Let's Talk about the Weather

February 13, 2006
A thought by James Berardinelli

After what happened after my previous column (the one about Michael Moore), I decided to write about something nice and safe... like the weather. Unfortunately, after this weekend, there's nothing nice or safe about the weather. Normally, I like snow storms. It's probably a leftover from when I was a kid and derived the usual pleasure from hearing those three magical words: "School is canceled." Sunday, however, there were two elements that conspired to curb my enthusiasm. A huge tree toppled in my backyard. (The good news: it didn't hit anything. The bad news: it will cost in excess of $1000 to remove.) Then, when it came time to shovel, I discovered that the snow wasn't light and fluffy. It was wet and heavy. My snowblower couldn't handle it. So that meant a lot of shoveling. Four hours of shoveling. By the time I came inside, I was so sore that the thought of doing anything other than collapsing on the couch and mindlessly watching the Olympics was beyond my capacity.

So much for the weather. But it calls to mind a popular cliche: Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

The Michael Moore ReelThought sparked an e-mail storm the likes of which I have never before seen. By my calculations, ReelThoughts has about 3000 regular readers. Fully 1/5 of them sent responses to "The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth." I said I expected hate mail, but nothing prepared me for the nastiness of some of the missives that arrived in my electronic mailbox.

The majority of those e-mails were from devoted Michael Moore supporters - those who believe that a word said against the man is tantamount to blasphemy. Many of these electronic bombs didn't just sound passionate (which would be understandable); they sounded disturbed. It's the kind of thing one might expect from an article advocating pedophilia or arguing the merits of the KKK. One person said I was a "right-wing nazi republican hack with my nose so far up George Bush's ass that [I] can't see daylight." Another compared me to Leni Riefenstahl (with Bush playing the role of Hitler). The rationale went something like this: my writings are as much pro-Bush propaganda (see, I spelled it right this time) as Riefenstahl's films were pro-Hitler propaganda. This is perhaps the most outlandish thing anyone has sent me in a non-spam e-mail.

To be fair, there were a number of e-mails from people voicing their agreement. A significant percentage were from self-professed liberals who believe that Moore is hurting, not helping, their political cause. "Mainstream voters think he's the voice of the left and that scares them off," wrote one woman. Another called Moore a "slick con man" who cares more about himself than the people he "supposedly champions." (For what it's worth, I think Moore is sincere. But I also think his ego has gotten so big that it goads him into doing things that hurt, rather than help, his cause.)

I went nine days without a new ReelThought because I was trying to respond to as many e-mails as possible. It was exhausting. At first, the only ones I ingored were those that called me a "dickwad" or something similar. Eventually, however, I had to resort to curt replies or none at all. If you wrote and didn't get a response, my apologies. But rest assured that I read what you wrote. I read what everyone wrote.

For my next non-controversial post, I will explain why I think President Bush is the fourth worst president of the last 100 years.

Just kidding. (I'll leave it to you to decide what I'm kidding about.)

Actually, I'm now going to move on to a three-part series about nudity and the Oscars.

On an unrelated note, don't expect to see a review of Date Movie. When I saw it was rated PG-13, I got a bad feeling. (How can you lampoon R-rated movies like American Pie with something that's PG-13?) But when I noticed there was no press screening, I decided to give it a pass. This does not mean it's a bad movie. I haven't seen it, so I can't make such a judgment. What I am saying is that I have no desire to see it, and don't plan to.

Enough ramblings for today. Time to get back to reading that hate mail...