Michael Moore's publicity machine is at it again.
His "controversial" documentary "Fahrenheit 911" (search) won the (GASP) Palme d' Or at the annual gluttonfest Cannes Film Festival, where the Hollywood elite get to rub shoulders with their loving French counterparts — who, by the way, like to limit the number of American movies that are allowed into their country to "protect" the French film industry. Yet we flock there nonetheless.
Moore's theories on Big Bad America are so hypocritical I wish I didn't have to mention his name in my column. Look, "Bowling For Columbine" was a very well-made documentary, whether you agree with its message or not. And I'm pretty certain so is "Fahrenheit."
What Grrrs me is how Moore loves to point out how Big Bad America is nothing but a giant money machine, willing to sacrifice our childrens' lives to our "innocent" gun-toting killers because the gun industry stands to lose money with regulation. He then confronts Charlton Heston and Dick Clark and tries to invoke either an apology from them or to get them to help change America to match his view of how the country would be better. He goes on to sing the praises of Canada's non-violent society (anyone for a nice game of kick-the-crap-out-of-each- other — eh hum — I mean hockey?).
But one need only to look at the title of both of his "films" — which are at least partially shot on Sony digital cameras, actually — to see that he is profiting more than anybody else from the tragedies that have befallen our country. And he stands to profit more with his latest. Check out this quote from the "Crusader of the Little Man" Moore, on his booed Oscar speech two years ago:
"When everyone was saying that any person who criticized America at a time of war would be shunned and boycotted and ignored and vilified, the sales of my books and movies went through the roof."
Gee Michael, I'm so glad our nation's tragedies are so good for your career. Did you give any of that profit to the families of the kids who were killed at Columbine? Will you be donating money to 9-11 memorials or families?
Or are they just convenient, headline-grabbing titles for your own money making machine?
Hey, Michael, you have every right to make money. That's part of the freedom we're all privileged to have thanks to the thousands of lives sacrificed in the name of the United States of America. But let's call a spade a spade. We're not all "stupid white men," and neither are you.
Michael Moore's Response ... Grrr!
"A significant portion of the proceeds of "Fahrenheit 9/11" will go toward convincing every thinking American to turn off the Fox News Channel. This will be my contribution to making America a better place. I hope they enjoy this year, their last year with actual viewers." — Michael Moore
Now that statement is enough to make any "thinking" American go Grrr! Thanks for your response. Good luck with your film.
Automated "Help" ... Grrr!
Press 1 for English. Para Español, empujé numero dós.
Now punch in your 15-digit account number, the last four digits of your social security number, your zip code and the 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 key, depending on where on the automated menu it best describes your needs.
After all of that, you'll be transferred to a customer service representative who proceeds to ask you for all of the same information.
Now, being familiar with technology, you can't tell me there isn't a way for the automated system to forward you, AND all of your information to the rep. It must be some conspiracy or the customer service reps' way of dealing with their underappreciated and most likely underpaid careers. Please, somebody fill me in. And when you do, I'll forward you to someone else and you can explain it all over again, and so on and so on.
And customer service people wonder why everybody they deal with is in a bad mood?
More Names I Can Deal With Never Hearing Again ... Grrr!
Scott Peterson, Laci Peterson, Amber Frey, Gloria Allred, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson and Michael Jackson (search). Janet Jackson, Alex Rodriguez (search), Jesse Palmer, Eli Manning, Madonna, Britney, Ben Affleck (search), O.J. Simpson, Levitra, Viagra (search) and the words "ask your doctor which one's right for you."
Stupid Lit'l Dreamers
A lot of you might have heard that Viacom CEO Mel Karmazin quit his job last week, leaving MTV boss Tom Freston and CBS honcho Les Moonves (search) as co-COOs and co-presidents of the media giant. You probably couldn't care less, but here in media-land, it's big news. Since the people behind the scenes rarely get mentioned in yours and my more humble circles, allow me to tell you a little something about Leslie Moonves.
Back when I was a page at CBS TV, earning a whopping six bucks an hour, I had the opportunity to meet Moonves while working the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (search). He was very approachable for a CBS entertainment president, and he let me interview him for use on the radio network. A few months later I was in Los Angeles auditioning for some television shows, and I put a call in to Mr. Moonves. I explained to one of his assistants who I was, where I met her boss and that I was just wondering if he had the time to meet with me. Katherine (one of his assistants at the time) put me on hold, and moments later she was back on the line saying "Les totally remembers you" and to come on in.
