An acquaintance of mine recently sent out an e-mail to everyone in her address book, including me, imploring us to go see Michael Moore's latest bit of agit-prop, Sicko
. I enjoyed all of his films except Fahrenheit 9/11
but wish he were on television again because TV and The Awful Truth were great. Anyone remember the bit from the latter (methinks) shot here in Madison with those folks dressed as Pilgrims running around Library Mall? I nearly pissed my pants during the scene with the woman writhing on the ground who said, "Orin Hatch killed a man just to watch him die!" I think it was Hatch, anyway. For some reason, I have no intention of seeing Sicko
. It just holds no appeal for me. I've read about it and eagerly watched an interview with Moore on NOW last week and I just feel content as far as the film goes. (I'm also happy that the film has prompted less mudslinging and instead more genuine debate about the issue.) I'd just rather read a book on the subject than see a Michael Moore documentary about it.
Regardless of my film viewing preferences, there's no doubt that Moore's films rally the liberal troops. I recall people showing Fahrenheit 9/11
in their homes and inviting strangers over to watch. It was required viewing for Lefties just as, say, Noam Chomsky is required reading. These people found something of such importance in the film that they just had to share it with others. A similar thing happened with An Inconvenient Truth
. People would try to encourage their friends and family to see it because the film had a message that these folks wanted to be spread. So why does a film by Al Gore or Michael Moore inspire such people to e-mail their friends & family when similar messages in other media do not? It seems that folks don't send out mass mailings urging others to watch Frontline or read a book. The price of admission for Frontline is owning a television set that gets PBS and while books have the virtue of being able to give much more information and are available at the library for free. It's almost like a subject isn't an issue for concern if it isn't give a stamp of approval by a film.
Are you one of those people that e-mailed everyone in your address book imploring them to see An Inconvenient Truth
or one of Moore's films? If so, why? Were you completely ignorant on the topics addressed in the movies and so moved that you felt compelled to get others to see them?
I also wonder what happens after the lights go up. You watch the film, get all pissed off at the system, and then what? Our health care system is very complicated and I highly doubt that Moore had the time to give a textbook lecture. Besides, it would probably be a pretty boring film. What have these movies inspired you to do? Anyone go see An Inconvenient Truth
and then takes steps to lower their carbon footprint? Anyone reading this see Sicko
and feel inspired to find out more on the subject? Write a legislator? I am curious to know whether these films actually light a fire and get people active in trying to change things or if, perhaps, they merely do a good job of getting choirs gathered in theatres to be preached at. Or some point in between.
I think one reason this came to mind was because I've gotten all charitable. The last time I gave money to a good cause was about 3 years ago when I helped pay a friend's mortgage after his wife had a stroke. And just a couple weeks ago, I read something at a blog which made me feel strongly that I should be charitable. My giving began that day with a donation to the Freedom From Religion Foundation
. Firstly, I support the cause of separation of church & state and secondly, I was renewing my membership and the form also came with one for donating to their special projects. And so I did. Yesterday was payday so one of my weekend projects is to get another check written. I'm not wealthy but, if Sally Strothers in right by saying that a $0.25 can feed a child for days, then what I give out can certainly be helpful. Every bit counts. Since the blog post which inspired me was at a feminist blog such as Feministe
, I think that I'll donate to the Dane County Rape Crisis Center
But what about next time? Do I give to local charities or international? When you, dear reader, donate money, to whom do you give it and how do you make that decision? As far as international charities go, I've got a short list which I meticulously compiled after 10 minutes of research on the Internet:OxfamDoctors Without BordersThe Nature ConservancyUNICEF
Here are a few local causes to which I intend to donate:WORTPlanned Parenthood of WIBig Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County
If you are a fellow Madisonian, to what local charities do you give?