Michael Moore is smart. He wouldn’t have made a few million off of propaganda films if he wasn’t. Now he’s snared one of his critics in his new film, “Sicko”, and he’s done it in a way that makes him look magnanimous. But make no mistake– he’s far from charitable. The entire reason he did this was to help sell his movie in a grand publicity stunt.
Of course, this eludes Newsweek. Jim K, operator of Moorewatch and Right Thoughts, also skirts around it (but, knowing Jim K, I think he does it mostly out of gratitude to Moore and he doesn’t want to come off like an ungrateful ass).
Here’s a little bit of the backstory. Jim K’s wife has been ill for some time. From what I can gather, it’s a chronic condition, and because it’s pre-existing, it’s almost impossible to insure. As a result, Jim’s medical costs are a few thousand bucks a year, and although he’s does pretty well, he doesn’t make nearly enough to float such a cost. So he’s been scrambling to pay the bills. He also is the webmaster for a block of blogs (Right Thoughts, Moorewatch, and Right-Thinking). But, as anyone who blogs can tell you, you can’t make money in the biz. Unless you’re Andrew Sullivan and you threaten to stop blogging unless you get $100,000 (he’s still blogging, so you tell me what happened– it’s like Oral Roberts threatening that God was going to call him home unless he got some cash).
Moorewatch has been around for a while. I was more active around the Fahrenheit 9/11 portion of the website, but Jim K and Lee and Paratrooper have been vetting Moore since Bowling for Columbine. The site never makes enough to cover server costs (and server swindles– Jim’s really had a rash of bad luck), so it naturally won’t make him rich.
His wife has struggled with this illness off and on for a while, and if you know Jim, you know that his wife is the center of his world. Jim often would ask for contributions and he’d get some extra funds from readers, but he never would get enough to cover her medical costs.
Until one day when he got an anonymous email that offered to pay for 1 years worth of medical premiums. Jim took the money (he’s not stupid) even though he had a nagging suspicion that it was a set-up. But the check cleared, and he didn’t think anything else about it.
But, then he gets a call from Michael Moore, who reveals to Jim that yes, he is the mysterious benefactor. Most people would think, “Wow, what a great guy to help bail out his opponent like that!” But was it really charity? Moore revealed to Jim K that he put his whole “charity” event into the movie.
The definition of charity is a term in Christian theology (one of the three theological virtues), meaning loving kindness towards others; it is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. In its most extreme form charity can be self-sacrificial.
Charity is supposed to be a selfless act. If I give money to someone in a charitable way, I don’t expect the money back. Nor do I expect that person to spend the money how I want them to spend it. It is assumed that when I give the money, it is to help the person.
What Moore did was invest his money. By making a $12,000 investment, and now promoting it in the news and in his movie, he uses that “charitable” act to make himself magnanimous and “above the debate”, which is total bull. His movie stands to make millions, and this little stunt is sure to attract at least 1200 people to the movie theater at $10 a pop (notice how that’s $12,000?). Now he gets free press from Newsweek as well as other sources. In addition, it’s sure to stir the hornet’s nest over at Moorewatch and produce even more buzz about his film, a film that very few have gotten a chance to see. He gets advertising from the gift, which will translate into revenue for the movie and DVD sales.
As Christ said, “When you give alms, your left hand should never know what your right hand is doing.” He knew the power of charity, and how it can be misused. This has nothing to do with charity. Far from it. It’s exploitation of the sick. And that makes Michael Moore a true “Sicko”.