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Here we are again, a year or so later.
What, you don't remember us? We understand how we might've slipped your mind—what with your hectic schedule composing wildly arrogant letters to presidents and other people who actually do things for a living. Or touring Europe to preach resentment of the United States (before jetting back to enjoy the good life here). And, of course, there's the significant amount of time you must spend laughing all the way to the bank.
But we're your "wacko attackos," as you've so affectionately dubbed us. We're among the many who've been keeping an eye on you—and piping up—over the years. And well, we thought you deserved a response to the many unanswered letters you've sent to the high and mighty... so here goes.
It all started in March 2003 as we were sitting in our respective homes on opposite ends of the country. While watching the Academy Awards, we saw you take the stage to accept the Best Documentary Feature award for Bowling for Columbine. And like many of the millions of Americans who had also tuned in, we were disgusted and appalled by your shamelessly self-aggrandizing and ironic acceptance speech.
Everyone was waiting for you to thank your team and family, to share the limelight for a moment. But you didn't have it in you. "We live in fictitious times," you bellowed from the stage, knowing that it would make the moment, and indeed the entire ceremony, forever about Mike. Then you summarized your political views: "We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it is the fictition [sic] of duct tape or the fictition of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush! Shame on you, Mr. Bush! Shame on you!"
The reaction to your calculated "outburst"—just one episode in a long line from your factory of carefully plotted spontaneity—was immediate and irate, beginning with the audience you addressed. You were roundly and quickly shooed from the stage. This must have been an especially difficult pill for you to swallow, given that you were surrounded, in large part, by your ideological peers. But you had made a foolish, grandiose mistake: You imagined that a few polite handshakes and back pats from L.A. liberals gave you carte blanche to make a spectacle of yourself as a grandstanding, blathering, leftist idiot. Understand, Mike: It wasn't that the audience thought your views were wrong. How many Bush supporters and war hawks were there in that Hollywood audience, anyway? It isn't about politics. It's about being a pompous ass.
Outside the Kodak Theater, across the rest of the country, the thundering dismissal of your screed was amplified many times over in offices, at family dinner tables, and around bars.
Enter our websites—Moorelies.com and Mooreexposed.com. Just two small examples of the many Internet sites where you can find highly critical analyses of your award-winning "documentary," Bowling for Columbine.
Thanks to the Internet, the steady stream of insight into the true nature of your work began to pass effortlessly between the mainstream and the underground, between media big shots and regular folks who were sick and tired of standing by while your legend grew unchecked. Seemingly overnight, conventional wisdom about you came under question for the first time. No longer the media darling of your Roger & Me days, now much of the coverage about you became more accurate—and thus more angry.
You weren't about to take a hint though.
Instead, your reaction was to dismiss us all—and with malice. You labeled an entire movement looking critically at your work as "wacko attackos," and rather than address our charges, you dismissed us out of hand as "henchmen" of the president or tools of the right wing.
We can get over the almost hilarious paranoia reflected by your response. See, Mike, after the years together, we're aware of the well-worn pattern: People organize and present facts that expose the fallacies of your work, and you reply by characterizing them as "henchmen" and "wackos," whether in interviews, speeches, or on your website.
The pattern since last year's Oscars is only a heightened version of your longtime modus operandi. You've been loudly condemning a long line of your critics for quite some time now, in exactly the same way, since your Mother Jones days in the mid-1980s. You're the King of Deflection and always have been, no matter how long the chorus of criticisms last.
And while your true nature has been revealed several times over your career, like a Democrat caught in a sex scandal, you continue to come back into vogue, stronger than ever. By now, of course, you've got millions on hand (in both cash and acolytes) to keep you afloat.
With your debut film, 1989's Roger & Me—a comedic look at the downfall of your hometown—you were savaged by two of film's most respected critics, Harlan Jacobson and Pauline Kael, but it was too late. By the time your misleading editing of the movie was exposed, you were already too deeply insulated by a wave of positive press to suffer any real damage. That didn't curb your reaction (or should we say reflex?) and you were soon shrilly accusing your critics of being part of a General Motors (GM) conspiracy against you.
In 1992, you survived the critical drubbing of your follow-up movie, Pets or Meat—which was dismissed as a short and unoriginal rehash of Roger & Me—and you even managed to refrain from lashing out at anybody for it. We'll chalk up the silence on your part to a sophomore slump.
It wasn't long before you got your wind back. Your propensity for altering reality served you well in your break into TV. Of course, you had to go to work for NBC, and then Fox Broadcasting—two of the world's largest corporate media conglomerates—but you seemed oddly unperturbed by the hypocrisy. Had you forgotten so quickly that rallying against the scourge of corporations is what made you famous?
David T. Hardy is an attorney in Tucson, Arizona, and the creator of Mooreexposed.com. Jason Clarke is a website developer and writer in New England and the creator of Moorelies.com. The foregoing is excerpted from Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man, by David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, New York 10022. You can buy Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man at Amazon.com.