Michael Moore, Halliburton, hypocrisy, and Me
Via Don Surber:
It seems that Michael Moore owns 2,000 shares of Halliburton.
Here's a summary of the source, a book entitled "Do As I Say, (Not As I Do)" by Peter Schweizer. And Moore is by no means the only one hoist by the petard of his own hypocrisy, courtesy of Schweizer's research into the records of the liberal rich and famous:
Using IRS records, real estate transactions, court depositions, news reports, financial disclosures, and their own statements, [Schweizer] brings to light a stunning record of shameless hypocrisy. Critics of capitalism and corporate enterprise frequently invest in companies they denounce. Those who believe the rich need to pay more in taxes prove especially adept in avoiding taxes themselves. Those who espouse strict environmental regulations work vigorously to sidestep them when it comes to their own businesses and properties. Those who are strong proponents of affirmative action rarely practiced it -- and some have abysmal records when it comes to hiring minorities. Advocates of gun control have no problem making sure than an arsenal of weapons is available to protect them from dangerous criminals.
One of my many caveats is now in order: liberals have no corner on hypocrisy; it's an equal-opportunity vice. The Republican version is a bit different, of course, since everyone already expects them to be investing in the evil Halliburton and driving gas guzzlers. Their hypocrisies tend to be on the order of marital infidelities among the morally righteous, for example.
That said, the evidence reported in this book, if true (and I assume we'll hear in due time from its targets and their defenders if it's not) is a remarkable and quite stunning lesson in hypocrisy--although, on reflection, the tale it tells is hardly surprising, human nature being what it is and all.
And now I have a confession of my own to make. I'm faced with a moral dilemma I've been expecting for quite some time: yesterday I got my first subscription renewal notice from the New Yorker. And it's even worse than that; I save a substantial amount of money if I subscribe for two years rather than just one. This is powerful temptation indeed.
I have quite a bit of time to decide; these notices tend to come way way before the subscription actually runs out, and the magazines can end up begging and pleading towards the end. The prospect of seeing the New Yorker beg somewhat appeals, I must say.
But in a way I've already made up my mind, and I'm afraid it places me in the ranks of Schweizer's hypocrites in principle, if not in magnitude: I plan to renew.
Why? I've gone back and forth about this for quite a while, and indeed it's true that I could haul myself to the library every week to read the latest issue. Or I could give it up entirely. But I'm unlikely to do either.
I can assuage my guilt by asking for the gift of a matching subscription to Commentary these holidays. But does that really atone? All I can say is that a thirty-year habit dies hard.
The last two issues have shown me once again that the magazine keeps putting out nuggets of fascinating information. The October 31st issue contained two biggies, each of which I have plans to make the subject of future posts: Jeffrey Goldberg's piece on Brent Scowcroft and foreign policy "realism," vs. the "idealism" of the neocons; and George Packer's discussion of Hemingway and Dos Passos during that literarily influential engagement, the Spanish Civil War.
As for this week's issue (Nov. 7), I've only skimmed it, but there are already these must-reads: an article about translating Dostoevsky and Tolstoi; a "compare and contrast" review of two new books about Lincoln, one of which focuses on how his depression affected his life and politics; and a piece about how Zola betrayed Cezanne that begins:
When Emile Zola and Paul Cezanne stopped speaking to each other, they had been friends for thirty-four years. They met in 1852, at their school in Aix-en-Provence, when they were twelve and thirteen, and they both cherished memories of their shared boyhood.
Zola and Cezanne were boyhood buddies?? And one betrayed the other? I don't know about you, but I'm hooked.
And this is not to mention the fiction that can still every now and then be wonderful, or the dwindling but still very real possibility of a great cartoon. And then there is the occasional advertisement that can capture my interest, like the one on page 5 featuring a recent picture of the wonderful Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the greatest dancers who ever lived--and whose arresting face has aged very nicely and attractively, thank you very much.
Yes, I'm supporting an institution that regularly publishes political pieces that make me fling it to the nearest wall and then pick it up and pencil angrily and furiously in all the margins. But we all have our vices. Plus, I can always compensate by writing about the things in there I disagree with, if I so desire. That justifies my sojourn in the belly of the beast, right?
I think I'll take the 2-year subscription.