Monday, December 30, 2013

Stupid White Men...And Other Sorry Excuses....

2004 update from 2001, published by HarperCollins
Michael Moore
Stupid White Men...And Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!
Bought newish for $13.95
Worn paperback

Moore generally is not good at titling his works.  For instance, his Oscar-winning documentary sounds like the old show Bowling for Dollars, with purple flowers substituted for money.  In this case, he was inevitably setting himself up, so it's not surprising that it inspired the "answer book" (sort of like an answer song) Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man.  The thing is, Moore at various points in this book says he's not proud of being (somewhat) stupid, white, or male.  Some of those he attacks aren't white and/or male, but he considers, for instance, Condi Rice and Colin Powell "honorary white men."  And the problem isn't really that these are stupid people.  (Even George W. is simply inarticulate, like his father.)  The problem is that they're cruel and/or greedy.  But that might've made for too wishy-washy a title.  And Moore is all about being in your face, in a humorous way.

Yeah, I think the book is funny, although I wouldn't put it in humor (as I might with Ivins), because the line between Moore being satirical and being outspoken is always blurry.  When he tells women to buy a stepladder so they won't have to rely on men, I suppose it's pointless to mention that some women can reach cupboards just fine.  (I'm 5'3" and when I had lunch with an ex-girlfriend recently, I recalled that she's seven inches taller than I am!)  It's the same for some of his more "serious" suggestions.  

This book was originally published right before September 11, 2001, but held back by the publisher for a few months.  It still went on to be a best-seller.  Moore has added footnoted updates for this edition, including on Enron, which was just about to break in '01.  He goes into quite a bit of detail on the 2000 Presidential election, and even if you've seen Fahrenheit 9/11 (a good title choice that time), it's worth rereading, especially with hindsight.  

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