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10/7/2004

Happytown > Happytown

Michael Moore in town and Banned Books Week

 

In case you hadn't heard, political activist, filmmaker and best-selling author Michael Moore was in town Oct. 2, at the University of Central Florida. Hosted by the Campus Activity Board, Moore's 60-city Slacker Uprising tour drew a crowd of 4,000 on the university's Memory Mall.

Not all of them were students. Pat, Eric, Jack and Betty Lou, a quartet of frost-tops in Take Back America T-shirts, came from Ormond Beach to hear Moore because they'd "like to send Bush back to Texas."

Of course, not everyone at the rally was politically simpatico with the idea of slackers uprising. The spelling-challenged group ROCK (Rebuilding on a Conservative Kornerstone) and the College Republicans showed up to represent the conservative perspective.

For the most part, though, Moore was preaching to a student-body choir. Signs urging us to "Buck Fush" and noting that "The Road to Hell is Paved With Republicans" waved beside an effigistic head of Lil' Shrubbie.

Entering to a standing ovation, Moore said he was "glad to be here in the home of Disney." In a discourse about Disney's decision to nix the distribution of his controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore said, "It never got reported that when Euro Disney was going bankrupt … the Saudi family wrote a $60 million check to Eisner."

Noting that the goal of his tour was "to remove Bush from the White House" and "to see young people come out to vote," Moore denied receiving any money for his UCF appearance. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Moore got $40,000 for a rally at the University of Florida on Monday, and The Washington Post reported on controversy regarding a $35,000 fee for his appearance at George Mason University.

Back at Memory Mall, Moore bounded onstage a half-hour late, dressed in a red baseball cap, black T-shirt and jeans. The crowd raised their hands and cheered.

Highlights from the 40-minute rally included Moore's positions on:

The debate: "Did Bush think that the TV networks wouldn't show his Three Stooges double takes?"

The election: "Four more years or four more wars?"

Kerry: "A man of courage, conviction and conscience."

Bush: "He's not much of a flipper. Let's just call him a flop."

The Iraq war: "A recruitment film for Al Qaeda."

A potential military draft: "The only way he can replenish the troops is to bring back the draft; 18- to 24-year-olds, mark my words."

Republicans: "Hate defines their agenda. They want to control your life, your bedroom, your reproductive organs. They want Howard Stern off the air."

Disney: "The mouse wouldn't release my movie."

All of which went over well with the crowd, which responded with chants of "Kerry," "Michael" and "Fuck the Mouse."

Mark Twain once wrote, "First God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then he created school boards." Sadly, Mr. Clemens didn't know how right he was. Book banning is all the rage these days, and Twain's work invokes the wrath of Bible-thumping wing nuts as often as that of any other author.

So as the American Library Association's Banned Books Week 2004 comes to a close [Sept. 25 through Oct. 2], Happytown™ pays tribute to books banned from our very own Florida schools.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Banned for race, sex, profanity, all the good stuff. Kids: Get it at the library, it's good!

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson. Banned for profanity, being disrespectful to adults (many of whom deserve disrespect, in our humble opinion) and creating an elaborate fantasy world. The horror!

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. See, it's got the "N" word in it, and we don't mean "Nixon."

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. Vulgar, obscene and violent, just like The OC!

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. And we know why the feebleminded ban books; in this case, because of a vividly described rape Angelou suffered as a child. Why can't she write about something nice?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. What's wrong with the The Great Gatsby? Ach, sometimes we feel like boats against the current.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. What the fuck?

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle. One Alabama report objected to "the book's listing the name of Jesus Christ together with the names of great artists, philosophers, scientists and religious leaders when referring to those who defend earth against evil." Key word there: Alabama.

Hamlet, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare. Banned for "strong sexual themes, violence, defiance of authority and witchcraft." On the other hand, Shakespeare is only considered the finest playwright in the history of the world. Wouldn't want kids exposed to that kind of filth.

This Friday, Oct. 8, if you notice empty desks at your office, go ahead and assume that the people who normally fill them are gay.

That's because they are, no doubt, out on the picket lines with Boycott for Equality, a national gay-rights protest. Headquartered in Atlanta, Boycott for Equality is a day dedicated to a public display of mounting frustrations over George W. Bush's opposition to gay marriage and all that it implies.

Boycott for Equality calls for GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) folks to skip work, buy nothing and stay off their cell phones for the day. (Like that's going to happen; you know how those people are.) And get this: GLBTs are to withdraw and walk around with $80 stuffed in their pockets, as directed on www.boycottforequality.com, as a way to measure the impact of gay dollars on the economy, even as they are denied legal rights and protections afforded to straight people. The next day, the wads are to be returned to bank accounts or spent at gay businesses. We don't exactly understand the math, but we do understand that it's about the size of the wad, and how you use it.

For women and their sympathizers, right around the corner on Oct. 19 is the professional networking organization 85 Broads' global "Buycott" event (www.85broads.com). "We invite you to leave your checkbook and credit cards at home as a symbolic gesture that we no longer 'buy' the glacial pace of change for working women around the world. Instead of shopping, go for a walk in the park, write a letter to a friend, enjoy a museum, or help someone in need … ." (Like that's going to happen; you know how women are.) Notice this group is not calling for wads, or for women to cut work. Their fannies would be fired, and then who'd be stepping and fetching for those after-work beer drinkers propped up on bar stools all over the country who don't need to prove nothin' about their buying power?

While we understand that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, all this bootlicking is getting a little embarrassing, what with virtually every media outlet in town ripping off a story about Orkin's malfeasance first reported in these pages Sept. 25, 2003.

On Oct. 4 the Orlando Sentinel joined the club – A YEAR LATE. Their hard-hitting investigation followed Orkin stories on Local 6, WESH-TV Channel 2, the Orlando Business Journal, Atlanta's Creative Loafing and the CBS Evening News, all of which followed the original, published right here, and many of which purported to have "broken" the story. Way to kick some ass, Sentinel! Pssst: We hear there's big stuff brewing with voter fraud in the election here in Florida, something about Bush stealing votes from Gore … you might want to check it out.

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