Inside the world of Michael Moore

Mike Schoeck

Michael Moore appears as any another American, adorned with one of several baseball caps, Drew Carrey glasses, jeans, sneakers and also a certain amount of pudge. “Roger and Me” debuted at theaters thirteen years ago, launching Moore’s career as a progressive television personality and documentary film maker.
“Roger and Me” was a breakthrough in documentary films, exposing the 30,000 layoffs after General Motors closed one of its main production plants in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Moore does to investigate reporting, social activism and criticism much like a muckraking scavenger rodent traversing the nation.
In every film he makes his chasing exposition of corrupt CEO’s and politicians completely hysterical, if not simply for his persistence and incendiary method of asking dumb-downed questions which are completely obvious of the outcome before the guilty party responds. His tactics are humorously outrageous much like Comedy Central’s “Trigger Happy TV,” MTV’s “Jackass” and not to mention Tom Green’s antics.
Moore’s new film about the current state of gun control policy is now playing at select theaters, entitled “Bowling for Columbine.” Besides starring in all of his own documentaries, the director also recruits a select group of interviewees to counter as well as advocates who support his left-wing cause. “Columbine” features none other than President Bush, Chris Rock, NRA chieftan Charlton Heston, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson and “South Park” creator Matt Stone.
Since 1999 Moore has hosted Bravo’s “The Awful Truth.” The show is similar to newer reality-based television shows although often they appear redundant due to Moore and company’s vigilant yet unapologetic tone. The one difference is that Moore’s show actually shows and explores a worthy cause and exposes a corrupt agent in society or government.
Several first and second season shows detail prevalent social issues and targeted groups like health care, homosexuals versus conservative church groups, tobacco companies, and pro-life versus abortion rights proponents.
For issues that would turn into a dry debate on any network news program, cross-fire discourse or talk show, Moore takes his participation with social causes to new heights, adding both comedy and a certain suspense of getting in trouble at the places he shows up.
As a one-time music video director, Moore shot Rage Against the Machine’s 1999 “Sleep Now in the Fire” video on Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange, causing a ruckus and the Stock Exchange’s brief shutdown, shown in the video. Moore was also seen with the band and police at the end of the clip before he was arrested for a short time.
One holiday-geared episode of “The Awful Truth” has Moore conducting a group of Christmas Carolers visiting the Phillip Morris and R.J. Reynolds cigarette headquarters, as well as the homes of the companies’ CEO’s.
The singers are elderly ex-smokers who lost their voice boxes from smoking, requiring the monotonic buzz of those electric voice boxes. The carolers deck the CEO’s trees with cigarette packs for ornaments and give a cigarette wreath to the office personnel.
Another episode features a middle-aged Southern man with pancreatic cancer. When denied a pancreas transplant he and Moore make funeral arrangements, to be held at the corporate offices of the regional HMO.
They pass out invitations, select a suit, coffin and arrange a hearse to show up at the offices. Shortly before the offices close for the night, Moore and company hold the funeral service for the guy, as shocked employees stand gaping by the main entrance.
Moore’s shows in the past year until the release of his new film deal primarily with gun control policy. He can manage to look hip on the screen of “Columbine” up against Charlton Heston much like dancing George Bush on the internet cartoon.
Like many other grassroots advocating filmmakers, celebrities and artists, Moore recently shared the stage at former Green Party presidential hopeful Ralph Nader’s rally.
Of a few rallies held in New Haven of the past few years, Moore shared the stage with comedians Janeane Garafolo and Bill Murray, rock artists Patti Smith, Ani Difranco, Ben Harper Eddie Vedder and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, as well as “People’s History” author Howard Zinn.