Abolished at last
February 18, 2013 8:26 PM   Subscribe

18 years before slavery was finally abolished in Mississippi, T.V. Nation went and got themselves some slaves.

While Mississippi "ratified" the abolishment of slavery during the filming of the T.V. Nation segment, it did not get sent to the Office of Federal Register until today.
posted by Cold Lurkey (87 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Not ratified by all states" ≠ "Not yet abolished," of course, so the Michael Moore question is more than a little unfair.

That said - keep it classy, Mississippi!
posted by fifthrider at 8:30 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I loved that episode! I loved T.V. Nation in general, but I already had mostly moved to the computer, and only caught maybe a third of the episodes.

The sketch I remember most was, "How much democracy can we buy for $10,000?" The answer: not much, but some.
posted by Malor at 8:30 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


"We're not racist! We're just inefficient!"
posted by Etrigan at 8:32 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


God what a great show was TV Nation. The car alarms. Crackers the Corporate Crimefighting Chicken.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:32 PM on February 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Obligatory.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:34 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't blame Mississippi. It just takes them a bit longer to read.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:40 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen much of Michael Moore's filmwork, but everything I've seen of it seems smart, perceptive, funny, and accessible. Do people only dislike it because Moore is outspoken and liberal? This confuses me.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:48 PM on February 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Abolished in Mississippi"... the 13th Amendment is binding on the states. This gesture was symbolic; it had no legal significance. As a practical, legal matter slavery was abolished in Mississippi on December 6, 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified and slavery was banned in the entire United States.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:51 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


It wasn't today. Mississippi sent it to the federal government back in January, and the feds wrote back noting that it was done a week and a half ago.

The only thing that happened today was that the story hit the national press.
posted by Flunkie at 8:53 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen much of Michael Moore's filmwork, but everything I've seen of it seems smart, perceptive, funny, and accessible. Do people only dislike it because Moore is outspoken and liberal? This confuses me.

Nah I have an appreciation for Moore's films and the way they get people actually talking about issues, but I also can't really stand the guy on a number of levels, and the degree to which he's willing to manipulate his audience via editing etc. in what should be strongly-argued films depresses me because you don't need to do that-- you're already right.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:58 PM on February 18, 2013 [27 favorites]


Do people only dislike it because Moore is outspoken and liberal?

The last two movies of his that I saw were outrageously deceptive, without ever quite lying. He pulls the crappy conservative rhetorical trick of describing a fact, describing another fact, describing a third fact, and then asking if they're linked, without actually saying so. (or demonstrating evidence that they are.) I wanted to like both of them (the 9/11 movie, and the one about healthcare) but ended up being terribly disappointed with them... and particularly angry with the parts about Cuba, where he painted the place as heaven on Earth.

I'll disagree at times with Maddow, sometimes quite strongly, but I respect her. Moore I do not respect. He is a liar without ever quite actually saying things that aren't true; he lies by implication. I haven't seen his earlier films, but after the two I did see, I concluded that he has become a manipulative asshole, and he thinks his audience is stupid. I'll have nothing more to do with him. He is not trustworthy.

Those films are propaganda, not documentaries, but he pretends otherwise.
posted by Malor at 8:58 PM on February 18, 2013 [47 favorites]


Malor nails it. He's the liberal Glenn Beck.
posted by maryr at 9:01 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


...OK, that might be a bit harsh. He's not as bad as Glenn Beck.
posted by maryr at 9:02 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bill O'Reilly is probably a more fair comparison, especially with the editing.
posted by maryr at 9:04 PM on February 18, 2013


Nobody is the "liberal Glenn Beck." Such a being does not exist. I have a hard enough time accepting the fact that Glenn Beck himself exists.
posted by tzikeh at 9:05 PM on February 18, 2013 [34 favorites]


Now my new goal is to become the liberal Glenn Beck.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:06 PM on February 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Glenn Beck is already both the conservative Glenn Beck and the liberal Glenn Beck.

Zere kean bee awnley wann!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 9:08 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen much of Michael Moore's filmwork, but everything I've seen of it seems smart, perceptive, funny, and accessible. Do people only dislike it because Moore is outspoken and liberal? This confuses me.

That's all he needs to be for people to dislike him very strongly and vocally, that combined with the fact that sometimes he seems to be actually effective.

