Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Mike's Letter

July 31st, 2001 12:00 AM

Two TV NATION Victories (finally) and Our Fourth Emmy Nomination

Dear friends,

Please forgive my absence from the web for the past few months. I've been on the road shooting my next film and writing my next book. The book will be out in the fall; the movie next spring. One will have words, the other will have words AND pictures. Though one will be in black and white, the other will be in stunning, digitally-mastered color. Both will be somewhat intelligible and easy to follow.

That's about all I'm allowed to say at this point (but for those who have heard I recently beat the NRA to a pulp in a rare victory for our country's sane and nonviolent majority, I can assure you all will be told in due time and on a 20x40 foot screen).

This work has kept me from sending out my Internet letters and from doing anything on television this summer, other than ending up as the subject of a question on The Weakest Link. There is something about your contributions to the culture being recognized by a game show that stirs a certain pride in the soul.

And if that wasn't enough to call it a life right there, some nice and surprising news came our way: The Awful Truth has been nominated for a Prime Time Emmy Award at this year's Emmy ceremonies in September. It's for "Best Non Fiction Series [Reality]."

This is our fourth Emmy nomination as "best series " -- two for The Awful Truth, and two for TV Nation (which we won). This year's is especially nice considering we're not even on the air. Also, we were happy to see that among our "competitors" -- the other four nominees in our category -- all but one have someone on the show who worked on TV Nation and/or The Awful Truth. It's comforting to see that our antics didn't ruin everyone's career, and that most have found gainful employment.

TV Nation was actually back in the news this weekend. Two stories which we helped bring to light at that time (1994-95) have finally had some resolution and victory.

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that the "public" beaches of Greenwich must be open to ANYONE, no matter what town they are from. Greenwich law prohibited anyone who wasn't a wealthy resident of Greenwich (i.e., white) from using the public beaches on Long Island Sound.

As you may recall, our correspondent, Janeane Garafolo, tried to take a bunch of Harlem residents to Greenwich beach one day for a swim -- and was turned away. So she and our staff and our friends from Harlem got a big boat and a chopper and invaded the Greenwich beach by air and sea.

When stopped by the Coast Guard, Janeane and the others jumped overboard and swam the half-mile to the segregated beach -- where they were immediately threatened with arrest. A young law school student had been fighting the town over the issue and took this case himself all the way to the state supreme court. The beach is expected to begin admitting the public on August 16 -- "TV Nation Day!"

The other event of note was the town in Texas where 1/3 of New York City's sewage is shipped to and dumped each week (250,000 tons a day makes a 2,065-mile weekly trip from NYC to Sierra Blanca, Texas).

The company in charge of the operation had their contract canceled, so now the residents of west Texas may be able to breathe a little easier. It's weird to be there on the prairie and be able to smell the subway stop at Times Square.

The sludge company sued us after we aired the piece and, initially, a Texas jury and a hanging judge (both the courthouse and the street the courthouse sits on are named after the sole judge who sits in said courthouse in Pecos, Texas) found us guilty and whacked us with a $5 million judgment. We then left Texas and returned to the United States where we appealed the decision.

The appeals court ruled unanimously in our favor, overturning the decision, and reprimanded the judge for good measure. It kept our legal record perfect (as it stands to this day: 23 lawsuits, 23 victories, not a dime paid to anyone, so don't waste your time!).

We also just finished a new music video with R.E.M. which should be appearing on MTV/VH-1 in the next few weeks (I'll get it up on our website shortly). We shot it in a Brooklyn high school with a few hundred students -- and we decided to let the teenagers actually shoot the video. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to show it to you.

On the political front, the Bush junta and its Democratic allies are once again this week going to try to push a fast-track "free" trade bill through Congress, opening up all of Latin America to be this country's sweatshop. Don't let it happen. Call your member of Congress today.

Hope you're all having a great summer. Don't spend that rebate check on too many Dairy Queens!

Michael Moore
Michael Moore Home

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