Saturday, September 27, 2008

Slacker Uprising? Not in the Charlie Brown Nation.

Michael Moore released a new film this week called "Slacker Uprising." After watching the free download tonight I realized nobody would have paid to see this had it been released in theaters.

"Slacker Uprising" chronicles Moore's 62 city "get out the vote" tour in the weeks leading up to the 2004 "election." He drew huge crowds, controversy, and media coverage in cities and towns of all sizes. His affable personality, quick wit and good humor were shown in abundance. And as Rady Ananda observed in her own review of the film, the events were depicted as anti-war and anti-Bush but no so much on selling positive attributes of John Kerry or the Democratic (sic) party.

Frankly, this movie was painful to watch, but not in the way that it hurts see a mom talking about losing a son to war (which was a sad and moving moment in fine Moore movie making tradition). This was painful--for me--in the same way even conservative pundits describe cringing during Sarah Palin interviews. I doubt that everyone will respond to "Slacker Uprising" this way, though perhaps you can understand my reaction through the prism of the words I was writing at the time these rallies were happening:

The GuvWurld Blog is Back, September 4, 2004

...I think there needs to be a planned response to the inevitable election uncertainty. We have disaster contingencies for all sorts of emergencies so why not a Constitutional crisis? It behooves us to know what we'll be calling for and that we have some harmonized voices in a chorus. I think it also makes sense to encourage elected officials to pledge a response. They must be held accountable for their responsibility to hold others accountable.
# # #

Simulated Competition, October 12, 2004

The real competition occurs in these [court] battles while Bush vs. Kerry is simulated competition perpetuating the myth of democracy. This is the only point that now really needs to be made on behalf of the No Confidence Movement - if both major parties are preparing and planning for the uncertainty, so too must we plan and prepare.
# # #

Bush Lawyer Anticipates Delay in Tally, October 16, 2004

More validation for the premise of No Confidence:
President Bush's top campaign lawyer said yesterday that the winner of next month's presidential vote may not be known for "days or weeks" after Election Day if the contest is close.
Full story from today's Washington Post (in GuvWurld News Archive, links to original)
# # #

NYTimes Ponders Uncertain Election Outcome, October 16, 2004

I still have not read or heard of anybody making the argument that they have absolute confidence that the election will be 100% legitimate with a universally accepted outcome. This is an untenable position because there is NO BASIS for such confidence. From today's NYTimes:

(snip)
Some observers see potential for lasting benefits from another disputed election, at least once the dust has settled: they say it may finally rouse the country to overhaul the presidential election process.
While I recognize the election cannot and should not be pre-empted, I find this final excerpt to be highly motivational:
One thing that seems certain, though, is that there is no certainty about how the nation will handle the aftermath of a disputed election.
We can't know how the nation (or the world) as a whole will respond, but there is no reason for us not to be gathering in our communities to determine appropriate expressions of rejection for the impending sham.
# # #

Post-"Election" Planning October 28, 2004

So what else, let's see...the GuvWurld News Archive has several recent stories about expecting an uncertain outcome:

San Francisco Chronicle - Various Controversies Expected To Delay Election Outcome - 10-23-04
FindLaw - The Coming Post-Election Chaos - 10-22-04
GovExec.com - Justice Dept Not Prepared To Document Election Aftermath - 10-19-04
NYTimes - Imagining the Danger of 2000 Redux - 10-17-04
# # #
In general, I like Moore and his films. But watching "Slacker Uprising" was like seeing the Charlie Brown Nation running up to kick the football that is always pulled away at the last moment. Will Charlie ever learn? Will we?

Here we are four years later and my last two blog posts were "The Real Election Math," proving election results will again be unprovable this November; and "Hey Media! - Don't Report As Fact What Can't Even Be Proven (Federal Election Results)," in which linked to this speech (.mp3) I recently gave outlining a new campaign calling for the grassroots, progressive politicians, and progressive media to confront the corporate media in the simplest of terms.

Despite Moore's gung-ho "get out the vote" attitude, or perhaps because of it, he is now a must on the media outreach list for this campaign. I stuck my toe in that water Friday afternoon with a call to the Peter B. Collins show during Brad Friedman's regular guest spot on election integrity. Listen to the excerpt in the GuvWurld News Archive, or catch the full hour in PBC's podcast archive.

"Slacker Uprising" had no potential to come anywhere near Moore's box office financial successes, so I can see keeping it out of the theaters. What I'm struggling with is why anybody thought there was a good time to show this dated and painful reminder billed in the opening as "one filmmaker's failed attempt to turn things around."

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Posted by Dave Berman - 3:25 AM | Permalink
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I agree with your assessment of this film, judging by both your summary and the reviews. Also, I think you give Moore too much credit in general for his past films. His arguments are kindergarten-level, at best, and his style is predictable and ... frankly, boring. His only good point is about corporate control of government, which he gets to in Fahrenheit 911 (his only passable work, in my opinion). This is precisely why I found it disgusting that he begged Ralph Nader, the only anti-corporate candidate running in the 2004 election, to drop out of the race in favor of John Kerry (gag).

Posted by Blogger e. @ Oct 14, 2008, 7:32:00 AM
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Quote

"What I'm struggling with is why anybody thought there was a good time to show this dated and painful reminder billed in the opening as "one filmmaker's failed attempt to turn things around."

UnQuote

The comment answered itself. The pain. That's why. And it was no accident. What better way to send the message, "Don't make the same mistake AGAIN!" then to rub salt in the still open wounds with this *very* painful reminder. His timing was spot on. But then Moore is as crafty as he is brilliant. I would have expected no less.

Rhiannon

Posted by Blogger Rhiannon @ Nov 1, 2008, 12:32:00 PM
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Rhiannon,

Your comment is vague in that it doesn't specify what "same mistake" you think we may be at risk of making. I suspect you and many others feel like it is a matter of getting out the vote, which was and seems to still be the extent of Moore's message. I think that is delusional and typical of the very dangerous denial so many Americans are experiencing.

The "same mistake" I see being made is accepting the conditions under which our so-called "elections" are being conducted when this guarantees we will have an inherently inconclusive outcome that is unknowable and unprovable.

Posted by Blogger Dave Berman @ Nov 1, 2008, 12:59:00 PM
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