Friday, March 19, 2010

Capitalism: A Love Story

Michael Moore is a national treasure. Seriously, folks, two-hundred years from now, his films and books will be studied in civics classes much in the same way that Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" is studied today. I am convinced of that. It's refreshing to know that in 2010, we can walk into a movie theater and see on the silver screen topics being dealt with that the main stream media - with the blessed exception of Bill Moyers - insists on ignoring. We ignore Michael Moore to our own detriment.

If you didn't get the chance to see it in the theaters, you can
now view it in the privacy of your very own home, boys and girls! On Tuesday morning Moore's latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story, was released on DVD. It is his most important one to date. Buy it. Watch it. Organize a showing at your local library. Make sure that as many people as possible see this film. If enough of them come to realize how badly they're getting screwed by their elected representatives, there will be a revolution in this country. It's been seventy-seven years since the last one. We're long overdue.

In fact, there is a revolution brewing at this moment in our history - for all the wrong reasons. People are rising up against an imaginary organization of Liberal politicians that doesn't even exist in this country anymore. Life can be funny that way, you know? Americans even funnier. Go figure.

cy in America has been overthrown - plain and simple. For three decades Corporate America was allowed - by law - to rape, pillage and loot our national treasure. When their house of marked cards came crashing down on September 15, 2008, you and I, against our will, were forced to bail these hideous bastards out. That's not a democracy. That's a plutocracy! These "Plutocrats" were able to buy our democratic form of government under the guise of campaign contributions. They have seized it and they have no intention of giving it back. And don't kid yourself by thinking that this is the fault of any particular political party. Both of them have been thoroughly corrupted - the Republicans only slightly more than the Democrats. You say you want a revolution?

In this ne
w movie, Mike dots every i and crosses every t - or to the extent that that's possible in slightly over two hours. A comprehensive look at the shambles that is the American economy would require a film several months in length. It took thirty years to create this mess and it's not going to be cleaned up overnight. When the American electorate stupidly signed on to Ronald Reagan's moronic Supply Side, Trickle Down, Voo Doo Economics in 1980, we effectively sealed our fate. Back then, there were a few voices in the wilderness who were sounding the alarm: that Reaganomics was mathematically unfeasible and that we were committing a long and slow economic suicide. Those warnings went unheeded. After all, it was the Roaring Eighties, baby! Let the next generation clean up our mess!

We're in the money!
The skies are sunny!
We've got a lot of what it takes to get along!

The long dormant chickens of the era of Ronald Reagan have come home to roost with a nasty vengeance. Someday, I hope, we as a nation will overcome our dysfunctional love affair with Reagan and come to understand what a fool the man was. The damage he did to our country was so immense, it will never be accurately assessed. There was a period between the years 1993 and 2001 where that damage might have been put in reverse. Unfortunately it was only aided and abetted by Bill Clinton. And you won
der why I am no longer a Democrat? No Friend Of Bill am I.

The premise of Capitalism: A Love Story is going to be awfully hard for many of us to swallow. In essence the argument being made is that capitalism has failed. We're not merely talking about unregulated, out-of-control capitalism; were talking about capitalism PERIOD. And while it might have been a reasonable option once-upon-a-time - that is no longer the case. Our economic value system needs to be completely rethought if we are going to survive as a nation. And what are the odds of something that miraculous ever happening? About slightly less than zilch. Best of luck to us.

On whom wo
uld Jesus foreclose?

One of my favorite scenes in the film is where the theological argument against the capitalistic system is made by a Catholic priest named father Richard Preston. He calls it by its rightful name: "Evil". In the DVD version, there is an extended interview with Father Dick in the "Special Features" section. That segment alone is worth the price of the ticket.

Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called Sons of God

Jesus of Nazareth

We're no longer living in the "land of the free". Show me a people whose lives are held hostage by the greed of the ruling class and I'll show you a people who are many things. "Free" they are not. This situation has existed for many years now and it's only recently that we're starting to catch on. Unfortunately, due to the successful propaganda campaign being spewed forth by FOX Noise, the GOP and the so-called "Tea Party", that mass anger is being misdirected. The "Liberals" are behind all of our problems, we are being led to believe. That is only true inasmuch as they have been rendered (by themselves largely) as irrelevant in recent years. The only true progressives in the entire senate are Russ Feingold and Bernie Sanders. Liberalism is d
eader than the three Kennedy brothers combined - and that's pretty damned dead, Buster!

Capitalism: A Love Story costs about twenty bucks. Trust me on this one, it's more-than-worth the price. On the DVD's box, Mary Corliss of Time magazine says, "This is Moore's magnum opus". I'm inclined to agree. Each film this guy produces somehow manages to top the previous one in importance. It almost makes one tremble to even contemplate what the subject of his next one will be. It is enlightening, disturbing and moving all at once....OH! And did I mention that it's funny, too? It's a scream! Even the music in the closing credits had me rolling on the floor - the worker's anthem, "The Internationale" sung by a lounge singer named Tony Babino in the swingingest, Las Vegas/Rat Pack style! Koo-Koo, b

This is the film that Michael Moore should have won the Academy Award for, and yet he didn't even get a nomination this time 'round. That's okay with me - I can't even remember the last time I watched the Oscars anyway. That award is meaningless. The thing to remember is that this is the film which will be remembered twenty years from today as the warning that was ignored. Michael Moore is a prophet. That fact will become more and more obvious as the
years transpire. The economic cataclysm has barely begun.

Tom Degan
Goshen NY


My brother Pete recently bid on a charity auction. The prize was a guided tour for two of the Abbey Road Studios in merrie old England where the Beatles recorded. HE WON! For the average Fab fan, that's the closest thing to a religious experience. We'll be over there in May. Any UK readers want to meet up for a pint or two?

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!


At 7:13 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Not seen it yet - it's due out here (UK) any time soon. Will watch it though.

I'm still reeling from his other film, 'Sicko' - and if that didn't wake America up to the paucity of what passes for healthcare in the US, then you can only conclude that those against all forms of making healthcare accessible to every US citizen are either ineptly partisan, or in the pocket of Big Medicine and its lobbyists.

At 7:19 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

You're in merrie old England? My brother and I are going to be over there in May. We won a bid on a charity auction: A guided tour of Abbey Road Studios. We ought to get together for a pint or five!


Tom Degan

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Hey Tom,

There's a possibility I might be in London in May, so if the dates align, let's do it!

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Phil Ruse said...

I think the problem you have with Michael Moore is he'll confirm your worst suspicions whilst not changing any opinions. He came in for a fair amount of criticism in the UK press with his last couple of films not as you would expect from the right, but from the left-leaning papers. The argument being that it was so obviously partisan it was easy to deflect the criticism, regardless of whether that criticism was justified.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

That's actually true, Phil: apart from sometimes being too 'gimmicky', Moore has been criticised for pointing out 'the problems' without making any effort to offer what he sees as any realistic or pragmatic alternatives - or at least simply using that hoary old chestnut of "leaving the viewer to make their own mind up", which is, in effect, one and the same thing.

That said, there has to be at least one voice in the US making a lucid case in illustrating what the problems are.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Ken Riches said...

Interesting, I have not seen any of his movies, I might have to give this one a peak.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Darlene said...

I got the DVD from Net Flix and it blew me away. I think his next film should explore what we can do to change the system.

A Revolution isn't going to happen, given our apathetic electorate. Socialism has as many flaws as Capitalism, so what kind of monetary system is the answer? (A hybrid, maybe.) I am as far from being an economist as one person can get so I have no answers.

Lets all ask Paul Krugman what he suggests.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rather spend $20 on the "Insane Hussein" joker shirts that are really popular these days!

Moore is a fat waste and a capitalist to boot...

