Respectful Insolence

Michael Moore vs. Fred Phelps

These days, I tend to detest Michael Moore almost as much as I detest Ann Coulter. However, as they say, a stopped watch is correct twice a day, and occasionally Moore can come up with something that’s so spot on funny and appropriate that even I have to give him props. (This used to happen more often several years ago and happens far less often now.) In this case, it’s a segment from his old show in which he took on the “Reverend” (and I use the term loosely, given Phelps’ vicious and hateful spin on Christianity) Fred Phelps over his picketing of gay funerals. The video below was made well before Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 days. It was also made before Phelps started picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and using the threat of picketing the funerals of the Amish girls gunned down by a mad man to extort air time on a nationally syndicated radio show.

Comments

  1. #1 Kyle Rogoff
    October 12, 2006

    Why can’t Moore go back to doing brilliant work like this?

  2. #2 Jesse
    October 12, 2006

    Moore is funny, but he still falls off into the ditch on the left side (and does it in a vulgar fashion that just undermines his point). I posted this same video at my blog a week or two ago.

  3. #3 lisa
    October 12, 2006

    Hooray for Lawrence vs Texas!

  4. #4 meridian
    October 12, 2006

    Erm, gee. I didn’t know being on the left was supposed to circumscribe behavior so that only “classy” people could belong. I guess that lets me out, since I enjoy the Three Stooges.

    Reach out to the Great Unwashed much, do you? Maybe that’s why science has such a hard time making itself heard over religion. Truth with a large helping of sneer is hard to swallow.

    If there is anything I detest, it’s a so-called scientist who can’t stand to communicate to “proles,” even though science stands on the backs of thousands of years of observation and experimentation by “regular” people.

  5. #5 BigHeathenMike
    October 12, 2006

    Oh man, I remember watching that years ago on VHS. His Awful Truth series was generally pretty good and had several great moments, but none stood out like his facing of the Douchebag of the Universe, Phelps (and his annoyingly brainwashed female companions).

    Thanks for bringing that back for a viewing.

  6. #6 ParanoidMarvin
    October 12, 2006

    Meridian –

    I wonder how you got all that from the comment on vulgarity. Inferiority complex much?

    Now that was exactly the sort of vulgarity we are talking about. Moore has strong enough points that can be made without being insulting in a stupid way, or making a spectacle which contains more demagoguery than the thing he is going up against. Sometimes the understatement makes much more impact than the sledgehammer. Nothing to do with class, or science for that matter.

    Oh, and if we want to be historically accurate. Science doesn’t stand on a thousands years of observation and experimentations by “regular” people. Sorry to say, but it seems that “regular” people throught the ages were more interested at feeding themselves and providing for children than wondering how this world works and how we can use that knowledge.

  7. #7 Akusai
    October 13, 2006

    Damn, that’s fantastic. I’m just kind of jealous now because I was planning a less well-financed version of that exact same tactic next time Freddy was in my area. I mean, I wouldn’t have the sodomobile, just gays making out all over the place. Looks like Moore beat me to it by, what, almost a decade? It’s okay. I can still do it myself. And I’d love to see that truly frightened look on Phelps’ face in person. It’s like they were vampires and he was without cross and stake.

  8. #8 csrster
    October 13, 2006

    As a liberal-minded atheist I loathe Fred Phelps. But I think
    I’d hate him even more if I were a Christian. Although, of course, I’d still pray for him every day.

  9. #9 Patrick
    October 13, 2006

    “These days, I tend to detest Michael Moore almost as much as I detest Ann Coulter.”

    Really? I can’t think of anything Moore has done that reaches the level of Ann “Everyone who Disagrees with Me is a Traitor” Coulter.

  10. #10 epador
    October 13, 2006

    C’mon now guys. Y’ad rather look at Michaeal Moore than AC?

    Now I’d rather not listen to either. Their styles are different, but the product is similar: self-centered self-aggrandizement at the cost of others without regard to truth or logic. I didn’t find this movie any more enlightened or enlightening than any of his other work.

  11. #11 Graculus
    October 14, 2006

    Their styles are different, but the product is similar: self-centered self-aggrandizement at the cost of others without regard to truth or logic.

    Micheal Moore has not called for those who disagree with him to be killed, or otherwise advocated violence against them. He has not called them traitors, or whores, or retarded, etc, etc. He has not said that you should execute a few conservatives to intimidate the rest, or that blacks should still be slaves. And, despite the smoke and hot air coming from certain quarters, no one has produced any evidence that Moore has lied.

    Anyone who thinks that Michael “but he’s fat!” Moore is in the same category as Ann Cthoulter has officially lost the plot. That’s right up there with “Bush = Hitler”. (Cue zombie)

  12. #12 TheProbe
    October 14, 2006

    Phelps does not picket gay funerals. He pickets funerals of soldiers while promoting his anti-homosexual crap. The soldiers are not gay. He may infest one near my home on Monday.

  13. #13 khan
    October 14, 2006

    Phelps does not picket gay funerals. He pickets funerals of soldiers while promoting his anti-homosexual crap. The soldiers are not gay. He may infest one near my home on Monday.
    ————————————–
    He picketed gay funerals for several years but that wasn’t upsetting people all that much. So he decided to hitch his wagon to patriotism, and now he gets much more of the desired publicity.

  14. #14 jre
    October 14, 2006

    Phelps is kind of an interesting character. His public philosophy presents God as a kind of homicidal bigot. As noted above, that tends to cheese off mainstream Christians, but Phelps acts as if he is determined to make everyone, believer or atheist, conservative or liberal, gay or straight, hate him.

    It is surely no accident that Phelps has consistently chosen the most innocent and sympathetic targets available for his attacks — Matthew Shepard, soldiers killed in action, most recently the Amish schoolchildren. After Shepard, he even abandoned any plausible link to his anti-gay agenda, just going for outrage pure and simple. The tone of the campaign is consistent with Phelps’ personality; in his personal relationships, he appears to be a sadistic psychopath. But I’m guessing that he went against the advice of his PR advisors when he chose to picket the Amish kids’ funerals.

    He is not dumb, and has spent more time inside courtrooms than 99.9% of the population, so I can only conclude that the campaign to outrage is deliberate. If Fred Phelps were guaranteed airtime for the event, he would slit a puppy’s throat on camera, and call it God’s vengeance on gays.

    Knowing that, Michael Moore’s strategy can only be called brilliant. Phelps wakes up every morning expecting and hoping that someone will call him a monster. But the possibility that he might be hugged by a guy in a pink feather boa caused him to visibly crap his pants. Now, that’s entertainment!

  15. #15 revere
    October 15, 2006

    Orac: I, too, have to wonder about equating Coulter and Michael Moore. What’s your beef with Michael Moore? I’m curious. Maybe I missed something about him, since I haven’t been paying attention.

  16. #16 Icequeen
    October 17, 2006

    Gluttony is a sin too you hambeast.

  17. #17 raincoaster
    August 18, 2007

    “Ann Cthoulter”

    Genius. I so totally have to steal that!

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