He is a rabble-rouser, and sometimes in his movies has been known to go a little far to make his point. I remember him interviewing a half-senile Charlton Heston at the end of Bowling For Columbine, that seemed a little unfair. One of the South Park guys claims his juxtaposition of the Flash cartoon immediately after his interview with Moore in Bowling was done to falsely imply it was produced by the South Park guys. And of course there's been a horde of conservative "debunkers" out to disprove nearly everything he says; their arguments usually end up being pretty weak, but it's enough to ease the cognitive dissonance of his critics.

The thing is, he is an unapologetic ideologue, and presents his point of view strongly, but conservatives think that tactic is reserved to them alone. It is true, though, that I haven't seen his most recent movies; his best I think is Bowling for Columbine, which perhaps not coincidentally is his least partisan, most uncertain of its conclusions.

I'll disagree at times with Maddow, sometimes quite strongly, but I respect her. Moore I do not respect.

Now you see I find Maddow's patter annoying, where she'll say the same thing five times in a row slightly rephrased but with greater emphasis each time, trying to build her statements up to epic earthshaking importance. I agree with most of what she says, but her style drives me up the wall, I feel like shouting GET ON WITH IT, but I guess she does have an hour to fill every night.

...OK, that might be a bit harsh. He's not as bad as Glenn Beck.

Moore has his faults, but he's far, far from being as bad as Beck. Beck is a genuine lunatic.
posted by JHarris at 9:11 PM on February 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Glenn Beck is already both the conservative Glenn Beck and the liberal Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck is the new Lyndon LaRouche.
posted by JHarris at 9:12 PM on February 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Totally, the dude who has pretty much dedicated a majority of his career to standing up for poor and middle class people is EXACTLY like Glenn Beck. Basically if you have an opinion on politics you are a version of Glenn Beck. It's not even called commentary anymore, it's just called Glenn Becking now.
posted by windbox at 9:14 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Glenn Beck is the new Lyndon LaRouche.

Perfectly skewered.
posted by jaduncan at 9:17 PM on February 18, 2013


Do people only dislike it because Moore is outspoken and liberal? This confuses me

Don't forget that he's fat, because if you do, you will constantly be reminded of that fact. For all the good reasons to dislike him, they are far shown less than the fact that he is overweight.

On topic though, Mississippi, just now? Really?? You wonder why people in other states make fun of you?
posted by usagizero at 9:18 PM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


“Jesse Helms Cundieff...“

Pure gold!
posted by Jughead at 9:24 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watching this, I'm betting the "man in the street" is thinking "these are my slaves" is a sexual thing, or a joke. Only Moore would spin it as "These backward-ass country-fucks really think these are modern day slaves and are good with it".
posted by kjs3 at 9:25 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, TV Nation, how I miss you. I loved that show!
posted by SisterHavana at 9:26 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Only Moore would spin it as "These backward-ass country-fucks really think these are modern day slaves and are good with it".

The view in the south that slavery "wasn't that bad" for black people is to this day not as uncommon as you would assume.
posted by crayz at 9:30 PM on February 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


Michael Moore started out being more satirical and his "Roger & Me" interview attempts were inspired by David Letterman's ambush-style interview attempts at GE headquarters, ones done ambush-style, strictly for the sake of comedy. At the time of the movie's release, the inspiration seemed obvious, made sense in the context of the times, the Zeitgeist or whatever. Not coincidentally, "TV Nation" included regular segments from former Letterman writer and onetime Letterman girlfriend Merrill Markoe.

I remember thinking the white "slaves" were remarkably good sports about all this. I presume they got at least some decent craft service goodies for the trouble.
posted by raysmj at 9:32 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Well, an attempt to drop off a fruit basket to execs at GE, but ...)
posted by raysmj at 9:36 PM on February 18, 2013


I'm not always happy with Moore's films in that I often think they could be better. But whenever I read someone making the argument that Moore is a "liar" and his films are "propaganda", I understand clearly that the person making the argument sees bad faith as Moore's method, and has responded in the same vein.
posted by mwhybark at 9:37 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


mwhybark: But whenever I read someone making the argument that Moore is a "liar" and his films are "propaganda", I understand clearly that the person making the argument sees bad faith as Moore's method, and has responded in the same vein.

