Book: "Dude, Where's My Country?", © 2003 by Michael Moore.
I really, really want to like Michael Moore. I've read "Stupid White Men", watched "Bowling for Columbine" and now have read "Dude". Admittedly, I came late to the party, but no matter how hard I try, I can't help but think that Moore is becoming the Liberal Limbaugh. His latest book is funny, thoughtful, and so ragged that it's definitely a bit of a rough ride.
Table of Contents:
- 7 Questions for George of Arabia
- Home of the Whopper
- Oil's Well That Ends Well
- The United States of BOO!
- How to Stop Terrorism? Stop Being Terrorists!
- Jesus W. Christ
- Horatio Alger Must Die
- Woo Hoo! I Got Me a Tax Cut!
- A Liberal Paradise
- How to Talk to Your Conservative Brother-in-Law
- Bush Removal and Other Spring Cleaning Chores
Moore starts out with some interesting questions for the "President". For example, why did Bush allow a private Saudi jet to fly around the US after 9/11, pick up twenty-four members of the bin Laden family and spirit them them out of the US without letting the FBI question them. Considering that bin Laden was immediately a suspect, it seems kind of odd that we gave specific permission for all of his closest relatives to flee the FBI's jurisdiction.
Chapter Five, the one that warns us to stop being terrorists is primarily a rehash of information that is well-known, but it's good to see it get summarized as some people who read Moore's books may not read much else. If nothing else, this might get a few more people thinking, but if you don't know the background of some of his statements, they will seem weird and confusing. For example (emphasis original):
When attempting to assassinate the president of Cuba, make sure you get the right kind of exploding cigars. Failing to dispose of him properly, after we had just spent decades supporting his corrupt predecessors, gives the American position little credibility.
What the heck is that? Yes, the CIA had considered using exploding cigars to kill Castro, but if you didn't already know that, this looks like some sort of bad joke. I checked the endnotes (not footnotes, Ms. Coulter) and he doesn't even mention Cuba. I kept running into things like this which made me think that he was rushing this book to press.
The "Jesus W. Christ" chapter is what finally got my dander up. Personally, I don't believe in the existence of God. I have a Darwin Fish on my car and I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. I tend to mistrust Christians (I know, that's not fair) so I was rather surprised to find myself offended by this chapter. Here, Moore pretends that God wrote the chapter and is trying to set the record straight.
God didn't intend that Bush win the election. God did not provide Bush with any mandate nor does he want kids praying to him in school. God, in fact, pretty much marches to Moore's tune. While the latter may not be surprising, since Moore wrote it, Moore managed to take a concept that's pretty sacred to a lot of people and pretty much guarantee that he's lost some converts forever. Here's a sample of "God" talking (emphasis original):
An embryo is an embryo, a fetus is a fetus, and a baby is a baby. That's the way I set it up. When it is a baby, then it becomes a human being. You humans are tough enough, I don't need more of you around any sooner than is necessary.
My jaw dropped when I read that. I am pro-choice, but I acknowledge that people can legitimately struggle with this issue. Heck, I struggle with this issue and the only reason I am pro-choice is because I felt I had to decide one way or another and I saw the alternative as even worse. It's a tough moral decision and to mock it like that is offensive. I think some issues should be taken seriously.
Later, in the chapter about talking to your conservative brother-in-law, Moore points out that it's important to admit when we're wrong. I could have kissed him for this: We have to be willing to admit that women and men are different. Drugs are bad. Granola is not healthy and a little bit of sun is. Too many of us "think that the religious are superstitious fifteenth-century ignoramuses. We're wrong and they have as much right to their religion as those among us who have no religion. This arrogance ..."
Uh, Michael? Allow me to remind you about the chapter allegedly written by God? You make a complete mockery out of the Christian faith and then you refer to liberal arrogance regarding religion? I have a hard time believing that you're being sincere.
Moore really lost me, though, when he referred to the proposed "Liberal Radio Network" as a "stupid waste of time". He ridiculed it as being old-fashioned and said we might as well use Morse code. He's got a point, though. We all have seen firsthand what a spectacular failure radio has been for Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and others like them.
At various times in this book, Moore sounds like he wants an actual revolution in this country. Had he bolstered his arguments better, he may even have swayed a few people in that direction (anyone nodding along with him was probably already there). I really, really wanted to like this book, and, for much of it, I did. Still, it's like a lemon meringue pie where they skimped on the filling. You can't tell until you cut into it.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it? What do you think about Michael Moore in general? Inquiring minds want to know.