The author of Downsize This! is back with a powerful yet charming book about his favorite topics: corporate America, the government, the environment, men, women, and everything else.
Michael Moore, activist, journalist, author, director, and filmmaker, takes no prisoners in his New York Times bestseller, Stupid White Men. Published in 2001 by ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, Moore’s latest non-fiction work is funny at times, when providing advice on "how men can avoid extinction," "how to hire minorities," and what to do when "driving while black." But in reality the veteran satirist masks his frustrations by using humor.
It is very clear in the first chapter, "A Very American Coup," that Moore is not a Republican. I give him credit for doing his homework when writing about what he sees are the flaws in the country’s electoral process and the system of big government. Moore provides relevant data and references from leading media outlets outlining the ways current President George W. Bush "stole the election" in 2000. He then follows up by providing brief edited profiles on Bush’s cabinet members and how they are "all in on it." "It," it seems by reading the book, is an effort to rule the world. Moore calls Vice-President Dick Cheney the country’s real president, charging that Bush naps all day. In the second chapter "Dear George," Moore writes a letter to Bush asking him, among other things, "George, are you able to read and write on an adult level?" "Are you an alcoholic, and if so, how is this affecting your performance as commander-in-chief?" and "Are you a felon?"
Moore’s only problem in his attempts at exposing the president is that Bush’s current approval rating is more than 75 percent and the country is currently fighting a war on terrorism.
The author makes a great effort and many times is able to send his point across, especially in his chapter "Kill Whitey," where he writes about society’s acceptance of racial images.
"Because a black man being shot is no longer shocking," Moore writes. "Just the opposite – it’s normal, natural."
He also advocates the work teachers do, and writes: "Teachers, thank you so much for devoting your life to my child. Is there anything I can do to help you? Is there anything you need? I am here for you…Thank you."
The Los Angeles Times said the book was, "Alternately snarly, outraged and very funny." Tom Paulin and Bonnie Greer from the British Broadcast Company’s show "Newsnight" said Stupid White Men is "absolutely amazing satirical wit, great journalism, great research…wonderful Swiftian rage…a total masterpiece."
I agree it’s great research, but it falls short of a masterpiece. Moore does not expose problems or present to the reader information that is unknown. Everyone knows discrimination is bad, corrupt governments are detrimental to societies, the hole in the ozone layer is warming the planet, most teachers (not all) educate students, and big corporate America has the upper hand with politicians. So, instead of providing a true expose uncovering some big government conspiracies, he writes about the way things are, which we all know already. And most of us don’t care, because we are busy working two jobs, and paying bills – exactly what he writes about in his book.
Stupid White Men made me feel some compassion for the guy when he writes about his difficult childhood in Flint, Mich. But Moore must know, almost the vast majority of the world’s populous had a difficult childhood.
Moore attacks the system and the media and offers a prayer in his chapter "The People’s Prayer" for all the "evil doers," in our country. He writes toward the end of the chapter: "Lord, we call upon You to have Jack Welch (former General Electric chairman) swim the Hudson River he has polluted."
I admit it would be funny to watch Welch do that, but I hope Moore cheers up soon.
His films include "Roger & Me," "The Big One," and the surprise hit of the Cannes Film Festival in the ’90s, "Canadian Bacon." His next film is "Bowling for Columbine."
For four years in the mid-’90s, Moore’s shows "TV Nation" and "The Awful Truth," with Kathleen Glynn, were nominated for Emmy Awards. "TV Nation" won an Emmy in 1994.
Moore says that he often checks his email at email@example.com and visits his web site at www.michaelmoore.com. q