Sicko? no thanks

Joe and Christer, while I appreciate the concern for America’s future, I for one won’t be contributing any money to Michael Moore while he continues to make “documentaries” that end up more like political propaganda than a documentary [1] which should provide multiple viewpoints and objective look at the issue. In the words of Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post,

“Ladies and gentlemen, I think we can agree on two things: The American health-care system is busted and Michael Moore is not the guy to fix it.”

[1] “Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.”


26 thoughts on “Sicko? no thanks

  1. Thanks kindly for this. I think political information as it relates to software is ok in these arenas. But one of the things I tire of in the Ubuntu community is folks acting like I have to hold their political view to ‘really’ be in the ubuntu community (in fact its one reason I do not join the community).

    All sides of these issues are skewed, and they are best reserved for a political forum, I come to ubuntu for software.

  2. Hello, I read planet Ubuntu for the “Ubuntu” matter. For political views or other personal expounding, I can go to qualified sources — assuming I need to be told what to think.
    I’d appreciate it very much if we could keep political rants out of this wonderful resource.

  3. @Joseph: You mean you you don’t hold the same political view that I do? shame on you 🙂 just kidding of course.

    @Jordan: AMEN!

    I would like to know how Mr. Moore gets into the places he does. You know, I somewhat enjoyed the Bowling for Columbine documentary he did until he pointed the finger at KMart because they sell ammunition. It is because of this I enjoy telling people “Guns and Ammunition do not kill, it is the idiot behind the trigger!”

    I watched some of the behind the scenes stuff the major US media outlets have shown, and for once I don’t think he gets any political support for this film. Not even Ted Kennedy, which for some reason I thought they were drinking buddies. OK bad joke, sorry people in Massachusetts. 🙂

    Anyways, a couple of the things he has documented on in this latest film, dubbed Sicko, has landed him in some legal hot water, but I am unsure what exactly it is he did or how big of a deal it is. If you are going to make a documentary, please don’t lie to us, make up stories, or have someone who lived in the sticks of the south where there wasn’t a hospital get on TV and then complain about it (did this ever make it into the actual movie they show now?). The guy with his fingers cut off was also dubbed a liar on national TV as well. For one, it is against the law for a hospital/doctor to only complete a partial treatment unless that facility/doctor does not have the means, at which point they have to transfer. If you don’t have insurance, or your payout is to low, they don’t just give you one finger and toss the other one out. That sounds like some line from the movie “The Ringer”.

  4. Joseph and John: I agree. I’d rather not see political commentary on Planet Ubuntu and that’s why I wrote the post. I don’t like having to respond but there at least needs to be some balance. It’s not to bad to get a little insight into the people within Ubuntu but I think I’d rather see Ubuntu news.

  5. Laserjock

    Actually I was thanking you for this. I appreciate that you kept the blog short, without all the political claptrap that other posters have made. If I wanted to be told to watch Michael Moore stuff, there are plenty of places I can go. I feel that the Ubuntu community says its open, but I keep seeing that I have to hold a certain political view, a certain religion, a certain moral code, in order to really be considered a ‘member’ and for this reason I am not a member. I just use the software. So when we have posts like yours that do in fact balance things out and say, I dont have to think your way, I am ok with that. On the other hand had no one posted about the movie, and you had, I would not have appreciated it. It is not the particular viewpoint that is expressed, simply that folks think I have to think their way that I am opposed to.

  6. Hi LaserJock!
    Just wanted to let you know that you can watch Sicko without giving any money to Moore. He has said himself that he doesn’t mind people downloading his movies, so there is no problem downloading it from a torrent site. I realize that you might not want to watch it no matter, but at least know you know you can do it without any harm.. 🙂 If you’d later like to argue against it it’s always best if you’ve actually seen it. 🙂

  7. @Laserjock
    documentary = [1] “Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.”

    I don’t comment on Michael Moore’s stance but I do have something to say about the definition of the word “documentary” which you used.

