Michael Moore “Stupid White Men”

ISBN 0 141 01190 4. First published in the USA by Harper Collins in 2001. Subsequently republished by Penguin Books in the UK in 2002 with new introduction, epilogue and minor text changes. This was the book Moore tried to get published just before September 11th 2001. After those events Harper Collins tried to can it. After a campaign by US Librarians they finally relented and released the book without any publicity. However, despite their best efforts to suppress the work it became an overnight underground success. Although the publisher believed this work was “out of touch with the American people” the first 50,000 copies (all that were printed at the time!) sold out within hours. Five days later they were into their ninth printing and the book shot to the number one slot for months. It went to number one in countries where it had not even been published. The environment was ripe for subversive anti-Bush writings. This wasn’t clear in the Corporate offices of the publishing world. With this battle over Moore moved on to make “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 911”. In fact the UK edition has a 2002 Epilogue where Moore lists a few notes about his doubts on the official 9/11 story… Clearly these few pages finally turned into “Fahrenheit 911”. The rest of the book rips through the Bush stealing of his first election – what Moore rightly dubs a “very American Coup” – before moving onto examine various aspects of the America that the ultra-right has created. He looks at racism, the environment and the ‘end of men’! He does it all with tremendous humour and anger. Although there is not much information here that you can’t read in Chomsky, Pilger, Palast et al, there is a great chapter on the Clinton/Gore Presidency. Despite all appearances abroad, there was very little liberal about their time in power. Although we think back and dream about a Gore Presidency it is clear to Moore that it wouldn’t have made much difference as he was as reactionary and as right wing as Bush. Hard to imagine in the post-“Inconvenient Truth” world we inherit. Moore deplores the ignorance of his fellow Americans and quotes Chomsky directly in his analysis that the Yanks know more about sport than politics. Ironically in a couple of places Moore then proceeds to revel in his own ignorance. Firstly he is clearly no Green judging by his description of his driving habits, secondly his description of how to deal with various conflict points in the World (Ireland, Palestine & Korea) shows all the bias and outlook of a redneck five year old. Why do Americans still insist on believing that the troubles in Northern Ireland were due to evil colonials? Of course the very idea that it was a 500 year old ethno-religious conflict with a bunch of Brits caught in the middle, does not seem to have been a very persuasive argument on the other side of the Atlantic. If Moore doesn’t know this stuff then it is sometimes difficult to take him seriously as a commentator. With this point to one side this book can be well recommended – although anyone after a more serious read might consider Greg Palast’s work.

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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