Saturday, November 10, 2007

Moore's Sicko called "pathetic propaganda": buy DVD to find out by who

This story by Bruce Kirkland (Toronto Sun, Nov.9, 2007): Photo credit Max Whitaker/Reuters File. Ran in the Toronto Sun with the caption: "Michael Moore, who apparently needs two seats at the show, has bolstered his doc on docs".

"Sick and Tired, Michael Moore deepens his arguments on DVD

Michael Moore is nothing if not a master at balancing shameless self-promotion with populist politics.
For the latest evidence — or indictment if you are part of the lunatic fringe that dismisses everything the American documentarian does without debating the issues he raises — do not look farther than his new Sicko DVD.
It debuted this week in a fully-loaded, widescreen Special Edition. Loaded means 80 more minutes of publicity stunts, a new ‘we-the-people’ rally at Congress and a gathering of intelligent, heartfelt information on the issue at hand.
That issue, of course, is the woeful state of American health care and, by extension, how systems operate in other countries such as Canada. Universal health care is a universal crisis.
The core of Moore’s case is simple: The richest country in the world has a terrible system. Uninsured Americans go broke trying to save themselves and often die prematurely. Even the insured can find themselves without care because insurance companies deny medicine and operations to maximize profits. It is despicable and shameful.
Yet Moore riles up Americans — and many Canadians — by comparing the U.S. to Canada, Cuba, France and Great Britain. He finds universal health care works better than for-profit systems. Yes, that is true. But, in a simplistic flourish, Sicko glosses over inherent problems in Canada and abroad.
That approach left Moore open to nit-picking criticism after Sicko made its world premiere at Cannes and opened in theatres in June. The debate still rages. So Moore — ever the crap-slinger — includes a compendium of Moore-bashing on his own DVD.
One commentator calls Moore’s work “pathetic propaganda.” You can sense Moore grinning behind the scenes. These caustic dismissals just underscore the inability of some opponents to debate the real issue: How to make health care a right, not a privilege.
Moore deepens his side of the debate in the 10 new featurettes on the DVD. They vary from 90 seconds to 27 minutes. They range from a Washington health care testimonial to an intense English-Spanish interview with Che’s Guevara Cuban daughter, Dr. Aleida Guevara, an empowered advocate for universal health care.
Moore’s enemies will, of course, dismiss the DVD, as they did the provocative film. But the special edition of Sicko is a useful, even dynamic tool for the rest of us to actually discuss the nitty gritty of health care. It is an issue which directly affects your life, your death and what can be done to ease the suffering and delay the inevitable."
Make healthcare a right, not a privilege. Heavy, debatable stuff. Is this like the right Canadians have to wait for government-delivered treatment; and the privilege we accept is being forced by our universal single-payer monopoly to Moore's America to obtain treatment? There are American left wingers like Froma Harrop who don't want to use Canada as a template, let alone Cuba. Moore's seemingly infatuated with both, and that is detrimental to any argument he makes in Sicko 1, or his new, improved Shtiko 2, with all his additional scenes and further so-called "arguments".
Both of our current systems need work, however, we don't see many Americans forced to go to Canada for healthcare. Our system can barely handle our own problems, and many Canadians are forced to go to the States for their treatment, which some on the rabid left in both countries simply dismiss as anecdotal and irrelevant. And some of us self-fund (luckily for us our dollar, at this time, is worth more in the U.S.), others may be reimbursed, or may be lucky enough for the province to pay - which then goes to the question of what costly systemic failures forced the patients to leave in the first place. Moore's Sicko DVD cover shows him sitting between several skeletons - clever, was he in a Canadian waiting room? Moore may be a "crap-slinger", but if his intention is to have a debate, it just comes across as polemic, thereby creating controversy - which might be all that this is about, then, anyway, creating a stir and selling "pathetic propaganda". Here's a film idea for Moore: make a Hollywood drama about our Hillary: Keifer Sutherland's grandfather, Tommy Douglas, Canada's so-called father of socialized medicine - and the wait-list which came with it.

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