He's also a hypocrite and a liar when it suits his purpose. This rant started out as a reply to a comment that TJ made on my earlier remark about Moore. He said I'm not gonna argue that Michael Moore's films are entirely factual since they contain a great deal of his own political opinion, but if Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda is classified as documentary, I don't understand the problem. I can agree that documentary is not the perfect way to describe his films (probably propaganda or opinion piece would be better), but according to Merriam-Webster's definition of documentary 2. adj. of, relating to, or employing documentation in literature or art, I'd say his films qualify.
to which I respond,
Documentaries and propaganda are two completely different things. I like your Leni Riefenstahl example and if you try to classify her stuff as documentary then I can see why you'd disagree with my assessment of Moore, but to me it just proves my point. Anyone who's ever called "Triumph of the Will" a documentary did it for the sake of political correctness and nothing more. I personally have never heard anyone try to call rationalize it as being a documentary and if I had I would have had the exact same reaction, because as far as I'm concerned, from a filmmaking standpoint, the only difference between Riefenstahl and Moore is that one is a far-Left ultra-liberal and the other one is a Nazi. A documentary
presents "facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film."* Also, a documentary is a film that presents "political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration." You could easily argue that Moore or Riefenstahl's work falls into the latter category but for the fact that they are much more accurately defined as the "propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause", which is the very definition of propaganda
In fact, just to take it a step further, I really don't think it's fair to honest documentarians to call Michael Moore's films documentaries, and I especially think the fact that he has a Best Documentary Oscar for "Bowling for Columbine" is a complete fucking travesty. There are things in BfC that are not just heavily slanted, they're completely staged and in at least one case, out and out fabricated
. If that's not the mark of honest-to-God propaganda I don't know what is. I don't think Michael Moore's films qualify as literature or
art. They're theatrically released two-hour long versions of the sensationalized news bits that they do on Dateline NBC and 48hrs. at best
, and they're so heavily slanted and distorted that I hesitate to even give them that much credit. Journalists have researchers and fact-checkers and if they make shit up they get taken to task for it.
* I'm pulling my definitions from Dictionary.com
-- Hurm. You know, I just remembered that Michael Moore directed the video for Sleep Now in the Fire. I swear, I didn't do that on purpose.