Fahrenheit 911


| February 25, 2002


Fahrenheit 911

On the morning of September 11, the HarperCollins printing presses in Pennsylvania had just finished printing 50,000 copies of Michael Moore's new book, Stupid White Men. Then suddenly, the book's production -- like the rest of the nation -- came to a halt. It wasn't until weeks later, with the book's scheduled release date of October 2 already passed, that HarperCollins informed Moore that there was a problem.

The book, a project of Moore's that criticizes the Bush administration, had become 'too offensive' for the 'nation which had suddenly fallen in love with George W. Bush.' HarperCollins told Moore that unless he toned down large sections of the book and changed the title, the 50,000 already-printed copies would be shredded -- and he'd have to pick up the $100,000 tab for printing fees.

Moore refused to rewrite any portions of the book, arguing that the subject was more relevant than before. In addition to the 'harsh but funny' criticisms of Bush, the book had information Moore had dug up on Enron, Kenneth Lay, and Arthur Andersen before the scandal broke.

Slowly, the word that Stupid White Men was 'banned' spread to a few publications. A librarian group organized a letter-writing campaign to have his book published. After weighing the potential reactions to the book, HarperCollins finally decided to release Stupid White Men unchanged and uncensored on Tuesday, February 19. Moore, who is also planning to release two new online chapters of the book, started a nationwide book tour last week.
--Kate Garsombke
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