Michael Moore, Hero or Rogue

Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 07:13 am

All Hail Moore


Published: June 26, 2004

In years past, American liberals have had to settle for
intellectual and moral leadership from the likes of John Dewey,
Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King Jr. But now, a grander
beacon has appeared on the mountaintop, and from sea to shining
sea, tens of thousands have joined in the adulation.

So it is worth taking a moment to study the metaphysics of
Michael Moore. For Moore is not only a filmmaker; he is a man of
ideas, and his work is based on an actual worldview.

Like Hemingway, Moore does his boldest thinking while abroad. For
example, it was during an interview with the British paper The
Mirror that Moore unfurled what is perhaps the central insight of
his oeuvre, that Americans are kind of crappy.

"They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet . . . in
thrall to conniving, thieving smug [pieces of the human anatomy],
" Moore intoned. "We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance.
We don't know about anything that's happening outside our
country. Our stupidity is embarrassing."

It transpires that Europeans are quite excited to hear this
supple description of the American mind. And Moore has been kind
enough to crisscross the continent, speaking to packed lecture
halls, explicating the general vapidity and crassness of his
countrymen. "That's why we're smiling all the time," he told a
rapturous throng in Munich. "You can see us coming down the
street. You know, `Hey! Hi! How's it going?' We've got that big
[expletive] grin on our face all the time because our brains
aren't loaded down."

Naturally, the people from the continent that brought us
Descartes, Kant and Goethe are fascinated by these insights.
Moore's books have sold faster there than at home. No American
intellectual is taken so seriously in Europe, save perhaps the
great Chomsky.

Before a delighted Cambridge crowd, Moore reflected on the
tragedy of human existence: "You're stuck with being connected to
this country of mine, which is known for bringing sadness and
misery to places around the globe." In Liverpool, he paused to
contemplate the epicenters of evil in the modern world: "It's all
part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel,

In the days after Sept. 11, while others were disoriented, Moore
was able to see clearly: "We, the United States of America, are
culpable in committing so many acts of terror and bloodshed that
we had better get a clue about the culture of violence in which
we have been active participants."

This leads to Michael Moore's global plan of action. "Don't be
like us," he told a crowd in Berlin. "You've got to stand up,
right? You've got to be brave."

In an open letter to the German people in Die Zeit, Moore asked,
"Should such an ignorant people lead the world?" Then he began to
reflect on things economic. His central insight here is that the
American economy, like its people, is pretty crappy, too: "Don't
go the American way when it comes to economics, jobs and services
for the poor and immigrants. It is the wrong way."

In an interview with a Japanese newspaper, Moore helped citizens
of that country understand why the United States went to war in
Iraq: "The motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government
started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S.
corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to
use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans

But venality doesn't come up when he writes about those who are
killing Americans in Iraq: "The Iraqis who have risen up against
the occupation are not `insurgents' or `terrorists' or `The
Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers
will grow ? and they will win." Until then, few social observers
had made the connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Paul

So we have our Sartre. And the liberal grandees Arthur
Schlesinger r, Ted Sorenson, Tom Harkin and Barbara Boxer flock to his
openings. In Washington, a Senate vote was delayed because so
many Democrats wanted to see his movie.

The standards of socially acceptable liberal opinion have
shifted. We're a long way from John Dewey.

Perhaps inspired by Moore, I got a fact wrong in my previous
column. Bill Clinton did not win the evangelical vote in 1992 and
1996. I had relied on a report that was later corrected.

Is he a Hero or Rogue
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L R R Hood
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 07:58 am
I don't think Moore is either a hero OR a rogue.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 07:59 am
Hes made a nice living massacreing sacred cows. Many of which need massacreein
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 08:01 am
L.R.R.Hood wrote:
I don't think Moore is either a hero OR a rogue.

I agree! Moore is a tasteless, unpleasant looking man, who looks like he's never seen the inside of a bathtub! Embarrassed
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 08:05 am
Only stupid white men would believe Michael Moore

By Damian Thompson

(Filed: 01/01/2004)

If the title Stupid White Men doesn't mean anything to you, then you can't have been anywhere near a bookshop in 2003. Either that, or you are so used to picking your way through the piles of Michael Moore books that you no longer notice them, or the accompanying recommendation: "Staff pick! Really cool - the book that exposes Dubya as a fascist."

Moore is the American slob in a baseball cap who likes to hint - only hint, mind - that President Bush had a hand in September 11. He has a huge following on campuses on both sides of the Atlantic: he, more than anyone else, has persuaded British students that the current occupant of the White House is, like, just such a moron.

Stupid White Men was the bestselling non-fiction hardback in Britain last year, after the Atkins New Diet Revolution; it's now top of the paperback list. Bowling for Columbine, the feature-length documentary in which Moore blames a high school massacre on the Republicans, won an Oscar.

