|'89's 'Roger' Has Uncanny Relevance|
"Roger and Me" is splendidly unfair, a kind of extended negative campaign ad that skewers the country's economic downspiral by fiddling with the facts to illuminate the truth.
It was the guerrilla ambush of the year in 1989, and now fits perfectly on PBS's "P.O.V." series where it gets its first TV airing. Appended to its tail is "Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint," a follow up short by "Roger" creator Michael Moore.
A giddy, Gothic odyssey through the powdering that Flint, Mich., took after wholesale job cuts by General Motors and a stop-start ride on the back of Mr. Moore's profoundly incapable attempts to reach GM chairman Roger Smith, "Roger and Me" looks more current now than when it was released.
Mr. Moore opens: "Greetings from Flint, hometown of the world's largest, corporation [GM] and birthplace of the depression that me, you and the .. . country are now experiencing."
But much of the country was in denial back then. It's not anymore. By splicing video clip-art interviews with the jobless and those who refuse to recognize the problems with Mr. Moore's attempts to meet Mr. Smith, "Roger and Me" becomes a billboard for the era's economic surreality.
"Pets or Meat" (the title refers to the sign in front of a Flint woman's recession-born home business, which sells bunnies for pets or food) is an amusing trifle that documents Mr. Moore's return to town. Little has changed including the blind-to-despair spin of bureaucrats.
Touts one: "Employment at the unemployment office is up!"
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