Stupid White Men...

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by ThePlunger, Feb 23, 2002.

  1. ThePlunger

    ThePlunger TRIBE Member

    ...and other sorry excuses for the state of the Nation!

    I just picked up Michael Moore's new book. It pulls absolutely no punches whatsoever. His particular attack on the validity of George W. Bush's presidency is vicious.

    "It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency." - George W. Bush, June 14th, 2001 (speaking to the Swedish Prime Minister, unaware that the live camera was still rolling.

    Here's an interesting article from the Globe and Mail on how the book was almost banned and the protest to get it to Bookstore shelves:

    Downsize Michael Moore at your peril

    When his new book was almost pulped after Sept. 11, librarians didn't take it sitting down

    By SARAH ELTON
    Special to The Globe and Mail


    Tuesday, February 19, 2002 – Print Edition, Page R1


    When you think of a banned author, Michael Moore is hardly the name that comes to mind. Moore, a biting social critic, best-selling author of Downsize This! and agent provocateur in the documentary Roger and Me, is famous for being outlandishly outspoken -- someone who could't possibly be shut up.

    Yet Moore's new book, Stupid White Men, almost became a victim of the post-Sept. 11 political puritanism and censorship now streaking across North America.

    The book, a vituperative attack on the Bush administration, exposing fraud and corruption in America's holiest institutions -- big business and government -- had been scheduled to be launched by HarperCollins in October. The publisher was expecting big things of the tome and commissioned a first print run of 100,000 copies -- large even by U.S. standards. But after Sept. 11, the climate changed. The book was put on hold.

    "Sept. 10, the presses were rolling. There were 50,000 copies. They were supposed to be shipped out on the 11th," Moore said on the phone from his home in New York. "And then the world changed. They [HarperCollins] put a halt to everything."

    At first, Moore understood their decision to postpone the release. He knew victims of the attacks and didn't want to head out on a book tour. But in October, he says he was told the publisher no longer felt comfortable putting out a book that vehemently criticized the president -- let alone one that portrayed him as an alcoholic thief who has no legal claim to the White House.

    According to Moore, the company asked him to rewrite large sections of the manuscript, tone down his dissent and change the cover art -- a giant Moore standing smugly in front of a group of white men at a boardroom table. Of particular concern was the chapter titled "Kill Whitey," about racism against African Americans.

    "I said, you've got to be kidding me. I'm not changing a thing in this book," he recounted. "Thus began a series of phone and in-person meetings. The threat was constantly being made to me: 'We're going to shred this book, we're going to pulp this book.' "

    Then, they asked him to cough up $100,000 to compensate them for their loss since they'd printed half the run already.

    "I couldn't believe it. I said, you want me to pay you $100,000 for the privilege of censoring myself?" he said. "I've been able to get away with a lot in the last decade, in part because I make the corporations that own the media money. I never thought I would find myself in this place."

    When contacted, HarperCollins refused to discuss what happened. "There were a lot of decisions to be made at that time. I'm not going to get into a discussion about our discussions with him," said Lisa Herling, a HarperCollins spokesperson.

    What happened next is the stuff of inspirational talks at community meetings. Moore told his saga at a reading in New Jersey. In the audience was one Ann Sparanese, a librarian with the suburban Englewood Library.

    When she heard Moore's book had been more or less banned by its publisher, she decided she had to report it to her fellow librarians -- despite Moore's request that people not take action. She posted what she learned at the meeting on two librarian e-mail lists and inadvertently started a campaign to bring Moore's book back from the dead.

    "I felt obliged after I heard what was going on," she said. "It just seemed chilling to me that a publisher would voluntarily forgo profits, tell a writer to change their work, for no reason other than their own trepidation."

    In no time, HarperCollins was awash with complaints from many librarians, a group that controls a sizable portion of book sales. Whether it was Sparanese and the librarians who saved Stupid White Men will never be known. But the book was rescheduled for release in the United States today. And Moore did not have to alter a word.

    "The book was postponed after the events of Sept. 11 as many books were," Herling said. "It was later decided that we should move forward and publish the book."

    "I'm not going to take any responsibility," Sparanese said. "But I'm really happy that the book is going to be distributed."

    Regardless of what made the company change its mind, the story echoes the kind of censorship happening quietly since Sept. 11.

    "There has certainly been a chilling of dissent in the United States in general since Sept. 11," said Rachel Coen, media analyst with the New York-based national media watch group, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting. "A lot of that has to do with how the media responded to the attacks and to Bush's war."

    A number of journalists at smaller U.S. newspapers, she said, have been fired from their jobs after expressing views that aren't palatable to the political mainstream since the fall.

