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Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Book Review II: Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man

By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 am

Here’s the second in a series of book reviews to help aid you in your last-minute Christmas shopping.

A while back, I was sent a copy of David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke’s Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man. I read it months ago, but never got around to reviewing it, so here we go.

The book is a collection of original research and commentary by Hardy and Clarke (the bulk of the book) interspersed with previously published essays/columns by other authors. Of the authors of the extra pieces (five) the most prominent is Andrew Sullivan. The other name I recognize is Tim Blair.

I have only thumbed through Mr. Moore’s books, but my limited knowledge of those pieces make me think that part of Hardy and Clarke’s goal was to create a semi-parody of Moore’s work. The writing style, the chapter titles, and the book jacket are all reminiscent of Moore’s various books. As such the writing style is quit casual (also an artifact of the fact, I am betting, that the book was written in something of a hurry to correspond to the release and subsequent media firestorm over F911. It makes for a very readable book (and a fairly quick read, for that matter).

The book is a broad overview of Moore’s career and addresses mostly his pre-F911 career by looking at his movies and books. There is a chapter on F911, although it was written without a viewing of the film. What the chapter does is cull Moore’s previous work to find his views on such issues as the Taliban, 911, Saudi Arabia, terrorism and so forth. Many of the predictions ended up to be correct.

There is a forty-plus section of notes and sources. As such, the book provides the basis for further research on Moore, should one wish to engage in such work. I do wish, however, that the chapters had been footnoted so that the exact sources could be clearly linked to the nuggets of info in the chapters. It isn’t hard to figure out the link between a given piece of information and a given source, however. Still, being the academic type that I am, I really would have preferred footnotes.

This text is of interest to anyone wishing to get a critical overview of Moore, although as noted above, it could have been an even stronger text if the authors had ditched the semi-parody of Moore’s work and even more directly dealt with the factual and ideological foibles of Mr. Moore.

One bit of trivia that I did not know about Moore, but learned from the book, is that he was briefly the editor of Mother Jones, but was fired a few months into his tenure He sued the magazine for $2 million, but settled for $58,000. He used the cash from the settlement to start work on Roger & Me.

One of the things I found funny is that the books publisher, Regan (a division of Harper-Collins) also published Moore’s Stupid White Men.

Unless one is especially focused on Mr. Moore, this book is sort of a bargain bin/lender kind of book.

I give it two and half cups (out of five):

  • The American Mind linked with Lack-Luster Review

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