Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Listening and shouting: on Michael Moore and others

I know it's not very popular for the progressive left to like Michael Moore, but I have a confession to make: I do.

I understand the complaints against him. And I understand completely why someone may not like him. He is loud, he does make a nuisance of himself, and he can be biased to the point of not even wanting to consider the viewpoint of the other side. But while watching Fahrenheit 911, it struck me that no one can say he doesn't care. He cares a lot. And despite the loud-mouthedness, despite the in-your-face attitude, and despite the mask of loud, angry liberal, he seems to me to be someone who genuinely likes his country and wants to change it.

I invite you to disagree with me. I understand that many people dislike him. But I ask you to understand that I will differ with you on your opinion of him.

The strength of the right comes from their unity and their willingness to be adamant on issues. They have Santorums who will compare gay sex to men having sex with dogs, then refuse to back down, and then be supported by his backers. They have men like Cheney who will not admit that there is trouble in Iraq. They have men like Hannity who will repeat their talking points until the American public agrees without thinking. And they have supporters like Falwell who will make ridiculous assertions and refuse to backdown.

One of the reasons I support Dean so much is that he's finally daring to make assertions, and he refuses to back down. For as much as Rove will insist liberals "don't get 911," Dean will fire back that the Republican party is a party of white, Christian men. And while I believe it is necessary to have people like Kerry to compromise, and groups like the HRC to speak softly, I think it is just as important to have the people who will get in the faces of the opposite party, the American people, and their own party to shout. Edwards does well, but so does Franken. Clarke is important, but so is Barbara Boxer.

We need all kinds to fight this assault by the right. We need people to listen and be thoughtful and compromise, but we need people who will shout and refuse to backdown. The right can be nasty. Very nasty. And it's important to have people who will call them on it.

And that is why I like Michael Moore.


Anonymous Johnicholas said...

being loud and making a nuisance of himself are good points.

I don't know what careful and reasoned people think are his bad points. I think his stuff consists of sentimental obsessing about trivialities (columbine, 9/11) - these incidents should not have a thousandth of the attention they've actually received from the media. I think he grandstands and plays to the crowd, trying to create a personality cult focused on himself.

1:29 PM

Blogger the roommate said...

i don't know. I think one of the main conclusions I agreed with re: the travesty, er, election was "they fought on their terms. and we fought on their terms" I think there is so much the republicans get to claim like caring about 911, life, family, that we just let them. And I feel like Moore supports the lines *they* draw as to us and them...Which means he is making points I like, but he is also being what they want him to be. does that make sense?

2:01 PM

Anonymous dokool said...

As a filmmaker I like Moore's style, but his movies would be more effective if they weren't so polarizing (obviously).

And of course, as you've come to expect from me, another link - SF Women's Motorcycle Contingent has difficulty trademarking Dykes on Bikes

5:57 PM

Blogger Cass said...

I heard about the Motorcycle thing. Dude. Weird. Also, somewhat wtf.

10:41 PM

Anonymous dokool said...

One more link (can I suggest you guys make a gmail account or something? I feel bad about spamming the commentbox with links when I'm not saying much about the actual posts)

Gay Retirement Home to Open in California

4:34 AM

Blogger Harper said...

Yeah, Roommate, I get what you're saying. I guess the only way to approach that is to say that Moore tries to present himself as the guy who fights on the common man's turf. Each of his documentaries have heavy play in Flint, Michigan, his hometown, so I guess he believes he needs to fight on the same terms they're (the Right, the religious right, the etc) fight on? If that makes sense? I think that's what he's trying to do?

But, yes, I understand. I would just say that maybe it's necessary to have people fight on their terms and on ours? They've defined family as anti-gay so long that it could be a mistake not to address them on those terms (as well as on our terms)? ... and I'm babbling. Right. Sorry, I get what you're saying, though. Good point.

And, different subject: while I agree that Columbine and 911 have been used in the media in a disgusting way (the RNC's 911 screaming point being one example), I don't think we should just dismiss them and refuse to address them because of that abuse. Just because Bush uses the catch phrase 911 every other moment doesn't mean we shouldn't focus on his family's ties to the Saudis, including the Bin Laden family.

12:36 PM


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