Pharyngula

Moore screws up

Michael Moore, in an interview with Keith Olbermann, joked that “This Gustav [the storm heading towards the Gulf Coast] is proof that there is a god in heaven”. Yes, he was joking, and he was laughing, and we all know that it is not proof and isn’t even evidence of such a thing, so it’s somewhat different than when some fundagelical preacher tries to use calamity as a sign from god…but it’s not that much different. It’s tasteless to laugh as people are frantically trying to prepare for another dangerous onslaught.

Can we agree that it is ironic, but not funny, please? Moore’s written comments on the subject are much more appropriate; his television appearance hit precisely the wrong note.

Comments

  1. #1 David C.
    August 31, 2008

    Well, Moore is just showing his true colors. I knew that there was a reason that I never liked him!

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    August 31, 2008

    A big problem with it is that it wouldn’t be funny under any circumstance. It’s just a jeer (there’s a place for a jeer, too, but now is not the time).

    The man is not a class act.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  3. #3 Jack
    August 31, 2008

    It is just as tasteless to spit in the face of religious people by attempting to desecrate one of their religious objects. People don’t need to be laughed at or hurt at any time, if they are praying or preparing the effects of the worst storm in history. We need to help one another not act like an adolesant and piss them off.

  4. #4 FishyFred
    August 31, 2008

    People don’t need to be laughed at or hurt at any time

    They do if they are Bill Donohue.

  5. #5 BobC
    August 31, 2008

    People don’t need to be laughed at or hurt at any time, if they are praying or preparing the effects of the worst storm in history.

    Certainly there’s nothing to laugh at if they are preparing for a hurricane. However if they are praying, they most definitely should be laughed at. Their talking to themselves is not going to do anyone any good, is it?

  6. #6 BobC
    August 31, 2008

    One more thing Jack, it is NOT “tasteless to spit in the face of religious people by attempting to desecrate one of their religious objects”. There can never be too much ridicule of religious insanity.

  7. #7 Graeme Elliott
    August 31, 2008

    Off Topic

    You may be interested to read Senator Obama’s replies to the Sciencedebate 2008 questions at http://www.sciencedebate2008.com/www/index.php?id=40 .

    I’m impressed, and I’m not even an American….

    I know I posted this on the previous page/topic/thread (?), but I wanted it to be seen by as many people as possible!

  8. #8 Chiroptera
    August 31, 2008

    It’s tasteless to laugh as people are frantically trying to prepare for another dangerous onslaught.

    Just to be clear, Moore isn’t laughing at people who are frantically trying to prepare.

    As far as Moore laughing as people are trying to prepare, I wouldn’t take any offense at Moore myself if I were one of those people. But I’m just speaking for myself.

  9. #9 Whateverman
    August 31, 2008

    “However if they are praying, they most definitely should be laughed at.”

    Why exactly would that be?

    Be careful if you’re going to use absolute truth & rationality as the sole determinant of whether to cheer or jeer.

    Should your mother be an ass, if she were to contract pancreatic cancer and die a painful death, by your logic, I would be justified in laughing at her funeral.

    I think PZ was spot-on. You don’t have to respect all beliefs, but compassion should at least suggest that kicking them while they’re down isn’t necessarily the best choice either.

  10. #10 Lago
    August 31, 2008

    Moore lies.

    He uses the same tactics creationists use. Just because he shares our opinions on many issues, does not mean we should condone such actions.

  11. #11 scooter
    August 31, 2008

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iAhI-cWS64&feature=user

    Jack

    Michael Moore is a religious object?

    please clarify

  12. #12 Jared
    August 31, 2008

    Tasteless and rude, I really dislike the idea of using natural disasters as “proof” of anything other than the power of nature.
    I’ll be in touch after the storm passes and internet comes back….

  13. #13 Sara M.
    August 31, 2008

    As a Gulf Coast dweller who’s spent the weekend frantically preparing, I’m not really offended by it. I think calling to memory the disastrous handling of Katrina is pretty important at this point. The Bush administration has another chance to prove that they’re not totally incompetent when it comes to natural disasters. I expect them to be bending over backwards even if it’s not so sever. They better pull it off this time!