We should sit down and go through the 9/11 movie sometime, mwhybark. It was not made in good faith. And I don't mean 'respectful of Bush', because the man is clearly a war criminal. But you sure as fuck wouldn't know that from Moore's movie, which is a smear job, a mashup of constant innuendo. Instead of going for the real truth, much of which was completely visible at the time, he went for the conspiracy angle so, so hard.

He doesn't actually lie. Rather, he makes false implications; he encourages you to lie to yourself.

If you'll remember, he was very proud of the fact that he didn't lie in his movie. But I'll tell you, if someone has to actually stand up and yell to the heavens that "I DID NOT LIE IN MY MOVIE", then you can be pretty goddamn sure something shady is going on.
posted by Malor at 9:45 PM on February 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh, I'm expecting "I was merely stating the facts."
posted by JackFlash at 9:48 PM on February 18, 2013


I noted that suitor guys were less cool with the experience, and less thankfully to get their 'Free Papers'
I liked the racial rôle reversal as well, White slaves, Black owner.
It was a big favorite episode.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:08 PM on February 18, 2013


I had kind of decided I was over Michael Moore, but on the advice of a friend went back and watched the one major film of his I had missed, Roger & Me. If you also missed it, check it out, it's pretty fantastic. His trademark style is there but less overwhelming than in later movies, and it's a very sincere, heartfelt work - unsurprisingly, I guess, since it's about his hometown. There are things I disagree with Moore on, but his genuine respect and support for poor Americans and their struggles (something we don't see enough of, even among liberals) is reason enough for me to not write him off. Looking forward to checking out more T.V. Nation
posted by naoko at 10:12 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Except slavery hasn't been abolished. The text of the 13th amendment says it right there in the first sentence:
... except as punishment for a crime ...
So you can go hang out in plantation prisons like Angola, where white men with guns on horses will supervise you while you till the fields for $0.02 to $0.24 an hour, and due to harsh lengthy sentences, you might never get out. It's as bad elswhere in the country, too.
posted by yourcelf at 10:15 PM on February 18, 2013 [22 favorites]


@crayz: The view in the south that slavery "wasn't that bad" for black people is to this day not as uncommon as you would assume.

That's a convenient fiction for people who want to continue to paint the whole of the south as stuck in the 1930s racists.

Citation needed.
posted by kjs3 at 10:15 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here are some citations for you. Please update Wikipedia as you see fit.

1

2.

3.
posted by boo_radley at 10:48 PM on February 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


To continue with the Michael Moore derailing: The book George W Bush was reading on September 11, 2001, was not called "My Pet Goat." Moore can manipulate political reality all he wants, but getting the trivia wrong puts his name square on my poop list.

In red ink.

Take that, commie!
posted by themanwho at 10:50 PM on February 18, 2013


Here are some citations for you. Please update Wikipedia as you see fit.

I completely agree that it's an opinion that's out there, but given that of these three, one is from Iowa/Minnesota and one from Pennsylvania/California, it doesn't seem fair to pin this one entirely on the South.
posted by naoko at 11:08 PM on February 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Moore lost a lot of fans by his cruel treatment of Charlton Heston, who was at the time seriously crippled by Alzheimer's.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:17 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Everybody knows about Mississippi, goddam
posted by iotic at 11:20 PM on February 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


That's a convenient fiction for people who want to continue to paint the whole of the south as stuck in the 1930s racists.

You hear it all the time from conservatives, and not just southerners.
posted by empath at 11:25 PM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I LOLed when his pants size was tighter because he wasn't working as much since acquiring his slaves. Come on, that's much funnier than the weird beckian dialectic going on in here!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:29 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Moore lost a lot of fans by his cruel treatment of Charlton Heston, who was at the time seriously crippled by Alzheimer's.

Fuck him. The guy was the head of an organisation dedicated to keep murder weapons freely circulating so that more Columbines would keep on happening, without ever having the courage to see the victims of his fetishism.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:18 AM on February 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


The book George W Bush was reading on September 11, 2001, was not called "My Pet Goat."

Eh, who cares.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:19 AM on February 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


If anybody is at fault for that, it's the NRA for making a senile old man their spokesman.
posted by empath at 12:22 AM on February 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


"You got what? Hot DAWG!"
posted by salishsea at 12:41 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


the NRA for making a senile old man their spokesman.