    Moore's book, interestingly, does not deal with Sept. 11 and its political aftermath, since it was written before that date. During the recent negotiations with HarperCollins, Moore offered to update the publication and write a new chapter on Sept. 11. It is possible to remove bindings of an already-printed work and strip in a new chapter. He decided against this when, he says, he was told that he would have to say something positive about Bush's reaction to the crisis.

    Nevertheless, Moore thinks his book -- which reads like a mix between a standup routine, a political diatribe and an investigative report -- will be well received by the American public because it is so outspoken, not in spite of this.

    "I think that a lot of people are tired of the steady drumbeat that comes out of the Bush White House. People have been afraid to speak up, to voice their dissent, and I hope that through this book they will feel more comfortable in speaking out against what's going on," he said. As for Canadian readers, Moore thinks we'll be an even better audience.

    "Hello, Canadians, read this book. You're on the wrong path. Canadians should read it as a cautionary tale for what is already starting to happen [in Canada]."

    A disproportionate number of Canadians were among his strongest supporters during the controversy. His book tour will include a trip to Canada this spring.

    Moore ends his introduction on an uncharacteristically earnest note: "There's got to be a better way."

    "I'd like to see it happen in my lifetime," he added over the phone. "I'd like to see this country turn into a nation of people who saw each of their fellow citizens in the same boat that they're in and start to take care of each other with the incredible resources we have."


    Matt
     
  2. Syntax Error

    Syntax Error Well-Known Member

    interesting, I've admired Moore since i saw him on that short lived fox show he had a few years back. what was that show called?
    anyways, sounds like a good read, maybe i should dip into my blow fund.
     
  3. ThePlunger

    ThePlunger TRIBE Member

    Moore has had two relatively short lived shows.

    "TV-Nation" was on FOX a good 5-6 years ago.

    "The Awful Truth" had two seasons on Bravo!, the last one being last year.

    Matt
     
  4. It's now available on DVD and VHS the whole season.

    From the Ministery of Crackers the Chicken

    I WILL BE WITH YOU ON THIS THROUGH THICK AND THE THIN AND THE EXTRA CRISPY

    Prime Minister Highsteppa
     
  5. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    I read that article after receiving an email forward about it. I'm all about picking this book up as soon as I can finish what I'm already working on. Michael Moore roxxorz. :)

    Pete
     
  6. ThePlunger

    ThePlunger TRIBE Member

    Get your pocket book out. It's $40-fuckin'-bucks!

    "Price-Censoring"?????:rolleyes:

    Matt
     
  7. ThePlunger

    ThePlunger TRIBE Member

  8. aether

    aether TRIBE Member

    Yeah, I looked at the price, and decided I'd wait until it came out in paperback. But i'm not sure if i can wait that long (especially if they decide not to release it due to angry right-wingers/poor sales).

    Roger & Me is still a classic.

    Buy, buy, buy.. I want it, and I want to buy it now, damnit... ;)
     
  9. R4V4G3D_SKU11S

    R4V4G3D_SKU11S TRIBE Member

    Don't call me white!
     
  10. patio-d

    patio-d TRIBE Member

    represents everything i hate.
     
  11. ThePlunger

    ThePlunger TRIBE Member

    The soap shoved in the mouth to cleanse the mind...

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2002
  12. AT-AT

    AT-AT TRIBE Member

    I had to tape his appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I loved the story on how during the post Sept.11 3 day airport shutdown a private Saudi jet was allowed to fly to 5 locations in the states to pick up 20 members of the Bin-Laden family to get them out of the country, despite FBIs protests. He also went over everything Pete/Subsonic was updating us on, including the Caspian Sea pipeline through Afghanistan, August 2001 Cheney's meetings with Taliban and Bin-Laden's money buying Dubyia's first oil company.

    I think of Michael Moore as a true prophet of our times, and admire his guts for going after GMC and Nike - "Roger and Me" and "The Big One" respectively...

    I will pick up the book this week, mainly because there's supposedly plenty of research on Ken Lay in it... should be a fun read... what's really cool is that as I was going through a few bookstores last week I've noticed Stupid White Men and Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent side by side and right by the very entrance (check out any Indigo)... A smart move, even if, in my opinion, futile in its attempt to bring the masses' attention to the fact that we're in the midst of the US manufacturing consent of its population for a total war... brought to you by CNN and Black Hawk Down and Behind Enemy Lines and We Were Soldiers and Hart's War and any other 'recruiting movie' coming out this year...
     
  13. Sleepy Giant

    Sleepy Giant TRIBE Member

    They are showing "Roger & me" at school today for free... too bad I have to work :(

    K.
     

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