I was ecstatic. The meeting was quick but Moonves set up a meeting with the head of CBS casting for me, and even took the time to call one of the agents with whom I had met at one of the bigger talent agencies — and put in a good word for me. I can't tell you how rare that is in any person who has any position of power — especially in the entertainment business. I've kept in touch with Moonves through the years, and it's nice to see that all of his hard work has led him to this point. Congratulations.
And thanks for giving me — a kid from the Jersey shore and the son of a nurse's aide and a UPS man — the encouragement to pursue a dream. Following Moonves' career has been an inspiration, and obviously, he made quite an impression on me all those years ago.
Now For Your Grrrs
Thomas K. in Toledo, Ohio: This is a big Grrrr to news columnists who are so infatuated with Sean Hannity that they pass off his picture as their own! (You columnists know who you are.)
— LOL ... Now if I could only pass off his bank account as mine!
Tip Tyler in Bowling Green, K.Y.: One quick Grrr! about this weekend's Belmont Stakes. (search) Yes, we know Smarty Jones lost, and yes, it could be called a disappointment to some because he didn't win the Triple Crown. Even the winner's (Birdstone's) team was sympathetic and apologetic. But what really Grrr's me is that when Birdstone returned to the Winner's Circle, he was greeted with boos! Same thing happened last year when Empire Maker beat Funny Cide.
Huh? What's the horse supposed to do, LOSE?!? What were these idiots booing— the fact that Birdstone ran faster than the fastest horse in the field? Was Birdstone's jockey Edgar Prado supposed to throw the race, just so Smarty could win his Triple Crown? Of course not! Otherwise Smarty would not have earned it. To boo the winning horse is, to me, just the height of rudeness, bad taste and low class. Those chuckleheads should be ashamed of themselves. Grrr! Give Birdstone and his team the credit they deserve! Thanks!
Steve Owen in CyberSpace writes: Fox! Grrrr....
—Hey Steve-arino: I love how you read enough of FOX to know how to Grrr! it. Hey, go ahead and Grrr! us all you want. I guarantee you tonight on "The FOX Report," Shepard Smith will make you Grrr. And then Bill O'Reilly will make you Grrr. And then "Hannity and Colmes" will make you Grrr. And then Greta will make you Grrr. And at 11 p.m. Sundays, you can Grrr me on "FOX Magazine," and again on Tuesday in this column. Just keep watching, and keep Grrring.
Heidi in San Diego, Calif.: My Grrr is to Tracy in Mililani, Hawaii, regarding Madonna's "Re-Invention Tour." First of all, I was at her concert and there were not ANY "scantily clad pregnant women," nor was there any "lesbian love," and if the sound of bombs dropping offends you, you should take that complaint up with the person who took us to this war....George W. Bush.
Secondly, Madonna has every right to voice her opinion about the war in any fashion she wants. It's called the First Amendment!!! And you do not need a political science degree to have an opinion on politics (thank you Mike for pointing that out). I'm just curious, since when did fame take away one's right to have an opinion?
—Heidi, let me guess. You work in public relations and Madonna is a client?
M.D. in CyberSpace writes to Carl in N.Y. with four kids (from last column): I laughed when I read your Grrr about senior discounts because you have four teenagers ... What irony. Considering hotels advertise kids stay free, airplanes advertise kids fly free, and restaurants advertise kids eat free! Then there’s the new IRS tax deduction for kids in addition to the original deduction. Families with kids use more government money then singles or anyone without kids. For instance, we’re talking parks usage and schools — food programs, sports programs, medical programs, arts programs, music programs, etc. Who’s paying for your teenagers? We all are.
Bob in the U.S. Navy writes: I just want to say thank you for your appreciation for all of us that serve [see "Touche, Monsieur Pussycat" column]. I am currently a United States sailor who is currently serving in Europe. When I read your editorial, it brought lots of satisfaction to this serviceman who currently serves in a military. I am a leader of 30 sailors in my division who feel like second class citizens by media agencies that seem to focus on the wrong doings of a tiny few and forget about the pride we take in serving our country. However, it brings great pleasure to me to read your article and receive your gratitude and I just want to say thank you.
R.S. in Davenport, Iowa: Never mind the girls wearing shorts that say "Juicy" on the their butt. Parents should ban clothes that have anything written on the backside (for example, the name of their school, "cheerleading", anything). Our eyes are automatically drawn to writing, and I don't need my eyes drawn to any 12 year-old girl's rear end, even if her shorts only say "Bulldogs." I don't need to feel like some sicko just because I read someone's clothes. Now, if you're a 21 year-old (and in good shape), who am I to tell you what to wear—-Grrr, indeed.