"But...but you asked the spokesman questions. Mean questions!"
posted by jaduncan at 12:43 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be honest I think a lot of liberal criticism of Michael Moore is driven by Stockholm syndrome. Back in the early noughties there was so much wingnut rage directed at him, with every single frame of his movies subjected to the same sort of analysis now directed at Obama's birth certificate, that you had to be very strong not to be unconsciously influenced by this "criticism".

Combine that with the usual instinct for triangulating of many liberal commentators and you get a situation where of course rightwing criticism of Moore is over the top, but he clearly is not serious enough and too sloppy to be worth defending.

As done by people who did take Jonah Goldberg or Megan "2x4" McArdle serious for far longer than they deserved.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:46 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


18 years ago? Goddamn I'm old, I remember watching this episode when it first came out.. I loved TV Nation and I miss the 90s.
posted by fshgrl at 12:49 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like Moore's work a lot, but he is often really sloppy with the facts and he does sometimes edit things in misleading ways... It's so frustrating, because he doesn't have to do that stuff to make guys like W look awful. They really are spectacularly awful, and he doesn't need to rig the game. If he hired some good fact-checkers and based his movies entirely on verifiable truth, he would still make compelling movies and his conservative critics would have a much harder time dismissing him. As it is now, they can usually just draw up a list of his fibs and mistakes and pretty much ignore the long, long list of heinous shit he got right.

In hindsight, it's pretty amazing that something like TV Nation aired on network TV. Moore makes leftist activism genuinely entertaining, and god bless him for it. He has a done a lot of good, and I admire the hell out of the guy, even if I don't always respect him. He is kind of sleazy, but he is sleazy for the sake of making the world a better place. If you've got to be a sleaze, that's the kind of sleaze to be.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:59 AM on February 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


boo_radley link no. 3 above turns out to be an AMAZINGLY LOATHSOME piece by Michael Medved. Not to be missed if you want to enjoy some terrible spinning by a man about whom the word disingenuous can be accurately applied, or if you want to induce vomiting. I actually took the time to write out a rebuttal to the whole thing before coming back to the thread and noticing it wasn't really being presented as something that needed to be refuted. The whole thing is so weaselly it might have been ghost-written by Cheasel T. Weasel.
posted by JHarris at 1:52 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was pretty shocked to see that the confederate flag was part of Mississippi's flag. Wow.

It can be easy to forget what paperwork a state has done, but state flags are all over a state, visually reminding everyone. That would creep me out.
posted by el io at 1:53 AM on February 19, 2013


That's what it's like when the Georgia state flag is Confederate-y. Some people still fly that version of it.
posted by JHarris at 2:12 AM on February 19, 2013


Technically it's not the original Confederate flag at all, which is some version of this. The familiar "Confederate Flag" was actually a battle flag, which was later adopted into the design.

When you see people flying or displaying the stars and bars, recall that it is a symbol which was created to fly above people who were committing treason and murder in the pursuit of defending slavery.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:45 AM on February 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


recall that it is a symbol which was created to fly above people who were committing treason and murder in the pursuit of defending slavery.

Wouldn't that also apply to the Stars and Stripes, though?
posted by dubold at 3:04 AM on February 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Stars and Stripes are a symbol of treason and bloodshed, but slavery was not one of the major causes of the American Revolution. Slavery was, by the rebels' own admission, the #1 cause of the Civil War.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:33 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the TV show better than his movies: due to the format, he kept it simple, and let the stories speak for themselves. The acadamy-award winning actor trying to flag down a NYC cab was pure brilliance - the cabs kept passing him by to pick up a scraggly looking white guy, who was an actual violent felon, just released from prison and recruited for this episode... and then they passed the well-dressed actor by to pick up a guy in a clown costume.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:35 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Taking from the other guy while he's paying your way. The American Way.

The above link is a classic piece of agitprop/satire. Newt Gingrich insists on cutting government spending. Michael Moore points out that Mr Gingrich's county receives the 3rd most government spending in the US, and what would he like to cut? Moore meets people who want government spending cut - and asks them "So what should we cut? The library? The highway?"

---------------------------------------

There was also a very famous (at the time) piece where the show demonstrated the everyday prejudice faced by black men in New York. Black actor Yaphet Kotto and a white convicted felon would try to hail cabs. Sadly, I can't find a link to the video (it was TV Nation episode 1, series 1, from memory), but time and again, the cabs would pass Kotto to pick up the felon.

