By the looks of it, Michael Moore has had a busy decade. First, Michael Moore won critical acclaim for his documentary films. Then, Michael Moore led 46 states in their lawsuit against big tobacco. And now, Michael Moore is heading the WTO as it meets in Seattle. How does he do it all?
Quite easily: There are three Michael Moores.
Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker, has made a name for himself as a "professional gadfly." His breakthrough film, 1989's Roger and Me, tracked his 2 ½-year effort to bring GM Chairman Roger Smith to Flint, Mich., to view the effects of plant closings. With two other films, two television shows, a Web site, and a book (Downsize This), Moore has continued to promote his left-leaning political views. Among his irreverent made-for-TV stunts: driving a pink "Sodomobile" filled with gays and lesbians through states that ban sodomy, and presenting an executive with a giant 80-cent check to pay for an hour of a Mexican employee's labor. Corporate greed being one of his favorite targets, Michael Moore has come to Seattle to protest the WTO.
Michael Moore, the WTO director-general, is a former prime minister of New Zealand. He has long been involved in international trade, serving as New Zealand's trade minister, and working to launch both GATT and APEC. He took the helm of the WTO in September.
Michael Moore, the Mississippi attorney general, filed the first state lawsuit charging that cigarette manufacturers were liable for the health costs of smoking. He helped lead 46 states in negotiations with tobacco companies that resulted in a $206 billion settlement. His role in the dispute landed him a small part--as himself--in The Insider.
Previously in this series, theExplainer sorted out the Cohens (two Stephens, three Richards), the Rays (two Elizabeths), the Hirschfelds (Abe and Al), the Strausses (Robert and R. Peter), and the Broders (Jonathan, John M., and David).
Have you noticed people in the news with confusingly similar names? The Explainer welcomes your suggestions for future installments.