Friday, September 5, 2008

A Second Chutzpah Award for Michael Moore

It has been almost a year since I gave Michael Moore his first Chutzpah of the Week award. Like Dennis Kucinich Moore understands the value of the positive connotation of chutzpah; and he knows how to invoke it in the spirit of well-needed activism. If this achieves the side-effect of bringing attention to his films, so much the better.

The first time around the film was Sicko, and the activism involved seeking health care in Cuba for patients being neglected in the United States. He is now ready for his second award, and this time the film is Slacker Uprising. Perhaps the best way to view this film is as an effort to succeed where Fahrenheit 9/11 failed, in the mobilization of a critical number of votes to remove Republicans from positions of power in both the White House and the Congress. Slacker Uprising may then be viewed as an attempt to test a hypothesis, which is that, ultimately, Fahrenheit 9/11 did little more than preach to the choir. For the most part the people who saw it were convinced by its thesis before seeing it!

To test this hypothesis, according to a CNET News report by Steven Musil, Moore will circumvent the distribution of Slacker Uprising through movie theaters:

Filmmaker Michael Moore plans to premiere his latest documentary exclusively on the Internet for free, forgoing the traditional theatrical release.

Slacker Uprising , which documents Moore's 62-city tour through swing states during the 2004 U.S. presidential election to rally young voters, will be available for download for three weeks, beginning September 23. A DVD of the 97-minute film will be released on October 7 through and Netflix.

"This is being done entirely as a gift to my fans," Moore said in a statement Thursday. "The only return any of us are hoping for is the largest turnout of young voters ever at the polls in November. I think Slacker Uprising will inspire (millions) to get off the couch and give voting a chance."

This amounts to double-barreled chutzpah, taking aim at a broken political process that Moore continues to labor mightily to repair while also trying to do something about the sorry state of the movie business, particularly where distribution and promotion are concerned. He is betting that, by letting the Internet "do its thing," his primary audience will "do their thing" through active participation on Election Day (if not in activism during the campaign leading up to that day). More power to Moore, even if his Chutzpah of the Week awards are relatively modest compared to the other awards he has received!

No comments: