Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Michael Moore

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After having seen the Bowling for Columbine and Roger & Me films by Michael Moore and read his Stupid White Men book, I recently downloaded a few episodes of The Awful Truth, a TV live thingy from the Clinton impeachment time frame that never made it out of the US and UK from the internet.

Having thus had quite an excessive coverage of Michael Moore, I am starting to feel a bit bored. Surely, he has great ideas and manages to put important issues in a way that they still appeal to the public on television. All of this a bit on the funny side despite the seriousness of the subjects at stake. And, most importantly, never giving up and starting out with an cheerful attitude.

Yet, following all this, leads to boredom and is somewhat predictable. Michael Moore turns up at some company, asks silly questions, brings a seven foot chicken along, presents an award or a gift and invariably we'll see, press officer, safty guard, private property, trespassing, police, may I please ask you to discuss this outside our fancy building, yadda yadda yadda. Corporate language seems to be a bit limited.

One particular problem with corporations seems to be that they don't have to answer your questions – unlike institutions in a democracy, say, who are liable for what they're doing, corporate PR persons can just go back into their offices and tell you to leave. The public seems to be an enemy, although the public is supposed to be buying their food, shoes, visiting their resorts, driving their cars, actually dealing with the public doesn't seem to be on the agenda. Cue in the Cluetrain thingy.

South Africans fleeing to the U.S. to continue Apartheid. Click to enlarge. Sometimes, the jokes plainly aren't funny. In one of the episodes they send an actor dressed as Hitler to Swiss banks to demand back some of the money the nazis stole from jewish people and deposited there. Did they think anyone in Switzerland would either be fooled or be laughing at someone running around as Hitler in the late 20th century? A Hitler who's speaking English? Come on, not even the American TV public would be fooled by that. What did they expect the banks to do? They didn't even ask straightforward questions. Bringing in some of the people who should own that money may have been much more effective – and much less 'funny'.

Another story I recognised was a story on a guy who held something like 10 million chicken in a few stables, not only terrorising the chicken in that way but also the village close to the factory that was submitted to the foul smells it generated. It turned out that this was a German called Anton Pohlmann who was formerly kicked out of his chicken factories in Germany. Apparently he tried his 'luck' elsewhere afterwards without any improvement to be seen. But it didn't last. He seems to have been bad enough that he even broke U.S. laws and his U.S. factories have been shut down as well. Nice.

Extra brownie points for recognising the screenshot I took from the show.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

July 12, 2003, 17:47

Tagged as film, michael moore.

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