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Book Review May 3, 2003
 
Michael Collins-Moore
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
 
Stupid White Men by Michael Moore

Stupid White Men
by Michael Moore

The strangest thing about Michael Moore is the way American liberals seem to spend so much energy coming up with reasons to hate him. From here, it looks like he's the only American fighting back at all, or at least the only one who's fighting to win. Why hate somebody who's on your side and wins battles when all your other champions have abandoned the field? I asked my friend Eileen, one of the smartest and bravest people I know (and one of the few who still lives in the US) about this, giving the example of a friend of mine who rejected Moore because he made fun of working-class people in the Rabbit Lady episode of Roger and Me. I could never improve on Eileen's answer, so here it is:

"I'm sickened but not surprised that your friend repudiated Michael Moore because of the Rabbit Lady. We're going to see many, many reasons to repudiate Michael Moore in the coming months. He's too bold, too outspoken, too smart, too effective--he really hits a nerve. And Lefties can't handle it. He isn't a statue of a long-dead Lefty saint, so he must be neutralized! (Never realized that Lefties had such an Irish tendency to kill the imperfect and inconvenient modern-day hero living right amongst them.) Just wait'll his next movie comes out, which is going to be a merciless, feature-length drawing-and-quartering of George W. Bush. Then we'll see some fast and furious repudiations, lemme tell ya!

"I go around praising Moore wherever I go, and I know. Even the ones who agree with him in general tend to react to Michael Moore in an 'amused' way--they're really too balanced and mature for that sort of sloppy outspokenness, but he is amusing, isn't he? That's the kind of reaction that's got one eye on the exit all the time. When the tide REALLY shifts, it will take a split-second for those people to decide he's gone too far and become 'unamusing.' 

"Or else it's Rabbit Lady syndrome. Just last week I was talking to a Lefty who felt Moore was too in love with himself, always patting himself on the back, and on those grounds couldn't take him seriously. Next I expect to hear he can't be taken seriously because his hair's messy. Any excuse is a good one. Because he's giving the call to arms, and nobody wants to hear it. That means we might all have to be, at least, brave and outspoken in a world of suddenly serious consequences. If Peter Arnett can be fired for a few moments of outspokenness, nobody's safe."

Read it and blush. You know she's right, all of you with "one eye on the exits." You hate Moore because he's likely to drag you into a streetfight. That's what happened at the Oscars: Moore took the podium and used it as a weapon. He bludgeoned Bush with that Oscar, right there in front of everyone, until the crowd booed him off. And they didn't boo him because they were "conservatives," either. I'd bet that the loudest booers were classic H-wood liberals. They booed because when Moore started fighting, they felt ashamed, then angry -- because in some vestigial corner of their minds, they knew they should have been standing with him.

As a lifelong coward, I know the feeling, the shame of watching someone fight your fight for you--and I know that it's not your tormentors you hate most. No, it's your champion, your damned officious champion, whose courage only throws your cowardice into relief, that you hate most--after yourself.

So let's get one thing straight before I talk about his book: as far as I'm concerned, Moore is Michael Collins resurrected: a god-damn hero who smites all the right people with style.

I say this because in my experience, heroes' books are not worthy of their authors. That's what I feared with Moore: that I wouldn't be able to admire him after reading his book.


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dolan@exile.ru
 
 
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