Arch told me the movie unintentionally gave his Manhattan investment banking pals a good laugh because the film is financed by Wall Street billionaires, supposedly Moore's targets.
Paramount Vantage, in association with the The Weinstein Company, produced Capitalism. What most casual movie goers don't know is that Paramount Vantage is controlled by Viacom, on whose Board of Directors sit Sumner Redstone and former Bear Stearns executive Ace Greenberg, two of the chief villains in the financial meltdown.
In a press release, a Goldman spokesman said:
"We are very pleased to be a part of this exciting new venture and look forward to an ongoing relationship with The Weinstein Company."
Arch couldn't help but be taken aback, as I was, by Moore's effrontery—given the numerous associations his movie has with the very people he claims disgust with.
Then my conversation with Arch drifted to how someone with Moore's blue collar background could be so blind to the key role immigration plays in America's financial and economic collapse—by, among other things, robbing so many citizens of jobs.
During one of Capitalism's few touching scenes, Moore took his elderly father back to the site of a long-ago torn-down General Motors plant.
Both Moore's father and grandfather worked at GM. Although they never earned more than a union hourly wage, they were able to buy houses, take vacations and count on collecting their pensions when retirement rolled around.
Moore and his father briefly reminisced about how, at 2:00 PM every day, the family would drive down to the plant to bring Dad home in time for supper. In the mid-1960s, that was a typical middle-class American experience.
A few frames later, Moore was in Chicago, at the Republic Windows and Doors factory, which had just been shut down. The employees received three days notice and were told not to expect past monies owed them. [In Factory Sit-In, An Anger Spread Wide, by Monica Davey, New York Times, December 7, 2008]
"There was another international aspect to this occupation as well. The people working at the plant included blacks and whites but were overwhelmingly Latino. They had ended up at Republic after coming from Honduras, Costa Rica, Uruguay, El Salvador, Mexico, Ecuador, Cuba and Puerto Rico."
I'm certain that the displaced, struggling Americans in Moore's hometown of Flint would love to have had those Republic jobs. It's not far from Flint to Chicago. They would have moved.
And when and if the Republic jobs ended, they would have moved again—assuming they could find jobs that hadn't been taken already by immigrants.
My view: The answer to Arch's question about why Moore and the Hollywood elite don't get the problem with immigration—illegal and legal—is that their day-to-day experiences with immigrants are overwhelmingly positive.
Let's shift neighborhoods from burnt out Flint and Chicago's Southside to visit Beverly Hills, a part of California heavily populated with rich and famous moguls, with which I am familiar. (I'm a third-generation Californian and lived across the street from Beverly Hills High. Moore, by the way, lives in a plush upper West Side Manhattan apartment and owns a Michigan beach front vacation house.)
Most wealthy Southern California households have three immigrants working for them—the housekeeper, the pool man and the lawn guy.
Here are sketches of some I have known:
Born in Mexico and a U.S. citizen since the 1986 amnesty, Teresa takes three buses (quite an achievement in Los Angeles) to get to her Pacific Palisades job. Nevertheless, she's on time and efficiently completes the few tasks asked of her. Teresa has worked for the same family for nearly three decades. When the patriarch died, Teresa took the same three buses to his funeral.
Pedro, pool man.
An American citizen thanks to the 245 (i) program, Pedro, a Honduras native, put this son through the University of Southern California. USC tuition rivals any Ivy League school. This achievement was always praised by Pedro's employer as a monument to hard work.
And, in a way, it was.
But if you earned exorbitant pool man rates, you too could send your kid to any expensive American university. (SOP: two weekly pool maintenance visits a week for five minutes each, skim off a few leaves, drop some mystery chemicals into the water and repeat the process at other houses all day long. Invoice each client $300 a month, twelve months a year. Pool man—the job we should all aspire to!)
To the upper crust, these three and other domestics like them represent immigrants.
Besides their household staff, the beautiful people also interact daily with another non-representative group of immigrants: the Iranian store keeper, the Thai restauranteur, and the Vietnamese manicurist.
Naturally, the merchants are unfailingly gracious. How else could they develop return business?
Finally, the Los Angeles Times provides the jet set with their immigration news, distorted to give the impression that immigrants are either universally productive or consistently cruelly exploited.
Looking back over the decades I lived in Los Angeles, I know only a few families who sent their children to immigrant-dominated public schools or went into the ethnic enclaves, except briefly to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Trojans or go to the hottest new off-beat Mexican restaurant.
Then they got out of Dodge as fast as their Mercedes would take them.
Think of it this way: If you (as the fashionable people do) only interacted with the best that immigration brings to America and at the same time avoided the immigrant trouble spots, you wouldn't be reading VDARE.COM or urging Congress not to pass an amnesty.
Instead, you'd probably advocate for more immigration.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.