Moore's new book, Dude, Where's My Country?, offers his most sophisticated critique to date of American foreign policy: "We like dictators! They help us get what we want and they do a great job of keeping their nations subservient to our galloping global corporate interests."

It takes Moore just a couple of paragraphs to absolve Osama bin Laden of the destruction of the World Trade Centre. "How could a guy sitting in a cave in Afghanistan, have … plotted so perfectly the hijacking of four planes and then guaranteed that three of them would end up precisely on their targets?" he asks.

Viewers of Bowling for Columbine may find this puzzling, remembering the film's insistence that "Osama bin Laden used his expert CIA training to murder 3,000 people"; but Moore regards consistency as the hobgoblin of little minds. And, besides, his fast-morphing conspiracy theories are all built on the same, unshakeable foundation. Everything in the world is the fault of stupid white Americans - in which category he apparently includes the September 11 plane passengers: he has a stand-up routine in which he suggests that if the victims had been black, rather than white "scaredy-cats", they would have had no trouble overpowering the hijackers.

The American Right used to dismiss Moore's material as unfunny agitprop, unworthy of attention. That is not quite fair. Bowling for Columbine is a brilliantly constructed documentary; it's hard not to cheer when Moore embarrasses the K-Mart chain into banning the sale of live ammunition to teenagers. The books are dismal by comparison, but even they evince the odd chuckle.

With sales of Stupid White Men creeping up towards four million, the Right has changed tactics. Its new approach is to denounce Moore as a liar - a more promising line of attack. And it is certainly true that Bowling for Columbine turns out to contain more half-truths than an Enron corporate video.

For example, Moore says that Lockheed Martin manufactures "weapons of mass destruction" in Littleton, Colorado, the town where the Columbine killings occurred; he even grills a company executive in front of a scary-looking rocket in the local factory. In fact, Lockheed Martin doesn't make weapons in Littleton; it makes weather and communications satellites that are launched by rocket.

Then there's the scene in which Moore opens an account in a rural bank and is given the free shotgun offered to new customers. "Don't you think it's a little dangerous handing out guns in a bank?" he asks. It's a good question. And the answer is: the bank doesn't normally do anything of the sort. Customers have to wait six weeks for background checks. According to the bank, the scene was staged at Moore's request.

Even the documentary's title is dodgy. It's based on reports that the Columbine killers went bowling on the morning of the massacre. Police investigators later concluded that the reports were untrue. The film makes no mention of this.

So generous is Moore's notion of artistic licence that the internet is now crawling with websites exposing his "lies". Some of his critics have gone further, and attempted to turn his own methods on himself. A documentary-maker called Michael Wilson has been following him around, badgering him for an interview - just as Moore used to do to bloated chief executives. But Moore isn't talking. (Here's a tip for Wilson: if you want to catch up with Moore's entourage on one of his British visits, check out the Ritz.)

Meanwhile, Dude, Where's My Country? is sitting happily in the bestseller lists. Moore's fans don't care how many fast ones he pulls because, hey, he's a funny guy. There is nothing the Right can do to dent his popularity. And perhaps it shouldn't even try.

The truth is that George W Bush owes Moore a debt of gratitude. He wouldn't be president today if it weren't for the Green candidate, Ralph Nader, who vacuumed up votes that would otherwise have gone to Al Gore. Moore was Nader's biggest celebrity backer. So we can be reasonably sure that at least 538 Florida students voted Green because Mike told them to, thereby handing Dubya his winning margin.

And next time? Strange though it might seem, Moore could help the President achieve a second term. There he stands, inciting his audience to ever greater heights of Bush-hatred. The snag is that, although this goes down a treat in cappuccino-sipping Berkeley, it doesn't play so well among blue-collar voters who think Saddam deserved to get his ass kicked.

Histrionic invective directed against relatively popular sitting presidents rarely pays off, as the McGovernites discovered in 1972 and the Clinton-haters did in 1996. The sheer incontinence of the attacks on Bush by Moore and his Hollywood friends could help deliver the Midwest to Bush.

And Bush knows it, too. There's a curious passage in Stupid White Men in which Moore confesses that, on the rare occasions he has met George W or Jeb Bush, they have teased him in an almost affectionate fashion.

Indeed, the more vigorously Moore attacks the President, the better Bush's approval ratings. Funny, that. And Moore's lifestyle has been awfully lavish of late. One doesn't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it makes you think, doesn't it?

0 Replies
L R R Hood
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 08:05 am
LOL @ Miller. And what's with all the Moore threads anyway?
0 Replies
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 08:07 am
L.R.R.Hood wrote:
LOL @ Miller. And what's with all the Moore threads anyway?

Beats me Exclamation
0 Replies
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 08:10 am
Miller, moore isnt just attacking this moron administration. The material is out there, hes just cherrypickin.
I love it when the fans of the sacred cows get upset.

