By Michael Moore
(Warner Books, 259 pages)
Michael Moore's new book, "Dude, Where's My Country?," shouts it from the rooftops: Moore wants a regime change -- in the United States. The message is delivered before the book is opened, as the cover depicts Moore single-handedly yanking down a Saddam-esque statue of President Bush.
Throughout "Dude," Moore attacks President Bush relentlessly, and from the first chapter, the rebellious author comes out swinging. Titled "7 Questions for George of Arabia," the chapter interrogates the President in a way that, according to Moore, the media has been unwilling to do: "Is it true that the bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past 25 years?" and "Why did you allow a private Saudi jet to fly around the U.S. in the days after September 11 and pick up members of the bin Laden family and then fly them out of the country without a proper investigation by the FBI?" Clearly Moore won't be posing questions at the White House pressroom any time soon.
One chapter debunks the well-known lies leading up to the invasion of Iraq -- pro-war songs which, Moore asserts, the White House had us all singing, such as: "Iraq has nuclear weapons," "Iraq has chemical and biological weapons" and "Iraq has ties to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda." Other "whoppers," including "We are doing everything possible so that no civilian lives are lost," are also examined.
Yet "Dude" is not all Bush-whacking. The "How to Talk to Your Conservative Brother-in-Law" chapter teaches liberal lefties how to assimilate their right-wing friends and family. Another chapter, a dream sequence written from a year 2057 point of view, looks back to our present over-dependence on oil and oil byproducts.
Chapter Six redefines blasphemy forever. Moore did not write this chapter, God did, temporarily commandeering "Dude:" "I hope you don't mind if I interrupt Mike's book with a few words from Me, your Almighty Creator, but hey, I'm God -- who's going to stop Me?" The leftist agenda of the Lord is then outlined; God is, apparently, pro-choice, against prayer in public schools and against creationism ("I'm an evolution guy ... . Who do you think created science?"), among other things.
Moore does not stray long from the real subject at hand -- Bush's removal from office -- and focuses on the dilemma of the next presidential election. Realizing that there is not enough time to develop a candidate from scratch, Moore has chosen the perfect, already popular, candidate, whether she likes it or not: Oprah Winfrey. And he's not kidding. Moore considers Oprah "someone who is our Reagan, an already well-known figure who will lead with ... her heart and pick the right people to do the day-to-day work." (Moore's website features a "Draft Oprah" petition in an attempt to convince her; www.michaelmoore.com.)
One is faced with slim pickings when desiring a critical look at our country's politics at a time of war. Offering a refreshing alternative to media-as-usual, "Dude, Where's My Country?" scratches many of us right where we itch: "Dude" is currently No. 1 on the New York Times best-sellers' list. That Moore wants a new president is unmistakable; however, if President Bush does get re-elected, Bush-bashing will keep Moore's bread well-buttered for some time to come.