I never would have pegged Michael Moore as being the type to age gracefully, but his descent into later middle age has been even more unpropitious than I might have imagined.
It isn’t just that he looks less like the meticulously schlubby everyman persona he crafted for himself and more like my seventh-grade social studies teacher. (I wonder how Mrs. Jenkins is doing these days.)
It’s not that his movies have gotten even more intellectually lazy than they were back in the relative halcyon days of “Fahrenheit 9/11” — which is a feat in and of itself, but something that would take a few hundred thousand words to fully flesh out.
It’s not even that Moore has managed to get lazier even though his artisanship has remained conspicuously stagnant in the 29 years since “Roger & Me” debuted in theaters.
(“This … is <insert bad person here>,” Moore’s narration will intone over stock footage of some CEO smiling as he rings in a trading day on Wall Street. “He did <insert really bad thing here>.” Then flash to a scene of an elderly couple packing up their darkened home. “This … is <insert name of couple here>. They lost their home because of <insert name of bad CEO here>.” Maybe show some shaky B-roll footage of a Republican lawmaker to try and connect all of this to the GOP. Repeat ad nauseum until you have enough material for a full movie.)
No, none of this is why the only person in Hollywood aging less gracefully than Moore is Charlie Sheen. The reason is that Moore is getting nuttier than Aunt Sally’s pecan pralines.
Yes, I’m aware Mr. Moore didn’t have far to go. However, take a look at Moore’s tree-topper this Christmas and tell me that this isn’t a man who may want to consider taking a break from political life (or the exigencies of dressing and feeding himself):
“My Christmas Tree Topper this year. Better than an angel or the star over Bethlehem. A nation of millions stand with you…” Moore tweeted, together with several pictures of a Ruth Bader Ginsburg “angel” atop his tannenbaum.
Ginsburg, as you are no doubt aware, just underwent surgery to remove cancerous growths from her lungs. I’m not going to speculate on what this might mean for the future of the court because literally everyone who’s been doing this needs to be given a good shake and a reminder this is a human being with a serious illness and her recovery from said illness should be the only thing on our minds, no matter how strenuously you agree or disagree with her judicial philosophy.
However, I mention this because while I understand Ginsburg’s talismanic appeal to the left — particularly given the fragility of her health and the fact she’s the most vociferously leftist member of the court — we ought to examine why we put things on top of our Christmas tree and what an RBG “angel” signifies about Moore.
In case you’re not a Bible person, angels play a major role in the biblical story of Jesus’ birth, particularly the archangel Gabriel. “Six months after Elizabeth knew she was to become a mother, Gabriel was sent from God to Nazareth,” Luke 1 reads. “The angel came to (Mary) and said, ‘You are honored very much. You are a favored woman. The Lord is with you. You are chosen from among many women.’
“When she saw the angel, she was troubled at his words. She thought about what had been said,” the verse continues. “The angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid. You have found favor with God. See! You are to become a mother and have a Son. You are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the place where His early father David sat. He will be King over the family of Jacob forever and His nation will have no end.’”
Stars are also a popular topper for Christmas trees, given the role a star played in the Magi being alerted to the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem: “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Moore is no longer a practicing Catholic, although he has at least maintained some identification with the church as a cultural matter. Therefore, it isn’t exactly like he’s committing personal sacrilege here. If he wants to put Alfred E. Neuman on top of his tree, far be it from me to stop him.
However, it’s interesting, given his background, what his choice represents. Moore, in his own words, claims his RBG topper is “(b)etter than an angel or the star over Bethlehem.” He very literally is stating that a woman who has played a crucial role in stopping any sort of regulation on the practice of abortion is better than Gabriel, the angel who — according to Christian tradition — heralded the coming of new life for every man, woman and child upon the planet earth. This didn’t strike the filmmaker as a little offensive?
It’s not just that Moore is one of those collegiate liberals engaging in “lol RBG is awesome!!!!!1111one” ridiculousness. If Moore doesn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus, he at least apparently believes in the historical figure of Christ and is celebrating his birth. He also claims a Supreme Court justice is more important than any of the attendant figures in the birth of that historical figure, even if that justice is diametrically opposed to one of that figure’s most important teachings.
Perhaps most importantly, this is still a guy putting an RBG “angel” on top of his freaking Christmas tree.
Is there nobody in this man’s life willing to tell him that maybe this is a good time to step away from politics for a little while, if just for the season? Is there no one who informed him that this comes across as deliberately offending Christians by trolling them on the second-most important holiday of the religious year?
Or is Moore so incorrigible in this respect that he’s chased away anyone who might be sane enough to tell him this?
The sad thing is, I think the answer to the last question is an unqualified yes.
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