  14. #14 uncle frogy
    August 31, 2008

    mr. moore’s TV appearances often have that element in them. He is not very good at off the cuff remarks and is much better when he can edit.
    really what else would you expect we have not seriously nor in a sustained way looked at any of the weather and other hazards in a comprehensive way. It has all been short sighted and narrowly focused with almost total disregard to how the systems work. It is very sad and predictable.

  15. #15 JoshS
    August 31, 2008

    Jack, #3 – Christ on toast, you’re still wound up over what happened to a cracker? So much so that you had to flog the dead issue here in a thread that has nothing to do with it? Massively out of whack sense of proportion.

  16. #16 John C. Randolph
    August 31, 2008

    This puts Michael Moore in the company of Pat Robertson. What he said was callous, and it shows me that he’s an asshole.

    -jcr

  17. #17 BobC
    August 31, 2008

    Whateverman, I’m not going to criticize a dying religious person if that person is praying. However if some religious retard is praying while everyone else is doing the hard work of preparing for a hurricane, that worthless person should be laughed at.

    Also, while I might feel sorry for dying people who are praying, I would not have much respect for them. I would tell any religious person who prays that he’s delusional and cowardly, but I wouldn’t say that if he was dying, even though in my opinion people should accept reality no matter what. There’s no excuse for childish thinking, and nothing could be more childish than a person who thinks their imaginary Ruler of the Universe gives a damn about them.

  18. #18 Hypocee
    August 31, 2008

    No, no, no – Christ is toast.

    It is just as tasteless to spit in the face of religious people by deploring honor killings. People don’t need to be laughed at or hurt at any time

    FTFY.

    We need to help one another not act like an adolesant and piss them off.

    Not another one! Irony meters don’t grow on trees, you know.

  19. #19 Benji
    August 31, 2008

    Ironic enough that that follows the weirdos that asked God for rain at the DNC…

  20. #20 Ryan Hogan
    August 31, 2008

    wow this is ironic. I am on MM email list. I actually replied to it for the first time ever. I found the email to naive to say the least.

  21. #21 brent
    August 31, 2008

    Moore is one of those guys who is particularly good at certain types of communication but atrociously bad at normal verbal communication. Spike Lee is another of that sort.

  22. #22 justawriter
    August 31, 2008

    Sigh. As I said over on Ed’s thread, liberals insist on fighting with one arm tied behind our back. We have to dog pile on one of our our own, totally ignoring the likelihood that it was a comment of the Republican conviction that it is God’s Own Party and also ignoring that Moore raised more than $2 million for Katrina recovery. No, what is important is to be morally pure as yet another bunch of murdering incompetents tries to steal another election.

  23. #23 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 31, 2008

    El sucko. I love NOLA and this is going to be bad.

    The other bad thing is now I’m looking at Hanna possibly hitting us head on.

    ugh. This week is going to suck.

  24. #24 anaglyph
    August 31, 2008

    Aside from anything, Michael Moore needs to be careful with this kind of ‘irony’. When prophesying there is always the chance that the future will change on you – Gustav could turn out to be far less of a problem than is predicted, for instance, and then Moore’s arguments against God could easily be turned to arguments in favour of God’s grace (I see that he has covered his ass somewhat by ‘praying’ to God to let the storm die at sea – a tactic that religious people often use; a bet both ways, as it were).

    I’m not terribly fond of this narky trashing of people’s beliefs, but note that Moore is not so much making fun of the people who might be threatened by the storm as criticizing people who credit God for ‘cleaning up the sins of the world’. There are those who might find that an offensive or poorly conceived attack, but then that same criticism might be leveled at PZ and the wafer affair (not that I personally have a problem with that either, but I’m just saying).

    Moore is tasteless and crass, perhaps, but I don’t think he really holds the lives of those threatened by the storm in any callous disregard.

  25. #25 Narc
    August 31, 2008

    Yes, Moore made a tasteless joke on television. But it was just a tasteless joke. Robertson and Hagee are *actually* saying that God struck New Orleans because a bunch of queers dared to assemble together there. Not metaphorically, not jokingly, they’re actually claiming that.

    The two are not even remotely comparable.

  26. #26 AlexS
    August 31, 2008

    #19: Yes, the biting irony of the situation is the only thing about this that is worth chuckling about. Although I wouldn’t consider Moore equivalent to Falwell and Robertson, his comment was, like a sizeable portion of his output, rather stupid.