The correspondent would then ask the cab driver why he'd ignored the black man - and their response might be that he was harder to see (so the show would move him into the area with the most light) or that he looked threatening (so they'd give him a bunch of flowers and a baby). And yet, for the most part, cabs would attempt to pick up the white guy instead of the black guy.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

These little stunts might seem quaint now - but at the time, this sort of satire seemed revolutionary. The cab stunt got repeated on Letterman, and got a lot of press, as well. Whether it helped change things for the better is unclear, but it certainly demonstrated, in a lighthearted manner, a form of institutionalised racism and prejudice that many people assumed did not exist.


Michael Moore was far, FAR better suited to TV than film (though his earlier films are quite different to his later ones in style and tone).

TV Nation had a bunch of other great correspondents as well - from Louis Theroux to Rusty Cundieff
posted by Sedition at 4:59 AM on February 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


TV Nation, great show. Roger and Me, also really well done.

I think a number of people were turned off by the looseness of some of Moore's documentaries. The Heston bit was a bit much even though Heston didn't admit to having Alzheimer's until after the film's release and stepped down from the NRA.
posted by destro at 5:31 AM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was quite a while ago, so maybe I'm misremembering, but here's the way I remember the Charlton Heston thing:

(1) Moore asks perfectly reasonable questions, and is polite about it. Heston is also polite. They have a polite conversation.

(2) Charlton Heston seemed in complete control of his faculties. It didn't even occur to me that he might not have been in complete control of his faculties. He was quick with answers, sharp with repartee, and so forth. He seemed to understand the questions perfectly well - again, it didn't even occur to me that he might not have.

(3) Charlton Heston gave a horrible, beyond the pale answer to one question. I forget exactly what, but something blatantly racist or something like that. Out of the blue, and it didn't seem like a leading question to me (i.e. not designed to "trick him into showing he's a racist" or whatever).

(4) Moore, seemingly taken aback, asks something like "I'm sorry, did you say such-and-such?"

(5) Heston realizes what he let slip, and suddenly "This interview is over."

(6) The NRA starts claiming that Heston is not in control of his faculties; how could that dastardly Michael Moore do this to him, how horrible; did I mention he's fat.

(7) The idea from (6) starts filtering down to the general conservative world, then to the mainstream, and finally to won't-somebody-think-of-the-Heston liberals.

And now I've just watched it again. Things I got wrong:

(A) Heston didn't end the interview after he realized what he let slip. He avoided the repeat of the question and redirected back onto something else.

(B) Towards the end, literally as Heston was getting up to leave, Moore got a bit impolite in my opinion, asking Heston if he'd like to apologize to the people of Flint for having a big NRA rally in Flint shortly after a kid had been shot. Before that, it was a perfectly polite conversation.

One very notable thing that I did not get wrong: That guy sure seemed mentally able to me.

And looking at Wikipedia and IMDB, the timeline is that the movie premiered in Cannes months and months before Heston announced that he had "symptoms consistent with Alzheimers" (not "had Alzheimers", let alone "seriously crippled by Alzheimers", let alone "seriously crippled by Alzheimers at the time of the filming which must have been something like a year earlier"), and in fact Heston's announcement came about a week before the US premier of the movie. Just by coincidence, I guess.
posted by Flunkie at 5:31 AM on February 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I completely agree that it's an opinion that's out there...it doesn't seem fair to pin this one entirely on the South.

Having taken historical tours of plantations in SC, it really is the company line for explaining it. From the guides it was basically 15% "yeah, slavery was morally questionable" and 85% "but those were the times...and it REALLY wasn't so bad, they kinda liked it."

Notable was that all the plantation tour guides were white.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:51 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The view in the south that slavery "wasn't that bad" for black people is to this day not as uncommon as you would assume.

I guess this view would mostly be held in that part of "the south" where there aren't any Black people?

Notable was that all the plantation tour guides were white.

An interesting take on this is the mystery novel, The Cutting Season. Its protagonist is an African American woman who manages tours at a Louisiana antebellum plantation where some of her ancestors had been held as slaves. Most of the "plantation life" reenactors are relatively poor Blacks who rely on the seasonal work but are beginning to object to the "it wasn't that bad" message in their reenactment script.
posted by fuse theorem at 6:12 AM on February 19, 2013


I was pretty shocked to see that the confederate flag was part of Mississippi's flag. Wow.

