Michael Moore Is Fat. Don't Listen To Him!
Moore is a documentarian who exploits issues, distorting them into rants which serve his purposes. He tells the truths we already know but don't want to hear, like some ruthlessly perverse anti-socialite who shows up at cocktail parties to show off a progressing cancer. His movies, 'Roger & Me,' 'Bowling for Columbine,' and 'Fahrenheit 9/11' all had the same signature in-your-face-give-me-answers approach. Despite that, some prefer to treat him like an overweight sahib criticizing the Raj or a drunken Eliot trashing high society in 30s Singapore. As someone who has become an insider, but really shouldn't be fully legitimated. Their best defense seems to be, "Make him look ridiculous," juxtapose the body of his work as lightweight against his too-great bulk. But Moore is no effete liberal, and neither is America media all that conservative, or deep.
Moore is a fellow Eagle Scout, a street fighter who doesn't realize he's not worthy. Rather, he realizes it, but he's pissed, on his home turf, and spoiling for a fight. He uses his appearance as a permanent feint, his leading questions like a bullfighter's cape. He is a patriot on a mission to avenge Flint, Michigan, and he doesn't really care if he looks perverse and ruthless. So when CNN ran a hit piece full of inaccuracies mouthed by the Spokes-doctor Sanjay Gupta right before Wolf Blitzer's interview, it was a pretty bad idea. By the interview's end, Moore had beaten Blitzer so bloody that he actually took pity on him, thanking him with a wry smile while thinking ahead to the proceeds of a coming libel lawsuit.
Lord Wife and I went to see Sicko last Friday night. Here's the short version. Pretty much all of us know the American system of health care is broken. I sure as #%$& do. If you don't know that yet, fall down on your knees and thank whatever god you should pray to for your good health. It's Lord of the Flies out here. I paid $1,420 a month for a top-notch COBRA plan in a state which has the most advanced health care research in the country. When my wife had an emergency appendectomy less than a month after our son was born, the plan refused to pay the surgeon who took out her appendix and saved her life. The operation took twice as long as standard, and the doctor wasn't directly employed by the hospital. So there was a loophole, you see. The surgeon's office came after us for his hefty fee. I could keep going way past there with many other anecdotes, some of which I have written about before. But by comparison to to others, me and mine are lucky, so I will stop.
Even so, before seeing 'Sicko' I half-believed people when they said, "Oh, Cuba is reporting false numbers, people have to wait forever to get seen there, Michael Moore is pulling a cheap Castro publicity stunt, etc." Uh-uh. Wrong. Wait until you see the lobby of Havana Hospital. It's more beautiful, efficient, and, for lack of a better word, thriving, than any hospital in the United States. This is not your father's communism. The Cuban doctors weren't faking their state-of-the-art MRI machines, CAT scans, dental implants, competent diagnoses and sterling bedside manners. The 9/11 volunteers who went there for treatment got it for free and were grateful to the point of tears. Because they sure as hell weren't getting their resultant pulmonary problems treated, or compensated for as promised, here. The kindness in Cuba may have been a publicity stunt. So what? It was also real. And for those of you who think Michael Moore is an ass...maybe he is. But he gives a damn, and unless you happen to be a robber-baron or a boot-licker, he's on your side, and he dishes highly effective counter-propaganda. All Americans are getting screwed by outsourcing. By guns. By resource wars. By blood-suckers. It's just a question of degree.
America is the only country in the world, the only prosperous country, which does not have universal health care. I've lived and worked in quite a few other industrialized nations, East and West. All of them have cheap, readily available and effective care that regularly treats foreigners and tourists at no charge. We all sense the US health care system sucks by comparison, and is getting worse. But it's hard to understand how great the differential margin is until you see it for yourself. Fewer still, of course, understand that America is running a gigantic social engineering experiment to see how much profit can be extracted via people's illnesses. The perfect economic satisficing strategy would be to keep a patient alive and/or in treatment until, like a depleted oil field, there's no easy money left in them. Then you cut them loose and wait for them to die or for conditions to change. As Michael Moore says on Larry King, "There's no mystery here. It's the insurance company's money, and they have a fiduciary responsibility not to give it to you. It's against the law for them to not put their shareholders' returns first."
There's the Crossroads of the Problem. In the movie, you'll see that the for-profit health care system goes all the way back to...Richard Nixon. (Hello darkness, my old friend!) Nixon approved a massive conflict of interest, a scheme by Fred Kaiser to "make more money by providing less care," and the moment is actually caught on tape. To see Moore's knock-downs of Blitzer on CNN, the clip is hosted on Crooks and Liars. The YouTube clip above is from Moore's far more amiable and informative interview with Larry King. Sicko's main value is in exposing how insurers operate. They kill as many people as they can get away with, and they're looking at you. Go see how.