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
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
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.