May 23, 2007

Vidious Comparisons

James Dubro has a letter in Toronto's Globe and Mail objecting to a 'stunt' in Michael Moore's new film Sicko (which I haven't seen yet). He complains that it's disingenuous of Michael Moore to airlift rescue workers not covered by health insurance in the U.S. to Cuba for treatment, because "While it's true that Cubans, like Canadians, get free health care, they also get a go-directly-to-jail card for saying or printing anything critical of the Castro government." (On its last pins from all we hear.)

Jim's right, in fact you could go a good deal further than that. Cuba, like the U.S., has the death penalty, and applies it far more promiscuously. Cuba jails outed homosexuals. Which are points I would have emphasized if I'd been making the film. What kind of traction can you get with the irony that the health care system of another democracy like Canada is superior to that of the U.S.? I would have emphasized, since it sharpens the point considerably: the last-but-one (the other being China) Stalinist regime on earth is still a a safer place to fall violently ill, even in a patriotic cause, than the U.S. If Moore missed the opportunity of nailing the U.S. and Cuba in a two-for-one, he should certainly have his satirist's card revoked.

C 2007 Martin Heavisides

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