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Author Topic: Manufacturing Discontent
clockwork
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posted 12 March 2007 12:54 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
After watching An Unreasonable Man (2006), a documentary about Nader, Melnyk felt Musselman had more to say about Moore. "[Musselman] was very careful," she said about his agreeing to an interview. "He told us Michael interviewed Roger Smith before a shareholders meeting and again at the Waldorf Astoria [in New York] in January 1988 at a show of GM's latest products to its corporate shareholders. The part where they drag him out is in Roger and Me, but Moore also got a 15 minute interview with Smith -- which ended up on the cutting room floor."

source

I like Moore's films even though you need a bit of disbeleif. I really liked Roger and Me (bought the DVD!) but knowing that he actually got an interview... I think he is now in last straw territory.

The article is about an upcoming movie, Manufactureing Discontent:

quote:
Toronto-based co-directors Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk were on hand Saturday night for the film's first public screening,
...
But during the filmmaking process, they hit a fork in the road. "We felt the direction of the documentary was changing because of what we were learning about his methods," said Caine, an Ohio-born journalist and cameraman. "We didn't want the film to be an attack, and there was a lot of hand-wringing about whether we should stop."

From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 12 March 2007 03:40 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So one guy claims that Moore did this interview is that the extent of the evidence?

Even if it were true, I think it is a massive stretch to say the "Premise" of Roger and Me was about getting an interview with Roger Smith. The premise to my understanding was that Corporate CEO's really don't give a shit about the devastation their actions cause communities.

Michael Moore is a big fish there are all manner of people gunning for him, there almost appears to be an entire weel-funded industry in attempting to discredit his work and hense critical accounts of American politics and society.

If in a world so full of brutality and corruption Michael Moore is your biggest target than I hardly think it accurate to say that you "share his views."

Sorry but I suspect these guys are sell out weasels looking for the big movie deal.

I also suspect they are graduates of the Elia Kazan School of Ethics.

[ 12 March 2007: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Khimia
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posted 12 March 2007 05:25 PM      Profile for Khimia     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I also suspect they are graduates of the Elia Kazan School of Ethics.

Then they are in fine company. It is not news that MM has played fast and loose with the facts. The ends do not justify the means- except when they do.

[ 12 March 2007: Message edited by: Khimia ]


From: Burlington | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 12 March 2007 05:28 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If in a world so full of brutality and corruption Michael Moore is your biggest target than I hardly think it accurate to say that you "share his views."

Moore is a man who is capable of making witty, left leaning propaganda pieces. He also has enough influence (now anyway) to bring those propaganda peices to a large audience. This does not mean that the man is a saint who is incapable of dishonesty, or that his work shoudn't be scrutinized.

[ 13 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 12 March 2007 06:20 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Moore is a man who is capable of making witty, left leaning propaganda pieces. He also has enough influence, (now anyway), to bring those propaganda peices to a large audience. This does not mean that the man is a saint who is incapable of dishonesty, or that his work shoudn't be scrutinized.

Knew that was coming.

Where did I say he was a saint?

My points still stand. If you really believe spending an exceptional amount of time and energy that making a film on such a shaky premise than I have to doubt your commitment to social justice and equality.

Anyone who even starts from the ridiculous premise of claiming absolute truth to any narrative needs a big steaming bowl of post structuralism.

Since Television, film, newspaper and radio is almost entirely held in the hands of the corporate elite, documentary film is one of the last areas of media that is open to question dominant discourse. Moore has been successful in getting his message out and that pisses lots of people off. They desparately want to discredit it him just look at the G&M headline that clockwork posted. If any of moore's "sins" actually had any substance beyond a bit of artisic license than I might see this film as something beyond a cheap smear job.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 12 March 2007 10:02 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
N.R.Kissed, the whole premise of the movie was about getting a Roger Smith interview. I've been through the Moore threads before and I'm not looking to rehash them (per se, anyway). The same reason I still like Fahrenheit 9/11 is essentially the same reason I still Roger & Me (even more), you get to see a slice of life, granted filtered, but filtered through a lense you don't get to see pretty much anywhere else. The Rabbit Lady, the sherriff guy (the one overseeing the evictions), the colour scheme lady, the Army recruiters, the steps of Washignton interview, it's all powerful stuff. It's worth viewing on it's own. That filter, that sense of "this situation is screwy and I know it is so in it goes into my movie" is something I appreciate. I just now dismiss any formulation of a thesis Moore might have has drivel. Pure and simple.

He's not a siant. No one ever claimed that. But if you're making a"documentary", there are certain standards that apply, however loosely (even a point-of-view documentary). He's essentially a propagandist. But if Moore were a beat-the-poor consevative, screw'em all because their shit people filmaker, I suspect, N.R.Kissed, you'd be livid and rightfully so. You'd nail this bizarro-Moore for the same techniques (heck, the two Moore's might show the same footage). I suspect the same flexibilty with the truth doesn't run both ways here.

