sorted that out.

My brother fell earlier this year and broke his arm. When the stookie (ie 'cast') was removed, they informed him that oops, silly them, he had a broken thumb too...and they never even noticed, so sorry! My brother was also losing weight heavily recently and saw a 'specialist' who told him to take a certain medication for gout. He was VERY sick and my mother thought he was going to die, he apparently looked so grim. Turns out that the specialist had given him an erroneous dose of the drug he was on that could potentially be FATAL and had done him PERMANENT damage.

My father needed to get cataracts removed from his eyes. He was put on an NHS-special INTERMINABLE waiting list, slowly going BLIND, and eventually paid for the op out of his own pocket rather than lose his eyesight and time off work.

Now. That's three family members, and we've all had shit. Does THIS give you an inkling of why I don't think the NHS is as fucking wonderful as Michael Moore clearly does? The American health service is better than the UK one. That's just my opinion. But, as Harlan put it, it's my INFORMED opinion cos I have REAL EXPERIENCE with NHS botchjobs, as have my family. Moore HAS NOT; his 'experience' is all facts and figures and a select few yay-sayers to crow about the NHS on-camera. And my experiences have colored my vision. Which has also been colored by a constant stream of stories like these below:

www.news.scotsman.com/latest_uk.cfm?id=54952007

www.business.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=945602007

www.express.co.uk/posts/view/1795/NHS+n ... ut+of+beds

www.express.co.uk/posts/view/4512/Nurse ... e+over+pay

Those are just the first four I found when searching the sites of The Scotsman and The Guardian; could find MANY more, I assure you. The NHS seems like an institution on the verge of collapse sometimes. It is also abused by foreigners, who sneak into the UK to get free health treatment, like say they have HIV and come to die on the NHS...taking up beds that people like my dad, who has paid taxes all his working life, can't get because of bed shortages or staff shortages. Nurses go abroad for higher pay, as do doctors, and they're having problems recruiting for the NHS now, morale is so low. And I'm not surprised. At one point it was called, only semi-satirically, the 'International Health Service'.

Now. Along comes Michael Moore, a rich man from another country I don't ever recall seeing in casualty as I waited, and say that the NHS is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Can you see WHY I would think he's full of shit? He interviews an MP like Tony Benn, who is retired and a hardcore socialist, so that just shows you EXACTLY where Moore's head is at, to me at least, cos he spouts the kind of sanctimonious unworkable crap that polemicists like Moore LOVE to hear. And as for the people interviewed who say the NHS is amazing...well, they didn't interview ME, did they? I would have left Moore with a flea in his ear, trust me! I don't care who you are or how famous you are, I'm not intimidated by you and I'll just say what I want. If you ain't paying my rent, or have never bought me a pint...I have no reason to hold my tongue to you, though I do, of course, have a tremendous amount of respect for Harlan's writing, which has taught me many a true thing about life.

Moore is famous for fudging facts and figures to make his point. It's easy to support any certain myopic, reality-ignoring point if you collect and select only the data that supports your case. But do you think Moore will change ONE SINGLE MIND with Sicko? Nope. People who hate him, ie Republicans (and people like me), won't see it, and anybody seeing it will already agree with him, moan a bit coming out of the theater...then go home and do nothing anyway cos THEY all have comfortable lifestyles and health insurance. He's preaching to the converted, choosing easy crowdpleaser subjects there is already a leftist concensus on, making a piece of polemic entertainment about it...then laughing all the way to the bank.

More power(less) to him.

And his films change NOTHING. America is still obsessed with guns (something which, as an immigrant to this country, I find disgusting, disturbing and distressing) after Bowling For Columbine...and Simian Fuhrer Bush is still in power after Fahrenheit 9/11. Think Michael Moore can shame the government into changing the health care system? Nope. Those bastards are utterly shameless; just ask Scooter Libby. All they care about is money, as do the pharmaceutical companies, rivers of backhander money flowing from shady phantasmal sources, so they're not going to rock the boat to accommodate somebody they regard as a fat pinko-commie-anarchist-pervo-devo-atheist joke. Tell me I'm wrong.

Moore is like the hyper-political super-socialist bands I hate like Propagandhi or Anti-Flag, or Messiah Complex super-ego pricks like Bono and Bob Geldof and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day...sneering down their morally superior noses at you whilst still shamelessly using the tools of crapitalism to espouse their champagne sham pain small-s socialist agendas and make themselves rich. Nobody ever let ME into a Michael Moore film for free, though I do understand he projected it onto the walls of some pharmaceutical company - nice PR move! So I am supposed to pay a rich man to hear that the health service in America sucks, a health service that has been FAR better to me than that in my own home country! Yeah, right! Pull the other one, it's got bells on it!

