do no harm


An absurdist of outrage, Moore has attacked corporations that destroy cities by closing down local plants (“Roger & Me”); a gun-happy culture that makes arms easily available (“Bowling for Columbine”); an Administration that begins a war without sufficient cause (“Fahrenheit 9/11”). He has stalked corporate officials and congressmen, planted his bulk before them and asked mock-naïve questions, and his provocations, at their best, have smoked out hypocrites and liars. But this confrontation is different. Hauling off seriously ill people to a military base where they won’t receive treatment is a dumb prank. And the insensitivity isn’t much relieved by the piece of whimsy that comes next: Moore and the rescue workers (the other sick voyagers having mysteriously disappeared) wander onto the streets of Havana and ask some guys playing dominoes if there’s a doctor nearby. They go to a pharmacy and then to a hospital, where the Americans are admitted and treated. Few people in Moore’s audience are likely to be displeased that they receive help from a Communist system. But what is the point of Moore’s fiction of a desperate, wandering quest for medicine on the streets, as if he hadn’t known in advance that Cuba has free health care? Why not tell us what really happened on the trip—for instance, what part Cuban officials played in receiving the American patients?

more from The New Yorker (for the sake of debate, PS I haven’t seen the film) here.