Michael Moore Closes Out Miami Book Fair with Stump Speech
The event started 30 minutes late. The crowd was surprisingly older. Moore came on stage and cracked a few jokes about PBS broadcaster Jim Leher, who read in the same room prior, and blamed him for the late start. Then he credited book fair president Mitch Kaplan for championing all things literary. Moore, to his credit, seemed familiar with Miami's landscape and colorful characters.
"For years I've wanted to make a film about Florida," he explained. "I'm convinced that six months down here would make for the most hilarious and interesting documentary."
A spokesman for the baby boomer generation, Moore is a pudgy rabble-rouser, easy to connect to, with his baseball cap, and blue-collar social compassion. He's also easy to hate with his in-your-face rancor and over-the-top documentaries and rants. Dang it. You don't know if you want to tickle Moore until he laughs, or hit him with a whiffle ball bat! He's part Bruce Vilanch, part Oscar the Grouch.
Most of the evening Moore waxed poetic. He spoke fervently on poverty, social injustice, class warfare, and his involvement with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"Thank god for these young kids," he said. "They know they've been screwed and they're not afraid to take risks. I know they look kooky banging on their drums, but the movement's just starting, somebody had to burn the first bra."
He credited Republicans for being organized. He mocked liberals for being indecisive. He told a funny story about voting for Obama; about how strong and courageous Obama was while running for office; how disappointed Moore has been the last three years because Obama reached out to Republicans so much that he lost all his mojo. Moore begged for the old Obama to come back, the Obama who had balls.
The crowd liked the jovial Moore, laughing at his jokes, agreeing with the talking points, enjoying the rhetoric and analogies. You could hear occasional guffaws, murmurs of approval, I agree, he's right, here, here, right on.
Bowling for More Time
One hour into the event and Moore didn't talk about his book at all, not once, not a blurb, sentence or synopsis. He sounded like he was running for office. Surprised? Really?
Eventually Moore prepared to read from his book. The introduction to the first story took another 15 minutes and involved a long anecdote about the time he won an Academy Award, and how dangerous his life is, and how he requires security everywhere he goes, ectera, ectera. The story from the book itself took three minutes to read.
And then he read a touching tale about Ronald Reagan and Germans and Jews--one for the bubbies in the room...And then he read an awesome story called "Boys State" about racial equality. Moore wanted to keep going but he ran out of time. There wasn't even a Q & A.
There Goes Trouble
Haters of Moore will say he's a filmmaker, not a comedian, broadcast journalist, politician, or preacher, but a filmmaker that's easy to marginalize - - just make your films, bro.
Lovers will say times are fucked up and he does speak the truth. He is funny and creative! He's loud! And a big presence! And he gets himself so worked up!! And if you yell, you will get heard. The polarizing pundit is indeed an articulate orator, but turn on MSNBC you'll get the same talking points!
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