RyAnne Noss, Pheonix City, Ala., is "One P'd-off Army wife": Straka! YOU ARE CRACKING ME UP!!!!! I just read your Grrr's on the website and it was GREAT! You are keeping it real and you are letting people know how you really feel. I admire you for that! I have a question though??? How did you feel about the news coverage over the football player Tidwell who died in combat? They covered the story like the Pope died! I think it was disrespectful to the families of other fallen soldiers. Who gives a flying pig about his career before he entered the army? They went on and on about how he's noble and how much he sacrificed to serve his country. Well I don't have a doubt in my mind that he was noble and sacrificed millions [of dollars] to serve, but newsflash: ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN ARE NOBLE AND SACRIFICE A LOT TO SERVE THEIR COUNTRY. They are all heroes!
Valerie M. in New York writes: I usually read your Grrrs, smile, nod, agree and move on. However, [last week's] Grrr! that you wrote about Hunter S. Thompson, ESPN.com columnist, really hit home. I am an immigrant from the former Soviet Union and a very proud American citizen. About half of my family is buried in unknown locations throughout what used to be the USSR for being "enemies of the state" and "pro-capitalist."
For all "Americans" like Mr. Thompson, who dare to say that they are "ashamed to carry an American passport," I say: fine! Revoke your citizenship and become a citizen of another country, say the Republic of Congo or North Korea. I am sure that their views on life will be greatly appreciated there. It hurts to see that so many people who live in this great country take for granted the freedoms that American troops fight so hard for us to have. GRRRRR! to Hunter Thompson and God Bless America!
Stephan W. in Roselle, Ill.: I agree with you on poor Hunter's comments regarding the Abu Ghraib pictures. My dad spent five years in Hitler's concentration camps and there is no comparison. To give you a point of reference, at 5 foot 8 inches tall, he weighed in at a hefty 75 pounds when liberated by the British. At the same time as the Battle of the Bulge, he was on a three week forced march with no shoes and no coat eating bark for food and snow for water. Hunter S. Thompson can go to hell.
Bryan Butler of Columbus, Ohio, writes: Best column on the Internet!!!! My grrr is to the Oblivion parent. At my daughters gymnastics presentation, my wife moved to a better picture vantage point. After waiting for almost every other kid to get his or her award, my daughter stepped up to get hers when a parent cut off my wife's view, ruining the picture! On the way home she kept complaining and saying GRRRRR, so I told her about your column and now she is a loyal fan!
Ken Dale writes on the upcoming Olympics: I cannot stand these self-righteous oblivions who produce the "Olympic Moments" every Olympics. Get a clue. We tune in to the Olympics to watch SPORT, not to hear you talk about how they got there, where they went to high school or their hard luck story. I wouldn't mind an Olympic Moment (search) here and there, but it gets to where that is all they show...those annoying human interest stories over the actual competitions. Bob Costas, Katie Couric and the rest, please hear us....we do NOT WANT TO HEAR YOU TALK, just show us the sport, and tell us the play by play.
—Tune in to this column when Costas, Couric and company begin to wax poetic, over and over and over and over again. I can just pre-write the column now. That's how predictable it'll be.
Don in Neptune, N.J., writes: Mike, I love your column, I really do. But please, no more name-dropping involving reality show contestants! They are not celebrities. And one other thing: First it was Omarosa and now Erika with this 'branding' thing! What a bunch of crap! Hey, girls/guys: you don't have a 'brand'. You were contestants on a game show! And you lost!
—Don, I can't promise you no more reality show "celebs," but from now on I will call them Real-ities, instead of Celebrities. How's that?
Cutting Room Floor
So the low-carb craze has found its way to the wine industry, where Brown-Forman Vineyards has introduced 1.6, a chardonnay, and 1.9, a merlot, each containing — you guessed it — just 1.6 or 1.9 carbs per five-ounce glass. Check out the "FOX Magazine" piece.
Regular Grrr! readers might remember my FOX News colleague Jason, who named his Mini Cooper "Minimus Kitten: Adventure Cat." I told him he needed to think about a pet... well, he did, and its name is Otis. I put Otis' pic up next to mine — I know, I know — "which one's Otis?" — ha-ha.
Until next week, Grrrrrrrrrr!
Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine," "Sunday Best" and FOXNews.com. As an actor, Straka appeared in the film "Analyze This," co-starred in the Off-Broadway hit "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," and has appeared in various TV commercials and programs.