Spoiler Warning: Michael Moore lost.
While right wingers are failing in bringing comedy to our doorstep with “An American Carol” this year, there’s an even more stable account of a failed pursuit with Michael Moore’s insistence on convincing all College students to vote against President Bush for re-election in 2004, and he did it through methods that didn’t quite resonate with everyone. While he and other celebrities tried to “save the Democrats from themselves,” there was really no saving the celebrities from each other who, with slight smugness, effectively failed to convince average Americans to vote Bush the Hell out of office.
But what destroyed their efforts? Was it Moore’s insistence on campaigning for his own cause that didn’t reach the right voters? Perhaps he just didn’t take it seriously enough. I mean was he seriously bribing voters with Ramen noodles and underwear? Watching “Slacker Uprising” is a bit of a self-defeating prospect as we know that this ninety minute bout of politicking and lecturing were all basically for naught, especially when Moore himself admits defeat in the opening scenes. But there’s a different purpose for Moore’s chronicle of his defeat, as this film seems to want to influence us in to voting for the upcoming election and show what happens when you sit on your a*s and wait for the world to take care of itself.
But Moore basically contradicts this implication with his own campaign that wasn’t so much a stern rally for non-voters to get up and change the world, but a pure spectacle reliant on comedy bits, physical gags, and speeches that act on the pretense that he’s trying to say something when half the time he really isn’t. The other times he’s on stage he seems like a man I’d want to lead us in to a new presidency, while also having the good sense to allow Republicans and Bush supporters to attend the rallies and protest without a single sneer, which makes for some of the best moments on the film. Watch his movies before you bash him, Bush supporters.
At times this can feel like one big ego trip for Moore. And speaking as one who pegs himself a Liberal, I had to scoff at Moore declaring “My movies are anti-propaganda.” In the end Moore just didn’t get through to the right people and the slackers just weren’t enough of a force, because America didn’t care. The American public he warned would flip from the truth actually continued believing the lies. And we suffered through four more years.
But then decide for yourself what “Slacker Uprising” is and what the rewards were, if any; I had a real love-hate relationship with it. Moore made one right move, though; he made it available to the masses without charge (but if you want the really good unseen interviews, get the DVD), and because of that he may inspire many more to vote and not allow another Bush-like candidate in office. If he pulls that off, then “Slacker Uprising” and its campaign wasn’t all in vain, after all.