Harry from Mass

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Michael Moore a national treasure, I have to agree. He speaks the truth and tells us what we are afraid to hear but must.

Cosmic, I don't think it's Moores job to give us advice on how to fix the problems. He points them out to us and we are supposed to elect leaders who will change Washington and Wall St. They are the ones who are supposed to FIX us.

Really great post Tom!

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Hey Sue,

I think perhaps you've missed my meaning: with respect, any fool can document what they think is wrong with any given picture, and, as you'll be aware, examples of this are legion (exhibit A: The Teabaggers) - however the real value comes in offering suggestions and alternatives as to how (and by whom?) that picture can be bettered. Otherwise it can just come across as bleating and then ends up being nothing more than 3% content, 97% ner-ner-ner-ner-ner.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Rain Trueax said...

I had it on my netflix list but after what you said, I will buy it just to make sure it makes money. More power to him and I know how much he's hated by the right but I agree with you. He's done a lot to tell Americans what they don't want to hear. This one didn't get the promotion because the people behind the movie world didn't want it out there either.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Tom, you touched on something that has puzzled, annoyed and angered me for 30 years and that is the adulation given to Ronald Reagan. After so many years I am still baffled by those who think that senile old fool displayed "greatness".

One of my favorite memories from that time is having dinner with a friend of mine: a genteel and brilliant Southern lady who had something like three PHDs and god only knows how many Masters Degrees in economics and business and who was for many years chairman of the economics department at DePaul Univ in Chicago. At that time, she vehemently said that Reaganomics and the trickle down theory simply would not work and was an idiot's theory of economics.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Charles, I wrote a piece on that very topic a couple of weeks ago.

Time to Tear Down The Reagan Myth

Tom, you, me - there must be something in the air...

At 6:13 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

C.N.L., a terrific article, thanks for pointing me to it.

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Tom I am envious of your trip to Britain. I hope some of the readers from across the Pond will take you up on your offer.

Great writing as always.

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Charles Moore wrote: "C.N.L., a terrific article, thanks for pointing me to it."

No problem, Charles, glad you enjoyed it.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger Cirze said...

Nicely argued, Tom.

I thought the MM movie would be nominated for best pic, and the fact that it wasn't prolly relates more to its compelling relevance than anything else.

The last thing the powers-that-be want now is more notice relating to how they have let the fraudsters off scot free.

I was surprised not to see protesters at the Academy Awards.

RR is still the idol of the rightwingnutters specifically due to the Faux Noise that never ceases about his gooey greatness.

Everyone else knows the truth but we have no mechanism outside of Keith, Jon, et al., to get the word out to the ones on the right who still possess working cerebral cortexes.

And, granted, there aren't that many left in this dumbed-down country where people have immediately forgotten the Cheney/Bush Deadly Decade and have decided that somehow Obama is to blame for all the collateral damage (and that "libruls" caused the trouble in the first place).

Again, thanks for all you do to keep us informed.


This is the film that Michael Moore should have won the Academy Award for, and yet he didn't even get a nomination this time 'round.

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I just saw the movie today at the prince Charles in Leicester Square, which you really should check out when you're in London. Its a great independant cinema that shows all sorts of great movies.

The conclusions me and my friends came up with was: this is propaganda supported by rock-solid facts that we can kinda agree with. Although everything he says is honest and supported by reality, it is hardly balanced and it designed to inspire a particular response.
That said, I think it's his best film since Bowling for Columbine, he doesn't ramble on nearly as much and the set pieces work remarkably well. He's a very good director and this film shows it.

Be glad to meet and share a few drinks when you get here.

At 2:10 AM, Blogger Teeluck said...

I will have to see it...haven't seen any of his works yet...

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Sue said...