It's worse than that. Georgia flies the Stars and Bars which was the first flag of the Confederacy (they stopped flying the Confedrate Battle Flag as part of their flag in 2001 then, as recently as 2003 they started flying the Stars and Bars). And Arkansas' state flag explicitely gives more prominance to their being part of the Confederacy than part of the united States. (No, the saltires as a part of Alabama and Florida almost certainly aren't Confederate in origin and Texas predates the Confederacy, but don't look closely at Tennessee ). I think the Georgia one might even be more offensive than the Mississippi one as that was both intentional and only a decade ago.
posted by Francis at 6:24 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Stars and Stripes are a symbol of treason and bloodshed, but slavery was not one of the major causes of the American Revolution. Slavery was, by the rebels' own admission, the #1 cause of the Civil War.

I am 100% not disagreeing with you about a major cause of the Civil War - I'm just saying, the American Revolution had a large amount of white men who thought they should be free, but that black men shouldn't. Samuel Johnson commented on this: "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"

Anyway, my original point was going to be that flags take on additional meaning over time, and that there are people who wave Confederate flags and really don't mean to be assholes about it.

I'm one of those people whose first association with the Stars and Bars isn't so much "slavery" as "redneck" - and I consider redneck a term of endearment - but then again I think given the history and strong connotations of the Confederate flag it'd be considerate to not wave it around so much until the underlying racial issues it provokes are respectfully addressed.
posted by dubold at 6:43 AM on February 19, 2013


Hilarious note re the Confederate flag...we passed a gas station not long ago with a couple in the parking lot selling giant flags for your yard, as you do. One was a Confederate flag, and even in Texas, that was something I was shocked to see. But then...one other flag was one of those "Coexist" pictures with the yin-yang symbol and various religious symbols all floating around the earth in a style beloved of hippie drum-circle types everywhere.

Probably because the factories that make these in China haven't the foggiest idea what either flag is talking about.
posted by emjaybee at 6:50 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love Moore because when he annoys conservatives and liberals alike, it's a good sign he's onto something.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:57 AM on February 19, 2013


I wasn't able to find the roll call for the vote in 1995. I wanted to see who abstained.
posted by rdr at 7:12 AM on February 19, 2013


I love Moore because when he annoys conservatives and liberals alike, it's a good sign he's onto something.

I don't follow his work all that much - when has he annoyed liberals? He dissed Hillary Clinton back in 2008, sure, but only after coming out for Obama, so, kind of a wash. (Curious to see where he goes if she runs in 2016....)

My casual man in the street impression has always been that he shoots fish in barrels, but only goes after red fish. Which suggests that he's really rather timid, that he doesn't have the stones to risk alienating the knee-jerk Aren't-Republicans-Awful? crowd that made him rich and showered him with awards

He's not for me. On film and in print, I find him too smug, too self-righteous, too lacking in nuance, too predictable, his schtick too obvious and his jokes not all that funny. As mentioned above, like much of right wing talk radio. (Also annoying is his shoving cameras in the faces of the unfortunate low-ranking minions and gate keepers who keep him from confronting the Saurons of the moment. It's their jobs, buster. You're supposed to be on the side of the working stiff. Back off.)

If he is annoying all sides (again, I've not see it), he's not a patch on South Park, which really does have no sacred cows and is, when on, far funnier, far more anarchic, far more cutting. No surprise then that they can slice and dice him. Then too, they are after rainbow trout and do their fishing in a far larger body of water.

(BTW, that fast and loose with facts thing, you have to wonder if it's deliberate. His considerable core audience won't care, and it tends to get him talked about. Again, like talk radio.)
posted by IndigoJones at 7:14 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The view in the south that slavery "wasn't that bad" for black people is to this day not as uncommon as you would assume.

I guess this view would mostly be held in that part of "the south" where there aren't any Black people?


That would be "the south," for people who think that. The amount of ongoing segregation is incredible down there. Not legal "This Water Fountain For Coloreds" segregation, but de facto "They live over there, and we live over here, and there's no reason to go over there, now is there?" You can grow up damn near anywhere in the south and never have a meaningful interaction with a person of a different race, regardless of your socioeconomic status.
posted by Etrigan at 7:35 AM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


If he hired some good fact-checkers and based his movies entirely on verifiable truth, he would still make compelling movies and his conservative critics would have a much harder time dismissing him.