HOOD__Michael Moores new movie just opened here on Friday, so perhaps "all the threads" are coincident with that event.. I dont know, its just a guess.
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L R R Hood
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 08:13 am
Ah, I see.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 08:43 am
The fear of Moore permeates the air and manifests itself in insults about his physicality rather than actually dealing with his arguments.
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 05:52 pm
From Variety -- a plate of crow for Disney:

Moore burns docu record
'Fahrenheit's' opening bests non-concert doc cume

By Gabriel Snyder

"Fahrenheit 9/11" shattered all expectations, as well as box office records for documentaries, with an opening-weekend gross of $21.8 million.
"It became part of the national conversation this weekend," said filmmaker Michael Moore in a conference call Sunday morning. "These are mindblowing numbers."

Pic played just 868 theaters, minuscule compared to normal Hollywood release patterns. But the $25,115 average per location reflected sellouts throughout the country, as people flocked to see the movie that has dominated headlines for weeks.

In a strong second-place finish, Revolution/Sony's "White Chicks" brought in $19.6 million for the three-day span from 2,726 theaters.

Since "Chicks" opened Wednesday, its cume stands at $27.1 million.

"We knew we had a really funny movie, and opening on Wednesday gave it a good start by building word of mouth," said Sony distrib prexy Rory Bruer.

Bruer said exit! s showed the aud was evenly split between male and female and 65% of the aud was under age 25. Ethnically, the aud was 35% African-American.

The weekend's other openers include New Line's "The Notebook," which brought in a better-than-expected $13 million from 2,303 theaters. Pic drew an aud that was 75% female. "There really isn't another movie like this in the marketplace," said New Line distrib prexy David Tuckerman.

Universal entered tiger tale "Two Brothers" into the crowded family-film contest this weekend. Playing at 2,175 locations, pic grossed $6.2 million.

Showing strong legs, 20th Century Fox's "DodgeBall" took in $18.5 million from 3,020 locations, an expansion of 326 from its opening weekend. Figure marked a decline of just 38%, especially small considering its genre and the summer trend of stiff sophomore slumps. Cume stands at $67.2 million.

Looking at the pics that have opened since May, Fox exec VP Rick Myerson said, "The average second week has bee! n off by 53%. If you take 'Shrek 2' out of that, it would be over 60%. "

Last week's other opener, DreamWorks' "The Terminal," kept even more of its debut take. Pic declined just 27% to $13.9 million, bringing cume to $41.8 million.

Weekend results are encouraging for the pic, helmed by Steven Spielberg and stars Tom Hanks, after its soft opening. Like past summer pics that aim to snare adults, DreamWorks' needs "Terminal" to play strongly over time.

Faring more poorly was "Around the World in 80 Days," which was financed by Walden Media and distribbed by the Walt Disney Co. Pic dropped 48% in its second week to gross $4.3 million. Pic, produced on a budget of more than $100 million, now has a cume of $18.3 million.
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 05:53 pm
Lightwizard wrote:
The fear of Moore permeates the air and manifests itself in insults about his physicality rather than actually dealing with his arguments.

Kinda like the left does with Bush eh? :wink:
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:06 pm
Tell me, what physical features of Bush have you heard jokes about lately? I want to know. He's certainly not overweight and he has taken walking lessons 'cause he walks more or less normal.
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:13 pm

He's just ridiculed for falling off a bicycle, choking, and having two daughters that drink. Wow.

Same thing.

And, I didn't hate Moore before. I hope Americans read what he says about them. What a fat, ugly asshole. Wasn't he fired from Mother Jones because of paranoia?
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:18 pm
Kerry was ridiculed for falling off a bike -- that's hardly a physical feature. Of course, Bush may have forgot to put the bicycle seat on.

He was fired from Mother Jones because he was liberal enough -- he was critical of both parties.
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:19 pm
Lightwizard wrote:
Tell me, what physical features of Bush have you heard jokes about lately? I want to know. He's certainly not overweight and he has taken walking lessons 'cause he walks more or less normal.

Oh please! How many times have we heard references to his "beady eyes""beady little eyes", his "smirk", etc..

Try doing a search on the words "beady" or "smirk" on the Politics Forum and you'll find a few hundred examples.
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:25 pm
Ah, the smirk.

His 'package' in his military uniform... (At least it was described as big...)

"Laura looks like she's on Valium...."
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Finn dAbuzz
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:25 pm
Moore is neither hero or rogue, although he desperately aspires to being both.

He is a showman though. He knows his audience and he panders to them shamelessly.
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:26 pm
Found this:


Went back four months and found no beady or beady eyes for Bush.

Here's Michael Moore and "fat" in a Google search bring up hundreds of hits (including other "flowery" descriptions). They have no provable argument but they know how to dish out the insults.
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Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:32 pm
Physical features be damned. What are the policies and actions of this administration you agree/disagree with? I suppose whatever your political persuasion is you must have areas of agreement/disagreement with it.
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