June 18, 2007

I've Already Seen Sicko, and You Should Too

The way that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 was a wakeup call and turning point in the public opinion around the War on Iraq may only have been the controversial filmmaker's opening salvo on the way the American people view their way of life, and the way they trust their government and big business to tell them the truth or offer them the best option available.

Moore's follow-on, 'Sicko', which addresses the state of our healthcare industry, and compares it negatively with universal coverage seen elsewhere in the world, is incredible, a must see for anybody who pays taxes, pays for health benefits, or intends to gain medical care in this country at some point in their life. And it's already available on the Internet, if you know where to look, weeks before its planned debut in the theaters by the end of the month.

While Fahrenheit 911 was seen as starkly political, divided in red state/blue state mentalities, Sicko makes no such alignment. It follows individual American's stories as middle-class couples fight off bankruptcy due to co-pays and premiums from cancer or heart disease. We see a woman whose 18 month old baby is turned away from an out of network hospital with a 104-degree fever, only to die somewhere else. We hear the stories of volunteers who worked at Ground Zero who have come down with debilitating respiratory problems, only to be denied care.

While allusions are made to Nixon's opening up the HMO system, and Bush/Cheney's promises to support our troops and citizens ring comparatively hollow, this is not an attempt to recruit a generation of liberal Decmocrats. Instead, it is a call for change, made ever so stark by the seeming utopia found elsewhere that has me wondering why my wife and I have poured tens of thousands of dollars each of the last several years into a system that doesn't work.

What I strongly advise for you to do is find the movie online wherever you can, and watch it. Then, make sure you take yourself and as many people as you care about to the theater when it opens. Those people who choose not to see it because of what they may think of Michael Moore, or what they might think universal coverage represents, are keeping themselves as close-minded as the Flat Earth Society.

So take a few cues from Slashdot (Michael Moore's New Film Leaked To BitTorrent) and Webomatica (Watch Sicko at Google Video) and get your copy. It is bound to change the way you think about how you go to the doctor and pay your bills today. I know I'll be watching it again.


  1. Sorry Louis, but I have to disagree with you on this one. Michael Moore does nothing to help the causes he films. He picks out specific examples and rare cases and uses them to generalize and cause controversy.

    I happen to oppose the Iraq war and I happen to believe that the US healthcare system is indeed messed up. However, Moore's movies are not even close to documentaries. They won't teach you anything valuable and they won't help you gain a realistic insight into the issues they discuss.


  2. Louis, I'll have to agree with Gal.

    You know my thoughts on our health care/insurance system, as I posted on the subject on Web Robin. It is unjust and extremely inneficient. However, I won't be seeing Moore's film, and will never waste any money supporting any of his "work".

    I'm surprised that one such as yourself with a journalistic background would be supportive of his pseudo-research based sensationalism. I would think that anyone with a degree in journalism would take offense at the tripe that he offers up and that he considers what he offers any more deserving of our attention than the tabloid press.

  3. How do you know Moore's work is "tripe" if you refuse to see it? It is like a left winger saying Fox News is nothing but lies but then says they have never watched a newscast. I would respect someone who watches the film and then states why they disagree with it instead of pretending to make factutal statements about something they have never seen. It's like writing a book review without having read the book, just other people's reviews.
    Today's word boys and girls is H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E.

  4. Looks like someone is making some assumptions here.

    I was subjected to watching two Michael Moore films as a part of my Intro to Sociology class a few years back. The first film I saw dealt with Flint Michigan (where Michael Moore was raised) and how the closing of plants as a result of GM's decisions has decreased the quality of living there. The second one had to do with many states' blue laws regarding homosexuality and the illegality of its practice. In that film, Michael Moore personally drove a van from state to state full of male homosexuals with the sole purpose of having them engage in sodomy everywhere they went as a political statement against the backwardness of those laws.

    I didn't disagree with the content of either film. GM closed plants and made life hard for their former workers. Agreed. Homosexuality is a personal choice and laws against it are discriminatory. Agreed.

    Still, both films were tripe.

    The problem for me comes when he employs thinking errors in his so-called journalism. He frequently makes part-to-whole comparison errors, in that he doesn't take a large enough sample to get a representative read on the populations he is reviewing, and the conclusions he draws are rarely influenced by any contrarian evidence he encounters. Essentially his mind is made up before he researches. Both are bad traits for a dissemenator of information. Also his methods of confrontation were childish in the extreme. He would drag his camera crew through places of business or worship (depending on the film) and disrupt meetings in an attempt to speak to officials. He would then interpret people's displeasure of his interruptions as evidence to support his conclusions when anybody is displeased to be interrupted.

    He's also rude, obnoxious, unpleasant and sloppy.

    As a consumer, I am entitled to make part-to-whole comparisons and say that it is likely that if both of the two movies I saw of his were not worth watching, that the rest of his movies will be the same.

  5. Dear Mr. Anonymous,
    I have seen two Michael Moore movies, F911 and BforColumbine. I happen to agree with both the viewpoints expressed in the movies but I still think the movies are garbage. He doesn't dig deep, he doesn't try to educate and he doesn't really document the problem. All he does is stir up some controversy by picking out isolated items and holding them up as though they were the norm. That's tripe, and it does more to harm the cause then help it. Therefore, I have no intention of seeing Sicko.

    If you really want to educate yourself about the healthcare industry, your time would be better spent elsewhere.


  6. Interesting comments. Anyhow, I finally watched Sicko and posted a review; you might like to read it.


    I can recognize Moore's manipulative ways, however, I feel that since the issues raised are important I can overlook this. That is a personal feeling - I felt the same about F. 9/11. Obviously this approach doesn't work for everyone.

  7. Webomatica, I am glad you saw it. What most of the negative responses are missing is that I was simply making two points...

    1. I've seen it.
    2. You should too.

    I'm glad you did see it. Moore does a great job of raising issues, even if you don't agree with him 100% at the end.