Subject: [SRRTAC-L:7238] Michael Moore's New Book Isn't
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 11:47:49 -0500
From: Ann Sparanese email@example.com>
Organization: Englewood Library
To: SRRT Action Council firstname.lastname@example.org>
Michael Moore was the keynote speaker at the convention of NJ Citizen Action which I attended this past Saturday. He told the assembled audience of 100+ people that his publisher HarperCollins had informed him that they will not be selling/distributing his new book "Stupid White Men and Other Excuses for the State of the Nation" --already printed -- because the content is offensive. He reported that the publisher also told him that he (Moore) is being "intellectually dishonest" not to state that GW Bush has done a good job in the last few months. Moore said that he has been told that the book will NOT be distributed as is, will be destroyed, and that if he will rewrite AND pay for the repinting of the book Harpercollins will publish the new version!!.
Moore said that, of course, he had no intention of doing so, and read some of the offensive material (including an "open letter" to the president) to the gathering. When asked by the audience what he would like them to do about this censorship, Moore said to do nothing right now -- that not only are his lawyers and other powers he has to bring to bear are doing their thing, but that he feels that there are more important things for people to be protesting and working on in this new period that getting his book out of limbo. (In six months, the copyright and the ability to publish reverts back to him.) He said he is not intending to "go public" (in the sense of an organized public campaign -- obviously he went "public" at this convention) beause he doesn't want to deflect from the other, more important work people have to do.
"Stupid white Men..." was supposed to come out a month or two ago, but first the book tour was canceled-- with Moore's concurrence because he also didn't feel like going around selling books right after Sept. 11 -- but the other shoe fell, just the other night, when HC gave him this news.
I didn't get an opportunity to speak to Moore afterward, but from all that he said, this is NOT a question of the CIA or the government demanding that a publisher stop publication for national security or some other well-known reason. The publisher just decided to walk away from the money -- the books ALREADY printed and sitting in a warehouse -- because of the current war-inspired, anti-dissent atmosphere. Even satire is biting the dust, by the publisher's own hand.
I understand Moore's position that with Ashcroft and the others running amok with military tribunals, new survellance plans, detentions, etc., the censorship by HarperCollins of his book is the least of the trouble we are in. Maybe he and his band of lawyers will succeed. But as librarians, it seems we are obligated to follow this up, find out some more, and make a response.
And if you ordered "Stupid White Men..." prepub for your library, well, don't hold your breath.
Head of Adult & Young Adult Services
Englewood Public Library
Englewood, NJ 07631