Friday, September 25, 2009

Will You Be Seeing Capitalism: A Love Story?

Will you be watching Michael Moore's new movie that basically argues that capitalism is evil? Or are you outraged that Moore would use the recent financial failures to argue against the American economic system? Glen Hall, Editor-In-Chief of The Street, discusses why he will not be seeing this film.

Capitalism (the movie) came to New York on Monday and I missed the premiere.

I'm not too disappointed, mind you, since I haven't seen any of Michael Moore's movies. I can only take so much faux outrage (how's that for irony?).

I do love a good dose of hyprocrisy, though.

For that, I will turn to Michael Corkery, who did attend the premier of Capitalism: A Love Story at New York's Lincoln Center.

Corkery notes in The Wall Street Journal's Deal Journal blog that "before the film, the crowd sipped champagne and cocktails in the "Morgan Stanley Lobby" and then headed to their seats in the "Citi Balcony." Movie tickets were available at the "Bank of New York Box Office" and there's outdoor seating at the "Credit Suisse Information Grandstand."

So Moore owes the glamour and hype of Monday's event to the very institutions he brands as evil in the film. Let's hope Moore selected the venue on purpose to be ironic.

From what I can tell, the idea that capitalism is evil is pretty much the plot of Moore's film. On the movie's official Web site, Capitalism is described as an exploration of the "price that America pays for its love of capitalism."

I love this line from Kenneth Turan's review in the Los Angeles Times: Moore "lays the ills of American society that he's chronicled over all that time at the feet of an out-of-control free-market system he so detests that he puts priests on camera to talk about capitalism as morally evil."

All this makes me wonder where Moore keeps all the money he earns from his films, considering that he seems to hate banks, Wall Street and capitalism with such passion. Frankly, I don't really buy all that posturing. I think he secretly enjoys the fruits of capitalism.

I recall bumping into Moore at the 2004 Democratic party convention in Boston. He was the officially uninvited hero of the day because of his Bush-bashing film Fahrenheit 911. He was rather full of himself and certainly enjoying the spotlight. Was he engaging in the time-honored capitalist tradition of self promotion?

I didn't see Moore later that summer at the Republican convention in New York, but I'm sure he would have enjoyed the attention of being the anti-celebrity at the event if he could have found a way to get in.

Earlier this year, I almost bumped into Moore again when I unwittingly stepped onto the set of Capitalism as the film crew staged the scene of Moore driving an armored truck in a trumped up gesture to get taxpayer money back from the offices of AIG (AIG Quote) and Goldman Sachs (GS Quote).

I didn't see Moore. In fact, I hardly saw anyone except for the film crew. No one on the streets of lower Manhattan seemed to care. But then again, I'm sure Moore's message isn't for the folks in New York's financial district anyway.

In any event, Capitalism the movie begins a limited engagement for general audiences in New York tonight.

I won't be going. I prefer the real thing.

This post has been republished from The Street.

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