Michael Moore and the Future of the Left

From Washington Monthly:

Moore Jesse Larner is a learned writer of an unquestionably intellectual bent who has contributed articles to the Nation and appears on NPR and the BBC. He has just written a solid, thoroughly researched, amply annoted book called Forgive Us Our Spins: Michael Moore and the Future of the American Left, in which he examines Moore as a person, writer, filmmaker, and thinker, and in all respects finds him wanting. Larner portrays Moore as an influential political figure who commands a large audience, but whose work is fatally flawed by methodological liberties that the arrogant, narcissistic Moore felt free to take. In addition, Larner says that Moore promulgates political positions that lack nuance and insight and which are not only wrong but which are also ultimately counterproductive to the causes Moore seemingly supports. “That Moore is so profoundly unsatisfying when it comes to taking on these vital issues in the real world, as opposed to the playground world of entertainment and the emotionally satisfying world of incitement,” writes Lerner, “is a measure of his ultimate failure to offer a stable and effective pole of attraction in American politics.” Nor has he figured out the secrets of cold fusion, Larner may as well have added.

Gosh, call me naïve, but if this isn’t a case of hunting flies with a howitzer, I haven’t seen one. You can say Moore isn’t funny, you can say he’s wrong, you can say, as Larner convincingly does, that Moore is a cheater, you can say, as Bernard Goldberg does, that Moore ranks first among the 110 people who are screwing up America, but it’s hard to blame Moore for failing to offer a stable and effective pole of attraction in American politics, a goal that has recently eluded Al Gore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and many, many more. A bit outside his job description, eh?

More here.