TV Nation. Here was this everyday guy in a baseball cap doing things that absolutely astounded me, all of them blending outrageous comic value with deeply felt moral outrage.
Here was Moore, doing a "payback" bit, dumping the garbage noisily early in the morning outside the window of a garbage company CEO. There was Moore, having an Emmy-nominated black actor (Yaphet Kotto) compete with a white felon to see who could get a cab first. The mix of righteousness with absurdity was right up my alley.
I had actually heard of Moore before seeing TV Nation, along with the rest of the country, upon the release of his blockbuster film, Roger & Me. But, it is telling that at the time of its release, I had no interest at all in seeing Roger & Me. In fact, I wasn't really even sure what it was about. TV Nation played a pivotal role in opening my eyes to political and social issues and it was only after that that I took an interest in other such fare. This is a testament to the awakening power of Moore's political satire.
I went on to finally see Roger & Me (including writing this review of it), was deeply moved by Moore's message and moral courage, and became a lifelong fan. I have since seen all of his films, loved his later television show The Awful Truth, read a few of his books, and gotten to speak with him on occasion at some of his events.
Since those early days of TV Nation, Moore's success and fame has skyrocketed, leading to an Oscar (Best Documentary in 2003 for Bowling for Columbine), a Palme D'or (top prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for Fahrenheit 9/11), and an enormous amount of controversy. Many love him, many hate him. But, Moore has an incredible ability to grab the attention of millions and focus it on issues that, whether you agree with his view on them or not, you must agree are vitally important for us to discuss.
He does sometimes use some questionable tactics to make his points, and I have often been frustrated by his relative lack of consistent focus on core fundamental democracy reforms in his work. But as a political and social provocateur and satirist, there have been few better than Michael Moore.
More Resources Regarding Michael Moore
My Writings on Michael Moore
- "What Michael Moore Really Teaches Us About Political and Social Change in America" - August 2007 eight-part blog entry about two underappreciated lessons from Michael Moore's work and life about how to improve our society.
- My review of Roger and Me
- All of my Blog posts tagged Michael Moore