‘Sicko’ strikes a chord

‘SICKO’ STRIKES A CHORD….Cory Doctorow featured this interesting, first-hand account of a guy who saw “Sicko” in a suburban mall in Dallas. I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but if it’s true, it’s the kind of story that will cause some heartburn for insurance company executives.

When the credits rolled the audience filed out and into the bathrooms. At the urinals, my redneck friend couldn’t stop talking about the film, and I kept listening. He struck up a conversation with a random black man in his 40s standing next to him, and soon everyone was peeing and talking about just how fu**ed everything is.

I kept my distance, as we all finished and exited at the same time. Outside the restroom doors… the theater was in chaos. The entire Sicko audience had somehow formed an impromptu town hall meeting in front of the ladies room. I’ve never seen anything like it. This is Texas goddammit, not France or some liberal college campus. But here these people were, complete strangers from every walk of life talking excitedly about the movie. It was as if they simply couldn’t go home without doing something drastic about what they’d just seen. My redneck compadre and his new friend found their wives at the center of the group, while I lingered in the background waiting for my spouse to emerge.

The talk gradually centered around a core of 10 or 12 strangers in a cluster while the rest of us stood around them listening intently to this thing that seemed to be happening out of nowhere. The black gentleman engaged by my redneck in the restroom shouted for everyone’s attention. The conversation stopped instantly as all eyes in this group of 30 or 40 people were now on him. “If we just see this and do nothing about it,” he said, “then what’s the point? Something has to change.” There was silence, then the redneck’s wife started calling for email addresses. Suddenly everyone was scribbling down everyone else’s email, promising to get together and do something … though no one seemed to know quite what.

The account seems to have originated with Josh Tyler, who manages a movie-related site called Cinema Blend. He does not appear to be particularly political.

Again, while I can’t speak to the narrative’s veracity, it certainly sounds plausible enough, doesn’t it? As for those who are outraged by the film’s message, but are unclear about what to do next, MoveOn.org is hoping to fill the gap.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.