  27. #27 El Herring
    August 31, 2008

    “Moore screws up” – shouldn’t that be “More screw-ups”?

    Oh – as you were.

  28. #28 JoJo
    August 31, 2008

    Michael Moore can be a real ass at times. As a writer he’s good, as a movie maker he’s rather uneven, and as a public speaker he’s a better movie maker.

    People don’t need to be laughed at or hurt at any time,

    Okay, Jack. Now explain why so many goddists make a point of telling me that I’m going to spend eternity in Hell. That’s hurtful (in their estimation at least).

  29. #29 travc
    August 31, 2008

    In all fairness, Moore pretty much immediately sensed that what he said didn’t come across the way he intended and added the obvious “I really hope it doesn’t turn out too bad and that people are safe” sort of stuff.

    Moore is a pretty bad at interviews and not even very good at prepared speaking. There is a reason he makes films, which he is actually pretty good at.

  30. #30 Obeah
    August 31, 2008

    Am I the only one who thought it ironic that some of the people who were praying for rain at the DNC got a hurricane instead? Doesn’t mean I want it to happen.
    I suppose a TV interview is not the best place to think out loud. I am reluctant to judge a man by a sound bite.

  31. #31 raven
    August 31, 2008

    Jack the Michael Moore wannabe:

    It is just as tasteless to spit in the face of religious people by attempting to desecrate one of their religious objects.

    Jack, you are comparing a cracker with a hurricane that has killed 80 people and could potentially wipe out once again a good chunk of US gulf shoreline including a major city.

    In words you might understand but probably won’t.

    A cracker in a garbage can does not compare to a class 4 hurricane that has killed dozens of people and caused billions of USD in damage.

    Moore just made a stupid, tasteless comment. You made a really stupid, completely senseless comment. In the race for the bottom of the barrel, you are way ahead of Moore.

    Double or nothing? Try again, how about a cheery death threat or two?

  32. #32 anyvainlegend
    August 31, 2008

    Question: If I were running with my family on the “mandatory evacuation” taking with us as much of our personal belongings as we could carry, Michael Moore making an ironic, yet debatably humorous comment on the situation somewhere else in the country hurts me how?

    Let’s keep our heads about this. Michael can say what he likes, no matter how stupid. He still ain’t hurting anyone.

  33. #33 Pattanowski
    August 31, 2008

    Remember how those freaks were praying to god for it to rain on Obama’s outdoor speech? Well, that’s a helluva job you’re doin’ there, God!! Wrong place…wrong convention!!

  34. #34 LARRY
    August 31, 2008

    I just rewatched Moore’s video clip on Olbermann’s show and I didn’t see anything offensive or tasteless. He started off by saying something like he certainly hoped that no one gets hurt and that everyone is taking cover. After that, he made several excellent points. Yes, he was kind of joking or laughing, but that is his persona. I would suggest that
    before posting, everyone should watch the video clip, still available on MSNBC.COM.

  35. #35 PZ Myers
    August 31, 2008

    I know what Moore meant, and that was reasonable. It’s what he wrote in the letter I linked to. It’s what he said that was rancid.

  36. #36 Jackal
    August 31, 2008

    I just hope this hurricane will be enough to change their minds and get them to stop wasting resources on structures where weather and geological forces are so likely to destroy them. Sometimes you have to make a tough choice between sentament and pragmatism. People of New Orleans, it is time to chose pragmatism.

  37. #37 louisianaskeptic
    August 31, 2008

    I’m waiting for Gustav in Baton Rouge and I had the same thought as Moore did. I have not seen his movies, but I’m not offended by his remark because it is an appropriate joke, even if possibly poorly expressed. Obama’s acceptance speech was not rained out, yet a hurricane messes up the Fascist Party’s convention. I love Poseidon’s sense of humor!!!!

    More seriously, those Christian preachers who said that their voodoo spirit was punishing New Orleans for having a gay community or gay festival are not just loathsome, but seriously irony challenged. Statistically, most of the victims of Katrina in N.O. had to be Christians and heterosexuals. None of the members of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association died, even though some had to be rescued from flood zones. Maybe Hey-seuss was so angry at the gays that he couldn’t shoot straight and hit his own supporters. Gustav worries me; the con artists known as clergy anger me; Moore doesn’t bother me.

