Sunday 19 May 2013
Micheal Moore, Dude, Where's My Country?
I confess - I am a sucker for catchy titles. If you want me to read your book, give it a title that stands out from the crowd and you've got me*. A title like, for example, Dude, Where's My Country?
Michael Moore is better known for his documentaries (Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine), but he has written a good few books as well. The books are just like the movies: verrrry political. Funny, too, and sparkling with cheeky wit despite - or maybe because of - their language, best described as 'everyday vernacular, uncensored'.
Dude, Where's My Country? was published in 2003, when the Iraq invasion was hot news, 9/11 a fresh and painful memory and George W. Bush still in power. It's full of anti-war, anti-president, anti-republican battle cries. Read today, it's almost like a history book, but right after publication it must've been a potent motivator to get off the couch and start waving signs on demonstrations.
I sympathise with most of Moore's sentiments, but after some pages I diagnosed myself with rhetoric poisoning. I distrust people who tell me how to vote. Not that I could've obliged - I'm in Europe and US government is none of my business - but the attempt to direct the political actions of anyone makes an author unreliable in my eyes. Moore is not even particularly subtle about his business: go and vote. Take your friend, neighbour and dog with you. Let's get this guy out of office. Vote for Oprah. Oh my. When you dabble in politics, it's difficult (impossible?) not to get smeared with dirt.
Unless you actually live in the US, much of Moore's fiery passion will be wasted on you. Yeah, sure, everyone likes bitching about America throwing their weight around but as long as they are not trying to actually invade, nobody gives a damn. That's how I see it, anyway - it's remotely possible that the whole world disagrees and I haven't noticed.
One aspect of Dude, Where's My Country? is worth attention and praise, wherever you live. Moore is adamant in his claim that most of US citizens are sane, decent people, even if headlines sometimes make it hard to believe. Cheers, man, I admit I need the reminder from time to time, and I even feel a twinge of shame when I say so. No country should be judged by its politicians.
Oh, and Mike's Quick and Easy Guide to Preventing Future Terrorist Attacks is priceless. Take heed, America.
* Unless, of course, your book is a trashy piece of romance. Or anything for young adults (what sort of genre is that, anyway?). Or any other literary mistake of the sort. There are exceptions to every rule.