THE BIG ONE Image

THE BIG ONE

By Chris Gore | February 16, 1998

Michæl Moore of “Roger and Me” and “TV Nation” sets out on a book tour to promote “Downsize This: Random Threats from an Unarmed American.” Rather than travel to U.S. meccas like LA or NYC, he goes to downhome American places like Wisconsin. On his whirlwind tour he tells jokes and bonds with workers everywhere. He tells a crowd about testing his theory that politicians will accept a check from anyone. Moore opens bank accounts in names like: Pedophiles for Perot, Abortionists for Buchanan, and Hemp Growers for Clinton. Guess what? Each politician cashed the $200 checks and Moore made the news in a minor controversy.
In each city he confronts CEOs who have laid off workers and sent jobs abroad. For some reason, he is unable to actually meet any CEOs willing to accept his “Downsizer of the Year” award on camera. Enter Philip Knight, CEO of Nike whose shoe company hires 14 year-olds in Singapore to manufacture shoes for .80¢ an hour. Yikes! Moore meets with Knight to plead him to grow a conscience asking him pointedly, “Would it be okay to be a half-billionaire instead of a billionaire?” Moore goes on to make a case for Knight to open a Nike plant in Flint, Michigan, even going so far as to make a mini-documentary on the residents who make personal appeals to Knight. While we can all hope for the Hollywood ending, this is reality and Knight chooses to do what CEOs seemed trained for — overlooking the plight of people over the lure of profit.
Moore is like Ralph Nader with the comic timing and sense of humor of some of the greatest comedians. You won’t see a better documentary this year. A must-see. Excellent.

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