"Dissenters are out of touch"
An interesting section of Stupid White Men, by Michael
Moore (Penguin UK edition, 2002) is the new introduction (written
for the paperback edition published outside the US). In it
Moore describes how his publishers told him, after September
11th, that he'd have to rewrite a large part of the book,
"removing the harsh references to Bush and toning
down your dissent". And they wanted him to pay the
$100,000 cost of reprinting the book (the first 50,000 copies
had been printed, coincidentally, on the evening of September
10th, 2001, and had been sitting in a warehouse ever since).
Post 9/11, Moore's publishers thought they knew the mood
of the public, and they told Moore that the book was "out
of touch with the American people". Finally Moore
got his way, the book was distributed without any changes,
and it quickly went to number one on most non-fiction bestseller
lists and stayed there for a long time (before going
to the top of UK bestseller lists, even though it wasn't published
in the UK yet more UK citizens were ordering the American
import of SWM than any other non-fiction book from amazon.co.uk).
So it looks as if publishers don't have quite the expert
insight into markets that they boast of. (Moore's original
US publishers, ReganBooks, is a division of HarperCollins,
which is owned by News Corp, which is owned by Rupert
Another enjoyable chapter of SWM was Dow Wow Wow,
which exposes the economic con-trick being pulled by rich
establishment types. Moore has noticed (like many of us) the
contradiction between the "recession"-type propaganda
("there's no money to go around", "you'll
have to tighten your belts, work longer, expect less public
services, cuts in social security" etc) and the staggeringly
vast, huge, colossal, jumbo-sized, massive, awesome amount
of wealth that is piling up in the coffers of rich corporations
and rich shareholders.
If you read the Dow Wow Wow chapter together with
Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed, you may
get a far more accurate picture of what is going on economically
in America (and, indirectly, in the UK) than from any "analysis"
in the mainstream media.