Security, Personal and Interpersonal

Amanda, via the crack den:

But I do think liberals who dislike Moore so strongly are genuine in their distaste and not just trotting it out to appear fair’n’balanced. And I think that Ezra’s review points to why—the overarching theme of Moore’s career has been an attack on American exceptionalism, a disease that infects both the left and the right in this country. Granted, the right suffers from the disease far more, but the belief that America is somehow better or at least different and can’t be held up to the same standards as other countries is endemic.

I read her and I read Ezra and I listened to Moore on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” yesterday while driving up to a dear friend’s baby shower in Wisconsin, and reading those two pieces I was still left with a dislike of Moore I can’t really justify. I don’t think I’m using it to make “points” with conservatives, because who the fuck wants points with the flat-earth crowd anyway plus it’s futile, they hate me, always will no matter how many of their positions I agree with, so chalk that up as one more thing I’ve figured out that Democratic congressmen haven’t.

At first I thought it was that I just don’t like being shouted at, no matter who’s doing the shouting, but that’s not true because I love my teenybopper radio station and they’re always yelling about something. Then, maybe, it was Moore’s TV Nation show, during which he said just one too many times for my taste that he was the only one telling the truth about the world. I don’t like anybody that stakes a singular claim on information, because then it’s about power and branding, not about the signal, to go all Joss on you for a minute there. But that’s a stupid reason, because I really did like Roger and Me, and I like when people are pissed off about the shitty state the world is in, because it’s the only possible reasonable response. Looking at this country as it is and not finding something you want to change is pretty much a sign of insanity at this point, and really, who am I to complain about somebody doing a big job and then getting an ego about it?

So what I was left with was the fact that I was, yet again, projecting my own bullshit outward onto the world, which is where my friend’s baby shower came in. M and I have been friends since college, back when she wore leather bustiers and went to Ozzy Osborne concerts and I drank too much and went to bars with 32-year-olds. We had journalism in common, our respective college papers, and we had in common that we didn’t take any crap from anybody, especially not from boys, and we had a certain value we placed on reliability, where if she said she was gonna call, she called, she didn’t leave me standing on a street corner someplace wondering where the fuck she was, the way a lot of people in my life back then did all the goddamn time.

And we were talking, after this goofy event at which people played games that involved sniffing diapers, about confidence and self-assurance and about how, if you’re not out there trying to prove yourself all the time and you’re not afraid to speak your mind, it gets read by a lot of people as being arrogant or “difficult” or snotty or mean and then people react according to what they think they see instead of what’s there. Other people don’t react to her having her shit together, they react to their own feelings of inadequacy and doubt, because people don’t hate what they can’t understand so much as they hate what they want to be but aren’t. It’s like your really jaw-droppingly gorgeous friend, and how you’re always acting like it’s her fault you think she’s perfect and you’re a buttertroll, instead of realizing that she’s got nothing to do with your hating yourself. In other words, stop making other people responsible for your own insecurities, strip away your shit and just look at yourself.

Which brings us back to Moore (really, lately, everything’s turned into a discussion about dating, right, and that’s annoying, and I’ll stop soon). He makes me (and I suspect other people as well, though I’m not Bobo, where I like to shop is not necessarily an indication of America’s chi or some shit) uncomfortable because he challenges my decision to not think too hard about certain stuff. His work challenges every time I go to the doctor and pick up a prescription without even thinking about it because I’ve got a little Blue Cross card that pays the bills, no questions asked, is something I should feel outraged about, not relieved. He challenges my complacency, my ability to just put the keyboard DOWN for a damn minute and have a drink because the world’s not entirely off its pole, my feeling free to sleep in an extra hour and make that phone call later.

His work makes me feel like I’m not doing enough, and I should be taking that kick in the ass for what it is, instead of blaming him for making me look at my own inaction.

A.

ps. And it’s not that America just IS better, it’s that it should be better, and we should make it better.

8 thoughts on “Security, Personal and Interpersonal

  1. Maitri says:

    Girl, you and I need to put our keyboards down and get drunk together more often. It’s ok. I don’t mind all the screaming, shouting and self-importance if he wouldn’t twist facts to make his points. It’s not lying, but it’s not telling the truth, either, and isn’t that what we hate about the hawks?
    Again, Moore is not invincible and, in my opinion, only equal to you and not greater in the conscience and conscientiousness department.
    Cheers!