These are the same filmmakers that "went after" Black. Their quote of the Nader guy, Mussleman, seems reasonable considering Moores tatics. Moore comes out with a slanted swing and as someone who shares the same views but is uncomfortable with the tactics, why wouldn't you pause and choose your words carefully?

Artisitic license be damned. You release a movie based on not getting an interview with a person when you actually got an interview, you're beyond artistic license. Do I back my statement here to the point that I thought Roger and Me shouldn't have been released?

No. I can't. I think Moore is a hack, but a hack with a very good eye. The whole Flint thing was a powerful enough topic on it's own. Maybe he should of ditched the whole aspect of the Smith chase. He still would have had enough a movie. Was Smith heartless? Yeah. He even caugh that on microphone. Was Flint a tragedy? Yes. Was Moore's chase of the corporate titan a sham? No, until he got the interview. Was the GM shill not a load of garbage that made your skin creep? Yes.

Defend a propgandist all you wnat. He's dirty and underhanded, even if I still like his movies. Giving him a pass says the truth is fair game by both sides. I'm not willing to accept that.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 13 March 2007 05:25 AM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sorry but I do not believe that interviewing Roger Smith is the premise. Interviewing Roger smith is a narrative technique for exploring the deeper theme of the breaking of the social contract between employer and employee/community and the devastating consequence. Repeat it is a technique. Otherwise you are saying this is a film about one guy trying to talk to another guy who won't talk to him. That sounds a little more like a Beckett play.

I just remain sceptical.I have not seen the film so I don't know what their proof consists of.

In terms of the "truth" I get quesy when these words are used in the context of North American media or even the dominant culture which is essentially one vast distortion of a fantasy of a fabrication. The question remains why would you focus on Moore as though he is expected to be completely pure. His approach is much more honest and transparent than your average newscast.

It is also deeply suspect when anyone makes claims to neutrality, objectivity or non-partisanship. This is probably the most dishonest claim to make. We all operate constantly within relation to ideologies and position on privileging certain truths, to deny this at the least lacks genuine awareness at a deeper level it represents fruad.

It seems the marketing of this film is really trading on the film makers claims to being "left-wing" Isn't this one of the oldest rhetorical and marketing ploys, "I used to believe this but now..." " I used to buy product X..."

I think these people are shameless opportunists and it's quite possible that Moore's camp knew this from the start.

There is nothing wrong with critiquing Moore but spending two years digging up dirt on the guy is kind of suspect and hardly fair and balanced. It is suspect as I said previously because there is a vast industry intent on discrediting Moore and everything he says to pretend this doesn't exist to pretend that you are playing into the hands of the right wing the North American Media's own ongoing distortions is a hell of a lot more dishonest than anything Moore has done.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 13 March 2007 07:37 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The premise of Roger & Me is certainly not getting an interview with Roger Smith. It would be a very short film if that were the case. Besides, the existing interview footage is not news. I remember hearing it about three years ago.

The acts of striking honesty of the film are why it is a good movie. The interviews with citizens of Flint, the prison guard interview, the shameful condition of Flint's slums, are all pointed commentary, entirely accurate and entirely compelling.

That said, Moore is certainly a propagandist, and any just criticism should be leveled at him. He has more than a few vulnerabilities in his style and strategy. But if these filmmakers intend to discredit R&M because of what Moore decided to show, they're out of line. What, because he actually did interview Roger Smith, his treatment and decimation of Flint isn't a giant disgrace?


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 13 March 2007 08:00 AM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree. It is also worthwhile to meditate on the meaning of propaganda. My understanding of the original meaning in latin is "to dissemintate information." I think the meaning has changed implying that propaganda is inherently false, I think the deeper implication is that bads guys( communists or fascists) use propaganda whereas liberal capitalist "democracies" present the objective truth.

I also question again the assertion that documentaries are inherently devoid of ideological bias, I think that is more of an assumption that has never been put under scrutiny.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 13 March 2007 08:20 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

needs a big steaming bowl of post structuralism.

Can I get some blueberries on that?

From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 13 March 2007 08:23 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But if Moore were a beat-the-poor consevative, screw'em all because their shit people filmaker, I suspect, N.R.Kissed, you'd be livid and rightfully so. You'd nail this bizarro-Moore for the same techniques (heck, the two Moore's might show the same footage). I suspect the same flexibilty with the truth doesn't run both ways here.

Actually, conservatives don't make documentaries. They've got network television, cable television, Hollywood and gajillions of dollars. And I can safely say that they wrote the book on playing fast and loose with the truth. Watch Fox News lately?

Please continue your regularly scheduled Michael Moore discussion.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 13 March 2007 09:10 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by bigcitygal:
quote:
needs a big steaming bowl of post structuralism.

Can I get some blueberries on that?


