THE LONE GUNMAN OF FILM
Go turn on The Tube. Leave it on for an hour or two. There may not be much worth watching. It may be just the usual Hollywood spew of "Reality Shows" that present very unreal circumstances and feature pretty damn vacant humanoids doing stuff that nobody ever does. So much for reality. The thing that’s important, though, is the number of commercials for pills of every shape and color for every ailment, real, imagined, or even suggested. Big Pharma, along with Big Oil and car companies lead the way in advertising. Count up the number of ads for pills in any given two or three hour period. My favorite part is the fast talking disclaimer guy part, often longer than the actual ad itself. "Some users of this product have experienced the growth of a second head. Others have had a near death experience. Do not take without a doctor’s advice. For a doctor’s advice, visit our website…"
Like the shows they sponsor, they create things that don’t exist and try to sell you a cure all remedy for something they’ve tried to convince you you have, just like some patent medicine shill wandering from town to town in the old west. Just tonight, I saw an ad for something called "dry eye". Never heard of it before. Some woman in an electric blue shirt whining that she suffers from a lack of tears! Unbelievable. You want tears? Hey, why not just dwell on the onslaught of messages from the boobs that control the boob tube, constantly dispensing fear and neurosis through fake news, fudged fact news, and, those Big Pharma pill ads. Think it’s not all linked?
Now, think about what happens when you really need medical help. Doesn’t matter if you’re insured or not. More often than not, you’re screwed either way. The U.S. health care system is rigged that way. It’s even on Nixon’s tapes. We all know the stories. We’ve all shared the experiences of dealing with the cost of treatment, hospitals, medicines to keep us going and get us better, etc. That's your own Reality TV. Whether you have a real ailment that needs real treatment or you’ve been convinced that you need that pill you heard about on the TeeVee, Big Pharma is making a BIG, BIG, HUGE PILE OF MONEY. Untold billions. They program your TV with more than just their ads. Does anyone with a mind really think that (m)any shows, news or otherwise, Big Pharma doesn’t approve of stay on the air very long?
Enter Michael Moore, The Lone Gunman Of Film, most recently exemplified by SiCKO. The campaign against SiCKO began as soon as word got out that he was making the film. He even has a letter from a frightened Blue Cross on his website. FOX claims that Health Care leads to terrorism. It used to be just Socialism.
Now that SiCKO is out, we are provided with a real opportunity to see the corporate machine at it’s worst since the "Shock and Awe" show on 3/20/03 or either of the last two election nights, as it tries its best to snuff the truths presented in Moore’s fantastic film. People are meeting and talking with each other, wondering what they can do to change things. Time will tell the answer to that one. Meanwhile, SiCKO has become a social phenomena and suits in corporate boardrooms are twitching bigtime. They could probably use some drugs. Fortunately for them, they don’t have to go to Canada.
On Monday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the Colonel Klink of News, presented a report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta that sought to bury Moore’s film by accusing him of fudging the facts. It was ridiculous and virtually anyone who has to worry about the cost of getting sick knows it. These clowns at CNN and their comrades at other media news distortion units get paid enough that they don’t have to worry about such things and they certainly don’t care about anyone that does. It’s I got mine, Jack, and Big Pharma pays the bills. Too bad they don’t have a pill for integrity.
As far back as June 29th, Moore’s staff had presented CNN with the facts. They ran the piece that they wanted to run anyway, even before Monday. The difference was this time Moore was on the show to comment and comment he did. The corporate media folks expect their guests to be nice and tame. Guess they didn’t know enough about Moore. It’s a problem in the corporate media that they treat guests who agree with them (right-wingers) with kid gloves. If you even lean the other way, they come at you with a hammer. Gupta’s report tried to do that with Moore. Moore, however, refused to follow the script and be a meek little lefty. Alan Colmes he is not. Check out the clip!
Yesterday, a very sheepish Gupta did his best back peddling moonwalk live on Corporate News Network. It was a thing both sad and beautiful at the same time. He apologized for "misquoting" Moore on things like per capita medical costs in Cuba. Jeez, not even a mention that Moore went to Cuba in the first place because he wanted to go to Gitmo because the Al Qaeda suspects there get much better medical care than say, the first responders at the WTC on 9/11 get here. What’s wrong with that picture that our government and corporate media don’t understand? That’s OK, Moore mentioned it. He was brilliant at making his points. We need more like him. Later in the evening, on Larry King, things were a lot tamer, but Gupta was in damage control mode to some extent although, in an effort to make a point against Moore, he did bring up again that Cuba is ranked below the U.S. in some aspects of health care, a fact that is made plain as day in SiCKO. Go watch the movie Sanjay. Moore made a point about CNN covering up a graphic relating to that issue with their nice corporate logo. I guess we just don’t get to see that enough. Moore has more details on the fallacies of the Gupta report on his own site.
Here’s the Real Situation: What Moore has done is what TV should be. Guests have to stand up to the Blitzers of the world. Guests should not be afraid that they won’t be asked back. Sure, Moore is only a guest of Blitzer every three years, but, one appearance like that is worth a dozen appearances where a guest just sits there, takes it, and collects his check. Blitzer had to be in shock. The camera didn’t show Blitzer’s reaction, but one can dream of Klink cowering and shriveling behind his desk until there is nothing but a crumpled suit and a stinking puddle. Just imagine if someone like John Edwards did what Moore did. They don’t like him either. After all, he’s made a fortune by taking the corporate world to court and winning judgments in favor of "the little guy."
The whole thing has reminded me of one of my absolute most favorite films, the multi-Oscar winning Network, in which a news anchor is informed he’s being fired, goes on the air, and in an act of open rebellion against the status quo gives a highly charged, emotional speech about what bullshit TV News and everything else has become that implores the viewers to go to their windows and scream "I’m mad as Hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore". They do, all over the country. Suddenly, the anchor, Howard Beale has the highest ratings in the business, all for just telling it like it really is.
The difference is, yesterday, the guy who did it was the guest on the show. How about it Wolfie? You up to it? Sadly, we already know the answer. That you even have the show you have is a sad commentary on our times. Maybe we just need a Bullshit Meter in the crawl space at the bottom of the screen. As the news hack shucks and jives, the meter’s red line rapidly moves from right to left and bursts out the side of your TV, continues out along the wall, goes out your window a zips to the horizon where it disappears due to the curvature of our planet. To CNN’s credit, like in Network, someone sniffed a ratings winner. They immediately asked Moore to stay later so they could film a part two for the next day, and, of course, he did.
In the voice of the movie trailer guy, imagine a world where what Moore did happens every day. Imagine a world where we don’t feel compelled to throw things at our TVs every time a news hack doesn’t ask the hard questions about the subject du jour or just flat out lies. In the meantime, I imagine a world where the public goes on strike against the media and I imagine a world with plentiful, bountiful baskets of rotting tomatoes conveniently placed at political debates and town hall meetings. You have the news clown asking the questions. You have the candidates getting off the hook. Ready, aim, SPLAT! Imagine a world in which people fill the streets in protest, like in France where the government fears the people instead of the other way around like here. Until then, I look at the Blintzers of the world and quote a man who happened to be a great Frenchman, Louis Ferdinand Celine. "I piss on you all from a great height."
Michael v Blintzer, Part II: