As the Occupy Wall Street movement heads into its fourth month (!!!!) America continues to struggle with the problematic issue of Michael Moore’s personal wealth. Just kidding. No one cares. Except Piers Morgan. And Michael Moore himself. Which is why when Michael Moore appeared on Piers Morgan Tonight last night for the second time in as many months to discuss, I don’t know, whatever Michael Moore even discusses these days, Piers refused to let him off the hook about his income. Good. I mean, I really don’t know why any one talk show would need to interview Michael Moore twice in two months, but if you are going to interview him, and he’s going to be dodgy and disingenuous in his first appearance about your mildly but genuinely relevant questions about his personal wealth, then when you have him back on one month later for whatever reason, you should hold him accountable. (Although, Piers keeps talking about how it was a “big deal” that Michael Moore evaded his questions last time, and quite frankly, it is hard to imagine anything that happens on Piers Morgan Tonight being a “big deal.”) Anyway, Michael Moore continues to be vague and deflective and shifty and flop-sweaty about the whole thing, but he does, for the first time so far in this Important National Debate come somewhere close to something that seems kind of like the truth:
Almost! He almost managed to bring himself to say “Yes, I am very rich and that doesn’t matter because I am still a good person working particularly hard to make the world a better place for people less fortunate than me.” That’s all he needs to say and he just can’t do it, but inch by inch he is going to crawl his way over the field of metaphorical broken glass that is the result of his self-perception panes coming into contact with his actual reality rocks. Like, he is willing to admit that his films have made $500,000,000 which is SO MANY $$$$. But then he says that he didn’t take a paycheck for Bowling for Columbine. Well, uh, I mean, come on, Michael Moore. You know who doesn’t take money for the work they do? FUCKING RICH PEOPLE! You have to be able to afford to not take a paycheck before you’re going to not take a paycheck. (See also: the time that Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit took a symbolic one dollar salary for the entire year of 2009 but also earned a 16.7 million dollar bonus, so.)
He also talks about how some years he’s in the 1% but other years he’s not. How does that work? If what you are saying is that some years you make MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS OF DOLLARS and then other years your projects are in mid-stages of development and it’s going to take another year before you get the next round of MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, then let’s just round those numbers off and agree that you’re in the 1% at all times. The truth of the matter is that myself, as a midlist pop-culture blogger on the Internet am probably in the 5% or 10%. Lord knows I don’t live above a BABY GAP, but I am acknowledging the fact that compared to a lot of people, I’m doing fine. And I bet a bunch of the people who read this website are in a similar situation and/or elementary school.
Which brings us to Michael Moore’s final point about how the 99%/1% split is more symbolic than anything and it doesn’t come down to one individual’s personal wealth, but is about the systems that create inequality, and anyone who has money but is willing to take a tax increase and/or dedicate some of that money towards improving the lives of others is not the enemy. Yeah, Michael Moore. WE KNOW. Why is he so condescending?!?!?!??! And how come this guy who, again, I genuinely think has his heart in the right place and mostly falls on the morally just side of most issues and who does work hard to make other people’s lives better, for the most part, can’t even make a simplistic and painfully obvious point about what is happening in America right now without it sounding defensive and self-serving? Maybe this would make more sense if he was a shy, behind-the-scenes kind of filmmaker who hated public appearances and self-promotion, but this is one of the most aggressively public documentarians if not THE MOST that has ever existed. Dude inserts himself into the conversation CONSTANTLY and often UNNECESSARILY. So why is he shuddering and flaking and rolling his eyes back into his head the moment he comes under the smallest bit of scrutiny? You are the one who put yourself here, Michael Moore. Again and again. You are the one who thinks that you are the most fascinating part of the [Insert Political Cause Here] cause. So roll with it, dude! Good grief.
I hope this story never ends.