From: The Real Me
Subject: An open letter to Michael Moore
Date: 26 Nov 2002 15:45:51 +0000
Dear Mr Moore,
You don't know me. I don't know you, but I have given you some money over the last few weeks. I am in the process of reading your book, Stupid White Men and have recently seen your movie, Bowling for Columbine. I am sending you this email in the hopes that you, Mr Moore, will read it. But I can only guess what is going to happen: You keep telling us how your book has made all these #1 Bestseller lists, and how successful your movie is. So you became rich. Rich and famous. The American Dream. Hey, thats C-A-P-I-T-A-L-I-S-M and I am pleased for you. I think that Capitalism is the only true effort/reward motivational
system and I am a Capitalist. But I am willing to bet that it also means that the person reading this email is not that big guy with the baseball cap. Come, on, its a PR lackey, hey? Yes, Michael Moore, the machine toppler, becomes a machine too. If it really is you, Mike, hey I am pleasantly surprised! But in reality if you are reading this, your (probably black, according to your book) PR assistant handed it to you just as you were about to board a plane back from London or something
and you are either going to discard it, file it diligently in the pile of Things To Read One Day or Mr PR Lackey is not even going to pass it on to you. Go on, make that choice now.
Still here? Wow!
First, my background. I am a white South African male. I grew up in the twilight of the apartheid era and I know all too well the evils and realities of racism. I remember once at age 7 asking my Mom what apartheid was. She said it was an evil system of discrimination. I asked
her what discrimination was. She said, "you know those Whites Only signs on benches and bathrooms?" "Yes?" "Thats discrimination." It was the first time my young mind had questioned the legitimacy of the racial segregation in my everyday life. I just accepted that that was the way
things are. With my new found eyes, I soon realised that it is not the way things are meant to be.
And one thing really pisses me off. Well, a lot of things, but this is one thing I am sick to death of. "Blacks Only" signs are discrimination too. Craig David, a black British R&B artist refused to let his record company fire his white guitarist because they said "he didn't fit the band's image". I was surprised and applauded Craig for this, but then he said in a PR release that his record company were guilty of 'reverse racism'. REVERSE racism??? Goddammit, that implies that there is a
correct direction for racism to go. Thats admitting defeat.
Discrimination is discrimination. There is no reverse, forwards, sideways or lateral discrimination.
I appreciate your views on inbuilt racism and your sheer guts to say what people are too damn afraid to say over a latte in Cafes these days. We all have a bit of a racist in us. Our societal integration is still too new. This racism might be hidden and subconscious, but its there.
Black, White, Indian, Jewish, we all have it. Its fear of the unknown. Fear of the cultures we don't know enough about. I agree that its easy to say 'I am not racist' and then have no black friends and not hire black people. However, in your book you say "Stop the next white person
you hear make a stupid racist comment and set him straight." Well, Mr Moore, you are the White Person I am hearing sprout stupid RACIST comments and I would like to put YOU straight.
I looked the word racism up on dictionary.com:
"1. The belief that race accounts for differences in Human
character or ability and that a particular race is superior
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race."
I was a bit confused because it didn't say anything about Racism being white people's prejudice towards black people. It seems to suggest, Mike, that racism is discrimination no matter who is the discriminator and the who is the discriminee. (My poetic license in full force). So it appears, Mike, that YOU ARE A RACIST. And, hey, your picture is everywhere, so I can see you are white. And dammit your book told me to put you straight.
And the way I would like to do it is by letting you in on the horrible secret of South Africa. South Africa, as you may or may not know, is going downhill with speed. What indicators do I use? Skyrocketing levels of violent and dangerous crime, skyrocketing levels of life threatening poverty, skyrocketing levels of government corruption, skyrocketing levels of HIV infection and an exchange rate on the slippery slope to dusty third world outpost-ism. However, ALL THE WHITES ARE GONE FROM POSITIONS OF POWER. Well, make that ALMOST ALL. Have a quick look:
75% of South Africa's government ministers are not WHITE. They have been replaced by people with black (or dark brown) body covering organs. However, the similarities between the new politicians and the old ones (with white body covering organs) is marked: They are quite skilled at
corruption on an almost comical scale AND they oppress people with body covering organs which are not the same colour as theirs. Now, to me, and to dictionary.com, that is racism.
Most people in South Africa and in the world held the opinion that you hold in your book: Chase out the white people in the positions of power in South Africa, and then South Africa will be OK again. I am sorry to tell you that recent history has proven you to be naive and idealistic. This much lauded plan to remove the whites and restore peace and prosperity didn't work, sorry. South Africa is in turmoil. The people who turned out starving in their millions to vote at the polls for the ANC (African National Congress) are still starving. The only difference is that now the fatcats are in possession of black body covering organs.
