For more than twenty years, Michael Moore has transformed himself from a marginal filmmaker into a cultural icon, unofficial spokesperson for liberals and the Left. American conservatives constantly use him for target practice and target. Book author, film director, television personality, and Web presence, Moore is now a one-man cultural phenomenon. Although Michael Moore is a constant presence on the media landscape, this is the first volume to focus on the Moore phenomenom. It explores Moore's work in film and elsewhere, bringing diverse perspectives on his activities and status as voice of liberal America and the disenfranchised working class. Topics examined include the disjunction between Moore's celebrity status and everyman, middle-western persona, his self-mocking ironic sensibility, his tendency to diagnose American social and political problems in terms of class rather than gender, his reception abroad, and his uneasy relationship with the conventions of documentary filmmaking. The contributors are leading scholars and film critics, including Paul Arthur, Cary Elza, Jeffrey P. Jones, Douglas Kellner, Richard Kilborn, William Luhr, Charles Musser, Richard R. Ness, Miles Orvell, Richard Porton, Sergio Rizzo, Christopher Sharrett, Gaylyn Studlar, and David Teztlaff. The volume features both assessments of Moore's work in general and close analyses of his most successful films. The result is a definitive assessment of Moore's career to date.
Matthew Bernstein is Professor and Chair of Film Studies at Emory University. He is author of Walter Wanger: Hollywood Independent.