And a grain of salt.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 13 March 2007 09:14 AM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Actually, conservatives don't make documentaries. They've got network television, cable television, Hollywood and gajillions of dollars. And I can safely say that they wrote the book on playing fast and loose with the truth. Watch Fox News lately?

I think conservatives are starting to get into the documentaries more now and I think that is in a large part because Moore demonstrated how powerful they can be at disseminating information and making money. They want a piece of that. It was also easier to ignore documentaries when they only reached small audiences but mass appeal threatens the control and domination of the dissemination of all information. They got a powerful thirst for that.

As far as claims to truth the right can present information on a daily basis from bat-shit- crazy types like Coulter, Limbaugh, O'reilly and any manner of clones and rarely is it even called. These extremists of course distract from the broader issue that "more reliable" news sources are presenting a dominant discourse that is really a collection of steaming piles of elephant shit. Distracted by the bomabardment of bat shit from above we ignore the fact that we are routinely wading through elephant shit. So if you want to do a documentary on journalistic integrity or truth claims there is a lot more material than focusing on Moore.

This is also an issue that is at the heart of the dishonesty of these film makers. They are typical small l liberals who claim to hold some greater truth( media objectivity) and patently ignore the manner in which they reinforce and are complicit with oppressive right-wing discourses. Somehow equating the alleged sins of Michael Moore with the subject of his films. Grand Corporate malfeasance and a Government that lied it's way into an illegal and murderous war are put on par with creative editing.

I would love to make a documentary about these film makers and have an opportunity to question their motivations and process. i think there assumptions about their own relation to truth and honesty are rather questionable.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 13 March 2007 09:17 AM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Can I get some blueberries on that?

but don't you find it sweet enough already.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 13 March 2007 10:47 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
(moving further off topic)

I've recently been exposed to Hot Docs, and the world of Canadian low-budget/no-budget documentary-making in general, and man those films/videos are so fucking GRIM! All the ones I've seen have a left/activist bent and are so damn depressing! (I include Moore's work in this diatrbie/critique, who, for the record, I love.) What's up with that? Where are the documentaries on kittens and puppies frolicking?

(I know, I know, I can watch that on MSM, but really, c'mon lefties! Bring us some cheer sometime!)

Sweet enough already? I wish!


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 13 March 2007 10:50 AM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
but radical kittens are prone to ideological bias
From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 13 March 2007 11:00 AM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
and here is the film makers unbiased opinion on Conrad Black
quote:
"I do believe he is a tragic figure because this is a person who had so much to offer and is so knowledgeable and cultured and he could have done more than just make money,"
bleeechhh!!!

From an interview in 2004 Melnyk

quote:
Melnyk said Black hasn't seen the film, which they plan to follow with a documentary on Michael Moore. The controversial director of Fahrenheit 9/11, which takes the Bush administration to task, has tentatively agreed to an interview.

"Kind of like Conrad Black," Melnyk observed. "Maybe Michael Moore and Conrad Black aren't that different."


Oh no agenda there...noooo... nothing to see...just moving along.
Citizen Black


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 13 March 2007 01:03 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think part of the reson some leftists have difficulty criticizing Michael Moore, is that he is one of the very few leftists in the U.S. who is highly visible and can speak to the American people without being considered alien or elitest. Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader, For all that they are goodhearted individuals, are handicapped by their professions and their class. Mike doesn't have that problem, he acts and talks like an ordinary working class person and as such he is seen as a valuable commodity by left-wingers all over the United States and Canada. He's the political equivalent of a penny black stamp. If there were more high-profile Leftie activitists and Lefty propagandists in North America, maybe we could be more critical of Moore's methods, but there aren't, and because there aren't we are forced to defend him, whether he really does screw up or not.

[ 13 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 13 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Ursa Minor
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posted 13 March 2007 02:24 PM      Profile for Ursa Minor     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think the point that's being missed here is that if Moore did manipulate parts of 'Roger & Me', then the cute little bunny in the 'Pets or Meat' scene could still be alive.
From: Vancouver, British Columbia | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 13 March 2007 03:28 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ha... okay, I shouldn't speak about movies I haven't seen. Do you not think COnrad Black is a character? I don't know if he's "tragic" but it'd see the film because Black is... Black.
quote:
NRKissed: My understanding of the original meaning in latin is "to dissemintate information."

My understanding is that Latin was the tongue of the Roman Empire.
quote:
This is also an issue that is at the heart of the dishonesty of these film makers. They are typical small l liberals who claim to hold some greater truth( media objectivity) and patently ignore the manner in which they reinforce and are complicit with oppressive right-wing discourses

Are these filmmakers dishonest because they taking a look at Moore, or are they dishonest for expressing an opinion about Moore?

