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Vulture has a glorious review of Michael Moore's new Broadway show, "The Terms of My Surrender":
So why does The Terms of My Surrender feel so uninspiring? First of all, because it’s almost entirely unsurprising. In an interview with Time Out, Moore promises that “for 87 minutes, you’re going to experience something you’re not expecting” (the show runs 110 minutes, by the way), but my feelings upon leaving the Belasco Theatre can best be summed up with a long sigh. If I had had to make a guess as to what a Michael Moore Broadway show would feel like, this would have been pretty much it. The Terms of My Surrender feels like a live version of my Facebook feed: a few good stories and a boatload of preaching to the choir (add requisite helpings of self-congratulation and liberal-on-liberal shaming for full effect). From the opening line —“How the f**k did we get here?”— to the set-’em-up, knock-’em-down jokes (re: North Korea: “A leader that’s irrational, unhinged, and maniacal … and then there’s Kim Jong-un!”), to the production’s flashier gimmicks (a Michael Moore 2020 stump speech, a faux game show designed to ridicule American ignorance) … it all seemed too easy, like playing T-ball with the audience. A pity, since in speaking with the Times, Moore actually seems to have a more vital idea of what theater can do: “I want to go and be challenged. I want to leave [the theater] better, smarter, angrier, happier than when I came in.”
Alas, Moore did not deliver:
There is no challenge in The Terms of My Surrender. Well, there is the external challenge to the Trump regime, but no call for those of us participating in the event at hand to reexamine the ideas we presumably walked in with. Despite Moore’s protests (in the Times and in Time Out) that the show isn’t a “political rally,” what else are you supposed to call a room full of people chanting and cheering every time a majority opinion is reaffirmed, and hissing and cursing whenever the Enemy is mentioned? And the audience was cheering all right — and cursing. This crowd was there for Moore. “We are the majority!” he repeated, each time to whoops and applause. “We” and “us” were two of the most frequent words out of Moore’s mouth, and though they seemed to fire up a good number of my neighbors, I quickly started to feel like my significant other was ordering for me at a restaurant: “We’ll have the salmon.” The salmon in this case being Trump’s impeachment.
Here’s the thing: It’s not that I don’t want the salmon. The salmon would be great. I’m the target demographic for salmon. And yet I bridled at Moore’s immediate and unceasing assumption that all 1,000 of us in the audience at the Belasco were one unified liberal “We.” How is such an assumption helping anything — except perhaps a few more calls to a few more senators, and that’s a big perhaps — to occur? How is it in keeping with the statement on the show’s official website that “Michael would love nothing more than to make Donald Trump’s supporters a part of the conversation?” (Fascinatingly, Itzkoff describes watching Moore rehearse a segment of the show in which he invites a conservative audience member onstage for a discussion: Nothing of the kind happened during the performance I witnessed.)
In other words, the liberal Vulture writer spent 110 minutes locked inside Moore's tedious liberal echo chamber and came away empty. At least the author was self-aware enough to recognize how off-putting the show might have been for people who don't want salmon (not that those folks would fork over hard-earned money to listen to Moore's spiel, but still). Maybe the left's strictly enforced monoculture is beginning to wear thin. We can hope.