    When we present facts, facts are not objective since “we” are presenting them i.e. “we” show only certain aspects which “we” choose to present (what “we” deem to be relevant). Facts do not speak by themselves and do not show anything (but we do). Documentaries are constructions, just like books and films. Books and films tell us stories and so do documentaries (otherwise why bother making a documentary?).

    What I’m trying to say is that maybe the word “objectively” could be replaced by “in a balanced way”(well, as balanced as possible).

    Just my 2 cents.



  8. I say, let the political postings continue!

    I don’t agree with many of them (I consider myself to be centrist, personally), but I think it’s valuable to discuss them. Preferably with pro/con viewpoints (on Planet, not necessarily in an individual posting) so that people can decide for themselves. This, however, does generally tend to skew things toward the liberal side, as most FOSS people I run into are liberal. That said, it only implies that we need to work harder at getting conservatives into Free and Open Source software. 🙂

  9. You probably did not see the movie so I suggest you wait before claiming all kind of stuff. If you do not like to spend money then fire up your bittorrent client.
    I don’t see why a documentary should be “objective” ( I find this word deceiving by itself ). A documentary can be dedicated to support a idea and therefor present the facts in a certain way without being lies ( inserting fictional matter ).
    It’s also sad that the guy who is actually doing something to bring a real problem to attention ( people dying without care in the richest country in the world ) is attached before considering the issue.
    BTW: nobody is claiming that Micheal Moore will solve the problem so why attaching him on that ? He is actually only bringing to attention the thing that nobody else managed to bring into attention )

  10. It really sad seeing a lot of US citizens turn away and close the eyes when the critique is on. Especially when an American is telling that other countries do better.

  11. No, these political rants do not belong on Planet Ubuntu. And futhermore you (op) did not obviously even watch the Sicko, or is lacking the ability to criticize the propaganda he is fed by his government.

    Well, UK is that 60 million people indeed? It’s easier to run small than large systems. How come them the whole EU area, that is 300 million or so in total, has better healthcare in average?

    “But absent that, would the system work if everybody got what they wanted when they wanted it and there was no adjudication, no prioritizing? What would those economic consequences yield? The question goes unanswered because it goes unasked.”

    It may go unasked at there, but it’s answered elsewhere. There are pretty good examples of it actually working. Like, the rest of the world.

    Sure, Moore makes documentaries, not scientific reports. However there is an awful amount of truth in this one. I actually cried when watching the Sicko, out of genuine pity for the americans..

  12. nixternal: “Guns and Ammunition do not kill, it is the idiot behind the trigger!”

    The idiot behind the trigger would have a hard time doing it without ammunition and guns. More guns = more deaths to question that is just ignoring the statistics. (that’s my opinion, there’s no need to think alike)

    back to topic:
    I read the two posts saying “go watch moore” as well, but they didn’t leave me with the feeling that it’s really expected to do so. And I don’t understand why people can’t discuss politics without trying to convert the other or making enemies. It seems to me like many people are a far to passionate and far to biased when it comes to politics. When you want democracy to work, people will have to keep an open mind. But I guess we’re far from that anyway (in most states around the world).

  13. @laserjock: If the facts that Moore point out in his movies weren’t facts you could easily disqualified the film but if you can’t say which are facts or not you can’t.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I think we can agree on two things: The American health-care system is busted and Michael Moore is not the guy to fix it.”

    Of course he is not but he have made a great contribution by telling the world with ‘sicko’ the corrupted and imperfections that the USA health care system have. Of course he did this from an ‘extremist’ viewpoint but that way he make his point and the people actually watch his film (that is what he wants) think about it and the government receive pressure to do something, even to clean his image.

