If Michael Moore speaks for the forgotten working class, why did stage hands at the Oscars boo him so loudly? In Moore's oddball Op-Ed in Thursday's Los Angeles Times ("I'd Like to Thank the Vatican..."), he blames a couple of stage hands for starting the "melee."
They "started some loud yelling," he says. Then some people in the bleacher seats -- also presumably from the ranks of the obscure -- joined in the jeers, leading Moore supporters, according to Moore, to counter-boo "the booers." The orchestra didn't want to end his speech, he says, but had to strike up "its tune" to stop the "cacophony of yells and cheers and jeers."
Aren't the stage hands and the bleacher-seat booers supposed to be Moore's people? Not for the purposes of this Op-Ed. Moore, without recognizing the irony of it, ignores their reaction and takes solace in the support of the Beautiful People in the room. They didn't boo him, he notes. "The entire main floor rose to its feet for a standing ovation," he says. This left him "immeasurably moved and humbled."
Like that other millionaire outsider, rapper Eminem, Moore's alienation has the approval of the rich. He speaks for the wealthy stars on stage not the anonymous drudges in the back. They would prefer it if he just shut up.
But Moore intends to speak for them anyway, whether they like it or not. After the Oscars, Moore flew home to Flint, Michigan, he relates, and "two flight attendants told me how they had gotten stuck overnight in Flint with no flight -- and wound up earning only $30 for the day because they are paid by the hour." These working folk "have no voice. They don't get to be commentators on cable news like the bevy of retired generals we've been watching all week...They don't get to make movies or talk to a billion people on Oscar night. They are the American majority who are being asked to send their sons and daughters over to Iraq to possibly die so Bush's buddies can have the oil. Who will speak for them if I don't?"
Ask the stage hands, Mr. Moore. They will give you a few names.
Moore also considers himself a credible voice for the Catholic Church. His Oscar speech, he said, drew inspiration from a Mass earlier in the day and the words of Pope John Paul II: On the morning before the Oscars, he says he found himself "at the Church of Good Shepherd on Santa Monica Boulevard, at Mass with my sister and my dad." The Mass got him "thinking all these crazy thoughts like how it is wrong to kill people and that you are not allowed to use violence upon another human being unless it is in true self-defense. The pope even came right out and said it: This war in Iraq is not a just war and, thus, it is a sin. Those thoughts were with me the rest of the day..."
What papal allegiance from a social liberal who usually disregards the pope's remarks. Just a few paragraphs after praising the pope, Moore praises a majority of Americans for supporting Roe vs. Wade. Abortion doesn't count as violence for Moore. But killing Saddam Hussein and his surrogates? That is out of the question in Moore's mind, because "we are there to get the world's second-largest supply of oil."(Moore hasn't absorbed the Church's teaching on lying either.)
Imagine if Pope John Paul II were as outspokenly pro-war in Iraq as he is anti-war. We would then hear the Michael Moores of Hollywood say that the pope was guilty of right-wing clericalism. But left-wing clericalism is fine with them. It even brings them back to church.
It is funny that Moore should mention Good Shepherd parish as his source of inspiration before the Oscars. That parish should be called Bad Shepherd. California Governor Gray Davis, the loudest supporter of abortion and state financing of abortion in California's history, is one of its parishioners. In open defiance of Catholic teaching, Davis receives Communion there. Father Colm O'Ryan, its pastor, welcomes Davis. "He's a very private person, he's a very faithful Catholic, he and his wife come to Mass very faithfully when they are in town," he told the San Francisco Faith newspaper recently.
Moore could get in the Communion line there behind Gray Davis. The Beverly Hills parish is perfect for them: it allows them to play at Catholicism like they play at working-class politics -- and without any fear of ever getting booed.