What a great holiday read! Here Comes Trouble by Michael Moore is so fab that I did what I used to do with all superb books. I returned it to the library with the last couple of chapters unread, so that I can have something wonderful to look forward to the rest of the year! (I almost did that once with My Darling, My Hamburger and ended up having to pay for it; I would leave the books open to the final chapter, slide them under my bed, and I guess…sometimes forget about them.)
Michael Moore appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann a while back and they promoted the book, however, I knew his work would not be easily found at our local library. I went shortly after hearing about it, and it was not there. Granted, the book is new, but I wondered what my chances would be of ordering something so liberal in such a red state. (Our Occupy Movement still has trouble getting off the ground.) Years ago, my own book was the number one most requested book at the local library, until someone found out it was that. Like Moore’s book, it concerned the local school board.
I thought getting the book to the library would not be easy. No Michael Moore films are allowed in our city. The excuse the only theatre gives is that there is just not a big enough market for them here. I know better. When we had two theatres, one of them showed his films. That theatre eventually went out of business. (I am not saying there is a connection, but I am just saying.) Here is how I got the book: A guest speaker who was affiliated with the library came to give my literacy group a promotional speech. I asked about getting the book. I discussed the difficulty I had in seeing Moore’s films in the city and asked if censorship might be at work. She told me to contact the library and simply ask them to order it. Well, I am happy to say that I did just that! Not only did the book come, but the set of ten CDs with Michael Moore himself reading the collection of grand short stories followed it! You can imagine what this means to a Keith Olbermann fan, who loves having Thurber read to her on Friday nights.
The theatre talked me out of protesting, saying it would be a waste of time, since those decisions on what films are ordered are made at a higher level. I was ready to get the large markers and poster boards, in the spirit of Moore himself, but was convinced that it was nothing personal, and that in a short time his films would be on DVDs. I still wonder at times.
What makes this true and autobiographical trek so outstanding, is that it is honestly told from the heart. A man has to have guts to tell this kind of truth, acne and all! Mr. Moore fits my definition of a great man, simply because he is sensitive. He begins with the admission that he knows some people do not wish him well. He faces it. Head on. He continues to explicate, using his own personal experiences to reveal why anyone would want to be mean to him. I once had a guidance counselor who told me, “You make people hate you!” I could not believe my ears! I mean, is this what counselors are supposed to say to one in need of help? He later apologized, but the damage was done. No unringing that hateful bell. I won’t ever forget it. Why do folks want to hate on others? The multi-faceted answer finds its way meandering through Moore’s terrific tales!
There is jealousy. People who are really smart are often the target of meanies. Mr. Olbermann knows how that smarts! People who want to be peaceful are often thought of as nuts or their female equivalent, especially in a violent society. We see this many times in the book, explored through the draft, Vietnam, and WWII. Conscientious objection is underscored well, along with the ultimate love of a mother for her son. Michael Moore brings us with him into her hospital room to cherish her final moments. But mainly, people hate because they see someone who is different, and instead of dealing with the fear of that difference, some people choose to let the fear become hate. The author beautifully treats homosexuality (Every neighborhood had one.) and racism. In fact, he treats every “ism” there is because he has perhaps witnessed them all!
The youngest person to hold an elected office in America (Does that record still stand?) tells about his meeting with Bobby Kennedy, his call from John Lennon (He hung up on the Beatle. Yes. He did. He thought it was a prank!), and even his witness of the live television shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. I kept thinking that this book should be taught in history classes, because it is much more exciting than a traditional history text. (Some language might have to be edited out.)
Only the brave should touch this book. It is not for the weak. It is graphic. The filmmaker tells it all, from his witness of an exorcism while studying for the priesthood to his concern for a young friend in high school who sought an abortion. One does not have to agree with Moore in order to thoroughly enjoy every line of the book. In fact, those who find him perplexing might be the very ones who should read it. However, I realize that the brave and those who do not respect his right to his opinions might be in two different groups.
Freedom is what it is all about. Instead of Here Comes Trouble, I suggest Here Comes Treasure, because America is all about being able to be different, to say what you think, to not get a haircut, right? At Seattle University, one of my friends in the masters program was Jim Vacca from Colorado, and he used to say, “You free people up!” This was the greatest compliment to me. And this is also exactly what Moore’s book will do to you. It will free you up. Imagine if you could live every day and be yourself, no matter what anyone thought.
One of my twitter buddies wants Michael to dress up a little more. I don’t. You know why? He is so beautiful, his soul is so magnificent, that not one change in his appearance could make him any more glorious to me. I am a Keith Olbermann devotee, and a Michael Moore junkie. I am so happy the library ordered the book and CDs, and I will keep trying to get his films shown in our town. Meanwhile, ask yourself why anyone would be so afraid of that little kid on that trike.