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Author Topic: Review of the movie Sicko
Babbler # 12090

posted 06 July 2007 11:25 PM      Profile for trippie        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The WSWS has taken another sobering look at American culture in film .. You can read it at the link I provided ..

I will add a few quotes to this post...

One is not unmindful of Moore’s past contributions, but he has launched himself into the social and political arena with his films, demanding to be taken seriously, and ought to be judged accordingly. Moreover, a social documentary is nonetheless still a film and needs to be considered in that light as well.

Sicko is disjointed and uneven, and breaks no new ground; Moore dwells on certain points, especially those he thinks will amuse, often cheaply, while passing far too quickly over major issues. The work is static, beginning and ending at the same intellectual point. Moore doesn’t appear to know much more at the conclusion than he knew to begin with, and neither do we. A generally facetious tone prevails, which quickly irritates. This is done, wrongly, in the name of making a wide or “popular” appeal. Even the title is foolish.

If Moore genuinely takes the American population seriously, why doesn’t he challenge it (and himself) with the most complicated questions?

The debate over universal health care has a long history in the US. During the Progressive Era, in the first decades of the twentieth century, a campaign was waged by the reformist American Association of Labor Legislation for health insurance. The effort was defeated by the combined opposition of the medical profession, the insurance companies and the American Federation of Labor, which worried that a government program “would weaken unions by usurping their role in providing social benefits.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt originally intended to include a compulsory health insurance measure in the Social Security bill of 1935, but dropped it out of fear of opposition from the American Medical Association (AMA) and business interests. In his January 11, 1944 State of the Union address, in which he argued for the implementation of a “second Bill of Rights,” Roosevelt argued that among those latter were the rights “to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health” and “to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.”

Moore might have looked, in particular, to the abandonment by the American labor movement in the 1940s of any struggle for radical social programs in exchange for transient wage and benefit gains (most of which have now been erased).

The unions’ alliance with the Democratic Party, notes historian Douglas Brinkley (in The End of Reform) meant that organized workers “forsook the struggle to win a significant redistribution of wealth and power within the industrial economy—the chance to create genuine industrial democracy.” All the great questions of social policy and program were taken off the agenda, and the American population has suffered enormously as a result.

A discussion of the historical role of the trade unions and the Democratic Party in America is complex and would take Moore into political territory he would rather avoid. Blaming Richard Nixon for the present situation is far easier.

It hardly needs to be pointed out that the profit system still prevails in Canada, Britain and France. If government-operated health care systems were established, it was grudgingly done and the systems themselves have been permeated with inequities.

Under conditions today of a global economy and the demise of the welfare state, all these health care programs are essentially under siege. Moore doesn’t treat the actual health care systems in these nations, but some idealized version of them.

All in all, Sicko is a poor effort, a less honest and spontaneous work than Roger & Me, Moore’s film about the wreckage of Flint, Michigan, or even Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore is on the wrong track, dangerously, and a refusal to confront difficult social and historical issues is not a small part of this.

Providing health care in a mass society is itself immensely complex, but, in the end, it is not a matter of fixing health care, but of fixing everything. Who can possibly believe that providing decent health care for every American, which would mean taking on some of the most powerful and entrenched financial-corporate interests in the country, will be accomplished by either of the major parties or within the framework of the present political and social set-up?

To imply that health care is “above class and above politics,” as Sicko does, is nonsense; it has everything to do with such matters. America offers some of the best health care in the world ... for those who can afford it. No advance will be made in the direction of providing high quality medical treatment for the entire population without a radical, massive redistribution of wealth and change in social priorities. Moore shifts course before these kinds of issues can emerge; his tendency to jump randomly from one situation to another is a means, consciously or otherwise, of avoiding the most pressing issues.

How much does Moore understand about the society he is criticizing? Moreover, for all his renowned “popular touch,” does he really grasp the sharp changes that are taking place in popular consciousness in America?

The filmmaker has the habit, and it is the habit of the entire American left-liberal milieu, of never going to the root of a problem. The lack of depth and seriousness, the extreme limitations of his conceptions are enormously debilitating.

From: essex county | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 560

posted 07 July 2007 04:08 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Trippie, there's already a thread on Sicko, three topics from the top of the list in this forum. This would have fit well there.

I'm closing this, as it's a duplicate thread. Feel free to repost there.

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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