The US has a new bestseller-and it’s not about wars, Marines, or the glories of the US. In fact, it’s about Stupid White Men, and especially one stupid, white man, George Bush. The author is US writer and film, maker Michael Moore.
He was behind the film Roger and Me, which savaged the boss of General Motors, the TV Nation series and the best-selling book Downsize This. Stupid White Men is a very funny, uncompromising attack on Bush. Already Moore has been threatened with arrest in San Diego for the dangerous activity of autographing his book.
He was addressing one of the many meetings in his Stupid White Men tour round the US when the San Diego police broke through a 2,000-strong gathering at a school. They accused Moore of breaking an 11pm curfew on the meeting. He carried on in a nearby car park.
The US authorities are rattled about the huge popularity of a book that dishes the dirt on George W Bush. Moore covers the rigged election that put Bush in the White House, racism in the US and the power of big business. He suggests that the Republican and Democratic parties merge so ‘they can keep doing what they both do very well-representing the rich’.
He finished the book before the World Trade Centre attacks. After 11 September Moore’s publishers told him to rewrite the book and change the title. Those publishers were HarperCollins, owned by Rupert Murdoch. They also demanded he pay them $100,000 to print the new, censored version and watch the existing 50,000 copies be pulped.
‘I was told that ‘the political climate had changed in America’, and my attacks on Bush and his cronies would not be met with open arms by a Bush-adoring public,’ says Moore.
‘I refused to rewrite a single word. I was proud of everything I had written. In my opinion Stupid White Men seemed even more relevant than before.’ When news leaked out of the attempt to ban his book a protest movement began. HarperCollins buckled, and Stupid White Men went on sale in February. It is already a bestseller, and in five days had gone into its ninth print run.
‘I have spoken to mobs of people. I don’t know what other word to use because wherever I go there is this unbelievable pandemonium. Every day, every night, hundreds or thousands jam themselves into halls, arenas, churches and auditoriums to listen to me talk about my book,’ says Moore. ‘Huge throngs of Americans are sick and tired of the silence that has been demanded of them lest they be thought of as ‘unpatriotic’, should they dare to question the actions of George Bush and company.’
Anger and passion fill the pages of Stupid White Men, along with powerful facts. Moore ridicules the US flagwaving with, ‘Hey, don’t despair! Among the top industrialised nations, WE’RE number one! ‘We’re number one in millionaires, billionaires, military spending, hazardous waste produced, the number of known executions of child offenders, and becoming the first society in history in which the poorest group in the population are children.’
Moore campaigned for the Green Party candidate in the US presidential elections, Ralph Nader, who won 2.6 million votes. He argues that while Bush may have grabbed the title of US president he does not represent popular feeling across the US.
The reaction to his book certainly backs this up, and is further evidence that 11 September did not end all criticism of Bush or anger at injustice in the US.
Stupid White Men is available in hardback from Bookmarks for £18.99. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go to www.bookmarks.uk.com