Books and Movies Reviews

Stupid White Men

Michael Moore is America’s favourite thorn in the side. With his patented blend of comic provocation and serious advocacy, Moore issues his own Sorry State of the Nation address. In STUPID WHITE MEN, he provides a much-needed alternative to the steady, “let’s-line-up-behind-the-President” drumbeat of today’s commentators. Few have been willing to speak out with a different point of view lately – until now. Michael Moore is proud to be an American and believes that the strength of a democracy is seen by how well it insures the fullest possible discussion of the issues of the day. Starting with the farcical shenanigans surrounding the November 2000 coup – er, election – in Florida, he reviews the collection of corporate-friendly career politicians George W Bush has chosen to prop up his administration, and confronts Bush in a comic, yet thought-provoking open letter. He takes on issues as diverse as global warming, commercialism in schools, and even the continuing spectre of racism in US society. He challenges Yasser Arafat to mount a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience, challenges employers to hire only black people, even challenges the male gender to clean up its act if men are going to avoid extinction. From the hapless presidency of George W to the sloppy explosion of the tech-stock bubble to the consumer debt epidemic – from the spread of mad-cow disease to Bush’s scorched-earth environmental policy – America is collapsing into a political, ethical, fianancial and physical slag heap and Moore leaves no radioactive stone unturned along the way. Entertaining and astonishing in equal measure, STUPID WHITE MEN is the latest and most powerful in Michael Moore’s series of acts of satirical subversion, sure to cause controversy.

Stupid White Men, Michael Moore’s screed against “Thief-in-Chief” George Bush’s power elite, hit No. 1 at Amazon.com within days of publication. Why? It’s as fulminating and crammed with infuriating facts as any right-wing bestseller, as irreverent as The Onion, and as noisily entertaining as a wrestling smackdown. Moore offers a more interesting critique of the 2000 election than Ralph Nader’s Crashing the Party (he argued with Nader, his old boss, who sacked him), and he’s serious when he advocates ousting Bush. But Moore’s rage is outrageous, couched in shameless gags and madcap comedy: “Old white men wielding martinis and wearing dickies have occupied our nation’s capital…. Launch the SCUD missiles! Bring us the head of Antonin Scalia!… We are no longer [able] to hold free and fair elections. We need U.N. observers, U.N. troops.” Moore’s ideas range from on-the-money (Arafat should beat Sharon with Gandhi’s nonviolent shame tactics) to over-the-top: blacks should put inflatable white dolls in their cars so racist cops will think they’re chauffeurs; the ever-more-Republicanesque Democratic Party should be sued for fraud; “no contributions toward advancing our civilization ever came out of the South [except Faulkner, Hellman, and R.J. Reynolds],” because it’s too hot to think straight there; Korean dictator Kim Jong-il “has got to broaden himself beyond porn and John Wayne” by watching better movies, like Dude, Where’s My Car? (which contains “all you need to know about America”). Whatever your politics, Stupid White Men should make you blow your stack. –Tim Appelo

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