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Feature Story July 8, 2004
America's Vichy Left vs. Michael Moore By Mark Ames Browse author Email
Page 3 of 4

Incredibly enough, the most vicious attacks against Moore come from the LA Weekly, perhaps the most relevant Leftist outlet combining cultural/film criticism and leftist ideology. Reporter John Powers, who covered the 2004 Cannes film festival for the LA Weekly, sneered in typical American-left fashion: "Fahrenheit 9/11 was clearly not the best movie at the 57th Cannes Film Festival...Michael Moore's cauldron of Bush-scalding agitprop enjoyed a visibility as oversized as the director himself." Then he unleashed a kind of hick-populist attack that coastal intellectuals are fond of employing: "Moore is a master of feeding foreigners' anti-American fantasies."

You expect Republicans to go after him for being fat, but oddly enough, Leftist attacks on Moore for being fat are surprisingly common. Ralph Nader, in a recent interview in the Washington Post, said, "I've been at [Moore] for years, saying 'you've got to lose weight.' Now, he's doubled. Private exhortations aren't working. It's extremely serious. He's over 300 pounds. He's like a giant beach ball." Even though most studies show that obesity is a product of poverty and depression, Nader bragged that his followers are "trim and take care of themselves."

But much of the venom is spent on obviously-fake concerns, such as the fake populism of Powers, which he also leveled at Moore in his 2002 review of Bowling for Columbine: "One of the mosquito-bite irritations of being on the left is finding your ideals represented in public by Michael Moore, whose ball cap, burgeoning belly and self-promoting populism have made him an international brand name. When his documentary Bowling for Columbine played at Cannes this May, it was received with wild enthusiasm -- predictably so, for it seems to have been made to delight European intellectuals and anyone else who believes that America is a land of bloodthirsty yet comical barbarians." Powers is clearly both outraged because Moore has made him realize what a fake-leftist he is, and because Moore has unusual monetary success and fame - unusual for an American Leftist. This outrage reveals itself in Powers' fake either/or choice: "Absent any serious historical analysis, his implication seems to be that this country is incorrigibly murderous. You don't know whether to be outraged or yawn." You can't either be outraged or yawn. If you even pose the question, then it's pretty obvious which side you're on (while trying to pretend that you're not really outraged, because you could just as easily yawn...seriously!). And you better reach for the Tums quickly before that outrage eats a hole in your Tummy.

Another LA Weekly leftie, an old hippie named Marc Cooper, is even more openly hostile in his March 5th piece "One stupid white man's problem with the man in the ball cap": "[I]t was neither Marx nor Marcuse that initially radicalized me as a teenager in the 1960s but rather the comic, Mort Sahl...I cannot imagine Michael Moore having that sort of transformational effect on anyone. Moore arrives before us not with a newspaper under his arm, but rather with a bullhorn and a sledgehammer...Which wouldn't be so objectionable if there was evidence that Moore had any depth, any nuance or at least some consistency to his own thought." Cooper literally hates Moore, so much so that he's willing to openly admit his deeper allegiance to the Right rather than support one of his own who's made it: "Call me a nostalgic or even a stupid, white man, but when I hear the bellowing of Michael Moore I achingly long for the days of Mort Sahl. Or even, yes, it's true, William F. Buckley."

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The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

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Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


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