The Wal*Mart Movie

on Apr 19 in Flotsum & Jetsam, Uncategorized by

Two years ago, Robert Greenwald, a progressive filmmaker made Wal*Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. I finally got around to watching it and sent off a note to Mr. Greenwald, who was kind enough to respond. His other work is worth checking out: he made a creditable film about 60’s radical Abbie Hoffman (Steal this Movie) and a host of documentaries including Iraq for Sale and OutFoxed, neither of which I’ve seen. Here’s the exchange:

—–Original Message—–
From: Don Silver
To: Robert Greenwald

I generally find your work of high value and am glad for your efforts.
Since our economic system and amazing technological developments have
reduced the function of media to what are essentially audience magnets
for corporations, alternative sources of information like your films are

But I had such an uncomfortable feeling watching your Wal*Mart “expose”
I thought I’d write you. There are no doubt some awful practices and
values that Wal*Mart is guilty of, but by tarring them, you failed to
bring to the fore what are essentially characteristics of the economic
system and the culture we Americans have created.

Wal*Mart may offend us with their practices and the way they’ve altered
the U.S. landscape, but they are simply doing better what almost all
American enterprises seek to do. Vilifying them allows us to take
ourselves off the hook. Maybe it wouldn’t have been popular enough to
fund, but I wonder: why didn’t you show how we Americans are responsible
for creating this gigantic retailer — both directly by supporting it to
the extent we do and by actively encouraging a system which creates
companies like this?

—– Original Message —–
From: “Robert Greenwald”
To: “Don Silver”

thanks for your thoughts. There is a movie to be made about american
consumerism. I chose to make a different movie, about the systemic
exploitation of our system by walmart. But I agree that the other side
of the story needs to be told. I hope someone does that film. best

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