Which he did with Sicko, and it didn't slow them down for a second. This thread is evidence that the right wing has successfully given him cooties. They're amazingly good at that, or rather, we're amazingly willing to fall in line for them that way. They may not be capable of embarrassment themselves, but they know how to play it in those who are. I've certainly never heard a Republican run away from Ann Coulter the way a Democrat will run away from Michael Moore when when a Republican snaps his fingers and says "Cringe, Liberal!"
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:55 AM on February 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


As a foreign person, I have no idea what republicans have or have not managed to do in regards to controlling the image of Michael Moore and feel quite confident in saying that I can mostly judge him by his works.

I enjoyed his willfully naive everyman shtick in his TV-show and other movies but Fahrenheit 9/11 was horrible enough to sour me on him completely, even though I agreed with most of the conclusions the movie made. Quoting Malor: "a smear job, a mashup of constant innuendo."
posted by Authorized User at 8:22 AM on February 19, 2013


Yeah, what's really frustrating is that when he takes a side, he doesn't argue fairly, and then the other side can present his argument as being The Reason Why Liberals Think X, and it makes the position of X look much, much weaker than it really is. The real arguments get obscured by his slimy agitprop.

He gets rich, because people love to have their biases confirmed, but it comes at the direct expense of the causes he supposedly champions.
posted by Malor at 8:33 AM on February 19, 2013


I've certainly never heard a Republican run away from Ann Coulter the way a Democrat will run away from Michael Moore when when a Republican snaps his fingers and says "Cringe, Liberal!"

It's because he's a liar, George_Spiggott. It's not because he's accused of being one, it's because he actually is one. He doesn't do it directly, he tricks you into lying to yourself, but the effect is the exact same thing.

I don't dislike Moore because Republicans don't like Moore, I don't like Moore because he's a sleaze. The liberal side of the argument really, really doesn't need his "help".
posted by Malor at 8:35 AM on February 19, 2013


A more technical way of putting that: Michael Moore deliberately and knowingly confuses correlation and causation, and he does so in order to make people accept his viewpoints. He understands the difference, he understands that it makes his arguments outright deceptive, but he doesn't care.
posted by Malor at 8:39 AM on February 19, 2013


That would be "the south," for people who think that.

Oh yeah, I get that point. I was just questioning the reference to "the south" as if it were only comprised of one race of people. Widespread segregation doesn't mean other races don't exist, it mainly just makes it easier to pretend they don't. I doubt many Blacks in "the south" who are descended from slaves would agree with the notion of slavery being "not that bad".

You can grow up damn near anywhere in the south and never have a meaningful interaction with a person of a different race, regardless of your socioeconomic status.

Unfortunately this is true is many other parts of the country as well, particularly several western states.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:28 AM on February 19, 2013


My casual man in the street impression has always been that he shoots fish in barrels, but only goes after red fish.

Yeah, everyone thinks they know which things in our world are the things that future generations will see as objectively stupid or wrong, and that they can say to the rest of the word you just don't get it, do you???

South Park has its own sacred cows just like everything else. In fact, the unexamined assumptions and biases in works like South Park, once identified, usually turn out to be worse, because they present the appearance that they don't have any and are supposedly objective truth (which is hard to discover, frequently non-obvious, and intentionally obscured by powerful interests). At the very worst this turns into things like Manbearpig, which is mostly a tremendous Argumentum ad Gorum.
posted by JHarris at 12:51 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The guy was the head of an organisation dedicated to keep murder weapons freely circulating so that more Columbines would keep on happening, without ever having the courage to see the victims of his fetishism.

Plus he used the term "negro" a lot when he was marching for civil rights.

The real arguments get obscured by his slimy agitprop.

Yeah, this is why I dislike Michael Moore even as I think he can be valuable. He brings up a good subject, something that needs to be addressed, then ... stops. Goes off into this ridicule and self-congratulatory righteousness thing. It's like he switches into Bizarro Rush Limbaugh at some point. He can do good work. He just, doesn't sometimes.

