Sorry excuses

One of the great agent provocateurs of our time, Michael Moore, has hit incendiary pay dirt with his latest book, Stupid White Men … and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation. Slated for release last October, the book was held back in the wake of September 11 by publisher HarperCollins, who threatened to shred it if Moore didn’t tone down his criticism of the current administration. Then something very interesting happened. Across the country, the reading public got wind of the story and began an angry e-mail assault—led by members of the powerful, American Library Association—that caused HarperCollins to relent and release the book uncensored.

Three days after its release, Stupid White Men became No. 1 in book sales at Last week it was number one in the country on the New York Times best-seller list. Already in its fourteenth printing, the book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. All this seems to prove that Moore—the author, award-winning film documentarian (Roger and Me, The Big One), and television iconoclast (TV Nation)—has hit miraculously close to the target once again.

A hilarious indictment of the state of our nation and the Bush family regime, the book holds nothing back. Moore characterizes Bush’s Cabinet as full of “elderly henchmen” and George W. himself as a “ne’er-do-well rich boy,” and sometimes as the “Thief-in-Chief.” In an open letter to Bush, Moore asks if the president is “getting help for his drug and alcohol problems, if it’s true he’s a functional illiterate, a felon, and an unconvicted deserter.” Calling for the United Nations to overthrow the Bush Family Junta, Moore proceeds to educate us while making us laugh out loud.

Written in the latter part of 2001, Stupid White Men exposed “Kenny Boy” Lay and Enron long before that house of cards came tumbling down. Moore documents Bush and his “bought-and-paid-for” Cabinet’s connections to corporate America and names judges, including some on the Supreme Court, whose children have been given jobs with those very same corporations. He supports these and other assertions with extensive documentation in “notes and sources” at the end of the book. Not content to expose only Republicans, Moore is an equal opportunity butt-kicker, taking shots at both parties and politicians, including former President Bill Clinton, calling him “one of the best Republican presidents we’ve ever had!”

Moore makes a convincing point that there’s not much difference between the two parties’ policies … but that the Republicans are funnier! He also weighs in on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, our education system, and the middle class. On racism, he asks, “Have you ever been evicted by a black person, beaten by a black cop, been denied a loan by a black banker or ever heard a black person say, ‘We’re going to eliminate 10,000 jobs today?’ Nope, only whites do this.”

Polls indicate that more than 60 percent of Americans are “upset or angry” about the state of our nation, writes Moore, “a land where crooked courts select the president and money rules the day.” A working-class guy from Flint, Michigan, Moore believes that “America should live up to its promise and level the playing field so all of us have a chance to prosper.” He calls for readers to “get involved with school boards and other branches of local government,” telling us, if his book makes us angry, then “put this damn book down and call your congressman/woman. … ” He then gives us phone numbers and e-mail addresses to make it easy to do just that. Whatever our political leanings, we can hardly argue with that advice.

A must-read book. Pass it on.