Filmmaker and progressive activist Moore comes roaring back with his first new book since Dude, Where’s My Country? (2003).
The author’s theme this time, at least organizationally, is himself—he calls this “a book of short stories based on events that took place in the early years of my life,” even though many of the stories are set in his fifth and sixth decades and, so far as we know, they’re factual rather than fictitious. Think of it as a memoir turned slightly on its side. Whatever the case, it’s vintage Moore, beginning with a highly satisfying tale of redemption (and gloat-free revenge) in the wake of his condemnation of George W. Bush at the Academy Awards ceremony. Moore was no stranger to death threats, but after that episode, they came fast and furious, and he had to hire bodyguards—and not just to satisfy unfounded paranoia. Homeland Security, he alleges, even keyed his gold Oscar statue, “scratching long lines into its gold plate.” Fast-forward a few years, and Moore is, if not a hero, at least no longer persona non grata, now that the rest of country has caught up with the dissimulations and deceptions of the Bush administration. Elsewhere, the author writes of footloose ancestors who brought his bloodline to blue-collar Michigan and their peculiar big-headed evolutionary marker: “The craniums in our part of the country were designed to leave a little extra room for the brain to grow should we ever have a chance to learn anything outside of our rigid and insular lives.” From the pleasures of night baseball to family arguments over long hair and Vietnam to early forays into politics, Moore turns in a readable, and often quite funny, American story.
Indeed, Moore considers himself a patriot; as he writes, if you see his movies, “you will instantly know that I deeply love this country.” This spirited, most welcome book is more evidence of that affection.