Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike's Letter

September 30th, 1999 12:00 AM

Dan Quayle

Dear friends,

Let us pause for a moment to recover from the sad news this week that Dan Quayle will not be running for President next year. Potatoe lovers all over America are feeling a sense of loss and I can only say that with Quayle out of the running, all we have to look forward to now is the day when we get to hear more than a sound bite from George W. Bush and realize he's even dumber than Quayle. There is a reason you have not heard Bush Jr. speak on television for any length of time. The media knows he's as dense as oatmeal and because they have been so busy touting him as "the front runner" to actually put him on to speak for ten minutes would reveal how not on top of things they really are.

And with 56 % of the public in a poll last week saying they did not know Al Gore was running for President, it's clear we are headed for another record of people not voting in a presidential election.

So what better time to go buy a cheap video and pop some popcorn! Our award-winning film, "The Big One", is now available for purchase to the general public. You can get your own copy of this documentary movie at a special discount price by clicking here, or by going to your local video store. "The Big One," last year's largest grossing documentary, takes a pointed, humorous look at how the average working person is "enjoying" our current economic rah-rah. This is the movie that shamed Phil Knight into announcing he would no longer hire children to work in his Indonesian factories (and probably the first film to be distributed by a Hollywood studio that ever contained the words "East Timor").

Speaking of the miracle of home video, we will be releasing the first season of "The Awful Truth" on video after the first of the year. I promised a few months ago in the hands of those who are not part of the cable elite (or those stuck with unenlightened cable systems who don't carry Bravo) and I am happy to report that everyone will have access to this Emmy-nominated show in early 2000.

The re-run of the 12 episodes of "The Awful Truth" has just ended and Bravo is now deciding whether or not to renew the series. They've expressed their desire to do so, and now it's just a matter of the deal getting worked out. This would not be a bad time to send an e-mail to Bravo and let them know that you and your friends would like to see a new season of "The Awful Truth." You can reach them at programming@bravotv.com

As we take a break from the airwaves of the good people at Bravo, I am happy to announce that our old friend and "TV Nation" regular, Louie=s Theroux, will begin his own series on Bravo this Friday evening, October 1, at 8pm ET/PT. It's called "Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends" and it features Louis spending an hour each week with some of our finer citizens -- militia groups, the Christian right, survivalists, and professional wrestlers. He pays visits to a demolition derby in Michigan and the set of an "adult" movie. Fans of "TV Nation" will remeber Louis as the guy who traveled with the Avon Ladies of the Amazon, fired guns with Ted Nugent, and spent some time with the new, improved Ku Klux Klan. This is Louis' first solo effort, which was first broadcast by the BBC. Please give him your support and tune in to his debut show Friday night.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to announce the return of my old friend, Ben Hamper. Ben, as many of you know, is the author of one of the greatest books of the '90s -- "Rivethead." I first met Ben back in Flint when he was working on the General Motors assembly line. Then one day he stopped by my office at "The Flint Voice" to see if he could write record reviews. I said, "Why don't you write about working on the line?" and so he decided to give it a try. What resulted was some of the sharpest, wittiest, provocative writing that this country has ever seen -- a voice rarely heard. In "Roger & Me", he's the guy who poingiantly describes the night he realized he could no longer work on the assembly line and the panic attack that ensued, leading to a rendition of the Beach Boy's classic, "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

Well, we've asked Ben to write for us again and he has consented. He is still on disability from GM -- and funny as ever. Beginning today, we will run a weekly column of his on our website. Go to www.michaelmoore.com/hamper for his first installment (you will also find some samples there from "Rivethead," including my introduction to the book). Mark this site and I promise, you won't be disappointed by this important voice from working class.

Ben called last weekend to tell me he had two extra tickets if I wanted to go with him to the last game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit this past Monday. I told him I couldn't get to Michigan by then and that I guess my last visit to the old ballpark will have to be when I sang the Canadian National Anthem on the pitcher's mound in 1995 before the Tigers- Blue Jays game as part of our "Canada Night" segment on "TV Nation." What a weird rush that was. I told Ben that would rank right up there with watching Denny McClain win his 30th game in September of 1968.

"Hey, I was at that game, too!", Ben replied. "Where did you sit?" I asked. "First base side, lower deck." "Hey! Me, too!" 1968 was the beginning of the end for our home state of Michigan, a place that has never recovered from its racial and economic strife. But that year, Detroit won the World Series and in that strange way sports used to (and sometimes still does, witness the women's sooccer championship this year) give a group of people a sense of connection, a shared moment that was devoid of all the crap that is usually meant to divide us. At Tiger Stadium, there are no luxury boxes, no corporate section. Everyone sits real close together and close to the field, regardless of who you are. It will not be that way in the new stadium, named after a bank. Ben went to the last game, my dad taped it off the radio for me, and many members of the Michigan diaspora spread throughout the country sent me heartfelt notes on Monday night about the hope of that American dream our State full of assembly lines gave to us.

It turned out to be just that -- a dream, not a reality, and eventually it became our shared nightmare. I'm glad a piece of the old connection -- the prose of Ben Hamper -- will be with us once again and that all of us can share in it and have a good laugh. Check it out.

Yours,

Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

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