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