When Moore is dishonest this is a good thing but these filmmakers, if they really are dishonest (sorry, I'm not taking your word NRKissed), are bad things. Is this the "he's a son of bitch but he's our son of bitch" line of argument?

quote:
NRKissed: I also question again the assertion that documentaries are inherently devoid of ideological bias, I think that is more of an assumption that has never been put under scrutiny.

I would never claim Moore of anyone is or should be free of an ideological basis. But if you have to twist the truth to fit your ideology into your movie, I think it's time to jettison the ideology.
quote:
NRKIssed: Grand Corporate malfeasance and a Government that lied it's way into an illegal and murderous war are put on par with creative editing.

Who claimed this?

Is propaganda that is true propaganda?


I never knew Moore directed Canadian Bacon as well.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 13 March 2007 03:46 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
jettison the ideology.



Are you saying that Moore should abandon his stuggle against coporate imperialism?


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Khimia
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posted 13 March 2007 04:11 PM      Profile for Khimia     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Moore's ideology is spelled m-o-n-e-y.
From: Burlington | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 13 March 2007 06:08 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Are these filmmakers dishonest because they taking a look at Moore, or are they dishonest for expressing an opinion about Moore?
When Moore is dishonest this is a good thing but these filmmakers, if they really are dishonest (sorry, I'm not taking your word NRKissed), are bad things. Is this the "he's a son of bitch but he's our son of bitch" line of argument?

No they are dishonest if they pretend they are free from ideology, they are dishonest if they lay claim to some fantasy objectivity, or neutrality. Moore is far more honest in acknowledging his own bias. They are dishonest because they either are unaware or unwilling to acknowledge the assumptions that they operate under. They are dishonest because they are claiming to be operating by some higher standard than Moore.
They are dishonest when they claim they started out filming without an agenda, yet in a quote 2 years earlier they claim that they think Michael Moore is a lot like Conrad Black, sounds as though they knew what they were looking for.

I also think they are dishonest to claim to be "left leaning" if they can so embarrasingly sycophantic to refer to Conrad Black as an example of noble tragedy.

quote:
I would never claim Moore of anyone is or should be free of an ideological basis. But if you have to twist the truth to fit your ideology into your movie, I think it's time to jettison the ideology.

The point I am making is there is I don't think there is any truth entirely separate from ideology. You seem to want to believe in this fantasy of some objective truth narrative that can magically stand outside of human experience. You also have not really provided any convincing evidence that Moore's truth is any more twisted than the claims of objective neutrality that are claimed by other sources.

I will repeat the issue of the Roger Smith interview is really a small matter with little relevance to the overall theme of the picture. I wil also reiterate that you can go over any documentary picture and find questionable claims to truth. Please point me to a documentary where there is no consious manipulation of the narrative. Please point me to any event any experence where there would not be alternate claim to truth. Documentaries are constructions of narrative and it is truly impossible to construct a narrative without injecting your own bias your own ideological viewpoint. There is always a choice of what you will show and what you will not, what you focus on and what you ignore.

I'm also still wondering what makes you so certain the claim of the face to face interview is true. It be true but for some reason you are completely convinced.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 13 March 2007 06:17 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not neccessarily, CMOT Dibbler. I was talking more generally there and perhaps "jettison" was too strong a word. The idea I'm trying to get at is that if your filming a point of view and it doesn't work, perhaps its the point of view that is wrong. Continuing with the movie means you've just crossed into a differnet territory (I'm trying to hash a line here between docs/legit point of view vs propaganda... obviously I'm edging Moore into the one side where others won't take that step).

Putting Moore into the propaganda categorization doesn't mean I think any peice of left-wing persuasion is propaganda (and I'm trying to think of examples).


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 14 March 2007 08:17 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
N.R. Kissed, you present a puzzling argument (to me, anyway). IF there is no objective truth out side of ideological blinders your essentially saying I can safely regect Moore because he is a hack. If there is not an objective truth narrative there is no way we can assess the claims of any given filmmaker which means I can be safe in my views, you can be safe in yours, and the intended viewers of Fahrenhype 9/11 can also be safe from any devastating counterargument you or I might present.

If there is no truth narrative I find it odd that we are even discussing.... anything, really.

quote:
NRKissed: I will repeat the issue of the Roger Smith interview is really a small matter with little relevance to the overall theme of the picture

Yes, essentially, it is a small matter. But I've been so put off by Moore's twist of the truth that for myself, reading that Moore may have gotten his interview with Smith, twice, edges me into territory where I just say screw him.

My DVD jacket of the movie says "Moore doggedly and hilariously tried to do what everty working stiff dreams of:: talk to the man at the top. His efforts to meet GM chairman Roger Smith and persuade him to visit Flint Michigan frame a film that uses humour to devestating effect."