I realize I am lucky to have health care. I realize, or am coming to realize more and more, that many people in this country do not. That is criminal. I suppose even the NHS is better than nothing, and I will grudgingly admit that I have been lucky to have it, even though it fucked me and my family over so badly with its substandard service. I have only been in this country for two years (second anniversary this weekend) and there is still a lot I don't know about it. But I'm just giving you one foreigner's perspective. Take it or leave it, it won't matter to me and won't change a goddam thing.

Much like a Michael Moore film.

Coupla brief (yeah Graham, like you even know the MEANING of that word!) things.

Josh Olson...'asshole'? I'm not even going to lower myself by insulting you back. You don't know me, so don't draw conclusions just because I voice a distaste for a populist self-promoting self-righteous showman that many others also cannot stand too (though I guess they don't post around here). People like Moore being rich, ie a rich socialist, is an oxymoron by their own worldview standards, or at least it should be. Like I said already, as Chumbawumba put it, Rich Pop Stars Make Good Socialists, be they of the champagne or cocaine variety. He's a rich pompous arrogant man with nothing better to do than make nothing-challenging morally superior films and rake in the cash. And as a guy I used to know told me, the people who say they care usually don't....and the ones who say they don't care usually do. It's not infallible, granted, but it's a pretty good rule-of-thumb to live your life by. Cos everybody has an agenda, hidden or not. And. As for populist shite like Transformers making millions for its makers, well, I don't see that sort of puff-fluff, being an adult human being, and generally try to avoid mainstream entertainment as being the celluloid equivalent of being kicked in the balls and head for 90 minutes or so. Last mainstream movie I saw was Pirates of The Caribbean 3, and that was UTTERLY INTOLERABLE GARBAGE; ONLY saw it cos it has Johnny Depp in it and I will watch him in anything. So I would quite gladly see the whole of Tinseltown "burn, Hollywood burn," as John Lydon so succinctly put it, for being the worthless mind-controlling moneyraker pablum-for-the-masses shite that it is. It's just brain pollution (does that new Chuck And Larry film about to come out with Adam Sandler strike anybody else as being homophobic right-wing gay-marriage-mocking godbotherer garbage?), as is much of the indie fare out there too. I didn't enjoy A History of Violence Much, am I allowed to say that? I think Cronenberg had his heyday back in the late 70s/early 80s,when he was ripping off JG Ballard's High Rise with They Came From Within (aka Shivers)...before working with Ballard, that is. But hey, once again, that's just my opinion. Which I understand I am allowed to voice, against-the-board-concensus-grain as it may be. But that's just me, to a malcontent tee.

And always will be.

Graham.
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Postby Steven Dooner » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:27 pm

So you just said the same thing again, only longer! Wow!

Just so you know, Harlan does not "venerate" Michael Moore. In fact, he was grieved that Moore's last film caused his friend Ray Bradbury trouble.

Also, try modifying your argument so it is not built on the same sort of anecdotal information that you fault Moore for.

Lastly, I might recommend that you reassess comparing Michael Moore to 80s punk bands that irritate you. If there are flaws in his argument, that's one thing, but he does do research on his positions.

Well, good luck to you.
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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:31 pm

Graham,

I realize you're wallowing in bias - but - and I'll make this short - yes, actually SOME people I know are slowly coming round to the health care issue, specifically the fucked games insurance companies play to control their profits against our lives (bearing in mind, their formerly conservative tones began changing on this prior to Sicko).

Shifting: for a moment, let's go hypothetical and just say "Graham - you've a bloody good point!"

In spite of your "better" experiences with our system here, the overall problem isn't at all mitigated. We've millions who can't GET the help they need for lack of money: a doesn't matter how a good a facility might be if they can't get to it at a ALL. And, by example, as I pointed out in the forum, clinics in LA are shutting down. For chrissake, I know a girl who's bipolar; she has very little income, with no one to support at this time. She can't afford insurance (and imagine how difficult the companies will be anyway with a precondition as such). She's dangerous to herself, and to others. The Venice Clinic is the only facility right now who could help her, and I hope - as she lives in another part of town - that she can get access to it.

That's ultimately what's at the heart of the matter. A country with this kind of wealth has NO justification for this type negligence.

In short...why don't you start using some logic?

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:15 am

Graham,

The essential point here comes down to this part of your post:

> I realize I am lucky to have health care. I realize, or am coming to
> realize more and more, that many people in this country do not.
> That is criminal.

