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Bravo to Michael Moore.

Michael Moore's television show The Awful Truth (Wednesday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET) is in its second season on the cable channel Bravo, and it's one good reason to have cable in your home. Moore's sense of humor, coupled with his sense of justice, makes the show funny, fresh, and more thought-provoking than any segment of Prime Time Live.

Take the premiere episode, which I hope Bravo will rebroadcast at some point. Moore begins by saying he's become more "advertiser friendly," and throughout the half hour, he has ex-cons identify themselves by name, prison, crime, years served, and release date before announcing their support of products such as Coca-Cola and the American Express Card. Celebrity testimonials at their most ludicrous. Ah, genius.

Then there's the Alan Keyes mosh pit moment, which you may have read about already but really is a sight to behold. During the primary season, Moore traveled across Iowa asking Presidential candidates to jump into a mobile mosh pit to the blaring music of Rage Against the Machine. Moore pledged that the first candidate who stage-dives gets his support. And I've got to hand it to Moore, he really made an effort to give all the candidates a chance. Most looked annoyed, including the Brothers Stiff: Al Gore and Bill Bradley. George W. cracked that Moore should find a real job. Moore turned this bit-o'-humor on its ass. He called his dad and asked if he owned an oil company he could work at. Steve Forbes reacted the way the tragically rich do when they have no idea what the hell is going on when confronted by the most rudimentary concepts of popular culture.

Keyes, a conservative black man, dove into a sea of left-leaning white youth. He was held up for the content of his character, not the color of his skin, which made my dry eyes moist.

So, does Keyes look stupid? No, not when you consider that Gary Bauer fell off a stage and out of the running while trying to flip a pancake in New Hampshire. Keyes had his butt held aloft by kids, while his opponents kissed ass for funds.

In the same episode, Moore also takes aim at the National Rifle Association's "Eddie Eagle" mascot with "Pistol Pete," a man in an extra-large foam-rubber suit in the shape of a gun. Eddie Eagle's song for children who find a gun ("Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.") is as goofy and scary as the "Duck and Cover" madness of the 1950s. Pistol Pete's song, which he sings at NRA headquarters, at a gun show, and on Capitol Hill, is way catchier: "Pistol Pete / Pistol Pete / Pull my trigger and feel my heat."

Moore's show is one part Will Rogers, one part I.F. Stone. Who says reporting has to be as dry as sand? For more information, set your browser to


At one time, hip-hop was said to be the CNN of black urban America. Lately, it's looked and sounded more like the fusing of the Spice Channel with every bad blaxploitation film you thought you never would see again. Then, over the din of cap droppin' pimps and rump-shakin' hos, comes a soul-sonic force No More Prisons.

Raptivism Records has released No More Prisons to raise funds for New York's Prison Moratorium Project, which is dedicated to curbing the prison industrial complex. Rappers such as Chubb Rock, Lil' Dap, Grandmaster Caz, and Sister Asia Feat are featured in all sorts of hip-hop grooves, but there is one thing constant: no bullshit lies about how fun it would be to pimp and ho. The lyrics are graphic, but so is the nature of mean streets and meaner prisons.

"The Plan" from The Reepz speaks of a government that builds housing projects next to prisons, or, as they say, "Pyramids to prisons." And the song has one of the finest lyrics for an anthem: "The plan is just to have your ass missing / From the womb to the tomb / From the streets to prisons." For more information on No More Prisons and the Prison Moratorium Project, go to

Fred McKissack is a writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Title Annotation:film producer
Author:McKissack, Fred
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 2000
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