Someone else thought enough of the Smith interview quest to say it was the thread that tied the whole narrative arc of the movie together. Knowing he got that interview destroys that arc and the cynic can now can easily cast doubt on the whole project because the heartless bastard that caused the misery there can be shown to see that he does respond to the critique the movie present. You just never got to see it.

quote:
NR Kissed: I'm also still wondering what makes you so certain the claim of the face to face interview is true. It be true but for some reason you are completely convinced.

Unlike Moore, I'm still willing to take Caine and Melynck at face value. I don't dismiss them because they characterize Black as tragic. I can see why they make that claim but I don't subscribe to it. Face value is something Moore has convinced me that I can't purchase any idea he is peddling:
quote:
From the G&M link:"[Musselman] was very careful," she said about his agreeing to an interview. "He told us Michael interviewed Roger Smith before a shareholders meeting and again at the Waldorf Astoria [in New York] in January 1988 at a show of GM's latest products to its corporate shareholders.

quote:
Catchfire: Besides, the existing interview footage is not news. I remember hearing it about three years ago.

If the filmmakers had an agenda, does that detract from the point that Moore skews the truth? Does Moore having an agenda take away what he showed of the culture of FLint?

I can't come up with other movie examples because my memory of movies is short (I can bluster about Roger & Me only because I've watched the thing way too many times). Hypothetical: if the makers of "The Smartest Guys in the Room" were tie-dyed leftist, does that mean their doc about Enron was wrong and propaganda? No. The doc would be propaganda if they proscribed socialism as a remedy to any future Enrons. (Unfortunately I haven't seen the movie.... why I use the word "hypothetical").

"Yes men" was a polemic, propaganda. But that was obvious from the start so I have no bones about that (except that it was a half-aased polemic) .


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 14 March 2007 09:24 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
clockwork, your puzzlement over the myth of objective truth is intriguing. How about those weapons of mass destruction? Found some behind the couch the other day, doncha know! How about Saddam was behind 9-11? How about the Bush and bin laden family don't have any business history together?

Call me biased (I am) but those issues are a teensy bit more interesting to me than a film Moore made almost 20 years ago.

Absolutely, he manipulated the footage he took, and probably didn't include pieces that didn't match his thesis. I'm guess he did this no more or less than any other documentarian does. For me, casting my mind back to my undergrad years, I sure as hell left out research that didn't support my thesis in any given research paper either. Duh!

Again, the level of how much I care that he did this is balanced against both how often everyone else does it, and way way worse (see my 2 examples above, taken from real life, not from a creative piece of work) and the fact that Moore does expose, through his books and his films, sides of issues that don't ever get MSM attention.

You can think he's a hack, that's your opinion. I guess the hope in this discussion is that you may open your mind a bit to see that objectivity (myth), and who gets targetted for NOT having it (mostly leftists) is also very selective.

By the way, I've forgotten to say this until now: The blatant appropriation of Noam Chomsky's book and film "Manufacturing Consent" is pretty gross and tells me all I need to know about the filmmakers and their biases.

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 14 March 2007 09:36 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, one more thing. I have no knowledge or training in film and video, but I'm learning bits and pieces from my sweetie, who's been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

We were hanging out in the edit suite once, and he was working on a pilot for this godawful Canadian comedy who's name I won't mention. If it ever goes to air and he ever makes any money off it I'm coming back and deleting this! I was listening, but reading the paper and not looking at the monitor. After the 4th or 16th time through the same bit I commented blandly "Um, that's not funny.". He said he agreed, but that he could make it funny by using frames from different camera angles and applying editing techniques that I can't remember. It kinda blew my mind that something could be manipulated like that, simply by how the images are presented, same footage, same non-funny lines.

Anyways, I just wanted to share that. It helps me understand how documentaries work a bit better, in proving their point (or not) and in putting forth the director's view.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 14 March 2007 10:51 AM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Clockwork:To me the problem I am having with your arguments is that you keep presenting the concept of truth as though it is something easily defined, identifiable and something universally agreed upon. I do not believe that. I also do not believe that something which is by its very nature socially constructed i.e. defined within the context of human interactions and discourse cannot be said to have an existence outside of those relations or discourse.

The same with ideology broadly defined is a framework that we all have for understanding the world, to say that we are able to step outside of ideological context is as impossible as getting beyond subjectivity.

these discourses concerning claims to truth not only involve ideology they also involve power and they can often be messy and confusing.

quote:
By the way, I've forgotten to say this until now: The blatant appropriation of Noam Chomsky's book and film "Manufacturing Consent" is pretty gross and tells me all I need to know about the filmmakers and their biases

Exactly

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 14 March 2007 12:25 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
To me the problem I am having with your arguments is that you keep presenting the concept of truth as though it is something easily defined, identifiable and something universally agreed upon.

It is in some cases. For instance, we can say with absolute certainty that the holocaust did happen, that evolution is a fact, that condoms offer a lot of protection against HIV, that Canada's prosperity is based on land that we stole from native canadians, that the Iraq war is based on false intelligence, etc.

