Previously, I’ve written about ways the world of television has provided a source of escapism to those who need a break from details about our abysmal economy. And while everyone should certainly exercise a timeout from the often depressing news about the state of the economy (sans this blog) people typically like to see their experiences mirrored in pop culture — even if the reflection they see isn’t pretty.
Enter Michael Moore, whose latest documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, is out in theaters nationwide today. Though filming started before Wall Street took its great tumble Moore has always had a knack for releasing politically-charged works at the perfect time.
While Moore obviously likes to tackle his tough subject matter in a light hearted tone the core of the film asks a very important question: What has come of America and its value system? Throughout his extensive press run in promotion of the film Moore has made clear that our notion of capitalism is far from being a system that rewards excellence.
He argues that our society has created a culture obsessed with greed – making money the only real value to many. He makes his case the way he always does: By diving into his personal experiences with economic struggle as well as those of everyday Americans.
Capitalism: A Love Story won’t be as dramatic as Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (who not-so-coincidentally is working on a sequel) or as sexy as Steven Soderbergh’s film, The Girlfriend Experience, which focuses on the life of a call girl who visits distraught financial traders in downtown Manhattan, but Moore is bringing a sense of realism no fictional work can deliver.
For those fighting foreclosure, being chased by creditors, or simply trying to stay afloat films seeking to spark philosophical debates about our economic system and the culture its produced probably doesn’t sound all that enticing.
Yet how long can we just keep going on ignoring the factors that have created the economic climate we’re in? Make no mistake: I don’t think watching this movie will make you a formidable debater on economic policy. But it is a start and if Americans started paying more attention to what’s going on maybe we won’t have to fear this happening again to our children. Or better yet…happening to me again!
See the movie even if it means buying a senior citizen’s ticket for a discount. Escapism entertainment will still be on TV when you get back.
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P.S. I have not been paid by Michael Moore to endorse his movie. My personal bias stems from the fact he’s another person named Michael. So there.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.