Thursday, October 21, 2004

Roger & Me

Last night, for my business ethics course, we watched a lengthy portion of the movie by Michael Moore, entitled Roger & Me. My class is split down the middle when it comes to political views, and several members are very vocal. This is the first class in the entire 9 months of my courses (so far) that I've been the silent majority. A couple of thoughts on the experience: 1. Being silent was a welcome change for me. I'm generally very vocal in class, asking questions, inciting debate, and generally being a joyful, intrigued student. I am sure I annoy the hell out of my classmates - but hey, I'm going to get my money's worth out of these courses. But I love class anyway - always have. Why was I silent, given this prime opportunity for debate? Because the debate was emotional. Too much was wrapped up in the moment for those that were having the discussion (No, I'm not talking about you, TD;)). And it was nice to see others get up to bat. 2. I never bought the premise of Moore's "documentary" to begin with, so no amount of sad scenes and provocative behavior was going to get my goat. I believe that businesses have the right to do what they want. Should they consider society and the effect it will have on those around them when they make extreme business decisions? Yes, I believe they should, as part of their social responsibility. But it is still their business with which to do what they can to maximize their profits. If they are socially responsible, it often pays out in dividends far beyond the almighty dollar. But if they choose another course, such as moving work to other countries for cheap labor - that is their choice. We are a capitalist society. I don't want the government telling me how to run my businesses - ergo, I have no right to demand it of other businesses, be they big corporations or small corner stores. 3. While I admire Moore's movie-making ability - the guy definitely has a way with a camera and emotionalism - I detest anything that suggests that it is documenting a situation and then obviously skews the viewpoint to one side. The movie was clearly representing only one side of the picture, and who knows how much was set up to look a certain way. 4. The issue of exploitation came up in class. Perhaps it was, but supposedly Moore did this film on his own dime, and it may very well have been a passion of his to make this film. I hope that it was. Flint, Michigan is his hometown, and I can only imagine what it felt like to watch it go downhill. I may find Moore to be a creep now, but I like to think that somewhere deep down inside is a true desire to do something effective - misguided though I believe him to be. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.