Michael Moore and Rage Against the Machine briefly going viral is a blast from the 90s past. An extremely overrated one.
No one especially cares about Rage Against the Machine, whose songs were terrible and whose members were at least mildly defensible as angry second-generation radical young men, but are just pathetic as radicals in their 50s, and yet that doesn’t compare to how far Michael Moore has fallen.
Why did Michael Moore’s career implode? Like so many others, his cultural moment had passed.
Moore’s shtick was being a troll before the term was widely known or understood. In the days before the internet had become ubiquitous, he was good at it, the cynical bad faith innocent act that has become a staple of online trolling and long since found its way into cable news and late-night television. These days everyone is a troll and the occasional frantic efforts by Moore, like proposing a gun violence amendment, feel tiresome, the work of a troll whose trolling appears laborious.
And that’s the one thing that trolls are not allowed to be. After all, obvious troll is obvious troll. And Moore long ago became obvious. As a celebrity, his trolling became a known quantity. And like Sacha Baron Cohen, worthy of little more than en eye roll.
In a political culture where trolling is ubiquitous, Moore is a third-rate if not fourth-rate troll. Like Jon Stewart, this is the world he helped to make and there’s little room for him in it anymore.