  38. #38 Julian
    August 31, 2008

    Considering that the only effect it’ll be having on the R’s is a possible postponement whereas the people who will really be hit hard, the Gulf-Coasters, are precisely the people that Moore has decried the Bush admin for treating callously (among others), I think it is not only rather tasteless, but also a short-sighted and hypocritical gloat.

  39. #39 Julie Stahlhut
    August 31, 2008

    Michael Moore owes the Gulf Coast an apology for that one, but hasn’t he already made a public apology? At least I thought I read that he did.

  40. #40 ThirtyFiveUp
    August 31, 2008

    Jackal #36

    ” get them to stop wasting resources on structures where weather and geological forces are so likely to destroy them.”

    Sadly, this is truth.

  41. #41 eddie
    August 31, 2008

    Thank you justawriter and others. Moore doesn’t desesve this.
    PZ. I was 100% behind you on the crackergate thing and MM’s comments were in that spirit. Now I feel betrayed.
    It seems there are those aroung willing to give priestly abuse a free pass for the chance to beat on the fat kid.

  42. #42 Cuttlefishpoet
    August 31, 2008

    The hurricane’s coming today,
    So I’m helpfully starting to pray;
    If only these jerks
    With their “doing good works”
    Were not pushing me out of their way!

  43. #43 marcia
    August 31, 2008

    IMO, Michael Moore didn’t screw up. He is clearly in the Olbermann camp – seriously sarcastic humor. And, as a regular Countdown viewer, I recognized it as what it clearly was: Moore mocking the self-righteous who pray to the weather Gods.

  44. #44 Joshua
    August 31, 2008

    Moore’s a douchebag anyway. I long for the day when all liberals no longer have to answer for the stupid, attention-seeking bullshit he spews.

  45. #45 qedpro
    August 31, 2008

    For some reason, my gut reaction was that everyone has way over-reacted. PZ have you caught up on your sleep. Maybe the jet lag has finaly caught up with you.
    Now I’m not a michael moore fan simply because his tactics are that of the creationists. i.e. lie, distort, etc

    It wasn’t a good a joke, but really. personally I’m sick of this overreaction in the media and everywhere else.

  46. #46 Gil
    August 31, 2008

    Mr. Moore NEEDS a lesson(s) in public speaking. He’s such a putz in front of the camera.

  47. #47 Cruithne
    August 31, 2008

    As a former resident of Northern Ireland I recall that Moore also found it hilarious to suggest that the problems of Northern Ireland would be solved if all the Protestants were forcibly converted to Catholicism.
    He couched it in a joke, but his sympathies clearly lie with one particular religious sect and you could tell part of him believed what he said.

  48. #48 Madhu
    August 31, 2008

    I saw Moore’s interview clip from a link he sent out on his mailing list yesterday, and was stunned at the insensitivity of his remark! Of course, he backtracked immediately as he must have realized what he’d done – but I was still surprised that he would choose to share that clip on youtube and the email list! I guess I was already a bit sensitive, both from watching Gustav build up on the weather channel, and all the godbothering going on at the Dem convention, not to mention their banishing atheists to boot. So Moore’s initial smirk when he said the hurricane confirmed there is a god struck me as particularly galling.

    And unlike some folks here, I’m not that willing to let him off the hook this time, because even the tone of his letter to god, while ironic, still seems rather self-serving to me. And I don’t understand why some folks here were so upset over Colbert’s raking an atheist over the irony/comedy coals – blaming his catholicism, when Moore’s catholicism clearly leads him to invoke god too! How is it ok to laugh (ironically) at hurricanes coinciding with republican conventions, but not ok to laugh at atheists who tie themselves into knots when faced with Colbert?

  49. #49 Madhu
    August 31, 2008

    And yes, I’m with Graeme Elliot (comment #7) in wanting to get off this topic and on to the more substantial one of Obama’s response to the Science Debate questions! I’ve posted some of my own thoughts on several of Obama’s answers, and would like to know what others think.

  50. #50 Paul Burnett
    August 31, 2008

    …Moore also found it hilarious to suggest that the problems of Northern Ireland would be solved if all the Protestants were forcibly converted to Catholicism. – Cruithne, #47

    That is from the same school of “humor” as the moron who suggested that the problems of the Holy Land could be resolved if the Arabs and the Jews just settled their differences like Christian gentlemen.

