Filmmaker Michael Moore, who built his entire career on a joke about his lack of access to power, is in a Twitter fight with the President of the United States of America. People remember Roger & Me, his unforgettable 1989 debut, as a searing portrait of the slow-motion destruction of Flint, Michigan at the hands of General Motors—and it is that. But it’s also a depressing picture of the bubble of assistants, doormen, PR representatives, security, and other assorted underlings that prevent Michael Moore from getting anywhere near GM chairman Roger Smith until the end of the movie. Here’s how Moore describes the film’s premise in the voiceover:
Did I have Roger Smith judged all wrong, simply because he was eliminating 30,000 jobs in my home town? I decided to find out. I wrote, I phoned, I faxed, I tried every means of communication available, but nothing seemed to get me any closer to Roger. I was left with no choice. I got in the car and drove about an hour south of Flint to Detroit, to the world headquarters of General Motors. My mission was a simple one: to convince Roger Smith to spend a day with me in Flint, and meet some of the people who were losing their jobs.
How times have changed! These days, Moore, who once was prevented from entering Smith’s yacht club on the off-chance the two men might run into each other, can wake up to a personal message from the president, delivered right to his phone:
While not at all presidential I must point out that the Sloppy Michael Moore Show on Broadway was a TOTAL BOMB and was forced to close. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2017
It’s one of those monkey’s paw situations: it sounds like a great idea to let any citizen strike up a conversation with the president, right up to the point Donald Trump becomes president. Moore, who rarely wastes an opportunity to tell powerful people exactly what he thinks of them, responded with a blistering torrent of tweets mocking Trump for his limited understanding of Broadway and the wretched job he’s been doing as president:
1) You must have my smash hit of a Broadway show confused with your presidency-- which IS a total bomb and WILL indeed close early. NOT SAD https://t.co/URgXgzWWVk— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
2) Today, 1 U.S. service member was killed & 6 injured in our never-ending war in Afghanistan. You,our President, are not even aware of this— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
3) You ARE aware I'm a "B'way star" & I guess this bothers you more. SAD.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
4) Prosecutor Mueller's GrandJury has just approved the 1st criminal indictments of your administration. R u trying 2 distract us from this?— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
5) 38 days after Maria, 3/4 of PR (our fellow Americans) have NO electricity. Yet u are more upset that so many ppl saw my B'way show. SAD.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
6) They say Twitter "distracts" you from your presidency. But Twitter IS YOUR PRESIDENCY! It's all you know how to do. #LOSER!— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
7) And now, for this weekend, I’m your latest distraction from your crimes. Ha! Raucous & joyous crowds every nite on B’way- & u missed out!— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
8) It was the highest grossing play (non-musical) of the summer, despite my offering $29 cheap seats + free student tix so ALL could afford.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
9) As announced on May 1st, it was always a "12-WEEK-ONLY" run, due to my commitments to my upcoming primetime TV series & my new movie.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
10) On Broadway, Donald, they call it a "LIMITED ENGAGEMENT" -- just like we’re planning on making your presidency.— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
11) For now, at least, I know I still have one fan in the White House (thx for your unwavering support, Jared!) pic.twitter.com/mTwLxW4KgR— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
And thanks to all who filled this beautiful theater for each show! pic.twitter.com/TRxAPssdwS— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 29, 2017
Sunday morning, Moore continued, speculating that Trump’s Twitter rage stemmed from the Mueller investigation. So far, Trump hasn’t replied—he spent the morning applauding, in his words, “Republican ANGER & UNITY” that Hillary Clinton wasn’t being investigated for colluding with Russia. We’ve always speculated that technology would tear down some of the walls between the powerful and the powerless, giving everyone from Michael Moore to you and me direct access to the people who control our country. But not like this. Not like this!
Here’s the original trailer for Roger & Me, a nostalgic look back at the days when, thanks to an army of gatekeepers blocking off direct access to power, we could still believe our oligarchy was run by human beings—cruel human beings, but human beings, nonetheless—instead of the barely-sentient lizard people we’ve all gotten to know on Twitter. Heck of a job, technology!