Michael Moore’s suspension of reality.
A few years ago, I read an excerpt from an interview with The Hollywood Reporter as part of their article on Michael Moore and several other filmmakers entitled, “Hollywood’s Most Dangerous Documentarians on Death Threats, Scientology and “Staging” Reality”. In it, Michael Moore was, not surprisingly, quoted as saying:
“The truth is complicated and layered. Facts and truth are two different things.”
As I read it, I stopped, had to back track, and found myself stumbling over those words several times. Facts and truth are two different things? Does he really believe that?
Actually, he does, and so does his audience, and a fair cross section of the everyday public. It’s the inevitable outcropping of a world view of relativism, where everybody’s right, nobody’s wrong…or maybe it’s everybody’s wrong and nobody’s right. It’s hard to keep track of which way the pendulum is swinging from day to day, hour to hour. But, then, that’s sort of the point I’m making here. In a relativistic world view, there are no absolutes. There are only randomly generated absolutists with relativistic opinions in the moment.
As far as people like Michael Moore are concerned, it’s certainly no mystery to those of us in the motion picture industry that he has had quite a track record with his films of “staging reality” to fit a pre-established narrative. Indeed, he even admitted in his interview that, while making “Bowling for Columbine”, he discovered that the facts he found in his Canadian gun ownership research didn’t match his pre-established narrative, and that he found himself agreeing, at least partially, with the NRA on their slogan that “Guns don’t kill people…”. He indicated, in his own words, that the facts which he found in Canada changed his opinion of guns and gun laws in America.
That’s interesting, because he also said, as I quoted (and cited) above, that facts and truth are different. So, were those facts which he found in the Canadian statistics office the truth, or not? I guess they couldn’t have been truth, because facts and truth, by Michael Moore’s own definition, are not the same thing. So this inevitably leads me to the question, why did those facts, which apparently aren’t truth, change his mind? They’re obviously not true, right? He said so himself, didn’t he?
So, reality check. The truth is that facts and truth are, indeed the same thing. Even by the very definition of each, we find that they are co-dependent. Not to get “all nit-picky” with this whole proving your case thing (I know it’s a mystery to Michael Moore and his followers), but here are some definitions to back up the logic of the truth:
Truth is defined as: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality*
*New Oxford American Dictionary
Fact is defined as: a thing that is indisputably the case**
*New Oxford American Dictionary
See the correlation? Truth is in accordance with fact, and fact is indisputable. That means it is unable to be challenged or denied…in other words, it’s the truth. It’s a fact that cannot be challenged or denied.
So, this brings me back, then, to his statement. “Facts and truth are two different things.” The kindest thing I can do for Michael Moore is to tell him the truth, and the truth here is that his statement is wrong. I just wonder if he knows it or not.
I truly wonder if he really believes that facts and truth are different. It would seem that he has operated under this arbitrary world view for quite some time, based upon what I have seen in his work over the years. You see, if there are no absolutes to your world view, meaning that truth and fact are, indeed, separate things, and they can be redefined and reassigned based upon your needs at the moment, then the world around you would become very confusing, indeed.
But, truth exists independent of what we think of it. It is not dependent upon our believing in it, nor is it subject to redefinition by anyone. Truth is defined by the absolutes of the known universe, which have been established by God, who created it all. You did not create any of it, and neither did I, and neither did Michael Moore. Therefore, neither of us can choose to redefine it. We can only choose to see it and acknowledge it or see it and deny it. Separating truth from fact is denying truth, which is called a lie.
So, now I understand fully, and I thank Michael Moore for finally coming clean. He sees fact and truth as separate, which is denying truth, which is lying, which is what he does with his films. Films which have a pre-established narrative and ignore fact in favor of the pre-established narrative would be referred to as propaganda, and propaganda is exactly what he both produces and decries in the same breath.
It must be very confusing indeed.
Listen, I’m not trying to “pile on” Michael Moore because his latest propaganda film is being called a flop even by the big Hollywood media outlets. Nobody can score a home run every time. What I’m pointing out is that his films have continued to decline in audience appeal because they don’t make any sense any more. In a relativistic world view, your ability to think logically and make any sort of sense disappears, and without those things, your stories have no point – if you can even call them stories at all.
It’s not Michael Moore, it’s his relativistic world view that has failed at the boxoffice. Relativism offers no hope, only apathy and mockery. It cannot offer hope, because it does not believe in anything that could ever offer hope – only it its ever-shifting definition of truth. If you want to understand why we have a generation of filmmakers who don’t know how to offer hope with their films, all you need to do is look at their world view.
And it is hopeless.