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What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 2

August 2nd, 2007 by Howard Ditkoff

Introduction (Part 2 of 8)

Note: This is Part 2 of an eight-part series. You may want to start at Part 1 of the series, Summary and Table of Contents.

Sicko and Beyond: New Inspiration from Michael Moore

Two weeks ago, I finally saw Michael Moore’s new movie about the health care industry, Sicko. As usual I was impressed. Moore has an incredible ability to take a crucial topic and at least touch on all of the main aspects of the issue, while still making the film entertaining and moving. I was also astounded as usual at the nerve he has to stand up so forcefully for what he believes in and to go to such lengths to demonstrate his views. Again, in Sicko, he pushes the envelope, confronts and exposes and speaks out loudly and clearly. This blend of talents and tactics allows him to really focus our attention on areas of injustice that we should be ashamed to have ignored and gives his films the potential to truly open minds.

After the movie, I spent some time watching his recent media interviews and other appearances. I was impressed even more than in the past with his outspokenness and his engagement in taking real action toward positive change. In his CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, he confronted not only the health care system, but the complicity of the American media itself in a way rarely seen on television. He did a press conference with members of Congress to back John Conyers’ new health care bill, H.R. 676. He also took the time to speak to the California State Assembly.

Both Sicko and Moore’s post-film activities inspired me. But they also made me want to take the opportunity to focus on what I feel are the two main issues that Moore’s work and life embody and connect with that may not be getting the attention they deserve.

The Underappreciated Themes of Michael Moore’s Work and Life

As primarily a filmmaker, Moore’s work has tended to center around particular issues of emotional concern to vast numbers of people. In Roger & Me, he focused on corporate neglect of workers. In Bowling for Columbine he focused on gun violence. In Fahrenheit 9/11 he focused on the aftermath of 9/11 and the development of the Iraq War. In Sicko, he focused on the shortcomings of the American health care system. All of these are tremendously important and deeply affecting topics.

Yet within these disparate pieces of work, as well as within his life itself, two important areas are demonstrated or sporadically discussed without often taking center stage. In this series of posts, I will focus explicitly on these two areas - moral courage and campaign, election and media reform - and discuss why they are so crucial to progressive change, how Moore demonstrates them, and how we can vastly increase our ability to actualize progressive changes by bringing individuals, organizations and development efforts together around these two core issues.

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Related Posts

  • What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 8
  • What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America
  • What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 6
  • What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change In America - Part 4
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