“That man’s been the raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth for as long as I can remember.” When I think of Michael Moore, that line in “The Music Man” sort of sums up his career, and what many people think of him.
The befuddled looking man, overweight, bespectacled, and wearing a baseball cap is Michael Moore, sort of an everyman with lots of cholesterol. He’s not exactly what you think of when you’re looking for that one person who's going to save America. But, he’s trying. God, he’s trying.
I went to see “Capitalism: A Love Story” last week. In short, the movie’s about how our system of earning and living has been used and abused by an economic upper class that is raping our country and people of their dignity and ability to live a comfortable and fruitful life.
Moore’s style is to ambush unsuspecting targets with a single camera and ask pointed, simple questions to very complex issues. He has this ability to stand in front of his “victims” with this look, not a look of “gotcha” but a look of “huh?”, drives home the utter helplessness we all feel when confronted by things that are clearly unfair, but there’s nothing we can do about it.
His commentary rolls in the background, speaking of the hypocrisy of a system that allows people to be removed from their jobs and homes because of shell games being played by those in power at the banks, industry and the government.
His movies always go to the locked closet, the place where they hide Frieda, the crazy aunt the family’s been trying to hide for years. He opens doors and the vermin coming streaming out. He pulls on the scab of a wound that just won’t heal. Yes, he is the raspberry seed in the wisdom tooth of America.
Many people look at Michael Moore as a left-winger who’s out to destroy America with some sort of socialist agenda. If he looked differently, was taller, thinner, and could see better, we might see something else, a Jimmy Stewart sort of fellow determined to see the light and find the answer the rest of us can’t or won’t acknowledge.
So, you go Michael Moore. Keep knocking on those doors that are answered by servants and guards. Keep digging the dirt. Keep asking the questions. Keep doing the job that our newspapers and electronic media long ago stopped doing.
And, as long as you do, there’ll be at least one seat in the theater that is occupied.