Roger And Me
Michael Moore is a writer and film director who stands up
for the blue-collar, working class people. In his film,
'Roger and Me", he shows how these groups of people are
mistreated and disregarded by the stockholders and the
company chairman of General Motors. Moore shows that
corporate America is the "American dream" perfected and
then corrupted because of greed and the will to power.
Michael Moore was born in Davison, Michigan, just outside
of Flint, in the shadow of the GM plant. His home was an
apartment over a dry cleaner's shop. His family moved from
a small, three-room bedroom ranch house on a dirt road when
he was very young. After his two sisters were born, his
family moved again, this time to a small house on a paved
street. He left his home at age fourteen to go to the
seminary. At age fifteen, he decided that he no longer
wanted to be a Catholic priest, and he quit. Later, in high
school, he started a very successful life. He became an
eagle scout and was elected to the school board (this was
not done without a fight; he had to sue the school board
because they did not want to accept a long-haired
eighteen-year-old). When he was twenty-two, he founded and
became the editor of the Flint Voice, one of the nation's
most respectable alternative newsletters.
In 1989, Moore produced and directed a documentary entitled
"Roger and Me", a political satire about his quest to
convince General Motors' Chairman Roger Smith to visit
Flint, Michigan, and witness the devastation brought by GM
shutdowns. His movie quickly became the highest grossing
documentary of all time, appearing on more than 100 of the
critics '10 best films of the year' lists. The film was
also given many awards and even led to the founding of the
Center for Alternative Media.
In "Roger and Me", Moore wants answers for the plant
closing and the catastrophes it has brought. He tries to
interview Roger Smith in order to get the answers to these
questions. The film's guiding thread is Moore's relentless
stalking of Roger Smith from 1987 to 1989. Smith
continually eludes him, never explaining his mistake.
Meanwhile, in Flint, the poor are getting poorer and the
rich keep getting richer. Crime rises and Flint, once home
to America's largest corporation, becomes the worst town in
the US. The now-unemployed factory workers that haven't
moved, lost their mind, or committed suicide, try to
survive. Some sell their blood, others try to work at Taco
Bell, while still others try a group effort to survive. The
citizens try to make Flint into a center for tourism and
even built their own amusement park, Autoworld. This plan
died shortly after it was started.
Roger Smith's plan was a great one for his own gain. It
probably added millions to his already unlimited supply of
money. The aspect that he didn't take to mind is the
thousands of people who were destroyed by his relentless
stride to earn more money. Even after closing eleven
factories, he dove deeper into the pool of corruption. He
started to buy weapons manufacturing companies and then he
collected billions from the unions, via wage cuts.
Roger Smith, and people like him, lead to uncontrollable
poverty and the overall self destruction of this country.
There can be no mistaking the ironic meaning that Smith's
words take on as we see an evicted man carrying his
Christmas tree out of his apartment along with his family's
other belongings. The chairman says, "we've listened for
the jingle of bells in the country, we've smelled the pine
needles on the Christmas tree and the turkey on the table."
These words are spoken over images of the evicted families
being ejected from their homes and their Christmas tree
being thrown in the trash.