  14. Heah, awesome comments all. Thanks for taking the time. A couple things I’d like to clear up though:

    1. I didn’t watch the film (that was the whole point of my post) so I didn’t want to comment a lot on specifics. I’ve read a lot of reviews and summaries (both pro and con) about the movie from fairly reliable sources so I feel I know enough of the idea behind the movie to know what’s going on generally. That said, as people have pointed out, I can watch it without giving Moore any money (I haven’t been to a movie theater in years and I rarely rent movies) and I might do just that. I’m currently grabbing the torrent.

    2. If his point in Sicko was that the health care system in the US has problems then the movie is rather pointless. We’ve been dealing with this since I was a kid. Health care has consistently been one of the very top issues concerning Americans, according to the polls. At the very least Moore could do without the fiction in trying to somehow scare us into some panic.

    3. He presents only one “solution” to make the American health care system better and it doesn’t sound like he even backs it up with much statistical or scientific data (from what I can tell, but again I haven’t seen the movie) but instead relies mostly on anecdotal evidence, which makes a wonderful movie, but not so much a convincing argument.

    4. A documentary is *by definition* supposed to be objective. I looked up the definition in 5 online dictionaries and what I found common amongst *all* definitions was the need for objectivity. Sure, it’s difficult to do and sometimes not as fun, but my biggest fear with Moore’s film is that he tries to push his own version of reality as *the* reality. If Sicko was marketed as “Michael Moore’s view of the American health care system” then I’m fine with that, but don’t pass it off as something it is not.

    In the end, I’m not really against the Moore making the movie and I’m not against people encouraging people to see it. I am sad to see the movie pushed as an objective look at US health care and particularly don’t want people outside the US to “take it as gospel”. While our health care system has it’s flaws (mostly to do with lawyers and the legal system rather than people not getting the care they need), scaring people and presenting only one “solution” doesn’t seem to me to be very productive.

  15. I’m glad Micheal Moore made Sicko, even if he isn’t the guy to fix the healthcare system. This is an issue that goes way back, when Hillary Clinton tried to make a change she was stonewalled. Maybe it takes a filmmaker to get the people who do have the right solutions to take action and get the support they need to make things happen.

  16. You might not want to give money to a Moore style documentary but who pays to see any other sort of documentary (with the possible exception of documentaries about penguins)?

    Like him or not he has a knack for getting things out there in front of people and that is half the challenge. If no-one is talking about problems then they won’t get fixed.

  17. @laserjock
    “4. A documentary is *by definition* supposed to be objective. I looked up the definition in 5 online dictionaries and what I found common amongst *all* definitions was the need for objectivity. Sure, it’s difficult to do and sometimes not as fun, but my biggest fear with Moore’s film is that he tries to push his own version of reality as *the* reality. If Sicko was marketed as “Michael Moore’s view of the American health care system” then I’m fine with that, but don’t pass it off as something it is not.”

    You’re absolutely right. I haven’t seen the film but there is no doubt that the documentary shows Michael Moore’s point of view. My point is that you shouldn’t expect a documentary to be objective, especially when it deals with themes which are related to politics. I might expect a documentary on birds or lions in the savannah to be objective but not a documentary on “health care”.

    The author of a documentary *has to* choose the details s/he deems to be relevant (which might “accidentally” support his/her view of reality).

    What I’m trying to say is that, even though dictionaries are right and need to provide a short definition of what a documentary is or what a documentary “should be” like (you would not find a philosophical debate on objectivity in a dictionary), they will never tell you that some documentaries are not objective.

    In my opinion you should always watch documentaries as if they were not supposed to be objective (no matter who’s the author). Start with the premise that their authors have a stake in making you see reality the way they do.

    This is just a suggestion (which maybe you don’t need 😉 )


  18. @teliczan: I sure hope that a documentary/film could wake up our politicians, but unfortunately Michael Moore isn’t the filmmaker to do so. He has people, who once supported him on both side of the aisles, upset at him for misrepresenting the words they spoke during previous documentary interviews. He has already been given a black eye by the US media mainstream as well as with the beltway boys.

