Michael Moore’s Sicko is currently conquering France at the Cannes Film Festival (but no surprise there), where it’s being called a movie that “opens your emotional pores” (Jeff Wells) and “alternates between comedy and outrage” (Variety). There’s some Sicko-related comedy and outrage happening here at home, as well, where it’s been revealed that the obsessive right wing nut who runs anti-Michael Moore site MooreWatch.com has received a $12,000 donation to get him and his wife health insurance.
Jim Kenefick has spent the last couple of years shitting on Michael Moore, which I guess doesn’t come with health benefits. When his wife became very ill (possibly from living with a toxic neocon), he wrote about how he was having a hard time keeping up with her medical bills. When he received a check for 12,000 dollars he realized it was probably from Moore, but he cashed it and spent it anyway.
"I'm not an idiot,” Kenefick tells the Daily News. “I know when to say yes to something, even if the string attached is obvious. What kind of moron turns down a free 12 grand?" One with even a rudimentary set of ethics, I would assume. Now, Kenefick was in a tough place – he couldn’t afford to pay for his wife’s medical bills and his ‘compassionate conservative’ friends weren’t jumping to his aid. Meanwhile, the free market healthcare system that the right wing loonies trumpet as somehow better than one where all sick people get care (how radical!) was failing him. So when that check came he had to weigh his beliefs versus his needs. He failed there, selling out his beliefs for his needs.
But it gets worse: Kenefick continues to rail mercilessly on Moore on his blog. “$12,000 is equal to his ding-dong budget for the week,” Kenefick despicably says. Did Michael Moore pay that money as a way of generating publicity for his film? Duh. It does make a pretty good goddamned point about the current state of health care, sure, but even beyond that Moore saw the possibility of getting something out of his ‘donation.’ So? As someone who spent a decade in the non-profit world, where one is never far from the realities of fund-raising, I have come to understand that nobody gives money out of selflessness. There is a complex series of moral calculations any donor makes, which includes things like, ‘How relevant is this cause to me?’ Someone whose child died of cancer will be more likely to give to a group searching for cancer cures or battling environmental carcinogens. Someone who is an avid outdoorsman will give money to a group looking to preserve open spaces. Working in fundraising I learned to target the individual needs and interests of potential donors.
I can see why Kenefick took the money. He was desperate. That makes sense, and again, it’s an indictment of the system that is failing him and his wife. And I don’t think 12 grand from Michael Moore should cause him to shut down his site – if he honestly believes Moore is a slimy liar, then he shouldn’t have taken the money… wait, I mean, he should maintain his watchdog operation. But he should sit out the coming Sicko controversy, and he definitely shouldn’t be stooping to cheap fat jokes in the meantime. Kenefick isn’t just ungrateful, he’s a low human being.
Kudos to Michael Moore – he’s made a point about healthcare, about his enemies AND he’s helped an innocent woman. Is the guy a saint? Hell no, but to focus your time on a guy like Moore while George W Bush is slaughtering thousands in Iraq or Paul Wolfowitz is cheating the World Bank or Alberto Gonzalez is subverting the very fabric of our democracy and constitution seems fucked up to me. People who oppose Moore, who stand up for Bush and the war and the big health insurance companies – these are the people who are like a cancer in this country, killing us all as they try to focus attention on trivial shit like how fat this guy is when what he’s saying is completely true.