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Michael Moore On The Useful Idiots Podcast

This first part of an interview by Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper of the Useful Idiots podcast with the American documentary-maker and progressive campaigner Michael Moore is well worth a watch on the Rolling Stone YouTube channel.




10 comments on “Michael Moore On The Useful Idiots Podcast

  1. rossioncoyle

    They did one with Chris Hedges and one with Abby Martin which was really cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Moore does come off well this time. However, as a lifelong track record, I do feel that Michael Moore is at best a Double Edged Sword for many progressive movements in North America. This is especially the case for the anti-war movement and climate hawks/sunrise.

    My experience has been that Moore probably demotivates at least as many people as he inspires. This isn’t to say he “alienates [fill in blank]” or whatever. It means that a lot of people leaning in those directions get the sense that it’s all futile and there’s nothing they can really do.That he has a way of sort of convincing most people who are thinking of getting political that they are just “the wrong kind of person to say anything”, that they are just by thinking that and not having been out 20 years ago (or since the age of six) that they are already some shameful hypocrites that they’d do more harm than good and they’d best not show their faces at all.

    Why does he have that effect on people? I’m honestly not sure. I know I’ve been annoyed or put-off by some of the things he says, it never made me want to stay sidelined, so much as be annoyed with him. I do know from experience that he has that effect on a lot of people. Possibly enough to have an impact.

    Also have to some US political documentaries were much better in my opinion before Moore. EArlier doc from the 1970’s and 80’s in particular used to let their subjects speak for themselves-that way they sometimes condemned themselves worse than a confrontational interviewer could hope for. They let things happen that weren’t already predictable Michael Moore tends to really foreground his own “shtick” if you will. The ones who made docs like “Harlan, USA” or “Hearts and Minds” wouldn’t have done that.


    • Interesting take. Not sure I’d agree but I know that his “reputation”, as crafted by the conservative media and movement, has been used to alienate him and discredit his messages for the sort of rural blue collar communities that he strives most to speak to.


      • It’s not so much “rural blue collar communities” I’m talking about-Indeed in reality those are far from homogeneous. It’s a myth in my opinion that there are these legions of blue collar joes out there who while ready to be scooped up into {insert coalition} are so easily “alienated” by the antics of liberals and various protest movements, and who LOOOOOVE Biden but are put off by Elizabeth Warren or whoever else. (Biden is a good man, and I think he has the ability to be a competent if lackluster President, but ex-Vice Presidents just plain have a poor track record of winning Presidential elections. They have throughout US history. Nobody’s sure why, and some thing it’s a statistical fluke rather than a real “curse”. Also I believe Biden’s stutter, will hurt him in directly debating Trump.)

        All this talk in America about “alienating the white working class” or “blue collar rural communities”? Take it from me, over 98% of that talk is absolute nonsense. Sometimes people saying that are not willing to put their own dislike of certain tactics on the table. More often it’s related to an unwillingness to admit that regional differences in the US matter. People want to pretend that if working class, rural, white men are drastically more likely to be Democrats in Maine, New Mexico, or Northern Minnesota than in Alabama, Texas or Mississippi they are always trying to prove that this is just a stand-in proxy for some other prosaic demographic fluke that has nothing to do with the region per se………or the history. Here people have mentioned the absurdity of pretending Northern Ireland is pretty much just like England. For reasons more complex and less nefarious, a lot of people in The US want to claim that all white voters are “kind of the same”, an frankly that’s ridiculous. Dixie of course, in particular is really just as contorted by its own history as Northern Ireland is-the reasons are equally complicated. The Midwest has a lot of heterogeneity gets glossed over as does the West Coast and rural New England. It is The South however, that is particularly “complicated” if you will.

        The idea that you have all these blue collar communities filled with people who are just so teachable, but also so easily “alienated” by what a few college kids did, yet who would happily get on board with whatever as long as nobody offends them….that’s just load of corn.

        As for the people who I have seen stifled as young activists time and time again? What does that typically look like? Most commonly it’s a relatively young idealistic person. Although you do see profiles such as housewives in their 40’s, working professionals, retirees, former activists who were “out of the game” for some years for one reason or another. This isn’t about the way Conservative Media portrays Michael Moore. It’s about a deflating effect I have seen him have on people. For some reason Michael Moore seems to have an effect on a lot of people’s nascent activism similar to putting a pin to a balloon. They weren’t alienated because “he was too far left”. They were simply convinced all activists were assholes and “alienated” away. While I don’t fully understand what the psychology is, as best I can tell the people who sort of “drift away” due to Michael Moore’s influence seem to feel that they are so morally compromised that they become ashamed to show their faces at all. I’m not a psychologist and don’t have a unified theory on why this happens, but I have watched it first-hand way, way too many times to dismiss those people are “weird outlier” or simply accept that “this wasn’t Moore’s intent”. I never thought it was his intention, but it still seems to be the result all too many times.

        One very half-baked hypothesis I have is that Michael Moore tends to “force feed” his readers/viewers just a little bit too much, and do so with hard-assed provocateur arguments. Whether that explains what I’m seeing or not is hard to say. However, the whole (in my opinion way overblown) argument about radicals “alienating middle America” or whatever has nothing to do with what I’ve observed as far as the effect Michael Moore seems to have on a lot of people!!!.


        • Sorry!!! They were simply convinced all activists were assholes and “alienated” away.” should have been “They were NOT simply convinced all activists were assholes and “alienated” away.”

          It does seem that a lot of people react to Michael Moore by concluding they are too morally compromise or just “not the right kind of person” and walk away shamefaced. Color, gender, class, college status, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation don’t seem to predict who he has this effect on. They tend to be under 30, but not always.


        • Lol. Biden’s inappropriate groping and kissing of folk will be the gift to Trump and co.


    • When Moore sounded the alarm bells against Trump and therefore was seen to be declaring that Hilary was the upstanding citizen, and not a bad sort, his appeal as a neutral was shattered.


  3. The lead poisoning in Flint MI, and Flint is but the tip of the iceberg of poisoned water systems in the US, illustrates the fundamental problem in the US, that it is almost impossible to open the eyes of Europeans to.

    Every single institution, organization and aspect of US government, federal, state and local are built from the ground up to be racist and are racist to their very core. The US police are the Black and Tans for minorities here. If you were following the Amber Guyger case in Texas, the police murdered the eye witness that testified against her, Joshua Brown.

    Settler Colonial empires cannot be reformed, they must be burned to the ground, and rebuilt from the ashes. The UK wasn’t and you see the problems. Germany was and well, it’s not perfect, but it’s not the UK.


    • Well that theory didn’t work out so well with Russia/USSR. That country was plenty burned to the ground during WII/Great Patriotic War. It hasn’t improved them much.


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