Moore bashes Bush’s politics

Miki Johnson

Thousands of people in the Chicago area were on their feet Tuesday night cheering and booing not for the Chicago Cubs but for inflammatory documentary filmmaker and writer Michael Moore.

As Moore took the stage in McGaw Memorial Hall he solicited cheers from the already-standing crowd by holding up a Cubs cap. The more than 1,500 attendees booed as he then raised a Florida Marlins hat.

“Thank you,” Moore began. “I just wanted to relive my Oscar night.”

Moore was booed at the 2003 Academy Awards when, during his acceptance speech for the Best Documentary Award for “Bowling For Columbine,” he called President Bush’s election and justifications for the war in Iraq “fictitious.”

As A&O’s Fall Quarter speaker, Moore continued his commitment to humorous controversy. NU was the only Illinois stop on his 33-city tour promoting his new book. Almost 1 million copies of “Dude, Where’s My Country?” hit bookshelves Oct. 7.

At one point Moore read from one of the book’s chapters, titled, “How to talk to your conservative brother-in-law.” One tip asks the reader to “admit the left has made mistakes” and continues with a list of examples — including “drugs are bad,” “MTV sucks” and “vegetarianism is unhealthy.”

Although an audible “bullshit” from an apparently vegetarian audience member only elicited a characteristic high-pitched laugh from Moore, even he worried aloud that his final example would be too controversial.

“Nixon was more liberal than the last five presidents we have had,” he said. “And to think that he was the last liberal in office just makes me want to puke.”

Moore frequently returned to the topic of “liberal” Republicans and, worse in his eyes, “Democrats that are actually Republicans.”

“You know what’s really great about the recall (in California) last week?” Moore asked. “It was a rejection of Democrats like Gray Davis.”

Mimicking Davis in a whiny, Kermit-the-frog-like voice, Moore denounced “wishy-washy” Democrats who are “so pitiful, they don’t even win when they win.”

Because the Democratic party has promoted politicians who tend toward the moderate middle, Moore said, it is especially important for Americans to “push candidates to take the right positions” before the primary elections.

And although Moore has failed to endorse any of the five Democratic candidates who have approached him, he admitted he does like the idea of having Howard Dean, a doctor, and Wesley Clark, a general, on the ballot.

“We need a doctor because there are 43 million of us without health care,” Moore said, “and we need a general to kick Bush’s ass.”

Moore said the United States also needs young people to get “any candidate on the ballot who can beat Bush.”

He went on to encourage America’s youth to break out of society’s “enforced ignorance” that the Bush administration epitomizes with its “serial lies.”

Further pitfalls of the American culture that Moore highlighted included self-serving psyches and ignorance of international affairs.

To illustrate the latter point, Moore picked an “average” Canadian student and a “very smart” American student out of the crowd. His claim of American egocentrism was validated when the Canadian correctly identified George W. Bush as the U.S. president and the American student shrugged his shoulders when asked to name the Canadian prime minister.

But both students received copies of “Bowling for Columbine,” and the American student attempted to redeem himself by joining Moore on stage to sing the Canadian national anthem.

Despite his disgust with America’s penchant for “picking on the weakest people,” Moore did say he sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

His last book, “Stupid White Men,” sold more than 4 million copies because America is becoming much more liberal, he said. Now all the liberals have to do is motivate.

While the rousing applause Moore repeatedly drew from the audience suggested that his ideas were well received, Jeff Wood said he would have liked to hear a little less political material and a little more humor.

“He helps add humor to some pitfalls of society’s ails,” said Wood, 22, an employee at Border’s Books and Music in Evanston. “And because that’s all so depressing, a little humor always helps.”

But Weinberg freshman Chris Taylor said he thought Moore’s “abrasive truth” served his purposes perfectly.

“He makes people think,” Taylor said. “And I think that’s the entire point.”