michael moore since the oscars

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    'Bowling' Breaks Records,
    'Stupid White Men' Back At #1
    From Michael Moore

    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

    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 ackno
    wledge 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, you're 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.


    Michael Moore

    "All great truth is dealt with in three ways: First it is ridiculed; then it is violently opposed; and finally it is accepted as self-evident." -- A. Schopenhauer, famous German philosopher

    "An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: what does happen is its opponents gradually die out and the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning." -- Max Planck, father of modern physics

    "The prophet courageously challenges oppressive social structures of which the church may be an integral part. The prophet is the end result of the best in the tradition and spirituality of the church - which soon, sadly, drives him or her out." -- J. Milton Yinger, 1946

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