Sunday, July 04, 2004

Telegraph |The hawks have only themselves to blame for Michael Moore's success

Telegraph | Opinion | The hawks have only themselves to blame for Michael Moore's success: "The morning after I saw Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, I visited my local book shop to inspect the titles it stocked by the director himself and by other writers implacably hostile to George W Bush. On the counter was a pile of Moore's most recent bestseller, Dude, Where's My Country?. And his 2001 polemic, Stupid White Men, which has sold 350,000 copies in Britain alone, was also prominently displayed.

In the same genre, though not by Moore, the shop offered such gems as The Bush-Hater's Handbook, Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, Ugly Americans, What's Wrong with America?, and Amerika Psycho: Behind Uncle Sam's Mask of Sanity. According to the assistant who served me, there are now so many of these instant America-bashing books that the store simply cannot stock them all. When I told her that Moore's new film was compelling cinema and had to be seen, whether or not you agreed with its politics, she snorted with derision: 'You just wonder how many people in the States will get to see it, since they live in a country under censorship.'
Now, one angry bookseller does not a political trend make. But when you bear in mind that Stupid White Men has already sold more than three million copies worldwide and that Fahrenheit 9/11 took $24 million at the US box office last weekend - the first documentary ever to top the American film charts in its opening days - it becomes less easy to dismiss the fat man in the baseball cap as a marginal figure. Indeed, it looks to me as though Michael Moore is pretty much at the centre of things these days. The subculture has invaded the mainstream: it is an army of occupation."

By Matthew d'Ancona


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