Quite so. And it doesn't matter how much anecdotal evidence you come up with, or how badly you or someone you know happens to have been hurt by the NHS, the above remains what Moore is trying to address, trying to get the country he lives in and loves to address.

Trying to do pretty much anything on a large scale (i.e., via government) is going to be a messy and wasteful operation, but in the end, some things HAVE to be done, because god knows the corporations aren't going to do them for everyone, and our government isn't doing them. Maybe Moore's methods are at times cheap and ill-conceived; but that hardly invalidates his mission in general or makes him worthy of personal attack for making the attempts.

And your ill-researched, unsupported attacks on Moore do you no credit as a logician or thinker. I have no great love for him or the pop stars you execrate, but they all try to do something to make the world a little less imperfect, and that makes them a lot more worthy of respect than the many other folks who just make their money and consume in an ever-heightening cycle of eating and shitting waste.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Jan » Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:39 am

Amen to that.

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Postby LarryF » Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:53 am

In an editorial published in the July 5th edition of THE NEW YORK TIMES
Philip M Boffey writes, "As the author of many health care editorials, I was eager to see Michael Moore's "Sicko," a polemical attack on undeniable flaws in the way this country provides health care. The film is unashamedly one-sided, superficial, overstated and occasionally suspect in its details. But on the big picture--the failure to ensure that everyone who needs medical care gets it--Moore is right."

Maybe it's true that Michael Moore and Bob Geldof and Bono and many other celebrities like them are all self-aggrandizing assholes. Maybe not. I honestly don't give a damn about their motivations; no, what I'm concerned with are the results of their efforts. I daresay no politician has ever promoted any legislation, however self-effacing said promotion may have appeared, without an eye to how such passage would affect his or her chances for re-election.

A line in "Sicko" pretty much sums up the conflict between the health care strategies in the US and those in Europe and Cuba: Moore said that "They live in a world of we--not me." I am not demanding that the average American receive the sort of health care afforded our US representatives and senators, as that would be asking for the moon and the stars; however, minimal health care, delivered in a timely, more-or-less competent fashion, does not seem to be an outrageous request to make of the richest society on Earth.

Hell, if we can go to the Moon ...

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Postby robochrist » Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:42 am

One of the flimsy bullshit arguments the Right throw out there about "socialized" medicine versus a "free market" is that the former rations medical care, making it impossible for it to work.

What they leave out or, to my amazement, forget, is that the insurance companies ration care too. It's enough that so many people simply can't afford it, but when they can it often fails to cover what they need; after all, reps are paid commission to turn down coverage whenever possible. That's how a company makes a profit.

Again, please check out this link re: Blue Cross

http://ezraklein.typepad.com/blog/2007/ ... o-blu.html

...and to answer the question posed by Graham, "do you really think Sicko will change people's minds?"

In this case, yes, I do. Those who aren't profiting from the situation are slowly coming round. The response to Sicko is amazing.

rich

Postby rich » Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:00 pm

LarryF wrote:In an editorial published in the July 5th edition of THE NEW YORK TIMES Philip M Boffey writes, "As the author of many health care editorials, I was eager to see Michael Moore's "Sicko," a polemical attack on undeniable flaws in the way this country provides health care. The film is unashamedly one-sided, superficial, overstated and occasionally suspect in its details. But on the big picture--the failure to ensure that everyone who needs medical care gets it--Moore is right."


Actually that could be said of ALL of Moore's films.

I could address Graham's posts in the same condescending manner that Dooner and Rob used in replying to Graham, but not really up for it today. I'll reserve my snide remarks to Dooner and Rob.

But the point is this: Michael Moore has done nothing to elevate, or really address, the conversation concerning healthcare. At least three Democratic presidential candidates have healthcare as a top priority, done well before Moore came out with his polemic. The majority of Americans understand that their healthcare coverage costs them more and more each year. The middle class, those stalwart barometers of political and social trends, have had this on their radar for awhile.

It could be argued (and I probably agree with this argument) that Moore brought this simmering issue to a full boil, thus putting it out there so the media can do their usual RIGHT vs LEFT black and white analysis, using Moore's face as a way to get those that agree with him to tune in, and those that don't agree with him to tune in just to yell at the tv screen.

Personally, I don't think Moore brings anything to the healthcare dialogue. He's like the guy that yells 'fire!' at the top of his lungs, but doesn't actually fight it.

But he did yell fire. Even if we saw the smoke, went about our business 'cause someone else was gonna check into it or we knew we needed to do something about it just in a moment we're busy, at least Moore grabbed our attention, thrust the spotlight on the fire in the hopes that while the firefighters argued about methods to combat it, there were a few that were busy trying to put it out.

