Michael Moore: Man With A Mission

Author Michael Moore AP

The publisher almost pulled the plug on Michael Moore's latest book, fearing a backlash because of its bare-knuckle attacks on President Bush.

So now that "Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation" is atop the New York Times best seller list, Moore is feeling a bit more charitable toward his No. 1 target - right?

Nah.

"This 80 percent approval rating - this is not about 80 percent of the country approves or loves George W. Bush," Moore said during a stop on his promotional tour. "This is more like love the one you're with. This is who we're stuck with."


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Moore, known for a wicked humor that skewers conservatives and corporations such as General Motors, was true to form in a speech at Northwestern Michigan College. A capacity crowd of about 400 packed Milliken Auditorium, and hundreds watched through closed-circuit television in another campus building.

By turns jocular and indignant, Moore hammered Bush, Enron and the administration's handling of the war on terrorism. He also provided a sneak preview of his coming film, "Bowling for Columbine," which pokes fun at the gun culture and features interviews with members of the Michigan Militia.

The first chapter of his book describes the 2000 presidential election as "a very American coup." As far as Moore is concerned, Al Gore is the rightful president of the United States

"People say, 'Get over it.' Well, I'll never get over it," he said. "There's nothing more basic in a democracy than the right to vote, and if you don't stand up for that - if someone tries to rig it or steal it and we sit silent, what message do we send?"

He also called for a special prosecutor to investigate the Enron scandal and ties between the company and government officials.

"If they could waste our time for four years with a special prosecutor looking at a stain on a blue dress, they could certainly dig out the criminals involved in this mess," Moore shouted over the crowd's roar.

Dressed casually in his trademark baseball cap, jeans and tennis shoes, Moore drew laughter by recounting his discussions with HarperCollins executives who feared the nation's post-Sept. 11 mood would sink his book - especially with chapter titles such as "Kill Whitey" and "Idiot Nation."

But if people in the audience were offended by his no-holds-barred brand of politics, they kept it to themselves.

"He's wonderful," said Traverse City Mayor Margaret Dodd. "He cares about the things America is supposed to care about, and he has the courage to do something."

Erin Chamberlain, an organizer of the newly formed campus Green Party, said Moore is a role model. Shannon Hemingway, a volunteer with the college radio station, praised him for presenting complex issues in simple terms.

"He's genuine," Hemingway said.


By John Flesher
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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