Give Michael Moore credit, he doesn’t back down to anybody. When Harper Collins demanded that Moore change or excise significant portions of his new book, “Stupid White Men…and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation,” Moore refused to cooperate. Thanks to his popularity on college campuses and the work of some librarians, the publishing company blinked, and Moore can now boast that his book/political manifesto has reached number one on most bestseller lists.
The author of “Downsize This!: Random Threats From an Unarmed American” (which in fact, he is not – he is a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Assocation) and “Adventures in a TV Nation,” Moore has continued to expand his popularity from his days on the Emmy-winning “TV Nation.”
Moore’s work is not for everyone. With portions entitled “A Very American Coup” (about the 2000 Bush-Gore election) and “Kill Whitey,” Republicans are sure to scream White Liberal Guilt.
“Whitey” exemplifies how Moore combines his biting humor and earnest desire to create change. He makes his arguments for affirmative action, then announces that he will only hire black people from now on. He goes on further to explain why we should fear a group of white people standing on a street corner. He lists all of the destructive things created by whites: the atomic bomb, the crusades, etc.
Moore does not save his scathing pen for the GOP. In “Democrats, DOA,” he lashes out at President Clinton’s abysmal record on environmental and public health issues and frequently shows just how similar the two major parties really are. As a Green Party supporter, he campaigned for Ralph Nader in the last election, and he addresses Nader’s effect in some detail. He blames the democrats, specifically Gore himself, for blowing the election.
But President Bush is the true target. Between listing his cabinet members and their voting records (sample: Michigan’s own Spencer Abraham voted to eliminate the Department of Energy before being appointed secretary), Moore’s open letter to Bush demands to know whether he is illiterate, if he was ever a felon and if he is/was an alcoholic. He lists relatively unknown facts about Bush and his family (that his wife, Laura, was once the driver in an auto accident that killed her friend), and questions George W.’s influence on his twin daughters.
He also makes several proposals on how to reach peace in the former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland and Israel. For what it’s worth, his ideas seem far more rational and moderate than most people give him credit for, especially in situations so complicated by history.
His rapid switch from a serious plea to humor is a pleasant style to read. He covers a wide range of topics many would be hesitant to address and often finds it necessary to be serious for a minute, but he usually manages to find the humor of the situation too. It also doesn’t hurt to be a liberal in order to enjoy Moore’s banter.
But his facts, backed up from the top newspapers in the country, make his arguments very convincing. It is these facts that make the work very intriguing and yet frightening. Someone who did not know about Texas’s involvement in denying blacks the right to vote in the election by listing them inaccurately as convicted felons will be outraged at the level to which the election appears tainted. And it’s all backed up.
A man whose new film is called “Bowling for Columbine” and who demands a counter-coup to amend the results of the 2000 election, Moore is passionate and dead-set in his attempts to reform the system driving down America.
When he came to the Michigan Theater just a few weeks ago, he showed rough cuts of his film (including scenes in which he accosts Dick Clark and Charlton Heston) and read the open letter to Bush. He shows no signs of slowing down or moving toward the right.