    So far Fox, MSBNC, CNN, and others have offered to talk to him about his movie, however he has declined except for Wolf Blitzer, which turned out to be a mockery on both parts unfortunately. If he didn’t spew the rhetoric he did with Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, then he would probably have a better leg to stand on. But when you go to the point that he has, people start to not listen.

    I finally watched it last night, and I must admit there were some touching stories actually. There is one story in particular that was taken right from the movie “The Ringer” about the guy who couldn’t afford to get both of his fingers sewn back on. For some reason Moore won’t defend this scene because the guy he interviewed has already been coined a liar on all of the media channels, which I typically take with a grain of salt.

    I am an American, a student, with out any health care provider what so ever. I live in Chicago, I go to Central DuPage Hospital with any illness or injury and they take care of me. Of course I am billed, however the state takes care of most of it and typically leaves me an affordable amount, even as a student. Just recently I went to what I call a “Doc in the box” (those little health care clinics that are a part of the local hospital) for my “you are starting to get old so there are things we need to check” physical. I paid $71 without insurance, so it is hard for me to believe some of the people interviewed, which some have been coined actors by now unfortunately.

    Before Michael Moore burned his bridges in DC, he was actually a fairly powerful voice, now he is nothing more than a quick news story. The one thing I wish he wouldn’t do is die in the heat of battle on a question and dodge by bringing up something else. One disturbing thing he brought up in the Blitzer/CNN interview really inflamed my nerves. He dodged questions and ended up blaming CNN and other major news outlets for the War in Iraq. That is just absurd, and about the typical action you will see from a liar. I know, I have been questioned by a principal or 2 in my day 🙂

    “umm no sir I didn’t pull the fire alarm, but anyways if you would lower the prices on cafeteria foods there would be less bullying for lunch money, ya it is your fault for bullies!”

  19. sorry, I forgot to add one thing.

    I am glad however that he did bring things to light that were never brought forward and made so public previously. His documentary portion is semi-brilliant, but pushing what he feels is the fix, and having some people on there that weren’t all that honest isn’t fair for viewers.

    Honestly though, all he did is shoot holes into privatized insurance, which everyone knows is filled with holes already.

    I think the people need to start standing up for this, and not this guy. Then again when is the last time our (US citizens) politicians actually listen to us?

  20. I think what people miss is that healthcare is not a “right” in the sense that most people think. For an interesting look at rights vs. entitlements, take a look here:

    I don’t know much about other countries and their constitutions/laws/etc., but here in America, it’s a violation of someone’s rights (as outlined in the constitution) to force them to render a service against their will (unless someone has forfeited said rights by committing a crime, etc.). This means that forcing (and in universal healthcare, they would be forced) a doctor to perform surgery on a patient for government wages infringes on the doctor’s rights to practice medicine on whomever he pleases for whatever he feels is an appropriate fee. Our constitution is a contract between the government and the people of the country. It basically says, “we’ll take care of this, this, and this and not infringe on your unalienable and constitutional rights… and if we don’t hold up our end of the deal, you hold us to it… oh, and by the way, whatever we don’t take care of… you guys get to take care of.” Because of the rights that we as American citizens have, I’m allowed to walk into a clinic and demand that someone fix my broken hand… but the doctors there are allowed to refuse me service (as long as their contract with said clinic doesn’t forbid them from refusing service).

    Does our healthcare system suck? Yeah. Do I want the government to fix it? No! They got us into this mess with the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. I don’t think that paying doctors less and giving them little to no incentive to do a good job or innovate (read: no competition) is a good idea. Our doctors (and nurses even more so) are overworked and underpaid as it is. So where is all the money going? The HMO’s get a big cut. Why aren’t we demanding a change to better provide for those that are taking care of us?