  51. #51 negentropyeater
    August 31, 2008

    I think that American society needs the kinds of agents provocateurs like Moore who pull the Overton window on the other side.
    And even if it’s just to be one to take the blame for it.

    At least it will give much more people the reason to blame whoever does this kind of pathetic “we can deduct from natural events what God did for whatever reasons” in the future.

  52. #52 a lurker
    August 31, 2008

    I know what Moore meant, and that was reasonable. It’s what he wrote in the letter I linked to. It’s what he said that was rancid.

    I have never been a Moore fan. But if it is clear what he meant, then that is what should take priority. I would give the guy a break.

  53. #53 TX CHL Instructor
    August 31, 2008

    It’s not just Moore. In Obamaland, a CAT 4 hurricane is funny.

    http://www.liberalrapture.com/2008/08/in-obamaland-cat-4-hurricane-is-funny.html

    Complete with a video, no less…

    It is good to see that PZ has a little more sense than the run of the mill Liberal, and certainly doesn’t come across as vile and downright mean as most Liberals (capital “L”) in mainstream media.

    I can disagree with his politics, but he isn’t nearly as shrill about it as majority of the commenters here, most of whom will wake up the day after the election totally bewildered — and will immediately launch into a diatribe about how the election was ‘stolen’, since you don’t personally know *anybody* who isn’t going to vote for the Obamassiah.

    Yes, I’m a bit put off by fundies on the Right, but I have much less fear of the religious Right than I have of the religious Left. Certainly less fear of McCain than of someone who attended a black separatist church for 20 years, and only ‘disavowed’ it when he was ‘outed’. “GOD DAMN AMERIKKKA!” is very much a part of who Obama (and his wife) is, just the same as Palin’s church is very much part of who she is.

    Just remember, if you want to win a major election, you need to nominate somebody who isn’t a spineless quisling.

  54. #54 Chief
    August 31, 2008

    and I was just thinking yesterday that you would never hear a secular humanist or an atheist say that this hurricane is nature’s punishment for Jindal’s signing into law of the freedom of education act.

  55. #55 Tony Sidaway
    August 31, 2008

    I think Moore’s Letter to God was a masterpiece. Moore is an expert at turning a potential public relations disaster into a send-up.

  56. #56 John C. Randolph
    August 31, 2008

    I long for the day when all liberals no longer have to answer for the stupid, attention-seeking bullshit he spews.

    Well, this is your lucky day! You don’t have to answer for anything that someone else said. What’s more, you never did.

    -jcr

  57. #57 negentropyeater
    August 31, 2008

    TX CHL

    In Obamaland, a CAT 4 hurricane is funny.

    So that’s the best evidence you can think of to conclude this from Obamaland ? BTW what’s Obamaland ? The USA once Obama gets elected president ?

    Well I doubt that Obama before or as president has ever or would ever consider a CAT 4 hurricane funny nor has he ever accepted support and thanked, unlike both Bush and McCain, people who made these kinds of comments very openly and seemed very serious to find evidence of God’s wrath with deadly hurricanes because of a purported better acceptance of homosexuality.

    And BTW, do you have any evidence that Obama will give a top job to any of these two guys in his adminstration in Obamaland ?

    So please, when you talk of “Obamaland”, try to attack Obama for what he says. Not some video of some two idiots caught by a hidden camera evidently making some stupid jokes that they’ve been used to hear from the other sde in a much more serious manner, and certanly not from which you can make some pathetic insinuations about what Obamaland will look like.

  58. #58 negentropyeater
    August 31, 2008

    TX CHL,

    Yes, I’m a bit put off by fundies on the Right, but I have much less fear of the religious Right than I have of the religious Left.

    And THAT’S not a clear admission of your completely biased deluded brain ?

    “A bit” put off on the right side, but “A lot” on the left side ?
    And why is that ?

  59. #59 brightmoon
    August 31, 2008

    meh i thought almost

    tell Pat Robinson to tell God that he missed Dover

  60. #60 negentropyeater
    August 31, 2008

    TX CHL,

    Certainly less fear of McCain than of someone who attended a black separatist church for 20 years, and only ‘disavowed’ it when he was ‘outed’. “GOD DAMN AMERIKKKA!” is very much a part of who Obama (and his wife) is, just the same as Palin’s church is very much part of who she is.

