Despite the near ban on his last book, “Stupid White Men,” his Oscar speech fiasco and the innumerable rumors circulating on the Web regarding the “truth” in “Bowling for Columbine,” Michael Moore returns to print once more with his newest endeavor, “Dude, Where’s My Country?” Moore appeared at the Power Center on Sunday to discuss the contents of his latest work and to further explain his reasons for writing it.
“Dude, Where’s My Country?” focuses largely on the failings of the Bush administration. The first chapter, “Seven Questions for George of Arabia,” directly questions President Bush about his ties to the bin Laden family, his relationship with the Saudi Arabian government and his actions immediately following the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. Moore provides his supporting evidence at the bottom of every page as footnotes to encourage readers to research more on these topics and to wonder why these occurrences rarely made it to the mainstream news.
Moore, who received a resounding standing ovation as he approached the stage, opened the show carrying two larger-than-life cardboard cut-outs of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. In the midst of the applause, he shook the figures at the audience and laughingly shouted, “I found them!” After a few jokes at their expense, he settled down to talk of more serious issues, many of which he describes in this new book.
Throughout the evening, Moore stressed his belief in an urgent need to remove Bush from office. He spoke at some length about the discrepancies with the Iraq war and Bush’s misrepresentation of facts, even going so far as to say, “There is no terrorist threat in this country. This is a lie. This is the biggest lie we’ve been told.” He referred several times to recent reports that weapons of mass destruction did not seem to exist in Iraq, other than the American weapons shipped over to Iraq in the 1980s. In addition, he mentioned the scrutiny of vehicles dubbed mobile weapons labs during the war, which turned out to be filled with helium.
Moore attacked Bush’s use of Sept. 11th as a propaganda technique to pass his political programs. Shaking his head, he argued that the way “we’ve been manipulated with that day … it dishonors the dead.”
Through his talk of the California recall election and his discussion of the Iraq conflict, Moore reiterated time and again that Bush is not an elected official who does not appear to be acting on behalf of the people who support him.
“(Bush is) just taking a shit on his own, and that’s not what you want to do when you’re trying to get elected for the first time,” Moore said.
He continued his speech with a discussion of the upcoming presidential election and his view of the Democratic role this time around. Though he definitely wants to see Bush out of office, he also encouraged the audience not to settle for just anything the Democrats throw at them. In response to Joe Lieberman’s campaign for presidency, he joked that in America’s fervor to get rid of Bush, “let’s not go loco and end up with Bush-Lite.”
Above all else, Moore seemed to emphasize what he considered to be the real problems in the United States. Among others, he noted the welfare system, insurance policies, medical care and the need for a basic sympathetic attitude towards every man as key issues that set America apart as a violent society.
Citing a recent test of young people’s geography skills, Moore said, “We have an enforced ignorance at work here in our society … it’s cool to be stupid and ignorant of what’s going on.”
To prove his point, Moore decided to play a little game called, “Is the dumbest Canadian smarter than the smartest American,” in which the “dumbest” Canadian (with a “B” average) in the room stood up and pitted his knowledge against the self-proclaimed smartest Michigan student (with an “A” average). The Canadian answered both questions correctly; whereas the American could answer none. After the results, Moore announced that out of seven cities polled, the Canadians were currently 7-0.
Finally, in his question-and-answer portion, Moore reaffirmed his pride as an American and once again highlighted his belief in these necessary changes to support a better society. He remarked that he has work to do, and while some of his former publishing companies tried to hinder his efforts, he plans to continue to be actively involved in encouraging these changes in government. “Their desire to make money off me is greater than their desire to shut me up.”