    We, in the FOSS community, are always railing Microsoft and Apple and ATI and Nvidia and whatever other hardware or software manufacturers for anti-competitive measures, yet when the issue of universal healthcare comes up, anti-competition is good! If you’re going to stand up for freedom and choice and rights, stand up for everyone, including doctors and nurses. If the government came out and said, “In order to access any information within the United States, you must use Microsoft Windows,” we, as a community, would have a cow over the infringement on our rights! Why aren’t we having a cow when the government potentially could say, “In order to practice medicine, you have to see anybody that walks through the door and you’re going to get a pay decrease… and you’re going to have to see more people.” I find it highly hypocritical of the “Free as in Speech” community to demand something so blatantly un-free of doctors.

  21. @laserjock:
    “I haven’t seen the film but there is no doubt that the documentary shows Michael Moore’s point of view.”

    Then you shouldn’t talk about Sicko, plain and simple. You can talk about M. Moore, we all know he support his point of view in the film he make (who doesn’t?) but he make a great point there, no matter how credible he is/was this film make the people think and care about his health care system.

    What you are doing is like criticizing a book without even reading it, just judging by its title or author.

    “If his point in Sicko was that the health care system in the US has problems then the movie is rather pointless.”

    Pointless because the people is aware of the problem? Are you suggesting that Americans should just give up because a problem have been there their whole life? Are you serious?

    “I can watch it without giving Moore any money (I haven’t been to a movie theater in years and I rarely rent movies) and I might do just that. I’m currently grabbing the torrent.”

    That you don’t agree with moore’s viewpoint doesn’t give you the right to steal his property.

  22. @Weeber
    Certainly I can talk about the movie. You don’t have to watch every movie or read every book to discuss the broad topics. I’ve stayed away from specific issues (sounds like Moore made up some “facts” in the movie) because I can’t back them up. I *did* read several reviews, critiques, Wikipedia, etc. to get a decent feel for the them of the movie.

    I said it would be pointless because *everybody* knows that there are issues with the health care system. The real debate, in my opinion, is what we should do about it and that’s were presenting only one of the many possible “solutions” makes Sicko less of a documentary and more of a “The world according to Michael Moore” movie.

    The *only* reason I grabbed the torrent is because Moore himself said he encourages people to do so and has no problem with it. This is indeed a nice thing for him to do and of course helps get his message around.

  23. @laserjock: Even *if* some of the facts that moore quote in his movie weren’t facts at all, by the reaction of the public it seems that not *everybody* knew everything about it.

    And, again, in your post you talk about the movie like if you watched it. It doesn’t matter if you read about it before, to talk about a movie you have to watch it, and that make even more sense if you gonna criticize it the way you did. Maybe you watch the movie and your opinion be the same but the fact that you did watch it make everything different.

    And no, talk about something that is wrong and let the people know about it and tell them that something has to be done isn’t pointless. If you don’t believe me go and ask the people that live/lived under a dictatorship, they all know that something in the system is wrong and rotten but the people that have the *guts* to shout it out loud -even though they may be kill later- are heroes.

    Sorry for my english.

  24. @Brian Forbes:
    Healthcare obviously isn’t a right in the USA, but it *is* a right in many European countries (and even in some 3rd-world countries–even if they often don’t have what’s needed to give proper treatment they’ll at least try).

    @Alberto / laserjock:
    I think Michael Moore’s “documentaries” aren’t really completely objective, but maybe that’s because he wants to get media attention to certain issues, whatever the means he has to use for that (personally, I would do that 100% along the rules, and most likely nobody would want to see my movie 😉 ).

    Now, about the issue of health insurance & health care; I live in Belgium, and health insurance is mandatory here, even if e.g. you’re unemployed (but then at a much lower rate). Unemployment payments aren’t time-limited here either (but can be terminated if you don’t accept a suitable job). Of course this has some disadvantages, but it seems like when looking at the whole picture, most people (even many liberal & right-wing people) consider this to be beneficial to the economy here.

    Oh, and still, most doctors I know here drive a Mercedes or a Porsche… 😉

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