Michael Moore, you’re acting like a douchebag. I’ve defended you, I even wrote about your rousing plea to get my fellow liberals and me out to and vote in the primaries right here on Persephone. My dad was an autoworker for forty years, I believe in what you tried to do for people like him. I’ve worked in human services, I believe in what you’ve tried to do for the average American who has been decimated by healthcare and a corrupt insurance system.
I think you usually want to do the right thing, even though you do take a lot of shine to being in the spotlight. That’s okay, we need showmen. Sometimes a good storyteller with a bit too much charisma is all that will get through to folks, and it’s a method clever teachers have been using for millennia. So I’ve enjoyed your spectacles and thought thoughtful thinks about the words and pictures you used to make your points. I enjoyed the whole experience.
Now, however, I can’t support you any more. You’ve equated Julian Assange with Wikileaks in the way the right associated patriotism with President Bush. You’ve refused to look at the facts in order to protect your cronies and political allies. And women may have been hurt in the process. You can brush it off with one of the hundreds of victim blaming articles, opinion pieces and news stories created by those who blindly support Assange because he shares their politics. (Or does he? Dollars to doughnuts Assange thinks you’re a big, fat, stupid American who needs to be a lot less comfortable than you are, too, dude. He’s not going to fly you out on his personal jet if our enemies decide to show us no mercy, even with the $20k in bail.) You’ve made every wackadoodle right wing women-were-better-when-sizes-were-different-in-the-50’s blowhard a better feminist than one of the most well known figures in the supposedly progressive party.
If the Triple Sekrit Confidential Sector 7G of the US government wanted to frame Assange for a crime, they’d be stupid to pick rape. I don’t know the rates in Sweden, where Assange is being sought for questioning, but as Sady Doyle eloquently explains, about 6 in every 100 rapists in the US serves a moment in prison. In addition to the statistics you can find at RAINN, through Sady or just by doing a pretty simple Google search, Mr. Moore, did you know that 80% of people with pervasive physical and cognitive disabilities are sexually abused or assaulted in their lifetimes? (There’s a little guy I’d like to see you fight for, Mr. Moore.)
What if he did it? What if he forced his penis into the vagina of a woman who was unconscious? What if he refused to stop having intercourse with a woman when she asked him to? I know you have women in your life you love, Mr. Moore. If a man were to do either of these things to a woman you love, wouldn’t you want her to be able to seek justice? If he did it, and your actions help him to never pay one iota of his debt to those women and to society, you will help set the precedent that rape is okay if you have enough powerful, mouthy friends. That doesn’t do jack squat for the little guy, Mr. Moore. What if he didn’t? You’re still not fucking helping, you’re trying to make yourself look special.
You are not a little guy, Mr. Moore. You are not like me. You have money and power and a network of liberal dude-bro flying monkeys who hang on your every word. It is your responsibility – if not your prime fucking directive – to speak and act as responsibly as you demand of the other powerful men you’ve held over the coals – if not more so. Not one of us – especially the rich and powerful – is exempt from facing our neighbor when we are accused of wronging them. Not one of us is allowed to violate the sexual spaces of another human being without their consent and under mutually acceptable terms. Until you use the good sense in your head to look at people you think agree with you with the same critical eye you use on those who do not, you do not speak for me. You do not have the luxury of deciding Assange’s fate or the fate of the women accusing him. It’s an abuse of your power, and it makes you a hypocrite.
The aforementioned Ms. Sady Doyle has hatched a bit of a brilliant plan, which you should read in full here, at TigerBeatdown, but here’s a taste in her own delicious words.
We require – not ask, not prefer, absolutely require ““ progressive media and public figures to stand against rape in every case. Again, this is not negotiable. This is mandatory. This is a requirement: If you don’t stand against rape, and make that stand a crucial and central part of your platform, we do not accept you either as a real “progressive” or as someone who is in any way qualified for authority or a leadership position. We will not buy your merchandise; we will not support you; we will speak out against you. Because a progressive movement that doesn’t stand against rape isn’t a progressive movement. It’s just The Man, it’s just the oppressor, it’s just oppression, in a baseball hat, holding a camcorder.
Please tweet @MMFlint, using the hashtag #Mooreandme, until we have an explanation from Michael Moore, and preferably an apology, and preferably $20,000, donated to an anti-sexual-assault organization of his choice.
You told us the little guy had to stand up, Mr. Moore. You told us the authority had to be held accountable for harming communities. You told us that the Big Lies were worth exposing. But you’re promoting the Big Lie, you’re harming our community, and this time around, the little guy is us.
We can be loud. We can be persistent. I hope you’re prepared.
If you’d like Michael Moore to put his money where his mouth is and really speak for the little guy, now’s your chance. Pester the interns who run his Twitter until they make their boss step the hell up.