Thanks Tom! ;-)

At 8:17 PM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

Tom, have you read David Korten's book on After Capitalism? Geez, man, I shit you not, that man has the exact same things you are talking about along with a very coherent analysis of what can be made of the ashes of our economy. Michael Moore brings a lot of truth to the conversation, but not much in the way of what do we do now? Korten nails it. I honestly feel we have a shot at doing something besides having mobs of people lynching Rove, Rice, Cheney and Bush, although I really like that idea myself. The thing is we have been properly programed to believe in capitalism as a natural basis for trade. It isn't! Not only that but the more natural ways of dealing with commerce are perfectly suited for the internet world. I have hopes... no faith in my fellow Amerikans, but still miracles do happen. Please do yourself a favor and at least look the guy up on line and check out what he's organizing. It might work...

At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

I'll be interested to see Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story when it is available in New Zealand. The new capitalism was embraced by both our main political parties (the NZ National Party and the NZ Labour Party) in the 1980's. There isn't much difference between the two now. Labour used to be the party for the workers, which helped the poor and the unfortunate while inflicting death duties and other taxes on the rich. It led the way in "reforms" starting in 1984 and they and their cronies in business stripped NZ of its many publicly-owned assets, like forestry, railways, among others. When the National (tory)party got its chance it carried on where Labour (supposedly moderately socialist) left off, reducing welfare benefits to the point where anyone struggling with unemployment for example was so busy trying to survive on the pittance they received that they were unable to engage in such essential activities as looking for work. Thriving businesses were bought and sold by corporate raiders and rationalised with wholesale lay-offs before being shut down altogether. The 1980's were a disaster nor NZ. NZ's forestry earned important income for the country and employed many thousands of people, but now logs are sent overseas for milling or chipping and jobs no longer exist that would benefit scores of little forestry towns which are now ghost towns. Manufacturing is almost non-existent as free-trade deals between our government and some Asian governments mean that it is cheaper to import goods than to make them here. Our cousins across the Tasman in Australia went down the new capitalist road a lot more slowly than NZ, setting up compulsory savings in the form of superannuation schemes which over the last 30 years have provided a fund for investment. Of course, Australia has some advantages that we don't - minerals in great quantities and a bigger population. Politicians (dirty word, sorry) here have still not got the message and now want a free trade deal with the USA. They haven't learned a thing. Both parties favour the rich over the rest of us and life is a huge struggle for the majority of New Zealanders.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

My goodness! That was priceless. Thank you!

Love and Peace,

Tom Degan

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed Michael Moore ever since "Roger & Me" I also agree with the other posters that he is not a man with the answers either, but that is not his job. He frames arguments that make his points and can do it in a manner that keeps you watching. His point of view and his insight is not always out there from other sources and, in this day and age of shouting and hurling epithets at those with a differing view, refreshing. Thanks for the reminder of a great American resource.

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At 12:16 PM, Blogger Cosmic Navel Lint said...

From today's Observer:

"Modern capitalism is at a moral dead end. And the bosses are to blame"

Capitalism will be continue to be demonised while our CEOs refuse to put their own corrupt house in order

At 10:21 AM, Blogger guy said...

I had to watch it twice... Really, I almost never watch anything twice and I have never viewed a film two times in a 24 hr period in my entire life. What an amazing documentary.

That being said... where I am from, Micheal Moore is considered treasonous and any mention of his name or his work is followed by a 30 minute speech about how much he hates America...

I never let it get to me. Ive watched all his docs. "Capitalism: A Love Story", in my opinion, is his greatest work. Its soooo unfortunate that all those who hate Moore for his anti-gun liberalness will miss out on one of the most relevant documentaries of our decade. I have tried to convince a select few to see it.

Its nice to find a place where there are so many open minded individuals. Thanks

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Thanks for the kind words, Nate and welcome aboard!

Yes, I, too, watched it twice in a twenty-four hour period. In fact you have me inspired. I may watch it again today.

All the best,

Tom Degan

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Tom there is a product called ENVIRO-BOND 403 that could have stoped this oil and contained it but big oil wont pay to keep some on hand. WHY? check it out. Shame on BP and dont buy BP gas ever again!!!


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