What have I learnt this week?

Posted on September 12, 2007


That APEC backfired for Howard, and he might have been dumped? Easy in hindsight to say perhaps, but really, it’s hardly a revelation. That SocialismTM can be almost as myopic as JWH. Dir. That SecurityTM certainly makes us more fearful, and probably less secure. Obvious. That Insight on SBS continues to deliver the goods?

Again, most of us kinda know all that already don’t we?

More interesting news: so-called ‘socialised medicine’ doesn’t just work: It’s The Best System. Really the only one worth having if you’re a self-respecting ‘western’ country. Actually we probably already knew that too. I’ve long felt this in my gut and up-top. But I have never seen it argued so persuasively as Mike Moore has with his recent film SiCKO.

So what I really learned this week that Michael Moore is still a formidable talent despite an ongoing backlash from quarters of the left as well as right. I can’t help but feel that lefty backlash is mostly career and attention-envy, but can’t be dismissed as easily as rightist attacks, driven as they are by panic and embarrassment.

Whatever. SiCKO is a great film. Choosing to focus on health care as one issue was a great move. By narrowing the focus, Moore avoided the all-over-the-shop feeling that irked slightly about some of his earlier films, and paradoxically made the film feel more ‘universal’ and comprehensive. Maybe even less partisan. Less of an election-time attack on incumbency (Fahrenheit 911), however worthy that was, and more of the great social essay and an appeal to humanity in all sections of politics, business, academia and ‘the people’ more broadly.

Health. It really doesn’t get more crucial than that does it. A better measure for a government and a society can’t really be found. It’s pretty much the indicator for everything worthwhile innit? So in betting on only one horse here, Moore has bet on them all. And he’s pretty much scooped the pool.

Hard to imagine what sort of defense his targets can mount. Misinformation, their oldest friend, is about all they have left. Oh, entrenched power and political influence, and vast cash deposits and stock value probably aren’t bad defenses either.

Moore’s film is one brilliant film. But that’s all it is. It’s one piece of celluloid (or many I guess), it’s a show, it’s movement and sound. Ultimately, its physically insubstantial when compared to the enormous density and centre of gravity in corrupt ‘HMO’s’. But if it can move enough bodies and voices and actions, it will slowly erode the rock away.

Then again, the little boy who said “…but…the emperor’s indecently exposing himself” just had the one voice.

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