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Re: Fw: Michael Moore's Message (fwd)

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From: Erick and Marcy Saoud (saoud_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Apr 26 2003 - 16:25:50 PDT


Please do not post stuff like this to the artsednet.

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From: "Robert L. Snyder" <rsnyder@wam.umd.edu>
Date: 2003/04/26 Sat AM 11:29:19 EDT
To: "ArtsEdNet Talk" <artsednet@lists.getty.edu>
Subject: Fw: Michael Moore's Message (fwd)

. . F Y I . . . . .
.
April 7, 2003

My Oscar "Backlash": "Stupid White Men" Back At #1,
"Bowling" Breaks New Records

Dear friends,

It appears that the Bush administration will have
succeeded in colonizing Iraq sometime in the next few
days. This is a blunder of such magnitude -- and we
will pay for it for years to come. It was not worth the life
of one single American kid in uniform, let alone the
thousands of Iraqis who have died, and my
condolences and prayers go out to all of them.

So, where are all those weapons of mass destruction
that were the pretense for this war? Ha! There is so
much to say about all this, but I will save it for later.

What I am most concerned about right now is that all of
you -- the majority of Americans who did not support
this war in the first place -- not go silent or be
intimidated by what will be touted as some great
military victory. Now, more than ever, the voices of
peace and truth must be heard. I have received a lot of
mail from people who are feeling a profound sense of
despair and believe that their voices have been
drowned out by the drums and bombs of false
patriotism. Some are afraid of retaliation at work or at
school or in their neighborhoods because they have
been vocal proponents of peace. They have been told
over and over that it is not "appropriate" to protest once
the country is at war, and that your only duty now is to
"support the troops."

Can I share with you what it's been like for me since I
used my time on the Oscar stage two weeks ago to
speak out against Bush and this war? I hope that, in
reading what I'm about to tell you, you'll feel a bit more
emboldened to make your voice heard in whatever way
or forum that is open to you.

When "Bowling for Columbine" was announced as the
Oscar winner for Best Documentary at the Academy
Awards, the audience rose to its feet. It was a great
moment, one that I will always cherish. They were
standing and cheering for a film that says we
Americans are a uniquely violent people, using our
massive stash of guns to kill each other and to use
them against many countries around the world. They
were applauding a film that shows George W. Bush
using fictitious fears to frighten the public into giving
him whatever he wants. And they were honoring a film
that states the following: The first Gulf War was an
attempt to reinstall the dictator of Kuwait; Saddam
Hussein was armed with weapons from the United
States; and the American government is responsible
for the deaths of a half-million children in Iraq over the
past decade through its sanctions and bombing. That
was the movie they were cheering, that was the movie
they voted for, and so I decided that is what I should
acknowledge in my speech.

And, thus, I said the following from the Oscar stage:

"On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and
Michael Donovan (from Canada), I would like to thank
the Academy for this award. I have invited the other
Documentary nominees on stage with me. They are
here in solidarity because we like non-fiction. We like
non-fiction because we live in fictitious times. We live in
a time where fictitious election results give us a
fictitious president. We are now fighting a war for
fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or
the fictitious 'Orange Alerts,' we are against this war, Mr.
Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And,
whenever you've got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks
against you, your time is up."

Halfway through my remarks, some in the audience
started to cheer. That immediately set off a group of
people in the balcony who started to boo. Then those
supporting my remarks started to shout down the
booers. The L. A. Times reported that the director of the
show started screaming at the orchestra "Music!
Music!" in order to cut me off, so the band dutifully
struck up a tune and my time was up. (For more on why
I said what I said, you can read the op-ed I wrote for the
L.A. Times, plus other reaction from around the country
at my website)

The next day -- and in the two weeks since -- the right-
wing pundits and radio shock jocks have been calling
for my head. So, has all this ruckus hurt me? Have they
succeeded in "silencing" me?

Well, take a look at my Oscar "backlash":

-- On the day after I criticized Bush and the war at the
Academy Awards, attendance at "Bowling for
Columbine" in theaters around the country went up
110% (source: Daily Variety/BoxOfficeMojo.com). The
following weekend, the box office gross was up a
whopping 73% (Variety). It is now the longest-running
consecutive commercial release in America, 26 weeks
in a row and still thriving. The number of theaters
showing the film since the Oscars has INCREASED,
and it has now bested the previous box office record for
a documentary by nearly 300%.