  2. I concur. The last thing I need to get my boxers in a knot over is Michael Moore. He has his moments and when he’s on, thank the Goddess he’s on our side.
    But he isn’t the only warrior in our midst. There are many others who can do the good deed without coming off like a fat asshole.
    Make no mistake, there are plenty of people still pissed off over Fahrenheit 911, even if most of them have come around to the same conclusions. They drank Bush’s Kool-aid in 2004 but have since become so angry at his screw-ups that they’ll vote for Democrats.
    But once a brand is made, it’s almost impossible to get rid of it. Moore has a GOP brand as a pompous, fat elite that hates America and loves to point out our misgivings. I’m smart enough to see through this brand, as are most everyone here, but Mom and Pop America won’t take the time to be that well-informed.
    We can get people to engage people with his films, even get them to agree with their premise. But we can’t undo the image the GOP branded on him.
    One of the biggest problems the progressives have to constantly fight is the bullshit brands the Right Wing manages to stick on us. I’m floored every time some wonk on TV gets off a zinger at our expense, gives it wings and soon, every MSM mannequin is repeating it.
    I’m at a loss as to how we can effectively fight this.

  3. aimai says:

    I disagree with david aquarius, I think Moore hasn’t had *enough* exposure. I think that the progressives should be doing everything they can to introduce teenagers and right wing parents to Moore’s Roger and Me, and then to Bowling for columbine, and only *then* to Fahrenheit 9/11. And we should do it over and over again. Because Moore knows what he’s doing when he’s talking to a populist crowd. And he knows which buttons to push. I actually think his work speaks for itself pretty well and might be a conversion experience for a lot of people. Most people missed this stuff when it first came out and most working class people are never going to get a chance t osee it, or would refuse to see it because “michael moore is fat” but its like any othe rprejudice: anti gay or anti french or whatever. Studies show that when people are confronted with the actual thing they think they hate and it doesnt track with what they have been told they start to question other things they’ve been told by the authorities they trusted. So I think laughing of the anti moore shit and handing people a copy of roger and me is a great way to start a conversation that goes:
    here’s a really amazing piece of film making about the death of america’s heartland and industry.
    Yeah, I liked it too.
    yeah, moore’s done other stuff, want to watch it?
    And when people tell me mooore is fat, or rich, or an atheist I say “man, you must have him confused with a republican or something. The guy’s a classic, straight up, working class fat guy with a romantic attachment to catholicism and his roots.”
    aimai

  4. TJ says:

    Posts like this are why I love you, A.
    You’re the most blisteringly honest writer on the internet.

  5. BuggyQ says:

    The reason I dislike Moore has a lot more to do with the fact that I think he’s getting in the way of his own message. Which is a shame. Because I love, love, love his work–Bowling For Columbine was absolutely brilliant. He took what could have become a really easy “take the guns away and we’ll all be fine” storyline, and said, “No, that’s not true. Look at Canada. Lots and lots of guns, and no Columbines.” I get that he wants us to look at ourselves, and I appreciate it. And Fahrenheit 911 was even better.
    But, sweet jeebus, he can be so effing annoying. Moore reminds me of this local car dealership with these ads that have been going for 20 years featuring (I’m pretty sure) the dealership owner’s wife. She’s reasonably pretty, and I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice person, but she has the most irritating voice. The way she says, “104th and I-25!” Aaaaa-twennie-faaaaave! Oh, it makes my teeth hurt. So I’ll never buy a car from her or her husband. Am I missing a really good deal? Maybe. But I just can’t seem to get past it, even though it’s a tiny portion of the whole story of that dealership. Moore may be a great guy, and I’m eternally grateful for all he has done, but I’m not sure I could stand to be around him for more than ten minutes.

  6. rayc says:

    why I dislike him, in a nutshell:
    He cares about the truth. He doesn’t care about the
    facts. Totally ass-backwards.

  7. virgotex says:

    The blogosphere was the natural place for many of us to turn when the institutions we counted upon seemed to be daring us to believe them, or believe our own eyes.
    -Digby, IFHA (Irrational Fear of Hippies Address)
    Our Own Eyes. The progressive blogosphere’s very identity is about being all-seeing, righteous and tireless Everyman witnesses. Truth: It’s What We Do.
    As you say, Moore (at his best) challenges that, and reminds us that we all, no matter what we do and who we are, have carefully cultivated blind spots. We are, every single one of us, in denial about some things.
    It’s a luxury we can ill-afford. And rather than focus on Moore himself, we should focus not only on his message, and more importantly, on history. There have always been muckrakers and provacateurs. Like vultures, they serve a very vital purpose, and historically, their rise to prominence is a signal of massive decay and upcoming corrective cycle of upheaval and crisis.

  8. BuggyQ says:

    So, virgotex, does that make Michael Moore our generation’s Upton Sinclair in a coal mine? 😉
    BuggyQ: Aggressively mixing metaphors since 1972.

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