Americans who didn’t witness filmmaker Michael Moore’s appearance Tuesday night on NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show” missed one of those rare moments when the vast wasteland gives way to an oasis of realism.
Rarely since the days when author Gore Vidal regularly appeared on the “Tonight” show with Johnny Carson has a popular television program on a commercial broadcast channel provided such extended and respectful treatment to a scathing critique of the corrupt status quo.
Leno hailed Moore’s new movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” as “the best film he’s done.”
The talk-show host described “Capitalism: A Love Story” as “completely nonpartisan” — and he’s right: Moore goes after sold-out Democrats and sold-out Republicans — before declaring: “I was stunned by it, and I think it is the most fair film.”
Even more meaningful than Leno’s review of a movie he had obviously watched and considered seriously was this exchange:
LENO: Now it’s one year since Lehman Brothers collapsed. We’ve had all, OK, we’ve handed out… Is Wall Street any better? Have they learned anything?
MOORE: No, not at all. It’s, it’s probably worse. They’re still doing these exotic derivatives. They’re now trying to do it with life insurance. They’ve got all these crazy schemes. I mean, that’s what I’m saying about capitalism, it’s like a beast. And no matter how many strings or ropes you try and tie it down with that beast just wants more and more money. And it will go anywhere. It will try to gobble up as much as it can. The word ‘enough’ is the dirtiest word in capitalism, ‘cuz there’s no such thing as enough with these guys. And we haven’t stopped them. We haven’t passed the regulations that President Obama has suggested. I mean, I think he’s really on top of this. And he said yesterday, he told Wall Street, ‘That’s it, boys. No more free ATM machine at the U.S. Department of Treasury.’ And I think that’s something we all support, right?
The audience responded with enthusiastic and sustained applause.
The applause rose again when Moore explained that: “I’m actually suggesting go back to our roots of this country, democracy. What if we had an economy that you and I had a say in? Right now, we all don’t have much of a say in this economy. What if we applied our democratic principles and said, ‘We, the people, have a right to determine how this economy is run.’ I think we’d be in much better shape than what we’re going through right now.”