THE MOVIE “CAPITALISM” : NOT SO MUCH A LOVE STORY

I finally viewed the movie: “Capitalism: A Love Story,” written and directed by Michael Moore.

Whether pro-Moore or anti-Moore, the first thing we must all realize is that is that he has produced a documentary designed to expose problems in the United States, from his subjective point of view. That being said, it’s only natural that he will use interviews and materials that support a left wing agenda, while at the same time, discard any contrary information, no matter how compelling, that might dispute his positions.

We could expect the same, for example, from a Sean Hannity or a Rush Limbaugh who — if they were to produce such a documentary — would likewise present interviews and materials that support the right wing agenda while discarding any information that is contrary to their own.

All columnists, writers, politicians and pundits are guilty of this, yours truly included. If I want to write about the horrors of pit bulls — to which I already have a pre-determined leaning — I will seek out statistics and supportive quotations from sources that support my conclusions. They all do it…liberals, conservatives, democrats, republicans, communists, gays, anti-gays, blacks, Hispanics, whites, religious groups, writers, movie stars, talk show hosts and you name it.

The key is to try and be as open minded as possible, see all sides of an issue and present data and facts, not name-calling, pigeon-holes and opinions, to support a position.

Having been familiar with Moore’s leanings from past movies, we all knew going in that this was going to be a film which bashes the evils of capitalism, while supporting a change to another form of government, most likely socialism. So why go?

Because … to be Frank … it’s interesting. And there is always something that can be learned.

Here is where Moore is right:

* Corruption has been rife within our government, which is the root of all our economic problems. That’s just a truism.

* Both parties, republican and democrat, and their elected representatives, are responsible for the corrupt partnership with banking and mortgage interests that have brought about the housing crisis.

* Corporations that run private prisons are in collusion with politicians and judges to keep the cells over-filled in order to line their own pockets. I know this from my own research for a book.

* Many decent and unfortunate people have been bamboozled and cheated by mortgage companies, thereby losing their homes and livelihoods to selfish interests.

* The people, in general, are aware of government corruption, and wanted a drastic change from the status quo, and they got it.

The shooting of Moore’s movie was obviously completed shortly after the November election, thus there is no measurement of the new president’s achievements, or lack thereof.

Here’s where Moore is wrong:

* He blames a capitalistic system for all the woes. In fact, the system is the best in the world, and worked fine for two centuries, but we — the people — have been stupid enough to elect — and re-elect — corrupt politicians who are in collusion with Wall Street.

* He suggests that socialism is a better system, but he fails to point out how socialism inhibits personal freedoms all around the world.

* He shoots scenes which depict the big bad cops evicting poor innocent citizens, but he fails to present both sides of the scenario. As we all know, they exist. And in these cases, the people being evicted may have deserved it…or may not. We just don’t know. But the scenes certainly bring out emotions…which they are meant to do.

* He fails to mention that the Bush Administration, including the president himself, warned of an economic meltdown if congress did not impose more regulations on the mortgage companies, which they failed to do.

* He failed to mention that the three largest recipients of political contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — ostensibly to keep regulations at bay — were Dodd, Frank and Obama.

* He selectively denigrates Ronald Reagan as though he was at the center of big banking corruption, while failing to acknowledge Reagan’s contributions to the world in bringing down the Soviet Bloc and the Berlin wall.

This blog could ramble on about more of the scenes, but that’s a nutshell. Did Moore over dramatize? Yes. Did Moore center on his own pre-determined agenda? Yes. Will he piss-off conservatives? Yes. Will liberals in the audience cheer? They did. Is the film silly in spots? Yes. Did I shake my head and go “Oh noooo” at times? Yes.

Would this film be a great promo for the Obama agenda? Yes.

Would I recommend it? Sure. But only to people with enough smarts to sift though the personal prejudices and see the truths. Because it does illustrate much about what has been wrong with the government in general. If you’ve got an open mind, you’ll recognize the B.S., and absorb the meat.

Here’s a couple of review quotes:

“Moore’s guests are ventriloquists’ dummies he props up on his knee so they can present views he shares.” — Kyle Smith, The New York Post

“Michael Moore tackles a big subject with a scattershot approach.” — Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

“This is a love story, all right, but it has less to do with the flaws of capitalism than it does with Moore’s unwavering fondness for the sound of his own voice, and for what he perceives as his own vast cleverness.”   — Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com

Was I selective in posting these quotes? Darn right.

 Okay, here’s one from James Berardinelli, of Reelviews. “Vintage Moore, which means that it will enthrall many and enrage an equal number of viewers.”

Bring it on….