Sunday, June 08, 2008


I watched the Michael Moore documentary Sicko and really LOVED it. A documentary producer friend of mine said after Bowling for Columbine Moore started to get "loosey goosey" with the facts and that well may be true (though I'm not sure exactly what doco my friend was referring to, or all of them), but the essential messages of his films pretty much remains clear and intact. I also got a copy of the book, "Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man" which clearly is a non-biased portryal. Clearly. But, seriously, I wanted to see what some of the criticism was about him. This book was written before Sicko but it talked about how Moore splices together various speeches, to make them seem like a single speech (he did this with NRA President Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine) and made incidences (like an NRA speech) seem like they were occurring closer to say a school shooting than they did. I don't agree with these tactics in journalism in any way, but I also honestly do not think they substantially alter the points Moore is trying to make, nor the message of the Bowling for Columbine movie, or if he did the same with Sicko of that movie.

Sicko talks about the American health care system and how even those people who have health insurance end up thinking they're "covered" but often when they get ill, they end up completely in debt, bankrupt, and often turned away by their health insurance companies and unable to then get the treatments they need. It shows several people who died or whose relatives died because of failures of the health insurance to cover treatment, and compares it to universal healthcare in England, Canada, France and Cuba where despite criticisms that people wait forever or don't have adequate coverage or that the doctors don't get enough money that all these things were false. I am sure someone somewhere has torn apart his facts, but to be honest no matter what, the doco still shed some light on a medical-pharmaceutical-insurance industry that puts money - NOT human lives - as their bottom line. When that happens, when money comes first, that will always be a corrupt and morally bankrupt system. There's just no way around it.

There's an interview with Che Guevera's daughter, Aleida Guevera, M.D., in Cuba as well as a Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, and Marcia Angell, M.D., author of The Truth About Drug Companies: How they Deceive Us and What to Do About it. Angell was the first woman editor-in-chief of one of the most well-known medical science journals, New England Journal of Medicine. She's also a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Medical. The DVD has extended interviews with these people and they're fascinating.

The most hilarious thing though, is that at the end (spoiler alert!) is that Moore sent an anonymous check in the amount of $12,000 to one of Moore's biggest critics, Jim Kenefick who runs the site, when his wife became ill and they needed that amount to pay for her illness, beacuse either he'd have to take down the website or pay for her healthcare. Moore sent the money anonymously so that his wife could have the treatment and Kenefick could keep the site going. What a trip! Also it's pretty crazy that they snuck into Cuba and got completely free medical care for a handful of 9/11 rescue workers featured in the film who the U.S. government has refused help because they were volunteer fire fighters or EMTs rather than employed by the city or state.

I've still been feeling lazy, but to put a positive spin on that, I'm nurturing my inner artist! Really I've done a lot of sleeping, watching documentaries, sitting outside, hanging with the kids, etc. I am getting work done bit by bit - exploring some new ventures. And I have some big news to announce in the next week or so! I'm like "Pinch me am I dreaming?!" I may be going back to Australia in July - including going diving with dewarf minke whales - when the kids go to their grandparents. We'll see. Some things have to fall into place. PS Somehow the formatting on this blog changed a lot of my past and new entries, and it's quite annoying! I liked the spacing it used to have. So I apologize for it, but there's nothing I can do, it's something blogger did.


Anonymous said...

The whole medical system in the U.S. completely sickens me. It has been enough for hubby and I to actually consider moving to other countries- although this hasn't been the ONLY reason. Something has to change- too many people are suffering in the richest country in the world- that is just wrong.

On a happier note, I really hope it works for you to go back to Australia!!!! I hope to see it someday as I have heard it is extremely beautiful, and that the people are very friendly.

Sus said...

As far as I know the only flick after Columbine was "Fahrenheit 911" so your friend may be talking about that. And as far as the book's complain that "... Moore splices together various speeches, to make them seem like a single speech..." oh like noooo one else has ever done that!! geesh, I just love stupid pointless arguments.

I agree with you that the essential messages of his movies is loud and clear and if it gets people talking and hopefully changes occuring then I'm all for it.