February 23, 2004


A year or so ago I was in some radio debate with a Michael Moore supporter. Moore’s errors and exaggerations didn’t much bother this guy; more important, he kept repeating, was that Moore “makes you think”.

What doesn’t? A book filled with blank pages will make you think, even if that thought is only: “Hey, this is so much better than Stupid White Men.” The jackhammer currently digging up the road outside my house makes me think of ways to imprison and mutilate its operator. Gary Sauer-Thompson’s website makes me think of much the same thing.

I’m a normal person. So I believe I speak on behalf of all normalkind when I say: “Making you think” is not a defence. In fact, it’s usually an indication that something idiotic is happening:

Organisers of an art show in Scotland that features a sculpture of Mickey Mouse flying an airplane into the World Trade Centre have defended the work, saying it was about "making you think".

Just like Mike:

"Bowling for Columbine" is that rarest of beasts: A movie that makes you feel, and then makes you think.

Strange that nobody ever uses this line in the case of, say, Ann Coulter, with whom many disagree. Disagreement isn’t a barrier to thinking:

"I feel controversial art, even if you don't agree with it, if it makes you think, it's a good thing," said Lawrence sculptor Bastian.

Even urine has thought-making properties:

And i can totally see why someone would find "Piss Christ" offending, and it's definitely not on my favorite list, but it makes a statement, and it makes you think.

All of these quotes make more sense if you replace “think” with “sick”.

UPDATE. I was wrong! Ann Coulter makes you think twice as much!

Posted by Tim Blair at February 23, 2004 12:54 PM

The mighty West Coast Eagles giving the Colliwobbles a right thrashing and not a peep from Tim - makes you think!! (or is that sick Heh Heh Heh) Go Eagles!!!

Posted by: Razor at February 23, 2004 at 12:59 PM

The game wouldn't have been mentioned even if Collingwood had won by 105 points, Razor.

Posted by: tim at February 23, 2004 at 01:11 PM

Just for grins, I ran a Google search on the exact phrase, "makes you think". I got 306,000 hits, which makes me think that the phrase has become a meaningless cliche, right up there with "you know."

Posted by: Ernie G at February 23, 2004 at 01:59 PM

Just out of curiosity, Tim, what radio station/network was this at? (I guess what I'm asking is: depending on the leftist bent of some radio stations, should you really be surprised at these audience attitudes?)

Posted by: TokenModerateGuy at February 23, 2004 at 02:35 PM

On second thought, at least it's better than what Moore himself said about the distortions of "Stupid White Men":

"How can there be inaccuracy in comedy?"

Link: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0204/12/mlld.00.html

Posted by: TokenModerateGuy at February 23, 2004 at 03:11 PM

Why is leftist comedy completely lacking in humour? Along the same lines, why is leftist logic illogical? Reason unreasonalbe? Accuracy inaccurate? And more pertinent- why are leftist women invariably ugly, whether tubby, thin, short or tall- no matter the body type, they invariably have a head like a well-chewed Mintie?
How do they replicate?

Posted by: Habib at February 23, 2004 at 03:54 PM

So no-one ever uses the line about Ann Coulter?
In the Colorado Daily we find:
'"I think it's liberating for Boulder to hear Ann Coulter speak," said CU sophomore Meaghan McCarty. "Even if you don't agree with her, it challenges your views and makes you think twice."'

Posted by: Tim Lambert at February 23, 2004 at 03:54 PM

"Why is leftist comedy completely lacking in humour? Along the same lines, why is leftist logic illogical? Reason unreasonalbe? Accuracy inaccurate?"

Not a Leftist by any stretch of the imagination, but aren't these generalized statements totally counter-productive?

Posted by: Dwayne at February 23, 2004 at 03:59 PM

Wow. Annie Coulter makes you think

Posted by: LD at February 23, 2004 at 04:11 PM

"Makes you think" is a revealing motivator for lefties because it hints that their normal activities involve no-thought!

What a Surprise!

Posted by: Rob Read at February 23, 2004 at 09:32 PM

Ann Coulter - twice the thinking of Mike Moore for only half the weight!

Posted by: Dave T. at February 23, 2004 at 09:34 PM

i would think a lot less than half...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 23, 2004 at 10:29 PM

Surely doing "art" with the Twin Towers in it is getting a tad old? I mean how original is that? Have leftie artists totally run out of ideas?