Now, Mike, this may be a horrible thought, but I thought about you in the shower today. And I realised that a shower is a simplistic, but quite good metaphor for my thoughts on the subject. Hear me out...
You take a shower and the water is boiling hot. It burns your skin. Your initial reaction is to turn the mixer (if you are lucky enough to have a darn mixer, they rule) to the coldest setting. The pain of the burn goes away. Relief. Next thing you know you are damn near freezing from the
cold water and you have to turn the mixer to the middle. Now you have a burn and a freeze injury for your trouble. Isn't it better to turn the mixer to the middle setting in the first place?? Mildness. Openness. The Middle Setting. History has proved these to be the only way to have any sort of freedom, peace and prosperity. Both the radical hot and the radical cold cause damage.
To me this sums up what happened in South Africa. We had a radical right racist regime of good-old-white-boys running the show, and they were ceremonially replaced by a racist radical left regime of good-old-black-boys, and I am afraid to say, nothing has changed. To me the racism and the corruption are the common threads, not the race or colour of the people involved. I personally couldn't give a fuck if its Mac Maharaj (Indian), Ngconde Balfour (black) or Alec Erwin (white) making bad decisions. Its the bad decisions (or inaction) which bothers me. If the country is in a mess, the country is in a mess. Who gives a crap about the colour of people's body covering organs??
Hey, Mike, if I knew the answer to the problems, I would certainly share them with the government. You seem to know the answer to every known problem in the USA. You have a statistic to prove anything and you can quote numbers on any topic. You are the sports fan of political statistics on your enemies in America. My take on statistics is that
they are just one side's take on anything. In a political debate both sides will rattle off reams of stats on this and that. 95% Statistics are useless, in my humble opinion. One quick (you must be busy) example, a colleague a few weeks ago came up with this gem:
"There is a 33% higher divorce rate among people who sleep together before they get married"
I was shocked at this statistic. Only 33%??? The divorce rate is that high among the Amish and the fundamentalist Christians?? All this statistic really suggests is that people who don't sleep together before they get married take marriage much more seriously than other people and are less likely to get divorced. Anyway, I don't trust statistics. And I don't think you should trust them so much either or rely on them as your primary 'weapon'.
Now listen, Mike, I don't want you to get the wrong idea here. I think you are an incredibly brave and important person. You are a damn effective thorn in the side of The Establishment. You have taken The Power of the media available and are using it. However, I urge you to be careful of 2 things:
1: Hypocrisy: in your book you seem to suggest that you distrust rich people. I can bet you are not poor these days, eh Mike? I want to go to your London show at The Roundhouse. But the cheapest ticket I could find for Friday costs £32.50. Thats $50 Mike. And your books are selling well and your movie must be doing well too. Does it mean you can no longer be trusted? Are you turning into a rich powerful white man, Mike? But then the thing that always gets me about hypocrisy is that we are ALL hypocrites in some way or another and for anyone to call anyone else a
hypocrite is perhaps the biggest hypocrisy of all. So, don't worry Mike, I am a hypocrite too. And now I am caught in such a weird loop of hypocrisy that I wish I never mentioned it.
2: Focus: You seem to be indignantly pissed off about EVERYTHING! Everything to do with the government pisses you off. The fact they are in power at all, their past, their actions in office, their personal traits. All of them. You have an answer and a backing statistic on every damn thing they have done wrong and the solution on how to have done it
right in the first place. I may be wrong, Mike, you may in fact be from Krypton, and you may just be The Messiah as well, but from past experience and history showing us that everyone is fallible and no man or woman actually knows it ALL, I can only believe that you don't actually know how to do EVERYTHING correctly and don't actually have all the answers yourself. It would be good, though. We could elect you President of the World and our troubles would be over. It seems to me that people drawn to politics (and positions of power in general) seem to be the people who believe that they have all the answers. We want to believe them too, we vote for them and then realise that they are just regular people too. People with substance abuse problems, rampant
libidos (more often than not) and shady pasts. We all have them, well most of us. You seem to hint in the book that you don't. You are damn special, Mike.
So anyway, Mike, keep doing what you are doing, please. You make the world a better place and maybe even a safer place by challenging those in power, especially when it seems they stole that power illegally. Just please take a small step off your soapbox, realise that you don't have all the answers and please make sure you don't become one of those people who you give such a damn hard time to. OK?