Moores Stupid White Men
condition air conditioning is in
conditioning is a wayside rest on the highway to hell, according
to Michael Moore, the renegade filmmaker, best-selling author
and rabble-rousing raconteur.
is human: Stupid is as stupid does.
Moore's latest missive, a book called "Stupid
White Men," finds itself atop best-seller lists by reasoning
that the planet became doomed from the moment conditioned air
made life below the Mason-Dixon line tolerable for scores of northerners.
Thus, he surmises, our last 10 presidents have been
the southernmost or westernmost candidates.
In other words, when artificially cooled mass-migration
tilted the electoral vote toward the South, it gave southern-fried
thinking a mandate in the name of big business, oil gluttony and
at-large conservative ideology.
Moore further reckons that automobile air conditioning
is the main cause of a hole in the ozone layer that's 2-1/2 times
the size of Europe and growing. He continues with a laundry list
of modern-day dilemmas and, he maintains, they're mainly the province
of greedy Caucasian males with a mantra of: "The rules apply
to everybody but me."
Moore's star was launched with his 1989 filmmaking
debut, "Roger and Me," which tweaked Reaganomics and
essentially exposed the real-life chairman of General Motors as
a black-hearted Scrooge.
To be fair, Moore's detractors maintain that he's
fast and loose with statistics. But getting hung up on shoddy
research is akin to siding with Goliath because David's socks
it some more do something!
And if statistics are to be believed in any measure,
here's a sobering one: In 1980, CEOs at the largest companies
made 42 times what the average factory worker earned. In 2001,
they made 411 times as much.
So not only is Moore a modern-day David, he's screaming
from the rooftops that while the richest one percent of
the population gets richer and smaller, the planet seems to have
broken free from its orbit and is hurtling toward the sun.
Actually, according to publishing lore, the book
almost died in a warehouse. It came off the printing presses before
Sept. 11, but hadn't yet hit the stores. The book's publisher
allegedly got cold feet and was going to let boxes of books rot
because of the "anti-American" and "unpatriotic"
slant of Moore's rant.
Never mind that dissenting opinion and healthy debate
are cornerstones of democracy.
But, as the story goes, a librarian got an advance
copy and bent sympathetic ears at the librarians' convention.
Library orders spread like wildfire and forced the publisher's
hand the book was sprung from the warehouse and climbed
to the top of the charts not only in the U.S., but in Europe and
That the book was written before September 2001
adds impact. Moore saw problems with Enron and the like before
recent calamities. He makes a strong case why George W. Bush was
never elected president. And he looks at the Middle East and other
planet-wide problems with an unsentimental eye: unless we do something,
things are bound to get worse.
Does Moore offer solutions?
to the point: Get involved on any level.
Get involved on any level, he urges. Join a block
club, run for office, vote for Ralph Nader, talk amongst friends
and don't let up. Do anything but take things lying down ... in
front of the television ... with air conditioning on high.
Coincidentally, air conditioning's 100th birthday
came and went last month and not to be lost is the unintended
irony that it was invented to cool not workers, but machines.
Moore's ultimate message, of course, is that the
planet and everything on it are headed straight for hell. Whether
or not the road is paved with good intentions is irrelevant.
The final destination on our present course won't
have air conditioning.