Hypocrisy Watch: Michael Moore's 'Capitalism' premieres in N.Y.'s biggest capitalist oasis
The Wall Street Journal's sharp-eyed Deal Journal, which keeps track of the ups and downs of our most eminent corporate dealmakers, took time out this week to attend the New York premiere of Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story." As the Deal Journal's Michael Corkery notes in a surprisingly evenhanded report, having the film open at New York's Lincoln Center was a huge blunder, since it made Moore a fat target (no pun intended) for charges of hypocrisy.
After all, as Corkery puts it, the center's sleek new theater was largely funded "by the very institutions that Moore lambasts as greedy, sleazy and beyond repent. Before the film, the crowd sipped champagne and cocktails in the 'Morgan Stanley Lobby' and then headed to their seats in the 'Citi Balcony.' Movie tickets were available at the 'Bank of New York Box Office' and there's outdoor seating at the Credit Suisse Information Grandstand.' " (Geez, when you have to pee, do you think you can do your business at the Alan Greenspan Memorial Urinal?)
Corkery says there is "plenty of good entertainment" in Moore's film while acknowledging the emotional impact of some of the film's scenes, including one where Moore exposes how Wal-Mart profited from a life insurance policy it took out on a young woman who died unexpectedly, leaving behind a young family scrambling to make ends meet. But he also points out that Moore is often guilty of "throwing stones in a glass house he often frequents." Noting that Moore has gone from assembly line worker to well-compensated indie filmmaker, Corkery contends that "his journey alone exemplifies the social mobility made possible by the very economic system he savages in his latest film."
In an accompanying interview, Corkery gives Moore a chance to answer the apparent hypocrisy of having the film's debut in such an ornate temple of capitalist excess. The filmmaker's response: "I walked into the theater and saw the names of the banks and I said: This is what I do for a living -- irony. I am now piling irony on top of irony. These financial institutions should be giving their money away."
Personally, I'm a fan of the film. But I know what some of you are probably thinking: Hey, Michael, when it comes to giving away money, how about you first?
Photo of Michael Moore by Sean Kilpatrick / Associated Press