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 14 March 2007 04:53 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Unlike Moore, I'm still willing to take Caine and Melynck at face value. I don't dismiss them because they characterize Black as tragic. I can see why they make that claim but I don't subscribe to it.

I didn't say they were dishonest because they called Black tragic. I said they were dishonest when they claimed they didn't have an agenda. I said they were dishonest when they said they were non-partisan and I said they were dishonest in claiming to be left-wing, I also said they were dishonest in implying that there own methods were categorically different from Moore. I don't see any reason to accept any claims they make as true face value or not.

So essentially all your claims about Moores dishonesty, ugliness, s.ob.ness come down to privileging the unverified opinion of one person or another. It also comes down to holding Moore up to standards of truth that you don't expect others to demonstrate.

quote:
Face value is something Moore has convinced me that I can't purchase any idea he is peddling:


That is a very strange assertion not only do you hold Moore to some unrealistic and unrealiable standard of absolute truth. Any dishonesty or even possibiltiy of dishonesty renders everything else invalid? So since I lied about breaking a window when I was 5 I can never be trusted again.

{for the record It was not that Cain and Melnyk refered to Black as tragic that was stomach churning , It was the suggestion that he was a tragic figure in the classic sense(Greek or Shakespearan) in essence a fallen hero. I would agree Black(and Amiel) are tragic in a different sense in the sense that they accomplished all and more than capitalism demanded of them and they asserted capitalist triuphalism but at the same time they are two of the most miserable, unhappy, and deeply wounded and insecure. This is the tragedy of the capitalist elite they themselves are miserable and their actions guarantee misery for everyone else. You could almost justify capitalist brutality if it actually made the brutes happy.)

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 14 March 2007 05:15 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It is in some cases. For instance, we can say with absolute certainty that the holocaust did happen, that evolution is a fact, that condoms offer a lot of protection against HIV, that Canada's prosperity is based on land that we stole from native canadians, that the Iraq war is based on false intelligence, etc.

We live in an indeterminate and probablistic universe nothing is absolutely certain. Even though I strongly believe all the above claims to be true if I were to be honest it would be impossible for me to say so for absolute certain. All the information that I have used to make a conclusion about the truth of any of the above statements I derived from a variety of sources , written, radio , tv, film photos. Yet it would be impossible to verify those sources. At some point I have to make assumptions and judgements and that is not absolute certainty. It is also true that all of the assertions you made would be hotly contested by some so they are certainly not universally accepted earlier. So unfortunately our certainty is always conditional. not that I was hoping to get to deep into the nature or construction of truth.

That's not to say that all claims to truth are equal.

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 14 March 2007 05:48 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jesus Christ!

quote:
We live in an indeterminate and probablistic universe nothing is absolutely certain.

What about the theory of gravity?

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 14 March 2007 05:49 PM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
What about the theory of gravity?

What about it? It's still a "theory" isn't it?!?

From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 14 March 2007 05:57 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What about the theory of gravity?

Physics speaks that language of probabalistic causality.

It's also important to note that is not the theory of gravity that causes us to fall down. Things or people had been falling down for years before Newton.

Also science at its most honest states that the conclusions we make are based on the existing evidence that we have, this allows for conclusions to be altered in the face of new evidence.

[ 14 March 2007: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 14 March 2007 05:57 PM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:

What about the theory of gravity?

There is no gravity - the earth sucks.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 16 March 2007 11:03 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
N.R.Kissed: I didn't say they were dishonest because they called Black tragic. I said they were dishonest when they claimed they didn't have an agenda. I said they were dishonest when they said they were non-partisan and I said they were dishonest in claiming to be left-wing, I also said they were dishonest in implying that there own methods were categorically different from Moore.

Okay. but I still don't know. Your reading of what was said is different then mine.

quote:
From G&M article: Caine and Melnyk -- whose previous films include Junket Whores (1998), about the Hollywood marketing machine, and The Frank Truth (2001), about the satirical scandal magazine -- like Moore's films and support his ideological views.
They set out to make an admiring, straight-up observational biography about Moore as a switch in tone from their last film, Citizen Black (2004), about Conrad Black.

"We felt the direction of the documentary was changing because of what we were learning about his methods," said Caine, an Ohio-born journalist and cameraman. "We didn't want the film to be an attack, and there was a lot of hand-wringing about whether we should stop."



To me, nothing was said about them being agenda free. Nothing was said about them being non-partisan (quite the opposite) because they said they support his ideological views, which you say they are dishonest about as well. The way I read the quote is that as the nature of their project changed, they became sensitive to the fact it would be considered an attack. The implication of such a statement does not lead me to say they claim to be non-partisan, no-agenda. ANd just because you're critical of Moore doesn't revoke your membership in the ideological crowd.

