Tuesday, October 25, 2016

That Michael Moore Movie

As fawningly described by Richard Brody in The New Yorker:
Moore’s prime argument for Hillary is an argument from character. The first good thing that he can say about Hillary Clinton is that she likes him. He refers to the chapter “My Forbidden Love for Hillary” from his 1996 book “Downsize This!” and describes the White House dinner to which he was invited as a result—in particular, dwelling on the frank and surprisingly specific enthusiasm that Bill Clinton expressed for Moore’s work and the even greater show of enthusiasm with which Hillary followed it. The apparent element of vanity actually plays exactly in the opposite direction—what Moore’s doing here, deftly, is endowing Hillary with longstanding progressive bona fides, bringing her alongside him to share in his fan base. (emphasis added)
Oh god.

Okay, three things:

1)  I likely will not watch the movie. Why? I don't seem to be its target audience. I already like Hillary. I already think she is progressive. Why? Because I've listened to her and am informed about her. And, more to the point, I don't need a man to vouch for her in order for me to trust her.

2) Note "the first good thing" Michael Moore can say about Hillary Clinton: She likes him.


And how does Richard Brody frame this "good thing" about Hillary Clinton? Well, I'll say this. Leave it to the male gaze to frame Michael Moore liking Hillary Clinton because she's ostensibly a Michael Moore fangirl as "deft" filmmaking rather than Trump-like narcissism.

3) But, if that wasn't clear enough for you, welcome to the *jazz hands* Michael Moore Show:

"Ur welcome."

Sure bro. If you say so.
In case there was any uncertainty as to why many feminists distrust leftier-than-thou "progressive" political figures in the US of the Sanders/Stein/brocialist vein, here is a clue. This attempted narrative that Michael Moore has uniquely "lit a fire" under people to take the US presidential election seriously erases the women, especially women of color, who comprise Hillary's base, who are and have been her most enthusiastic supporters, and who have trusted and backed her even when Moore was supporting Bernie Sanders over her. 

Many of us have always been taking this race seriously, viewing Trump not through the lens of abstraction or entertainment, but as a genuine threat to democracy, bodily autonomy, and human dignity.

This is not to say Moore has not had an impact, but man oh man. There is a saying women sometimes hear when people feel that we've gotten too uppity and it usually goes something like "get over yourself." I suggest that it might apply to Moore in this case, even though men are of course given far greater latitude than women to self-promote and exaggerate their influence, competence, and skills.

So, before we let him re-write history (before it's even been written I might add - are we all getting a leeeetle bit ahead of ourselves here with the Election 2016 post-mortems?), I'd like to give credit to some of the writers, public figures, and people in the TV/film industry who I think have been pretty darn impactful in terms of lighting fires under the populace (not a comprehensive list, so add to it if you will):

Shonda Rhimes, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders (...eventually, via his endorsement), Cecile Richards, Kerry Washington, Khizr Khan, Hillary Clinton's social media and Twitter team who have been on point all year, The Washington Post's Election 2016 Fact Checker, Melissa McEwan/Peter Daou and colleagues at Shareblue, the dozens of editors of major newspapers across the US who have officially endorsed Clinton, Lindy West, the Broad City gals, Ellen DeGeneres, Sarah Silverman, Kate McKinnon, and even whoever made that Shaquille O'Neal shimmy gif.

I mean how do you even end this list or sufficiently quantify it, really?

There are indeed so many people, too many people to name here, perhaps, but it's a start. The larger point is that I won't stand by while late-to-the-party Michael Moore writes his own Great Man Narrative about his own critical role in securing victory for our first female President.

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