-- Yesterday (April 6), "Stupid White Men" shot back to
#1 on the New York Times bestseller list. This is my
book's 50th week on the list, 8 of them at number one,
and this marks its fourth return to the top position,
something that virtually never happens.

-- In the week after the Oscars, my website was getting
10-20 million hits A DAY (one day we even got more
hits than the White House!). The mail has been
overwhelmingly positive and supportive (and the hate
mail has been hilarious!).

-- In the two days following the Oscars, more people
pre-ordered the video for "Bowling for Columbine" on
Amazon.com than the video for the Oscar winner for
Best Picture, "Chicago."

-- In the past week, I have obtained funding for my next
documentary, and I have been offered a slot back on
television to do an updated version of "TV Nation"/ "The
Awful Truth."

I tell you all of this because I want to counteract a
message that is told to us all the time -- that, if you take
a chance to speak out politically, you will live to regret it.
It will hurt you in some way, usually financially. You
could lose your job. Others may not hire you. You will
lose friends. And on and on and on.

Take the Dixie Chicks. I'm sure you've all heard by now
that, because their lead singer mentioned how she
was ashamed that Bush was from her home state of
Texas, their record sales have "plummeted" and
country stations are boycotting their music. The truth is
that their sales are NOT down. This week, after all the
attacks, their album is still at #1 on the Billboard
country charts and, according to Entertainment Weekly,
on the pop charts during all the brouhaha, they ROSE
from #6 to #4. In the New York Times, Frank Rich
reports that he tried to find a ticket to ANY of the Dixie
Chicks' upcoming concerts but he couldn't because
they were all sold out. (To read Rich's column from
yesterday's Times, "Bowling for Kennebunkport," go
here. He does a pretty good job of laying it all out and
talks about my next film and the impact it could
potentially have.) Their song, "Travelin' Soldier" (a
beautiful anti-war ballad) was the most requested song
on the internet last week. They have not been hurt at all
-- but that is not what the media would have you
believe. Why is that? Because there is nothing more
important now than to keep the voices of dissent -- and
those who would dare to ask a question -- SILENT. And
what better way than to try and take a few well-known
entertainers down with a pack of lies so that the
average Joe or Jane gets the message loud and clear:
"Wow, if they would do that to the Dixie Chicks or
Michael Moore, what would they do to little ol' me?" In
other words, shut the f--- up.

And that, my friends, is the real point of this film that I
just got an Oscar for -- how those in charge use FEAR
to manipulate the public into doing whatever they are
told.

Well, the good news -- if there can be any good news
this week -- is that not only have neither I nor others
been silenced, we have been joined by millions of
Americans who think the same way we do. Don't let the
false patriots intimidate you by setting the agenda or
the terms of the debate. Don't be defeated by polls that
show 70% of the public in favor of the war. Remember
that these Americans being polled are the same
Americans whose kids (or neighbor's kids) have been
sent over to Iraq. They are scared for the troops and
they are being cowed into supporting a war they did not
want -- and they want even less to see their friends,
family, and neighbors come home dead. Everyone
supports the troops returning home alive and all of us
need to reach out and let their families know that.

Unfortunately, Bush and Co. are not through yet. This
invasion and conquest will encourage them to do it
again elsewhere. The real purpose of this war was to
say to the rest of the world, "Don't Mess with Texas - If
You Got What We Want, We're Coming to Get It!" This is
not the time for the majority of us who believe in a
peaceful America to be quiet. Make your voices heard.
Despite what they have pulled off, it is still our country.

Yours,

Michael Moore

www.michaelmoore.com

Leslie P. Salgado, Chair
Howard County Friends of Latin America
P.O. Box 94
Columbia, MD 21045
Voice: 410-381-4899
Leslie P. Salgado, Chair
Howard County Friends of Latin America
P.O. Box 94
Columbia, MD 21045
Voice: 410-381-4899

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saoud@cox.net
20562V@lists.getty.edu
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