I’ve been thinking about the Michael Moore quote I came across last night:
“You can’t build a bridge to a racist or a misogynist. They have to be shunned and treated like we treated smokers 20 years ago.”
Where to begin?
I used to occasionally watch Michael Moore productions. Bowling For Columbine was one. Was that the one in which he interviewed John Wayne? Or tried to interview him? Back then I was more sympathetic to Michael Moore than gun-toting John Wayne. Now it’s the other way round.
I suppose the first thing that jumps out of this is that Michael Moore is an antismoker who used to shun smokers 20 years ago.
Used to? Does that mean that he’s now stopped sunning them? Almost certainly it doesn’t. What it probably really means is that 20 years ago, before there were any smoking bans, smokers needed to be shunned by antismokers. You had to keep clear of the smoker in the corner of the bar. But once smoker-shunning antismokers gained political power, they enacted smoking bans banning smoking in the bars and cafes and restaurants that they frequented. And after that there was no need to shun the smokers, because they’d been excluded. And since they’d been excluded from all bars and cafes and restaurants, there wan’t even any need to shun places where they could still be found.
That’s probably the explanation for the “20 years ago”. It’s just that in the last 20 years the shunning has been institutionalised. Discrimination against smokers has been made into law.
So how’s Michael Moore enjoying being fat-shamed these days? Because last time I saw him he was a very fat man. In fact, he still seems to be a very fat man. And one who’s probably frequently on the receiving end of disapproving looks. Maybe he even gets kicked out of restaurants these days? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if fat people are being expelled from society just like smokers. And “No Fat People” signs on walls and doors.
But aside from all that, who are the racists and misogynists he wants to shun? Well, “racists and misogynists” is code for Trump supporters.
Is Donald Trump a racist and a misogynist? I don’t see it. He’s got a stunningly beautiful wife, and a beautiful daughter and he frequently hires women to work for him. e.g. Kelly Anne Conway. Where’s the misogyny there? There isn’t any. As for racism, he’s got a Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner. So I don’t see any racism there either.
(Are there any misogynists anywhere? Well, yes, there are. Back when I was in a Benedictine monastery school, I realised one day that most of the monks (but not all) didn’t like women. They spoke about women rather contemptuously. And perhaps that’s exactly why they had become monks in women-free monasteries, which may as well have had “No Women” signs on the doors.)
And I don’t see any racism or misogyny in Trump supporters either. They’re not all white. Nor are they all men.
It’s really just that, while smokers and fat people are being shunned and shamed, white males are now also being shunned and shamed. And Trump is white and male. And also quite fat. That’s Trump’s real crime. It also happens to be Michael Moore’s too.
So one day soon, if not already, Michael Moore is going to face powerful disapproval not just for being fat, but also for being white, and for being male.
Perhaps he’ll start to wake up a bit when that happens.
As for myself, I shun the shunners. I shun antismokers. I don’t want to know them. If any show up in the comments on this blog, I pretty quickly ban them. Nobody else gets banned. I think they ought to realise that it works two ways: if you shun me, I’ll shun you. One day there are going to be antismoker-free bars and restaurants with “No Antismokers” signs on the walls and doors. Any hand-waving and complaining, and you’ll get thrown out.
For I think we have deeply divided societies now, thanks to all the bullying and shaming and banning carried out by, well…, people like Michael Moore. They’re going to find that they’re the ones who’ll be bullied and shamed and banned.
And I think the backlash against all the bullying and shaming and banning is now well under way in the rise of conservative populist right. The shunned smokers didn’t go away. They just started getting angry. Americans don’t want to be ashamed of being American, or white, or male, or fat, or smokers, or anything else. Nor do the British want to be ashamed of being British, or the French French, or the Germans German. We aren’t all the same. And we never will be. And that’s the truth that’s beginning to emerge.