    And apart from parroting Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity’s talking points, can you come up with a rational statement ?
    And I think we can wait a long time before Palin ‘disavowes’ her church, and before comparing how important her church is to her with how important his church is to Obama’s.

  61. #61 Sid
    August 31, 2008

    ironic and sad really… just as N O was getting her act back together here comes another storm…. but at least this time the ensuing clusterfuck won’t happen at least one would hope I have no faith in FEMA (sounds like a bone you break in your ass) or GW Bush’s federal “Government” if you can call it that…

    “God?! what colours does he fly?”

  62. #62 Azdak
    August 31, 2008

    Michael who?

  63. #63 Patricia
    August 31, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp – Since prayin’ won’t save ya, and cryin’ don’t help – there’s not much I can do. Dammit! If the storm gets to you I volunteer to ship you a bag of Oregons finest Candy Sweet onions. They’ll keep thru the rebuild, and they are far above average Walla Wallas in sweetness.
    In the mean time I’ll just wring my hands and worry. (Like that will help.)
    Where the hell is Gawd? :(

  64. #64 Eric Saveau
    August 31, 2008

    @53
    In Obamaland, a CAT 4 hurricane is funny.

    “Obamaland?” No such place.

    It is good to see that PZ has a little more sense than the run of the mill Liberal, and certainly doesn’t come across as vile and downright mean as most Liberals (capital “L”) in mainstream media.

    What fictional planet might this be where the media is full of (capital L) Liberals? On Earth we have a scant few small-l liberals in the media – Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and possibly Dan Abrams – who differ from the spectrum of far Reich-wing demagogues to timid stenographers who pass for their colleagues chiefly in being willing to stand up straight and tell the truth.

    I can disagree with his politics, but he isn’t nearly as shrill about it as majority of the commenters here, most of whom will wake up the day after the election totally bewildered — and will immediately launch into a diatribe about how the election was ‘stolen’, since you don’t personally know *anybody* who isn’t going to vote for the Obamassiah.

    This is very illuminating. NO ONE who supports Obama is looking at him as some sort of “Messiah”. Especially on this forum, where we simply have no inclination to be “inspired” in such a way; that’s a Religious Reich pathology that gets desperately projected onto others in their fever-dream delusions. Obama has never spoken of himself as “appointed by God”, but Shrubbie has on numerous occasions.

    If your comment about a stolen election was to the 2000 electoral shenanigans well, that election WAS blatantly stolen from the American people by the Republicans and they weren’t exactly subtle about it. So feel free to fuck the fucking fuck off, you anti-American slimeball.

    Yes, I’m a bit put off by fundies on the Right, but I have much less fear of the religious Right than I have of the religious Left.

    Translation – “The religious Reich are maybe a little extreme in some ways, but they’ll let me get away with a lot more hatemongering anti-Americanism than genuine Americans who also happen to be religious.”

    Just remember, if you want to win a major election, you need to nominate somebody who isn’t a spineless quisling.

    Don’t worry; no one from this forum is likely to put your name on a ballot any time soon.

  65. #65 ChrisC
    August 31, 2008

    “Yes, I’m a bit put off by fundies on the Right, but I have much less fear of the religious Right than I have of the religious Left.”

    Clearly never been a openly gay person in America have you?

  66. #66 Patricia
    August 31, 2008

    Oh noes! There’s more of y’ll sweethearts than BigDumbChimp in danger. Onions for all of you gourmets. I don’t know what else to do.
    Hand wringing like a Maytag… yeah – that’s useful. :(

  67. #67 Orac
    August 31, 2008

    Why are you surprised at this? Moore frequently says idiotic things. The guy is the left wing version of Rush Limbaugh, a propagandist par excellence. You don’t go to the guy for reasoned analysis. You go to the guy for spin, because that’s all he’s good at.

  68. #68 Gia Tommosello
    August 31, 2008

    an oldie but a goodie: “sow the wind, reap the whirlwind”

  69. #69 Toby
    September 1, 2008

    Agreed that it was tasteless. Methinks he deserves Worst Person in the World honors.

  70. #70 shonny
    September 1, 2008

    What fictional planet might this be where the media is full of (capital L) Liberals? On Earth we have a scant few small-l liberals in the media – Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, and possibly Dan Abrams – who differ from the spectrum of far Reich-wing demagogues to timid stenographers who pass for their colleagues chiefly in being willing to stand up straight and tell the truth.

    In Australia the local fascist party is called, of all things, – Liberal. The same kind of “liberalism” that brought the world Mussolini and Franco, and with approximately the same political programs.
    Thank heavens (sic), Australia’s own little Mussolini, John Howard (Dubya’s suppository) is now put on the shelf.

  71. #71 Rayven Alandria
    September 1, 2008

    I was in Gulfport , MS when Katrina hit. It did not hit New Orleans, it hit us. New Orleans flooded because they have/had corrupt mofo’s in office who did not make proper levies, They flooded from the EDGE of Katrina. We took the direct hit. I get so fucking sick of seeing the media attention given to New Orleans when they didn’t take the hit.

    As for Moore, I think the guy is a dickhead. Can’t stand him.

    I hope the people in the path of the storm make it through okay. I went through a month of no electricity, no plumbing, no gas, no food or water, etc…I hope most people evacuated. I still own a house there, I hope it doesn’t get wiped out, but mostly I hope people don’t get hurt. The aftermath and the anarchy are not things I would want anyone to endure. In the days after Katrina we heard gunshots, saw looting, and chaos ran rampant through our middle class *normal* neighborhood. I cannot explain sufficiently what it feels like to be in that kind of danger and then to see the military role in to save your ass. I was on my way back to the shelter because I feared for my son’s safety when I saw the military vehicles role into town. I cried, literally. I knew we would then be safe so I drove back home.

    I am of the opinion that people should stop living on the coasts. I know that thought is not realistic, but I wish it would come to pass. It is illogical for us to build cities in such dangerous areas.

  72. #72 Mike B
    September 1, 2008

    I laugh at anyone who lives below sea level then freaks out over storms. LIVE ABOVE SEA LEVEL. Idiots.

  73. #73 Rayven Alandria
    September 1, 2008

    Mike B, we weren’t there by choice. We are a military family and we go where they tell us to go.

    I agree though; it is illogical to build cities in such areas. It’s stupid to live in high risk earthquake zones such as California and Washington as well, but millions of people do so.

  74. #74 Steve_C
    September 1, 2008

    There’s potential natural disasters everywhere. Should everyone move out of the Netherlands? Not live at the bottom of hills because of mudslides?

    New Orleans had been around a long time. It’s crappy maintenance of its flood management system that’s the problem.

    Don’t blame people for wanting to live there. They aren’t idiots.

  75. #75 foxfire
    September 1, 2008

    PZ, I agree with you. Except I hold Moore with the same “high regard” as Pat Robertson. I don’t see either one of them living like the Jesus I was taught about in Sunday School. Not the God (make-a-buck?) thing. The Golden-Rule thing. To be clear, I don’t know of any evidence that the Jesus person I was taught about even existed.

    The message matters and what doesn’t matter is if the concept of compassion and wanting to help, in a crisis situation, was delivered by science or religion. Not a good time to quibble over details.

    That being said:

    a) In LA, 1.9 million people have had their lives disrupted, being successfully evacuated. That is incredible. It demonstrates our potential, when we learn from past experience and work together.

    b) To anyone in harm’s way (e.g. Sara M #13, Rev BDC #23) who has posted here, I feel extremely frustrated at not knowing how to help you. Please do offer suggestions if you can communicate after Gustav and the nearing Hattie have had their way with you.

    Not believing in any gods, I can only wish the courageous people in the Gulf that their preparations work for them and that Nature does a statistical thing and delivers elsewhere than New Orleans. In some swap (note to self – wetlands are important)

    P.S. @ #42 Not even close.

  76. #76 Epistaxis
    September 1, 2008

    Mike B.:

    LIVE ABOVE SEA LEVEL. Idiots.

    When there’s a tsunami, do you order us to LIVE INLAND? When there’s a forest fire, LIVE IN THE DESERT? If someone suddenly gets hit by a small meteorite, LIVE IN A CAVE?

