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I enthusiastically recommend the content and ideas in Michael Moore’s new documentary, but I can’t actually recommend the movie.

Movie Review:

“Fahrenheit 11/9” Written and Directed by Michael Moore. 2 hours 6 minutes.

Michael Moore of Flint, Michigan, is probably the greatest satirist since Johnathan Swift. While his latest and most ambitious movie fulfills its purpose in illustrating virtually everything that’s wrong in Donald Trump’s America, it also highlights the inadequacy our response.


In Moore’s defense, one might say that listing today’s evils is necessarily a long and grim task. However, such length and such anger don’t fit well into a moviegoing experience. “I felt like I was getting beat up,” was my movie buddy’s summary.

Three or four, or maybe four or five, separate documentaries would have carried the message and made the point better. I wouldn’t mind a feature-length documentary on the scandal of lead poisoning in Flint, or on comparisons between Trump and Hitler, on the Florida teenagers’ response to school shootings, on the failures of our electoral system, and most certainly I wouldn’t mind a feature length documentary on the wonderful school employees of West Virginia. But trying to cover them all, and even more stuff, in one continuous documentary film?

Moore’s over-ambitious project took so much time that it squeezed out all the room that he used in his earlier films for humor. There are some great laughs in “Fahrenheit 11/9,” but only a few.

That’s not my main complaint.

Where Is the Solution?

In an interview introducing his film, Michael Moore said that its purpose was to get people to vote this November. But that isn’t clear at all in the movie. Even if it were clear, for whom would Mr. Moore have us vote? In this film, he lambastes the Democrats almost as much as the Republicans. That can only lead people to do exactly what Moore tells us not to do, stay home on November 6.

At one point, one of the characters featured tells people to join unions. But another part of the movie disparages unions.

Apparently, the outraged Michael Moore wants us to be outraged, but what does he want us to do about it? Many Americans are already outraged. Somebody needs to tell them to join unions and other progressive organizations and fight for a progressive program with a real, long-term social solution.

Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of simple-minded outraged anarchists.

–Gene Lantz

I’m on KNON radio’s “Workers Beat” program at 9 AM central time every Saturday. They podcast on Itunes. If you are curious about what I really think, check out my personal web site.

In the Q&A last Saturday, a woman asked the exasperating eternal question, “Why do people act and vote against their own interests?” Everybody wants to know that.

The answer is that the entire culture, set up and controlled by the employers, is working against us. They own virtually all the advertising industry, the publishers, the movies, the news sources, the schools, the concert halls — everything that hits us intellectually and emotionally. And it’s constantly!

“Society is everywhere in conspiracy against the manhood [and womanhood] of each of its members.” — Thoreau


Artists fight back in coffee houses with limited audiences. They do even better on the internet. There’s a “union song playlist” on YouTube, (click here) for instance.

Democracy has a way of inserting itself even in commercial cultural enterprises. The movies, for example, have to sell tickets, so they can’t constantly preach against everything we believe. I enjoy writing reviews because there are some good things said in movies like “The Free State of Jones” (click here) where the main character explains that his band of Mississippi guerrillas are not exactly fighting for the North in the Civil War. He says they’re fighting against the wealthy, and that’s not the same thing.

Of the world of art and culture, I believe my favorite area is the daily newspaper comics. I can imagine that the cartoonists try hard to stay neutral on the issues, but they have to cultivate an honest audience; consequently democracy sneaks in again. “Dilbert,” which always shows management as idiots, is my favorite of course. Recently, “Non Sequiter” showed St Peter working the handle on a trap door that sent Republican politicians immediately Down Below. “Doonesbury,” of course, punishes greedy politicians mercilessly.

My own radio show, “Workers Beat” on KNON radio (click here) is an exception to the rule. But the rule remains that the bosses control almost everything that influences us.

–Gene Lantz

Click here for more of these ideas