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Friday
Oct022009

Capitalism: A Love Story

"This is capitalism, a system of giving and taking...mostly taking," Michael Moore says at the beginning of his newest documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. The word "capitalism" has become synonymous with America, freedom and a free enterprise system, but Moore argues that it's time for people to open their eyes and realize that it isn't perfect. Contrary to what right wing pundits will argue, Moore doesn't call for a radical departure from our way of life. He still wants us to have our cars and our homes and our televisions. What he wants to know is, why can't everybody have those things?

This idea of change frightens those with the delusional mindset that capitalism is the one, true way for our nation to function, especially if you throw in that dreaded word: socialism. Oh no, not socialism! Whatever will we do?! What those people fail to realize is that adopting aspects from different systems of government that will better our nation and provide more equality among our people, which is the very foundation of America to begin with, is not an abandonment of democracy. The point Moore makes, and quite effectively if I may say so, is that we need to stop hiding behind ideals that do not work anymore, ideals that are used to protect our own greedy ways. Capitalism is not perfect and perhaps combining those different aspects will allow us to create a new, better system of government, one that is fair to everybody, not just the fat cat politicians and big business owners. As we move further into the future, things change and a beneficial government must change along with it. The notion of staying true to now defunct ideals that were established hundreds of years ago is silly and childish.

Of course, capitalism wasn't actually established all those years ago, though some claim it to have been. As Moore points out in a late scene, nowhere in the Constitution does it say that America should be built around the idea of capitalism. Though brief, this scene shows that there is nothing to hide behind. Those who point to the Constitution to deny change simply can't in this instance.

With all that said, Moore runs into a few problems, the same old problems that have haunted him throughout his career. What he does in Capitalism: A Love Story is tell a bunch of individual stories that don't necessarily reflect the overall picture. In some cases, it does, but like any of his movies, he only tells you what he wants you to hear and rarely, if ever, gives the other side a chance to speak. It all must be taken with a grain of salt.

Now, he is telling us factual statements. He hasn't come this far by lying to us. But not everything he says has context to it that makes an argument as to why the opposing viewpoint lacks validity. He still does a great job of getting his message across, but at this point, he has become too predictable and his movies are starting to lose credibility because we have all become accustomed to his tactics.

Nonetheless, Michael Moore is masterful at what he does. He knows how to make you laugh by making fun of the greedy fat cats who oh so ever deserve it and then make you so angry that you start foaming at the mouth, demanding blood for the wrongdoings the people of America have suffered. There were even moments when I was moved to tears, like in one scene where a poor community comes together and fights for a family's home. It shows that those who have nothing do more to help others than those who have everything. It's a disheartening notion, but it is enough to make you want to stand up and demand social change.

It was Gandhi who once said, "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed." It's a quote I've gladly displayed on a number of occasions and perfectly sums up the whole point of Capitalism: A Love Story. It asks for equality and ethical business practices that would allow it to come about. But as stated in the film, evil cannot be bargained with. It must be destroyed and there are undeniable evils in capitalism. Just ask the bishop and Catholic priests who are interviewed in the movie. Besides, "Blessed be the poor," the Bible says, another document the right side likes to hide behind. Perhaps they should read it first.

Michael Moore is without question the greatest documentarian working today. He knows how to construct a documentary and force the audience to feel a certain way. He may be hated by many people, but those people can't see past the message they so hastily disagree with to see his immense talent on display.

Is Moore stepping into a large hole, contradicting himself by making money off of an anti-capitalism movie in a capitalist society? Of course, but that is an assertion only those who bash the man without truly listening to what he has to say will argue. His movies are always about the greater picture and like it or not, he is providing a great service to society. What do I have to say about it? Keep 'em coming Mr. Moore. Keep 'em coming.

Capitalism: A Love Story receives 4.5/5

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