[Marxism] Behind the attacks on Michael Moore

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Jul 4 17:36:18 MDT 2004

Charles Demers in SevenOaksMag.com

In an interview last year with Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive, 
popular left-leaning film critic Roger Ebert explained that, though he 
agreed with the essence of Michael Moore’s acceptance speech at the 
Academy Awards, he thought that its delivery was ineffective.  As did 
many at the time, Ebert voiced the opinion that “Best Actor” Adrien 
Brody “found the right note for that moment.  I think you can say almost 
anything if you find the right way to say it.” The classy, elegant Brody 
-- who prefaced his gossamer-thin “statement” with a deep and 
unsolicited kiss for presenter Halle Berry -- was compared favourably by 
many after the awards show to the hulking and abrasive Moore. 
Similarly, when the adorable Morgan Spurlock emerged with his 
blockbuster documentary Super Size Me, many critics felt that they had 
found a pleasant alternative to Moore, the iconoclastic and popular 
documentarian whose work had paved the way for directors like Spurlock 
in the first place.  The website efilmCritic.com put it thus: “Morgan 
Spurlock has Michael Moore’s provocateur mentality, sharp sense of humor 
and mischievous good nature, without Moore’s obnoxiousness or unsightly 

The warmth with which the vast majority of commentators have embraced 
the “statements” of the likes of Brody and Spurlock -- while retaining a 
hostility for Moore hidden behind vague appeals to decorum and ad 
hominem attacks -- is testament to their total lack of substance. 
Brody’s tearful plea for a “peaceful and swift resolution” could be read 
a number of ways, and likely found its wide appeal in this underlying 
ambiguity.  Spurlock’s film – which purportedly deals with the fast food 
industry and obesity, a plague that follows the gradient of America’s 
social and racial hierarchies with alarming consistency -- neglected 
race absolutely and class almost entirely.  The picture’s thesis boiled 
down, in the end, to a suggestion that one not eat so much fast food, 
and get out and exercise more often.  While Moore has been attacked for 
making himself the star of his own egomaniacal documentaries, Spurlock 
filmed his every meal, close-ups of his vomit, and interviews with his 
vegan girlfriend about his slowing libido. In the end, the film mirrored 
the insubstantial nutritional value of its subject matter; no real food 
for thought, just radical packaging.

The positive reception for the obviously Moore-inspired Spurlock stands 
in sharp contrast to the vitriol heaped on Moore himself, which has only 
sharpened in response to his very excellent Fahrenheit 9/11, more on 
which later.  On the first page of a Google image search of “Michael 
Moore,” one will see three doctored images of the author and filmmaker: 
in one he is covered in condiment stains as he two-fists a couple of hot 
dogs; in another he is posing with his “good friend Saddam”; in another, 
the cover of his best-selling book Stupid White Men is set up to read 
“Stupid Fat Cunt.”  Sites like MooreWatch.com claim to be “watching 
Michael Moore’s every move,” while conveniently providing links to sites 
in support of a commemorative golden dollar for Ronald Reagan, as well 
as to online stores where one can purchase t-shirts reading “Tolerance 
is the virtue of a man without convictions” and “ACLU: Enemy of the 
State,” with a hammer and sickle cleverly substituting for the “C.” 
Blowing the others out of the water, though, is 
MichaeMooreHatesAmerica.com, the official site of a documentary by the 
same name.  MMHA is a documentary by Michael Wilson, a young man billing 
himself as “a rebel who took on Mike,” and who promises to “tell the 
truth about a great nation.”

Full: http://www.sevenoaksmag.com/features/19_nine_eleven.html


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