January 13, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 56  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

BOOK REVIEW

Dude, Where’s My Country?
By Michael Moore

Warner Books, hardcover, 249 pages

Michael Moore’s new book Dude, Where’s My Country? is not so much a book as a cut-and-paste scrapbook of many of Moore’s recent “big thoughts.”

Moore is certainly not one to shy away from anything big. He’s gone after corporate America (is that corporate or corrupt?). He’s taken swings at popular celebrities like Charleton Heston, Dick Clark and the big boss himself, George W. Bush. And while he certainly has done his part to stir the pot, there comes a time and place when you start to wonder if perhaps Moore has reached the limits of his talents, and is now driven primarily by his ambition.

His new book picks up where the last one, Stupid White Men, left off: Bush Jr. is evil, there is corruption everywhere, Gulf War II is a shame, don’t vote Republican, etc.

All of these are very important, very big ideas. However, when you start cramming them all in into the same book — one that sports a picture of a smiling, thinner Moore using a chain to drag down what looks like a Lennonesque-inspired statue of Bush II — you might be spreading your credibility a bit too thin. Dissing Dubya at the Oscars does not make you a martyr, no matter how many times you tell yourself that in your own book.

Also, writing in the first person as God is a tricky feat to accomplish, and not one you want to sandwich in between your theories on who’s really responsible for Sept. 11 and a strange dream you had about a future where we’ve run out of oil and the hydrogen car is a joke. It’s cute, but it’s not very informative.

This isn’t to say that the book is without its moments. It will make a conspiracy theorist’s light reading list. However, it doesn’t quite deliver as a sequel. Perhaps in a Rocky II versus Rocky I kind of way, but not as a self-sufficient book. It needs more — that’s more, not Moore.

Dude, Where’s My Country is better suited for the ’net, and specifically on an appropriate “I Love Moore” site — not print. The book caters more to the reader who has already subscribed to Moore’s beliefs, and not a healthy skeptic’s belief that there are two sides to every story.

Even the most free-spirited, bare-footed liberal may have a bit of difficulty keeping pace with Moore’s black-and-white approach to politics. You can be certain that none of Bush’s old frat buddies are going to be too keen to recommend this book to any of their big business oil tycoon friends any time in the foreseeable future.

—Christopher Hodge

 

 

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