Sometimes Moore Is Less

Author and working class hero Michael Moore’s new book, Stupid White Men, is a number one best seller across the land!

Let’s celebrate his success with this handy, all-in-one information primer on Flint’s largest export!

Michael now lives on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, but life there is almost exactly like life back in Flint, Michigan

"It's a lot like Flint. It's poor, noisy. The only difference is that you can see foreign films here."

Michael says he isn’t rich:

"I'm not rich. I mean, on the rungs of the ladder in Hollywood — you know me, I'm making documentary films — I'm on the lowest rung."

Michael says he is rich

"I'm a millionaire, I'm a multi-millionaire. I'm filthy rich. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do. That's pretty good, isn't it? There's millions that believe in what I do. Pretty cool, huh?"

Michael has an unusual manner of breathing

"Moore was . . . normal. He was heavy. He obviously combed his hair simply by running his fingers through it. He breathed through his mouth."

"Michael Moore" is to working class as "French"  is to resistance: 

"Many people find it tough to swallow Moore's jokes about the wealthy and then watch him fly first class at his publisher's or film distributor's expense to his posh home in New York City's Central Park West, where he also sends his teenage daughter to an elite private school."

Michael despises guns

"Handguns have to go...Easy access to guns by a species that often responds irrationally and with intense emotions is a lethal combination."

Yet Michael is a member of the NRA, and grew up using guns

"Moore insisted that his drive to remove ammunition from Kmart's shelves had nothing to do with the sport of hunting. After all, Moore pointed out, he was raised in rural Lapeer and is a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association."

Michael isn’t funny

"When Moore actually cracks jokes, as he does in Downsize This! it becomes clear that his knack for comedy is shockingly third-rate. In this book Michael Moore slaps his thigh over such laugh riots as Barney the dinosaur, John Tesh and ‘the guy responsible for the little silver tape you can't get off the CD box.’"

Michael doesn’t believe in campaign finance reform

"On request, Moore immediately endorsed Green Party candidate for State Assembly Doug Riley-Thron. 'He first handed me a $20 bill, then he gave me another one, and another one,’ Riley-Thron said later... The total take: $80."

Writes James Lileks:

"You know what we have here? A millionaire making an unregulated, unrecorded campaign donation."

Michael believes that racist Americans are so angry about their own racism that they are prepared to vote against white candidates because...well, you try to figure it out

"Now this year [1997], Colin Powell in all the public opinion polls would beat everybody. Is that amazing? Do you realize that we still have a problem with race in the country? A huge problem. A huge divisive problem regarding race. And yet Americans are so upset at what is going on in this country right now they're willing to set aside their own personal racism and vote for someone they would not want living next door to them or marrying their daughter."

Michael doesn’t wear Nike shoes, because Nike is a wicked exploiter of teenage Indonesian girls. He wears good, decent New Balance shoes: 

"When Moore asked if there were any Nike employees present, a former Nike employee bravely stood up and identified herself, then told Moore that his New Balance shoes could have been manufactured in the very same factories Nike uses. Moore didn't bite back, instead pausing for a genuine moment of reflection."

Michael hates corporations, but he has earned millions of dollars working for corporations. Is that hypocritical, or is it maybe something else?

"It is an interesting irony and it is not an irony that is lost upon me."

Michael’s life is loaded with irony

"Amid the luxurious surroundings of the Houstonian, where the rich hardwood and flowing elegance are designed to pacify society's elite, Moore's decidedly blue-collar presentation provides a not-unpleasant contrast.

Does Michael feel sorry for the office workers he harasses while filming his movies? 

"I do feel bad for them on one level. On another level, they're the good Germans."

Michael thinks it’s fun to spy on people. Jonah Goldberg’s parents were targets:

"Moore recently put up a camera to peer into my parents’ living room...He thinks my mom should know what it is like to have her privacy violated because of her role in the Lewinsky scandal."

But Michael hates it when other people do the same to him: 

"Michael Moore, the creator and star of the film Roger & Me, which detailed how Moore hounded the chairman of General Motors, himself does not like to be hounded. Yes, Moore, who is known for standing outside businesses with a megaphone to help get his point across, recently felt threatened by a downsized former employee of his television show, The Awful Truth.

"Alan Edelstein, a producer of the show since 1998, was let go after seven weeks on the job. He later decided that stalking Moore with a bullhorn and a camera would perhaps uncover any underlying reasons for Edelstein's termination … Moore responded to Edelstein by calling the New York City police."

Michael’s book got a great review from the BBC’s Miranda Sawyer, who thinks the death of a teenager is hilarious gossip: 

"It’s a fantastic book. Loads of research. It starts off by attacking George Bush's ascendance to the presidency then goes on to completely pull America apart. It's just great … It's full of facts that you want to tell your friends. Like Laura Bush having killed one of her 17-year-old friends in a car crash when she was younger … It's a really great, hilarious, rollicking, fantastic read."

Michael has owned two newspapers, edited magazines, produced two television series, and made several movies: 

"My audience is made up of working stiffs, of people who come from the working class, and it is rare that you hear our voice in the media. We don't own newspapers, we don't have TV shows."

Michael’s book signing in San Diego was shut down by vicious police

"Somewhere around 11:30 p.m., I hear a commotion at the back of the auditorium. I see people start to scatter. The San Diego police are coming down the aisle, their large flashlights out (the auditorium lights are still on, so we all understand the implied ‘other’ use of these instruments). The police are telling everyone to 'VACATE THESE PREMISES IMMEDIATELY OR YOU WILL ALL BE ARRESTED!’ I cannot believe what I am hearing."

Others who attended remember things differently

"What Mr. Moore does not say is that when the activist group that was sponsoring the event told him that their permit to use the public school auditorium ended at 11 p.m., and further, that the two working-class custodians were not getting paid after 11 and wanted to go home to their families, he refused to sign books outside the auditorium."

Writes Gary Farber:

"[Moore] is, unsurprisingly, unfamiliar with the concept of ‘staying longer than invited’ or ‘renting for a specific time period.’

Since the above event attracted media attention, the online forum at Michael’s Web site has been closed down: 

"March 20, 2002. Due to excessively high traffic the board has been temporarily closed. We are currently looking at alternative options and hope to have the board up and running again by the end of the week. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience."

Tim Blair is an Australia-based journalist who first encountered the horror of environmentalism as a grade school student, when a bearded teacher told him that all the fossil fuel in the world was about to vanish and everybody would soon be driving electric cars. Born in 1965, he has been a senior editor at Time magazine, a columnist at Sydney's Daily Telegraph, and the editor of Sports Illustrated's Australian edition. He currently writes for various Australian newspapers and magazines, publishes and has owned dozens of cars and motorcycles — none of them electric.

Respond to the Writer