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Friday, October 24, 2003
Michael and Me
"What's that in your pocket?"
"No cameras allowed."
"Don't you know the headliner? He's made a career out of taking film crews into places where cameras are prohibited."
"Sorry, we can't let you bring that in."
"Come on, this is Michael Moore we're talking..."
"Get the tazer."
This was the scene last night at the Memorial Coliseum...or at least it could have been.
Blog's mission was a simple one. Take a camera to last night's "An Evening With Michael Moore" and get kicked out. Unfortunately, Blog never made it to the security check point. The last ticket was sold early yesterday afternoon.
Only in a place where it rains 345 days out of the yearswould people pay between $15 - $29 to get into a book signing. Only in a state like Oregon would such a thing be held in a 12,000 seat auditorium. Only in a town like Portland would the event sell-out.
There was a time when Blog approved of the author/director's noble efforts. Roger and Me remains a bold classic and TV Nation deserved a ten year run on NBC. Despite the alleged factual errors contained in Bowling for Columbine, many of which have been nicely rebuked by Moore on his website, at least it doesn't offer an easy answer for the tragedy (unlike a certain Gus Van Sant film...). Many of Moore's critics describe him as a firebrand who disregards facts to push an agenda. Of course, most of them could easily be accused of the same thing (Limbaugh? O'Riely? Coulter?).
Then Moore won an Academy Award and unapologetically turned the stage of a ditzy Hollywood ceremony into a pulpit. Moore deserved to be booed, not for speaking out against the president, but for choosing the wrong place and the wrong time. He seems to be suffering from a Citizen Kane-esque ego disorder and last night's event in Portland only further fuels this presumption.
Last night, KOIN News offered a 30 seconds of footage from his stint at the Coliseum. Standing in front of a monitor which enlarged his head to the size of empty Flint storefront, Moore offered his views on the presidency and the economy to a frustrated crowd. The image immediately recalled a certain scene from Orson Welles' old film. With tickets going for $29 and copies of "Dude, Where's My Country?" selling in the foyer for upwards of $17, the event was awfully expensive for all those PSU students and unemployed Baby-Boomers waiting to get in.
Moore's website neglects to mention if any of the proceeds of last night's event, or any of his other dates around the country, were/are going to charity. Blog assumes not, since these things are usually well-publicized in strong, bold fonts. He'll be speaking at a similar "book-signing" at WSU tonight.
The appearance was a part of a nation-wide promotional tour for his new book. Other authors don't charge for book signings but, well, they also don't draw the same size crowds. While it was probably necessary for Moore's management to charge something to pay for the venue rentals on this tour, $29 is awfully high for a show lacking pyrotechnics and electric guitars.
On Monday night, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Flaming Lips also played the Coliseum and charged the same price as Moore. Instead of smug political musings and reckless self-promotion on a bare stage, they offered 2+ hours of music, explosions and laser lights.
Is Michael Moore exploiting the people he claims to defend? Has he become a hypocrite like Kane, willing to trade his laurels for $? Is he really that desperate to get out of the apartment over the Baby Gap? Did he really stay at the Colesium afterwards to sign all those books? Is Blog making too many assumptions here without facts to back them up? Is this post starting to sound like the narration for one Moore's documentaries?
The answer to all of these questions, in the words of Kid Notorious, is "you bet your ass."