19 May 2007

Another one doing a Gibson?

There is no such thing as bad publicity, they say. Whoever they may be, they are unquestionably right. Mel Gibson has proved it exceedingly well, making an outlandish and, as most viewers agree, boring opus into a center of a heated public brawl for months before its first screening. And no matter how many eggs were thrown in his face, his bank account paid for all the detergent necessary to do a thorough cleaning job.

And here comes another wannabe Mel, creating another brouhaha around an opus that, frankly, I am not going to hold my breath for:

Cannes is smacking its lips in anticipation of filmmaker and provocateur Michael Moore's latest jeremiad against the US administration, which receives its premiere at the film festival today. Sicko, a documentary tackling the state of American healthcare, focuses on the pharmaceutical giants, and particularly on health insurers.
That Cannes is smacking its lips goes without saying. Anything showing US in a bad light will have the Cannes public in throes of a multiple orgasm. And of course, who else but the esteemed expert in weaving half-truths into another provocation that will appeal to the right kind of public?

The Gibson prepared by the fatso and his producer this time is definitely a new one:
Now, according to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company is behind the film, the US government is attempting to impound the negative.
And what, pray, would be the reason for such an extraordinary move by the 'US government'?
In March, Moore travelled to the Caribbean island with a group of emergency workers from New York's Ground Zero to see whether they would receive better care under the Castro regime than they had under George Bush. He had applied for permission to travel in October 2006 and received no reply.

In a letter dated May 2, the treasury department notified Moore that it was investigating him for unlicensed travel to Cuba, or, as the missive put it, engaging in "travel-related transactions involving Cuba."
Do you see in the above any reference to the movie? Is it the movie that has broken the law or its "creator"? Why in the whole blue world should the treasury decide to impound the movie, instead of bringing a forklift to transport Mr Moore somewhere for investigation?

And, as it is widely known, quite a few Americans travel to Cuba for this or another reason, sometimes just out of being ornery, and I do not remember seeing American jails overflowing with the inmates who has stepped over this particular line.

Anyways, if the whole story does not smell fishy to you, it may have something to do with an olfactory impediment. Otherwise, it is a lame Gibson, if you ask me. And the best proof is:
Weinstein appeared to be enjoying the brouhaha that the film is stirring up before it has even screened. "I've already told the Treasury that they are saving me money on advertising."
Indeed. Now to this new troublesome child by the trailblazer of the "new age of documentary".

To say that American health care system is perfect and does not have its woes would be stupid. Anyone who has experienced the insurance companies' tender care knows what it is all about. But what is the alternative touted by Moore? Even Charlotte Higgins, the author of the article, seems to have been taken aback by the idiocy of that:
The health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, may be surprised by Moore's ringing - if strictly speaking, factually inaccurate - endorsement for the NHS. "The poorest Brit is healthier and lives longer than the wealthiest American," he said.
Strictly speaking, indeed. Strictly speaking is not the term one would use in relation to the Moore's "documentaries", that's true. But this overwhelming comparison to the British NHS, hilarious as it might be, is just an appetizer. You see, it is the shining example of Cuban health care system that Moore had in mind embarking on this new venture.

The three sources: Wiki, CANF (the Cuban American source) and its opposite - the Cuba Solidarity site - will give you a general picture of goings-on in Cuban health care system, try to reach your own judgment. But the result is not pretty, and to expect that an already indoctrinated person will come back, after his charges receive a preferential treatment in one of the Cuban clinics for the privileged, to present an objective picture, would be a bit too much...

And let us not forget for a second the inimitable style of Mr Moore:
Of his journalistic style, he said: "It's the op-ed page. You don't say that's not journalism. I present my opinion, my take on things, based on indisputable facts. They could be wrong. I think they're right."
If a person challenging the fatso's bluff were looking for a better way to demolish him, I doubt that this person could have found a better way than just quoting the above confession. Indeed, "indisputable facts that could be wrong" summarizes the whole body of work by Moore better than anything else ever said or written.

However, let's not forget the author of the article, Charlotte Higgins. In her haste to publish she, how to say it gently, was a bit too free with her facts:
The rightwing backlash has spawned a number of documentaries questioning his methods, including Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk's Manufacturing Dissent.
Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk would be mightily surprised reading this, Ms Higgins. In their worst dreams they did not see being classified as a rightwingers.
Melnyk and Caine have stated that when they first sought to make a film about Moore, they held great admiration for what he had done for the documentary genre and set out to make a biography of him. During the course of their research, however, they became disenchanted with Moore's tactics.
See, Ms Higgings - you really don't want to follow in Moore's steps, publishing "indisputable facts that could be wrong". Or do you?

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.