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at February 23, 2004 at 11:02 PM

Saw a picture and read an article about the 'art' display with Mickey Mouse and the towers. Have to admit it DID make me think. Made me think what kind of a sick mind would create such a thing and call it 'art'? Also made me wonder what connection Mickey Mouse has with the Taliban?

I could see using Barbie. Barbie has already been accused of being an evil influence in the ME. Had the 'artist' used Barbie I would have assumed it's so Barbie could gain some redemption in the eyes of her ME accusers.

As far as I know, Mickey doesn't need to be redeemed. Don't think he's been declared an evil influence yet.

Wonder if Disney will sue for non-approved use of Mickey's image?

This stuff is too deep for this simple Yank. It will take some sophisticated-type person to delve into the 'deep meaning' of this 'art' and explain it to me. I'm sure once the 'deep meaing' is explained to poor simple folk like me, we'll be forever changed. I'm sure that's what the 'artist' intended.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at February 24, 2004 at 01:21 AM

I find the whole "makes you think" notion offensive, because it implies that I wasn't thinking before I encountered Moore's work. This may come as a surprise to Mr. Moore, but many of us have already mastered the art of thinking and do it all the time on our own. We don't really need him to make us do it. In fact, it's pretty damn condescending to suggest that we do.

Posted by: Pat at February 24, 2004 at 02:08 AM

Chris Josephson, you might think nobody would be loopy enough to call Mickey Mouse an evil influence, but you reckoned without the Guardian's George Monbiot:

"Walt Disney's characters are sinister because they encourage us to promote the hegemony of the corporations even when we have no intention of doing so"

And if that wasn't bad enough:

"The Mickey Mouse Club he established in 1930 helped to pioneer a new form of brand loyalty, and to extract the names, addresses and preferences of its members."

Posted by: wardytron at February 24, 2004 at 03:15 AM

Of course, if the "controversial art" that "makes you think" happens to offend those lefties, the first thing they will think about is how to vandalize the art and silence the artist.

Posted by: Paul Stinchfield at February 24, 2004 at 04:41 AM

You know come to think of it, I might pay good money to see a bunch of government subsudized artists standing around drinking beer and pissing on Michael Moore. Hmmm, now that's art.

Posted by: Harry at February 24, 2004 at 05:27 AM

disney=evil is a staple of the central/south american left. i studied this in college in one of my political science classes. time has not improved it.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 24, 2004 at 05:35 AM

argh. this link actually has some content.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at February 24, 2004 at 05:56 AM

Makes me think, did Mikey have to sodomise producers and publishers before they'd spew out his drivel and make him rich, and, if so, how many.

Posted by: d at February 24, 2004 at 07:46 AM

Disney, at least in Eisnerian form, is too incompetant to be evil. Steve Jobs totally ate his lunch, and now it looks like an all-out shareholder revolt is coming.

Posted by: Ian S. at February 24, 2004 at 07:58 AM

The Ann Coulter action figures make me think "you could probably sell a lot of life-sized Ann Coulter dolls."

Posted by: Anon at February 24, 2004 at 09:57 AM

I think Michael Moore is a fat twat.

Posted by: Habib at February 24, 2004 at 10:44 AM


Thanks for the info.. It's getting harder and harder to be sarcastic these days. When you think something is too crazy to be true, there is some group around that actually believes it.

I loved that article you linked to. My search for someone to explain the 'deeper meaning' ended when I read it.

I'll have to shield the kids from the evil Disney influence!!

Posted by: Chris Josephson at February 24, 2004 at 12:07 PM

Michael Moore's appeal is to Lefties who don't want to be made to think. They want pre-maticated cliches that are readily digestible. The worst thing you can say about Moore is that he makes you think!

Posted by: Rob (No.1) at February 24, 2004 at 01:18 PM

I think Michael Moore is a fat twat.

You know, Habib, that statement really made me think. Maybe not think twice, but at least once and a fifth.

Posted by: Timothy Lang at February 24, 2004 at 04:13 PM

You're quite right. Ann Coulter DOES make me think. She makes me think "Hidden snipers where are you?"

Horrid woman.

Posted by: Adam at February 24, 2004 at 08:08 PM

I've linked to some very worthwhile writings on the whole "makes you think" school of art here:


Posted by: David Foster at February 25, 2004 at 08:01 AM


Posted by: Michael Moore at February 26, 2004 at 03:23 PM

Great observation. It's reposted at Bowling for TRUTH...

Posted by: Michael Moore at March 11, 2004 at 05:05 PM