Goddamn, that's a fucked up analogy. But you get the point. Umm, if you don't, I honestly don't blame you.

So...what Boffey said. Up there in the beginning.

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Re: The Moore The Merrier.

Postby Steve Evil » Sun Jul 08, 2007 12:00 pm

Onlooker wrote:And his films change NOTHING.


Possibly not. But at least he's trying. Better to try and fail. . .

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Postby FrankChurch » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:59 pm

His films change nothing? Michael gets more people interested in politics, created more young voters in 2004, probably helped the democrats win in 2006.

The movie is not doing the numbers of other films, but only because health care is not a sexy issue like the war.

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Re: The Moore The Merrier.

Postby David Loftus » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:17 pm

Steve Evil wrote:
Onlooker wrote:And his films change NOTHING.


Possibly not. But at least he's trying.



VERY trying, according to some folks.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

rich

Postby rich » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:28 am

I saw Moore on CNN the other day where he was almost foaming at the mouth in his distaste for Gupta and CNN. He was all over the place, and, though he may have had some good points, he kept losing them with his insistence to talk about the war in Iraq as opposed to what Blitzer had him on there: to talk about Sicko.

I think those that like seeing a large man rant and rave will like Moore's attitude, but those that want to hear some level discourse on health care and what the options are probably tuned the guy out. I did. I didn't even bother to watch the second part of the CNN interview, though I probably will 'cause I want to hear what Gupta has to say in his defense.

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Postby Moderator » Wed Jul 11, 2007 8:43 am

Moore was on Larry King last night, alongside (well, split-screened with) Dr. Gupta.

Moore's anger came across very badly in comparison to Gupta's calm, almost serene demeanor. Gupta reinforced several of Moore's positions, but this had the effect of making Gupta's criticisms MORE credible not less.

Like rich wrote, the viewer was left with the impression that Moore is a Foaming Liberal rather than reasoned and impassioned champion of the working class, which is really too bad given the seriousness of the cause he is promoting. Getting attacked by the Corporate Right is one thing, but handing them your own pre-sharpened scalpels to do it is something else again.
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Postby markabaddon » Wed Jul 11, 2007 9:38 am

While I did not see the original CNN interview with Moore, nor the on-air discussion with Dr. Gupta, I did read transcripts of both from Media Matters.

Allow me to present a slightly different viewpoint: liberals have been viewed as effete and weak by the media for decades. Michael Moore comes along and has a ton of passion about the subjects of his films and is derided as a "Foaming Liberal". By contrast, Glenn Beck, Savage and Coulter can rail against a perceived liberal agenda and are, by and large defended by their cult-like followers and the media in general.

Moore is pissed off and he has a right to be. Did he present a balanced documentary? Of course not, he presented a particular perspective to reinforce his argument. Here is the difference between him and the wingnuts: he gets his facts straight.

He employed a fact checker for both Fahrenheit and for Sicko and made damn sure he had everything lined up before releasing the film. Immediately before he appeared on Blitzer's show to talk about Sicko, he had Dr. Gupta on and Gupta told a bunch of out and out lies (on the cost of health care in the US, in Cuba, on whether or not Moore said health care is free in other countries).

So the initial interview did not start very well. As for his focus on the War in Iraq, gee can ya blame the guy? When he released Fahrenheit, he was roundly criticized in much of the mainstream media, and especially on CNN, for his presentation of the lies about 9/11 and the War in Iraq.

Several years later, the NY Times prints an editorial saying, and I shall summarize, "We was wrong. Get the troops out." CNN has made no such mea culpa statement and I think it is fair for Moore, one of the first and most ardent critics of the War, to call them on that.

With that out of my system, back to running pension calculations.....
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Postby Moderator » Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:46 am

Mark -
You know I am as foaming a liberal as the rest, but what I was referencing was the fact that Moore came off badly, not that his info was wrong or otherwise flawed. Reading a transcript of the Larry King interview is not going to give you the rolls of the eyes, the grimaces or other acts that would serve to reinforce the negative view a Conservative viewer might have. Moore got angry over some comments on the earlier broadcast, and that's his right. But when he went on Larry King he should have conveyed less froth and more meat. "Cool authority" -- which Dr Gupta conveyed -- is far more swaying than argumentative snearing.

As it was, it seemed Moore was working from a set of very specific talking points (some of which had nothing whatever to do with healthcare).

In fact, there were points of the King show where Larry King and Dr Gupta made Moore's points FOR him and in a much more convincing way.

That was my point.

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