In what's turning out to be a loosely connected trilogy of recent posts, I watched Michael Moore's latest film Capitalism: A Love Story tonight and found it picked up on more than a few common threads that have invaded my viewing and thoughts lately. The cycle goes a little like this.... Avatar struck me as the apex of a trend toward marketing usurping the cinematic art form. Up in the Air's strange social politics went mostly unquestioned (and unchallenged) by an adoring media and tonight, Capitalism: A Love Story questions the limited public backlash that Corporate America has faced in the aftermath of what was clearly an epic-scaled confidence game played at the highest levels.
The common theme shared by these vastly different films might be just how placated and powerless most have become (or at least feel they've become). Underlying Moore's doc/op-ed/commentary is a slightly-bewildered activist who can't quite figure how they got away with it. Moore's films share similar structures and Capitalism follows in the mold of his previous efforts, but there seemed to be a slight exasperation with his audience this time around. Even when he highlights several successful working-class sit downs and various post-bailout protests, the crowds seem thin and Moore's frustrations with the lack of public hue and cry bleeds through. Why aren't you in the streets? ..seems to be an ongoing theme in his latest work. We're too busy watching Avatar might be the answer.
In an effort it avoid getting too down on the issue, Michael Moore's call to arms is a sincere and positive one. His antics may be old-hat now, but his heart remains in the right place. Sitting down to watch it nearly a year after it was shot (it ends with great promise for change as Obama won the 2008 election), one can't help but feel immense disappointment a year-plus into the new administration. Nothing's changed. The foxes are still in charge of the hen house and the brief glimmer of hope that America could chart a different course fades with each passing month. Perhaps it was unrealisitc to assume otherwise.
And it's no fault of Moore's – he's done more than his share of the heavy lifting. Like him or hate him, the clown-prince of modern social activism is squarely in the corner of a beleaguered middle-America, but nobody, including middle-Americans, seems to give a shit. It's Oscar night, after all.
Hurt Locker wins...YES!
Oh, and thanks to everyone who endured the Running of the Yuppies today on Roncey. Nice work.