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Jewish World Review March 20, 2003 / 16 Adar II, 5763

Julia Gorin

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Bowling blanks | In one of the many stale notions about American society expressed in the Oscar-nominated documentary "Bowling for Columbine," filmmaker and self-loathing cracker Michael Moore sums up the war on terrorism with the following quip: "President Bush has the country whipped up into such a frenzy for going to war against people because they don't look like us."

I had initially dismissed it along with the rest of the long-debunked tripe that Moore dishes out in his narration--all too inane to single out any one for dissection. The film was little more than a supplement to Moore's hackneyed anti-Bush rant, "Stupid White Men," recently named the British Book Awards' Book of the Year. But I went to see the documentary as part of my ongoing efforts to stay on top of the kinds of high-profile projects that are sure to influence American minds. While watching this one, I easily ran a simultaneous log of counter arguments in my head, none of which I had any intention of expanding into written form, as they were all too apparent to thinking people.

But now that the war on terrorism has expanded to Iraq, it feels more imperative to point out the contradictions and absurdity inherent in the Moore maxim that America starts wars against people because "they don't look like us"--a sentiment expressed by comedian George Carlin some time ago and parroted by actors Woody Harrelson and Ed Asner, the latter referring to the Butcher of Baghdad as a "person of color."

Lumping them in the same camp as Sean Penn, George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Rick Moranis, Jessica Lange, Madonna, Janeane Garofolo and all the other prominents screaming "racist war," it is hard not to notice the whiteness of these folks--foregoing some bits of ethnic extraction among Madonna, Garofolo and Sheen--whose original name is Ramon Estevez. Indeed, I'm sure I'm not the first to observe that it is Michael Moore who graces the cover of "Stupid White Men."

So can anyone say white guilt? How about projection?

At the risk of elaborating on something that is painfully obvious, I must proceed to ask, What, exactly, do we "look like?"

Are we not brown, yellow, ruddy, tan, white, black, pink, copper, mocha and combinations of all of the above? Are we not Vietnamese, English, African, Mexican, Serbian, Albanian, Caribbean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, Arian, Jewish, Indian, Pakistani, Syrian, Israeli, Lebanese, Russian, Polish, Turkish, Armenian, German, Italian, Canadian, Moroccan and everything else? Is it even possible to not look like us?

We are every people that's detested any other people--and the people they've detested. Furthermore, we are everyone we've ever waged war against. This is all viscerally obvious to the expatriates of these nations--as well as to most of their current inhabitants.

Stupid white men (and women) need to catch up to the times. The world today is such that intellectual midgets like Moore, icon for the brainless, need to think beyond their coloring books.

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JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and comedienne residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2003, Julia Gorin