- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stop, thief

Michael Moore is an artistic and intellectual thief. Yes, Michael Moore, the American filmmaker, author, political commentator and self-professed liberal who enjoys skewering the ethical transgressions of corporate organizations. …

“On July 5, while most Americans were enjoying a Fourth of July day off, Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Frank Munger and photographer Michael Patrick were out in the 90-degree heat covering peace protesters at the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons facilities in Oak Ridge, Tenn. In addition to calling in Web updates and writing a story for knoxnews.com and for next day’s print edition, he shot a short video. …

“Despite a prominent copyright notice on every page of the website, Michael Moore’s website took the entire article and posted it online. The video Munger shot was grabbed, the Knoxnews logo was clipped out and a new copy posted to Michael Moore’s YouTube channel complete with video credits for Munger at the end. … From a look at some other content on the site, MichaelMoore.com makes a regular habit of reposting copyrighted work in total without adding any type of additional value.”

- Jack Lail, writing on “Hey, Michael Moore, I’m calling you out,” on July 10 at his site Random Mumblings

New genre

“The documentary film has acquired a new subgenre, which for want of a more polite term could be called the ‘stalking doc.’ It might have begun with ‘Roger & Me’ in 1989, when downsizing-foe Michael Moore pursued General Motors CEO Roger Smith to the point where Moore became much more famous than the object of his search. It has continued with documentarians trying to score a date with Drew Barrymore or locate Osama bin Laden.

“Certainly the weirdest so far is Ben Steinbauer’s ‘Winnebago Man,’ a film that starts out as a gimmick but winds up as a genuinely touching character study, though one does wonder whether that is what the filmmaker initially intended.

“Its protagonist reputedly has been viewed by more than 20 million people on the Internet. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine anyone basing a documentary on a search for the 76-year-old Jack Rebney, a.k.a. the ‘Winnebago Man,’ if he hadn’t been the unwitting subject of a viral video. … One of the more unfortunate aspects of Web culture is the phenomenon of accidental celebrity, where the posting of a humiliating incident or accident can irreparably damage if not destroy a person’s reputation. Such is Steinbauer’s fascination - or is ‘obsession’ a better word? - with ‘Winnebago’ that he sets out to make a film about tracking Rebney down.”

- Kirk Honeycutt, writing on ” ‘Winnebago Man’ a peculiar stalking documentary,” on July 8 at Hollywood Reporter

Male nuns

“I thought this was a spoof at first, but it seems not: a General Synod working party is exploring whether the Church of England’s male bishops can join religious orders previously reserved for women. In other words, become Anglican nuns.

“As usual, the Synod’s topsy-turvy ecclesiology is a mystery to me, but I gather that the idea is that bishops would be entitled to take vows in orders of nuns so that they can provide special episcopal oversight to the sisters. It’s a typically ingenious Anglican response to the forthcoming ordination of women bishops. …

“And just when I thought things couldn’t get any weirder, I learn the identity of the bishop who is rumoured to have volunteered to take nun’s vows: the Rt. Rev. Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, often spoken of as a successor to Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. Says my informant: ‘Nick is a big fan of Sister Act, and we knew he was keen to “get ahead,” as it were, so he was the obvious person to ask. And apparently he was delighted, because he’s all about challenging gender stereotypes.’ “

- Damian Thompson, writing on “Church of England bishops ‘will be allowed to become nuns,’ according to Synod source,” on July 14 at his Daily Telegraph blog