November 21, 2003


When Moore is less (David Aaronovitch, November 19, 2003, The Guardian)

Here's a paradox. In the Independent last Friday, Paul Taylor was writing about a recent renaissance in political theatre, both here and in America. He had recently been on Broadway for a performance of Arthur Miller's witch-hunt play, The Crucible. Many present, Taylor said, had watched through tears because the play "had clearly spoken with a piercing directness to that audience as the United Sates enters yet another period where dissent is seen as synonymous with 'unpatriotic' ".

At the same time, the writer and TV personality Michael Moore was celebrating yet another tremendous success. Whereas his previous book, Stupid White Men, had taken a year to sell a million copies in the US, his new offering, Dude, Where's My Country?, had, he told his fans, sold the same number in just three weeks.

It just showed, said Moore, "the level of concern/frustration/anger in the country right now over what the Bush administration is up to". What it did not, however, seem to show was an America "where dissent is seen as synonymous with 'unpatriotic' ". Far from it.

But this idea of being under siege is an important part of the radical's self-image in 2003.

As long as they feel a need to be persecuted, couldn't we oblige?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2003 7:14 AM

Mr Moore may not fit the profile of a traitor, but he does fit the one of a "useful fool". Plainly, this is his contribution to society: To cycle between rabid hatred and deep derision of his ideological adversaries, and to set up simplified straw men of complex realities, so he can best demolish them in print or celluloid. This is not particularly useful to the rest of us who would not mind listening to a real world alternative to all the issues that afflict us.

Posted by: MG at November 21, 2003 8:51 AM

Mr. Judd;

They don't have a need to be persecuted - their whiny reaction to the slightest criticism shows that. What they have is a need to seem persecuted. It's all part of the theater of logo-realism, where words substitute for reality and presentation for substance.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at November 21, 2003 9:49 AM

They want to be persecuted, because then they will know that people are paying attention to what they are saying. They know that most people's reaction to them is to ignore them. And to a narcissist like Moore, to be ignored is hell on earth.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 21, 2003 11:21 AM


I know that's all they need, but we have needs too.

Posted by: oj at November 21, 2003 11:45 AM

I forget where I read it, but after the 1917 Revolution, plays were presented in Moscow and St. Petersburg for audiences of workers and peasants, something they had not been permitted to see before.

At performances of "The Cherry Orchard," when the axes sound off stage, the audience stood up and cheered.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 22, 2003 4:22 PM