Thursday, July 08, 2004

Jim Lileks fisks Michael Moore

Wow. Not that the blogosphere hasn't been critical of Michael Moore, but Jim Lileks kicks the ever-loving crap out of him, fisking Moore's July 4 LA Times op-ed, noting a glib falsehood in Moore's tear-jerking soliloquoy about "nine boys from [his] school [coming] back home in boxes" from Vietnam. (Whoops! Only six Vietnam casualties from his home town, only four of them could have been high school classmates, one of whom died of a heart attack.)

Lileks also notes, in response to Moore's rhetorical question, "Are you proud that 40 million adult Americans are functional illiterates?":

This is addressed in “Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man.” As the authors note: the survey to which Moore refers also says (quoting MMIABFSWM) “in the next paragraph, [the survey] goes on to note that 25 percent of those people who scored in the lowest literacy category were immigrants who have learned little or no English. And in classic Moore fashion, he also fails to disclose that nearly 19 percent of the group he includes in the uneducated masses are actually people who have ‘visual difficulties that affect their ability to read print.’”

The authors also note that when it comes to the highest level of literacy skills, “the US figure is 21.1 percent, compared to 16.6 percent in the UK and only 13.4 percent in Germany.” I’m sure there are those who find calamity in those numbers, too, some sort of gap in the distribution of literacy skills. The rich get wordier while the poor are unable to afford the new, longer words, and have to make do with hand-me-down single-syllable slang.

Read the whole thing. It's terrific.


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