Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sicko (2007)

My biggest problem with Michael Moore Is that I agree with him. In principle. It is one thing to denounce the propaganda of the other side; a much more disagreeable task to have to decry the means being used to further the ends you support.

But perhaps this is where we should be especially vigilant, lest our efforts be put to use against us—are you listening, Mr. Moore?

I thought not.

Sicko is everything the anti-universal healthcare side could wish for. Over the years, Moore has only gotten more anecdotal and polemical with his films until we are faced with two hours of stories told by crying Americans and shiny, bouncy ex-pats taking advantage of their country of choice. It's not that I think he lied, necessary. You don't have to. But he doesn't tell the whole truth, either, or give sources or statistics. The issue of healthcare can stand the harsh light of reality. This is a murky, manipulative film that only provides ammunition against the very position it takes. And Moore's self-congratulatory "man of the people" shtick is wearing thin; cutting to your own reaction shot when an interviewee mentions "educated, confident" Americans, or running a boatload of 9/11 workers to Cuba to give that country some free publicity, is not clever.

This country needs health care reform, and making a film about it is commendable. But we already know it's an issue; what it needs now is a debate. With facts, comparisons, and valid (i.e. systematic and not anecdotal) evidence. How can you sit and listen to a man tell us that true democracy requires an informed populace and then refuse to offer anything approaching a balanced look at the issue? If you don't want us to be stupid, treat us like we're rational people and inform us. Because you're not convincing anyone smart enough to see the holes in your argument, and the people already on your side don't want to be seen next to you.

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