more moore mooore

I’m going to try to keep this brief.

Michael Moore is on a college tour.

He’s calling it the “Slacker Uprising Tour.”

He talks about it on his blog.

I saw him at his fourth stop, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He says he’s doing it to increase the youth vote.

His detractors say it’s an act of desperation necessitated by the failure of “Fahrenheit 911” to dent Bush’s armor.

“Fahrenheit 911,” by the way, gets released on DVD any day now. (And, according to the All Spin Zone site, if you buy it from them, the proceeds will go to Democratic candidates running for Congress.)

The Daily Kos site has a good breakdown of what Moore talked about during the tour’s stop in Syracuse a few days ago.

You can hear a few audio reports recorded at that same appearance on the Clamor magazine site.

I was among the oldest 1% of people in the audience. I sat there waiting in a packed auditorium for him for about an hour, wedged between a girl in tight pants with a mouth full of chewing gum and a serious cell phone addiction, and a group of boys with waxed eyebrows and highlighted hair.

Moore started out by saying that Republicans used to be good people, that everyone had one in their family when he was young. He said they were usually tightwads and bad tippers, but that they were otherwise good. He went so far as to compliment Eisenhower and Nixon, saying that they essentially wanted to see their fellow Americans do well.

Now, he said, the Republicans don’t care about the greater good. In his opinion, they only want to do the absolute minimum for those that aren’t super-wealthy that will still allow them to stay in power.

Moore showed a fake ad that he’d made for the Republicans. The focus of the ad was Kerry supporter Max Cleland, a fellow Vietnam vet who lost both his legs and one arm during the war. In the spirit of the Swift Boat ads that question Kerry’s injuries in Vietnam, Moore calls into question the patriotism of Cleland in the ad. “Why,” he asks in the voiceover, “wouldn’t he give that last limb?” The answer is simple — Cowardice.

Another fake ad said that, “If Kerry really loved his country, he would have died in Vietnam.”

Discussing the Republican portrayals of the Senator, Moore questioned how Kerry could be both “the #1 liberal in Congress” and a habitual “flip flopper.” “How,” he wondered, “could a man who constantly changes his mind also have the most consistent record in the Senate?”

Moore said repeatedly that the media hadn’t done its job. After showing six minutes of footage showing the families of prisoners waiting outside of Abu Ghraib Prison for their loved ones, and recently discharged detainees talking about the torture they had endured, Moore said, “I shouldn’t have been the one showing you this.” He said that the cameraman who had shot that footage had tried to sell it to the networks a year ago, long before Seymour Hersh broke the story in The New Yorker, but that no one was interested. He believes there’s a coordinated effort to not show the Iraqis as people, like us.

He cautioned Kerry not to look arrogant in the debates. “Most Americans,” he warned, “are C-students, like Bush.”

He read from “The Pet Goat,” the book that Bush continued reading to Florida school children after hearing that the US was under attack on the morning of September 11. I was surprised to learn that the story is about a goat that foils a car-jacking.

He showed seven minutes of a press briefing, shot the day that Bush testified before the 911 Commission (with his buddy Cheney), in which Bush appears to be completely bewildered.

The most interesting thing that I learned was that Moore was coordinating “an army of independent film makers” to be in Florida on the day of the election. They plan to monitor all the polling places where they feel there may be problems, and to tape everything. (This will be in addition to the 10,000 attorneys that have agreed to be on hand in case questionable practices are noticed.)

Moore said that one of the things that differentiates the liberals from the Republicans is that the liberals would never accuse the Republicans of treason. He said that while he disagrees with conservatives about their stances, he believes that they honestly care about this country. He said that it was unfortunate that they didn’t feel the same way about those that disagree with them. He asked why some Republicans don’t think it’s enough to have an American flag sticker on their car, but how they have to add language like, “Love it, or leave it.”

Moore said that he’s received 3,000 letters from soldiers in Iraq, most of whom had written after seeing bootlegged copies of “Fahrenheit 911.” Moore claimed, with a wink, not to know how they illegal copies of the film made their way to the military bookmobiles.

Referring to his appearance at the Republican National Convention, he said that everyone should experience the feeling of having 10,000 crazed and angry people staring at you and yelling. He pointed out that the mention that was made of him by McCain in his keynote received more of a negative reaction than the mentions of either Saddam or bin Laden.

At some point, emulating the Republicans at the convention, he began doing a Nazi salute, but I wasn’t fast enough with my camera to get a shot.

He said that our actions in Iraq will not be judged kindly by history, and that we have, essentially, been cursed.

He said that soldiers in Iraq have been told by their superiors not to travel into hostile areas between now and the election, in hopes of keeping the body count down.

He went a bit far, I think, when he said to the crowd of 4,000 college students, “Make no mistake, there will be a draft under a second Bush administration.” That, to me, seemed almost as distasteful as Cheney saying that the terrorists would strike us again if we elected Kerry. It seemed to really work in this case though. The students around me erupted during that particular bit. Clearly, not wanting to die is a big motivator.

Another point where he got people riled up was when he screamed, “Yeah, Clinton lied….. ABOUT A BLOW JOB!” That was probably the most standup comedy-like segment of the performance. He went off an a little riff for a few minutes about how shocking it would be to wake up every day, open the paper, and find out how many people died as a result of blowjobs.

Moore, toward the end, started giving away books and DVDs to people who either signed up to register as voters (they had a half dozen people going through the audience handing out paperwork) or promised to vote, after not having done so for years. I was told that on another campus he offered to clean someone’s dorm room if they registered.

OK, those are my notes. I hope you find them useful… And, if you’re caught with them, please don’t tell anyone that you got them from me.

Oh, and one last thing, Moore was pretty cool about taking questions from the people that were there to heckle him. He requested questions from the Republicans in the audience. I thought that was pretty cool, especially in light of the current political climate where people have to sign loyalty oaths to see candidates and, even then, submit potential questions in writing in advance.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted October 1, 2004 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Mark,

    Thanks for the run down. Mike was supposed to appear in Nebraska but the repubs and a possible scheuduling conflict were able to thwart it. It sounds like Mike did what he does best…talk to people in his honest and unassuming tone. I’m especially impressed with the fact that he took questions from repubs. Can you expand on any of those exchanges?

    Thanks again for your blog…it’s part of my daily read.

    Dan

    p.s. http://www.jamaldog.com :)

  2. mark
    Posted October 2, 2004 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    For the most part the Republicans in the audience would just speak up when the lights were lowered so that video clips could be show. The lights would go down and someone would yell, “You’re an asshole, Moore,” or something like that. When he asked them to speak up, once the lights were back up, few did.

    Someone asked him what he’d ever done for Flint, the town that brought him fame (with his film, Roger and Me). The question was delivered with a very accusatory tone and Moore pretended to be upset over it. After a moment of his saying, “Oh, my,” and looking worried, he gave his answer very mater-of-factly. His production company had given a quarter-million dollars since the film came out. He then went on to name the groups in Flint that had received money. The person didn’t follow up.

    Another Republican said that he couldn

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