Moore has a new film Sicko at Cannes, giving the health care aspect of how
instruments of the corporate state, like student loans and bottomless credit-card debt, perform a crucial function for that state. They undermine democracy by creating a docile and hardworking population that is addicted to constant debt and an essentially unsustainable lifestyle, that literally cannot afford to quit jobs or take time off, that is more interested in maintaining high incomes than in social or political change. Moore seizes on this insight and makes it a kind of central theme; both in the film and aloud, at the press conference, he wondered whether some essential and unrecognized change has occurred in the American character.*Actually, that's a pretty good reason why the government did nothing to stand in the way of the housing bubble. So, Kenefick complained on his blog that his insurance premiums approached $1000 monthly, and Mr. Moore payed for a year's worth. He did it anonymously at first, but closes the movie with this gesture.
Now, Michael Moore seems to want to imply he has a charitable arm that finds people and gives them money.
"I asked myself, would you be doing this if it weren't in the film? I decided that I would, and I should, and that that's the way I think we should live."I can't really comment on that. For all I know he does, but I suspect this was more or less a one-off event. Kenefick's somewhat suspicious, although he expresses gratitude in bits I'm not quoting.
$12,000 is equal to his ding-dong budget for the week. Or what it costs to make one of those suits for award shows. Add to this growing list the fact that it was never altruism and every human being alive who knows anything about Moore knows that. He paid $12,000 so he could manufacture a “gotcha” moment in his film. Sounds pretty cheap to me.
What am I supposed to be grateful for? The chance to look like an ass? The chance to be in his movie? For him throwing me pocket change in order to try to humiliate me later? That’s why he did it. Period.
For no good reason -- and, as you know, that's what drives all these posts -- I wanted to give my own take on Moore's motivation. I think he was just showing off the addiction. How he could find one person who was sure to disagree with the central point of his movie, and be able to tell the story of how that person who was being crushed by the system is going to defend it. His movies all have a component about people being duped into defending the very systems that are ravaging their lives, and this opportunity really fell into his lap. The $12,000 gift is the personal injection shtick that Mr. Moore uses to tie his movies together. He was probably glad to be able to help someone who needed it, but Mr. Kenefick's no doubt correct that he did it for the movie.
* -- this is Salon.com's Andrew O'Hehir's digestion of Sicko's presentation of the argument of "Tony Benn, a leading figure on the British left."