"I think slavery is still going on. Not physically but in the mind"

And let's not follow up on that actually interesting idea at all, or the actual, genuine problem with human trafficking that actually exists in the U.S., but put on a goofy farce to some banjo music.
You look at Streetwise Kids from '96 or all the stuff on sex tourism from back then (Girls from Chaka Street, Highway to Hell) or more recent stuff (Dreams Die Hard) and it gets into exactly what the guy towards the beginning said "slavery is still going on" and how it works.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:06 PM on February 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


South Park is the leading exponent in the whole line of "the truth is in the middle" bullshit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:35 PM on February 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


The idea that there is more residential segregation in the Deep South cities and towns is misinformed, sorry. Please check your Census data.
posted by raysmj at 2:43 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


For reference. To a certain extent, residential patterns are a reflection of economic patterns of old, and this is particularly true in older southern cities. So this doesn't address the question of, Segregation of the mind and culture, or school segregation (which is bad everywhere these days, as far as black-white relations go). But there aren't really any places in southern cities or towns with substantial African-American populations where a white person would be able to avoid all contact black people, or vice versa, even daily to near-daily contact with black people or vice versa, even when living in an affluent suburb or exurb.
posted by raysmj at 3:06 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


But there aren't really any places in southern cities or towns with substantial African-American populations where a white person would be able to avoid all contact black people, or vice versa, even daily to near-daily contact with black people or vice versa, even when living in an affluent suburb or exurb.

Hence my use of the word "meaningful." You don't have a desegregated city just because the waiters are black. As you put it, my comment was more about "segregation of the mind and culture."
posted by Etrigan at 3:14 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, do you think you can have meaningful relationships when you don't see any black people at all, as will be the case in some of the other cities discussed? It's more a case of "out of sight, out of mind" vs. "in sight, not in mind," but in neither case are you having meaningful interactions. (And it's not just waiters anymore, for gosh sakes, although there's still too much of that sort of working relationship only.)
posted by raysmj at 3:26 PM on February 19, 2013


I live in Fort Worth, which has a large black population. Most of which lives in the poorer housing on the east side of I 35, while the white population is mostly on the west. If you compare rents, there is at least a 100 to 200 dollar difference in what you pay on east vs west. Segregation is still kicking like anything here.
posted by emjaybee at 5:01 AM on February 20, 2013


A quick search (not able to link now, but it's all Census info) shows that Fort Worth is one of the most residentially segregated cities in America by economic status, but it's not one of the most racially segregated cities as far as white and African-American populations go. Not all black people are poor, although more are lower-income than white people, percentage-wise.
posted by raysmj at 7:35 AM on February 20, 2013


They did an interesting set of simulations a number of years ago with colored dots. Each dot would be either red or blue, sprinkled randomly in a grid. A dot could be 'happy' or 'unhappy', depending on various criteria, and 'unhappy' dots would try to change positions with other 'unhappy' dots, vaguely like people moving houses.

They simulated a bunch of different stuff with this, but the thing I remember most clearly was that if they gave the dots a slight color preference, if they made their 'happiness' constraint having just one dot, in the eight surrounding dots, being the same color as they were, then once the grid settled, what you actually ended up seeing was, typically, two big swaths, one of red and one of blue.

You'd look at the dotfield, and knowing that they had a color preference, you'd think, "Man, those are some racist bastard little dots!" But this happened with the smallest possible preference. Even if the dots were perfectly happy with 7 out of 8 neighbors being the opposite color, you still usually ended up with 'segregated neighborhoods'.

Those cities, in other words, may be nowhere near as racist as they look. At least if we can believe a dot simulation, any race awareness at all is strongly magnified when projected into a larger community.
posted by Malor at 10:48 AM on February 20, 2013


But that ignores history. There was a lot of work invested in maintaining segregation.
posted by rdr at 2:42 PM on February 20, 2013


naoko: "I completely agree that it's an opinion that's out there, but given that of these three, one is from Iowa/Minnesota and one from Pennsylvania/California, it doesn't seem fair to pin this one entirely on the South."

Two things here (and these aren't particularly aimed at you, but you were the last to respond to me, so hey).
1. The take-away is that "Citation Needed" is bad interaction with others. Don't be lazy. Don't speak at people like you're a website.
2. I think that the idea was cultivated in the South and spread out. Lee Atwater didn't call it the Southern Strategy for no reason.
posted by boo_radley at 2:12 PM on February 24, 2013


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