    Every place has its risks. We have to balance them against other factors like work, family, amenities, interest; we can’t all isolate ourselves in underground bunkers with tinfoil on our heads like you presumably do. I live near a tectonic fault because it’s a center of innovation in my field. PZ lives in a tornado-prone region, probably because UM-Morris was an attractive option way back when he job-hunted. A lot of people spend time in buildings that might be targeted by terrorists, because the number of people is precisely what makes them targets.

    Sure, these people weighed the risk when they chose to live there. Their government could have set up a lot more precautions than it did (for example, the Dutch aren’t idiots about living below sea level). But right now they still need our support just as much.

  77. #77 John C. Randolph
    September 1, 2008

    The guy is the left wing version of Rush Limbaugh

    I’d describe him more as the modern day Leni Riefenstahl.

    Limbaugh’s not a very skilled propagandist at all. Moore runs circles around him.

    -jcr

  78. #78 Joe
    September 1, 2008

    Moore made a joke that was in questionable taste. That’s all. Get over it.
    He may be missing the point, though: The fact that Gustav allows a pretext for McSame to distance himself from the loathed Bush/Cheney duo who will be absent from the RNC and presumably be fighting Gustav in hand-to-hand combat may prove out to be a blessing is disguise.

  79. #79 Holbach
    September 1, 2008

    As Sam Harris suggested, the residents should be praying to Neptune, as that is his element, rather to their equally non-existent god. So when this god’s houses of insanity are flattened, what explanation do they offer? If insane religion was not encompassed by so many of deranged humans, natural disasters would be attributed as acts of nature, not as acts of an imaginary god. All things that are impossible and insane are possible with religion.

  80. #80 SC
    September 1, 2008

    I’d describe him more as the modern day Leni Riefenstahl.

    Right, ’cause he makes films, too. Of course, he’s an independent humorous documentarian while she worked for the Nazi Party/government. But those are minor details.

  81. #81 LisaJ
    September 1, 2008

    While I think that what Moore said was not very funny, and the letter he wrote somewhat childish and poorly written, I feel that there’s a bit of an over reaction here too. I don’t find what he said particularly offensive (at least not in the context of just reading the words in this post), but I can understand that his genreal tactlesness and his desire to say outrageous and shocking things made him come across, yet again, as a total jackass.

    Moore would probably do himself alot of good if he just stopped giving live interviews. Oh, and maybe at least get someone to edit his letters he posts in the internet.

  82. #82 eddie
    September 1, 2008

    Re Epistaxis #76

    Mike B.:
    LIVE ABOVE SEA LEVEL. Idiots.

    When there’s a tsunami, do you order us to LIVE INLAND? When there’s a forest fire, LIVE IN THE DESERT? If someone suddenly gets hit by a small meteorite, LIVE IN A CAVE?

    [OBL]
    I tried that, but the infidel keep coming after me. – Osama
    [/OBL]

    *ducks*

  83. #83 PeteK
    September 1, 2008

    I thought PZ liked George Carlin, a guy who frequently made jokes about such things…

  84. #84 JoJo
    September 1, 2008

    As a historical comment, New Orleans is where it is because that’s as far up the Mississippi as ocean-going ships can go. From colonial times to the present, New Orleans has been a major port. Goods and materials are barged to and from New Orleans from as far away as Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Sioux City, Iowa. There’s a good reason for a major American city to be where New Orleans is.

    BTW, the cheapest and most fuel-efficient means of transportation, especially for bulk products, is by water.

  85. #85 Robert
    September 1, 2008

    The Left has Michael Moore and the Right has Michael Savage.

  86. #86 Ed Darrell
    September 1, 2008

    There is one way that laughter is deserved in this situation: If the Republicans and fundamentalists prayed for rain to help them politically.

    Oh — what do you know — that’s exactly what some clown at Focus on the Family called for, rain to ruin Barack Obama’s acceptance speech!
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/2553367/Evangelicals-asked-to-pray-for-rain-at-Barack-Obama-nomination.html

    “It was a joke!” they cried when the tastelessness was pointed out.

    Then rains come to mess up the Republican Convention.

    Is it really a sin to support God in His very astute sense of humor?

    Moore’s comment would have been grotesque, but for the preambles provided by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson. If you’re going to condemn Moore for noting the irony, please condemn the others for provided the premise for the ironic twist.

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