Letter from Michael Moore - Qualye Bites the Big One and Ben Hamper
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 99 11:32:47 -0700
Subject: Letter from Michael Moore - Qualye Bites the Big One and Ben Hamper
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
October 1, 1999
Let us pause for a moment to recover from the sad news this week that Dan
Qualye 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 Geoge 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
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 to get the "The Awful Truth" 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 now have
access to our show, via tape, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, Louis Theroux, will
begin his own series on Bravo tonight (Friday), 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. In future
episodes he pays visits to a demolition derby in Michigan and the set of an
"adult" movie. Fans of "TV Nation" will remember 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. One day he stopped
by my office at "The Flint Voice." He asked if if he could write record
reviews for our paper. 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,
from a voice that is rarely heard. In "Roger & Me", he's the guy who
poignantly 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 <A
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
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.
© 1999 Peter Langston