The talk down here is all rugby, cricket, and the awesomeness of universal health care. So, I've been surfing the tubes a bit to see what's happening in the real world, where it's Fall and not Spring in September, where "Yanks" means northerners, and where free refills of soft drinks abound.
A quick perusal of my usual sites reminded me that we are closing in on an exciting date. October 2nd is the nationwide release of Michael Moore's new film, Capitalism: A Love Story.
By all the accounts I've read from the early screenings, Moore swings for the fences on this one. In what he calls the culmination of all his is work to date, Moore goes after not just another corrupt corporation or another unjust industry, but the very incentive structure and moral underpinnings of an economic system where the richest 1% of Americans control more wealth than the bottom 95%.
It's about time. Michael Moore has a way of consistently being a couple years ahead of the mainstream--in other words, controversial. Roger and Me (1989) documented the human effects of General Motors plant closings in Michigan. Bowling for Columbine (2002) shined a light on the gun-worshiping culture of fear that gives the United States its sky-high murder rate. His Oscar acceptance speech in 2003 called out "a fictitious president" for "sending us to war for fictitious reasons," two or three years before it was cool to talk like that. Fahrenheit 911 (2004) eviscerated the Bush Presidency, the "war on terror," and the media's cheerleading for both, all about two years before the movie's arguments went mainstream. And Sicko (2007) diagnosed the broken, profit-centric American health care system about two years before the current debate in Congress. Here's to hoping that Capitalism: A Love Story directs or predicts the national discussion at least as much as his previous works have done.
It is good news that a squarely anti-capitalist film is about to plop down into pop culture. Because it's time for us all to start connecting the dots between the myriad of issues confronting us. The national discussion, led by Big Media, tends to focus on issues in isolation. Over here we have stagnant wages. Over there we have environmental degradation. Hey look, home foreclosures. Here's a local news story about unaffordable health care. Environmental degradation. Here's a news program on economic bubbles. Here's an article on mercenary soldiers. It's long past time we started looking at what connects all of these problems and what stands in our way of solving them: in short, corporate capitalism.
Whether you favor gutting that system entirely and replacing it with something entirely new or whether you'd just like to see a number of meaningful reforms, anti-capitalism in the national discussion moves you closer to where you want to go. The point is, you don't start negotiating from a compromised position. (See the recent health care debate for why this fails.)
More on that later. Right now, we're off on a "bush walk."
Please fill me in on what's happening back home. Tea-baggers still trying to prevent civic discussion? Blue Dog Democrats still working hard for insurance companies?