I found abdiel's review of Schlussel's review of Live Free, Die Hard via Sadly, No! (Just so you know who I blame.) When I clicked over to Schlussel's site, I noticed his favorite solecism ("It's hard to believe this third sequel to 1988's Die Hard is the fourth in a series") wasn't there. I assumed he'd juiced the stupid for effect, not that she'd edited it after he brought it to her attention. Diligent procrastinator that I am, I read some of her other movie reviews and, needless to say, I can state with certainty that she edited it after he brought it to her attention.
Consider her review of SiCKO. She first argues that "HMOs are ... socialized medicine." (I'm no proponent of E-Prime, but her copular slaughter almost convinces me to tack about.) This isn't a good argument, but it has the benefit of being an arguable one. The same can't be said of this:
We already have the unworkable system of bad medicine that Moore wants.
SiCKO is many things, but there's one thing it isn't: a defense of the status quo. HMOs may be (but really aren't) a form of socialized medicine. That's a (debatable, but wildly incorrect) fact. The claim that "Moore wants the unworkable system of bad medicine we already have" leaves me at a loss, so I'll quote Dorothy Parker:
There are times when images blow to fluff, and comparisons stiffen and shrivel. Such an occasion is surely at hand when one is confronted by Dreiser's latest museum piece, Dawn. One can but revise a none-too-hot dialectic of childhood; ask, in rhetorical aggressiveness, "What writes worse than a Theodore Dreiser?"—loudly crow the answer, "Two Theodore Dreisers"; and, according to temperament, rejoice at the merciful absurdity of the conception, or shudder away from the thought.
Sadly, the comments to her review leave no room for rejoicing. Shuddering is another story entirely. Moving on:
The saddest spectacle in contemporary politics is not, as is often argued, to be caught unawares in one's own hypocrisy. No, the saddest spectacle is to be caught unawares in one's hypocrisy immediately after dismissing someone else for theirs. Case in point: Schlussel anecdotally berates Moore for this moment of self-deprecation:
You're right. What can I say? I'm a hypocrite. Who says I'm consistent?
She then notes that "personal anecdotes by [sic] former Michael Moore employees [concerning the] lack of appropriate benefits and healthcare" show that his self-deprecation cuts quicker to the truth than he intended. Those anecdotes bear witness to Moore's great lie. He is a hypocrite who wants Americans to do as he says, not as he does. Anecdotes like the one which opens her essay and the ones related by disgruntled employees speak hard truths to even the most jaded powers. They are completely different from those Moore employs in his coverage of Canadian healthcare:
Moore shows us the short waiting time and zero cost of healthcare for his friends and relatives in Canada, just a quick drive over the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Canada. But those stories are anecdotal, not representative of the norm. He doesn't show us what's actually going on with our neighbors to the north.
Those are merely anecdotal. As a genre, anecdotes are not to be trusted, for they are anecdotal and unrepresentative of the norm. Case in point:
My cousin, Myrna, apparently lived in a different Canada than the rosy, glowing Canada where Moore's cousins live. She had diabetes and developed black spots on her eyes. But under Canada's magical health plan, she had to wait so long for a proper operation that she eventually went blind. And it was too late. That's the real story of Canadian healthcare.
Sorry—that's another truth-to-power-speaking anecdote. I meant to copy this one:
When Moore shows us the American expatriates in France and other Frenchmen bragging about their great lives and the amount of time they take off from work, I thought back to the many complaints of former Moore employees—who didn't get much in vacations or overtime and spoke of a slave-driver boss.
Or maybe I didn't. Moore's anecdotes are vicious French slanders, untrue and leveled by the congenitally indolent. I meant to point out the truth-speakers-to-power of those formerly in Moore's employ, as those speakers of truth to power speak powerful truth to truth-deficient powers and deserve commendation. All Canadians live but an ear infection away from drug-resistant leprosy. Just ask Cousin Myrna.