Mike vs. Mike
I may be one of the biggest Michael Moore fans you will ever meet. Not in a worshipper/worshippee sense, mind you, since I believe that people like that fundamentally misunderstand the power of what he's doing as an individual, but I profoundly admire the functionality of his anger and his courage. His new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, wrestles with the events of September 11th and the development of hatred of the United States and the subsequent targeting of the U.S. by terrorist groups. It promises to be an important, controversial and extraordinarily well-timed film...that is if Miramax (owned by the evil Disney media conglomerate) fulfills their agreement to release it. While I definitely believe Michael Moore over Michael Eisner (and believe he could whoop his ass all over the playground any day of the week), the question remains: why would Michael Moore deal with Miramax in the first place, being such an avid critic of big business practices? The rampant success of Bowling for Columbine and the subsequent release of his most recent book, Dude Where's My Country, has made Mr. Moore a very rich man. His website's main page is a veritable commercial for his films and publications. When I saw him speak last year, he admitted that he had a "fuckload of money" that he didn't know what to do with, and proceeded to give out all the cash in his pockets to the lecture attendees. In theory, though, couldn't Michael Moore put out his own films with all this extra cash? Become the Righteous Babe Records of the documentary film world? All this controversy will do wonders for ticket sales when the film inevitably comes out. There's loads of free press involved in all of this. It's an extraordinary business strategy when you really stop and think about it - is Michael Moore just another businessman?
Maybe. But he's still fighting.
Consider Eisner, admitting fully that he did not want to anger Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida. The movie, he believed, would complicate an already complicated situation with current and future Disney projects in Florida, and that many millions of dollars of tax breaks and incentives were at stake. Again, with the Bush empire. Could Michael Moore figure out a way to distribute this film? Probably. Instead, he's staying true to form, breaking the system from the inside out, calling into question the censorship of the first amendment based on big business hypocrisy and "hidden" (or not-so-hidden) agendas. Shamelessly flaunting facism in front of Michael Moore isn't a good idea. He's going to find out why. He's going to tell people. And hopefully, he's going to give the Bushes a good shake while he's at it.
To that end, Driving Votes is a group that's focusing their attention on the swing states for the 2004 presidential election. If you live one of these places, that's you: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Tennesee, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico. Don't live there? Take a road trip.
Michael Moore's no superhero. He's not a presidential candidate. He's just one man. And who said one couldn't make a difference?