Tim Blair


New Criterion



Monday, May 24, 2004
DISGUST CAN BE USEFUL, as Norman Swan's guest on this morning's Health Report explains (not yet posted). He's going to use it to put kids off smoking.

Uncle sees a similar purpose in Michael Moore's parasitic existence, although Jackie Ashley of the Guardian wouldn't agree.

What Ms Ashley shows us is that the Guardian left is as far out of touch with the American workers as they are with their own.
Look at what's happening in the US, where the press is notoriously unenthusiastic about left-wing dissent. My own email always contains a good number of correspondents from the US who complain that pro-abortion or anti-war articles in this paper would not see the light of day in the mainstream press there.

But now America has Michael Moore. He's huge. Huge personally - a great big, hairy doughball of a man. He's huge commercially. He's huge on the web. And he's huge in the scale of his ambition - he is determined to bring down George Bush.

She's convinced Moore is a winner, with a new approach to political truth.

Moore makes "strong points", which appears to be what you do instead of making valid points, providing no-one is bothering to check.
So is Moore a new kind of politician? Is he a way forward that conventional politics has not fully grasped? Certainly, in an age when politicians routinely whinge about the media without being able to use it effectively, he has a bundle of lessons for modern democrats.

She really means "Democrats", of course.

The first and easiest is the power of humour. ... A good example of his style was his Oscar acceptance speech for his anti-gun film Bowling for Columbine; in it he broke protocol by attacking Bush over Iraq, concluding: "Shame on you, Bush: any time you've got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up."

Powerful humour, that. Goes down well on the Guardian.

Moore seems willing to say anything to anybody, and nothing is more watchable than direct confrontation.

Trouble with that approach, Jackie, is you put it into office and you win about five percent of the electorate. Just look at Lord Bob-Brown of the Barricades.

Jackie thinks that Mooreism will be saved from irrelevance by its proletarian quality:
He is an all-American blue-collar man who knows where he comes from and who he is speaking to. The danger he poses for Bush is the sense his audience has of the little man who speaks out, who dares to say the unsayable on behalf of his friends and neighbours. ...He has been called hypocritical, self-regarding and a slob. But he cuts through because his best messages are traditional American ones.

She forgets that some Americans still value telling the truth.

After all this hyping, Ashley abandons her case just as it's about to reach its logical conclusion, like any good post-modern leftist would:
He might turn out to be more popular among people who are already signed-up Democrats

Wouldn't you just love to persuade Jackie Ashley to put some money where her hype is?

Later. Jim Nolan quotes Christopher Hitchens in today's Australian:
"Speaking here in my capacity as a polished, sophisticated European as well," Hitchens said, "it seems to me the laugh here is on the polished, sophisticated Europeans. They think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities."