Michael Moore has provided radical political alternative to mainstream perspective by making documentaries, writing books and commenting on the political issues. He is the person who has criticized on globalization, large co-operations and assault weapon ownerships. He has done a controversial movie with President George W. Bush named Fahrenheit 9/11. That was the award-winning and controversial film of 2004. This movie contained the distortions and untruths which had endorsed President Bush for re-election. That was the first time a film has this kind of impact. Background
Michael Moore born on April 23, 1954, is the famous American film maker, author and liberal political commentator. He was born as Irish Catholic. He had done schooling from parochial St. John’s Elementary School for primary school and originally intended to join the seminary. He then attended Davison High School where he had done drama and debate. In 1972, he completed graduation and at the age of 18, he was elected to the Davison School board. As he dropped out from the University of Michigan-Fint, he worked with the student newspaper The Michigan Times and worked with the General motors.
Then he got the alternative weekly magazine The Flint Voice nowadays called as The Michigan Voice, at the age of 22. In 1986, he became the editor of Mother Jones. After 4 months, he was fired from the Mother Jones because he had refused to print the article by Paul Berman, which was against the social political party of Nicaragua, named Sandinista. He was once sued for wrongful dismissal and the case got settled out of court for $58,000, providing him with the seed money for his first film “Roger & me”.
In 1990, he got married to a producer Kathleen Glynn and he started living with his stepdaughter Natalie in the Traverse City, Michigan. He was Catholic, but he was disagreed with the church teachings on abortion and gay marriage. He also started the Traverse City Film Festival in Traverse City, Michigan in 2005. Also Time magazine named him one of the world’s 100 influencing people. He had made many documentary movies which criticize the globalization, large co-operations and assault weapon ownership.
He had produced and directed movies like Roger & me, Fahrenheit 9/11, Canadian Bacon etc. These were the documentary movies which criticize the society on the issues like political, globalization etc. Capitalism-A Love Story was the movie which shown the financial crisis of 2007-2010 and the US transition between the administration of incoming Obama and outgoing Bush. During a press conference he said “Democracy is not a spectator sport, it’s a participatory event. If we don’t participate in it, it ceases to be a democracy.
So Obama will rise or fall based not so much on what he does but on what we do to support him” Reuters Sept 06, 2009. He had done acts in the movies like Lucky Numbers, the Fever and Canadian Bacon. He had played many roles like an Anti-Canadian activist and journalist. He had also hosted the BBC television series TV Nation and the series was aired on BBC2 in UK 1994-1995. It was also aired in US on NBC in 1994 for 9 episodes and in Fox for 8 episodes. In 1999-2000, The Awful Truth was aired on Channel 4 (U. K) and Bravo (U. S), which satirized the actions of big co-operations and politicians.
In 1999, the show which was similar to the “The Awful Truth” but also incorporated phone-ins and a live stunt each week was aired through U. K. ’s Channel 4. The name of the show was Michael Moore live. Also in 1999 he had won “Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award” in Arts and Entertainment for “The Awful Truth” where he was also described as the “muckraker, author and documentary filmmaker”. He had also directed various music videos like Rage against Machine, Sleep Now in the Fire, Boom and All the way to Reno.
He had made appearance in the documentary movies like The Drugging of Our Children (2005), Grand Funk Railroads, Blood in the Face (1991), The Yes Man (2003 , The Corporation (2004), Martial Law 9/11:Rise of the Police State (2005), The Divided State (2005), I’m Going to Tell You a Secret (2006) and Shooting Michael Moore. These movies were the documentaries on different issues of the society. The movie “The Drugging of Our Children” was the movie based on the over-prescription of psychiatric meditation to children and teenagers.
The movie “Blood in the Face” was the documentary about supremacy groups (Neo-Nazi). In 2003, the movie The Yes Man was the documentary in which two men posed like World Trade Organizations and he appeared during the segment which was concerned about the working conditions of Mexico and Latin America. He had said “The problem is the profit motive: for corporations, there’s no such thing as ‘enough’” during the interview for his movie “The Corporation”. Then he was appeared in the movie Martial Law 9/11: Rise of the Police State, which was the criticism to his own movie Fahrenheit 9/11.
He was also featured in the movie The Divided State which followed the levels of controversies surrounding his visit to U. S. before elections in 2004. Then he appeared in I’m Going to Tell You a Secret which chronicles Madonna during her 2004 Re-invention world tour. He had also written the famous books like “Downsize this! ” which was based on corporate crime and politics in U. S. , “Stupid White Men” which was the critics on American’s domestic and foreign policies and “Dude, Where’s My Country? ” which was based on Bush Family’s relationship with Saudi royalty, Bin Laden Family and the energy industry and a call-to-action for liberals.
Discussion Michael Moore has criticized the whole system of America in many ways like through documentary movie, books, TV shows, press conferences and many other ways. He is the person who has criticized President George W. Bush on the 9/11 attacks. He had changed the face of elections in September 2008 as he released the movie on internet “Slacker Uprising”. In all his movies, books written, TV shows, music audios etc, he has criticized globalization, large corporations and assault weapon ownership, the Iraq War, U. S. President George W. Bush and the American health care system in his written and cinematic works.
