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Our intrepid defender of the working man, Michael Moore, documents his 1996 "Downsize This!" book tour across the USA. Shot on-the-cheap with a video camera, we once again watch our hero interview the working man at yet another plant closing, while also trying to get past corporate security guards to interview the millionaire CEOs. Written by
Tim G. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Performed by Son Volt
Written by Jerry Chestnut (as J. Chestnut) & Mike Hoyer (as M. Hoyer)
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
By kind permission of Tree Publishing, BMI See more »
The Big One fails on the two levels it aims at: political consciousness and entertainment.
First the entertainment level. Michael Moore's "documentaries" are meant as half entertaining, half political much like his show "TV-nation" (BBC). The entertainment often takes the shape of embarrassing his enemies in front of the camera by confronting them with suggestive questions for which they are usually unprepared. This can be funny but a lot of times I just felt sorry for the people who were confronted by his blunt questions. Often it was like the Charlton Heston visit in Bowling for Columbine which was the weakest part of that documentary. I thought the majority of the DVD was boring and lacked structure. The first half I was wondering, what is this about? The Big One was all centered around Michael Moore's book tour, promoting his latest book. Who even cares about that stuff? I wanted to see him confront high-level executives from large corporations or government officials, with sharp questions, but I got to see none of what I had hoped for.
The other level The Big One fails at is political consciousness. It lacks depth. The corporate management people he visits are always lower management (except for the Nike official), who don't have any authority on strategic decisions that force their plants to shut down locally and move to cheaper countries. Despite that, these people show themselves quite capable of defending their company's policies with rational arguments: they need to stay competitive in their market to survive, they are not charity after all. But Moore never really listened to them or even thought about their arguments. He just tried to keep waltzing over them repeating cheap suggestive questions like "how do you live with yourself" etcetera.
Moore did have a point criticizing the government paying welfare to companies but failed to focus on one simple subject. He could have focused on just that one issue, or the Nike factories in Asia, or the factories that were shut down. That way he might have been able to put the finger on the REAL problems in all those cases, but I doubt it. I'll give it my two cents:
-The main problem with companies that downsize is that they don't hurt the people that can take the biggest blows because they make the most money in those companies: the UPPER MANAGEMENT.
-The other problem with companies that fire their people despite profits is they usually communicate badly and don't give enough time and compensation to the people that are sacked. The "right to have a job" is an outdated communist notion. Let these people look for a new job, just help them finding it!
-Having factories in third world countries, even when they have a dictatorial regime, is NOT "unethical". These people would be off much worse without those factories. In fact in those countries most people are jealous of the people that do work in Nike factories because they can help support entire families. The people that have to get by with their own farms and other "native" means of making money have far more miserable lives and have to work even harder. The only thing that I would agree on is that Nike should hire more people and let them work less hours (keeping their costs the same), while improving working conditions.
If you like Michael Moore: Fahrenheit 911 and particularly Bowling for Columbine are far superior. Despite their flaws (often presenting fiction as fact) they are entertaining and serve a purpose in broadening people's perspectives by displaying a different view on the subjects of terrorism and violence than most of the media.
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