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How Sick is Sicko?

By Max Ward  Posted by (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   5 comments

When too many witnesses agree too strongly, the smart juror smells collusion.

In this article, the term "health care" is given the broadest possible application, including the medical industry itself and all systems that support and finance it. The point is to include the entire unfolding phenomenon of Michael Moore's new film, Sicko.[0] The focus here is not just the movie and its message but the soil in which that message is planted and the extent to which that message may modify our future.

Full spectrum approval.

"Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, Sicko, deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity."[1]

Believe it or not, that was the far Right Fox News speaking -- the same Fox News that accused Michael Moore of treason in the Autumn of 2004 when he released Fahrenheit 9-11. As Sicko opens across the nation, it is being heralded by a political spectrum broader than anyone could have imagined. What accounts for this? Brandon Judell, in a review for Rotten Tomatoes, seems to know:

"Sicko is about health, the great leveler. Even right-wing, homophobic, praying-for-the-Apocalypse, Southern-belle demagogues don't like being ill. Whether it's gastritis, lumbago, carpal tunnel syndrome, or fibrosarcoma, disease can make the red states and the blue states purple."[2]

Even the far, far Left concurs. The Socialist Worker, known to deliver a Marxian knock-out blow at every opportunity, followed the crowd by not even throwing a punch at the large, slow-moving target of Michael Moore.[3]

If Sicko were a puff piece, the film's stunning popularity would only be a passing curiosity, just a news-cycle away from obscurity. But such is not the case. Already there is clear evidence that it has injected new life into the entire health care reform movement. Furthermore, the film's central thesis is remarkably radical: the profit motive must be removed from health care -- categorically, uncompromisingly removed. To capitalists these are egregious fighting words.

So where's the fight? We certainly have not seen it yet, not in proportion to the tidal wave of support Sicko is getting. Am I the only one who's suspicious. I'm not sure what's going on. I can hardly begin to explain it to my own satisfaction. It seems to me that everyone is getting caught up in the texture of the Sicko phenomenon and not standing back to observe the contours. I will go on to offer some suggestions, based on my own theories, but before doing that I want to draw everyone's attention to the primary thesis here -- that something remarkable is happening, that an alert and skeptical juror should be suspicious, that the Sicko phenomenon needs explaining. Why has Sicko experienced such smooth sledding? Why isn't Michael Moore standing in front of a rightwing firing squad? That is the important issue.

Fog. By any overt measure, the Bush administration is the stupidest bunch to ever occupy the administrative branch of the perennially dim USA. And now it crumbles before our eyes. How stupid can it get? Stupid enough to threaten all life on the entire planet. That's how stupid. The dissolution of the Bush administration may be causing the thickest cognitive fog of all time to settle on the inhabitants of planet Earth. This is a factor that cannot be overlooked as Sicko is released in the Summer of 2007. Also, the wars that drag on in the Middle East are another fog-thickener. And let's not forget that the long, coma-inducing campaign for the presidency has begun.

Möbius circuit psychosis. A collective psychosis fell upon the traditionally unenguaged center of U.S. Americans in 2003. It made the mass- murder of Iraqis the moral, sporting thing to do and support of the Bush administration a patriotic duty. Now that the Iraq adventure has come to calamitous ruin that same psychosis has twisted into hatred of the Bush administration for failing to accomplish clear victory and failing to deliver the sweet taste of revenge. In the group-mind, Michael Moore was negatively association with resistance to the once popular cause. By a simple twist of fortune Michael Moore is now tolerable due to the same disease that made him intolerable a couple years ago. In other words, inside the diseased collective mind, strident oppositon to Michael Moore might be construed as support for the brutal occupation of Iraq. So, a large part of the acceptance of Sicko is purely circumstantial, and won't last.

Hope. The Left is showing signs of life. From Cuba to Venezuela to Mexico, most of South and Central America have discovered that they can potentially fly on their own. As the USA hosts its first social forum, in Atlanta Georgia, right in the racist stench following Katrina, even the world's cruelest plutocracy may get caught up in the dream.

Greed full-filled. The US oligarchy, that class of ascendant capitalists, and their institutions of global parasitic wealth have just swallowed a very large meal in the form of neoliberal restructuring abroad and egregious tax breaks at home. Excuse me, but there is no pleasant way to describe this. I encourage everyone with a strong stomach to watch the YouTube video of the Anaconda (biggest snake in the world) trying to keep down a baby hippo after swallowing it whole.[4] Such is the condition of the oligarchy at this moment -- do they keep down this monstrously delicious meal at the price of becoming groggy and vulnerable, or do they puke it up to stay leaner and meaner and more likely to survive to gorge anew tomorrow? The rich f#ckers have a dilemma. No wonder they hesitate, even as Sicko threatens their power. After all dammit!, can't a bunch of despicable creeps enjoy their gluttony in peace without a horde of lower life forms harassing them!?

A cognitive fog has descended upon the administrators of power while a dream-like sense of hope is gripping the active edge of civil society. Simultaneously, the truly powerful have a severe case of postprandial torpor to deal with. The nation is simply not as sensitized as it was a couple years ago. Sicko will bloom. It could not have asked to be planted in better soil. As Brandon Judell stated (above), health care is "the great leveler" that grabs everyone where they live. But Judell merely states the obvious. The real question (as belabored here) is, "Why didn't the capitalists see it coming? Why weren't they ready to do battle with Sicko as it left the starting gate? How could they let it capture so much positive attention?" I'm not completely satisfied with the answer I offered, but a collective lull in their and our attention begins explain it.

Will the oligarchy barf up the baby hippo? Yes, I think so. Partially. Like I said, there just isn't a way to speak pleasantly about parasitic wealth. They play defense well. They know how to bend without breaking. They know how to prevent those big breakaway plays. The oligarchy will allow their tax breaks to be rolled back. It won't be enough and it won't begin to address Sicko's central demand (remove the profit motive from health care), but they will allow it. Why? Because, the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance-crime syndicate is the biggest hippo ever.[5] Health care in the U.S. is thoroughly corrupt, utterly perverse, and the crowning achievement of gangsters. It is inconceivable that they will loosen their grip.

Sicko may have its detractors, but their rhetoric seems to be rolling out on retreads. The mindless rightwing rants grow wearisome. Michael Moore and his plans for a health care revolution can only be labeled "socialist" so many times. The rhetoric gets worse as Satan and Bill Clinton are offered as the real brains behind the movie. But a coherent, powerful counterattack on Sicko is not to be seen. Could it be the oligarchy has no worries because they have no cause to worry.

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