The Barnes & Noble Review
Anita Gates, reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, describes best the politically incorrect and sometimes scathing style of author, filmmaker, and general gadfly Michael Moore when she writes, "Mr. Moore has a real talent for cutting through the garbage, digging out the important points and serving them up in delightful, outrageous, sometimes irrefutable ways." In the age of American corporate downsizing, when companies most resemble profit-preservation societies rather than reliable and fair employers, satirist Moore has once again fearlessly enlisted in the fight for the individual, silent laborer, working longer hours for less pay and shivering through sleepless nights without the blanket of job security. Downsize This! spent a month on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover, and no doubt, now that the paperback has been released (containing new material), more people will read Moore's deconstructive satire of distinctly American political and economic ills.
Considered the spokesman for the working American, Moore's sole objective in writing Downsize This! was to bring candid and brutally honest discomfort to the corporate giants, politicians, lobbyists, and others who build their own prosperous careers and companies around the policy of swindling all that can be swindled out of the employee. Compared with Will Rogers for his humorous approach to societal politics, and considered as dangerous and unsettling as Mike Wallace, Moore is unflinching and unafraid to confront those who make life tougher for theaveragehardworking American. Moore's nonfiction film "Roger & Me," about the closing of a General Motors Plant in Flint, Michigan, became the highest grossing nonfiction film of all time for its fearlessness. Moore pulls no punches now in book form; the chapter names in Downsize This! speak for themselves: "Why Doesn't GM Sell Crack?" "Would Pat Buchanan Take a Check from Satan?" "Balance the Budget? Balance My Checkbook!" "NAFTA's Great! Let's Move Washington to Tijuana!" "Let's All Hop in a Ryder Truck!"
Moore has a way of hitting a nerve in the arm of American consciousness, an ability to make policy makers squirm when faced with the often ridiculous reality of their decisions. Some of the things that Moore uncovers: the fact that in Ventura, California, prison inmates are taking plane reservations for TWA. Never one to be hesitant to go straight to the big cheese, Moore presents Johnson Controls of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a giant check for all of 80 cents, the first-hour wage for their first Mexican employee. He issues "corporate crook" trading cards and tries to commit a certain congressman to a mental institution. Outrageous in his ideas and schemes, Michael Moore may very well appeal to your sense of humor; more important, Downsize This! will also succeed in illuminating the absurdity of how Americans do business.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Moore, whose documentary film Roger & Me and television series TV Nation have a strong cult following, takes on corporations, politicians and Americana in general in a mordant satire that will leave both conservatives and liberals reeling with embarrassment. Moore tears into corporations and labor unions alike. Citing "economic terrorism," he goes after the "Big Welfare Mamas"the CEOsdetailing their cozy tax deals with federal and local government, which have added to the deficit. He attacks the unions in "Why Are Union Leaders So F#!@ing Stupid," citing how they have collaborated with corporations (while taking huge salaries) to slash jobs from their own memberships. No one is immune; Moore scrutinizes the President, Bob Dole, NAFTA, Cuban refugees and Pat Buchanan. A scathing, funny book packed with facts, it will appeal to those who loved Al Franken's Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot. Photos. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.)
The man who brought you Roger & Me takes on the fat cats again.
If you don't know Michael Moore, you should. The creator of "Roger and Me" and "TV Nation" has built his career on giving the raspberry to corporate fat cats, and this book will add to his considerable reputation. He tackles everyone here--Democrats, Republicans, Germany, General Motors--and wrestles them to the ground. About the only one who doesn't get thoroughly dissed is O. J., whom Moore claims is far too rich to bother killing anyone. Among the book's stellar moments: the introduction of his "big welfare mamas" --that is, "tax-cheating, job-exporting, environment-destroying corporations that are already posting record profits" ; his letters to Norway and the Netherlands asking for foreign aid for America's poor; and his poignant support of those countless billions of abandoned sperm, mindlessly disposed of in a convenient Kleenex. Moore's wit is as dry as a martini and as outrageous as, well . . . a hugely profitable company laying off thousands of workers. This is a book that makes you think as hard as you laugh.
The man behind the popular documentary Roger and Me and the short-lived series TV Nation takes a stab at authorshipand at every conservative sacred cow available.
Moore brings a uniformly predictable lefty perspective to a series of topics, including corporate downsizing of workforces, Bill Clinton's weakness in opposing the right wing, Congress's craven subjugation to special interests, NAFTA, white racism, anti-feminist hysteria, homophobia, and the demonization of welfare recipients. As in his film and video work, Moore is at his best when he leads the fuzzy-minded to the logical conclusions of their thought processes, for example, getting an anti-abortion activist to agree that male masturbation is a serious moral issue because life actually begins with the individual sperm. There is a good deal of useful political information spread through the book, including the names and deeds of a number of corporate executives and lobbyists whose power is seldom treated as critically as it should be by journalists. The humor is hit-and-miss, though, and readers who don't seethe along with Moore in his populist rage are likely to find the book as a whole tiresome. There's also a considerable amount of the nastiness that liberals decry among today's conservative polemicists, the low point being a suggestion to Bob Dole that he replace the pen with which he keeps his disabled right hand from closing in on itself with something more appropriate, such as a coathanger to symbolize his views on abortion.
Moore might consider, as he passes judgment on the hypocrisy of our time, that a writer who can muse on his frequent exasperation with limousine drivers should refer to the working class as something other than "we."