Michael Moore was promoting his latest book, Stupid White Men ... and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation
, when he stopped by the University of Missouri-Kansas City on March 25. Brought to town by economics professor Stephanie Bell, Moore delivered a left-wing charge to 700 starved lefties. (Having spent the previous six months in an Ari Fleischer-induced "watch what you say, watch what you do" funk, this crowd was so repressed that several audience members gave their own lectures, interrupting Moore with their personal political hypotheses and elaborating on Internet-based 9/11 conspiracy theories.) Moore convinced the pierced college kids and gray-haired auto workers that most of the people in the country are pro-labor, pro-women's rights and pro-environment, that their concerns about civil liberties were justified -- and that they weren't alone. If there were any doubt, the fact that Moore's book was riding the top of The New York Times
best-sellers list laid it to rest.
Because the demand to see him was so great, Moore added a second appearance in front of a raucous crowd of 500 more people at the Uptown Theater. Those festivities lasted until well after midnight, with the crowd witnessing a sparkling moment between Moore and singer Iris DeMent, who had played a few songs before Moore took the stage. The two goobered over each other touchingly. Moore told the audience he often used DeMent's "Wasteland of the Free" in his performances and that he couldn't believe the extraordinary luck of Kansas Citians. "You have her!" he gushed. DeMent then played Moore's favorite song but had to stop before the third verse -- "I'm so nervous, I'm playing too damn fast," she said before slowing down to emphasize the third verse: We kill for oil then throw a party when we win/Some guy refuses to fight, and we call that the sin.