Stupid White Men

I’d watched a couple of episodes of The Awful Truth, so I knew who Michael Moore was, and with all the publicity surrounding Bowling for Columbine, I didn’t need too much persuading to watch his award-winning documentary. My teenage daughters watched it with me and observed that the much maligned Marilyn Manson appeared to talk the most sense. They couldn’t believe that adults could be so stupid. Stupidity, however, is a relative term.

I finished reading Moore’s Stupid White Men this morning and while I’m glad I read it, I can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ it. Yes, white men in powerful positions do stupid things, but they themselves don’t think they’re stupid. The scary stuff that Moore writes about in this book — the fraudulent election of the US President in 2000, the increasing misery of the poor, human rights abuses, and the damage being done to the environment — is plainly stupid from where I’m sitting, but for the neo-cons that control the media and ensure a compliant judiciary, it’s rational behaviour if it furthers their narrow interests.

Moore’s rallying cry in this book, put simply, is that ‘there is more of us than them’, and all the US electorate has to do is combat apathy and exercise its democratic right at the next election. Voters are showing their disaffection with the two main parties, but so far that has manifested itself in US voters turning out in increasingly smaller numbers. According to Moore, Ralph Nader did increase his vote by 500% at the last poll, but his share of the vote still remains miniscule. It may increase again this time around, attracting left-leaning Democrats. This, of course, plays into the hands of Dubya.

Getting back to Stupid White Men, it’s well worth a read, but be prepared to be angry and depressed.