Quite frankly, my interpretation of your argument is that you are tagging them with objectivity and then trying to beat them up over your idea of their objectiveness (although you may note I'm not addressing the "dishonesty in implication" point here because I'm still trying to decide whether that is a good point or not.)

quote:
N.R.Kissed:So essentially all your claims about Moores dishonesty, ugliness, s.ob.ness come down to privileging the unverified opinion of one person or another. It also comes down to holding Moore up to standards of truth that you don't expect others to demonstrate.

[URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba-United_States_relations]SOB reference:
quote:
The move was vehemently opposed by U.S. ambassador Earl T. Smith, and led U.S. state department advisor William Wieland to lament that "I know Batista is considered by many as a son of a bitch... but American interests come first... at least he was our son of a bitch."[13]

I never claimed I don't expect others to demonstrate truth. What I am saying is I'll given a person the bemefit of the doubt the first time. After a body of work is created then you can start to peice "the truth" together. You can criticize me for not watching all of Melynck's and Caine's movies and interviews before making comparisons between them and Moore (which you are but I didn't I didn't think I was doing that: their points are crutches against Moore), but I reserve the right criticize Moore because this evolution in my own thinking has been happening for a while.

As to broken windows, if you did it when you're five, of course you can you could be trusted now. If you did it at 5, 10, 17, 22 and 24 and now there is a broken window in your room again which you claim not to have broken... (the same emotionally manipulative motif that appears in, say, Columbine where Moore places the picture of the kid at Heston's house is essentially the same kind of juxtaposing we was doing when he showed the eviction with the GM Chirstmas bash thing).

And I'll agree that certainy is conditional. And when you write, "science at its most honest states that the conclusions we make are based on the existing evidence that we have, this allows for conclusions to be altered in the face of new evidence," I almost want to hug you because although truth may be unverifiable, we can pretty safely make claims about (some) past truths based on the track record and the new evidence. It ain't all post-structuralism (I use the term as I understand it and not, perhaps, as is understood commonly).

ANyway, NRKissed, Russell Smith had an article in the Globe yesterday. The website won't give me access to it and I threw my paper out at work last night. I thought it would be a good thing to link to this thread.
---

Just as I was to post this I think I caught on to something (tis a lightbulb, NRKissed). I think I left myself open here... I'm curious if you're gonna whack me with it.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 16 March 2007 01:23 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
To me, nothing was said about them being agenda free. Nothing was said about them being non-partisan (quite the opposite) because they said they support his ideological views, which you say they are dishonest about as well. The way I read the quote is that as the nature of their project changed, they became sensitive to the fact it would be considered an attack.

I am saying that I do not believe what they say about shared ideological views because I see no evidence of it. The way they speak in a way about Conrad Black as a tragic hero(and other comments about him being polite and charming etc) strongly suggests they are not particularly critical of someone who is both powerful and abusive. I do not see anything particularly left-wing about any position they take or have taken.

Furthermore I do not find it believable that they set out to make a Pro-Michael Moore film that does not ring true. If anyone wanted to see a pro-Michael Moore film they would go see a Michael Moore film. I think they had every plan to set out to attack Moore and I think that is the agenda that they are being dishonest about. I raise the fact that they compare Moore to Black in an interview in 2004. I think that comparison raises questions about the assumptions they are making prior to the beginning of filming.


quote:
Quite frankly, my interpretation of your argument is that you are tagging them with objectivity and then trying to beat them up over your idea of their objectiveness )

What I am refering to is the position they are taking in reference to the grand narrative surrounding truth and it's representation. In critiquing Moore they are making claims in reference to their own relation to truth and it's expression. They are explictly saying not only do they know objectively what the truth is they are claiming that there own work is representative of it while Moore's is not. I find those assumptions problematic. They are taking a position, as you are, (which is ideological), that there is some external measurement of truth which they are comparing Moore's work against.

quote:
said Caine, adding, "We understand that documentary-making is like trying to shove 10 pounds into a five-pound can -- you're continually making value judgments. But I feel the less you mediate the material the more truthful it is, at least in the doc realm."


The claim they are making here is that Moore's work is more mediated than not only there work but all documentaries as a general category. I do not think this assertion would stand up to scrutiny. The broader implication in calling Moore's work dishonest is the assumption that his work is more "mediated" than other claims to truth, i.e. television, print or radio, this of course is absurd.

It is worth noting that Melnyk and Caine are veterans of mainstream mass media( CBS, NBC, CBC) so there own claims to representation of truth is highly suspect. I also made the point that I find it someone claiming an interest in the "truth" social justice or equality would spend two years of their life attacking Moore, considering all the other potential targets.

One of the main points I am making is if you are making claims about Moore and his truthfulness or honesty what is your standard of measurement, who are you comparing to them. IF you are just comparing him against some idealized standard without reference or context then that is dishonest.


quote:
As to broken windows, if you did it when you're five, of course you can you could be trusted now. If you did it at 5, 10, 17, 22 and 24 and now there is a broken window in your room again which you claim not to have broken... (the same emotionally manipulative motif that appears in, say, Columbine where Moore places the picture of the kid at Heston's house is essentially the same kind of juxtaposing we was doing when he showed the eviction with the GM Chirstmas bash thing).

