View Full Version : Michael Moore on Americans' "fantasy drug"

10-26-2003, 04:43 PM
By Peter Birnie
Associated Press

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Documentary film-maker Michael Moore claims in his new book that Americans are addicted to 'the Horatio Alger fantasy drug.'

<Speech given by Michael Moore upon winning the Best Documentary Feature 2003 for his film Bowling for Columbine>

OSCAR SPEECH: "On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to -- they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or fiction of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. Any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much."

The jerk. The one who always lips off the teachers and then goes on to lose job after job because he can't keep his big, fat mouth shut. The one who loves to be showered with praise, then gleefully bursts your bubble by pointing out how minuscule are the chances of your dreams coming true. The one who happily, hell, proudly dresses as if he burrowed through the clothes piled on his bedroom floor.

It's about a world where many of us wake and mutter Dorothy Parker's daily intonation: "What fresh hell is this?" It's about opening the Daily Blat and discovering that black is now white, up is now down, and barefaced lies are apparently the benchmark by which we should measure our lives.

Michael Moore, author and film-maker and publicity hound, is sloppy and lazy and couldn't give a toss if he makes a mistake. And we can thank our lucky stars that this unshaven curmudgeon is out there getting away with what he does.

Moore infuriates more than just the many minions of the right-wing machine in the United States. The pundits of Fox News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and all those other friends of the Bush administration have every reason to detest his endless attacks on the president. But loudmouths like Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity and, until recently, hillbilly-heroin (AKA OxyContin) addict Rush Limbaugh, now find Moore far from alone in publishing attacks on the regime: Al Franken (Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right), David Corn (The Lies of George W. Bush), Joe Conason (Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth), Paul Krugman (The Great Unravelling: Losing Our Way In the New Century), Molly Ivins (Bushwacked: Life In George W. Bush's America), Greg Palast (The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) and Jim Hightower (Thieves In High Places) all sit atop best-seller lists by pointing out that the emperor not only has no clothes, but wants to steal the shirt off your back to give to his corporate pals.

Moore doesn't really need the vast right-wing media conspiracy to supply him with enemies, because even those who hate Bush can grow angry at the way Moore blunders about in an endless string of vainglorious stunts. For his Oscar-winning documentary Bowling For Columbine, Moore confronts Charlton Heston at the doddering gun-nut's Beverly Hills home. In the same film he takes a couple of survivors injured in the massacre at Columbine High, with bullets bought from K-Mart still inside them, and shows up with the teens at K-Mart headquarters in Michigan so they can attempt to "return the merchandise." The next day Moore is shocked, almost out of his smirk, when a K-Mart executive announces to the self-righteous film-maker that the chain will henceforth stop selling ammunition.

This has been going on since he faced down his first corporation with an attack on General Motors in Roger & Me, a 1989 documentary veering dangerously close to mockumentary. The film follows Moore as he tries to get within shouting distance of GM chair Roger Smith, hoping to ask the sleek fat-cat about the 40,000 jobs lost in Moore's devastated hometown of Flint, Michigan. Is it any wonder that an America over-pressurized by its bizarre and increasingly unworkable political system lets off steam through such a mouthy outlet as Michael Moore?

From a guy so arrogant he likes to think that retired U.S. General Wesley Clark was influenced by Moore's writings in his decision to run for the presidency, Dude, Where's My Country? contains all the requisite bully-pulpit demands of Bush and his handlers -- what's your family's link to Osama Bin Laden's wealthy and well-connected Saudi Arabian clan? Why did the Taliban visit your Texas oil buddies in 1997? What was that look on your face in that Florida schoolroom on September 11, 2001?

Like Stupid White Men, which sold four million copies, much of the new book is a lot of preaching to the increasing number of the converted who are angry and don't know where or how to lash out. There are any number of conspiracy Web sites raving at the possibility that the Bush regime deliberately stepped aside and let the terrorist attacks occur as an excuse for war and a march toward totalitarianism; Moore steers clear of the crackpot crowd (bombs went off in the twin towers, the hijacked jets were remote-controlled) and manages to make some serious charges without going too far into loonie land.

But it's in an essay titled Horatio Alger Must Die that Moore proves his worth as a social critic. Be warned that although it's a screed against corporate greed, the target is not the high and mighty but thee and me. <font color="red">We're addicted to "the Horatio Alger fantasy drug," he writes, referring to the 19th century author of dozens of rags-to-riches tales. </font color>

"Sure, times may be tough," Moore writes, "but you think you'll survive. You'll be that one person who somehow escapes the madness. You are not going to give up the dream of some day having your slice of the pie. In fact, some of you believe the whole pie might some day be yours. I have some news for you: You're not even going to get to lick the plate. The system is rigged in favour of the few, and your name is not among them, not now and not ever. It's rigged so well that it dupes many otherwise decent, sensible, hard-working people into believing that it works for them, too. It holds the carrot so close to their faces that they can smell it. And by promising that one day they will be able to eat the carrot, the system drafts an army of consumers and taxpayers who gladly, passionately, fight for the rights of the rich, whether it means giving them billions in tax breaks while they send their own children into dilapidated schools, or whether it means sending those children off to die in wars to protect the rich man's oil."

Hey, thanks for that.

10-26-2003, 06:29 PM
So, have you watched Bowling For Columbine? Any thoughts?

10-26-2003, 06:46 PM
I have a friend who just came back from Iraq, he was wounded by a piece of shrapnel. You should hear what he has to say about Bush, in fact, you should hear what every infantry soldier in Iraq has to say about Bush. Would you care? Probably not. As long as this war isn't making your world a living hell, full of fear and anguish, where the people you were given orders to help are killing friends of yours, and are trying to kill you too. No big deal, right?

10-27-2003, 07:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eggbeater:</font><hr>
You are not going to give up the dream of some day having your slice of the pie. In fact, some of you believe the whole pie might some day be yours. I have some news for you: You're not even going to get to lick the plate. The system is rigged in favour of the few, and your name is not among them, .. <hr /></blockquote>

This is too cynical and simplistic to be taken seriously, although I've never taken Michael Moore seriously.

Do you personally know any people who started out poor and are now wealthy or at least comfortable? Let me see, I know at least 100 and I really don't get around that much.

10-27-2003, 12:09 PM
US price of gas per gallon-$1.60.
Dutch price of gas-1.20 Euros.- per liter!

Tell me again how Iraq is all about WMD,W on T, etc or whatever the reason is today.

MM sometimes has a point.


10-27-2003, 03:09 PM
Thanks, Q!