Saturday, October 10, 2009
Michael Moore's new documentary hit theatres October 2, so we decided that the College Democrats should get together to go see it in South Bend. This Friday, eight of us went to ShowPlace 16 and watched it. Because I like to talk about Notre Dame/College Democrats activities and issues, keeping it local, I decided it would be a good idea to give a review of the film. So here it is...
In general, Moore does an excellent job nailing a timely problem in a way that is effective and persuasive. It was hard not to be teary-eyed during the FDR speech during this film. When you realize that you're watching a movie about things so recent and so painfully real, this movie really hits you. The movie probably only loses a few point by being overly abstract and preachy in the beginning. After about 30 minutes, though, it starts to get very real. I really love the parts of the film that try to emphasize that capitalism is inherently anti-Christian and anti-Catholic. It's time to realize that you must pick one or the other. Money or The Lord? Who is your God? Some of the other Lefty's writers and I thought it would awesome if we could get some conservatives to go watch this film. If anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to do this (pay for their tickets?) let us know. I would love to see this happen.
Finally, about the message of the film:
I'm going to make an assumption and give our readers credit for being an intelligent bunch. Many of you are college-educated or successful professionals. In this same light, I hope that you will be fair and realize that what I am about to say is actually NOT elitist, as much as it may seem so at first.
The reality, that Moore shows us, is that capitalism has erased that which democracy had achieved. Before democracy, there was aristocracy/monarchy/plutocracy. Only the smartest and most privileged ruled. Democracy meant "1 man, 1 vote" and tried to defy this inequality. Capitalism, on the other hand, disproportionally rewards those who are smart and privileged, far beyond what is deserved for being smart and privileged. So for people like ourselves, in the most basic self-interested sort of way, capitalism is excellent. Most of you will probably do well. There is no guarantee, of course. The problem is, that for the other 95% of people, capitalism is mostly shitty.
Think about it like this. We all love to play a game that we know we can win. Even if the rules aren't the most fair, we will find enjoyment in competition and victory. Fairness only becomes a serious issue when we are less sure we can win or when we know we will lose. No one wants to play a game that seems rigged against them.
And this is the problem. Intelligent people try (successfully) to export their enthusiasm for this whole "capitalism" idea to the rest of the bunch- the 95% that probably won't win. They're so smart in fact that they actually persuade all those people that the game is fair after all. "You can win, too." Our enthusiasm is contingent on the high that we get from winning. This is fine and dandy, then. We can keep playing this game and keep winning. I mean, if it makes us feel good, and we're winning, who really cares, right?
We should care. We should realize that the people who already hate capitalism can't afford to watch Michael Moore's film, don't have the power to ever really do anything about it (this is debatable), and really don't have as much to gain from seeing it. THIS MOVIE IS FOR PEOPLE LIKE US. It is a wake-up call for those who are winning at this game called capitalism that maybe winning isn't everything. Maybe there are other virtues that matter- like equality/shared prosperity (everyone having some fun playing), fairness, democracy, accountability, and for God's sake, maybe some humility. Let's think about who we serve sometimes. Maybe if we weren't always feeling the high from winning we would realize that it is money who we serve. Let's get sober, Lefties.