The point I was making about the window was that you making a judgement based on a small part of someones behaviour and generalizing it to all their behaviour. Even if Moore is dishonest 5-10% of the time you choose to focus on that and ignore the 90-95% of the time he is being truthful. You may wish to dispute the % but you assertion once again is based in absolutism. No one is or can be truthful all the time, so again the question arises as to what standards are you judging Moore by. In a similar vein to call Moore's work emotionally manipulative without context, qualification or comparison is also problematic.


quote:
Just as I was to post this I think I caught on to something (tis a lightbulb, NRKissed). I think I left myself open here... I'm curious if you're gonna whack me with it.

Let me be clear about one thing I am not out to "whack" you or suggesting Moore is beyond criticism. What I am asking is for people to be aware of certain assumptions and ideologies that are at work in certain criticisms of Moore's work. I do also find it deeply disturbing that the broader message of Moore's work gets dismissed in the process.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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posted 16 March 2007 08:31 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is another interview with Melnyk and Caine also ]2004
quote:
In fact, the filmmakers are going down to Dallas next month to cover an entire anti-Moore film festival. Caine and Melnyk argue over what to call their film: if Moore proves an elusive subject, it could be Michael & Me, in reference to Moore's fruitless efforts to interview GM chair Roger Smith in his debut feature Roger & Me, although Caine is partial to Manufacturing Dissent: The Rise of Nonfiction Filmmaking. CHUM Television is on board in the development phase.

As with Citizen Black, Melnyk says the Moore doc will be balanced. "I think he's right on politically, but he can be a bit of an egomaniac - nasty to the people around him and very prima donna-ish, which is bizarre, because he comes across as the everyman," she explains. "So we're going to explore those things." *

Do any of these statements look like someone about to do a "pro" Michael Moore film. i don't think so I think they knew what they were looking for. Does this look like they changed their mind midstream? Again the answer would appear to be no.
Here is what they say now
[QUOTE]"We didn't want to refute anything," Melnyk told the New York Times. "We just wanted to take a look at Michael Moore and his films. It was only by talking to people that we found out this other stuff."


Here is more evidence of Moore's grave acts of dishonest.

quote:
In "Manufacturing Dissent" Caine and Melnyk whose previous films include "Junket Whore," about movie journalists, and "Citizen Black," about Conrad Black note that the scene in "Fahrenheit 9/11" in which President George W. Bush greets "the haves, and the have-mores" took place at the annual Al Smith Dinner, where politicians traditionally make sport of themselves. Melnyk and Caine received a video of the speeches from the dinner's sponsor, the Archdiocese of New York. "Al Gore later answers a question by saying, 'I invented the Internet,'" Caine said. "It's all about them making jokes at their own expense."

I don't know about anyone else but I knew Bush was joking, you could tell by the stupid grin on his face that he gets when he thinks he's being clever. Does that matter? Truths are often presented in joke form and what Bush was saying has certainly been supported by his policies. So what am I missing here? This is evidence of what exactly???

And yet another horrendous fraud perpetrated by Michael Moore the horrible truth about Toronto and our doors

quote:
In the film, Michael makes it look as though 100% of the doors were unlocked, but his local producer told us it was really only 40%, said Caine.

quote:
If you have to sell out your values and principles to get at a greater truth, where does that leave you? said Melnyk.

If we think its wrong for the government to lie and manipulate, how do we think that [left-wingers] doing it is the solution?


Yes you have provided such definitive proof that Moore has "sold out his values"

I think the last statement is the ridiculous moral relativism, Moore's sins are compared to that of Bush and Corporate America.

To me the worst that could be said about Moore is that he uses methods similar to MSM in order to challenge the dominant assumption disseminated in the MSM.

The more I read quotes from these film makers the bigger an impression I get that they are really just profoundly stupid , clueless lacking in any depth of perception.

[ 16 March 2007: Message edited by: N.R.KISSED ]


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Steppenwolf Allende
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posted 16 March 2007 11:14 PM      Profile for Steppenwolf Allende     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The fact that they can even hint at putting Michael Moore in a similar group as Conrad Black indicates, to put it in the mildest terms possible, a serious perception problem.

Some of Moore's scripting is certainly prone to exaggeration and romanticism. But the info he got for the F 911 film was based on the US government's own documentation. As far as I know, none of the major points he makes in the film have ever been denied outright either.

If these guys want to pursue a crusade of honesty and integrity in film-making, why dont they start picking apart the o-so-many BS thinly disguised propaganda flicks that pass for dramas coming out of Hollywood?


From: goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged

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