June 26, 2004


All Hail Moore (DAVID BROOKS, 6/26/04, NY Times)

"They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet . . . in thrall to conniving, thieving smug [pieces of the human anatomy]," Moore intoned. "We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don't know about anything that's happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing." [...]

Before a delighted Cambridge crowd, Moore reflected on the tragedy of human existence: "You're stuck with being connected to this country of mine, which is known for bringing sadness and misery to places around the globe." In Liverpool, he paused to contemplate the epicenters of evil in the modern world: "It's all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton." [...]

In an open letter to the German people in Die Zeit, Moore asked, "Should such an ignorant people lead the world?" Then he began to reflect on things economic. His central insight here is that the American economy, like its people, is pretty crappy, too: "Don't go the American way when it comes to economics, jobs and services for the poor and immigrants. It is the wrong way."

In an interview with a Japanese newspaper, Moore helped citizens of that country understand why the United States went to war in Iraq: "The motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich."

But venality doesn't come up when he writes about those who are killing Americans in Iraq: "The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not `insurgents' or `terrorists' or `The Enemy.' They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win." Until then, few social observers had made the connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Paul Revere.

So we have our Sartre. And the liberal grandees Arthur Schlesinger, Ted Sorenson, Tom Harkin and Barbara Boxer flock to his openings. In Washington, a Senate vote was delayed because so many Democrats wanted to see his movie.

Of course we're stupid, you can't be both an intellectual and a patriot.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 26, 2004 3:31 PM

The answer, of course, to the question of how such a stupid people came to become the sole hyperpower, is that everyone else is so much stupider.

Posted by: Ptah at June 26, 2004 6:27 PM

The best line: "Like Hemingway, Moore does his boldest thinking while abroad." And the opening paragraph is a thing of genius. Brooks is a great addition to the NYT - almost the only good thing in the paper.

Posted by: pj at June 26, 2004 7:51 PM

Agree with PJ - the opening paragraph's understated sarcasm is a beautiful thing.

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at June 26, 2004 8:31 PM

The movie is greating great reviews and people believe it will sink Bush. Like most bloggers I think the movie will backfire on the Dems as it is too extreme. We'll see how things look in a week or so after the movie has been out awhile.

Posted by: AWW at June 27, 2004 12:02 AM

Yeah, this movie will sink Bush like THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW was going to ruin him on environmental issues, and like the million-dollar MoveOn.org ad campaign will ruin him in October. At least Hollywood is out in the open about its partisanship this time; those upset about a perceived decline of the culture can see clearly what side that culture supports.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at June 27, 2004 1:51 AM

And another thing: if Michael Moore wasn't influential enough to get his man the Democratic nomination (Wesley Clark, by the way), what proof do we have he's influential enough to change the course of elections?

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at June 27, 2004 1:53 AM

Michael Moore is fat.

Posted by: Bartman at June 27, 2004 8:05 AM

Hey, c'mon, remember the unfair advantage that The Right Stuff gave John Glenn in the '84 primaries....

Posted by: oj at June 27, 2004 9:35 AM

David Brook: conservativism
Cocoa mocha frappucino macciato: coffee

Posted by: J.K. at June 27, 2004 6:21 PM

David Brooks: conservativism
Cocoa mocha frappucino macciato: coffee

Posted by: J.K. at June 27, 2004 6:21 PM

Mussolini had it right:

"When I hear the word 'intellectual', my first instinct is to reach for my gun!"

Posted by: Ken at June 28, 2004 1:02 PM