“I am trying to reach across the great divide that exists in our country right now,” he said. “Certainly we could find some common ground on issues like health care, because illness knows no political stripe. ” (Flasher, 2007) His book “Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American” was a critical review on the corporations ignoring the safety and well being of their community and workers over their stockholders.
He had shown the true faces of the society which he wants to change. Bowling for Columbine Like most of the Moore’s work this movie was based on the real life incidence of 1999 the Columbine High School massacre. This massacre claimed the life of twelve students, one teacher, injuring more than twenty other people and ended up in suicide of the two students committing the crime. This was regarded as one of the deadliest school incidences in America and raised questions over the distribution and control of guns and arms.
The movie revolved around the weapon control issues. This movie was critically acclaimed, received commercial success as well as criticized for misrepresentation of facts. However people liked it for various reasons. The movie goes on probing various aspects of the violent records of USA across the world. Ordonez-Jasis, and Jasis () listed various issues discussed between Moore and Evan McCallum (the spokesperson for Lockheed Martin, the largest weapons-builder in the nation on the violent history of American involvement in various international activities such as, Mossadegh government and the imposition of the Shah (1953), our involvement and war in Vietnam (1963 to 1975), the overthrow and assassination of the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende (1973) to the funding, training and support of death-squad governments in El Salvador (1977 to 1991), the Contra war in Nicaragua (1981 to 1990), our involvement and funding of both sides of the Iraq-Iran war (1980 to 1988), the bloody invasion of Panama (1989), our involvement in the invasion of Kuwait and its aftermath, the Gulf War against Iraq (1990 to 1991), the Yugoslavia-Kosovo war (1999), and, finally, our initial support for and later destruction of the Taliban government in Afghanistan (2001 to 2002). The disturbing actual footage of the violence and death caused by U. S. foreign policy are portrayed as acts of international violence. (Ordonez-Jasis and Jasis)”
Moore had described the Columbine High School massacre as “microcosm of what happens throughout the world. ” This was considered as cruel as well as unfair comparative statement as the level of massacre, the objectives and implications have been different. However, it could have been controlled with strict gun control laws. The unfortunate deaths of students and psychological trauma of injured and related people has been compared to the thousands of those who faced the direct and indirect involvement of US in violent activities in their country or region. This comparative analysis shocked America as well as internationally questioned the role of America in various issues.
Fahrenheit 9/11 This was again a controversial documentary movie targeting the President over the decision to attack Iraq irrespective of the fact that major world leading organization and parties were against it. The controversies were over various factors like utilization of oil resources to the personal reasons President George Bush may have. The movie was acclaimed in various film festivals from Cannes to Academy awards. This movie is presented as an examination of the role of America, particularly the role of The President after the Twin Tower, September 11 2001 attacks. This film like his earlier works has been in controversies for the distortion of truth.
There was list of facts and figures published along with the movie release related to the points raised in the movie. This movie was also politically motivated as 2004 election was due when the movie released and it was said to have impact on the election. “Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 surpassed that success on its opening week- end. Released in the summer before the 2004 U. S. presidential election, the anti-Bush administration film became a powerful rallying point for both Bush detractors and Bush supporters. That it arrived in American theaters with the imprimatur of the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme D’Or award only spiked the controversy. No film has ever played such a prominent role in U. S. lectoral politics. ” (McEnteer 2006, 79)
The movie and Moore got international recognition with this movie. The movie presented Bush and his family’s, presented Bush as a ‘corrupted clown, serial deceiver and rendering his critics apopliect’ (McEnteer, 2006) Capitalism (Capitalism, a love story) This movie was based on the corporate malfeasance. This means the privatization and led implications on the life of individuals across the world. There have been number of works from across the range of journalists, film makers and others like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Moore, and Vandana Shiva who questioned role of various power bodies of our society.
Chomsky on one hand questioned the role of media in misrepresentation of Islam, whereas Moore has attacked to various power bodies across the world. The movie was well created that it succeeded to keep the attention of viewers from start to the end. The movie included the 1950s corporate propaganda films. There have been some scenes of the movie that was been appreciated like in one of the scenes the Shell Oil CEO Mark Moody-Stuart is shown to have tea on his front lawn with the same people against him, referred him murderer on the giant banner and are the Earth First! Activists. Capitalism was attack on the role of large corporations and their profitability concerns that is impacting the environment, society and world as a whole. Conclusion
No matter how controversial Moore’s work has been so far. His presentations have given people an opportunity to think something that can be a hidden truth. The questioned raised over the aspects like individual ethics and collective imperatives, role of media, role of administrative agencies and the ability to present something that can impact power centers have helped in manufacturing different consents in the society altogether. Moore works have held the power centers responsible and accountable for their actions and justifications of the actions. American political spectrum has been very much influenced by Moore as a personality and his work that attacked various political and power spectrums.
Subject: Michael Moore,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 23 September 2016
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