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Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation

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I. Synopsis

In his most compelling and defensive book to date, Michael Moore returns to the world of politics to size up the new century. Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation attacks the big, ugly special-interest group that's laying waste to the world as we know it: stupid white men. In his book, Moore calls for the United Nations to take action against the "Bush Family Junta," for African-Americans to place Whites Only signs over the entrances of unfriendly businesses, and calls on the Democrats of this nation to turn over their headquarters and return to Republican headquarters where they belong.

Stupid White Men is Moore's manifesto on malfeasance and mediocrity. Among his targets in the book are President George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, the "Idiot Nation," and corporate America. Moore begins this manifesto with a sordid rambling that covers everything from the 2000 Election to every negative and suspicious detail of the President's cabinet. Moore cites Dick Chaney as a not so compassionate official claiming to uphold compassionate conservatism. He describes the cabinet as a corporate mess, detailing each cabinet member's association with such businesses as Halliburton Industries, Alcoa, Calgene, and Tom Brown, Inc. Also included in this book is a seventeen-page letter to President Bush attacking all of his policies and questioning his values. In perfect satire, Moore tries to "praise" Bush by detailing the many negative accomplishments of Bush's youthful presidency.

Other chapters in the book have such titles as Dow Wow Wow, criticizing the current state of corporate America; Kill Whitey, which discusses the current state of racism in America; Nice Planet, Nobody Home, which begins by criticizing the recycling industry; and We're Number One, which calls on Americans to realize the so-called "obvious egoism" of our government.

II. Purpose

A. Author's Purpose

There is a constant, recurring theme in this book of hatred. Moore hates the current state of the nation and wants to blame it on someone. From the beginning of the book until the end, Moore's purpose is to pinpoint the exact moment when the nation "crumbled" before our eyes. His depiction of America as it stands is a solemn and deteriorating one. From his distrust of the American political system to his criticism of American foreign policy, Moore wants his audience to take a stand against the "stupid white men" that are supposedly destroying the country.

B. Modes of Discourse

Moore uses a descriptive mode of discourse to outline what has happened in American political, social, cultural, financial, and ecological issues. One very interesting point that Moore tries to make in this book discusses one such cultural issue on racial profiling. Moore goes on to talk about how everyone is so afraid of the African-American population, and so they forget to look at the things that white people have done to them. Moore states that white men have created every world war, they invented the punch card ballot, they started the Holocaust, they were responsible for the genocide of Native Americans, and were also responsible for slavery. This is just one example of how Moore tries to get his point across. Mixed in with the descriptive mode, Moore also takes advantage of his page space to add in some normative and prescriptive modes of discourse. The most intriguing way that Moore provides this information is with what he calls "Survival Tips." He has these sections strewn throughout the book detailing tips for White America, Black America, Students, Men, Women, and Political Officials.

III. Assumptions

Moore claims to be the eyes and ears of America's middle class citizens. He assumes that most Americans have a one-sided view of the state of the nation believing that most of us learn what we do about politics from the media. As most writers do, Moore is trying to fill in the gaps, detailing what the media has overlooked. He believes that America is unaware of the total picture, often falling short of the real problems that America is facing. He also believes that a lot of the problems plaguing the nation can be solved if the citizens of this country became more aware of them and took action.

IV. Findings

Moore's conclusion is an observable and simple one. The bottom line is that American citizens can no longer afford to just survive. They have to stand up and be counted, so to speak. In the epilogue, Moore almost seems to endorse joining the Green Party, but by the end, you see that this is not the case. He is trying to say that people should not just endorse a political party just because they're the only ones that ever get anything done. He is saying that if citizens do not believe in the entire package offered by a certain political party, whether it be Democrat or Republican, then those citizens should support one who does, or go independent, or make another one. To Moore, it's all about ideas and beliefs; getting the problems that mean something to Americans solved and not putting up with something that you frankly don't agree with. Moore says that surviving is for "wimps and game show contestants." Most Americans are neither.

V. Methods

A. Data Presentation

Moore begins his book with a very long, dramatic introduction that basically grabs his audience and says that our world has gone to pieces. Moore uses this introduction to let us know exactly what his conclusion is. America is crap, and we have to do something about it. The way he presents information in this book follows deductive reasoning. He states his conclusion, no matter how broad it is, and then uses several chapters full of examples to support his conclusion.

B. Approach

As far as approach is concerned, Moore combines several different disciplines in order to present information. On an economic level, he discusses the impact of corporate leadership in political affairs, the effect of corporate mergers, and political decisions such as tax cuts. On other levels he uses a historical discipline, outlining what has happened in past presidencies and how they differ from the Clinton and Bush administrations. Moore even dedicates an entire chapter to the Clinton Administration satirically calling him one of the best Republican presidents we've ever had. Moore's use of several disciplines is relevant due to the fact that he discusses a wide range of



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