Moore to Love and Hate
For author and filmmaker Michael Moore, the old joke about having an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, each whispering commands, must be more like a daily battlefield. Except, for Moore, on one side there's Corporate Crimefighting Chicken (his poultry-costumed crusader from his NBC series TV Nation) telling him things like "support Borders employees in their quest to unionize." On the other is a figure we'll call Corporate Businessman saying, "Borders makes money for you; do more book signings."
We can only imagine the WWF Smackdown-like event that took place between the guy in the chicken suit and the guy in the three-piece suit when Moore's publisher, ReganBooks (a division of HarperCollins), told him his latest offering, Stupid White Men...And Other Excuses for the State of the Nation, was being delayed after September 11 though thousands of copies sat ready to ship in warehouse. First, ReganBooks wanted new material to address the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Then, it wanted a new title and cover art. Finally, it requested that Moore rewrite half the book (to make it less offensive in light of President Bush's new popularity) and help pay to destroy the already printed copies.
The real surprise was that Moore kept quiet, saying not a word to the press, in hopes of saving the book. Then, a librarian who heard about the situation during a private talk Moore gave issued a call to her fellow book lovers. And, though no one at HarperCollins will admit how it happened, the copies that were collecting dust made it onto bookshelves. Moore even got to call Bush "The Thief-in-Chief" and question whether he's a felon, illiterate or an addict. It sounds like Corporate Crimefighting Chicken has won again (with a little help from a band of librarians).
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