Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Michael Moore and Rape Culture

I have a soft spot in my heart for Michael Moore. He is a very talented film-maker and author, and I can't help admiring somebody so gifted even when they use their gift in ways that are not always easy to respect. As I wrote before on the subject of his brilliant documentary Sicko, Michael Moore's portrayal of medical care in Cuba was offensive to anybody who has ever visited this country. An even more brilliant film Capitalism: A Love Story (which was so well-made that I watched it four times on the same day) was based on a deliberate fudging of terminology that can hardly be accidental for somebody as smart and well-versed in the topic as Moore.

Of course, what I kept forgetting in my hurry to disregard Michael Moore's lack of respect for factual veracity is that as soon as you see a person falsify facts here and there for the sake of a pretty, well-constructed story, there is no telling how far they will go. In order to preserve the validity of his narrative about Julian Assange as a Jesus-like martyr figure, Moore started offering interviews and tweets that discuss rape in terms I find to be extremely offensive. Here is part of his interview to the BBC, for example: 
Are you kidding me? I mean really. What? I mean, we’ve lived long enough, through enough of this kind of deception, these kinds of dirty tricks that governments and corporations play. And the issue here is that if he were any other just normal Brit, with this so-called “crime” that he’s been accused of — which I understand isn’t, wouldn’t actually be a crime if it was committed in Britain, a condom broke I believe is the “evidence.”
"So-called crime"? "A condom broke?" On other occasions, Moore referred to rape allegations as "strange" and "hooey." Can you be any more cavalier about allegations of a very serious crime that, surely, deserves being investigated? 

As I said before, I have no idea whether Assange is guilty of rape. And neither does Michael Moore. We weren't there, we haven't seen the evidence. All we have heard is, at best, third-hand accounts of second-hand stories. What I don't understand is how any decent human being can be so dismissive of the topic of rape and still feel good about themselves without waiting for any actual evidence to come in.

There is one thing, it seems, that is capable of bridging the ideological divide, joining the conservatives and the liberals in a happy embrace: the rape culture. See how fast they leave aside their animosity to howl in a perfectly attuned chorus: "It's just sex by surprise! Hooey! She asked for it! She lied! How dare she make these strange accusations about this so-called crime? What's the big deal? Who the hell does she think she is?"

P.S. On Rachel Maddow's show tonight, Michael Moore has finally recognized that rape allegations should not be dismissed. Ever. At all. I think the massive public campaign that was mounted on-line (especially on Twitter) against his and Keith Olbermann's pro-rape pronouncements was instrumental in bringing about this change of heart.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am also upset with Michael Moore for this garbage! He should be ashamed. The rape culture is alive and well...UGH.